Weather Technology

The concept of weather forecasting is a very ancient one. Since centuries humans have been making attempts to read the skies for any possible rain, storm, sunshine or climate change.

Early Instruments:

Some of the instruments that were used to assess weather conditions before the advent of technology are:

  • Barometers
  • Thermometers
  • Hygrometers
  • Anemometers and
  • Rain Gauges

Comparing the Old and the New:

  • The basis concept remains the same.
  • Data is now collected and processed at a higher rate.
  • The quality of data collected has considerably improved
  • The level and rate of information transfer and communication has increased multi-fold.
  • It is now easier to issue and communicate a piece of critical information in public or private interest.

Weather Forecast:

  • A climatic prediction can be made only after taking into account the weather conditions all over the world.
  • It is possible to predict weather only upto 5 days in advance
  • Globally collected data is processed in super computers and analyzed using mathematical models
  • In the United States, this process is carried out by the National Weather Service.

Modern Weather Technology:

Modern day weather forecasting is highly dependant on advanced technology based instruments and devices.

Modern weather technology equipment includes:

  • Remote sensing systems to measure things that are more than 100 miles away from the scope of radars
  • Advanced radars
  • Instrumented Balloons
  • Weather satellites

Computers and communication systems are used to:

  • Interpret data and images
  • Process and model atmospheric processes
  • Make predictions and forecasts
  • Convert raw data into maps and three dimensional models
  • Communicate the processed information to mass media interfaces

Weather Measurements:

Technology and equipment are used to measure the following critical parameters that are essential in any weather analysis:

  • Measuring the temperature by thermometers, analyzing the motion of molecules and conversions on the temperature scales.
  • Measuring the air's pressure using a mercury barometer or aneroid barograph and understanding it with respect to weather conditions.
  • Measuring the air's humidity using a sling psychrometer or a hair hygrometer
  • Measuring rain using an official rain gauge or a tipping bucket gauge for automated readings.
  • Measuring the depth of snow
  • Measuring the wind using anemometers and aerovanes for information on speed and direction.
  • Upper air measurements using weather balloons and airplanes.
  • Weather radar and satellites for a broader and detailed picture.

Upper air observations:

  • These are usually done via weather balloons.
  • Balloons are launched every twelve hours in every part of the world.
  • The data gives important information on the conditions in upper atmosphere.
  • This information is crucial for airplanes and weather forecasting.
  • Airplanes can also be used to gather data for research and help in predicting hurricanes and the state of storms

Weather radars:

there are basically two systems of weather radars:

  • National Weather Service Next Generation Weather Radars (NEXRAD): NEXRAD are used to track weather systems and detect severe thunderstorm, tornadoes and details of snow storms.
  • Terminal Doppler Weather Radars: These are designed to scan takeoff paths at the airports for microbursts and other relatively small-scale hazards to aviation.

Weather Satellites:

Weather Satellites also come in two types: Two kinds of satellites watch the weather.

  • Geostationary satellites orbit at the same speed as the earth and record data from around 22,000 miles above the Earth.
  • Polar orbiting satellites are used to obtain a closer view as they orbit at a lower altitude.

Latest developments in Weather Technology:

The National Weather Service has installed the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System.

The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System delivers information through:

  • Doppler radars,
  • Satellites,
  • Automated observing systems, and
  • NWS super computers

Space Weather Technology:

  • Weather Technology Was developed by the ARINC's Colorado Springs office.
  • It helps in identifying and monitoring any potential threat that harsh radiation and geomagnetic disturbances may have on satellites, communication and navigation systems.
  • Generates a Space Environmental Impacts Model, which establishes a relationship between geological events and their impact on weather technology systems.
  • Maintains a convenient and easily accessible database of all research and observations.
  • On detection of a potentially hazardous solar flare, analysts identify the satellites and systems at risk and inform the satellite controllers so that the damage can be averted.
  • Can be used as a research and planning tool at academic institutions.