Then, now...and beyond. How forecasting has changed

Then, now... and beyond

13 November 2012

Looking back at forecasting methods of 50 years ago, it's amazing how things have changed. Back then, forecasters used hand drawn charts and manual observations. Now we use an IBM supercomputer which can do more than 100 trillion calculations a second.

With improved science and increased computing power, today's four-day forecasts are as accurate as one-day forecasts were 30 years ago. However, our forecasters still use their expertise to amend forecasts if necessary.

Beyond the present day, computers help us understand the Earth's climate, making forecasts decades into the future. This has enabled scientists to understand more about climate change and its impacts.

Forecast accuracy should increase further as technology advances, with Met Office scientists at the forefront of designing new forecasting solutions. So, it'll be interesting to see how we're forecasting the weather 50 years from now.

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In brief