Early Calculations and Fronts

October 18, 2018

During idle time as an ambulance driver in World War I, Lewis Richardson would perform numerical weather experiments. He would catalog sky conditions, integrating numerical calculations into his journal. His sparse observations and calculations by hand didn't produce a useful forecast. Little did he know that his efforts were the beginning stages of modern weather predictions. He quickly wrote a manuscript that was lost but eventually discovered in a coal bin and later published. He left instructions, upon his death, that the rare book be given to the National Weather Service where it is on display in their Executive Suite. He envisioned a "large hall, like theater" filled with human computers, each doing calculations for a particular point on the Earth and passing information to his neighbors. As impractical as it might have been then, today, the NWS uses massive parallel computers executing those same calculations. Another front will slide through prior to kickoff with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In addition to warm, stationary and occluded fronts, have you ever heard of an upper front? They're frontal boundaries in the upper atmosphere that don't extend to the ground. "Anafronts" occur when warm fronts advance into the high altitudes and "karafronts" descend as cold fronts from high altitudes. Another group of fronts exist near the equator, that separate air masses in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere known as "intertropical fronts." In south Louisiana, we're accustomed to fronts that travel from west to east. Another strange type of front is called a "backdoor cold front." These systems originate in the northwest Atlantic Ocean and move onto the Northeast coast. These fronts are associated with high-pressure systems spinning clockwise off the coast, pushing cooler marine air toward the land.

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Early Calculations and Fronts

October 18, 2018

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