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Some meteorological principles

Some meteorological principles

Boundary layer meteorology[edit]

Boundary layer meteorology is the study of processes in the air layer directly above Earth’s surface, known as the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). The effects of the surface – heating, cooling, and friction – cause turbulent mixing within the air layer. Significant movement of heatmatter, or momentum on time scales of less than a day are caused by turbulent motions.[70] Boundary layer meteorology includes the study of all types of surface–atmosphere boundary, including ocean, lake, urban land and non-urban land for the study of meteorology.

Dynamic meteorology[edit]

Dynamic meteorology generally focuses on the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere. The idea of air parcel is used to define the smallest element of the atmosphere, while ignoring the discrete molecular and chemical nature of the atmosphere. An air parcel is defined as a point in the fluid continuum of the atmosphere. The fundamental laws of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and motion are used to study the atmosphere. The physical quantities that characterize the state of the atmosphere are temperature, density, pressure, etc. These variables have unique values in the continuum.[71]


Weather forecasting[edit]

Forecast of surface pressures five days into the future for the north Pacific, North America, and north Atlantic OceanMain article: Weather forecasting

Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere at a future time and given location. Humans have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia and formally since at least the 19th century.[72][73] Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere and using scientific understanding of atmospheric processes to project how the atmosphere will evolve.[74]

Once an all-human endeavor based mainly upon changes in barometric pressure, current weather conditions, and sky condition,[75][76] forecast models are now used to determine future conditions. Human input is still required to pick the best possible forecast model to base the forecast upon, which involves pattern recognition skills, teleconnections, knowledge of model performance, and knowledge of model biases. The chaotic nature of the atmosphere, the massive computational power required to solve the equations that describe the atmosphere, error involved in measuring the initial conditions, and an incomplete understanding of atmospheric processes mean that forecasts become less accurate as the difference in current time and the time for which the forecast is being made (the range of the forecast) increases. The use of ensembles and model consensus help narrow the error and pick the most likely outcome.[77][78][79]

There are a variety of end uses to weather forecasts. Weather warnings are important forecasts because they are used to protect life and property.[80] Forecasts based on temperature and precipitation are important to agriculture,[81][82][83][84] and therefore to commodity traders within stock markets. Temperature forecasts are used by utility companies to estimate demand over coming days.[85][86][87] On an everyday basis, people use weather forecasts to determine what to wear. Since outdoor activities are severely curtailed by heavy rain, snow, and wind chill, forecasts can be used to plan activities around these events, and to plan ahead and survive them.

Aviation meteorology[edit]

Aviation meteorology deals with the impact of weather on air traffic management. It is important for air crews to understand the implications of weather on their flight plan as well as their aircraft, as noted by the Aeronautical Information Manual:[88]

The effects of ice on aircraft are cumulative—thrust is reduced, drag increases, lift lessens, and weight increases. The results are an increase in stall speed and a deterioration of aircraft performance. In extreme cases, 2 to 3 inches of ice can form on the leading edge of the airfoil in less than 5 minutes. It takes but 1/2 inch of ice to reduce the lifting power of some aircraft by 50 percent and increases the frictional drag by an equal percentage.[89]

Agricultural meteorology[edit]

Meteorologists, soil scientists, agricultural hydrologists, and agronomists are people concerned with studying the effects of weather and climate on plant distribution, crop yield, water-use efficiency, phenology of plant and animal development, and the energy balance of managed and natural ecosystems. Conversely, they are interested in the role of vegetation on climate and weather.[90]


Hydrometeorology is the branch of meteorology that deals with the hydrologic cycle, the water budget, and the rainfall statistics of storms.[91] A hydrometeorologist prepares and issues forecasts of accumulating (quantitative) precipitation, heavy rain, heavy snow, and highlights areas with the potential for flash flooding. Typically the range of knowledge that is required overlaps with climatology, mesoscale and synoptic meteorology, and other geosciences.[92]

The multidisciplinary nature of the branch can result in technical challenges, since tools and solutions from each of the individual disciplines involved may behave slightly differently, be optimized for different hard- and software platforms and use different data formats. There are some initiatives – such as the DRIHM project[93] – that are trying to address this issue.[94]

Nuclear meteorology[edit]

Nuclear meteorology investigates the distribution of radioactive aerosols and gases in the atmosphere.[95]

Maritime meteorology[edit]

Maritime meteorology deals with air and wave forecasts for ships operating at sea. Organizations such as the Ocean Prediction Center, Honolulu National Weather Service forecast office, United Kingdom Met Office, and JMA prepare high seas forecasts for the world’s oceans.

Military meteorology[edit]

Main article: Military meteorology

Military meteorology is the research and application of meteorology for military purposes. In the United States, the United States Navy‘s Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command oversees meteorological efforts for the Navy and Marine Corps while the United States Air Force‘s Air Force Weather Agency is responsible for the Air Force and Army.

Environmental meteorology[edit]

Environmental meteorology mainly analyzes industrial pollution dispersion physically and chemically based on meteorological parameters such as temperature, humidity, wind, and various weather conditions.

Renewable energy[edit]

Meteorology applications in renewable energy includes basic research, “exploration”, and potential mapping of wind power and solar radiation for wind and solar energy.