Two Hurricane Experts Won’t Make December Forecasts Anymore
December 14, 2011

Two Hurricane Experts Won’t Make December Forecasts Anymore

The two top US hurricane experts are abandoning their December efforts to predict the number of hurricanes for the following year, after admitting there is no proof they can make accurate forecasts this far out from the coming season.

William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, famous for their advance predictions of hurricane activity for the following season, said a look back over the past 20 years of forecasting has shown that their methods do not actually work.

The Colorado State University scientists had been forecasting the following hurricane season just days after the current season ends since 1992. Though they admitted defeat, the duo said they will still discuss different probabilities of hurricane seasons in December of each year.

Residents and authorities in hurricane country have long paid close attention to the forecasts for the next year, even though the forecasters have been frequently inaccurate.

Explaining their shift from a quantitative to a qualitative approach, Gray and Klotzbach issued this statement at the beginning of their latest December forecast: “We are discontinuing our early December quantitative hurricane forecast for the next year “¦ Our early December Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts of the last 20 years have not shown real-time forecast skill even though the hindcast studies on which they were based had considerable skill.”

For their latest forecast, the two scientists have given possible scenarios for the coming hurricane season, with probabilities for each. The most probable scenario -- at 45 percent -- is for an above-average storm season with no El Nino weather event.

Gray and Klotzbach said they will still make their traditional forecasts once we are closer to the hurricane season.


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