The Farmer's Almanac-Best Accuracy Rate in Weather Prediction?
I Left My Snow Shovel In Maryland
I moved to southern California last October. Looks as if I left just in time! I had a feeling that it was going to be a bad winter for Maryland, and it seems I was right.
I was shocked when December's snowstorm dumped about a foot and a half of snow in Montgomery County. But the storm that raged yesterday may be the grand-daddy of all of Maryland's snow storms. This storm was expected to bring 2 to 3 feet of snow! Maryland has not seen over 2 feet of snow since 1922. George Washington recorded 3 feet of snow in one of his journals, a phenomenon not seen since the days of official weather recording. (NOTE: The storm blanketed the DC area with up to 32 inches of snow...WOW!)
I would not have been as amazed if I had simply read The Farmer's Almanac. The Farmer's Almanac predicted major snow fall for the Mid-Atlantic states in mid-February. This lead me to wonder just how accurate The Farmer's Almanac's predictions were.
What is a Farmer's Almanac
An almanac, in general, is a yearly collection of events published as a book. Farmer's almanacs will contain information regarding events, such as holidays and anniversaries, and phenomenons, such as the time the sun rises and sets, high and low tides, and the phases of the moon. Farmer's almanacs also contain long-term weather predictions, information on the best time to plant crops and tips on fishing, gardening and cooking. Interspersed with these facts are humorous and witty sayings, trivia, advice and trends.
Prior to television and the local news, people would use an almanac to determine what the weather was going to be. Although almanacs do not give specific dates, they do give date ranges, as in the prediction of heavy snow-fall during mid-February in the mid-Atlantic states. Almanacs are said to have an 80-85% accuracy rate in determining the weather.
How Does The Farmer's Almanac Predict the Weather?
The Farmer's Almanac uses a formula invented by it's founder David Young in the early 1800's. This formula relies on information taken from "sunspots, moon phases, and other astronomical and atmospheric factors and conditions". The formula is a closely guarded secret. Not even the name of the current forecaster is released. All of The Farmer's Almanac forecasters have gone by the name of "Caleb Weatherbee" since the death of David Young.
Interestingly, The Farmer's Almanac calls it's forecaster a "weather prognosticator". To prognosticate is to foretell or prophesy. A few of the synonyms listed on Thesaurus.com are "prophet, seer, visionary". The main difference between a prophet and a prognosticator is that a prognosticator bases his prophesies on current indicators and facts. Due to the difficulty in predicting the weather, I guess prognosticator is a very good name.
The Farmer's Almanac's weather prognosticator makes predictions two years in advance. Utahweather.org states the local weather is right about 65% of the time when forecasting the weather 3-5 days away. The accuracy rate drops to 55%-65% for forecasts greater than 7 days away. It seems amazing to me that The Farmer's Almanac can be correct two years in advance, when the latest technology maintains such a low percentage of correctness. I guess this is why 56% of people surveyed trusted The Farmer's Almanac's forecast over the National Weather Services.
Who Do You Trust?
The weather forecasting service I trust most is:See results without voting
The Farmer's Almanac's take on Global Warming
Caleb Weatherbee, in an interview, stated, "Surprisingly, we really haven't noticed any effects of climate change, at least from the standpoint of our issuance of annual forecasts...Through it all, we here at the Farmers' Almanac have just continued to keep doing what we always have been doing. To us, we recognize that some of our human behavior should be more responsible when it comes to this planet we’re living on, but overall, the theories of climate change and global warming have not affected the way we make our forecasts." It seems that The Farmer's Almanac does not find global warming to have a significant effect on the weather.
In an article written by Caleb Weatherbee he states that we may see more global cooling than global warming in the years to come. Part of the cooling trend is due to a decrease in sunspot activity. As cold as it's been throughout the world this winter I have to believe him.
Interesting Facts About Global Warming
Here are some interesting facts that I have learned:
- Glaciers in Alaska expanded instead of shrinking.
- The Arctic ice-cap increased by 13% in 2008.
- The polar bear population has been increasing.
- No new global warming has occurred since 1998.
- Over 31,000 scientists world-wide have signed a petition stating man's impact on global warning has not been proven.
- Researchers working to prove the global warming theory have hidden and/or destroyed data that proves temperatures have been declining.
- CO2 is good for the environment.
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