What do Weather People do?
The Met Office was formed in 1854, with the aim of helping sailors know what was happening to the weather. Even before this time people kept weather diaries.
Who uses weather data?
The general public
Millions of people watch or listen to the weather forecast every day, or look in a newspaper or on a web site to see what the weather is going to be like. They can also get information over the telephone from services such as Weathercall or Marinecall.
|Fig 1: Man listening to the radio.|
It is very important that airports and aircraft receive the most up-to-date information on the weather. Airline pilots receive information from weather forecasts, to help them plan how much fuel to carry and which route they should fly.
It is vital that farmers receive information about the weather. If they are spraying crops, they need to know the direction and speed of the wind. If they are harvesting, they will need to know when fine weather is due.
|Fig 2: Bearded farmer.|
The Met Office provides special information for ships and small boats. On BBC radio 4 the Shipping Forecast tells them what the conditions will be like out at sea. The Inshore Forecast tells yachts and small boats what it will be like nearer land.
Builders need weather forecasts when they are working on the construction of new buildings. They need to know what the weather is going to be like because they may be bringing in specialist equipment or laying concrete. High winds can stop cranes from working.
|Fig 3: Bricklayer.|
Bad weather can cause a lot of damage and so the Met Office issues special severe weather warnings; these go out on television, radio and web sites. The Storm Tide Forecasting Service watches for high tides and sends out warnings to areas which might be flooded.
The Met Office provides information about weather conditions to the RAF and Army, to ensure that their operations are carried out safely.
The Royal Navy has its own forecaster network.
|Fig 4: Royal Air Force pilot.|
Web page reproduced with the kind permission of the Met Office