You may have read an article in a paper about verification of weather forecasts. We appreciate the importance of this as it is essential our users trust the forecasts ‘when it matters’, and by anybody’s standards the results below are impressive.
Met Office figures for the 36-month period to the end of June 2016 are: Met Office figures for June 2016 are:
Verification is an incredibly complex task, with many decisions to be made on which forecasts will be verified, when, using which sites, and by what criteria. Our independently scrutinised verification process compares forecast to actual values at 122 UK stations over a rolling 36-month period, which smoothes out extremes and gives a representative average. Most statisticians would argue that 36 months of data will give you a much more reliable assessment than one month alone. We consistently verify our forecasts and have an open and transparent policy on how well we are doing.
The Met Office’s weather forecasting model is world leading. Our global Numerical Weather Prediction model is ranked the number one National Met Service model in the world according to standards set by the World Meteorological Organisation. This world leading accuracy is essential, for example in our role advising airlines operating in two thirds of the world’s airspace.
We recognise that whilst the accuracy of the figures is important, there is more to a weather forecast than just numbers. It is the ‘feel’ of the day that matters to people most; will it be a washout or warm and sunny? Our new Met Office Weather app is the only app to include a UK weather forecast video in which this is expressed. As well as this, the video enables us to explain any uncertainties in the forecast in a user friendly way.
Our new app, which was officially launched in May, provides weather information ‘when it matters’ with severe weather alerts. It is the first on the market to feature pollen alerts and a UK rainfall map video of both forecast rain and radar observations, as well as real-time air pollution figures, which all helps users plan for the expected conditions. The new app has received a great reception with over 370,000 downloads and a current rating of 4.1 out of 5 on the App Store (iOS).
You can keep up to date with the weather using our forecast pages, our App and by following us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also monitor the accuracy of the current day’s forecast for your location using our weather verification page.
As stated, impressive BUT there are two relatively small things, one content-related and one IT-related, which are consistently unsatisfactory in respect of the 7 day location-specific UK forecasts available online:
(1) the distinction between ‘one spot’ “Rain” and ‘two spot’ “Heavy Rain” has been consistently meaningless since the 5 day forecast started. There is no difference and it is possible to directly correlate “Heavy Rain” with the a high % Probability of rain – and nothing else. Surely, it is not too difficult to display the difference meaningfully when it’s obviously a reliable model output?
(2) a more recent user problem even with a high speed internet connection is that loading of the advertisements has begun to delay online page functionality to an irritating degree. Even worse, an inadvertent attempt to scroll down before the page is complete, which is now far to long, temporarily locks the page causing even more delay. This is avoidable with better IT architecture without slowing everything up to match the current advertisement loading speed.
Thanks for the feedback Ed, we’ll pass it onto our technical teams. Helen