Progress in Weather Forecasting

June 15, 1990

Report Outline
Special Focus


Technology and accurate weather forecasting have always gone hand in hand. As technology has improved, so has meteorologists' understanding of the weather and their ability to predict its effects. Doppler radar, for example, has greatly improved the reliability of the National Weather Service's warnings of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in recent years. Unfortunately, the steady technological advances have improved the accuracy of longer-range forecasts only marginally.

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It's not true, not at all, that “nobody does anything” about the weather. Meteorologists the world over are constantly poring over wind and temperature readings, barometric pressure data and a host of other variables—crunching and recrunching all those numbers in an effort to improve their ability to forecast and perhaps even influence the weather. Over the past three decades, moreover, satellites and computers have greatly expanded the range and volume of available weather information as well as the capacity to process and analyze it in a timely fashion. Weather forecasts have become more accurate as a result—though still not as reliable as many individuals and businesses would wish.

Nearly everyone has a stake in more accurate weather forecasting. Residents of storm-prone areas need timely warnings so they can take steps to protect themselves and their property from wind and water damage. Airlines, amusement parks, construction companies, farmers, fishing fleets, oil drillers and truckers, to name only a few, all have a financial interest in weather predictions that are reliable for more than a day or two in the future.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Weather Forecasting
Sep. 09, 2011  Extreme Weather
Jun. 15, 1990  Progress in Weather Forecasting
Sep. 05, 1980  Weather Control
Feb. 02, 1979  Weather Forecasting
Jul. 12, 1974  World Weather Trends
Apr. 13, 1960  Weather Forecasting and Control
Oct. 19, 1953  Weather Modification
Atmospheric Sciences