Mid-Winter Report Card
Guest post by Steven Goddard
We are almost at the half way point for the meteorological winter (December through February) and it is a good time to evaluate how the NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) and UK Met Office winter forecasts are doing so far. As seen below, CPC forecast the highest probability of warmth for Alaska and the upper midwest.
Looking at the results, it appears that the CPC forecast map was approximately inverted from what has actually occurred. The near record cold air which has been sitting over Alaska, is now pouring into the upper midwest. As of this morning, the temperature in International Falls, Minnesota is -22F, and historical cold is forecast
for the coming weeks across most of the midwest and eastern US.
Here is the Month of December:
On the other side of the pond, The Met Office famously forecast
another warm season for the UK.
Trend of mild winters continues
25 September 2008
The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average.
Their scorecard is doing equally well, with the UK having it’s coldest winter in decades, as reported by the BBC.
last month proved to be the coldest December in more than 30 years, with the average temperature at 1.7C (35F), compared with the long-term average of 4.7C (40F) for the first part of the month.
On December 12, they issued this press release:
The Met Office seasonal forecast predicted the cold start to the winter season with milder conditions expected during January
Yet the Met Office appeared undaunted by yet another incorrect seasonal forecast, as reported by the always faithful Guardian earlier this week.
In the midst of a cold snap – a hot weather warning
As temperatures stay stubbornly well below freezing, it may feel like the last issue on anyone’s mind, but the government has been warned it may need to start thinking about introducing emergency hot weather payments to help poorer households keep cool.
The cold spell caused significant problems in many areas of the country. The Government’s bill for Cold Weather Payments is expected to rise to more than £100 million
How we did
The Met Office correctly forecast the spell of cold weather and kept the public informed via our various forecasts.
So what can we infer from this? Even on the short time scales, models don’t reach claimed accuracy. Climate models, though different in design and time scale have a 90% confidence level, as reportedly claimed by the IPCC.
Of course, “Weather is not climate.” But, skill level in atmospheric model design should not automatically be assumed to be better for one than the other.