When confronted with adversity, I take comfort in the fact that unto all good there must be opposition. Freedom of choice (agency) is essential to existence and progression, but you MUST HAVE THOSE CHOICES and choices mean there is opposition. Consequently I am not a big fan of the “trust authority, conform, and do not question” mentality that seems to be on the increase today. So the need for the objectivity as a basis for evaluation, but subjectivity as far as having to make choices, is essential in pursuit of the correct answer (AKA truth).
Several years ago, I coined a term, the “weaponization of the weather.” Perhaps others had thought of it, but it is evident today that this is now the case. The biggest problem I have always had is that it absolutely destroys, IMO, the love of the weather that I have had. It makes the weather a tool for something completely different. It is a weapon that is being wielded in my opinion, to destroy the very Freedom of Choice that is needed for existence and progression in the natural order of things. Therefore, what I see today, is a double whammy. 1) It is throwing mud on a beautiful tapestry, the weather, by using it as a tool. 2). It runs contrary to the very order that creates progress. It’s as if people pushing this believe they have the final answer to a system that has always been evolving, and always will.
I wanted to lay all that out as a backdrop for something I have pushed since the end of the 2008 hurricane season. The current power and impact scale I have, takes the maximum wind average of 6 hours of recons and reverts to the Saffir-Simpson scale for a factor. Lets say its 150 mph, that is a 4.75 for instance. Then it looks at the pressure, and takes the Saffir Simpson pressure, Lets say it’s 930mb. That’s about a 4.5. So you come up with an average.. If the pressure fall in the previous 12 hours is greater than 12mb, add .5. If it is rising, subtract it. If you have. 24 mb in 12 hours, its an entire category. My idea behind that is rapidly intensifying storms have the turbulent mixing going on to bring that wind to the surface, while weakening storms are in a more stable environment and so its the opposite, hence the unwinding of storms. Think about the rapid deepeners, they are relatively small and compact at the time so the gradients may be tighter anyway
But it is clear to me there must be more, Sandy, Ike, Gustav, were all majors on my scale, and occurred in a period when no majors on the Saffir Simpson scale hit. We have to be able to objectively ascertain which storms have the most power and impact. How does one answer the question, which storm was stronger, Charley 2004 or Sandy? One says off the bat, Charley, but when we look at the impact Sandy was a far greater storm, Dora (1964) or Charley?. Dora was a monster though a weaker storm by Saffir Simpson, Ike or Charley? 1933 Va beach or Charley? All the storms mentioned were at least a category lower, but caused problems in a much larger area. So, 2 more factors are needed and this is also a physical parameter that can help with how fast a storm “unwinds” (Ike for instance knocked out power into the Ohio Valley, Charley was unrecognizable wind wise once to the same latitude off Atlantic City). Then we throw in 2 other categories. Diameter of gales and diameter of hurricane force winds. My proposal is this. For gales, 100 miles=1. 200=2 300=3,400=4,500=5 (yes there have been storms that big, 1944 for example and the 1933 VA Beach hurricane,
For Hurricane winds, each is cut in half, 50,100,150,200,250.
So you would have to have 4 base factors to describe the storm, and one conditional one:
1) 6 hours of recon reported winds (once recon is in, satellite estimates before will be accepted of course)
2) Pressure of the storm. For these 2 factors, the Saffir-Simpson scale can be used as the base
3) Diameter of Gales ( which means we can now evaluate tropical storms that are large, but not classified technically as hurricanes)
4) Diameter of Hurricane force winds
and the pressure tendency factor adds, subtracts or has no changes.
In addition the storms must be evaluated not just with rounded numbers, but what the total is (for instance you might have a cat. 3.25, or. 4.5 or. .75)
Now here is another factor that indirectly addresses the problem of rain. The bigger the storm, the more the moisture, right? If you develop a second scale that incorporates the above scale with SPEED OF MOVEMENT, you may be able to come up with a scale that will quantify storms as far as their flood aspects.
This is not to trash the Saffir Simpson or the ACE. These are great foundational tools. But I think what is needed here is for people to put down their AGW armaments and the government/academic link to take ideas such as this. Go back and research all the storms we have had thru the years with the data available, and then using this scale, start ranking storms as for the totality of their prowess. My proposal in not etched in stone, its an idea.
In 1993 I put a letter in Weatherwise magazine about classifying snowstorms after the great blizzard of 1993. A few years later, what I consider to be the go to book for the power of NE snowstorms was developed by Uccelini and Kocin with a scale. I am not saying they did not have the idea before, I am saying that obviously people that didn’t even know each other were thinking about things like this. In the winter of 2002-2003 both Joe D Aleo and I, not even working with each other, pointed out that the El Niño coming on was the kind that brought cold snowy winters to the eastern US. A couple of years later, out comes the paper on the Modoki (which is what we were describing when independently coming up with the colder, snowier forecast) I am not saying anyone took the idea from us. I am saying, that others were thinking the same thing. I can not believe others are not here, whether it’s from reading things I have been pushing since 2008 or whatever. But this is long overdue. And interestingly enough, circling back to the opening, its the opposition that is the product of the weaponization of this issue (hurricanes). That is demanding we up our levels here.
On a practical aspect, in what I do, for clients, they will have a better idea of how strong a storm really is with this scale, rather than the way we are doing things now. Other factors, like where it hits, of course have to be incorporated but as far as the overall prowess of the storm, then this is needed. And this season, with the wild NUMBER of storms but the low ACE of the storms, is even more evidence.
You know this is not so different from arguments that have occurred for years in other things, who wins, Marciano or Ali? Ali prime, vs Tyson when he was a machine. Etc etc.
Finally for the folks at NOAA and in Universities, such an ambitious project may be something where younger students get to work with some of the most brilliant hurricane minds on the planet, and get a start on their careers. Careers I hope that will always question opposition in an effort to progress for the betterment of all. Old guys like me have had our day, but we do like to leave signs in our tracks for those that follow.