Seasonal weather forecast

Seasonal weather forecasts are a tricky business. Even the most powerful supercomputers cannot reliably look beyond 6-12 hours into the future – such are the limitations of the global circulation models employed – so seasonal forecasts are based on the past weather record statistics instead. Say, in 1983 we had a similar distribution of high and lows as on 31/1/12 and Feb/Mar/Apr in 1983 were warm and dry so let’s take a punt that the same will happen in 2012. Added to the mix is the global warming assumption meaning that “warmer than average” scenarios are generally deemed more probable than cold spells. In areas were global warming is deemed to lead to droughts “drier than average” is also a safer bet than rains. So the Met Office went for a “safe” forecast of warm and dry but the opposite has happened. The UK had the coldest spring since 1989 and wettest since 1910! Bugger. While I understand the difficulties involved in seasonal weather forecasts this brings up a more fundamental question of whether we need the likes of Met Office at all? I mean, if all they do is go for “safe” options, with a general warming bias then maybe we could save ourselves some money by making them redundant?


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