Click the link for the Predicting Weather Quiz. If you need help, read the notes below.
Weather is the condition of the atmosphere in a place over a short period of time. Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere, including weather over such time. Because weather affects so many aspects of our life, meteorology is an increasingly important science.
The first people to study weather were in ancient times with crude instruments. Rapid communications in the middle of the nineteenth century truly changed weather predicting into more of a science with the ability to get data to make predictions. The first US government weather service was formed in 1870 and today is located in Maryland, with assistance from reports from many stations and substations throughout the country.
The instruments used to measure and predict the weather include thermometers to measure heat, barometers to measure air pressure, hygrometers to measure humidity, anemometers to measure wind speed, wind vanes to measure wind direction as well as weather satellites, rockets, radar.
Once data is received from the many stations around the country and fed into computers, weather maps are drawn up. These have many isobars - lines that separate areas of high pressure (anticyclones) and low pressure (cyclones). Weather fronts show the beginnings of different air masses - high and dry, high and wet, low and dry and low and wet air masses. Areas of precipitation and cloud cover are indicated as well. Based on the data, weather forecasts are made. Closeness to bodies of water and the topography of the land where a station is located can also be factors in determining what the weather will be like.