Is there really such a thing a definite or deterministic weather forecast? Not really, but there is a good reason for that. What is most important is making sure however you understand what the probabilities you are being provided actually mean. In this episode we explore the “Probability of Precipitation” and “1 in a XX year flood” statements as examples that are seemingly simple in nature but subject to frequent misinterpretation. We will also examine how advances in weather forecast modeling that include ensembles or perturbation forecasts lead to better forecasts even if they don’t give you a single answer.
Just remember that probabilities are actually a good thing when it comes to your weather forecast. So understanding what they tell you about confidence, uncertainty, and odds of a weather event or forecast is a really good thing.
Thank you to Laura Belanger of the National Weather Service, Peachtree City office for letting us reference and discuss your research as well as Mark Elliot of The Weather Channel for letting us reference your recent demonstration video.
- Laura Belanger’s research on extreme rainfall frequency in the Atlanta metro area
- Mark Elliot’s demonstration video on model ensembles
- Probability of Precipitation definition and explanation
- PROBABILITY OF PRECIPITATION Assessment and Enhancement of End-User Understanding – Joslyn S, et al., BAMS, Feb. 2009
- A 30% Chance of Rain Tomorrow”: How Does the Public Understand Probabilistic Weather Forecasts – Gigerenzer G, et al., Risk Analysis, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2005
And now the podcast