You’re better off playing two-up than believing the weatherman

Grazing in March

An amazingly good pasture for March


If you tossed a coin to issue the next three monthly outlook, you’d be more accurate than the weather gurus at the Bureau of Meteorology. I am not being cheeky either – it’s a fact reported by the Bureau itself.

The seasonal outlook below shows a relatively dry winter is expected in our part of Australia (a good thing).

National Rainfall Outlook

What we're supposed to be getting

But when you dig a little deeper, you find this matching map (not a good thing):

Seasonal Climate Outlook Assessment

The pink says "We get it wrong more often than we get it right"

We are in one of the pink zones. If I understand it correctly, this means the Bureau’s outlook is right 45-50% of the time. In other words, “If we say it’s going to be dry, it’s more likely to be wet”.

Don’t think I’m suggesting the weather forecasters are dummies. Absolutely not! Just as no dairy farmer would suggest she has a handle on all the natural systems that make a farm tick, weather is notoriously, ridiculously complex and difficult to predict. I take my hat off to those who get it kinda right most of the time.

What I don’t understand is that if the Bureau’s learned fellows are so honest as to say: “We think we have a 45% chance of getting this right”, why issue a forecast at all? Maybe they just love to use their colourful highlighters? 😉

4 thoughts on “You’re better off playing two-up than believing the weatherman

  1. I dont think I can stand the rain any more and that does not bode well for my patch on the north coast of NSW, So am going to Europe until May just to get away from the wet wet wet NSW weather ha ha ha


  2. Sadly the realms of statistics and probability are a bit of a ‘black art’ to those who have not had the pleasure (displeasure?) of sitting through many lectures on them and sat in tutorials performing seemingly endless analyses of numbers using mind-bending formulae and probability tables. I reckon the boys and girls do a great job at BOM to get it mostly right as often as they do given that Earth’s weather is such a dynamic beast. With the level of complexity in factors driving our weather, I don’t get too excited about forecasts out over about four days. People who claim to give accurate long range forecasts really don’t know, they’re just playing the odds when they make a prognostication.


Leave a Reply - comments are moderated, so don't worry if your comment doesn't appear straight away, I'm probably just off feeding a child or a cow!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s