Monday, September 24, 2012

Verification of Last Winter and Summer's Seasonal Outlooks

San Francisco meteorologist Jan Null has published his regular review of the National Weather Service's seasonal forecasts for last winter and last summer. As you'll see, they were not very good.

The poor quality of the summer outlook (failure to forecast the drought) topic of casual conversation at the American Meteorological Society's summer meeting. Because I am not an expert in this area of weather science, I've offered "guest blogger" space to experts to discuss this issue. So far, no one has taken me up on it because, I suppose, fear of offending the NWS.

It is my sense that we have made very little, if any, progress in seasonal and one year forecasting in the last decade in spite of literally billions spent on climate science and climate modeling. It is ironic to me that some believe we can forecast the climate 50 years in the future when we have little or no skill forecasting climate conditions 5 months or 5 years in the future. 

We need to devote more resources on the basics of climate forecasting and fewer to greenhouse gas warming. That is not an ideological comment. Until we understand "climate 101" and can make consistently skillful climate forecasts in the relatively near term (a season and a year into the future) there is little reason to believe we can forecast the climate on a decades-long time frame.  

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