Science is defined as the formulation, testing and revision of models of the natural world, in order that we might comprehend that world .

 

Technology is defined as the development of physical tools used in the furtherance of human goals (one of which is the advancement of science).

Prediction of anything, be it the weather or the stock market, can be described as the combination of a diagnosis with a trend, or prognosis. Mathematically, this is simply a verbal description of the first two terms of a Taylor's Series expansion: the state of the atmosphere at some time in the future is the sum of its current state plus its time rate of change.

 

This formalism is the heart and soul (if that is an appropriate metaphor) of numerical weather prediction, but it only captures a part of the process for humans, as this essay tries to show.

 

Many proponents of new technology believe that it is important to relieve forecasters of the "burden" of weather map analysis. From my perspective, this is terribly wrong! Performing map analysis is an essential component in diagnosis; it allows models of atmospheric behavior to be compared with the data. This is the way a forecaster forms an understanding of what is happening in the atmosphere. Rather than freeing time to do science, taking map analysis away from forecasters minimizes their opportunity to function as practitioners of meteorological science .

 

Furthermore, the best way to lose diagnostic skill is not to use it.

It is hard to imagine forecasters doing diagnosis without using their meteorological knowledge to anticipate how the present situation might be evolving, unless they are simply "drawing lines" on the maps, a process not considered to be equivalent to true diagnosis.

There may well be valid scientific reasons why one event is associated with another, but without knowing those reasons, it is risky to rely on such empiricisms. As a somewhat lighthearted illustration, it can be asserted that pickles are the cause of crime, because a high percentage of criminals have eaten pickles at some time prior to committing their crimes.

he so-called "art" in weather forecasting seems to come from the right side of the brain. All of us know forecasters who seem to have a great deal of forecasting success but are unable to say how and why they make predictions the way they do; they just seem to know what the atmosphere is going to do. However, such individuals are relatively rare, and most forecasts are produced more or less by rote (following rules of thumb, guidance, or whatever), with little or no intuition.

 

The basic point is not to get a better verification score than the guidance (although that may well be a result), but to provide a better service to the users of the forecasts by being a live, practicing meteorologist instead of a casualty to "meteorological cancer" (9). There are those who would advocate removing humans from the system; giving in to meteorological cancer makes the job of these dehumanizers quite a bit easier.