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Kiwi

Is The Met Office Good Value For Money?

  

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  1. 1. Is the Met office good value?



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The inaccurate forecasting of this latest snow event got me thinking about what we as taxpayers are spending our money on.

Given that models such as GFS and ECMWF give amateur forecasters the ability to forecast as well as the expensive Met office is it time that we drasticaly cut their size, budget and scope?

The annual budget is around £82.3 million

The Met Office justify this budget by the cost savings that their forecasts provide, including;

Lives saved and casualties avoided

Properties protected

Seems to me that some forecasters on this site could provide an equivalent service for a tiny fraction of the cost.

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Whether they're good value for money can be debated all day and all night, but the fact is, the weather is notoriously hard to predict.

I have to admit that while I foresaw the marginality for today, temperatures in the Midlands and north have ended up a good 2C higher than I expected. I don't think anyone got the weather right for today.

The Met Office has done a generally good job with its 6-15 day outlook.

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That's the thing, Ian - it's caught us all out?? :whistling: Far easier though, for the usual suspects, to single-out the Met for all the negative criticism... :whistling:

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If their budget is only £82 million a year then they probably are good value for money (some reports claim a budget of £170 million) despite the fact that I am among the first to criticise them.

Considering we spend £40bn a year, or over £100 million per day on the military, then £82 million a year is nothing. At least we won't be hated around the world and bombed at random intervals for a rubbish weather forecast once a month.

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There always seem to be a clamour on here to go against whatever the Met Office states-- seeking some kind of kudos. The advisories are just that anyhow- a moderate chance of something happening.

It states early warnings of severe weather are given when there is greater than 60 % confidence in an event happening.

So for Wednesday, they have less than 60% confidence as they have issued an advisory rather than a warning:

"These advisories are issued by 1300 daily as routine, though they may be updated at other times if required. They indicate confidence of expected severe or extreme weather. Early warnings and Flash Warnings supersede advisories when confidence levels are 60% or greater."

Therefore, it can be assumed that their confidence level is somewhere around 50%-59%- barely greater than an even chance of an event happening in a set location.

These advisories are just that; yet some people will take these literally as a warning of 10cm of snow for their area on Wednesday attacking the Met Office if it does not happen. Infact, the charts are being mis-interpreted and/or poorly worded by the organisation.

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IMO the models look very marginal for Snow on Wednesday at the moment , infact they seem to be getting even more marginal with every run that goes by . I personally think the Met office have put a warning out to early after there mistakes of last week. (Infact it is probably the fact they were grilled for missing the snow event last week that they have issued this warning so early) Currently I do not believe they have more than 50% confidence cause I certainly don't ... As for the models I see it out to +144 as wet and windy with an increasing chance of drier spells in the South and East but still with the chance in the East of overnight Frost and Fog at times.

The Met office have so far this winter lost all credibility, and they really need to re-think how they go about forecasting beyond the short term (3-4 days)..For them to put out forecasts that merely cover their backs in case something happens(as suggested) is quite frankly ridiculous and threatens the whole future of the Met office as we know i. I feel that the whole future of forecasting needs reassesing because to be honest the forecasting for last summer and this winter have been a joke , i don't know the funding structure of the Met office but if it is given a large amount of public(tax-payers) money as i suspect it is then it should be reviewed.

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The Met office have so far this winter lost all credibility, and they really need to re-think how they go about forecasting beyond the short term (3-4 days)..For them to put out forecasts that merely cover their backs in case something happens(as suggested) is quite frankly ridiculous and threatens the whole future of the Met office as we know i. I feel that the whole future of forecasting needs reassesing because to be honest the forecasting for last summer and this winter have been a joke , i don't know the funding structure of the Met office but if it is given a large amount of public(tax-payers) money as i suspect it is then it should be reviewed.

A bit harsh, the BBC forecasts are pretty dire at times, but the Meto warnings are generally accurate.

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Guest North Sea Snow Convection

I very much appreciate the METO for their short term forecasting. IMO they are hard to beat anywhere. They might get a few things wrong at times, but many of these such cases are situations that are astonishingly difficult to predict at most times anyway. I think that, apart from the miscasting over last Saturdays snow for the south east, they handled the cold spell very well indeed

However their increasing over zealousness with AGW and tendency to have too much of a warm bias over longer term predictions is a distinctive negative aspect. Their seasonal forecasts are also certainly in need of a re appraisal

Nevertheless I still overall think they are good enough valuesmile.gif

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Funny how this topic only ever gets brought up when people don't get the snow they wanted. Think how many thousands of forecasts a year they put out, the majority of which are accurate, only for some people to slate them when they get the minority wrong.

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