why are weather forecasts wrong?

22 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Weather forecasts aren't always wrong. If they were, then you could depend on that inaccuracy and turn it around to create an accurate forecasts.

    Having said that...take it from someone who has spent the last 25 years getting paid to forecast the weather.....



    Meteorology IS an exact science, basically just applied physics. We (meteorologists) can write great forecasts as long as we follow the rules about what goes where when. Unfortunately, we and Ma Nature aren't always on the same page. Why? Because weather is driven by heating this globe of gasses by a furnace of incomprehsible size.

    It's like dropping a stick in a stream and then forecasting where it will be in "x" number of hours. The further the distance or the greater the amount of time the less likely that forecast is going to be accurate, because more things can happen. A fish could jump, another stick could fall in, etc.

    And the rules become far and far less established the further out you go. It wasn't that long ago (10 years) that a 3 to 5 day forecast had an accuracy rating of about 35%. Now it's closer to about 60%. Unless, it is the fall or spring when thing are way more volatile. Then the accurace raiting drops significantlly. Unless, we are talking about a big arctic high that does nothing more than make things clear and cold, and then the forecast accuracy goes up.

    Getting the picture?

    In addtion, though, is communicating that forecast to the general public. If I tell you the forecast for Wednesday is for partly cloudy skies with a few isolated thunderstorms, and it doesn't rain on you...was the forecast right or wrong. Maybe it rained down the street (isolated thunderstorms do that).

    What if I tell you we will see periods of light rain wiith NW winds of 20 to 30 mph....and it rains, but the winds were SW. Was the forecast wrong? No? What if you cared more about the winds (like a pilot or someone working on a tower) than the rain?

    Forecasting the weather is tricky, it is fun and you need a very thick skin because people will tear into you left and right...not because you got the forecast wrong...but because they don't like the weather and expect you to change it.

  • 1 decade ago

    I wouldn't say that weather forecasts are wrong. I would say that they are sometimes wrong. ;-)

    A forecaster uses very complex computer-generated models when forecasting the weather. These models describe what will happen in the atmosphere (for instance, concerning winds, temperature, and humidity) over the coming hours or days.

    The models are not perfect, partly because the research about the weather is far from finished, and partly because the physics in the atmosphere is so complicated that some approximations have to be made.

    But the biggest problem is the fact that the computer models require observational in-data. Information from weather satellites, weather radar, soundings, and weather observations are put into the computer models, and then the computer starts "calculating the weather into the future". But there are not enough weather obserations and weather radars, especially not over the oceans. If this would change, weather forecasts would improve considerably.

  • 1 decade ago

    Weather is inherently unpredictable, because so many little variables can affect it to a great degree, especially when you try to forecast something accurately more than a day out. It's pretty easy to look at a satellite photo, notice a big system of warm moist air coming in off the ocean just a hundred miles off the coast and say with a certain degree of confidence that it'll rain tomorrow. Over the weekend? Now you're just guessing -- a cold gust from the north might blow the weather system down south of you before it rains on you, and the rain you predicted just doesn't happen. So the science of meteorology is part intuition, when you come right down to it -- you get a feeling based on what you know of historical trends for the area you're trying to forecast, given what you know of the conditions and the season of the year. Here in Seattle, autumn usually means gray, overcast skies, with rain at least three days out of any given week, so if you say that it will be cloudy, lows in the mid 50's, highs in the upper 60's, 30% chance of precipitation, you've pretty much covered all your bases -- if it rains, you can say there was always that chance, and if it doesn't, you can say, "Well, it was only a 30% chance, after all!"

  • 1 decade ago

    There are so many variables involved that accurate prediction for an extended period of time is virtually impossible. 24-hour forecasts are generally 80% accurate. 72-hour forecasts are generally 60% accurate. Beyond that, they're basically a guess. And if you live in a temperate climate (North America or Europe), the weather tomorrow is 66% likely to be the same as today.

    Source(s): Environment Canada website
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  • 1 decade ago

    Sometimes, weather is very unpredictable. Just ask the meteorologists in the North Texas area who forecasted a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms...and suddenly, 60% of the area gets the rain.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Weather forecasts aren't fortune tellers. I'm a hurricane forecaster and I've made several miscalculations (especially with T.S. Chris this year). What you should do is combine your gut feeling and the forecaster's prediction and then it should be a tiny bit more correct. I always do that.

    P.S. I'm not a professional forecaster. I'm just a teen amateur.

  • 1 decade ago

    Weather is proverbially something which one cannot catch with our hands. It is so unsteady and unpredictable. However, coniderable prooress has been made in the Weather Sciences to broadly chalk out its paths.However, the conditions governing weather are so many and so widely spread that any attempts to catch them in a rigid formula do not succeed. But the predictions possible so far go a long way in directing safe movements in navigations ,agricultures and a host of other fields. Wth the satellites it has been possible to maintan a broad vigil over the dancing weather.

    Even psunamies originating deep within oceans are predicated more or less accurately in advance .

  • 5 years ago

    weather modification is going on. From Early morning while people are sleeping, chem trail airplanes were spraying chemicals to make artificial clouds all over the sky. Today s weather forecast says, today is a sunny day and according to satellite timely image, there is no cloud in Montreal, but the sky is overcast with all artificial clouds. This things will continue until the earth is sterile and not able to produce any crop and most of people die with metal poisoning such as aluminum, barium, strontium and some micro biologic organisms. check out on line weather modification by geoengineering, chem trail alert, New world order population reduction agenda

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Weather forecasting is a prediction---whether it is an educated one or not, it's not a for sure thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well believe it or not you can thank the lawyers. Having being sued for ruining some ones picnic the NWS is congressionaly mandated to forecast the WORST CASE scenario. Its called CYA

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