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13 February 2021

Why Crazy Snow Forecast Go Viral on Social Media

There have been some rather outrageous snow forecasts floating around online this winter, and in the last few days, many have been from Oklahoma and Texas. Make no mistake about it there is a major snow event coming there, but TV forecasters in Oklahoma City posting snow totals 5 days out is certainly beyond the science (and perhaps a good definition for the word irresponsible). You tend to get strong …

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15 June 2020

“Sharpie-Gate” Report says Two Top NOAA Officials Violated Scientific Integrity Guidelines

When NOAA leadership reprimanded the NWS office in Birmingham over a social media post, there was outrage among both government and private sector meteorologists. The reason, of course, it that the tweet was accurate even though it conflicted with a statement by the President. The NWS office had no knowledge of that statement, but without scientific doubt, the NWS office was correct. A NOAA report today found that this was …

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27 January 2020

Should We Continue To Show Weather Radar To The Public on TV/Online?

I bet that headline got your attention, didn’t it? Before we go on, I’ll state up front that I think the answer is yes, but there is actually a decent argument to be made otherwise. When a cub TV reporter walked into the Weather Bureau office in Galveston, Texas on a muggy summer day in 1961, he saw something that few people had ever seen, a live weather radar image …

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12 December 2019

NWS Makes Needed Changes to Flash Flood Warnings

What is the number one weather killer in the United States? Did you say tornadoes or hurricanes? If so, you are wrong, but don’t feel bad because everyone misses this question. What IS the main weather killer? In most years it is heat but close behind is floods and particularly flash floods. It seems that nearly every year brings a flood event with great damage and several fatalities. Then there’s …

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10 September 2019

NWS Director and Chief Science Officer at NOAA Back NWS Hurricane Tweet; Who Wrote NOAA Friday Statement??

In a (not really) surprising turn of events, Monday, the Director of the National Weather Service Louis Uccinelli and NOAA’s chief science officer publicly backed a tweet issued by the NWS office in Birmingham on Sept. 1st. That tweet (which was scientifically accurate) told residents that Hurricane Dorian would not be a threat to Alabama. It was posted after their phones melted with rumors that Alabama would be hit much …

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7 September 2019

Anger Among Public and Meteorologists after False Unsigned NOAA Statement

Last Sunday morning the forecasters at the NWS were giving a huge sigh of relief. It had been certain for at least two days that Hurricane Dorian would not be an issue there. The forecast cone from the NHC by midday Saturday continued to show Florida and areas up the Eastern Seaboard would be in the path of Dorian.  Then the phones started ringing off the hook and social media …

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1 August 2019

New Research Confirms it: The 7 Day Forecast Will Never Become a 17 Day Forecast

    Despite the “horoscope” forecasts on Accuweather, most meteorologists will tell you that 7 days is about the extent of a reliable weather forecast. We can give you (at times, especially in the warm season) an idea of above or below normal out to maybe ten days but that is really pushing it. Beyond that, your best bet is to rely on the climatological averages (or add a degree …

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16 July 2019

A 1954 Weathercast

Today was our 65th anniversary at WBOC TV here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. During our anniversary special at 7 PM, I did the weather as it would have been done in 1954. No radar, no satellite, and the extended forecast? That was the day after tomorrow. Times have changed! I actually did the weather on a hand-drawn map for a couple of years at the start of my …

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14 January 2019

Weather Satellites are Far More Vital Than You Think

I’ve written a lot here about weather satellites here, and how a decent forecast beyond three days would be impossible without them.  They are indispensable to everyone from forecasters to firefighters to pilots.   While you mainly see GOES (geostationary satellites) images on TV, I just finished a weathercast showing the image above from a satellite in Polar Orbit. I used it to show where the snow fell this weekend, but …

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4 December 2018

Why Those Snow Forecasts Online are Likely Wrong

I go weak in the knees when I see a science info-graphic that explains something really well in one picture. The image above from the NWS Kansas City is a really good one about long-range weather forecasts. Many forecasters in the Mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest are dealing with a possible winter storm beginning this weekend. We cannot say much more than that right now,  and it’s tough to explain to the public …

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13 November 2018

The Cloud That Appears on Top of The Most Dangerous Storms

We meteorologists knew that the new GOES satellites would be revolutionary, and a new paper presented at an AMS conference on severe storms is a good example of just that. It’s about a cloud signature visible on high- resolution imagery that can lead to more lead time on severe weather warnings and fewer false alarms. It’s called an AACP: Above Anvil Cirrus Cloud, and when a forecaster sees one on …

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23 May 2018

The New Goes-17 Weather Satellite May Have a Serious Problem

Update: May 25,2018 It’s been pointed out that Harris Corp. made the ABI/cooling system, but this isn’t something that requires any blame at this stage. These new GOES satellites are complex machines made of the highest high. I witnessed a GOES satellite fall into the Atlantic just after launch in 1986, and am keenly aware of how difficult it is to get a working satellite into geostationary orbit! I’m hearing …

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12 February 2018

The BBC’s New 14 day Weather Forecasts Are Bollocks

I have no problem with the BBC dropping the UK Met office for their forecasting and going with a private company. and their new on-air weather graphics are actually quite good. HOWEVER Their new 14-day deterministic weathercasts are (in terms the average UK bloke will readily understand) bollocks. Make no mistake, forecasts are getting better and better. A report (a few years back) estimated that reliable forecasts are increasing by about a …

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5 January 2018

Thoughts and Images of The Great Blizzard of 2018

Working on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, you might imagine I have been rather busy over the last few days and that is beyond an understatement. I was brought to work today in a four-wheel drive jeep and I have 11″ of snow on my sidewalk! This was a memorable storm and perhaps what makes it more so is how fast the pressure in the storm dropped. The pressure in the …

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15 December 2017

Take Three Minutes and Study These Two Graphs

One of the biggest science meetings on the planet is underway in New Orleans right now. The AGU meeting is huge and a LOT of newsmaking science comes out of it. This year is no different. The AMS published a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) to coincide with this conference and the AMS annual meeting that I’m looking forward to attending in Austin next month. …

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24 November 2017

The Ten Mile Time Machine

I flew to the middle of the Chesapeake Bay Tuesday to visit Tangier Island. It’s just a 25-minute ride on the WBOC Chopper, and one of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever had in Chopper 16 (Yea, and I get paid to do this!). We made the trip to do a quick story on the new (much needed automated (AWOS3) weather station, and the photos are mine. (I’ve added the video …

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29 June 2017

U.S. About to Fall Further Behind in Long Range Weather Forecasting

The Europeans are now testing a new version of their ECMWF model with a resolution of around 9 km, and so far it looks very good. Not that the present model isn’t since we forecasters now depend on it heavily for long range forecasts beyond 2-3 days. The NOAA GFS model is almost always the least accurate and that is not my subjective opinion. Look at the skill scores below …

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19 June 2017

Fire & Rain, and Heat as Well.

Intense heat, with low humidity has led to a horrible catastrophe in Portugal. The hot and dry weather in Europe led to a firestorm in Portugal that killed at least 60 people. A strong upper level high pressure system will stay over the area tomorrow and little or no rain is in sight. This high pressure is bringing warm weather all the way into the UK with highs tomorrow in …

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29 December 2016

The Smoking Gun of Arctic Warmth Leads To A Stunning Indictment

It normally takes many months to get a paper through peer review and into a journal, but a group of scientists has released their detection and attribution study early, and it’s a stunning indictment. We now know the culprit for the astonishing Arctic warmth of November and December. It seemed very likely that the guilty party was rising greenhouse gasses with Arctic amplification as the accomplice, and that’s JUST what …

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28 July 2016

NOAA Makes Decision on New Global Weather Model. Controversy Likely.

NOAA has decided on the nuts and bolts of a new, next generation, weather model that will replace the present Global Forecast System (GFS model), and the choice is sure to spark some controversy. The choice boiled down to a system called MPAS vs FV3. Many meteorologists were rooting for MPAS, which was developed by NCAR, while NOAA was leaning toward the FV3 which was a project of the GFDL …

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