Weather and the Ocean of Air

By William Holmes Wenstrom | Go to book overview

Chapter XIX
FORETELLING THE WEATHER

Forecasting from Weather Maps and Charts -- Foretelling Weather from local Observations -- Wether Signs, True sad Untrue

ANY statement of expected weather that is dignified by the name 'weather forecast' must be based on at least one weather map, preferably supplemented by upper-wind and upper-air data. In the absence of these fundamental tools of the synoptic aerologist -- when one tries to divine weather from local measurements and signs, say -- 'weather outlook' is the proper term. And even with the best maps and other data, any venture beyond thirty-six hours ahead should be called an 'outlook' -- because there are today, despite various and sundry claims to the contrary, no reliable weather forecasts beyond the thirty-six-hour. limit.

A whole book, and a large book at that, could be written on the subject of weather forecasting -- and several have been. All the weather information detailed elsewhere in this book of course bears on the problems of weather forecasting, and should be in the mind of any weather forecaster. In this chapter we shall have space and time for only the most fundamental rudiments of weather-forecasting technique. And these rudiments will be approached not so much from the viewpoint of a large forecasting station (in the Weather Bureau or outside it) manned by several experts, as from the far simpler and easier viewpoint of a lone amateur aerologist. Such a free-lance weather man can (as we saw in the two preceding chapters) observe his own weather accurately. He can watch the clouds or send up smoke bombs or pilot balloons to gauge the upper winds. He can make

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