Two Farmers Almanacs: What’s the Difference?
Two Almanacs, What’s The Difference?
The internet is abuzz with long-range winter forecasts this time of year and us skiers and snowboarders can’t get enough of the speculation. But what is the difference between the two almanacs (other than the placement of the apostrophe?)
Well, they’re actually pretty similar on the surface. Both the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Farmers’ Almanac have been predicting weather for at least 200 years and each employ somewhat similar techniques to crafting these predictions.
However, there are a few key nuances that set them apart from one another and we’ve listed them out below.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Founder: Robert B. Thomas
Location: Dublin, New Hampshire
Prediction Formula: Thomas believed Earth’s weather was influenced by magnetic storms on the surface of the sun. He developed a secret weather prediction formula based on that belief. Notes about that formula are locked in a black box in the almanac’s offices. (More eye rolls.)
This secret formula has been refined over the years to include more scientific calculations:
- solar science, the study of sunspots and other solar activity
- climatology, the study of prevailing weather patterns
- meteorology, the study of the atmosphere
Accuracy Rate: 80 percent — though many modern meteorologists may have their suspicions.
Predictions made: up to 18 months in advance for 18 regions in the U.S. and seven in Canada
The Farmers’ Almanac
Founder: David Young
Location: Lewiston, Maine
Prediction Formula: The Farmers’ Almanac takes into account things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon, the position of the planets and a variety of other factors. The editors deny using any type of computer satellite-tracking equipment, weather lore or groundhogs. (Sorry, Phil.) The only person who knows the exact formula is the almanac’s weather prognosticator who goes by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee.
Claimed accuracy rate: 80 to 85 percent — though modern meteorologists don’t think so.
Predictions made: 16 months in advance for seven climate zones in the U.S. and five in Canada
So, Which Should You Trust?
Listen, we love playing the long-range weather game as much as the next guy (as long as it tells us what we want to hear.) But we place our forecasting trust in the team over at OpenSnow. Every one of their meteorologists is also a passionate skier or rider, so they have our best interests and powder days at heart.
All we can say is have fun with the long-range predictions, do your snow dances and hope for the best.