Inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia

From Chapter 2 of the inquiry, h/t Warwick Hughes.

2.69 The Committee was astounded to learn that private enterprises are apparently able to forecast particular seasonal conditions and events, which may not necessarily have been forecast by our leading national agencies. The question that came to the mind of Committee members when this issue came to light was “how did you forecast these events and why didn’t anyone else?” When considering the skills, knowledge and expertise in our national agencies, the question that came to mind was “what do they know that CSIRO and the Bureau don’t?”

At issue may be standards required of methodology, much like the problems of alternative medicines in finding acceptance in mainstream medicine. A ‘please explain’ is the first recommendation of the committee.

Recommendation 1 
The Committee recommends that CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology provide to the Australian Government a report with detailed explanatory information as to why a particular dynamic forecasting model or system was chosen for use in Australia. The report should be completed by the end of 2010. 

Something to watch for. My feeling is that the BoM should largely be privatized.

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23 thoughts on “Inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia

  1. Apparently they actually believe their eyes when they compare observations of solar and lunar data to actual weather on earth!!!

    Piers Corbyn continues to make this point.

      • Unfortunately, there is no official requirement to show that an alleged beneficial natural product has any benefit whatsoever; nor to state that it could be harmful, as many are.

        This reminds one that the majority of predictions about global warming are about harm, not about benefit, though one could imagine they would almost balance. Tourists often travel to warmer climates by choice.

        Re tourism, there is another distorted picture fed to the public. I did not have time to chase up the most recent year but from http://www.idp.com/about_idp/media/2008/february/tourism_no_1_services_export.aspx we can read that
        “(Australia-wide) tourism generated a balance of payments deficit of $1.9 billion in 2007 because Australians spent more money travelling overseas than international tourists spent in Australia.”

        The opening words of the Inquiry report noted above are about tourism needing accurate weather forecasting. Maybe we need more Australians staying home to do a proper job of learning about weather forecasting and climate.

      • I agree with that. In 2010 I think the problem with tourism is worse particularly in Queensland. There has been a huge reduction of Japanese, Americans, New Zealanders and English. The strengthening Aus$ and the financial problems in those 4 countries are the cause.

      • All we ever hear is that you guys are having big droughts!! Why would we want to visit during a drought?? ;>)

      • The drought has well and truly broken. However, the beaches, and barrier reef are a wonder all the year around and in every year.
        But this poem says a lot about climate changes that BOM seem to ignore
        SAID HANRAHAN by John O’Brien

        “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        In accents most forlorn,
        Outside the church, ere Mass began,
        One frosty Sunday morn.

        The congregation stood about,
        Coat-collars to the ears,
        And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
        As it had done for years.

        “It’s looking crook,” said Daniel Croke;
        “Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
        For never since the banks went broke
        Has seasons been so bad.”

        “It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
        With which astute remark
        He squatted down upon his heel
        And chewed a piece of bark.

        And so around the chorus ran
        “It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
        “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        “Before the year is out.”

        “The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
        To save one bag of grain;
        From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
        They’re singin’ out for rain.

        “They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
        “And all the tanks are dry.”
        The congregation scratched its head,
        And gazed around the sky.

        “There won’t be grass, in any case,
        Enough to feed an ass;
        There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
        As I came down to Mass.”

        “If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
        And cleared his throat to speak –
        “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        “If rain don’t come this week.”

        A heavy silence seemed to steal
        On all at this remark;
        And each man squatted on his heel,
        And chewed a piece of bark.

        “We want an inch of rain, we do,”
        O’Neil observed at last;
        But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
        To put the danger past.

        “If we don’t get three inches, man,
        Or four to break this drought,
        We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        “Before the year is out.”

        In God’s good time down came the rain;
        And all the afternoon
        On iron roof and window-pane
        It drummed a homely tune.

        And through the night it pattered still,
        And lightsome, gladsome elves
        On dripping spout and window-sill
        Kept talking to themselves.

        It pelted, pelted all day long,
        A-singing at its work,
        Till every heart took up the song
        Way out to Back-o’-Bourke.

        And every creek a banker ran,
        And dams filled overtop;
        “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        “If this rain doesn’t stop.”

        And stop it did, in God’s good time;
        And spring came in to fold
        A mantle o’er the hills sublime
        Of green and pink and gold.

        And days went by on dancing feet,
        With harvest-hopes immense,
        And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
        Nid-nodding o’er the fence.

        And, oh, the smiles on every face,
        As happy lad and lass
        Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
        Went riding down to Mass.

        While round the church in clothes genteel
        Discoursed the men of mark,
        And each man squatted on his heel,
        And chewed his piece of bark.

        “There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
        There will, without a doubt;
        We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        “Before the year is out.”

        Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921

      • Well, I seem to remember that NASA has found “portals” opening on a regular basis between the earth and the sun that allow the solar wind more direct effect on the atmosphere. I believe there are others that are known. The fact that they don’t appear to be looking into what effects this large amount of energy has on the atmosphere does not mean there is none. Admittedly much research needs to be done to delineate the magnitudes and details, but, like a blowtorch on an icecube there WILL be a measureable effect!! Might even help explain Sudden Stratospheric Warming.

        Mr. Corbyn is rather quiet about the details, the release of which would be sure to lose him money. Definitely makes me wonder if they DO know mechanisms or are running on pure correlation!!

  2. 2.69 – what bunk – so us the cross validation hindcast stats or independent validation.

    Privatised – your non-warming climate brought to you by Exxon !

    Yuh – sure !

    • Normally there must be a good reason for government to provide a service in direct competition with private enterprise providers, otherwise its unfair competition. There are plenty of long range forecasters – consumers can choose the one which one that gives them the best service. If its offered free, you get many free-riders, and in the case of the BoM forecasts, the panel seemed to think you get what you pay for.

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