The Great British Weather
I watched last night on BBC iPlayer the first of the four-part series “The Great British Weather”. It was ‘weather as entertainment’ broadcast from a ‘roadshow’ on St Ives beach. I had it ‘on in the background’ as sometimes they have interesting old footage; in this case a piece about the ‘weather window’ for the D-day landings caught my attention. However, I thought I was hearing things when Carol Kirkwood, who was talking about microclimates, mentioned urban heat islands.
“The microclimates of our nation’s large towns and cities are known as urban heat islands and it is the manmade landscape that is causing them. Densely packed buildings act like a giant storage heater, absorbing heat and radiating it back out, ensuring that cities like London can be up to ten degrees warmer than their surrounding areas.”
The BBC is also rolling out some former broadcast meteorologists for the series and the Daily Telegraph among others carried interviews with them in advance of the series.
More hype than substance
The print version of the 9th July edition of the Daily Telegraph carried their comments under the headline “Today’s young forecasters are a shower, say BBC veterans“. The veteran broadcasters, all trained meteorologists, are quoted as saying the current generation of TV forecasters are inexperienced, suggesting that a combination of cutbacks and fame-seeking is to blame.
“With the accountants running everything one way to cut back on costs is to have younger, cheaper people, rather than those who had come up though the grades.”
“Now people are coming into it because it’s a great opportunity to get on TV.”
Also in the DT online version (13th July) Michael Fish, Bill Giles and John Kettley on their return to the BBC
On Climate Change (when asked what questions they are asked by the public)
BG “Climate change is the big one. Do we believe in climate change?”
JK “We’d all answer differently there. Thirty per cent of me is sceptical. I’m not arguing about whether it’s happening. My first argument is to say the climate always does change. You go back to the Thirties and Forties – we started to warm up just like we’re doing now. Is it exponential or is it more gradual? Nobody forecast three harsh winters.”
MF “I believe in it categorically, in fact I spend a lot of my time giving lectures on climate change and global warming because I’m so concerned and I want to get the message out.”
BG “My belief is that yes, we are warming the climate up. But for every meteorological question there are about 32 answers. Where people have gone wrong is to say, ‘It’s the greenhouse gases and that’s it.’ There are a lot of other things involved. It’s about finding the reasons why this is happening and asking if it is likely to continue.”
I always did trust Bill Giles