ing of atmospheric processes, more detailed and widely distributed observational data, and faster computers.

The National Meteorological Center (National Weather Service) was producing wind and temperature forecasts at six levels in the atmosphere with a horizontal resolution of 186 miles (300 km) (the distance between data grid points), as were the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Research models, being run by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey, and by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, made calculations for up to 18 vertical levels with a grid spacing as fine as 112 miles (180 km). Research groups in the United Kingdom, France, and the USSR ran similar models. These extremely sophisticated models took almost 24 hours to compute a 24-hour forecast and were used only to study the atmosphere, not to make operational predictions. Modelers discovered they would need many more observations to define initial atmospheric conditions and to verify their predictions. None of these models could effectively forecast local phenomena such as thunderstorms and tornadoes, which were so "small" that they disappeared between model grid points.

1978 1979 1980

Meteorologists also used research models to determine factors limiting their forecasting abilities. Did a lack of observations, incorrect grid size, or model representations of physical processes hamper their ability to forecast more than 72 hours ahead accurately? To address data issues, meteorologists working with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) planned a massive experiment for the end of the decade. The Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) would be critical to the future of atmospheric modeling.

Unlike forecasting models, climate models were not affected by observed data. Modelers used averaged climatological values, modified the amount of received solar radiation and the average sea surface temperature, and then let the model run until it reached equilibrium—a new climate. Meteorologists examined how the atmosphere and the oceans interacted with each other or were coupled. They focused climate modeling efforts to determine the physical processes controlling the addition of energy to the atmosphere, specifically the transport of heat and moisture at the interface of the atmosphere and oceans, and the influence of polar ice. Meteorologists also wanted to find out how human activities influenced climate. The question in the early 1970s: Are natural variations in climate so large that they will mask changes due to rapid industrialization?

Despite the introduction of new and faster computers, the 1970s did not see uniform advances in model output. There had been significant improvements in forecasting temperature and pressure, but very little in predicting precipitation, the weather element of interest for the public. Meteorologists did see some improvement in forecasting precipitation when they reduced grid spacing. Many difficulties remained for operational NWP, including the poor handling of severe weather phenomena such as thunderstorms and tornadoes. Forecasting small-scale features would remain a challenge for atmospheric modelers.

Meteorologists making weather forecasts for geographic areas that bordered the world's oceans enthusiastically welcomed the availability of satellite pictures—even grainy ones. In the Northern Hemisphere, satellite images were especially critical for meteorologists working on the western sides of continents because weather systems arrived from over the oceans—areas that provided only a handful of observations from ships and transiting aircraft. Tropical meteorologists whose job it was to forecast for tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons were also excited about the possibilities presented by satellite images. Because tropical storms are born and live over tropical ocean waters far from observation stations, satellite images provided meteorologists with a way to see them form from small patches of billowy clouds—often just off of West Africa for Atlantic hurricanes—and strengthen into organized systems with powerful winds and unique cloud patterns. Meteorologists used these new images to forecast where these large storms would arrive onshore and to gain new understanding of their

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