Monday, July 2, 2007

The Art of Forecasting

I have learned that the most important part of being a Broadcast Meteorologist is to make an accurate and news-friendly forecast. Mike actually lets us make our own forecasts to practice. He says that the best forecasting skills come from experience and knowing your Colorado terrain. Most people think that Meteorologists and Weathercasters take their forecasts directly from the National Weather Service and I can tell you firsthand, that this is absolutely not true.

To start the process of forecasting, we take a look at the different models that are produced from a computer in Washington D.C. These models show up as a picture of the United States, 500 Millibars above the surface with equal lines of pressure (isobars) all over them. The computer in Washington D.C. makes these models by calculating over 7 trillion calculations per second. Trust me, I'm taking a Calculus class right now and it is not easy. Without that computer, Meteorologists would have to do all of those calculations by hand. You can imagine how important this computer is to Meteorologists. The models that are printed show how the fronts move in and out by how close the isobars are to each other. These maps help Meteorologists make an extended forecast. After that, we take a look at at the MOS models. They give us an idea of what temperatures are estimated to be at, and what the precipitation chances are for the next couple of days. They are posted in Zulu time, so it can be a little bit difficult to figure out what the actual time is, but I think I've finally got it figured out! After that, we look at all the models and maps and make the forecast. Mike overlooks the forecast, changes what he wants, and then we enter the information into the computer for the show.

It is obvious to me, that with experience comes accuracy. With the amount of experience Meteorologists in this television market have, they usually have a pretty good idea of what's in store, at least as far as weather goes!

1 comment:

Larry said...

Although computers have improved the availability and detail level of realtime weather information by orders of magnitude, it is readily apparent to me that the final forecast is still heavily dependent on the meteorologist and their personal skill set. Having exposure to this information base and utilizing tools specific to the weather industry during an internship adds a great deal of integrity and confidence to the future meteorolgists of tomorrow. Mike is taking an active role in shaping the future of Denver based weather forecasting by hosting this wonderful internship program. If his proactive policy continues, we can expect to see some really high caliber weather forecasters entering the market over the next few years.