Projections for Hurricane Dean (NOAA)This post continues the discussion of hurricane prediction begun in my recent post. There I described efforts at predicting hurricanes before they actually start, and the use of correlates such as el niño and sand in the Sahara.
What about predictions once the hurricanes are on the scene? The recent news surrounding the potential path of Hurricane Dean, and the predicted intensity, are different types of models.
There’s an informative article today by Matt McGrath for BBC News that discusses the issues surrounding these predictions. (See The Science of Hurricane Prediction ) Of interest is the fact that it easier to predict the ultimate path of faster-moving hurricanes. In effect, when hurricanes "hang around" too long, their motion can be affected by many other factors - throwing off the model predictions.
The BBC News site has a number of clever animations, including an animated guide to how hurricanes form. This is a nice applet - one of a set of applets for many natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and volcanoes.