Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

March 3, 2013

Meteorology: An inexact science

TRAVERSE CITY — It’s likely that humans have always watched the weather.

Survival depended on it and still does, a fact underlined by super storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards in recent years that have changed U.S. coastlines, flooded New Orleans, New York and New Jersey, destroyed much of Joplin, Mo., and buried New England.

Watching the weather developed into a science since the late 1800s, thanks to communication and technological advances that range from the telegraph and telephone, weather balloons in 1909, weather planes in the 1920s, radar in the 1950s and computers over the last 20 years. Facebook and Twitter also have made it possible to talk even more about the weather.

As a result, today’s weather forecasts are more accurate than ever before, area meteorologists said.

But Michigan’s weather — with its lake-effect snows and clouds — remains a challenge to predict because the state is surrounded by water.

Read more about area weather and meteorologists in today’s Northern Living section.



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