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Essay/Term paper: Weather forecasting

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society Term Papers

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Weather Forecasting


In researching this project I was amazed to find the many books on this
topic. After going through much information and reading an enormous amount of
writing on weather forecasting I can only come to one conclusion that when all
is considered the best forecasters can only give an educated guess of what is in
store for weather. Through the many means at their disposal, such as satellites,
ships at the ocean, infrared, radio, and radar transmissions even with all of
these techniques no prediction is 100% accurate.

One question that I asked myself was "when was the first weather
forecasting ever done?", I found out that in 1863 in Britain there was a united
forecasting system headed by Captain Robert Fitzroy. Captain Fitzroy would send
ships around Britain to warn people of storms and such. However, he was often
wrong and criticized and therefor committed suicide. Since then there have been
many other services, but the largest one currently is the National Weather
Service. The National Weather Service gives predictions for all of the world
through satellite imagery for all countries. Also in recent history many local
television and radio stations have made private forecasts for small areas.

Meteorologists are people who interpret the weather, the reason I don't
say predict the weather is because even though all forecasters have the same
information and data at their fingertips, the way that they interpret what is in
front of them can be different. Meteorologists receive information from various
sources, but their interpretation of the data determines the accuracy of their
prediction.

Someone might ask, "If forecasters have so much information on a
particular area; how could they predict a flawed forecast ?" The answer to
that question lies in the fact that any one of a number of weather conditions
may ruin a forecast. A fast cold or hot front moving in, an unexpected flow
from the ocean or a cold wind may change the whole days forecast.

There are many different materials and devices used by local and
government services to predict the weather. Some of these devices are, Radar
which is actually sound waves, which bounce off clouds and give location of
storms this way.

Another such device is actually a variation of radar called "Doppler
Radar" actually can give the exact location of a storm within a kilometer.
However, Doppler Radar is not used so much for everyday forecasting, but for
tornadoes and very large storms. The way Doppler Radar works is almost the same
as regular radar with one advantage, it also can measure the speed of an object
or storm, which makes its prime usage tornado watching.

Some other techniques have been adapted to forecast the weather such as
infrared beams, which even at night can show where the intensity of a storm is.
And of course there are other instruments used to predict the weather such as
the barometer and the thermometer.

Of course all of these inventions have proven helpful for forecasting
weather, there was still one problem. The main problem was communicating. The
reason for this was that if the forecasters were to send letters to each other
every time there was a storm, their counterparts would not learn of a storm or
tornado for days! The solution to this problem began with the invention of the
telegraph.

The telegraph provided a simultaneous message carrier to anywhere in the
country. Later the radio was invented and then that was used, but still
something else was needed a system to transport footage as well as sound. The
solution to that was solved by the Internet. The internet is a connection by
phone lines which can deliver photos and sound instantaneously.

The next breakthrough in forecasting was the satellite. A satellite
would be launched from Earth and then would take video and photos of the world
and send back to Earth the footage, thereby being able to show storms coming
from the ocean just at the first stages.

The first weather satellite "T.I.R.O.S. 1"the world an infrared view of
the world. However T.I.R.O.S 1 was not specifically built for forecasting but
rather to study clouds. The U.S. government later went on to build 7 more
T.I.R.O.S.'s.

The first weather satellite truly devoted to weather forecasting was
E.S.S.A. 1 which provided detailed data pictures, and its successor, E.S.S.A. 2
provided pictures from a regular wide angled lens of the world. Furthermore even
though E.S.S.A. and T.I.R.O.S gave birth to a new generation of technological
breakthroughs by toadies standards the information they gave were fuzzy and
incomplete. Later there was a new satellite built in the image of T.I.R.O.S.
called I.T.O.S. which stood for Improved T.I.R.O.S. operating system.

Recently there have been many local forecasting stations popping up all
over the world, a big difference from the once exclusive N.W.S.(national weather
service). Lately most towns now have non-governmental forecasting stations,
which provide weather information for the suburban locations and areas such as
ski resorts, and holiday vacation spots, one thing the N.W.S. does not do.

The National Weather Service has been in operation for over 100 years
since 1870 and has kept all records of weather, thereby making it possible to
make an average for the day with decent results.

In Closing I can only surmise that much research been done on
predicting weather accurately, millions of dollars have been spent, on
satellites, radar, and weather bureaus. Meteorology, which is the study of
weather is an exact science, yet because it deals with the forces of nature, the
essentials of a weather prediction, will never be entirely accurate, or will
they...?



 

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