In Hungary, a lot more people are interested in the weather than sex, politics, crime, or celebrity gossip. According to a previous article from The Guardian, Internet search statistics prove that people are increasingly interested in weather forecasts, especially in those countries which are characterised by volatile climate. Accordingly, the term ”weather” today is a much more popular search item on news portals and social media sites than sex.
Understandably, we would like to know what kind of weather can be expected to be prepared for a storm or extreme weather conditions. Additionally, these are becoming more and more common in Western Europe.
Weather forecasts are significant not only because they help to decide what clothes to put on in the morning, whether we should bring an umbrella with us, or plan outdoor activities for a given day, but it is important from social and economic aspects as well.
Since weather conditions affect the operation of the energy sector, agriculture, or even health care – for example, they may worsen the symptoms of allergic and cardiovascular diseases – in some workplaces, weather reports are suggested to be followed due to professional reasons.
According to the Hungarian news portal 24.hu, many people think of meteorologists in a prejudiced and strict manner – they think they are lying and complete their jobs inadequately as they are not able to predict precisely what kind of weather can be expected. The audience would like to know in advance when it will be warm enough for a vacation and which are the exact hours when it will be raining at their place of residence. This is impossible to be defined; however, it also depends on human thinking – what kind of unrealistic expectations we have concerning forecasts, and whether we interpret them correctly.
Despite the fact that the accuracy of forecasts has improved a lot over the last two decades, it is still predictable with only 70-75% probability. There is no ‘supercomputer’ which would be able to make an absolutely certain prediction since it is not possible to accurately measure all the atmospheric features.
Human thinking is influenced by several logical errors which are inevitable: available data cannot be analysed constantly, and we cannot always be objective. It also affects the way we think about the weather. The majority of us are characterised by over-optimism. We think that things are changing in a positive way, and we are inviolable: the weather will favour us, or if not, we will not be endangered.
The prejudice – which says that “meteorologists lie” – is a result of the human memory ‘s selective operation.
We do not necessarily remember those cases when predictions were proved, while we tend to misunderstand probabilities, statistics, and uncertainties. Human thought can support the work of meteorologists.
As far as we are concerned, it must be accepted that weather forecasts cannot be predicted with 100% accuracy – but is it really a problem?