New technology means a better weather forecast in the future

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Meteorologists are now doing what was considered nearly impossible only a century ago.

In the span of 50 years, computer processing power has grown by leaps and bounds, which can ultimately mean a better weather forecast for tomorrow.

Arkansas State University held their Cyber Infrastructure Day in the student union on Monday.

Scientists gathered from around the country to talk in these seminars about the role of supercomputers.

Stronger, faster computers allow for better weather data collection and visualization.

James White, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, is a Memphis native but now works in Boulder, Colorado.

He explains why weather and climate forecasting continue to improve.

"We can put more grid points in Arkansas to get more detail about Jonesboro or the region than we could get before because with the supercomputers we had, we had to use so few grid points that there might have been one or two in Arkansas."

With the extra computer power, forecasters can predict long-term weather patterns with much higher precision.

Finer details also emerge from the data.

Global models allow scientists to gain a better understanding of larger-scale, long-term patterns.

So not only can forecasters see world-wide average temperatures, but whether precipitation right here in Arkansas will vary in the next century.

"We have the ability to put so many more devices for measurement. The same way your cell phone can do so much more now, you can make little devices that can measure a lot of things cheaply and over a large area."

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