The Met Office is celebrating a century of scientific forecasting, from the experiments carried out in the trenches of the First World War to the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) forecast system used today.
Mathematician Lewis Fry Richardson acknowledged that pre-First World War weather forecasting practices were fundamentally unscientific: simply matching current weather phenomena with historic records. After conducting a series of weather experiments, Richardson broke new ground with a gridded approach to forecasting. However, it took him more than six weeks to calculate a six-hour forecast for a single location. Nevertheless, his mathematical approach to weather forecasting has become the basis on which today’s forecasting system has been built - but taking far less time to produce!
Research, technological developments and advances in computer power have allowed forecast grid sizes to be cut (i.e. Global Model grid sizes have reduced from 90 km down to 10 km in 30 years) and forecast accuracy to improve: The four day forecast is now as accurate as the one day forecast was 30 years ago.
Find out about the Met Office's latest global model improvements (Source: Met Office YouTube channel):