Met Office Fun & Games
Met Office: Weather game information
In the weather game, you’ll be asked to interpret a number of forecasts to help Brad the ice cream seller maximise his profits. There’s an element of luck here. Even if you give Brad the best forecast possible, the weather may not oblige ― just as in the real world!
In our weather game, we’re experimenting with different ways of presenting a forecast to see which works best for different people. That’s why we ask you for some information at the beginning, such as your age and gender. This information won’t be used for any other purpose.
Why is there uncertainty in our forecasts?
A weather forecast is an estimate of the future state of the atmosphere. It’s created by observing the current state of the atmosphere and a using a computer model to calculate how it may change over time. As the atmosphere is a chaotic system small approximations in the way observations are analysed can lead to large errors in a weather forecast. We can never create perfect weather forecasts because we can never observe every detail of the atmosphere as it changes hour by hour and day by day.
To estimate the uncertainty in the forecast we use what are known as ‘ensemble forecasts’. Here, we run our computer model many times from slightly different starting conditions. Initial differences are tiny so each run is equally likely to be correct, but the chaotic nature of the atmosphere means the forecasts can be quite different. On some days the model runs may be similar, which gives us confidence in the weather forecast; on other days, the model runs can differ radically so we have to be more cautious.
Pity they didn't choose organising a convivial evening in a brewery instead...