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Wait 5 Minutes

December 18th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Here in the Midwest, it the old joke:  Don’t like the weather?  Wait 5 minutes.  It indicates the weather is variable and hints at why it’s hard to forecast.  There is that other shaggy line about a butterfly in China causing some weather calamity elsewhere in the world.  My local weather man has a tough job.

One local weatherman has mentioned the models and seems to prefer the RPM model which has higher resolution. (4km)  The U.S. model seems the least accurate compared with the European model.  Here is a snippet from the link.

– The models are inaccurate due to a number of factors

– The U.S. Government (NOAA) and educational institutions monitor the accuracy of models

– The models are routinely tweaked by NOAA to increase accuracy

– The U.S. GFS model is less accurate than the European ECMWF model

– NOAA believes it may have found why and is working to change the GFS

So, at best these models are a improving work-in-process.  They are better than they were last year and will be better next.  It seems the 3-day forecasts are much more than the 7 day.  Which is all better than it was several years ago.

It was recently reported that the northern ice cap was darkening which would speed up melting dramatically.  Shortly there after test reported that wasn’t the case and a satellite’s aging camera was the culprit.

So we have models that are in a state of flux and equipment that can drift out of spec being missed.

There is a not so brief lead in to talking about the weather.  I feel I should be wearing overall and sitting on a bench in front of the feed store.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Paris Conference on Global Warming.  It was based on models that go out 100 years.  They use somewhat different parameters and then extrapolate actual weather in the distant future.

At this point I am neither a supporter or a “denier”.  Denier be an invective in politically correct terms.  I think there is a reasonable chance that global warming is occurring.  I somewhat question rate and definitely question outcome.  It seems there has to be a bias for the dramatic.  These are academics seeking funding.  We all like to eat.

As a former programmer, I am quite familiar with the term GIGO — Garbage In Garbage Out — that address the correctness of a data set.  Programming also works with iteration — repeating manipulation from the results of a previous path.   You may have what looks like a valid short-term result but a bug may cause continuing to introduce large variances.  Scale is also a factor.   I may have daily or weekly or even monthly data results.  Can I depend on them in a different time frame?  Maybe.

Right now we spend billions and billions on the science and on  resolving the perceived problem.   It is a huge effort based on hypothesis.  We did something similar in the space race.  We spent huge dollar to land a man on the moon.  We did it with a booming economy that could afford the effort.   But that project was done by engineers whose science was already proven.

So the comparison really points to a very different basis.  This field can rely on known and proven formulas that can flow through a computer and generate a proven result.  That’s the rub.

The Paris Conference didn’t come up with an enforceable program.  It is relying on mutual cooperation and doesn’t convert to hard dollars.  I think that is great.  We may stay solvent a bit longer.


Two posts in two days.  I wanted to do this one in response to Dave’s view in the comments yesterday.   Sadly, the world runs in cycles.  The world is really bi-polar in group think.  The Space Race, an adjunct of the Cold War, was a reaction similar to what is happening today.  Politicians and society always generate a great crisis which heads us toward an extreme.  Then we overreact in the other direction when we see we’ve overstepped.

My other mention yesterday was about terrorism and again we are overreacting.  Polls (Advanced Ouija boards) report we are more fearful. If we discount the number killed and make it a single event,  you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than be in a terrorist event in this and most countries.

We’re going to be fine but the path will be difficult.  Nothing new there. But it always takes more than 5 minutes.


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  1. December 18th, 2015 at 16:10 | #1

    Polls (Advanced Ouija boards)


  2. December 20th, 2015 at 10:04 | #2

    Are you sure these last two posts aren’t guest posts or sponsored posts? No Democratic candidates were involved in either?

    Thank goodness you mentioned lightning. Best part of the post, obviously.

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