Saturday, September 16, 2006

Everybody's Talking About the Weather

I've mentioned his blog many times before, but my friend Michael Williams posted a short article about weather predictions in St Louis, his new home. Coincidentally, I had been charting the weather predictions in the LA Times vs actual results. He made mention of my WHAM!, there have now been over 40 comments as his readers argue the case for and against any logical connection between the ability of forecasters to get the short term forecast correct and the 50 year forecast correct.

I will post an update to my earlier findings in a few days, but I continue to be amazed at how the Time's forecast published the night before is so far off.

One of the contributors in the discussion suggested that the two kinds of predicting were not all that related. Most seemed to side with me that short range predictions should be easier than long, and that many of the same variable are in place.

The best post in my opinion was by "the pirate." He said poor short term forecasting might seem to be about taking the wrong outfit for the day's events, so of little consequence, but pointed out that farmers and others have a much bigger stake when it comes to such decisions as whether to spend money to protect a crop against a freeze.

This is the essence of the debate. I suspect that the average world citizen will not have his daily life changed much if the temperatures go up 1˚ or 3˚ or down 1 or 3 over the next 50 years. However, as in all of history, nature's vicissitudes will take a toll on some creatures. Some coastal areas may become submerged. New islands may spring up. Drought will hit some fertile areas. 100 year floods will ravage others. But it was ever thus.

But in a single week, news reports of polar bears drowning, on record, the sun has NO effect at all on earth's temperature, and hurricanes are increasing in intensity because of global warming just drive this blogger nuts. The bias of the media and the scientific community on this subject is startling, even if not surprising. Almost any change of this nature will have beneficial results as well as detrimental. There are excellent and respected scientists who just flat don't agree with the conclusions regarding the sun and hurricanes, but you won't find these kinds of articles in the MSM. You will have to dig, as I do, for my benefit and yours.

P.S. If you want to get some idea of just how confused science is on all this, try this article.

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