May 18, 2010
Chimp Predicts 6-8 Atlantic Hurricanes In 2010
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's track record in predicting the number of Atlantic hurricanes is so abysmal that a trained chimp could do better, says The National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
The group is putting this claim to the test, issuing a 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast today determined by a chimpanzee, "Dr. James Hansimian."
The forecast is being issued in advance of NOAA's May "Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook," expected to be released next week.
"NOAA's May outlooks have been wrong three out of the last four years - or 75% of the time," said David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. "We think our chimp can do better. He hasn't been wrong so far. Of course, this is his very first hurricane season forecast."
The video isn't intended to needle NOAA for its erroneous forecasts, but to make a larger point about our current understanding of climate.
"NOAA's forecasts have been wrong not because of a lack of dedication or competence of its forecast team, but because climate science is really still its infancy," said Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. "We should remember this as we consider whether to adopt economically-ruinous caps on energy. If we can't rely on 6-month forecasts, how can rely on forecasts of what rising carbon concentrations will do to our climate 25, 50 or even 100 years out?"
The National Center for Public Policy Research is also issuing a challenge to NOAA.
"If, at the end of the hurricane season, Dr. Hansimian's forecast turns out to be more accurate than NOAA's, we challenge the agency to make him an honorary member of NOAA's hurricane specialists unit," said David Ridenour. "In return, if NOAA's forecast is more accurate, we'll include a prominently-displayed mea culpa on our website."
Dr. James Hansimian, says the video, is "author of the book, 'The Banana Curve: No Tricks Needed,' published by East Anglia University Press." The video was filmed on location in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 24, 2010 - before the latest predictions by either Colorado State University's forecast team, which is led by Phil Klotzbach, or the forthcoming predictions expected from NOAA.
Dr. Hansimian is played by Kenzie, who starred as "Chim Chim" in the 2008 Warner Brother release "Speed Racer," appearing with actors John Goodman, Emile Hirsch and Susan Sarandon. Kenzie also had a guest spot on the VH1 reality show, "Hogan Knows Best," starring Hulk Hogan.
A second video will be released on December 1, at the conclusion of the hurricane season, with Dr. Hansimian's reaction to the performance of his forecast against the NOAA forecast.
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