Computers and Weather

It seems like all areas of life have been affected by the advancements in technology that have been seen over recent years. One area of life that we should be grateful for these advancements is in the technology involved with weather forecasting as well as advancements in radar technologies that have significantly increased the warning time in catastrophic weather events such as tornadoes.

In this day and time due to the Internet, even the common Internet connected person can have relatively up to date radar images as well as have access to very detailed maps and charts from the national weather service.  There are apps for smart phones, widgets for desktops as well as websites and most are free.  There are even more detailed and up to date services that are available for a monthly fee such as Weathertap.

Forecasters rely on detailed computer models that predict what conditions, precipitation, and temperatures will be for a particular region a couple of days or even longer out in advance.  This helps meteorologists more closely identify and tweak forecasts for accuracy.

Even for home weather enthusiasts, there is now a rather sizable market of home weather stations that have on board weather sensors, wireless transmitters, as well as computer interfaces to hook into a computer to pull data down, or even broadcast collected data directly to the Internet in real time.

Pictured below is the Davis Vantage Pro2  courtesy of Davis Instruments.


Ambient Weather sells a really powerful small footprint weather server called the Weatherhub2 that serves as a collector and upload device for weather data collected from weather stations such as the Davis Vantage Pro2 station pictured above.


Home weather station owners can actually take their weather data they have collected and upload this information to various weather websites such as Weather Underground, CWOP, Weatherbug, and others.  This provides forecasters around the globe with more and more valuable information as weather data is being received from more locations which allows the resolution of the weather data collected to be sharper.

We mentioned RADAR at the outset of this post and if you are a weather hobbiest on the side like I am, there are a ton of free and pay products out there for home use.  One of the coolest pieces of software for RADAR data is GRLEVEL3.  GRLEVEL3 allows one to view NEXRAD data from the National Weather Service.  It is free for 21 days and then it is a one time payment of $79.95 for the full version.

Another weather forecasting tool available for free is called BUFKIT.  BUFKIT allows anyone who wants to analyze forecast data from the National Weather Service to do so with this utility.  BUFKIT is not the most user friendly utility to use, however, there are a lot of good tutorials available out on the Internet.

Technology has really changed the arena of weather forecasting and as you can see a lot of this technology is available to the home user/consumer and can be a very valuable asset to weather forecasters.  It provides a really neat hobby especially if you are interested in computers as well as the weather.

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