Weather Forecasting Tools Frequently Used by Meteorologists

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service and the local news stations have always used technology to determine the weather, and monitor conditions. That getting said, over the years, technology has been advancing, and so has the equipment that gets used for predicting the weather. Now, with the technological advances, scientists can monitor the path of weather storms, predict temperatures, and study the conditions of the atmosphere. Take a look at some of the technology used to detect the weather.

meteorologistsDoppler Radar

One of the most effective tools that are used to understand the weather is radar. Standing for radio detection and ranging, the Doppler radar got named after the Doppler Effect, which subsequently received its name from Austrian Physicist Christian Doppler.

The radars work by emitting energy or radio waves from an antenna and to objects in the atmosphere. Once the information bounces back from the object to the radar, scientists can determine the probability of precipitation, and also learn how far away an object is.

Satellite Data

For years now, weather satellites have been monitoring the atmosphere from the earth and casting projected images to specific computers multiple times a day. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use three different satellites to help with determining what the weather is going to be.

  • Polar Operational Environmental Satellites: The satellite was designed to give global coverage daily. It orbits about 14 times a day at over 500 miles above the earth’s surface. Because of the earth’s rotation, the satellites are capable of providing different views of the planet each day.
  • Geostationary satellites: Unlike orbiting satellites, these stay in the same place above the earth’s surface, and send images less than every minute.
  • Deep Space Satellites: These satellites are primarily used to monitor solar activity and gauge space weather. That is why the satellites get directed towards the sun instead of earth.


Radiosondes provide the main source of data that comes from the air. At the minimum of twice per day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tie radiosondes to weather balloons before launching them in nearly 100 different locations. It has a two-hour trip into the upper stratosphere, and during that time, it collects and sends back data about temperature, air pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and more. Weather balloons are launched more frequently during severe storms.

Automated Surface Observing Systems

The specially designed ASOS is built to consistently monitor the weather conditions all over the Earth’s surface. You might not be aware, but there are nearly 1000 stations throughout the United States alone that analyze data about precipitation, weather conditions, visibility, and more. The data is used to improve forecasting and weather warnings.

Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputers

The NOAA uses this super system as the spine of its forecasting. It’s said to process quadrillions of equations per second, and they are over five million times stronger than the average desktop or laptop computer. All of the data collected by satellites and all other methods get fed into the supercomputers so the language can get written into a readable format. The supercomputers also provide weather guidance to working meteorologists.

weather-forecasting-toolsSmaller news stations might not use supercomputers to translate the results of data findings, but they have their own methods to provide accurate information. As science and technology changes, so does the accuracy of predicting what the weather is going to be, and how long lousy weather lasts. For now, the most common way to predict the weather is with satellites.

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