Daily Archives: December 2, 2017

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season in Perspective

When I was doing graduate work for doctoral studies, my advisor caught me up on the use of the word “significant” in a paper I was writing. He observed that this term had an explicit statistical meaning that was quantifiable and I hadn’t supported its use with the necessary analysis.

Today, a paper came to my attention that reminded me of the use of descriptors that are emotionally loaded while failing to provide an analytical basis for their use. The paper, Causes and Predictability of the Exceptionally Active 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, uses words such as “exceptionally active” and “extreme ACE anomalies”. Other terms such as “active” become meaningful only with a similarly precise definition.

We will comment on the use of these terms in the context of the two graphs from the paper, presented in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Data on the 2017 US hurricane season

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