Saturday, 29 December 2007

The weather forecast for Christmas

Exactly three weeks ago I penned a piece under the title "Differing weather forecasts for Christmas". I wrote this because I was aware of two very different expectations on the weather the country would experience at this time. So on one side we had the BBC weather centre represented by John Hammond who, using conventional forecasting techniques, used the phrase "More settled conditions develop" in reference to the second half of the month. Against him was Piers Corbyn whose firm 'Weatheraction' forecasts over a much longer time span and insists that it is the activity of the sun that drives our weather.

Time then for a reality check - how did they do? Both pretty badly I would say. So far as I can see it was a typical Christmas for weather, a mix of some rain with drier spells between, windy at times but not the severe storm predicted by Piers with attendant problems of travellers having massive disruptions. Regarding John Hammond, if he had applied the "settled conditions" to the middle two weeks there would have been little cause for complaint. In other words he was about a week out.

Once again it's the weather itself having the last laugh. Clever we may be but not that clever in getting medium to long term forecasts correct.

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