DIY Weather Forecasting
Can cloud formations, animal behaviour and legend
really tell us what the weather will be like? MOO investigates
thousands of years, man has desired to be able to
forecast the weather. Some of the earliest forecasting
took place back in Egyptian times, when farmers examined
the weather in order to know when the River Nile would
flood. Since then, our ancestors have sought to find
clues to what weather may come in the future. These clues
have become myths and legends over the years, and whilst
some are scientifically accurate, others should be just
left as myth. The are several forms that these
predictions may take. One kind is long term
weather forecasting. Examples of these are
common and include:
"When oak is out before
the ash, for sure man can expect a splash"
some people claimed that they could forecast the weather
at Christmas depending on what the weather was like at
Easter, and vice versa. Other cases relate the summer
conditions to animal behaviour in the winter. There is no
statistical evidence for any of these
predictions being true regularly.
popular way of forecasting weather is linking certain
weather to certain days of the year.
Weather is most commonly linked to saint's days, for
instance the days devoted to St. Bartholomew, St. Vitus
and St. Andrew all have weather types linked to them. In
the United States, St. Luke's Day in October is
traditionally warm and sunny. In England, it is St.
Swithun's Day in July which is most famous for its link
to weather. The traditional rhyme says:
"Oh if St. Swithun's Day
is fair, for forty days it shall rain nay mair,
But if St. Swithun's Day be wet, for forty days it
this particular myth and others of its type have been
proved to be statistically inaccurate.
This legend may have originated as pressure, both high or
low, can become lodged over the British Isles in July,
causing long periods of similar weather.
accurate are rhymes and traditions concerning
the clouds. Probably the most famous is:
"Red sky at night,
Red sky at morning, shepherds' warning."
saying is based on a common cloud pattern; firstly cirrus,
followed by cirrostratus, then altostratus and finally
nimbostratus. Morning red sky indicates that the rising
sun is shining on the cirrus or cirrostratus, which means
that the stormy nimbostratus is likely to follow from the
west. Evening red sky means that bad weather clouds are
likely to move away in an easterly direction.
the most useful observations are those which point
towards another weather condition in the near future.
However, none of these is foolproof, and of course
weather broadcasts are far more accurate!