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Weather Forecasting

The National Weather Service, Types Of Weather Forecasts, Long-range Forecasting, Numerical Weather Prediction

Weather forecasting is the attempt by meteorologists to predict the state of the atmosphere at some future time and the weather conditions that may be expected. Weather forecasting is the single most important practical reason for the existence of meteorology as a science. It is obvious that knowing the future of the weather can be important for individuals and organizations. Accurate weather forecasts can tell a farmer when the best time to plant is; an airport control tower what information to send to planes that are landing and taking off; and residents of a coastal region when a hurricane might strike.

Humans have been looking for ways to forecast the weather for centuries. The Greek natural philosopher Theophrastus wrote a book, Book of Signs, in about 300

B.C. listing more than 200 ways of knowing when to expect rain, wind, fair conditions, and other kinds of weather.

Scientifically based weather forecasting was not possible until meteorologists were able to collect data about current weather conditions from a relatively widespread system of observing stations and organize that data in a timely fashion. By the 1930s these conditions had been met. Vilhelm and Jacob Bjerknes developed a weather station network in the 1920s that allowed for the collection of regional weather data. The weather data collected by the network could be transmitted nearly instantaneously by use of the telegraph, invented in the 1830s by Samuel F. B. Morse. The age of scientific forecasting, also referred to as synoptic forecasting, was under way.

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