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23 February 2005
Weather Man
Meet someone whose job is to predict what the weather will be like.

JOHN MOORE, WEATHER FORECASTER: I think we're in for a period now of, this year and another couple of years, of average to above average rainfall so I think it's quite a good outlook.

REPORTER: Farmers in Southern Australia who've just endured the worst drought in a hundred years and are now being buffeted by regular, biting cold fronts, may scoff at talk of good seasons back upon us.

Many months ago, long-range weather forecaster, John Moore, predicted a late autumn break.

JOHN MOORE: There was a lot of pressure on myself towards the end of May because there was possibly thousands, or hundreds of thousands of acres of crop sown dry on my prediction and there was a bit of pressure on for a while.

REPORTER: Roly Dye's ewes and lambs are thriving on a lush whistler wheat crop. Dye is one of more than a hundred farmers and corporate clients such as water authorities, who follow John Moore's long-range forecasts.

ROLY DYE: And I look forward to seeing John's forecasts to see where I can move next sort of thing. And it gives me more confidence.
REPORTER: And really it must be worth thousands of dollars.
ROLY DYE: When you move with things and the season moves with you, it is.

REPORTER: Moore believes they'll be no dramatic flood rains across Southern Australia, just a steady return to normal rainfall patterns.

As a farmer frustrated by inaccurate forecasts he devised his own weather formula over many months in 1978.

JOHN MOORE: I actually used it to predict the break of the '82-'83 drought. I was actually two weeks .it happened two weeks earlier then what I'd predicted.

REPORTER: Moore charts the movements of planets and ocean currents, combines the Southern Oscillation Index, which measures the rate of evaporation from the oceans, and checks that with extensive rainfall records.

He has a proven accuracy for South Australia, Southern New South Wales and Victoria but admits predicting long-range weather for Tasmania and Gippsland is difficult.

JOHN MOORE: The weather is really a living thing. It moves in different directions and with different strengths and so it's difficult to be precise to a region.

REPORTER: Even so, forecasting up to two and a half years into the future, Moore's forecasts have a growing following.

JOHN MOORE: It's just not a matter of sowing a crop, having enough moisture there. It's particularly important to know whether you're going to have enough moisture in the spring to finish the crop and that's where my clients find it so valuable.

story notes

 the worst
The worst is the irregular superlative adjective formed form the word bad.
more information: superlative adjectives

 sown dry
Sown dry means that the seeds for the crops were planted in dry land.
To sow is to put seeds in the ground so that they will grow. The past tense and past participle of the verb sow can be sowed or sown.
There are two separate meanings and pronunciations of the word spelled s-o-w. Follow the link to listen to the difference.
more information: sow

 ewes and lambs
Ewes are female sheep and lambs are baby sheep.


 inaccurate forecasts
If something is inaccurate it's wrong, or not correct.
Example: English Bites is never inaccurate.
A forecast is a prediction, usually a statement about what the weather will be like.
Example: The forecast for tomorrow is rain.


 weather formula
Here, a weather formula is a system of forecasting the weather. It's a system used to predict or to try to know what the weather will be like.
For other meanings and spellings of the word pronounced 'weather', follow the link.
more information: weather & whether

Here, charts is used as a verb. To chart is to record in detail.
Example: It took many years to chart Australia's coastline.
Note that chart is also a noun. A chart is a map or a graph.

Example: This is a weather chart.

 ocean currents
Ocean currents are movements of water in the sea.

 Southern Oscillation Index
The Southern Oscillation Index measures the rate of evaporation from the oceans.

 evaporation from the oceans
Evaporation is the process of liquid turning to gas. Water in the ocean heats up and can turn into gas.
The Southern Oscillation Index measures how much water from the ocean turns into gas.

 extensive rainfall records
Extensive rainfall records give detailed information about rain, such as how much rain an area has had over a long period of time.

Notice that the word used to introduce the first of two or more alternatives is spelled w-h-e-t-h-e-r (whether) and not w-e-a-t-h-e-r (weather).
more information: weather & whether