Long before the advent of the internet existed the concept of weather forecasting. There are not many facts or dated sources to support this notion as information and knowledge were mostly handed down to generations via word of mouth during the pre-historic era. But it is presumed that man’s curious nature had made this so.
Weather forecasting can be said to have been birthed the moment man became curious enough to ask what the weather would be the next day. Ancient civilizations had different ways and methods of approach they applied to answer and achieve this, but one popular method in our Nigerian culture was inquiring of a rainmaker.
These methods though old-fashioned and impractical were trusted and heavily relied on. It set the pace unknowingly for what we know today in modern-day as Weather Forecasting.
WHAT IS WEATHER FORECASTING
Weather Forecasting involves the application of science and technology in the prediction of the weather for a given location and time using atmospheric data readings. This is done by a class of scientists called meteorologists.
Comparing the quality of weather forecasts and predictions between then and now, it is obvious the level of advancement in this field. This should be great news! Matter of fact, I do not have to worry today about the outcome of the weather tomorrow while planning a meeting.
PROCESS OF WEATHER FORECASTING
The process of weather forecasting has greatly improved in the last few decades, and meteorologists (scientists who predict the weather) are working tirelessly to proffer more precise and long-term weather forecasts with advancements in technology.
The main process of weather forecasting is carried out by a computer via a process called Numerical Weather Prediction. In this process, the meteorologists enter collected weather data into numerical weather models, these computer models then use the current state of the weather (atmospheric conditions) based on the entered data to predict the weather. There are different numerical weather prediction models, some provide weather predictions in hours and some in days.
The more accurate the collected weather data is, the more accurate the weather prediction will be. All these require heavy computing capacities as such, weather forecasting processes are carried out by high-purpose supercomputers.
WEATHER DATA COLLECTION
Before meteorologists can make any prediction about the weather, they must have accurate weather data as well as sufficient parameters collected. This means there are other things and processes to be carried out before the Numerical Weather Prediction process. One important stage is the data-collection stage.
In many cases, just like with Kanda Weather Group, radiosonde weather balloons are launched to collect the weather data of an area. The weather balloon is a hydrogen or helium-filled balloon with a radiosonde device attached to it. The radiosonde attached to the weather balloon has sensors that take different atmospheric readings such as temperature, pressure, wind speed etc. as the balloon is lifted higher into the sky.
The weather balloon is the primary source of weather data collection. This method is effective and also economical. Other methods used to extract weather data include the use of doppler radar, weather satellites and buoys but these methods are not cost-effective.
HOW THE INTERNET IMPROVED WEATHER FORECASTING
The transition from Web 1.0 (the first phase of the internet) to Web 2.0 immensely improved the processes involved in weather forecasting. Web 2.0, known as the Internet-of-Things (IoT), started with the building of social apps where users could become more flexible with data.
IoT transitioned the web which was known to be a static one to that which objects and items could interact with the internet. With this development, a radiosonde could be attached to a weather balloon and the collected data is sent to a web server via the internet where meteorologists or other weather scientists can monitor the weather using real-time data and also store it for future analysis and study.
With this advancement, people could easily get the weather forecast of an area via their mobile devices.
HOW WEB 3.0 WILL BETTER WEATHER FORECASTING
There is an ongoing transition from what the internet is known to be today to another phase of the internet. This new phase of the internet is called Web 3.0. As processes are beginning to effect change with this new development, we have new technologies stemming up providing newer and better ways to do old tasks.
A number of features related to Web 3.0 will make weather data and forecasts even more accessible to people in countries without weather stations. Explained below are
Features of Web 3.0
Decentralized Access to Information — One outstanding benefit of Web 3.0 is the transformation of data accessibility. This will make it possible for people to access data and information from anywhere via full data decentralization. The technology will bring better ideas that will allow smart devices to collect data from many decentralized data sources and storages all over the world.
Uninterrupted Service — With many distributed nodes and decentralized storage locations, denial of access on user accounts, restriction of accounts and the likes will be eliminated. As all sources of data are distributed, server loading which may lead to server seizure is also eliminated. This assures users of uninterrupted access.