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article imageCan a chimp beat scientists in 2010 hurricane predictions? Special

By Kim I. Hartman     May 19, 2010 in Environment
Washington - NOAA'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, and they're putting him to the test in storm, climate and weather predictions.
The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season begins June 1 and scientist's are concerned a storm could hit the gulf and the growing oil spill. Experts said it would only take one storm in the Gulf to complicate the ongoing effort to stanch the gushing oil and limit its environmental impact. Researcher's are worried that a hurricane could drive oil inland, soiling beaches and wetlands and pushing polluted water up river estuaries
One Washington think-tank, The National Center for Public Policy Research is equally concerned and they are doing their part to assist in issuing their own 2010 hurricane prediction of total named storms for this year.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) May "Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook," is expected to be released Thursday and many question the accuracy of such climate predictions.
Hurricane Bonnie made landfall in North Carolina  United States  inflicting severe crop damage. The ...
Hurricane Bonnie made landfall in North Carolina, United States, inflicting severe crop damage. The second named storm, first hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season
The group at NCPPR is putting this claim to the test by releasing a 2010 Atlantic Hurricane forecast yesterday determined by a chimpanzee, "Dr. James Hansimian."
In the spirit of fairness the NCPPR released their results ahead of both NOAA's National Hurricane forecast as well as Colorado State Universities annual prediction.
The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) enlisted the assistance of Dr. James Hansimian at the Hurricane Forecast Center in their efforts to take a look at the methodology of climate forecasts and storm predictions.
"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."
"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?"
NOAA hurricane hunter WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV aircraft in flight. So far  wind measurements ta...
NOAA hurricane hunter WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV aircraft in flight. So far, wind measurements taken from airplanes flying through intense hurricane winds are the only sure fire way to accurately assess the strength of a hurricane
The National Center for Public Policy Research is also issuing a challenge to NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWS).
"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 David Ridenour 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 "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.
When asked what the goal is of the NCPPR in this prediction and in the challenge to the National Hurricane Prediction Weather Center Ridenour says he does believe that the Weather Center is doing the best they can to predict these storm but with climate prediction still in it's infancy we can't make assumptions in forecasting weather."
Ridenour says climate projections is what the Waxman-Markey bill is based on and this bill alone is going to impact American's wallets to the tune of a projected amount of $3000 per year. He said the people of this country can not afford a loss that size to their total income each year, all based on premises of historical weather data from periods of time when weather data was not even being recorded.
The Waxman-Markey bill is officially entitled “The American Clean Energy and Security Act,” but most people who follow this issue simply call it Waxman-Markey. Named for its sponsors — Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) — the legislation has been roundly criticized for doing too little or too much, but one thing is clear: No matter what form it finally takes, the bill is historic. For the first time, the U.S. government would cap and regulate emissions of carbon dioxide says researchers at Yale Environment360.
Opponents of the bill maintain the Waxman-Markey has been irrevocably compromised. They contended the bill makes so many concessions to powerful industrial lobbies that it will do little to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ridenour agrees saying that the effects of the bill on our carbon footprint on earth will be useless as long as other countries are continuing to pollute and impact the environment. This bill is also based on premise and although weather science, studies on global warming and climate research is not certain it is getting better.
While the environmental community is intensely debating whether the Waxman-Markey bill is the best possible compromise or a fatally flawed initiative, we await the release of this season's hurricane prediction from the National Weather Service.
National Weather Service
The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season outlook is an official product of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), and is produced in collaboration with scientists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Hurricane Research Division (HRD). The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.
The Climate prediction center agree's with Ridenour and the National Center for Public Policy Research that there are numerous factors that do indeed make predictions of weather including hurricane a guessing game. Many factors are contribute to that including predicting El Niño’s strength and impact this year said Ridenour.
All things considered hurricane predictions and the changing climate is something that not even science nor the government will ever predict with absolute certainty.
The NCPPR will release a follow-up video December 1 when hurricane season concludes with Dr. Hansimian's reaction to the performance of his forecast and results versus that of the NOAA forecast and the Colorado State University. CSU recently released forecast which was after the filming of the chimp's dice rolling method was almost identical to the prediction of the Chimp Dr. Hansimian.
Hurricane Preparedness Week begins May 23 through May 29 and NOAA and the National Weather Service say " History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Hurricane Dean as seen from space in this NASA photo from the Endeavour.
Hurricane Dean as seen from space in this NASA photo from the Endeavour.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide.
The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit - somewhat less stodgy and more irreverent - free market foundation based in Washington, D.C. It is a truly independent organization, receiving 98% of its funding from individuals through hundreds of thousands of donations. No individual, foundation, or company provides the organization with more than a fraction of one percent of its annual revenue.
* NCPPR states no Animals were harmed in the making of this video. The chimp was given many breaks for rest, food and play. PETA has yet to respond to their attempt at a humorous alternative to predicting weather.
Hurricane Ike lasted nine days. September 12  2008  the eye of Hurricane Ike approached the Texas co...
Hurricane Ike lasted nine days. September 12, 2008, the eye of Hurricane Ike approached the Texas coast near Galveston Bay, making landfall at over the east end of Galveston Island in Texas
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