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Millions For The Met Office To Carry On Getting It Wrong

Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph

The Met Office is a national joke because it relies on computer models programmed to assume that the chief factor determining our changing climate is the rise in carbon dioxide

Five years after we paid £33 million to buy the Met Office a new computer, we are now to pay £97 million to give them a “world-leading super-computer” – described by its chairman as “our integrated weather and climate model, known as the Met Office Unified Model”. That’s because it will not only “produce the most accurate short-term forecasts that are scientifically possible”, but can also predict how the Earth’s climate will change over the next 100 years.

I scarcely need remind readers of how the Met Office’s computer modelling has performed in the past 10 years. In 2004, it predicted that by 2014 the world would have warmed by [0.3C], and that four of the five years after 2009 would beat the 1998 record as the “hottest year ever”. In 2007, its computer predicted that this would be the “warmest year ever”, just before global temperatures temporarily plummeted by 0.7C, equal to their entire net rise in the 20th century. That summer in the UK, it told us, would be “drier than average”, just before some of the worst floods in living memory.

From 2008 to 2010 the models consistently predicted “warmer than average” winters and “hotter and drier summers”: three years when much of the northern hemisphere endured record winter cold and snow; while in the UK, as in that promised “barbecue summer” of 2009, we had summers wetter and cooler than usual. A particular triumph, in October 2010, was the prediction that our winter would be up to “2C warmer than average”, just before the coldest December since records began in 1659.

In November 2011, the computer forecast global temperatures rising over the next five years by up to 0.5C from their 1971-2000 average, a prediction so embarrassingly off-beam that, a year later, it was quietly removed from the Met Office website, replaced with one showing the flat-lining temperature trend as “likely to continue”. In 2012, it told us that spring would, yet again, be “drier than average”, just before the wettest April on record. Last November, the computer predicted that the winter months would be “drier than usual” – then came the wettest three winter months on record. And today, we can measure the success of that 2004 forecast that, by 2014, the world would have warmed by 0.8C – when temperatures have now not risen for 18 years, and not one has got near 1998’s record as the “hottest ever”.

Of course, the main reason why the Met Office’s record has become much worse than just a national joke is that it relies on computer models programmed to assume that the chief factor determining our changing climate is the steady rise in CO2. Hence all those “hotter, drier summers” and “warmer than average” winters. As its smug recent annual report shows, still nothing has led them to question that belief. Yet those same computer models are the basis not only for Britain’s crazy national energy policy, but also for the projections on which the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relies to predict how the world’s climate will change over the next 100 years.

Instead of giving them £97 million for yet another new computer, can anyone explain why we do not call the Met Office staff to account for perpetuating one of the most catastrophically influential scientific blunders in history?

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