Friday, November 30, 2007

Experts miss target on storm numbers

Every year, about June-time, you here the media outlets regurgitating some press release put out by some government/academic body (usually the NOAA) about the upcoming hurricane season. It's typically got some eye-grabbing headlines predicting something close to Armageddon. Once you've lived past the age of about 25, and if you've been paying attention, the question starts to creep into your mind as to how accurate have these people been over the years, especially since you have yet to see Armageddon despite 25+ years of expecting it.

So each year, you see the same story in the media (which is what passes for news) and start to think that responsible journalism would require publishing the record of the people making the predictions. Yet all that is ever included in these articles are the fear-mongering predictions, nothing about the past accuracy of these agencies making the predictions, which seems like the most logical thing that should be included.

So it was quite the surprise for me to see the CNN article that appeared today that seemed to actually revisit the predictions, especially because they were stating just how wrong they had been: not even in the ballpark. I've been paying attention to this for many years, and this is the first instance where I have seen any main-stream media outlet make any attempt to revisit the predictions, so it was a pleasant surprise.

I suspect that, come June, CNN will still run the same annual article on the NOAA press-release. I'd like to hope they mention just how wildly wrong they were in 2007 when they report their 2008 predictions, but my experience tells me not to get my hopes up.

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