Monday, November 30, 2015

Debunking the debunking

We're in the middle of Brisbane's spring/early summer storm season, and I was impressed by this photo  from the Fairfax website because of the accuracy with which it shows the green-ish tinge that most people here freak out about as a strong indication that someone, somewhere is going to get hail:

(Indeed, yesterday afternoon my daughter pointed out the green colour of the threatening sky, and it was followed by some - thankfully only pea-sized - hail.)

So I was a bit surprised to Google the topic and see that Accuweather in 2007 had an article with the title "Debunked:  the Green Sky Hail Myth." 

Which is a bit odd, in that it refers to a Scientific American article which only "kind of" debunks it. 

Apparently, Americans often take the green tinge as an indication of a tornado - although many also argue the hail connection.  The research (by just one person in America) that the article cites sounds distinctly unconvincing - he apparently agrees that green storm clouds do indeed happen and are an indication of a severe storm (well, duh), but seems to dispute its predictive nature for hail (or tornadoes). 

Well, this is one case where I reckon life experience counts for more than a paper by one dude in America.

Because I would say that in the vast majority of cases for storms in Brisbane, the distinctive green tinge is an accurate sign that hail is happening (or will happen) somewhere in the storm's path.  

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