People still do not know how to predict weather whims, not to mention how to gain the absolute power over nature. Modern scientists have to acknowledge that it is almost impossible to give a precise weather forecast, as the weather is an extraordinarily complex system difficult to assess. In such a “chaos system”, a variation to one of the tiniest factors in the atmosphere can completely change the forecast.
However, meteorologists try to make the unpredictability of the weather predictable by using highly developed technology to simulate the possible run of the weather in a computer model. Recently, China claimed that a new weather forecasting system, supported by a sophisticated computer, enables weather forecast months in advance. I burst with laughing at this story. The reason: distant water cannot quench present thirst!
Weather forecasters have always been criticized for their frequent false predictions of weather. The majority of people are used to treating meteorological forecasts rather cautiously: a promised day of sunshine would often bring pouring rain or heavy snowfall, and 3 days of rain predicted would turn out to be a sunny week.
Incorrect weather forecasts can bring about troubles and inconvenience to ordinary people like us or even result in immense financial losses for many countries.
Unfortunately, meteorologists have to enjoy unenviable reputation worldwide, though it sounds somewhat unfair the weather man should be a scapegoat, as the mankind should acknowledge its inability to envisage weather changes and control the will of nature. Even Japanese weather forecasters can make serious mistakes from time to time, despite the easier weather modeling, substantial funding and latest technological developments. The Japanese government, however, imposes regular fines on local weather specialists for incorrect forecasts. And the Moscow Mayor also demanded punishment of either meteorologists or those, who carry responsibility for efficient solutions of the problems that arise from natural cataclysms.
Here, I would say that weather forecasting is both a science and an art. Why? A typical forecast reads like this: “It will rain periodically somewhere in the city in the morning. In the afternoon, scattered rain is possible” or “Today’s weather in Shanghai will be fine and partly cloudy with occasional rains depending on regions”. Hearing this, shall we go out with an umbrella or not? One can neither cry nor laugh at such an ambiguous prediction. Anyway, forecast in need is forecast indeed. Sometimes, they made a right guess of weather, but told a wrong time, e.g. the rain started earlier (or later) than had been expected. However, weather forecasters hardly admit their forecast was wrong. They often boast that the accuracy rate of a forecast is more than 80 percent! Worse still, they hardly make an apology no matter how wrong their forecast proved to be. The word “apology” is missing in their vocabulary.