Winter Prediction

General Discussions: ASK John: Winter Prediction

By yamalaris on Saturday, November 15, 2008 - 03:54 pm: Edit Post

Hi John,

I hope all is well in your world, in the story I linked above there is the following quote "State meteorologists aren't expecting a season as severe as last year's. In fact, National Weather Service meteorological intern Bill Borghoff said climate predictions lean toward a winter with above-normal temperatures and normal snowfall, which is around 49.5 inches in Madison."

Has Meteorology advanced to the point where someone is able make this type of prediction with any accuracy?

By skylar on Saturday, November 15, 2008 - 09:59 pm: Edit Post

I took this from John's seasonal forecast for this year:

Well, first things first. I make this claim every year and this year is no different. If there is one item that you take with you after reading this outlook it should be: There is no way to reliably predict the weather on a seasonal scale! Those of you who have been following my site know that I have always been pretty low key and skeptical of any seasonal forecast- even my own. In fact I like to use the work "outlook" as I feel "forecast" should be reserved for something that has a little more proven science behind it.

By yamalaris on Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 10:01 am: Edit Post

Thanks Skylar, I know John makes that disclaimer every year, I was just wondering if there was perhaps some new technology or computer model that elevated their confidence in making seasonal predictions.

By admin on Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 11:06 am: Edit Post

No magic bullet found yet. In fact, I also provide a link from my seasonal forecast to my ideas on seasonal forecasting. You can follow that link here too:

Note that the person quoted was a "meteorological intern". Not to dog an intern, but I am surprised that he even gave a forecast to the paper, regardless if it was his or the "official" one put out by their office. I am not surprised the paper would run with the info given by an intern though!

I will agree that folks living in the southern 2/3rds of WI, northeast IA and sections of northern IL should not count on a repeat performance of last year. Many of these areas saw record or near record snowfall, days with snow on the ground and snow depths. It is pretty hard to put record years back to back.


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