Can we decide weather to be hopeful?

Having just dropped back home to change suitcase contents again, after, this time, watching joints being made and unmade (of the tubular variety) for a couple of days, I have been relying on hotel newspapers for news (some hotel internets don't work) and so was reminded that this is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and that the forecast is for up to 16 named storms and 10 hurricanes, down from the 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes last year. However we can still expect some 6 major hurricanes, down from 7 last year, which is a critical number and really not that much different from last year. The major question of where will, unfortunately, not be known for a while, and remember that hurricanes in the Southern GOMEX also can cause severe casualties, and can, less directly, but nevertheless significantly, impact our oil availability.
The actual forecast is somewhat more general
"For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become 'major' hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," added retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

On average, the north Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic hurricane season contained a record 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven of these hurricanes were considered "major," of which a record four hit the United States. "Although NOAA is not forecasting a repeat of last year's season, the potential for hurricanes striking the U.S. is high," added Lautenbacher.

And in that same mood, I see that Texas is thinking of an 80 mph speed limit.

To conclude let me just comment on a few points that were brought up in recent comments.

First, thanks to Todd I see that MIT are pointing out their connections to the world. The technology is not likely to have much significant impact, for a variety of reasons, but it does illustrate how the well-connected Universities can get funding more easily than more humble mortals. And if you think that disparity is bad now, wait until the crisis starts to bite and more serious money appears on the table. It will, as last time, first go to the National Labs and the MIT's of the world, and only later will someone realize that perhaps - since these folks are not in general at all clued up on what happens at the end of an oil bit in contact with rock, or a shearer pick in contact with coal, - will the residual crumbs be sent to those schools who actually know something about that. (Gasp, this can't be bitter experience talking, can it ?)

And in answer to PhilRelig who asks why we can't get more oil out of the ground. The answer is that, under the right circumstances we can. But the cost (to give but one way) of sinking mines down to the sand to mine out the sand, strip it of oil, and then put it back, are, in general way too high. There have been some attempts at this, and one weekend I will describe one or two of them to you.

And as for the question by cwilbur2000 on Oil tech there are significant problems that are glossed over. Pulverizing rock, as a general rule (there are technologies and rocks that get around this but these are neither) is very energy intensive, and the oil shale rock expands during this process, so that disposal is a very serious question and has been part of the discussion for the past 30 years. There are mining related issues that are glossed over, and the variability in the shale oil over a face is also not discussed. One of these weekends soon, (see I'm starting a list) I'll try explaining some of these.

Here is a link to a piece yesterday's 'Morning Edition' did on freelance oil-shale refiner Byron Merrell of Utah. They give prices.

Once you click on link it will give you option of RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.

Shale oil is still not happening, and could be just another white elephant.

One (related) question I've been wanting to ask some of resident oil experts here on TOD is about Venezuela's heavy oil in the Orinoco basin. We hear so much about Canada's Athabasca tar sands, but almost nothing on Venezuela. Is Venezuela having any success at all extracting and refining this heavy/sour oil? And what are they using as a heat source to process it (natural gas, as in Canada?). In theory, they have lots of oil, but what chance is there that they are going to be able to produce any significant amount?

Whoops, I also forgot to ask what kind of EROEI is Venezuela getting from their heavy oil. Better/worse than Canada's?
Rob McLeod's website has some interesting data on the two.

It is a couple of posts down.

Several years ago venezuela lured some big oil companies into the orinocco belt with deals sufficiently attractive to bring their money (it took billions to begin tapping this resource) and expertise, resluting in significant production, maybe 1mm/d?, helping to offset declines in their other fields. However, they are now slapping on new taxes and nationalizing at least parts of all fields, so its not clear that big oil will continue their investments.
I think the EROEI of the whole process revolves around how efficient your retort is. How much of that heat can you scavenge from the byproduct stream and flue... if you can keep most of the heat in one place, and move the shale through it, maybe you could get the energy return up into positive territory.

That, and how cheaply can you build your processing plant?

The key to knowing if it's practical would be to know that he's running the whole operation on energy he has extracted and isn't using vast quantities of water, natural gas, electricity, etc.

How about shipping it to iceland, or some such place. They could "export" geo heat!
Last year's forecast was so inaccurate that it's surprising this year's is taken seriously.
precisely what i was thinking.  these talking heads are quite useless for providing any meaningful discussion or prediction of such chaotic phenomena.  
Actually, before last year, both as far as total storms and hurricanes, the annual predictions tracked pretty well.
Anyone have any info on why that happened?  Were there any changes in models, etc., or perhaps has the climate changed out from under the models they're using?  Or maybe it's just that predicting the weather isn't so exact....
From my readings there appears to be a discrepancy in views between meteorologists and climatologists. The meteorological community either tends to deny global warming or, if it is even occurring, does not believe it is having any significant impact at this time. The climatologists tend to believe in global warming and that it is already showing impacts. Since these forecasts come from meteorologists, it would not be unusual for them to be discounting global warming and caught by surprise. What would most likely change that mood in the meteorological community would be several straight years of high intensity storms.
Its not that the meterorlogical community denies global warming, but rather there is a political muzzle at NOAA.
The neocons have appointed a landman from Midland, Texas to head up the agency. While I'm sure that he is a good friend of GWB, it seems a rather peculiar choice. I'm hoping that now Exxon has changed top management they will abandon their insane attempt to suppress global warming data, but I wouldn't count on it because they own through Carter Coal, a subsidiary, the second largest coal reserves in the world.
GWB better put a muzzle on Pat Robertson too.  He said that he was talking to GOD and that god is predicting a typoon for the Pacific this year.  I just thought the planet was pissed off.  I guess the big guy upstairs is too.
"Last year, forecasters initially predicted 12 to 15 tropical storms, with seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major, with winds of at least 111 mph.

"The next Atlantic hurricane season could produce up to 16 named storms, six of them major hurricanes, suggesting another active year but not the record pounding of 2005, scientists said Monday.

"Some parts of the Gulf Coast are only starting to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, the worst of last year's record 28 named storms, 15 of which were hurricanes, seven of them Category 3 or higher." AP

So, in reality, the hurricane center is predicting a stronger hurricane season than last year! ;-)

It's a strange spin the the MSM puts on the hurricane forecasts. The prediction is for a worse season than was predicted last year, but they spin it as "it won't be as bad as last year." I suppose they leave the scarier version for the Enquirer.

Whenever you see anything in the MSM, ask yourself "what is it they want me to believe, and why?".  Remember, it is not news.  And you're right, this is a more severe forcast than last year, which was not worth a hoot.  Since I don't have any more information that would lead me to think they've made improvements, I'm not going to pay much attention to this forecast at all.  Hell, the season is almost upon us, "predicting" isn't that useful anyway.  What would you do with the information?
Hello Kjmclark,

Your quote: "I suppose they leave the scarier version for the Enquirer."

....or for the insurance companies yanking coverage along the East Coast:

In the meantime, the Allstate Insurance Company has decided to cancel, or not renew, insurance policies for 28,000--roughly 3.11 percent--of their 900,000 New York customers. According to a New York Daily News story published on Apr. 23, one other insurer, MET, has declined taking new business in the eight so-called hurricane counties, which encompass the five boroughs, plus Nassau, Westchester and Suffolk.

"It's not right--and it's not fair--and it's time New York gets tough on regulating these out of control insurers," argues N.Y. State Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), in a press release...."Brooklyn consumers are running scared," Mr. Vines admitted, adding, "This is out of control."
Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

And to quote Max Mayfield, head of the Hurricane Center..."it only takes one."  One to drive through our refineries and knock out capacity for weeks/months/perhaps years. Not sure if anyone has learned much meaningful from last year, except maybe if the government says "go to the Superdome,and wait for a rescue," it might be a good idea to bug out.
Isn't the GOM like 2-3 degress warmer than last year?

I guess they are basing this forceast on a cooler Atlantic, but remembering last year that a cooler Atlantic didn't matter. Storms were getting stronger in cooler waters and the talking heads were saying things like "how this storm is still intact over these cool waters I have no idea".

Folks I'm going to lay it out here, this year will be just as bad as the last, there is no doubt in my mind.  I have been watching storms over the Pacific this winter and I have never seen tightly spinning Eastern Pacific storms with "eyes" in the 10 years I have been a weather nut.  These storms were forming in 50 degree water! For some reason the oceans are pissed off at the moment.  Whether it's the onslaught of carbon from fossil fuels or my collection of catalytic converters, our planet is out of balance at the moment and we have only seen the beginning.

Well, we can start with 6 billion, really closer to 7 billion, who all want to live like The Brady Bunch.........
Scroll Down on this post and check out the SST images I posted this year/last year same time...
I'm still just utterly gobsmacked that the writer of this article can't tell the difference between the words "whether" and "weather". See, this is why most of the real PO discussion and preparedness is happening outside the USA.

Give ya a bag'a Fritos if you go look it up.........

I  think it might have been intentional...
Possible, but I am an American, reading a steady diet of American blogs, and I can tell you, there are a lot of ppl here who have no idea of the difference between the two words. And the spelling/meaning of many, many other words too.
jst coz ppl cnt spel or rd dnt mn they r stpid.  Their stpid coz tptb put csh in2 rms nd not education.
It's intentional. Hurricanes are weather.
I thought it was clever.
I thought it was unnecessary and took the focus off the data.
See, your comment is an example of why so many people outside the US are perceived to be humorless prigs.  The weather/whether use was clearly a play on words, and you inflated it into an excuse to slam Americans.
Given the sniping over "spelt," I'd say ixnay on the humorless prig talk.
I went looking for the dictionary to look up gobsmacked and I couldn't find it.  I too believe that it was intentional.  Kept thinking there was another spelling that sounded similiar must be wither.  I like spanish shade and shadow same word- to them.
It's a pretty exact estimate, the number of storms. How reliable can it be?
Not exact at all. It's just a trendline that suddenly went up two years ago.
What makes me nervous is that I think the climate people are lowballing it. The whole 'hot towers' thing, and the increased incidence of lightning in hurricanes last year make me worry we are about to fall through a transition point.
Not that it matters. If we start getting Saffir Six hypercanes, it's way to late to do anything about it.
Also, I live in California.
I'm also nervous about climate change.  Climatologists tend to be very cautious so as not to be accused of being alarmist.  People see their predictions and tend to pick the best case scenarios as the most likely and dismiss the worst case scenarios as scare mongering.  
However, every-time new data becomes available it seems to always be pushing the predictions to their upper limits.  The more we know about the problem the worse it appears to be.  Worst case scenarios from 15 years ago have now become best case scenarios.
The more we know about the problem the worse it appears to be.
This explains the Bushies' move to shut down the labs doing the climate predictions, then.
What are "joints of the tubular variety"?  
He's saying these aren't the kind you see in Cheech & Chong movies.
Dave's not here.
Tubing joint.

A single length of the pipe that is assembled to provide a conduit through which the oil or gas will be produced from a wellbore. Tubing joints are generally around 30 ft [9 m] long with a thread connection on each end. The specification of the tubing material, geometry of the tubing, and design of the connection thread are selected to suit the reservoir fluid and wellbore conditions.

From schlumberger's oilfield glossary which I continue to find helpful even after many years in the business.

NOAA's forecast last year was so inaccurate as to be useless.

here's what they predicted...

I'll save you the click-through.  As the story says:

"For the 2005 season, the NOAA predicted 12 to 15 named storms, seven to nine hurricanes, with three to five of them being major hurricanes."

But NOAA isn't the only ones who lowballed last year.  I wrote about it on my blog, here:

And here's a post I wrote about when (historically) the first hurricanes of the season usually come around ...

The south Atlantic had it's first ever hurricane. That doesn't sound like less storms to me.
2006 also had:
27 named storms in the Atlantic Basin (a record).

Three Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin (a record).

A tropical storm (T.S. Zeta) formed over a month AFTER the official end of the hurricane season (a record), and was still roaming around the Atlantic in January of this year (a record).

Here's what the Sea Surface Temperatures were for the one week average ending May 24th for 05 and 06.

I know they look drastically different (visually) but this is due to the color/temp scale as they changed it, I'm guessing to show more contrast between different water temps?

SST 1 week avg ending May 24 2006

SST 1 week avg ending May 24 2005


It's hard to tell much.  It looks like they had to change the colors because the old one only went to 30.

Overall it looks like there is not much change.  It must have got cooler over the last few weeks.  The April SST were 2-3 degrees warmer than last year.

Yes, according to the global map the warm anomaly in the GOM has disappeared.
The striking feature of that map is the huge warm anomaly around Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Any TOD readers from there have anecdotes?
The latest SST anomaly map, 5/27/06, shows a +5 C SST in the Gulf of St Lawrence.  Also notable is a +2 C SST off of the Chesapeake Bay Drainage Basin.  Could it be that warm fresh water flowing from the St Lawrence Seaway and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is no longer being carried away by ocean circulation and/or that fresh water is pooling on the surface?  There was a recent report in NATURE that the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic has been reduced to about 30% of 1990 levels.  Could this have something to do with it?  Also, it shows a +3 C SST off the Newfoundland fishing banks.  Will that have an impact on the fishing industry?  Seems that there is some pretty strange things happening in the Atlantic this year.  If the variables are skewed, can they really make a reliable forcast of Altantic weather this season?
New Orleans faces 3-in-10 chance of hurricane winds

Still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Gulf Coast faces the highest probability of any area in the country of getting struck by hurricane-force winds during the 2006 hurricane season, a University of Central Florida professor and his Georgia colleague said Wednesday.

Let's all hope Nawlins is lucky this year, they could really use the break.  Even more so, I hope that we see zero hurricanes in the GOM.  Just one passing through there could damage rigs / refineries and that's all it would take to tip the scale.

I spent 3 weeks working for the Red Cross in Key West, Fl.  What I saw was too many people living where they shouldn't be living.  Many mobile homes were extremely close to the water.  Hurricane Wilma sent a 4 foot surge over Key West, destroying all the mobile homes.  Businesses had their store insides washed out.  Any storm bigger than a Cat 1 going over Key West will wash it away totally.  The same situation is happening all over the Florida coast, more or less.  We are building on the coast like no tomorrow.  There is now no place a hurricane can come ashore without causing major damage.
That is so true.  I was watching some newscast and a lady was being interviewed.  "We just love it here...and we'll keep rebuilding."  -- I'm speechless

Why would you knowingly put yourself in harms way?  

I think there are a couple of other questions that also suggest themselves: why would insurance companies keep issuing you a hurricane policy and why would the government keep giving you relief money?

Subsidizing people to live in a flood plain or along hurricane prone coastlines has got to quit being acceptable.  I live in Seattle and if you want to buy earthquake insurance, you are going to pay through the nose.  If insurance companies can make thousands of people living in an earthquake zone pay dearly (if you can get it at all, after our last moderate quake, it wasn't even available for a few years)why can't they enact some of these same sort of "market forces" on these people?  And why should the government pay people to rebuild in the same dangerous place?  

Well said.
Finally...I can't agree more. WTF are we supposed to pay an idiot tax (opps we already do) for building where the chances of losing it all is so high.  Remove that insurance and see how long they can afford to replace with thier own $.  I think that the codes should require a portion of the structure to be a reinforced concrete bunker so they have a place to live while the rest of it is blown to pieces.  This sounds harsh but why should I have to pick up the tab(repeatedly)? Once fine(maybe) but not over and over again.
Hello TODers,

NASA scientists, working with 10 years of satellite data, find a dramatic thinning of ice around the edges of Greenland, and Antarctica too.  

Using satellite technology and various measurements, NASA scientists confirm the earth is melting at both poles.  In the north, at the Arctic, the melting of Greenland's three-kilometer thick ice sheet had been expected, though not as dramatically as it is now happening.  But in the south, many believed the far more massive ice sheets covering Antarctica would increase in the 21st century. That's not so, according to the NASA observations and data.  Despite increasing snowfall, Antarctica's ice sheets are shrinking.

Research Scientist, Dr. Isabella Velicogna is with the University Of Colorado explains the evidence of melting. "What is unique about what we found is that for the first time, we are able to say, we are sure that the Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass, and at a significant rate."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Oregon(USA) lost a significant ammount of beach sand a couple of year ago.  It exposed an ancient forest(stumps) and many people had to add riprap to thier ocean front homes.  I find that the "low" tides( for clam digging) are nowhere near the ammount of exposed sand that there was when I was a kid(60's)maybe a third to half as much.
I forecast 2006 to be worse than 2005. The site I find to be reasonably reliable is predicting it, and after checking them out (their forecasts do change during the months leading up to July, their most accurate one is their December one), I will gamble on them being right. It is my gut feeling that sea temperatures are warming up and the hurricane cycle is increasing (don't know if the two are related or are being superimposed) means that, for me, 2006 will be worse than 2005. Easiest way to see who is right is to tally up the scores in December.