Whither goes our weather today

Whither goes our weather today

Weather predictions and forecasting is a difficult job in a narrow island like NZ, but it's importance is paramount for farmers managing their business.

Everyone has there own preferred system but because of regional differences, none can be guaranteed. Local knowledge understanding where the weather comes from is also valuable. Technology has also provided the ability to have your own weather station, that in time with records will also help in weather planning.

Certainly farmers are often cynical of the TV weather, that sometimes seems more keen to entertain than worry about accuracy.

Ken Rings predictions do have a following, but probably are used more in getting a feel for future trends than day to day reliability. Tell us if you are a "Moon man" fan, or what other systems do you rely on.

Farmers and fishers are dependent on the weather – more so than most reports The Manawatu Standard. City people complain about the weather, but it might simply mean they have to carry coats and umbrellas. It rarely affects their livelihood. But how accurate are weather predictions? The science comes from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa). The less scientific comes from a number of sources, including moon man Ken Ring.

NZ farmers stake their livelihoods on the weather. Farmers at the Feilding stock sale get their weather information from TV news, teletext and National Radio's five-day forecast. "I know a haymaking contractor, and aerial spray and topdressing businesses who phone the 0800 MetService number every morning. They trust it and it seems to work," said a Manawatu farmer.

And television weather forecasts? "These are designed to entertain and create drama and are rarely accurate," President of the Manawatu Astronomical Society Ian Cooper says he is not a Ken Ring believer. "If you study weather as a layperson or as a professional, you will find understanding the complexities of the weather to be one of life's most difficult tasks." He says there is no person or thing on this planet that can predict weather to any real accuracy beyond a week.

Ken Ring  believes the Moon is the major player when it comes to weather patterns, just as for tidal patterns."We have an ocean of air above our heads that is gravitationally pulled around by lunar forces in the same way and at the same rate as the ocean of water."Ken Ring says that so far, he believes his predictions for 2010 in the Predict Weather Almanac for NZ have been satisfactory."I said we would get a late summer, a late autumn and a winter that would bring early cold, and late season precipitation."That has all happened. August was always going to be the wettest month for many, especially in the North Island."

 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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3 Comments

I’m battling with the Met Service since years and it seems they are not learning from local knowledge.

Kaikoura with a good North Westerly (Foehn) quite often get the highest temperature in the country.

A few days ago the forecast 8am said: Chch 17 degrees Kaikoura 14 degrees and Blenheim 18 degrees.

Reality was: Chch 20 degrees Kaikoura 25 degrees Blenheim 19 degrees.

A departing low to the east with an incoming high quiet often clears Kaikoura earlier then Chch/ Blenheim. This is not acknowledged by the Met Service.

In general the Met Service is okay, but struggling with accurate local forecast I think. I don’t know if this is related to lack of funding or ignorance listening to locals – probably both.

Anon your explanation reads like one of Mr. Bob McDavitt (Met Service) - always good for an excuse. I never asked for favourable weatherforecast but an accurate one. What I mentioned above are your (Met Service) temperature readings not mine.

It's an interesting science - well worth getting under you belt for fun.

Nz's weather (the South Island, anyway) is quite predictable, and always interesting. Adiabatic lapse rates, wave cloud/lentics, all fun.

Who cares about sunny/rainy presenters?

The one thing that get my goat, is farmers burning-off when the Nor'wester is clearly going to come in. Lentic pips all over the place, the Norwest arch forming, mares tales above that, and they fire up because "it wasn't windy".

Are we sure sheep genetics aren't tranferrable?