“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” -attributed to Yogi Berra.
A tale of two predictions: Last fall NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Farmers’ Almanac issued weather predictions for the winter of 2018-2019. Let’s see how they did.
NOAA, using state of the art computer models, predicted that the U.S. would have “another mild winter.” Here is NOAA’s map of their prediction for the winter of 2018-2019. It shows warmer than normal temperatures for most of the country.
NOAA did somewhat hedge their bet: “Both the temperature and precipitation outlooks depend to a certain extent on typical El Niño impacts, but forecasters think a weak El Niño event is most likely. This means that despite the potential for El Niño, confidence in this outlook is less than we had during recent strong events like in the winter of 2015/16.” In fact, El Niño fizzled this year. NOAA got the precipitation forecast wrong also. (Read the NOAA report)
The Farmers’ Almanac won’t say exactly how they make their predictions and issue only this statement:
The editors of the Farmers’ Almanac firmly deny using any type of computer satellite tracking equipment, weather lore or groundhogs. What they will admit to is using a specific and reliable set of rules that were developed back in 1818 by David Young, the Almanac’s first editor. These rules have been altered slightly and turned into a formula that is both mathematical and astronomical. The formula takes things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, the position of the planets, and a variety of other factors into consideration.
Farmers’ Almanac predicted “teeth-chattering cold ahead” for the winter of 2018-2019.
So, whose modeling is better, NOAA or Farmers’ Almanac?
Remember, NOAA is the agency that issues the Climate Assessment reports upon which our climate policy decisions are supposed to be made. Recent NOAA reports rely more and more upon the output of the most extreme climate models, the results of which diverge widely from actual measurements.
Here are my comments on their recent reports:
Fourth National Climate Assessment, Part 2 – no science, just scaremongering
It looks like Yogi Berra was right.