Updated 01/09/2013 08:50 AM
Meteorologists talk advances in storm tracking at annual conference
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It's an exciting time to be a weather forecaster. Members of the American Meteorological Society gathered in Austin this week for the AMS' annual meeting. Advances in atmospheric modeling, global sensing and computer processing have transformed meteorology.
"Those three components have combined over the last 20, actually 30 years, allowing us now to provide very accurate forecasts out to five, six, seven sometimes eight days in advance of extreme events," AMS President Louis Uccellini said.
Among the newest advances in technology is the dual pole radar.
"We're already seeing some brand new things that we've never seen before, and I believe it's just the beginning of a whole new radar revolution,” Bob Baron with Baron Weather Systems said. "The potential of it is every bit as big as Doppler was twenty years ago."
Most agree, as forecasts become more accurate, the real problem is one of communication--getting the right information to the right people at the right time.
"I know decision-makers, the emergency management community, first responders now rely on forecasts to make critical life-saving decisions and to prepare for storm events,” Uccellini said.
Social media is also shaping an important role in meteorology.
"Communication, dissemination," Uccellini said. “Getting the forecast out on to mobile devices, making forecasts and warnings relevant to people's needs."
After a storm like Hurricane Sandy, there's a new sense of urgency in the weather business.
"Getting these forecasts and warnings out in a way that are timely and meaningful to people who have to make decisions," Uccellini said.
The 93rd meeting of the American Meteorological Society runs through Thursday at the Austin Convention Center.