Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Christmas, weather models and other caveats

Max Gonzalez, Wednesday December 18, 2013 - 15:44 EDT

Sometimes it is hard to write a weather story, especially when there is only one main story developing on the weather front and everyone is talking about it. If you have been isolated in a remote area for the past few days, suffice to say the lead up to Christmas is going to be a SCORCHER. Trust me, by this time next week we will be over the word HEAT.

Coincidentally, the year that is about to leave us will end as it started, very hot. And it will most likely end in the top 3-hottest calendar years on record, if not the hottest. We will, however, have to wait until month's end before knowing with certainty this year's placing in history.

Since the beginning of December, telephone lines haven't stopped ringing. Not for the annual wrap-up, but for the Christmas day forecast. Our models begin to produce a weather forecast 14 days in advance, but people fail to realise that these should only be treated as guidance.

Yes, forecasting so far ahead can be very tricky but I wouldn't say they are worth less than the paper they are written as they give us a good sense of trends in weather patterns and highlight possible extreme events.

Events, which in turn, can have significant effects on the average Australian. Having some sort of guidance two weeks in advance can therefore be important to mitigate health hazards, crop and cattle losses and even help the economy. As an example, the current heat spell was first highlighted over 10 days ago by meteorologists at Weatherzone.

Out in the real world, there are a bunch of models to choose from. Some perform better in different parts of the world and some are particularly good at picking up a specific weather parameter such as temperature or rainfall. Due to technological restrictions, these models are limited in what they can do but our confidence in these forecast models increases as the date gets closer.

I would like to end this segment by wishing you all a very merry Christmas: full of joy and happiness.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2013

More breaking news

ABC News
Sydney Morning Herald
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Call to help hot and thirsty birds, wildlife survive during high temperatures

18:51 EDT

The old saying is that you know it is hot when birds start falling out of the sky.

Hot spring across NSW

17:56 EDT

El Nino reared its head this spring, delivering a scorcher to New South Wales.

Northern Territory pastoralists reflect on strong year for prices and new markets

17:47 EDT

Record prices, new export markets and rain ?? from the Tanami Desert to the Roper Gulf, and Daly Waters to the MacDonnell Ranges, four Northern Territory pastoralists have shared the ups and downs of 2015 with ABC Rural.