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Name: Phillip Dean C.
Status: other
Age:  60s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2002

Our local TV weather"scientist" equates the number of foggy mornings in August to the anticipated number of snow days for the coming winter I have a problem grasping this logic...are the two phenomena not mutually exclusive?


The TV weatherman may have found some statistical relationship between the two phenomena over a period of time. However, what we call the "confidence level" of that relationship has to be very marginal. Do not put any stock in that relationship. My guess is that if you looked closely at the data you may find that an average of the number of foggy mornings over 20 or 30 years is similar to the number of snow days in the following winter. However, that does not mean (and I can bet doesn't) that that will be true for any one year, with rare exceptions. Just like the Old Farmer's Almanac weather predictions, which are based on climatological means, your TV weatherman's predictor of snow days is no more valid for a particular year. A professional meteorologist, like myself, is not likely to make such statements.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory

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