Godzilla in the Room – Reblog

Article from the pages of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine. We liked it so much that we decided to “reblog”.

Excellent read – Mitchell Scott reflects on our almost obsession to predict the long range weather forecast.
“Slight chance of an epic winter with a 100 per cent chance of uncertainty?”

As a society, we are obsessed with predicting the weather. Ask anyone on the street and they probably know the long-range forecast. In fact, you’re kind of an idiot if you don’t. These forecasts have become a critical part of our existence. We need to know.

Weather is much like the news, a tool to sell ads and grab eyeballs. The more sensational and dramatized the better. As the old adage goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Slight chance of an epic winter with a 100 per cent chance of uncertainty? Drought? Quite possible. Torrential precip? Maybe. Thanks for the “forecast.”


Words: Mitchell Scott Photo: Bruno Long

Our desire to know the weather of the immediate future is quasi-understandable. But when it comes to making sweeping predictions about entire seasons, things get a little ridiculous. Take this “Godzilla El Niño,” for example. Meteorologists are calling for big snows in southern California and more dryness in the Pacific Northwest, crazy rainstorms in Chile and milder temperatures throughout most of Canada.

As much as meteorological soothsayers like to definitively predict the future, they usually annotate with a casual, “We don’t really know what the hell we’re talking about.” Consider the fact that since 1958, there have been seven major El Niño systems: three wet, three dry and one average. Some pattern.

Mother Nature doesn’t plan things out, so predicting her ways is not only folly, but also emotionally and economically dangerous. Your friends aren’t buying a ski pass because it’s supposed to be a shitty winter. People are upgrading their ocean quiver rather than their winter one. And it’s all based on speculation.

It makes one think about the old days, say 100 years ago, when no one knew what the weather was going to do. That was okay. We’ve done a couple hundred thousand years this way, and guess what, we’re still here. So while I appreciate your stab in the dark, Mr. Weatherman, I think I’ll just take a coat.


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