61. Mr. Gresham Cooke
asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent the long-distance weather forecasts foretold the recent freak eight-week period of westerly winds.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
The noteworthy spell of westerly winds extended only from about 19th February to 4th April this year. The persistent nature of the spell was well recognised in the forecast for March issued on 28th February, but the forecast issued in mid-February gave no indication of the long westerly spell to come.
As the hon. Member is aware, long-range weather forecasts are based on 185W analogies with the weather patterns of earlier years. Although about three quarters of the forecasts so produced are in moderate or good agreement with the weather actually experienced, some failures are to be expected since there is not always a close similarity between past and present weather patterns.