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How are Weather Forecasts made today?
Forecasts make by collecting as much data as possible about the state of the atmosphere (mainly temperature, atmospheric pressure, winds, humidity, and precipitation) and using known atmospheric processes (through meteorology) to determine future atmospheric patterns.
What is the most reliable Weather Forecast?
AEMET is the reference page when it comes to knowing the weather forecast. The State Meteorological Agency is the public institution that studies the weather forecast in Spain. On its website, we can find everything you need to guess if it’s going to rain, shine or snow before leaving home.
Meteorology and climatology study the atmosphere from various perspectives. On the one hand, they describe the general weather conditions in a specific area and time. On the other, they investigate the behaviour of large air masses to establish general laws regarding their influence on different factors.
Finally, they analyze each of these individual factors (temperature, pressure, humidity) to discover the laws that govern them and to be able to make an accurate weather forecast.
Weather forecasts through with the primary goal of determining the future state of the atmosphere. To achieve this, mathematical models called weather forecast models uses. Unfortunately, the methods and the factors that influence them are unknown to the most public.
Meteorology has various practical applications, in addition to the obvious ones. For example, aeronautical meteorology specializes in everything that affects air traffic; agricultural meteorology aims to predict the appropriate conditions for different agrarian tasks; medical meteorology studies the influence of atmospheric factors on human health.
The model provides the initial conditions on the regular mesh briefly described at the beginning to make the prediction. In addition, the model must provide boundary conditions, that is, conditions on the atmosphere’s behaviour at the limits, both lateral and upper and lower.
The prediction process consists of advancing small time steps, typically seconds or minutes, and solving the equations in each of these steps for each point of the three-dimensional grid, thus obtaining successive states of the atmosphere.
This process repeats until the desired instant of time is reached, where the final prediction is obtained, known as the forecast horizon. It should also be well-known that there are physical processes, such as rain, that the models do not explicitly resolve. Therefore post-processing of the data is needed where these biological processes parameterize. In this opinion, the model is ready to make the prediction.
It is how weather forecasts work and why they are sometimes wrong
The weather is one of the significant concerns of our day today. Suppose it’s sunny, no problem. But as soon as the rains, snow or fog come, problems also come. Therefore, looking at today’s or weekend’s weather when we have outdoor plans. Without counting the people who, due to their work – such as fishermen or farmers – need to know what the weather will be like every day. But how are weather forecasts made? And why do predictions sometimes fail?
You don’t take to go far back to see problems related to weather forecasting. This same Holy Week, in many areas of Spain, has rained almost without prior notice. And, unfortunately, the weather this weekend present with rain and storms in a part of the Iberian Peninsula. Of course, many people will wish the predictions were wrong, but that remains to understand.
In addition, last January, there was a historic snowfall in Madrid; Despite the warnings, neither the Community nor the City Council prepared for what came upon them. It was not a mistake by the predictions. It was a human error: many people thought it would not be such a big deal. And also, it is normal not to give so much importance to the weather among the citizens.
After all, they are use to snow in the capital’s urban area. However, the experts warned. They gave the alarm to political leaders and also to citizens. The snow caught many people with their asses in the air despite everything.
It is how the weather works
But we have not come to talk about Madrid or human failures. Instead, let’s talk about the science behind the predictions: meteorology.
Weather forecasting is based first on observation. In other words, to know what the weather will be like, all the variables that we know lead to one time or another control. We have weather stations, satellites and other technology to measure humidity, wind, temperature, pressure, precipitation and other variables.
Then we need mathematical models and computers to analyze them. Finally, with the data from the observations, we can predict what the weather will be like in the next few days. “Weather forecasts are getting better: today, a five-day weather forecast is as reliable as a two-day forecast was twenty years ago,” the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) explains on its website. ).
Weather and climate forecasting “produces much more than just weather forecasting,” says the WMO. Supercomputers “use mathematical models (numerical weather prediction models) based on the laws of physics to produce graphs, digital products, weather and air quality predictions, climate predictions, risk assessments and early warnings. Meteorological satellites broadcast this meteorological information in real-time, several times a day.
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