Where’s nowcasting when you need it most?

You may not have heard much about nowcasting. It’s a short-range forecasting technique pioneered by the UKMO. It strikes me (no pun intended) that it would be a handy thing to have on a day like today when thunderstorms are popping up willy nilly across the country. I am not sure if Meteogroup actually receive this flagship NWP product from the Met Office to share with the nation in their TV weather forecasts. If they are actually making use of it it doesn’t seem to be doing too well this afternoon with the thunderstorms that have recently developed over the capital. Here’s an explainer about what nowcasting is from the Met Office website and what they say about their flagship unified model:

  • Nowcasting is a technique used for very short-range forecasting. The current weather is mapped and then an estimate of its speed and direction of movement is used to forecast the weather a short period ahead (assuming the weather will move without significant changes). It takes time to gather and map weather observations, so a short forecast is needed to outline what the weather is currently.
  • Nowcasts can be used as a source of detailed guidance on the location, extent and timing of imminent, often high impact weather events.
  • The Met Office produce a routine delivered service for T+0 out to T+6, for the United Kingdom, which blends our observations and UK Atmospheric Hi-Res model. At T+0 the blend is heavily weighted to observations and as time goes on the weighting of the UK Atmospheric Hi-Res model is increased, at T+6 the UK Atmospheric Hi-Res Model has the dominant weighting.
  • The UK Atmospheric Hi-Res model is part of the Met Office flagship numerical weather prediction (NWP) model called the Unified Model. The resolution of the Nowcasting is comparable to radar data.
  • The weather variables available include:
  • • Cloud
  • • Snow
  • • Visibility
  • • Wind
  • • Precipitation
  • • Temperature
  • • Humidity
  • • Lightning

Courtesy of the UKMO

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