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The Forecast Process - forecasting the future

Once a meteorologist has thoroughly reviewed the current weather and ascertained what processes are producing it, the forecaster can begin to look in the future. Forecasters will typically use the "Forecast Funnel" technique. The forecast funnel is a concept that focuses the forecasters' attention first on large scale processes, and then on increasingly smaller scales.

Numerical weather prediction models are computer simulations of the atmosphere. These models provide the foundation of the weather forecast. The models use an analysis of the current weather as a starting point and then project the state of the atmosphere in the future. The models use complicated physics and fluid dynamics equations that require supercomputers to solve them.

In addition to the numerical weather prediction models, forecasters will draw upon conceptual models, experience, and research to produce the forecast.

The forecasters will then conduct a thorough review the output of these models. At times, the models yield different results, and in these circumstances, forecasters will try to determine which models perform best for the given situation or they will seek a consensus solution. Computer models and other weather data are viewable on the AWIPS workstations. The main graphical interface has the ability to show several "windows" with different data. These can be switched back and forth between the large window and the small windows.