Last March, in an effort to demonstrate something most of the delegates at the United Nations COP-16 global warming conference in Cancun ought to absorb -- namely, that the Earth's climate is complicated, and understanding it as yet remains beyond the abilities of even our best scientists -- the National Center for Public Policy Research issued a challenge to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In short, noting that NOAA's hurricane forecast had been wrong three out of the last four years, we hired a chimp -- "Dr. James Hansimian" -- to give us a forecast, and we put it up against NOAA's. We made a video of our chimp's prediction, and said we'd find out who was right at the end of hurricane season.
Well, hurricane season ended this week, and out chimp lost. NOAA beat him fair and square, and you can see our chimp's reaction to his loss at the end of this video:
Interestingly, our point -- that climate is too complicated for the present state of science -- was still proven. For all that NOAA beat our chimp, he in turn beat the hurricane forecasts of Colorado State University, WSI-the Weather Channel, Florida State University and the Weather Research Center.
Remember that the next time Al Gore tells you how hot it will be in 100 years!
NOAA Makes Monkey Out of Chimp: Agency Out-Forecasts Trained Chimpanzee - Who Knew?
Washington, DC - NOAA made a monkey out of Dr. James Hansimian, The National Center for Public Policy Research's trained hurricane-forecasting chimp, by producing a more accurate hurricane forecast for 2010...
...Dr. Hansimian predicted 6-8 hurricanes this year in his late-March forecast, while NOAA predicted 8-12 hurricanes in its most recent forecast, issued on August 5. There have been 12 hurricanes so far in 2010.
"It turns out that a trained chimp tossing dice over a craps table isn't a very reliable methodology for predicting hurricanes. Who knew?" said David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Still, the chimp was closer to the mark this year than NOAA was in 2005 when it predicted 7-9 hurricanes and we ended up having 15. And, unlike NOAA, Dr. Hansimian used no taxpayer dollars for his ill-fated forecast."
Dr. Hansimian's reaction to the news that he and his $2 dice produced results inferior to that of a $5 billion federal agency may found in a new video. The video, containing Dr. Hansimian's March forecast and his reaction when he learned of his loss to NOAA, can be found at http://www.nationalcenter.org/HurricaneForecast.html...
..."Dr. Hansimian doesn't plan to issue another hurricane forecast," said Ridenour. "He feels strongly that failure to get the forecast right even once undermines his credibility and public confidence. He has no wish to ape the behavior of other forecasters."...
...Assuming the 2010 hurricane number holds at 12, NOAA will have correctly forecast the number of Atlantic hurricanes for only the second time in seven years.
The National Center's reasons for issuing a hurricane forecast made by a chimpanzee can be found here: http://www.nationalcenter.org/PR_Hurricane_Forecast_051810.html.