Armchair Meteorologists

Sometimes, we must admit, the weather catches us off guard. Photo: Toronto, ON during the August 2013 floods (AP)

Sometimes, we must admit, the weather catches us off guard. Photo: Toronto, ON during the August 2013 floods (AP)

We're all experts when it comes to weather — or at least we think so.

The past 5 years have shown immense online growth when it comes to people talking about the weather. Out of nothing, an online weather-loving community was born.

Storm chasers. Broadcast meteorologists. Meteorologists. Private weather forecasters. Avalanche Forecasters. Emergency Planners. Students. Bloggers. News agencies.  

Boy, do we love our weather.

Out of shear passion and interest, what was once strictly talked about in coffee shops or elevators is now openly discussed in the online world. The discourse is incredible.

I love it.

It shows how Canadian's wear their weather knowledge. insights and experiences on their sleeves. We're a proud bunch — we can't help it. 

Southern Ontatio January 2014 (Photo by the Canadian Press. Source)

Southern Ontatio January 2014 (Photo by the Canadian Press. Source)

We love to talk about the weather. Engage with it. Breathe it.

We are Canadian after all.

It's moulded each of us in a very unique way.  

That first snowfall. The spring thaw. Skating on a frozen pond in late fall. Feeling the powerful winds on Vancouver Island. The bitter wind chill of the Prairies. The awe of a violent summer thunderstorm. The sticky, sleepless summer nights in southern Ontario. The reckless winds of the Wreck House.

The mosquitoes. Oh, the mosquitoes.

Yes, this is real. A realistically sized Manitoban mosquito, on display in Komarno, Manitoba. Source. 

Yes, this is real. A realistically sized Manitoban mosquito, on display in Komarno, Manitoba. Source. 

The friendly banter between neighbouring provinces.

Who has the worst winter? You call that a snowstorm!? That's not humid!

Sometimes when we think we have the ability to control and predict the weather it becomes apparent it's often the contrary; the weather controls us.

It has the potential to drastically alter our plans. It's one of the big things that unites us all.

Something we all have it common.

Our weather. Our Country. Our Canada. 

It shapes our national identity, and has the power to destroy lives. But, more importantly through these immense challenges our identity and personalities often shine the brightest. It can strengthen our ties and communities when the weather gets tough.

Stories from the flooding in Alberta or the ice storm in Ontario bring out the best in people. We're different from other countries.

It's the only weather we have, so why not embrace it?

Armchair meteorologists must remember one thing — the key differences between a layman and an expert in the public eye. 

What are the consequences of predicting a snowstorm 7 days in advance? The worst that could happen to the blogger who spews his rhetoric? They might lose some credibility with their online peers. No major consequences, really.

But for a government agency, or large private weather forecasting firm the stakes are higher. Much higher.

A higher level of confidence is needed before issuing such statements and warnings or the public will quickly lose confidence in these agencies. The public remember the bad forecasts, not the good ones.

I'll let you in on a secret. Forecasts bust all the time. Weather forecasting isn't an exact science, with lots of weather models being mostly wrong, with some being useful.

Enjoy the weather, because frankly it's the only weather we have. 

#50ShadesofVan