How cookies are used by the Met Office

Introduction

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the Internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as 'cookies' or 'local storage'. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • enabling a service to recognise your device so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there's enough capacity to ensure they are fast

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet browser cookies - what they are and how to manage them. Please note, where a browser allows, local storage may be used in preference to cookies.

If you'd like to learn how to remove cookies set on your device, visit aboutCookies.org.

First-party cookies

Personalising the home page and weather pages

NameTypical contentExpires
MoWxPreferredLocationuser's preferred forecast location31 days
MOWxFiveDayLocationwidget specific locations31 days
MOWxDaylightLocationwidget specific locations31 days
MOWxLocationLocationwidget specific locations31 days
MOWxPollenLocationwidget specific locations31 days
MOWxUVLocationwidget specific locations31 days
MOWxForecastLocationforecast - for the /weather/forecast pages31 days
MOWxInternationalLocationinternational forecast specific location31 days
MOWxDomesticLocationHistorystores the location history used by the change location modal popup31 days
MOWxInternationalLocationHistorystores the international location history31 days
MOWxTableLayoutstores which weather columns are shown/not shown and order of appearance31 days
MOWxTableLayoutBeachesstores which leisure columns are shown/not shown and order of appearance31 days
MOWxTableLayoutWorldstores which international columns are shown/not shown and order of appearance31 days
MOWxPrefsfor user's various preferences (e.g. language: English, Welsh or Gaelic)31 days
MOWxUnitsuser's preference of units31 days
MOWxWidgetPreferencesuser's selected widgets to be displayed on the home page set via the Customise button31 days

Mobile Browsers

Used to assist Mobile and Handheld Browsers:

NameTypical contentExpires
stop_mobionwhen user exits session

Customising the website navigation

Used to store your side navigation bookmarks, also known as hotspots. This is only used on older parts of the website and its use is being phased out.

NameTypical contentExpires
hotspot[1-30]URL and title of page added to bookmarksone year
hotspotsopened"true" or "false"one year

Winter Olympic weather

Used to store the last viewed position on the map for the Winter Olympics forecasts. This is only used on older parts of the website and its use is being phased out.

NameTypical contentExpires
woMapPoslatitude and longitudeone year

UK weather

Stores hour/day selected on the UK weather forecast/observation map. This is only used on older parts of the website and its use is being phased out.

NameTypical contentExpires
imagenumber[0-24] - used to smooth-out potential image jumps in animation steppingwhen user exits browser
fxlocationThe name of the location-based forecast you are viewing. Forecast location name e.g. "exeter"when user exits browser

Miscellaneous

Many of these are used on older parts of the website and are being phased out.

NameTypical contentExpires
III_EXPT_FILErandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser
III_SESSION_IDrandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser
SESSION_SCOPErandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser
PHPSESSIDrandom letters and numbers4 hours 46 minutes
TWIKISIDrandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser
fontsizelarge< 24 hours
styledefault< 24 hours
__utma102488349.1362695363.1344967123.1344967123.1344967123.12 years
__utmb102488349.0.10.1344967123immediately
__utmc102488349when user exits browser
__utmz(direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)6 months
__utmv immediately
__utmd1immediately

Hide a message

Hides a message informing you that the Met Office website uses cookies.

NameTypical contentExpires
eucookie"1" - to signify a user's acceptance of the cookie policy10 years

Hides a message shown to users of Internet Explorer 6.

NameTypical contentExpires
ie6mustdie"true"when user exits browser

Help diagnose problems

If you are having problems with the Met Office website we may send you a link to a page which will test your browsers capabilities. One of these tests is to see if your browser will accept cookies.

NameTypical contentExpires
testcookie"true"when user exits browser

Premium services

Used by our commercial services to manage which services you have access to.

NameTypical contentExpires
Meto-LocationGroupyour user groupswhen user exits browser
Meto-Subscriptionyour subscriptionswhen user exits browser
Meto-UserAccountyour usernamewhen user exits browser

Used by our commercial services to ensure your session is consistent.

NameTypical contentExpires
amlbcookierandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser

Used to manage sign-on to Met Office services.

NameTypical contentExpires
authpath random letters and numberswhen user exits browser
iPlanetDirectoryProrandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser
AMAuthCookierandom letters and numberswhen user exits browser
midtierservices02when user exits browser
infralogin01when user exits browser

Ensure your session is consistent

Stores which web-server you have connected to in order to provide a consistent session.

NameTypical contentExpires
wearepmsweb[1-6] - represents a web server numberwhen user exits browser

Searching the web site

Set when you use the Search Met Office feature.

NameTypical contentExpires
JSESSIONIDrandomly generated numberwhen user exits browser
__KBLoggedIn__0 or 1 deleted

Embedded weather widget

Set when you use the embedded weather widget.

NameTypical contentExpires
comp2Prefspreferences set in the weather widget30 days

Smarter weather

For smartphones.

NameTypical contentExpires
[1-5]the weather forecast for the next five dayssix days

Flash

Flash storage is frequently used to support Videos or Animations

NameTypical content
www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/flash/s/s/MetOffice.swfmiscellaneous / working storage
www.youtube.com/v/cvf6iZVnG9I?version=3&autohide=1miscellaneous / working storage
www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/flash/k/j/radar.swfmiscellaneous / working storage

Third-party cookies

We use a number of suppliers who may also set cookies on their websites on their behalf.

Measuring website usage (Webtrends Analytics and Google Analytics)

The Met Office uses Webtrends Analytics and Google Analytics to understand how people are using the website and identify areas that can be improved or removed. The Webtrends and Google Analytics cookies are not used to identify individual users, but to produce anonymised statistics on how the site is used. These cookies therefore allows us to recognise and count the number of visitors and to see how visitors move around the site when they're using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works, for example by making sure users are finding what they need easily.

NameTypical contentExpires
WT_FPCyour IP address and a unique ID10 years
_gaanonymous identifier used to distinguish users2 years

Sharing content with other websites

  • Google +1 button
  • Google DFP (DoubleClick For Publishers)
  • AddThis - used by the share this page features on Barometer magazine and some scientific collaboration micro-sites.
  • OpenObjects Search
NameTypical contentExpires
GOOGAPPUID3-digit number6 months
GoogleAdServingTestGoodwhen user exits browser
APISIDRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)10 years
HSIDRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)10 years
NIDRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)6 months
PREFRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)2 years
SAPISIDRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)10 years
SIDRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)10 years
SSIDRandom letters and numbers (set by google.com)10 years
BEATRandom letters and numbers (from plusone.google.com)1 day
pscRandom letters and numbers (set by addthis.com)2 years
ssc"facebook;1"  (set by addthis.com)10 years
sshRandom letters and numbers (set by addthis.com)2 years
sshs"facebook" (set by addthis.com)2 years
uidRandom letters and numbers (set by addthis.com)2 years
uit"1" (set by addthis.com)2 years
uvcRandom letters and numbers (set by addthis.com)2 years
__gadsRandom letters and numbers (set by Google DFP)2 years
__KBCookie__/metoffice/metoffice/Random letters and numbers (set by OpenObjects Search)when user exits browser

Note that the third party cookie list above is a snap-shot example and liable to change without notice

Embedded media and other external sources of cookies

  • YouTube.com
  • Twitter.com
  • WebTrendsLive.com
  • DoubleClick.net
  • FCO.gov.uk
  • Pixel.QuantServe.com
  • Maps.Google.com
  • D1.Openx.org
  • WembleyStadium.com
  • Search.Yahoo.com
  • Digg.com
  • StumpleUpon.com
  • Delicious.com
  • Reddit.com
  • Lib.Exeter.ac.uk
  • Subscribe.Wordpress.com
  • MetOfficeNews.Wordpress.com
  • ServedBy.FlashTalking.com
  • Accounts.Google.com

Effective advertising

To enable advertisers to ensure that adverts you see are relevant. These will come from doubleclick.net but may also come from third party advertisers such as MDN or OpenX.

Affiliate tracking cookies

The Met Office may participate in affiliate schemes with third party advertisers. As a result of such schemes, if you click on any advertisement on our website, our advertisers may place a cookie on your machine to indicate that you visited the Met Office website before clicking on the advertisement. The purpose of these cookies is to show that you were referred to a merchant by the Met Office. Should you wish to refuse these cookies, please follow the advice below.

How to control and delete cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you.

However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our websites, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The 'Help' function within your browser should tell you how.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit AboutCookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your machine as well as more general information about cookies.

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of our website.

If you wish to view your cookie code, just click on a cookie to open it. You'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the server that gave you the cookie. For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

To opt-out of third-parties collecting any data regarding your interaction on our website, please refer to their websites for further information.

Last updated: 11 September 2014