More An Art Than A Science?
Forecasters at the Royal Dorset Meteorological Agency were left with egg (sunny-side down but far from over-easy) on their faces as predictions of "the hottest driest June on record" fell somewhat short of the mark. June so far has seen more than a month's rain fall every 24 hours for ten days consecutively. Feeling the pressure (but not the heat), Chief Scientist Barry O'Metric admitted that he and his colleagues might have got it wrong: "Sometimes you just have to hold up your hands to the skies, dry them off and admit you might have got it wrong", he said. Speaking to a rain-affected Press Conference during which only 10 questions could be bowled at him Dr O'Metric said that adjusted figures (Duckworth-Lewis Method) now suggested that only a further 2" of rain was needed to make June the "coldest and wettest on record." Quite a turn around!
So just where did it go wrong for the forecasters who only 6 months ago were provided with state of the art equipment and a new algorithm designed to make unreliable forecasts a thing of the past? Head of the Shortest Range Possible Forecasting Division, Ade Iabatic-Lapsrayte admitted there had been "teething troubles" with the new equipment but added that the possibility of human error could not be ruled out entirely.
Experts believe that a failure properly to calibrate the new instruments could go some way towards explaining a forecast which "turned out to be the diametric opposite of that which actually occurred". "Sometimes, an overtightened spring means that the little man doesn't come out as quickly as he should - and that's a killer. It just puts everything out," explained Cal Ibrashon of Anemometers 'R Us, Corfe Mullen.
Meanwhile, holiday makers - many of whom had booked short stays on the strength of the forecast - were today asking both for their money back and for a Royal Commission Inquiry into the Agency's work. In the Twittersphere, angry tweets suggested that only significant changes to forecasting personnel would end the crisis - the two most popular to date being #bringbacktheonewiththebigtits and #nakedforecastersrock.