It all started on a chilly Wednesday night when my mom and I were looking at the weather app because we wanted to check if it would rain the next day. My mom and I noticed that there was a warning saying it might snow the next day. I was uninterested but had some hope. On Thursday, it snowed! I then felt an urge of curiosity. How do meteorologists predict the weather? I thought. I decided right then to start researching right away!
It all starts with the satellites. Satellites orbit around the earth and use their cameras to see the weather up above. Several satellites are up there, each covering a piece of land. Satellites pictures can help meteorologists, people who study the weather. There are three types of satellites so meteorologists can get a better understanding of future weather. The first type of satellites is polar-orbiting satellites. They orbit closely to the earth and take approximately 7 detailed shots a day. Geostationary satellites stay at the same location and take the same picture around every half a minute. Lastly, there are deep-space satellites. They stay close to the sun to monitor space weather or solar storms. NOAA also may use information from other satellites owned by other companies.
For a review in temperature, airspeed, wind direction, and wind speed, they use something called weather balloons. Weather balloons have special devices attached to them to measure. They are made of latex and synthetic rubber and inflated with either hydrogen or helium. Most people know what weather balloons are, but don't know much about what they do. Parachutes are often attached to help retrieve it once it falls.
Radars are used to measure participation, which means the chance of it going to rain. They can also be used to see if there are any thunderstorms or tornadoes. To be more specific, the radar used to measure participation are called doppler radars. They detect radio waves, which show wind speed and even direction. They use the Doppler effect to predict the chances of rain from a far distance. The doppler effect is when the frequency from a sound wave changes as the observer moves away or closer.
Lastly, the information from these devices is gathered and sent to the meteorologists’ computers. They use a system called AWIPS (NOAA’s Advanced Weather Information Processing System), which is a computer system that combines all the data received from the following devices and turns it into a graph. They use that for predicting the actual weather and then display it onto a map. Humans there also predict the weather. To predict storms or blizzards, humans can use the forecasts from previous years. For example, if there was a blizzard every year for the past 6 years, chances are there will be a blizzard the current year. Also, if the clouds might be grey, chances are it might start raining!
At 10:33 a.m, when my mom and I looked at the weather, that question popped in my head, making me feel very inquisitive. Weather is an unpredictable part of mother nature and most people have many questions about it. But using modern technology thanks to humans, we can precut weather using radars, balloons, satellites, and even our brains!
Warrilo, Chrissy. "Students Ask: How Do Meteorologists Predict The Weather?" GPB Blogs, 5 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Feb. 2021.
“6 tools our meteorologists use to forecast the weather”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 14 Aug. 2017. Web. 29 Feb. 2021.