A simplified analysis

Courtesy of UKMO

I don’t know if you like me long for the return to a more simplified analysis of the North Atlantic chart from the UKMO, rather than the nephanalysis that it’s turned into in recent years, replete with various old or bent back occlusions, inner warm sectors, upper fronts, trowals, convergence zones, and troughs often aligned along the isobars. And what’s with the labeling of every single high or low in a 72 pt font, often positioned far from their respective centres, with little regard given to their intensity or significance? Surely the more insignificant features could be omitted or labelled in a smaller font?

The other thing that I have often wondered about for the last 50 years since starting my career as an observer at RAF Leeming, and seeing my first analysis chart running up on the MOLFAX machine in the comms room is why the chart is skewed so it’s vertically aligned along longitude 35° west? Yes I know it’s always been known as the North Atlantic analysis, but surely it still would display the same if not much more of the North Atlantic if it were vertically aligned along the Greenwich meridian? Who knows, perhaps the Met Office RAF Akrotiri requested that Cyprus should be included in it back in the 1950’s and that’s why it’s such an odd area.

I don’t believe that the analysis and forecast charts are still being broadcast over radio for fax reception at sea? If they aren’t why not add a splash of colour to them (yes I do know there is a coloured version of the product on their website), colouring cold front’s blue, warm fronts red and occlusions purple. The mix of triangles and semicircles that identify each front could be left out, because as far as I know these symbols were only introduced to differentiate between each frontal type on monochrome fax charts anyway, but we’ve grown so use to seeing them that omitting them now is maybe a step too far. Of course the icing on the cake would be to overlay the 1000-500 hPa partial thickness lines for 496, 510, 528, 546, 564, & 582 dam on all their analysis and forecast charts, as they do in their forecast charts for T+36 and beyond at the moment.

I am quite sure that none of these changes I suggested will ever see the light of day, the main reason they’ll remain in the same format is to maintain continuity with the past, because let’s face it these old fax charts are now very much a legacy product, which very few people make use of these days, especially when then have access to sophisticated graphics systems to display an endless mix of NWP forecast fields, but we can but dream.

Courtesy of the UKMO
It’s amazing what you can do with the flood fill tool in Paint.net!
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