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Sind Wetterereignisse meteorologisch vorhersehbar?

12.11.2014 – hurrikan_californien_150Saisonale Klimavorhersagen sind seit Jahren an der Tagesordnung. Allerdings werden diese von der Industrie und den Versicherern kaum berücksichtigt. So bestehe eine große Diskrepanz zwischen den Prognosen der Wissenschaftler und den Bedürfnissen der Unternehmen, konstatiert James Done von Willis Research.

James Done states:

A forecast for increased likelihood of above average U.S. temperatures, for example, is of little value to an industry that lives primarily at the extremes. A transformation is needed of the way both the industry and climate scientists conceptualize seasonal climate forecasting.

Everyday weather forecasts derive skill from accurate knowledge of weather at the start of the forecast and project forwards in time using the physical laws of the atmosphere. The reason forecast skill plummets beyond 7-10 days is that unknowable small-scale details grow over time to overwhelm the forecast. This begs the question, if we can’t predict the weather beyond 7-10 days how can we make skilful seasonal climate forecasts?

The bad news is that seasonal prediction of specific events is not possible today. Even worse, it will never be possible. A recent peer-reviewed study by the Willis Research Network showed that a North Atlantic hurricane season can become twice as active purely due to small-scale processes that are unknowable in advance of the season. This means that even if we had complete knowledge of pre-season conditions and a perfect forecast system we will never be able to forecast perfectly the numbers of hurricanes every season, let alone specific landfalling locations.

Perhaps the greatest advance will be made through a change in forecasting the weather and climate to forecasting the impact in industry-relevant terms, such as deviations from normal dollar losses. This transformation requires interdisciplinary expertise to understand interactions between climate risk, risk perception and risk communication, but success ultimately hangs on sustained iteration of solutions between climate science and industry. (vwh/td)

Bild: Weltraum-Kontrastbild des Hurrikans Odile. (Quelle: Nasa)

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