<< Port Angeles Snow

01/09/05 - NOAA and the Weather

If you are planning a trip to the North Olympic Peninsula, consider trying out NOAA's new experimental point forecasting system. It works like their ordinary weather web page. You can search for a city and state or by zip code, but there is also a little topographic map of the region that you can point at to get a forecast adjusted for the precise elevation and location you specified. This forecast includes the usual five day conditions, high-low temperatures and chance of precipitation, and the seven day forecast discussion.

We're not absolutely sure of the algorithms they use, but this is a lot like the way they do tide tables. There are a number of base stations, where they actually work out the harmonic tidal formula, and then there are the derivative stations that use the tide from a nearby base station and apply a time offset and tide height multiple. The forecast on the right is for "34.3 miles west of Bangor Trident Base", so Bangor is probably the relevant forecast base station. They probably use a version of the spatial grid forecast data for predicting temperature and precipitation probabilities.

It's really kind of neat. Our tax dollars at work!

Detailed Point Forecast Elevation Map

Keywords: science, maps