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Weather "Further Ahead"

meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
edited January 2013 in Commuting chat
Does anybody else find the BBC website's "Further Ahead" addition to the weather completely useless?

Take the forecast for next Friday (8th Feb)

The high might be 10C

or it might be 1C

The low might be 8C

or it might be -4C

The wind, however, will be a 23mph westerly (really?)

I know forecasting weather ahead of time is difficult but does anybody find the information above even slightly useful?
ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH

Posts

  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    The BBC weather in general is rubbish.

    All the weather (have a look at the key) is the same colour on top of that miserable grey sludge for land.
    exercise.png
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    BBC Weather report: Stuff will happen. Possibly.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
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  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    BBC weather is rubbish but the Accuweather app I have on my phone is consistently bang on the money right down to the hour. No wind data on the app though which is a bit rubbish.
    Kinesis Racelite 4s disc
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    Canyon Roadlite Al 7.0 - reborn as single speed!
    Felt Z85 - mangled by taxi.
  • Paul EPaul E Posts: 2,052
    MrSweary wrote:
    BBC weather is rubbish but the Accuweather app I have on my phone is consistently bang on the money right down to the hour. No wind data on the app though which is a bit rubbish.

    The version of that app I have on my nexus 7 has wind data speed, gust and direction, it's been accurate so far.
    bartman100 wrote:
    The OP is a troll = moron
    The OP actually believes this = moron
  • Since when has the weather forecast been an accurate science? The clue is in the name 'forecast': verb, to predict or estimate :/
  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    The best weather I have come across is the Norwegian weather site yr.no. The Norwegians take their weather very seriously. Check out the London weather - complete with live webcams.

    http://www.yr.no/place/United_Kingdom/England/London/
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Met Office Met Office Met Office. I have no idea why anyone thinks that the alternatives will be better. Eg Metro looking at The Weather Channel forecast for the weekend and predicting widespread snow on Friday. Met Office reckon rain on Friday and some wintery showers on Saturday. It could go either way but the chances are far stronger that the Met Office prediction is right. The Weather Channel are just gambling that they'll get kudos if they are right and that it won't be noticed if they are wrong.

    Main failure in the Met Office is how it provides the forecasst - but ultimately, it is the forecast itself that counts rather than its presentation.
    Does anybody else find the BBC website's "Further Ahead" addition to the weather completely useless?

    Take the forecast for next Friday (8th Feb)

    The high might be 10C

    or it might be 1C

    The low might be 8C

    or it might be -4C

    The wind, however, will be a 23mph westerly (really?)

    I know forecasting weather ahead of time is difficult but does anybody find the information above even slightly useful?

    You need to look at them on a regular basis. Is that variance 10 days ahead normally that wide? Narrower? Broader? 10 days away uncertainty will be high. There is a lot going on at the moment so if you expect a front to go through next Thursday night, but instead it goes through a day later, the basic facts might be absolutely correct but the timings way out. You can make a much better forecast of your commute time into Inverness than you can of another commute all the way to London. Bottom line is that the current 3 day forecasts are more accurate than the 1 day forecasts of the 1970s. I can pretty much rely on a 3 day forecast. 5 days gives me a feel for what might happen. I wouldn't even look at a 10 day forecast but there'll still be useful info in there - you just have to be realistic about the variance in the forecast which is never adequately provided (basically because the general public generally isn't smart enough to understand it).
    Faster than a tent.......
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Rolf F wrote:
    You need to look at them on a regular basis. Is that variance 10 days ahead normally that wide?

    I do - and they are normally that rubbish.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting them to be more "accurate" or "precise" - I'm just questioning the point of the BBC sharing them at all. I could have forecast something along the lines of "The weather won't be drastically different from what it normally is for this time of year" which is what this "Further Ahead" forecast is. What I do find absurd is the wind prediction. I tend to pay quite a bit of attention to the wind because it's windy up here. Forecasts of the wind speed, in particular, are rarely right for two days out let alone 10.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    To be fair, half the problem is that the public are too dense to understand probability. Early last year we were forecasting for what the likely water resource situation would be through the summer. At that time of course, we were in full drought mode. Then it chucks down with rain for the rest of the year and since then it's all been about the floods. People would accuse us of getting the forecast wrong but we didn't. In this case, our probabilities showed that it was overwhelmingly likely that we would have severe water shortages throughout the year. However, some scenarios did produce excessively high rainfall that would kill the drought straight off. Not many but they were there. And what happened was extremely unlikely but it was within the range of predicted scenarios.

    If the BBC gave (and explained) likelihoods, then people might better understand what they are told.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I did once write to the BBC asking them to include likelihoods but they pretty much said that - people were too stupid to understand. Wunderground does and it's helpful.

    All I really want is enough indication of what clothes to wear (carry) for the commute home and maybe a pointer on which will be the crappier days in the week so, if I need to take the car one day, I can pick the worst weather.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • BBC consistently "overforecast" - this morning was another classic example. All I want is a reasonably reliable 12-18 hour forecast so I know whether to wear shorts or an aqualung....
    "Get a bicycle. You won't regret it if you live"
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,846
    I cannot believe the local BBC forecast just said snow is possible on Friday
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
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    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    All I really want is enough indication of what clothes to wear (carry) for the commute home and maybe a pointer on which will be the crappier days in the week so, if I need to take the car one day, I can pick the worst weather.

    I suspect being on the lee of the Pennines helps for a more accurate forecast but I can't remember when the standard 3 day Met Office forecast failed me in this respect. But it does help if you can read between the lines a bit.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Rolf F wrote:
    All I really want is enough indication of what clothes to wear (carry) for the commute home and maybe a pointer on which will be the crappier days in the week so, if I need to take the car one day, I can pick the worst weather.

    I suspect being on the lee of the Pennines helps for a more accurate forecast but I can't remember when the standard 3 day Met Office forecast failed me in this respect. But it does help if you can read between the lines a bit.

    In most situations I can actually reasonably well get a handle on the day's weather myself. It helps that 90% of the time we just get the West coast's weather a bit later than them.

    What's harder is when it's 8C and blowing a gale outside and the forecast says by morning commute it will be fog and freezing
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • bushubushu Posts: 711
    All i want to know is "can i take these effing winter marathons off!?" the wind is bad enough but when velcro'd to the road too i am exhausted an usually too warm in this stupidly mild january weather - though taking a layer off and the wind/rain will make sure i freeze :? not so much MTFU but punishment for finally having the right kit..
  • bushubushu Posts: 711
    oh and still managing to acquire headwinds to and from work, this isnt karma - vendetta maybe? :?
    i'm loving the odd crosswind i've had from these gales this week..
  • verylonglegsverylonglegs Posts: 3,519
    I did notice the 'further' forecast last year in June when it gave a temperature range for the week ahead of 14-26C. I remember thinking you could probably forecast that range for June sometime in Feb and still not be far wrong.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,846
    regardless of weather this time of year I'm forced to carry wet, dry and cold weather gear as well as my work clothes, basically we can get all types of winter weather in the same day.

    Proper pita
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 19,292
    Rolf F wrote:
    All I really want is enough indication of what clothes to wear (carry) for the commute home and maybe a pointer on which will be the crappier days in the week so, if I need to take the car one day, I can pick the worst weather.

    I suspect being on the lee of the Pennines helps for a more accurate forecast but I can't remember when the standard 3 day Met Office forecast failed me in this respect. But it does help if you can read between the lines a bit.

    In most situations I can actually reasonably well get a handle on the day's weather myself. It helps that 90% of the time we just get the West coast's weather a bit later than them.

    What's harder is when it's 8C and blowing a gale outside and the forecast says by morning commute it will be fog and freezing

    Has nobody posted the weather forecasting stone yet? There's a very good demonstration of why long range forecasts are just a guess. People like the Met Office run lots of simulations of the weather, each with fractionally different inputs. Over about three days, the simulations will all give roughly the same output. As you stretch that to five days, they start to diverge, and after ten days, there's almost no discernable pattern to the results. Chaos, innit.

    http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/ClimateChanging/ClimateScienceInfoZone/ExploringEarthsclimate/1point2/1point2point1.aspx
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
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  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    rjsterry wrote:
    and after ten days, there's almost no discernable pattern to the results. Chaos, innit.

    Yup - that's really my point: why do the BBC bother publishing it?
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    itboffin wrote:
    regardless of weather this time of year I'm forced to carry wet, dry and cold weather gear as well as my work clothes, basically we can get all types of winter weather in the same day.

    Proper pita

    Really? I'm surprised. Even I've only once or twice brought a spare baselayer of different thickness or, alternatively, a lighter jersey to give me the odd option (usually due to it being warmer than expected). Unless the weather is planning to cane it down in the morning, the only "waterproof" layer I have is a thin windproof packable. As long as I don't get drowned in the morning, an hour isn't enough to really soak through the layer underneath. And for the homebound commute, I don't have to worry about putting wet kit on later so it doesn't really matter if it rains heavily.
    rjsterry wrote:
    and after ten days, there's almost no discernable pattern to the results. Chaos, innit.

    Yup - that's really my point: why do the BBC bother publishing it?

    Because they are stupid? Because they underestimate the stupidity of their audience? Who knows. Thing is though, the long range forecasts can work - if the weather is stable you can quite easily point to it remaining the same for ten days. And you can probably point some time ahead to when it will break down. But then when it is like it is now, it's anyones guess. What they should do is publish forecasts to varied distances ahead proportionate to confidence. But that would confuse the public.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Yeah - I rarely bring much "just in case" clothing - though that's partly because the Assos 851 stuff (the AirJack and the Early Winter Gloves) is so flexible and will handle a wide range of conditions (nearly as wide as the "Further Out" weather forecasts :shock: ). A large tub of MTFU fills the gaps :wink:

    I hear what you say about the great British public, Rolf F. That said, part of the charm of the UK is the unpredictability of our weather because there's so many variables.

    The easy solution is that I'll just stop looking
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    Rolf F wrote:
    Because they are stupid? Because they underestimate the stupidity of their audience? Who knows. Thing is though, the long range forecasts can work - if the weather is stable you can quite easily point to it remaining the same for ten days. And you can probably point some time ahead to when it will break down. But then when it is like it is now, it's anyones guess. What they should do is publish forecasts to varied distances ahead proportionate to confidence. But that would confuse the public.

    But all you're really doing is saying that it will revert to what it normally is at that time of year.
    It might turn out like that, it might not (with various probabilities).

    Is the met adding anything? Is there any point in anyone reporting it?
    exercise.png
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    The Met is adding plenty. Trouble is that a 'most likely' scenario can have a 40% probability of occuring - ie it is less likely to happen than it will happen. However, if you know what the outcomes of the other forecasts are, you can still make a useful judgement. Eg if the forecast is 40% medium/light rain, 30% heavy rain, 20% dry and 10% snow then I'll wear a rainjacket and I won't bother with the boots. The problem is that nobody wants that sort of forecast so we don't get it. But that's what raw output of the models gives you.

    How boring would it be if it was sunny every day!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 19,292
    Rolf F wrote:
    itboffin wrote:
    regardless of weather this time of year I'm forced to carry wet, dry and cold weather gear as well as my work clothes, basically we can get all types of winter weather in the same day.

    Proper pita

    Really? I'm surprised. Even I've only once or twice brought a spare baselayer of different thickness or, alternatively, a lighter jersey to give me the odd option (usually due to it being warmer than expected). Unless the weather is planning to cane it down in the morning, the only "waterproof" layer I have is a thin windproof packable. As long as I don't get drowned in the morning, an hour isn't enough to really soak through the layer underneath. And for the homebound commute, I don't have to worry about putting wet kit on later so it doesn't really matter if it rains heavily.

    Same here, except my only jacket is an Altura Night Vision which is a sweat bath at anything above freezing, so most of the time, I just get wet. ITB's problem is the split commute with 40 minutes of hanging around on a train in potentially sopping wet/sweaty kit, before a short ride across town, which isn't enough to warm up/dry out.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
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