The new look BBC weather forecast and attribution

Figure 1 – courtesy of the BBC

This is how the new BBC weather service opens now that MeteoGroup have taken up the contract (fig 1). In the many hundreds of articles that I have written for this blog, I always try my best to attribute the source of any of the data, images or maps that I use out of common courtesy. So why is it that the BBC can’t do the same thing? They don’t seem to mind doing it with the shipping forecast on Radio Four:-

“This is the shipping forecast issued by the Met Office, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, at 0505 today, Saturday the 10th of February 2018…”

So why don’t the BBC do the same thing in the national weather forecast? We know that warnings will continue to be issued by the Met Office, but are just left guessing about the source of model data MeteoGroup are using in their TV forecasts.

Why is it so important?

The reason it is important that we know, is that in the future an unexpected weather event occur may occur that was much more severe than was forecast, and blame will be apportioned. Because in the past it was always easy to lay that blame at the feet of the Met Office, it’s now a lot more complicated. It’s not the fault of the presenters because they are employed by the BBC and are really just the messengers, it really lies with MeteoGroup choice of forecast model with which they produce that poor forecast with. So knowing where that forecast data came from is important, because as far as I know MeteoGroup have full access to forecast data from a number of different sources, including the American (GFS), European (ECMWF), and the UKMO models.

Credit where credit’s due

The solution is simple, in the opening credits the BBC should indicate which model data MeteoGroup have used to produce that particular forecast with – credit where credit’s due (figs 2 & 3). Who knows MeteoGroup could pick and choose from day-to-day which model they favour, and if they don’t choose to use the UKMO model it’s not inconceivable that the forecast data is out of synch with any warnings issued by the Met Office.

Figure 2 – courtesy of the BBC
Figure 3 – courtesy of the BBC

Author: xmetman

An ex-metman passionate about all things to do with weather, climate and clouds

6 thoughts on “The new look BBC weather forecast and attribution”

  1. Something which is starting to irritate me a bit is the BBC’s tendency to show the Weather Watcher picture out of focus after a few seconds. I suppose this is intended to make the figures on the screen easier to read, but it actually has the opposite effect on me, as my eyes try to get the image in focus. I keep thinking my eyesight is failing.

  2. I think if they do get any UKMO they will have to pay the going rate for it, which will be built into the contract price, because ultimately the BBC (an that mean us) will have to pick up the tab.

  3. Given that the MO is publicly funded, they should charge commercial organisations a full economic fee but data should be freely available to UK non-commercial or individuals, who already pay though taxes.
    Sorry, original post in wrong topic.

  4. The new BBC Graphics do seem a bit improvement …when they work!!
    I would dearly like to know what sources of data MeteoGroup have access to or should I say full access to?
    For example can they get full access to Met Office mesoscale model output? If so, I hope they are being adequately charged for it. Likewise output from ECMWF. So many private weather forecasting ventures are just using GFS output, raising the thorny question of what data government organisations should make (or be made to make?) available free!

  5. Yes, I agree too. But, it wont make any difference because the Met O will continued to be blamed, whether the forecast was by MeteoGroup our any of the other sources the media use.

  6. I agree entirely. It is more difficult now to attribute the forecasts to a source. I preferred it when the BBC used the Met Office.

    “Who knows MeteoGroup could pick and choose from day-to-day which model they favour, and if they don’t
    choose to use the UKMO model it’s not inconceivable that the forecast data is out of synch with any warnings
    issued by the Met Office.”

    For that matter its not inconceivable that MO forecasts are out of synch with MO warnings, in fact they often are!

    Louise Lear was wearing a green “P” on her back yesterday on Afternoon Live, because she apparently she
    “broke” the new graphics.