Our change in the weather and how the jet stream is driving it

13 12 2013

After a quiet spell of weather courtesy of a slow moving area of high pressure, we are now entering an unsettled period as a series of Atlantic depressions are expected to pass close to the northwest of Britain during the next week.

High pressure has now moved away and is settled over Europe and a powerful jet stream is developing over the Atlantic which will be the main driving force behind this spell of unsettled weather.

What is the jet stream?

The jet stream is a band of fast moving westerly winds high up in the atmosphere which circle around the pole in the northern hemisphere. It can feature winds of up to 200 knots (230 mph) or more, and these winds tend to guide wet and windy weather systems which come in off the Atlantic.

The jet moves around a fair bit and its position can have a big impact on weather here in the UK depending on where it is.

If the jet is over the UK or just to the south, we tend to get a lot of wet and windy conditions as it brings weather systems straight to us. If the jet is to the north of us, it guides that changeable weather away to the north to leave the UK with more settled conditions.

What’s the jet stream doing now?

Unsurprisingly given the outlook for the next week, with a succession of Atlantic depressions passing by to the northwest of Scotland, the jet is positioned to the northwest of the UK too.

As you can see from the picture below, the jet currently swoops east from Canada – swinging northeast over the Atlantic towards the UK.

Forecast position of jet stream at midday Saturday 14 December 2013

Forecast position of jet stream at midday Saturday 14 December 2013

Closer to the ground very cold air is also streaming south from Canada and meeting warm air moving north from the Caribbean. It is where these two air masses meet under the jet stream that powerful Atlantic depressions form and are blown across the ocean towards our shores.

It is these depressions that bring a significant risk of severe gales and heavy rain affecting at least the northwest of the UK at times.

What’s the weather outlook?

Currently, Met Office National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for wind across some northwestern and northern areas for the weekend. Gusts of 60-70 mph are likely with a risk of gusts to 80 mph or more across exposed parts of northwest Scotland.

However, at this stage there remains uncertainty regarding the extent of the strongest winds and these warnings will be updated as the weather develops over the weekend.

Looking ahead, while we expect further depressions to develop it is not possible to say exactly how vigorous they may be or pinpoint where they will be in a week’s time. This means it is too early to say which areas will experience the strongest winds and heaviest rain, however there are indications that  areas further to the south of the UK may be affected at times.

You can stay up to date with what to expect with our detailed forecasts out to 5-days and our weather warnings, as well as a general view of what we expect out to 30 days and find out what to do in severe weather

You can find out more about the jet stream in our YouTube video.

 





June weather summary video and your pictures

5 07 2013

June began settled and sunny in most areas before becoming more unsettled and cooler. In our video forecaster Helen explains what weather defined June and highlights the warmest, coldest, wettest and windiest places in the UK last month.

Visit our website for a full written summary of June’s weather.

Your June weather pictures

Thank you for sharing your weather pictures with us on Twitter. We’ll be sharing your Great British summer weather pictures each week on our summer pages so keep your pictures coming on Twitter and Instagram – use the hashtag #loveukweather.





Met Office wins Social Buzz award

29 11 2012

Last night the Met Office won the Social Buzz Award for Best Public Sector Social Media Strategy for ‘Sharing the weather when it matters’.

The award is in recognition of the work of the Met Office has been doing to use social media to engage in online conversations about weather and climate, and to share important messages, such as impending severe weather forecasts and warnings, when it matters.

The Met Office has built a community of over 180,000 followers and fans across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and this news blog, sharing and engaging in conversations as varied as how severe weather may affect the UK, Saharan dust reaching the UK, and the Jet Stream.

Dee Cotgrove, Head of Communications at the Met Office said:

“The Met Office Social Media strategy has been a huge success for the Met Office over the past couple of years.  This award recognizes the interest people have in the weather and the important role the Met Office plays in keeping the nation up to date with the latest weather information when it matters.”

More information on the awards and a full list of the winners can be found on the Social Buzz Awards website.

This award follows our Computer Weekly best use of social media award in 2011 and being recognised as the 9th most social brand in Social Brands 100 earlier this year, putting us firmly at the forefront of social media within the public sector.





How do you like your weather summary?

12 09 2012

For the last few months, we have created weather summary videos using satellite imagery and pressure charts, along with our climate summary, to explain the weather we’ve seen in the UK over the past month. We’ve experimented with two different formats for this video – using a presenter on screen to explain the weather or a voice over.

For August, forecaster Charlie Powell explained the weather off screen.

While for July, weather presenter Rob McElwee talked through the weather on screen.





Met Office ranked in top ten social brands

29 05 2012

The Met Office has made it into the top ten social brands in the Headstream Social Brands 100 list for 2012. The Met Office came in joint ninth position and was recognised as the top ranked organisation in the services category.

Our Facebook account fared particularly well and was the eighth top performing brand on this platform. On Twitter, we scored highly for speed of response and mentions of other Twitter accounts.

The ranking takes into account the range of engagement across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and our blog.

Charlotte Howells, Social Media and online communications Manager said: “The weather is something we all love to talk about and we want to be at the centre of those conversations about our ever changing weather and climate. We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised by social brands 100 and look forward to carrying on the conversations we are having with the public about the weather.”

The top 100 brands are put through a rigorous and independent judging process with an expert panel of judges from companies including Google, YouTube and Twitter helping to determine the final ranking position.

Social Brands 100 was created by social specialist agency Headstream in 2011 as an initiative to identify and acknowledge those brands leading the way in the social age. Now in its second year, Social Brands 100 has established a position as one of the leading rankings of social media performance.

You can download the full Social Brands 100 report here.





Long to rain over us

11 05 2012

Weather often makes front page news but today it’s the weather forecaster who has garnered the headlines – as the paper’s focus on the Prince of Wales’ star turn as a presenter.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall both tried their hand at delivering the Met Office weather forecast on the BBC during a tour of BBC Scotland’s Glasgow headquarters yesterday.

While they couldn’t do anything about the wet, windy and rather cold weather – they certainly did an accomplished job at getting the message across.

At one point, the Prince said: “But a cold day everywhere with temperatures of just 8C and a brisk northerly wind. Thank God it isn’t a bank holiday.”

The forecast has been a big hit on the internet, as the forecast has been viewed nearly 100,000 times on YouTube.

It has also created interest around the world, as numerous National Met Services have contacted the Met Office to compliment the Prince’s forecasting skills – suggesting he might be a good new recruit!

This is not the first time the Prince has had a close-up view of the Met Office’s world leading forecast science, as he paid a visit to our Exeter HQ in 2009

As someone with a keen interest in weather and climate change, he used the visit to find out more about our cutting edge capabilities in forecasting and our pioneering climate research. Perhaps that visit was good preparation for his performance yesterday!

At the time of his visit to the Met Office Prince Charles said: “But for somebody like myself who spent at least a little bit of time in the past, when I was serving in the Royal Navy and learning to fly in the Royal Air Force, as you can imagine meteorology was quite an important part of this particular exercise.

“Having understood a little bit about what weather patterns are all about, to me it’s particularly interesting to see what you do here [at the Met Office].”

The Met Office is a leading provider of weather services for the UK’s media industries – providing forecasting solutions for the BBC, ITV, STV and UTV.

We also run TV weather presenter training so others can hone their skills before going in front of the cameras.





Met Office to host NASA Space Apps Challenge

13 04 2012

The NASA Space Apps Challenge is now just over a week away and the Met Office is hosting the lead event for Europe over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd April.

The Met Office building

A number of challenges, presented by Met Office employees, have been accepted by the International Space Apps Challenge and are being followed by participants across the globe.

One of those accepted is the #HazardMap – Real time hazard mapping by scraping social media. This challenge was submitted by Jo Robbins, Weather Impact Research Scientist at the Met Office and Emma Bee, a Geographical Information Specialist who is on placement at the Met Office from the British Geological Survey.

Currently, gathering real-time, on the ground information of a hazard event such as a flood or earthquake as it happens is largely limited to the professional media. Even then it can take time for journalists to report the situation.

However, as was seen during the Japanese Earthquake in 2010, social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr etc) was used extensively to gain situational awareness. Social media was also used by individuals affected by the disaster as a medium to tell their friends and family that they were safe.

The challenge for this project is to see if real-time information about hazard events can be harvested from social media, or other public data, and presented in such a way that is useful to professionals working within an operational hazard centre environment and the general public.

As well as using open government data, Teams at the event will also be using our recently launched DataPoint web service. This gives access to operational UK weather data and observations as well as exploiting other open data sets available from the Met Office and other participating organisations.





Met Office strikes gold at Computer Weekly Social Media Awards

30 11 2011

Last night the Met Office was crowned winner of the ‘Best Use of Social Media in the Public Sector Award’ in the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards sponsored by IBM.

The Met Office beat off stiff competition from a range of other excellent public sector organisations including South Yorkshire Police, the Government Digital Service from the Cabinet Office and Idea Street from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The award recognises our work in using social media to reach you with the latest weather and climate information when it really matters to you, including on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels and of course here in this blog.

Our citation to the Computer Weekly Awards highlighted how we use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and our blog to help keep you up to date about the latest weather so that you know what to expect and how best to deal with all that the British weather can throw at us as a nation.

We are really proud that we have been recognised by you, through a public vote, for using social media in a way that we hope you find engaging, interesting and of course informative when you really need it.

Thank you and keep ‘being social’!





Met Office short-listed for Computer Weekly Social Media Award

14 11 2011
Click on the image to vote for the Met Office in the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards

Click on the image to vote for the Met Office in the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards

Computer Weekly‘s search for the best use of social media in IT is back for its fourth year, in association with IBM, and this blog along with the range of Met Office Social Media we provide has been short-listed for an the ‘Best use of Social Media in the Public Sector’ category. Our Twitter channels, Facebook, YouTube pages and News Blog have been shortlisted for providing you with the latest news and information on all things weather and climate ‘when it matters’.

So if you enjoy what we are doing across all of our social media channels follow the link and vote for the Met Office – Social Media ‘When it Matters‘.

Social Media ‘When it Matters’

We use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and our blog to help keep you up to date about the latest weather so that you know what to expect and how best to deal with all that the British weather can throw at us as a nation.

The Met Office is a world leader in weather and climate services and through our social media channels, we’re reaching over 75,000 people every month so that we can explain our science and keep people up to date with the latest weather news.

During times of severe weather, we use social media for communicating messages quickly and raising awareness. When hurricane Katia crossed the Atlantic, reaching the UK as a post-tropical storm in September, we kept you up to date, day and night, though Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and our blog, Through our 24/7 Twitter presence we were able to provide reassurance and updates on current conditions. Our messages were retweeted many times, helping us to reach an even larger audience.

We produced and issued two YouTube forecasts directly from our forecasters to update you on the progress of the storm – these were promoted through our Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as embedded into our traditional media channels and were watched over 65,000 times.

Thanks to your support, over the last 12 months we have integrated operational 24/7 social media into our communications mix, reaching over 75,000 people every month through our social media channels.

Through active, engaging informative and relevant communications we have increased twitter followers by over 100% and have seen a 1000% increase in engagement. Our Facebook fans have increased by 400% over the same period. We also get three times more visitors to our blog than the same time last year.

You can vote ate at the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards page.





Met Office in the Media: 23 June 2011

23 06 2011

Following a release from E-ON, using date from the Met Office website – Bognor Regis has been crowned one of the sunniest place in Britain.

After studying data from the Met Office, West Sussex has emerged as one of the UK’s sunniest places to live, with 1,902 hours of sunshine every year.  The south coast of England fairs well in the sunshine stakes and the map below highlights some of the sunniest parts of the UK.

Map showing annual sunshine hours for the UK

Map showing annual sunshine hours for the UK

Steven Norman, Renewable Energy Consultant at the Met Office, said: “The Met Office is the primary source of weather information across the UK and our figures dating back many years show that the UK is a far sunnier place than people might think.  For those wanting to find out more about whether solar energy generation would work in their area, we provide a range of services. This includes data sets and maps on solar radiation for your area.”

As both Wimbledon and Glastonbury continue, there is widespread coverage of our forecasts. Both the Daily Mail and GigWise are supporting festival goers by embedding our YouTube forecasts into their stories, ensuring that revellers have access to the latest forecast so that they can make the most of the festival.  Yesterday at Wimbledon, as expected several hours play was lost due to rain. Showers are forecast again today with a 60% risk of showers interrupting play. Of course this means there is still a 40% chance that play won’t be interrupted. Later in the evening it looks like the shower risk will decline leaving a drier end to the day.








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