Forecasting weather like the financial markets

While I am fairly sure that the folks at MetService try to do their best, the Auckland Regional Rain forecasts specifically have not been particularly dependable. I did have a First world problem where I missed out on hiking this weekend due to acting on MetService’s warnings for the Auckland Region that did not eventuate (except for parts of the Waitakare ranges) until well into the Evening.

It would be timely to Note, this non-expert opinion from myself does not include MetService’s Marine (Swell and Wind), Mountain and inland forecasts, which I hear are at least a little bit more on the mark if not more, with the Mountain forecasts being reasonable enough in the times I’ve needed to refer to them.

I’m not quite sure what it is, I do get the weather is simply the weather, but to date, much of the rain forecasting for Auckland just “isn’t quite there” to be of tangible enough benefit. It’s almost despite advances in technology, we’ve hit right into the walls of diminishing returns, as in, every Dollar being put into improving weather forecasting accuracy is now returning very little, if any improvement… as if we’ve hit a ceiling.

Some critics whom are more critical of the MetService forecasts suggest using MetVUW instead, to be honest, I don’t know how much better MetVUW are… While I’ve found the longer term rain forecasts perhaps slightly more on the mark, they may not be that much more reliable as people are lead to believe.

One of the reasons offered for the current state of Auckland’s rain forecasts appear to be that we’re coastal and that there are far less data points available to go on as opposed to an inland location on a larger continent, where there will often be many more weather stations and monitors in between the said Inland location and the coast.

I’ve called financial market and economic forecasting a “mug’s game” before.  Could the same term apply to weather forecasting at least with regards to the rain forecast specifically in Auckland? It would seem that both forecasting systems rely, at least in substantial part, on computers crunching numbers. Anyway, It would be fair to say, there is undeniably perhaps a bit of “Boy who cried wolf” effect creeping in to my psychology as the MetService has issued multiple rain Warnings in the past only to have no or not very much rain occur in the majority of the Auckland Region.

The plan from here on in. If the MetService issues rain warnings again and we’re planning to head out for a day hike or other activity, on the Morning of the Activity…

  • Look at the Rain radar on the MetService website.
  • Briefly review the Rain forecast maps on both the MetVUW and MetService website.
  • Look out the Windows or go outside to assess.

If the live rain map really is looking dire, then cancel or perhaps delay departure, if not (only patches of isolated rain), then continue with plans. Regardless of the forecast, always be prepared for change of weather, bring rain gear always and be prepared to abort if the weather changes en-route.


Forecasting weather like the financial markets

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *