There are five new photographs on the Photo page starting…

August 29, 2008 in webcams by MrFarmer

There are five new photographs on the Photo page starting from number one, sent in by Judy. There is only one day of photographs left.

Close up of a Moth I saw in our shed
Head of the moth
Passion flower in my garden
White Dahlia in my garden
A Red Squirrel taken on SWT2 cam. Judy

I thought that you maybe interested in the reply that we got from the Met Office about a complaint we made two weeks or so back, and our reply.

Thank you for your recent feedback about Met Office weather forecasts for Watchet in Somerset .

We are sorry if you have seen a Met Office forecast that you felt was misleading. We understand that it can be frustrating for people trying to plan activities around the weather, which is why we do always try to get the forecast right.

Met Office forecasts are produced from our computer models. These use data fed in from many thousands of observations as a starting point and run programmes which take various mathematical equations of motion, thermodynamics and state to predict the behaviour of the atmosphere. There is then a process by which forecasters quality check the model’s output before forecasts are issued.

Our forecast model data then feeds into a site specific forecast model which is then run to produce the site specific forecasts for our web site, the BBC weather web pages and others. Our forecast model data, once checked, also forms the basis of the guidance issued by the Chief Forecaster in our Operations Centre and products to all our various customers, including information supplied to the BBC for radio and television forecasts.

Please be assured that our forecasters do work hard to ensure our forecasts are as accurate and consistent as possible. The British Isles experiences some of the most complex weather systems anywhere in the world and any forecast issued will always the best possible from the information available. We strive for 100% accuracy but there will be times when we do not get the local detail absolutely correct.

Although the computer models are vastly improved compared with even a few years ago, there may be small errors which are magnified over time, for example the timing or position of any low pressure area or weather front passing which can make quite a difference to the forecast for a particular locality.

Over recent years we believe we have made great strides in improving the accuracy of our forecasts and I can assure you we are constantly working to improve this. A number of initiatives are being worked on such as recent improvements in the computerised forecast models. Feedback from customers such as yourself is invaluable in bringing potential problems to our attention. Planned upgrades to our supercomputing capacity, due to become operational in the next few years, will allow higher resolution models to be run which will provide even greater improvements in local detail and guidance. Clearly we will be expected to provide more accurate, targeted and localised forecasts in the ye! ars to come and this is where our efforts should and will be directed.

Regarding your query about more detaiIed forecasts for the specialist farmer, I wonder if our Talk To A Forecaster service might potentially be of benefit to you? This is a consultancy service where you can talk directly to a forecaster in our Operations Centre to request weather information for any land area in the UK the next few hours or for up to five days ahead. There are more details of this service on our web site at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/services/talkfc/. However, we recognise that a paid consultancy service may not be appropriate for all c! ustomers. We do also offer a telephone service called Weathercall where you can obtain a five day forecast for locations within the UK via telephone, fax, web download or SMS. There is more information about this service at http://www.weathercall.co.uk/ .

In summary, we are sorry if you have been disappointed with forecasts on some occasions. I hope the above at least reassures you that we aim to address concerns about forecast accuracy. Thank you once again for your valuable feedback, which will help us improve our services in the future, and for taking the time to contact the Met Office.

Yours sincerely, Martin Kidds Customer Feedback Manager

Dear Martin,

Our location is Taunton not Watchet, fourteen miles difference, quite obviously the correct information was not passed on, unless of course you have emailed the wrong complainant.

I did not feel that the forecast was misleading, it was. Bad weather forecasting is not frustrating, it is annoying and causes unnecessary problems. I can not for the life of me understand that you always try to get the forecast right. Surely the equipment at your disposal try does not come in to it. My complaint was of a forecast given at 10.pm that was completely opposite ten hours later.

I have found your forecasting to be in the region of 25% wrong. Since my initial complaint some two to three weeks back it would be more than 30%. So it is not unreasonable to suggest that forecasts produced from your computer models. data fed in from many thousands of observations various mathematical equations of motion, thermodynamics and state to predict the behavior of the atmosphere are clearly not working.

Frankly I do not care where your model data is fed, finishes at, and to whom, to go out where. I only asked for an explanation why the forecast I received was wrong just twelve hours later.

I would not suggest for one moment that you do not try to get your forecasting right, unfortunately for all who use it you do not. If the British Isles weather forecasting is so complex and challenging for the Met Office, stop forecasting.

I have not seen any improvement in your forecasting over recent years. Three or four years ago I complained as I had 15 acres of hay ruined because of your forecasting, it most defiantly it has not improved since then.

As for your Talk to a Forecaster service. If they are that good why is it not being used for all forecasting, especially as the Met Office is taxpayer funded.

Your email has not answered my complaint of why you got a forecast completely wrong twelve hours after it was given. I am going to try this service www.weather.weatherbug.co.uk unless you tell me that the Met office supply their information.

Regards