Saturday, January 15, 2011

Comment On Previous Post

Chuck Doswell comments:

> > What you failed to mention: This statement was by Professor Cox at the Second Convention of Weather Bureau Officials back in 1901, according to my friend Don Baker.
Correct - Don sent this along to me also. I posted it initially without the pertinent who, when, where details to see if anyone would inquire about who said this.
Chuck adds: It's fascinating that things really haven't changed much in more than 100 years regarding this. Of course, fewer forecasters have any clue what to do without models, but that's another story.
Back on December 28th I stated on this blog: "I can't imagine how weather forecasting would go if all the numerical modeling centers crashed for several days."
Chuck's statement above alludes to the ongoing demise of human forecasters' skills in synoptic weather analysis and forecasting. Len Snellman (who was then head of the Scientific Services Division of the NWS Western Region) wrote in the October 1977 issue of BAMS (Vol. 58, pp 1036-1044):
"Forecasters are relinquishing their meteorological input into the operational product going to the user. Forecasters are operating more as communicators and less as meteorologists. Since this practice is increasing slowly with time, it can be called 'meteorological cancer.' By this is meant that today's forecaster can, if he chooses, and many do, come to work, accept Numerical Weather Prognoses (NWP) and MOS guidance, put this into words, and go home. Not once does he have to use his meteorological knowledge and experience. This type of practice is taking place more and more across the United States....."
One needs only to read through most (not all) NWS FDs to realize that Snellman's diagnosis of meteorological cancer was spot on and that the disease seems to be in its terminal phases. Thus, I don't really need to elaborate on the impacts and chaos that would follow a complete crash at all the numerical modeling centers.

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