ENCORE: Media Fantasies versus Weather Realities

Howell, Michigan@ Tuesday, February 2, 2016: Woody The Woodchuck dominates these parts while Punxsutawney Phil reigns supreme in Pennsylvania to the south. Different locales, different animals; same result: Media Fantasy! For 2016, Woody predicts a longer winter while Phil predicts a shortened winter.

LOL … These prognosticating rodents only boast a 39% success rate.

This ENCORE is re-distributed on the occasion of Groundhog Day 2016. Despite all the news of relevance and significance regarding the societal engines of economics, security and governance, the media outlets continue to prioritize their Breaking News declaring “Early Spring” and “Later Spring”. But we’ll see …

Go Lean Commentary

Dateline Monday, February 2, 2015: It’s Groundhog Day again…and again…and again…*

CU Blog - Media Fantasies Versus Weather Realities - Photo 3

The media swarms around this hibernating animal for prognosticating signs of what to expect for the rest of the winter weather season. This is a fantasy; an American media fantasy. On the other hand, there are many effective meteorological models that do an effective job of forecasting the weather, but many people think these are ignored in place of media hype; case in point: a Groundhog.

VIDEO – Punxsutawney Phil See His Shadow and Predicts 6 More Weeks of Winter – http://wapo.st/1BU7s23

A Groundhog?

Groundhogs, whistlepigs, woodchucks, all names for the same animal. Depending on where you live, you might have heard all three of these names; however, woodchuck is the scientifically accepted common name for the species, Marmota monax. As the first word suggests, the woodchuck is a marmot, a genus comprised of 15 species of medium-sized, ground-dwelling squirrels. Although woodchucks are generally solitary and live in lowland areas, most marmot species live in social groups in mountainous parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. (Source: http://blog.oup.com/2015/02/groundhog-day-urban-wildlife-institute/#sthash.c41AKDvb.dpuf)

The concept of weather forecasting requires hardware and software, not rodent animals. The Europeans have provided a good example for the Caribbean to model. Their hardware: satellites, are collaborative efforts to deploy, maintain and support, referred to as the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites or EUMETSAT; see Appendix below.

The software for weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. These forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere at a given place and using scientific understanding of atmospheric processes to project how the atmosphere will change. The chaotic nature of the atmosphere, the massive computational power required to solve the equations that describe the atmosphere, error involved in measuring the initial conditions, and an incomplete understanding of atmospheric processes mean that forecasts become less accurate as the time range of the forecast increases. The use of ensembles and model consensus help narrow the error and pick the most likely outcome.

A major part of modern weather forecasting is the severe weather alerts and advisories which a governmental weather service may issue when severe or hazardous weather is expected. This is done to protect life and property.[75] Some of the most commonly known severe weather advisories are the severe thunderstorm, tornado warnings, as well as the severe tornado watches. Other forms of these advisories include those for winter weather, high wind, flood, tropical hurricanes, and fog.[76] Severe weather advisories and alerts are broadcasted through the media, including radio, using emergency systems as the Emergency Alert System which break into regular TV and radio programming.[77]

Among the notable models for Caribbean consideration are:

  1. American Model: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  2. European Model: European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMRWF).

The scope of the American Model is weather affecting the American mainland and aligned territories. The European Model, on the other hand, has a similar scope for Europe, but starts their focus earlier with weather patterns in the Americas and Caribbean. (The “Jet Stream” brings weather from West to East across the US and then continues across the Atlantic on to the European continent).

The American and European models assume different strategies. The American model runs a short, mid and long range forecast. The European model considers mid-range only, running out only 10 to 15 days into the future.

This consideration aligns with the book Go Lean…Caribbean; this book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This empowerment effort represents a change for the region, calling on all 30 member-states in the region to confederate and provide their own solutions in the areas of economics, security and governance. Weather, as depicted in the foregoing VIDEOS, relates to all three areas. The CU/Go Lean roadmap has these prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines against “bad actors” and natural disasters.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, with a separation-of-powers between federal and state agencies.

The purpose of this commentary is to draw reference to the European Model, ECMWF, at a time when the American eco-system appears to be dysfunctional and filled with bad intent.

ECMRWF is renowned worldwide as providing the most accurate medium-range global weather forecasts to 15 days and seasonal forecasts to 12 months.[2] Its products are provided to the European National Weather Services, as a complement to the national short-range and climatological activities. The National Meteorological Services of member-states use ECMWF’s products for their own national duties, in particular to give early warning of potentially damaging severe weather.

While many things the US do are good, there is also “bad intent” in the American eco-system, often associated with crony-capitalism. Many believe that media hype over weather forecasts spurs retail spending (surplus food, gasoline, generators, and firewood) to benefit the same companies that contract media purchases (advertising) with the media outlets. Consider the “blown out of proportion” sense in the following article:

About Juno: The how and why of a blown forecast http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-juno-snow-dud-lehigh-valley-20150127-story.html

January 27, 2015 – Those Lehigh Valley commuters dusting the powder off their windshields Tuesday morning undoubtedly cast their thoughts back a day and concluded something had gone amiss in all the weather laboratories.

Wasn’t it supposed to snow 14 inches? Or was it six? Or two to four? They said something about a European model…

Well, off to work.

The storm that might have been is now the storm that wasn’t and no one will mention it again, at least until the next big miss by the weather services.

CU Blog - Media Fantasies Versus Weather Realities - Photo 2“Mother nature humbled us,” the Eastern PA Weather Authority wrote in a mea culpa Facebook post after its final call of 9 to 14 inches fell roughly 9 to 14 inches short.

What happened? As always, forecasters looked at a variety of models — the European model, famed for its precise forecasting of Superstorm Sandy, and many domestic models — and made predictions based on the data.

Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J., said there are about 10 commonly used models that make use of weather observations gathered around the world from satellites, balloons, ground stations and ships.

“We blew the call, and everyone blew it,” the Eastern PA Weather Authority post said. “(A)mending or lowering your original call is not nailing it either. No one got this right, plain and simple.”

Not quite no one. Adam Joseph, a meteorologist at the ABC station in Philadelphia, had predicted an underwhelming storm for the Philadelphia# region from early on, saying on Sunday it had “high bust potential.”

New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio spent a couple of days making pronouncements so foreboding that he was parodied as an end-times prophet by [humor magazine] The Onion.

But instead of three feet of snow and blizzard winds, the city got about 8 inches of snow in Central Park. “Snore-easter,” the Daily News called it.

“This is an imprecise science,” New York# Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news briefing early Tuesday when asked about the forecast. He noted that last November, a storm that officials had not expected to be severe dropped seven feet of snow on Buffalo, in the western part of the state.

In New Jersey#, Governor Chris Christie said it was better to err on the side of caution: “I was being told as late as 9 o’clock (Monday) night that we were looking at 20-inch accumulations in parts of New Jersey,” he said. “We were acting based on what we were being told.”

There was, too, something of a New York-centric slant in the media coverage. The storm was declared a “dud” because it largely spared Manhattan. But it slammed New England as advertised, with wind gusts approaching hurricane strength and smothering snow.

VIDEO MONSTER BLIZZARD OF 2015 | New York Snow Storm Juno Forecast was an EPIC FAILhttps://youtu.be/Je6zr_K966A

Published on Jan 28, 2015 – Jan. 27, 2015 will go down in the annals of history as the day New Jersey came to a standstill for a blizzard in another state. Blizzard warnings have been lifted in the Garden State, projected snow totals more than cut in half and forecasters have apologized for what they’re describing as “big forecast miss.”

Conspiracy, anyone?

The book Go Lean…Caribbean asserts that the Caribbean region must not allow the US to take the lead for our own nation-building, that American Crony-Capitalistic interest tends to hijack policies intended for the Greater Good. This assessment is logical considering that despite the reality of the 2008 Great Recession and the Wall Street complexity, no one has gone to jail! This despite the blatant “lying, cheating and stealing”, the millions of victims and $11 Trillion in economic setbacks.

Be kind, rewind …

In the fall of 2012, Super Storm Sandy devastated the Northeast American coast despite warnings and accurate forecasts from the European Model.

US vs. European hurricane model: Which is better?
Tamara Lush; posted May 29, 2013; retrieved February 3, 2015 from:

When forecasters from the National Weather Service track a hurricane, they use models from several different supercomputers located around the world to create their predictions.

Some of those models are more accurate than others. During Hurricane Sandy last October, for instance, the model from the EuropeanCenter for Medium-range Weather Forecasting in the United Kingdom predicted eight days before landfall that the large storm would hit the East Coast, while the American supercomputer model showed Sandy drifting out to sea.

The American model eventually predicted Sandy’s landfall four days before the storm hit — plenty of time for preparation — but revealed a potential weakness in the American computer compared to the European system. It left some meteorologists fuming.

“Let me be blunt: the state of operational U.S. numerical weather prediction is an embarrassment to the nation and it does not have to be this way,” wrote Cliff Maas, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Experts also say the quality of a nation’s computer capability [for modeling] is emblematic of its underlying commitment to research, science and innovation.

Many felt that “the powers that be” did not want to overly alarm American citizens and affect the turnout for the Presidential Elections days later.

The foregoing articles/VIDEOs look at the repetition of Weather Forecast Dysfunction in 2012 with Super Storm Sandy and again, just last week with Winter Storm Juno. Compare this to the over-blown media hype of a Groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania…for weather prognostication.

Something is wrong with this portrayal. This is American crony-capitalism all over again. Like the Groundhog Day movie, the same patterns are repeating again, and again …

The Caribbean must do better!

This issue on weather is not the first instance of a “Big Bad American Bully” in the business world. This is just another reflection of American Crony Capitalism – where public policy is set to benefit private parties. Consider this chart from a previous blog:

Big Oil While lobbying for continuous tax subsidies, the industry have colluded to artificially keep prices high and garner rocket profits ($38+ Billion every quarter).
Big Box Retail chains impoverish small merchants on Main Street with Antitrust-like tactics, thusly impacting community jobs.
Big Pharma Chemo-therapy cost $20,000+/month; and the War against Cancer is imperiled due to industry profit insistence.
Big Tobacco Cigarettes are not natural tobacco but rather latent with chemicals to spruce addiction.
Big Agra Agribusiness concerns bully family farmers and crowd out the market; plus fight common sense food labeling efforts.
Big Data Brokers for internet and demographic data clearly have no regards to privacy confines
Big Media Hollywood insists on big tax breaks/ subsidies for on-location shooting; cable companies conspire to keep rates high; textbook publishers practice price gouging.
Big Banks Wall Street’s damage to housing and student loans are incontrovertible.
Big Weather Overblown hype of “Weather Forecasts” to dictate commercial transactions.

The Go Lean book, and accompanying blog commentaries, go even deeper and hypothesize that beyond weather alerts, the American economic models are dysfunctional for the Caribbean perspective. The American wheels of commerce portray the Caribbean in a “parasite” role; imperiling regional industrialization even further. The US foreign policy for the Caribbean is to incentivize consumption of American products and media, and to ensure that no other European powers exert undue influence in the region – Monroe Doctrine and Pax Americana (Page 180).

The disposition of a “parasite” is not the only choice, for despite American pressure, countries like Japan and South Korea, despite being small population-size, have trade surpluses with the US. They are protégés, not parasites, and thusly provide a model for the Caribbean to emulate.

This broken system in America does not have to be modeled in the Caribbean. Change has now come. The driver of this change is technology and globalization. The Go Lean book posits that the governmental administrations must be open to full disclosure and accountability. The ubiquity of the internet has allowed whistleblowers to expose “shady” practices to the general public; think WikiLeaks.

The Go Lean roadmap provides turn-by-turn directions on how to forge this change in the region for a reboot of these Caribbean societal systems, including justice institutions. This roadmap is thusly viewed as more than just a planning tool, pronouncing this point early in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 13) with these statements:

xvi. Whereas security [(Emergency/Disaster Management)] of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes…can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The Go Lean book purports that the Caribbean can – and must – do better than our American counterparts. The vision of the CU is a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to do the heavy-lifting of optimizing economic-security-governing engines. The book thusly details the policies and other community ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to protect Caribbean society with prudent weather forecasting:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Privacy versus Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Whistleblower Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation Page 23
Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Page 76
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Meteorological and Geological Services Page 79
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Big Ideas – Integrating to a Single Market Page 127
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 171
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management Page 196

The foregoing article/VIDEO relates to topics that are of serious concern for Caribbean planners. While the US is the world’s largest Single Market economy, we want to only model some of the American example. We would rather foster a business climate to benefit the Greater Good, not just some special interest group.

The world is not fooled! “Tamarind, Sour Sap and Green Dilly, you musse think we silly” – Bahamian Folk Song

There are many Go Lean blog commentaries that have echoed this point, addressing the subject of the Caribbean avoiding American consequences. See sample here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3397 A Christmas Present for the Banks from the Omnibus Bill
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3326 Detroit’s M-1 Rail – Finally avoiding Plutocratic Auto Industry Solutions
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2887 Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2522 The Cost of Cancer Drugs
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2465 Book Review: ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2435 Korea’s Model – A dream for Latin America and the Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2338 How Caribbean can Mitigate the Dreaded ‘Plutocracy’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2259 The Criminalization of American Business
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2183 A Textbook Case of Industry Price-gouging
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1309 5 Steps to a Bubble
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1256 Traditional 4-year Colleges – Terrible Investment for Region and Jobs
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1143 Health-care fraud in America; Criminals take $272 billion a year
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=798 Lessons Learned from the American Airlines merger
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 America’s War on the Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=782 Open the Time Capsule: The Great Recession of 2008
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=709 Student debt holds back many would-be home buyers
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=658 Indian Reservation Advocates Push for Junk-Food Tax
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=623 Book Review: “The Divide – American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap”
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=353 Book Review: ‘Wrong – Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn…’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Don’t Want from the US – #1: American Self-Interest Policies

The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that many problems of the region are too big for any one member-state to solve alone, that there is the need for the technocracy of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. The purpose of this Go Lean/CU roadmap is to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work, learn and play. This effort is more than academic; this involves many practical mitigations and heavy-lifting. While this charter is not easy, it is worth all effort.

Climate change is a reality … for the Caribbean; (despite many in denial, especially in the US).

In the Caribbean we need accurate weather forecasting and alerts. We need the public to respect these alerts and not question some commercial-profit ulterior motive. We need the European Model more so than the American one.

The Go Lean roadmap calls for some integration of the regional member-states, a strategy of confederation with a tactic of separating powers between CU federal agencies and member-states’ governments. The roadmap calls for the regional integration of all meteorological and geological professional services. The separation-of-powers tactic also calls for assumption of Emergency Management Agencies for the member-states. There is the need for weather and disaster preparation/response under the same umbrella, with a direct line of reporting. The roadmap posits that to succeed as a society, the Caribbean region must not only consume, (in this case weather forecasts), but also create, produce, and distribute intellectual products and services (property) to the rest of the world. We need our own Caribbean weather/forecast models, algorithms, calculations and formulas!

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the changes and empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean.


Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


AppendixEUMETSAT: European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites

CU Blog - Media Fantasies versus Weather Realities - Photo 1EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental organization created through an international convention agreed by a current total of 30 European Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. These States fund the EUMETSAT programs and are the principal users of the systems. The convention establishing EUMETSAT was opened for signature in 1983 and entered into force in 19 June 1986.

EUMETSAT’s primary objective is to establish, maintain and exploit European systems of operational meteorological satellites. EUMETSAT is responsible for the launch and operation of the satellites and for delivering satellite data to end-users as well as contributing to the operational monitoring of climate and the detection of global climate changes.

The activities of EUMETSAT contribute to a global meteorological satellite observing system coordinated with other space-faring nations.

Satellite observations are an essential input to numerical weather prediction systems and also assist the human forecaster in the diagnosis of potentially hazardous weather developments. Of growing importance is the capacity of weather satellites to gather long-term measurements from space in support of climate change studies.

EUMETSAT is not part of the European Union, but became a signatory to the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters in 2012, thus providing for the global charitable use of its space assets.[1]
Source Reference: 1. http://www.disasterscharter.org/c/document_library/get_file?p_l_id=23109&folderId=172718&name=DLFE-4704.pdf


Appendix – # Winter Storm Juno Overblown Preparations: http://youtu.be/ivK6jtWfX-U

Blizzard 2015 !!! Winter Storm Juno Forecast “Northeast Snowstorm Ramping Up ” !!! Amazing Video

Published on Jan 27, 2015 – More than 35 million people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days.


Appendix – * Movie Reference: 1993 Movie Groundhog Day


A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

Trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1957600025?ref_=tt_ov_vi


Appendix – @ Howell, Michigan

Howell is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 9,489. The city is 55 miles northwest of Detroit, at Exit 137 on Interstate 96.

Howell is home to many festivals celebrated through the year. Most notable for Februry, the Winter – Spring Forecast from “Woody The Woodchuck”.

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