“We always want to give viewers and listeners the clearest, most accessible and accurate information which is why we've carried out a thorough, regulated procurement process to test all the organizations that applied on a wide range of areas including data, forecasting, graphics and technology,” he said in a blog following the announcement. “Technology is helping us reach more people than ever before in the ways they want, be it on our popular new weather app, website and social media, online news providers or independent television networks.
Its London headquarters was established in 2005 when PA Group, the parent company of the Press Association news agency, acquired a majority share in the business. Frozen ducks’ feet and the flight paths of midges: the uses of forecasts by the Office over the 160 years that it has quietly underpinned the fabric of the nation are many and varied.
They played a crucial role in D-Day and still serve our military today; they keep planes in the sky and space missions on course. After 95 years, the BBC will drop the national weather service in favor of an international private forecasting company, Meteoroid, a move that the broadcaster says will save it millions of pounds.
Data is crunched, extracted, fed into simulations and regurgitated as 4 m individual forecast products for customers every 24 hours. A force 12 hurricanes in 1859, causing the loss of 459 lives off Angles on the passenger steam clipper Royal Charter, led to his first gale warnings charts.
Today the Office draws data from 4,500 observational sources, including 16 operational radar and 330 monitoring stations in the UK, plus 19 satellites, and from other national meteorological services around the world. Cold ducks’ feet,” explains the chief executive, Rob Valley, 53, when asked what the Office remit covers.
Now we think of ourselves as the best in the galaxy,” says Valley, pointing out that for decades the Office has been consistently voted No 1 out of all the national weather services in the world. Presenter Aidan McGovern in the Office studio Photograph: Jim Wile man/The Guardian good enough, it seems, for the BBC.
Familiar weather presenters will remain on screen, but employed directly by the BBC rather than the Office, which trained them. This provides free data to other broadcasters, including ITV and Channel 5, as well as to government departments and emergency responders.
The BBC will continue to broadcast its severe weather warnings to ensure everyone works from the same hymn sheet in a crisis. Valley says the future is international, and the Office is working to promote scientific collaboration with emerging economies, first and foremost China.
Through the Department for International Development, it is also advising on drought and flood risks in Africa, improving early warning systems, even forecasting the best time to plant seeds. The D-Day map, hand-drawn in June 1944 by the Office ’s group captain James Martin Stage, who postponed the Normandy landings for one critical day, hangs outside the vast operations room.
Next to it is a handwritten note from General Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, which reads: “Thanks. “These are theoretical runs in case something goes on today.” On the space desk, Michael Lawrence is checking “to see what the sun throws out at us”, coronal mass ejections that can hit the Earth’s magnetic field, affecting national grids and communications networks as well as space missions.
Airliners plot paths to avoid clear-air turbulence or to hitch rides on jet streams, saving time and fuel. The poetry of the shipping forecast, provided through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, will continue on BBC radio, to the delight of fans and sailors alike.
But the chief reason why the Office has been getting so many forecasts spectacularly wrong, as reported here ad nauseam, is that all its short, medium and long-term forecasts ultimately derive from the same huge computer model, which is programmed to believe in man made global warming. Hence, the fun we’ve all had with those “barbecue summers” when rain never stopped, and “warmer than average” winters, which promptly saw Britain freezing under piles of snow.
The Office has lost its multi-million pound BBC weather contracts goes back to the time when the Office was headed by that fanatical evangelist for global warming, Sir John Houghton, the man who did more than anyone to set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Last Monday this provoked incredulous laughter, when the Today program’s Justin Webb speculated that one reason for the Office losing its contract might have been that it was so “vocal about climate change”, on which Mr Webb normally follows the BBC party line just as faithfully as any of his colleagues.
However, the BBC has now opened up the contract to foreign competition, including firms from The Netherlands and New Zealand. The Telegraph, citing an anonymous source within the BBC, said that one of the reasons behind the axing was the MetOffice's problems with creating a good phone app.
3rd July 1954: A weather forecast transmission from the BBC television studios at Lime Grove, London Users say that although the forecasts are reliable, the app itself is slow, difficult to use and prone to crashing.
The sudden end to the 94-year-old relationship between the Office and the BBC also followed arguments over whether to include probabilities in weather forecasts. BBC player's most popular shows in 2014 Top Gear Series 21, Episode 1.
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