A World Weather Forecast in 75 Seconds
Yes, one minute and fifteen seconds; that is how long we have to cover the world weather in each of our forecasts here at Al Jazeera.
Actually that is an almost impossible task. But we do try and cover as much of the globe as we can throughout the day, focussing on where the most significant weather is happening.
Smoke and mirrors: In front of the 'green screen'
It is only the polar regions which we don't cover. So the jokes about it being "...really easy to forecast hot and sunny, out there, Richard!' are a far cry from what we actually do out here.
In actual fact, Gulf weather can be quite tricky. When the weather is not hot and sunny it can be quite hazardous. Sandstorms can really make life here difficult. Planes get grounded. Rain out here, which does happen during the winter months, can make the roads extremely slippery. People forget what to do in wet weather. There are accidents everywhere.
Thanks to Mark Hemus for the screengrab
So what does Al Jazeera Weather consist of? Well we broadcast to parts of the world as they wake up and tune in. No point of doing a morning forecast out here, covering the United States - everyone over there will still be in bed. You have to be very aware that 'today' is someone else's 'tomorrow' or even 'yesterday'.
So our graphics system is a bit like Google Earth. You can move from one part of the globe to another, showing satellite imagery and forecasts, mainly for the next one to two days. But we also try and bring the weather to life by showing weather events as they unfold around the world. So video clips are used to show the effects of the summer monsoon in India or the Plum Rains in SE Asia or the mud at Glastonbury.
In order to do this, we need to make sure we have a very good idea of the current world weather. There are lots of websites which allow you to gauge what is going on in great detail and I may well update this article or produce another one which looks at some of the best sites available.
So once we know what is going on, we can then look at the global forecasts which come onto our computer system twice a day. There isn't any scope to change the forecast but our knowledge of climatology, as well as meteorology, allows us to tell the viewers how the predictions are likely to impact on their lives.
In addition to having our own weather office, we are fortunate that the office adjoins the studio. So we can pop next door when either pre-recorded or live broadcasts are required. But broadcasting shifts make up just half of my total duties.
The rest of my working shifts are spent sourcing video clips from news agencies such as Reuters and APTN and sifting through them to find interesting and relevant clips for the presenter to use. And if you log onto the Al Jazeera website you should find lots of articles which look at world weather events in closer detail.
In some ways it is very different from the job I was doing with BBC West. But, at the end of the day, weather is weather. And if you have an interest in the subject, how difficult can it be to communicate that interest to an audience, whether they are based in the West Country or anywhere around the globe?