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50 Years Ago

Forecasting by computer

Excerpt from the August 10, 1963, issue of Science News Letter

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Future weather satellites and improved methods of using computers to forecast weather are keys to the continued expansion of the Weather Bureau under its new head.... The computer program is expected to lead to improved long-range weather forecasts and to help bring closer to reality the control of weather.... Use of weather satellites to give photographs of the earth’s cloud cover has already given weathermen valuable information on otherwise unknown storms, including hurricanes, and has shown changes in large-scale weather patterns.


UPDATE: The ability to control the weather remains a dream, but the fleet of Earth-monitoring satellites and sophisticated computer programs now available to predict the weather has greatly improved forecasting. Warnings for hurricanes, for instance, are now given more than 50 percent earlier than in the 1960s.

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