What is a weather forecast?

Weather forecasting is predicting what the weather will be like at a certain time in the near future, in a given location.

Different situations need different types of weather forecasts.


Situation 1: Ship's Captain

A small container ship 'The Cumulus' needs to enter and berth at the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk in 2 hours time.

What does the captain of the ship need to know about the weather at Felixstowe?



Situation 2: Plane Pilot

Captain Ryan Jet is about to land a plane at Wellington Airport in New Zealand.

What does he need to know as he brings the plane in for landing?



Village fair_76767593

Situation 3: Outdoor Event

The village of Lilley is preparing for the annual fête in one week's time.

What do the organisers need to know to be well prepared for the day?



Have you worked it out? What do the ship's captain, the pilot and the fête organisers need to know about the weather?

Here are the answers:

Situation 1

The captain needs to know about:

  • visibility (how far in the distance he will be able to see)
  • the probability of fog
  • precipitation (rainfall)
  • wind speed
  • wind direction
  • tides
  • currents
  • wave height.

Situation 2

The aircraft pilot needs to know about:

  • visibility
  • the probability of frog
  • precipitation
  • wind speed
  • wind direction
  • the probability of frost or ice

Situation 3

The fête organisers need to know about:

  • precipitation
  • wind speed
  • chance of sunshine
  • cloud cover

Think about...

  • Where will these forecasts be found?
  • How accurate will they need to be?
  • Would the type of forecast made for the landing aircraft be useful to the organisers of the village fête?

Weather Data Experiment

weather Schools across the UK can report local weather to help improve forecast
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