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Met Office scrap seasonal forecasts

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:34 UK time, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

You may know that the Met Office has decided to scrap its UK seasonal forecasts. I can't say I blame them and personally I think it's the right decision.

I have enough on my plate trying to get the next few days right, and when a forecast does go pear shaped, it is me who has to pick up the pieces and explain why!


After two disappointing summers, last year's prediction of a BBQ summer got most people hopes up but July turned into a washout with more than double the average rainfall.

The winter forecast for 2009/10 was way off the mark too.

Mind you, the Met Office did say there was a one in seven chance of a cold winter and like a horse running in the Grand National there is always the possibility of an outsider winning the race - in Wales it was the coldest winter since 1978/79.

Of course, the Met Office is an easy target, forecasting the future is not easy, especially in Wales where the weather is notoriously changeable.

No two days are quite the same and the weather can vary greatly from one place to the next. It can be sunny in Newtown but pouring down in Caersws.

A crashing wave on Holyhead by Al Preston:


The Met Office was established back in 1854 by Admiral Robert FitzRoy to help save lives at sea. You can find out more on Wikipedia.

His forecasts were later published in the Times newspaper but he was ridiculed when they were wrong, so some things never change!

Thankfully, meteorology has come along way since then and short term forecasts are much more accurate than they used to be.

Forecasts for 24 hours ahead are correct about six times out of seven, and today's three day forecasts are as accurate as one day forecasts were 20 years ago.

Seasonal forecasts are relatively new and a developing area of meteorology and they do provide vital information for some parts of the world.

It is important that the Met Office continues to try and improve long range forecasts because we will all reap the benefits in the future.

If Admiral FitzRoy were alive today I am sure he'd be proud of how the Met Office has evolved.

Hopefully, this summer will be better than the last three in Wales...but don't quote me on that! Cold winters are not always followed by hot summers.



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