Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dr Maths

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dr Maths

Article excerpt

DEAR Dr MATHS, On a "65% chance of a barbecue summer" prediction from the Met Office, I went out and bought a new barbecue and set it up in the garden. Now it is full of water!

How does the Met Office get their sums so wrong? TOM, via e-mail WHAT is probable is not exact. Chance will always play a part. It's a 14-million-to-one chance that someone will win the lottery - not the sort of odds you should ever play, but people do every week and nearly every week someone wins!

When the Met Office predicted a 65% chance of a good summer it was just that, a prediction using long-range mathematical weather forecasting software. As the prediction was made several months ago, small effects over a period of time can have a major effect.

The weather is modelled using non-linear equations and if we look at a simple case, you can see how this can happen. Multiply one by itself again and again, and you always end up with one.

Yet if you make a slight change and start with 0. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.