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(texte français: cliquez ici)   Stakes of weather prediction


Predicting the weather by interpreting signs in the sky or from the activity of a volcano is not a gratuitous traditional activity. It requires from a sailor a real competence. And the performance is always important and sometimes vital.
Winds of Lipari islands
Aeolus' kingdom
3 Squall phenomenon
4 Extract from ship's log
5 Signs of squall
6 Meteorological explanation
7 Weather prediction
Stakes of weather prediction
Lo Surdo the fisherman prognosticates the weather to come after the direction of the smoke-plume spitted by the Stromboli.
There is a second way of interpreting the practices and comments of Lipariot fishermen that does not exclude the previous one. It consists of identifying the vocabulary and listing the vivid expressions they use to define the phenomena they observe and use for their prediction. They sometimes speak of the "wind eye". What do they mean by that? I have mentioned above the proverb Quando Stromboli fa fanali ... That refers to the intermittent lights often observed during the phases of activity of the volcano. These expressions no doubt refer to local short typical meteorological phenomena that foreign observers cannot understand for lack of means to identify them and words to name them. A fisherman has to decide if he sets sail or not. And the decision he makes has always a stake : a good fishing, his equipment to recover, and sometimes even his life to save. Far from being gratuitous, the interpretation of signs is a serious business that requires knowledge and competence. Wright or wrong prediction inducean immediate sanction sometimes final. A sqall breaks out or clouds clear away. One has to fish along the east or west coast and take shelter or not. If volcano smokes paradoxically point to the east as if winds were blowing from the west, while at sea surface winds blow from the east and set to the west (photo), this is a sign that winds are going to change. One must then go fishing somewhere "toward the wind" that blows in the islands, since one will be sheltered as it changes. Experience shows tha it is a reasonable decision. next
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