Week #5: Weather Forecasting, and Synoptic and Mesoscale Weather

This week we cover weather forecasting and severe events of thunderstorms and tornadoes. I often say forecasting is more of an “art” than a “science” as the atmosphere is never static. Forecast models involve complex mathematics and physics, but ultimately it is the forecaster who must interpret that data. I hear people complain that forecasts are “always wrong”, but in fact, they are often correct. For example, I have had students comment how there was a forecast for 30% chance of rain, but it didn’t rain 30% of the day/30% of the area, etc. The fact is that the forecast is that there is a 1 in 3 chance it will rain that day for that forecast area – if it doesn’t rain, the forecast is “correct” as it also means there’s a 70% chance it will not rain! Remember to learn what the forecast is really about in this week.

Required Tasks for the Week:

  • Textbook Reading:
    • Barry and Chorley – Chapter 8: Numerical Models of the General Circulation, Climate, and Weather Prediction
    • Barry and Chorley – Chapter 9: Mid-Latitude Synoptic and Mesoscale Systems
  • Week 5 Lesson: Weather Forecasting & Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
  • Week 5 Assignment: Outline
  • Week 5 Forum
  • Week 5 Lab – Complete prior to attempting Week 5 Quiz
  • Week 5 Quiz

Optional Tasks for the Week:

  • COMET Modules
    • Weather Radar Fundamentals
    • Principles of Convection I: Buoyancy and CAPE
    • Principles of Convection III: Shear and Convective Storms

Learning Objectives:

LO-33. Discuss how weather observations are obtained and disseminated.

LO-34. Explain how weather data are analyzed manually and with computer models.

LO-35. Identify and explain the different kinds of forecasts for extreme weather conditions.

LO-36. Discuss thunderstorms and what causes ordinary thunderstorms to become severe.

LO-37. Understand atmospheric electricity and the causes for lightning.

LO-38. Explain the causes and effects of tornadoes.

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