Does the UK's Met Office make accurate forecasts?

By: hcubed , 7:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2013

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Well, as an example, let's look at their rainfall forecasts they made during 2012. Remember, their forecasts are based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement.

On 23rd March, they predicted “The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier than average conditions for April/May/June as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the driest of the 3 months.”

RESULT – RAINFALL TOTALS WERE 176%, 94% AND 203% OF NORMAL IN APRIL, MAY AND JUNE RESPECTIVELY.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/p/i/A3-layo ut-precip-AMJ.pdf

On 24th August, their forecast for September “weakly favours below normal values”.

RESULT – RAINFALL WAS 117% OF NORMAL IN SEPTEMBER.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/i/e/A3-plot s-precip-SON.pdf

On 21st September, they said “For UK-averaged rainfall the predicted probabilities favour below normal rainfall during October. For the period October-November-December as a whole the range of forecasts also favours lower than average rainfall”

RESULT – RAINFALL WAS 101% OF NORMAL IN OCTOBER.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/h/g/A3-plot s-precip-OND.pdf

On 24th October, they forecast “Predictions for UK-mean precipitation for both November and the November-December-January period are similar to climatology”

RESULT – RAINFALL WAS 111% OF NORMAL IN NOVEMBER.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/q/6/A3-plot s-precip-NDJ.pdf

And on 20th November, “Predictions for UK-mean precipitation for December show a slight shift towards below-normal values – consistent with negative North Atlantic Oscillation conditions”

RESULT – RAINFALL WAS 150% OF NORMAL IN DECEMBER.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/j/i/A3_plot s-precip-DJF.pdf

So for the seven months between April and December, that forecasts are available for, the Met Office forecast drier than normal conditions in six, and normal in the seventh. They failed to get any month correct, and for the seven months in question, rainfall averaged 36% above normal levels, (which are based on 1981-2010.)

Maybe they need a larger, more powerful computer.

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2:28 PM GMT on January 07, 2013
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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

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