Monday, September 10, 2012

Nate Silver Says It Better This Time

Yesterday, I did two postings on Nate Silver's odd praise of meteorology ("The Weatherman is Not a Moron" part 1 and part 2) published in the New York Times Magazine Friday.

I sense Mr. Silver was not happy with the way the article came out. He posted this yesterday with the title, "Why Weather Forecasters Are Role Models."

It was enlightening to speak with men and women at the forefront of science and technology. But I found that despite their best efforts, their predictions have often gone poorly:
[If] prediction is the truest way to put our information to the test, we have not scored well. In November 2007, economists in the Survey of Professional Forecasters — examining some 45,000 economic-data series — foresaw less than a 1-in-500 chance of an economic meltdown as severe as the one that would begin one month later. Attempts to predict earthquakes have continued to envisage disasters that never happened and failed to prepare us for those, like the 2011 disaster in Japan, that did.
The discipline of meteorology is an exception. Weather forecasts are much better than they were 10 or 20 years ago.
Mr. Silver, in his new book, found that meteorology -- yes, weather forecasting, is now the best of the predictive sciences. We certainly appreciate the recognition!

Since his book has not been released, I can't offer a recommendation or a pan. But, if the the subject of how meteorologists created the amazing storm warning system that saves so many lives interests you, you might wish to check out the very well-regarded Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather

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