I’ve been in Devon for 15 years this year and have always paid close attention to the local weather forecast on BBC Spotlight Southwest news bulletins. What’s always been a frustration to me is the rather larger than required maps that they choose to use (fig 1). I don’t see any reason why for example that the map should extend as far as 52° north to display the bottom third of Wales and the coast of southern Ireland for instance. This is a local forecast for local people in Cornwall, Devon, and the west of Somerset and Dorset, the national forecast provides information if you’re planning to travel out with the southwest.
Here’s what I think would make a much better scale map of the region that the forecast is specifically for. Apologies to David Braine for cutting him out and superimposing on this OpenStreetMap (fig 2)!
Before you write in and complain and say that I’ve forgotten about the Scilly Isles and Channel Islands, there is no reason why this map shouldn’t pan west east, and north south to reveal these areas, but this would be the default scale of the map. With this kind of detail high-resolution model data could colour contour extreme temperatures much more effectively than with the crude model they overlay now, and we might then be able to capture frost hollows such the one at Exeter Airport, which the Met Office model seems to have missed once again last night.
Television and the many ways we can view weather forecasts has come along way since the introduction of the current graphics system at the BBC in 2005. We now have high-definition and 4k television, cathode ray tubes are a thing of the past and 50″+ flat screen televisions are common place. The introduction of a new weather graphics system is long overdue, and hopefully MeteoGroup will seize this opportunity to improve the mapping they use, at the same time making use of higher resolution NWP data to overlay on it. My guess is that when the new service starts this spring it will only replicate the current graphics, hopefully I am proved totally wrong!