Forecasting the forecasts? - Grin with cat attached
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Forecasting the forecasts? Jul. 28th, 2006 09:50 pm
Like many of you I have been taking a particularly close interest in the weather forecast recently, by means of ForecastFox, and regular visits to http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml?world=0008 and http://wwwa.accuweather.com/[...].

These visits have made on thing very clear; they frankly haven't got the faintest idea. Either that or they're deliberately winding us up. I've frequently observed before that thunderstorms in London are something promised but never delivered, like traffic reduction, electoral reform, or a Lib Dem government. It seem that as one gets closer to the predicted time of a proposed storm, they slowly slide away, until such time as observation from sufficient proximity causes them to vanish completely. There's probably something quantum going on. Equally, there's been some sort of ongoing snowplow effect happening with the promised temperature reductions; as we move forwards, the charted temperatures pile up in front of us. And the promise of rain, in the purest tradition of mirages, dries up as we approach it.

This whole scenario makes a complete mockery of the concept of 5-, let alone 15-, day forecasts; they can't even predict what they'll be predicting the day after's weather to be next day.

So surely there's a meta opportunity here; to forecast the forecasts. Weather itself is notoriously the most chaotic system there is, but the weather forecasts are a far simpler model; a number, a symbol, and optionally a direction. Surely, when the meteorologists put the beads back onto their broken abacuses (abacii?) they can predict this with far greater certainty:

A broad front of optimism will sweep the weather sites tomorrow, with randomly lower temperatures appearing on Accuweather and The Weather Channel. However, a complete shower on the BBC as they once again predict different temperatures for tomorrow on the summary and 5-day pages, and draw the forecast icons out of that stash that Michael Fish thought he'd got safely hidden.

Temperatures will drop off later in the 24-hour cycle, but will be replaced with new, shiny ones with stronger magnets. Dark clouds will appear on several viewer's brows as thunderstorms vanish without explanation, and we'll scatter yellow all over the place like a cat dismembering a canary. Lighter relief will occur in the morning as Accuweather stick that oddly phallic thermometer back in your forecastFox bar. Finally, strong moonlighting tomorrow evening as we all take time out to ghost-write Mystic Meg's horoscopes.

(Diclaimer of sorts: my sister's a climate physicist)

From: some_fox
Date: July 29th, 2006 - 08:29 am (Link)