Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Oops, Forgot to 'Look Out the Window'

Early in their careers, television meteorologists are told to always look out the window right before presenting a weathercast. It can prevent embarrassment.

Unfortunately, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) metaphorically forgot to look out the window before publishing this tweet yesterday afternoon.
There's only one problem: the drought ("80% accuracy"!!) has ended.

Here is a map of the Colorado River's watershed.
Below is a map of the current drought situation. The Colorado River is on the base map. Almost none of the Colorado River's drainage area, except northwest New Mexico, is in drought.

The other generally accepted drought index shows above normal moisture conditions over much of the basin. The only drought is over a small portion of western New Mexico.
Most of the Upper Colorado watershed in Colorado has above average snow cover, a full 30% above average.
So, this is a case of the AMS organization crying wolf. When it incorrectly cries wolf, it makes the entire field look bad. 

There is a second lesson here. This paper that formed the basis of the tweet was submitted to the AMS in its final form on October 31. What does it say about those in the field of climate study and their ability to make 60-year forecasts if science cannot make accurate forecasts six months out?

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