Shock Horror – The British Debate The Weather

Not content with talking about the actual weather, the debate today has been over the new style BBC weather forecasts.

Old style New style

Several times during the day BBC presenters have turned up explaining the new style forecasts in the face of a majority of people who don’t like the new style forecasts. The broad issues are as follows:

  • The UK is coloured brown not green.
  • The new perspective view makes the south look a lot bigger than the north.
  • The flying over the UK effect seems to give some people motion sickness.
  • Where are the distinctive BBC symbols?
  • The counter arguments I’ve heard so far are as follows:

  • Brown makes it easier for people to distinguish the cloud shading.
  • Yes it does(!)
  • We don’t do it as fast as we could…
  • Because of their size in relation to the map, the old symbols are inaccurate.
  • I have to say, after the first day, I do rather agree with all of the objections. Whilst I accept that the new style is more accurate, with the lack of many places on the main map, I still can’t totally accurately place myself on the map, so accurately knowing the weather at a particular spot is pointless if I don’t know to the same accuracy where that spot is located. As to distinguishing browns, I also have difficulty spotting the fairly subtle variations in brown shades for the cloud cover, and a similar, although lesser problem with the blues for rain. Obviously they had a focus group with 20-20 vision and a big TV screen!

    However, one interesting discovery I found, was in the online service, which uses the same software, complete with the familiar top down map, and the familiar symbols. It does stink a bit of kids with their new toys, so maybe in the coming weeks we’ll see the familiar symbols reappear, I hope so, at least then I’ll be able to work out the weather from the TV forecasts.

    Update: The debate has even reached Westminster! Today the MP for the Western Isles in Scotland put down a motion calling for the BBC to reconsider a map that gives a distorted view of Scotland. In addition the BBC has had 248 calls about the new weather – only 8 in favour. One is really tempted to ask quite who they consulted for their audience research.

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