Anna Answers: What is model disagreement?

Weather Wisdom

Question: What is model disagreement?

Answer: To begin we are going to define what a weather model is. A forecast model helps meteorologists forecast future conditions, but they are only a small part of forecasting. We need to think of a forecast model as a set of equations. It takes a set of variables and data, and then it solves it throughout time.

Models all depend on the input of the weather model and how realistic that is. The input we are referring to is weather observations (and also solved for variables within the equations) but the truth of the matter is that data is not always accurate.

Now, the first reason is that it’s impossible to know the weather, everywhere, every second, especially where we often don’t even have ways to get the exact information of the temperature or the air pressure or any observations; there are gaps. Just as not every place is able to give observations.

Now, weather data also requires measurement to take place, and any form of measurement can experience an error, and then the error will make the model incorrect because as we go through time- The observations and solved data go into the model equations. The model solves for the equation for a time, and then continues to solve for the equation as we go throughout time, therefore making it not accurate if even one factor is off. Now there are many more reasons why models are imperfect and why we cannot trust them, but this is just a beginning explanation.

In the video, I show two current weather models for an upcoming situation and show why weather models do not entirely predict the weather, and what we mean when meteorologists say there is model disagreement.

Have a weather question you have always wondered about? Message me on social media: Facebook (Anna Meyers), Twitter (18StormAnna), and Instagram (, or email me at and you might be featured on the next weekly Anna Answers.

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