There is no person who would not be interested to know exactly what the weather will be like tomorrow or in a week, but most of the time it is not clear what to expect after dinner. As some say, the surest way to find out what the weather is like is to put your hand out the window: if your hand is wet, it means it is raining. However, there are people for whom weather forecasting has become a profession. Nikita Pererva, weather forecaster of the first category of the meteorological forecast department of the Khabarovsk hydrometeorological center, said about where the weather forecast comes from on our phone, where to find out if it will rain tomorrow and if it is possible to predict hail.
The forecast is generally ungrateful, and even more so the weather forecast. However, meteorologists take responsibility for their forecasts. Based on their data, city authorities, energy and emergency services make decisions. We can not take an umbrella with us to work, since swallows fly high today, but swallows can not put all the staff of the Ministry of Emergency Situations on alert, but meteorologists can. So how do you predict the weather and is it possible?
“We have a simple project where the unknown is the weather that will be tomorrow. In the “data” column is the weather we observe today. Weather observations are made around the clock around the world. Measurements are taken every three hours, ie eight times a day – this is the standard. Meteorological stations collect a large number of quantities, such as air temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall, atmospheric pressure. Weather phenomena are observed, for example, thunderstorms, fogs, etc. “We have the initial data and we have to use it to make a picture of the future, and the more we predict this future, the better,” explains the forecaster.
If you simplify it a lot, then the weather forecast looks like this: you have three apples on the table and you need to know: how many of them will be on the table tomorrow. At the same time, twenty worms are crawling on one apple, the second is bitten, and the table is slowly raised on one side and the apples and worms are already rolling down, in addition, they called you and said they bought five apples at the store and took them to home. It only remains to be seen what all this will lead to tomorrow at twelve.
The most accurate prediction
“In fact, in terms of quality, the higher the forecast, the worse it is. At present, science has learned to make high quality weather forecasts for the first three days. Further, the accuracy of the forecast begins to decline, but in general, a period of 14 days is considered the limit of predictability of the weather. In the long run, forecasts do not make sense in the context of specific quantities. It is impossible to name the exact air temperature, pressure, wind speed and rainfall beyond this limit. “Long-term forecasts are made in terms of ‘almost normal’, ‘above normal’, etc.,” he says. Nikita Pererva.
Meteorologists take into account the position of cyclones and anticyclones, the atmospheric fronts, predict their evolution and displacement and their impact on weather – and so a prediction is made.
Special models play an extremely important role in making predictions. Such a forecasting model already contains a mechanism for calculating the evolution of the situation based on current indicators. There are many of these models, sometimes it is very important to compare them. And it is also very important that only meteorologists can take into account all the characteristics of the area for which the forecast is made and this knowledge is passed from generation to generation. For example, the weather forecast you have on your phone is automatically generated by the machine based on the measurements at the moment, but they do not take into account the local peculiarities and are therefore often incorrect. Meteorologists have nothing to do with these forecasts.
Interestingly, it is easier for meteorologists to predict large-scale phenomena, but science can hardly predict small local floods such as the hail that covered the village of Nikolaevka in the Jewish Autonomous Region two weeks ago.
“This is an example of a local process. Hail streaks can sometimes be only a few hundred meters in size and are very difficult to predict. Hail forms very quickly and explosively and also passes quickly. Very strong upward air currents rise quickly, the cold air collides with the hot air and hail forms. At the same time, the hail that fell in Nikolaevka is far from the biggest, although the fact that it occurred is very rare for our territory. “And as world practice shows, this is not the limit at all: the largest hailstones in the world weighed about a kilo and the size of a grapefruit, but it is almost impossible to predict such a phenomenon, despite the size of the hail,” says the meteorologist.
Naturally, meteorologists point out that it is necessary to invest in science, increase the number of observation stations and develop new forecasting models, then the accuracy of forecasts will increase and the number of phenomena they can predict will increase. In our country the meteorologists in the camp are decreasing, there is nothing to entice the young people and nowhere to teach them.
“Since I was little, I was interested in the weather and nature in general. Always fascinated by storms, winds, thunderstorms. I learned about the existence of the “forecaster” profession on television, and I learned what forecasting models are. This interest only developed and brought me, still a student, to the hydrometeorological center. I came here as a freelance observer and finally made the final decision for myself. He studied at the institute, then, in addition to the central institute in St. Petersburg, there were two departments in the country where meteorologists were taught. Generally, it takes another five or six years for the specialist to study the characteristics of the weather forecast area, then the person begins to see what the computer does not notice. If meteorologists are observers and their job is to gather information, then meteorologists analyze all the information that is collected. “My job is to think, to link chains, to recognize patterns based on my knowledge,” says Nikita.
As they say in the hydrometeorological center there are not enough new employees. In a few decades, if the trend does not change, or there will be no one in Russia to give an accurate weather forecast, or artificial intelligence will develop so much that it can completely replace a person. And there is a lot of work, and it does not stop day or night.
If you are not in the shelter, you need to know the weather
“Operational work does not stop at the hydrometeorological center around the clock. Today I work in day shifts respectively, I came to work at eight in the morning. At the moment we have a meteorological council, we are looking at the current situation, how the processes are evolving. We release the night shift and write a forecast, it is ready at 12 o’clock, after the day the work goes calmer, but the analysis of the situation continues. Everyone monitors the area assigned to them, we warn all interested structures in case of dangerous phenomena. There is a little less work at night, no predictions are made, only calculations that have already been made are corrected. The weather does not affect a person’s life, only if he sits in a shelter, people’s lives often depend on an accurate forecast. “Yes, we can not predict hail, but we can accurately predict heavy rains, storms, winds and that saves lives,” says the meteorologist.
Of course, anyone can give a weather forecast just by looking out the window. For example, an abundance of cirrhosis clouds in the form of a translucent veil may indicate the approach of an atmospheric front, which means that it is worth waiting for rain. But you can not predict the temperature by looking at the sky and meteorologists can warn of much more serious things. There are very global processes, there is a strong cyclone with increased wind and heavy rainfall. And here the most pleasant thing for meteorologists is when you gave a storm forecast and all the procedures went exactly as you expected.