I am pleased to announce the return of the Winter Forecast Contest, this time with a prize to the winner of 20 Euros, yours truly excluded.
The rules will be similar to last year with a few minor adjustments. One of these will be the deadline. It remains 18th November (end of day) but further entries will be accepted at 5% per late day penalty until end of 28th Nov. In all Boards weather contests, we take 0300h of the following day as "end of day." So to be clear, the deadline without penalty is 0300h on the 19th of November.
The basis for our monthly temperature forecasts will be the "IMT" index which takes five stations (Shannon, Oak Park, Casement, Mullingar and Claremorris) as the basis. For the period 1981-2010, the means for the IMT were 5.4, 5.2 and 5.3 for the three winter months of Dec, Jan, Feb. Note that these have drifted up from 5.3, 4.6 and 4.7 in the earlier period 1961-90. Last December was very cold at -0.4 C, last January closer to average at about 3.5 C while last February was very mild at 6.6 C.
Here are the contest questions and rules, but take note before you start to read them, a handy "template" for your contest entry will be found at the end of the post.
All scoring for the contest will be done by rank order this time, with exact scoring details to be announced later based on number of entries received, but to give an idea, about two-thirds of entrants will score in each category, and equal numbers of them will share various points between 1 and 10 or 15 for the larger categories, and between 0.5 and 5 for the smaller ones.
1. Predict the average monthly temperatures (using the IMT) for December 2011, January 2012 and February 2012. From these entries, the contest organizers will calculate a seasonal average that is worth 15% of the points. The three monthly forecasts are each worth 5% of the points.
2. Predict the average monthly precipitation (liquid equivalent) from eleven sites used by Met Eireann in their monthly summaries (subject to any changes made by them). At present, these eleven stations include the five IMT sites and also Johnstown Castle, Cork, Valentia, Belmullet, Malin Head, and Ballyhaise. These predictions will be in percentages of normal values, and will apply to the same three months as above. We then calculate the seasonal average from your predictions. Scoring is similar (15% and 3 x 5%).
3. Predict the highest and lowest temperatures recorded at any stations in Ireland as reported by Met Eireann. About two dozen sites are considered, check the met.ie website for them. The contest values are determined by reports in the Monthly Summary. The maximum (which usually falls in the range of 14 to 18 C) will have to be recorded in the three winter months, but the minimum could be recorded earlier or later (in almost all cases, it is not recorded outside the winter three months anyway, but the contest runs to the 15th of April and so the data for the season's minimum temperature will include this month of Nov 2011, March 2012 and 1-15 April 2012). These two elements are each worth 10% of the points.
4. Predict the total seasonal snowfall at Casement, in cms. The season runs from today (as the total so far is zero) to end of 15 April. At that point, the contest is over and any further snowfall would be null and void for the contest although not for the season. Last winter, Casement received about 60 cms last winter although we were using a site in Laois which had about half that amount. Casement is generally more exposed to snowfalls from an easterly set-up but other types of snowfall may be distributed differently around the country, so think about the pattern when you make your prediction for Casement this winter.
5. Finally, predict the maximum gust wind speed in knots for all stations in Ireland (as per Met-E) in the winter three-month period, so excluding any windstorms that come along in November or March. Last year's contest value was 72 knots, considered a bit below average. An extreme high value would be around 115 knots perhaps.
TEMPLATE for ENTRIES
1. Temp DEC JAN FEB
2. Precip DEC% JAN% FEB%
3. MAX MIN temps
4. SNOW cms
5. WIND kts
Entries to be received by 0300h Sat 19th Nov without penalty, then at 5% penalty per day to final deadline of 0300h Tues 29th Nov.
Prize to be awarded will retain your anonymity on the forum, so don't worry about a name or address being revealed.