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Predicting the temperature is hard

For the last year or two, we have invited our readers to forecast how the global temperature will change over the coming 12 months. The person who best predicts the HadCRUT4 annual average for 2019 will receive a bottle of whisky and their choice of a book from the list of GWPF publications.

To add spice to the event, readers get to compare their own figure to the prognostications of the Met Office, who publish their own prediction each year.

The 2018 competition saw the boys (and girls) from Exeter take one hell of a beating, with the mean and median prediction from GWPF readers being almost spot on the outturn figure of 0.6°C, while the central value of the Met Office’s predicted range was 0.71°C.

So how are things going so far this year? It’s fair to say that the climate has been the winner, with the Met Office prediction still far too hot, but with GWPF readers much too cool. The mean and median for the GWPF contestants were dragged down by a mass of predictions of rapid cooling (perhaps from the “It’s the sun” community?). Some predictions were for the anomaly to be negative this year! If the anomaly stays put at the end of the year, then it will level the score between the sceptics and the Met Office.

But it’s also fair to say that predicting the annual temperature is very hard. At the moment there is just one reader on the correct value of 0.72°C. You know who you are. Maybe time to make sure you have some ice cubes ready? Just a few months to go.