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Mondy

Do We Need The Met Office?

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Reading the other thread about "BBQ Summer", and actually many threads over the years on here and elsewhere painting a negative picture of the Met Office, I wonder if we actually need a MetO ?

In this day and age of the "super computer" (at great expense to the tax payer) I personally still do not have great faith in ANYTHING the Met O say. Actually, I rarely check the Met Office website for forecasts.

Nowadays, the internet makes it so much easier for the weather enthusiast to do their own forecast, using so many brilliant features on many a weather website or forum (you only have to see the data-centre on NW) that you begin realise just how insignificant the Met O are.

Please don't jot down anything related to Climate Change/AGW with regards the Met O as that's already been well documented elsewhere on NW.

Your thoughts?

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Reading the other thread about "BBQ Summer", and actually many threads over the years on here and elsewhere painting a negative picture of the Met Office, I wonder if we actually need a MetO ?

In this day and age of the "super computer" (at great expense to the tax payer) I personally still do not have great faith in ANYTHING the Met O say. Actually, I rarely check the Met Office website for forecasts.

Nowadays, the internet makes it so much easier for the weather enthusiast to do their own forecast, using so many brilliant features on many a weather website or forum (you only have to see the data-centre on NW) that you begin realise just how insignificant the Met O are.

Please don't jot down anything related to Climate Change/AGW with regards the Met O as that's already been well documented elsewhere on NW.

Your thoughts?

You are right in that it is easier and usually more accuarte if we use or all resources available online, but we still need the meto, i suppose weather enthusiats don't but the majority who have no intrest in weather will need it, as they wont look at the radar or forums etc. And it is wayy easier to quickly chect the forecast on TV than look at all different charts. Also most of us arent weather experts on here, at least the team at the meto are (even if they don't always appear to be).

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A constructive piece there, Nick. Anyone do a little better than that. Reasons etc..

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Well Mondy:

1. For shipping/aviation purposes the MO is essential;

2. Their record in short term forecasting (up to 72 hours) is regarded as generally highly reliable (and has improved in the last 20 odd years);

3. They carry our extensive data collection services from a large network of stations and maintain historical records;

4. They have access to data that you and I do not;

5. They have the advantage of superior computeing power and an extensive staff;

6. Their staff are specialist scientists with valuable experience;

7. Unlike a number of amateurs it may be safely assumed that the MO review and consider data objectively.

regards

ACB

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A constructive piece there, Nick. Anyone do a little better than that. Reasons etc..

It was a bit tongue in cheek.

The entire British public aren't as enthusiastic about the weather as we are. I feel that we do need the Met Office for the general public, their weather warnings can save lives, and although their long range forecasts aren't great, they can help businesses.

For people like us who use forums like this, the Met Office does become a bit insignificant, but on the whole I do think it is needed.

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The two original tasks the Met Office performed were forecasts for the military and for shipping.

Forecasts for the military is possibly a task that can and should remain within the sphere of government funding as the forecasts might reveal confidential information about operations/tests.

Shipping forecasts are extremely valuable and important. Could they be privatised? Although that might make forecasts cheaper I'm not entirely sure that would necessarily improve the forecasts or, more importantly, improve the safety of shipping. If detailed shipping forecasts were expensive sailors might cut costs and put themselves at risk. They are free to do that but I think that's a service our government could provide for free so they don't have to make that choice.

Other than these two original tasks the Meteorological Office is also useful for short-medium term extreme weather information and planning - such as wind and flood warnings. These forecasts and warnings can adequately be provided by private companies, but as weather is so often a matter of national security, and many billions of pounds in costs, the government will require close cooperation with the weather information service it chooses and this service will have to play a role in public awareness, which has added costs a private firm might not be willing to afford. Again, a nationalised weather service like the Meteorological Office is probably suitable for providing the government with short-medium range forecasts.

Weather research, long-range forecasts, and climate change are not areas where a nationalised weather service such as the Meteorological Office should be involved. This is because the implications of the research could have an affect on policy beyond that of an elected government; a bureaucratic institution, which is what a nationalised weather service is (the employees are civil servants, just like those at the vehicle licensing center) implements policy, it should not be involved in suggesting policy, which is something the politicians do.

So, on the basic principle that politics should be kept separate from science, the longer range forecast arm of the Meteorological Office should be privatised or located within the competitive funding environment of an academic educational establishment (university). Businesses and government departments will pay for the company services depending on whether they value the accuracy and quality of the model predictions. The businesses will fail or succeed depending on how good their long-range forecasts are. Sound good?

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Yes. ACB has some very good reasons there, and for those reasons, and quite probably many others (The weather effects many things, and the data is used for more than we can imagine) that we're not aware of, no...we couldnt do without them.

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Mods. OT I know - any chance of changing my username back to Mondy again - seems DXR isn't gonna get the chance to blossom!

Let's re-phrase the question slightly inline with the topic. Is the Met Office still one of the great institutions of the UK ?

Well Mondy:

5. They have the advantage of superior computeing power.

I don't dispute they do. However, is it working to their advantage?

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What's this all about???

Ever since Captain FitzRoy started scientific 'forecasts' back in the Nineteenth Century, countless thousands of peeps' lives have been saved, thanks to the MetO & Co...Just because, even after all these years, meteorology is still not 'precise' and not all forecasts are 100% correct - we don't need the MetO???

You might just as well ask: is astrophysics a waste of time?? :D

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The Met Office is the central forecasting to the country, and it is quite reliable in its short to medium range forecasts. We do need it!

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I'm not getting involved but to anyone who takes a holiday by air or uses flights in their daily work the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) use just two forecast centres for every flight anywhere in the world. This is then subdivided, based on aa countries ability and expertise, into Regional Forecast centres. NO flight is allowed to take off without a full ICAO accepted briefing, at least with fare paying passengers,. The two major centres are Washington and Exeter.

Go to the ICAO web site or indeed UK Met or NOAA for full data on what this service entails.

Its highly unlikely that any private organisation, even if ICAO rules allowed it, would be able to fund this type of work.

It also brings in rather more just from Civil Aviation, or did when I was working, than the total cost to the UK taxpayer.

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So what does eh Met Office produce, the Met Office model (UKMO), is heavily linked to the ECMWF, based in Reading very close to their former base and of course the FAX charts, probably the accurate short chars available.

So do we need the Met Office, a resounding Yes.

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Julian

UK Met and ECMWF have two very different remits.

ECMWF was set up solely to try to further advance 10day+ forecast accuracy.

Obviously since then its become involved in shorter range and its a very profitable arm for them.

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I think we do need it but I think they should start making some more advanced forecasts and data availble to the general public e.g aviation forecasts are a premium service.

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I think it's possibly time that we merged the functions and budget of the UKMeto into the ECMWF and have a pan-European all resources into one pot type organisation.

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The idea of trying to reduce the budget by merging with the European Met is a not a bad one I'd say, but I'm not sure, other than the weather model, to what extent functions can be merged. Weather is local so the main service will always need to be tailored to the requirements of the local level - UK office must put more resources into shipping than does Czech Republic, which instead may focus on mountain weather.

You could pool resources for the weather model but if you only had one EuroMet model instead of the UKMET and ECMWF is that necessarily most efficient research strategy - two organisations can try out two strategies and learn from how each other performs. With one organisation you lose this element of research dynamism.

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The problem with the Meto is there too over-confident that there Computer Models are going to be correct that there nearly always often caught out. You can have the fastest supercomputer money can buy, but in the end the weather will do what it want regardless of some machine stored in a warehouse churning out numbers.

The Meto stance to nowcasting and short-term forecasting has been for the past 20 years "but the model shows it'll do this", instead of simply sticking their necks out the windows (assuming they have any in the buildings they work in) and doing meteorology the old fashioned way using pencils and paper and ground-based observers.

They rely so heavily on events that happen AT the time and then the public get caught out in thunderstorms, severe winds, snow storms etc, that all it would have took was a simple gaze out the window and a few scientific minds to figure out something big was coming down and to forewarn the public AHEAD of the event, not while it was actually happening. This is the Meto's only downfall.

We dont pay them to sit at computers and wonder what the weather will be like in 200 years, we pay them to warn people of severe weather and forecasting for days ahead.

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I think it's possibly time that we merged the functions and budget of the UKMeto into the ECMWF and have a pan-European all resources into one pot type organisation.

That sounds sensible, Shuggs!!

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Absolutely we need the Met' Office. Equally as much we need the BBC to be educated that weather forecasts are not some dispensible filler between programmes or programme news and to allocate a sufficient amount of time to the forecasts to do justice to the expertise of the Met' Office.

Using trained meteorologists to deliver all the forecasts would also be a good forward step.

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Absolutely we need the Met' Office. Equally as much we need the BBC to be educated that weather forecasts are not some dispensible filler between programmes or programme news and to allocate a sufficient amount of time to the forecasts to do justice to the expertise of the Met' Office.

Using trained meteorologists to deliver all the forecasts would also be a good forward step.

I think this is something we can all agree on. I am getting sick and tired of weather PRESENTERS like Carol Kirkwood. I know there are some proper forecasters on the BBC, but some isn't good enough, the licence fee should pay for people who know what they are talking about - not some actor who can smile nicely.

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The problem with the Meto is there too over-confident that there Computer Models are going to be correct that there nearly always often caught out. You can have the fastest supercomputer money can buy, but in the end the weather will do what it want regardless of some machine stored in a warehouse churning out numbers.

The Meto stance to nowcasting and short-term forecasting has been for the past 20 years "but the model shows it'll do this", instead of simply sticking their necks out the windows (assuming they have any in the buildings they work in) and doing meteorology the old fashioned way using pencils and paper and ground-based observers.

They rely so heavily on events that happen AT the time and then the public get caught out in thunderstorms, severe winds, snow storms etc, that all it would have took was a simple gaze out the window and a few scientific minds to figure out something big was coming down and to forewarn the public AHEAD of the event, not while it was actually happening. This is the Meto's only downfall.

We dont pay them to sit at computers and wonder what the weather will be like in 200 years, we pay them to warn people of severe weather and forecasting for days ahead.

That’s the fun Rob you hear the forecast but you never know what you are going to get, besides it's easy to do a forecast for this locale, the weather will be rubbish. It wont snow, it will rain, the sun wont shine, it will rain, and on the days its not raining, it will be overcast and dull, see easy.

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We are talking here about the public face of the MetO and I suspect there is a lot more that they do for the Government/MOD/other agencies, the emergency services, aviation, shipping, the transport infrastructure and importantly commercial organisations.

Whether you agree with the MetO selling their hard earned data or not, it must offset their running costs - I don't suppose they are self sufficient, but surely the broad range of services is well worth keeping in the UK?

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