Met Office in the Media: 23 June 2013

There has been further coverage in the weekend papers following a workshop held here at the Met Office HQ in Exeter on a recent run of unusual seasons in the UK.

During the workshop new, early stage research by the University of Reading suggested that long-term Atlantic currents may be playing an important role in wet summers.

These are understood to operate on cycles of a decade or more, which suggests that we may see their influence on our summers for a few more years to come. While these influence the odds of a wet summer, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of decent summers over the next few years. Professor Rowan Sutton of the University of Reading has provided a guest blog which explains the research in more detail.

The Met Office has been at the forefront of global weather and climate science for 150 years through continued investment in our scientific expertise and supercomputing technology.

We use more than 10 million weather observations a day, an advanced atmospheric model and a high-performance supercomputer to create 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings a day. These are delivered to a huge range of customers from the Government, to businesses, the general public, armed forces and other organisations.

Weather forecasting isn’t an exact science and we know that accuracy is the main driver of peoples trust in the Met Office. Recent surveys show that 83% of people trust the Met Office, 91% of the public said they found our forecasts useful and 76% said they were accurate.

We are an island nation with island weather and we forecast as accurately as we can without bias, regardless of what weather is expected. Our forecasts are right six days out of seven and we are consistently one of the top two operational weather forecasting services in the world. We can’t change the weather, but we like to help in any other way we can.

Unbiased Met Office forecasts and warnings help us prepare for and protect ourselves in times of severe weather and help us enjoy the good weather when it is here.

The Met Office has worked with the tourism industry in recent years to provide detailed forecasts for resorts, beaches and attractions with local forecasts for up to 5,000 locations across the UK. All our forecasts provide local three-hourly detail of the weather with information on the chance of rain so that visitors can plan their day out with confidence and make the most of the great British weather come rain or shine.

We have also made these forecasts easier to access for holiday makers and attraction owners. Our website widget, which attraction owners can embed on their websites, gives visitors instant access to the latest observations, forecasts and warnings, not just for today but for the next five days.

Our award winning free weather apps for Android and iPhone also give easy access to our forecasts and warnings, 24 hours a day anywhere in the UK.

At the time of launch of these local forecasts, Mark Smith, Director of Bournemouth Tourism said: “These new forecasts from the Met Office communicate weather forecast information in clearer, more appropriate and user friendly ways that allow tourists and tourism operators to better plan activities.”

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3 Responses to Met Office in the Media: 23 June 2013

  1. The Met Office should stick to what it is good at – namely forecasting the weather and should only do this for a period of time where forecasts can be relied upon. To issue a longer term forecast that suggests 30% hot 30% cold 40% somewhere in between is really not very useful and invites ridicule.

    You need to continue to rein back heavily on your embarrassingly overconfident statements on climate. Recent announcements from the MO indicate that at long last you are admitting that you do not understand natural variability. Until you do it is ok to answer all questions about the future climate of Britain and the world with a simple ‘We do not know’

    As your false confidence has already caused immeasurable harm to the citizens and economy of the UK you should issue a statement encouraging the UK government to disregard all prior climate advice from the MO and, lest they do not have the good sense themselves to see the implications thereof, suggest that they may need to re-assess the need for the Climate Change Act which the rest of the world rightly sees as the Economic Suicide Act.

    Plus it would do no harm to issue a public apology for getting it consistently wrong. That is the grown-up thing to do.

    • nebakhet says:

      I suspect the Met Office, like all major scientific bodies in the world understands that rising greenhouse gases due to human emissions will lead to a warmer world and therefore the Met Office should make forecasts about what the climate will be like in such a world.


      “To issue a longer term forecast that suggests 30% hot 30% cold 40% somewhere in between is really not very useful and invites ridicule.”
      “it is ok to answer all questions about the future climate of Britain and the world with a simple ‘We do not know’”

      Make your mind up.

      • Well… yes… but there is little point in continuing to make forecasts / predictions that do not align with observation surely?

        Even if you invoke probability to “quantify” forecasts – when reality deviates from theory repeatedly – surely one has to re-visit the theory?

        In light of present solar observations (no pun) and unequivocal historical evidence – surely UKMO should be also telling us what might happen in the event of a grand solar minimum?

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