Comparison of the 2008 uncertainty and the new 2013 cone (Courtesy Brian McNoldy at the RSMAS at Univ. of Miami)
Another mention regarding hurricanes and tropical meteorology as we round out this week.
That familiar "cone on uncertainty" you see during hurricane season actually has some science to it. The width of the cone is based on the past accuracy of tropical cyclone predictions made by the National Hurricane Center.
As the track predictions have improved the cone gets more narrow... more specific.
Brian McNoldy at the university of Miami RSMAS put together a great image showing the difference in the cone from 2008 compared to what you will see this coming hurricane season.
The cone is made so that the odds are around 67% that the tropical storm or hurricane will be inside that cone during the forecast period.
Note that this says nothing about the intensity of the storm... and intensity forecasts remain very problematic... much more so than track forecasts.
The actual distances are below in this image from NOAA: