Video: Is NOAA smarter than a 5th-grader?

Well, in this case, two fifth-graders.  Steven Crowder returns to his normal schedule with his video challenge to NOAA today over its prediction last week that the US will experience somewhere between 6-10 hurricanes this season.  Its track record isn’t exactly impressive; they’ve been wrong 6 out of the last 8 years, although they did manage to beat a chimpanzee’s prediction last year.  Crowder explains that James Hansimian was only their second banana, and this time he’s going to use a pair of experts … as soon as they’re on recess:

National Center puts this in perspective for viewers:

“NOAA’s forecast was on target last year, but it was only the second time in seven years the agency got it right. This may help explain why its forecasts the past two years have had such enormous ranges,” said Ridenour. “Is NOAA smarter than two fifth graders? Given its less than 29% success rate the past seven years, we sincerely doubt it. To find out for sure, we’ve commissioned two fifth graders to calculate the number of Atlantic hurricanes using a methodology that 5th graders use to resolve most of life’s most vexing challenges.”

Filmmakers Steven Crowder and Jordan Crowder co-produced a video of the fifth graders, Kate and Chris, demonstrating their methodology. The three-minute video can be found at . It was co-written by David Ridenour and Steven Crowder.

The video isn’t being released to question the professionalism or dedication of NOAA experts, but to remind Americans that forecasts based on science that is still evolving is unreliable and shouldn’t be used to determine public policy.

“Forecasts are just that: forecasts. All that matters is what actually happens,” said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “We should keep this in mind as we consider whether to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Past forecasts of rising temperatures, sea levels, and droughts and other extreme weather events due to rising concentrations of carbon haven’t proven any more reliable that NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast. Until their reliability improves, it would be irresponsible to base policy on them.”

A six-hurricane season would actually be unremarkable in terms of average storm activity for the US. Even eight would be more or less routine, except of course for the people who have to live through them. Check back in October, when we’ll grill Crowder on who won the Hurricane Showdown, and whether the experts here can predict the 2012 elections any better than other so-called experts, too.