Predicting our multi-dimensional atmosphere is very mathematical,
so meteorologists use computer models of the atmosphere to
solve the equations that predict what the weather will do
next. The equations were discovered around 100 years ago but
the computers needed for solving them on a daily basis have
only been evolving since the 1940s. They're improving all
the time, but can never be perfect unless programmed with
measurements of the atmosphere taken on the earth's first
day of existence.
models predict the weather for many points throughout the
world and are run at set times each day. Their forecasts include
weather for different altitudes as well as ground locations,
because what happens aloft affects the weather on the ground.
The models also predict weather charictaristics you don't
hear about on the news, such as vorticity, vertical velocity,
and pressure heights. Knowledge of those charictaristics -
and many others - is necessary to understand the models.
improvements in computer graphics have allowed the models
to be presented in multi-color animations like the ones you're
about to view. Different organizations have different ways
of displaying the same information depending on their personal
preferences,, and you'll find several to choose from, below.