Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Difference Data Makes to Accurate Forecasting

From time to time, some bean counter in Washington, D.C. gets the idea that we should spend less money on the meteorological infrastructure: Radars, satellites, weather balloons, surface weather stations, etc., etc. Right now, there is a proposal to cut out the wind profiler network which senses the winds aloft. We need this data to make accurate forecasts!

Want proof?

If you watched the forecasts in the Wichita area last night, you heard the local TV meteorologists talk about continuing drought with no chance of rain. It is what I would have forecast.

There is an hourly computer program that attempts to forecast thunderstorms among other weather elements. Here is what the computer forecast for 1pm today immediately before the weather balloons were launched at 6am this morning.

The computer run with all of the weather balloon data in it makes a better forecast:

The actual radar shows the thunderstorms over Wichita as in the forecast above what contained the weather balloon data.

While this is a relatively minor example, there is no doubt the upper air data made this forecast better.

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