Thu Jan 05 2006 08:24 PM
Re: [Jaws music]

Unfortunately, things are a bit different over here...for better or for worse. Nature may know no bounds on hurricane season, particularly over in the NW Pacific, but here in the Atlantic these are much more the exception rather than the rule. The list of names is there if we need it; why extend the construct of a hurricane season to an entire year, or at least the vast majority of it, if it is not needed? We have the personnel to work these events, whether or not they threaten land. Trust me, on the off-chance something does impact land during the winter months, people will know about it and be prepared, whether or not we are in the hurricane season. The bigger question they will be asking is why this occurred out of the season; extending the season doesn't answer that at all and is taking the easy way out.

It is rare to see a storm such as Zeta, though not impossible, and in my view not worthy of extending the season just to account for 1 out of every 500 to 1000 storms. The odds are even lower for such storms that threaten land in a significant fashion; a more pressing concern is what they might do upon entering the midlatitudes, a task for those who work on extratropical transition and midlatitude weather forecasting. Nature is capable of throwing something our way, but why spend the extra money on personnel, equipment, and the like just to fully staff the hurricane center all year long when that money can be spent on research toward forecasting and understanding these things better?

I certainly understand the other viewpoint, but I come from a scientific background working in this field. Beyond scientific knowledge of these things, our most pressing concern is that the general public understand what is going on and not having ideas or facts misrepresented (on the off chance that they are). To me, it is infinitely much more worth it to study these storms than to extend the season to catch 1 storm in about a 1000 when the current infrastructure works just fine and does catch those storms without any changes needed. Essentially, extending the season in such a fashion would require a reallocation in resources and only create more confusion for the general public. The science and climatology is not the problem -- we do everything you already mention for all of these out-of-season storms -- it's the lack (in my view) of need to change something and spend money and time on such a process. The human aspect and the view of the general public has to be considered in such a process, and quite frankly it's simpler and more efficient to keep things the way they are. Might just be IMO, though.

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