NAM: North American Mesoscale Forecast System "NOAA"
4 times per day, from 0:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00 UTC
Greenwich Mean Time:
12:00 UTC = 00:00 NZST
Relative Humidity at 850 hPa
This chart shows the relative humidity at Pa. In the forefield of a trough line
as well as at and near fronts (Jets), warmer less dense air is forced to ascend.
As the ascending air cooles, the relative humidity increases, eventually resulting
in condensation and the formation of clouds.This process is known as frontal lifting.
High relative humidity at 850 hPa - equivalent to ca. 5000 ft a.s.l. - indicates
the areas of frontal lifting and thus the active zones of the current weather.
Numerical weather prediction uses current weather conditions as input into mathematical models of the atmosphere to predict the weather. Although the first efforts to accomplish this were done in the 1920s, it wasn't until the advent of the computer and computer simulation that it was feasible to do in real-time. Manipulating the huge datasets and performing the complex calculations necessary to do this on a resolution fine enough to make the results useful requires the use of some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. A number of forecast models, both global and regional in scale, are run to help create forecasts for nations worldwide. Use of model ensemble forecasts helps to define the forecast uncertainty and extend weather forecasting farther into the future than would otherwise be possible.
Wikipedia, Numerical weather prediction, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_weather_prediction
(as of Feb. 9, 2010, 20:50 UTC).