Science & Technology

Predictability Beyond the Weather Forecast?

Professor Adam Scaife
11th December 2018, 7:00pm

Weather forecasts are one of the great unsung triumphs of science. Starting from just a few equations for the state of the atmosphere that originate from classical and well-understood physics, modern supercomputers now run every day to routinely provide solutions that give skilful predictions of daily weather. These predictions can even warn of impending extreme weather out to days ahead and this aids many areas of society, for example in managing transport networks or energy supplies and in some cases it even saves lives. So can we go further? Is it possible to make successful predictions weeks or even months ahead? This talk will show that while it is impossible to predict the daily weather so far ahead due to the chaotic nature of the atmosphere (also known as the ‘butterfly effect’), new evidence shows that year-to-year differences in average weather over the coming season, particularly in winter, can be predicted weeks or months in advance in many cases.


About the Speaker

Adam leads research and production of long-range forecasts at the Met Office. His group issues climate forecasts on a regular basis and carries out world leading research to improve predictions for adaptation to climate variability and change. Adam's personal research is focused on climate variability. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles on physical mechanisms, improved computer modelling and predictability of climate. His research group recently made an important breakthrough in seasonal forecasting for winter which allows skilful prediction and new applications of long range forecasts for Europe and North America. In recent years, Adam was awarded the Royal Meteorological Society’s Adrian Gill prize, the American Geophysical Union’s ASCENT Award and he is this year’s recipient of the Copernicus Medal.


Menu for Supper

Char-grilled Pork Loin Steak with mustard cream or Baked Sea Bass with patatas bravas or Mixed Vegetable Balti (v)
with a choice of the following sides: roast potatoes, medley of roasted root vegetables, pilaf rice

Lemon Meringue Pie or Caramel Latte Cake

N.B. the Lit & Phil office have to inform venues of catering numbers approximately 7 days before an event so please make sure you book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.