[National Hurricane Center director Bill] Read said he's satisfied for now with the $3 million the government is spending this year for research into improving intensity forecasts.Ah... isn't that about 4 minutes of the Occupation of Iraq? It's nice to have a billion-dollar-a-day boondoggle to compare things to. You could buy every man, woman and child ice cream every day for less than the cost of our Middle East misadventures.
On the one hand, improving hurricane intensity forecasts would save the government much more than $3M/year. On the other...
Predicting a storm's intensity is much harder for meteorologists than estimating where it will go. Since 1990, forecasters have reduced by more than half their errors in predicting a storm's path, but over the same time the accuracy of their intensity forecasts has remained virtually unchanged."To really get after that you're talking tens of millions of dollars, if not more, to reach an ambitious goal," Read said. "We've made a steady gain in the improvement of the track forecasts, and we haven't figured out how to do that yet for rapid intensification."
That could take between five and 10 years, he said.
So, say there's some thing I don't know how to do. Say, build a pocket desalinator for seawater. Or train parrots to defuse bombs. I estimate it'll cost me tens of millions of dollars, if not more, and between five and 10 years. Heck, I'll stop Climate Change, although any beneficial effects will take place after my tenure as director. It's not like the NHC is going to spent $50 million dollars on a hurricane intensity forecasting widget and install it over the course of the next decade. They currently have no idea what'll work.
But, the government should be spending money and time on getting an idea of what will work.update:I've thought more about this. And, running water is nice and all, but isn't the primary benefit of living in a technological civilization that we can predict the weather?