Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weather forecasting in Guyana

Weather forecasting in Europe and North America has become routine and quite accurate over periods of a few days so why cannot our local forecasts be as good?
There are many factors involved here but the main difficulty is that, due to the tropical climate, weather comes about by different processes which are hard to forecast by computer simulation.
Singapore has a similar climate and similar problems though they have a much larger and better funded meteorological service. An explanation on the website of their National Environment Agency in answer to the question 'Why is it challenging to forecast the weather in Singapore?' says, in part:

'In the tropics, the weather systems are largely driven by prevailing winds whereby small changes in the wind speed and direction can result in significant changes in weather. The problem is compounded because winds near the equator are generally quite light and variable, and thus more difficult to predict.'

The item goes on to offer a more detailed explanation which I do not repeat here. But briefly we do not get frequent 'fronts' which bring much of the weather 'up north' but have instead many small local storms mainly generated by convection.
However, science is progressing and improvements in our forecasts can be expected once we have the human and technological resources. In recent times our meteorological service has been very short of the resources it needs to produce the best forecasts possible at present.