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Name: Chris
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Question:
Ok, so everyone agrees the weatherman is not always right! They do seem right on with determining what the temperature will be tomorrow. What is it that enables the accuracy with this prediction to be so high?


Replies:
There is a long line of people who would challenge your confidence in the weatherman's ability to accurately predict tomorrow's temperature. But that aside, meteorologists have models for taking input from the surroundings often hundreds of miles away from the local site. The atmospheric input are variables such as barometric pressure, wind speed, temperature at the remote locations, humidity, and so on (there are more input variables than the ones I listed here). In addition, the atmospheric conditions, including temperature, are easier to predict in some locations than in others. For example, being near an ocean or major lake, like one of the Great Lakes in the U.S. tends to minimize temperature changes. At the other extreme, there are locations like Kansas and Nebraska that are very flat so that atmospheric air can move rapidly-- unimpeded by mountains, hills, forests, etc. In these locations it is much more difficult to predict tomorrow's temperature accurately.

The various input data are fed into the weather/climate model and one of the outputs is a prediction of the temperature. These are usually very sophisticated weather models that work fairly well. Although sometimes it is said, "Look out the window!" and you can make a reasonable estimate of tomorrows temperature.

Vince Calder


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