He spent his working career with the US Meteorological Service and spent periods of time at weather stations in various parts of the country and abroad, His current assignment was in Washington DC. His favorite station had been in an isolated part of Alaska. He exclaimed about the immense natural beauty of our most northern state. Since returning from there he was assigned as part of a team that gathered the reams of data collected from round the world and going back over 100 years. His organization stored this data on their new computer network. Here they could collate, sort and make an accessible data base. Their intent was to create a computer model which could access this data and hopefully offer a reliable weather prediction system.
Along with the interesting sidebars he related concerning the adventures he had as he traveled gathering climate statistics, was his take on the progress of their weather projection venture. He hinted on a diabolical infiltration into their scheme. As he tells it, it seemed that once all their information was settled into its computer model a sea change occurred that rendered their model completely off base and unreliable. It seemed their high tech model was not as good at predicting weather than old wives tales and farmer’s simple methods. At this juncture, they were trying to decide whether their data was corrupt or their modeling procedure needed tweaking. Another option would be to scrap the whole project and head in a different direction. I was quite impressed with this story and baffled by its implications of fallibilities of the Beast.
Since weather predictions were still being issued, I asked, “Bering in mind what you tell me, how is it that your group still issues weather forecasts?” His answer was forthright and telling, “ We still issue forecasts, since we cannot admit we do not know what were talking about. And we will keep on doing this until we either figure out a working solution or give up. But do not expect the National Weather Service to collapse. We will continue acting as if we know what the weather is all about.” It was right at noon when he let me out at the juncture that would head me to I -75 South towards Florida. In parting, he did not have tell me that the sun was bright and high in the sky, the sky was clear and it looked to be a fine day.