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Meteorology in legal cases

John Coates-Greetham discusses the role of forensic meteorology experts in interpreting weather records and applying them in civil and criminal cases

16 February 2016

The forensic meteorologist carries out an investigation into the weather over a few hours, days, or even, on occasions, months or years.

So, why do the courts need an expert in meteorology?

Although meteorology is an everyday science, in that almost everyone understands the terms fog, snow, rain, hail, and so forth, the forensic meteorologist is required to examine weather records and offer an opinion based on the minutiae of the science. This almost always involves preparing the equivalent of a weather forecast or backcast. The meteorologist is required to explain to the court why, when, and where the weather occurred and how it affected the incident.

The meteorologist's part is to describe to
the court, by means of a written report and,
if required, verbally in the witness box, the evolution of a weather event, and from the records, witness ...

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