Science

Why can we send people to the moon but still can't predict the weather? (video)

weather-patterns
Image Credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBK3QpQVnaw

Science has come a long way in the past 100 years. We’ve sent humans to space, landed devices on Mars, proposed groundbreaking theories, exploded nuclear bombs, decimated diseases, and more.

But with all these advancements, why is still so hard for us to predict future weather conditions? A new video from popular YouTube channel Vsauce explains.

“We can send satellites into orbit and people to the moon and predict solar eclipses thousands of years into the future, but yet we cannot reliability predict which way the wind will be blowing in the next hour or so,” the video’s narrator says. “How can such monumental cosmic movements light minutes or light years away from us be understood whereas the weather … remains a mystery?”

Mostly, it has to do with the limits of what we are able to know. Predicting the future events of planets and cosmic objects is more doable because we know orbits and other conditions, so predictability becomes easier. But there are so many variables to weather and the air molecules on Earth that it becomes incredibly difficult to generally predict weather outside of about a week.

As a society, we’ve certainly gotten better at communicating when severe weather events are about to occur or are in progress. (We saw some of that in regard to the devastating Oklahoma tornado Monday.) But it will take more scientific breakthroughs to get us closer to predicting these types of events will be occurring more than a day or a week out.

Vsauce’s video also dives into other topics related to predictability, the butterfly effect, chaos theory, the possibility of a moon landing failure, and more.

Check out the fascinating clip above.