4 February 2018

Groundhog Day From A Meteorologist’s Perspective

Posted by Dan Satterfield

When I referred to Punxsutawney Phil as “that rat in Pennsylvania” on air last week, I received a hot email from a viewer upset about it (The groundhog is indeed a rodent but explaining this did no good). I also had the following Twitter message: I think Ashton is correct, and I know where she is coming from. I’d agree that most people do indeed know that Punxsutawney Phil or any other groundhog cannot forecast the weather. It’s obvious to most people that cloud cover in a tiny part of Pennsylvania on a certain February morning has no relevance to the weather over the next six weeks. Especially considering that it was cloudy all day in Punxsutawney Friday and the little rat (I did it again) saw his shadow anyhow.

Shhh! I hear that the whole thing is run by a big eastern syndicate you know…

That said, I (and many of my fellow meteorologists) will continue to point out that this tradition has no basis of any kind on science, and the tweet thread I posted Saturday night explains why.

In case you do not believe about the sugar pills (Still out of stock at CVS, but Walgreens will sell you six sugar pills for 29.99 if you’re still dumb enough to buy them.):

But wait! There is more!
Read this piece by the BBC about two doctors who are battling against snake oil pushers.

Below are two Youtube searches. Can you spot the crazy???

So, I’m going to point out that the groundhogs can’t predict the weather, and copper has no magic powers other than carrying electricity. Oh, and a lot of other science folks are going to keep telling people that detox diets can endanger your life, homeopathy is quack,  and vaccines do not cause autism (but they do save lives).

Because SCIENCE is what we do to keep from lying to ourselves (R. Feynman).

P.S. Message for YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki , (@SusanWojcicki) listing videos by most popular may not be the best way to do it. When your crazy uncle wrote to the local paper about being visited by aliens in 1983, they threw it in the trash because it wasn’t news. The person who got to decide that was the editor. They also did your uncle a favor by not making him a laughing stock. You’re a news source, start acting like it.
You need an editor.

Thnx, I really needed that.