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(NPR)   One of the main reasons that it's so difficult to make an accurate weather forecast? People are too stupid to understand them   (npr.org) divider line
    More: Obvious, Weather, Extreme weather, Rain, Climate change, Meteorology, Climate, Louis Uccellini, extreme weather  
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2983 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Jan 2022 at 12:19 PM (18 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-01-07 11:08:19 AM  
FTFA:Whether it's in a city or even in the Midwest for the tornadoes, we have to look at where people are living. The buildings that they live in, whether they meet the standards or not in "Tornado Alley." Maybe every facility needs a storm shelter, for example, that will be strong enough to withstand 190-200 mph winds. That's an infrastructure issue.

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When you realize that the State of Oklahoma does not require public schools for children to be built with tornado sheltering, and the vast majority are not, then you understand the general public really does not care about infrastructure that isn't just subsidizing businesses.
 
2022-01-07 11:08:35 AM  
It's math. Probabilities are math. People don't get probabilities, partly because they don't get math.

The larger problem is people want everything in black and white, good and evil, night and day, us vs. them. Football games must end up 100-0 or your team was slacking. Any policy discussion is dismissed as wonky because no one wants to hear about nuance. An election win means a mandate for your side, fraud if it's their side.

I've learned about weather as a pilot. You use it everyday as one of your tools. And the FAA makes you learn about it extensively and you have to prove it to them on written exams. It's hard because it's science and it's nuanced and it doesn't give you black and white answers. People don't have that kind of patience these days.
 
2022-01-07 11:39:32 AM  
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2022-01-07 11:54:32 AM  

edmo: The larger problem is people want everything in black and white, good and evil, night and day, us vs. them. Football games must end up 100-0 or your team was slacking. Any policy discussion is dismissed as wonky because no one wants to hear about nuance. An election win means a mandate for your side, fraud if it's their side.


Sport Team Politics meets the weather channel?
 
2022-01-07 11:55:48 AM  
Weather is hard...

c.tenor.comView Full Size
 
2022-01-07 12:22:04 PM  

edmo: The larger problem is people want everything in black and white, good and evil, night and day, us vs. them.


Big religion influence here.
 
2022-01-07 12:22:28 PM  
You never know where the Jewish Space Laser is going to fire.  Messes up the system.
 
2022-01-07 12:23:19 PM  
Pfft, trump has shown all you need to do is have a Sharpie to make a weather prediction.
 
2022-01-07 12:23:26 PM  
George Carlin:  Can you explain the difference between a Canadian Low and a Mexican High?
 
2022-01-07 12:23:45 PM  
This is your brain on isobars.
 
2022-01-07 12:24:21 PM  
If 3% of people can't understand your communications, maybe it's them.

If 30% of people can't understand your communications, maybe it's you.
 
2022-01-07 12:25:07 PM  

blatz514: Weather is hard...

[c.tenor.com image 480x398] [View Full Size image _x_]


Looks like a sunny day in Norway... Singapore.... somewhere
 
2022-01-07 12:26:46 PM  
 
2022-01-07 12:27:55 PM  
Actually this was a pretty cool article, more interesting than submitter and i thought at first. The big takeaway is the final paragraph:

"So, it's a really complicated problem. It's social science. It's human factors. Physical scientists usually aren't trained in that right. So we're engaging with the social science experts now in ways that we haven't done before, and we probably should have."

Basically: improving the usability of weather.
 
2022-01-07 12:28:34 PM  
I remember once, in high school we had a rep from the NY Times come into the classroom to teach us how to read and fold, the NY times. (yes there's a very certain way to fold it, helps if you're on a train, commuting)

One student raised her hand...

"Sir, is it true newspapers are written at a 5th grade reading level? If so, why is that?

"Well, most newspapers are written on a 5th grade level, Except the NY Times. I guess you never tried doing the NY Times crosswords..."
 
2022-01-07 12:29:23 PM  
People are stupid, film at 11. And now over to Chuck with your sportsball headlines
 
2022-01-07 12:30:13 PM  
I've always wanted to learn meteorology. Not be a weather person on TV, (I've a face for radio) anyway, I would love a job where I get paid to be wrong.

Must be nice.
 
2022-01-07 12:31:18 PM  
FTFA

Even now,people don't really understand what forecasts are telling them. A 20% chance of rain, for example, is often seen as a low probability event when it actually means 20% of a city's area will see rain.

I'm not a young man, and I'm at least a somewhat well-read man. This is the first time I've ever read or heard this in my entire life.

If only weather forecasters had some medium at their disposal via which they could communicate information to mass audiences...
 
2022-01-07 12:31:21 PM  
That can be said about any number of subject, Subby!
 
2022-01-07 12:31:38 PM  

blatz514: Weather is hard...

[c.tenor.com image 480x398]


And so am I
 
2022-01-07 12:31:39 PM  

Ghost Roach: People are stupid, film at 11. And now over to Chuck with your sportsball headlines


Chuck: Thanks Ghost. There was a game last night, one team won, the other team lost. Now back to Joanne with the weather.

Joanne: It's gonna rain. Back to you Ghost.
 
2022-01-07 12:32:42 PM  
Even now, people don't really understand what forecasts are telling them. A 20% chance of rain, for example, is often seen as a low probability event when it actually means 20% of a city's area will see rain

Yes, it means that there is a 100% chance that 20% of the forecast area will see rain.  It's amazing how many people don't understand this.
 
2022-01-07 12:32:51 PM  
Sure, it's us. It can't possibly be the dipshiats on TV desperate for ratings that scream "12 inches of snow expected - tune in for updates". School lets out early, roads are salted, grocery stores are emptied...and we get 1 inch of snow at midnight. That's St Louis weather. They are wrong 90% of the time. But, more importantly they sold airtime and got 159k clicks on their website.
 
2022-01-07 12:34:04 PM  
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2022-01-07 12:35:28 PM  
The parallels between communicating the difficult science behind weather forecasting and communicating the difficult science behind a new contagious harmful virus are quite strong.

And TFG managed to politicize both.

/Meteorologist
 
2022-01-07 12:35:40 PM  

blatz514: Weather is hard...

[c.tenor.com image 480x398] [View Full Size image _x_]


I gave mine a different name, but you do you.
 
2022-01-07 12:36:29 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/cool-cash-card-confusion-1009701


To be fair,  If your stupid enough to buy them then you've already failed.

It doesn't help that weather news says blizzard when all you see is light sleet or shouts storm force 10 every time there's a stiff breeze.
I live in Wales where we often get different weather on each side of the house, the only forecast I trust is what I can see.
 
2022-01-07 12:36:39 PM  

edmo: I

t's math. Probabilities are math. People don't get probabilities, partly because they don't get math.

Most mathematicians will insist that it isn't math, it's statistics.  Bit of a nerdwar there.
 
2022-01-07 12:37:49 PM  

steklo: I've always wanted to learn meteorology. Not be a weather person on TV, (I've a face for radio) anyway, I would love a job where I get paid to be wrong.

Must be nice.


I took some geography courses as my required electives during undergrad.  One of them was 'environmental geography', which the teacher joked in the first class was the most useful of all classes as it let you talk about the weather.

But realistically, when someone asks you 'how about that weather?' and you discuss the wet adiabatic lapse rate vs dry, their eyes just roll back in their head.

/so still really useful when you're an introvert and want people to go away
 
2022-01-07 12:37:50 PM  

steklo: I've always wanted to learn meteorology. Not be a weather person on TV, (I've a face for radio) anyway, I would love a job where I get paid to be wrong.

Must be nice.


I hope you like math. The math will also show you why you can't perfectly forecast the weather, yet still do better than flipping a coin.
 
2022-01-07 12:38:58 PM  

BretMavrik: If 3% of people can't understand your communications, maybe it's them.

If 30% of people can't understand your communications, maybe it's you.


I wouldn't expect the 30% of Trumpers to understand anything.
 
2022-01-07 12:39:27 PM  
Most people are not meteorologists. If you want them to understand a forecast, give them a clear explanation.


/Learned at a young age just what the percent of rain actually meant.
//From a local network meteorologist that did a segment explaining how they made forecasts, and what the numbers actually meant.
 
2022-01-07 12:39:50 PM  

blatz514: Weather is hard...

[c.tenor.com image 480x398] [View Full Size image _x_]


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-01-07 12:40:44 PM  

Oneiros: so still really useful when you're an introvert and want people to go away


Crowded House - Weather With You
Youtube ag8XcMG1EX4
 
2022-01-07 12:41:04 PM  
Getting the public to understand weather is just as important as the science.

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2022-01-07 12:42:01 PM  
If I were a weatherman, I'd want to be one in Phoenix. I mean, how f'n hard can it be to forecast 115 degree weather?
 
2022-01-07 12:44:16 PM  

debug: Even now, people don't really understand what forecasts are telling them. A 20% chance of rain, for example, is often seen as a low probability event when it actually means 20% of a city's area will see rain

Yes, it means that there is a 100% chance that 20% of the forecast area will see rain.  It's amazing how many people don't understand this.


I was in my mid 20s before I finally realized that I had been mixing up which was worse, a 'tornado watch' or a 'tornado warning'

So then I had to remember to flip them, and that worked for a decade or so.

Now I don't remember which way I thought they were, so I can't do that, and have to go look them up.  But I can do that on my phone, which wasn't possible when I was in my 20s

/I think 'watch' is 'we see it right now'
//not 'we're watching to see if it happens'
///still not sure on 'mostly sunny' vs 'partly cloudy'
 
2022-01-07 12:45:10 PM  

debug: Even now, people don't really understand what forecasts are telling them. A 20% chance of rain, for example, is often seen as a low probability event when it actually means 20% of a city's area will see rain

Yes, it means that there is a 100% chance that 20% of the forecast area will see rain.  It's amazing how many people don't understand this.


Because the labeling is wrong.  They've chopped off too much of the information.  And then they rarely if ever put down 100%.

This recent nor'easter that just went through this morning.  Max "probability" was 88%.  Reality: 100% of the area got snow.  And yet they still were "wrong" since a high chance was tagged onto 2 1 hour intervals that saw... no snow at all.  They did give an accumulation prediction that was above 88%.  Unless you are very will versed in all the different prediction mechanisms being referenced by that particular source all you see as a consumer of such is conflicting information.  And that's for a prediction that was actually useful (make sure you have gas/charge for the snow blower, prep your cars for being cleared of snow - don't plan to go anywhere this morning).  But the details were not just wrong - conflicting.  And for most people, in their lives you either "got it right" or you "got it wrong".  Being "mostly right" is not something their bosses accept.  "Mostly right" at the meat packing plant is the same as "all wrong".
 
2022-01-07 12:45:11 PM  
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2022-01-07 12:45:36 PM  

Harry Freakstorm: George Carlin:  Can you explain the difference between a Canadian Low and a Mexican High?


Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout the night followed by scattered rays of light in the morning.
 
2022-01-07 12:45:57 PM  

hershy799: I hope you like math


I do like math but was never any good at it. Matter or fact I barely passed Algebra in HS. My teacher added some "points" to my final in 9th grade and said...

"Stek, I know you tried really hard this year in this class. Your final was a 64, and because you came in for extra help and all, I gave you enough points to pass this year. I suggest in future you don't take any higher math classes and stick with "business math".

This meant, no calculus, trig, etc. It also meant I couldn't take any higher science classes like Chemistry, and Physics which I totally enjoy. To this day, I'm upset I couldn't take physics.

Now, whenever I have a free moment, I love to watch science documentaries about Space and physics. I can grasp what I watch.
 
2022-01-07 12:46:02 PM  

litespeed74: If I were a weatherman, I'd want to be one in Phoenix. I mean, how f'n hard can it be to forecast 115 degree weather?


It can sometimes be difficult...

Weather map goes crazy live on the air
Youtube iXuc7SAyk2s
 
2022-01-07 12:47:54 PM  
Didn't read the article, or all the comments here, but it's my guess that there's a better explanation for what a 10% chance of rain means. 10% of the area? That's seems odd, as in, it doesn't sound like that's what it would mean at all, and if it does, why don't they say 'it looks like 10% of the area may see some rain'-what does that area look like? Would be like when it rains on Charlie Brown or something.
 
2022-01-07 12:48:33 PM  

BretMavrik: If 3% of people can't understand your communications, maybe it's them.

If 30% of people can't understand your communications, maybe it's you.


No, I still think it's them.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-01-07 12:48:33 PM  

Hey Nurse!: Sure, it's us. It can't possibly be the dipshiats on TV desperate for ratings that scream "12 inches of snow expected - tune in for updates". School lets out early, roads are salted, grocery stores are emptied...and we get 1 inch of snow at midnight. That's St Louis weather. They are wrong 90% of the time. But, more importantly they sold airtime and got 159k clicks on their website.


They actually tell you about snow?

Evening news in the DC area is more like:

'Are we going to have snow tomorrow?  Will schools be closed?  Coming up next!' before every commercial break

And then they drag it out til 11:55pm... so you've stayed up too late and find out that no, you still have to get up at 5am, and should've gone to bed an hour ago.
 
2022-01-07 12:49:20 PM  
Funny, for Christmas this year, I got the 2022 Farmer's Almanac.

I never read one before. Apparently, they know the weather in the future due to an old "formula" used in the 1700's.
 
2022-01-07 12:50:00 PM  

nullandvoid744: FTFA

Even now,people don't really understand what forecasts are telling them. A 20% chance of rain, for example, is often seen as a low probability event when it actually means 20% of a city's area will see rain.

I'm not a young man, and I'm at least a somewhat well-read man. This is the first time I've ever read or heard this in my entire life.

If only weather forecasters had some medium at their disposal via which they could communicate information to mass audiences...


They'd have to explain that rain percentage before every weather segment. Not once per morning show, not once an hour, but EVERY TIME they cut to their forecast. Failing that, folks STILL would think is's the vegas odds of their picnic getting rained out.

I can never stress this point often enough: people are farking dumb!

Yes, it's a curve, with geniuses at one end of the spectrum, and cops at the other. But that happy middle ground is FAR lower on the brain scale than everyone thinks it is, and everyone thinks they are on the sunny side of that hill. Most of those folks are wrong, and get very angry when you show them their actual spot on a distribution curve.

Mostly because it takes the better part of an hour to explain what a distribution curve IS
 
2022-01-07 12:52:29 PM  
I don't need to understand the underlying science. Just tell me if it's going to rain tomorrow.
 
2022-01-07 12:53:19 PM  
He found that 10% area that had rain. He seems to find it a lot

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2022-01-07 12:54:48 PM  

MadHatter500: debug: Even now, people don't really understand what forecasts are telling them. A 20% chance of rain, for example, is often seen as a low probability event when it actually means 20% of a city's area will see rain

Yes, it means that there is a 100% chance that 20% of the forecast area will see rain.  It's amazing how many people don't understand this.

Because the labeling is wrong.  They've chopped off too much of the information.  And then they rarely if ever put down 100%.

This recent nor'easter that just went through this morning.  Max "probability" was 88%.  Reality: 100% of the area got snow.  And yet they still were "wrong" since a high chance was tagged onto 2 1 hour intervals that saw... no snow at all.  They did give an accumulation prediction that was above 88%.  Unless you are very will versed in all the different prediction mechanisms being referenced by that particular source all you see as a consumer of such is conflicting information.  And that's for a prediction that was actually useful (make sure you have gas/charge for the snow blower, prep your cars for being cleared of snow - don't plan to go anywhere this morning).  But the details were not just wrong - conflicting.  And for most people, in their lives you either "got it right" or you "got it wrong".  Being "mostly right" is not something their bosses accept."Mostly right" at the meat packing plant is the same as "all wrong".



Which is also why the weatherman is usually the comic relief guy as well.  They know their job is mostly guesswork and they have zero accountability
 
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