Members the the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club with Punxsutawney Phil.(Image credit: The Punxsutawney Groundhog club | groundhog.org)
Punxsutawney Phil observed his shadow this year. Together the legend goes, that way six much more weeks that winter weather lay ahead; no zero indicates an early spring. Phil, a groundhog, has been forecasting the weather top top Groundhog work for more than 120 years, however just how great is he in ~ his job?


Not very, it transforms out.

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Punxsutawney Phil was an initial tasked with predicting the upcoming feather weather in 1887, and the process hasn"t changed much since. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, takes treatment of Phil year-round, and on every Feb. 2, members of the club"s within Circle rouse Phil in ~ sunrise (this morning, castle awakened him in ~ 7:25 a.m.) to view if the casts a shadow. (Contrary to popular belief, Phil doesn"t actually need to see his shadow; that just has to cast one to make his wintery prophecy.)

According to the Groundhog Club"s records, the various incarnations of Punxsutawney Phil have predicted 104 prediction of much more winter and 20 at an early stage springs. There are nine year without any type of records, and even the Punxsutawney Area chamber of Commerce, i beg your pardon keeps track of these things, doesn"t know what taken place to Phil throughout those years. Data native the Stormfax Almanac"s data mirrors that Phil"s six-week prognostications have actually been correct around 39% of the time.

Phil walk a shade poorer once you check his performance against actual weather outcomes due to the fact that 1969, as soon as the accuracy the weather documents is less in question, stated Tim Roche, a meteorologist in ~ Weather Underground. From 1969 on, Phil"s in its entirety accuracy price drops to around 36%.


The groundhog"s powers of prognostication are slightly much better when that doesn"t view his shadow, though. "When Phil guess a quick winter, he to be much an ext likely to be right," Roche formerly told Live Science. "Out of the 15 times that he didn"t check out his shadow and also predicted an early spring, he got it appropriate seven times. That"s a 47% accuracy rate," he said at the time. (In fact, Punxsutawney Phil seems to have meteorology top top his next this year, as Accuweather meteorologists are forecasting part stormy weather at the very least in the Northeast this month, Accuweather reported.)

And just how does the stand up against human forecasters? "If Punxsutawney Phil is best 39% of the time, that"s much, lot worse 보다 a climatological prediction," Roche said. "Even if you upper and lower reversal a coin, you"ll still be right close to fifty percent of the time. That"s a 50 percent accuracy rate. Therefore you"ll be far better off flipping a coin 보다 going by the groundhog"s predictions."


Ouch. To preeminence out the opportunity that Roche just has actually a thing against groundhogs, we checked Phil"s performance with David Unger, a meteorologist at the national Weather Service. That looks choose Phil probably won"t be getting a job at the NWS any time soon, either.


"It"s extremely challenging to provide an estimate of just how accurate climate guess are," Unger called Live science in 2011. "But compared to the terms v which Groundhog job predictions space made, which are if the weather will certainly be soft or not mild, then if ours forecasts are about 60 percent specific or higher, then we think about that to be a great estimate."

So there you go. The statistics suggest that you more than likely shouldn"t delay that feather cleaning based on Punxsutawney Phil"s forecast. Climate again, what carry out you expect? Phil is a groundhog, after ~ all.

Editor"s Note: This post was updated on Feb. 2, 2020, through Phil"s brand-new forecast.

Original article on Live Science.

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