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5 Tips for using long range forecasts

With the issuing of our Winter 2016/17 Preliminary Guidance on Tuesday, I thought it might be a good idea to just give a few tips on how to get the most from our longer range forecasts.

Winter is the season which always attracts the most attention in the media. People get excited about the possibility of snow, dramatic headlines are written which in turn sells more newspapers. So in the coming days and weeks headlines about 'Killer Winter' and '1963 again!' will be all the rage. There will be much chatter on Twitter and other social networks about how cold individual 'soothsayers' think the winter will be (they always say 'bitter and snow') and, understandably it is hard to distinguish which forecasts are legitimate and which are wishful thinking.

So, with that in mind here are our five top tips for getting the most value from our winter guidance.

1. Longer range guidance is just that...guidance.
This implies we are trying to nudge your thinking into a certain direction using the very latest computer guidance as well as analogues with previous years and our experience of weather patterns and circulation.

2. You must not use longer range forecasts as you would a daily forecasts
The two are very different beasts. Day to day forecasts are 90% model guidance and 10% forecast interpretation. Seasonal forecasts are 30% model guidance, 30% analogue comparison and 40% forecast interpretation and experience.

3. Don't bet the house/farm/kids/business on a long range guidance
There's no way that you should have such faith in long range guidance that you should be making huge investments based upon such guidance. You are subjecting yourself to such small changes in atmospheric state that confidence levels simply aren't at a level suitable enough to make exaggerated gambles.

4. Consistency hold the key to interpretation
If the guidance for the coming season remains similar from issue to issue then your confidence in the expected weather conditions can improve. If there are significant changes between each issue of the guidance then treat the predicted weather with caution.

5. Don't go looking for the forecast you want to see!
An unintended consequence of greater access to a mass of data is that you can just about find any forecast you want on the internet if you look hard enough. I hope you stick with as we try to give you the fullest picture. But be aware of being pulled this way and that by conflicting opinions, many of them from dubious sources.


I'm hopeful that gives a few pointers as to how to interpret longer range predictions and that it helps you extract the maximum value from your Weatherweb Premium membership.

Whatever the autumn and winter weather holds, we'll keep you up to date.



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