Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Progress in Weather Science

More than a dozen years ago, I was on an advisory board for the Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) at the University of Oklahoma. One of the goals was to create computer models that could forecast thunderstorms with a high degree of accuracy (known as "mesoscale modeling" in weather science). 

The early attempts, as you might imagine, were awful. In fact, little visible progress was made the first five years or so. 

The last few years, progress has been rapid. When Mother Nature presents a situation like Thursday's with high instability (check) and at least some forcing in the upper atmosphere (check) they can be amazingly accurate.

On the left is the forecast for 7pm Thursday evening made six hours earlier and on the right is the actual radar. 
click to enlarge
Meteorology increasingly provides highly accurate, actionable information that can save lives and improve business efficiency and profitability. 

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