Regatta dance prospects: First the bad news

by | 26 Jan 2010 | Regatta 2010 | 0 comments

Event date Saturday 30 January 2010
High tide 07:47 (1.30 m) then 20:03 (1.21 m)
MetVUW forecast chart

One Hundred and Eight Hours Out: Part of MetVUW forecast chart for regatta evening, issued at six this morning. chart MetVUW

The bad news story had been prepared first.

The consistently worsening forecasts had suggested that it was the most likely scenario that would need addressing: That the dance would be cancelled tomorrow morning, and the strong probability would be signalled that the shoreside events would also be cancelled, by Saturday morning if not before.

Hopefully it now appears likely that the third story to prepared, announcing that the dance can in fact proceed, is the most-likely to be used.

Regardless of the weather on the day, and in the evening, those who make the decision will wear a deal of criticism. There seems to be an inherent human instinct to blame the messenger. In respect to weather forecasting, the media is partly to blame by using such fatuous language as ‘we have good weather for you for the weekend’ as though weather was generated by a machine at the back of the television station. Even the loveable Augie Auer, when working as a weather girl, promptly succumbed to infantile anthropomorphising.

If meteorologists have it tough though, it is nothing to the drubbing dealt out to the messengers of climate change. Yesterday the New Zealand Herald published an interview of James Renwick, principal scientist, climate variability and change at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Dr Renwick answered the 10 questions put to him in concise, clear language. The comment that follows is predominantly anything but. A lonely exception reads to the effect:

Bravo! This is the sort of content that needs a lot more exposure. The media has a huge responsibility to inform the public on the issue of climate change. More of this please!

As yet another balmy Mahurangi day drifts by, the prospect of a rained-out regatta dance seems as remote as sea level rise. The consequences of failing to prepare for the former contingency are not enormously serious.

Beyond that, comparisons are odious.

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