Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's On: Chimp Vs. NOAA

Ooh, this is too good not to post:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's track record in predicting the number of Atlantic hurricanes is so abysmal that a trained chimp could do better, says The National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

The group is putting this claim to the test, issuing a 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast today determined by a chimpanzee, "Dr. James Hansimian."

The forecast is being issued in advance of NOAA's May "Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook," expected to be released next week.

"NOAA's May outlooks have been wrong three out of the last four years - or 75% of the time," said David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. "We think our chimp can do better. He hasn't been wrong so far. Of course, this is his very first hurricane season forecast."

While this is funny, they're not just being snarks. There's a legitimate point to this exercise:

The video isn't intended to needle NOAA for its erroneous forecasts, but to make a larger point about our current understanding of climate.

"NOAA's forecasts have been wrong not because of a lack of dedication or competence of its forecast team, but because climate science is really still its infancy," said Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. "We should remember this as we consider whether to adopt economically-ruinous caps on energy. If we can't rely on 6-month forecasts, how can rely on forecasts of what rising carbon concentrations will do to our climate 25, 50 or even 100 years out?"

And that's why -- along with common sense, the whole hoax thing, and almost every other bit of verifiable empirical data -- we shouldn't bother with vast and far-reaching climate change legislation, especially when that legislation would do real and immediate harm to our economy (and your family).

I await the results with baited breath...(but my vote is on the chimp)...

There's my two cents.

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