Meteograph

Figure 1 – www.meteograph.co.uk

I’ve decided to make use of the 50p domain name offered by my ISP and invest in a brand new site that I’ve called www.meteograph.co.uk. What I intend to do with the site is display interactive charts and maps that I have built with the help of Highcharts. Highcharts is a Norwegian company who specialise in charting components written in SVG and JavaScript. Some of you might remember I did produce a website around six years ago that did the same kind of thing. It’s the same kind of thing again because basically it’s the same code base! In the meantime things have changed a lot in web development, and not always for the good, although I must say that Highcharts is even better than ever, and because I’ve got a non-commercial license to develop using it, it doesn’t cost anything either. I have found it rather a struggle though, any rudimentary HTML, CSS or JavaScript skills that I did have I seem to have managed to forget, so it’s been hard going getting back into the swing of things.

I plan to eventually get round to display the following data types graphically in some form or other:

  1. Daily CET  (I’ve included data back to 1954 for starters)
  2. Monthly CET (1659-2018)
  3. England Wales Precipitation
  4. GISS Global Temperatures
  5. CRUTEM4 Global Temperatures
  6. ENSO
  7. NAO
  8. QBO
  9. Objective Lamb Weather Type
  10. Sea Ice Index
  11. CO2
  12. Tropical Cyclones (HURDAT2)
  13. Sunspots and TSI
  14. UK Precipitation
  15. UK Historic Climate Data (the gridded regional data from 1910)

As well as writing the code to visualise the graphs in a web page, I’m also in the process of adding extra functionality to export processed climate and observational data to my ISP to the many desktop Windows apps that I use. If I had any web server-side skills this could be done using something like PHP, but since I don’t, a humble CSV file will have to do!

Here’s a look at what the Highmaps component looks like (fig 2). I can never understand why the Met Office can’t use something similar as the basis for their  warnings system using ESRI GIS.

Figure 2 – www.meteograph.co.uk

I’ll warn you now that a lot of the pages are work-in-progress and many are still broken and require reworking. I’m getting up to speed so hopefully I’ll get round to fixing most of them in the next few months. I’ll also have to try to remember to upload the latest climate data on a regular basis, but if I  do happen to forget, just drop me an email to remind me.

Obviously they don’t believe the NWP

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the BBC

It’s quite obvious than for some reason either the presenter or the forecaster at MeteoGroup just don’t like the look of the forecast temperatures from the model for 05 UTC on Thursday morning (fig 1). This was always a problem with the BBC graphics, and seems to live on in the new Weathersuite graphics system as well (fig 2). To me it’s just plain confusing. I would have thought that it should be a fairly easy task for someone to add functionality to the application to allow for the tweaking of the underlying temperature contours. Still not heard a mention yet of temperatures in towns and cities in contrast to those in rural locations, and still no UK fly-throughs.

Figure 2 – Courtesy of MeteoGroup

Great expectations of the impending cold snap has everyone in a spin

It’s interesting to see how this impending cold snap has got many people excited about it, even those that don’t usually give a hoot about the weather most of the time, it’s almost like the announcement of a very early Christmas. I saw a good example of this in a tweet from Weather Outlook (fig 1) saying how the ‘thickness’ would fall below 500 dam in NE Scotland – really?

Figure 1 – Courtesy of Twitter & The Weather Outlook

Just to check that I hadn’t just entered the Twilight Zone I looked at one of the few sites that does include a 1000-500 hPa partial thickness forecast chart these days from NOAA (fig 2).

Figure 2 – Courtesy of NOAA

As you can see 1000-500 hPa thicknesses for next Wednesday are expected to be below 528 dam (the old blue or snow line) across most of the country except the west of Ireland and NW Scotland, and the 510 dam (the old brown line) has just about engulfed Belgium. To put this cold spell into some kind of perspective here is the thickness chart from the 13th January 1987, in what I reckon was the coldest couple of days in the British Isles of the whole 2oth century (fig 3).

Figure 3 – Courtesy of the Met Office RAF Binbrook and plotted by yours truly!

I have seen in the last few days people displaying forecast sequences of 850 hPa temperature charts on social media – which I also like to do – and people on Facebook and Twitter thinking that the -15°C isotherm at 5000 feet is the forecast surface temperature!


So in the scheme of things a good cold snap, even very cold for a day or so, but not record breakingly cold. One thing that would make this cold spell memorable though is the length of time it persists into March – which at the moment is still up in the air!

Game on!

Figure 1 – Courtesy of www.wxcharts.eu

There’s good inter-model agreement now at T+72 for the start of the anticyclonic easterly brought about in part by the recent SSW event over the North Pole (fig 1).

Figure 2 – Courtesy of www.wxcharts.eu (850 hPa temperature & MSLP)

Early next week looks particularly cold with a cold vortex of -19°C at 850 hPa temperatures across central Germany (fig 2). Those low temperatures at 850 hPa equate to 12 UTC surface temperatures below freezing for much of the UK (fig 3).

Figure 3 – Courtesy of www.wxcharts.eu (2 m temperature)

If this meteogram is correct it looks like as well as being dry, windy and very cold in the southwest, it should also be sunny by day and clear by night (fig 4), and there’s an interesting blip in the hyetograph by day 10 to give us something to look forward to as well.

Figure 4 – Courtesy of www.wxcharts.eu

This item just wouldn’t have been the same without the help of the excellent NWP products from wxcharts, lets hope they don’t start charging us for the privilege anytime soon! This is exactly the kind of free service that we should expect from our own Met Office – it’s going to get very cold in the next few weeks – but hell would have to freeze over before that ever happened.

The Guardian: BBC weathermen felt the way the wind blows

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the Guardian

An interesting view about the changes in relationship between the BBC, the Met Office, and the people of the UK, from a one time BBC manager (fig 1). Now the Met Office can distance themselves from disastrous media events such as the ‘barbecue summer‘ that never happened, or the ‘hurricane – what hurricane?‘ that did. A bigger change may have taken place than we might even realise when MeteoGroup won the BBC contract, and the monopoly stranglehold the Met Office had over public weather forecasting in this country was finally broken.

Are the BBC weathermen’s days numbered?

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the BBC

It’s been a while since their departure, but it looks like the cards are on the table as regards the fortunes of male weather presenters on the BBC. We’ve already lost four since this time last year, and it may be that it’s just a question of time before they replace the rest. The ratio was 13/18 in the favour of men, that’s now that’s dropped to 9/9 which you would have thought was the perfect balance.

I’ve seen a number of new female presenters, and generally they are very good. Now that Meteogroup have taken over control of most of the meteorological content and the graphics, and the BBC have become the employer for most of the presenters, they’ve lost the direct replacement route for forecasters from the Met Office.  That might not be a bad thing, but I’m not so sure about their meteorological knowledge, or if that’s in any way important to the BBC, whose overriding concerns it seems to me is employing as diverse a set of presenters as they possibly can, a bit like the mix of contestants you see in the “The Great British Bake off” or the “Great British Sewing Bee” in recent years. If that is the case, then I expect to see even more changes in the coming year.

Here are some of the new female presenters that I’ve seen in recent weeks:

Figure 2 – Courtesy of the Met Office
Figure 3 – Courtesy of the Met Office
Figure 4 – Courtesy of the Met Office
Figure 5 – Courtesy of the Met Office

I think I got the idea of deleting forecasters with a big letter ‘X’ in the first graphic from the opening sequence of the “The Prisoner”. Humour me, run the YouTube video and instead of Patrick McGoohan picture perhaps Nick Miller, or even better still Tomasz Schafernaker, as they hand in their resignations to the BBC thumping the table and breaking the china cup and saucer as they do so.

Magnitude 4.9 earthquake in Wales

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the BGS

I’ve never felt an earthquake before but I have now! At precisely 14:31:07.6 UTC we felt the effects of a magnitude 4.4 earthquake down here in Devon. The epicentre of the earthquake itself was apparently in south Wales (fig 1). At the time I was sat in my office chair – programming as usual – when it started a series of wobbles to-and-fro – very unusual!

Here are some graphics that I gathered from the BGS website for posterity about yesterdays earthquake which was later downgraded as you can see to magnitude 4.4, I didn’t amend the title, but I must have been one of the first to post on Twitter that it occurred.

Figure 2 – Courtesy of the BGS
Figure 3 – Courtesy of the BGS

Figure 4 – Courtesy of the BGS