Light, or is that white at the end of the tunnel?

There are signs of a change in type at long last, and things could be about to turn more meridional towards the last week of January across the IONA. That’s according to the latest run of the ECMWF model which is looking forward ten days, and at that range things could change, but they have a good reputation in medium range forecasting, and at least they share their findings, which is more than can be said for Exeter and their NWP output. Just out of interest here is what the Met Office have to offer in the way of advice for the rest of January. It will be intersting to look back and see if this does come to pass.

Courtesy of Met Office

Just in case you wondering why there isn’t more detail in the long range forecast, other than the inclusion of four could’s, two probablys, two shoulds, and a smattering of ifs, chances and likelys, here’s what the Met Office have to say about the matter:

Ever wondered why our forecasts for 5 days and beyond are written on the scale of the UK as a whole? When looking at forecasts beyond five days into the future the chaotic nature of the atmosphere starts to come into play – small events currently over the Atlantic can have potentially significant impacts on our weather in the UK in several days’ time. Therefore whilst we can still forecast the general feel of the weather to a relatively high level of accuracy using our ensemble models, it becomes harder to offer local detail to as high a level of accuracy as our shorter range forecasts. For this reason our text forecasts for 5 days and beyond are written on the scale of the UK as a whole.

The Met Office

I have always thought the Met Office should display their NWP charts for all to see, after all it’s the tax payers of the UK that ultimately fund and buy the supercomputers they use. We could then see for ourselves what value for money this provides us with, by comparing our efforts with the rest of the world. It maybe that our model is no more accurate than that of the ECMWF, and may conclude we could save ourselves a lot of money if we threw our hats in with the Europeans, and restrict our efforts in NWP to short term forecasting.

Addendum on 28 January 2020

I originally posted this article on the 12th of January and promised myself to revisit it and see how accurate the ECMWF had been. Well hindsight is supposed to be a wonderful thing or so they reckon, but the northerly promised in this particular blog on the 23rd of January never really came about. I’m learning to take a T+240 chart, even from the oft praised ECMWF model, with a large grain of salt these days. In contrast the Met Office forecast from the 16th to the 25th stands up pretty well despite all its vagueness.

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