Letter: Climatic catastrophe

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I would be more inclined to take seriously the long-term weather warning of Peter Ewins and D James Baker if weather forecasters were more accurate about the shorter term.

For instance, on Monday and Tuesday last week, TV forecasters were issuing dire warnings of a meteorological Armageddon about to hit the UK. Their maps, coloured red for alert, communicated fears of severe and hazardous conditions throughout the country.

The ostensible cause was a wall of snow moving from east to west. Motorists were advised not to drive. The AA joined in with talk of a "lethal cocktail" of serious weather conditions. But well before lunchtime on Tuesday the temperature had shot up and what snow there was had begun to melt.

One local television weather forecaster had the guts to acknowledge his mistake in the case of this region, but the same thing did not go for the nationally broadcast ones, who should have been hanging their heads in shame. They must have caused a lot of inconvenience by dissuading people from acting normally.

Meteorology, it seems, is a rather inexact science.

Professor DAVID HEAD

Newcastle upon Tyne