How we create weather forecasts

For decades the Met Office has been respected world-wide for the quality of its weather forecasts. Over the years, the techniques we use have changed dramatically. Modern weather forecasting applies scientific knowledge to predict future atmospheric conditions across the globe from observations of the current state, made from land, at sea, in the air, and from space.

Creating forecasts is a complex process which is constantly being updated and involves the application of technology and detailed meteorological knowledge of how the atmosphere, the Earth's surface and oceans work. We are increasingly forecasting further ahead, extending our forecasts from hours ahead to weeks and months.

First steps

Creating an accurate simulation of the atmosphere, oceans and land surface to predict the weather. Collecting observations and assimilating them into the forecast model.

Hours ahead: 0-24 hours

How we produce the weather forecast which will tell you what it will be like in a few hours time.

Days ahead: 1-14 days

How we produce the weather forecast for the next few days.

Months ahead: two weeks to six months

How do we know whether spring will be drier than normal?

How our forecasts have improved over the years

We assess the accuracy of every forecast we make and a steady pattern of improving forecasts has emerged.

Working together to advance science

Without continual research we would not be able to stay up-to-date and become even better at forecasting both the weather and climate change.

You might also be interested in...

The weather forecast story

If you thought that the weather forecast was made entirely by one person in a TV studio, then think again...

Climate Science

In-depth information about the actual science behind climate change.

Some facts about weather forecasting
(PDF, 3.86 MB)