Main content

Why is it so difficult to predict the weather?

"Why is it so difficult to predict the weather?" asks Isabella Webber, aged 21 from Vienna.

"I am sure there are many intelligent meteorologists and it seems rather straight forward to calculate wind speed, look at the clouds, and data from the past to make accurate predictions, but yet it’s not possible."

Adam delves into the history of forecasting with author Andrew Blum, beginning with the mystery of a lost hot air balloon full of Arctic explorers.

Hannah visits the BBC Weather Centre to talk to meteorologist and presenter Helen Willetts about how forecasting has changed, and whether people get annoyed at her if she gets the forecast wrong.

Plus mathematician Steven Strogatz suggests a chaotic explanation as to why we can't produce the perfect forecast.

Presenters: Hannah Fry, Adam Rutherford
Producer: Michelle Martin

Available now

35 minutes

Broadcasts

Why do you see faces in unexpected places?

Why do you see faces in unexpected places?

We are “hardwired” for recognising faces and it starts at birth.

Podcast