Saturday, May 11, 2013

Darkness descends from above

London, ON
July 2012
Click here for more chaotic Thematic
Weatherpeople get no respect. When their weather predictions are correct, we forget their role in ensuring we had enough shorts and sandals on hand to enjoy that gloriously warm and sunny day. And when they're wrong, they become our chosen objects of disconnected scorn. They made us get wet in the rain, we reason, so they must be roundly criticized.

We assume their work is little more than guesswork. We figure they're throwing highs, lows and troughs at a virtual dartboard in the hope that some of them will stick. We're wrong, of course, but that doesn't make the armchair quarterbacking any less fun. This is interactive television at its finest, and we relish the process because we never have to actually say any of this directly to them.

Which brings me to this scene of weird looking clouds. I could almost feel the storm moving in as the winds picked up and the temperature dropped. I suddenly felt a bit smaller as I realized just how powerful the forces around us were, and how powerless we were to do anything about them.

The mathematics of what was going on in the atmosphere at that moment were well beyond anything I could fathom, but I knew that somewhere, an unseen supercomputer was crunching the data and trying to figure out what might happen next. And somewhere, a meteorologist was turning that impossibly complex mountain of ever changing numbers into a forecast for all of us armchair quarterbacks. Just wanted to say thanks.

Your turn: why do we spend so much time and energy talking and worrying about the weather?

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