News FocusMETEOROLOGY

Weather Forecasts Slowly Clearing Up

Science  09 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6108, pp. 734-737
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6108.734

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Summary

Computer models fed by automated observing stations on the ground and by satellites have had the upper hand in weather forecasting for years. But human forecasters can usually improve, at least a bit, on numerical weather predictions by learning the machines' remaining foibles. And humans still do better than computer models at some tasks, including forecasting the fits and starts of evolving hurricanes. But human forecasts of hurricane intensity are hardly more skillful today than they were 20 years ago. Researchers working on the forecast problem say they are closing in on breakthroughs that could soon put the machines out front in even the toughest areas of forecasting.