The Irish Meteorological Office has published a book and staged an exhibition to mark its 50th anniversary.

For 50 years the Irish Meteorological Weather Service has been recording what the Irish weather has done to it and at the same time has tried to predict what it will do next.

Speaking at a ceremony marking fifty years President Patrick Hillery commended the dedicated and professional service. Forecasting has come a long way in 50 years and is now largely dependent upon computers and satellite communications. Michael Connaughton of the Met Office recognises the importance of these technological developments in forecasting the weather more accurately.

We can handle more data in quicker time.

International cooperation means that Europe now has a powerful weather forecasting system that pulls in data from around the world and is directly accessible to the Met Office in Dublin. 

The exhibition to mark 50 years of the Met Office traces developments in technology. One such development includes Agri-line Video Text, providing farmers with access to the weather forecast at the touch of a button on TV. Another benefit for farmers is the AGMET service which Tom Keane explains provides information on soil types and the best times to reap and sow crops. 

The better the weather prediction, the more money can be saved.

Michael Connaghton points out that because of the complexity of atmospheric science, there are limitations in long-term forecasting. The limit is approximately five to seven days. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 February 1987. The reporter is Alisdair Jackson.