THE DT METHOD of the use of MEDIUM and LONG RANGE NUMERICAL PREDICTION MODELS - the ART of SKEPTICISM
If this web site has such a thing as a " Prime
Directive " then for me it has to be the establishment of a weather site and source
where one can get an honest to goodness unbiased reasonable discussion of
Medium and long range weather patterns and of scenarios that are
realistic as opposed to ones which are glorified "wishcasts" posing as pseudo meteorology.
As some of you know I take the perspective of " what could go wrong"? when it comes to forecasting major or significant events. This is fundamentally a very different approach when compared to the more common perspective of... "how can I get cold and a snowstorm out of this pattern?" In the warm / Summer this Mindset or perspective comes across as ... " how can I get Hurricane zelda to come up the East coast?"
Truth be told I have a strong PRO snow bias which many folks find hard to believe. Which is good in some ways because it means I am doing it right. But by starting from a position of "skepticism" my bias is not seen or easily detected Skepticism is not the same thing as Cynicism . From a Meteorological perspective SKEPTICISM involves setting up a series of barriers or obstacles that HAVE to be overcome FIRST in order for me to get excited about a particular weather event-- be it a hurricane or a major snowstorm. I am forcing myself to take a position of discipline and non hype.
Such a Perspective has a very overlooked benefit. By taking the perspective of " what could go wrong"? and starting from a point of skepticism.... as the possible event draws closer and the "obstacles" are removed.... my confidence in the BIG event INCREASES. This is VERY different from the more popular viewpoint "how can I get arctic cold and snowstorm out of this pattern?"
When you start with THAT view point... or the worst case scenario... your confidence decreases at the event gets closer because you have started the forecast process with such a extreme viewpont that given the forces of of the Universe-- Chaos theory -- is more often than not going to find a way for the worst case scenario NOT to happen.
Using the perspective -- " What could go wrong? " as a starting point.... the increase in confidence as the possible event draws near is Very helpful to my Ag and energy traders as well as Operational clients. For example this approach allows me to really go for the BIG snow amounts when these obstacles are overcome and certain conditions are met.
Several times over the past few years I have been able to forecast early HUGE snow amounts often 24 to 36 hours before almost anyone else does and with surprising accuracy. The forecast I made for the 23-24 DEC 2004 Midwest historic snowstorm was more than 24 hours before the National Weather Service increased their snow amounts for 12- 20 inches. Like wise with the 26 -27 DEC 2004 Norfolk to Boston snowstorm... my DEC 26 1st call map was more than 18 hrs before NWS in SE VA increased their 2-4 inch snow amounts to 8-16". The same in SE Mass. And then of course there is a well-known case of the Presidents' Day 2 M.E.C.S. in February 2003....
The point here is NOT to bang my own drum. If you hold the opinion as some of you do that I am somehow anti snow then you are NOT picking up on what I am doing. Forecasters who are anti snow -- and they ARE out there believe me!!! -- do NOT go 5-10 inches of snow when the Local NWS forecast is going 2-4".... Forecasters who are anti snow -- do NOT go for 18-24 inches of snow for the Big cities of the NE 48 hrs before NWS did on Feb 15-17 major Northeast US snowstorm.
There is a METHOD to my madness. Really. Folks I have a forecast business to run. I cannot go on a national news network cable show and tell people I got it right when in fact I got it wrong. Accu weather can ... I cant. My clients don't pay me to blow smoke up their ass. The GOAL is that when folks know that when I say its coming... its coming. I am NOT by any mean always right but when I am wrong it is NOT because the event has been oversold or hyped
The other BIG difference between My weather philosophy and what you see in most other weather forecasts and forecasters is the tendency to think and have a outside of the box mentality.
It is hard for me to overemphasize the impact that the January 25 surprise Middle Atlantic snowstorm and the March 2001 middle Atlantic media "hype" snowstorm has had upon me.After spending many hours looking at the data I did something which I think most meteorologists did not do. And that was to look at the system and methods how we make our decisions and our risk assessments. I decided after the March 2001 event/debacle that I could either be strive to be first .. and the loudest.... to get the first for the BIG storm out first and run the increased risk of being wrong OR strive to come across as someone who's word / forecast for a BIG event was viewed as sure thing
Take the Winter of 2004 -05 for example. Based upon my seasonal outlook I was extremely happy with the way December 2004 and Jan 2005 have worked out. But because I am essentially a one-man operation... if I had forecasted as much extreme cold... threats of cold... and threats of big snows in the Northeast as some other forecasters ... I would of lost all my energy and eastern snow clients a long time ago!!.I realize that to some the perspective of "skepticism" appears to be Mindset that forces me to downplay EVERY significant or major event. But it also prevents... events and fiascos like the March 2001 rom occurring Here's the question which I had to answer and a question that you as a weather hobbyist or meteorologist has to answer... If we were back in March 2001 or a SIMILAR kind of scenario and HPC and TWC were screaming mega blizzard every 10 minutes... and forecasters in your local media area were talking about 20 or more inches of snow 48-72 hrs before the event .... Would you have the guts and balls to say "NO... I dont think that is right?"
I KNOW that I would. I have known it now for a couple years but the truth came last summer with the hurricane Frances fiasco. Not only was I the lone voice out their calling for Francis to hit South Florida... a forecast from which I never wavered... but while I was on vacation my cell phone was ringing off the hook. All of the private weather service information providers --and I mean ALL of them -- . were screaming that hurricane Frances was going to turn east of Florida then up East coast... phase with the 50/ 50 Low.... realigned the trough to the Midwest... and send very cold air into the Midwest with the early freeze.... Which would have major implications for the soybean crop.
To see how powerful this drive was all you have to do is go to one of the commodity sites on the Internet and call up the soybean charts from last summer--- and you can see how the prices rose rapidly on the frost speculation. My competitors such as cropcasts Worldweather GWS WSC as well as some of the other private meteorologists were all hammering away on this forecast and scenario ( and fo course it was all GFS based).
The important thing for me about the hurricane Frances event is not that I was right although that helps. It is that it proves to me that IF there was another March 2001 event coming up I would have the spine and fortitude not to get caught up in the stampede. When everybody is thinking the same someone isn't thinking...