Long Range No-Forecast

Long range weather forecasts of the upcoming season used to be as fruitless as guessing wildly.  However, scientific investigation into large-scale weather anomalies and their effects around the world have now given meteorologists a fighting chance of making seasonal forecasts that are, at least, occasionally helpful.  We are able to offer sound advice based on generalities as long as the users of the forecast are not expecting specific details.

However, the world remains full of forecasters ready to predict just about anything, it seems.  Recently I came across a weather forecast for an online agricultural magazine stating that La Nina sometimes follows strong El Nino (which is true) and that some strong La Nina summers have been drought summers (key word is “some”).  The forecaster than predicted a 50/50 chance of a Midwest/Plains drought in the summer of 2016.

It made for a scary headline but if I understand statistics, I interpret this to mean either there will be a drought next summer or there won’t.  Hmmm.

Meteorologist John Wheeler