More Dimensions of the H. Sandy Disaster
Insurance Industry - could it do more to prevent disasters?
You might think Wired magazine is an unlikely place to deal with disaster mitigation, but they did offer this article: How Insurers Can Foil the Next Hurricane Sandy, on October 31.
Weather Forecasting: - why is the U.S. falling behind the Europeans?
Americans should take great pride in the fact that computer weather modeling was invented here, along with weather satellites and other scientific and technological marvels. Sadly, the skill of our computer models fell substantially behind that of other nations some decades ago, and by many measures we are in third or even fourth place today. The overall star performer is a computer model operated by a consortium of European nations; that model accurately predicted Sandy’s track and evolution well before U.S. models caught up later last week.
Why have we fallen so far behind? While there are many nuances to this answer, the basic reason is a failure of political will. The Europeans spend somewhat more on numerical weather prediction and run their models on larger and faster computers; they have also been more effective that we have in involving academic researchers in the development and improvement of their models. They appear to recognize that the monetary savings of skillful weather forecasts far outstrip what governments spend on the weather enterprise.