June 15, 2024

Old vs New – Predicting the Weather Through the Ages


The weather is like an unreliable best friend. It is always involved in our lives but you never know what it’s going to do next. People have been trying to predict the weather for thousands of years and there is evidence going back as far as 650 B.C. of people using cloud appearance to predict short-term changes. These days we have the internet, mobile phones and a number of other gadgets to help us plan our lives around our elusive friend. 

Can cows predict the weather?

In the time before technology, people would make observations using information around them to predict the weather. This of course introduced some well-known folklore such as if the cows in a field are lying down, it is going to rain – sometimes they are just tired, even when the sun is out! Others, such as observing the bubbles on a cup of coffee are likely to be more reliable as they illustrate the air pressure similar to the way that a number of gadgets would. 

Technology changes everything – or does it?

By the end of the 17th century, it became clear that greater knowledge was required to produce a more accurate forecast. Much development has been done over the centuries and how much modern technology is used by meteorology departments. Along with weather satellites and computers, equipment such as barometers, thermometers, and rain gauges help to give an accurate real-time representation of the weather and aid with forecasting the future. Even with all this equipment, forecasting the weather is tricky. Weather models can be wrong, leading to very misleading forecasts, and for this reason, are only used to issue guidance information.

Be prepared

The formation of the first weather forecasting service in the USA was in 1870. The National Weather Service, a department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), produces warnings to safeguard American citizens and their property. This information compliments that available on television, radio and the internet. But what do you do when the power is out and your mobile phone battery is dead? To be truly prepared to receive weather and disaster alerts, a weather radio with a backup power source is the must-have gadget. Some models will even turn on automatically when alerts are broadcast so you don’t miss a thing.

The weather isn’t going anywhere – it will continue to impact our clothing choices, the food we eat and even our travel plans. The advancements in technology just mean that the information is more readily available to help us maximize our enjoyment of the great outdoors.