Weather Forecasting

The use of a portable aneroid barometer, thermometer, wind meter, and hygrometer help in making local weather forecasts. Reports from other localities and from any weather service, including USAF, USN, or the National Weather Bureau, are also helpful. Weather reports should be used in conjunction with the locally observed current weather situation to forecast future weather patterns.

a. Weather at various elevations may be quite different because cloud height, temperature, and barometric pressure will all be different. There may be overcast and rain in a lower area, with mountains rising above the low overcast into warmer clear weather.

b. To be effective, a forecast must reach the small-unit leaders who are expected to utilize weather conditions for assigned missions. Several different methods can be used to create a forecast. The method a forecaster chooses depends upon the forecaster's experience, the amount of data available, the level of difficulty that the forecast situation presents, and the degree of accuracy needed to make the forecast. The five ways to forecast weather are:

(1) Persistence Method. "Today equals tomorrow" is the simplest way of producing a forecast. This method assumes that the conditions at the time of the forecast will not change; for example, if today was hot and dry, the persistence method predicts that tomorrow will be the same.

(2) Trends Method. "Nowcasting" involves determining the speed and direction of fronts, high- and low-pressure centers, and clouds and precipitation. For example, if a cold front moves 300 miles during a 24-hour period, we can predict that it will travel 300 miles in another 24-hours.

(3) Climatology Method. This method averages weather statistics accumulated over many years. This only works well when the pattern is similar to the following years.

(4) Analog Method. This method examines a day's forecast and recalls a day in the past when the weather looked similar (an analogy). This method is difficult to use because finding a perfect analogy is difficult.

(5) Numerical Weather Prediction. This method uses computers to analyze all weather conditions and is the most accurate of the five methods.

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