05/2020: Weather (J. Dorrington)

Time: Thursday 21 May 2020 from 19:00 for 19:30
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event will be delivered as a livestream. More details can be found here.

TITLE: Supercomputers and Seagulls – The Story of Weather Prediction

The changing weather affects every aspect of our lives, even if we don’t always realise it. Far beyond prompting us to pick up our umbrella as we go out for the day, weather forecasts shape the actions of farmers, power plants, disaster relief organisations, and a dozen other important industries and sectors. But how do we actually make these predictions of hurricanes, heat-waves and hailstorms, and why is it still so difficult to peer far into the atmosphere’s future?

We’ll take a look at the long history of weather forecasting, a journey from witchcraft and hot-air balloons to satellites and supercomputers. On the way we’ll discover some remarkable truths about the boundaries of scientific prediction, and the important role of Chaos in the natural world.”


Josh Dorrington is a DPhil student in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Oxford. He works on improving the accuracy of weather forecasts, assessing the value these predictions hold for society, and understanding the complex physical processes that shape European extreme weather events.


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