Monday 24 October 2016

Heavy downpours and early frosts ahead warns Kiwi weather guru

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

Kiwi forecaster, Ken Ring, predicted heavy showers at the end of October. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire
Kiwi forecaster, Ken Ring, predicted heavy showers at the end of October. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

A "breezy" autumn with dull skies, some heavy downpours and unusually sunny pockets lies ahead as a mixed summer season comes to a close, long-range Kiwi weather guru Ken Ring has predicted.

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The forecaster says August won't be too wet overall and claims our hottest day is yet to come.

Last year, Ken predicted that summer would bring average rain, average temperatures and below average sunshine. In his 2016 Weather Almanac for Ireland, he wrote that the season would be "cool and unsettled overall, earlier than expected with the main clear spell at the end of May and beginning of April". He forecast some dry intervals but no prolonged heat waves.

The highest temperature, he said, would come in the third week of August.

"So far most trends have played out. August is not too wet, with average rainfall, dull skies and fairly normal temperatures. It will be wetter for most around August 1, 12 and 26, and may be surprisingly warm around on the 18. But do not expect more than two or three dry days in a row.

No useful dry intervals should be expected until Sept 5-8 and then again from Sept 28 to Oct 3," he said.

Heavy showers are predicted around September 1, 10 and 18. Downpours are expected to return at the end of October and the first week of November.

"Overall autumn should be warmer and sunnier than normal, with average rain totals," he told the Farming Independent.

The New Zealander warns of first frosts during the last few days of October and November.He says the reason for milder temperatures has been "less oceanic mixing".

He says farmers can gauge long term forecasts for themselves with using simply math. "Solar cycles vary roughly 11-12 and 22-23 years. Remember the warn summer of 1995? Add 11 and you get the pleasant summer of 2006, adding 23 means the next decent summer, with long dry spells, will be 2018," he said.

He says farmers can gauge short-term conditions by observing the moon and animal grazing patterns. He claims larger than normal full moons suggest more dryness and warmth. High sea tides suggest the weather is growing more unsettled.

Sheep will stay on lower levels if rain is imminent so they can quickly seek shelter, on clearer days they will climb further away to graze in the hills.

Ring's forecasts no better than 'an educated guess'

His long-range forecast for Ireland's summer may be playing out, but Ken Ring's weather reading ability has been "roundly dismissed" by meteorologists, geologists and experts.

Most meteorologists believe reliable and accurate predictions can, on average, only be forecast on a five to 10 day basis.

Mark Honeychurch, chair of NZ Sceptics Society, a charity that promotes critical thinking, says Mr Ring does not subject his claims to peer review, hasn't been published in reputable journals and is not taken seriously by academics.

"Ken's claims of being able to predict the weather from the position of the moon have not been shown to be useful, and their accuracy appears to be no better than an educated guess," he told the Farming Independent.

"Weather is a very complex system, even science-based meteorologists are limited in their ability to predict future weather events. It seems likely that most of Ken's predictions are simply based on historic weather patterns, which would allow him to guess the general likelihood of a particular type of weather for certain date ranges," said Mr Honeychurch.

Indo Farming

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