Free «Examples of Application of the Scientific Method in the Study of Meteorological Problems» Essay Paper
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Meteorology as a branch of science is very pivotal to any country’s development as it assists in forecasting the weather patterns that policy makers might rely on in creating developmental strategies. Meteorology has also been very helpful in saving lives by evading natural disasters that could have cost losses of many lives and damages to properties. Through established trends of meteorology, people have developed strategies for dealing with harsh weather conditions that are characteristic of certain areas. This branch of science has also helped to discover and document the type of climate of many regions. In this paper, I will show some examples of scientific methods’ application in the study of meteorological problems.
Definition of Scientific Methods
According to Wudka, Jose, (2000), the term scientific method denotes a logical, disciplined, and careful search for knowledge regarding any or all aspects of the universe that is obtained as a result of examination of the best available proofs that are always subject to improvement and correction in the event of discovery of better evidences (Zebrowski, Ernest, 1999). Initially, there were no better ways of investigating the phenomena of the world than simply observing the occurring events and making assumption about what they meant and what caused them without any rigid proof (Wudka, Jose, (2000). Today the situation has changed as we are equipped with much better ways performing observations. These methods provide universal results, as one may prove them to be true anywhere in the world. In this light, most of the scientific methods in meteorology are using the same modern methods for studying the atmospheric conditions that, after a long period of time, comprise weather and eventually climate.
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Examples of Scientific Methods in Action
During thunderstorms and strong winds, it is advisable for any pilot not to fly into a storm because of the obvious dangers that are inevitable parts of such atmospheric phenomena. The storm might overpower the plane and send it down crashing, or it could blow the aircraft away in the direction it was not supposed to go. But such precautionary measures of not flying into thunderstorms were seemingly not important to a pilot and a researcher who could plunge into the terrifying weather condition just to see what was happening in the heart of a storm using his plane T-28. Wayne Sand, a pilot and a researcher has earned his fame by flying right into a thunderstorm, against the ordinary safety measures for pilots (Williams, J, 1997). This he did this several times, claiming that he had the needed experience due to his early exposure to the practice of crop dusting. He earned recognition due to this daring feat and he became an inventor as well as a researcher.
Analyzing the connection of Wayne Sand’s approach to research in the thunderstorm with Jose Wudka’s definition of the scientific method, we may find that at some point they merge into one (Wudka, Jose, 2000). For example, Sand was researching the processes that were happening in the middle of a thunderstorm; this approach constitutes looking for proof for a belief or a theory about what happens in storms.
Another person who took a daring step in the field of research is Hugh Willoughby, the director of the NOAA Hurricane Research Division in Miami. He took himself into the hurricanes in order to study them mathematically (Williams, J, 1997). He claimed that just looking at the Hurricanes and making deduction based on such observation is similar to looking for an answer to a question at the back of a book. This drove him to plunge into a storm in order to find out the storm’s properties. The characteristics that Hugh Willoughby was looking to establish were the speed and direction of the hurricanes as well as the possibility to predict the impact that the hurricanes would have upon hitting objects on the ground (Williams, J, 1997).
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Hugh’s approach to obtaining facts about the natural phenomena is also in line with the principles of the scientific approach. As Jose Wudka explains that scientific methods require proofs, and Hugh was out to obtain the proof in order to demonstrate to the world the effects of the hurricanes, which have been considered to be monsters in the history of man (Wudka, Jose, 2000). His explanation would have been more convincing as it relied on using mathematical methods and techniques.
Why do some storms create tornados with them while others do not? This was the main research question of Howard Bluestein as he made his way to the path of tornados. Despite the cautions given to him concerning his chase of tornados, he maintained that he was not putting his life at risk since he knew the structure of tornados (Williams, J, 1997). He further asserts that looking at a tornado requires one to have the perspective of a doctor who knows exactly what to look for in a patient in order to treat their diseases.
This is quite a daring mission, considering that tornados are never friendly to anything that comes in their way. On the other hand, as Jose Wudka puts it, it is a scientific method of trying to figure out the properties of the storms that result in tornados and as well as of those that do not (Wudka, Jose, 2000). This finding should be supported by solid proofs, and that is what Howard Bluestein and his team were looking for when they were on the verge of going into the path of tornados (Ahrens and Samson, 2010).
Downbursts, a concept that was coined by Theodore Fujita in collaboration with Horace R. Byers, were at first not easily observed. It took twenty-nine good years to have the word coined and the theory placed for discussion. Theodore Fujita witnessed the damages that were caused at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the World War 2 and later compared the effects that the bombings had on the ground with the effects of tornados as they hit the ground (Williams, J, 1997). The effects were similar, and with the help of other like-minded individuals, he managed to come up with a tornado damage scale in order to measure the damages that a tornado has caused (Williams, J, 1997).
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This feat is also scientific in its nature as it is in line with Jose Wudka’s definition of the scientific method. The creation of the tornado damage scale took time and consultation and hence it posed sufficient proof to convince the world of its usefulness in assessing the damages caused by tornados (Wudka, Jose, 2000).
Example of Obtaining Data in the Field
According to Erik Rasmussen, Jerry M. Straka and Sherman Fredrickson, (1996), the study of many small-scale weather phenomena can possibly benefit from very high spatial resolution observation of meteorology. This resulted in a need to come up with something that could be used to assist people in studying atmospheric conditions associated with various phenomena. Due to the needs of the study, mesonet was proposed for studying the service boundaries as well as small-scale weather phenomena (Erik Rasmussen, Jerry M. Straka and Sherman Fredrickson, 1996).
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This idea was a remote possibility from many scientists, one example being Bluestein in 1983 who built and deployed TOTO- Totable Tornado Observatory. According to Erik Rasmussen, Jerry M. Straka, and Sherman Fredrickson, (1996), mesonet was built and tested in response to economic limitations and scientific needs as well as to give support to the aims and objectives of the VORTEX. The resulting mobile mesonet units were designed for making observations of meteorology associated with thunderstorms. Each of the fifteen mesonet units consisted of the following elements: standard automobile, an instrument of rack and mast, display system, storage, sensors and data collection systems (Erik Rasmussen, Jerry M. Straka and Sherman Fredrickson, 1996).
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The events that had taken place initially in the stories of scientists outlined by Williams in his book “the weather book”( Williams, J, 1997) led to the development of the mobile mesonet network by Rasmussen and his team. The process of designing the automobiles took into consideration the information that had been recorded in the past by various meteorological scientists (Erik Rasmussen, Jerry M. Straka and Sherman Fredrickson, 1996). This led to creation of the mobile mesonet network that had features that made it suitable for using it in order to study various atmospheric conditions.
The mobile mesonet network is in a form of a fleet during an operation, and this makes the data collected more reliable as it is possible to compare and contrast the information recorded by each member of the fleet (Erik Rasmussen, Jerry M. Straka and Sherman Fredrickson, 1996) and (Dave Jorgensen et al. 2010). This also corresponds to the scientific method as Wudka had described that the scientific method searches for best available proof through testing and comparing the available data (Wudka, Jose, 2000)
In this paper, various scientific methods have been discussed as well as their application for studying diverse meteorological problems. There has been a definition of the scientific methods by Wudka as well as the steps that the methods have to follow for them to qualify as scientific. Another aspect of the discussion has been a depiction of scientific methods in action by giving stories of scientists who were daring enough to face the harsh weather conditions to find out what was happening in the conditions. Then finally, the methods of obtaining data in the field were discussed where the mobile mesonet was given much attention regarding the obtaining of environmental condition’s data.