The Washington Post

Dating game: Alaska Weather Service forecaster finds European model most attractive

Some people say Alaska is the hardest place to forecast the weather in the country. Dating in the Last Frontier has its share of challenges apparently, too. And these two problems go hand in hand.

Consider the dilemma below posted by the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Juneau this morning. Why am I not surprised by the model selected?:

Picking a model of choice for the day is a little like speed-dating: too little time/information to make up the mind leading to regrets by the end of the date/shift. The American NAM is modern, detail-oriented, prolific, willing if a little impetuous and incredibly reactionary. The American GFS–the model next door–quite old fashioned, an open book, easy on the eyes if a little staid at times. Always talking about the future while white-washing the present. The Canadian sometimes a little pro-European sometimes a little pro American…Many times hard to read, but often has a sunnier outlook than the others. Too sunny sometimes. And that European one…intelligent, trend-setting, and alluring– only appearing twice a day–makes me want more. And today I wanted more again so I made my selection. But sometimes I look back and wonder what could have been.


Screenshot of NWS Juneau “speed dating” forecast discussion

I must say: Alaskan NWS forecasters are, by far, the most creative. Recall it was the NWS office in Anchorage which secretly encoded “Please Pay Us” into a forecast discussion during the Federal shutdown.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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