Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reality Check


Meteorologists consider the time from September 1st to November 30th, "Meteorological Fall" and it's hard to believe it's half way over already!!!!!

You may remember the blog post on September 4th, "My Fall Outlook".  I took a stand and went on a limb calling for below average temperatures.   NOAA said there were "equal chances" for above average, below average, and average temperatures.  Basically, no matter what happened, they would be correct.  That's like calling for a 50% chance for rain everyday and claiming victory and "nailing" the forecast.  In case you can't tell, I don't think "equal chances" should be an option.

In any case, I took a stand, for better or for worse.  My reasoning was fairly simple.  Most months so far had been at or below average and the end of summer was no exception.  As of mid October, temperatures had been well above average.  For my forecast to verify, the last half is going to have to be brutally colder to get this below average.  While still possible, I have my doubts.

This raises the bigger question about long range forecasting.  Yes, I like to look at them and put them on the blog, but the science isn't very good.  The meteorologists making them are very talented, but they are wrong more than right.  For example, the hurricane forecast this year was grossly off!  I can't remember a hurricane forecast that was correct.  Maybe someone can show me otherwise.  Every year, the initial forecast comes out, then it has to be revised several times.

Here's another example.  There were forecasts out there saying temperatures last spring would be well above average.  In reality, they were well BELOW average with record breaking snow across northern Arkansas in MAY!!!!!

Another example is the winter of 2010-2011.  This was a La Nina winter and many were calling for it to be warm and dry.  In reality, it was cold and the snowiest in decades.  The La Nina was NOT the main driver of the weather pattern, instead it was the "arctic oscillation."

Like I said, I don't want to demean the work very talented meteorologists do on long range forecasts.  They are not going to improve unless they keep trying.  It's a very difficult science.  We are learning new things all the time and that's a good thing!

Soon NOAA will put out there winter forecast and you should read it and follow what happens.  They are putting a ton of work into it, but don't consider it "set in stone".

Ok, I'm off my soapbox. LOL  Have a nice day, enjoy the rain, and get ready for some much cooler weather.  I just hope it cools off enough to make my fall outlook somewhat correct.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Missed you on sunday night's weather at 10. It is not the same without you doing the weather.

jimmylee42 said...

Todd- The National Weather Service data says we haven't had a hurricane season in the Atlantic this weak since 1983. December 1983 was our coldest December of all time in Little Rock. Any correlation?

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your candid and objective comments, Todd. Very interesting and informative.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on the weather. It is surprising how accurate you are. We appreciate you much.

NOAA Winter Guidance