Weather's Going To Happen Whether Or Not We're Ready

Jan 22, 2020

The United States may be divided politically, but there's one thing just about everyone agrees on: Why can’t the weather forecast be more accurate?

There are certain things that can’t be predicted, but weather forecasting has become better in the past couple of decades as computer modeling has improved both in speed and accuracy. And those improvements are, in large part, thanks to Paul Roebber. He's a distinguished professor of mathematical and atmospheric sciences at UW-Milwaukee, and one of the leading forecasting experts in the U.S., and the world.

While weather prediction has become more accurate, Roebber says one of the things no one can predict is whether it will rain or snow on a small, specific place at any given time. Rain or snow in your area can be predicted with reasonable accuracy, but whether or not you get wet in your backyard just isn't something meteorologists can tell you until it's happening.

He also explains that climate and weather aren't the same thing.

"Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get," he says. "When you’re talking about the climate of a particular area, you’re really talking about the aggregation of all the individual days in which weather is happening. That’s what the climate is."