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How far out can we forecast the weather?

In spite of the old and tired joke that meteorologists have one of the few jobs that allow you to be wrong all the time and still get paid, in reality most weather forecasters get the weather right a lot more often than they whiff. But people tend not to remember the correct forecasts and only remember the few that were not correct. As observations, data assimilation and forecast models improve, meteorologists have been able to push out the length of time that forecasts give meaningful information to a week to ten days, much better than the three or so days that they could do 30 years ago. But how far out will they be able to go in the future? Science Magazine presents some new research that suggests we might be able to stretch it out another four to five days, but that is about the limit of what forecasters will be able to do because the atmosphere is just too chaotic to go farther than that. So, no, a forecaster will not be able to give you a good answer for whether or not it will rain on your daughter’s wedding day three months from now (check the climatology to see if you need to rent a tent for that), but there is some hope that we will see continued skill at time scales more than a week ahead. You can read more here.