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BBC weather shows temperature in Spain 10ºC higher than local weather station

BBC weather forecast for Begur (Catalonia, Spain) 21/08/2023

There’s a 10ºC difference in temperature between BBC Weather and the local weather station forecasts. Why the difference, and which is right?

Here on holiday in Begur on the Costa Brava (north coast of Catalonia) it’s been one sunny day after another and the weather is warm, to put it mildly. The temperature has actually been perfectly bearable until yesterday, when it was slightly too hot for my liking, but at least the mercury falls enough at night to sleep comfortably with just a fan.

View from Begur castle yesterday

When days get really hot you have to keep an eye on the weather forecast to make your daily plans, especially if you have kids. So I checked my premium weather app (paid for) called Weather Radar, a Germany product, and was concerned to see today’s temperature forecast for the high thirties, and a similar story for the rest of the week. Anything above 35ºC is starting to get unpleasantly hot, in my book.

Then I checked BBC Weather, and found there an even more extreme picture, saying today will hit a high of 39ºC at 3pm, and that it is already 35º, which it clearly isn’t if you step outside. Finally I checked Meteo.cat, the official weather channel of the regional government of Catalonia, which tells a different story with temperatures around 10ºC lower than the BBC and my Germany weather app. The native iPhone weather app also agrees with Meteo.cat’s forecasts of temperatures lower by about 10ºC.

10ºC is a massive difference, and would be enough to consider cancelling a holiday. Why go somewhere if it is forecast to be unbearably hot outside?

Unfortunately I don’t have a weather thermometer to check the temperature for myself but it feels like the Meteo.cat figures are about right. It’s hot, but not unbearably so most days. The 39ºC forecast by the BBC would feel much worse.

I have no idea why the BBC forecast and others are so much higher than the local sources. I imagine the BBC get their weather data from a third-party so I don’t suspect the BBC of distorting the figures or anything like that. But it is worth noting that the BBC Weather data, which I presume is also used for BBC reporting of weather news stories, seems to be much higher than local weather data. So don’t cancel your holiday in a place like the Costa Brava because you see the BBC forecasting temperatures near 40ºC for most of the week. It’s actually much cooler than that.

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