Met Office in the Media: 04 January 2011

Following an article in the Radio times on Roger Harrabin, Environment Analyst with BBC News, the  Daily Mail have followed up with stories highlighting how the Met Office provided forecasts for this winter to the Cabinet Office, that indicated the risk of a cold start to the season.

We provided a long-range forecast to the Cabinet Office at the end of October highlighting the risk of a cold start to the winter. This forecast is used by government officials across the UK to support long-term planning.  We offer a 30 day forecast on our website which accurately highlighted the cold weather in late November and through December.

We do not issue long-range forecasts to the public, as following research they have told us that they are of little use to them and they would prefer forecasts for shorter timescales.  Therefore we offer forecasts for 6 to 15 days and 16 to 30 days ahead on our website.

The Daily Telegraph also followed up on the story in today’s paper, but has mistakenly reported that the BBC has decided to publish independent assessments of the Met Office’s performance on its website.  In fact, Roger Harrabin has begun a project within BBC News to evaluate the accuracy of weather forecasters across the UK, looking at forecasts from 1 day ahead to 3 months ahead.  The Met Office welcomes this initiative, engaged in the initial public workshop meeting and will provide input when asked by the project.

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