Q: How are weather forecasts created?

A: Meteorologists start with mathematical models of the processes of heat transfer and fluid flow in the Earth's atmosphere, translated into computer programs.  They then feed current data about existing conditions into the computer model and the model creates a prediction of the near-term future weather. These models are extraordinarily complex and require state of the art supercomputers, as well as reliable data about existing weather conditions as inputs.
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Q: OK, now I understand that weather forecasters use computer models.  Would you please describe them?

A: Sure.  Go to our Weather Models 101 page.
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Q: OK, now I understand operational weather models.  But I’ve heard that forecasters also use “ensemble” models.  Would you please describe those?

A: Yes, we can.  Go to our Ensemble Models page.
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Q: I was told that weather models look at different levels of the atmosphere.  Would you please explain why?

A: Yes, go to our Atmosphere page.
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Q: I’d like to learn more.  Is there someplace I can go, to get on-line courses about meterology?

A: Yes, there is.  Go to our Meterology CBT page.
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Q: Are there links to weather-related sites that are helpful?

A: Yes, there are.  Go to our Links page.
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Q: Is there a TV show that helps me understand weather forecasting and other weather issues?

A: Yes, there is, and the source may surprise you .  Go to our Useful Weather Forecasting TV Show page
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Q: I've seen home weather stations in stores and on the Internet.  Are any of them useful? 

A: They won't replace professional weather forecasts but they can tell you what your current conditions outside are, and more sophisticated ones can give you a feel for near-term changes. We weather geeks like that. 

And if you are committed enough to taking good weather measurements with a good weather station, you can contribute your measurements to databases used for checking weather models.  Weather stations used to be a pain to install because you had to run wiring, from the outside sensors through the outside wall of your house, to the indoor readout console. Nowadays the sensors send their data to the console through wireless transmissions, making installation much easier.
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Q: I’ve noticed that the folks who regularly comment in the Capital Weather Gang blog, use some terms I’m unfamiliar with.  Would you please explain them?

A: Yes, go to our Glossary page.
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
about Weather

An Introductory Guide

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