Using Hashtags to Understand the Geography of Describing Weather

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The Met Office in the United Kingdom wants to incorporate regional sayings into its weather reports.  Research by the Met Office revealed that both the terminology and the symbology used in weather reports is confusing to many.  To enhance understanding of local weather reports, the Met Office is considering using regional slang in targeted weather updates. To understanding regional variations in describing weather, UK residents are asked to tweet three words and their nearest town to describe the current weather along with the hashtag, #threewordweather.

Especially with describing the rain, the regional variations in describing the weather are numerous.  For example, the Met Office explains, “[T]he term ‘pouring’ is the most widely used word to describe heavy rain nationally, the cities of Cardiff, Brighton and Liverpool were found to favour ‘pissing it down’ (42%, 38% and 35% respectively). Mancunians, meanwhile, were revealed as the most likely to say that rain was ‘lashing it down’, with half (57%) of people surveyed in the Black Country preferring to say ‘bucketing’.

The Met Office explains the aim of this pilot project, “Ultimately we hope to use the insights from our research to tap into local dialects and vocabulary to make it easier for people across the UK to understand the forecast and make informed decisions based on it.

Users can see real time inputs from UK residents using the Twitter hashtag by visiting the Met Office’s interactive map: www.metoffice.gov.uk/3wordweather.

Via @adenas

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