Hurricanes and Climate Change, 2009
Predicting the number of Atlantic hurricanes that make landfall in the U.S. is of great interest to the insurance and reinsurance industry. The authors discuss a number of forecast models based on inputs such as historical hurricane numbers in the Atlantic that reach landfall, historical hurricane numbers in the Atlantic basin and historical sea surface temperatures (SSTs). They seek to produce a broad range of models for hurricane experts to consider.
To keep things simple, the authors seek to minimize the root mean square error (RMSE) between the predicted and actual numbers of hurricanes. This provides a useful metric of comparison for parameter choices (like window lengths for calibration and extrapolation) as well as for model comparison. They also note that most of their analysis uses simple classical statistical methods, which have the benefit of transparency. One of their goals is to introduce methods that can be widely understood by meteorologists, climate modelers and insurance industry practitioners.
The authors write that their simple suite of models achieves this transparency as well as provides a broad range of predictions representing the various scientific theories that may be involved in predicting annual average hurricane numbers over the next five years.
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