trusting the forecast project
Forecasting and Data Collection:
By forecasting on a regular basis, you'll experience the difficulty
involved in making a forecast under changing weather conditions.
You'll be able to investigate the accuracy of your forecasts through
comparison with actual observations.
Part I: Choose a City
The first step is to choose a city to forecast for which to forecast.
Be certain you are able to access current weather data for this city to
compare with your forecasts.
Part II: Make a Forecast
Make a forecast of temperature and precipitation for each of the next two days
for the city you have chosen. An example forecast has been given below.
|Forecast Date and Time:
Forecasted Day 1 Temperature:
Forecasted Day 1 Precipitation:
Forecasted Day 2 Temperature:
Forecasted Day 2 Precipitation:
|Monday 11/25/96 10:00 AM
Tuesday Temperature: 56
Tuesday Precipitation: Yes/Rain
Wednesday Temperature: 60
Wednesday Precipitation: No
If your class meets at 10AM on Monday, then forecast the temperature and
precipitation for 10AM Tuesday and 10AM Wednesday. When forecasting
precipitation, indicate whether or not precipitation will occur and if it
does, indicate what type.
Here are some helpful hints for making your forecast:
- Look at the current weather conditions. Look for any significant
weather features that could influence the weather in your area.
(low pressure centers,
- Access an image from 12 hours ago and see how quickly these features
have moved during this time period. Using the
trends method, estimate
when these features might enter the forecast area.
- Look at the temperatures and
weather conditions upstream
(in the direction from which the wind is blowing) of the forecast
area. This weather is heading your way.
- More advanced forecasters make use of forecast models. These models
take the current observations, process this data through mathematical
equations that simulate the behavior of the atmosphere, and then predict
future conditions of the atmosphere. These models can be very accurate
and are used as a valuable forecasting tool by many meteorologists.
This data is accessible from the following
list of resources.
Part III: Gathering Observational Data
Each day record the current surface observations for your city
(as you did in the Start Up Activity). Use the
CoVis version or
to access current surface data. Record the values
dew point temperature,
winds, cloud cover
and what type of precipitation was occurring (if
In addition, write a paragraph
summarizing the current weather conditions, including any information about
fronts or cyclones that may be influencing the weather experienced by your
Part IV: Compare Observations with Forecast:
Compare the actual observations with your forecast and consider the
following questions: How accurate was your forecast?
Where were the largest inaccuracies? Why do you think the inaccuracy
Part V: Scaffolding Activities
Address areas of weakness by completing
one of the following scaffolding activities
that you feel will best improve your forecasting ability. The purpose of
these activities is to teach you new skills on how to forecast in certain
situations. Approximately 90 minutes of class time is
needed to complete an activity.
Part VI: Make Another Forecast:
Make another forecast as you did in Parts I through V.
Try and incorporate what
you learned in your scaffolding activity into this forecast.
Depending upon how much time you have, complete this cycle a couple times
to give yourself a chance to forecast in different weather conditions,
learn new skills and be able to analyze where your best forecasting
ability lies. Forecasting is a difficult business, and even a meteorologist
whose been forecasting all his/her life, will once in a while totally blow
a forecast. So don't get frustrated.