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View Diary: The Angry Atlantic - It's So Going to Get Worse (122 comments)

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  •  I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this... (4.00)
    ..and not to rain on the parade, too much, but at least with regards to historical forcasting, you have 2 major observational biases here, which may make your trends look more significant than they actually are.

    1. Frequency of storms: When you look back to the 1850s, obviously, they didn't have weather satellites back then, so how would they know if there were a small hurricane or tropical storm that spun up over the central Atlantic, and went northward, never to hit land?  I suppose some keen-eyed captain might have reported it, but there's a heck of a lot of ocean out there, honestly, you can't be certain that they caught every storm and recorded data about all of them.

    2. Intensity of storms:  Again, compounded by the fact that the only storms that were probably measured were the ones which made landfall.  And, if the recording instruments weren't where the eye made landfall, they might have recorded a lower than actual real maximum sustained wind.

    So, with these biases (and I'm sure there are many more), of course it looks like were on some crazy upward trend.  Same is true for virtually any public health statistics you look at, it always looks like many diseases are increasing in prevalence, when, fact is, we're probably better at surveillance now than we were in the past.

    But, you can't convince me otherwise that climate change isn't fueling the maximal potential of these storms.  Two cat 5's in one hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico is unprecedented.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    by viget on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:17:17 PM PDT

    •  I attempt to control for selection bias (none)
      By limiting more modern cases to the latitudes and longitudes of observations from the 1850s, some of which came from islands and ships at sea.

      I might have scaled up the pre-weathersat/radio/airplane results with some sort of coefficient, but that would have made a real FUBAR of the data. :)

      It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

      by cskendrick on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:29:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok, good to know... (none)
        ...sorry, I didn't pick that up.  Like I said, I don't doubt that we're in for a helluva lot of tropical storms these next few years...

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

        by viget on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:46:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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