Hi. I’m Isabelle MacNeil
in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hurricane season is just winding
down here in Atlantic Canada, and we’ve seen some pretty
intense storms this year. Do you ever wonder how
experts track storms? There are people working behind
the scenes day and night keeping an eye on the sky. Let’s go find out how. We’re going in to the Atlantic
Storm Prediction Centre. That’s where meteorologists
track major storms in Canada like hurricanes,
tornadoes, and blizzards. Hi. I’m Isabelle MacNeil. Hi. I’m Ian Hubbard. I’m a meteorologist at the Atlantic Storm
Prediction Centre. ♪ ♪ So first things first, what is a meteorologist? A meteorologist is someone
who looks at the sky and studies the weather,
and forecasts any precipitation or clouds that
might come from it. Say me, or someone else,
wanted to know the weather, any time throughout the day, how would we be able to know
if it’s accurate weather that we’d be getting? Basically, meteorologists
work around the clock. We work 24/7, 7 days a week. We work weekends
and holidays, as well. So we’re always paying
attention to the weather, making sure that
the latest conditions are being reflected
in the forecast, and that we’re staying
on top of things so that if you do need to
know what the weather is, you’re going to get the latest
forecast at your fingertips. How do you track
all your storms? Well, we use
a variety of tools. Radar would be one that
we use for precipitation. We use computer models
as well to show us where the low pressure and high
pressure systems are going. And we also use
satellites which show us an exact picture of the sky,
as seen from space. [record scratches] [tape rewinds] What? Satellites,
radars, and computer models for low and high
pressure systems? Let’s back up a second. Starting with radar. I can show you something here
on the radar, actually. This is the current radar
over Nova Scotia. And all these returns here are
showing where it’s raining. And depending
on the colour, it shows you the
intensity of the rain. So for example, out here
where it’s grey and blue, it would be light rain. As you move closer
to these green areas, it’s becoming
a little bit heavier. And then the strongest rain
right now would be these yellow, with a little bit
of orange in there as well. What would a tornado
look like on one of these? Well, a tornado would occur
in a thunderstorm. So it would be at least
orange, if not, red. And we actually have
a different map that we would look
at for that that shows us properties
of a thunderstorm. That we’d be able to
pick out a tornado if there was one occurring. So right here we know
what radar is, what does low pressure
look like? Ian: Well, low pressure refers
to an area of the atmosphere. So when we have
a low pressure system, we have to look
at a weather map, which is what
this screen shows. And usually that’s designated
by an ‘L’ for ‘Low’. These are basically
what you get for storms. So anytime you see
a low pressure system, that means it’s a storm. Now depending on how
intense it is, you might get different
weather from that. Whether it’s a little
bit of rain, or an awful lot
of rain, or snow, and maybe even a lot
of wind, as well. The only other one we would
look at on a map like this, would be a high
pressure system, which is the
opposite of a low. So it’s fair weather. There’s no storms in there, and usually not
any precipitation, or very little wind,
as well. What do you mean when
you say “fair weather”? Uh, sunny skies.
Good days. Good days.
That’s what you want. So now we know what radar
looks like, and low
pressure, what does satellite
look like? Well, satellite would
look like this, basically. This is taking a picture from
space from one of the satellites that looks down at the earth. And what we’re seeing here
is what you would see if you were in space, let’s say,
on the space station. And so where there’s no cloud,
you actually get to see the surface of the earth, whether that’s the land
or the ocean, and it looks a lot darker. And so right here, we’re seeing a bunch of
clouds move up through here. And a lot of Canada
has cloud all over it. So in ten years, do you think you’ll still be
working here as a meteorologist? Because all this technology is
helping us know the weather. So do you think
we’ll still need people? I think we’ll always need
people to do the weather. One of the things
that a person can do that a computer model can’t,
is talk about local knowledge, and things that happen
around smaller areas that we know
through experience, which a computer model
wouldn’t be able to do. Well, thank you
for your time, and listening to my questions,
and answering them. You’re welcome. Thank you. Thanks for coming in. Thanks. ♪ ♪