NEW YORK — The 2016 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac was published last weekend giving a grim forecast for warm weather lovers here in the Northeast. The gloomy forecast has giving many long range forecasters cry foul with the forecast questioning the publishers secret formula versus today’s computer models and technology.
The Almanac has been out publishing climatological forecasts using a “secret formula” that its original forecaster have used since the first edition that was issued in 1792.
The Farmer’s Almanac further stated that the coldest period will occur during the middle part of January along with a few cold spells during parts of December, February and March.
In terms of snow, it believes that there will be a few bouts of snow during the latter half of December, first half of January and toward the end of March.
So how much should we take this forecast to heart?
A lot of climatologists are showing large disagreement with the Almanacs forecast especially when a very strong El Nino is expected to occur.
With respect to the California, the Almanac is forecasting the winter to be a seasonably cold and dry season.
This directly contradicts with what an El Nino winter that NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center expects to be “Godzilla-like”. Typical El Nino winters brings gives a wetter forecast for California which is sorely needed to take a huge chunk of the five-year-long drought.
For us in the Northeast, El Nino winters doesn’t change the winter pattern that dramatically as what California experiences. NOAA shows that many of the storms will miss us tracking south with near to slight above normal temperatures
In the end, should you believe in the forecasts?
Mr. G says that there is no consensus between all the outlooks.
He went on with his own thoughts of this upcoming winter.
G believes that this winter will be on the mild side with below normal snowfall, but that does not preclude that we will have shots of cold and snow events.
The reason is for this thinking in simplified form is that a strong El Nino gives us analog maps which shows what kind of season we could expect across the country. This El Nino represents closely the event of 1997-98.
In a broad sense, the almanac’s forecasts will have its errors and its forecasts shouldn’t be taken at face value. It’s an inherent risk forecasting, long term and short term forecasts and outlooks will have a certain degree of error.
Going back the Mr. G, he states that “We issue this only because there is so much interest but profess that that this is just an outlook and not a forecast. Models are not that good yet [in providing seasonal forecasts.]”