DIY Weather Forecasting
I thought that now I’m away from the weather security provided to me by the UK Met Office, this would be a good opportunity to share some of the websites that I use to put weather forecasts together. The Met Office is quite protective of some of its computer models and I used secure logins to access that data.
Working at Al Jazeera, we do have a weather data provider but because of the nature of global weather we have to access a wide range of data to give the best forecast for so many countries and continents.
So below is a list of websites I regularly use and some comments about them. Most sites give data about current weather. Without a good grasp of the current situation there is no way you can begin to predict what will happen in the future.
By using this data will you be able to call yourself a weather forecaster? Well, you can call yourself one if you wish. It’s not quite like impersonating a doctor. No one will arrest you and you might get away with impersonating a weather forecaster longer than you would a doctor.
There is a mass of weather information on the web
As a forecaster, part of my job is trying to understand weather processes. For this I have many years of training and experience behind me. The experience I have accumulated over the years helps me to interpret data and ascertain whether the result of that analysis will impact upon my customers (the viewers.)
And we live in an age where there is almost too much data. I see it as part of my job to filter out the extraneous data and focus on what is relevant. With all of this in mind, here are some, though not all, of the sites I use here at AL Jazeera. I have tried to group them as best I can:
www.metbrief.com - An excellent site with links to tropical forecasts, global observations and aviation forecasts (TAFS) and actual weather (METARS).
www.allmetsat.com – A similar site. Links to satellite imagery from University of Dundee. Very useful section on climate data. Good marine data.
www.weathercharts.org – An amazing site. Perhaps a little unwieldy because there is so much there. But within this one site there is more weather than you can shake a stick at. I have used this sites to extract particular sites further down this page. But a browse through here can see you looking at webcams on the Greenland plateau or the latest on El Nino.
www.greatweather.co.uk – Another good umbrella site. On the second page it has useful links to meteorological equipment manufacturers – something I’m often asked about.
http://severe.worldweather.org/ - World Meteorological Organisation site. Has a map which allows you to click on regions of interest. It will take you to forecasts for typhoons and hurricanes but it will allow you to access 24 hour rainfall readings.
www.coolwx.com – Then click on the chart on the bottom right. This is such a clever site but so useful in my current job. It gives an indication of where weather records are being approached or broken across the globe, based on a huge synoptic database. A word of warning though; you may find that the record is only a daily record. For example, the record temperature may be the highest temperature recorded for that particular day, not the month as a whole. For that, you need to scroll down to the bottom.
www.weather.org a very useful site which has severe weather links
www.metservice.com - great for New Zealand weather, if only to see Dan Corbett in full flow.
I need to spend more time on this section, but ECMWF produces the most accurate forecast for Europe:
(Some of the sites I use have secure access. A death squad would be dispatched to deal with me if I divulged the details.)
European Storm Forecast Experiment gives an idea of possible extreme weather in advance:
http://aviationweather.gov/obs/sat/intl/ - I usually begin my shift by looking at the satellite images from around the globe, highlighting particular likely areas of interest.
http://oiswww.eumetsat.org/IPPS/html/MSG/ - a full range of RGB (Red, Green, Blue false colour images). Can be very useful for picking out developing sandstorms across the Gulf region.
http://www.sat24.com/?culture=en&ir=false – Nice scrolling latest image covering the whole of Western Europe.
http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html - Weather balloon reports from across the globe courtesy of the University of Wyoming
www.blitzortung.org – Lightning strikes recorded across Europe.
www.ogimet.com - a great site for accessing the last period of weather date. Go onto the 'country summary', select a country and them see what the max/min/rainfall has been over the preceding 24 hours. Plus you can go back over several days. therre is also a monthly summary which is very useful.
http://www.srh.noaa_gov/srh/jetstream/tropics/enso_impacts.htm - Explains why much of the world’s weather is in its current state
http://www.weatherimages.org/weathercams/world.html - there may be better sites out there but this one gives a selection from across the globe.
I'll had more sites over the next few weeks - promise.