by Emilie LorditchThe full text of this article is available by subscription only.
Meteorologists have long been blamed for making incorrect forecasts amid unpredictable weather conditions, and the public proves a harsh critic when its favorite sporting event is unexpectedly rained out or a picnic is flooded. But in recent years, the field of meteorology has made great strides in the science of weather analysis and in improving the accuracy of weather forecasts, whether that means helping people decide when to wear long sleeves or providing the public with enough advanced warning of a tornado. Ultimately, these successes have also enhanced meteorologists’ ability to understand and forecast the weather.
Every 10 years the American Meteorological Society (AMS) releases an information statement describing the current state of the science of weather analysis and forecasting. The most recent statement, issued in August 2007, was a comprehensive look at the tremendous progress meteorology has made since the previous statement issued in August 1998. Looking at issues ranging from short-term severe weather events to monthly and seasonal forecasts, the report highlighted some ways in which improved weather forecasts—especially for severe weather—benefit the public.