Improving TV weather broadcasts with technological advancements: two cases from a 20 year perspective



The introduction of technological advancements in TV weather broadcasts has been a constant trend, particularly in the last 20 years. Rapidly evolving techniques, both from the point of view of new meteorological products or the use of advanced computer generated graphics, have offered a wide choice of possibilities to enhance information content and communication capability. However, despite the potential advantage of technological innovation, a case-by-case careful feasibility analysis is always required, including not only technical and economical aspects, but most importantly communication issues bearing in mind the education and acceptance of the audience.

In this paper two specific cases of technological advances in TV weather broadcasts, seen from the perspective of the last 20 years, are examined: the introduction of weather radar images and the use of animated characters as weathercasters. These cases are illustrated from the experience acquired in TVC, the public Television of Catalonia (NE Spain). Direct access to weather radar data was first made possible within the framework of a joint collaboration agreement with the University of Barcelona and the Meteorological Service of Catalonia, which installed a new C-band Doppler radar. The use of animated characters as weathercasters was the result of developing and advanced human-like interface accessing an already existing database fed automatically by NWP forecasts. In each case a description of both technical aspects and also of the benefits and challenges seen from the communication point of view found in their introduction in TV weather broadcasts is provided. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society