Why is it that wherever you go in the world the first topic of conversation always seems to be about the weather? “Hot today isn’t it?”. “Looks like rain again”. Back in the day people always used to rely on television weather presenters or the radio for predictions about that particular days or weeks weather but nowadays things have changed. As we know it is impossible to carry a television around with you to keep up to date with the weather, but what we can certainly carry around with us that fits snugly in our pockets is a smartphone, and the best way to get up to the minute information is through a weather app. But how is the weather actually forecast?
The science behind predicting the weather has improved drastically over the years. During the Second World War, planners found it very difficult to identify enemy positions because the weather would affect the conventional weather radar systems that were available to them. To solve this problem, scientists developed what is called a Doppler weather radar. Doppler systems work by sending radar pulses that detect precipitation, the density of rainfall and how intense that may be, whether it will fall as snow, or hailstones. The pulses can also detect the speed that the precipitation is moving which in turn allows them to calculate how fast a particular storm might be moving and also the height of a particular storm.
The importance of scientists and meteorologists making accurate weather predictions cannot be stressed enough and without doubt has saved many lives in recent years. If mobile applications had been available in 1987 when British weatherman Michael Fish famously (or infamously) predicted there was nothing to worry about an approaching storm, then people would have been able to keep up to date with what became known as the Great Storm of 1987 and prevented many casualties and some fatalities, secured their buildings and saved millions of dollars in damage.
For sure, keeping informed about the weather these days is important and by far the best way to do that is through a smartphone app. So, the next time your friend says to you “Hot today isn’t it?”, or “Looks like rain again”, activate your phone app and you can tell them exactly how hot it is or whether it will rain again!