Met Office in the Media: 29 October 2012

Today there a couple of news stories (one in the Express and another in the Daily Star) which refer to the ‘Met Office winter forecast’, but they create a slightly misleading picture.

They seem to be based on our three-month outlook for contingency planners, a product which is updated each month and is available to view on our website. There are a couple of points to mention here.

Firstly the current three-month outlook covers November to January, so does not cover a full winter period. Meteorologically speaking, winter runs from December to February – so a full look at winter won’t be available until towards the end of next month.

The second point is that the three-month outlook is designed for contingency planners – those people making longer-term strategic resourcing decisions based on their preferred exposure to risk. It’s a complex product which shows the range of probabilities for temperatures and precipitation for the whole of the UK over the three-month period.

It is not, therefore, the sort of forecast that the public find useful when making decisions, such as deciding when to go on holiday.

Specifically looking at the current three-month outlook for both temperature and precipitation, both clearly state there are currently relatively few large-scale influences and, therefore, there is low confidence in the forecast.

While the Met Office is a world leader in longer-range forecasting and we continue to make improvements in this area, it is still a developing area of meteorology.

As ever, our highly accurate five-day forecasts and weather warnings provide the best possible advice and detail on what weather to expect in the UK. These can be used alongside our 30-day outlook, which gives a more general view of the weather ahead over a longer-timescale.

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