Monday, 11 January 2010

Met Office Incompetence

I actually started this post a few days ago, after shivering continuously on my walk into work. I was reminded of the Met Office's prediction of a mild winter and the fact that at the start of this cold period the weather forecast seemed to be far too warm compared to what I was actually feeling.

I've actually started using American weather forecasts for my daily life, as they appear to match my observations much more closely than the Official BBC / Met Office forecasts. I've actually been wondering why this is the case.

I swung by the Met Office website a few days back (Damn, I really should have taken a screen-shot!) and the News section was full of stories of "Climate Change". Not the snow. Not the inclement weather. But instead they were focusing on how much warmer it is.

I also had a look at their predictions for 2007, 2008,2009 ,2010. Each predicting, if not the hottest year of all time, then unusually hot weather. Think back over the past few years and tell me if you thought the weather was unusually warm. I doubt you'll find many people agreeing with these predictions.

I had a look at how they get to those predictions. One of the details is "Each January the Met Office, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, issues a forecast of the global surface temperature for the coming year." Well, call me a Cow Sucker and Spin me on a Stick, but aren't the temperature predictions from the CRU pretty much rubbished now? Using models that force warming trends from flat data might explain why you always end up predicting that it is just going to get warmer and warmer.

This actually got me to thinking (rare, I know). Is it possible that the Met Office doesn't just have warming on the brain, but actually in their short-term computer models (For short-term I mean 3-6 months, as opposed to 50-200 years for climate models)? Are they so obsessed with the "Warming Earth" that they are predicting milder Winters and hotter Summers despite all evidence to the contrary.

Of course, these predictions would be useless if you couldn't prove that they were right afterall.

Surprisingly, an alleged Met Office worker has explained how they calculate seasonal temperatures (quoted here and from here, though it's a little tricky to find in those comments)

I'll quote it, just to save you from opening a new tab:
“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. And not to reveal too much , the data does show that the average over those 15 readings will make it a very warm reading. You cannot accept that a weeks snow will affect the outcome.”

I'm astounded! I'm flabbergasted! There are so many holes in this "method" that I hardly know where to start. A quick run through and no doubt readers will be able to provide a few more:

  1. November? Winter runs from the 21st December! Picking dates in November will probably mean you over-estimate by some measure
  2. 15 readings to represent some 90 days? Discarding over 80% of your dataset is hardly good science.
  3. Highest readings?!? So we're now not only discarding almost all the data, but we're discarding the data that doesn't agree with our orthodoxy. This is sheer madness.
  4. Being able to just use one month of data? Ignoring the points about small sample sizes and November not actually being IN winter, but you can't take your entire sample from one month. I wouldn't be surprised if under this method every Winter was represented by samples from November or March (Afterall, one or other is likely to be warm).
  5. Weeks snow?! Even the bloody Guardian suggests that it's the coldest winter for 30 years.

Like I said, I'm sure there are more flaws with this method. But it demonstrates what more and more people are starting to suspect.

The Met Office is so addicted to the "Climate Change" orthodoxy that it is unable to produce usable predictions of future weather. I've got no problem with them producing whatever models they want to, as long as they can still do their bloody job, telling me what the weather is going to be!


  1. Assuming the temperature has a granularity of 10 minutes, 90 days gives 12960 samples (whether or not they're actually collected is another matter). Taking the highest 15 of these discards 99.88% of your data, and it does it - as you say - in a completely biased way.

    That process isn't 'science', it's a joke.

  2. The King of Wring,

    Of course, it's possible that this methodology has just been made up to discredit the Met Office. However, I don't think that changes the overall point, that their additcion to "Claimate Change" is affecting their day-to-day forecasts.

  3. Hi Angry Walrus!

    From the UK raw measurements they released - see Iain Dale's post here - they have only kept the min/max temperatures, which adds weight to that methodology (or something similar) being the one used.

    I agree, their personal opinions are undoubtedly affecting their judgement, at least subconsciously - this is precisely why open peer review is necessary. Science tends to advance not when your friends get the same results, but when your enemies do.

    I wonder if anyone has audited Met Office day-to-day predictions to see how objectively accurate they are...