NOAA and Climate Prediction Center ‘above normal’ temperatures forecast failed

Forecast vs. observed Winter temperatures Source: Business week

Business Weak journalist reports that according to, “The official forecast,” the, “U.S. Government never saw this winter coming.

The report begins:

Surprised by how tough this winter has been? You’re in good company: Last fall the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that temperatures would be above normal from November through January across much of the Lower 48 states.

There have been several reasons given for the lack of warmth this winter by official forecasters.  But, it would seem that the actual reasons for the undeniable cold are not quite understood.  Business Week report continues:

“Not one of our better forecasts,” admits Mike Halpert, the Climate Prediction Center’s acting director. The center grades itself on what it calls the Heidke skill score, which ranges from 100 (perfection) to -50 (monkeys throwing darts would have done better). October’s forecast for the three-month period of November through January came in at -22. Truth be told, the September prediction for October-December was slightly worse, at -23. The main cause in both cases was the same: Underestimating the mammoth December cold wave, which brought snow to Dallas and chilled partiers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Maybe NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center should consult with the Farmers Almanac for future weather predictions.  In August, CBS News published an article on the ‘bitterly cold‘ Winter, predicted for 2013-14 by Farmers Almanac forecast:

The 197-year-old publication that hits newsstands Monday predicts a winter storm will hit the Northeast around the time the Super Bowl is played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. It also predicts a colder-than-normal winter for two-thirds of the country and heavy snowfall in the Midwest, Great Lakes and New England.

 “We’re using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It’s going to be very cold,” said Sandi Duncan, managing editor.

 Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac’s secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818.

 Modern scientists don’t put much stock in sunspots or tidal action, but the almanac says its forecasts used by readers to plan weddings and plant gardens are correct about 80 percent of the time.

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