Comment of the Week: Busy on the Boards
Capital Weather Gang's comments area has been quite busy as of late. Things really picked up on April 7 in response to Andrew Freedman's column, "The Price of Al Gore's Climate Battle." More recently, we've had discussions about how sleet can form with temperatures in the 50s. And, incredibly, one commenter took us seriously when we suggested the Pope might be responsible for this week's gorgeous weather.
The comment of the week, however, goes to 'doug.' Actually, this comment was posted last week, but "Comment of the Previous Week" isn't so catchy, and this one was too good to leave out on a technicality. Doug's comment was in response to Jason Samenow's post from the 2008 Bahamas Weather Conference, where Colorado State University hurricane experts issued their forecast -- and were met with skepticism from some commenters -- for the upcoming hurricane season:
It's been interesting on here the past couple days to see the high number of comments that are dismissive of predictions based on mathematical (computer) models. I recognize that many of the comments of this nature on Andrew's post from Monday are from people simply being obtuse, but I wonder if there are some larger underlying misgivings...
I mean, it's clear to me (in a scientific sense) why a research group would put their predictions out there before the hurricane season starts. It's also clear to me from a policy/safety sense of why having an idea of the possible number of hurricanes is important, even if that number is eventually wrong. Some number is better than no number, so long as the method is transparent.
It's not the model's fault if the media treats a number as gospel, and most of the time it's not the scientists' fault, either. Error bars are included in published papers, but often not in the reports about them. Would a better option be that no results are discussed?
I guess where I'm going is that I don't get where the passionate criticism and outright dismissal of scientists, models, and the modeling process comes from when a model misses its exact prediction, but was still within the stated range of possible outcomes. I guess I'm more about living and learning. But I'd like to learn where other people are coming from.
Sorry if that came out a bit disjointed. I haven't quite put my finger on what exactly I'm finding the problem to be.
Posted by: Steve, Capital Weather Gang | April 18, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | April 18, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Erika Froh | April 18, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: C. Quesenberry | April 21, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: C.Q. | April 21, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.