Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere. Most individuals are intimately familiar with meteorology from the local evening news, in which a meteorologist provides the current weather conditions and the local forecast. However, meteorology is far more than weather prediction.
Greek philosopher Aristotle is considered to be the founder of meteorology, having written Meteorology in 350 BC. By the middle of the 20th century, advancements in atmospheric physics, combined with satellite and radar technology, led to the formation of modern weather prediction. Meteorologists collect surface measurements, which provide a picture of weather conditions at a specific location, called a weather station. Such measurements may include temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction, and humidity. Tools used at a weather station include a thermometer, barometer, anemometer, and a hydrometer.
Radar and satellite data are used to collect meteorological information from remote locations and provide some understanding about the upcoming pattern of weather. In the United States, for example, fronts have a tendency to move from west to east, and understanding the speed at which a front is moving can provide a somewhat accurate idea of the future. However, pattern recognition and the chaotic nature of the atmosphere make longer-term forecasts less reliable than short-term forecasts.
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