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Weather Forecasting Science and Service Delivery. Gerald Fleming. Met Services. Scientific training informs culture Exact use of words and phrases Tradition of scientific papers Information needs study and thought Command of detail Emphasis on routine services Interchangeability of staff

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Weather Forecasting Science and Service Delivery

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Weather forecasting science and service delivery l.jpg

Weather ForecastingScience and Service Delivery

Gerald Fleming


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Met Services

  • Scientific training informs culture

  • Exact use of words and phrases

    • Tradition of scientific papers

    • Information needs study and thought

  • Command of detail

  • Emphasis on routine services

    • Interchangeability of staff

    • Procedures before people


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Scientist Stereotypes

  • Introverted

  • Serious

  • Earnest

  • Precise

  • Intense

  • Disconnected from the ordinary world

  • Bookish


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Media and Media People

  • Creative training and background

  • Competing for attention – shouting loudest

  • Concept of Editorial Responsibility

  • Different media have different drivers;

    • TV, Internet – Strength of Images

    • Radio – Voice Quality

    • Newspapers – Writing Quality (story telling)

  • All are PERSONALITY driven


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Media Stereotypes

  • Talkative

  • Loud

  • Emotional

  • Partying / Drinking / etc

  • Self-centered

  • Self-important

  • Shallow


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Meteorology and the Media

  • There are commonalities (especially with weather scientists?)

    • Curiosity

    • Value Experience

    • Work in a time-bound manner

  • Weather Broadcasters speak to both sides

    • Draw suspicion from both sides!


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Public Service and the Media

  • Media are always a special case!

    • A “medium” to other, ultimate, users.

    • Will have a large say in shaping the weather services offered through them.

    • May impede feedback from ultimate users to NMHSs

  • Media are partly a client and partly a “medium”.

  • NMHS must satisfy two different sets of requirements.


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Remembering our beginnings...

  • Meteorology (in the modern sense) was conceived as a response to a problem – the loss of sailing ships in stormy weather.

  • The development of Meteorology was greatly driven by the needs of Aviation in the middle years of the 20th century.

  • Since then the development has been driven primarily by science, especially through Numerical Weather Prediction and Remote Sensing technologies.


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A Complex Challenge

  • The development of our science has brought us the capability of providing a lot of useful information to society.

  • Society itself has become much more complex, and there is a wide diversity of need, from the most under-developed countries to the most developed.

  • The problems facing society are many and multi-faceted.

  • The connections between daily life and Meteorology are not as obvious as they once were.

  • We must work harder to embed our products and services in business and in society.


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Credibility

  • Cannot over-emphasise the importance of personal contact.

  • Humans invest credibility in other humans – not necessarily in systems or organisations.

  • The NMHS contact point to the user personifies the service.

  • This person carries the brand of the NMHS

  • Careful selection and training of suitable people is required.


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The Web – a special case

  • Has vastly increased the amount of available weather information.

  • Driven by ease of use and ease of access.

  • Has weakened the importance of the personality as presenter of weather.

  • This will change as bandwidth increases and compression techniques improve.

  • A challenge to NMHSs – can we also become good broadcasters?


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WMO Guidelines on Weather Presentation

  • Prepared by weather forecasters / broadcasters / experts.

  • Published on the WMO Website

  • URL: www.wmo.int/pages/prog/amp/pwsp/publicationsguidelines_en.htm

  • Easier URL: www.iabm.org


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Weather Broadcast Guidelines

  • Presenting the Weather – the challenge

    • Building a story from the “facts”

    • How much can you put in?

    • Filtering and funneling

    • Threading the facts together

    • Reiteration

    • Ending with a punch


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Weather Broadcast Guidelines

  • Visualising the weather story

    • Television is a visual medium

    • Different tools for different situations

    • Strengths and weaknesses of graphic systems

    • Visual structure of the forecast

    • Composition of the charts

    • Timing

  • Does it make sense with the sound down?


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Weather Broadcast Guidelines

  • Effective use of Language

    • Breaking free from the language of science

    • Breaking free from cliché

    • Weather is a sensory experience

    • Clarity and Enthusiasm are important

    • Pausing, Punching

    • Breaking free from bad habits

    • Don’t be afraid to be different


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Weather Broadcast Guidelines

  • The Communication of Uncertainty

    • A new, and growing area

    • Ensemble techniques give probability forecasts

    • How best to describe and communicate these?

    • Need to preserve the confidence of the viewer

    • Communicate uncertainty in words or in figures?

  • Very important for:

    • Hurricane/storm forecast tracks

    • Seasonal outlooks


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Radio Broadcast Guidelines

  • Guidelines published on Weather Broadcasting for Radio

  • The Importance of the Voice

    • Clarity

    • Pacing

    • Pitch

    • Accent

    • Scripting


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What is a forecast for?

  • A forecast is an OUTPUT of our work.

  • It acts as an INPUT to decision-making by users.

  • Decision-making can be simple or sophisticated

  • The decision is the ultimate OUTCOME.

  • A forecast is USELESS until someone uses it to make a decision!


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Information into Knowledge

  • Must package and share the information

  • Users apply knowledge to their own problems

  • Probabilistic products need careful interpretation

  • Decisions are normally deterministic


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How do we experience weather?

  • The wind, the rain, the temperature..

  • Weather is a Tactile Experience

  • The primary “organ” through which we experience weather is our skin!

  • We cannot measure feelings – so we “observe” the weather with instrumentation.


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One description of the process of weather forecasting…..

  • Feel the weather

  • Define the elements of weather

  • Measure the elements

  • Collect the measurements

  • Calculate the evolution of the elements

  • Represent the results (words, graphs, pictures…)

  • Describe how it will feel


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One description of the process of weather forecasting…..

  • Feel the weather

  • Define the elements of weather

  • Measure the elements

  • Collect the measurements

  • Calculate the evolution of the elements

  • Represent the results (words, graphs, pictures…)

  • Describe how it will feel


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The basics of weather forecasting

  • Find out what is happening now

  • Understand the dynamics of the atmosphere

  • Predict where the weather systems will be tomorrow

  • What does that mean for the wind, the rain, the temperatures??


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Process of producing a forecast

  • Feel the weather as you step outside the door!

  • Examine the situation NOW

    • Observations

    • Satellite imagery

    • Radar Imagery

    • Synoptic chart

    • Upper-air chart

    • Tephigram


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Process of producing a forecast

  • Look back – history of the weather over the previous days (it helps if you were working yesterday!)

  • Examine the airmasses

    • warm / cold

    • dry / moist

    • stable / unstable


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Process of producing a forecast

  • Time to look forward

  • Examine time-series of prognostic charts (“progs”)

  • Range of different elements

  • Variety of different models

  • Variety of temporal and spatial resolution

  • Areas of coverage


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Process of producing a forecast

  • Model parameters

    • Surface pressure

    • Upper-air geopotential height

    • Upper-air temperatures

    • 850hPa θw

    • Surface precipitation

    • Winds; surface, 950hPa, 500hPa, Jetstream


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Process of producing a forecast

  • Range of models known as the “Poor Mans Ensemble”

  • Can demonstrate significant differences in the synoptic evolution

  • How do we reconcile these?


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Process of producing a forecast

  • History – which models have been performing best in the recent past.

  • Prejudice, or favouritism!

  • Consideration of model strengths, especially vis-à-vis the synoptic situation

  • Is there a reason for the divergence?

    • Developments in observation-poor regions

    • Extra-tropical transitions


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Format the Forecast

  • Words

    • To be read

    • To be spoken

  • Images

    • Technical, e.g. synoptic chart

    • Simpler – weather icons

  • Numbers

    • e.g. temperature, Beaufort Force

    • Tables for specialised users (e.g. wave height, period)


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Presenting the Forecast

  • How much meaning comes through WHAT we say?

  • 7% !!

  • How much from HOW we say it?

  • 38% !

  • The rest – 55% - from how we LOOK when we are saying it. (Albert Mehrabian)


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Good Knowledge

Look Presentable

Be Organised

Take Charge of the Studio

Tell the story in a clear, concise manner

Be Natural

Good Eyeline and Eye Contact

Pitching and pausing

Explain the technical terms

Funnel the information down to the forecast message

Ten Guidelines of Good Weather Broadcasting


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