News: Politics of Everest Weather Forecasts Eric Simonson - Basecamp Sun, April 22, 2001 9:30PM
I was mistaken a couple days ago when I reported that the weather forecasts people are getting this year, courtesy of the Swedish couple Tom and Tina Sjogren, were coming out of the International Forecast Unit at the National Meteorological Centre at Bracknell, the British Meteorological agency. Instead, Tom and Tina's information originates from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and is custom tailored by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).
As it turns out, I am told that it had been the original plan of Tom and Tina to purchase forecasts from the Bracknell Service, but ultimately Bracknell refused to participate upon learning that it was the Swedes' plan to distribute these forecasts to climbers free of charge. It seems Bracknell has been making a fair sum of money in the past from Himalayan climbers. Their fees last year were reportedly £210.00 plus VAT just to set up an account, then a charge of £91.00 plus VAT per forecast, plus a further charge of £85.00 plus VAT per call if you phoned to speak to a forecaster directly. At this rate, a typical expedition could have spent in excess of $3,000.00 for weather forecasts.
Tom and Tina say: "The reason we provide the reports is because we, as a small expedition, we had troubles getting weather reports on Everest for many years. This is our way to change that and also give back to Everest for bringing so much good into our life. In the future we hope to get a large sponsor and provide free reports for all the major mountains in the Himalayas. In the meantime, any feedback, good or bad, on the accuracy is very appreciated by the meteorologists. Thank you for that."
Thanks to Tom and Tina, climbers are glad that they can now access forecasts via the internet from various Base Camps around Nepal and Tibet!!