Google, Whats the Forecast for August 25, 2007?
I have a challenge for the information science minds at Google or Yahoo! or any other star hopeful who wants to make a profound contribution to long-range event planners everywhere. Create an index that calculates probabilities of weather for any given day or time in the future.
Sound stupid? Think about it. If you’re like me, you have friends that have planned their weddings at least 2 years in advance. These extra-Type A couples would never dream of risking an outdoor wedding. But even if you want to plan your outside wedding for next month, it’s a gamble.
When ForecastWatch.com released their rankings for US cities with the most (and least) predictable weather, I was struck with a sudden and fleeting excitement caused, no doubt, by my occupation, which requires me to stay abreast of search news. Any headline with the term “rank” in it sends me into report mode.
Thinking I was checking out a new type of search engine, I quickly realized it was a report, not a searchable index. And then I thought, “how cool would it be if we had a search engine that offered weather predictions far in advance?”
By “far in advance,” I don’t mean next week like your local “chief meteorologist” will lie to you about. I mean an index with the capability to look at the weather history for any point on the globe for as long as weather statistics have been collected, and based on that history calculates a probability of weather for any given day in the near to distant future.
Wouldn’t this be useful to anyone scheduling an outdoor event? Sure, it wouldn’t be exact and would easily be trumped by Mother Nature at the last minute, but it seems it would give the long-range planner at least a ballpark estimate and likelihood of rain, or snow, or tornado, or what have you.
Don’t have an outdoor wedding during monsoon season in Japan. We know. Don’t wear mittens in the desert. We know that too. But what’s the chance of a chilly rainy day versus a pleasant sunny day on April17, 2006 in Kentucky, say around 4 PM? Any good Kentucky farmer will tell you that his guess is as good as the weatherman’s.