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Weather versus Climate

While weather is a short-term phenomenon, climate is the long-term average of weather.

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No Hurricanes!

No Hurricanes!


Credit: Mike Trenchard, Earth Sciences & Image Analysis Laboratory , Johnson Space Center
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_Isabel_from_ISS.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The 2013 hurricane season was predicted to be stronger than average, but the season was almost record quiet. Mid-range forecasting is different from shorter (weather) or longer (climate) time frames.

Why It Matters

  • Weather predictions go out several days. Climate forecasting extends out years. Between those two, forecasting what will happen in weeks or months is different.
  • Mid-range forecasts are strengthened when more groups combine their predictions.
  • Forecasting the Atlantic hurricane season is important to insurance companies and government agencies.
  • Credit: Cyclonebiskit
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2013_Atlantic_hurricane_season_summary_map.png
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Tropical cyclones in the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season (Points- location of each storm at 6-hour intervals, Colors - storm's maximum sustained wind speeds by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, Shape of data points- type of storm) [Figure2]

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With the links below, learn more about mid-range forecasting. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is included in a mid-range forecast that is not included in a weather forecast?
  2. Who needs mid-range forecasts and why?
  3. What are the reasons that forecasters thought 2013 would be an active hurricane season?
  4. Why do they think 2013 was an inactive season?
  5. What can researchers do to try to make their forecasts more accurate?
  6. What is the disadvantage of having a long time between major hurricanes?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Mike Trenchard, Earth Sciences & Image Analysis Laboratory , Johnson Space Center; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_Isabel_from_ISS.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Cyclonebiskit; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2013_Atlantic_hurricane_season_summary_map.png; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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