BBC’s Roger Harrabin responds

BBC journalist Roger Harrabin - Image via Wikipedia

After the revelation: The Met office and the BBC- caught cold that the Met office had issued a forecast to the UK Cabinet office, and that forecast didn’t contain much of anything useful, the least of which was any solid prediction of a harsh winter, I offered BBC’s environmental reporter Roger Harrabin a chance to respond, to tell his side of the story. At first I didn’t think he would, because his initial response was kind and courteous, but not encouraging. I was surprised today to find this essay in my Inbox, which is repeated verbatim below, with the only editing being to fix some HTML formatting in the links he provides at the end. In his essay, he’s proposing a “weather test” of the Met Office, and Piers Corbyn has agreed to be tested as well. – Anthony

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From Roger Harrabin BBC Environment Analyst

The latest who-said-what-when saga over the Met Office winter forecast has created a stir of interest and understandable concern.

I offer some thoughts of my own on the matter in my BBC Online column. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12325695

But the row only serves to emphasize the need for better information on the performance of weather forecasters over the long term.

That’s why I am attempting with the help of the Royal Met Soc, the Royal Stats Soc and the Royal Astro Soc to devise a Weather Test in which forecasters enter their forecasts to a central data point, so they can be judged against each other over a period of time.

We’d like to compile records of daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal forecasts. The UK independent Piers Corbyn is the only person to have volunteered so far to be tested in all these categories, though we will be in discussions with others to persuade them to take part.

We, the public, need to know which forecasters and which forecasting methods we should trust for different types of forecasting.

We are progressing with a protocol which will ensure that all participants submit data in the same form. Hopefully we’ll be able to launch the project fairly soon, although it is proving time-consuming.

Before we settle the final protocol we’ll publish it on the web to gather comments from citizen scientists. When it is finally agreed by the steering group it’ll be handed to Leeds University to run the project, with no further involvement in the data from the steering committee members.

In the meantime I’m hoping to avoid further controversies like the Met Office winter forecasts. I have been accused in the blogosphere of having so many different motives that I can’t keep track of them all.

My real motive is to try to do a decent job telling people about things that are important and they probably didn’t already know. For instance I first led media coverage about the value of the Met Office seasonal forecast a number of years ago. (My other motive – for those of you who keep emailing me at weekends – is to have a life with my wife, kids and friends.)

I do need to scotch one particularly bizarre bit of blogbabble, though. Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.

This is definitely going in my book – it is the most entertaining and baroque allegation I’ve ever faced. The truth is that BBC bosses issue very few diktats and most programme editors are stubbornly independent. I offered the recent Met Office stories from my own contacts and knowledge. No-one else asked me to do them. I don’t even know the pension fund trustees.

There are some very clever and inventive people out there in the blogosphere. Some are laudably engaged in a pursuit of facts about climate change and weather. Others might serve more use by trying to locate Elvis.

If you want to measure my journalism, you could take a look or listen to some of the articles or radio docs below. And make up your own mind.

Uncertain Climate docs 1 & 2:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tj525

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tmcz3

Copenhagen doc http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00w6pp4

Articles on Royal Society, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10178454

Met Office, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8462890.stm

Lord Oxburgh, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10507144

And Al Gore, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7040370.stm

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252 thoughts on “BBC’s Roger Harrabin responds

  1. Sounds like a good idea to me. Perhaps in a few years we will be able to better judge the MET. It certainly looks like they were grossly wrong over the last 3 years. Hopefully, these wishful thinking forecasts will be replaced by objective scientifically based forecasts.

  2. Sounds like a good proposal by Harrabin, but he’s making it a little to complicated. Just agree on what to predict and all the participants publish it at the same time. Anyway, I think it will be an exercise in futility since the climate is too complex, much less the weather! Anyone ever heard of chaos? I don’t know why people think they can be helpful with weather prediction beyond a few days.

  3. We, the public, need to know which forecasters and which forecasting methods we should trust for different types of forecasting.

    And once he gets that sorted he can do the same for equity analysts and economists.

  4. “I offered the recent Met Office stories from my own contacts and knowledge. No-one else asked me to do them. I don’t even know the pension fund trustees.”
    =============================================
    Roger, you should have stuck with that story…

    ….it made you look smarter

  5. “Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.”

    This guy (Roger Harrabin) needs to go back and read the message he sent. It reads like any another “on the dole” bureaucrat nonsense. He talks, he promises, he wishes, he hopes, he offers potential solutions, he puts on a happy face, then he goes about his oblivious way. I realize Roger Harrabin isn’t a politician, but bureaucracy is filled with such cronies who cling to the dole, and they will say and do whatever it takes to see the dole continue. He should have done what all bureaucrats do: ignore, ignore, ignore.

    When an adder hisses, you can spot it right off.

  6. This sounds like a deflection. The problem has nothing to do with the accuracy of their forecasts (even though obvious inaccuracy spawned their behavior.) The true problem is that they lied.

    Mark

  7. You don’t have to know the trustees, to know that your pension has been heavily invested in green industries, and that it might be a good plan to talk up global warming on every occasion to protect that.

  8. “My real motive is to try to do a decent job telling people about things that are important and they probably didn’t already know.”

    Roger, first thanks for the article. However, the Met Office have a record of making predictions (particularly regarding global climate and seasonal UK forecasts) and then covering up the failure of these forecasts.

    I was once a quality manager in a medium size company, and the key to quality was to first admit you had a problem. Only once you admit there is a problem can an action plan be taken to improve the processes to tackle the problem.

    The fact is that from where I stand the BBC have been making excuses for the Met Office. Notably the global and seasonal forecasts, but I was also horrified at the abysmal excuses trying to suggest they forecast the severe weather in Scotland.

    The point is, even if you think you are being impartial and unbiased in your reporting, you still are part of this big group-think culture in the BBC which as Sissons clearly explained, colours all that happens in that organisation.

    So, what I have to ask is: how are you going to ensure in future that you are not part of this group-think culture? I’m not asking you to suddenly become a sceptic (not anymore than any journalist should be), all I want is fair open and honest reporting and the abysmal travesty from the BBC of “meet the sceptics” the prequel comedy: “meet the royal society” hasn’t done anything to improve the standing of the BBC in the UK or abroad!

  9. But he doesn’t address the original critiscism does he? This is time to keep your eye on the pea under the walnut again.

    He says let’s invent some games which are listed as We will, We will, We will , We will, …etc; the We being the good old unbiased BBC. After careful adjustment and homogenisation, the Value added data will be passed to Leeds….

    Sorry chaps your BS detectors should be on full alert, this guy is from the BBC and it is simply not impartial these days on any subject at all. Some of us in England can hardly bear to watch it, yet by law we have to pay for it.

    Keep your eye on the story he told us about the Met giving secret advice to the government. We don’t need more competitive games which you will edit, just answer the B…y question – Why did you tell porkies on behalf of the Met Office?

  10. The “who-said-what-when saga” has to be resolved first. Skills do not matter if they are combined with dishonesty.

    It is obvious, that somebody did not tell the truth.

    If this is resolved and then Harrabin still in his position and the Met Office still exists in its current form, such a competition may be of interest.

  11. Conducting a forecasting test is an interesting idea, an activity for the Royal Society, for example.

    An interesting idea for a journalist would be to report on who at the Met Office lied about communications with the Cabinet office, and analyzing their motives.

    Is basic reporting too much to ask?

  12. “Others might serve more use by trying to locate Elvis.”

    That made me chuckle!

    A good idea, this. A protocol is a good idea too. Otherwise it would be just as difficult to judge as an offer from a mobile phone company.

  13. Harrabin: “If you want to measure my journalism, you could take a look or listen to some of the articles or radio docs below. And make up your own mind.”

    I have been listening to your reports on the BBC for too long to count and three things spring to mind whenever I hear them: Bias, bias and yet more bias.

    I look forward to the day when you spend my tax money (or BBC Licence fee as it is otherwise known) in an impartial way as laid down in the BBC Charter and by the BBC Trust.

    Until that day comes Mr Harrabin I will always view you as a stooge for the AGW agenda. Nothing more nothing less. Remember you are spending MY money on your reports and I expect impartiality!

  14. Roger Harrabin’s response looks a very fair and sensible one to me. I like his suggestion for a weather test particularly since it would be split into various categories. Trying to compare success in daily or even weekly forecasts with success in seasonal forecasts would be like comparing apples and oranges. In fact it might be a good idea to add another category – for “extreme weather” events but perhaps it would be too difficult to get a defintion of what would count as such an event.

    I hope that in addition to Piers Corbyn the Met Office, Positive Weather Solutions and Joe Bastardi will also participate. It would also be good to have other overseas participants. If the competition is limited to forecasts for Britain (and perhaps parts of Europe) I don’t suppose any Australian forecasters will want to participate but it would be good thing if the Met Office’s counterparts in other European countries will also join in. After all, a weather forecaster based in France or Norway, say, should not find it much more difficult to issue forecasts for Britain than he/she would for their own country.

  15. Anyone with half a brain should steer clear from the bbc, they have shown their discriminatory colors and made their views on man made climate change very clear, it seems very convenient to me that they put the blame of these preplanned biased documentarys on independent film makers.
    The BBC Environment Analyst appears to be setting a fue traps thought up by some “bbc think tank” over at the dirty tricks department.

    I would say to Roger Harrabin & BBC there is no such thing as man made climate change, AGW or CAGW. the public understands It, the public has seen the opinionated attempts to “stitch up” & portray climate change skeptics in a bad light in a manner that would make dictators around the world envious.

    I’d like to put it to Harrabin & BBC to hold their hands up, admit to the public they got it all wrong about man made climate change, get you head out of the clouds and come back to reality and realize harsh winters are here to stay, and these green taxes & carbon offsets that the bbc are helping to fuel are causing wide spread winter misery.

  16. The article on the Royal Society (29/5/10) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10178454
    is really very good indeed. He forcefully criticises the FRS’s for their authoritarian, “I’m an FRS – trust me”, attitudes. Looking at the recent programme by Sir Paul Nurse, the new President is as hidebound as the old.

  17. Isn’t the real problem that somebody lied about what they had said?

    Good on Roger for fronting up here though. Be polite people.

  18. Daily forecasting seems to add burdensome work to the compilers with little added value. Here in Canada, the daily stuff is almost always right, I think of more as a weather report than a forecast. Stick you head out the door, call up the radar online and presto! one forecast.

    Weekly, monthly, and seasonal. I would suggest a 30, 50, and 100 year forecast as well, but that is already “settled.”

  19. Roger,
    I’m pleased to see you have chosen to respond here at Anthony’s site. However you have neatly avoided a number of the most pressing questions.

    There is one in particular I would like an answer to:

    You said, in relation to the report released by the FOI request: “This doesn’t match a more conclusive forecast I gleaned from a Met Office contact in December”

    From here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12325695

    What exactly was this forecast – was it verbal, in writing? And more importantly, who gave it to you?

    Also, in the above entry you say:

    “I note a blog report (which I cannot yet verify) saying that a civil servant commented: “The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter.”

    This suggests to me you’ve scanned a couple of blogs, but haven’t gone to the source, which is freely available here:

    http://www.censoring.me/temp/MetOfficeFOI.pdf

    The statement in question isn’t a “comment” – it is a statement the Cabinet Office was planning to include in ‘Forward Look’, thus representing its position for the coming winter – a position which you will see in the return email from the Met Office, with which the Met Office apparently has no problem.

  20. I count this as another credit to the persistence and fair-mindedness of WUWT and other responsible skeptic blogs. Let’s test the models and their interpreters with real data. We all win when some quantifiable level of confidence, rather than mere claims of robustness, can be put in forecasts/scenarios.

  21. “Now, seasonal forecasting is a science in its infancy. The World Meteorological Organisation tell me that most “met” services don’t publish them because they are so hit-and-miss.”

    However, very long range forecasting science has matured to the point that we are so certain of its accuracy decades out that we must junk our present means of producing energy and pour unimaginable amounts of taxpayer and consumer money into alternatives that cost more and produce less reliably.

    At least, that’s what I understand from the BBC.

  22. Meh. Whatever. The Beeb is a socialist propaganda mill with no journalistic cred these days. Nobody should take them seriously even when they momentarily put on a mask of reasonability. The Brits need to elect a government that will take away the public funding from these lefty twits. Government controlled broadcasting is a bad thing. No exceptions.

  23. Sounds like a good idea – until one realises that the Met Office has the habit of changing, ahem, updating their forecasts all the time so that the ‘original’ one isn’t available any longer.

    If that isn’t going to be ‘forbidden’ in this scheme, then forget it.

  24. Do not re-invent the wheel. England has Bookmakers on every street. Use them.

    Enlist them to catalog predictions specific enough to be the subject of a bet. Then let see which way the money lines up see which forecasters are the ones to side with.

  25. “I do need to scotch one particularly bizarre bit of blog babble, though. Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.”

    This of course would be handled at a level above Mr. Harrabin’s pay grade. If they have invested in “green” technologies, there would be a financial incentive to only hire and promote true AGW believers. Even this is too much to believe without strong evidence. What is does show is that the BBC managers are true believers. To actually risk the pension funds on such risky, uneconomical ventures can only be done by true believers. The hiring and promotion policies remain biased even if there is no direct manipulation for financial gain or even awareness of the financial benefits. I wonder what would happen to employees that dared to complain about risky pension investments. Imagine the horror at discovering there was a “denier” in the midst.

  26. John in NZ says:
    February 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Isn’t the real problem that somebody lied about what they had said?

    Yes, as I also noted above. Very few that have posted in here have noticed the deflection. Deflection is used to avoid discussing a subject that is either embarrassing, or damaging in some way. The fact that there were lies is both embarrassing and damaging. The fact that Harribin was either used or complicit in said lies is also embarrassing and damaging.

    Yet, as we can see from comments, the deflection has worked. “Yeah, a test! That’ll teach ‘em!” Teach ‘em what? How about a test to see whether they can continue to operate without lying to anybody, ever? I’d rather have an honest opinion, even if it is wrong, then what they are producing (you can insert any country’s equivalent office for “they.”)

    Mark

  27. Roger is an OK guy for showing up here. Bravo.

    And, yes, this contest would be very interesting.

    However, Roger does not address the original question: what information did he obtain that the Met had issued a winter warning back in October? There has been no evidence that the Met had issued such a report and some evidence (FOI) that it didn’t. What’s up with that?

  28. By Roger Harrabin
    Environment analyst, BBC News
    Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010
    Quote ‘I have been discussing with the Royal Statistical Society, the Royal Meteorological Society and the Public Weather Service whether an index can be created comparing the records of all reputable forecasters making weather projections in the UK.
    A weather index could allow the public to see over the years who is really getting it right over long-term weather. ‘

    Move along now, nothing new to see…………

  29. Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.

    Just so we’re quite clear about this, here’s the IIGCC’s web page listing the BBC pension trust as one of its members:

    http://www.iigcc.org/about-us/members

    The question that needs to be asked – and the question Mr Harrabin seems keen to try to smother with the rather tired blanket of ‘Elvis’ conspiracies – is:

    Given that the BBC have placed their pension fund in the hands of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, what will happen to that fund – and the pensions of thousands – should AGW prove to be a gigantic mistake?

  30. From a report this week on the BBC website you can see the constant bias that courses through Harrabins veins:

    “Surveys show that many people don’t believe the truths of scientific orthodoxy anymore and prefer to seek their “facts” in the blogosphere where it’s easier to get insouciant endorsement of high-consumption western lifestyles.”

    This is how he views anybody that does not agree with his mantra. And this we have to pay for in the UK by through tax to support a supposedly unbiased, impartial broadcaster – the BBC!

    Roger, are you capable of putting your preconceptions to one side and writing in a neutral tone? No, thought not!

  31. I’m surprised Roger didn’t put any effort into explaining why he wrote;

    “The truth is it did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October.”

    Did he merely get burned by someone at the Met Office that used him?

    Has he learned to be careful about trusting employees of the Met Office?

    Does he think this incident will cause other reporters to be less trusting of the Met Office lest they get egg on their face, too?

  32. “My real motive is to try to do a decent job telling people about things that are important and they probably didn’t already know.” … as opposed to all the other jokers who do an indecent job telling people minutiae they already knew. Seriously?!

    This prim-and-proper verbiage makes me suspicious (of all Albions who use it). I would like to see external verifiability of the submissions and predictions for specific places that are externally verifiable, such as London, with immediate reporting of raw data for that place & no ad-hoc adjustments to thermometers allowed. “Regional” is another word for lack of verifiability.

  33. The BBC is a joke. It’s not balanced and fair; it’s pro Green, pro Global Warming, a mouthpiece for Greenpeace and the rest of the global warming alarmists. Excuse me for not believing anything this man said in his article, I’ve seen so much green propaganda from the BBC I no longer consider it a legitimate news broadcaster. Read Peter Sissons just released book if you want the real truth on how the BBC operates. It confirms ALL the suspicions I’ve had about the organisation for many years.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for the BBC to cover the legitimate concerns so-called deniers have about global warming. It’s filled with too many leftists/eco scaremongers who don’t want the other side to interfere with the broadcast of their lies.

  34. I think Roger’s idea is a very good one. I hope the Met realises that not responding to this will make just as clear a statement as responding.

  35. This to Roger Harrabin, is the BBC Smoke and Mirrors gambit.

    ‘Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
    Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
    Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
    And one by one back in the Closet lays.

  36. Kudos to Mr Harrabin for tiptoeing into the lion’s den. Well, the hamster’s den, maybe. The testing of weather predictions sounds like a good idea.

    I agree about the whole pension fund thing – it’s a loony-tunes idea.

    If you’re reading this Mr Harrabin, I’d love your comments on whether you believe that the piece you wrote on Nov 26th 2010 was an attempt by the Met Office to influence policy makers at Cancun. Or was the timing just an incredible coincidence?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11841368

  37. People, please, play nice. In my book, anyone who fronts up on WUWT like Harrabin has done here deserves our politeness and respect – and even, to an extent, some trust. You don’t have to believe he’s right, but you have to provide some pretty good evidence if you want to allege that he’s deliberately lying or covering up.

    Our main problem with so many of the climate scientists is their failure to demonstrate integrity. Well, Harrabin’s given us a small amount of his time to demonstrate his to a small extent: he hasn’t ignored us, or thrown insults at our motives, so lets extend him the same privilege.

    Here’s something for some people here to think about: assume that you have Harrabin’s job, and you do happen to make the link between your pension and advocating certain views you knew to be false, at great cost to society – would you? What kind of person would do that? Harrabin may be wrong, but if so we should assume that without strong evidence to the contrary, he is honestly wrong. He’d have to be a very, very bad person to be purposefully deceiving people.

  38. I want to give Roger kudo’s for posting here and making his case. I may not agree with him on many things, but I salute him for engaging openly in this way.

  39. Frank Verismo>

    Please, if you’re going to go down the conspiracy theory route, at least go the whole way. Why did the BBC pension fund invest in green shares in the first place? Some kind of world government conspiracy involving Jews, Buddhists, and the polar bears?

    You need to remember, most of the time coincidences are just coincidences.

  40. Nice idea Roger but just a deflection isnt it? I’m with Katabasis who commented above. Would you please post a response as currently it looks like you told a lie. And that won’t be doing your reputation any good.
    Thanks.

  41. That’s why I am attempting with the help of the Royal Met Soc, the Royal Stats Soc and the Royal Astro Soc to devise a Weather Test in which forecasters enter their forecasts to a central data point, so they can be judged against each other over a period of time.

    Isn’t this like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted?

    The Met has been pathetic at its predictions, and should be axed! The UK should not be throwing good money after bad.

    It sounds more like you are trying to ensure that public money keep flowing to those who continue to fail.

  42. P.S. Mr Harrabin, are you planning on writing anything about the way that the Royal Society misled people about the role they played in selecting papers for the Oxburgh review? Or did I miss something that you already wrote about that?

  43. Anthony Watts’ first impression, that Harrabin would not respond, was absolutely correct: He did not respond.
    He wrote about other things, though. Nice.

  44. Mark T says:
    February 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

    John in NZ says:
    February 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Isn’t the real problem that somebody lied about what they had said?

    Yes, as I also noted above. Very few that have posted in here have noticed the deflection.

    ===========

    This.

    I noticed the deflection almost immediately upon reading the article. The initial issue that prompted Anthony to invite a response from Mr. Harrabin was that Harrabin had written an article defending the Met which was based on an utter falsehood.

    Yet, Mr. Harrabin launches straight into his proposal for a central “clearing house” for seasonal forecasts and builds from there, neatly avoiding the original problem. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the idea that is proposed, but people here should justifiably be demanding an explanation from Mr. Harriban regarding his recent, egregiously misleading article.

    Keep your eye on the pea, people.

  45. I spent years searching for sightings of an honest journalist, but then it turns out trying to locate Elvis is easier and a lot more fun.

  46. What a strange contribution …

    Besides the missing courtesy (a welcome address or maybe saying thanks to Antony for offering the opportunity) …

    … there is absolutely no need for weather tests with the MET. I’s all done. No interest. Piers Corbyn took the prize and went off with it.

    It’s all about winning time and “keeping the ball flat” when Mr. Harrabin says “I’m hoping to avoid further controversies like the Met Office winter forecasts”, trying to make forget about his own role in the story.

    He still has a lot of questions to answer instead of giving here a list of articles or radio docs to read or to listen to … as if WUWT-readers would need some basic input first (most of them know Mr. Harrabins posts well).

    Here’s where the music plays …

    http://i-squared.blogspot.com/2011/02/mystic-met-office-forecasts-that-are.html

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/met-office-document-shows-it-only-renamed-its-seasonal-forecasts

  47. Dave says:
    February 1, 2011 at 10:24 am
    He’d have to be a very, very bad person to be purposefully deceiving people
    ===============================================
    So Dave, someone that researches and writes articles about what is reported involving climate change, has never seen all of the controversy surrounding it.

    ….The only other choice is that they are just plain stupid….

  48. “There are some very clever and inventive people out there in the blogosphere. Some are laudably engaged in a pursuit of facts about climate change and weather. Others might serve more use by trying to locate Elvis.”

    I wonder into which category Mr Harrabin places Jo Abbess?

    “with the help of the Royal Met Soc, the Royal Stats Soc and the Royal Astro Soc to devise a Weather Test”

    I smell smoke, of the screen, type.

    What the hell do we want a “competition” for and what has it got to do with the BBC? Just get the Met Office to get back to basics, instead of “saving the world”

    Mr Harrabin, whilst I truly appreciate your involvement here I am afraid that you find me with my view of the BBC at a new all time low. Something which I did not think was possible.

  49. Mr. Harrabins response here at WUWT and his piece over at BBC which he links to is an obvious deflection attempt. Firstly, he seeks to distract with the ”peace offering gift” – the possible future weather prognosis comparison thingy, then he tries to create the impression that he deals with the criticims raised over his misleading article.

    Unfortunately, his above post here at WUWT as well as the BBC article he links to do not deal with the many and detailed criticisms. He also resorts to downplaying vital and damming information with his comments such as:

    “I note a blog report (which I cannot yet verify) saying that a civil servant commented: “The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter.”

    He no doubt knows full well that the above statement is directly from the email exchange between the Met Office and the Cabinet Office, a result of FOI requests, even though he purports to not know. That is a trick (as in “a clever thing to do”, even though it is misleading).

    In his original article he makes the claim that the Met Office had forecast the extreme cold in October and warned the Cabinet Office in advance. These claims are now shown to be false.

    The only real alternatives we are left with to explain this mess are these:
    1. Mr Harrabin conspired to mislead the public
    2. Mr. Harrabin was himself mislead and as a result mislead the public
    3. A combination of option 1 and 2

    Either really, really bad journalistic work or intent to mislead – that is it. No other options exist. So, which is it Mr. Harrabin?

    Either way, I believe that Mr. Harrabin, being a journalist, and especially considering a BBC public broadcasting journalist, financed with our tax money, should:
    1. Explain in detail how he came to write and publish your misleading article
    2. Immediately and clearly issue a correction and seek to correct the erroneous public perception created by his misleading and false statements; and
    3. Offer his unconditional and sincere apology for his actions (se alternative 1, 2 and 3 above).

    So far Mr. Harrabin has done none of the above. We are waiting Mr. Harrabin…

    This comment deals with Mr. Harrabin only. Don’t even get me started on the obvious contradictions, untruths (yes, lies) and shenanigans of the Met Office in this matter…

  50. Kudos to Harrabin for coming here.

    However, as others have said, where is the evidence he has (had?) that the MET “warned the Government of a exceptionally cold start to the winter?”

    For that matter, where is the Met’s evidence that it also so warned the government?

  51. Roger,

    Firstly – well done on responding.

    Secondly – you didn’t address the issue.

    Thirdly – as a resident of the UK I am subjected to BBC bias every waking day, which permeates and dominates other media, government and every persons view point in the country. The BBC is institutionally biased about many subjects – and in the case of climate – the BBC is warmist / alarmist.

    Conclusion: You are going to have to do a lot better than that.

  52. Well done to Roger Harrabin for posting here. I don’t for a second think he is a ‘bad’ person but I do think he is seriously misguided in his views.
    I would not pay for the BBC if there were a choice, the sad decline of a once admired UK institution. The biased shown in so many areas is distressing.

  53. I note that Roger Harrabin is at least prepared to talk to those on the “other side” of the climate debate, it seems to be AGW policy not to debate with “deniers”.

  54. From Harrabin’s notes:
    “The Met Office are correct: it is not a forecast. It does not even indicate above average temperatures – rather, it suggests an above-average probability of above average temperatures.”

    Another joke:
    I’ll be on medical leave the next four weeks.
    After that you may call me Laura instead of Roger.

  55. Having read the article from Roger Harrabin and the comments which follow it, I have decided that there is nothing he or the BBC could do to satisfy the readers of this website. He’s probably referring to the majority of people here when he refers to those who would be better off looking for Elvis.

    There isn’t always a conspiracy. Sometimes you might think you’re right, but you may well be wrong.

  56. Colin in Mission BC says:
    February 1, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I noticed the deflection almost immediately upon reading the article. The initial issue that prompted Anthony to invite a response from Mr. Harrabin was that Harrabin had written an article defending the Met which was based on an utter falsehood.

    Keep your eye on the pea, people.

    Good. Now Anthony needs to get on board and say “WUWT?” :)

    Mark

  57. DO NOT trust one word harriban says. Not one. If he is planning some sort of weather prediction test it will be rigged to embarrass his enemies — which is anyone who does not bow down to the Hockey Team and the AGW fanatics.

  58. I’m surprised at the pettiness of some of the comments. Sniping in such a way at one of the few prepared to put his head above the parapet and address the criticisms says stuff about the poster that I’d rather not know about or want to share space with.

    He’s offered a good set of responses, made a fair offer, matched that of Piers Corbyn and left it to an independent body to run. I applaud him for that and for his willingness to participate in benchmarking the different approaches.
    This, in my opinion is a step in the right direction.

  59. Roger,

    Firstly i commend you in the highest way for taking the time to engage and respond to the points raised. Though, i have to agree that you didn’t QUITE respond to the actual points- perhaps lost in the eagerness to put forward your weather forecast testing idea.

    ON this specific point i have to say that it is an excellent idea. In-process validation, or testing (in your context) is already a staple process in the models used for ‘hard’ sciences and engineering. To see this process being attempted on weather (and hopefully climate too) models is not only long over due, but heartening. You are also absolutely right to include other forecasters such as Piers Corybn.

    I fully intend to check the site- should you provide the link, once you are looking for input into the testing methodology, i have a particular skill and expertise in experiment design/validation so if i can be of any use, just let me know.

    Finally on the Bias of the BBC. WHile you maintain that you are fully independant of BBC ‘control’ as it were, the same cannot be said about your colleagues- the number of factually incorrect pieces on climate change that appear on the BBC almost daily, is astonishing. If you could do something to address this, it would certainly help the BBC’s credibility no end.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to write to anthony and to detail your idea- i wish it the very best success.

  60. Roger, I don’t think the issue here is whether the Met Office or Piers Corbyn is the better forecaster, and raising the issue seems a bit of a distraction under the circumstances. People can already place bets on weather outcomes, or hire whichever forecaster they prefer.

    To the extent I have followed this issue, the charge against you pertains to an article in the Telegraph quoting you as saying

    This winter, however, its seasonal forecast proved more accurate. Mr Harrabin said: “Why didn’t the Met Office tell us that Greenland was about to swap weather with Godalming? The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren’t let in on the secret.

    In context, this amounted to a defence of the quality of the Met Office’s forecast, by deflecting blame onto the government for not disseminating it. But further inquiries (in particular, Katabasis showed that the information provided to the government did not warn of exceptionally cold conditions, merely a slightly elevated probability of a cold start to winter, with “cold” defined as pretty much overlapping with “normal”. A Cabinet Office staffer wrote to the Met Office suggesting the summary line “The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter” to which the Met Office replied “That is fine.”

    So we are left wondering what was the basis for your claim that the Met Office had briefed the government about an exceptionally cold early winter. Do you have other documentary sources besides the ones now posted online? Not having followed the controversy closely I realise that you may already have answered this question and I missed it, but it looks like other blogs and writers have also missed it.

    Once again, the issue is not that forecasts are difficult or that people might think the BBC is conflicted in its motivations. The issue is that you were quoted saying the Met Office provided what was essentially accurate guidance to the Cabinet, yet the correspondence between the Met Office and the cabinet office do not appear to support that. Can you clarify the basis for the statement attributed to you in the Telegraph piece?

  61. Anyone in the UK who regularly uses the BBC/Met Office 5 day forecast knows that a lot of the time they can’t even get the 24hr forecast correct for small areas, like where you live and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th days change the closer you get to them.
    On top of that their long range forecasts have been abysmal, so bad they had to rename them.
    We do not need any tests, just a half decent service.

  62. As others have said, kudos to you Roger for writing here.

    However, I have to agree with Richard lawson’s comments about the biased nature of your reporting. You may believe that you are impartial, but, stand back and look again. May be you will see your work as people in the detached middle ground see you.

  63. He just didn’t answer to the question. Why he said something that was false?
    Caught, he just tries to divert the question.

  64. Richard Lawson says:
    February 1, 2011 at 10:09 am
    “Roger, are you capable of putting your preconceptions to one side and writing in a neutral tone? No, thought not!”

    I read one of the articles his essay links to. It is full of consensus = correctness, therefore AGW is real and frightening and our children’s children will all hate us. Here’s a typical excerpt:

    [Gore] then spent impotent frustrating years in the White House, and later outside it, watching climate sceptics – some well-meaning scientists, but many in the pay of the oil industry – discredit the global warming theory.

    The sceptics knew that they did not need to win the battle of climate facts, they just needed to keep doubt alive.

    And this is not biased? “Many in the pay of the oil industry”? And your source for such a sweeping besmirching? How many is many? What exactly are these many being paid by the oil industry, and for what services exactly? There’s some journalistic research for you.

    For balance, also mention the billions of research funds from governments which are driving the AGW agenda. If a university scientist wants to attract research funds it is so easy to ascribe some aspect of his research to ‘global warming’ and thus be assured of a grant.

    And by the way, as so many posts here underscore, you have yet to answer the central questions.

  65. I will echo all those who are pointing out that this essay is mere deflection.

    Back to the issue please: who lied?

  66. Others might serve more use by trying to locate Elvis.

    Is this how the missing stratospheric hot spot is called now?

  67. We’d like to compile….
    we will be in discussions…
    We, the public,…
    we should trust…
    We are progressing…
    we’ll be able to…
    we settle the final…
    we’ll publish it…

    The majestic plural is the use of a plural pronoun to refer to a single person holding a high office, such as a monarch, bishop, pope, or university rector. It is also called the royal pronoun, the royal “we” or the Victorian “we.” It is most commonly used to denote the excellence, power, and dignity of the person that speaks or writes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_plural

    In 1926 John Reith told BBC announcers they had to wear evening dress… and by 2011 the tables have turned… are we now meant to bow and curtsy in the presence of the BBC and humbly accept every word… I think not.

    Others might serve more use by trying to locate Elvis.
    David Willis covered that story for the BBC in 2007 – see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6952315.stm

    If only the BBC environmental reporters could do such a good job…. just saying that CAGW has arrived in the building is not enough… ridiculing and shouting at Johnny Foreigner deniers (in that good old fashioned British way) is not enough either.

  68. @Dave Have you ever tried to comment on a bbc or gurndain website?
    you’ll find there is no respect or tolerance for apposing views on man made climate change issues, in fact they are very fond of the big red delete button (No pressure!).

    The fact of the matter is that the bbc often puts out a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and until I see reason to believe otherwise I will remain distrustful of these people,
    you are all welcome to be seduced by yet another smiling assassin.

  69. Yeah, sure.

    Not like data kept in climatologists databases has ever been “adjusted” to make them look better….

    Are certain forecasters going to be allowed to “seasonally adjust” their forecasts from a few weeks, months, or years ago? Wouldn’t surprise me one bit…

  70. Ross McKitrick has it exactly right in his comment above. The weather forecasting challenge is a grand diversion, which has nothing to do with the accusation against Mr. Harrabin. I want to see that issue addressed, and what we have instead is a proposal to change the subject.

  71. I LIKE IT!
    A good, old fashioned ‘shoot out’ at the ‘Let’s See Who’s OK Corral’!
    It’s the W(y)att’s Earp With That posse vs the UK Met Office TerraFlops and the AGW gang!

  72. To all of those suggesting that a public contest of predictions is a good idea:

    Do you pay attention sportscasters who predict the winners of big games? Do you bet on what they offer as a prediction?

    Now, consider your answer yes/no, and realize that predicting the outcome of a football game (American or otherwise) is far easier than predicting the weather 3 months from now. Now realize that the public perception of our understanding of climate will swing on the results (valid or otherwise) of the contest. Yes, this path is perilous, which is why it shouldn’t be trod.

  73. Re: “Anyway, I think it will be an exercise in futility since the climate is too complex, much less the weather! Anyone ever heard of chaos? I don’t know why people think they can be helpful with weather prediction beyond a few days.”

    I’m very intrigued by this notion that chaos places a dominant role in weather. But, that seems rather simple to me. There remains a possibility, in my view, that Earth’s weather beneath the magnetosphere is principally a product of heliospheric and even interstellar electrical activity that originates on the other side of the magnetosphere. Once one understands all of the electrical legs of the system, from space to the Earth’s surface, then perhaps weather becomes a bit less mysterious.

    It’s somewhat perplexing that this ideas is not taken more seriously, as it represents the switch of cause-and-effect between electricity and weather. After all, if the matter we see with our telescopes is indeed 99.999% matter in the plasma state, then the Earth is by far the exception. And very possibly, it is the fact that we exist within this tiny bubble of non-plasma that is really the cause for our inability to understand electricity’s role in space.

    I think that this suggestion of the Weather Test is perhaps a turning point in the climate change debate. And, even though the idea is really quite simple, it is really quite revolutionary that we would finally start judging weather theories on the basis of how well the models perform.

    This is arguably good news for the Electric Universe paradigm. In theory, this might offer them a long-term strategy of circumventing the peer review obstructionism that’s been going on for so long now.

    I humbly submit that the EU crowd needs to generate its own weather model for the Weather Test. And I suspect I already know a way to make it happen.

  74. Back in May of 2010 on Radio 4 you accused the Heartland Institute of being funded by “Big Oil” even though you apparently have no evidence that this is so. How can you blame people for suspecting that you’re in the pay of “BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology”? You’re certainly in the pay of the BBC.

    Poor baby. It’s tough to get back what you’ve been dishing out to honest scientists with honest doubts.

    You hypocrite!

  75. BBC “programme editors are stubbornly independent”??? My arse. Independant in this context must mean militantly socialist.

    How else are we to explain your all toeing the party line, i.e. that

    And as to your being “a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees” it is _AT_LEAST_ as likley as claims that sceptics receive funding from big oil. If you have no vested interest – as you claim – why then were you caught publishing and promoting such an obvious lie (again)?

  76. Roger I know you will be monitoring this blog so I will address this directly to you.

    The idea that you present is a good one it is well worth setting up and handled by the correct people should be beneficial to all involved especially the British public. The problem is that you are not the right person because you are tainted, the Royal Society has lost credibility and I fully expect the BBC and the Guardian newspaper to enforce their involvement at some stage probably with exclusive reporting rights in their own medium.
    You write ” We, the public, need to know which forecasters and which forecasting methods we should trust for different types of forecasting.” You sir, are not the public, you are a part of the post modern establishment, you are a part of the problem.
    If you were to address the questions posed by those on this blog and others following the debacle of the winter forecast provided to the cabinet office as reported by yourself, then you may regain some respect even though you may find your position within the BBC untenable.
    If your “real motive is to try to do a decent job telling people about things that are important and they probably didn’t already know” then I would suggest that you start by making amends to those of us who pay your wages and provide some truth to the matter of why British institutions would try to influence public opinion of a democratically elected British government, even if that means you are ostracised by your colleagues and the previous government. Until that time my advice to you would be to report the headlines instead of trying to create them.

    Sincerely
    Nigel Brereton

  77. I agree with my fellow Canuck Ross.

    This is a deflection. Instead of admitting there was clear attempts to mislead the public, we are being offered a substitution in the form of a test. How long will this test take? 3, 6, 12, 48 months? If everyone agrees with the test, you will just hide behind it when people ask about this issue, saying you are waiting for the result.

    There is one thing the alarmists are very good at is the deflection of criticism to the future. Point out how a result doesn’t match a prediction and you will be treated to a thousand reasons as to why you just need to wait a bit longer before comparing:
    – Just need to wait a bit longer for that last bit of data.
    – Just short term noise, wait a few years and it will come back.
    – We are only just seeing the start of the effect, wait until it gets bigger.

    Better yet, why wait. We already have a history of predictions from both parties and the data to check them. A motivated individual could have a result in a week. Lets check their quality right now. Why wait?

    Then can we get back to the real issue of political influence and corruption of a scientific organization. A scientist, would issue a forcast and then admit if it was wrong and learn from the mistake. All this back room, super-secret, stuff is just political bulls—t. They are only showing they are not interested in truth or accuracy, they only care about the political slant. Does anyone, including Roger, really believe that the October issued probablity(forecast) wouldn’t have been shoved down peoples throats if it had right? Would you ever hear the end of it if it had been a warm winter? Everyone on both sides knows the truth of that.

    Reality is, that their models are not working and need to be fixed. Trying to endlessly spin them so you don’t have review your stand on CO2 forcing, is just getting ridiculous.

    Everyone can see this. The MET knows this or else they wouldn’t be trying to spin it.

    Does climate science not realize that this is why they are losing the confidence of the people? Saying it will be warm, and it is cold, but then arguing you were right looks no different to the average man than wearing tin-foil on your head. Saying for 20 years there will be less snow and then arguing you said all along there would be more snow, looks down right crazy.

    If a few of these climate scientists would have said, “We didn’t expect the cold and snow, we will be reviewing the data to see what we missed”, they might have some credibility left. But did any of them say that? Anyone?

  78. I accepted Mr. Harrabin’s invitation to read and/or listen to some of his past offerings. The bias is so obvious and consistent that anyone with an open mind can’t fail to see and hear it. What he says is too often about politicians , too seldom about relevantly qualified scientists, almost invariably derogatory about AGW sceptics, regardless of therir qualifications or lack of funding by the fossil fuel industry or other supporters, and almost never about details of climate history or about currently observed facts and the massive differences between these and the disastrous scenarios depicted by the models so beloved of the consensus and more particularly the most alarmist members of the scientific community.

  79. Hello Roger – thanks for engaging.

    Is there really no system already in place for assessing accuracy of forecasts made? In an age where people pay for weather forecasts (short term and long term), there must be some way of seeing who is turning a profit through being more accurate?

    Even if we do have to wait until a protocol is defined, can we backfill it with predictions already made to date? Then we can see straight away whose model is better, rather than waiting yet more years before results come in.

    I can even help with the backfill – “Arctic to be ice free in 5 years – Maslowski / Gore (2007)”.

  80. A mere 0.1ºC separate the coldest Central England Temperature CET for December with the 2010 result (records back to 1659). An anomaly of -5.3ºC is not described by ‘a cold and wintry start’. Phrases like ‘abnormally cold’ or ‘bitter cold’ or ‘this is one for the record books’ or ‘Dickensian start to winter’ or ‘this’ll use up your salt stocks in a fortnight’ might be better phrases. The November anomaly at a mere –1.4ºC might be covered by ‘a cold and wintry start’ but since that was less than a month after the prediction it was hardly a skillfull seasonal forecast and didn’t hint at a very prolonged period of freezing temperatures and snow. The October anomaly itself was –0.3ºC and despite a few weeks of warmer temperatures, the coming downturn would have been well within the normal weather forecasting range. If late November or December had been warm then the ‘a cold and wintry start’ would already have been in the bag.

    The Met Office specialises in predictions that are so vague that they are almost impossible to get wrong… and yet, they manage it.

    Using the MetOffice technique, my predictions for every day for the next 12 months is 33.3% colder than average, 33.3% warmer than average, 33.4% average. Ditto for precipitation. Prove me wrong.

  81. Be cynical. Think about who this is. The guy that organised a skeptic v Scientist debate last year because he felt it was time and then proceeded to ensure the skeptics didn’t get the floor.
    He’s a serpent in worm clothing. Be very cynical.

  82. He didn’t say anything about his story that his own FOI request proved to be wrong. He just threw in a few distractions.

    If he’s a genuine journalist, he should investigate why his sources fed him BS. It might make an interesting story.

  83. Mr Harrabin states..

    “I do need to scotch one particularly bizarre bit of blogbabble, though. Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.”

    That is not and never has been the primary accusation or even a minor one levelled at Mr Harrabin, the primary accusation is that Mr Harrabin is altogether too close to the met office and his reports do strongly suggest a sympathetic understanding he is not keen to highlight, it also suggests that there is a symbiotic relationship between the met office and the BBC and the lack of critical analysis of met office mistakes and errors seems to confirm this idea.

    Mr Harrabin goes on to state,

    “When it is finally agreed by the steering group it’ll be handed to Leeds University to run the project, with no further involvement in the data from the steering committee members.”

    Now this is very interesting in itself and would point to a biased outcome from a biased panel, as we know Leeds university is a well known centre of CAGW fanaticism and can hardly be judged as impartial, it would be a show trial in a kangaroo court, guilty until proven even more guilty. Unless a review of panel members and interests and credentials can be ascertained then I would have little confidence in it.

    Now this paragraph is a classic escape and evasion technique,

    “In the meantime I’m hoping to avoid further controversies like the Met Office winter forecasts. I have been accused in the blogosphere of having so many different motives that I can’t keep track of them all.”

    Now why would an impartial reporter want or desire to avoid controversies at all? Surely a reporters job consists of investigating NOT avoiding controversies. There is a major story of great interest to the public that not only pays the wages of Mr Harrabin but also funds the met office. It is his job to find the causes and reasons behind scandals like these, it is not his job to avoid them UNLESS he is working with the met office to suppress the story.

    The following technique is to deride and snigger at accusations that Mr Harrabin has no intention of discussing in any depth,

    “This is definitely going in my book – it is the most entertaining and baroque allegation I’ve ever faced. The truth is that BBC bosses issue very few diktats and most programme editors are stubbornly independent. I offered the recent Met Office stories from my own contacts and knowledge. No-one else asked me to do them. I don’t even know the pension fund trustees.”

    What book? We know from Peter Sissons that an unspoken narrative rules BBC behaviour, is Mr Sissons lying? When Roger states that most editors are stubbornly independent he knows that they support the CAGW narrative and are much more likely to be sympathetic to a story that aligns with their own political beliefs but he obviously wishes us to understand his words mean something else entirely, if he had done a highly critical story exposing the met office then what would the chances of that report making it past the editors? Little to none I think.
    The last sentence is misleading because he does not have to know the trustees to know that pension funds that he depends on are in fact themselves dependent in large part on green eco investments and its hardly likely that he would not know how his pension is invested and what the consequences would be if CAGW theory were to be disproved and the resulting collapse in green investments.

    Here we have fake pathos, making the reader empathise with the author, but what he doesnt say is more interesting than his ‘Im just a regular kind of guy’ patter,

    “My real motive is to try to do a decent job telling people about things that are important and they probably didn’t already know. For instance I first led media coverage about the value of the Met Office seasonal forecast a number of years ago. (My other motive – for those of you who keep emailing me at weekends – is to have a life with my wife, kids and friends”

    These few words are to my mind the most telling of all, he has never ever broken any story critical of CAGW and the institutions that support it, ever! Now Roger has reacted to breaking stories AFTER others have and in many cases long after the story has broken, the climategate scandal for instance. This was ignored until the counter story was cobbled together by the UEA and not once did Roger investigate full the emails he refused to even publish them and all we saw from him was a concerted effort to downplay and then cast doubt on critics and their motives. From the outset of climategate Roger followed he never led and he never ran a critical emerging story that contradicted CAGW dogma and those who pimped this dogma.
    Mr Harrabin has run away from doing his job as and when CAGW has been threatened and criticised, he has protected those involved and has expended great effort in supporting and protecting them, I have yet to read a story critical of CAGW that he has broken.

  84. The nub of the matter has nothing whatsoever with the forecasting abilities of the Met Office but the politicisation of the Met Office. When a scientific organisation becomes a standard bearer for a cause then it is inevitable that it’s standards drop.

    The BBC has always been accused of political impartiality and though I never have believed it, I do know for sure it has never campaigned for a political party. However it does campaign for the Global Warming/Climate Change Cause something the Trust needs to stop.
    Mr Harrabin and the BBC need to consider, that on global warming and climate change I and many others trust the output from this site, Steve McIntyre’s and Ross McKitrick’s sites much more than the BBC. That should not be the case. The exception on the BBC is Paul Hudson who tries to stay away from alarmism.

    I would have thought Roger, that a newsworthy story would be the President of the Royal Society saying that man made CO2 emissions are seven times natural CO2 emissions?

    When will the BBC allow Professor Robert Carter to give his views on catastrophic global warming? I suspect when hell freezes over.

    Thank you Mr Harrabin for your sensible post and certainly stay away from emails at the weekend.

  85. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:
    February 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Gullible!! Go look at Roger Haribin’s history§ Read his past articles, look at his actions.

    You know, actions speak louder than words. Ross McKitrick got it politely and smack on the head of the nail. Read his comment.

  86. Just another hack that either thinks everybody is stupid, or skeptics are stupid. Whichever does not matter, he is incorrect. His deflection has been uncovered. Balance is clearly not this man’s goal.

    Mark

  87. There seems to be much dispute over who at the Met said what to the government.
    In such cases it is often instructive to consider what the government was prepared to hear. Whatever a servant may know, they tend to tell their masters what they want to hear, so what did the UK government want to know about the chances of a cold winter – given the spending implications and risk of looking like sensationalist fools if they acted on an 80% certainty of a very cold winter ?

    On that prediction front, the government could have ignored the Met and gone with a forecaster who claims far better success rates. He DID forecast an exceptionally cold December, and has also forecast January with an 80% certainty it would be the coldest in 100 years. :-

    http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=290&c=5

    31-12-10 New Year message! from Piers Corbyn, WeatherAction

    This winter is the Stalingrad in the ‘Climate War’; it will be long and hard, those who understand this winter will win.
    |…
    1. Our forecast for an exceptionally cold and also snowy January in Britain & West Europe stands and despite its unlikely occurrence according to standard views we expect with 80% confidence that much of Britain (eg Central England) to be in the three coldest Januaries in the last 100 years.

    So one right and one wrong.
    equal to coin tossing for accuracy…..

  88. “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Ghandi.

    This was not just a statement, but a correct prediction as events have proved.

    Climate realists have been ignored and ridiculed by AGWers for years, so I don’t see why we should be grateful to Mr Harrabin for deigning to appear on this site.

    If you substitute the word ‘engage’ for ‘fight’ it seems to me that Mr Harrabin’s offering comes (loosely) under the third stage in the above quote.

    One more stage to go!

  89. Why on earth are you people granting Kudos to Harabin, for crying out loud. All he has done is submit a letter to Anthony which A has put on his site. How is that worthy of Kudos. He has failed to answer any of the questions previously submitted to him and go off on some wild goose chase into getting the lying Royal Socs to devize soem way of ensuring that the MetOff wins some glamour competition. Haven’t you plonkers read the write up on the BBC’s two recent demolishing jobs. Get real, guys and girls. This is not some nice bloger you are addressing this is a senior correspondent at the BBC global warming pension fund cheating producers.

  90. Sorry Mr Harribin,but as many have pointed already we don’t want to know about
    some game you’ve devised to find out who can forecast better?..most on the internet go to their own favorite site and see for themselve’s and i’d bet a large majority do not use the Met Office…….What we expected you to post was the whole story of the Wintergate story from start to finish.
    Lastly you stated,
    ” The truth is that BBC bosses issue very few diktats and most programme editors are stubbornly independent”.
    If true..why did the top brass of the BBC invite the top climate scientist to a meeting to which they have refused FOI request’s for the list of who they where?
    ———————————————————————————
    If true.. why did Al Gore invite top BBc executives to the Dochester to discuss climate change?
    ———————————————————————————
    Why has Peter Sission wrote the things he has about the BBC’s stance on climate change?
    ————————————————————————————
    Why did Jeremy Paxman write in the BBC’s own in house magazine.
    “I have neither the learning nor the experience to know whether the doomsayers are right about the human causes of climate change. But I am willing to acknowledge that people who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that it is the consequence of our own behaviour.
    I assume that this is why the BBC’s coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago. But it strikes me as very odd indeed that an organisation which affects such a high moral tone cannot be more environmentally responsible
    ————————————————————————————
    As for the Horizon and Meet the Climate Sceptics programes, the less said the better!!

  91. “If the conservative IPPC forecasts are accurate our children may rue the years we spent squabbling over climate change rather than tackling it”

    This is a quotation taken from your article about Al Gore.
    Anyone who uses “our children” is at best, an insurance salesman or at worst, a blackmailer. Where would you put yourself?

  92. We need people like Roger Harrabin, Paul Nurse, Al Gore, Dr Trenbeth et al to let us know which damaging weather events are caused by AGW and which are not.

    Otherwise we would not know!

  93. Roger’s suggestion is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

    However, everybody had better be prepared for a lengthy test, if this is all there is. You should know that it is unwise to judge a forecaster on results during a single phase. Any crank with a fixed idea looks quite good when the wind turns in his favorite direction. But how does he do when the wind turns again, as it will do? Economic forecasters, stock pickers, and fund managers need to be tracked through several full up-and-down cycles. Similarly climate forecasters. You can’t stop this contest and declare a winner after a week or even after a year. Probably not after ten years. This is a long-term operation, if it is to be meaningful in climate terms.

    If anyone finds this a reason not to park their criticisms until some fine day when the test is finished, I can understand that.

  94. @- Mike Jowsey says:
    “For balance, also mention the billions of research funds from governments which are driving the AGW agenda. ”

    I have seen the figure of $2 Billion for federal research funding, although I think it can be pushed up by including all the NASA Earth observation satellites…
    For balance Glaxo, the drug company, have put aside $2.2 Billion just for legal cost which the problems with their recent diabetic drug treatment may incur….
    An the cost to BP of the Gulf oil spill dwarfs any figure I have seen for climate research costs.

  95. Re: “Besides the missing courtesy (a welcome address or maybe saying thanks to Antony for offering the opportunity) …

    … there is absolutely no need for weather tests with the MET. I’s all done. No interest. Piers Corbyn took the prize and went off with it.”

    Piers Corbyn’s approach is superior to that of the conventional AGW theorists. This is why he gets better results. His model is comparatively less driven by an ideology than the Earth’s immediate astrophysical environment.

    But, the notion that we should settle for Piers’ model is perhaps something which not even Piers would agree with (?). And any proposal that we should stop the search for even better models can point to no philosophy to justify it.

    I say let the open-source theorizing begin. Let’s create a market in weather predictions that will facilitate a discussion of the winner in the newspapers and blogs, and allow anybody to enter into it. What would be the harm? This could ONLY go into a positive direction, assuming that the offer does not restrict those who can participate. I think this process could supplement the peer review process.

    However, if the strategy is to somehow restrict a seat at the table — as has happened in the peer review system — then this new approach will fail just as the last. But, I recommend taking this olive branch — even if people here disagree with this person’s overall behavior. He must now be pressed to follow through in a fair manner.

  96. A comment on Bishop Hill has pointed out that Mr Harrabin has written a letter to the Daily Mail to deny that he caved in under pressure from Jo Abbess.

    I’m sure many of us remember that incident well. It caused quite a stink at the time (April 2008). The emails are a matter of record.

    She threatened him, and he wrote, after an exchange of several emails, “Have a look in 10 minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more.”

  97. As Roger Harrabin was being given a chance to respond to a piece I wrote, I feel in a position to state he has not addressed the points made. He has done this before with me which is why I have not bothered to ask him for his comments.

    As others have said above he has employed a deflection stategy and I explain this in the link below.

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/roger-harrabin-plays-watch-the-birdie-on-wuwt/

    Also contained in that link is some background on the ‘Weather Test’ that might help put the project into context. When all the dots are joined you see it is more of the same old agenda laden spin.

  98. Over the last few days we have had crystal clear examples of how the BBC has become, along with the Guardian, the dark heart of propaganda for a desperate cause, put on the back foot by reality and by nature and by Climategate. They are also clear examples of the utter contempt that the BBC has for us deniers and any ordinary people who just want to be told the truth.
    They have shown, again and again, how they will go to any lengths to pervert science and truth on behalf of their ‘noble cause’ and have silenced all dissent in their own ranks. And Mr Harrabin is no minor foot soldier in all this, however fetchingly and sincerely he portrays himself. He’s a high priest of the new religion. Is it courage or cunning to respond to Anthony’s invitation? I don’t know but I won’t trust him an inch. And neither should you. Talking about tests is simply a distraction from the reality, that the Met is a contemptible organisation, now, ruined by these fanatics.

  99. Roger’s suggestion is far from perfect.

    Quite so. Expect the final result to take the shape of a hockey stick.

  100. That’s why I am attempting with the help of the Royal Met Soc, the Royal Stats Soc and the Royal Astro Soc to devise a Weather Test in which forecasters enter their forecasts to a central data point, so they can be judged against each other over a period of time.

    Roger – you’re a journalist, a common or garden “hack”.

    Being employed by a bloated state monolith that screws 3 billion a year from reluctant citizens, on pain of imprisonment, doesn’t change that fact.

    Your job is to investigate and report impartially – and your organisation has a pretty dubious reputation on that.

    The idea that you can control public discourse by instigating dialogue with other public bodies is the sort of breathtaking arrogance that makes your unwilling subscribers weep.

  101. Why has Peter Sission wrote the things he has about the BBC’s stance on climate change?
    Because he has retired left the BBC ?

  102. What on earth is a journalist from the BBC doing coordinating with the Royal Society and others to arrange tests of weather forecasting accuracy? Surely that is a job for the independent National Statistics Office, not a state broadcaster? And what does it show about the self-importance of the BBC that it thinks its role is to organise such a test? I would respectfully suggest to Mr Harrabin that when he becomes part of creating the news event rather than impartially reporting it he is no longer a journalist.

    Mr Harrabin, if you want to earn some respect as a journalist why don’t you try asking some hard questions of AGW and its supporters? The people posting here can probably organise a good list for you to start with. Try a little Frost-style questioning (or Paxman-style, if you prefer) on the AGW crowd instead of allowing them to continually hide behind the “science is settled” defence. Have you any idea how frustrating that statement is to those millions of us out here with science training? It makes our blood boil. And just try to imagine how difficult your journalistic credibility will be to maintain in the future if that temperature curve just keeps refusing to go up over the next 10 years as it has over the last 10 years. Even if you privately favour the AGW hypothesis, it would do the theory no harm to be subjected to some robust investigative journalism. And the audience here might then give you some well-earned respect for being a serious journalist.

  103. Chris Reeve says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Why do you feel the need to take the olive branch? Haribin is not writing this piece for your benefit. He is trying his darndest to deflect criticsism now and delay further criticism for later. It just a thinly disguised delaying tactic. This is not a nice, lovely man you are offering the branch to. You give this guy the olive branch and he will beat you with it. I’m sorry to ruin your rose coloured spectacles but get real.

  104. This is a good idea but why not start by comparing the predictions already made? We already know what has happened.

  105. Anthony said : I was surprised today to find this essay in my Inbox, which is repeated verbatim below, with the only editing being to fix some HTML formatting in the links he provides at the end

    Anthony. Why didn’t you do like the BBC and edit it differently /sarc off

  106. I am sure that Mr Harrabin can clear up any misunderstanding as to accusations of partisan bias very quickly indeed, if he will just write a list of stories he broke that are critical of the CAGW consensus, the institutions that support the CAGW consensus, the wrongdoing of any individual or group or organisation involved in CAGW propagation.

    The rules are very simple and do not include some fantasy panel of CAGW believers delivering some fantasy verdict on competing forecasters years from now, the rules are to simply write down in any order the ten most important breaking stories that Mr Harrabin broke or was the first person to air a report on the MSM that cast doubt on CAGW and uncover wrongdoing and/or bad practice in any institution involved in CAGW funding and research.

    The answer of course is that Mr Harrabin has never broken and anti CAGW story nor has he fully investigated wrongdoing that lead to the uncovering of any evidence of wrongdoing in any pro CAGW institution or individual. This is the simple truth and all the deflection in the world cannot help him on this forum. This is not just my opinion, just examine Mr Harrabins record and you find that he just happens to get involved in stories like climategate and wintergate just in time to try and close them down.

  107. A key word in there is “independent”. Defence of “independence” is often used by the BBC (and the Australian ABC) to counter accusations of bias. But these organisations can be both independent and very biased. The real meaning of independence in this context is freedom from outside interference, giving them the freedom to be as biased as they like, without accountability.

  108. In the early 2000s I heard a radio programme by Harrabin about Depleted Uranium.
    There were several issues that I had with it so I wrote to him ,yes a real letter, outlining my concerns.

    No reply, so I emailed him and received a reply saying he had the letter on his desk and would respond soon.

    Still waiting.

  109. Cassandra King says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm
    ______

    Thank You – spot on!

    Brgds from Sweden
    //TJ

  110. To understand why this is a diversionary window dressing read Autonomousmind. This man used his standing in the media to put out a false story that he had seen evidence that the British government had received secret warnings from the Met office of the hash winter ahead, and they had ignored this warning. This story was scotched through release of FOI documents and was untrue. Why did he publish this untrue stroy? How was it that he became the message bearer of untrue stories for the MET office? That is the only question he needs to address.

    Until he steps up to the mark he should be treated as tainted

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/roger-harrabin-plays-watch-the-birdie-on-wuwt/

  111. Georgegr says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    “Cassandra King says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm”
    Great analysis Cassandra. Spot on!

    Thanks for the kind words of support, this particular forum has led to some of the best posts I have ever read on WUWT.
    Far from Mr Harrabin contributing to this site he has simply hung himself, his response to Anthony was not a guest post but a reply to an email and this reply did not provide any answers to the original inquiry. It looks like what it is and what it is is as far from engagement as its possible to get, it is in fact nothing more than a lazy evasion.

  112. ThomasJ says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Cassandra King says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm
    ______

    Thank You – spot on!

    Brgds from Sweden
    //TJ

    Many thanks for the very kind words TJ.

    Yours

    Cassie King.

  113. Paul Hudsons blog also claimed a met office forecast for a cold winter in october. My guess is that their contacts in the met knew the weather was coming. Its the management layer that stopped the forecast getting out. Cancun, you know.. Some poor guy in tthe met is wishing he’d never said anything now.

  114. Mr. Harrabin, we already have a history of predictions by Corbyn and the Met Office, and a history of actual weather to compare with…instead of proposing a contest, why don’t you just use your journalistic investigative skills to gather the existing data and report on the results?
    Or, instead of doing research, you could take the WMO seriously when they say longer-term predictions are too “hit-and-miss”…I prefer the terms “inaccurate”, “unreliable”, or “useless” for clarity…and you could observe that the Met Office tacitly agrees by choosing to cease public predictions. In which case, the interesting journalistic questions are…why has the Met Office been so arrogantly forceful and colorful in their previous public predictions (barbecue Summer???), and why is the government paying the Met Office for unusable predictions?
    I’m not interested in whether the Met Office can win a contest in the future; I’m interested in their current and past failures and lack of integrity, and why you are not taking them to task for unreliability and doubletalk that is too obvious to ignore.

  115. Anthony, could I honestly suggest that you delete this article.

    Harrabin was given the opportunity to respond to Autonomous Mind and has totally failed to do so. I consider his article nothing better than spam and it should be snipped, as is customary.

  116. POST-NORMAL POETRY POGROM
    If you can talk with crowds so they think you have virtue,
    Or walk with kings to promote their common touch;
    If neither foes nor facts can distract you;
    If all men count for nothing (and that is far too much);
    If you can fill the unforgiving broadcasting minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of propaganda –
    Yours is the Corporation and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a BBC Man my son!

  117. Cassandra King says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm
    ==========================
    Cassie, thank you!

    One day I hope my brain will be able to work half as good as yours.

  118. I loved the proposition from Brandon Caswell @ 11.45am, re: some kind of contest –

    “Better yet, why wait. We already have a history of predictions . . .”

    Also from Cassandra King @ 12.11pm, regarding Leeds University’s ‘impartiality’.

    What seems truly amazing to me is that all normal logic would suggest using the Royal Society as referee in such a matter, and yet seemingly Mr. Harrabin acknowledges that the RS would be unacceptable due to their evident bias.
    I reckon Her Maj. should suspend their Royal charter until they start respecting its terms again.

  119. Re: “… Mr Harrabin has run away from doing his job as and when CAGW has been threatened and criticised, he has protected those involved and has expended great effort in supporting and protecting them, I have yet to read a story critical of CAGW that he has broken.”

    This guy sounds like bad news. Not a fan anymore.

  120. Possibly one solution here – which can be guaranteed to be rejected is this.

    If you are an advocate of AGW in the public domain, then all your pension funds should be required (by law) to be invested in green pension funds. I emphasise the word ‘all’.

    Somehow, I think such an idea would be fought tooth and nail by the high priesthood of the AGW cult.

    Peter

  121. I, for one, welcome Roger Harrabin’s attempt to sort sheep from goats. Much of his reporting certainly seemed, in the past, to assume that AGW was a given. His recent Uncertain Climate pieces smacked of sincerity: here is a man who seeks to understand what can and cannot be predicted in chaotic systems. He’s embarking on a rational exercise in measurement. That’s good.

    IIRC, he has no science training; he’s an English Language graduate. Rather than smirking that he’s an unfit member of this project, I’d suggest he’s standing in the place of the poor bewildered man in the street, asking such questions on our behalf.

    Go on, Roger. Ask about “known knowns” and “known unknowns”. Ask about the limits of certainty in climatology. Read James Gleick’s 1987 book “Chaos” which showed us the mathematical limitations to weather forecasting which batteries of supercomputers can never defeat. Having read it myself back then, I have always been appalled at the overconfident tone of IPCC reports which ought to contain a little asterisk linked to a footnote saying: “Of course, the climate may do the exact bleedin’ opposite of all our lofty prediction.”

  122. The bottom line is that th obsession on CO2 as the most important thing for the climate has come at the cost of poorer performance of anything brought into the thrall of this popular obsession.
    Can anyone name anything that climate science in its current CO2 obsessed existance has done that has actually made things better (besides their budgets)?

  123. While this test is a good idea, I am thinking it would be a good exercise that once the future testing periods are set, to go back maybe 4-5 years and look at what the contestants have done prior to the test. Maybe we can seed the combatants.

  124. TheTempestSpark (February 1, 2011 at 11:36 am) says:

    @Dave Have you ever tried to comment on a bbc or gurndain website?
    you’ll find there is no respect or tolerance for apposing views on man made climate change issues, in fact they are very fond of the big red delete button (No pressure!).

    ————————

    I have seen that, and it’s why I don’t trust them an inch, whereas I respect the integrity of people like Anthony Watts, the Bishop, McIntyre, Lucia, the two Pielkes, etc.

    It’s a trust thing. I can trust someone who faces his critics – at least I can believe that he believes what he’s saying. When people duck, dive, weave and dodge, I start to question their motives.

    Harrabin isn’t acting like someone with something to hide.

  125. Why do we want to be tainted with any association with Auntie.

    I notice the guys link to Elvis. Nowt like a little insult.

    All everyone needs to do is publishe their forecasts on there own website.

    PS.. For the Beeb, Met and Harrabin. All forecasts must be before the actual event. If you have problem understanding this please drop a post here. Lots of deniers will love to explain it to you.

  126. I wrote my previous comment without reading others’ comments. After reading a lot of them (and kudos to all), I have to say this:

    It isn’t science if it doesn’t predict successfully.

    That supposedly is what peer review is supposed to be about, keeping weak speculations out of the mix, to let only the ideas that work in front of everyone. In fact, even the mentioned Royal Society was founded on the principles of “Get the damned philosophers out of here and let us real scientists show our experiments and judge each other on the results.” Unfortunately, Robert Hookes had barely expressed such ideas and had then signed onto before they were already violating it.

    Hookes would laugh CAGW out of the county. Except he was too dour of a man for laughter. He was not known for a sense of humor. He’d have ripped ‘em a new one.

  127. Roger. Stop the smokescreen. Keep it simple. Either:
    1. You were completely duped by the Met. Not a good thing to happen to a journalist.
    Or
    2. You are trying to dupe us. Not a good thing for a journalist to do.

    Whichever is correct (and there is no option 3) it has been blindingly obvious to everyone that you have been on this game for years.

    And is “Dave”, poster of so many sympathetic words here, actually your pal David Shukman?

    Just answer the original question please. No more smokescreens.
    Then resign.

  128. Alexej Buergin says:
    February 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Anthony Watts’ first impression, that Harrabin would not respond, was absolutely correct: He did not respond.
    He wrote about other things, though. Nice.
    ===========

    Bingo. Got it in one. We’re being far nicer than he deserves.

  129. John O’Sullivan’s thought provoking piece seems to be the source of Roger’s comment:

    “I do need to scotch one particularly bizarre bit of blogbabble, though. Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology. This is definitely going in my book – it is the most entertaining and baroque allegation I’ve ever faced.”

  130. I did my own (simplistic) comparison of short term met office forecasting last year and came to the conclusion that looking out of the window was more accurate than the current 5 day view we receive :

    Results here

  131. This non-response by Mr. Harrabin is contemptible. The issue is not the need for better information on the performance of weather forecasters over the long term, but rather at least one element of HMG attempted to bring down or create a crisis for the elected element. There is a back story here of lies, deception and political maneuver, and Mr. Harrabin was smack in the middle of it, either as a participant or as a dupe. This pathetic “response” solidifies the suspicion he was a participant and is not to be trusted.

  132. Cassandra King says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    ThomasJ says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm
    ____

    You’re most welcome, Cass!

    I’d very much would point yours (and maybe others) interest towards the Swedish ‘public service’ (SVT) scheme as being – since way years back more than less in pursuit with the ‘BBC’. Compared to neighbouring countries (Norway, NRK, Finnish, YLE) there is a dramatic difference in terms of being ‘public’, i.e. unbiased and neutral. Take a look at this video, produced in 2006 and aired on NRK same year. NOT shown in SVT yet, 2011-02-01, although numerous people asking for it:

    http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/193197

    And we DO have the same problems here. Go Figure!

    Brgds from Sweden
    //TJ

  133. Thank goodness Mr Harrabin didn’t suggest actual The Royal Society and a big cash prize for the most accurate forecasts. They’ve “previous” in resisting the truth…

    Otherwise I strongly suspect a re-run of the shameful RS supervision of 18th century marine chronometer contest whee orthodoxy was threatened by and even in the end, when it was obvious they were wrong and had behaved in their own self interest and without honor – no apology was proffered.

    I still haven’t seen any explanation of Mr Harrabin’s claims about the UKMO keeping their “correct” cold winter forecasts secret from the public and only telling the government.

  134. Comments on comparing forecasts

    I think you are opening up a can of worms. Having lived in London and Scotland, I can tell you there is no such thing as “a weather forecast”, because the elements that are important to a commuter in London aren’t those relevant to someone in Scotland. To use a simple example, in London it rains, in Scotland the effect of wind is dramatically changed by the degree of wind (it blows up the kilt!)

    Another aspect of the Met Office forecast which drives me crazy is the way they’ll say: “it will rain tomorrow”, but not “it will rain at 10am”. Knowing that it will rain is almost completely useless if you have to do something anyway, but knowing when it will rain means you can change your actions to avoid the period.

    I remember one particular Christmas drive down to England where the Met Office were issuing snow alerts. … and I looked for hours to try and work out whethere we should head off earlier or later as a result. No doubt the Met Office reported that their forecast was accurate, but in actual use it was almost entirely useless because I couldn’t turn that warning into action.

    Far too often it seems the Met Office produce warnings, not to allow people to take action as a result, but merely to cover their own backs so that they can say: “we did forecast something sometime somewhere”.

    Seasonal forecasts

    As I know someone who sat in on the cabinet meetings in Scotland I can appreciate the huge problems government and other organisations have as a result of weather. Decisions have to be made months in advance, planning for training and resources have to be done well ahead of any severe weather.

    The cost of bad weather … the flip side being the benefit of good seasonal forecasts is massive. Whilst seasonal forecast are inherently difficult, anything is better than nothing

    Off the top of my head, what we need to assess is: Average Temperature, average rain, extremes of temperature, probability of high wind.

    Global temperature forecasts

    For nine years the Met Office produced yearly global warming forecasts. Something like 8 of the nine were high. When I checked that information I assumed that sooner or later they would issue an apology and clarify why the forecast had been so bad.

    As it turned out, they did the opposite: they issued a press release saying how good their global temperature forecasts were stating that they were only 0.06C out, which coincidentally the same amount as yearly predicted warming … in other words if they hadn’t included a fictitious warming term they would have been quite good, but as it was they were hardly any better than just using the last year’s figure.

  135. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    In the valley of the blind the one eyed man is king.
    Goodnight America.
    A passing thought for us all, Steve McIntyre recently stated that Roger Harrabin is a man of integrity, who am I to disagree?
    Nos da

  136. What a dissapointment, Mr Harriban please just clarify your involvement in the matter at hand. The current evidence “FOI document” makes you appear to have grossly overstated your position or outright lied.
    Either defend yourself or apologize.

    I would love to know this all was a big misunderstanding but you will need to give us information to determine that.

    Your silence rings of guilt.

  137. Mr. Harrabin,

    I have to ask, why isn’t the story about the poor methodology and overall prediction track record for the MET? It is hardly a journalists job to be to be devising protocols and data formats for a “Weather Test” but rather, I thought it was to “decent job telling people about things that are important…” I will infer, from what you’ve written to date, that the abysmal predictive ability of the models and theory the MET has used to date is not all that important.

    Bias just isn’t in what someone says or writes, but it is more often revealed by what they choose not to say.

  138. My advice – avoid.

    The BBC will be holding the pen when it comes to writing-up the results. And if the past two weeks should tell you anything, this test has only the conclusion that Roger has already determined. Don’t trust the BBC folks.

    If it had been proposed by a truly independent body (including the method and reporting) Roger would have dismissed the idea out of hand.

    That just leaves the question posed by Ross ….

  139. Harrabins “reply” does nothing to addressthe issue. Instead he proposes a bizarre weather competition.

    What is a bbc journalist doing trying to co-ordinate such rubbish for anyway?

    We are in an information war, and mr harrabin,by his journalistic record, is the enemy.

  140. Some commenters here are stupid, like Roger Harrabin intimates is generic in “the blogosphere” – well, Roger this is WUWT and it is not representative. Some commenters here are equal to Harrabin in ability. Some are better than Harrabin . And some are hugely better than Harrabin .

    I have appreciated greatly reading through remarks here. The further I read, the deeper the insights became. I realize that this is how we are all growing in wisdom and polemics. I have been appalled by every one of Harrabin ‘s pieces. I suspect part of his problem is that he will not read the remarks here and so will deny himself the God-given opportunity to take those remarks to heart. I started off here inclined to have a lot more respect for Harrabin than I have ended up with.

    Please show us we are wrong, Roger.

  141. Let us go over why Mr. Harrabin is posting on this blog:

    1. Mr Harrabin posted a story saying that the Met Office had indeed warned the Cabinet Office of a severe winter;

    2. Those with a nose for journalism immediately spotted the real story which was that if the Met Office leak was true the Government deliberately witheld important information from the people. Which of course begs the question as to why Mr. Harrabin and his colleagues didn’t immediately follow up that story. The least we could have expected from this leak was a follow up investigation into the failure of the Cabinet Office to warn the British people, but no story followed, nothing, zilch, nada.

    3. The other problem with the story was that it was pretty easy to find out if it was true by asking the Cabinet Office. Now mere mortals like us have to put in FOI requests to get the information we’ve paid to have produced by the government, but journalists need only pick up the phone to get the story confirmed, or denied. It would appear that Mr. Harrabin failed to do that, and simply passed on the Met Office leak without further investigation.

    4. Meanwhile, mere mortals in their hundreds asked the Cabinet Office for the forecast provided by the Met Office in secret and found a forecast that could in no way whatsoever be translated into a forecast for a cold winter.

    So, putting aside all the accusations of bias and complicity ( and refuting thatMr. Harrabin is working to save his pension fund) there are only two questions that Mr. Harrabin needs to answer:

    “Why didn’t you check the Met Office story with the Cabinet Office before publishing it?”

    “Why was there no immediate follow up story on the scandalous behaviour of the Cabinet Office in witholding this vital piece of information from the British public?”

    And one question Mr. Harrabin’s boss needs to answer:

    “Why did you allow an uncorroborated story from an anonymous source to be published when a simple phone call to the Cabinet Office would have settled the issue.”

    “Why didn’t you commission an immediate investigation into the Cabinet Office witholding information about a severe winter from the British people, and indeed the government?”

    Both are surely normal in the world of journalism, and until those questions can be answered to the satisfaction of the critics the accusation that the BBC colluded with the Met Office in a ham-fisted PR exercise to deflect justified criticism of the Met Office for it’s continual awful weather forecasts must stand.

    In my opinion Mr. Harrabin and his editor didn’t instigate an investigation into the scandalous witholding of information about a forthcoming severe winter by the Cabinet Office because neither believed it to be true, in which case neither believed the Met Office to be telling the truth. So why was the story published?

    Unless, of course, Jo Abbess insisted on it, which would explain all.

  142. Mr Harrabin

    You have been caught out in a lie, and you have failed to answer for it.

    You should have apologised.

    Shame on you.

  143. izen says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm
    @- Mike Jowsey says:
    “For balance, also mention the billions of research funds from governments which are driving the AGW agenda. ”

    I have seen the figure of $2 Billion for federal research funding, although I think it can be pushed up by including all the NASA Earth observation satellites…
    For balance Glaxo, the drug company, have put aside $2.2 Billion just for legal cost which the problems with their recent diabetic drug treatment may incur….
    An the cost to BP of the Gulf oil spill dwarfs any figure I have seen for climate research costs.
    ________________________

    Ummm, the difference being individuals aren’t forced, via taxation, to fund Glaxo and BP.

  144. @-Brent Hargreaves says:
    February 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    “I, for one, welcome Roger Harrabin’s attempt to sort sheep from goats. Much of his reporting certainly seemed, in the past, to assume that AGW was a given. His recent Uncertain Climate pieces smacked of sincerity: here is a man who seeks to understand what can and cannot be predicted in chaotic systems. He’s embarking on a rational exercise in measurement. That’s good.”

    Firstly, he is a journalist. His job is the create product that will sell the available advertising space at the best price by attracting the desired demographic.

    The assumption that AGW is a given is inevitable and correct. It is the dominant narrative that human societies share of the physical processes that shape the climate on the timescales of relevance. If you only access information about human knowledge of the climate from this blog and media that shares its outlook it may be understandable that you could overlook that well over 90% of the work, (as opposed to the ‘reportage’) done on the physics of climate adheres to the AGW viewpoint. It IS the given for the majority of those who study the science, or act on its findings, rather than just hold a ‘belief’ about the subject.

    Chaotic systems may still have ergodic properties.
    I think the current terminology is that specific end conditions are inherently unpredictable because they are ‘Initial conditions’ problems. The envelope within which the end conditions will lie IS amenable to prediction because it is a ‘Boundary ‘ problem.
    If you play around with chaotic systems you often find that while the sequential behavior is chaotic and unpredictable, the range of behavior IS determined by the parameters driving the chaotic system. Bifurcation rates would be one example.

    Rational measurement is good, but difficult to do when criteria of success/failure are ambiguous. This quote might be equally applied to astrological forecasts and sums up the problems of judging a comprehensive physical theory by comparing predictions by those that hold it, and those that don’t
    ….
    “”It is unusual for most of the detail to be completely correct, but equally it is rare for nearly everything to be wrong … Some forecasts are clearly very good, and a few are very poor, but the majority fall in the gray area in between, where an optimistic assessor would find merit, but a critical assessor would find fault.””

  145. re: spending on climate change

    Between FY 2008 and FY 2011 the federal climate change budget more than doubled, from $7.4 billion to $18.1 billion.

    This has been pointed out before. If we take $12 billion as the average for just those three years, that’s $36 billion, in just three years.

    Note that, unlike the Glaxo and BP loses, this is not considered a “bad” thing, with every effort to avoid similar losses, but rather it’s considered by some to be “not enough”.

    http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/military_vs_climate_security_the_2011_budgets_compared#

    How big does the trough have to be?

  146. Watch it fellows! You are bending over backwards, thanking and kudosing Mr. Hrabin you will get a cramp soon. As I have said before, the Harabinites will out maneuver you every time.

  147. Roger
    I too would like a straight explanation of the confusion, and if a genuine error was made, just an explanatory correction.

    However, following the recent ‘documentary’ stitching up Lord Monckton, I have more concern regarding the the BBC’s presence at the Heartland Conference last May, including yourself, and can only assume that the reportage was planned and executed as described below by another attendee.

    http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/bbc-bias-is-outrageous/

    Roger Helmer represents a majority of your viewers the British electorate in the heart of our country as a standing MEP for the East Midlands.

  148. @izen –

    The problem arises when a journalist strays into becoming a mouthpiece for the dishonest manipulation of the truth on behalf of an institution such as the Met office. Nothing you say touches on that central issue that has caused Harrabin to become the focus of so much attention on the sceptic Blogs

  149. There are some truly superb responses in this thread. It is unfortunate that Harrabin will likely not bother to read them, let alone address the prescient points raised. It is interesting that the best way to expose these folks is to merely give them an opportunity to speak. Thanks for giving Harrabin the opportunity to discredit himself Anthony.

  150. Julian in Wales says:
    February 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm
    “The problem arises when a journalist strays into becoming a mouthpiece for the dishonest manipulation of the truth on behalf of an institution such as the Met office.”

    Its NOT a problem when they do the same thing on behalf of the government, or vested interests in the media/financial sector?

    “Nothing you say touches on that central issue that has caused Harrabin to become the focus of so much attention on the sceptic Blogs”

    I’m unconvinced that it is a ‘central issue’, unless you ascribe to groupthink/pension fund conspiracies, the fervid response on sceptic blogs might say as much about their sense of perspective as about a BBC journalist’s bias.

  151. Dave says:
    February 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    “Harrabin isn’t acting like someone with something to hide.”

    You should direct your attention, Dave, to the verb in this sentence. He’s acting. As he waves his watch in front of your and our eyes (and persuades you or pays you to plead for him here). We know from bitter experience that it’s total bollocks – no matter how much you try to convince us otherwise. We know. Nothing to hide, my arse.

  152. You Brits should privatise both the Met Office and BBC. You would probably find improvements all ’round.

  153. I think that Cassandra King provides an excellent dissection of the response and many other posts draw out what is wrong here. I would add that I recollect that when Climategate broke that there were reports that this zip had already been in the hands of the BBC for a good number of days and it was sat on, IIRC it had been sent to Paul Hudson.
    There is also a scurrilous rumour that when the story did break via other sources that Hudson wanted to get in depth but was made to sit on the naughty step by someone whose name escapes me. :)

    The scheme for a “test” of predictions has been around for a while and is not a response to the MET sucker punch as might be implied by its use here. As has been said why not check against past predictions? Starting with all those record breaking hot summers that the UK was promised through the last decade.

    As for the MET claim, it seems to me a truly investigative method would have been to check with another source first rather than make himself part of the story by proclaiming the intention to check via FOIA whilst also playing the story of how the MET Office was right all along.

    Mick

  154. THROWING A BONE JUST TO KEEP THEM HAPPY …

    What a piece of laughable arrogance and mislead self- consciousness.

    When marketing people run out of ideas, they usually play their last card : offering a promotional competition – sort of throwing a bone to keep silly people (or what they believe to be “people”) happy.

    So what the hell does someone like Harrabin think to find on a place like WUWT?
    A bunch of random idiots? wide open fields of ignorance?

    Wasn’t he at least – let’s say the for last two years – reading the blog – or was he – a professional “BBC Environment Analyst” – just counting on other people/blogs to do the negligible job for him?

    How ever. While everybody can watch the poor guy naked now, give him a coat.
    Let him walk away with some dignity to his children, his wife and their hardly predictable climate future

    Ralph

  155. You mean no one keeps track of the accuracy of weather forecasts? Pretty basic stuff. A formal effort to do so sounds like a positive step.
    I read the linked piece on Al Gore, in which Harrabin claims the Gorical studied climate science at university. I’m sure that’s a surprise to Al. He avoided math and science, according to what I could find. Tracking the accuracy of journalists might also be in order while we’re at it.

  156. >>he’s proposing a “weather test” of the Met Office, and Piers Corbyn has agreed to be tested as well. –

    Great!! Let’s start by looking at past long range forecast over the past X years, which can be done today, instead of waiting for the future, when the moneys will have changed hands and be very hard to get back. When was the last time the government gave you a refund because some taxpayer funded agency made a mistake and wasted your money on some foolishness?

    That is the big difference between government and private enterprise. A privately run company, when they screw up, there is always a chance of getting your money back. When the government screws up, there is never a chance of getting your money back.

  157. I haven’t had time to read everything in detail, but, wow!, 175 posts already. Glad Harrabin took the challenge (offered bya gentleman). I agree with Ralph (5:17 pm), among many others,

    “When marketing people run out of ideas, they usually play their last card : offering a promotional competition – sort of throwing a bone to keep silly people (or what they believe to be “people”) happy.”

    Does this mean that Harrabin is acutally one of the marketing people? I thought he was supposed to be an “environmental reporter”. ( Sorry, I can’t help myself. Maybe it’s the delicious red wine?) Why not just own up to the fact that you guys (MET and BBC) lied your a$$xx off. Stop the “Weather Test” and go back to accurate weather reporting, with the proviso that the weather always changes — but at least you get it right SOME of the time. (If this is snipped I will understand.)

  158. Like Nolo Contendere, I totally agree with Alexej Buergin. He nailed it in a few short sentences:

    Anthony Watts’ first impression, that Harrabin would not respond, was absolutely correct: He did not respond.
    He wrote about other things.

  159. The Beeb and the Met Office should be tossed under the bus. If Roger Harrabin chooses to go under with them, and he apparently does, well, that’s his choice. Pity.

  160. Izen look at Autonomouse mind to see where this attack on Harrabin started and you will discover it very much was the central issue.

    Also look at the comments re the Lisbon Conference and you will find time and again it is the break down of trust that makes it impossible for there to be any meaningful dialogue between the sceptics and the warmists.

    The lack of transparancy Harrabin displays is dwarfed by the antics of Pachauri, Phil Jones and M Mann. How can a debate take place without open data and clear and honest brokers and reporters?

  161. @izen:

    I’m unconvinced that it is a ‘central issue’, unless you ascribe to groupthink/pension fund conspiracies

    Conspiracies, eh?

    The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) catalyzes greater investment in a low carbon economy by bringing European investors together to use their collective influence with companies, policymakers and investors. The group currently has 56 members, representing assets of around €4trillion.

    http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/31109-Largest-ever-investor-group-representing-over-15-trillion-calls-for-determined-policy-action-on-climate-change

    Small potatoes compared with Robert (Met Office) Napier’s Carbon Disclosure Project which currently boasts a rather astounding $64 trillion under management:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Disclosure_Project

    So I’m wondering where the ‘theory’ part of your statement comes into it? I assume if your own pension was riding on the outcome of what, I’m afraid, is a ‘central issue’ this would have no effect on your ‘sense of perspective’?

    Thousands of workers in a publicly funded institution are perfectly aware that the quality and very nature of their retirement has been staked on dangerous AGW being real. Who among these would then act entirely against their own self-interest? Certainly not Mr Harrabin. Certainly not Peter Sissons’ ex-colleagues.

    That such a situation could even exist is appalling and unacceptable.

  162. Roger: Ref my February 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm comment.

    I know the question I asked is not original and that you have asked others to stop “stop repeating the old Jo Abbess smear”.

    Now to be fair, Autonomous Mind, over at http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/yet-more-climate-change-bias-by-roger-harrabin-exposed/ said to you in the comments…. “Roger, you describe it as a smear and say the Abbess quote got altered. Please tell us which quote was altered.”

    You failed to answer then as you have now failed to answer so many comments on this article.

    By the way, Peter Sissons in the Daily Mail was quoted thus,
    “Later, Harrabin defended himself, saying they were only minor changes — but the sense of the changes, as specifically sought by Ms Abbess, was plainly to harden the piece against the sceptics”. No legal threats against Sisson or the D.M.?

    I have to say Mr. Black that my impression is that you cannot hold a candle to Sisson with regard to journalistic integrity.

  163. frank verismo says:
    February 1, 2011 at 10:07 am
    Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.

    Just so we’re quite clear about this, here’s the IIGCC’s web page listing the BBC pension trust as one of its members:

    http://www.iigcc.org/about-us/members

    ______________________________________________________

    My my. If that is true, the Board of Directors and others could find themselves personally liable under English Law should the Green fund tank. The Board and Pension Trustees have a fiduciary duty to the pensioners. This could get really interesting in court.

  164. @Pete Hayes:

    I have to say Mr. Black that my impression is that you cannot hold a candle to Sissons with regard to journalistic integrity.

    Black or Harrabin, perhaps Upton Sinclair said it best:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”

  165. frank verismo says: [ ... ]

    Thank you, Frank. Izen simply doesn’t understand how the real world works.

    The Left has been ridiculing ‘conspiracy theorists’ ever since Sen. McCarthy was caught with a laundry list. But conspiracies have always existed, especially concerning money and power, and they exist right now.

    Adam Smith put it in its proper perspective in 1775:

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

    Carbon credits, anyone?

    There is a conspiracy in the media right now regarding events in Egypt, where the riots were in fact food riots over high prices caused by high energy prices and bad ethanol policies. But the media almost uniformly attributes the cause to the Muslim Brotherhood [who are certainly stirring the pot, but they were not the cause of the rioting].

    Everyone conspires for advantage. A polite name for it is networking.

  166. “That’s why I am attempting with the help of the Royal Met Soc, the Royal Stats Soc and the Royal Astro Soc to devise a Weather Test in which forecasters enter their forecasts to a central data point, so they can be judged against each other over a period of time.”

    Speaking plainly, Roger Harrabin is proposing a contest between the government et al of which he will be judge.

    This is a stupid idea. It looks more like a set up. Piers Corbyn needs to be very careful before signing up to such an idea. The problem is Roger Harrabin also gets paid by the government. He is also immersed in the MET culture. For this to come off, he would have to exclude himself from such an exercise. Furthermore, it’s beyond his remit.

    This would not be a useful exercise unless it was undertaken by an independent expert and vetted as such. Considering the whitewash by the British Parliament on the climategate affair it is not likely one could be found. Roger Harrabin is a reporter. His submission did not do him any favours as it shows him to be a PR agent for the MET instead.

    It wouldn’t be surprising to see minutes for a meeting between the BBC and the MET setting out this correspondence as part of a greater strategy to increase their own standing at the expense of their critics. Considering past form from this cabal, it also would not be surprising to learn the minutes were destroyed.

    You simply cannot trust these people anymore.

  167. @Smokey:

    But conspiracies have always existed, especially concerning money and power, and they exist right now.

    Conspiracies are indeed the stuff that history is made of. Conspiracies to overthrow governments, conspiracies to foment wars, undermine political enemies etc. The history of the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ and its use for propaganda purposes could easily fill a book.

    Those who accused Nixon of a ‘dirty tricks campaign’ were, of course, just ‘conspiracy theorists’ – until Watergate broke open. Never mind the fact that the democrats had been bugging Nixon’s campaign bus prior to this!

    We have all been living happily in the Golden Age of No Conspiracies, thanks to the very term being used to denigrate those who dare to ask awkward questions of those they have been brought up to trust. It seems that Golden Age is over now as for many the aroma of backed-up sewerage is simply too powerful to ignore.

    I’ll look in to your take on the Egypt situation. I’ve found the Asia Times is often a good place to start for a non-Western/non-globalist perspective. Israel’s Haaretz often has a good take, too.

  168. @-frank verismo says:
    “Small potatoes compared with Robert (Met Office) Napier’s Carbon Disclosure Project which currently boasts a rather astounding $64 trillion under management:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Disclosure_Project

    – Oooh big numbers under the ‘management’ of Robert(Met office!) Napier…
    Actually the quote is that –
    “We act on behalf of 534 institutional investors, holding $64 trillion in assets under management and some 60 purchasing organizations such as Cadbury, PepsiCo and Walmart.”

    So it is the institutional investors (banks, insurance companies,) which manage the $64Tn, the CDP is an advisor which uses the level of disclosure by a company to rate and recommend them. –
    “This data is made available for use by a wide audience including institutional investors, corporations, policymakers and their advisors, public sector organizations, government bodies, academics and the public.”

    Given growing constrains on resources, the way a company manages its resource use may be just as good a rating method as how well it meets consumer self-interest.

    Whether to buy is the decision of those banks and traders. Of course given recent market events trusting their judgment may not be too wise….

    But $64 trillion is small potatoes in the financial world. less than a month of the turnover of the foreign exchange markets.

  169. TinyCO2 says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    “The Met Office specialises in predictions that are so vague that they are almost impossible to get wrong… and yet, they manage it.”

    ————–
    You have my vote for quote of the week!

  170. @izen:

    I see that you have adopted Mr Harrabin’s approach, largely avoiding the substance of my post and instead posting something tangential.

    Peas in a pod, eh?

    So I’ll ask again: do you not see a problem with the employees of a publicly funded institution having their pensions tied into a highly politicised issue with a hugely uncertain outcome?

  171. Well if nobody has said it before on this thread I repeat what I have said previously in a slightly different form from previous comments on other threads.

    Two years ago the High and Mighty of Climate science and the Meeja would not have given us the time of day. We were the outcasts, barbarians beyond the pale. To be cursed as heretics, deniers or whatever.

    My how the world has changed.

    Many scientists perhaps at first fearful for their livelihoods have gradually migrated here to express their opinions.

    The general ridicule in which climatology is held both by many scientists and members of the Meeja is also becoming apparent.

    And they are expressing their views in the blogosphere.

    And now Mr. Harrabin a high priest of the BBC and the cult of AGW and initiate of its most arcane secrets now feels it necessary to explain himself upon here.

    WHY?

    A good question to which I have no answer except to speculate that a sandcastle falls as the tide washes it away. And that whilst there have been those charlatans who have cynically used AGW to enrich themselves many of their followers, who believed, as I imagine they did, are starting to question those beliefs.

    But most important of all it demonstrates the power the blogosphere and the WWW to spread information and bring people together in a completely new way.

    A way which is toppling dictators now.

    Just as literacy and printing did in its time.

    And it is gradually undermining the hegemony of politicians, the MSM and the financial interests and their lobbyists.

    So all power to Anthony’s elbow, WUWT is changing the world, and we shall see what we shall see.

    Kindest Regards

  172. Roger Harrabin,

    A question of journalistic competency and/or integrity now exists regarding your involvement in reporting “In October the forecaster privately warned the Government – with whom it has a contract – that Britain was likely to face an extremely cold winter”. As a journalist I think you owe the public an explanation within a very expedited timeframe. Please provide an accurate explanation somewhere in the blog community.

    You chose not to address here at WUWT the issue of your competency and/or integrity in reporting that matter. Instead you discussed some rather cumbersome bureaucratic/academic mechanism to assess weather forecasting. That was inappropriate given the current serious circumstances surrounding your aforementioned reporting.

    I look forward to the courtesy of your reply.

    John

  173. >>Small potatoes compared with Robert (Met Office) Napier’s Carbon Disclosure Project which currently boasts a rather astounding $64 trillion under management:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Disclosure_Project

    CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) has 501(c)3 (tax free) charitable status through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York and is a registered charity in the United Kingdom.

    http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100321032431AA5mQWY

    However, the head of The Met Office is Robert Napier, and there are questions regarding his impartiality on climate change –

    Not only is he the chairman of the Met office, but Napier is Chairman of the Green Fiscal Commission, seeking to impose massive green taxation; he is Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which has built the largest database on corporate ‘carbon footprints’ as a basis for discrimination against those who don’t go along with the eco agenda; he is Chairman of the trustees of the World Centre of Monitoring of Conservation, which is bankrolled by the UN Environment Programme to push and ensure compliance with the Green agenda; and he is Chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency, which is seeking to grab land for ecotowns and determining compliance of housing to stringent Green standards. Other recent positions he has held include Chief Executive of WWF-UK, a vast malthusian political pressure group seeking to grab land and stop development around the world; a Director of The Climate Group, a huge international pressure group for the climate change agenda, which also manages the IIGCC, of which the BBC Pension Trust is a member; and a Director of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, a secular body seeking to infuse ‘Green’ values into all the major religions, and to designate land as ‘sacred’ to prohibit development, and galvanize religions as a powerful advocacy group for the eco agenda.

    So, would you say he is a proper and impartial person to lead the Met Office and restore public confidence?

  174. WTF – Is this true??? !!!!

    http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100321032431AA5mQWY

    Would you say Robert Napier, head of the meteorological office is an impartial person on climate change?

    The Meteorological Office (“The Met Office”) in the UK is the body that has overall responsibility and charge of temperature records, as well as weather forecasting, and studies the facts about climate change and its likely consequences. Not only does it report to the UK government, it is one of the main organizations consulted by the IPCC.

    Given the paramount importance of the climate change debate, it is obviously vital that an impartial person heads this very important body which plays such an integral role, not least to give a sceptical public reassurance that the person in a position to steer the science is genuinely open to all possibilities.

    However, the head of The Met Office is Robert Napier, and there questions regarding his impartiality on climate change –

    Not only is he the chairman of the Met office, but Napier is Chairman of the Green Fiscal Commission, seeking to impose massive green taxation; he is Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which has built the largest database on corporate ‘carbon footprints’ as a basis for discrimination against those who don’t go along with the eco agenda; he is Chairman of the trustees of the World Centre of Monitoring of Conservation, which is bankrolled by the UN Environment Programme to push and ensure compliance with the Green agenda; and he is Chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency, which is seeking to grab land for ecotowns and determining compliance of housing to stringent Green standards. Other recent positions he has held include Chief Executive of WWF-UK, a vast malthusian political pressure group seeking to grab land and stop development around the world; a Director of The Climate Group, a huge international pressure group for the climate change agenda, which also manages the IIGCC, of which the BBC Pension Trust is a member; and a Director of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, a secular body seeking to infuse ‘Green’ values into all the major religions, and to designate land as ‘sacred’ to prohibit development, and galvanize religions as a powerful advocacy group for the eco agenda.

    So, would you say he is a proper and impartial person to lead the Met Office and restore public confidence?

  175. Smokey says:
    February 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm:

    “a jones,

    As always, I find it hard to disagree with anything in your comments.”

    And that goes for me too.

  176. I suppose while we’re on the subject of the largely out-of-sight organisations that drive the agendas of high-profile AGW mouthpieces, we may as well pop in to whois-search.com and take a look at that bastion of ‘reliable’ AGW science, RealClimate. Here’s what we get:

    Domain Name:REALCLIMATE.ORG
    Created On:19-Nov-2004 16:39:03 UTC
    Last Updated On:13-Jan-2011 00:25:24 UTC
    Expiration Date:19-Nov-2015 16:39:03 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:Active Registrar, Inc. (R1709-LROR)
    Status:OK
    Registrant ID:ACTR1011142017
    Registrant Name:Betsy Ensley
    Registrant Organization:Environmental Media Services
    Registrant Street1:1320 18th St, NW
    Registrant Street2:5th Floor
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Washington
    Registrant State/Province:DC

    http://www.whois-search.com/whois/realclimate.org

    Any remaining doubts that this is first and foremost a political agenda should evaporate upon seeing those magical words: Washington, DC. But it doesn’t end there. Should you investigate Environmental Media Services you’ll discover that it’s founder is one Arlie Schardt. Not particularly thrilling until we discover that Mr Schardt was none other than Al Gore’s press officer.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Media_Services

    By complete contrast, if we do a search on WUWT the only name that comes up is one Anthony Watts. This is not the only reason why I find myself in the sceptic camp, but it’s certainly one of the big ones: no fear of full disclosure and no false prospectuses.

    Bypass the mouthpieces and pull back the curtain. Throw light on the actual architecture for all the people to see. It’s how we’ll win.

  177. Piers Corbyn makes a living by selling his predictions. He cannot be expected to give them away to a public repository. Perhaps there should be an iron-clad guarantee that they are kept unavailable to the public until an agreed-upon time frame.

  178. @ferd berple:

    CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) has 501(c)3 (tax free) charitable status through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York and is a registered charity in the United Kingdom.

    Would that be those same Rockefellers who installed the young Maurice Strong at the UN in 1948? The Maurice Strong who went on to be the founder and first (uncontested) president of the UNEP? The same organisation that spawned the IPCC?

    Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” David Rockefeller, Memoirs, pg 405 (Random House 2002)

    Are we having fun yet?

  179. Steven McIntyre has stated at his site he believes that Harrabin acted with integrity in this case ie that he (Harrabin) did not knowingly lie. If this is the case it implies that Harrabin was hung out to dry by his superiors in this network of deception. It is inconceivable that Harrabin is other than a small fish, a pawn in the conflict.

    Going along with this hypothesis, what possible reason could there be to place Mr. Harrabin at risk or potentially expend a useful asset?

    Mr. Harrabin, now that you raise the point, could protecting the BBC’s pension assets or covering up fiduciary malfeasance have anything to do with it? Climaterealists has some interesting thoughts about the notion.

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7126&linkbox=true&position=1

  180. @-frank verismo says:
    February 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm
    “So I’ll ask again: do you not see a problem with the employees of a publicly funded institution having their pensions tied into a highly politicised issue with a hugely uncertain outcome?”

    I guess I’ll have to accept your opinion that correcting your misquotation of the role of CDP.

    Do you think pensions tied to oil production (mainly from the Middle East) or the property loan market (sub-primes?) are LESS uncertain and political ?!

    As to the suggestion that the Met should be privatized or that Napier should be independent made by others;
    The Met office was sold off and privatized by Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s. It was intended to be a profitable commercial enterprise rather than a neutral scientific body.
    On that basis the head of the Met should be involved in the climate business rather than just the science. The propriety of that change is open to debate.

    I seem to be getting dragged into the personal and political froth that surrounds this issue which I find largely irrelevent and merely a matter of taste rather than determinable fact. What NATURE does, and how well we understand that is the main determinate of all this.
    The suggestion of comparing predictions is the only element of thsi i found of interest, especially as one possible participant is Piers Corbyn who has a rather equivical record to say the least.

    I have posted before a possible criteria I would use to test AGW theory. I would be CONSIDERABLY more sceptical of AGW if there are less than 8 years in the next decade which are warmer than 1998/2010. Otherwise the present dominant human understanding of the nature of the climate stands.

    Can you provide any criteria that would cause you to be more sceptical of YOUR position?

  181. Stephen Rasey says:
    February 1, 2011 at 9:56 am
    Do not re-invent the wheel. England has Bookmakers on every street. Use them.

    Piers Corbyn has already done that, and they banned him because he was making too much money.

  182. Roger Harrabin BBC Environment Analyst
    “If you want to measure my journalism, you could take a look or listen to some of the articles or radio docs below. And make up your own mind.”

    I’m a Licence-fee payer, and I think you’re a disgrace.

  183. ge0050 says: February 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Would you say Robert Napier, head of the meteorological office is an impartial person on climate change?

    I was going to start saying: “what a stupid question, a bit Himler on race” … and then I remembered, that when you are in the middle of the Groupthink culture you can really believe that some of the most outrageously biased people are actually impartial.

    There is absolutely no doubt that Robert Napier is largely responsible for the decline in the standards of the Met Office. Forecasts have become less intelligible more defensible and so less meaningful and less predictive. The staff have been brainwashed into believing the world temperature is going to go up, which has infested all their forecasting models and is very obvious in the long range global forecast.

    Worse! Far worse! Robert Napier has presided over a culture of deceit. When they get forecasts wrong (as all forecasters will) they don’t admit it – and acknowledge the problems of forecasting – they actively run Alaistair Campbell style PR media campaigns to squash comment against the campaign and use their friends in the BBC to run positive news stories.

    The result is that I no longer look at the weather forecast and think: “it will probably rain tomorrow”, I think: “what is the likelihood that we are going to get some severe weather which the Met Office isn’t telling us about”?

    IT IS FORECAST TO SNOW TONIGHT

    Because the Met Office haven’t explained why they got the last forecasts wrong, I don’t know the limits of their forecasting ability. Not knowing how reliable the Met Office is (because of their stupid denial of the many problems they have with forecasts), now means I have to take a more pessimistic view of the weather than need be to compensate for the Met Office’s lies and smear campaigns.

    Bring back honest weather forecasting … bring back weather forecasters who whilst they might make mistakes “someone rang … and said there was a hurricane on the way … don’t worry” … the next day (huge storm) they apologise and whilst we have our fun at their expense, the net result is we believe them

  184. AAAAAAAND NOW, YOUR HOST OF “NAME THAT WEATHER”……….Rooooooger Harrabin……….(sound of crickets).

    Your condescension is as odious as the suggestion that this “game” should become a diversion from bad journalism. The watch dogs of society have become lap dogs of politics.

    Please do answer the original critisism.

    Pip pip, cheerio and all that….stiff upper lip, you can do it.

  185. I think that if the Met Office have to make a weather forecast beyond 2 days, they will need Piers’ forecasts anyway.

  186. CORRECTION: “Please do answer the original critisism.”

    Please do answer the original criticism

    See, Roger Harrabin, how easy it is to issue a correction?

  187. Roger, I was a senior journalist for many years and I have to tell you – you cannot kid a kidder. Your protestations at never being guided by an editor on the content and tone of your reports is as hilarious as it is disingenuous.

    Here’s a simple fact – I know, Roger…facts are hard things aren’t they? But you have to deal with them, I’m afraid.

    In Newswatch on November 29th. David Jordan, the lead author of the new BBC editorial guidelines, admitted that when it comes to climate change, the word ‘impartiality’ has a different meaning to the dictionary definition.

    You can see it here, Roger, at:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vjxv3/Newswatch_29_10_2010

    …but, of course, you will know David Jordan already and be well aware of the BBC diktat. Jordan actually says: “If both sides of the debate were to be reflected it would give the impression that both sets of views were equal and we don’t have to approach impartiality in climate change in that way”.

    The concept and practice of investigation, accuracy and balance in reporting are central tenets of journalism. If you do not practise them, you are not a journalist but a PR man – an apologist for a particular point-of-view.

    In the same way that the BBC embeds reporters with the military during conflicts, its editors and journalists are now ‘embedded’ with the CAGW lobby.

    Roger, you are embedded with the warmists. Sadly, I don’t think you can see it as your indoctrination is complete – and even if you could see it you would be gently but firmly steered back on to the ‘correct path’.

    If you want a more complete picture of the state of BBC journalism, just read the coverage of the Peter Sissons’ book or, better still, read the book itself. Is is all there so don’t try to kid yourself – or the good folk over here at WUWT – that it isn’t. The awful truth is staring you in the face.

    BBC journalism is finished. Ordinary people up and down the UK (I can’t speak for the rest of the world) joke openly about the BBC “news” and the Today programme on Radio 4 is held in absolute contempt.

    The choice is simple, Roger. You can return to the basics of journalism – investigation of the facts and the unbiased presentation of them, facing down the political pressure from the powers-that-be within the BBC. Or carry on in PR and just pick up your pay cheque at the end of each month.

    Which is it to be?

  188. Can you provide any criteria that would cause you to be more sceptical of YOUR position?

    Surely that is easy: Clarity and honesty combined with evidence that is testable

  189. Met Office knew big freeze was coming but hushed it up

    By Rachel Quigley

    Last night Mr Harrabin said: ‘With Britain shivering through a third winter in a row, shouldn’t the weather forecasters have warned us well in advance? Why didn’t the Met Office tell us?

    ‘The truth is it did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October.

    ‘But we weren’t let in on the secret because the Met Office no longer publishes its seasonal forecasts due to the ridicule it suffered for predicting a barbecue summer in 2009.

    It did forecast in November that December would be bitter, but many of us may have taken the prediction with a truckload of salt.’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343863/Met-Office-knew-Decembers-big-freeze-coming-hushed-up.html

    So according to Harrabin he was told in November that “December would be bitter”.

    But what does Roger say on his blog?

    What’s the prognosis?

    But the Met Office kept quietly doing the forecasts anyway. And they laid their winter prognosis on the government on 25 October.

    Finally it’s come my way. The Met Office was forecasting a 40% chance of a cold start to the winter, with a 30% chance of a mild start, and a 30% chance of an average start.

    This doesn’t match a more conclusive forecast I gleaned from a Met Office contact in December whilst researching an article for the Radio Times – though it does point in roughly the same direction.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12325695

    It’ll be spring before Harrabin and The Met Office gets the winter forecast right.

  190. TWE says: Re betting on the Corbyn predictions.
    February 1, 2011 at 11:48 pm
    “Piers Corbyn has already done that, and they banned him because he was making too much money.”

    According to Piers Corbyn.
    The bookmakers wont confirm or deny it.
    But his forcasts are not very expensive, if they really are that good then buy them and bet yourself to make money, so far I have heard of nobody claiming to be rich from doing this.
    And his recent complete miss for January, and the notorious predictions he made of 2008 do not give much confidence this is a sure-fire moneymaking method.

  191. Malaga View says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    POST-NORMAL POETRY POGROM
    If you can talk with crowds so they think you have virtue,
    Or walk with kings to promote their common touch……..

    Excellent – but I think if Kipling is looking down on this thread, he may have some more immediate advice for Roger:-


    When yer wounded and left on the Climate Wars’s plains

    And the sceptics come out to cut up yer remains

    Just reach for yer mike and beat out yer brains

    And go to yer Gore like a soldier

  192. I’m amazed – how on earth can we have got this far, with billions spent on climate research, and not have any idea of the accuracy of this type of forecasting? Whoever is in charge of handing out the money is completely derelict in their duties.

  193. I must admit, I feel this is bait and switch from Mr Harribin.

    The main blog based claims made regarding him are that he reported that the MEt had provided an extreme weather warning to the Cabinet.

    Now we know that they hadn’t.

    We really need to know who lied in this affair. Did the Met Office flatly lie to Mr Harribin? Did Mr Harribin use some “journalistic license” to make his claim?

    Surely that is the point at issue. No wonder journalists and BBC journalists in particular are so poorly regarded.

  194. I think Mr. Harrabin could show up right here and give straight answers to questions addressed to him by commenters. After all that’s the way it is supposed to be done on blogs, isn’t it?

    As we all know, public dialogue is a great way to build true community among participants.. What is more, it will empower community members to constructively address issues that affect them in their daily lives. And the best thing about it public dialogue tools can foster a wide variety of societal processes in both the short and the long run including democratization, and peace-building and reconciliation processes, leading to social and political transformation. Is there anything else one could wish for?

  195. izen says:
    February 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    As to the suggestion that the Met should be privatized or that Napier should be independent made by others;
    The Met office was sold off and privatized by Maggie Thatcher in the 80′s. It was intended to be a profitable commercial enterprise rather than a neutral scientific body.

    Er, no, it wasn’t. According to its own website (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/who) it is “a Trading Fund within the Ministry of Defence, operating on a commercial basis under set targets”.

  196. Dear Mr. Harrabin,

    you start well by noting that “the latest who-said-what-when saga over the Met Office winter forecast has created a stir of interest and understandable concern”. Sadly, you then choose to talk about something else.

    There is a stir and understandable concern because you made an extremely serious allegation that “the truth” was that the Met Office had warned the Government that there could be an “exceptionally” cold early winter. You went on to allege that we weren’t let in on “the secret”. Your sensationalist story was that the Met Office had correctly predicted the horrendous December weather AND that the Government had failed to act. Had, in fact, kept this information secret. You reinforced the impression of Government wrongdoing by saying that you had submitted an FOI request to the Government, as if it were the Government that were withholding secret, damaging information.

    Now, quite apart from the serious disruption caused by the snow, people actually died. Elderly people slipped and fell, freezing to death where they lay. You attributed, explicitly or by implication, lack of preparedness to the Government. It was their fault.

    You will be well aware, I am sure, that a few years ago, the BBC was rightly criticised for making serious, unsubstantiated allegations against the Government of the day. The reporter in question was Andrew Gilligan, and he alleged, without any foundation, in a live one-to-one, that the Government inserted information that it knew was likely not true into the notorious “dodgy dossier” prior to the invasion of Iraq. Gilligan’s notes of his interview with his source were inadequate and such notes as he had did not back up what he had said on air. As a result of this scandal, the Neil report recommended that the BBC make changes to their procedures. These changes were especially important where serious allegations were made based on an anonymous source.

    The questions that you must answer, Mr. Harrabin, are these:

    1. Did the Met Office source say to you exactly that “the truth” was that the Met Office had warned the Cabinet Office of the risk of an “exceptionally” cold start to winter? What does your contemporaneous note of the conversation/meeting with your source record?

    2. If the answer to 1 is no, did you embellish or exaggerate what you were actually told? If not, how could that be?

    3. If the answer to 1 is yes, what steps did you take to satisfy yourself of the veracity of that serious allegation?

    4. Why did you conclude that the source was capable of belief?

    5. What documentary support for the allegation did you see? Do you have a copy of any documentary evidence?

    6. Why did you comment in your report that you had submitted an FOI request to the Cabinet office, of correspondence passing between the CO and Met Office, rather than simply asking your source for sight of the same correspondence? If the source did not have access to the correspondence, why did you nevertheless conclude the source was reliable?

    7. What steps did you take to check out the serious allegation with the organisation that was the subject of the serious allegation (the Cabinet Office) before publication?

    8. Did you clear the matter with your line manager before making what was a very serious allegation in your Radio Times column? What steps did your line manager take to satisfy himself/herself of the veracity of the allegation.

    These questions and other need to be answered because you, Mr. Harrabin, made a very serious allegation against the Government which was untrue, and which was easily established through a simple FOI request made by a concerned citizen as being untrue. It is difficult to see how, given the tightening of procedures after the Neil report, this situation could have come about without, at best, recklessness.

    I should just add that, assuming that you did not embellish or exaggerate the story yourself (which is a fair starting point), the only possible conclusion is that you were misled by your Met Office source. This in itself is a story worthy of any proper journalist. Why were you fed misleading information? Was the source a maverick acting alone, or was she or he acting with the authority, knowledge or acquiescence of others at the Met Office? Is the Met Office trustworthy? I would have thought that a source who turns out to be a liar forfeits their protection of confidentiality and should rightly become the story.

    Your only response so far has been to downplay what you originally reported as “the truth” to now portray it as something that you merely “gleaned” from your source. Interesting back-track. But please, answer the questions.

  197. If Mr Harrabin has any sense at all he will try and acquaint himself with the pension scheme governors and exalt them to move their investments out of green schemes to something safer (perhaps Shale oil?) as he can surely see (if he has any sense at all) that this whole house of cards is going to come crashing down some day soon and, with it, his hopes of a happy and long retirement.

  198. Lucy Skywalker, Feb 1st 3:17pm –
    “Some commenters here are stupid, ………………………………
    I have appreciated greatly reading through remarks here. The further I read, the deeper the insights became. I realize that this is how we are all growing in wisdom and polemics.”

    I am probably one of the stupid ones, having absolutely no appropriate qualifications. I do, however, agree wholeheartedly with the second part of your post that I’ve quoted above; it sums up my feelings precisely. Thanks.

  199. Izen your remarks about oil are, like Mr Harrabin’s post, a complete red herring, as everyone now knows that, in spite of the misinformation spread around by the warmist bloggers, most of the oil companies’ disbursements in the climate area are on their side of the debate. Apart from some small sums to the Heartland Institute several years ago, everything else goes to the CRU, Carbon Trading lobbying bodies etc.
    However I like your test for AGW, and the way you have expressed it. Of course none of us will know for sure what man’s impact on global temperatures has been, but your 8/10 cut off seems eminently reasonable as a rule of thumb for deciding which way one’s sentiments lean. It will be a tough hurdle, as with the current La Nina conditions 2011 is likely to be quite a cool year globally.
    Let’s see.

  200. In case you missed it above, (Hat Tip to “Sceptical Me” above) Mr Harrabin wrote, on the BBC “news” website, almost exactly one year ago (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8462890.stm):

    “I have been discussing with the Royal Statistical Society, the Royal Meteorological Society and the Public Weather Service whether an index can be created comparing the records of all reputable forecasters making weather projections in the UK.
    A weather index could allow the public to see over the years who is really getting it right over long-term weather”.

    The organisations quoted have been so impressed with Mr Harrabin’s proposal a year ago that, one year on, we are in exactly the same place!

    Of course we appreciate Mr Harrabin writing to WUWT – and he deserves our general respect and courtesy. However, Mr Harrabin has, in my humble opinion, on the subject of AGW and The Met Office, stopped being a journalist and has become part of the propaganda machine.

    We cannot know whether this is because he truly belives the AGW theory or whether his bias is “manufactured” to confirm his credentials as a suitable person to hold his position within the BBC.

    If it is the former, nothing we are going to say to him will lead him to question his position on the matter. If it is the latter, nothing we are going to say will lead him to change his position.

    Evidentially and demonstrably, Mr Harrabin’s chose a stance of “defending” the Met Office using his position of trust as a BBC reporter. He reported to BBC licence payers in manner that suggested that the Met Office were being unfairly criticised, that they had warned (secretly) of the likelihood of a colder than average winter to come.

    Evidentially and demonstrably, the Met office did no such thing! A forecast with odds of 4 in 10 – is worse odds than I can get on red or black in a casino. Subsequently defending the forecast on the basis that it was “less wrong” than the other two forecast scenarios of 3 in 10 is just plain silly!

    I happen to believe that Mr Harrabin is a believer – and his actions and motives are based upon his true beliefs.

    There is nothing wrong with this – unless you are a reporter for the BBC! If you are a reporter for the BBC, I would expect you to report on stories and facts – not for you to become part of the news story – and certainly not take sides.

    However, as we know, the internal BBC policy is that the science is settled, that AGW is real and that anyone that disagrees with this view is a “denier” and should be dealt with as such.

    As an aside, the recent BBC Horizon programme was absolutely shocking. The constant portrayal of sceptics in the context of hicksville rednecks, Nazis and loony Lords was, quite frankly a disgrace – and Mr Harrabin’s approach, should be seen in this context.

    The organisation that commissioned and aired that programme is the same one that employs Mr Harrabin. Any discussion with Mr Harrabin concerning BBC bias with respect to AGW, The Met Office, etc. should take place after you have seen the Horizon programme – and YOU WILL REALISE YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME!

    In summary, as Sceptic Me wrote above, NOTHING NEW HERE! MOVE ON!

  201. With respect to Izen, Feb 1st 2010, 11.03

    You say “I have posted before a possible criteria I would use to test AGW theory. I would be CONSIDERABLY more sceptical of AGW if there are less than 8 years in the next decade which are warmer than 1998/2010. Otherwise the present dominant human understanding of the nature of the climate stands. Can you provide any criteria that would cause you to be more sceptical of YOUR position?”

    I say: Given a background of long term, gradual, natural, global warming wouldn’t one expect the most recent years to always be the “warmist”? Subject of course to annual, natural variations?

    To demonstrate the silliness of your stance, take a look at the CET graph on the Met Office site (a record that I am happy to rely upon in that it represents where I live). The last decade was either the warmest, or second warmest, on the record. Of course this sounds “scary” – but a quick look at the graph will quickly show you, that at the time, the same could be said in around 1947, 1870 and 1835!

    Are you suggesting that AGW was a contributary factor in each of these peaks?

    With respect to your final question – I will become more sceptical of my current stance if the CET graph turns up again in the next year or two and increases at a similar rate to the period that started in around 1986 – for 20 years or so.

    Pretty much anything other than that would be what one would expect within natural variation on a background of long term, gradual, global warming.

    BTW, Do you see any disparity between the constant reporting of how AGW has affected the UK climate and, based upon the ten year trend line on the CET graph produced by the Met Office, the fact that our average annual temperatures are actually roughly the same now as they were in about 1945?

    Yes I know the UK is not Europe and not the northern hemishere and not the globe. The point is, that the reporting of our climate in the UK evidences every weird weather event as evidence of AGW. We are told that spring arrives sooner every year. We are told it’s warmer, drier, wetter, etc than ever before – and yet its actually the same temperature now in the UK – as it was 65 years.

    Its the difference between facts – and propoganda!

  202. Mr Green Genes says:
    February 2, 2011 at 3:08 am
    “Er, no, it wasn’t. According to its own website (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/who) it is “a Trading Fund within the Ministry of Defence, operating on a commercial basis under set targets”. ”

    Mea Culpa; yes I was completely wrong about that, it was John Major who finally got the profit motive into the previously ‘civic duty’ model of the Met office. Pretty sure that it was Mrs T who first broached the idea, and I see the present lot are flirting with the idea of selling it off completely.

  203. Dave Walker says:
    February 2, 2011 at 4:47 am
    “I say: Given a background of long term, gradual, natural, global warming wouldn’t one expect the most recent years to always be the “warmist”? Subject of course to annual, natural variations?”

    No.
    This makes the ‘Natural variation’ error again. calling climate change ‘natural variation’ is purely descriptive, unlike AGW it provides no explanitory information and gives no causal narrative for the data or observations that are made of climate change.
    The pattern over the last few million years is a slow COOLING until a very deep glacial trough is reached, this is followed (when the insolation at ~65N is greatest) by rapid warming. We are at present around ten thousand years after the last rapid warming and ‘should’ be in the slow cooling phase of about 0.1deg C per century.

    But any such ‘Natural variation’ requires a physical cause, it doesn’t just happen on a chaotic whim.

  204. @- David S says:
    “Izen your remarks about oil are, like Mr Harrabin’s post, a complete red herring, as everyone now knows that, in spite of the misinformation spread around by the warmist bloggers, most of the oil companies’ disbursements in the climate area are on their side of the debate.”

    Where, and in what the oil companies and other fossil fuel businesses invest their petty cash was not the issue. A poster was suggesting that the investment in ‘Green’ markets by pension funds may distort the actions of those workers who depend on those pension funds.

    But the proportion of money invested by pension funds in the fossil fuel industry is FAR greater, almost 20% of all investments.

    If a small investment in ‘Green’ causes might distort the actions of pension fund benificiaries, then the massively larger investment in CO2 producing industries must have a much larger influence.

  205. Izen,

    how many ice ages and inter-glacials have we had over your period of the last few million years of slow cooling? What useful information could a cooling trend measured over millions of years tell us about how the climate might evolve over the next 50 or 100 years? How do you know that we “should” be in a cooling phase of 0.1C per century? Why on earth do you think that natural and chaotic variation cannot produce warming over time-spans of a a few decades or even a couple of hundred years? Are you confident that all “natural variations” are included in current models? Which of those modelled natural variations was it that cancelled the CO2 warming that we should have seen in the last 10 – 15 years? Can you spell “hubris”?

  206. izen says:

    But any such ‘Natural variation’ requires a physical cause, it doesn’t just happen on a chaotic whim.

    You’re misunderstanding the chaos theory. We should be able to understand all aspects of our physical universe and predict all outcomes.

    Chaos is not a reality, it ‘s our perception of things we may not fully understand.

    All systems observed tend toward chaos given the length of time observed and the complexity of it’s components.

    .

  207. izen February 2, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I am not following you Izen. Are you saying that there is no evidence, in the last 300 years or so, of gradual, natural, global warming? If so, I think you are on your own!

    To help you out, I think, simply put, that the AGW case is that in an accepted background of long term warming, they cannot account for all of the warming, in more recent times, to natural causes and that therefore they argue a percentage is Man Made – i.e. AGW.

    The natural variations that I referred to are the natural annual variations that do not evidence any trend – they are just the result of natural variation! For instance, its the reason why the UK temperatures were over 1 degree lower in 2010 – than 2009 (see CET Met Office graph)!

    Its either natural variation – or evidence of catastrophic UK cooling that will see us freezing to death in 30 years! (for the avoidance of doubt – I am being sarcastic in that last sentence).

  208. With thanks to S. Goddard:
    US-NOOA seems even more incompetent than UK-MET:

    Look at the figures for Dec-Jan-Feb-Mar

  209. Izen’s cognitive dissonance blinds him to the facts. Natural variability fully explains the current warming cycle. Prof Richard Lindzen explains:

    For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century. [source]

    The curent climate and temperatures are well within the extremes of the Holocene. In fact, today’s temperatures are close to the Holocene average. Nothing unusual is occurring. It’s all just natural variability in action.

  210. I’m an American and I don’t watch BBC America, so I’m coming into this relatively fresh and unbiased. In his letter above, Mr Harrabin says:

    “If you want to measure my journalism, you could take a look or listen to some of the articles or radio docs below. And make up your own mind.”

    Lord Oxburgh, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10507144

    I went this link and read the article by Mr Harrabin. It’s basically a report that the august body found no wrongdoing using the emails as evidence. I have personally read a hundred of the emails and I recommend everyone read them, instead of reading a reporter’s report on the official findings. A commented compendium of the emails is here:

    http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/

    There is also a linked set of the entire pack of emails. First, I refuse to use the word “hacked” emails because the hacking is an allegation that has not been substantiated nor proven. It is more likely, in my opinion, that an insider leaked them.

    My conclusion from reading Mr Harrabin’s article is that he has at best reported on the official inquiry findings, but has not actually read the emails themselves. Furthermore, anyone who believes that the criticism of the emails is taken out of context, has also not read them. There are many threads that flow through enough posts to get a clear context. It is obvious to anyone who read them that the writers are clearly subverting the peer review process, keeping dissenting opinions from getting published, and even colluding to get a magazine editor fired for not sufficiently toeing their insiders’ party line.

    At best, Mr Harrabin is doing his job as a reporter of what other people claim. He is clearly not an investigative reporter who would question both the makeup of the official investigating bodies, nor does he read the original source material.

    Working for an organization (BBC) that has financial investment in “green” technologies, should make it a conflict of interest to report on “green” issues. Because, as is amply discussed in this blog thread, the reporter’s motives come into question.

  211. Please note that Harriban has not actually engaged in any “debate”.

    Rather, he posted a (non) reply here (which is a good start) that changed the subject and didn’t answer the charges of bias and (deliberate) erros in his presentation and summary of CAGW, then refused to answer any of his critics’ comments or corrections.

    Isn’t his position still: “I have won the debate because I declare that I have won the debate because I claim that I am stating facts and you are wrong because I claim you are wrong” ?

  212. Izen,

    “No.
    This makes the ‘Natural variation’ error again. calling climate change ‘natural variation’ is purely descriptive, unlike AGW it provides no explanitory information and gives no causal narrative for the data or observations that are made of climate change.”

    Have your arrived at this conclusion after hearing Trenberth’s plea to reverse the null hypothesis?

  213. Peter Miller says:
    February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Possibly one solution here – which can be guaranteed to be rejected is this.
    If you are an advocate of AGW in the public domain, then all your pension funds should be required (by law) to be invested in green pension funds. I emphasise the word ‘all’.
    Somehow, I think such an idea would be fought tooth and nail by the high priesthood of the AGW cult.

    This just gave me an idea, because the BBC pension fund is weighted in green investments, maybe they are liable for manipulating the market with all their propaganda.
    Maybe someone should investigate…

  214. I like the acknowledgement to Piers Corbyn, that was very tasteful.

    Not so sure about how this informs readers in the sense of the relevant questions raised over the last weeks. We get some description of ideas for testing predictions, but that’s not an insight on the questions about the state of reporting and information sharing between TMO, the Beeb and the Cabinet.

    Following this Harrabin seems to slip dangerously…. I am open to correction, but the overall feel is that by invoking the ‘nuttiest’ accusation against him in the blogosphere (never heard that one before, myself) and dragging it in as some kind of example to do with the matters at hand, and concluding (the final third of his rather empty comment) with it….

    Well, I can’t help but think a reporter and one who interprets nuances and job-speak just compared the relevant questions being raised on this blog, to just more nuttiness. Not that the language is certain, but really – he’s an expert in being concise and not leaving these things open to question. Reporters would call this ‘casting aspersions’ – and between public figures, it would be consider ‘a jab’.

    It seems that either he’s not much of a reporter (unlikely) or he’s using his a strawman to be ‘cute’. I could only imagine a lack of clarity of communication from an expert in communication to be deliberate.

    So, my prediction:

    Likelyhood Harrabin meant to compare the real issues and questioners to nutcakes (a jab): 90%

    Likelyhood Harrabin gaffed in his comparison honestly (a gaffe): 10%

    Elvis, indeed!

  215. While Mr. Harrabin almost ccertainly believes in AGW – otherwise the Biased Broadcasting Service would have sacked him long ago, I had a brief email correspondence with him last year and believe that he is an honest reporter.

    AngusPangus says

    “You will be well aware, I am sure, that a few years ago, the BBC was rightly criticised for making serious, unsubstantiated allegations against the Government of the day. The reporter in question was Andrew Gilligan, and he alleged, without any foundation, in a live one-to-one, that the Government inserted information that it knew was likely not true into the notorious “dodgy dossier” prior to the invasion of Iraq. ”

    Actually it has now emerged that the Blair government was well aware that the “dodgy dossier” was dodgy. Those who followed the Hutton inquiry, as opposed to just reading the Hutton report, would have been well aware that Gilligan’s surmise was based on truth and that perhaps his only mistake was not realising that he could never expect his source(s) to confirm his allegations. Blair’s liar-in-chief was able to pick him off and also to force the resignation of the BBC Chairman and Chief Executive, both of whom were hitherto staunch Labour supporters and appointees.

    Campbell himself was forced to retire when his lies were exposed by the Hutton Inquiry but has now been reinsated as one of the BBC’s favourite gurus.

    Gilligan has gone on to make a successful career in investigative journalism.

  216. I assume Roger Harrabin’s lack of reply is in some way tied to the likelyhood that any response he gives could lose him his job.
    I refuse to believe he has not read the comments here, any reasonable person would invest the time to read the reaction to such an important and probably career changing discussion.
    If he lied, his only options are to immediately acknowledge the fact and give some explanation, or try to hide it and hope it is not uncovered untill things cool off completely.

    I believe he is opting for the latter. Even Bill Clinton when caught in a lie just spun out some psychobabble and tried to redefine the word “is”. Roger Harrabin, you aren’t even trying and the delay tactic won’t work. You have been caught red handed, what say you?

  217. izen says:
    February 2, 2011 at 7:19 am

    No.
    This makes the ‘Natural variation’ error again. calling climate change ‘natural variation’ is purely descriptive, unlike AGW it provides no explanitory information and gives no causal narrative for the data or observations that are made of climate change.

    izen, I think you are the only one around here who is claiming that “natural variations” are not due to causes.

    The real problem for the use of the AGW concept is that, to know if some condition is abnormal, it is absolutely critical that one must first know what is normal. Such that, if there’s no change in the climate-weather “variations” from pre-AGW to the alleged post-AGW onset conditions, then “AGW” itself itself provides no extra explanatory information, and none compared to any other word assemblege someone might want to superimpose as an equally non-refuteable, therefore meaningless and only apparent, “statement” claiming something alleged to relate to reality.

    In other words, izen, you are the one who is trying to describe reality using a new and needless bunch of words, “AGW”, as a narrative for “climate”/”climate change” which, so far, has not been shown to have a different meaning compared to the same old “natural variation” climate.

  218. Dave Walker says: February 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

    The natural variations that I referred to are the natural annual variations that do not evidence any trend .

    That is only true for normal/Guassian noise which is not the type of noise we are dealing with in climate science.

    Unlike Guassian noise, 1/f will always have some kind of trend, because the sample you look at will always contain larger noise of a longer periodicity than the period of analysis.

  219. Dear Anthony Watts,

    Would it be appropriate at this point to draw the attention of Mr Harrabin to the copious comments below his posting that suggest he has misused your site to divert attention from the very serious allegations made by the sceptic community against him?

    And tell him frankly but politely that your commenters are very upset that he has not even tried to explain how it came about that he (and by extension the BBC) was used (maybe without his/their consent) as a mouthpiece/messenger for the met office to dupe British public into falsely believing that the met office had correctly forecast a harsh winter and warned the British government to get prepared for the very cold weather that hit the UK between mid-November and until January?

    Could you formally and openly request, that having put up a post on your blog that did nothing to answer the questions your readers had expected to be answered, that now he corrrect his post with another post that gives an account about the circumstances behind his misreporting of what the met office told the British Government?

    I think AngusPangus has correctly identified the questions he really needs to address if he is to be regarded by your readers as being reputable.

  220. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:
    February 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I’m surprised at the pettiness of some of the comments. Sniping in such a way at one of the few prepared to put his head above the parapet and address the criticisms says stuff about the poster that I’d rather not know about or want to share space with.

    If they hadn’t erected an ivory tower, there would be no need for a parapet to stick one’s head over. This is all of their own making. You see it as sniping, I see it as pragmatism.

  221. Re:- MY complaint that ‘Natural variation’ is an explanation free, scientifically useless statement.

    Vince Causey says:
    February 2, 2011 at 10:15 am
    “Have your arrived at this conclusion after hearing Trenberth’s plea to reverse the null hypothesis?”

    Smokey says:
    February 2, 2011 at 9:40 am
    “The curent climate and temperatures are well within the extremes of the Holocene. In fact, today’s temperatures are close to the Holocene average. Nothing unusual is occurring. It’s all just natural variability in action.”

    My position has nothing to do with what null hypothesis is chosen. Its based on the fundamentals of science.
    Unless the phrase – ‘natural variation’ – is followed by ’caused by….’ then it is descriptive hand-waving with no explanatory power.

    The variations in the Holocene, ESPECIALLY the changes in the energy balance that increases or decreases the heat content, have causes. If they are only described as variations then there is no falsifiable or testable scientific statement.

    In politics its ‘follow the money’, in science it is usually follow the energy. Certainly in climate science how you get the accumulation or loss of petaJoules over a century requires an explanation, not just a two word description.

  222. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:
    February 1, 2011 at 11:15 am
    “I’m surprised at the pettiness of some of the comments. Sniping in such a way at one of the few prepared to put his head above the parapet and address the criticisms says stuff about the poster that I’d rather not know about or want to share space with.”

    La de da. Harrabin has emphatically not addressed the criticisms. And it’s called comeuppance, justly deserved too.

  223. Re Izen Various

    I note that you have not responded to my points regarding warmest year/warmest decade – in a background of long term “warming”.

    I am not a scientist so I cannot debate with you as to the reasons why the planet has warmed and cooled and warmed over 1000s of years – but I do know it has! I also know that AGW cannot have been a factor for the vast majority of that time.

    Therefore, the variations in temperature over this time are “natural” – natural in the sense that it is nature “what did it” – in the form of all elements from the sun, through to volcanoes, La ninas, meteorite stikes or whatever.

    The point being, no matter how clever we humans think we are these elements have contributed to planet’s climate changing over millions of years – and we cannot influence these “natural” causes (Canute and all that).

    I am calling it “natural variation” in a lay sense – where “Nature”, with all of its beauty and ferocity, is the cause of any change rather than “man”.

    Based upon the CET graph of the UK, there is no evidence, as far as I can see, of anything other than long term, gradual warming. The “warmist” alarmism was predicated on the basis of the most recent increase in average temperatures between around 1985 and 2000 (from the graph). This, we were told, was exceptional and unprecedented warming that must be being caused by man.

    The warming wasn’t exceptional and unprecedented – the graph clearly shows it wasn’t. Unhelpfully, the graph has also turned down just as steeply as it rose. However, no one is suggesting that this trend will continue towards an ice age (yet?).

    Ultimately, man will be affected positively and negatively by changes in the planet’s climate caused by entirely natural events over which we have no control.

    If there are countries or communities that we believe will suffer as a result of these changes then we should invest to help them adapt to the changes – rather than pretend we can save them by riding a bicycle instead of driving a car.

    If, for instance, we believe that the Maldive Islands are going to be inundated by rising sea levels (which, I believe, have been rising for hundreds of years) then we need to help by either protecting the islands with better sea defences (not very beautiful or practical in the long term) or – move the islanders to a new, safer location.

    Unfortunately, current policy is to pursue a third alternative where learned people attend huge conferences and wring their hands at the plight of such people – and then bring in laws, for instance, to make us use new, more efficient light bulbs! (As a complete aside, wasn’t the major benefit of the light bulb to provide “instant light? A quality that is singularly missing from the light bulbs now being sold in the UK!).

    If I was a Maldivian (that may be a word that I have just made up), I would be hugely relieved to know that”The West” was so concerned about the danger to me and my family that they were prepared to install double glazing, drive a Prius and turn their central heating by a degee. (Sarcastic comment again!)

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