Capabilities And Limitations Of Forecasting Methods Past And Present ANDREW KELLER THOMAS EDISON ONLINE
Running head:“FORECASTING METHODS AND LIMITATIONS”. 2
This paper will focus on weather forecasting models of the past and present and include key parameters used in making accurate forecasts. I will examine the advances in computers and mathematics which allow forecasters to have increased accuracy over models of the past. I will also attempt to highlight the challenges and limitations of making computer model forecasts and explain how errors might compound for forecasts of increasing duration.
Running head:“FORECASTING METHODS AND LIMITATIONS”. 3
Capabilities And Limitations Of Forecasting Methods Past And Present
Weather forecasting is the attempt by meteorologists to predict the state of the atmosphere at some future time and the weather conditions that may be expected. Weather forecasting is the single most important practical reason for the existence of meteorology as a science. It is obvious that knowing the future of the weather can be important for individuals and organizations.
Accurate weather forecasts can tell a farmer the best time to plant, an airport control tower what information to send to planes that are landing and taking off, and residents of a coastal region when a hurricane might strike. As important as this field of study is and as detailed as the level of
technology is, very little is understood by the enduser about complexities involved in making an accurate forecast. Global weather data are collected at more than 1,000 observation points around the world and then sent to central stations maintained by the World Meteorological Organization, a division of the United Nations. Global data also are sent to NWS's NCEPs for analysis and publication. The less one knows about the way the atmosphere works the simpler weather forecasting appears to be. For example, if clouds appear in the sky and a light rain begins to fall, one might predict that rain will continue throughout the day. This type of weather forecast is known as a persistent forecast. A persistent forecast assumes the weather over a particular geographic area simply will continue into the future. The validity of persistent forecasting lasts for a few hours, but not much longer because weather conditions result from a complex interaction of many factors that still are not well understood and that may change rapidly. How then can meteorologists be expected to accurately predict the weather over a week in advance? In the coming pages we will look at what advances are being made in technology and algorithms in helping advance the accuracy of forecasting and contrast the forecasting methods of several decades ago with forecasting methods in use today. We will also examine how input variations and processing errors can accumulate over multiple forecasted time periods.
Running head:“FORECASTING METHODS AND LIMITATIONS”. 4
Steadystate or trend method: A somewhat reliable approach to weather forecasting is known as the steadystate or trend method. This method is based on the knowledge that weather conditions are strongly influenced by the movement of air masses that often can be charted quite accurately. A weather map might show that a cold front is moving across the Great Plains of the United States from west to east and it might be reasonable to predict…