February 14, 2008

Winter Forecasts Wrong For Second Year Admit "Experts"

Blaming the failure of their predictions to match what actually has transpired on--wait for it--"global change":
Dry-winter forecasts were flat wrong this year for much of Colorado and the Southwest, and weather experts say they're struggling to understand why the snow just keeps falling.

Some forecasters blame climate change, and others point to the simple vicissitudes of weather. Regardless, almost everyone called for a dry-to-normal winter in Colorado and the Southwest — but today, the state's mountains are piled so thick with snow that state reservoirs could fill and floods could be widespread this spring.

"The polar jet stream has been on steroids. We don't understand this. It's pushing our limits, and it's humbling," said Klaus Wolter, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Whoops! So climate and weather conditions are 1) more difficult to predict, and 2) humans still haven't figured out a precise way of measuring or modeling the extremely complex systems that produce the droughts, floods, storms, etc. that we face each year.


Apparently, even historically predictable occurrences like El Niño and La Niña can still show a potentially wide range of variability in terms of outcome, as they did this year:
Wolter and NOAA both forecast a drier-than-average winter in most of Colorado. AccuWeather Inc. did the same, citing similar reasons: A La Niña weather system of cool, equatorial Pacific water had set up in the tropics last fall.

Generally, La Niña years bring dry and warm weather to Colorado in the fall and spring, and variable winters tend to be close to average.

La Niña winters have almost always brought droughtlike conditions to the Southwest, as the jet stream ferries storms farther north.
So, what the devil is causing the weather forecasters and climate "experts" to miss their predictions with an alarming rate? Why, "global change", of course!
Wolter said he's troubled that his and other long-range forecasts have been off two years in a row now.

Last year, experts predicted a wet year from Southern California across to Arizona and southern Colorado, because of an El Niño weather system of warmer Pacific water.

Instead, drought worsened in the Southwest, capped by a huge fire season in Southern California.

"So we have two years in a row here where the atmosphere does not behave as we expect," Wolter said. "Maybe global changes are pulling the rug out from underneath us. We may not know the answer for 10 years, . . . but one pet answer is that you should get more variability with global change."

This winter's forecasts were accurate in some areas of the country, Wolter and Reeves said: The Pacific Northwest has been slammed with precipitation, as predicted, and, even with snow expected overnight and today in Denver, it has been relatively dry along Colorado's Front Range.
You see, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.

"Global change" is Wolter's "pet answer". Take that one to your boss--"Sorry, sir, it's that damned global change!"

Just some of the tons of "global change" that have fallen on Colorado this winter

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