Weather and climate are most often predicted using numerical models.
Numerical models start from a snapshot of the current atmospheric conditions in the area of interest, from the surface to the upper atmosphere, at points on a three-dimensional grid.
A set of atmospheric variables, such as wind speed, temperature, pressure and humidity in each grid box are stored and a set of equations are solved for each grid box to predict the values at that point a short time later.
The process of generating the forecast is repeated many times; each time the forecast stepping a few minutes further into the future to produce either a weather forecast for the next few days or a climate prediction for the coming 100 years.
The set of equations which are solved when creating a forecast fall broadly into two categories.
The dynamical core solves the equations of motion for a fluid, on a rotating sphere, to calculate the evolution of the atmospheric flow.
Alongside the dynamical core, a large number of other physical processes operate to:
Last updated: 24 August 2016