Weather forecasts, their role and importance

April 5, 2023
3-5 minutes

Weather forecasts have become an essential part of our daily lives, influencing our choices of clothing, travel and activities. However, their importance goes far beyond these fields of application. They are indeed a vital tool for many economic activities, for land use planning and for natural disaster management. This naturally includes agriculture, but also transport and insurance. 22 sectors are said to be "weather-sensitive" and the improvement of the quality of weather forecasts has a direct impact on the operational performance of these sectors.

In this regard, a report by the World Meteorological Organization found that extreme weather events have caused economic losses of approximately $2.4 billion per year over the past two decades. This startling figure underscores the critical importance of accurate weather forecasting to anticipate extreme events and minimize their impact on people and economies.

More than 50% of American workers now use weather forecasts to plan their workday, according to a survey conducted by WeatherBug. Forecasting is critical to a wide range of occupations, including those in the outdoors, construction, logistics and agriculture. Weather conditions also affect energy production capacities, especially renewable energies (photovoltaics, wind power).

Moreover, these forecasts are of major importance in terms of public safety, allowing us to anticipate and deal with natural disasters to protect populations and economies. They contribute to the implementation of evacuation measures in case of events such as hurricanes, floods or forest fires.

Since the storms of 1999 (Lothar and Martin), Météo-France has set up a departmental vigilance system with 4 alert levels, from green to red, which has been adopted and implemented in many territories. The anticipation of extreme phenomena has a significant positive social and economic impact but requires massive investments from the States. The value chain to achieve a reliable forecast is very complex. It requires an important international collaboration and thousands of people contribute to it every day so that you can consult the "right" pictogram on the maps on television or on your smartphone.

In conclusion, weather forecasting has proven to be critically important to many aspects of our daily lives, economic activities, and government policies. Accurate weather forecasts are essential to anticipate extreme weather events and minimize their impact on people and economies.