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

Name Typical content Expires
MoWxPreferredLocation user's preferred forecast location 31 days
MOWxFiveDayLocation widget specific locations 31 days
MOWxDaylightLocation widget specific locations 31 days
MOWxLocationLocation widget specific locations 31 days
MOWxPollenLocation widget specific locations 31 days
MOWxUVLocation widget specific locations 31 days
MOWxForecastLocation forecast - for the /weather/forecast pages 31 days
MOWxInternationalLocation international forecast specific location 31 days
MOWxDomesticLocationHistory stores the location history used by the change location modal popup 31 days
MOWxInternationalLocationHistory stores the international location history 31 days
MOWxTableLayout stores which weather columns are shown/not shown and order of appearance 31 days
MOWxTableLayoutBeaches stores which leisure columns are shown/not shown and order of appearance 31 days
MOWxTableLayoutWorld stores which international columns are shown/not shown and order of appearance 31 days
MOWxPrefs for user's various preferences (e.g. language: English, Welsh or Gaelic) 31 days
MOWxUnits user's preference of units 31 days
MOWxWidgetPreferences user's selected widgets to be displayed on the home page set via the Customise button 31 days

Mobile Browsers

Used to assist Mobile and Handheld Browsers:

Name Typical content Expires
stop_mobi on when 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.

Name Typical content Expires
hotspot[1-30] URL and title of page added to bookmarks one 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.

Name Typical content Expires
woMapPos latitude and longitude one 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.

Name Typical content Expires
imagenumber [0-24] - used to smooth-out potential image jumps in animation stepping when user exits browser
fxlocation The 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.

Name Typical content Expires
III_EXPT_FILE random letters and numbers when user exits browser
III_SESSION_ID random letters and numbers when user exits browser
SESSION_SCOPE random letters and numbers when user exits browser
PHPSESSID random letters and numbers 4 hours 46 minutes
TWIKISID random letters and numbers when user exits browser
fontsize large < 24 hours
style default < 24 hours
__utma 102488349.1362695363.1344967123.1344967123.1344967123.1 2 years
__utmb 102488349.0.10.1344967123 immediately
__utmc 102488349 when user exits browser
__utmz (direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none) 6 months
__utmv   immediately
__utmd 1 immediately

Hide a message

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

Name Typical content Expires
eucookie "1" - to signify a user's acceptance of the cookie policy 10 years

Hides a message shown to users of Internet Explorer 6.

Name Typical content Expires
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.

Name Typical content Expires
testcookie "true" when user exits browser

Premium services

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

Name Typical content Expires
Meto-LocationGroup your user groups when user exits browser
Meto-Subscription your subscriptions when user exits browser
Meto-UserAccount your username when user exits browser

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

Name Typical content Expires
amlbcookie random letters and numbers when user exits browser

Used to maintain your session when you click "Stay Logged in".

Name Typical content Expires
DProPCookie random letters and numbers 1 month

Used to manage sign-on to Met Office services.

Name Typical content Expires
authpath random letters and numbers when user exits browser
iPlanetDirectoryPro random letters and numbers when user exits browser
AMAuthCookie random letters and numbers when user exits browser
midtier services02 when user exits browser
infra login01 when user exits browser

Ensure your session is consistent

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

Name Typical content Expires
weare pmsweb[1-6] - represents a web server number when user exits browser

Searching the web site

Set when you use the Search Met Office feature.

Name Typical content Expires
JSESSIONID randomly generated number when user exits browser
__KBLoggedIn__ 0 or 1 deleted

Embedded weather widget

Set when you use the embedded weather widget.

Name Typical content Expires
comp2Prefs preferences set in the weather widget 30 days

Smarter weather

For smartphones.

Name Typical content Expires
[1-5] the weather forecast for the next five days six days

Flash

Flash storage is frequently used to support Videos or Animations

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

Name Typical content Expires
WT_FPC your IP address and a unique ID 10 years
_ga anonymous identifier used to distinguish users 2 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
Name Typical content Expires
GOOGAPPUID 3-digit number 6 months
GoogleAdServingTest Good when user exits browser
APISID Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 10 years
HSID Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 10 years
NID Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 6 months
PREF Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 2 years
SAPISID Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 10 years
SID Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 10 years
SSID Random letters and numbers (set by google.com) 10 years
BEAT Random letters and numbers (from plusone.google.com) 1 day
psc Random letters and numbers (set by addthis.com) 2 years
ssc "facebook;1"  (set by addthis.com) 10 years
ssh Random letters and numbers (set by addthis.com) 2 years
sshs "facebook" (set by addthis.com) 2 years
uid Random letters and numbers (set by addthis.com) 2 years
uit "1" (set by addthis.com) 2 years
uvc Random letters and numbers (set by addthis.com) 2 years
__gads Random 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: 19 September 2014