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The infamous barbecue summer forecast.


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Here's a clip that I have clipped out of the 30th April 2009 BBC forecast on the Met Office prediction for summer 2009. If you look carefully at the start of the clip, you can see the infamous sound bite "odds on for a barbecue summer". This what I think did the damage, it hung around that forecast like a bad smell

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Why did the BBC forecasts so promoted this prediction? I have years of old BBC forecasts and I have not seen a Met Office seasonal forecast promoted to that level. Also this forecast was issued at the end of April with a month still to go until summer. So who to say was that still the prediction at the end of May? Who in the BBC forecasting team decided to emphasise that sound bite "odds on barbecue summer"? Carol Kirkwood used it, Laura Tobin also used it.

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i spent a glorious 2 weeks in Cyprus in the summer 2009...BBQs a plenty for mePosted Image

I was in sultry Shanghai for two and bit weeks in July that year. A well-timed excursion abroad for sure!

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I seem to remember the first half of summer 2009 as being good in this neck of the woods. Wimbledon fortnight had plenty of glorious weather. Second half was poor.

Forecasts from June 2009http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWbt7RniF2aqkPIUiRVktx20uSBWBgHXWJuly 2009http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWbt7RniF2apLtFhT36T16fPZ_xUWwP-0
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I remember that at the time, I was thinking that "barbecue summer" was always doomed to failure because of regional variation across the UK.  To take the two extreme cases, in upland and coastal parts of northern Scotland you really need a scorcher to be able to get the BBQ out frequently, while in inland parts of SE England, a near-average summer can sometimes be sufficient.

 

In Norwich it could be argued that 2009 was a "barbecue summer", for June had plenty of warm sunshine near both ends of the month, and August was a warm and dry month with a relatively cloudy first half but a sunny second half, while July's rainfall came mainly from thundery downpours with sunshine in between (indeed I went to a couple of BBQs that month).  But in most other parts of the UK, July in particular offered very few opportunities for getting the BBQ out.

 

Watching the archive of BBC forecasts has reinforced my suspicions that the 2000s saw a progressive trend towards "emphasising positives to make viewers happy" in the forecasts (which I suspect has a lot more to do with the BBC than the forecasters or the MetO), which may well be a factor.  I doubt that a Met Office forecast of "This summer will be a washout, possibly the wettest summer since 1912" would have been flagged up in that way.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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