Meteorologists believe the forecast has improved

Meteorologists believe the forecast has improved
Meteorologists believe the forecast has improved
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The meteorologist believes that they have become better at adapting the danger warnings and does not think that many warnings in themselves need be negative.

The storm “Ingunn” as it appeared from the ferry deck between Isane and Stårheim on Wednesday. Photo: Marita Aarekol
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Less than 2 hours ago

The extreme weather “Ingunn” has just wreaked havoc. The warnings of danger have been pouring in lately, and it just continues.

All the warnings of danger make us squeamish and more helpless than we are, claimed a newspaper editor recently.

1

Are there more danger alerts than before?

State meteorologist Geir Ottar Fagerlid.
State meteorologist Geir Ottar Fagerlid. Photo: Meteorological Institute

Notifications were made for both 2022 and 2023 record number record numberThe allegedly record high figure for 2023 was stated in an NTB case as 1,014 danger alerts. But when NTB wrote about the hazard warning record for 2022, the number 1102 was stated. hazard warnings. State meteorologist Terje A. Walløe said last month that “we send out many more danger warnings now than before”.

But good, comparable statistics for recent years do not exist, according to the Meteorological Institute. Subject manager Geir Ottar Fagerlid at the institute in Bergen believes that the figures can be interpreted differently. He is certain that a good number of individual locations, such as Voss, will see a decrease in notifications.

Fagerlid believes that better interpretation of weather data and better forecasting tools provide more accurate danger warnings – without there necessarily being more incidents.

– We can issue a yellow warning for Vestland. The next day we may see that we want to split it up between the two old counties. Then one or both of the new alerts can be upgraded or downgraded, and then there will be four to five alerts in total, says Fagerlid.

In the past, he claims, it was perhaps with one, large county warning, which thus applied to everyone all the time.

– Now we are better at adapting to the level of danger, the time and the amount of, for example, rain for the individual region.

Fagerlid also points out that if you take into account the danger warnings they are internationally obliged to send out, especially for the weather at sea, then 2023 is far from being a record year.

2

Have the criteria changed?

A torrential rain picture from Torgallmenningen in autumn 2015.
A torrential rain picture from Torgallmenningen in autumn 2015. Photo: Marita Aarekol (archive)

Fagerlid talks about a major change in notification in 2018: transition to consequence-based hazard notification.

– Before this, we mostly sent out press releases for storms with names. In 2018, we switched to warning of danger for more phenomena, says Fagerlid.

He says the change happened at the Meteorological Institute’s own request.

– We saw that it was not clear to everyone what consequences a danger warning could have. And that the weather could also be extreme in terms of water levels, rain, snow and wind.

Twelve weather phenomena are now being warned. For some, it is only warned at yellow level, including snow pike, which according to Yr entered the danger warning list in winter 2019.

According to Fagerlid, four types of weather are forecast up to extreme levels. You can see the list of the weather types that can issue danger warnings here.

The number of danger alerts also depends on the season. December and January are the months with the most.

3

Is there a danger of a “wolf, wolf” situation?

Extract of danger alerts on yr.no on Friday morning. The list was much longer.
Extract of danger alerts on yr.no on Friday morning. The list was much longer. Photo: Screenshot from Yr.no

Could there be so many danger warnings that people no longer care? Yes, says Bård Fjukstad, director of the weather forecasting division at the Meteorological Institute.

He expressed the same concern in an interview a year ago. It has not become smaller now, he tells BT.

– Last year we took part in a development project where we received funds to look at the notification service. One finding is that we have many, and perhaps too many, danger warnings out, says Fjukstad.

– We certainly risk ending up in a “wolf, wolf” situation.

Will there be too many danger warnings?

4

Should something happen with the hazard warning?

Bergen at the end of January this year.
Bergen at the end of January this year. Photo: Eirik Brekke

Director of weather forecasting, Bård Fjukstad, talked about a development project just above here. The project, K2S, has given a number of clear recommendations which they will use to become more relevant to people, says Fjukstad.

– Do you have any examples?

– We will talk more with those who “own the consequences”. If we are to notify something that affects the road, we must talk more with the Road Administration before we do so. Or talk more with the municipality and state administrator if we are to notify something that affects them.

– We will also look at whether we have too many alerts, and whether we are sending them out and alerting in the right way.

– Other stuff?

– We may also want to limit ourselves more to what is most important. We have also received a recommendation to work with simpler language and to be even clearer about what the consequences of different types of weather can be.

– Could there be too many yellow danger warnings, for example when 20 centimeters of snow are due in Bergen?

– There is a discussion to come, whether the yellow level really provides grounds for using the word “danger”. Yellow danger warnings live on for so long, but we will evaluate them.

5

Who are the danger warnings?

Flood in Sædalen in Bergen in autumn 2018.
Flood in Sædalen in Bergen in autumn 2018. Photo: Eirik Brekke (archive)

It is the Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) that issue danger warnings, says Fagerlid.

You may be familiar with the service Alert? It is supplied by NVE. The meteorologists warn, among other things, via NRK, on X/Twitter and at yr.no.

– A little breathlessly, we can say that we are responsible for the rain when it is in the air. When it hits the ground, it is NVE that “owns” the consequences and analyzes the natural hazards, says Fagerlid.

While meteorologists talk about the amount and intensity of rain, NVE, for example based on knowledge of the soil, must find out what dangers such rain can cause.

When there is criticism of danger warnings that did not hit, Fagerlid often feels that they are a little innocent.

– People are staying inside and schools are closing without perhaps being necessary. The public may have read too general messages in the media, says the meteorologist.

– In general, you must familiarize yourself with the danger alerts, preferably on yr.no and varsom.no. I would claim that we have become much better at notifying specifically and as relevant as possible to where people are.

Published:

Published: February 2, 2024 20:19

Updated: February 2, 2024 9:42 p.m


The article is in Norwegian

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