2006 Hurricane Season below normal.

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In an “average” year, by today, August 21st between 1944 and 2005 and *average* of 1.5 hurricanes have formed. Likewise in an average year, 3 tropical storms have formed by August 20th. So far 2006 has had zero hurricanes and 3 tropical storms.

Therefore, compared with an average year 2006 is now below average in not only hurricanes formed, but tropical storms formed.

One reason? Cooler sea surface temperatures which are below (or just at) long-term averages depending upon the location of course. A paper to be published in next month’s Geophysical Research Letters, shows that between 2003 and 2005 *global* average upper ocean temperatures have *cooled* significantly. (for a PDF version of the draft paper, see http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/lyman_heat_v2.pdf. Please note that this is a very technical paper.)

In fact, the 3 years erased 20% of the warming that occured over 48 years! Yes, 3 years (2003, 2004, and 2005) have erased 20% of 48 years of warming, effectly removing nearly 10 years of sea surface temperature warming.

Will these facts make the major news outlets after last year’s hype?

Time will tell.

For more information:
Lyman, J. M., J. K. Willis, and G. C. Johnson. (In preparation). Recent cooling of the upper ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/lyman_heat_v2.pdf [http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/publications.html]

My Safe Florida Home

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Florida offers a new hurricane home evaluation service – My Florida Safe Home. See http://www.mysafefloridahome.com/. It provides some good tips on protecting your home from hurricane damage and perhaps being able to reduce your insurance premiums.

While it is a good idea and we urge people to use the service, unfortunately as so much provided by the government there are significant problems:
1. The 800 number 800-342-2762 is no accessible from many areas of Florida, including the Jacksonville area – “You have dialed a number that is not available from your calling area 126 D” (126 T? 126 P?). If you are setting up a service to evaluated a home’s resistance to hurricanes and offering it to Florida residents, at least make it accessible to all of Florida. Particularly coastal counties on the east coast of Florida, not just 22 selected counties – which counties are not listed anywhere that we could find. Tom Gallagher needs to get his act together on improving the My Safe Florida Home Hurricane evaluation. (Verfied over the course of several days, last: August 17, 2006).

2. There is no list of people who are doing the inspections and recommendations. Since the options are only available to residences that are primary residences and with an insured value of under $500,000 people that do not fit those categories are out of luck. At minimum provide a list of appropriate people so that others can pay for the hurricane home inspection service.

While the program is nice in principle, Florida’s implementation still leaves much to be desired.

Christian Riley