Friday, November 23, 2007

All's Quiet on the Western Front

There's just a week left in hurricane season, and things have really quieted down. As I predicted, Tropical Storm 15 was the last one. Well, except for Noel. But, I originally referred to TS15 as Noel, so I'm taking the point, as the President has lain out for us a path of compounding errors until we declare victory.

Noel did dump a fair amount of rain on me in particular, as I tracked it up the coast, but it was a pleasant enough way to end a hurricane season. And it wasn't a Cape Verde type hurricane, which suggests that my particular fear of this type is not longer current -- now Manhattan can be attacked by regular old Carribean hurricanes.

2005 was sort of out-freaking, but the subsequent two years have been surprisingly well-behaved. This probably has something to do with the Southern Oscillation (El Niño), but that's a little like saying particular election outcomes have something to do with the economy. Any global geophysical phenomenon is going to have something to do with the SO, which is itself pretty hard to define while being huge and enormously significant. That metaphor just keeps working.

You'll recall that the National Hurricane Center blamed its bad crop last year* on El Niño, which 2005 was going into -- you'll recall it's called El Niño on the theory that the Christ child was sending warm winds along the South Pacific's Western Boundary at Christmas time, warm water's good for tropical cyclones, and 2005's hurricane season went on until what? January? So, maybe we only have to worry about major hurricane seasons in the years coming into El Niño events, which, if you missed that nuance, we can't predict and can happen every year. After the enormous 1997/1998 event, there was a five year lull, but they've been coming every two years since. Which, again, would predict that we'd have hurricanes in January, but it's been about three weeks, which we wouldn't expect. We'll have to see.

* -- Notice that name 'William Gray?'

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