Was there ever a government quango quite so useless as the Met Office? From its infamous ‘barbecue summer’ washout of 2009 to the snowbound winter it failed to predict in 2010 and the recent forecast-defying floods, our £200 million-a-year official weather forecaster has become a national joke.
But of all its recent embarrassments, none come close to matching the Met Office’s latest one.
Without fanfare — apparently in the desperate hope no one would notice — it has finally conceded what other scientists have known for ages: there is no evidence that ‘global warming’ is happening.
The Met Office quietly readjusted its temperature projections on its website on Christmas Eve.
Until then, it had been confidently predicting temperature rises of at least 0.2 degrees per decade, with a succession of years exceeding even the record-breaking high of 1998.
Its latest chart, however, confirmed in a press release earlier this week, tells a very different story: no more global warming is expected till at least 2017.
According to Dr David Whitehouse of the independent think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climbdown couldn’t be more dramatic or more devastating for the Met Office’s credibility.
‘They’re panicking. All the predictions they’ve been making about man-made global warming these past 20 years have started to come crashing about their ears.’
For two decades the Met Office has acted as Britain’s foremost cheerleader for climate change alarmism. In 2007, its Hadley Centre for climate change research produced a briefing document for the Government claiming its state-of-the-art computer models left no doubt: man-made global warming was a very real threat which needed to be addressed urgently by policy-makers.
‘The Met Office Hadley Centre has the highest concentration of outstanding people who do outstanding work, spanning the breadth of modelling, attribution, and date analysis, of anywhere in the world,’ claimed an expert from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) in the document.
Many in the Government were impressed for, a year later, the 2008 Climate Change Act was passed by an overwhelming majority.
The act has been described by veteran journalist Christopher Booker as the most expensive legislation in history, committing the government to as much as £734 billion (£18.3 billion a year for the next 40 years) in extra spending to ‘decarbonise’ the economy.
It is also one of the reasons why our countryside is being ruined by ugly, noisy wind turbines.
But what if carbon dioxide isn’t the culprit for global temperature changes?
What if all the expensive, economy-ravaging, job-killing, environmentally destructive measures we’ve taken have been a spectacular waste of money?
If so, the Met Office will be attacked for being not just risibly incompetent — but an active menace both to the integrity of science and to the nation’s wellbeing.
Hence its defiant attempts to argue that nothing has changed and it’s business as usual.
‘The fact the new model predicts less warming, globally, for the coming five years does not necessarily tell us anything about long-term predictions of climate change for the coming century,’ it claimed yesterday.
In other words: ‘Never mind that global warming stopped in 1997. It will come back with a vengeance one day. We’re just not quite so sure when.’
This latest embarrassment comes just days after the Met Office was lambasted for yet another misleading claim, about the recent flooding.
It said this is part of a growing national trend towards ‘extreme’ weather — as also heavily promoted by the BBC’s Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin, and by scaremongering documentaries such as Channel 4’s Is Our Weather Getting Worse?
According to the Met, Britain is apparently experiencing more rain by volume and intensity.
‘We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK extreme rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing, but this analysis suggests we are seeing a shift in our rainfall behaviour,’ said the Met Office’s top scientist, Professor Julia Slingo.
‘There’s evidence to say we are getting slightly more rain in total, but more importantly it may be falling in more intense bursts — which can increase the risk of flooding.’
But these claims appeared to be at best a dangerous fudge, at worst a complete nonsense.
As is clear from the Met Office’s own data — the England and Wales precipitation records dating back to 1766 — there has been nothing particularly abnormal about the recent rain.
Not only were there two years, 1872 and 1768, wetter than the supposed record-breaking year of 2012; but also, the Met Office appeared to have overlooked two very dry years (2003 and 2011) to prove its narrative that the past ten years have been the ‘wettest decade ever’.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation’s Dr David Whitehouse believes the very notion of ‘extreme’ weather is an unscientific nonsense. ‘If you were to pick any period in history, you would soon find an example of an unusual weather event — maybe a heatwave in Russia or fires in Australia.
‘Somewhere in the world, a weather record is being broken almost every day. This is normal. What’s not normal is when people try to impose on it some kind of invented trend.’
This is what happened just yesterday, when the scorching Australian heatwave that has caused bushfires was linked in both The Guardian and The Independent to global warming.
The Met Office has subscribed to this sort of stance since at least 1990, when it became politicised under its then director John Houghton — the fanatical believer in the great global warming religion, who was also responsible for setting up the IPCC.
Under Houghton’s stewardship, it became an article of faith that not only was man-made global warming real and dangerous, but that it was the primary job of the Met Office to spread the alarmist gospel.
Dr Whitehouse notes that this is a sad betrayal of the Met Office’s traditional role: ‘When it comes to four or five-day weather forecasting, the Met Office is the best in the world,’ he says. ‘The tragedy is that, for the most part, the Met Office thinks weather forecasting is beneath it. Climate change is more glamorous — and brings in more money.’
And the Met Office’s obsession with climate change has wreaked havoc with its medium to long-term forecasting. That infamous ‘barbecue summer’ and its inability to foresee last November’s floods were the result of the same major flaw in its system: its computer models are all programmed on the assumption that as global CO2 levels increase, so will global warming.
This means they’re continually predicting warmer weather, in contradiction of all the real world evidence.
For two decades, the Met Office has abused its position of trust, authority and taxpayer-funded privilege to promote green ideology at the expense of scientific integrity.
Never mind the mere £200 million we pay a year to fund the Met Office’s dodgy, Mystic Meg prognostications: the real bill for its incompetence runs into the billions.