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OUR METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT.

At a recent meeting of the Auckland Institute Mr T. F, Cheeseman lectured on ‘ Weather Forecasts and Storm Warnings,’ and exhibited several charts showing the weather experienced in Australia and New Zealand on particular dates to prove that predictions made had been actually verified. The task of weather prophecy, he went on to observe, was by no means an easy one, owing to the difficulty of interpreting slight changes, and the fact that a cyclone was never the same for two days. “ The geographical position of New Zealand,” he said, “is almost as unfavorable as that of the United States is favorable for weather prediction, Placed in the midst of a vast ocean, with no land nearer than Tasmania, and that nearly 1,000 miles distant, it is, in many cases, impossible to know what storms are nearing us until they actually touch our western coast; and then, owing to the narrowness of the territory, the time for warning is very small indeed. No doubt many storms that pass over, or just to the south of Tasmania, also reach New Zealand, but a large proportion either die out in midocean or pass far to the south ; and of those which do live long enough to cross the whole distance, the rate of their advance is so variable that their time of arrival cannot be predicted with any approach to accuracy. It is also to be because thecyclone produces a serious storm on the coast of Tasmania, it does not follow that it will be felt with the same intensity in New Zealand. Practically, therefore, weather warnings from Australia are not of very great value to us, and our weather forecasts must rely periodically on observations taken within our own country. The weather forecasts of New Zealand,” Mr Cheeseman said, “are principally issued at Wellington by Captain Edwin, They are based upon weather telegrams forwarded to him at nine o’clock each morning by certain of the chief telegraph stations, I think twenty - two in number. In many places it is usual to ridicule his predictions because of their occasional failure, but I cannot find this feeling is entertained by those who are aware of tiieir value as a whole. Certainly the masters of interprovincial steamers and of our local trading vessels usually take considerable notice of them, and their opinions should have some weight. New Zealand is a peculiarly difficult country for predictions, and a high percentage of accuracy cannot be expected from a department with such an inefficient number of stations, and so poorly supplied with things for proper equipment. What is wanted is a full series of stations along the West Coast, especially of the South Island, which is usually the first to feel the impact of a coming disturbance; they should report two or three times daily to the central office, and not once a day, as under the present system.”—-Auckland‘Star. 1 1

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891011.2.18

Bibliographic details

OUR METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT., Evening Star, Issue 8035, 11 October 1889

Word Count
487

OUR METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT. Evening Star, Issue 8035, 11 October 1889

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