Odds-on Weather

I used to think I should bet on a White Christmas.  We seemed to get one at least every 10 years.  Place the bet early enough to get good odds, and do it every year, and… well I never actually worked out how much I’d need to risk each year for a payback. And one small point – I’d never actually ever set foot in a bookmakers.

This year the odds have been slashed with just under two weeks to go. Aberdeen  is top of the odds, sitting at 7/4 for snow on Christmas Day and the rest of the country is at 3/1.

From the Met Office:

“…the definition of an official white Christmas used most widely, notably by those placing and taking bets, is for a single snow flake (perhaps amongst a shower of rain and snow mixed) to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December.
The last official white Christmas was in 2009, when snow was widespread across Northern Ireland, Scotland, parts of Wales, the Midlands, north-east and far south-west England.”

They’ve also produced a fact sheet listing and mapping White Christmases in the UK since 1960.

Bookmaker William Hill is offering 100/1 odds for “Big Ben to fail to chime due being frozen solid by April 30th 2011” and 100/1 that the Thames will freeze over between Westminster bridge and Tower bridge.  They also offer odds of 6/1 that the lowest temperature in Scotland will be beaten (current record -27.2C, Jan 10th 1982, Aberdeenshire). That would be a new record for the while of the UK. Also 8/1 that the lowest recorded temperature in England will be beaten (-26.1C, Jan 10 1982, Shropshire), and 8/1 for the record in Wales to be beaten (-23.3C, 21st Jan, 1940 Powys).

That reminds me – friend and collaborator Andrew Chantrill emailed a few days ago:

“I’ve become aware of a new phrase entering the AGW language – “entirely consistent”.

It can be used in any situation; cold winters are “entirely consistent” with (GCM runs at) raised CO2 levels.  Warmer winters are also, of course, “entirely consistent” too.
It reminds me of the old adage “To be sure of success, shoot first; whatever you hit, call it the target”.”
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2 Responses to Odds-on Weather

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    In the same mode, a common understanding in Silycon valley when making a presentation of a new ‘gadget’ to managment (or worse, to prospects) is that one is to “Never say anything more predictive than ‘watch this!’…”

  2. Pascvaks says:

    Strange but true – (made it up myself;-) – the odds that AGW will disappear in the next 10 years are the same that it will not. A fantasy is a fantasy is a fantasy no matter what a statistician says the statistics are of it being true or not.

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