World and Nation

Weather Prophecy

Weather Prophecy

A very interesting article by K. Pennessi in the July issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society discusses some of the intricacies of the communication of meteorological forecasts (in the case of the article, it was the communication of seasonal forecast to Brazilian farmers).The author wanted to know what was deemed important to farmers when facing the official forecast agency as well as the prophecies of the local rain prophets.

It turned out that credibility and accuracy were not the most important things that farmers were looking for in the forecasts. A large percentage of the farmers believed that, irrespective of the outlook for the rainy season, they had to plant anyways. So, they tended to favor the prophecies instead of the forecasts, because prophecies always contained a positive spin, even when the outlook was bad. More than 60 percent of the interviewed farmers believed that it was more important for rain prophets to provide hope than to provide accuracy. Official forecasts were considered most of the time discouraging.

Fortunately, there will be no need to resort to any artificial positive spin for the current “prophecy.” The weather has been dry the past weeks and it will remain so, except for a brief interruption starting sometime tonight/tomorrow morning. A weak cold front will swift through rapidly during most of Friday, leaving an anticyclone in place that will bring sunny and relatively cooler weather for the weekend.

Extended Forecast

Tonight: Partly cloudy to mostly cloudy and a chance of rain and thunderstorms. Low 65°F (18°C).

Friday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. High 75°F (25°C).

Saturday: Mostly sunny and crispier. Low 60°F (16°C). High 71°F (22°C).