ELI5, How does the weather app knows everything about the weather


Hello! I’ve been wondering for quite a while now, how does the weather app seems to know the wind speed, temperature and all the other things about basicly any given location, and seemingly pretty accurately. I understand that big cities might have certain sensors, and whatnot, but what about small villages, or places in the middle of nowhere? How does it know all that?

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Because weather systems are huge. Meteorologists measure and calculate how the entire weather systems move. A forecast is a series of samples taken from a specific location within the big weather model as it evolves. If a powerful cold front 1000 miles wide is moving across an area, we can predict that both the big cities and the middle-of-nowheres it hits will get heavy rain and thunderstorms.

We have an extensive network of weather sensors all over the globe providing real-time data that’s fed into highly advanced predictive models. But watch your app from one morning to the next and you’ll see it change slightly and consistently.

As advanced as meteorology has become, it’s still only accurate to a week or so and the chance of rain is commonly misunderstood as the likelihood of rain occurring, when it’s really the percentage of a given area that’s expected to see rain.

There are hundreds and thousands of weather stations reporting back. Even in rural places where there may only be a few, it’s enough to get a picture when combined with other stations. At the least, any airfield is going to have a weather station.

The app doesn’t know, it just distributes the information. Similarly, the news station does not know everything, they just distribute information uncovered by reporters.