Predicting the weather of the moment
With the advent of Doppler radars and improvements in balloon sounding systems in the early 1980s, scientists for the first time began to see the lines of convergent wind flow that are the precursors to storm formation. During experiments in the summers of 1984 and 1985, Jim Wilson and colleagues discovered that they could use radars and balloon sounding systems to successfully predict where storms were about to form. Thus, the science of “nowcasting” severe weather was born. The fruits of this work, which continues to the present, include the Auto-nowcaster, a software tool that combines research with up-to-the-minute observations to project where thunderstorms will grow,move, and decay over the following hour.