UK’s Met Office blows another summer forecast

DART - Digital Advanced Reckoning Technology

DART - Digital Advanced Reckoning Technology

A guest post by Steven Goddard:

A Chronology of UK Met Office press releases

The UK Met office is the official UK meteorological agency and is one of the leading promoters of the idea of climate change.  Their web site is in fact titled “Met Office: Weather and climate change.”
In 2007, they made several notable predictions, starting with this one on Jan 4.“2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office.”

On April 11, 2007 they issued this press release stating “there is a high probability that summer temperature will exceed the 1971-2000 long-term average of 14.1 °C ….. there are no indications of an increased risk of a particularly dry or particularly wet summer.”  This was interpreted by The Guardian as “Britain set to enjoy another sizzling summer.

On August 31 The Met announced that summer 2007 was the wettest on record with  “normal temperatures,” though his description did not adequately describe the miserable summer – because high temperatures and sunshine were well below normal.

On August 10, The Met Office proudly announced new climate models which included modeling of “the effects of sea surface temperatures as well as other factors such as man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, projected changes in the sun’s output and the effects of previous volcanic eruptions.”  The same press release forecast that “2014 is likely to be 0.3 °C warmer than 2004.

Turns out that global temperatures in 2007 dropped nearly 0.8 degrees according to satellite data, one of the sharpest drops on record.  In order to hit The Met’s 2014 prediction, there will have to be a large increase over the next few years.  So how is The Met doing in 2008 with the new models?

On April 3, 2008 the Met made their annual UK summer forecast – “The coming summer is expected to be a ‘typical British summer’, according to long-range forecasts issued today. Summer temperatures across the UK are more likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or above average for the three months of summer.

On August 29, 2008 The Met reported that the summer of 2008 was “one of the wettest on record across the UK.”  Here is how the Independent described the UK summer – “It has been a miserable summer for bugs as well as people….The combined effect of low temperatures and rain has presented Britain’s invertebrates with a double whammy.

The Met is getting a new Chief Scientist – Julia Slingo.  In the July 22 announcement she said “I am delighted to be returning to the Met Office after 28 years and to lead work into enhanced weather and climate-change science, and importantly see this deliver improved services to societies in the UK and around the world.
We wish Professor Slingo best wishes and look forward to seeing the “improved services.”  If the spate of miserable summers is to continue, Brits should know so that they can at least plan holidays someplace warm and sunny, like the Arctic.

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68 thoughts on “UK’s Met Office blows another summer forecast

  1. I can’t comment about the rainfall levels but in terms of temperature they were correct when based on the long term average and using the HadCET mean figures.
    Long term average 14.1 deg C
    Summer 2007 15.23 deg C
    Summer 2008 15.43 deg C

  2. “If the spate of miserable summers is to continue, Brits should know so that they can at least plan holidays someplace warm and sunny, like the Arctic.

    To quote that great American thinker, Larry the Cable Guy: “I don’t care who you are, that right there is funny!”

    Great post, Steven. Maybe the Met office should start consulting The Farmer’s Almanac for their weather climate predictions? ;-)

  3. Great article. Those who are not from the UK will not know just how miserable this “summer” has been here. I believe that we have broken the record for the fewest hours of sunshine ever – and we are not exactly drenched in sun during an average year.

    The Hadley Centre predictions for the annual global temperature are always great for a laugh. A few months ago somebody posted a link to an archive showing just how bad they had been over the years: I wonder if anyone remembers how to find it.

  4. is “Climate Change Science” the new & politically correct name for “Climatology”

    Would anyone using the term “climate change” be comfortable using the different but equally stupid expression “water wet”.

    Just curious.

  5. One more direct evidence that Met is using the almanac of King Canute.

    “Professor Slingo’s research interest has focused on tropical climate variability”…. coherent

    The minister of environment (Irish -UK); Sammy Wilson: found the lost map of Greenland.

    The King Canute died in 1035.

    Pamela: Helping the Oregon. Snow in southern Brazil.

    http://www.metsul.com/blog-24hs

  6. Oldjim,

    The Met 2007 wrap up said that temperatures averaged 14.1C, not 15.2C as you wrote.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070831.html

    This is deceptive because due to all the clouds and humidity, night time temperatures were elevated. The high temperatures were well below normal and there was no escape from the cold, damp cloudy weather.

    Same with this summer. July had two weeks of warmer weather which brought the numbers up some – but most of the summer was cloudy and rainy with low daytime temperatures.

    Are you American? I don’t suggest that you walk into an English Pub and tell them that they had an above average summer.

  7. Starting in 1970 (which falls within the last cooling period) the data from HadCet for June-July-August, expressed as a single averaged figure, are:

    15.0, 14.2, 15.6, 14.8, 16.9, 17.8, 14.4, 14.5, 15.0, 14.8, 15.0, 15.9, 17.1, 16.3, 14.5, 14.8, 14.8, 14.8, 16.5, 16.2, 15.5, 15.7, 14.9, 16.2, 17.4, 15.8, 16.6, 15.2, 15.9, 15.7, 16.1, 15.8, 17.3, 16.2, 17.2, 15.2, 15.4

    Looking at the last 10 years in particular, it is difficult to understand why the panicky predictions of dangerous warming continue to be released by a government office of “scientists.” Note that the maximum value for summer in England came in 1977 — 17.8 degrees Celsius.

    Note, too, that the long-term mean alluded to by Oldjim includes 200 years’ worth of the Little Ice Age.

  8. Here in London it has been constantly overcast and raining torrents for the past few days, with daytime high temps struggling to reach 17 or 18 degrees. Feels like October out there! It has been a bad year for UK farmers, with much rain and not enough sunshine for the crops.

    Here’s a news story about the horrendous summer they’ve had over in Ireland too, and here’s yesterday’s Guardian article about the current rainfall and flooding here in the UK.

    A quote from the Guardian article: “Not surprisingly, the number of people suffering from seasonal affective disorder, which affects 4 million across the UK, has reached a record high because of the poor summer. Amanda Cross, of the charity Sada, said: “Many people already find autumn a difficult time of the year, with summer – and this one wasn’t particularly great – seemingly a distant memory.”

    However, there is some good weather news on the distant horizon. The Met Office says its long-term forecast for September to November suggests there will be less rainfall than average.”

    Hmm, so the Met are predicting less rain than average in the next few months, which probably means – expect the opposite… Yikes – we’ll need to build an Ark!

  9. Summer CET averages (Hadley):
    1961-1990 – 15.33
    1971-2002 – 15.6

    2000 – 15.73
    2001 – 16.10
    2002 – 15.80
    2003 – 17.33
    2004 – 16.23
    2005 – 16.20
    2006 – 17.23
    2007 – 15.23
    2008 – 15.43

    The 1961-90 30 year mean is the one the Meto use for their anomaly calcs on their website – so not sure why they’ve started dragging the 14.1 ‘long term mean’ in. Unless it is to make the summer look warmer than it would have using their usual mean.

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/cet_info_mean.html

  10. Steven,
    You are correct but I was referring to the Hadcet numbers which you can download from here http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/ these are representative of a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Lancashire, London and Bristol. I use these numbers because they go back to 1659 and let me look at the really long term trends.
    However I did mess up a bit because the summer average for 1971-2000 using these figures is 15.6 not 14.1 (I made the mistake of not checking the average)
    Hence using those figures it is colder than average.
    Actually, although it has been wetter than usual, the temperatures down here in Dorset haven’t been too bad although the lack of sunshine was very obvious.
    Looking a bit deeper at individual months during Summer (defined as June, July and August) June and July were well down on the average but August was about average.
    June July August
    13.9 16.2 16.2 actual
    14.14 16.44 16.21 average
    A graph of the long term averages shows that the summer hasn’t been far away from the normal lousy English summer and really shows the effect – or lack of – of global warming on our summers.

  11. alex, hang in there, buddy! If the Sun’s slumber continues for any appreciable amount of time, as some are predicting/warning, you wonderful residents of the UK will be able to drive to the U.S. across the solid slab of Arctic ice when it bumps up against your shores. The first beer is on Reverend Anthony’s tab, BTW. ;-)

    OT: Anthony, I’ve looked everywhere on the site for your e-mail address and can’t find it. Am I missing something hidden in plain sight? I’ve got a PhotoShop® gift that I’d like to send to you. :-)

    Reply: info (at) surfacestations.org ~ charles the moderator

  12. Everyone is missing the point.

    Our current efforts to mitigate global warming have been a resounding success.

    Celebrate.

  13. I was in a debate on another web site about whether any of these cherished computer models had made good predictions. Somebody linked to the Met Office predictions.

    Well, it turns out that if you just used the Met Office temperature each year as the prediction for the next year, you would have done a much better job of predicting.

    Of course, in testing a model or simulation, that should always be one of the first questions you ask: Can the model do better than a “naive” model which simply assumes that current conditions will persist?

    If not, then you’ve got a problem.

    It seems that in climate science, researchers are completely ignorant of even the most basic principles of simulation, statistical analysis, and statistical inference.

  14. Subjectively, from Gloucestershire and Worcestershire – West Central England – , it’s been mostly cloudy, dark and wet, particularly late in the summer. There’ve been few nice periods. There’s a lot of talk of how the wet weather has interfered with the harvest.

    This last week or so there have been a lot of heavy squally showers which have caused flooding.

    Not a good summer at all.

  15. For the Met Office to claim the past two summers in the UK have seen “average temperatures” is a ludicrous assertion, typical of their shockingly biased, generally unscientific practices in recent years. The fact they include temperatures recorded during the LIA to come to this conclusion essentially means the above statement is not unlike saying temperatures throughout the year 2007 were well above average because it was colder 20,000 years ago.

    I have been around enough years to realise these past two summers have seen well below average temperatures for England and yet the Met Office are doing their utmost to convince the public that what we’re all seeing and feeling is totally wrong – the statistics are the truth, apparently. I was sat outside in the beer garden at my local pub about 3 weeks ago and it was so cold under the clear night sky I could see my breath in the air and I had to put my winter coat on.

    I won’t even get into how poor their predictions are. On some occasions, they even get the current observations completely wrong.

  16. Old Man Winter (12:29:12) :

    “Looking at the last 10 years in particular, it is difficult to understand why the panicky predictions of dangerous warming continue to be released by a government office of “scientists.” Note that the maximum value for summer in England came in 1977 — 17.8 degrees Celsius.””2

    It’s not a bit difficult to understand. AGW has become accepted by the establishment; the three main political parties, the EU, the BBC, the press. It’s passed into school science syllabuses. Big money is being spent on Windmills for power generation.

    Don’t forget, that the Met Office aren’t just scientists, they’re also Civil Servants and there isn’t much mileage in saying, “Nothing to see here, move along”.

    I find their short term forecasts are pretty accurate. Longer term – well there was talk in the papers of an Indian Summer, which must have come from the Met Office, unless it was made up – not impossible. I suppose it could still happen. Longer term still, one’s entitled to ask questions about whether taxes are being directed to fruitful ends.

  17. WeatherAction long range forecasters 6 Sept 2008 8pm (19:00hrs GMT)
    Contact: Piers Corbyn (+44/0)7958713320 / (+44/0)2079399946 piers@weatheraction.com / piers.corbyn@googlemail.com announces:

    “MORE FLOODS TO COME – LONG RANGE SEVERE WEATHER WARNING FOR BRITAIN & IRELAND

    THE DELUGES HITTING PARTS OF BRITAIN 5th/6th SEPT ARE A FORETASTE OF WORSE TO COME OVER A WIDER PARTS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND AFTER MID SEPTEMBER. THE WETTEST SEPTEMBER ON RECORD IS VERY LIKELY FOR MANY PLACES”
    today warns Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction long range forecasters.

    “6 months ago we forecasted the exceptionally wet summer – the worst floods of which confirmed our forecast to the day – and also forecasted further exceptional rainfall events in September.
    “The deluges around now* are driven by the same solar forcing factors which ramped up Atlantic Hurricane Ike (an increase in power which we also predicted). Furrther solar factors will cause more exceptional and prolonged deluges later this September especially after mid-month.
    “Heavy rains from the West will attack Ireland around 15th Sept and develop into a series of deluges from the West and SouthWest covering most of Ireland, Wales, England and – at times – Scotland from around 16th to 28th. Further serious flooding is 95% certain”

    {* Footnote on current detail. Although the basic scenario is as forecast our long range forecast had placed the present Low more towards or over Denmark than its realisation which is more centred over England – hence bringing major deluges (eg in parts of Wales, West Midlands and NorthEast England) rather than South/East parts.

    Weather Action accurately forecast the washouts in the summer of 2007 and 2008, see http://www.lowefo.com.

    The MetOffice refuses to recognize the predicitve powers of the Solar Weather Technique of Piers Corbyn. The reason becomes obvious from the following statment of Piers Corbyn on 4th September:
    “”CO2 has never driven, does not drive and never will drive weather or Climate. Global warming is over and it never was anything to do with CO2. CO2 is still rising but the world is now cooling and will continue to do so. Those who claim man’s CO2 is driving weather or Climate must produce evidence. They cannot do so because there is no such evidence and they cannot even forecast anything. All they do is wait for extreme events and say that whatever happens is what they expected. Such drivel should not be allowed to pass yet shamefully many who style themselves as science correspondents and experts promote this nonsense. Global Warming is a deceitful political game.
    The UN IPCC must be called to account and integrity in science and politics must be restored”

    Magnus Hagelstam
    Weather Action

  18. Yeh

    This wasn’t a fair and reasonable analysis. I am no supporter of the UKMet although I used to be.
    They did say that this summer would be nothing like last (2007) which turned out to be inaccurate but then it wasn’t a technical analysis. True, temps were above normal as they predicted but only because night temps were so high.
    Day max temps were below the long term ave, but their prediction wasn’t that detailed and never is. They always have a great deal of wiggle room in their press releases, just in case I suppose.
    Sadly they appear to have become enthralled by the amount of money available for Climate Studies as opposed to their old job of weather forecasting. They did claim that their new high resolution models for climate and rainfall would allow to give accurate forecasts 12 hours ahead for heavy rainfall and 10 years ahead for climate parameters but I see no evidence of them achieving either at this moment.

  19. Can I point out that the abbreviated version is usually rendered as the “Met Office”. In the UK “The Met” refers to the Metropolitan Police, mind you they are probably both equally adept at long – range weather forecasting!

  20. Patrick Hadley (11:46:53)

    A few months ago somebody posted a link to an archive showing just how bad they had been over the years: I wonder if anyone remembers how to find it.

    That would be my post at the CA message board, which you commented on a while back.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=119

    Here’s an update (I’ve corrected an error I made for 1999 and added the forecast and the average anomaly for the first 7 months 2008.

    year….mean forecast …actual …..next year hottest?
    1999 …….0.38 …………0.33 …………..No
    2000……..0.41………0.32-0.33………..No
    2001……..0.47………0.42-0.44………No(2nd)
    2002……..0.47………….0.49………….No(2nd)
    2003……..0.55………….0.45……………Yes
    2004……..0.50………….0.44………….No(2nd)
    2005……..0.51………….0.48………….No(2nd)
    2006…0.45(0.37?)…….0.42…………….No
    2007……..0.54………….0.40……………Yes
    2008……..0.37………….0.28…………….No

    For those who don’t want to look back at the original post, the last column is whether UKMet predicted the coming year would be the “warmest ever”. Also note that the “actuals” are as presented in their yearly summary. Their master database has had several adjustments, and currently has slightly different values. For 2006, their forecast differs from what they state was their forecast in the following year, perhaps because they converted their previous forecast to an adjusted dataset (real clear huh?).

    Note: I’m still interested in tracking down past claims of “next year will be warmest EVER!”

  21. From my “10 inches of partly cloudy” folder…

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070104.html

    News release
    4 January 2007
    2007 – forecast to be the warmest year yet

    2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office.
    [...deletia...]
    Met Office global forecast for 2007

    * Global temperature for 2007 is expected to be 0.54 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 °C;
    * There is a 60% probability that 2007 will be as warm or warmer than the current warmest year (1998 was +0.52 °C above the long-term 1961-1990 average).

    [Note; 2007 was actually the 8th warmest year in the Hadley dataset]

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20080103.html

    Global temperature 2008: Another top-ten year

    3 January 2008

    2008 is set to be cooler globally than recent years say Met Office and University of East Anglia climate scientists, but is still forecast to be one of the top-ten warmest years.

    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. The forecast takes into account known contributing factors, such as El Niño and La Niña, increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, the cooling influences of industrial aerosol particles, solar effects and natural variations of the oceans.
    Met Office forecast for global temperature for 2008

    Global temperature for 2008 is expected to be 0.37 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 °C, the coolest year since 2000, when the value was 0.24 °C.

    [Note; The current 12-month running mean to end of July 2008 is 0.299, which is (just barely) number 10. Another few cooler-than-last-year months, and we'll dip below 1999 (0.296), 1995 (0.275) and 2000 (0.270).]

    Possible Monty Python script material about German invasion forces crossing the English Channel. They smash through the first line of defenses, and are advancing on London, which is defended only by the Home Guard, composed of older men and young boys, ineligible for duty as regulars. The Home Guard are handed hastily scribbled German translations of the current Met Office forecast and ordered to read them out loud through megaphones at the approaching Germans. In the next scene, thousands of German soldiers are rolling on the fields in paroxysms of laughter, and dying with a laugh on their face.

  22. “On some occasions, they even get the current observations completely wrong.”

    That’s more than some. My neighbours have been remarking to me that ten years ago when they watched the BBC forecast on the telly for the next day it was usually correct. Now they get the BBC forecast off the web, and it’s usually wrong.

    They attribute this to the Internet. Well, they may be right…

  23. This is no surprise. The Met Office (funded by the UK Ministry of Defence) has become completely wedded (or maybe “welded?”) to the AGW bandwagon. To that extent it seems to have allowed itself to shed its scientific impartiality and, crucially, its forecasting accuracy, in its efforts to support the cause.

    One only needs to look at The Hadley Centre to see how the Met Office has become a cog in a much bigger wheel:

    From the Met Office website: “The Met Office Hadley Centre is the UK’s official centre for climate change research. Partly funded by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), we provide in-depth information to, and advise, the Government on climate change issues.”

    Now look at the PDF entitled Prejudiced authors, prejudiced findings (by John McLean), available at:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/prejudiced_authors_prejudiced_findings.html

    It notes that Chapter 9 of the IPCC’s 2007 Climate Assessment, entitled Understanding and Attributing Climate Change, concluded that “human-induced warming of the climate system in the past half-century is widespread and detectable in every continent except Antarctica, affecting extremes of temperature, causing glaciers and sea ice to melt, altering rainfall patterns, and perhaps increasing the intensity of tropical cyclones”.

    So who contributed to Chapter 9? Table 3 on page 8 of that same PDF reveals the Hadley Centre (with the associated University of East Anglia) as the top organisation with multiple staff, with 2 lead authors and 8 contributing authors.

    I know this is a science blog, but sometimes one needs to look at the backgrounds to the scientists and their organisations to get a feel for their degree of impartiality.

  24. Aw, come off it, chaps. By our domestic metric, this summer was better than last. One barbecue rather than nil.

  25. oldjim,

    Well I guess you won’t have any trouble in the pub. There is a great one over in Torbay that I used to go to four or five years ago – don’t know if you ever get over there but they had one of the most attractive and funny bartenders I have ever met. I think her name was Karen.

    I remember sunny, dry summers in Berkshire in the 1960s and 1970s. The grass was always brown by mid-August. That seemed normal.

    stephen richards,

    What Isn’t fair? It is just a bunch of quotes from Met Office press releases. Do you believe this was an accurate forecast for 2008? Which parts did they get right? As an engineer, I actually have to get everything right – perfect in fact.

    The coming summer is expected to be a ‘typical British summer’, according to long-range forecasts issued today. Summer temperatures across the UK are more likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or above average for the three months of summer. However, the risk of exceptional rainfall on the same scale as the summer of last year remains a very low probability.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20080403.html

    My point is that their models perhaps aren’t quite as accurate as we sometimes let ourselves believe.

  26. One more point. When I am wrong, I admit it. If we could see some of that from some global warming advocates or political candidates, perhaps we would have a healthy dialogue? Warm does not equal cool and dry does not equal wet.

    If the IPCC would come out and say “the world is not warming as quickly as we forecast” or “our models aren’t ready for policy decisions yet” perhaps it would be possible to move forward with a sane discussion. When Lewis Pugh gets stuck in the ice a few miles outside Svalbard and three days later tells Gordon Brown that he has seen the Arctic melting down, how are we supposed to take his arguments seriously?

    Politicians are attempting to manage the earth’s temperature within one tenth of a degree 100 years from now, when it varies more than that every day.

  27. Well, it could be worse. I’m sitting here while Tropical Storm Hanna moves into New England. Like a lot of tropical storms it will pick up speed and head north and east.

    Oh dear.

    UK folks won’t want to look at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ and most certainly won’t want to click on the 5-day track for Hanna because that will take you to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at3+shtml/194734.shtml?5day#contents

    Actually, it could be worse – yesterday the track was aimed straight at Ireland.

  28. Steven Goddard:

    “When Lewis Pugh gets stuck in the ice a few miles outside Svalbard and three days later tells Gordon Brown that he has seen the Arctic melting down, how are we supposed to take his arguments seriously?”

    What is it that attracts Gordon Brown to poorly planned failures?

    I guess Pugh was totally relying on an extended melt since everything else I have read about Arctic exploration indicated the need to be out of the area by the end of August at the latest.

    You just have to wonder what the whole project was really about.

    Ric Werme:

    The summer weather here has mostly been driven by warm wet winds heading up from the Atlantic. Cloud, rain but generally averagely warm with a few slightly hotter days once in a while. Interestingly just recently here in the Midlands we seem to have moved into a regular overnight rain scenario. The clouds kept the night temperatures relatively high except for those nights where the wind direction was from the north or north east. August is often quite stormy, especially in the South West, but usually the cloud is more broken and far less persistent as I remember.

    Looks like the lead into autumn is heading the same way.

    The Hurricane stuff, or at least the tail end of the tropical storms, often reaches us but not with the same effects as experienced in the USA.

  29. “The combined effect of low temperatures and rain has presented Britain’s invertebrates with a double whammy.”

    Oh come on, that’s no way to refer to the warmists ;)

  30. Here in Australia the BOM constructs a daily mean temperature that is used for long term climate recordings and analysis. As a non met or science person my interest in weather is purely out of curiosity, but I wonder why diurnal averages are not constructed from 24 hourly data measurements instead of just 2. This would surely be a more accurate measure of daily temperature and would be more representitive of a real daily average. Another thing the BOM do here in Australa is derive the recorded maximum temperature only from hourly 9am to 3pm measurements. Since the introduction of summer time Daylight Savings back in the 80’s I note that the recorded maximum daytime temp is still derived from the 9 – 3 recordings and has not been shifted by one hour.
    There are many aspects to measurements that make little sense to me. I wonder if there is an international standard for the recording of measurements ?

  31. Old Man Winter. I think there is something wrong with your choice of 1977 for the hottest recent English Summer. In England 1976 was “the Summer without end, hot and dry from May to September. I remember it well.

    “There was a taste of things to come in early May 1976 when a short heat wave led to 29°C being recorded in Greater London and Kent. The real heat set in on the 23rd June and for 14 consecutive days the temperature topped 32°C at a number of places in southern England.

    At Hurn Airport in Dorset and Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) it exceeded 32°C for seven successive days. This is without parallel anywhere in the British Isles in modern times. Many long-standing records were broken. At Mayflower Park Southampton a reading of 35.6°C on the 28th June ranks as the UK’s highest June temperature.

    The longest run of days with no measurable rain was 45 at Milton Abbas, Dorset and Teignmouth, Devon, in July / August which came on top of three other periods of absolute drought including 17 days in April, 22 days spanning May / June and 19 days June / July.

    The drought and great heat combined to provide the ideal conditions for the propagation of heath and forest fires and some proved devastating. As the Summer wore on the situation became ever more dangerous.

    The county of Dorset was typical of the serious situation throughout England and Wales with fires breaking out on a daily basis. Some were extinguished only to start again the next day having smouldered underground through the peat soils.

    One fire at Horton common was started when a whirlwind or dust-devil picked up embers from one burnt area only to deposit them on another part of the bone dry common starting a conflagration a mile wide. Another inferno destroyed 50,000 trees in Hurn Forest.

    A last minute change of wind direction helped prevent loss of life.
    Meanwhile at St. Ives, near Ferndown, 250 acres of woodland was decimated when a 15 metre high wall of flame moved at 40mph across the area leading to the evacuation of 350 people from a nearby hospital. The incident made national headlines. Many patients were in beds and wheel chairs and thankfully emerged unharmed through a pall of black smoke. A last minute change of wind direction helped prevent loss of life.

    The main A31 road was closed and hundreds more people were moved from nearby caravan sites. At one point a military fuel dump near West Moors was almost encircled by flames. Altogether 250 firemen and 110 soldiers using 37 fire appliances and two 6,000 gallon milk tankers commandeered from the milk marketing board fought to control the blaze.

    In Surrey, the Fire Brigade answered 11,000 fire related calls in five months. 22 Home Office Green Goddess pumping appliances were called in to help. Concern was expressed for the effect of the fires on the habitats of rare birds such as the Dartford Warbler.

    As the ground dried out thousands of subsidence claims poured into insurance companies with buildings in clay areas particularly vulnerable. Overall costs amounted to £60 million. Agriculture suffered badly with £500 million worth of failed crops.

    The peak of the drought coincided with the holiday season and much of the south west of Britain could not cope with the increased demand for water. A Drought Act was passed and half a million people in Wales suffered cuts to water supplies. Standpipes were in use in Devon. Throughout Britain people became adept in saving water including British Rail who stopped washing their trains.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/understanding/1976_drought.shtml

    We’ve never had a Summer like it in 36 years. Happy Salad Days.

  32. PS. Is it only the English that at a time of National Emergency, write letters to The Times on the fate of the Dartford Warbler? Or were they early Climate Alarmists and HumanoPhobes?

  33. Oldjim (11:50:39) :

    I noticed one of the planned improvements for the center is the inclusion of Antarctica in future projections of sea levels.

    That’s probably a good idea as the southern polar regions contains 90% of the world’s ice.

    If I were doing sea level projections, I would ignore the Arctic before ignoring Antarctica.

    I’ve noticed the AGW crowd doesn’t like to talk about Antarctica. I found the place fascinating when I studied it back in 1958-59 at Carson Elementary in Denver.

  34. An excellent summary of Met Office statements from Steven Goddard. Thanks!
    Many observers have noted the Met Office summer forecasts were useless for both 2007 and 2008 whereas our WeatherAction long range forecasts – based on SOLAR ACTIVITY not CO2 hype – were in the words of some users ‘astoundingly accurate’.
    If anyone wants a full report with pictures and links of our 2007 summer floods and Autumn storms forecasts please email me: piers@weatheraction.com
    The questions we have to ask the Met Offices new Chief Scientist – Julia Slingo are:
    1. How many failed summer forecasts must the Met Office produce before they recognise that their models do not work. Will they admit their models are wrong if their forecast for summer 2009 also fails?
    2. For how many years must world temperatures continue to decline before the Met Office withdraw their support for the theory of man-made CO2 driven Global Warming / Climate Change?
    3. Should the ‘prove and predict’ principles of normal science also apply to Climate Science – ie a theory which is contradicted by observations must be scarpped. Or are we in fact dealing with a political or religious phenomena?

    Thanks.
    Piers Corbyn

  35. To BC, driving from the UK to the US across the Arctic ice would be a great idea – maybe we can get Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson to lead a convoy of us over. Or we could all meet up half way, and have a Frost Fair, like they used to do on the Thames – just like old times. One thing’s for sure, we wouldn’t need a lot of refrigeration for the beers…

    I remember how it used to be, only a few years ago. The UK might soon have a Mediterranean climate, they said. We would grow grapes on our patios, and sip the local red wine, looking out upon a parched landscape of olive and citrus groves, they said.

    Yeah, right.

  36. Here in the UK we treat the weather forecast as a complete joke. The ‘forecast’ is full of “possibility of”, “chance of”, “maybe”, “in some areas”, “likelyhood”, “you might be lucky and miss it, “you might be lucky and be part of it”! For a period of five days, two months ago, my wife and I monitored the forecast for our area against reality. It was wrong four of the five times – one time being the complete reverse (rain/sun), and only right once. But what I want to know is, is it the same in other countries. Is the forecast more accurate in say, the US? Or is it just the UK’s that’s about as efficient as a French policeman?

  37. “Early indications for Winter 2008/9 (December, January and February”

    “Temperature
    Winter temperatures are more likely to be either near, or above average, than below average over much of the European region. For northern Europe, including the UK, Winter 2008/9 is likely to be less mild than last winter.”

    “Rainfall
    There is currently no clear signal for either above or below-average rainfall. However, for much of northern Europe, including the UK, rainfall is likely to be lower than observed in last year’s relatively wet winter.”

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/seasonal/winter2008_9/

    If the high altitude temperatures around the tropics have fallen (as I’ve read on these pages) I,m guessing that the overall energy in the tropical band has dropped. Presumably thats why the Jet Stream hasn’t gone as far north as usual. Unfortunatly it is sitting over the British isles.

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  39. oldijm,

    I looked closer at the CET graph you linked. It struck my how similar the last 30 years are to a comparable warming period starting at about 1700. It appears that annual temperatures have risen less than 0.5 degrees over the last 300 years.

    Also interesting to note that that period was followed by a very sharp drop of about 3 degrees.

    I remembered that the pub is in Torquay, not Torbay – about a block from the harbour.

  40. MarkR (22:05:45) : Although 1976 was, as you described, very dry and hot indeed the actual lowest summer rainfall was in 1995 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1998/water_week/66193.stm
    “However according to Met Office summer rainfall figures less water fell in the recent drought of 1995 (73mm) than in 1976 (76mm). ”
    The drought of 1976 was however notable by being the only recorded instance where a politician changed the weather. Denis Howell was appointed Minister for Drought and within 3 days it started raining.

    http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/philip-eden/The-greatest-drought-on-record.htm

  41. M White, according to a warmist on another site, the jet stream has indeed settled lower again this year, causing a repica summer of 2007 over the UK. What I want answered is, is this a coincidence that we’ve had two summers of Arctic melt and two rotten UK summers – together?

  42. By the way, there’s three “likelys” in that very short Met Office statement. Definition of ‘Likely’ in the dictionary: “probably or apparently destined”.

  43. MarkR: Thanks for the correction! I had eyeballed the date from the list I compiled myself. Sounds like a tough summer!

    We were entering a three-year drought at that point in California. Those of us in Northern California got with the program of water rationing right away and would watch news footage of people in L.A. with their sprinklers going and the water running down the street. It started talk of secession!

  44. Am I getting the wrong end of the stick, what’s all this stuff about “changes in the sun’s ouput” turning up in a Met Office notice all of a sudden about Climate Change? Never heard them mention it in any significnat way before so why now? Have they had a change of heart? I thought the sun had so little affect on climate according to them.

    I know a while ago the UK’s Treasury posted an article on reduced solar output for cycles 24 & 25, I know not why, strange thing for a Treasury department to do, perhaps to place a little rear-end covering note of officialdom when the balloon goes up about Global Warming, so they can say “we knew this would happen”.

  45. Steven Goddard,
    A nice set of examples, but you omitted one of the best, their news release issued May 30 2007:

    Current rainfall indications suggest that over the summer as a whole southern parts of the UK are more likely to experience average or below-average rainfall, while the north is more likely to see average or above-average rainfall.

    Trevor Bishop, Head of Water Resources Management at the Environment Agency said: “Although water resources are generally in a healthy position, there’s still no room for complacency. As summer approaches we shouldn’t forget about saving water. An extended period of hot dry weather could start to put water supplies and the environment under pressure.”

    For those who don’t know – this was just 2 weeks before the start of the worst floods in living memory, across much of the country.

    Then in their review of the year, their propaganda unit (sorry, press office) made the astounding claim on 2 January 2008,

    The Met Office played a vital and significant role during the summer, providing excellent forecasts and warnings ahead of the heavy rains.

  46. PaulM,

    Thanks for the links!

    But I’m pleased to report that there is hope.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7381250.stm

    So far modellers have failed to narrow the total bands of uncertainties since the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990…..Julia Slingo from Reading University admitted it would not get much better until they had supercomputers 1,000 times more powerful than at present. “We’ve reached the end of the road of being able to improve models significantly so we can provide the sort of information that policymakers and business require,” she told BBC News.

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  48. John M,

    A nice little slice of data. The significance of which should not be understated.

    The important property it illustrates is the inherent failure that will occur in times series forecasts with strongly endogenous explanatory variables.

    Imagine the Met was trying to forecast the temperature trend over the forthcoming decade. WHen they do that they don’t get the opportunity to reset their baseline each year, so any errors roll over. If there is serial correlation in said errors you end up with a bias.

    So ten years ago the Met would have said that the temperature anomoly was going to increase by 0.6 degree s over the coming decade( sounds pretty familiar). Of course their forecast would only have represented the compounding errors (bias) in their model.

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t become completely provable until the 10 years elapse and the data are in. By then of course, the warmeners have “moved on”.

    Do you think that scenario sounds awefully like Hansen’s 1988 forecasts???

  49. 6 09 2008 Old Man Winter (12:29:12) :

    writes

    “Note, too, that the long-term mean alluded to by Oldjim includes 200 years’ worth of the Little Ice Age.”

    No it doesn’t. The mean referred to is for the period 1971-2000 and covers the UK as a whole (i.e. it includes Scotland, N Ireland & Wales). The figures you posted are from the Central England record which is generally warmer than the rest of the UK. Other posters have made the same mistake.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a supporter of CO2 warming but, like it or not, despite all the rain and the lack of sunshine, UK temperatures have been around (and possibly slightly above) average this summer.

    Other criticisms of the MET Office are valid.

  50. As someone who lives in England – over the past few years I’ve found Accuweather to be a more accurate forecaster for my home town then the Met Office (or BBC). It is a bit sad that an American forecaster can do better job then the local UK one.

    It’s was very “basic” research – for a few weeks I made notes of the 3 day forecast for both services and found Accuweather was far more accurate.

    No one believes the Met Office 3 day forecast – people just about believe the next day one.

  51. Oldjim (13:01:38) : you say,

    Steven,
    You are correct but I was referring to the Hadcet numbers which you can download from here http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/ these are representative of a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Lancashire, London and Bristol. I use these numbers because they go back to 1659 and let me look at the really long term trends.

    I think there has been marginal level of development in this area since 1659.

  52. I’ve been trying to find out whether the MetOffice have joined up the international research indicators: i) jetstream-shifts-south ii) did this during Maunder Minimum (from proxy studies), iii) MM coincides with lack of sunspots iv) so does summer of 2007 and 2008 – hence…..but no, they reported back that they did not have anyone specifically working on this line of inquiry. I also asked about whether they followed Drew Shindell’s work at NASA – on UV flux and the effect on the Arctic vortex – also linked to jetstream shifts (and Arctic melt-down, which are periodic and due to changes in first pressure, then winds and clouds, then Beaufort Sea gyre reversals sucking in warm water underneath the ice (from North Atlantic), and clouds radiating from above – hence thin ice – then wind and pressure change, then break-up and melting…..all well reported by Polyarkov at Fairbanks Uni and Intl Arctic Research Team and NOAAs Arctic Climate Report….so far, discussions are ongoing – but all the signs are that despite the enormous investments in climatology,
    they are missing the wood for the trees – and the wet summer is relatively easy to explain – and Piers Morgan’s system, whatever it is, certainly predicts well!

  53. Hey ….Steven Goddard

    I live in Torquay some 10 mins from the harbour. Now which Pub would that be….

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  59. Dear Anthony

    Met Office Temps

    http://theweatheroutlook.com/twocommunity/forums/t/23028.aspx

    I haven’t a clue how many of you look at the Met Office site or even the global temps they show. Leaving aside the mediocre coverage of Canada, Africa and Eurasia in fact everywhere on the planet, even though they must have the data, I am intrigued as to why they are so shy about posting Low Temperatures. To me that is figures in the double minuses Celsius.

    I’ve noticed over the past two years that whenever the temperatures drop below minus 10C they tend to be left off the current temps on these pages.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/europe/europelatest.html

    and you can see the same for N. American temps as well. As I write the N. American temps have risen so they are shown as of Christmas Eve but only relatively mild temps at say Boston. On the other hand there is no bashfulness about Double Pluses Celsius and temps of say plus 10C to 30C+ are invariably present when they occur. Thus in the N. Hemisphere summer, the temps are invariably shown without any ‘n/a’ (data not available) explanations. To be fair I have noticed occasions when there are n/a explanations but these are rare, unlike in the winter when they are commonplace.

    Recently it’s been chilly in North America even by their standards. Kansas, Chicago and Boston have sometimes been below minus 10C yet these figures were not available on the Met Office site at the time. They come back again once the temps have risen above the Minus 10C mark. Of course as anyone here knows you can check elsewhere which is what I started to do some time ago (one and a half years ago) to test my hypothesis that something was not quite right with what was shown on the Met Office site. As another example of this glitch, everyone knows who follows weather knows that Western Russia has had a mild autumn and these temps were invariably reflected on the Met Office site since the summer without any problem as far as I noticed.

    If you use this PLEASE DO NOT use my name or email address.

    Regards

    [snip Then why did you add your name here or in your sign on? Seriously this job is enough work as is ~charles the moderator]

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