HC Deb 13 November 1968 vol 773 c96W
61. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the agreement in principle reached to install a new computer in the Meteorological Office; and why this decision was arrived at.

Mr. Reynolds

A more powerful computer will be needed in the Meteorological Office in the next few years in order to apply techniques which are under development for more accurate rainfall forecasting and forecasting for 5 to 7 days ahead. The computer will also provide better research facilities and permit greater centralisation and efficiency in the organisation of work.

63. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now make a statement as to how the accuracy of weather forecasts has improved since the installation of computers in the Meteorological Office.

Mr. Reynolds

Computer forecasting techniques are subject to continuous research and development, and several years' experience at least will be needed to make a firm judgment of their effect upon the accuracy of forecasts. Nevertheless practising forecasters consider that computed forecast pressure charts are consistently more reliable than those produced by traditional subjective methods, and that they provide valuable guidance in a number of typical situations which have presented major difficulties to forecasters in the past.