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General Forecasting Division

Communication - The Weather Forecast

* RADIO
* TELEVISION
* PHONE, FAX AND EMAIL
* WEBSITE
* PAPERS

The final phase is the communication of the forecast information to the end user. Sometimes this can be a simple process: for example, a user might just need to know the expected maximum temperature on a certain day, or the wind at a given time and place, or the likelihood of rain over the coming days. Media forecasts pose more of a challenge, as there will be a wide range of viewers and listeners, each with their own interests and needs. A media forecast, especially one on radio or television, therefore must communicate a vast range of information, but must do so in a logical, understandable and easy manner which can be easily followed and remembered by the audience.

CAFO provides all the public forecasts and warnings for Ireland. In addition to this, it also provides a service for the media, for the maritime community, and for various commercial interests. The protection and safety of life and property is of great importance. The public and government departments are alerted to weather warnings via radio, television, web etc.

Met Éireann provides an invaluable service. Its aim at all times is to ensure provision of high-quality weather forecasts and associated services, with optimum efficiency and value for money. This is of course possible thanks to modern communications.

RADIO
An array of forecasts are issued around the clock. Radio stations, nation-wide, are sent forecasts three days at a time. In addition, daily forecasts are delivered live over the airwaves. Oftentimes forecasters might be asked to speak about recent weather conditions or about predictions for special events, such as open-air concerts or Bank Holiday weekends.

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TELEVISION
The principal functions of the Met Éireann forecaster based at RTÉ are:

Preparation and presentation of the Irish weather forecast live on RTÉ1 television.

Forecasting the weather for Europe and preparing scripts and graphics for the RTÉ weather presenters to present these forecasts.

To prepare and present the weather forecast on RTÉ 1 TV, the following work is carried out. The TV forecaster has at hand, much of the information that is available to the forecaster in the Central Analysis and Forecast Office (CAFO), including satellite and RADAR images, hourly observation plots and forecast model products from the ECMWF, UK and HIRLAM models.

Using these, the forecaster determines what the weather will be. S/He is also guided by the regional forecast issued by the duty forecaster at CAFO. The TV forecaster contacts CAFO to discuss the forecast, iron out any differences of opinion and ensure that the forecasts for radio and TV are consistent.

Once the forecast is agreed, the TV forecaster then prepares graphics using the ULTRA graphics system, to help communicate the forecast on TV. S/He may also prepare script. The graphics consist of a combination of satellite and RADAR images, synoptic weather charts containing fronts and pressure systems, additional charts with cloud symbols, temperatures, winds etc, and a summary chart. The graphic charts are sequenced in a logical fashion on a timeline which is linked to the camera system in RTÉ.

The forecaster goes to the weather studio before each weather broadcast and gets set up for the broadcast. This involves setting up the camera, microphone and voice level and s/he communicates with the Presentation Controller in RTÉ to ensure everything is correct.

In addition to preparing and presenting the weather forecast for Ireland, the forecaster also forecasts the weather across Europe for the coming days. Graphics and script are prepared and given to the RTÉ weather presenter, who uses them for the European weather forecast on RTÉ 2.

The forecaster is also available to RTÉ news for interviews on specific weather events or news items for which meteorological expertise is useful.

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PHONE, FAX AND EMAIL

Forecasts are issued to State Agencies and customers using fax, phone and email.

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WEBSITE
Met Éireann website is also updated throughout the day and offers regional and sea area forecasts, satellite imagery, recent observations from the outstations across Ireland, buoy reports, climatological data etc.

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PAPERS
Forecasts are also issued in the print media, mostly for sectional interests such as the Farmer’s Journal.

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MET ÉIREANN, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9, Ireland Tel: +353-1-8064200 Fax: +353-1-8064247

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Times indicated in forecasts and reports may be local or UTC.
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