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Friday, June 8, 2012

Florida State Univ center issues contrary hurricane forecast

Hurricane Season 2012
From: Editor, 

The 2012 hurricane season is just beginning, While most are predicting a mild season, Florida State is not.
On May 30, 2012, COAPS (Center for Oceanic and Atmospheric Prediction Studies) scientists released their fourth annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast.

This year's forecast calls for a 70 percent probability of 10 to 16 named storms and 5 to 9 hurricanes. The mean forecast is for 13 named storms and 7 hurricanes.

These numbers are based on 51 individual seasonal forecasts conducted since May 25, 2012 using sea surface temperatures predicted by NOAA.

The forecast mean numbers are slightly below the 1995-2010 average of 14 named storms and 8 hurricanes, and reflect the possible emergence of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific and cooling surface water temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic.

The scientists use a numerical atmospheric model developed at COAPS to understand seasonal predictability of hurricane activity.

The model is one of only a handful of numerical models in the world being used to study seasonal hurricane activity and is different from the statistical methods used by other seasonal hurricane forecasters.

The first hurricane warning service was set up in the 1870's from Cuba with the work of Father Benito Viñes. After his passing, hurricane warning services were assumed by the United States Signal Corp and United States Weather Bureau over the next decade, first based in Jamaica in 1898 and Cuba in 1899 before shifting to Washington, D.C. in 1902.

This responsibility passed to regional hurricane offices in 1935, and the concept of the Atlantic hurricane season was established in order to keep a vigilant lookout for tropical cyclones during certain times of the year.
Hurricane advisories issued every six hours by the regional hurricane offices began at this time. The Jacksonville hurricane warning office moved to Miami, Florida in 1943.

Tropical cyclone naming began for Atlantic tropical cyclones using the phonetic alphabet by 1947. Starting in 1950, the Miami Hurricane Warning Office began to prepare the annual hurricane season summary articles.

FSU is the only university in the United States issuing a seasonal hurricane forecast using a global numerical atmospheric model.

The model uses the high performance computers at FSU to make predictions of the atmosphere six months into the future. Based on these atmospheric predictions, tropical activity is objectively determined and forecasts are issued around June 1st.

The COAPS forecast is gaining recognition for its accuracy only three years after its launch. The 2009 forecast predicted 8 named storms and 4 hurricanes, and there ended up being 9 named storms and 3 hurricanes that year.

The 2010 forecast predicted 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes, and there were actually 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes.

The 2011 forecast predicted an average of 17 named storms and 9 hurricanes, and there were actually 19 named storms and 7 hurricanes.

Historical data was used since 1982 shows that the model has a mean absolute error of 1.9 hurricanes and 2.3 named storms.

For further information see COAPS.