Long-range weather forecast unpredictable, says Vancouver meteorologists

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Wesla Wong is just one of Vancouver's meteorologists who feels long-range forecasts are unreliable. Photo Credit: Global BC News
Wesla Wong is just one of Vancouver’s meteorologists who feels long-range forecasts are unreliable.
Photo: Global BC News

While some weather organizations are predicting below average temperatures on the B.C. coast this spring, local meteorologists feel the long-range forecast is inaccurate and unreliable.

“I really hate forecasting beyond about five days to be honest… The trouble with the monthly or ‘seasonal’ forecasts as that they’re simply an average of temperatures over the entire period,” said Global News Meteorologist Mark Madryga in an email. “There is no information on variation within those three (spring) months.”

After a fairly dry start to the year, AccuWeather and Environment Canada have both released reports calling for wetter conditions and lower temperatures this spring due to cooler-than-normal waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Factors taken into consideration when looking at long-range forecasts

According to Madryga, while these calculations may show near normal temperatures, they don’t take times of extreme weather or record-breaking temperatures into consideration, which makes these forecasts almost impossible to predict.

Some of the factors that are taken into consideration when determining the temperature are sea surface temperature and soil moisture.

Because Vancouver is near the Pacific Ocean the weather is generally moderated, said meteorologist Wesla Wong.

However, after looking at statistics from the past couple months, Wong noticed the sea surface temperatures have been cooler which could be an indication of cooler temperatures to come.

What do colder water temperatures mean?

While colder water can indicate colder temperatures, meteorologist Kristi Gordon explained it doesn’t guarantee cold weather.

“You can’t really tell how things are going to progress forward. Yes, the ocean influences what we’re going to see but we can’t forecast the ocean temperatures either,” Gordon said.

“So to project that forward and say the ocean temperatures are going to be cooler therefore we’re going to then also be cooler is a far shot as well,” Gordon added.

As a result of unpredictable long-range weather forecasts, Wong feels it’s important to take advantage of the sun when it’s out.

“If you see it’s a nice day, go out there and do your thing. Get your yard work done or go for that run,” Wong said.

Reported by Brenna Brooks

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