Here’s an interesting article by George Monbiot in the Guardian, all about the tabloid treatment of the Met Office and their use of “independent” weather forecasters. In another weather-related story this week, a long-term study of weather forecasting accuracy is being proposed, to see just who is more accurate. According to Monbiot, the tabs have been using independent companies, notably Exacta and PWS. The Daily Express in particular has been predicting a Siberian winter on its front page since the summer.
Who are they, and what are their credentials? I have been trying to obtain answers from Exacta since 20 December, without success. Among other questions, I asked whether it is true that the company consists of one undergraduate student and a computer.
PWS was more forthcoming. It admitted that its forecasting record had not been independently audited, and agreed that this was a failing. It also admitted that it does not keep a record of its prior forecasts on its website, which means that the public has no means of assessing its hit rate. But it failed to provide the qualifications or identities of the “independent meteorologists” it uses.