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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 28 January, 2020
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Why headlines like this really, really annoy Gerald Fleming

“There’s absolutely no sense in that particular story and there’s nothing scientifically to back it up whatsoever.”

THEY CROP UP every few months — those stark newspaper headlines warning us of ‘coldest ever’ winters, or ‘dangerously hot’ summers.

Claiming to foretell conditions over the next month, or even the entire season — the stories often cite self-professed ‘forecasters’ using dubious methods.

There was one in the Indo on Monday, as you may have noticed…

“We could be facing four weeks of freezing temperatures, with snowfalls over 60cm in depth, from the Christmas period, right through to late January,” the paper says.

The article goes on to warn of -10 degree temperatures, and bitterly cold winds “similar to the Big Freeze of 2010″.

Met Éireann gets a mention in the fifth paragraph.

But strangely our weather service is cited as warning that “it’s still too early to make such exact predictions”.

It’s only in the following sentence that we’re told the source of this brutal outlook — a certain James Madden of Exactaweather.com.

“The only exact thing about Exactaweather is that you can rely on them to come out with this sort of story every winter,” Met Éireann’s Gerald Fleming told us in an interview this week.

“The fact is there’s absolutely no way we know what the weather is going to be like in January.

“Anybody who thinks they can forecast for January from the middle of December is deluding themselves.”

Quite frankly it’s a bit depressing and it’s certainly unnecessary to have this sort of scary headline put on an article because there’s absolutely no sense in that particular story and there’s nothing scientifically to back it up whatsoever.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

On his website, Madden (from Exactaweather) admits “no meteorological or climate models are used” to produce his long-range forecasts.

He adds:

“All forecasts are produced on a number of personal observations and calculations, that also include; solar activity, ocean behaviour, and historical weather patterns from my own unique collective data.”

Video: Michelle Hennessy

First published 9am

Read: How did poor old Charles Darwin get dragged into the nation’s storm coverage?

Also: Highest wave ever recorded off Kinsale coast

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