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Temperature Forecast Accuracies of Polish Proverbs

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  • 1 Faculty of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
  • 2 Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland
  • 3 Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poznań, Poland
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Abstract

Proverbs are a part of traditional knowledge that has been increasingly acknowledged to be a valuable source of information for environmental policies. Proverbs on weather convey the cumulated experience of generations that provide guidelines for agricultural practices, everyday decisions, and other situations. Besides the value the proverbs have in their cultural setting, they also serve as an indicator of objective meteorological patterns. This study presents a comprehensive evaluation of the Polish temperature-related proverbs. From the collected corpus of more than 2000 Polish proverbs, 28 were related to temperature and provided concrete predictions and so were selected for further analysis. The proverbs were tested on the basis of temperature (minimum, maximum, and mean) data from 20 weather stations, located in Poland and the neighboring countries, for the period of 1951–2012. Harbingers and forecasts were identified and coded as 0 or 1. Proverb accuracies were then compared using Heidke skill scores and proportions of fulfilled proverbs. The proverbs’ spatial and temporal contingencies were tested via generalized linear mixed models. Some proverbs provided a high proportion (up to 79%) of fulfilled proverbs. Furthermore, the accuracy of the proverbs was reversely proportional to chronological date (decreased with time), with values increasing toward the east and north directions of station locations. The observed changes in proverb accuracies may be attributed to the shift of Polish borders following the Second World War and the respective migration of the population.

Corresponding author: Piotr Matczak, matczak@amu.edu.pl

Abstract

Proverbs are a part of traditional knowledge that has been increasingly acknowledged to be a valuable source of information for environmental policies. Proverbs on weather convey the cumulated experience of generations that provide guidelines for agricultural practices, everyday decisions, and other situations. Besides the value the proverbs have in their cultural setting, they also serve as an indicator of objective meteorological patterns. This study presents a comprehensive evaluation of the Polish temperature-related proverbs. From the collected corpus of more than 2000 Polish proverbs, 28 were related to temperature and provided concrete predictions and so were selected for further analysis. The proverbs were tested on the basis of temperature (minimum, maximum, and mean) data from 20 weather stations, located in Poland and the neighboring countries, for the period of 1951–2012. Harbingers and forecasts were identified and coded as 0 or 1. Proverb accuracies were then compared using Heidke skill scores and proportions of fulfilled proverbs. The proverbs’ spatial and temporal contingencies were tested via generalized linear mixed models. Some proverbs provided a high proportion (up to 79%) of fulfilled proverbs. Furthermore, the accuracy of the proverbs was reversely proportional to chronological date (decreased with time), with values increasing toward the east and north directions of station locations. The observed changes in proverb accuracies may be attributed to the shift of Polish borders following the Second World War and the respective migration of the population.

Corresponding author: Piotr Matczak, matczak@amu.edu.pl
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