Why is Weather so Incredibly Unpredictable?

Climate change, other factors cause inconsistent weather

Why+is+Weather+so+Incredibly+Unpredictable%3F

Melody Lee

Allyson Jay, Staff Writer

     The majority of people use weather apps and forecasts every day to follow the weather, but these forecasts almost always end up wrong. This causes everyone to question the accuracy and science of weather forecasting. Predicting the weather forecast is something that is very complicated and challenging to accomplish because the weather is constantly changing. Because it changes so rapidly, it makes predicting the weather close to impossible. 

     One small change in the chaotic system of the atmosphere in one certain location can affect and create consequences from that small change anywhere else, making it very difficult to predict the weather several days in advance. Scientists describe this as the “butterfly effect.” Although the persistent shifts in the weather play a huge role in the inaccuracy of forecasts, global warming is a big factor as well. 

     Nana Vang ‘24 says, “I think with global warming in more recent years has had a large impact on the predictability of the weather. Because we experience extreme weather conditions that much more often, it is that much harder to predict even with powerful technology.”

     Meteorologists use weather models, which are computer programs, to make the forecasts. The programs use sophisticated and intricate mathematical models of the atmosphere in order to provide the necessary predictions. These computer programs are constantly providing new predictions that follow the real time data they are receiving, since weather forecasting has to present the most up to date information and forecast possible. 

      These continuous predictions from the computer programs need to be interpreted before they can be broadcasted, but by the time they are interpreted, they are most likely either out of date or a result of hurried human interpretation, making it one of the biggest sources of error in predicting weather forecasts. 

      Even though modern day forecasts aren’t entirely exact, they are a much more accurate representation of meteorologists’ predictions compared to a decade ago, and technologies for these predictions are still improving. 

     While supercomputers and other technologies increase forecast skill and accuracy, the progress meteorologists continue to make can only grow so much, since meteorologists will never be able to predict completely accurate forecasts. 

     Evie Doran ‘23 adds, “They haven’t perfected meteorology yet, there is still a lot of room for error in terms of accuracy, so I don’t think a perfect forecast will ever exist.”