# I’m Just Watching The Weather

There’s just something rhythmic and soothing and satisfying about our atmosphere, but the only way to see it is through the charts and maps and columns of numbers. The real atmosphere is much too large for us to see more than a tiny piece.

It was snowing on my way home from work. My driveway was coated a half hour ago. Now we’ve gone to a rain/sleet mix and it’s just wet. The atmosphere’s fickle that way.

I was just spending some quality time with the RUC or Rapid Update Cycle weather model. This would have been unheard of years ago. This bad boy is re-run every hour. Faster computers are totally responsible for making that possible.

It’s a short range model. You look at it to get a feel for the next half of the day.

The RUC is a hybrid sigma-isentropic analysis and forecast system. It has a horizontal resolution of 13 km and 50 vertical layers.

Yeah. Uh huh. My words exactly.

The guts of these models are very heavily dependent on advanced concepts in math and physics. I use the outputs without totally being conversant in the minutiae and magic that makes them tic.

Anyway, I was looking and absorbing when I asked myself, “Why?” Why do I look?

It’s 3:00 AM. Work’s done. There’s nothing I can change for the viewers. Then it hit me. I really enjoy this stuff.

I wish I could explain it properly, because I know most people are intimidated by math. There’s just something rhythmic and soothing and satisfying about our atmosphere, but the only way to see it is through the charts and maps and columns of numbers. The real atmosphere is much too large for us to see more than a tiny piece.

On paper or a computer screen the undulations of the atmosphere begin to make sense. The first time you connect with that is a Eureka moment–like a light switch has been thrown. In the history of man that’s only possible now.

1. GV3 says: