May 21, 2018
Living Latest News | Poll Questions | Concussions | Maine Media College | Boston Red Sox

Winter forecast: Farmers’ Almanac predictions don’t convince climate scientists

By Tamara Dietrich, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

The Farmers’ Almanac might be predicting “days of shivery” this winter for most of the country — including “cold, wet and white” for our region — but climate scientists aren’t convinced.

“I don’t follow the Farmers’ Almanac for forecasts,” Bruce Wielicki, a climate expert at NASA Langley Research Center. “It’s not what I look for in a highly reliable forecast.”

It’s tough enough using forecast models, Arctic oscillations and ocean dynamics to come up with anything like reliable regional climate predictions, scientists say, much less the almanac’s formula of lunar cycles, sunspots and the positions of planets.

The 197-year-old publication goes so far as to predict a snowstorm around the time of the next Super Bowl, set to be played outdoors in New Jersey in early February 2014. Wielicki said climate scientists would never dare predict a specific storm so far in advance.

Last month, the almanac’s forecasting team, which collectively goes by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee, announced:

“The ‘Days of Shivery’ are back! For 2013-2014, we are forecasting a winter that will experience below-average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation. A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England…”

At the Climate Prediction Center at the National Weather Service, meteorologist David Unger said this is a bad year for prognosticating, in part because El Nino and La Nina conditions in the tropical Pacific haven’t emerged.

“This particular winter is, for the East Coast, pretty uncertain,” Unger said.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like