Mathematics and Weather
The Mathematics of Weather is Complicated!
The information below in the highlighted box is taken from
|In Meteorology, the primitive equations
are a version of the
Navier-Stokes equations that describe hydrodynamical flow on
the sphere . . . Thus, they are a good approximation of global
atmospheric flow and are used in most
One of 6 equations using 6 variables is
Another meteorologist stated "Any type of synoptic forecasting is
based and rooted with the
QG-Omega Equation." The QG-Omega equation is shown below.
Do TV Meteorologists Work With These Mathematical Equations Each
Actually, they don't, at least not directly. The results of
using these equations and many others, along with additional
mathematics and statistics applied to large amounts of collected data,
provide the computer models that weather forecasters use on a daily
basis. The meteorologist explains the forecast and associated weather
phenomena using terminology that the average viewer will understand.
The meteorologist must have a good understanding of how the atmosphere
behaves in order to accurately explain this phenomena.
So Why Do Meteorologists Need So Much Math?
I joined a
meteorology forum and asked this question. Here are replies
I received from some meteorologists.
"[Needed for] establishing a good understanding of the atmosphere
while in college"
"For those who go into the research and modeling fields, this
math tends to get used often."
"The primitive equations that are used as the basis for weather
models are important to understand because it can help explain why
the model output is showing what it does."
"The math education a meteorologist gets, which is part of a
degree in meteorology, is important as it bridges into how the
atmosphere works by pretty much quantifying it."
"I'm in research, and I use quite a bit of calculus, and there
would be no way I could study what I study without a good
understanding of calculus."
Undergraduate meteorologists typically are required to take 3
semesters of Calculus along with 1 semester of Differential Equations.
Meteorologists continuing on in graduate degrees are typically
required to also take Partial Differential Equations before beginning
graduate studies. See
Penn State Graduate Studies in Meteorology.