Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Seeds of Time

"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me." - William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 1 Scene 3

What farmers want and what forecasters provide are two vastly different sets of information. I'm becoming increasing more frustrated with researchers who say 'but its not possible'. Well then why did you give the farmer the chance to ask for it in the first place, you're creating false expectations of the capabilities of science.

With this in mind, what can we the forecasters offer? Tailored forecasts for one. Industry specific? Individual time frames? Spatial resolution? These products seem to be lacking in South Africa and to some respect the rest of Africa.

Pop quiz: Would you trust the mean of the data below to tell what is going to happen in the next 3 months?

The trouble with (weather) forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. - Patrick Young

We as a scientific community are improving our climate models to accurately reflect the climate conditions but they are not so accurate that we can rely on them completely. Would you place a bet based on your forecast?

There must be a way to create a robust solution that can cater for the inconsistencies in model skill. What is it? I'm not sure, that is part of the reason I came to IIASA, to discover, to explore. Its turning into a long path to an even more distant discovery but when have I ever chosen the easy path in the past.

No comments: