HC Deb 05 April 1965 vol 710 cc7-8W
59. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with recent long-distance weather forecasts, despite their failure to predict snow at the beginning of March and the hot weather at the end of the month; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Millan

It has never been claimed that the 30-day forecasts can, in our present state of knowledge, give complete precision, but, out of the first 30 forecasts published 23 have been in good or moderate agreement with the weather actually experienced and none has been wholly misleading. There will always be room for improvement in weather forecasting but some progress has been made.

60. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether new computers have been recently, or are being, installed at the Meteorological Office to assist in the preparation of long-distance weather forecasts; and what assistance they are expected to give in this field.

Mr. Millan

A new high-speed computer is now being installed at the Meteorological Office and will shortly be brought into use for a wide variety of tasks. It will be particularly valuable for performing the elaborate calculations involved in short-range weather forecasting. For long-range forecasting the theory has not yet been developed to a stage where forecasts can be prepared by mathematical calculation but the computer will nevertheless be useful for the sorting and processing of large quantities of data.