Country Living with Francis Farragher
There’s nothing quicker to raise the blood pressure of meteorologists and scientists than the mention of canny New Zealander, Ken Ring, whose almanacs make a stab at predicting the weather in different countries for well over a year in advance.
His publications circulate worldwide, and of course, whenever he ‘hits the jackpot’ with a prediction of a heatwave, storm or cold snap, his stock rises with a sizeable cohort of the population who just love wacky forecasters looking months ahead.
A couple of years back, the UK Met. Office splashed out almost £100 million on a super-computer that can perform billions and billions of calculations in a fraction of a second, and yet after all that, they are hard pressed to accurately predict weather more than five days in advance.
Incidentally, one of the big stories in the weather forecasting scene in Britain is that from this Spring, the UK Met. Office will not be the contracted supplier of weather information to the BBC, breaking a 94-year link.
A private weather company, called the MeteoGroup, has won the contract to be the official forecaster of the BBC, something that has greatly annoyed many of the loyal followers of the UK Met. Office, despite a number of slip-ups over the years.
Anyway, there’s no official contract with the BBC for Ken Ring, but the New Zealand mathematician and former schoolteacher, often causes a stir in his own country, with his weather and earthquake predictions.
An earthquake prediction is a serious piece of news to generate, leading to some people hightailing it from their homes, so when one or two of those forecasts went astray, the New Zealand authorities weren’t exactly enamoured by Mr. Ring’s ‘antics’.
He is though a regular interviewee in newspapers and radio stations across Ireland and of course we do tend to hear more about his successes than his failures. His big ‘winner’ in 2016 from an Irish perspective was his prediction that by far and away the best of our summer weather would arrive across late May and early June – for that fortnight with many people, he could do no wrong.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.