Why ancient wisdom was prone to failure. …
We all know some sayings about the weather. Today, with scholars in the weather world able to do our thinking for us, we tend to reason the old stuff went out the window years and years ago.
I started looking at some of it several decades back. And I concluded that their accuracy levels must have been something similar to what meteorological sophistication was capable of. I did not know then that most long range forecasts were based on probabilities worked out from statistics.
And even if I had, I wouldn't have realised that that method was such a complete waste of time, nor why.
I got hold of a book by someone I now know was a senior figure in meteorology back in the day. His name was Richard Inwards and he amassed a collection of weatherlore which the Meteorological Office published.
Not realising how weatherlore worked, he listed the saws into categories that the proverbs were about. So I read chapters on clouds, chapters on rain, chapters on whatever method the author chose to string them together.
Thus fed on such an hodgepodge, it is only right that the sayings were lost to science. But introduce them into different sections with categories that some of the sayings must allude to and you have a reasonable, scientific study of natural history that is based on the weather's effects.
I was looking at the Mag 6 quakes turning up during the last spell and it suddenly occurred to me that the rate of their occurrence was due to the cycle of events in the North Atlantic. Something called the North Atlantic Oscillation.
The North Atlantic Oscillation is a not very fitting name given to the fact that periodically the Low and High pressure systems that wend their way west to east across its surface are sometimes flaccid and sometimes sharply contrasted.
Periods where the Lows never develop any great depth and the Highs seldom reach dizzying heights are called negative oscillations. And periods where the Lows can be very deep ones and the Highs often reach to 1050 millibars and over are called Positive Oscillations.
The oscillations (only considered for the depth of winter in classical circles) concern the air pressure averages for meteorological stations in the NW Atlantic and their similarities or lack of similarities to the air pressure statistics from staions elsewhere.
I can't remember where these stations are. And it seems that it is a matter of taste among the academics who analyse them, which stations are which. Which opens the results to debate and accusations of subjectivity or objectivity or whatever might be said were the world of Climatology an open forum, instead of the clique it so obviously needs to be.
Fortunately, we can write the whole shebang off and start again. We'd have had to anyway in years to come when the next generation to run the various think tanks meteorologic realised they were doing pretty much the unsupportable…
We can write it off now, now that the sea surface levels for most of the North Atlantic are available online. We don't need to analyse statistics. We don't need to know which stations are which to make the collations from.
Instead of that mumbo jumbo, we can look at the whole picture – or as much of it as is represented by the Atlantic Charts and see for ourselves exactly what the set-up was and what the weather was doing on such and such a date.
Now all we need is a few old saws and see how well they cut up against reality.