Saturday, May 29, 2010

Newsy: Meteorologists Predict Fierce Hurricane Season

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It's National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and scientists warn we might have a lot to be prepared for. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast. It warns we could see three to seven major hurricanes this year.
We're analyzing coverage from WFOR, PBS, Discover News, the Weather Channel and the Weather Underground.
Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli of WFOR, a CBS affiliate in south Florida, explains the two main reasons for the prediction: “One of them, El Nino going away. We may be in a La Nina by the end of the summer. And also water temperatures way above normal all across the Atlantic.”
Discovery News notes an important change we may see in future hurricanes, also known as cyclones: “Tropical cyclones may become less frequent this century but pack a stronger punch as a result of global warming.”
This is not the first time scientists have linked global warming to hurricanes. Kerry Emanuel of MIT analyzed the risk that climate change may pose on PBS in 2006, explaining that warmer oceans transfer their heat energy to storms that pass over them and make them stronger: “I think we can say fairly unequivocally that half a degree rise in ocean temperature will cause hurricanes to be more intense.”
With so many factors involved, predicting hurricanes months in advance is complex. Some disagree about the accuracy and utility of these predictions. Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist for the Weather Channel wrote this in his blog: “…they're still useless in the sense that nobody can predict with confidence and accuracy exactly what will happen in any given community.”
However, Dr. Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground notes that NOAA’s predictions have been more accurate than others: “NOAA's … did significantly better than a climatology forecast.”
And whether the predictions become true, many in the media are reminding viewers to be prepared. We'll leave you with this from Dr. Rick Nabb of the Weather Channel: "It only takes one hurricane on your doorstep to make it a bad year for you, and that's something you need to be prepared for."
Writer: TIM WALL


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