Summer is coming closer but it might not be time to put away your pants and long-sleeved shirts yet. The weather can be seriously unpredictable, but why isn’t it easier to figure it out? Meteorologist Chrissy Warrilow from Georgia storms in with the answer:
WHAT AFFECTS WEATHER
Meteorologists have the job of predicting changes in weather, but there are a lot of factors that affect weather: temperature, air pressure, cloud patterns, precipitation, and wind factors including its speed, direction, and moisture level.
One big influence on the weather is the ocean. Our planet’s oceans soak up heat from the sun and evaporate. Those water molecules move into the air, where they create rain and storms that get pushed onto land by winds.
PREDICTING THE WEATHER
Thankfully we have tools that help analyze all of that data, but those are a lot of variables that can change rapidly and unexpectedly. We can never really say with certainty what the weather will be like on a given day; we can only make an educated guess about how all of those factors will add up.
That’s why you only see forecasts that go ten days into the future; we can predict a weather pattern for a short period of time, but so many factors can change slightly over time that will make our prediction unreliable if we look too far ahead.
We get a lot of crazy weather here in Indy. So much, in fact, that we were named one of the top US cities with the most unpredictable weather, along with Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis and Cincinnati.
One thing that contributes to that unpredictability is that we’re landlocked in the Midwest. Areas close to oceans and lakes have more predictable weather patterns, so that already puts us at a disadvantage.
Each city on the list is also east of the Rocky Mountains, which act as a barrier for the wind and clouds. It becomes more predictable to track the behavior of those factors, even 1,500 miles away in Indy!
Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Whys" on the blog!