Tornadoes And Weather Forecasting Essay, Research Paper
In writing this essay, I was more amazed with the forecasting of weather than I was of actual tornadoes. Excuse me if I run off of subject, but the things I found on predicting storms, and of course, tornadoes, were overwhelming. After going through much information and reading an abundance of articles on weather forecasting, I can only come to one conclusion. That when all is considered the best forecasters can only give an educated guess of what is in store for weather and when tornadoes will come. Through the many means at their disposal, such as satellites, ships at the ocean, infrared, radio, and radar transmissions even with all of these techniques no prediction is 100% accurate.
One question that I asked myself was “when was the first weather forecasting ever done?”, I found out that in 1863 in Britain there was a united forecasting system headed by Captain Robert Fitzroy. Captain Fitzroy would send ships around Britain to warn people of tornadoes storms and such. However, he was often wrong and criticized and therefore, committed suicide. Since then there have been many other services, but the largest one currently is the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service gives predictions for the entire world through satellite imagery for all countries. Also in recent history many local television and radio stations have made private forecasts for small areas.
Meteorologists are people who interpret the weather and vicious tornadoes, such as the one we watched in class today. The reason I don’t say predict the weather is because even though all forecasters have the same information and data at their fingertips, the way that they interpret what is in front of them can be different. Meteorologists receive information from various sources, but their interpretation of the data determines the accuracy of their prediction.
Someone might ask, “If forecasters have so much information on a particular area; how could they predict a flawed forecast?” The answer to that question lies in the fact that any one of a number of weather conditions may ruin a forecast. A fast cold or hot front moving in, an unexpected flow from the ocean or a cold wind may change the whole days forecast.
There are many different materials and devices used by local and government services to predict the weather. Some of these devices are, radars, which is actually sound waves, which bounce off clouds and give location of storms this way.
Another such device is actually a variation of radar called “Doppler Radar”. The Doppler actually can give the exact location of a storm within a kilometer. However, Doppler Radar is not used so much for everyday forecasting, but for tornadoes and very large storms. The way Doppler Radar works is almost the same as regular radar with one advantage, it also can measure the speed of an object or storm, which makes its prime usage tornado watching.
Some other techniques have been adapted to forecast the weather such as infrared beams, which even at night can show where the intensity of a storm is. And of course there are other instruments used to predict the weather such as the barometer and the thermometer.
Of course all of these inventions have proven helpful for forecasting weather, there was still one problem. The main problem was communicating. The reason for this was that if the forecasters were to send letters to each other every time there was a storm, their counterparts would not learn of a storm or tornado for days! The solution to this problem began with the invention of the telegraph.
The telegraph provided a simultaneous message carrier to anywhere in the country. Later the radio was invented and then that was used, but still something else was needed a system to transport footage as well as sound. The Internet solved the solution to that. The Internet is a connection by phone lines, which can deliver photos and sound instantaneously.
The next breakthrough in forecasting was the satellite. A satellite would be launched from Earth and then would take video and photos of the world and send back to Earth the footage, thereby being able to show storms coming from the ocean just at the first stages.
The first weather satellite “T.I.R.O.S. 1″the world an infrared view of the world. However T.I.R.O.S 1 was not specifically built for forecasting but rather to study clouds. The U.S. government later went on to build seven more T.I.R.O.S.’s.
The first weather satellite truly devoted to weather forecasting was E.S.S.A. 1 which provided detailed data pictures, and its successor, E.S.S.A. 2 provided pictures from a regular wide angled lens of the world. Furthermore even though E.S.S.A. and T.I.R.O.S gave birth to a new generation of technological breakthroughs by today s standards the information they gave were fuzzy and incomplete. Later there was a new satellite built in the image of T.I.R.O.S. called I.T.O.S., which stood for Improved T.I.R.O.S. operating system.
The storm chasers , which we heard a lot about today, used many of these tools which I have already discussed. Many of the more recent chasers have laptops in their cars, kind of like their own mini laboratory . This lab which they use can send information back and forth using radars like discussed above. These chasers are sometimes considered crazy due to what they do for a living. Most of them seem to enjoy going after tornadoes.
Recently there have been many local-forecasting stations popping up all over the world, a big difference from the once exclusive N.W.S. (national weather service). Lately most towns now have non-governmental forecasting stations, which provide weather information for the suburban locations and areas such as ski resorts, and holiday vacation spots, one thing the N.W.S. does not do.
The National Weather Service has been in operation for over 100 years since 1870 and has kept all records of weather, thereby making it possible to make an average for the day with decent results.
In Closing I can only surmise that much research been done on predicting weather accurately, more the less tornadoes, millions of dollars have been spent, on satellites, radar, and weather bureaus. Tornadoes are very dangerous and take many lives each year, but with the help of new technologies, forecasting may soon be a more accurate way of predicting these violent rampages. Meteorology, which is the study of weather, is an exact science, yet because it deals with the forces of nature, the essentials of a weather prediction, will never be entirely accurate, or will they…?