How accurate are our public forecasts?
When it comes to accurate forecasts, the Met Office stands above the crowd. Here are just some of the reasons to trust us.
- Our global Numerical Weather Prediction model, the foundation of our accurate weather provision, is recognised as a world leading National Met Service model verified* using standards defined by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Relied on by experts
- World-leading accuracy is essential to the safety of life. The Met Office is one of just two World Area Forecasting Centres that advise airlines operating right across the globe.
- The high level of trust in our forecast accuracy is underlined by the fact that our model is used under licence by six other forecast centres and over 50 research centres around the world.
- We continually push to improve our accuracy. The Met Office’s four day forecast is now as accurate as our one day forecast was 30 years ago.
A measure of our progress is that 92.5% of the Met Office’s next day temperature forecasts are accurate within 2 degree C and 92% of the Met Office’s next day wind speed forecasts are correct within 5 knots.
Trusted when it matters
- We use our accurate forecasting skill to warn the Government, public, emergency responders and businesses of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause danger to life or widespread disruption to property and key infrastructure.
- We help protect UK forces on exercises and missions around the world.
- Our space weather forecasts help keep the world’s technology safe from solar flares.
Protecting lives at sea for over 150 years
We have been providing uninterrupted marine forecasts since 1867.
When compared against our best estimate of the actual wind speed our verification systems1 indicate that during 2020:
- Our inshore waters and shipping forecasts were 91% and 86% correct
A gale warning was issued for 95% of gales that occurred
At least a near gale occurred during 89% of issued gale warnings
World’s most powerful environmental supercomputer
- Our weather models harness the processing power and computational capacity of our supercomputer, helping us provide even more detailed data and forecasts and earlier warnings of severe weather.
- Supercomputing capability has helped us increase the resolution of our models to 1500m in the UK and 10km globally and also to run many more global and UK forecasts in the form of “ensembles” which allow us to assess the risks and uncertainties in every weather forecast, thus providing high resolution forecasts even further in advance.
- Our expert physicists and mathematicians use their combined skills in developing our weather models
- Highly trained operational meteorologists analyse our weather data to deliver the most up-to-date accurate forecasts.
- The Met Office Academic Partnership is a formal collaboration between ourselves and a cluster of UK universities that are leaders in weather and climate science (UCL, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Leeds, University of Oxford, University of Reading, Edinburgh University and Birmingham University) to advance the science and skill of weather and climate prediction.
- We began taking observations over 150 years ago and today our network of weather stations in the UK and around the world provide us with millions of observations each day.
- Billions of observations are received at the Met Office every day from satellites, radar, weather stations, ocean buoys, weather balloons and ships. Many of these measurements feed into the models used to make our accurate forecasts.
- We work closely with the Environment Agency to build and operate a sophisticated weather radar network which contributes to increased forecast accuracy, particularly in severe weather.
Breaking new boundaries
- By contributing to the UK Space Agency Satellite Programme, we increase our understanding of how the atmosphere works. The next generation of satellites (MeteoSat 3rd) will lead to even greater enhancement of our forecast accuracy.
- The Met Office is rated as the strongest of the main digital weather forecast providers in terms of consumer perceptions of accuracy, with a Consumer Accuracy Index of 76.4 for first and second providers, compared to an average of 74.8 for the other digital brands surveyed. (Independent research from Walnut Unlimited, Perceptions of Accuracy, January 2022, monitored quarterly).
- 80% of the public trust the Met Office to provide weather and climate services. (You Gov Trust Tracker survey, February 2023)
- The Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG) set the Met Office a challenging annual target level of 79% for the public perceptions of accuracy, rising to 80% by 2026.
1 For details of our verification methodology see Sharpe MA. 2013. Verification of Marine Forecasts using an Objective Area Forecast Verification System Meteorol. Appl.20(2): 224-235