Dear Tom,

What developments have contributed most to advancing the study of the weather and the atmosphere in general?

Ron Petermansky, Bolingbrook

Dear Ron,

An accurate and scientific understanding of weather and the atmosphere did not occur until the development of instruments that gave us the ability to measure the atmosphere. This occurred mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries when precision devices such as barometers and thermometers were invented.
The invention of the telegraph starting in the mid 1800s also had a great impact on meteorology. The telegraph enabled researchers to communicate weather information practically instantaneously and to analyze weather data in real time rather than wait days or weeks for the exchange of information via mail.
The advent of computers about 50 years ago also had a major impact. It gave meteorologists the ability to process vast quantities of data quickly. And new sources of data were becoming available from satellites and weather radars.

Have a weather question for Tom?
Email Tom here: