Two big problems with Met Office verification

In my opinion the verification web page that the Met Office maintain is to be applauded. With it you can check the forecast temperature and weather for 15 sites across the UK for the last 24 hours. I like the fact that it’s been kept simple, most of the time the convoluted statistics used in statistics make you wonder what the results are saying. I do have a couple of issues though with the verification site itself.

Just too few verification sites

There are just too few sites to choose to run a verification on. Take for example Scotland. There are five sites in Scotland. Top and toe – Lerwick and Dumfries, east and west – Aberdeen and Stornoway, and one in the middle – Glasgow. Couldn’t they have made other sites available perhaps at all the SYNOP stations? Why not Aviemore, Inverness, Edinburgh or Stirling. In the last few weeks here in Ross-shire their temperature forecast has been absolutely terrible. Last week they have missed a couple of severe frosts, several icy road events and an afternoon of snow that extended right down to sea level. There’s not just a thin coverage across Scotland there are only 15 sites for the whole of the UK and five of them are coastal. Call me cynical if you like but there’s a reason why there are so few verification sites, and that is they don’t want you to be able to run a verification on a site near to where you live!

Verifying 24 Hours ahead is far too short

The other big problem is that verifying forecasts of weather and temperature for just 24 hours ahead in the 21st century with the sophisticated NWP models and super-computers the Met Office have at their disposal should be an absolute doddle and as such is not much of a metric. Why don’t they extend the verification period out to three days (T+72) ahead or even further and give themselves something that will stretch them? It’s quite obvious that the only reason this site is there at all is so they can use it to blow their own trumpet, knowing full well that the verification results will rarely if ever embarrass them.

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