Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Accuweather's 25 Day Forecast

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
11:00 A.M.

I have a love-hate relationship with Accuweather. On one hand, I love some of the blogs and posts up there, and they are fun to look at. On the other hand, their forecasts are generally pretty inaccurate and they tend not to focus on the West Coast. Today, Accuweather unveiled their new "25 Day Forecast." How much stock can we put in these forecasts when forecasts for each day around here are basically useless after a week and it is hard to gather trends past 10 days?

The answer? Absolutely none.

It's completely ridiculous. It is NOT POSSIBLE to accurately predict the daily high, low, and amount of precipitation 25 days from now, and as I learned in my atmospheric science class with Cliff Mass fall quarter, it will likely never be possible to have reliable daily forecasts past two weeks out. Right now, forecast accuracy dramatically increases inside 120 hours and tends to just get better from there, but I find it highly unlikely that we will ever be able to extend this level of accuracy five-fold, to 25 days. Definitely not in my lifetime.

On April 28, Accuweather is predicting a high of 54 and a low of 39. There will be a 53% chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon, one hour of precipitation, and a total precipitation of .19 inches. The winds will be out of the south at 5 mph and gust to 14 mph during the day, and they will be from the NNE at 5 mph with gusts to 10 mph at night.

Still, it will be fun to look at this extended forecast, especially if it is forecasting arctic outbreaks in the winter. So while I hate how Accuweather is giving the public a false representation of the science of synoptic-scale modeling, the 25 day forecast will definitely give me some excitement when the weather is boring around here.

And for that, I thank them.

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