The Wokingham Paper

Don’t blame it on the weatherman – you picked it!

heavy rain

WHEN IT comes to this forecasting, you can’t blame it on the weatherman – it’s your pick.

Two weeks ago, we shared the news that the University of Reading is running a summer contest inviting you to predict whatever the weather will be.

And organisers say that so far, well, we’re not very good at it.

The Weather Game asks people to forecast temperatures, sunshine and rainfall for locations around the world. Points are awarded based on how accurate the forecasts prove to be, with players competing to top the leaderboard.

The results for the first round of predictions, published last week showed that only one of the nearly 300 players managed to predict exactly how much rainfall there would be in Reading between Saturday morning and Monday morning (0.2mm).

And no one correctly predicted how much rain would fall in Nanjing, China (18.8mm).

The mean average of all predictions was too high in every category, suggesting that as a nation, we tend to overestimate both how wet and how warm and sunny the weather will be.

Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, said: “While it is easy to question how forecasters didn’t see a rain shower coming after the event, this game shows that sometimes the weather just doesn’t do what you expect it to.

“Every forecast is made of many predictions of complex interacting processes, so making accurate predictions is a lot harder than it looks.”

And he hopes that the game is seen as a bit of fun, and shed light on some of the problems forecasters have to make.

He adds: “Meteorology and climate science needs brainy mathematicians, physicists, geographers, computer scientists and others to help improve our methods of making predictions and to invent new ones. Anyone studying these subjects at school may want to consider being part of this real-world challenge as a career in the future.”

To take part, log on to

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