ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Topic 101

Reliability of predictions based on computer models, for example, weather and global warming by Roger Maue

There are a lot of issues that concern the reliability of predictions based on computer models, such as the weather predictions where there are fields of expertise all specializing on it. This paper will focus on weather about its effect and importance. The importance of the weather and the need to predict it accurately is illustrated by the fact that every local news show includes weather forecasts. People need to know what the weather will be like–either where they are or where they are going–so that they can plan their activities accordingly. One of the problems with weather forecasting is that weather changes quickly in time and space. A weather forecast at 8:00 in the morning may not be reliable at 3:00 that same afternoon. A weather forecast in one city is not the same for neighboring regions. For this reason, local weather people never say what will happen, only what is likely to happen in the local area.

It was during the 1980's and 1990's, the accuracy of short-range (1-3 days) and medium-range (4-7 days) weather forecasts improved significantly. Weather predictions issued for periods longer than seven days are known as long-range outlooks. Advances in computer power and technology have now make it possible for the National Weather Service to produce meteorological forecast charts of possible future weather conditions out to 16 days. For example, the Global Forecast System (GFS) is a computer model that currently predicts general weather patterns and conditions out to 16 days. According to R. Clayton Brough, ABC4 (KTVX) Climatologist, "When such [long-range] computer models are used in conjunction with known climatological patterns and probabilities they can generate accuracy levels of 55% to 65% relative to general weather patterns--such as drier or wetter or cooler or warmer than normal conditions--over an expected area and period of time."

The weather is really unpredictable a hundred percent so a lot of weather reporters are careful in their use of language during broadcasting the weather. They try to present it so that it sounds that it will be as they predict it will most likely turn out to be but also that they will not be taken responsible for incorrectly predicting the weather. Also the presenting of the weather on screen as seen on computer models must make sense to viewers as the weather presenter talks of it for it also provides a kind of psychological approval to have a visual aid of some sort. Wrong predictions (which is becoming lesser these days) can be attacked for it can affect a lot of daily life and activities so weather but good prediction means a lot to people who use it to their advantage to plan or do things now that they have a sort of guarantee of a good weather.

The weather has such widespread impact on people’s personal lives, including their jobs, their recreation, their safety, and their property. When the weather is bad, many activities become more difficult to perform. Commercial transportation slows down on the roads, on the waterways, and in the air. Businesses of all kinds are interrupted by bad weather. Power plants and energy traders rely on knowledge of the weather to operate their equipment and to deliver power to consumers, government and business. Knowledge of the weather and associated winds allows commercial and general aviation to operate safely through hazardous weather avoidance, and to operate more efficiently through fuel savings. When all of these factors are taken together, it is easy to see that extreme cases of bad weather are responsible for the loss of tens of billions of dollars each year.

Weather also affects everyone in a sort of way as seen in the huge hurricane Katrina where trade was affected as New Orleans had one of the sites that tourists visited so a lot was lost in lives both American and foreigners and economically the city was devastated and cost the govt. about $81.2 billion.

It is the public’s right to know the right weather so they should be provided by the correct information by the weather people so that they can for it is them who subscribe to the News Channel and they are responsible for providing the weather predictions for the public and misinterpretations shouldn’t exist or must be taken into account cause it might mean lives if weather people or the meteorologists that read the data and interpret for the presenters for it could provide warnings and save peoples lives, properties, etc. Bad presentation/prediction can be taken against the weather people who don’t correctly present the weather or natural disasters and a lot of lives are gone.

In an effort to protect lives and property, there is a wide-range network of radars that help forecasters accurately predict severe storms and hourly weather trends.
Ex: Another new system that is used by National Weather Service Forecast offices is the AWIPS computer system. AWIPS (or Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System) forecasts the process by combining a number of separate data sets and communication systems into one. Using the latest technology, this system allows meteorologists to manipulate these data sets in a myriad of combinations for use in the analysis of the weather, resulting in more timely and accurate warnings and forecasts. But it is new and costs a lot of money which some countries or organizations can’t afford and may still use the old system plus there isn’t much adaptability to it yet so a lot is still to be learned and its potential abilities.

Word Count: 920

Bibliography: (1)



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