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A forecast is a statement, usually in probabilistic terms, about the future state or properties of a system based on a known past and present. A CONDITIONAL FORECAST states in probabilistic terms what the future will be if a course of action is taken. A forecast that states with a high degree of confidence what the future will be is referred to as a prediction. A forecast that is a hypothesis rather than a formally justified inference from past data is referred to as a scenario. Forecasting techniques range from expert judgments to mathematical forecasting models. The FORECASTING LEAD (forecasting horizon) is the length of time ahead of now for which one can make a reasonable forecast. It depends, in the general sense, on available data. A forecast that makes itself come true is referred to as a self- fulfilling forecast. For example, a forecast for the rapid growth of a certain city may encourage business to locate there, thus causing the forecast to be realized. (IIASA)

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