Ed Parnell's Cunning Plan

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What It Takes To Really Understand Weather on Earth | Motherboard

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Perhaps chalk it up to lack of caffeine, but I’ve spent a cool 30 minutes here trying to think of a good metaphor or statistic that might point to how insanely complex weather on Earth is — the near-infinitely vast number of variables and interactions that lead to the messy thing you might be about to experience from the sky. I’d say it’s a bit like trying to understand the interactions in the brain that make up consciousness, but that’s not quite it. The NOAA told me this morning that they collect “billions and billions of weather observations daily” — from satellites, weather stations, radar, etc — to generate their prediction models, so there’s that. (And that the NOAA sports supercomputers capable of 69.7 trillion calculations per second.) And there’s the famous butterfly effect, too — how slight changes to the initial conditions of a chaotic system might have large-scale effects — that might give some idea the super-dynamic insanity going on up there. Generally, however, we still recieve weather information in terms of smiley suns and frowny clouds from attractive faces on TV with humanties educations.

via What It Takes To Really Understand Weather on Earth | Motherboard.

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Written by edparnell

September 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

Posted in Science

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