Met Office to drop seasonal forecasts
The Met Office have today confirmed to the BBC that they have decided to stop issuing UK seasonal forecasts four times a year. This comes after customer research suggests that the public would find a monthly forecast of more use to them.
The decision comes following criticism during this winter which was the coldest since 1978/79 across the UK. In their preliminary winter assessment in September 2009 the chances of a cold winter were put at 1 in 7 - and follows the 'barbeque summer' forecast last year, and the previous winter which was forecast to be mild, but turned out to be the coldest since 1996/1997.
The news follows a post yesterday evening on my previous blog, which was confimed this morning by the Met Office.
Medium range 'seasonal forecasts' remain the holy grail of the weather industry. Some private weather organisations successfully predicted the cold winter back in Autumn, but the UK remains a very difficult part of the world for forecasters, on the edge of the influence of the milder Atlantic to the west and the much colder Continent to the east. And it's not just the Met Office that have struggled with seasonal forecasts. Despite the success by some private weather companies this winter, their success rate in previous years has been mixed.
The Met Office remain world leaders in short term forecasts. Indeed throughout this winter their guidance and forecasts has been second to none. But the Met Office have been accutely aware that their seasonal, long range forecasts, particularly this winter, have detracted from these short term forecasts for the next few days. And perhaps more serious is the potential damage that incorrect seasonal forecasts for a few months ahead could do to public confidence in the crucial area of climate change projections decades ahead.
You can read the Met Office's press release by clicking here