Popular online weather site AccuWeather is now issuing weather forecasts up to 90 days in advance. Other meteorologists are upset because doing this puts them out of a job. Just kidding! They say that the 90 day weather forecasts are not accurate.
According to Ars Technica, computer technology has made predicting the weather in advance even more accurate than before. In the 1990s, we could only expect an accurate 3-day forecast. Now, we can expect a 10-day forecast that’s pretty darn reliable. This is not the case with AccuWeather’s 45 and 90-day forecast, though. As Arc Technica explains, “This is largely due to the ‘butterfly effect,’ in which only a very small change in initial conditions will have huge changes after about 10 days.” As a result, science can’t predict the weather that far out.
Here’s Accuweather’s side of the story, defending 90-day forecasts, from company president Joel Myers:
“If we didn’t have the statistics to show that the forecast—and here’s the measure of what the value is—it’s got to be more accurate statistically than you can come up with by using past normals and whatever climatology that you have, and it does.”
And then this is what meteorologist Dan Satterfield says, calling these forecasts worse than the Farmer’s Almanac:
“This kind of thing should be condemned and if you have an AccuWeather app on your smart phone, my advice is to stand up for science and replace it.”
(via Ars Technica)