Meteo France forecaster slams amateur weather forecasts

On the 7th July 2009 the rescue services in Chamonix ran 25 missions to recover climbing groups trapped by bad weather. For Yan Giezendanner, Meteo France forecaster in Chamonix, poor quality forecasts made by amateur websites are partly to blame.

In the interview with TV Mountain Yan makes it clear that the website, which is regularly consulted by climbers and is even posted in tourist offices, has nothing to do with Meteo France. He says that amateur forecasts have neither the means nor the training and that the forecasts are incomplete and that users risk using poor information. Most of the forecasts are based on American weather data available online which, according to Yan, is nowhere near the quality of the information available to Meteo France.

Yan seems particularly irked by a recent study of weather websites in Montagnes Magazine which rated Meteo France behind the amateur sites. Yan points out that the majority of free websites use graphics for their forecasts which are open to interpretation, he calls the information “extremely dangerous”. He notes that there had been a sharp decline in deaths over the last 30 years due to climbers getting caught out by poor weather forecasts, a situation which has been reversed, in his opinion, since the arrival of amateur weather sites.

Full interview on TV mountain: (link in French)

(thanks to for the heads-up on this story).

Posted by davidof on Wednesday, 22 July, 2009 at 04:54 PM

I actually don’t doubt that Meteofrance has the tools (and people) to beat any amateur forecaster… the problem is they just DON’T provide it. At least not for the mountains. I too rely primarily on information I patch together from a variety of amateur sites, including meteo chamonix (which I consider to be excellent!), and this has worked far better than any info I could ever get off .

We all know weather in the mountains can vary tremendously even form one valley to another (especially near big mountains like mt blanc), and it’s certainly not the MF bulletin national that’s going to help us “know” this.

Posted by  on  Wednesday, 05 August, 2009  at 02:01 PM

Bernard Prud’homme of the Chamonix Tourist Office (which use has responded to Yan:-

After commercial dispute and the high cost of Météo France, especially for an English translation we decide to set up our own weather site. It costs us 150 000 Francs (sic) a month. If Météo France are moaning it is because they can’t take the competition.

Posted by davidof on  Thursday, 06 August, 2009  at 09:33 AM

How does Yan explains the difference between the free meteo france website and the professional one (expensive).
See on my Dutch website, the pictograms and French text forecast speak for themselves… (forecast downloaded same time, and for the same day...)

I think it is Meteo France wich plays a really dangerous game here…


Posted by  on  Friday, 07 August, 2009  at 02:18 PM

Montagnes Magazine (n°343) did a very good test on 3 week-ends in april, comparing the forecast from 7 websites (including meteo france) to what actually happened in 5 french mountain ranges.
Guess who never appears in the top 3?
MF should put less money in the PR and more in the R&D…
And I sure do not agree that a good service should be free as some said, but a bad one should surely not be that expensive…

Posted by  on  Monday, 10 August, 2009  at 03:56 PM
Page 4 of 4 pages « First  <  2 3 4

Comments are now closed



Archive Summary

Forum Posts

Sunday, 19 May, 2013

Girl survives 4 nights out at 4000m on the Vert

Posted by juice at 11:44 PM
• (3) Posts • (1893) views •

Monday, 29 April, 2013

Colorado's deadliest slide in 50 years

Posted by Simon Scott at 01:41 PM
• (3) Posts • (1583) views •


Thursday, 25 April, 2013

PGHM Officer killed near Ref Argentiere

Posted by juice at 01:38 PM
• (5) Posts • (1646) views •

Friday, 19 April, 2013

avalanche in st christophe

Posted by davidski at 11:32 AM
• (1) Posts • (1401) views •

Monday, 15 April, 2013

Avalanche on the Tete de Chevrette, Vallorcine

Posted by Alan Scowcroft at 04:57 PM
• (1) Posts • (1379) views •

Thursday, 11 April, 2013

Alpine Bindings

Posted by djfrost at 10:08 PM
• (10) Posts • (1527) views •