Accuracy Of Weather Forecasts
Weather forecasters have long been the subject of jokes, probably as much today as they were in Theophrastus's time. One reason for this is that there is no standard measure of a "correct" weather forecast. Suppose that a forecaster predicts heavy rain for your area tomorrow. Does a rainfall of 1 in (2.5 cm) prove that prediction correct? Or a rainfall of 1.5 in (1 cm)? Or a rainfall of 5 in (13 cm)?
Forecast accuracy also is difficult to judge since the average person's expectations probably have increased as the percent skill of forecasts also has increased. A hundred years ago, few people would have expected to have much idea as to what the weather would be like 24 hours in the future. Today, a good next-day forecast often is possible.
In general it is probably safe to say that the shorter the time period and the more limited the geographic area involved, the more accurate a forecast is likely to be. For periods of less than a day, a forecast covering an area of 100 sq mi (259 sq km) is likely to be quite dependable. Predictions about weather patterns six months from now for the state of California are likely to be much less reliable.
Danielson, Eric W., James Levin, and Elliot Abrams. Meteorology. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math, 2002.
Hodgson, Michael, and Devin Wick. Basic Essentials: Weather Forecasting. 2nd ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1999.
Lutgens, Frederick K., and Edward J. Tarbuck. The Atmosphere: An Introduction to Meteorology. 8th ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2000.
Lynott, Robert E. How Weather Works and Why. Gadfly Press, 1994.
"Boundary-Layer Meteorology." Boundary-Layer Meteorology 105, no. 3-3 (2002): 515-520.
Lee, Thomas. "Eleventh AMS Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 83, no. 11 (2002): 1645-1648.
Spellman, Greg. "Experiences Teaching Meteorology To Adults." Journal Of Meteorology 27 no. 268 (2002): 133-137.
The National Weather Service [cited 2003]. <http://www.nws.noaa.gov>.
David E. Newton
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) - Tropical Hardwoods In The Verbena Family to WelfarismWeather Forecasting - The National Weather Service, Types Of Weather Forecasts, Long-range Forecasting, Numerical Weather Prediction