The Met Office’s temperature forecasts issued in 12 out of the last 13 years have been too warm. None of the forecasts issued ended up too cold. That makes the errors systemic and significant.
Met Office to hold summit on disappointing (sic) UK weather
The Guardian, 14 June 2013: Climate scientists and meteorologists are meeting next week to debate the causes of UK’s disappointing (sic) weather in recent years.
Washout summers. Flash floods. Freezing winters. Snow in May. Droughts. There is a growing sense that something is happening to our weather. But is it simply down to natural variability, or is climate change to blame?
To try to answer the question the Met Office is hosting an unprecedented meeting of climate scientists and meteorologists next week to debate the possible causes of the UK’s “disappointing” weather over recent years, the Guardian has learned.
Met Office 2008 Forecast: Trend of Mild Winters Continues
Met Office, 25 September 2008: The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average. It is also likely that the coming winter will be drier than last year.
Reality Check: Winter of 2008/09 Coldest Winter For A Decade
Met Office, March 2009: Mean temperatures over the UK were 1.1 °C below the 1971-2000 average during December, 0.5 °C below average during January and 0.2 °C above average during February. The UK mean temperature for the winter was 3.2 °C, which is 0.5 °C below average, making it the coldest winter since 1996/97 (also 3.2 °C).
Met Office 2009 Forecast: Trend To Milder Winters To Continue, Snow And Frost Becoming Less Of A Feature
Met Office, 25 February 2009: Peter Stott, Climate Scientist at the Met Office, said: “Despite the cold winter this year, the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue, with snow and frost becoming less of a feature in the future. “The famously cold winter of 1962/63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850.”
Reality Check: Winter Of 2009/10 Coldest Winter For Over 30 Years
Met Office, 1 March 2010: Provisional figures from the Met Office show that the UK winter has been the coldest since 1978/79. The mean UK temperature was 1.5 °C, the lowest since 1978/79 when it was 1.2 °C.
Met Office July 2010: Climate Change Gradually But Steadily Reducing Probability Of Severe Winters In The UK
Ross Clark, Daily Express, 3 December 2010: ONE of the first tasks for the team conducting the Department for Transport’s “urgent review” into the inability of our transport system to cope with snow and ice will be to interview the cocky public figure who assured breakfast TV viewers last month that “I am pretty confident we will be OK” at keeping Britain moving this winter. They were uttered by Transport secretary Philip Hammond himself, who just a fortnight later is already being forced to eat humble pie… If you want a laugh I recommend reading the Resilience Of England’s Transport Systems In Winter, an interim report by the DfT published last July. It is shockingly complacent. Rather than look for solutions to snow-induced gridlock the authors seem intent on avoiding the issue. The Met Office assured them “the effect of climate change is to gradually but steadily reduce the probability of severe winters in the UK”.
Met Office 2010 Forecast: Winter To Be Mild Predicts Met Office
Daily Express, 28 October 2010: IT’S a prediction that means this may be time to dig out the snow chains and thermal underwear. The Met Office, using data generated by a £33million supercomputer, claims Britain can stop worrying about a big freeze this year because we could be in for a milder winter than in past years… The new figures, which show a 60 per cent to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures this winter, were ridiculed last night by independent forecasters. The latest data comes in the form of a December to February temperature map on the Met Office’s website.
Reality Check: December 2010 “Almost Certain” To Be Coldest Since Records Began
The Independent, 18 December 2010: December 2010 is “almost certain” to be the coldest since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office.
Met Office Predicted A Warm Winter. Cheers Guys
John Walsh, The Independent, 19 January 2010: Some climatologists hint that the Office’s problem is political; its computer model of future weather behaviour habitually feeds in government-backed assumptions about climate change that aren’t borne out by the facts. To the Met Office, the weather’s always warmer than it really is, because it’s expecting it to be, because it expects climate change to wreak its stealthy havoc. If it really has had its thumb on the scales for the last decade, I’m afraid it deserves to be shown the door.
BBC Analysis: A Frozen Britain Turns The Heat Up On The Met Office
Paul Hudson, BBC Weather, 9 January 2010: Which begs other, rather important questions. Could the model, seemingly with an inability to predict colder seasons, have developed a warm bias, after such a long period of milder than average years? Experts I have spoken to tell me that this certainly is possible with such computer models. And if this is the case, what are the implications for the Hadley centre’s predictions for future global temperatures? Could they be affected by such a warm bias? If global temperatures were to fall in years to come would the computer model be capable of forecasting this?
A Period Of Humility And Silence Would Be Best For Met Office
Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times, 10 January 2010: A period of humility and even silence would be particularly welcome from the Met Office, our leading institutional advocate of the perils of man-made global warming, which had promised a “barbecue summer” in 2009 and one of the “warmest winters on record”. In fact, the Met still asserts we are in the midst of an unusually warm winter — as one of its staffers sniffily protested in an internet posting to a newspaper last week: “This will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings.”
Met Office 2012 Forecast: Drier than average conditions for April-May-June
Met Office 3-month Outlook, 23 March 2012: “The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier-than-average conditions for April-May-June as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the driest of the 3 months. With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April-May-June period… This forecast is based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement.”
Reality Check: Wettest April for 100 years
April: 2012 had wettest April for 100 years, Met Office says “It has been the wettest April in the UK for over 100 years, with some areas seeing three times their usual average, figures from the Met Office show. Some 121.8mm of rain has fallen, beating the previous record of 120.3mm which was set in 2000.”
June: June on course to be wettest in a century: Flooding, storms and persistent showers have blighted the country in recent weeks putting this June in line to become one of the soggiest in 100 years.
25 June: Spring is wettest in Britain for 250 years – England and Wales are on course for the wettest late spring and early summer for 250 years, experts said yesterday. June has just seen its fourth washout weekend and yet more downpours are forecast. Now it is feared combined rainfall for April, May and June will break the record of 13.2in (336mm) set in 1782 and be the highest since records began in 1766.
Met Office 2013 Forecast: Feb-March Above-Average UK Temps More Likely
Met Office, 20 December 2012: For February and March the range of possible outcomes is also very broad, although above-average UK-mean temperatures become more likely.
Reality Check: Met Office confirms coldest March in more than 50 years
Press Association, 29 March 2013: This March is the coldest in the UK since 1962, forecasters have confirmed. After weeks of speculation about whether this miserable March would top the list, the Met Office has announced it is the coldest in 51 years according to provisional statistic.
Paul Hudson: Met Office global forecasts too warm in 11 out of last 12 years
Paul Hudson, BBC Weather, 10 February 2012: Although this discrepancy is within the stated margin of error, it is the 11th year out of the last 12 when the Met Office global temperature forecast has been too warm. In all these years, the discrepancy between observed temperatures and the forecast are within the stated margin of error. But all the errors are on the warm side, with none of the forecasts that have been issued in the last 12 years ending up too cold. And, in my opinion, that makes the error significant.
Martin Rosenbaum: The Met Office and its seasonal problems
As Britain remains cold and snowy, an interesting little dispute has boiled up between the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and the Met Office over the quality of longer-range weather forecasting.
And this is illuminated by documents obtained by the BBC under freedom of information from the Met Office. These shed new light on the problems faced by the Met Office in its public communications and the strategies it has adopted for tackling them.
The Met Office is under attack from the GWPF, for its “poor advice” on the likelihood of a harsh and cold winter.
The GWPF is drawing attention to a map published on the Met Office website in October which indicated that the UK was likely to experience above-normal temperatures in the ensuing three-month period.
For the GPWF, which is sceptical of the Met Office and other mainstream analysis of global warming, this is evidence of a Met Office tendency to under-predict cold weather and over-predict mild winters…..