Anyone less confident ?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by transformer_99, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. transformer_99

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    In the predictions of NOAA's capabilities to predict hurricanes ?

    Excite News - Hurricane Center Chief Reassigned

    It's always been a cone of prediction at best anyways. If the hardware is old and needs replacement, so be it. Let's face it, if it fails, that's one less tool they have to use. How much they rely on it is anyone's guess, but if it's integral to tracking, and this writeup seems to suggest it blows away other forms of tracking, the man wasn't exaggerating. Especially, since it was sent up to replace one that did fail.

    science@nasa - Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT)

    I can understand fiscal conservatism, but we are $ 1/2 trillion in debt from a war on terror, it seems kind of petty and foolish not to at least have a backup of this piece of hardware ready to launch into space ?
     
  2. Shelby

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    If climate scientist Al Gore can predict what's going to happen and why over the next hundred years I should think getting us through one measly summer would be a snap.

    Thay should put him on it. It would be a great way for him to earn carbon credits.
     
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    I worked for NOAA doing Pacific marine forecasting for 20 years. When it became available, I used QuikSCAT frequently to verify model projections of surface winds over oceanic areas with no permanent surface observations such as fixed buoys. NOAA/NWS line forecasters, to my knowledge, never received comprehensive training from NOAA on how to maximize the use of QuikSCAT in operational forecasting. I only became interested in it after a remote sensing class in graduate school and I passed that info along the staff in my local office. QuikSCAT is a pretty nifty tool and its nice to have but, in my opinion, lack of it won't cripple hurricane analysis and forecasting.

    I also think our priorities at what really constitutes "homeland security" are often misplaced. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath gave us a pretty glaring example of that. The travelling tuberculosis patient was a smaller example. Our porous border with Mexico yet another.

    However, I should add that NOAA's management has a bad track record with regards to contingency planning for replacement of aging meteorological satellites. There was a time in the late 80s when the US was dependent on only one, yes, one, geostationary met satellite that had already outlived its design life. The replacement finally did make it into orbit before the older one failed but the US had already begun negotiations with the Europeans and Japanese about borrowing their met satellites in the interim. Not a proud record for a nation that casts itself as a space power.

    Need I add that my opinion of NOAA management is not high? During my 20 years there I frequently observed science and accountability taking a back seat to politics and expediency. This case, amid all the finger pointing and rhetoric, seems to show nothing has changed.
     
  4. transformer_99

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    That must've been interesting using the tool.

    As for Katrina, there's really nothing anyone could do for that. I've come to the realization that with South Florida traffic as it is, it takes me 1 to 1:45 hours to drive 22.5 miles when the sun is shining. Anymore, evacuees need to leave 5 days ahead of any storm, well maybe at closest 3 days ahead of a storm just because of the traffic and fuel shortages it creates. We saw it in Texas when storms hit after Katrina. Too many morons on the road. They make a reality of those asteroid movies where it wipes out the Eastern seaboard. A couple/three years back when those storms hit, I saw too many people trying to drag their lives out of Florida, as opposed to simply driving out in a single family sedan/vehicle. These people know who they were, idiots in Winnebagos dragging their boats. They clogged the roads, stopping every car length, instead of driving the speed limit and maintaining the proper distance. End result was everyone wasted their fuel and fuel stations ran out of gasoline a couple of counties away at best. I know it's a horrible thought, but as I sat on that road before simply giving up and turning back towards home, I thought, the storm is not only going to catch us, but if a direct hit, kill us all over a bunch of selfish jerks saving their boats and thinking their Winnebago was equivalent to taking the comforts of home with them, that's if they didn't have the contents of their home in that Winnebago ? I ride them out and stay put if I'm not going to leave easily 3 days ahead of a storm like one of those.

    One of the storms, I left Orlando after driving up from Miami, I burned a 1/4 tank and didn't get more than 25-30 miles north of Orlando. The goal was to make it Georgia up 441 to I-75. What a miserable experience. My vehicle get's over 400 miles on a 15 gallon tank, that's 100 miles on a 1/4 tank. In this traffic I was getting 25-30 miles on that same amount of fuel. At this rate I doubt I'd get to the GA-FL border. The radio reports started indicating the gas stations were low/running out of fuel about where the other 3/4 tank was going to get me. My brother and I turned back to Orlando, stayed the night and drove the next day to Jacksonville which didn't get hit by much more than gusty high winds and rain. The roads were clear, we were originally trying to leave 1 1/2-2 days ahead of the storm and be in Atlanta, GA.

    Sometimes I sit in traffic going to work, as I watch them ride their brakes in front of me for miles and think to myself, this is the same crew I'll encounter in an evacuation. That's when I daydream about the possibilities of a direct hit storm like the one's that came in on FL's West Coast, went up and crossed the state, basically a path/corridor called I-4 and think what a way to thin the herd, get them all on a highway and watch a cat 5 hurricane wipe them out ?
     
  5. SpeedoGuy

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    That reminded me of another of my early adventures while toiling for NOAA.

    I once was tasked with issuing a tsunami warning for the central California coast following a large earthquake off Japan. No one knew whether a tsunami was actually coming but NOAA issued the warning just to be safe.

    Soon after the warning was issued to the news media I learned that highways in the vicinity of coast near San Francisco were in gridlock, jammed with vehicles. I was glad to see my tsunami warning was being taken seriously by residents fleeing the danger zone.

    Then, to my horror, I saw from TV news helicopters what was actually happening on the roads. No one was fleeing the coast. Instead, thousands of fools were actually heading toward the beaches to watch the tsunami arrive. There were accidents and injuries, to say nothing of the gridlock, before the whole episode was over. No tsunami ever arrived and, so help me God, some people were actually pissed off about that.

    :eek:
     
  6. transformer_99

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    I wonder how many surfer's showed up ? I used to hunt Hurricane surf here in FL, but that was within reason. Far enough in advance of the storm (washing machine action) and the aftermath is much better and cleaner. But let's face it, that wouldn't be Tsunami/Waimea Bay sized surf, more like double overhead. Bought the perfect surfboard for it, Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC) 7'2" mini-gun pintail shape. It even works on the small stuff that is more East Coast surf.
     
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