The exhibit shows a working Argo float, 3,000 of which are planned to drift globally at a ‘parking depth’ of 2000 metres. Argo is also expected to provide ocean data that will lead to better long-term forecasts and improved warning of floods and droughts for many vulnerable areas of the world. The Met. Office has won this year’s race to be the first government Trading Fund Agency to file its Annual Report. The online websites marketing report shows that the nation’s weather forecasters are in great shape. There were a number of high-profile forecasts produced over the last twelve months, all of which were timely and accurate.
The Met. Office’s forecasters also provided vital support to the UK’s armed forces on deployment in Kosovo and Mozambique. Other notable highlights of the last twelve months were the introduction of a Customer Call Centre, successful management of the Millennium Bug, and achievement of the Investors in People standard. The Met. Office has negotiated a three-year contract extension with ITV, to continue to bring a high standard of weather forecasts to the screen. The new tool allows water industry professionals to produce detailed five-minute rainfall data for any part of the UK covered by the Met Office’s observing network.
This assists in the design of better drainage systems which will help reduce flooding and pollution of rivers, lakes and bathing waters. It is the first time that such data has been available from the Met Office in a single, easy-to-use, quality-controlled product. The data available from Deluge prove particularly valuable in assessing the performance of existing drainage schemes. Deluge also provides for longer term planning by including expected changes in rainfall patterns due to climate change. Deluge has been created in direct response to water industry needs and we have worked closely with the industry during its development. One water company has used a pre-launch version of the product on a trial basis and was pleased with its performance.
The first team of Met Office staff begin work in Devon this week. Although the majority of Met Office staff won’t be moving to the new site in Exeter for at least another year, the Met Office College has already relocated to Torquay. They are being trained as forecasters to enable them to take over weather services at Pristina International Airport from the Nato peacekeeping forces.