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Weekend weather: snow, but at least no pirates

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  January 28, 2011 01:25 PM

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After three weeks of hearing local meteorologists deliver news of one monster snowstorm after another, there's small consolation that some weather predictions could bring something worse: pirates.

James Hansen, an applied mathematician at the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, California, has created a model based on weather data and known pirate activity that predicts the likelihood of future attacks off the coast of Somalia. In the most simplistic interpretation it makes sense; the pirates operate small skiffs, and those skiffs can't operate in rough water.

Sandi Doughton of the Seattle Times reports:

"The project combines data on wind, waves and currents with intelligence gathered by informants, surveillance and other means on pirate habits: how far their small skiffs can travel; their assault tactics; the timing of forays."

According to the Seattle Times, the Navy will start testing Hansen's model next month. Pirates are not in the immediate forecast for Boston, which is unfortunate; perhaps they could help the much-maligned neighborhood teenagers shovel Scot Lehigh's walks.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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