• Stormtrack's forum runs on Xenforo forum software, which will be undergoing a major update the evening of Wednesday, Feb 28th. The site may be down for a period while that update takes place.

Broadcast Meteorology: Real Science or Data Shoveling?

Great article, too bad certain NWS office are now rellying heavily on models as well. Kind of ironic that the author of this article hails from the same location as one of the key offenders...Accuweather.
 
One thing that I think would be difficult about broadcast meteorology is that a person is limited in how much of the science they could actually share. Marketers and producers at most stations are extremely particular in what is actually said on the air, and the way things are said. So the result is that the forecasts sound like they have been 'dumbed' down a bit for the mass audience --- I can see how this might result in some broadcast mets taking the easier route of 'data shoveling'. At the same time, the fact is that there are also lots of qualified broadcast meteorologists who have a great understanding of the science. The ones who are really concerned with producing a quality forecast for their region still rely heavily on the science (primarily the ones who have been around for a day or two and who have been doing this from before the days of heavy reliance on model guidance) - and it shows in the confidence - and numbers - of their viewers.
 
Just because we show things on-air (or more importantly - don't show them or say words like "low pressure") because of our consultants, doesn't mean we don't know how to make a forecast. It just means we have to mold our delivery into a package that a non-met wants.
 
I guess you have to use the tools of the time... If the models are used correctly, I believe you can generate a decent forecast. I guess a good experiment would be to only rely on observational data for a couple of months, and then compare the number of good forecasts to the number of busted forecasts. I'm guessing the person NOT using the forecast models would have a higher bust rate, regardless of how the person using the models "pushed" the data.

As for "data pushing"... Isn't that what forecasting is all about anyway? A forecaster takes the available data, puts it into a format the public can understand, and pushes it out as a forecast? I bet if I told my mom that "The NAM is forecast 0.50 inches of QPF, while the GFS is only at 0.35 inches... The snow to liquid ratio is 20 to 1, with a chance of convective banding associated with CSI and even some CI" - what do you think her response would be?

And in my opinion, a real "scientist" isn't a forecaster... A scientist is someone who STUDIES and RESEARCHES a topic (at least in the met. world... I would say Fujita was a "scientist" versus a "forecaster"). Sure a met. "scientist" and a met forecaster might have the same knowledge, but how they apply themselves is completely different. A scientist isn't trying to please the public with a solid deterministic forecast.
 
Back
Top