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Extremes and Environmental Risk

  1. Dr David J. Thomson

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vam020

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Thomson, D. J. 2006. Meteorology. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 3.

Author Information

  1. The Meteorological Office, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere. Despite the fact that the weather has been a central concern of humanity since very early in its history, it was only with the development of extensive observing networks in the twentieth century that a reasonably complete picture of the atmosphere and its behavior began to emerge. The reason for this is that, although some aspects of the weather can be understood as local phenomena, many aspects can only be understood on a large scale or even in a global context. In addition, observations of the ‘upper air’ can often be as important in understanding the behavior of the atmosphere as those near the surface. As a result, the development of meteorology has been dependent crucially on the international cooperation needed to make, collate, and exchange meteorological observations. The earth now has a large network of observations comprising surface-based observations, upper air measurements from balloons, radiosondes and aircraft, and more recently observations from remote sensing techniques involving satellites and radar, and much of the resulting data is widely exchanged around the world in near real time.