What Causes Weather To Change, Change So Quickly, And Can It Be Predicted?

We all know the saying “They change their mind quicker than the weather”, don’t we?

For centuries society has remarked on the changing of the weather and how it always seems to happen so suddenly and so drastically.

Have you ever wondered why this happens though? What is it that causes such a drastic change to happen overnight?

Well, in seconds sometimes! 

gloomy weather

Surely the fact that it can change so quickly makes weather forecasting redundant? Or can it be predicted accurately to a certain extent?

These are all very valid questions with interesting answers… and luckily for you, we have those answers!

We aim to answer them here for you. To do this we will split each of the questions into its own section. They all relate to each other, though, so be sure to read the whole article for a real understanding of it! 

What causes the weather to change?

In order for the weather to change, a number of things may happen. There could be a change in air pressure, a change in temperature, or a change in humidity. There could be a change in each of them simultaneously,

in two of them, or even just one of them. These changes happen in the atmosphere above us, and if they are substantial enough they can cause a weather change for the earth below. The cause of these changes can be found in winds and storms. 

Another thing that can cause the weather to change is seasonal changes. Each season typically has its own associated weather conditions.

Of course, we cannot guarantee that the seasons will be able to predict the weather exactly, especially because there have been times where snow has happened as late as April in the Northern Hemisphere.

However, in general, we can look to the seasons to get a very general idea of what weather changes we can expect.

Out of the two, it is the atmospheric changes that cause the most noticeable changes in weather. These are what cause the weather to change day to day.

For example, changes in atmospheric pressure can determine whether it will be a clear sunny day or a cloudy and dull day. High pressure typically brings sun, whereas low pressure will bring clouds. Air pressure changes can cause strong, gusty gales. 

What causes the weather to change so quickly? 

These daily changes, whilst happening quite quickly, are not the quickest weather changes we can experience. There are some weather changes that can happen even more quickly given the right conditions.

Coastal areas, for example, are extremely prone to unpredictable weather that can seem to change in a matter of seconds. This is largely because of the winds that occur in coastal regions.

The reason coastal areas tend to be so windy is because of the huge temperature differences that occur between the land and the sea. The land tends to heat up a lot fastener than the sea.

Likewise, it cools down much faster than the sea does. This drastic temperature difference also affects the air above both the land and the sea. Because both areas are so close together, the air from both land and sea meet, and the differences in them cause winds.

Depending on which is stronger, you can get weather a string sea breeze or a string land breeze. These winds can then bring different types of weather. 

As well as the changes in temperature between the land and sea, the sea also makes coastal regions more prone to getting weather systems from different places that have traveled along the coast. Weather systems can blow in over the ocean or from other regions close by, bringing with them a change. 

Other things that can cause very sudden changes in weather include how flat or mountainous the terrain is in a palace. This is known as the topography of an area.

Areas with flat topography are more prone to sudden drastic changes in the weather because there are no mountains around to slow the weather system as it blows through the area.

This means that flatter areas in the world can change drastically from a cold front with rain to a warm front with the sun in just a few hours! If the wind is particularly fast, it will feel even faster in a place with flat topography because mountains cannot slow the winds down. 

The last factor that can affect how fast the weather changes is whether you live in a temperate climate zone. These zones are where you are caught between tropical climates and polar climate conditions.

One of the most well known examples of a temperate climate is Denver in Colorado. In these places, it is possible for them to experience cold, almost freezing temperatures in the morning, and milder, sunnier weather later in the day. 

There are other factors that can cause the weather to change fats, but those discussed above are the most common and seen most frequently. 

Can the weather be predicted?

To answer this shortly, yes the weather can be predicted. However, this should be explored in more depth to get a better understanding of how it can be predicted. 

Over the years, the way we predict the weather has changed a great deal, and the technology we have now means we can be more accurate with our predictions.

With today’s technology, forecasters can see how the atmosphere is expected to change in the near future, giving a pretty accurate prediction of what these atmospheric conditions can bring.

In fact, the technology we have now can see changes that are going to happen relatively soon.

For example, when we get told we are going to have a sudden blizzard or storm that was not previously noticed, this is a result of the good technology we now have that can see these changes. This allows the appropriate authorities enough time to get warnings out if needed about inclement weather.

That being said, the technology we have does not yet allow for sudden unexpected changes to be found within minutes. For example, the sudden changes that can happen in a coastal town cannot always be predicted.

It all depends on what your definition of sudden changes may be. If by sudden you mean half a day away, the weather can usually be predicted. If you mean the weather in an hour, this may be much more difficult.  

Final word

To conclude, we are sure you can see now that even though the weather can change so quickly, weather prediction services are generally very accurate, even when it comes to more drastic changes that can happen in the space of half a day or so.

The changes in weather can be caused by many things, mainly in the atmosphere, but don’t forget, where a person lives can also affect how quickly the weather changes.

For this reason, weather predictions for coastal towns or areas with flat topography may not be quite as accurate as those who live further inland or in a mountainous region.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about what causes weather changes, why they can happen so quickly, and whether weather predictions are accurate. 

About the Author Marvin J. Snyder

I'm the research analyzer and data interpretation here at Weather Station Lab. I test various weather stations and share my conclusion here. Since my childhood, I had a passion towards weather and I'm always fascinated by that. Eventually, I pursued Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Arizona. I hope my contribution will help you to know more about weather stations. Read more about us, here