Met Office in the Media: 09 January 2012

The stormy conditions in Scotland last week were the source of much comment over the weekend. Scotland on Sunday explored this in ‘Forecast is grim for the Met Office, but are they at fault for missing Big Gail?‘. Unfortunately many of the points made in the article aren’t entirely accurate.

Firstly, while the Met Office does have its headquarters in Exeter (not London), it also has a team of  expert forecasters in Aberdeen who provide forecasts and warnings specifically for Scotland. They are supported by forecasters in Exeter as well as a team of weather advisers in Edinburgh. Together they provide information and guidance to support the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and local councils across Scotland.

On the day of the storms in question, the Met Office had issued an ‘Amber’ Warning ahead of last Tuesdays storm and our Edinburgh advisers were working with Transport Scotland to help manage the impact of these strong winds.

The article also states the Met Office is part of the MoD, when we are in fact part of BIS. We receive no direct funding from government, but undertake our work for government based on securing specific contracts with government departments.

With regards to the statement that the Met Office is ‘less accurate than a grandmother looking out of the window of her council flat’, we’re not quite sure which verification this is based on. Looking at things a bit more scientifically and factually, we regularly and openly verify our forecasts and these are shown to be accurate around 80% of the time. Also, according to the World Meteorological Organization, we are consistently ranked as one of the top two operational weather forecasting services in the world. However, if the grandmother in question is after a job, we’re always keen to recruit new talent.

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