Be weather aware with our Windows Phone 8 app

13 12 2012

The Met Office has launched its latest addition to mobile forecasts with a specially designed app for Windows Phone 8.

Since it’s launch in the last two weeks it has garnered some very positive reviews with Windows Phone Central saying:

“We’re always pleased to see official apps hit the platform but even more so when those apps are truly useful. … this [app] stands out for a few reasons. The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service and is therefore the trusted supplier of weather information to everyone from the military or the man on the street”.

In addition All About Windows Phone said:

“The standout feature of the Met Office app is the quality of the data on offer…. it’s hard to think of another weather app, for Windows Phone, that provides this amount of detail for those in the UK. …Given that the Met Office app is a free download, we would strongly recommend that anyone living in the UK download it… There’s a good chance that you’ll make your friends living outside the UK rather jealous!”

The new Met Office Windows Phone 8 weather app is the latest addition to our range of products for smart phone users and provides easy access to the latest weather forecasts and warnings wherever you are, 24 hours a day.

The App gives you three hourly forecasts and five day weather predictions. In addition to the likelihood of rain or snow, sunshine, cloud coverage and temperature, it gives the “feels-like” temperature – ideal if it’s 10 °C but will actually feel like 3 °C accounting for the wind chill factor.

As well as users having access to local, up to date forecasts from the Met Office, the new weather app includes a number of features unique to Windows Phone 8. These include ‘live tiles’ reflecting the current weather at your saved location and the use of ‘augmented reality’ to overlay forecast data on the camera image of where you are facing.

The Windows 8 Toast (notification) feature also means that you will never miss a weather warning for your area, helping you to stay weather aware so that you can prepare, plan and protect yourself from the impacts of severe weather.

The Met Office Windows Phone 8 weather app is available free of charge from the Windows Phone 8 app store. We also provides Apps for Android and iPhone, available from the Apple app store and the Android Market.





Met Office website widget to support local tourism

4 10 2012

Following the wettest summer in over a century, a north Devon tourism boss has suggested the Met Office delivers ‘pessimistic forecasts’. Although we can’t change the weather we’d like to help in any other way we can.

The Met Office has worked with the tourism industry in recent years to provide detailed forecasts for resorts, beaches and attractions with local forecasts for up to 5000 locations across the UK. All our forecasts provide local three-hourly detail of the weather with information on the chance of rain so that visitors can plan their day out with confidence and make the most of the great British weather come rain or shine.

We have also made these forecasts easier to access for holiday makers and attraction owners too. Such developments include our website widget which attraction owners can embed on their websites so that visitors can get instant access to the latest forecasts, warnings and observations. With a simple click the most up-to-date and accurate weather forecast, not just for today but for the next five day.

At the time of launch of these local forecasts, Mark Smith, Director of Bournemouth Tourism said: “These forecasts from the Met Office communicate weather forecast information in clearer, more appropriate and user friendly ways that allow tourists and tourism operators to better plan activities.”

In addition visitors can get our forecasts from our popular Android and iPhone Apps, mobile phones which allow you to get the latest weather forecast on the go, as well as on TV or on the radio.

The Met Office is trusted by the public to give the best possible guidance on the weather and we report the weather exactly as it is, so by putting our weather forecasts on tourist attraction websites, visitors can access the best weather forecasts available.





A challenging forecast for the weekend

20 09 2012

This weekend’s weather forecast is proving more challenging than usual as we see signs of much more unsettled conditions developing for all parts of the UK over the next few days.

Much of the UK is set to have a fine and dry weekend with sunny spells, light winds and temperatures in the mid to high teens Celsius after some cold nights.

There is now increasing confidence that southern parts of the UK (roughly south of a line from south Wales to Ipswich) will see wet and windy weather on Sunday.

This wet and windy weather is not the remnants of tropical storm Nadine – this stays close to the Azores. However, we are expecting a new area of low pressure to develop to the west of Iberia on Saturday which will move northeast, pulling some warm air from Nadine with it. It is this that would bring wet and windy weather to the far south of England and Wales for Sunday and other parts of the UK next week.

The challenge for forecasters is to pinpoint how this low pressure area will move. The weather forecast models available to Met Office forecasters are giving slightly different answers to this problem. As Anthony Astbury, Met Office Deputy Chief Forecaster, explains: “One model brings the low over Brittany giving rain and gales in the south of England, while another brings the low further west, with the risk of wet and windy weather for southwestern England and south Wales.”

There is still uncertainty about how the low pressure area will develop and move on Monday, and therefore which areas of the UK will see the worst of the weather early next week.

However, this heralds a spell of very unsettled weather for the whole of the UK for next week, with all parts seeing unsettled and windy conditions with showers or longer spells of rain.

Keep up to date with the forecast and warnings for the latest information.





Weather satellite set for launch

17 09 2012

Metop-B, the second of the EUMETSAT Polar orbiting satellites, which provide data for use by meteorologists and climate scientists at the Met Office and around the world, will be launched today.

Metop-B is scheduled to be launched by a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, at 17:28 BST and once in orbit will collect critical data for weather forecasters, such as the Met Office.

Using satellites to help create weather forecasts

Along with its partner satellite Metop-A, it will orbit the earth from pole to pole at an altitude of around 800 km, taking measurements including temperature, humidity and  cloud properties, as well as snow and ice cover, sea surface temperature and land vegetation.

All of this data is fed into the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models that produce our weather forecasts up to 10 days ahead. NWP is the basis of all modern global and regional weather forecasting, providing forecast advice, severe weather warnings and other support to public and private decision making.

Information from the Metop satellites has become indispensible to weather forecasters. A recent study by the Met Office demonstrated that Metop-A observations contribute close to 25% of the performance of numerical weather prediction (NWP) forecasts.

The data gathered by Metop have revolutionised the way the Earth’s weather, climate and environment are monitored, both in the short term and in monitoring climate over decade-long data series of temperature, humidity, cloud cover and atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide.

David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science said: “I welcome the launch of Metop B which will enable the Met Office to stay at the forefront of weather forecasting and climate monitoring. I am also very pleased that a crucial piece of onboard instrumentation, the microwave humidity sounder, was built and designed in the UK, demonstrating our leading role in this area of technology.”

You can watch a live stream of the launch of Metop-B at http://www.livestream.com/metop from 15:30 BST  this afternoon.

You can also read the transcript of the  twitterview between the Met Office and EUMETSAT that was held last week.





Local Jubilee forecasts wherever you are with the Met Office iPhone and Android apps

1 06 2012

With the Jubilee weekend looking likely to see a typical mixture of British weather across the UK you can make sure you always have your latest local forecast to hand with our iPhone and Android apps.

Met Office iPhone and Android apps

The Met Office provides local forecasts for over 5,000 locations across the UK, so with events taking place up and down the country you will always have access to the latest weather forecast.

Latest figures from Comscore show the Met Office’s apps are one of the most accessed apps in the UK. Currently positioned at number 16 in the list, it is accessed more often than apps from Amazon and Groupon.

Since its re-launch in January, more than 2 million people have downloaded the iPhone app. The new Android app has been downloaded by over 340,000 people.

Sarah Weller, Marketing Manager at Mubaloo said: “The latest stats from Comscore highlight how the Met Office’s mobile channel has become a vital source of accurate and up to date weather forecasts for a huge number of people across the UK.”

The iPhone App includes 3 hourly forecasts out to 5 days ahead; UV forecast maps and information on the likelihood of rain. In addition to the iPhone, we also provide an App for Android phones and Smarter Weather for other smart phones.





The Shipping Forecast is set to music

15 06 2011

The Shipping Forecast, produced by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has long been a vital source of information for sailors, but now it has also provided the inspiration for a new musical work.

Speaking to the BBC, composers Cecelia McDowall said that she had used elements of the rhythm and language found in the forecasts to create her composition. She added: “There’s something rather beguiling and mysterious about the Shipping Forecast which sounds so poetic, but at the same time is very crucial to people at sea.

The Shipping Forecast was first broadcast in 1922, but had been in existence in a number of formats before this as the Met Office provided a range of forecasts and gale warnings for mariners around the British Isles.

In fact, Admiral FitzRoy, founder of the Met Office, developed the first storm warning service, achieved by using canvas covered frames in different shapes to alert ships to dangers — these were lit up by fires at night so they could give warnings at any time. He also pioneered techniques for forecasting weather such as synoptic charts, where weather observations taken at the same time were drawn on a map to aid forecasting — a technique still used today. FitzRoy’s work laid the foundations for the Met Office’s future at the forefront of this ‘new science’.

In a video, the BBC’s Nick Higham finds out why the Shipping Forecast is such an important part of the British consciousness – helped by Met Office forecaster Steve Randall, Devon fisherman Geoff Ingram and Radio 4 announcer Carolyn Brown, and a P&O Cruises Capitan explains why it is so important to those at sea.

In the UK, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is responsible for the provision of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) to ships at sea, which includes the broadcast of warnings and forecasts. The Met Office initiates warnings and prepares routine forecasts for dissemination on behalf of the MCA.

 





Pollen forecasts bring help to Hay Fever sufferers

20 05 2011
Field Marigold flower

Different types of pollen are released throughout the year which can generate hay fever and other allergies. These symptoms can have a serious impact on the well-being of some people.

Pollen season

The pollen count season is normally March to August. However, it can start as early as January and end as late as November.

The pollen season separates into three main sections:

  1. Tree pollen – late March to mid-May.
  2. Grass pollen – mid-May to July.
  3. Weed pollen – end of June to September

Our pollen calendar has a detailed breakdown of the different types of pollen and their peak times within a season. However this year many sufferers are experiencing symptoms earlier than normal due to the fine and warm weather being experienced across the UK right now.

How can the Met Office help?

We manage the only pollen count monitoring network in the UK and produce pollen forecasts up to five days ahead. We use information from our network, our weather data and expertise from organisations such as the National Pollen and Aerobiological Unit  at the University of Worcester to produce  forecasts which are designed to help support allergy and Hay fever sufferers through the most difficult time of the year.

Pollen forecasts

We provide free, public UK pollen forecasts on the Invent section of our website. Just visit the Weather Map page and select the pollen count information.

  • Two-day pollen forecast, updated daily.
  • Three-day pollen forecast, updated daily.
  • Five-day pollen forecast, updated daily.
  • Monthly forecast, updated weekly.

These can be offered for our 16 weather forecasting regions. We can also offer a summary of the previous season and a seasonal outlook for the upcoming pollen count season. We can also provide pollen forecast information for display on your website or through other media channels.





New pollen forecasts available online

20 04 2011
Pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflo...

Pollen from a variety of common plants

Pollen forecasts are now available on the Met Office website for the millions of sufferers of hay fever across the UK. The forecasts will use our latest weather forecast information and combine this with pollen readings from across the UK.

UK Pollen Network Manager at the Met Office, Yolanda Clewlow said: “Variable weather conditions across the country mean that levels of pollen often vary greatly from day to day, so it’s important the hay fever sufferer stay up to date with the latest forecast.”

The introduction of the pollen forecast is part of the wide range of weather-related services offered by the Met Office, which also include UV index and Heat Health watch.

Met Office forecasters will be working closely with the University of Worcester and Pollen UK throughout the season.

Find out more about how to help reduce the impact of pollen on your health.





Met Office in the Media: 28 March 2011

28 03 2011

A summer of ‘brolly and sunblock’?

Many newspapers today have reported on a forecast of  ‘brolly and sunblock’ for the coming summer.  This forecast comes from a private weather forecasting company called Positive Weather Solutions, and is not a forecast from the Met Office as is being suggested by some commentators.

The Met Office stopped doing seasonal forecasts more than a year ago, following customer research. This research told us that the public would like a monthly outlook, instead of the longer seasonal forecast, that can not provide the information that they were looking for. We therefore decided to stop issuing a UK ‘seasonal forecast’ four times a year. Instead, we now publish a monthly outlook, updated on a weekly basis.

Although the limitations in science mean monthly forecasts are themselves a developing area of forecasting and will therefore be less precise than our short-term forecasts, the public told us that a monthly outlook would be of use to them.

We take seriously our responsibility to provide the best possible service to the public. Although long range forecasts are vital in some parts of the world, and can be useful for some specialists, such as insurers and energy traders, we know that they are of limited use to the public – for example they are not something that could be used to provide detailed forecasts for Glastonbury or Wimbledon as is being suggested in the media.

BBC Weather Test

Roger Harrabin reported on the BBC Radio Four Today Programme this morning (Weather Test prepares for take-off) of his progress with the BBC Weather Test, that is looking to compare different weather forecasters.  This evening he is hosting a public meeting at the Royal Institution where he will publish the draft protocol on which the assessment of forecasts will be based.    We remain committed to taking part in this project, but or involvement  is dependent on the publication of a protocol that ensures that the methodology, data collection and comparison is undertaken in a way that is scientifically credible, repeatable and verifies publicly avaialable forecasts that we provide.








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