Pondering predictions of the weather

I was sat in my living room the other day having just contacted Boiler Repair Gloucestercompany http://www.hprservicesltd.com/gloucester-boilers/boiler-repair-gloucester/ to get them to come and find out why my boiler has been making some very strange noises over the last few days when I started wondering about the weather. How do meteorologists predict what the weather is going to be over the coming weeks? So, I did a bit of research and I thought I would share some of it with you.

The MET office was established here in the United Kingdom in around 1854, before which weather predictions were made using hand-drawn charts and human knowledge and observations. In today’s world supercomputers are used to convert the observations that are recorded into statistical data that can then be processed and analysed.

Image Credit

It is thought that over 500,000 observations of the earths atmospheric conditions are made globally each day. With the MET office in the UK having 200 unmanned ground located weather stations in the country that feed back information. These stations are spaced around 25 miles apart in an effort to cover as much of the UK as possible and provide them with as much data to be able to predict the weather. These stations are incredibly important as they pick up on any local weather fluctuations such as thunderstorms that might be missed by the weather balloons. Other stations are situated around the country that gather information on rainfall. Information is also gathered from ships and buoys out to sea and from weather balloon and aircraft that collection data about the atmospheric conditions, pressure, temperature and wind direction and strength.

Image Credit

Satellites are also used and have been a massive game changer in weather predictions. There are two types of satellites that are used in the gathering of data from the atmosphere. Polar orbiting satellites which are located at altitudes of 530 miles and they orbit the earth on a north to south direction and collect data for pre-determined destinations twice a day. Geostationary satellites are located much higher in the atmosphere at altitudes of 22,000 miles. Theses satellites orbit over a fixed point along the equator and give a constant stream of data from the measurements it takes of the hemisphere below its location.

The week ahead weather forecasts that are generated today are even more accurate than the next day forecasts that were generated around thirty years ago. There will always be anomalies in the weather that the experts perhaps don’t pick up or occur sooner or later than they expect as after all we are dealing with natural forces and not ones that run from a script.