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ZingPath: Weather Prediction

Weather Prediction

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Weather Prediction

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Lesson Focus

Weather Prediction

Earth & Space Science

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The Trends Method of weather forecasting is introduced and explored using a United States weather forecasting model.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain that the Trends Method of forecasting the weather uses the speed and direction of motion of certain variables to predict short-term weather patterns.
  • Identify fronts, pressure centers, areas of clouds, and precipitation as variables considered in the Trends Method of weather forecasting.
  • Predict weather conditions one day later using the Trends Method of weather forecasting.

Everything You'll Have Covered

People have been trying to forecast the weather for millennia, as it has a significant impact on our everyday lives. When we dress each day, we take into account what we expect the weather to be for that day. Broadcast weather warnings are used to protect property and life, and many industries directly rely on weather forecasts to manage their businesses. The weather, whether mild or severe, impacts each of us on a daily basis.

In the past, people based their predictions on existing observable conditions and changes in barometric pressure. In recent times, weather prediction has become more reliable due to experience, data collection techniques, and the forecasting models and methods now available. Weather forecasting can be considered both a science and an art, as the experienced forecaster or meteorologist uses his or her knowledge, experience, and insight to interpret scientifically generated data and choose the best methods and models to use in predicting the weather. While weather prediction is much more accurate today than it was in the past, it is still an inexact endeavor. This is due to the constantly changing nature of the atmosphere, the sheer amount of data available upon which to base predictions, the peculiarities of different locales, biases in the various weather forecasting models, and the time period of the desired forecast.

While there are several widely recognized methods of weather prediction, the Trends Method uses the speed and direction of motion of fronts, high and low pressure centers, precipitation, and cloud conditions. Using this information, the meteorologist can predict where the weather pattern will be at some point in the near future. For instance, if a storm system is 500 miles west of your location and moving to the east at 250 miles per day, using the Trends Method you would predict the storm to arrive in your area in approximately two days.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts forecast, front, precipitation, prediction, temperature, weather
Course Earth & Space Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary clouds, forecast, front