Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Info Comes Out On Sandy Assessment

On Tuesday, NOAA released more details on the forthcoming Sandy assessment, including who is heading the review panel.  That panel begins its field work in January.  The statement, as published at Capital Weather, states that someone from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service will be leading the committee. 

Brief excerpt from the statement:

It is a multi-disciplinary team that includes two social scientists and 10 experts from across NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members of the team who work for the National Weather Service were chosen from around the country and did not forecast Sandy. This allows for an impartial and unbiased review.

The team leader is a scientist with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service who has extensive management and team lead experience. He will oversee all field work, the development of findings and recommendations, and the drafting of the assessment report.

It is unstated whether the individual chairing the committee has a meteorological background but it is pretty likely that he does not if he is coming from the marine/fishery realm.

Mike Smith, who headed the first committee before it was axed, grinds gears about the new committee and wonders why they are waiting until after the holidays to get the ball rolling on this, as well as addressing the major question of whether Sandy was even a tropical entity at landfall or not.  While I am not as "hot" about the committee structure and the way it is being handled by NOAA as Mike, I do wonder what percentage of this committee is made up of meteorologists.  The statement from NOAA is rather vague as to the full committee breakdown, other than noting "Members of the team who work for the National Weather Service were chosen from around the country and did not forecast Sandy."  In other words, Midwestern, South Central, and Western US meteorologists are probably going to be a part of it to some extent.  There will probably be some individuals from NCEP and other arms of NOAA that will make up this group as well.  The question is who.

Committee names, affiliations, and a little transparency in the process would be beneficial in knowing what the committee's capabilities and knowledge basis is going into this.  Hopefully this individual is a part of that group since, being in Texas, he would not have had to forecast Sandy and is arguably someone with a good deal of understanding of tropical cyclones given his background.