Sep 04

Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather, by Robert Fovell ???

This Teaching Company series was a set of 24 half-hour lectures on the science of meteorology. Fovell covers most introductory aspects of meteorology, including the basics of how weather occurs, clouds form, atmospheric circulation, global weather events, hurricanes and tornados, etc. Fovell ends with two lectures explaining in quite simple terms how models are being developed to try to forecast the weather, focusing especially on predicting the path of hurricanes. Fovell’s teaching style is very dry. He does not have the enthusiastic bounce of Filippenko, another Teaching Company lecturer. Fovell’s explanations as to how various weather events occur, such as the development of tornados, just did not seem entirely plausible. This is probably the state of the science of meteorology rather than Fovell explaining poorly. Fovell made abundantly clear how poorly forecasters are at predicting weather events. He used the example of the path of the hurricane Rita, which various models gave a 100 mile spread as to where the hurricane would hit land one day before the event. Such wide spreads limit the usefulness of predicting, since most models showed Rita going straight to Houston, and it went instead to the Texas/Louisiana border, quite a significant way away. This is a series worth watching to learn the basics of what the weatherman needs to know. It is not a series to get you excited about Meteorology.

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