Thought for the month
“The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
Thomas Huxley, Scientist (1825-95).
Monday, 5 September 2011
Granny's better forecast?
Our Newsletter Editor has just returned from a family vacation in sunny south Wales. a region not generally noted for its sunshine. However he was intrigued and perplexed by the weather forecasts whilst he was there. He admits to being totally non-scientific and un-quantifiable in this comment, but they were rubbish. The inability to correctly predict the weather on a 12 - 18 hour time frame was mind boggling. Fortunately the predicted rain and cloud was in reality sunshine but people other than tourists should be reliant on more accurate information. We gather that the UK Met Office has a 1.2MW IBM supercomputer that can do 100 trillion calculations per second (as well as generating over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year). It has recently requested funding for changes to improve its forecasting accuracies. Our Editor's grandmother used to forecast the weather based on the position of cows in the adjacent field and the good people of Punxsutawney put faith in the groundhogs. He proposes a research project for the good folk at his alma mater, the University of Wales: Sheep behaviour as a predictor of climatic events. We wonder if the Met Office IT department were also thinking that some extra ram would improve matters?