Meteorologists use several tools to help them forecast the weather for an area. These fall under two categories: tools for collecting data and tools for coordinating and interpreting data.
Tools for collecting data- include instruments such as thermometers, barometers, hygrometers[?], rain gauges, anemometers, wind socks and vanes, Doppler radar and satellite imagery (such as the GOES weather satellite).
Tools for coordinating and interpreting data- include weather maps[?] and computer models.
In a typical weather-forecasting system, recently collected data are fed into a computer model in a process called assimilation. This ensures that the computer model holds the current weather conditions as accurately as possible before using it to predict how the weather may change over the next few days.
Weather forecasting is an exact science of data collecting, but intrepretation of the data collected can be difficult because of the chaotic nature of the factors that affect the weather. These factors can follow generally recognized trends, but meteorologists understand that many things can affect these trends. With the advent of computer models and satellite imagery, weather forecasting has improved greatly. Since lives and livelihoods depend on accurate weather forecasting, these improvements have helped not only the understanding of weather, but how it affects living and non living things on Earth.