In Praise of the Weatherman


What one job is most disparaged for its accuracy? The meteorologist. But I’m going to go against that.

Day after day we complain about the accuracy of the forecast. Rain or not.

Yet we check the forecasts each day, and prepare based on it.

People in the past would look up to the skies and know what was coming — a few hours in advance, maybe.

We can know what’s coming, in general terms, sometimes days in advance.

When we complain, we expect some sort of scientific accuracy in predicting something on a chaotic system with variables beyond any scientific means of measurement.

We expect an accuracy we  wouldn’t expect of anyone else in a similar circumstance.

Yet, we also depend on the forecasts. I can go to the web and get hourly predictions of the temperature. I use them to gauge what to wear at both the beginning and end of the day for the commute I make on my bicycle.  I can know if precipitation is coming through — though not always the exact time of day.

We live in an era where we expect a “scientific” precision to everything when we have no right to. What we should be amazed at is how the meteorologists can take the principles learned through science and apply them as an art into the non-scientific system that is our weather, and give us predictions that enable us to plan and live more efficient lives.

Thank you to those who do the unthanked and mocked but essential job of weather forecasting.


One thought on “In Praise of the Weatherman

  1. Reblogged this on markrwhitaker and commented:
    I have to agree with Jonathan that the meteorologist is one of the most-criticized positions yet we return to the predictions. Plus, in Kansas City, if you don’t like the weather … look out the other window because it might be different.

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