Meteorology and cabañuelas: science vs fiction

Perhaps all this may seem like a weakness in meteorology, but it is not. It just works that way and we’ve learned to work with it. Knowing the intrinsic uncertainty in this science, we can not only count what weather is most likely to happen these days, but also Act accordingly minimizing the damage it may have for society as is done by the administrations, especially in potentially dangerous conditions.

Separate science (meteorology) from fiction (cabanuelas)

Surely the population does not know all this that I have just told. What’s more, I daresay you don’t need to know all the ins and outs behind the sun, cloud and rain symbol, or the “70% chance of precipitation” you see in your mobile app (I’m of the opinion of that we cannot have knowledge of absolutely everything). Or at least, You don’t need to know that to give more credibility to a forecast issued by professionals in the sector than to one made by someone using techniques with a dubious scientific basis..

In any case, it is understandable that people follow with interest the moment in which a marmot determines the end of winter depending on whether they see their shadow or not (even to me it seems entertaining), or the annual forecast that appears curious has historically done in your locality based on the cabañuelas. The latter are methods with interest and cultural value and, therefore, we have to recognize and respect them as such… and as nothing else.

Neither an animal, nor the humidity of the soil for 10 days, nor the phase of the Moon, nor no other ancient technique will ever be able to reliably predict long-term weather. Much less will it be able to do so, even in the short term, if the situation is completely exceptional, as happened with the storm Philomena. Given what we are seeing in recent months with certain ‘information’ that is being published, I wonder if science is being equated with fiction and, above all, if society is really capable of separating both issues.

I also wonder what we can do in this situation to don’t make that ball bigger, to continue to value this science and the work of hundreds and hundreds of people who contribute to making more reliable measurements, better models, more effective communication… and for this I can think of two answers. The first, continue explaining how this camp worksor, although this may not work for some people. The second is probably more effective: not publicize such ‘forecasts’ and inadvertently contribute to their success. The weather is fun, yes, but sometimes it is not a game and the pieces on the board are economic, material or personal.


Climate journalism needs people to support it. We do not accept advertising from companies seeking greenwashing campaigns. Join Climatica from €30/year and get all this. I want to know more





Meteorology and cabañuelas: science vs fiction – Climatica