For millennia people have tried to forecast the weather. In 650 BC, the
Babylonians predicted the weather from cloud patterns as well as
astrology. In about 350 BC,
Aristotle described weather patterns in
Theophrastus compiled a book on weather forecasting, called the Book of Signs.
Chinese weather prediction lore extends at least as far back as 300 BC,
 which was also around the same time ancient
Indian astronomers developed weather-prediction methods.
 In New Testament times, Christ himself referred to deciphering and understanding local weather patterns, by saying, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red', and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
In 904 AD,
Ibn Wahshiyya's Nabatean Agriculture discussed the weather forecasting of atmospheric changes and signs from the planetary astral alterations; signs of rain based on observation of the
lunar phases; and weather forecasts based on the movement of winds.
Ancient weather forecasting methods usually relied on observed patterns of events, also termed pattern recognition. For example, it might be observed that if the sunset was particularly red, the following day often brought fair weather. This experience accumulated over the generations to produce
weather lore. However, not all of these predictions prove reliable, and many of them have since been found not to stand up to rigorous statistical testing.
The Royal Charter
sank in an 1859 storm, stimulating the establishment of modern weather forecasting.
It was not until the invention of the
electric telegraph in 1835 that the modern age of weather forecasting began.
 Before that, the fastest that distant weather reports could travel was around 100 miles per day (160 km/d), but was more typically 40–75 miles per day (60–120 km/day) (whether by land or by sea).
 By the late 1840s, the telegraph allowed reports of weather conditions from a wide area to be received almost instantaneously,
 allowing forecasts to be made from knowledge of weather conditions further
The two men credited with the birth of forecasting as a science were officer of the
Francis Beaufort and his
Robert FitzRoy. Both were influential men in
British naval and governmental circles, and though ridiculed in the press at the time, their work gained scientific credence, was accepted by the
Royal Navy, and formed the basis for all of today's weather forecasting knowledge.
Beaufort developed the
Wind Force Scale and Weather Notation coding, which he was to use in his journals for the remainder of his life. He also promoted the development of reliable tide tables around British shores, and with his friend
William Whewell, expanded weather record-keeping at 200 British
Coast guard stations.
Robert FitzRoy was appointed in 1854 as chief of a new department within the
Board of Trade to deal with the collection of weather data at sea as a service to
mariners. This was the forerunner of the modern
 All ship captains were tasked with collating data on the weather and computing it, with the use of tested instruments that were loaned for this purpose.
Weather map of Europe, December 10, 1887.
A storm in 1859 that caused the loss of the
Royal Charter inspired FitzRoy to develop charts to allow predictions to be made, which he called "forecasting the weather", thus coining the term "weather forecast".
 Fifteen land stations were established to use the new
telegraph to transmit to him daily reports of weather at set times leading to the first gale warning service. His warning service for shipping was initiated in February 1861, with the use of
telegraph communications. The first daily weather forecasts were published in
The Times in 1861.
 In the following year a system was introduced of hoisting storm warning cones at the principal ports when a gale was expected.
 The "Weather Book" which FitzRoy published in 1863 was far in advance of the scientific opinion of the time.
As the electric telegraph network expanded, allowing for the more rapid dissemination of warnings, a national observational network was developed, which could then be used to provide synoptic analyses. Instruments to continuously record variations in meteorological parameters using
photography were supplied to the observing stations from
Kew Observatory – these cameras had been invented by
Francis Ronalds in 1845 and his
barograph had earlier been used by FitzRoy.
To convey accurate information, it soon became necessary to have a standard vocabulary describing clouds; this was achieved by means of a series of classifications first achieved by
Luke Howard in 1802, and standardized in the
International Cloud Atlas of 1896.
It was not until the 20th century that advances in the understanding of atmospheric physics led to the foundation of modern
numerical weather prediction. In 1922, English scientist
Lewis Fry Richardson published "Weather Prediction By Numerical Process",
 after finding notes and derivations he worked on as an ambulance driver in World War I. He described therein how small terms in the prognostic fluid dynamics equations governing atmospheric flow could be neglected, and a finite differencing scheme in time and space could be devised, to allow numerical prediction solutions to be found.
Richardson envisioned a large auditorium of thousands of people performing the calculations and passing them to others. However, the sheer number of calculations required was too large to be completed without the use of computers, and the size of the grid and time steps led to unrealistic results in deepening systems. It was later found, through numerical analysis, that this was due to
 The first computerised weather forecast was performed by a team composed of American meteorologists
Jule Charney, Philip Thompson, Larry Gates, and Norwegian meteorologist
Ragnar Fjørtoft, applied mathematician
John von Neumann, and
Klara Dan von Neumann.
 Practical use of numerical weather prediction began in 1955,
 spurred by the development of programmable electronic
(above) presented the first in-vision forecast on January 11, 1954, for the BBC.
The first ever daily weather forecasts were published in
The Times on August 1, 1861, and the first
weather maps were produced later in the same year.
 In 1911, the
Met Office began issuing the first marine weather forecasts via radio transmission. These included gale and storm warnings for areas around Great Britain.
 In the United States, the first public radio forecasts were made in 1925 by Edward B. "E.B." Rideout, on
WEEI, the Edison Electric Illuminating station in Boston.
 Rideout came from the
U.S. Weather Bureau, as did
WBZ weather forecaster G. Harold Noyes in 1931.
The world's first
televised weather forecasts, including the use of weather maps, were experimentally broadcast by the
BBC in 1936. This was brought into practice in 1949 after
World War II.
George Cowling gave the first weather forecast while being televised in front of the map in 1954.
 In America, experimental television forecasts were made by James C Fidler in Cincinnati in either 1940 or 1947 on the
DuMont Television Network.
 In the late 1970s and early 80s,
John Coleman, the first weatherman on ABC-TV's
Good Morning America, pioneered the use of on-screen
weather satellite information and
computer graphics for television forecasts.
 Coleman was a co-founder of
The Weather Channel (TWC) in 1982. TWC is now a 24-hour cable network. Some weather channels have started broadcasting on
live broadcasting programs such as
Periscope to reach more viewers.