|Local forecast by|
"City, ST" or zip code
Virtual Tour Navigation:
Go Back |
Go Forward |
The Forecast Process - observing and analysis
Weather forecasts are made by collecting data about the current state
of the atmosphere and using an understanding of atmospheric processes
to predict how the atmosphere will evolve. The chaotic nature of the
atmosphere along with the incomplete understanding of atmospheric processes
is what makes forecasting difficult.
Before any forecast can be made, a meteorologist must first understand
what the current weather conditions are and what is producing them. This
is done by examining a large quantity of observation data including surface
observations, satellite imagery, radar data, radiosonde data, upper-air data,
wind profilers, aircraft observations, river gauges, and simply looking outside.
Forecasters at our office complete a hand analysis of regional surface analysis
every 3 hours and an analysis of upper-air weather maps every 12 hours to
get an idea of the state of the atmosphere. When all of this data review and
analysis is completed over time, meteorologists are provided a means to track
the evolution of fronts, jets, cyclones and anticyclones and use this information
for pattern recognition.