Episode 4: Inside a commercial national met service

The WeatherPod
Episode 4: Inside a commercial national met service
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Please send your feedback on The WeatherPod to us at: support@gweforum.org

In this episode of The WeatherPod, we’ve invited Peter Lennox into the studio to discuss the operation of a national meteorological service as a commercial enterprise.

Peter, from Belfast Northern Ireland, is uniquely qualified to talk on this topic. From 2011 to 2020 has was the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Meteorological Service which was established as a state-owned enterprise on 1 July 1992.

This came about mainly as a result of pressures also being faced by an increasing number of national meteorological services – chiefly, the pressure to earn money on their activities rather than rely entirely on taxpayer funding.

But does such a change in status from a straightforward public service to a commercial enterprise charged with earning money on its services pose any problems or contradictions? For example, is the the requirement to issue public weather warnings or to provide national security support compromised as a result?

These are some of the key issues we discuss with Peter.

About the WeatherPod

Alan Thorpe is an atmospheric scientist who has worked as a Professor of Meteorology, as head of the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre and, most recently, as Director General of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts.

David Rogers is an oceanographer turned meteorologist, a former Chief Executive of the UK Met Office and now a consultant with the World Bank helping countries improve their weather, hydrological and disaster management systems and services.

Weather information is an international resource critical to saving lives, making business and society more efficient, and building resilience to the growing impacts of extreme weather & climate change.

Each month, WeatherPod will explore how the public, private and academic sectors – which make up what’s informally called the Global Weather Enterprise – co-operate to produce weather information and make it widely available. It will also examine how weather affected public and private enterprises actually use it.

Extreme weather often impacts the poorest the hardest. So the WeatherPod will look beyond the wealthier countries to the poorer and less developed ones – which host most of the world’s population – to examine how the rich and poor use weather & climate information – the differences, the things in common, and the lessons we can learn from each other.

In each episode Alan and David will invite a leading expert to join them to discuss a key topic. Alongside this there will be a section called: ‘Wow – That’s Interesting!’ which features a newsworthy story or two about the Global Weather Enterprise.

Please send your feedback on The WeatherPod to us at: support@gweforum.org

Theme music by John Cockram, john@mjcmusic.co.uk