You might think TV weather forecasts are always wrong, but the chances are they are right, according to a leading meteorologist.
The problem is that they are too short for weathermen to give sufficient details, often leaving viewers with the impression they are wrong.
In fact, short-term weather predictions are more accurate than ever, says Alan Thorpe, former head of the Met Office’s climate change arm. And weathermen would be able to reflect this better if TV forecasts were longer, allowing them to go into more detail.
Professor Thorpe, the new director-general of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, also called on the Met Office to reinstate its seasonal forecasts.
The Met Office stopped broadcasting its long-range summer and winter forecasts after the double embarrassment of two wildly wrong predictions in 2009.
First it predicted a ‘barbecue summer’, saying it was ‘quite optimistic’ the weather would be warmer and drier than average. Although indeed warmer, July and August were also a washout.
The agency then appeared to be taken by surprise by the onset of the coldest winter for more than 30 years.
In its defence, it says that while short-term forecasts are extremely accurate, Britain’s size and geographical position make long-term predictions much more challenging.
But Prof Thorpe said that rather than withholding the information, the Met Office should make sure people fully understand it, adding there was no shame in admitting some things simply could not be predicted.
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