Do they always go east?
September 22, 2005 2:35 AM   Subscribe

Shouldn't hurricane track predictions have a skewed distribution due to the nature/direction of steering winds?

The National Hurricane Center's Forecast Verification page doesn't address the possibility - or maybe I just can't read...
posted by Chuckles to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total)
Response by poster: I know for sure I selected science and nature from the list, I guess I must have clicked an arrow key. If somebody could correct that I would be very appreciative!
posted by Chuckles at 2:38 AM on September 22, 2005

Your question assumes that a lot of stupid people work for NOAA. I would turn the question around and ask, "How has NOAA accounted for steering winds?" A search for ("steering winds" OR "steering current") noaa (hurricane OR hurricanes) provides plenty of answers.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:40 AM on September 22, 2005

This may give much detail in answer to your question:

Properties of Tropical Cyclones in
Atmospheric General Circulation Models
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:49 AM on September 22, 2005

Response by poster: Mo Nickels, I appreciate the kind effort, but I don't think that is my question... Perhaps the inclusion of steering winds is distracting from the issue. I have read/heard comments like 'they always go east of the track', and that got me thinking...

It doesn't seem like the confidence interval should be perfectly symmetrical, but all the tracks I see show perfect symmetry. You sometimes even see figures that indicate a perfect guassian distribution. Is the track really just as likely to veer 5 miles to the west as it is to veer 5 miles to the east?
posted by Chuckles at 6:34 AM on September 22, 2005

The models almost all already correct for the tendency for the storms to track certain directions at certain times. As your developing the model if you find the storms consistantly go more to the left or right you tweak your model and try again.
posted by Mitheral at 5:20 PM on September 22, 2005

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