Posted by: pyeager | May 31, 2011

Deadliest Catch Perpetuates Weather Myth

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

I’ve written about the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch program before (Deadliest Catch–Weather Fish Tales and Extreme Weather Is Co-Star of Deadliest Catch), so it won’t surprise you to see me write about it again.

The topic, again, is the propensity for the show to perpetuate the myth that the Bering Sea is home to hurricanes in the winter. Nothing could be farther from the meteorological truth. Storms can reach hurricane strength–and often do–but the cold winter storms are not anything like the warm hurricanes of tropical waters.

What was particularly inaccurate was the graphic used on the episode that aired tonight, showing a satellite with spinning hurricane (including an eye) super-imposed over a batch of disorganized clouds.

Remember, hurricanes draw energy from the warm water, and the Bering Sea is anything but warm during fall and winter (when the show is filmed). Seeing one in the Bering Sea would be like seeing my the Big Dipper in the middle of sun-filled day on July 4–it can’t happen.

This little weather lie doesn’t change the fact that I enjoy the show–as much for on-board drama with cast and crew as for the intense weather. (Hey, cut me a break; I’m not nearly as much of a weather geek as many meteorologists I know.)

It will be interesting to see next week whether Edgar Hansen follows through with his threat to retire from the Northwestern after 22 years.

I wouldn’t last 22 minutes out there.

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