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What do we think about COL?

PostPosted: 2011 Nov 30, 19:56
by Darren Rogers
I suppose one topic to suggest would be:

What do we think of COl?
What do we think to the publication?
What would you change, keep, like to see in the future?
When you get your copy what bit do you read first? Why?
When you get your copy what bit do you read last or not bother with? Why?
Is it possible for it to be in colour? If so would you be prepared to pay the extra?
etc, etc

But it should be in the context of being a helpful tool for Roger Brugge.
Quite clearly he and the others involved, do a great job, probably a difficult and time consuming effort that is deserving of praise and any suggestions should not come in the form of a criticism in any way.

Re: What do we think about COL?

PostPosted: 2011 Dec 06, 15:49
by Martin Rowley
... I start by looking at the 4-up maps of departures/anomalies at the start; I print these out to use in my monthly summaries that I put up on my web site. I then skip forward to the station reports and read the ones applicable to Dorset and nearby areas. If there was a 'major' weather event, I'll scan areas further afield.

I then look at the statistical summaries for each region, running figures for CET, EWP, global indices etc., before looking in detail at the station entries.

I copy and transcribe local figures/notes for a blind friend who has software which can 'read' emails and she compares these data with her own rainfall data - I built her a simple rain gauge several years ago which is remarkably accurate.

Then I'll go back and quickly scan the letters and articles - read the ones that interest me; look at the thunder summary (and make sure Bob has used my data if any), then check the 'notes/notices' etc., at the beginning.

I get my copy via email and colour is used - but I wouldn't want too much colour if it gets in the way of good old fashioned data!

... I wouldn't change much, if at all; the one element that might add something to the summary of the month is a graphical presentation of 'westerliness', 'southerliness' etc., as on Philip Eden's web site here:-
http://www.climate-uk.com/indices/11.htm

One for the month of the bulletin and one tracing the past, say, 24 months. This would fit neatly with the 4-ups of anomalies/departures already presented at the start of the Bulletin.

The Bulletin reminds me of the 'British Rainfall' in layout and style - in my view a very praiseworthy aspect of the publication. The Bulletin (and COL itself) is, in my view, an important strand in the climatological record of these islands (and beyond).

Martin.

Re: What do we think about COL?

PostPosted: 2011 Dec 07, 14:43
by Darren Rogers
I suppose that seeing as I originally asked the Q, I should add my own comments:

First of all I read the letters and items for sale parts - one thing that surprises me a little is that there are not often letters replying to previous month's letters.

I usually then look at the monthly summaries for Cumbria at the back and compare with my own (although due to the Cumbria weather forum i have probably already had most of the info' by the time that I get my copy of COL).
Then I scan through the other monthly summaries, paying more attention to the areas where I have previously lived or know well.
The Monthly mean charts on page 1 are worthy and in particular the editors own monthly summaries of temps, rain, etc.
The 'national temp, rainfall series (pages 14-15 in Oct's issue) are very interesting and I particularly like the section on 'Recent weather events around the globe'.

Whilst I appreciate the possible need for the 'Weather diary' at the start - it is slightly tiresome and the obvious problem is that it is virtually 1-2 months old when you are reading it and in some ways no longer relevant. I guess that it is for more historical purposes that it might be useful - the daily values part at the end of each day are useful though.
But I acknowledge the hard work that must go into producing this section.

The Daily Station notes are again useful, but can be a little tiresome/repetitive at times with the monthly station notes a worthy read - possibly should only be the one section, ie: do away with the daily station notes and then just have one slightly expanded monthly section.

I think that unfortunately some observers just like to see their own station details in print and write too much - strangely something that Mr.Symons comments on in one of the British rainfall guides in 189?

The letter from Peter Rogers that covers media coverage of weather events is very good and could be easily expanded into a bigger and very interesting section in its own right.

THINGS THAT GET MISSED - using Octobers edition as an example, there appears to be no mention of the 'whitehaven Tornado' - something that was widely discussed on some weather forums.
Now COL does not have a Whitehaven Observer, but Cumbria is well represented with observrs, myself included, but surely this is the kind of event that should be included in COl - what can be done to ensure that such things are?

COLOUR - if a mix and match of B+W and colour was possible then I would pay what ever extra was required.

ADDITIONS - would it be possible for some of the well known (and respected) members/professional meteorologists to write short articles? Could be anything, commenting on a recent weather event or on a technical issue.
Could the Met'O put up an occassional article?

Maybe a 'Theme for the year' - could be anything of interest eg: weather lore, how I got into weather observing, historical events, weather books - with observers, if they wish,submitting a short piece.

Possibly a 'Look back in History/archives' section - like most local newspapers have and re-prints a brief section from past COl's.

Anyway - think that that is about it.
But to Roger and all his helpers, your hard work is appreciated.

Re: What do we think about COL?

PostPosted: 2011 Dec 07, 15:03
by Graham Easterling
I think the bulletin is very good as it is, my sequence of reading it is very similar to Martin's so I won't bother repeating it! Likewise, I receive it by email, and colour seems to be used appropriately.

One thing I would like is for the main elements of station data (rain, wind, temperature certainly) to be attached in a file which could easily be added to a database or spreadsheet. As I mainly use a relational database for weather data, a delimited txt file would suit me. I could then append it into a database, with the station ID (e.g. 88010 for PZ) as the key field. As the data accumulated I could then easily calculate averages, extremes & trends for each station. This would allow comparisons between different parts of the country. E.g. I know that gale frequencies have declined during the last 15 years or so along the Atlantic fringes of the UK, it would be interesting to know if this is the case elsewhere. As the data accumulated it would be invaluable in research like this.

Having said all this, I appreciate most COL members would like the file to be the good old excel format, which would just mean an extra step for me.

Graham
Penzance Weather http://penzanceweather.atspace.com/weather.html

Re: What do we think about COL?

PostPosted: 2012 Jun 30, 20:47
by Nicholas Bentley
The COL bulletin is an excellent and timely summary of the past month's weather over the UK and other parts of the world.

I tend to start by looking at the temperature/rainfall/pressure anomaly maps and then move to the station notes. I always find the letters interesting and wish there were more sometimes. I particularly like the summary of international weather events as it puts into perspective the sometimes over-hyped coverage we get on the TV aswell as providing a useful summary.

The weather diary section is useful for looking up days when things happened although I must admit I don't generally read it through entirely. As none of my bulletins are ever thrown out, this provides a record which could be useful long after I've read the bulletin.

The station notes section is always of interest and I like the idea of separate sections for outstanding days and more general comments. Some stations perhaps do send in a little too much material, but I think more clutter comes from any time quoted (mainly for an outstanding day's weather) having to be suffixed with GMT! Surely we can safely assume that local time has been used and we all know when summer time operates. Why convert back when summer time is in force - I've never agreed with this, it's too 'official'.

Finally I look at the data tables and compare my data with my neighbouring stations, which often turns up surprising differences. For instance during May, Normanby's highest maximum was nearly 5C higher than mine (on 28th) due to an onshore breeze here - it's only about 5 miles away!