A summer of ‘brolly and sunblock’?
Many newspapers today have reported on a forecast of ‘brolly and sunblock’ for the coming summer. This forecast comes from a private weather forecasting company called Positive Weather Solutions, and is not a forecast from the Met Office as is being suggested by some commentators.
The Met Office stopped doing seasonal forecasts more than a year ago, following customer research. This research told us that the public would like a monthly outlook, instead of the longer seasonal forecast, that can not provide the information that they were looking for. We therefore decided to stop issuing a UK ‘seasonal forecast’ four times a year. Instead, we now publish a monthly outlook, updated on a weekly basis.
Although the limitations in science mean monthly forecasts are themselves a developing area of forecasting and will therefore be less precise than our short-term forecasts, the public told us that a monthly outlook would be of use to them.
We take seriously our responsibility to provide the best possible service to the public. Although long range forecasts are vital in some parts of the world, and can be useful for some specialists, such as insurers and energy traders, we know that they are of limited use to the public – for example they are not something that could be used to provide detailed forecasts for Glastonbury or Wimbledon as is being suggested in the media.
BBC Weather Test
Roger Harrabin reported on the BBC Radio Four Today Programme this morning (Weather Test prepares for take-off) of his progress with the BBC Weather Test, that is looking to compare different weather forecasters. This evening he is hosting a public meeting at the Royal Institution where he will publish the draft protocol on which the assessment of forecasts will be based. We remain committed to taking part in this project, but or involvement is dependent on the publication of a protocol that ensures that the methodology, data collection and comparison is undertaken in a way that is scientifically credible, repeatable and verifies publicly avaialable forecasts that we provide.