Variable weather: “When can we expect 100% accurate forecasts?”


Just in case you were wondering. I’ve returned to looking out the window — and there’s probably an app for that.

Why are all my weather apps different? by Nic Fleming (The Guardian)

It was a tale of two storms. The first consisted of the rain and thunder forecast for Bournemouth by the BBC weather app on the Saturday spring bank holiday. The second came when the first failed to materialise and a tourism manager in the town complained that visitors who stayed away could have come after all and enjoyed sunshine and blue skies.

This opportunity to rage at inaccurate forecasting, bash the BBC and highlight the grievances of small businesses did not go to waste. For the Sun, it was a “blunderstorm”. The Mail gave voice to furious social media users whose weekend had been ruined by “crap forecasting” and “total incompetence”. The Spectator even managed to use the row to take pot shots at climate-change predictions.

So, just another non-storm in a media teacup? Perhaps, yet the story highlights important questions about how technology is transforming both weather forecasting and our relationship with it. Is our ability to predict temperature, precipitation and wind speed improving? If so, how come forecasts can vary so widely depending on which smartphone apps we use? How long have human meteorologists got before supercomputers and artificial intelligence make them redundant? And when can we expect 100% accurate forecasts?