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cptbirdman asked in Environment · 1 decade ago

Are Climatologists just Sports Analysts with degrees?

Last year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicted 13-16 named storms, 8-10 minor to medium hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes to make landfall or have a considerable affect on the U.S., obviously this statement was waaay off and as a result every organization that predicts the hurricane season is downsizing their predictions.

I understand that the field of meteorology has merit and is not any sort of pseudoscience, but can climatology really be considered actual science after so many errors in the calculation of data? Even the prediction for when the ozone layer will repair itself is all over the place and continuously changing. Does the fact that most data gathered in the field of climatology is based on simple computer simulations of complex scenarios make anyone skeptic on whether they can be trusted for true and reliable data?

Can we truly predict and simulate a system as complex as the weather and the environment? Consider Chaos theory.

Update:

OK! PLEASE PEOPLE:

METEOROLOGIST DOES NOT MEAN CLIMATOLOGIST!!!! METEOROLOGIST = WEATHERMAN, CLIMATOLOGIST = LONG-TERM FORCASTER OF WORLD CLIMATE SHIFT

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING I CRITICIZE WEATHER FORCASTERS!!!!

7 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Note: Weather deals with daily/weekly/monthly conditions... Climate is the study of weather over ten year periods.

    Due to the enormous amount of ever-changing data involved in the study of climate, climatology, though it is considered a true science, is hard to predict. Even the most powerful and sophisticated computers can only aproximate weather and less so climate. Both are, at best, inexacting sciences with current technology. Below is a Wikipedia definition of climatology.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Hardly. They're very well educated folks that do a pretty darn good job.

    Few issues: Hurricane Season doesn't end until November 30th, so don't count your chickens until they hatch. At this time last year, we were just past Katrina (K). We're already up to Florence (F). While this years storms have lacked intensity, approximately the same number of systems has formed.

    Sure, the predictions have a large error. Any good Scientist understands that any prediction has an associated uncertainty, that's acceptable. Bad science hides the uncertainty while good science embraces it and attempts to reduce it with more data.

    And things have gotten much better. The so-called "cone of uncertainty" with 3 day hurricane tracks was QUITE wide just 10-15 years ago. Now, the "cone of uncertainty" will nail the landfall of a hurricane within 100 miles at 3 days to landfall, 95% of the time. That's pretty good.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Okay; silly question followed by real predicament.

    No to silly question.

    Real problem is computer simulations are just that, simulations. If you write a program to say this will happen if you have this, this, and this factor, then that is what you get. The problem is that the forecast program's input data was not coincident with the actual data produced by altered weather factors. Garbage in = garbage out.

    Consider this: You form a baseball team and you loose your first three games. Do you quit the game of baseball and disband the team? I recommend you study your achievements and your failures. Figure out what went wrong and try to improve it. Play some more games and try to improve with your new knowledge.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I must say I love this question because it is dead on.

    The only problem with your analogy is that, in our sad sad world, our Sports Analysts usually have a better combination of education and hands on experience than our climatologists.

    My alternate answer after giving it some more thought:

    I think your analogy is entirely unfair!

    Sports analysis is a highly competative field and not even the best analyst ,even with several degrees and outstanding credentials, is ensured continued employment. How many tenured Sports analysts do you know? A degree in climatology, on the other hand, pretty much ensures one a lifetime of employment in a comfortable chair.

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  • 1 decade ago

    As a bricklayer and a lawn care guy I depend on the weather. The weather guys from St. Louis SUCK. They've cost me alot of money this year, as I would call off jobs because of rain that never happened.

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  • cgi
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Our computers are no where near powerful enough to predict the weather with absolute accuracy. And they still dont understand how things work yet. They have to base everything on the past to figure out the future. So to reply to your question...yes.

    I don't believe their global warming theory. Too full of holes. They want to believe it so therefore it is.

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  • i dont know sorry any way i dont get your point hahahaha

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