Climate change is making weather prediction a bit more complicated these days, and climate scientists are having a hard time keeping up. Last week, a climate scientist reported that an important weather prediction model was giving absurd results for West Coast weather that was ten days away.

Notable here is a modeling professional describing model output as “not realistic” and “completely absurd”. This means that model was doing something unexpected and that its output was unbelievable.

Granted, a 10-day forecast is less reliable than a 10-hour forecast. Mathematical models are better at accurately predicting events that are near their input data. In the case of temporal weather forecasts, this means the near-future predications are more accurate than far-future predictions. And certainly the modeler here knows that. And yet he describes the model output as “completely absurd” and puts out a call for help in his efforts to identify the source of the problem.

Three days later, he’s made little progress to his goal of finding a problem.

This tweet is a bit hard to parse. My takeaway is this: two different models are giving the same prediction (now a seven-day farecast). If these two models are built differently, then this decreases the likelihood that the model output is the result of some “error” or “mistake”. It is evidence supporting the idea the original forecast was not a mistake.

Soon, the modelers are shrugging about the stubbornly consistent model output.

A day later, the weather forecaster are going with the flow.

Even the National Weather Service is rolling with it, now.

And online news services are writing about the extremem predictions.

Looks like we’re in for a hot one!

Update: NOAA, too (24 June)

This modeling “issue” has even made it into a NOAA “Area Forecast Discussion” for the Portland, OR, area. They refer to it as “hype”.

 There has been a lot of (well-justified) hype lately regarding the
 high temperatures shown by many models (and the National Blend of Models) Sunday and Monday, with some showing all-time high temperature records being obliterated by 5 to 10 degrees. While models seem to be well in agreement of +28 deg C to +31 deg C for 850 mb temps during that period. The all-time record for 850 mb temperatures at KSLE per SPC sounding climatology is +28.3 deg C. So, just considering 850 mb temps, we would be in the ballpark of all-time record highs. But there are additional considerations... 

So remarkable.

Update:, writes (2 July)

As we move past this remarkable climate event, people are writing about it. Here’s what Tom Di Liberto writes for Climate.gove: “Astounding heat obliterates all-time records across the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada in June 2021”.

It’s a good write up, and it comes close to mentioning the disproportionate impact heat waves have on our neighbors who have been marginalized through policies like redlining and the like. This is an issue we need to be thinking about and making policy that damps the negative impact of climate change on those neighbors.

Di Liberto’s article does link to an article on work being done by NOAA to understand climate impact on these populations. The article “NOAA and communities to map heat inequalities in 11 states” is worth a read.