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The Met Office - not fit for purpose?

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The Met Office - not fit for purpose?

Old 23rd Aug 2009, 14:03
  #1 (permalink)  
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The Met Office - not fit for purpose?

A disgrace...... and it's getting to be a daily occurrence and it's not the local thing !!

TAF EGPF 230507Z 2306/2406 09008KT 9999 -RA SCT010 BKNO15 BECMG 2306/2309 16016G26KT TEMPO 2306/2320 3000 RA BKN005 PROB 40 TEMPO 23202320 22023G35KT 4000 RA SHRA BKN006 BKN014CB BECMG 2400/2404 VRB06KT=

A short time later - two hours after getting the above !!!

TAF EGPF 231054Z 2312/2412 VRB05KT 9999 SCT010 BKN035 TEMPO 2312/2322 19015KT 4000 RA BKN007=

The new Met Office product - the Actfast .... take a big guess at what the weather will be..... not working out... then look out the window and push out the current weather as a forecast (Actfast)

Gone beyond a joke
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 14:30
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Crawley International about a week ago gave a taf that forecast basically cavok conditions overnight.I turned up in the morning during the taf period and the actual visibility was 500m in fog!!The biggest failure of the met office was getting rid of all the local met offices and buying a crap computer to do the forecasting for them.
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 14:52
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Heres the latest...

TAF EGPF 231054Z 2312/2412 VRB05KT 9999 SCT010 BKN035
TEMPO 2312/2322 19015KT 4000 RA BKN007

Where are all the flash floods I was promised?!
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 15:22
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Agreed, many happy days were spent doing obs on the roof at 03772 (EGLL) watching Tridents on 28R.

The Met Office bought a new Cray in the mid 80's and to save money, they wrote their own operating system. The mainframe achieved a proportion of it's full potential a couple of years after being switched on by which time... you guessed..... it had been left in the dust by the next version. All the smart kids left Bracknell, went into IT and made some proper money.

The weather forecasts on telly these days are presented by a bunch of meterosexuals who couldn't plot a tephigram if their life depended on it.

Hey Ho !
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 15:31
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Easy answer regarding PF/PK wx :-
Once upon a time there were Met Observers, whose sole job was Observations, employed by the Met Office at both Airports, together with Forecasters at Prestwick. Then the Forecasters moved to Glasgow & the obs transferred to ATSA's, using automated equipment. When the Glasgow office shut, the Forecasts came from Belfast - now they are done in Aberdeen. Despite their fancy computers etc. they obviously don't have a clue about local conditions, hence the poor forecasts quoted above.
It's not uncommon for Thunderstorms, Fog & Snow to appear in amended TAF's, only after they've appeared in the METAR
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 16:07
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I completely agree re unreliability of forecasts, but I have had no success in complaining to the Met Office, who respond by saying there have only been X occasions when Amended TAFs have been issued as a result of METARs exceeding the TAF parameters by specified amounts. I believe a significant part of the problem is that, without Met observers, the Met Office machine is now particularly bad at estimating changes which make the difference between VFR flight being possible and impossible, such as cloudbase changes in the 1500-2500 height band.

But you do have to be careful about presenting any such case. In the EGPF example above, it wasn't 2 hours between the two TAFs as JW implies, it was nearly six hours, i.e. the normal TAF cycle, and the only significant things missing from the actual weather in the intervening period were the forecast increase in wind strength and the TEMPO 3000 RA BKN005. My guess, looking at the progress of the weather (esp the bands of heavy rain) across central Scotland this morning, is that the absence of same at EGPF was a matter of a few miles difference in exactly where those bands tracked through the Glasgow area.

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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 16:21
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There might be a bigger dicussion point here: about the demise of quality met data. I've noticed an inconsistantancy with the lenght of the TAFs. Sometimes I get 24 hrs, sometime not; well not for all airfields on my list. I've also noticed a definite pessimism in the TAFs compared to METARS and what eventually happens. Further, on Prune, we never received an authoritative answerwhy fronts were removed from SIG Wx charts. Instead of having a big picture to decyfer the TAFs we now have a small fuzzy picture to guess the future.
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 16:48
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Ronaldsway TAF and METAR is pretty good usually....mind you there's a team in the Office there doing Obs and looking out the window still, so that might explain it.

I wish they'd come up with a better one for today though.....
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 18:43
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Is it just an English thing, complaining about weather forecasts, when not complaining about the actual weather?

Anyone who was around in the 70's or earlier will remember than you couldn't rely on the forecast for the following day - not at all. Now we are given a very reliable indication of what the weather will be like four or five days ahead. I think the acuracy is stunning.

But anyone expecting total perfection will be dissapointed
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 18:51
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No better on the ground

Yeah: good call. A local forecast a week ago was for rain clearing. Watched it on the Met Office radar and then thunderstorms hit. Suddenly a severe weather warning was issued timed at 18:00 but effective from 17:59 !

I wonder if the freely issued forecasts are degraded to encourage take up of their commercial services. As for the half hourly update on the rainfall radar, sheesh. On wunderground.com you get all the US live.

Time to clean up another disfunctional UK public service I think (BBC next).
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 19:20
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Last edited by Rainboe; 16th Jan 2010 at 20:13.
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 19:39
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Devil weather forecast

I remember my father telling me the only forecast worth
having was from a returning Spitfire. At the level of "get them inside, rain coming", but only good for 30 mins or so.
Sorry for possible thread creep !
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 19:55
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Best advice I ever had regarding wx was to take an extra ton of fuel for every line of the TAF!! Rationale....?? It's obviously a complex and evolving scenario, don't get caught out!

Seriously though, in 35 years as a professional pilot I think that the accuracy of forecasts has increased beyond all recognition - thank you Met Men...shame we don't meet you any more....
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 21:58
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Well at least with the met office's new computer I can see if I will be flying tomorow with a very up to date TAF... oh wait...

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Old 24th Aug 2009, 10:37
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not wishing thread creep but...
In today's papers comes news that the mighty Tesco has set up its own internal weather unit because it is so fed up with the unreliability of Met Office forecasts. They have a group of people at 12-12 stores sending in data, but I am not sure where their proper data feeds are from.
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 11:01
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Problem is that the Met Office is trying to forecast a future event which, in the UK, isn't completely forecastable. We're a small island, off the coast of a large land mass, with a huge ocean with warm most air to the West and a source of very cold dry air to the North. Add to this the variability of the jetsream moving around and it all becomes very complex very quickly. If you want an accurate forecats, move to Nevada.

Another problem is the decrease in forecasts based on actual data capture from met station/observation points/sounding/buoys/ships, etc. So much of it is now computer modelled. So, we have computer models doing predictions based on computer generated data. Take out the human experience factor and it's no surprise that the forecasts aren't up to much.

I think the forecasts would improve if they opened the blinds at the met Office in Exeter and let the forecasters look out the window.
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 11:40
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The big joke was the recent statement by the boss of the Met Office that their forecasts are the most accurate in the world!
Old 24th Aug 2009, 11:52
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It begs the question - if we shutdown the Met Office save for a small number of people who can tell us, from automatic and satellite data, when the really big problem stuff is coming, what would we lose - the four day forecast ???

By the way, on the last of the trilogy, i.e. the 18 to 18 forecast they threw a full 19017G28KT back in and included a TS for good measure.

Honestly, it's not worth having
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 11:53
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The easiest job in the world is forecasting the weather in Singapore.

Sunny, with occasional showers, some intense. Some over the airport, some not. High 34 degrees low 28.

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Old 24th Aug 2009, 12:45
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TAF GCLP valid 01010000 until 31122359
03012G22 9999 SCT040

nuff said
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