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24 October 2016

Futureproof - The UK Met Office Can Predict the Weather One Year in Advance

Burn FM
The North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO is a weather phenomenon characterised by changes in air pressure. It's primarily used to predict wind speeds and storm patterns across the North Atlantic, but it can also be used to broadly predict what kind of winter we're likely to get in Europe and North America.

In a new paper, Nature Geoscience revealed that their capacity to read the patterns of the NAO has advanced to the extent where they can now predict winter weather up to a year ahead. The benefits of this kind of predictive power are vast. Knowing how much snowfall certain areas are likely to get that far in advance can inform construction work and road planning, and knowing about temperature drops can help with heating costs.

This is possible through the use of a supercomputer, the name of which seems to be highly confidential, so I'm just going to call it Jeff. What we do know about Jeff is that he's worth about £97 million, weighs about 130 tonnes and he can make 16,000 trillion calculations per second.

Daily Mail
The Met Office tasked Jeff with predicting past weather, going all the way back to 1981, and found that he could predict it with 62% accuracy. Last year, although the Met Office were able to predict the winter floods, regions were only given about a month's notice. Imagine how much more they could have done to prepare with a year's notice.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.