Weather Forecasting

Ever since I started riding my bike regularly, I went from being a casual weather observer to someone who watches the weather like a hawk. If I've learned one thing, it's that weather forecasts are wildly unreliable, so much so that I hardly look at forecasts at all anymore.

(from Flickr user kamoda)

If you watch the weather on television or look at it online, you can typically find a 7 or a 10 day forecast. They usually land in the ballpark when it comes to temperature, but when it comes to precipitation, they barely get it right a few hours in advance, let alone a few days in advance.

That's not to say that Doppler and other radar technologies haven't improved how we understand weather - they have. But they are really only good at telling us what precipitation is happening at the current moment, not necessarily what's going to happen at some point in the future.

For that matter, Doppler technology is really not very complicated to understand in its most basic form. Most people with any level of intelligence can look at radar video and understand what's happening. For a bicyclist, like myself, having weather radar on my phone is pretty much all I need to know whether I'm going to get rained on during a ride or not.

This ultimately begs the question: what value do college-trained meteorologists really provide in understanding weather?


    On May 11, 2010 Peter said...

    Doppler technology is new for me and it is interesting and am googling it more. Am passionate bike runner with my cruiser bike