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In Rememberance: World Trade Center (WTC)

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Verification of Forecasts Expressed in Terms of Probability

by Glenn W. Brie of the U. S. Weather Bureau

January 1950

Introduction: Verification of weather forecasts has been a controversial subject for more than a half century. There are a number of reasons why this problem has been so perplexing to meteorologists and others but one of the most important difficulties seems to be in reaching an agreement on the specification of a scale of goodness for weather forecasts. Numerous systems have been proposed but one of the greatest arguments raised against forecast verification is that forecasts which may be the "best" according to the accepted system of arbitrary scores may not be the most useful forecasts. In attempting to resolve this difficulty the forecaster may often find himself in the position of choosing to ignore the verification system or to let it, do the forecasting for him by "hedging" or "playing the system." This may lead the forecaster to forecast something other than what he thinks will occur, for it is often easier to analyze the effect of different possible forecasts on the verification score than it is to analyze the weather situation. It is generally agreed that this state of affairs is unsatisfactory, as one essential criterion for satisfactory verification is that the verification scheme should influence the forecaster in no undesirable way. Unfortunately, the criterion is difficult, if not impossible to satisfy, although some schemes will be much worse than others in this respect.

Published in: Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 78, No. 1, (January 1950), pp. 1-3.

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