Why is weather forecasting so difficult?

1 Answer
Apr 11, 2015

Every job is difficult I would say and here is why wheather prediction could be difficult as well.

Weather forecasters have improved significantly over the last 20 years. For example, the 3-day forecasts they deliver today are far better than the 1-day forecasts they delivered 20-30 years ago. Interesting!

They're also much better equipped to provide advanced warnings of severe weather.

But, modern meteorologists wouldn't be nearly so accurate without numerical forecasting which uses mathematical equations to predict the weather. It requires powerful computers and lots of observational data collected.

Even accurately predicting tomorrow’s weather takes a major effort. The National Weather Service collects billions of observations every day from geostationary and polar orbiting satellites, along with data from weather balloons and ground stations. Thousands of stations across the globe are linked and their data pooled.

But maybe, we lack the ability to continuously observe the atmosphere and assimilate these data. Or perhapse, our ability to analyze these data are severely limited by computing speed and storage. Atmosphere is a great part of our planet and to predict the weather accurately we need to know exactly what's going on in every space at every second.