With the end of November, the 2007 hurricane season comes to a close as well. There were 14 named storms, 6 that grew into hurricanes and just two hurricanes that were considered “major”, reaching category 3 or higher. For the second year in a row we saw fewer hurricanes than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast and the storms that did form tended to be less intense. Another sign of the decline in hurricane activity over the past couple years is the the number of days for which a hurricane exists somewhere in the northern hemisphere. For 2007 so far, there have only been 80 hurricane days, the fewest since 1977 and the third fewest hurricane days since 1958 (see graphic from Ph.D. student Ryan N. Maue’s web site). After the record setting hurricane season of 2005 many feared devastating hurricane seasons would become the norm, but the global oceanic-atmospheric system has once again proven to be far more complex than we understand. The difficulty that the nation’s best hurricane forecasters have in simply predicting the number of storms in a season, let alone where they will be or how intense they will become, should remind us that long range forecasts of local weather or global climate are make great headlines, but are generally not reliable.