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Donkin's World: Foggit Forgotten

"All of us - farmers, government and public - should stop investing our weather forecasters with foresight beyond their means,'' writes Richard Donkin.

The Met Office is incapable of making long range weather forecasts. That much is clear from its predictions for the second quarter of 2012. The weather forecasters predicted average rainfall, favouring April as the driest of the three months. In the event it bucketed it down and April was the wettest month on record. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21967190

The office knows that long range forecasting is unreliable yet it continues to make predictions. Why? The reason is that there is strong demand for such information, not least from the farming industry. If yours is the door being knocked on, if you are singled out as the expert - the oracle - it is difficult to turn around and say you cannot help, particularly if your funding is dependent on your perceived wisdom.

But we need some honesty here. We need some realism too. All of us - farmers, government and public - should stop investing our weather forecasters with foresight beyond their means. When looking at weather systems so far out, the forecasters take a scientific approach, basing their predictions on probability - what usually happens at this time of year.

They do not factor in common sense observations that after a long period of drought, for example, we might be due an equally long period of rain. Why not? Because it's not scientific. That kind of conclusion - that happened to be right - is based on gut feel and recollections of things that have happened in the past, even biblical observations - seven years of plenty followed by seven of famine.

The Met Office isn't the Bible. And that's the problem. The office believes it can crack long range forecasting. It hasn't done so yet. Come back Bill Foggitt, all is forgiven. http://www.richarddonkin.com/Archive/archive_bill_foggitt.shtml


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