Hurricane Joaquin Another Sandy? Not so Fast, Says Columbia Professor

Although some forecasters have deemed Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin the next Hurricane Sandy, they might be speaking too soon.

“Bottom line for this moment is don’t take the National Hurricane Center (NHC) cone too literally,” Columbia Professor Adam Sobel told the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) Thursday. “Uncertainty is higher than it shows and last time I looked a few hours ago, the storm could still go almost anywhere.”

Sobel, the author of Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and the Extreme Weather of the Past and Future, added that the NHC doesn’t accurately reflect the uncertainty in its graphics.

In a post for Columbia University Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog, Sobel says although “there’s good reason to be concerned,” about meteorologists’ predictions trending toward a landfall in the mid-Atlantic to northeast U.S., “uncertainty remains large.”

The forecasters are not witholding the good stuff,” he said. “The scientific information they are transmitting to you is inherently uncertain.”

Sobel weighed in on the hurricane forecast on WNYC.

Click here to read more of Sobel’s comments in State of the Planet.

Hear Sobel weigh in on extreme weather and human awareness: