Summary of Advances in Weather Prediction

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How important are weather forecasts in your life? Chances are, quite important.  Weather forecasts are important for everything from planning a picnic to providing energy security to saving lives. They have gotten more accurate over the years, but there’s more room – as well as a growing need – for more improvement due to increases in climate-related disasters, changes in Arctic ice and the growth of renewable energy. Research funders and university and tech industry strategists will find this article valuable for targeting their investments.

About the Authors

Richard B. Alley and Fuqing Zhang are professors of geosciences and of meteorology and atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. Kerry A. Emanuel is a professor of meteorology at MIT.



Accurate weather forecasting is a challenge, but it’s critically important.

Weather forecasting is a complex and challenging undertaking. It involves understanding physical processes, gathering data, creating and refining models, and combining data and models to predict the future. It’s also critical to human well-being. Adults in the United States use weather forecasts some 300 billion times each year, not only to plan everyday activities but to prepare for severe weather, floods and more. Doing so saves lives, property and money.

Forecasting has improved dramatically, thanks to better monitoring, sensing, computing technology and scientific...

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