Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gloomy Outlook?

There's a part of me that's saying 'For fuck's sake, is it any wonder that the Met Office has lost its contract with the BBC after the dismal job it did for me last week?'  (As you may recall from last week's rantings, the weather kept doing the opposite to whatever the Met Office had forecast, making the planning of activities during my holiday near impossible).  But there's another part which feels that this is simply another reminder of just how 'quality' is being replaced by 'convenience' in contemporary Britain.  For all its faults, the Met Office brings a huge amount of expertise and experience to TV weather forecasting.  No matter how wrong they might turn out to be, (and, to be fair, forecasting has become far more reliable in recent years), you at least know that the Met Office's weather forecasts are based upon vast amounts of scientific research and complex computer modelling based upon the best available data.  The prospect is that this will be replaced by some service provider which has won the BBC contract simply because it conveniently put in the lowest bid.  Which doesn't really fill one full of confidence for their forecasting. Just what data or methodology will this new low-budget service base its forecasts upon?

I'm tempted to tender a bid myself.  I'm sure that my bit of seaweed nailed to the garden shed door will be just as accurate an indicator of weather patterns as whatever methods any of these other potential bidders might utilise.  (Although I have heard rumours that one of them uses a pine cone, which I'm worried might have a bit more sensitivity than my seaweed).  Alternatively, I suppose, I could just lie.  After all, as Billy Connolly once advised TV AM weather girl Wincey Willis, people don't really want to be depressed by a bad weather forecast first thing in the morning: 'Just tell them it's going to be a fucking scorcher out there - it'll cheer them up.  If they really want to know what the weather's like, they can just look out of the window.'  No doubt this new service will also have to be more 'entertaining' than the current forecasts, if trends in the rest of TV output are anything to go by: I can remember the times when science programmes, say, were actually serious, nowadays, by contrast, they seem to have to be an extension of the light entertainment division.  It's all photogenic presenters, glitzy graphics and jokey asides.  'Dumbing down', some might call it.  Anyway, I've just checked the seaweed: wet, so it'll be rain tomorrow, for sure.  You see if it isn't. 

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