Progress toward an organizational solution of the weather forecasting problem depends directly on the nature of the problem itself, that is, how it is viewed and formulated. The real problem may be identified through an enquiry into the nature of prediction and the physical properties of the atmosphere whose future state we wish to know.
An analysis of prediction shows it to be generically similar to problem-solving or decision-making. There are five known prediction techniques or methods for computing future events—persistence, trend, cyclic, associative and analogue. Regarding the second aspect of the enquiry, the atmosphere has certain distinguishable scales of motion or eddy size having different time and space characteristics, commonly called macro or planetary scale, synoptic scale, meso-scale and micro-scale, respectively.
Weather forecasting is then considered as a special case of prediction applied to the atmosphere, leading to the formulation of a general schematic solution to the complete weather forecasting problem. The characteristic properties of the different scales of atmospheric phenomena are shown to impose certain natural limitations on the ultimate accuracy of weather prediction.
The application of these principles to design the new organizational structure known as the Canadian Weather Service Forecasting System is discussed. Its three main components, the Central Analysis Office, Weather Centrals and Weather Offices are respectively assigned the primary responsibility for extended, medium and short range forecasting, corresponding to the natural scales of atmospheric phenomena. Special units handle special problems such as ice forecasting. This in turn leads to a functionally-integrated system for the provision of meteorological service, a rational method for selecting and communicating meteorological data, a compatible set of operational prediction procedures for use in each component geared to current knowledge of the atmosphere and means of internal support and communication between components.
It is envisaged that the Canadian Weather Service Forecasting System will ensure the continual modernization of operational procedures to meet changing observational data forms, analysis techniques, advances in computer capability and results of research, thereby realizing the optimum standard of weather service which the science can provide. Finally, this approach can be seen to have applications in World Weather System planning.