Friday, 13 January 2012

Stormy Weather

NIWA really need to stop doing their seasonal forecasts.
Late least year they predicted a warm dry summer.  So far this summer has been gloomy at best for the North Island, terribly wet for the top of the South Island and very dry in the deep south.
NIWA have had the good grace to admit they got it wrong.  Although in reading the original prediction they were so generic, I'm not sure they could possibly have got it wrong.  However, in making their mea culpa they added that the difference between getting it right and wrong is down to "subtle changes" in weather patterns.
So what's the problem?  Well, the concept of credibility is important to NIWA.  They are without exception intelligent and highly trained people, with lots of knowledge and skill, so their credibility is deserved.  When they get it wrong in such a public manner they detract from the other good work they do around climate change.
Also, the seasonal forecasts are on the boundary between weather and climate, and issuing these seasonal forecasts blurs that boundary.  On important issues such as climate change, where any opportunity to discredit scientists is leaped upon, a cautious approach is necessary.  The seasonal forecasts need to be put on hold.

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