Thursday, November 30, 2017

Exeter-Milligan Update: Weather Class

As Claire (foreground) was analyzing her maps she said, “ Predicting tomorrow was pretty easy, but the next days are hard.” She realized that short range predictions are easier to make than predictions down the road.  (Katie Moody is in the background)

By Matt Nicholas, E-M Science Instructor
Amateur Meteorologists Katie Moody and Claire Mounce have been hard at work tracking the wild weather over the last two weeks. Between 30 mile per hour winds and Halloween snow, Mother Nature has shown her fierce side as of late. Katie and Claire have been observing and analyzing weather maps, as well as, recording various data points including: Temperature, Pressure, Wind, and Clouds. They then were tasked with identifying patterns and predicting future weather. Which as we all know from our love/hate relationships with Ken Siemek and Brad Anderson is no easy task. The students are finding weather prediction is not a science of absolutes, but one of using probability to predict the most likely outcomes. We were able to make good predictions with just our minds, paper, and pencils. Imagine what can be done with the data gathered by high tech satellites in orbit and processed by supercomputers on the ground. We all give the weatherman a hard time when he is wrong, but we have to remember the atmosphere is a turbulent place that can change at the drop of a hat.
As we move forward will our study of meteorology, we will continue to monitor the weather coming our way, and try to understand the causes behind it. The students, of course, usually find our study of Severe Weather Events to be very exciting, and we will be diving into their causes and structures soon. We will also study our changing climate and how those climatic changes will affect our ability to make accurate predictions. We will also be looking into current and future impacts of climate change on human and animal populations around the world, as well as, associated geopolitical impacts.

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