Geophysical surveys

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 273-290

First online:

The value of climate forecasting

  • Garth W. PaltridgeAffiliated withCSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research

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A short survey is given of the concepts associated with meteorological forecast verification and value. Apart from matters of mathematical detail the field has not advanced greatly over the last thirty years. If significant skill develops in long-range (i.e. climate) forecasting, it will be more than ever necessary for the general user to understand the possible consequences—in particular that there can be many circumstances where some forecast skill is worse than none at all. Some highly idealized agricultural examples are used to illustrate the point. It is emphasized that some numerical measure of ‘confidence’ will have to be associated with (or be built into) probability precasts of climate.