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How accurate is the weather forecast? | Am I Normal? With Mona Chalabi

No one remembers when you’re right, but no one forgets when you’re wrong. Your local weather person knows that saying all too well. But while they take a lot of the heat (get it?), how much of it is actually justified? In this episode, Mona Chalabi looks at weather forecasting data to see how accurate…

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No one remembers when you’re right, but no one forgets when you’re wrong. Your local weather person knows that saying all too well. But while they take a lot of the heat (get it?), how much of it is actually justified? In this episode, Mona Chalabi looks at weather forecasting data to see how accurate these predictions really are, and gives us tips for when we should–and shouldn’t–trust the forecast. Want to hear more from Mona? Check out her podcast Am I Normal? with Mona Chalabi, from the TED Audio Collective.

Want to hear more from Mona? Follow Am I Normal? on Apple Podcasts:

Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more.

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Jae KiDd N His 508Cents

    November 23, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    I would say the weather forecast is about 50 to 60% accurate

  2. Super Specialty

    November 23, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Forecasting is like foreplay, there’s no guarantee… but still, there’s a possible chance of an outcome (pun intended)! 🙏🏽😽😺

    • Oliver Smith

      November 23, 2021 at 7:31 pm

      This is a family video, go easy lad.

  3. Jane Kailey

    November 23, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    A “forecast” is—you know—a FORECAST. And years ago, forecasts WERE accurate.

  4. Steven Hill

    November 23, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    When quantum computers become a reality we’ll be able to predict the weather months in advance in theory

  5. Golden Insights Tarot

    November 23, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Mind blowing!’ Did you know before time ⏰ was first counted time was already going’ who knows the actual time? living in the unknown 😵‍💫🤯

    • Danny Dreadnought

      November 23, 2021 at 5:05 pm

      You’ve just given me a lifetime of anxiety.

  6. julian shepherd

    November 23, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    I’m good at weather forecast.
    Tomorrow will be cool with showers/rain
    Say that and I’m right about 90% of the time.
    I do live in the far north of Scotland so it’s cheating

  7. SUPRATIM CHOUDHURY

    November 23, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Are you open for a relationship? 😂Joking. Never mind.. 😜

  8. Shloomy Shloms

    November 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    what idiots actually rely on a weather forecast more that 1 day in the future? or for that matter several hours in the future.

  9. Fabio Cortivo

    November 23, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Predicting the weather conditions in the netherlands is actually very easy.. 🌧

  10. john altyn

    November 23, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Have you considered we are a speck of dust speeding at roughly 68,000 mph or (110,000 km/ph) around a HUGE EXPLODING NUCLEAR BOMB? We live in this thing named “The Universe” and predicting anything regarding weather is always a guess.

  11. jeff milligan

    November 23, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    This is news to someone?

  12. Greasytech24

    November 23, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    sounds like something a weather person would say

  13. Home Wall

    November 23, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Imagine that….forecasts more than a few days ahead aren’t very accurate. But trust the science when it pretends it can.

  14. Nagamendo

    November 23, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Now, this were 2 wasted minutes of my life. Of course it is unlikely that we will ever know to 100% what the 10^44 air molecules are doing exactly. But we do not need that information either. I do not need to know what every single water molecule in a swimming pool is doing to calculate how long it takes to heat the pool up by 3 degrees. And yes, the closer I get to the very time I want to know the weather condition of, the more precise I will know what it is. I mean, when I look out of the window then I will know by 100% what the weather is actually. No big deal. But that is not what weather FORECAST is all about. Or is it?

  15. Nekomancer

    November 23, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    What I hate is when they say it will be a clear day then it rains.

  16. Mikael

    November 23, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    I get that the weather forecast isn’t great a week in advance, but when it says “No rain all day” while it’s currently raining outside I feel like I’m entitled to be a bit pissed.

  17. Martin

    November 23, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    It seems to me that the weather predictions have consistently got worse over time. I ride a motorcycle and particularly this past year I’ve been rained in when it’s supposed to be sunny and prepared for wet weather only to be faced with glorious sunshine. Its just wrong what feels like 90% of the time. I’ve checked the weather apps, often different ones predicting completely different weather – don’t care about temperature, it’s more about will I get wet – and too often I’ve got wet unexpectedly and been overheating when I’m expecting to get wet! It can’t be more wrong. I’ve even looked at the app saying sunshine 5% chance of rain and its actually raining – and vice versa… Weather prediction seems pointless. The UK met office got a new super computer in the last couple of years and in my view, predictions have got worse.

    • Poetry Flynn

      November 24, 2021 at 10:49 am

      Climate Change will do that.

  18. Olando Anônimo

    November 23, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    What annoys me is how my iPhone is wrong, even in real time.

  19. Dynasty2201

    November 23, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    As a Brit, what’s an accurate forecast?

    • Lucas Santoro

      November 24, 2021 at 5:35 am

      There’ll be raining

    • KP818

      November 27, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Rain every other day if not every.
      That’s the forecast

  20. Johnny

    November 23, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    So this whole video is here to say “it’s hard to do weatherforecast but its easier if we don’t try to predict too far in the future”? wow sensational video…

  21. Andrés Miraglia

    November 23, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    It is incredible that we have to explain this sort of things to people, but then, hey, we spent the better part of two years explaining to them how good and useful it is to wash hands and vaccinate…

  22. SommyBliss Nriama

    November 23, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    The title should be *why weather forecasts can’t be accurate,* because in the end, she didn’t answer the question.

  23. rmoore7

    November 24, 2021 at 12:44 am

    As a person that’s lived through over 50 hurricane seasons in Florida not only am I grateful for our weather forecasters, but from my perspective I’m convinced there’s been a significant improvement in accuracy and predictions over that time.

  24. Salt Sister

    November 24, 2021 at 4:16 am

    get that the weather forecast isn’t great a week in advance, but when it says “No rain all day” while it’s currently raining outside I feel like I’m entitled to be a bit pissed.

  25. h4tt0ri

    November 24, 2021 at 7:26 am

    wow 1 minute TED video. you’re outdoing yourself.

  26. 0 0

    November 24, 2021 at 7:41 am

    She is horrible. I never learn anything. Dislike 👎🏼
    Waste of time

  27. Norse

    November 24, 2021 at 11:59 am

    The thing I like about Linus Torvalds is that he is an actual Computer science engineer and doesn’t LARP as a virologist or eugenecist.

  28. Jesse W.

    November 24, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    So i guess predicting global warming or cooling or whatever the supposed “climate crisis” is now is also inaccurate?

  29. MS

    November 25, 2021 at 1:21 am

    the weather network is pretty accurate. about 90% accurate.

  30. Andrew Gedman

    November 25, 2021 at 4:05 am

    I take this as a way to justify procrastination.

  31. The Freshest

    November 25, 2021 at 5:01 am

    Also living organisms can change the molicules in the atmo even if we knew their properties. Like massive forests (and humans)

  32. Noukz

    November 25, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    How is this topic relevant to the othewise spot-on “Am I normal” series? *thinkingemoji*

  33. Stefan Nikola

    November 25, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    We need to hold psychologists and therapists up to this kind of scrutiny. They aren’t accurate either.

  34. Kevin Lim

    November 26, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    50% accuracy.
    Rain vs No Rain
    Cloudy vs Non cloudy
    Wind vs no Wind
    😂

  35. Avi Richar

    November 27, 2021 at 5:23 am

    This is silly. The number of molecules is irrelevant. We actually have science that deals with reality on scales larger than the single molecule, duh. And 3 degrees off the day before, when it’s *every* single day wrong (plus that 7+ degrees off a few days before) means the *model* is wrong. And obviously, the model is not considering climate change, especially the warming part.

    Yes we can’t get it perfect, but by major differences that are actually on the scales that are *known* to have changed, in the last 30 years, 50+ years, etc., since apparently these weather models were based that are still being used, is really the problem, clearly.

    It’s time to catch up to what’s actually happening. And stop denying the actual accurately modellable realities, in the models themselves. We know how heat works, and humidity, and wind, and etc etc etc. That doesn’t take “knowing exactly where each molecule is at every moment.” That’s not how science works.

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Become a TED Member:
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Subscribe to our channel:

TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

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