No-one can accurately predict the weather. Before doing the trip I did some reading on weather
forecasting, the meaning of barometric pressure changes etc. Interesting to note was reference to
a method of forecasting referred to as "The Persistence Model". Unlike most forecasting models
that require large counts of data gatherers, complex processing and mathematical modelling, the
Persistence Model requires no data gathering, analysis or modelling and is believe it or not
statistically more accurate! In essence, the Persistence Model is nothing more than the prediction
that the weather tomorrow will be the same as today!
I liked the approach as we started on a fair day. I decided to optimise the model and referred to it
as the "Optimistic Persistence Model" suggesting that the weather tomorrow would be the same
or even better than today!
The weather conformed to this model for the first 7 days! We started out fair and enjoyed sunny
and rainless days. On the 8th day we had cloud and rain late in the afternoon. On the 9th day, we
had sleet followed by snow for most of the day trundling into Sani. This added greatly to the
experience of getting to highest point in Southern Africa, Thabana Ntanyana, enjoying the
displays of ice bedecked frozen grasses. Quite spectacular.
Not keen to start the 10th day in sub-zero conditions we were somewhat sceptical about the
weather. True to form, the model kicked in, the days got better and we rolled through the rest of
the trip in good weather.
A point to note is that the weather conditions and the mood and cohesiveness of the team
appeared to be in sync. Whether our moods reflected the weather, or the weather reflected our
moods is anyone's guess. All I can say is that we were blessed having 10 out of 12 days of
exceptional weather. I can understand that teams doing the traverse in foul weather would certainly
be more stressed and challenged than we were.