Hurricane models and the nature of science

Here I am, at my parents house. There is no power at my house and Louisiana in September with no power is really a whole bunch of no-fun. But maybe I can use this time to talk about science.

**The Nature of Science**

Here is a review. What is science all about? (I am pretty sure I talked about this before) Science is about making observations and from those observations creating models. If the model predicts other things that are confirmed, then that is good. If not, the model must be changed. Really, it’s that simple.

**Hurricane Models**

It is somewhat interesting that forecasting hurricanes is quite similar. To do this, they (hurricane people) start with a model of how a storm behaves. In this model they input the current weather conditions and run the model. Not everyone agrees on how a storm would behave given some initial conditions and not everyone agrees on what the initial conditions even are. The result is that there are several models (as shown below):
![hurricane models](http://blog.dotphys.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/hurricane-models.jpg)
(from [Weather Underground – a great weather site](http://www.wunderground.com))
Notice that the models do not agree. Everyone knows the models are not perfect, so multiple models are good. If the models are close in agreement, then there is more certainty in the track.

On a somewhat related note, I remember for a previous hurricane a weatherman said the following:
>The models say the hurricane will hit HERE. So, it’s NOT going to do that. It will either hit to the left or the right because the model is never correct.

I still find that quote to be quite funny. This would be the same as a person with a gun that is a bad shot. It is ok to aim at someone because the WILL miss.

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