Benefits of long-term forecasting

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<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">If we could more skilfully predict severe episodes several months ahead, such as the 2003 heat wave in Europe, the 2005 hurricane season in the north Atlantic/Caribbean, or the 1993 wet spell in the US, our society could avert more damages and save both money and pain.</p>
<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">According to the newsletter of the <a href="http://www.agu.org/">American Geophysical Union</a> (AGU) 'Eos' (Nov. 4, 2008, no. 45, p. 446), scientific groups call for better protection from climate change and severe weather. This aslo implies better predictive skill, at least on the longer time scales (months, seasons, years, decades and centuries).</p>
<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So why don't we?</p>
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<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Perhaps it's not possible?</p>
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<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Do we know that?</p>
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<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Why don't we try to find out?</p>
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<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">In Europe and the US, there are a handful of scientists working on the problem. So, we are in good shape then? Well &ndash; there seem to be far fewer heads involved in long-term weather/climate prediction (i.e. weather statistics for months, seasons, years, or decades ahead) than the analysts working at the stock exchanges. And less resources are put into the such prediction than to say military speculations &ndash; it seems (I don't know the answer to the latter). As far as I know, the Asian countries have more people working on such prediction issues than the west.</p>
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<p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One of the latest buzzwords in climatology community is '<a href="http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/adapting-in-amster...">Seamless prediction</a>', which involves a range of time scales from hours to seasons (seasonal forecasting) and decades (decadal forecasting) as well as centuries (climate scenarios).</p>
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