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English Audio Request

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Moderate seed, please. Thanks!

Weather forecasting as a science is only 150 years old, but who started weather forecasts and how are they different today?
Robert FitzRoy was an amateur forecaster who started the UK's Meteorological Office. His first forecast in August 1861 in the Times newspaper was short but accurate. The first TV forecast in the UK was in 1936, but the biggest change was in the 1950s when they started to
use weathermen and women and magnetic sun and clouds to place on the map. Now we have satellite pictures of the weather all over the world. None of this would be possible without Robert Fitzroy.
But sometimes forecasters get it wrong. There is a very famous case in the UK, where on 15 October 1987 the forecaster predicted that a hurricane in the US would not affect the UK, but the south-east of England then had its worst storm for nearly 300 years.
Before meteorology, people used common knowledge to predict the weather. ‘Red sky at night; shepherd’s delight, red sky in the morning; shepherd’s warning.’ is a common saying. It is fairly accurate in the UK, because a red sky in the west, where the sun sets, means good weather, but a red sky in the morning means the sun is reflecting off the rainclouds. This means there will probably be rain, which is bad weather for shepherds.
Several European countries have a saying predicting summer weather. For example in
England we say if it rains on St Swithun’s Day (15 July) there’ll be rain for the next 40 days,but if it is doesn’t rain then it’ll be dry for the same time. Summer weather patterns start in the
first half of July and usually continue for the next few weeks, so this is true about 75% of the time. In France they have a similar saying about rain on St. Gervais' day (19 July) and in Germany the weather on ‘seven sleepers’ day (7 July) predicts the weather for the following
seven weeks.
Nowadays supercomputers receive millions of bits of information about the weather 24 hours a day, but it is still difficult to predict the weather because of the famous ‘butterfly effect’. This means if there is a small change in the air movement in one part of the world, for example a butterfly flapping its wings in China, it might cause a storm in the US. So two and three-day forecasts are much more reliable than five-day forecasts: those extra few days are enough for the weather to develop in a completely different way.




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