What’s Up with all the Math?

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Hi everyone!

It’s been a incredible week for me! I just found out I was appointed as a student member of the American Meteorological Society Broadcast Board! Yay! I’ve been wanting to work with the AMS for a long time and I am so excited about this opportunity.

Now on to what I wanted to talk to you about…

I’ve been getting a lot of questions at school and from a lot of people who I meet about why do meteorologists need math. I mean, it doesn’t make sense why telling you whether it will be cloudy or rainy or extremely hot this week would need math, let alone up to Calculus 3 and differential equations. At least, my first impression before I started going to school was why can’t I just learn what certain weather types mean (my words at the time). I even talked to a bunch of my math major friends and even they wanted to know why meteorology students have to have math minors. So here’s why:

PHYSICS, PHYSICS and more Physics. Surprisingly, the only way meteorologists can figure out why weather works, moves and is created is through physics. And the way we know how to calculate physics problems and answer just basic questions is through math.

Here’s a great example of how Meteorologists use math to put together a forecast:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLwnFZ6hKXg

However, if I was a viewer, I would have no idea what in the world that means. So, TV meteorologists put it into easier to understand terms. I used to work at a TV station where the chief meteorologist would do a 2 minute easy-to-follow weather lesson in her forecast and it really helped me and my family members understand what was going on outside. I don’t view it as dumbing weather down, I view it as packaging something into a understandable package to inform viewers.

That’s my post for this week. Until then!

-M

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