Will it snow tomorrow? Will school be canceled? Everyone wants to know about the weather. Good news! Weather predictions are only getting better.
Weather predictions are getting better because tools are getting better. Weather forecasters use tools to make observations. Early forecasters used simple tools like barometers [tools that measure air pressure], thermometers [tools that measure temperature], and maps to study the weather. As meteorologists’ tools have improved, their observations have improved, too.
Today’s meteorologists also use complex tools like supercomputers. Supercomputers can combine all the data that the National Weather Service (NWS) collects to help predict weather. In 2019, the NWS upgraded its supercomputing system. This upgrade allowed scientists to launch a new weather prediction model. The new model is faster and more accurate than the previous one.
Using tools to predict weather is only part of what meteorologists do. They also need to share the information! Meteorologists must summarize a huge amount of information in a few sentences or even a single icon. People can check the weather on the local TV news, in a newspaper, or on a mobile device.
The next time you check the weather, remember: it took many tools, observations, and a meteorologist’s skills to bring you the forecast!
What Do You Think? Why is predicting the weather important?
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