Predicting the future requires considerable effort. More than 1900 measuring stations, from the East Frisian Islands to the Zugspitze, regularly provide the German Weather Service with their data. These are then combined with worldwide measurements in the Offenbach data center.
The use of ever faster supercomputers is having an impact: ten years ago, meteorologists were able to calculate the weather around four days in advance with a high degree of accuracy, whereas today they can do so for as little as five days,” says Peter Bauer, Deputy Head of Research at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), based in Reading in southern England. In huge computer centres, operated by 34 countries, forecasts for the coming seasons or even years are produced here – albeit still quite rough.
A key trick here is that the computers “learn” from their own mistakes, because their predictions are then compared with the values actually measured, the so-called prediction.
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