Accuracy of weather forecasts

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Are you planning your holidays and do care what weather to expect? Undoubtedly, it influences our mood, our appetite and the way we feel. When it is cold and raining all day long we tend to feel a bit depressive and enjoy staying at home and watching TV. Have you ever thought how accurate weather forecasts are and if we can rely on what meteorologists predict?

First of all, it is necessary to say that short-range forecasts are much more reliable and in most cases prepare us for the real weather that we should expect. At the same time, the further you check the less accurate and true the forecast is.

Before we explain why long-range forecasts are less reliable we will define the types of weather forecasts that exist:

  • Short-range forecast is made for the 48 hours.
  • Extended forecast is made for the period from 3 to 5 days.
  • Medium-range forecast is made for 4-7 days.
  • Long-range forecast is made for 7 days and has no limits.

Short-range forecast is the most accurate and the one you can trust without any doubts.

Why are long-range forecasts less accurate?

It is necessary to understand that weather forecasting is very complex and depends on many factors. For instance, it is impossible to predict rain or snow with a simple yes or no. Moreover, the Earth’s atmosphere is a complicated system that is impacted by different factors and can react in different ways. According to some sources, weather forecasts for more than 10 days are worthless.

If weather patterns are relatively stable, it becomes simple to predict the weather on the next day. If it is raining today and the sky stays covered with clouds the entire day it is pretty obvious that the next day the weather will substantially vary. Nevertheless, in most part of our planet the weather is more unpredictable and changeable than in the mid-latitudes where depressions influence much of the weather.

Depressions or mid-latitude cyclones are areas of low pressure located between 30 degrees and 60 degrees latitude. Cyclones occur when the warm air from sub-tropics meets with cold air from the Earth’s polar region.

How weather forecasts can be improved?

Due to the improvements of observation techniques five-day forecast of today is as accurate as two-day forecast 20 years ago. However, despite scientific and technological progress, many challenges remain regarding long-term weather predictability. The challenges include finding out more about individual forecasts’ changing uncertainties as well as improving forecasting skills in areas where progress has been difficult (such as heavy rainfall and the genesis, intensity and structure of tropical cyclones).

Anyway people have no other choice than watch weather forecast and perhaps you have already found your favorite weather app that satisfies you the most. And you are always welcome to try WeatherAPI weather APIs that are as accurate as possible!



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