Weather.com Stinks


It’s true -- Weather.com stinks. Now this isn’t to say that Weather.com is a poor website. In fact, it’s my go-to spot for weather information.

Nor do I believe that Weather.com’s forecasts are particularly lousy. I actually believe that they are at least as good as anyone else’s forecasts.

What I’m saying is that weather forecasting is painfully inaccurate. Yes, even in this, the Reality-Based Data-Crunching The-World-On-Your-iPhone Era in which all things are possible.*

*(Yes, all things really are possible, even though we cannot predict the market, we can’t predict employment levels, the grownups of the Free World cannot convince terrorists of the world to join us for Poker Night, hyperbaric-chamber owner Michael Jackson still died, and families still aren’t driving around in hovercars. But, honest, put enough Ivy League minds together and we can fix the whole universe.)

So Monday, I brought my bike to work, so that I could ride home at night and then back to work in the morning. One look at Weather.com cured me of that idea, though. As this screenshot shows, at 4:19 pm, they predicted that it would be raining by 5 pm and then on through the night. They also predicted it would be raining in the morning. So there goes the bike commuting!

But it didn’t happen. None of it! In fact, I missed out on some of the best cycling weather of the summer.

And this is what happens to me repeatedly. Weather.com –- an excellent website and top flight weather prediction service -– is constantly wrong in answering the question “Is it going to rain?” (That I’m stupid enough to keep basing my decisions upon their predictions is another matter…)

This is simply what the best computer modeling has to offer: lousy prediction of weather events, even, in my case, less than an hour beforehand. The interesting thing is that –- because there is so much weather data at the daily/hourly level *and* because models are predicting events which have observably occurred before –- computer modeling of daily/hourly weather is about as accurate as current modeling methods can possibly allow.

Which is to say that weather is not very predictable.

And yet we are willing to sacrifice our economy, in some of the worst economic conditions of the past hundred years, because of claims that global warming is established science, based upon -– yep -– computers. It is not. Its predictability is far, far less than the best daily weather prediction models (which is to put it kindly, as I’ve explained before).

And, yet, despite all of this, the House has already passed the brutal Waxman-Markley bill –- without a single congressman or congresswoman having had an opportunity to actually read it. How could this be? That the Gaia Worship set was going to demand government action on “global warming” was a given. Ditto Big Green -– the alternative energy companies, Greenpeacers, green journos, etc.

I can deal with all of that. But what I find outrageous is that –- as more and more scientists cast doubt upon anthropogenic global warming as scientific fact -– the Christian leaders who identified themselves with the Evangelical Climate Initiative have done nothing to admit that they might have been wrong. ECI signers –- many of whom are influential thought leaders in the Church -– insisted upon cap-and-trade specifically. If we proceed with Waxman-Markley, they will bear a fair share of the blame.

There are very good men and women among the signatories. But they do owe us an apology.

Weather.com? Nah, no apology needed from them. They’re still the best out there. And using real science.

Comments:

Yet another great excerpt and link: "One of the problems many people, especially scientists, are starting to have with the AGW proponents is their use of shrill tone and authority of numbers to try to stifle debate. Science is not consensus, and though there can be a scientific consensus that doesn't constitute science either. Computer models predicting conditions 50 years from now in a system as complex as the earth aren't within spitting distance of science. To be science something has to be testable and falsifiable. It must produce a predicted data point, interaction or outcome that is unique to the theory and can be verified or falsified. Would you bet your future on the accuracy of day seven of a seven day weather forecast? That is essentially what we are being told by the AGW proponents we absolutely must do without delay. Of course I think the without delay part has more to do with "We must pass the stimulus without delay" or "We must pass healthcare without delay" considerations than any notion that waiting three or four years will actuall make any long term difference." http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZmU3ZDAyZjE3NTNiMmJlN2VmYjZmNjFiYmNlNDc4ZmY=
Conservative AGW-believer and good numbers guy Jim Manzi has an interesting and balanced post here, re data, models, etc. http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MmRiOGVkM2UwNjk1MTlkNzllMjZiMzViMTI0ODI4OWY=
Lee: I do have derailleurs rather than hips. Shows how much you know about the Christian theology of cycling!
Allen wrote: "Which is to say that weather is not very predictable." // How is it you say it? Oh, yeah: pffft. Every Christian should know this. John 3:8a,b: "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going." ;-) // Besides, if God had meant us to ride bicycles, he'd have given us derailleurs instead of hips. :-) // As to us knowing about climate change, see Job 38.
Steve - I remember Klaus's comparison to the Soviet era as well and also thought it apt. Quite so. Jason - I did a quick search for a reference, and Rich Lowry's June 30 editorial starts with this: "The cap-and-trade bill passed the House of Representatives shrouded in a fog of willful ignorance and calculated irrationality. ... No one could be sure what he was voting for — not after the 1,200-page bill had a 300-page amendment added at 3:09 a.m. the day of its passage. The bill is so complex and jerry-built that even its supporters can’t know how, or if, it will work. And it’s metaphysically impossible for someone to know whether the motivating crisis, impending planetary doom, will ever materialize. ... Other than that, it’s a model exercise in thoughtful lawmaking. (Heh!) Mike - Perhaps so. All the same, my problem is less which direction they lead politically. My problem is that they are making declarations about things that aren't Truth in any determinable way. And this happens when we try too hard to be "relevant" and make judgments about things that are beyond our depth. Good comment - thanks for the contribution.
I would wager that the vast majority of these evangelicals lean significantly to the left politically and culturally. In my humble opinion, they have far more to apologize for than just the hoax of man made global warming.
Alan, I'm as convinced as you are of the inanity and negative implications of this bill, but I am interested in knowing how none of Congress has had a chance to read it when it was put to a vote over a month after it was introduced. Is the introduction date OpenCongress lists (May 15) unreliable, or am I missing something? Perhaps this just betrays my ignorance of the workings of Congress.
This reminds me of the "Watermelon Green" article a few days back... I meant to say that I liked that analogy. Which reminds me of this article from about a year ago (I can't remember if it was discussed here): "Czech President Klaus ready to debate Gore on climate change" http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/208338,czech-president-klaus-ready-to-debate-gore-on-climate-change.html A quote: "Klaus, an economist, said he opposed the "climate alarmism" perpetuated by environmentalism trying to impose their ideals, comparing it to the decades of communist rule he experienced growing up in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia. "Like their (communist) predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality," he said. "In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat - this time, in the name of the planet," he added.




BreakPoint Blog

Banner