ASK THE METEOROLOGIST
“How do the weather computers know what the weather is going to be like a few days before it happens?”
Jon Thomas, Central Point
Our viewers always hear us mention the computer models or the weather models. What we don’t get to mention is how these computer models generate their own forecast. That’s what this week’s question is about!
A series of very complex equations are used to perform these model “runs” we look at numerous times a day. Because these equations are so complex, meteorologists are required to take a lot of calculus in order to get their degree. These long extensive equations are calculus 4 — differential equations!
Anyway, current conditions are gathered across the globe and plugged into these equations. These conditions include temperature, moisture content, wind direction, wind speed, etc. All of these parameters are measured throughout different levels of our atmosphere. When they are plugged into the equations, the models spit out a graphical forecast.
This forecast (from all of the different computer models) is what helps us meteorologists put together our own forecast for our viewers!