I don't know how many of you pay attention to the long range weather forecast where you live. I don't all the time but it is something I'm intermittently interested in, mainly out of curiosity to see how accurate (or not) they are. Anyway, the point of this post concerns a forecast a few weeks ago now.
About a week before the day in question I had looked at the forecast for the next seven days. What caught my eye was that the forecast predicted settled weather with no rain for the entire week, but that on the seventh day (the following Friday) there would be rain at 11.00 am and lasting for one hour only. I checked and re-checked this forecast everyday, fully expecting such a specific forecast to be revised, as they usually are, with the progress of time. But the forecast remained consistent for the entire period.
Anyway, I think you can guess where I'm going with this; on the following Friday, after an entire week with no rain, at the appointed hour of 11.00am there was rain for one hour only.
How did they do that?
I'll get my anorak now...
Last edited by Denian Arcoleo on Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Postby Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:16 pm
Actually I share Denian's respect for these forecasts. I assume that greater computer power really helps. Now I'm surprised when the forecasts are wrong. Still, I've experienced some real misses on the part of weathermen...people...persons. Back when I was hiking in the Sierra, a few times the long range forecast proved very wrong, and not just because of the unpredictable mountain weather. One time a very large Pacific storm blew in mid summer and drenched the state; no mention of it four days in advance when I went out into the mountains without a care in the world.
To be honest Jeffrey, I normally take these long range forecasts with a large pinch of salt, so I wouldn't describe my own attitude towards the forecasters as respectful, principally because, more often than not as you say, they are completely wrong. But that's why I'm so intrigued by this particular forecast. To be so precise so far ahead, and then to be right in every detail!
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Intrigued, because my weather app doesn't give hour detail that far ahead, just Day/Night.
But I'd say the answer to your question is that statistically, rare things have to occur occasionally; and this was when your numbers came up. It was also an artifact of the system, which for convenience of reading only has 1 hour increments, when obviously the weather cannot read the time.
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The BBC ipad app has the weather days ahead in 3hour chunks. Currently it's going up to next Sunday in that manner. Pretty sure it was a little longer than that when I was perplexed, perhaps the weather was more settled and hence predictable that week. Obviously the weather can't read the time, but presumably the forecasters can read the weather and place it into our time system!
I would say what you describe was entirely a fluke.
I did a short course on understanding the weather, as part of my free choice bit, when I studied with the Open University.
They do have extremely powerful computers at the Met Office and also they do something called modelling, where they input lots of current data, press a button, and see what the computer comes up with. Interestingly, they think that if they'd been able to do modelling, back in 1987, they may have predicted that terrible storm.
The thing is, according to the Met Office, they predict many aspects of the weather very accurately these days; things like humidity, wind direction/speed, temperature, air pressure, but what they are bad at is predicting precipitation, because that can occur very locally. Unfortunately for them, this is the bit that everyone notices, so it gives people the impression, that their abilities are worse than they are!
Also, as you can see above, the weather is multifactorial. All of those factors can play a part in determining how our weather pans out. So, it's actually an extremely challenging area of science. By the way, I use the Met Office's own app, because it's much more detailed than the BBC one.
For those who don't know, in 1987, there was a notorious hurricane, which the experts failed to see coming...
A few years ago I started a fictitious charity; "Windows for Weathermen". I didn't attempt to collect any money but the general feeling was that weather men could benefit from looking outdoors.
In the forecast mentioned by Denian, it's obviously aliens.
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