I saw this on Cracked.com as part of an article called "5 Everyday Annoyances That Are Actually Huge Disasters" (Google it, I can't post a link because of NSFW links on the site). I found it rather interesting and motivating because getting more accurate weather forecasts is a potential benefit from this project, right?
Anyway, here it is:The Petty Complaint:
You probably don't make too big a fuss if the temperature is a few degrees off from what the TV weatherman predicted, but if he screws up and forecasts clear skies, only to have it rain? Oh darn, heck just got real. Doesn't he realize that you have golf to play, baseball games to attend, and school buses to ramp? How are you supposed to plan any of that without being able to properly gauge the day's potential wetness?
"Sorry guys, the duel's off. Weatherman got it wrong again"The Huge Problem:
Entire governments and economies hinge on those fickle weather forecasts.
Take energy companies -- they use weather forecasts to determine how much power they need to generate for a given day (there's no sense firing up an entire power plant for three dudes sitting at home playing Xbox), and if the estimates are off, they end up having to purchase additional energy wholesale at insanely jacked up last-minute prices. And when we said "insanely jacked up," we weren't kidding -- we're talking up to 10,000 percent increases. The estimated savings work out to a $1 billion decrease in the annual cost of electricity if we improve the accuracy of our forecasts by just 1 degree Fahrenheit, and that's not even counting the untold bajillions of dollars' worth of First World whining it would prevent.
"We get it! It's chilly! Put on a sweater and shut up!"Also, every time the weatherman forecasts a blizzard that turns out to only be a couple of flakes, communities miss out on untold amounts of commerce and productivity when their entire populations transform into zombies that crave bread and milk instead of brains. In Washington, D.C., alone, the federal government loses $100 million a day every single time it closes its offices. Apparently Weather Wally in the Mornings costs somewhere between a large hurricane and a small war.This is why the USA has a National Weather Service -- it's not there so people can plan their picnics. While they're fairly accurate overall, American forecasts pale in comparison to their European counterparts. For years the National Weather Service has been so underfunded that it's struggled to pay its employees and hesitated to hire new ones, and as a result the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts has left them in the dust. Europe has computer systems 10 times more powerful than those in the U.S., and in 2012 they were able to predict Hurricane Sandy's path toward the East Coast a full two days before the American model did -- and two days is a bucking long time when people are waiting to find out if their house lies directly in the path of a rampaging hellstorm.