I get a lot of emails and many of them prognosticate the upcoming winter weather. The most recent is from a group called Salient Predictions, “salient” being a fancy word for important or notable. What struck me first about their press release is their reference to these TWO publications: the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Farmer’s Almanac. What? I’ve been reading the Old Farmer’s Almanac for forty years (clearly not very closely) and just assumed any reference to a Farmer’s Almanac was one and the same thing. I had no idea they were two separate and distinct publications. But they are. And each has their own forecasts and forecasting methods!
First, here’s a quick rundown of the differences: the Old Farmer’s Almanac began earlier (1792 vs 1818), from two different people, one in Maine and the other in New Hampshire. They both forecast in advance, 18 months and 16 months, using closely guarded methods, but the Old now leans toward satellite data, jet stream patterns and ocean temperatures while the newer does not: it prefers math formulas based on solar and lunar activity. And given that, their forecasts for OUR winter do not agree. Here is the OLD Farmer’s Almanac forecast calling for Mild and Wet:
The newer Farmer’s Almanac calls for Unseasonably Cold and Stormy in our part of Texas but you’ll have to go to their web page to see that right here. Two very different forecasts from two different almanacs. There is a handy graphic comparing the two and their differences right here.
So back to a more notable solution from Salient Predictions: their press release on forecasting says their methods are much more sophisticated and forecasts much more accurate than either almanac. Their claim: By combining novel insights including the role of the ocean in the climate system, the latest weather data, and a new machine-learning engine, Salient can make more accurate and reliable forecasts on timescales of 2 to 52 weeks.
By the way, that new machine-learning engine? AI. That’s right. Artificial Intelligence is now in the game, as it should be, and worth a whole blog on its own. For now, Salient is forecasting a pretty near average winter for the country, including Southeast Texas, although cold and stormy for the Southeast United States. You can read their press release and see those winter forecast graphics right here.
I’m still wondering how I missed that there are two distinct Farmer’s Almanacs!
Stay dry and, in case you didn’t know, a cold front is on the way tomorrow!
Email me with comments and questions!