Atlantic Hurricane Season 2008

Posted on November 1, 2008  Comments (0)

photo of hurricane evacuation sign

Here is a nice post on weather and understanding data – Atlantic Hurricane Season 2008

A well-accepted metric which convolves storm frequency, intensity, and duration is called accumulate cyclone energy (ACE) and is calculated very simply: take the maximum sustained winds reported by the NHC every 6-hours for all storms (> 34 knots), square this value, and sum over the entire lifetime, then divide by 10,000. In 2007, even though there were also 15 storms, the ACE was only 72 compared to 132 for 2008 with the same number of named storms. This is partially because the storms in 2008 were much longer lived especially Bertha.

When encapsulated in the recent active period in North Atlantic activity (1995-2007), 2008 experienced normal or expected activity as measured by ACE. In terms of a long-term climatology, either the last 30 or 65 years, 2008 is clearly an above average year.

Data can’t lie but mistaken assumptions can lead you to form mistaken impressions. If you believe the number of named storms = hurricane activity and then are surprised that in fact there was many more days of hurricane activity it is not because the data lied but because you didn’t understand what the data represented.

Related: Data Based BlatheringDangers of Forgetting the Proxy Nature of DataWhat’s Up With the Weather?Saving Lives with Smarter Hurricane Evacuations

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