Solar Activity - based forecasts

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Solar Activity - based forecasts

Postby Tom Blagden » 2012 Jan 28, 08:57

Has anyone else noted how the solar-based forecasters have had a nightmare trying to foretell winter 2011-12. Laughable headlines in some newspapers since the end of September are only to be expected when 1962-3 style big freeze descriptions are wafted around. More interesting has been the "climbdown" techniques used by some after the "very likely white christmas" (2011) became the mildest since 1920 (in many areas). It's a tough game.
Exminster Hilltop, Devon, SW England
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Re: Solar Activity - based forecasts

Postby Steve Flitton » 2012 Jan 28, 19:57

I completely agree. The Daily Express has published some really silly weather headlines over the last few months. Why is it when ever we get a few days of chilly weather it becomes a "Big Freeze". The Express had the headlines "Its a white Christmas" about a week before the event and in the Nov 2nd edition the headline was "Siberian outbreak within the next 2 weeks". I made many checks and found nothing to support this whatsoever. It was just nonsense. Only a day or two ago I remember seeing another headline in the Express telling us to expect 'big freeze' to last a month. While it looks like becoming considerably colder by the end of next week I dont believe it will last anywhere near a month, not without milder interludes anyway.
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Re: Solar Activity - based forecasts

Postby Jim Galvin » 2012 Jan 29, 13:53

I agree about the nonsense that's often printed. It's usually because there's a space to be filled in the newspaper and a journalist is desperately trying to justify his or her existence. One additional comment, though. I'm not sure that it's just the solar-based fringe that is producing these scientifically unproven (probably unprovable) forecasts. It would be useful to know how it might be possible to show how outrageous many of these statements on long-term predictions are in a form that could easily rebuff the producers. If anyone has any ideas, I'm sure they would be very welcome. Unfortunately, it's not just the rebuff that needs to be formulated; it needs also to be acceptable to the press and presented in a way that the newspapers (who don't think their readers have much intelligence, I think) will publish. It's much easier to go with a story of sensation than to go along with predictions mundanely predicting "the usual". Perhaps it would require a regular (amusing) column with better coverage than is currently accorded to the weather as a whole, although that might still be a difficulty when there is little weather and little of amusement to report.

You may be interested to know that solar output (inasmuch as it is known) is one of the variables used in seasonal prediction.

In addition, if you don't know already, you may be interested to hear that forecasts of the effects of solar activity (mainly affecting satellites, electronics and electrical systems) are now produced (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/ar ... ce-weather). Work continues to make them operationally useful, although there is no established link with the (tropospheric) weather from these ionospheric effects (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releas ... laboration).

Jim Galvin (Newton Abbot)
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