Today's weather forecast comes from Oliver Breit! | PDD

Today’s weather forecast comes from Oliver Breit!


on May 30 2013

Oliver Breit, Managing Director Asia, has been emailing over some rather spectacular photos of the weather viewed from our Hong Kong studio. From low lying moody black clouds to a large inflatable rubber duck in the river on a foggy day, these images have kept me regularly entertained and got me thinking about how we are all trying to predict the weather these days.

View from our Hong Kong Studio. Featured and above image credit: PDD

The weather has been a hot topic (no pun intended) in our London studio as well as the rest of the UK. Weather forecast predictions have been varied, inconclusive and not always very helpful. Take this bank holiday weekend; after watching the weather forecast a couple of days beforehand I was expecting a weekend of rain and clouds.

It makes me wonder if forecasts have really become more accurate over the years. Are our high-tech instruments for prediction any more accurate than the old wives tales and methods used by our forefathers?


View from our Hong Kong Studio.
 Image credit: PDD

It is the earth’s troposphere, the lowest area of atmosphere that gives us everything we call weather from our warm summer days to our stormy cold winters.


Image credit: Petnaturals

Weather has been monitored using a variety of methods for centuries. Farmers, native people and others long ago learnt how the natural world around them would give all kinds of clues as to what the weather would be like. Tiny variations in the air can often affect plants and animals resulting in a change in their appearance or behaviour, forming subtle signs for weather change. Subsequently this type of knowledge was often passed down from generation to generation. For example, my mother who grew up in a rural village in northern Bangladesh would predict a storm brewing if her nose and ears itched. This particular prediction, from what I can remember, proved right most of the time – although I have no evidence to support it 🙂

The first instruments 

Image credit: BeyondPenguins

Weather has attracted great academic thinkers from as long ago as the Ancient Greeks. It was Aristotle who gave us the word ‘Meteorology’ from the scientific study of weather. Then in 17th Century Italy, the first instruments were developed to measure changes in the earth’s atmosphere. Weather can still be predicted using very simple instruments so anyone can set up their own weather station at home.

Modern technology
Image credit: Astrium

Nowadays with modern technology, predicting the weather has become extremely sophisticated. There are around 10,000 weather stations all over the world, on land, sea and in space, gathering data on clouds, temperature, air pressure, wind direction, speed and so on… The information is passed onto huge super computers, able to carry out millions of calculations very quickly. Meteorologists then use this information to generate short term and long term weather predictions.
Despite the amazing innovations in weather prediction, we still seem to be a long way from ‘getting it right’. Let’s not forget Michael Fish predicting a calm breeze the day before a hurricane hit our shores in 1987! It seems nature will always keep us on our toes.