Looking ahead

Tuesday 02nd Nov 2010 by theWeather Club

In March of this year, the Met Office ceased issuing seasonal weather forecasts for the public. It followed predictions of a "barbecue summer" for 2009 being followed by a wet July, and a prediction for a warm winter being followed by some of the coldest winter tempratures in 30 years. While these were clearly not the forecasters' finest hours, they were as much failures of communication as failures of forecasting, and much of the storm of criticism that followed was unfair and unjustified. It labelled the whole concept as fundamentally flawed, and a waste of public money. These arguments ignored the fact that while forecasting the weather for a specific day weeks or months in advance is not possible, forecasts for trends are still very useful - which is clearly illustrated by the fact that a lot of very pragmatic businesses and governmental agencies still regularly use this service.

One of the consequences of the demise of the seasonal forecast is that many members of the public think there is no longer any long range forecast avaliable to them. While there is no longer a seasonal one, there is a monthly forecast which is broken down into sections. It can be found on the Met Office website. It means that for those interested, there is still the chance to see what the Met Office forecasts for the coming weeks. After all, if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change trusts the Met Office figures, it is well worth taking a risk on what they say.