The coming winter season
The leaves on the trees are all but off and we have headed into the nether season of short daylight hours and colder weather. The long hibernation is about to begin and many Canadians begin to look to the south longingly and hoping in some way the winter weather will be shorter and less protracted than the last.
The fall and winter are among my favourite seasons. The other two are spring and summer. I love the constant round and change. Each season has its frustrations and tribulations, but for me I wouldn’t have it any other way. I find the summer heat and humidity a bit tedious and oppressive, but one of the great advantages of making the Maritimes my home is it never lasts long, nor is it as intense as the heartland continental swelter.
That brings me to the eternal round about of forecasting the weather and the hope the seasonal outlook doesn’t drive too many folks around the bend with its inherent inaccuracy. The spring and fall seasons seem to focus public scrutiny on the weather even higher than usual when it comes to the seasonal outlook. This is where I tip my hat to the long range forecasters at Environment Canada. They truly do enter where angels fear to tread. Putting out a long range seasonal outlook and trying to make it meaningful and accessible and accurate, (a lot of “ands” in the equation aren’t there) is a tough one. Its part of what is called an ill posed problem in mathematics. That means its not a linear equation where you plug in a value for a variable and it in turn generates a unique answer.
The forecast weather equation that the meteorologists plug into the computer that generates all the maps we use is called the “primitive equation”. The primitive weather equation has so many variables with weights that vary that you can start out with the same initial parameters and generate any number of forecasts! There are so many things that can influence the forecast that don’t appear in the basic equation that after a few days the forecast is worse than useless. Its becomes the equivalent of throwing a dart at the wall and hoping you hit something meaningful.
That being said, I still wait each month for the seasonal outlooks to whether the prognosis is good or bad. And now that I am among the sailing crowd I have an even more vested interest than usual. I am hoping we can have a short sweet winter with little snow or ice and a quick warm spring that leads immediately to a long, warm, sunny summer with gentle breezes. Dreaming? You betcha! In Technicolour!
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