Final Score For The Met Office Winter Forecast

Guest post by Steven Goddard

DART - Digital Advanced Reckoning Technology

The UK Met Office famously forecast this past winter to be “milder than average.

25 September 2008

The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average.

Seasonal forecasts from the Met Office are used by many agencies across government, private and third sectors to help their long-term planning.

The meteorological winter is over, and the official results are in :

The UK had its coldest winter for 13 years, bucking a recent trend of mild temperatures, the Met Office has said.

The average mean temperature across December, January and February was 3.1C – the lowest since the winter beginning in 1995, which averaged 2.5C.

This missed forecast falls on the heels of two consecutive incorrect summer forecasts , both of which were forecast to be warm but turned out to be complete washouts.  However, the Met Office appears undaunted by their recent high profile forecasting failures, and they continue in their quest to educate the public about the imminent threat of global warming.

Peter Stott, of the Met Office, said despite this year’s chill, the trend to milder, wetter winters would continue.

He said snow and frost would become less of a feature in the future.

….

The Met Office added that global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.

They have already warned that 2009 will be one of the five warmest years on record.

2009 is expected to be one of the top-five warmest years on record, despite continued cooling of huge areas of the tropical Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon known as La Niña.

Just as they had forecast that 2007 would be the hottest year on record, prior to temperatures plummeting by nearly a full degree.

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

Based on their past accuracy with seasonal and annual forecasting, you might want to bundle up and buy some new rain boots.
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177 thoughts on “Final Score For The Met Office Winter Forecast

  1. Just checked, window thermometer shows ZERO degrees celcius, external guage on central heating boiler reads +1C. March in Milford Haven! My house is less than one hundred yards from the harbour. Still too dark outside to see any ground frost.

  2. Seasonal forecasts are also released in Norway, based on ECMWF models, possibly the same as the UK forecast. The forecast for December to February was quite a bit off in Norway as well, but temperatures were still well above the 1961-90 average.
    Oslo summary:
    Forecast: -1.0 C
    Actual: -2.8 C
    1961-90: -3.8 C
    The warmest winter on record is +0.7C (1988/89).

  3. Every year the Met office says it will be the warmest year on record, or near.
    Every year I say it will be about the same as last year.
    Every year I am more correct than they are.
    The Met Office costs £83m per year.
    I’ll do almost anything for a bacon sandwich.
    Where’s the justice?

  4. It’s now light in the mildest part of the UK, the south-west, and we have another dusting of snow.
    Of course the Met Office knows that weather is not climate: “The fact that 2009, like 2008, will not break records does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.” So the underlying rate according to the Met Office is only based on the last 18 years. Is that cherry-picking or not?

  5. almost as accurate as my Ouija board…
    Penn and Teller did a “BS” on Ouija boards. They were VERY accurate. Even when the “subjects were blindfolded” . . .
    UNTIL he left them blindfolded – and turned the Ouija board upside down!
    What a hoot!

  6. It looks like the Met are following a trend line rather than using any real science. If the past number of years have been mild and we are under the influence of AGW then obviously it is going to be mild.

  7. Hmmmm, let us not confuse weather with climate…as we are looking at their climate forecasting, how did they do over a longer term and global area? Their forecast for the average global temperature of 2008 was 14.37C. The actual outturn was 14.3C. Alarmists!
    In fact Over the nine years, 2000-2008, since the Met Office has issued forecasts of annual global temperature the mean value of the forecast error is just 0.06 °C.
    Or, to put it another way … Bullseye!

  8. and in Ireland:
    “Mean air temperatures for the season were a little below normal for the 1961-90 period at most stations, but it
    was slightly warmer than normal near Atlantic coasts; here, it was the coldest winter for eight years, while it
    was the coldest for between 13 and 18 years elsewhere.”

  9. I realize this is about the UK, but in the USA the “warmest year” title has been awarded to 1934, not 1998 – just to make the point that it is hard to get the big things correct when you can’t handle the little issues well.
    Likewise, when you miss seasonal forecasts time after time there can be little confidence going forward 10, 20, or 100 years. A lot of good might come if the computers were shut down for a few days and folks went outside and sat on beaches, mountain sides, deserts, and so on and contemplated the dynamic Earth. Oh, sorry, it’s snowing again – maybe we can go out next month!

  10. I guess the Met’s Xmas wish didn’t come true:
    anhonestclimatedebate.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/uk-met-office-christmas-wishlist/

  11. Hmmm.
    Analogy to denial of weather facts in the UK about AWG. Pub scene in England: Folks tell you have a drinking problem and believe in global warming without any evidence.
    …and you say “No sir, I am jussss fine”.
    Then they catch you falling down on the street *drunk*…and they say “You have a drinking problem”…and you say no, “I am jussss reeeelleee purfecctleee fiiiine and I think Alll Gorey is correctly good and a loyaal Emerican”
    …and they say, “are you sure you are thinking straight?”
    So, the Met Office drunk says “evereee thin’ is jus totaleeee in lime with the “I pee cee cee” …belch ….that the global is warminggggg… uhhh…warmmmmeeing just like Hansooon sed it woooood.”
    And so, the Met Office declares their foecast is correct…and some (AGWs) believe them.
    And the snow falls.

  12. They’ll just keep predicting ‘warm’, and then when it happens, they’ll claim reality matched their predictions! And in that case a ‘warm’ year won’t just be ‘weather’, it’ll be further proof.

  13. Dear Met Office, mon 5th Jan 2009
    Your website. I find your use of the term ‘fact’ slightly outrageous. Are you attempting to educate or dictate?
    Take your passage: ‘Concentrations of CO2, created largely by the burning of fossil fuels, are now much higher, and increasing at a much faster rate, than at any time in the last 600,000 years. Because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the increased concentrations have contributed to the recent warming and probably most of the warming over the last 50 years’.
    Much higher? please quantify, otherwise it sounds like guesswork. Burning of fossil fuels is a tiny fraction of global CO2 levels, not ‘created largely by’. Faster rate? How fast? ‘Probably’??? I thought this was supposedly a FACT! Please take this word out (probably) and let’s see where you stand.
    Perhaps you should focus on real science rather than reguirgitating fashionable scientific fads that make the weather seem more exciting. Lucky for you, you won’t be around in 100 years to find out how absurdly wrong you are. The reason? Human error in being unable to objectively consider something that affects self-status.
    Please forecast the weather, not how we should live our lives.

    Reply: 05 February 2009 13:12:49
    Martin Kidds enquiries@metoffice.gov.uk (I noted no restriction to share info on this email)
    Thank you for your e-mail of 5 January 2009 regarding the ‘climate change facts’ on the Met Office web site. I apologise for the delay in replying to you.
    The issues you raise and many others have been comprehensively addressed in the scientific literature and so I do not propose to respond to all of them when the information is already available in the public domain. Instead , I would refer you to the web site of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who have produced a detailed list of FAQs at http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html and the Met Office Hadley Centre publication “Climate Change and the greenhouse effect: a briefing from the Hadley Centre” which is available to download free of charge at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/.
    Thank you once again for your interest and for taking the time to contact the Met Office. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk

  14. Seems all the cold has been kept north . We have had a mild winter in Athens Greece, with two bouts of cold (0 low 8C high) one in December and one in February. I watch out for the cold spells because I make a delicacy cold “pastourmas” that needs meat to be hanging out to dry, and one needs cold weather for this. Managed to make a lot in February, but it took all the month, because there were southern winds blowing which bring warmth ( 8 to 16C).
    Presently spring entered on time on March 1st with lovely weather. Today it will be 8 to 20C. We usually get another bout of cold in March ( “March is a scraper and a furious log burner”, is a local ditty). I hope it comes, otherwise April will be cooler than usual, and usually I start swimming end of April ( 23C in daytime).
    I would say this weather is normal for the region, a bit on the warm side.

  15. Agree about the Met Office. Mid (and probably long) term forecasts are worse than useless. There is, though, a slight cause for concern.
    This ‘cold’ winter has resulted in a huge amount of comment, but the final UK winter average temp of 3.1 deg is within a whisker of the of 3.27 deg – which is the average winter temperature for the whole of the 1961-1990 period. .

  16. The last 10 years CET average was 10.45 degrees C.
    2008 was 9.96 degrees C
    Hence 2008 cooler by 0.49 degrees C
    2009…
    January (last 10 years) 5.27 degrees C
    January 2009 3.0 degrees C
    January temp cooler by 2.27 degrees C
    February (last 10 years) 5.15 degrees C
    February 2009 4.1 degrees C
    February temp cooler by 1.05 degrees C
    March (last 10 years) 6.72 degrees C
    March 2009 6.5 degrees C (current)
    The above shows that the current temperatures are COOLER than the 10-year average. Even if a 20-year annual average is calculated it still comes out at 10.24 degrees C – so the 2008 figure is 0.28 degrees C lower than the 20-year average. The fact is that 2008 was a ‘normal’ year for temperature in England.

  17. Has anyone else noted that the BBC weather site has now removed all the global maps? This was a useful source of temperatures globally and helped arrest ridiculous fatuous propaganda, particularly concerning ice when temperature maps for Canada/Alaska repeatedly implied -30 or below?
    There are two reasons for this: lack of money or political interference. The latter is more likely as BBC Worldwide has just been told to mind out for making too much profit!
    So find a new source of global weather UK citizens!
    Second: winters in the UK. They were very cold in the 1960s, very mild in the 1970s, cold in the 1980s and variable in the 1990s. The 2000s have been very mild until this year.
    There is a cycle in there. But it’s not PC to talk about it.
    Maybe this site should start doing so?

  18. “The UK had its coldest winter for 13 years” yet more proof global warming is a hoax.

  19. – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.” So the underlying rate according to the Met Office is only based on the last 18 years. Is that cherry-picking or not?
    Not really – because 1991-2000 was warmer than 1981-1990 which in turn was warmer than 1971-1980

  20. Here’s a tip, forecasters: If you say next year is going to be like this year you’ll be right more often than you are now not.

  21. The Met Office’s seasonal forecasts are used by the energy companies and government to plan contingencies.
    The energy companies use these forecasts to determine energy usage from which flows figures on energy storage and costs to consumers.
    Government bodies determine contingency plans for heath (e.g. hypothermia rates), transport infrastructure (salt and grit for roads), etc.
    This cold winter coupled with rising energy costs in the UK has cost huge sums of money and many lives, unnecessarily so.
    The Met Office’s fixation with Global Warming has resulted in misery and pain for people. There should be sackings at the Met Office.

  22. Penn and Teller produce great programs. They did one on recycling a while back. Wish they’d do one on AGW.

  23. I love it! “Global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.” There could be glaciers rolling over Inverness, and they’d tell us without global warming they’d have reached Glasgow.

  24. The warmest winters in the UK remain;
    1733 1868 and 1833 all of course enormously affected by dangerously rising levels of CO2
    TonyB

  25. Yes well never mind the details, the predictions are far more important.
    With the rough weather hitting larger parts of northern England, Wales, Northern Ireland, & Scotland does this classify as a direct hit/near miss from Piers Corbyn & the Weather Action team who predicted a heavy storm for that region in very early March?
    I think that, to be fair to the Met Office, they are always little over cautious as they have always been the butt of jokes about weather forecasting here in the UK ever since I can remember. Their biggest issue & embarrassment was when in late 1988 poor old Ian MacCaskell was giving an evening forecast about heavy storms over large parts of south-east of England, & he even commented on a call from a viewer claiming that they had heard another forecast from Europe about a possible hurricane hitting the south-east, which he unfortunately appeared to almost laugh off, he still laughs about it & puts his hand up such is his integrity & professionalism. We all in the UK know what happened there & I remember waking up to several downed trees in the local park which our house overlooked. They have never lived it down & I think this has been part of the issue. They rather tended to use a shot-gun technique & cover all bases for a time just so that they could not & would not be subjected to the national humiliation that followed the hurricane of 1988. Now they perhaps have the budget & equipment they craved for many years but never got, of course they are now far more politicised & riddled with green subverts, with people all to eager to follow their political masters policies.
    As to their current commentary, I really don’t know how long the pretence & farsical rhetoric can continue without people turning away in droves from their apparent authority, as more & more claims are made that cooling equals warming, that everything that happens weather wise & climate wise, is evidence of Global Warming/Climate Change, & that whatever seems to happen with those imposters, is “entirely consistent with their understanding of cimate change”. HIWTYL. We’ve even seen the horses mouth in the form of Dr Pope come out & claim that “climate alarmism” is doing a disservice to climate change, & that the melting Arctic icepack could be entirley due to natural variations as pointed out by WUWT recently. Pull the other one, I’m too old for that gag! They are not quite a national embarrassment, but as time goes on, I believe they will become that once again, very sadly!
    BTW I missed the snow as I was in the shower, but my wife assured me that it happened albeit for a short while! The sky is blue & clear, & sunny, for the moment.
    OT, & this could well be for Lief Svalgaard/David C. Archibald, the present reduced solar activity appears to be matched from what I have read so far, by a cycle in 1913 or was it 1900, certainly 1913 would fit with the point I am trying to make? I understand that the Gliessberg cycle has a periodocity of 88 years with a range of 70-100 years, & therefore is it this cycle that could be taking place in the sun now? Is there any evidence that something significant happens within the sun every fourth Hale cycle, & what if any corresponding effects were obseved on planet Earth?

  26. Bret:
    “I confidently predict, that 2009 will be one of the ten warmest years this century!”
    If not the millenium!

  27. Yeah I recall that night/day in 1988. Went to bed, woke up and found all my laundry mixed up with all my neighbours, kickers, pants, socks (I don’t wear knickers BTW), all over the street. Roof tiles missing, windows smashed, trees down. Took a bit longer to walk to work that day. Seven Oaks became One Oak. And The Met have not been the same since.

  28. These Global Cooling deniers have obviously been bribed by the alternative energy industry.

  29. That was Michael Fish, not Ian McCaskell and it was October 1987, not 1988, and it was not a hurricane by the standard definition, though did have hurricane force winds.
    Regards
    Andy

  30. Alan, take your point re Met Office defensive posture following the Great Storm, but it was Michael Fish’s forecast on 15th October 1987 to be accurate.
    See:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/bbcweather/forecasters/michael_fish_1987storm.shtml
    And for his account…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/content/articles/2007/04/16/great_storm_1987_michael_fish_feature.shtml
    Agree we are being fed same PC claptrap re AGW and sleepwalking into an energy crisis of brownouts and blackouts that is going to cost lives because of our failure to replace ageing coal power stations.

  31. You people are letting the cat out of the bag here, this is all top secret. The Met Office is a subsidiary of the UK ministry of Defence and as such the Queens minister John Hutton has a duty to defend Britain. Imagine if the evil Spaniards and their armada had a true picture of the weather around the British Isles.
    I might have the wrong Elizabeth but what the hell, it feels like 1588.

  32. Once a week, though I don’t know why, I download the weeks forecast for my town from the Met Office. The following day it has changed and by the end of the week not one forecast remains unchanged. Yet they have the balls to tell us what the weather is going to be in 20 years!

  33. TonyB: Where can I find reference to the removal of laws in England mandating in-wall plumbing (as the climate had warmed enough to prevent external plumbing freezing); and subsequently the re-introducution of those laws because the climate had gone back to cold?
    I think it may have been around the time of Dickens.

  34. I love the “…global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder” bit…
    John Philip (23:29:04):
    “Their forecast for the average global temperature of 2008 was 14.37C. The actual outturn was 14.3C.

    Or, to put it another way … Bullseye!”
    That’s rubbish! Showing the actual temperature figures instead of anomalies tricks one to see a bigger correlation as the relative (or percentage of) difference seems smaller. If you are a regular follower of temperature anomalies of all providers and know the recent anomaly ranges that we are talking about, you would definitely know that the 2008 outcome of .31C is VERY different from the predicted .37C!

  35. Alan the Brit (01:51:00) wrote: …Met Office, they are always little over cautious as they have always been the butt of jokes about weather forecasting here in the UK…
    And weather forecasters the world over, Alan. It’s a part of the conversation just like my operation and other such scintillating wit and wisdom…

  36. Met Office forecasts do not seem to be based on any research or scientific information available to them. They are just ordinary “best guesses” of someone who firmly believes that what has happened so far, will pretty much continue the same way. In January of that year, 2007 was predicted to become the warmest in history based just on the fact that 2006 ended extremely warm. But somewhere mid 2007 there was a change – oops! In January 2008 they predicted an anomaly of just .37C because 2007 ended pretty cool and it seemed only rational and logical to say that it will not be a record. But being a firm believer in continuing growth of temperature, they did not predict this to continue too long (wishful thinking?). So they over shot, the year actually turning out to be .31C, cooler than predicted. As the second half of 2008 turned warmer again, they dared to predict the year to be over .4C. We’ll see, January and February have been quite warm so far (though not over .4C).
    Logical, in a way, though not a reliable method of forecasting. Seems rather one of a layman to me!

  37. Forecasting is based on the data of past events. But if the only data you have to work with is the last 2 or 3 hundred years and the climate is going through a cycle that is longer then that then of course you will be wrong. We are entering a Dalton or Maunder Minimum, or perhaps something worse. The lack of sunspots tell us that. But what causes the sun to have fewer sunspots? Why is this periodic, but not predictable? There are people out there that have ideas on this, are those ideas being examined? I personally think that the concept that man has so much power that we focus, almost solely, on our debate on anthropogenic global warming is the height of egocentric mania. I look out at the solar system, the galaxy and the universe and I think: “.. makes one feel rather insignificant doesn’t it?” Come on guys think, get your head out your ass, take your hand out of the government cookie jar and be a “scientist” for a change.

  38. James: Your reply from the met Office is similar to one I received. They just say go and look at IPPC TAR4 for the evidence. If they are as good as they say, they should be able to give me the evidence directly. But they can’t.
    Alan the Brit: Still white here in Devon. BTW wasn’t it Michael Fish, not poor old Ian MacKaskell?

  39. Not only have the Met missed the seasonal forecast, but their monthly forecast for February (BBC website, about 1 week into the month) was a bust. This was just at the end of the last really cold and snowy spell, and stated that the weather systems looked set to continue in a cold and snowy pattern for much of the month – so anyone care to guess what the weather for the 2nd half of February was?
    Yep, a bit warmer than average, with relatively little rainfall.

  40. “The Met Office added that global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.”
    So why is warming bad????

  41. Sven, in the period in question the anomaly has varied between 0.27 and 0.47 so a mean forecast error of 0.06C is pretty good, in fact is is less than one standard deviation of the anomalies for this period.

  42. Temperatures measured on way to work this AM
    home 150m alt -0.5C
    0.8 km at bottom of hill 150m alt 1.0C
    1.1km top of hill 250m Alt 0.5C
    9km 200m alt 2.0C
    16km before town150m alt 2.0C
    17km centre town 130m alt 2.5C
    Temp change over 17km 3.0C (0.5C of uhi?)
    Some years ago (1980s) I cycled to work through drifts of snow 30cm deep feeling very pleased with myself. Half way along no snow at all, bright sunshine.
    5 years? ago floods in warwickshire. I was working in Birmingham – no roads south “passable” eventually found a road with water that only came up to the floor of the car and got through. 20miles south hardly any rain.
    Its weather and it is unpredictable and it is localised and it is affected by topography etc.
    I defy anyone to give an accurate weather prediction other than in the most general terms. I note that Mr Watts’ professional weather prediction does not show 100% certainty

  43. So now the Met Office and Hadley Centre should parse some more data through their computer models to find out how many pensioners have been saved from death and higher heating bills because of “global warming”.
    Or maybe that doesn’t matter, because if you follow a creed that demotes humans to nothing but a mindless, souless carbon footprint then it doesn’t matter if pensioners get killed off. Anything to reduce mankind’s carbon footprint is gooooooood!

  44. I saw the comment from the Met Office:
    “The Met Office added that global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.”
    on yesterday’s BBC web site. I was going to post it here, but you’ve beaten me to it be making an article about it.
    However, I see that that comment has disappeared from the web page today.

  45. John Philip (04:52:27) :
    “…in the period in question the anomaly has varied between 0.27 and 0.47 so a mean forecast error of 0.06C is pretty good…”
    In fact, it’s been from .24 (2000) to .48 (2005), but 0.06C is NOT pretty good as this .24 to .48 is not year on year (such sudden jumps can not possibly occur). Year on year variance is much smaller. Even the big changes from 2005 to 2008 were pretty much gradual: .48 to .42 to .40 to .31 (yes, this last jump is bigger and that was exactly what Met Office did not see coming) and thus predicting something in this confidence range is not impressive! Check yourself:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/annual

  46. Based on the information displayed on surfacestations.org (Thanks, Anthony.) and the “blink comparator” published here recently regarding the GISS output over time, is there anyone here who has any confidence in the second decimal place in either reported temperatures or reported temperature anomalies?
    If so, why? I have lost confidence in the first decimal place in the reported temperature and anomaly numbers, but I may be overreacting.

  47. Pat,
    Penn and Teller did do an AGW show. It included scenes from AGW therapy workshops for people who had been traumatized by guilt about their carbon footprint. Some of them drove long distances to ease their carbon guilt.
    John Philip,
    So what you are saying is that by Met Office accounting, Met Office predictions have been accurate. Now that is surprising, isn’t it.

  48. Re Alan the Brit,
    To my mind this still looks like a Dalton Minimum rerun. Solar Cycles 2 and 3 were ultrashort at about nine years each and were followed by the very long Solar Cycle 4 at 13.6 years, and then the Dalton Minimum of cycles 5 and 6. Solar Cycles 21 and 22 were quite short, we are still perhaps in a very long Solar Cycle 23 coming up to 13 years. Oulu has not broken its uptrend and F 10.7 is now 69 and perhaps headed back down to 65 over the next three months. I still say that due to the lack of sunspots, the month of minimum will be put in the middle of the F 10.7 quiet period.
    Who picked this right on a time-weighted basis is Clilverd with his wavelet analysis. There was also a Finnish tree ring study that came up with a similar result but one cycle out, also on wavelet. I know that Badalyan picked a weak number earliest on coronal green line but wavelet analysis has the promise of being predictive much further out. We have not had an update yet from the SODA index people though there is now a couple of more years of data.
    Also OT, now that I have climate science figured out and have published a book on the subject, I have gone on to the economics of energy and in particular the price intersubstitutability of fuels. What I am seeing says that Li-batteried hybrids are viable at $60/bbl, solar thermal and photovoltaics are also now price competitive and that coal to diesel is commercial at $60/bbl. All this means that the US can be energy independent and the capital costs are not horrendous. In particular the combination of photovoltaic for daytime peak with thermal storage for solar thermal
    could satisfy a lot of needs. From memory, a 50% penetration of automotive by plugin hybrid would require a 50% expansion in electric power production. All doable without much angst. People without much Sun are going to have to burn more coal (a good thing) or go further nuclear(a bit capital intensive at the moment). While the AGWers want a carbon tax to make solar more attractive by comparison, there is no need. There is an oil price signal coming that is going to drive it anyway.

  49. The MET office do their best, but if you try and forecast the weather in UK you usually end up wishing you had not bothered!
    I wonder what makes all the Climate/Weather experts want to forecast into the future, they are all so bad at it, nobody takes any notice.
    Even looking backwards they have to resort to curious adjustments and statistics to make up the story.

  50. John Philip,
    I calculated the standard deviation of monthly UAH temperature data from 2000-2009, and it came out to 0.15. Thus a chimp forecasting the same mean value every month would come close to the error you claimed for the Met Office. Very impressive.

  51. Congratulations, “Valentine”, your “comment” slipped through somehow. Just go away. Your kind are not wanted here.

  52. As long as their are no consequences for being wrong, these bozos will just continue playing political climate propaganda instead of actually doing meteorology. right now they are rewarded for promoting global warming hysteria with bigger budgets.
    Make their pay packet and pension size a function of their accuracy and they would abandon their Climate Scientology beliefs and actually do some science.

  53. UK John,
    People do pay attention to these forecasts, which is one reason why most UK cities are unable to cope with any significant accumulation of snow. They have been told that the climate of the UK is going to become equivalent to Portugal.

  54. At a recent seminar, I was approached by a respectable-looking guy who told me he worked in country emergency planning and at a conference last year he found himself at the urinals peeing next to the top man at the MetOffice. He said to the Met Man, ‘you don’t believe all this global warming nonsense do you?’ Met man replied ‘None of us do. Its all cycles. But we can’t tell the government that, they don’t want to know.’

  55. Off topic.
    About a month ago I copied images and data from GISS from 1880 to present. Today I looked and they have changed the 01/1880 anamoly from +0.47 to +0.50. I checked a few other months from the 1800s and they have also changed. That was 129 years ago. I’ve also noticed that several of the stand alone grid areas have changed shape.
    Does anyone know how this works?

  56. Being at a loose end I set my dedicated team of climate researchers here in the UK on the task of graphing Hadley CET temperatures to 1660, so we could demonstrate to the misinformed the realities of indisputable catastrophic climate change, and get our large budgets increased.
    Unfortunately the ‘adjustments and smoothing interpolator’ was away on holiday, and the ‘trend line coordinator’ was away at a wedding, so I must apologise that the data shown below is unadjusted and looks nowhere near as pretty and nicely ordered as we have been used to.
    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/beck_mencken_hadley.jpg
    One of our staff is a former actuary and thought she would amuse herself by working systematically through the records back to 1660, to see for herself the alarming warming trend over the centuries-obviously she had seen the Gore film and was wearing the T Shirt
    “Catastrophic climate change-stop it now! Ask me How!”
    Living near the coast she thought about the cycle of the tides, and whilst realising that the climate cycle was different- in as much it is however long we want it to be and starts from whatever point necessary to maximise our funding- thought it would be fun to use this idea of a regular cycle.
    Consequently she based her calculations on a three score year and ten life span as she worked out the average annual mean temperature enjoyed by ‘British Everyman’ through each year of each decade. This assumed he was born at the start of a decade and died the last year of the decade seventy years later. Of course we urged her to call this mythical person ‘everywoman’ but as a woman was likely to live longer, she thought that as an actuary this would only complicate matters, so 70 years it is.
    These are her calculations;
    Someone born in Britain in 1660 and living to 70- Average annual temp 8.87c
    Someone born in 1670 and living to 70 Average annual temp 8.98
    1680 9.01
    1690 9.05
    1700 9.19
    1710 9.21
    1720 9.17
    1730 9.14
    1740 9.04
    1750 9.03
    1760 9.08
    1770 9.10
    1780 9.07
    1790 9.12
    1800 9.15
    1810 9.13
    1820 9.14
    1830 9.12
    1840 9.10
    1850 9.14 (Start of the famously reliable Hadley global temperatures)
    1860 9.17
    1870 9.21
    1880 9.30 Official end of the Little Ice Age
    1890 9.39
    1900 9.40
    1910 9.46
    1920 9.497
    1930 9.60
    1940 9.70 (projected to 2009)
    1950 9.76 Extrapolating current trends (our favourite phrase)
    1960 9.79 Using advanced modelling techniques to create a robust scenario.
    The actuary has a poetic turn of mind and decided to call the people born in the period from 1660 to 1880 as ‘LIA Everyman’ in as much the person lived part or all of their lives during the Little ice age. She called those born from 1890 to the present day as ‘UHI Everyman’ She assures me that no adjustments have been made to correct UHI Everyman’s unfair reputation to exaggerate his (or her) temperatures.
    It was at this point that the Accountants -who were in auditing our accounts to ensure we were spending our grants wisely- became really interested. They’re at a bit of a loose end as they’re the group who audit the annual EU accounts-they’ve refused to endorse them for 12 years in a row now, and say it’s so easy to spot the fraud that it’s not a full time job anymore!
    Consequently they hope to get some work with the IPCC as they see them as a rapidly growing enterprise as fond of throwing meaningless and unsubstantiated-some might unkindly say fraudulent –numbers around, as the EU are.
    After examination of the data the accountants reluctantly agreed that the temperatures were remarkably consistent, and the increase of a fraction of a degree in mean average temperatures during Everyman’s lifetime over a period of 350 years was so well within natural variability it was difficult to make any useful analogy (other than it was the sort of increase in average warmth that would pass by completely unnoticed if we weren’t looking very hard for it).
    The fractional temperature difference was unlikely to have any effect on Everyman’s choice of clothes, or the day they might attempt to have their first swim of the year in the sea. Wearing approved buoyancy aids of course
    The Accountants were particularly intrigued by the fact that the very slight rise in overall temperatures was almost entirely due to the absence of cold winters depressing overall temperatures, rather than hotter summers. At this point the actuary mentioned that warmer winters were good, as statistically, fewer people died.
    Someone mused that the modern temperatures seemed rather too close for comfort to those experienced during the LIA, and another murmured as to what the temperature variance would show if we did this exercise for the MWP, or the Roman warm period. I quickly pointed out that it was just a Little Ice age and not the real thing, and that Dr Mann had told us all that the MWP was an outdated concept, and as I had never heard of the Romans they couldn’t exist, and neither could their allegedly warm period.
    Another Accountant mentioned that if UHI was stripped out, the already tiny increase in temperature since the Little Ice Age would disappear. I reminded them who was paying their bills and to stop that sort of Contrarian talk immediately.
    Of course I fired the actuary when she confessed that the almost indistinguishable blue line along the bottom of her original graph represented total man made co2 since 1750. Obviously she was some sort of closet right wing tool of Big Oil out to cause trouble.
    I’m undecided whether to turn this report over to our adjustments and smoothing interpolator for remedial work or merely to lose it. Or burn it.
    TonyB

  57. Meanwhile, here in NC, the thermometer was below 20F, again, this am. I do not know what the record is for number of days below 20F, but we have to be close…

  58. I watched the Penn and Teller episodes on climate change and green issues a few months back on YouTube. There were two episodes, one was called Being Green and the other was called Environmental Hysteria.
    They are still on YouTube but sadly not in full. Some of the 10 minute sections of the episodes have been pulled down or deleted.

  59. In order to have predicted the coldwinter, the MetOffice would have had to predict the formation of a blocking high pressure anticyclone in the Arctic. That they did not means either such things are random or that they don’t keep a lookout and don’t know what causes such events. I doubt very much this pattern is random. It ought to be a consequence of things leading to it – for example, candidates could be: the sudden cooling of the Bering Sea following the PDO cycle in the north Pacific arctic waters, the cooling of Alaska as a consequence and the knock-on effects on the wind-driven Beaufort Gyre which would change from anticyclonic to cyclonic – these changes are then propagated across the Arctic. This winter – which affected the whole of northern Europe as well as Spain and Portugal, is a direct consequence of these Arctic conditions. I have no evidence that the MetOffice studies such matters.
    And to re-iterate my earlier submissions – there was research at NASA which does not seem to have been continued, which showed a potential causal explanation for the correlation of Maunder Minimum solar magnetic status to southerly shifts in the jetstream and the tracking of these anti-cyclone and cyclone conditions – so what is happening now in Europe and the USA is entirely in keeping with what would be predicted from a nascent solar-magnetic-polar vortex theory.
    Any institution that has made a large investment in computer simulation is severely challenged by cycles research – because the cycles are a) regional, b) irregular (e.g. the PDO is 20-30 years, the Arctic Oscillation is 60-70, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscilation 60-100 years, and c) interactive (i.e. teleconnected) and so there are complex harmonics. Paleoclimatology finds correlation with the solar cycle in all of these as well as much longer term cycles -such as Gleissberg and double Gleissberg (can’t recall the name for that), and 400 years and 800 years, 1500, 3000 and possibly 5000 – also with harmonics.
    So anybody starting a simulation run at 1900 or 1950 or 1980, would not know where they were in any of the ocean cycles, and in the case of solar only perhaps the 11-yr Schwabe, which is the least relevant, and in any case, there would be no mathematical causal link to add in the plethora of equations that make up this virtual reality world based upon entirely fictional equilibrium states.
    For a very good critique of climate modelling without cycles see:
    Koutsoyiannis et al. (2008) On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrological Science Journal 53 (4) 671-684 and
    http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/850/
    the latter was presented at the European Geosciences Union 2008 General Assembly, so it is pukka stuff.

  60. Sven.. In fact, it’s been from .24 (2000) to .48 (2005), but 0.06C is NOT pretty good as this .24 to .48 is not year on year (such sudden jumps can not possibly occur). Year on year variance is much smaller
    Really? I am using the Hadley HADCRUT3 dataset and this shows, for example, El Nino giving a 0.224C drop from 1998-99 and a 0.179C rise 1997-98. The mean interannual change over the whole dataset is 0.079C and over the last thirty years 0.086C. So a naive forecast just using the previous year’s temp or a running mean would have done worse than the Met Office’s average performance most of the time.
    Steve – would you like to think about your statement for a moment, reflecting perhaps on the relevance of the SD of a monthly dataset to an annual one? Its nil, isn’t it?

  61. btw guys,
    If you perused Climate Debate Daily on a daily basis, you would notice that nearly all the fear mongering and climate hysteria comes from one outlet – the Guardian. Sometimes the BBC too but they aren’t as bad.
    Without the Guardian approaching scientists with offers of payment for climate change articles there would be far less hysteria than there is and scientists could get on with trying to understand the climate instead of jumping to financially motivated conclusions.

  62. John Philip,
    Even worse, the yearly standard deviation for 2000-2008 is 0.10, which is scarcely larger than the “bullseye” claim you made. What you have demonstrated is that they have shown essentially no skill with their annual forecasts.

  63. It seems to me that there is a very important financial angle to this. My sister, who lives in Bridgwater, Somerset, told me that, this winter, the snow forced the closing of the local schools for 3 days, along with other distruptions. I live in Ottawa, Canada, and the amount of snow they had in Bridgwater, we wouldn’t even notice. Schools rarely close her; school buses are cancelled, but that is for insurance reasons. Staff are expected to get to school, and students walk there. The difference is, of course, money. Here in Ottawa, snow clearing costs 10’s of millions of dollars per year. We either pay this sort of money, or close the city down for 4 months a year. The question is, what is going to happen to winter weather in the future in the UK? If you believe the warmaholics, this past winter is unlikely to occur again for many decades. If you believe the hard data from Livingston and Penn, we are heading for a Maunder type minimum. In the latter case, the UK is heading for winter conditions they have not seen since the 17th century. Back then the UK economy did not depend on a highly sophisticated transportation system, which harsh winters will bring to a grinding halt, unless they start spending a lot of money on snow clearing equipment. It seems to me that the UK faces two very different options. Believe the output of the non-validated computer programs used by the warmaholics; e.g. Vicky Pope and Phil Jones. Or believe the hard experimental data from Livingston and Penn, and many others. So far as I am concerned this is a no-brainer; you believe the data.
    Oh! but I forgot. The warmaholics have redefined GIGO. For climate models it no longer means “Garbage In, Garbage Out”, it now means “Garbage In, Gospel Out”.

  64. i have lived in the UK for my entire life, and i always do the opposite of whatever the weather man says, if its hot, i dress as if its going to be an ice age, if they say its going to be cold i dress in tshirts and shorts. and i am usually the one who can cope LOL
    All these Wrong pronouncments does the true meterologists a disservice.

  65. “Phillip Bratby (23:13:29) :
    It’s now light in the mildest part of the UK, the south-west, and we have another dusting of snow.
    Of course the Met Office knows that weather is not climate: “The fact that 2009, like 2008, will not break records does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.” So the underlying rate according to the Met Office is only based on the last 18 years. Is that cherry-picking or not?”
    Anyone want to make any bets that 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 end up being the same?
    Now that they have values for 2008, why are the still using the 2001-2007 range for comparison?
    That’s horse-hockey 🙂
    JimB

  66. Cognative dissonance or just plain faith? Note: I didn’t write the “R” word!
    John Philip (23:29:04) :
    “In fact Over the nine years, 2000-2008, since the Met Office has issued forecasts of annual global temperature the mean value of the forecast error is just 0.06 °C.”
    “Or, to put it another way … Bullseye!”
    Steven Goddard (05:51:36) wrote:
    John Philip,
    “I calculated the standard deviation of monthly UAH temperature data from 2000-2009, and it came out to 0.15. Thus a chimp forecasting the same mean value every month would come close to the error you claimed for the Met Office. Very impressive.”
    These posts needed repeating.
    If a person’s income were tied to AGW, this cliche’ would fit: “Facts don’t lie, but _____ figure!”
    Thank you Steven for pointing out the standard deviation.
    markm

  67. Anthony, I know this is off topic but I’ve always wondered what role plate tetonics may play in climate change, especially CO 2 . I’m not a scientists, but an avid reader of anything related to climate and the earth in general. It would seem logical that all the earth movements and subsequent venting would have some effects even if it’s trapped in the oceans until something helped release it. I would appreciate any thoughts or comments.

  68. NOAA’s Winter Forecast issued in Oct 2008 didn’t verify too well either. If I remember correctly, NOAA had the middle third of the US above normal for temps, below for precip, with the upper Plains being well above normal. NOAA MRF team offered little explaination other than a continuation of weak La Nina conditions.
    As it turned out, a La Nina did develope,which induced a persistant 4-Corners High until Feb 2009. This induced drought conditions into Cali. The deep polar air masses which plagued Alasaka and NW Canada advected one after another into the Plains and Eastern Third of the US and Canada. Below normal temps reigned there while the Rockies and Texas remained high and dry. A weakening of the ridge out West (possibly caused by the MJO) allowed more zonal flow (and rainfall) to return to the Rockies.

  69. Yes, fail enough time, you’ll end up getting it right sometime in the future. Unless we are in a 30 year cycle or worse, they will be dead before it warms up again.

  70. David Archibald. I agree. High energy prices, over time, will solve themselves, regardless of government intervention. I believe it was Mark Twain that said” Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” lol

  71. John Philip (04:52:27) :
    “…in the period in question the anomaly has varied between 0.27 and 0.47 so a mean forecast error of 0.06C is pretty good…”
    Actually it is very bad. When I read meteorology I was taught the way to evaluate a forecast was to check it against the “persistence forecast”, i e “it will be the same as before”. If your forecast did not do better than that it was useless. Using the “persistence forecast” from 2000 to 2008 (“it will be the same temperature as last year”) gives a mean forecast error of 0.0535 C, so an error of 0.06 C is worse than useless.

  72. Predictions are not meant to be remembered. They are only meant to be headlined and marveled at for a few days, then forgotten.
    I must say that you show an amazing amount of chutzpah to hold climate officials to performance standards. It simply is not done, old boy.
    Climate institutions are the new monastic centers of world spirituality. They should be revered, not questioned.

  73. Philip Bratby et al:-)
    Absolutely right! I am wrong. I was racking my brains trying to remember who it was & I was convinced it was Ian M. Sorry to Michael F. I couldn’t for the life of me remember his name, my wife & I went thro’ everyone we could think of, got half a dozen names, even my father-in-law couldn’t remember exactly who it was & I perhaps should have checked the Met Office site but time was agin me! AND yes it has to have been 87 not 88 because it occurred at least 2 years before we moved down to the south-west. It’s my age.
    So I stand/sit corrected. Thanks.
    David C. Archibald;-)
    Thanks for that too.
    AtB

  74. It seems that there is plenty of room for private forecasters. Private or even individual research it is (and it has been historically) by far better than any (if any) done by government employees, they are sure nobody will remove them from their jobs.

  75. John Philip (23:29:04) :
    “Hmmmm, let us not confuse weather with climate…as we are looking at their climate forecasting”
    No John, they were forecasting the weather for this winter not the climate.

  76. It’s quite difficult to find the full list of CET from 1659 onwards but after a while I found this on http://www.islandweather.org/php/Central_England_Temperaturelist.php?start=301
    Divided into six pages, with 59 entries per page and an average annual temperature given for each page, cherry picking does not enter into the equation with such a random division. So we find:-
    1659 -1718 average 8.79
    1719 -1778 9.21
    1779 -1838 9.11
    1839 -1898 9.09
    1899 -1958 9.41
    1959 -2007 9.56 (last complete listed year)
    What’s the fuss?

  77. Well, although I know precious little about the UK Met Office, I feel we should look a bit closer at weather forecasting.
    In general, NOAA does a pretty fair job forecasting short-term weather for an area restricted in size. While not perfect, their 12 to 48 hour forecasts for aerodromes is generally quite usable.
    The problem is simply that as you enlarge the forecast area and/or extend the forecast time, the reliability falls rapidly.
    Still, I suspect that seasonal forecasts are not much more than a WAG, and I doubt that they they are ever fully analyzed or subject to validation. Further I doubt these WAGS are handled much differently in the UK.
    Having said that in defense of forecasting in general, I can’t resist asking how accurately forecast validation can be performed when we have so much difficulty just accurately determining a simple actual temperature at any given time or place without the after-the-fact help of NASA scientists?

  78. Roger
    Please see my post on this thread 6 38 05-my highly motivated and efficient team of dedicated climate researchers researched the CET in some detail.
    Tonyb

  79. Not ‘final score’ yet – the Met Office continues to get it wrong still!
    ” 25 February 2009 : Mild weather is expected to see out what remains of winter.”
    Yet the current forecast is: “Wintry showers continuing. Frosty tonight.”
    On the longer term, the Met Office continues with its deluded doublethink on global warming (as pointed out recently by Lucia). Their ‘Fact 2’ at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/guide/bigpicture/fact2.html is “Temperatures are continuing to rise” while their own graphs at http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/ show exactly the opposite.

  80. “Global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.”
    I would have to say that this means that global warming is a blessing rather than a curse.
    It is when it gets too cold that there is widespread death from famine.

  81. OT but i need some help. Our local newspaper ran a column by an environmentalist and they wrote
    “Once again, average global temperatures are rising, with 2008 temperatures placing it as one of the 10 warmest years on record. All of the record-setting years for global temperature have occurred since 1997.”
    Can one of you provide a link to the data that most effectively refutes the above? I will be writing a letter to the editor and want to have the facts I need.
    Thanks.

  82. Why are they taking so long to get the GLobal Temperature Anomaly number for February 2009? Could the value be inconvenient for their AGM agenda?

  83. Steve – I guess we’ll just have to differ about the usefulness of comparing the mean forecast error to the standard deviation on its own as a method of evaluating forecasting skill. Can you point me to a statistical authority that recommends it? A SD of 0.1 (I get a smaller number btw) simply means that the difference between the mean and the actual value was 0.1 or less about 68% of the time and greater than 0.1 about 32% of the time so the Met Office’s actual average performance of a 0.06C sits well within that range, and is actually less than the uncertainty range in the global mean. It hardly seems likely that the Met Office would publicise the error value in their Press Releases if it demonstrated that their forecasts are useless.
    I have more sympathy with tty’s point about the ‘persistence forecast’ however it seems to me that examining just 9 data points is not conclusive: the period in question is one of historically unusual stability (The Std Dev of this period is less than 25% that of the whole dataset) so a naive persistence forecast would perform well anyway. It would be more useful to see how well the forecast performs during an ENSO event.
    cheers,
    JP.

  84. Re: Martin Kidds enquiries@metoffice.gov.uk (reply to james above)
    I endorse the contribution by Phillip Bratby. This is a typical case of equivocation and obfuscation to justify the Party Line!
    I swear, all employees of Government departments must undergo an operation to deprive them of independent, rational thinking. Come to think of it, BBC employees have the same problem.
    The irony is that we poor mugs are required to support them at every level by taxes on our hard-earned income.

  85. More to John Philip’s claim of Met Office’s accuracy. If Met Office had since the year 2000 predicted for the next year the same temperature as the previous year, it would have performed remarkably better than the average mistake of 0.6C. In fact, only two of the 9 years would have been worse off – 2001 and 2008. 2002 and 2006 would have been 0.6C, the rest (5 out of 9) would have been significantly better!

  86. HA
    I get via the BBC constant weather updates and forecast from the local Met Office major manned station two miles away.
    Last night the updated forecast timed at at 19:30 GMT was for clear skies and heavy rain later, by 21:00. A few minutes after receiving this update, say 19:40, I went to go out and found it was snowing and clearly had been for an hour at least.
    Don’t these boys look out of the window?
    Oh and the forecast for today has changed completely, not unusual.
    Kindest Regards

  87. John Philip,
    What I am saying is that if you forecast the 2000-2008 yearly mean every year, you would do nearly as well as the Met Office annual forecasts. The point being that the temperature is fairly constant.

  88. John Philip (09:54:48) :
    1) “Steve – I guess we’ll just have to differ about the usefulness of comparing the mean forecast error to the standard deviation”

    2) “I have more sympathy with tty’s point about the ‘persistence forecast’ however it seems to me that examining just 9 data points is not conclusive: the period in question is one of historically unusual stability (The Std Dev of this period is less than 25% that of the whole dataset) so a naive persistence forecast would perform well anyway. It would be more useful to see how well the forecast performs during an ENSO event.”
    1) It was you who brought in standard deviation?!
    2) So, a moment ago it was “bullseye” and now there’s a load of events that have prevented the bullseye?!

  89. Here in the States we are in the throes of the coldest winter in decades! Snow in Alabama, Georgia , North and South Carolina! Temps over the last three months have averaged seven degrees f colder than normal! Last two nights the low was around 14 f, with a five inch snowpack. In March, in North Carolina! Florida has had freezing temps several times this winter. Now what again is this global warming thing, I wish it would hurry before we all freeze to death.
    Jerry (Conservative in exile)

  90. Aron,
    Why is it that the scientifically literate alarmists are normally unwilling to debate with us intellectual inferiors? You would think that they would win easily, since they are so darn smart and well informed?
    Too bad we didn’t let those same geniuses spread soot on the Arctic ice cap in the 1970s, to stop the ice age which was going to kill us all.
    http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

  91. Chuck L. No-one seems to have responded. Let me have a try, but I am afraid you are out of luck. The temperature data is very noisy, and it is easy to find a statistical analysis technique to show that temperatures are still rising. The warmaholics can never agree that temperature are falling; it’s against their religious beliefs. I am convinced that the right stastistical techniques show that world temperatures went through a shallow maximum within the last 5 years, and are now declining. However, if you are not a really competent statistician, I suggest you stay out of the argument. You are almost certainly going to lose, until we have a lot more years of data.

  92. “”” Chuck L (09:28:24) :
    OT but i need some help. Our local newspaper ran a column by an environmentalist and they wrote
    “Once again, average global temperatures are rising, with 2008 temperatures placing it as one of the 10 warmest years on record. All of the record-setting years for global temperature have occurred since 1997.”
    Can one of you provide a link to the data that most effectively refutes the above? I will be writing a letter to the editor and want to have the facts I need.
    Thanks “””
    Well I wouldn’t sweat it; tell them that the last decade has been the warmest temperatures, but it is now cooling down; and the laws of mathematics require the highest values to occur around the maximum. For the same reason, some of the highest altitudes on earth can be found up in the mountains.
    But bottom line; what has maybe peaked in the last decade is things like GISStemp anomalies, and HadCRUTanomalies.
    Noway in hell are either of those things representative of the average global temperature; which we currently have no reliable method of measuring; and if we could it has no relevence to the climate question; is the earth gaining or losing total energy. Thermal fluxes have no simple relation to either local or average temperatures.
    George

  93. This is an analysis of the changes in the nature of each month for CET since 1660. For the overall tiny impact that has had on CET temperatures since 1660 please refer to my post 6-38-05
    My comments refer right back to the start of the graph in the 1660s linked here
    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/menken_hobgoblin.jpg
    January
    Generally past years are cooler than the 1990’s which was just 0.10C warmer than 1730’s and 1920’s
    Overall the monthly figures are dragged right down by the very cold little ice age which covers most of the period from the 1660’s to around 1880
    February
    As above with 1730 cooler by .10 1860 by .2 1870 by .3 and 1920 by .2
    March
    As above but 1730 cooler by .6 1920 by .8 and 1930 by .9 i.e. one of the greatest changes in any month (other than winter Dec-February inc)
    April
    1990s cooler than 1940 by 0.7 1860 by .3 and 1730 by .2 otherwise broadly similar
    May. 1990s cooler than 1660 by 0.3 same as 1720 and 1730 cooler than 1800 by 0.3 same as 1820 and 1830 cooler than 1830 by .10 and 1910 by .3 otherwise broadly the same
    June
    1990 same as 1980 1970 and 1960
    Cooler than 1960 by .4 1950 by .2 1940 by .3 1930 by .4 1890 by .4 1870 by .1 1860 by .1 1850 by .3 1840 by .3 1830 by .6 1820 by.4 1800 by .2 1790 by .2 1780 by .8 1770 by .7 1760 by .1 1750 by .4 same as 1740 cooler than 1730 by .7 1720 by .9 1710 by .3 same as 1700 and 1680 cooler than 1670 by .3 and 1660 by .3
    Overall June has become a much cooler month
    July 1990 cooler than 1730 by .4 1750 by .5 1760 by .4 1770 by .4 1780 by .4 1790 by .4 1800 by .4 1870 by .5 1930 by .4
    Overall July has become a rather cooler month
    August
    1990 was cooler than 1930 by .3 1770 by .5 and 1700 by .3
    Overall August has become a little warmer.
    September
    1990s cooler than 1720 and 1730 by .2 and 1740 by .1 It was the same as 1930 and cooler than 1940 by .2
    Overall there was little difference
    October
    1990 cooler than 1960 by .4 and .4 warmer than 1900 1850 1830 1820 1730 1660
    Overall October has become a little warmer
    November
    1990s cooler than 1970 by .2
    Overall this month has become distinctly milder
    December
    1990 cooler than 1980 by .5 1970 by .6 1950 by .2 1940 by .1 1860 by .1 1820 by .3 1730 by .3
    The month has become a little milder
    Temperatures have fluctuated considerably throughout the period with months often changing their ‘traditional’ characteristics.
    Generally winter months have become milder than the winters of the little ice age period (not surprising!) this brought the overall averages for the year sharply down. November has also become distinctly milder and March much milder. July has become rather cooler whilst June is distinctly cooler, other months show limited difference.
    The early 1700’s were remarkably similar to the current period but the warmth was over a more extended period and came from a lower base. In this respect average temperatures have barely changed in in nearly 300 years from pre industrial times. Many other periods have been fairly close in warmth to the modern era but again the little ice age winters knocked the annual averages down somewhat. The 1820’s .1900’s 1920’s and 1930’s were also notably warm.
    It is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that the changes in 350 years have been very small-fractions of a degree.
    Tonyb

  94. Chuck L. That’s odd, I just had to do the same for my local paper. An environmentalist wrote an article there too – and I corrected him. Simply ask him when the last peak in global temperature was. Was it:
    a) Last year
    b) The year before
    c) Eleven years ago
    Then tell him to send his answer to the 1998 competition. It gets the point home, believe me. It is true that warmest years are clustered since then http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhshgl.gif – but that’s not the whole story. Obviously with 1998 being a peak, subsequent years WOULD be still high (temps wouldn’t plummet). But what will really hurt him is that temps didn’t continue to rise – as expected. In fact, they’ve fallen since that peak. So it’s a completely spurious argument to say that “ten warmest years”. The question is, have temps continued to rise? No, they have not.

  95. Aron remarked that much GW hysteria in the UK emanates from the Guardian.
    The Guardian’s circulation is laughable, it makes a loss every time it’s printed. The only reason it’s still being printed is its owners also own a profitable weekly.
    AutoTrader.
    Er….

  96. The Met office is very suggestible. 3 or 4 days after the torrential rain in the summer of 2007, another front was heading in. The Met said, over an inch, maybe two would fall. In the event, very little rain occurred.
    They said what they said, I think, because they were all excited about large amounts of rain. It’s quite childlike really. They get carried away.
    The main source of excitement is Global Warming, so they constantly predict it.

  97. The Met Office added that global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.
    Ahhh… the benefits of man made emissions of CO2 warming up the UK….

  98. Lets just get a few things clear.
    1) Seasonal forecasting is an initial value problem. It is not the same as climate change which is a boundary value problem.
    2) After all the hyperbole about cold it turns out that the winter was not even 1C below the 1961-1990 average, and was right on the century average. If this is as cold as it gets we are in trouble… and the northern hemisphere had a really warm winter.
    3) Media grabs are not verbatim copies of what comes out of the mouth of scientists. My experience is that the media simplify almost all interviews meaning that probabilistic information is truncated. It is untrue to say that the UK forecasted 2007 to be the hottest year on record. The forecast was probabilistic.
    I wonder what you wish to achieve by making points and inferences which have such logical errors.

  99. Ray (09:52:22) :

    Why are they taking so long to get the GLobal Temperature Anomaly number for February 2009? Could the value be inconvenient for their AGM agenda?

    I can understand your impatience but it takes time for data to be collected and correlated. This is more so when station data is used. RSS MSU and UAH MSU are usually first as they only use satellite data.

  100. Whilst we are on things British, this makes good reading:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/04/emissions-trading-carbon-price
    The carbon credit trading scheme appears to have fallen victim to market forces; i.e. no one wants to buy ‘carbon credits’ nor even ‘trade’ in them. That which pretends to be our Government now wants to enforce a much higher minimum price for a ton of CO2 exhaust than the market is willing to pay.
    I wonder why?

  101. Steve Fox. My wife and I have noticed this time and time again. It doesn’t matter what weather event hits – the Met Office says it will be the same again! Even after the recent snow, they said we had more coming in the next day. We didn’t! It’s weird to listen to. It’s as though they didn’t appreciate the volume of sun/rain/snow/wind enough, so any similar imminent weather is “going to be just as severe”. Every time! It makes us laugh.

  102. MET Office: “The Met Office added that global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.”
    ME: “Rick W added that the global cooling trend had prevented this winter from being even warmer.”
    We’re both wrong!!

  103. Can I ask a question? OK so I will anyway..
    We all agree the levels of atmospheric CO2 has increased by 20% +/- over the last 50 years. (65ppm +/-) The whole argument is over 2 questions . 1) Is Man the reason for the rise, and 2) is the rise in CO2 causing the warming trend noticed from 1970 to 2000? (about 0.3 to 0.4C)
    In the last 100 years North America and central Asia have seen a marked increase in forested areas. Despite catastrophic predictions about deforestation, North America and Asia have seen dramatic shifts in forest size and density. This has caused the normal seasonal swing in CO2 to become more dramatic. Today there is twice as much flora decomposition happening from forests, and an indeterminate increase due to irrigation of farmland. Cattle are now living in parts of the country that were considered uninhabitable a century ago. Would this cause a rise in CO2 even without Man’s fossil fuel influence?
    Despite a steady rise in CO2 global temperature has done anything but be consistent, with a rise for 30 years, a hiatus for 30 more, and then a rise for an additional 30, before now subsiding again. Historically CO2 has followed temperature and not lead it. Why would any observer deduce CO2 is driving the warming of the planet?

  104. The response from the Met Office Press Officer was to quote the IPCC et al.
    In other words he did not have an answer.
    We have been cooling for a while but they wont admit it.
    Pathetic.

  105. MartinGAtkins (12:39:35)
    My impatience comes from the fact that the value for January 2009 was published on the 3rd of February. Since February is shorter, maybe it should take a shorter time to gather the data.

  106. TonyB,
    Your exercise seems to show that, overall, the climate is more moderate. Is this a bad thing?
    Mike

  107. John Philip (23:29:04) : Hmmmm, let us not confuse weather with climate…
    Yes, lets not. So why is 30 year weather termed “climate”? Since we know there are longer term weather cycles than that, the use of 30 years is a farce at best. There is even a well documented 1500 year cycle called Bond Events (that I suppose one could call a climate cycle, but maybe not since nothing about the overall location changes, and you return from the cold phase back to typical warmth pretty much on schedule).
    But if you insist, yes, the 30 year weather cycle is an interesting “climate” cycle, and is now turning back to the cold phase with the PDO et. al.
    Their forecast for the average global temperature of 2008 was 14.37C. The actual outturn was 14.3C. Alarmists!
    Gee… one of their computer generated projections matches the other one of their computer generated fictions. How impressive…
    Me, I’ll take the guy looking out is window at snow and a larger heating bill as better evidence that it’s colder.
    In fact Over the nine years, 2000-2008, since the Met Office has issued forecasts of annual global temperature the mean value of the forecast error is just 0.06 °C.
    Which just goes to show how pointless is the mean annual global temperature as a statistic…
    Or, to put it another way … Bullseye!
    In a pigs eye…

  108. Regarding UKMet forecasts.
    They do indeed claim to miss by “just” 0.06 C, but, in addition to noting that’s 10% of the entire warming of the earth since the late 19th century, it’s worth pointing out that they are almost always on the high side for their forecasts.
    http://www.climateaudit.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=119&st=0&sk=t&sd=a#p13264
    So, yes, std. dev. is not the proper tool, considering that there is a decidedly non-symmetric error involved.

  109. “Milder and drier winter predicted”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7635513.stm
    “That’s not to say that we won’t get annual variability in the future. A colder winter will be even more noteworthy and we will aim to warn people in advance.”
    Summer 2008 was warm was it???
    “He said the Met Office was satisfied it had got its initial long-range “wet and warm” forecast for summer 2008 correct.”
    Using the forecast to make future policy
    “The forecast of another mild winter has been welcomed by Help the Aged.”
    “This forecast will assist policy makers to adapt their strategies to ensure that the negative effects of winter weather are reduced as far as possible.”

  110. Let’s have a good little gander at the last year’s weather in London.
    Rain all summer, very little proper summer weather.
    October snow for the first time since 1934 on the very day that the Climate Change Bill was passed!
    A very cold December followed by snow in January and February.
    The coldest winter in 18 years.
    A slight bit of hail in Central London today, March 4th.

  111. Chuck L (09:28:24) :
    OT but i need some help. Our local newspaper ran a column by an environmentalist and they wrote
    “Once again, average global temperatures are rising, with 2008 temperatures placing it as one of the 10 warmest years on record. All of the record-setting years for global temperature have occurred since 1997.”
    Can one of you provide a link to the data that most effectively refutes the above? I will be writing a letter to the editor and want to have the facts I need.

    A statement like the above can be very misleading. There is no debate that the temps have been rising since the end of the little ice age. With this in mind, you would expect the most recent years to be among the warmest if the trend is continuing. Temps in the US appear to have peaked in 1998 universally explained by a large El Nino event and have tracked sideways since. So you would expect the 10 warmest years to cluster around 1998 which may include 2008. Here is a NASA link listing their top ten warmest years In the US and five are after 1997 with the warmest being 1934.
    Global temperatures are a bit different. If you look at the record here you will see that the statement you wish to refute is probably accurate. Global temps are influenced by Arctic temps which have increased at a greater rate than the rest of the globe but the difference is not great and the mini-trend is sideways or down from 1998. You would expect the years at the top of the trend to be the warmest even if it is turning and that’s what you get.
    But, as you can see, the differences are pretty small (less than .2C separates the 10 warmest top to bottom). The picture I get is the temps drifting up and down sometimes with co2 increase (1980-1998) sometimes against (1945-1975 and 1998-present) and staying at or below previous highs. An all time high wouldn’t surprise me within the next 30 years but I would expect it to happen
    gradually and be of a small increment. Cooling is probably more likely and a cooling mini-trend of 30 years would just about turn around the large warming trend we have seen since 1900.
    But who knows? We are kidding ourselves if we think we can control the climate. Let’s go about our lives, enjoy the weather and solve our problems as they present themselves. Let’s not waste time and resources on trying to control a problem which has not been shown to exist.

  112. Chuck L (09:28:24) :
    Look at the chart “latest global temperatures” on Roy Spencer’s pages:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/
    The 1998 peak was followed by a decrease. This has been followed by some ups and downs which are a bit higher than the 1979 to 1997 period. It is these higher years – about 2002 to 2007 – that get the attention. Then there is the recent drop. So the issue is whether or not you believe the information in papers such as these:
    http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/geoev.pdf
    http://www.davidarchibald.info/papers/The%20Past%20and%20Future%20of%20Climate.pdf
    Or whether you believe CO2 drives ever increasing temperatures. The AGW folks have taken a single period trend when CO2 and temps went up together. Everything they do is based on this. But temps didn’t go up in the 1945 -1977 period when CO2 increased nor in the 2002 to 2009 period when CO2 increased. This seems to falsify the CO2 issue. So you have to search for an explanation that relies on fundamental physical properties of the Earth-Sun system (incl. atmos. & oceans) as put forth in the two papers mentioned. Supply facts and give it your best shot!

  113. Mike Bryant
    I think my exercise shows that we are becoming more moderate at such a rate that it will take 1000 years before anyone starts to notice anything! Its a shame we keep on parsing back to nonsensical temperatures from 1850 when there are lots of sensible national records that show nothing much is happening and even within the LIA we have temperatures virtually as warm as todays.
    Tonyb

  114. Stephen Brown (12:46:25) :
    “The carbon credit trading scheme appears to have fallen victim to market forces; i.e. no one wants to buy ‘carbon credits’ nor even ‘trade’ in them. That which pretends to be our Government now wants to enforce a much higher minimum price for a ton of CO2 exhaust than the market is willing to pay. I wonder why?”
    The idea of a government-mandated market floor on carbon credits is to provide market stability, and some predictability for those who make the decisions to either purchase carbon credits, or invest capital to reduce carbon emissions from their operations.
    California is currently discussing ways and means to implement a cap-and-trade scheme under AB 32, in concert with several other U.S. western states and Canadian provinces. Carbon credit market stability via government intervention is a topic. The government may also intervene to place a roof on the carbon trades, in case the price escalates too much.
    See this 10-pg White Paper from California Air Resources Board’s April 2008 meeting on the topic: This Link

  115. John Philip (23:29:04) :
    “Their forecast for the average global temperature of 2008 was 14.37C. The actual outturn was 14.3C. Alarmists! … Or, to put it another way … Bullseye!”
    John its Bull but considerably further aft a bit lower than the eye.
    Pray tell — what is a Global Temperature of a Planet as computed (not directly measured — derived from a rather esoteric algorithm applied to data contributed from a somewhat randomly distributed (there is some sense and stability to the stations in the US and most of Western Europe and a lot more randomness of siting and lack of maintenance in the rest of the data set) and constantly evolving set of stations of varying reliability mostly located in the Northern Hemisphere, on land and near cities (airports are real popular sites).
    On the other hand satellite data (MSU) seems to show very insignificant warming since the satellites began to measure globally (about 30 years) and of that warming — it stopped and cooling has been underway since about 2004
    When the Met Office, NASA GSSI, NCAR or any of the others can take 10 years of satellite temperature data + 10 years of satellite solar data + a 20 year history of volcanism, CO2, etc. — and then use that augmented 10 year data set to predict 10 years forward from the satellite data and then have those predictions reasonably match the next 10 years of data — well then we might want to take them seriously
    Otherwise — my money is on “Its the SUN”!
    Westy!

  116. Ed Reid (05:32:09) : […] regarding the GISS output over time, is there anyone here who has any confidence in the second decimal place in either reported temperatures or reported temperature anomalies?
    There can be no confidence in anything smaller than whole degrees F.
    The historic data were measured to 1/10 th degree F then they were rounded to whole degrees F for reporting. Each day had three samples (min / max / TimeOfObservation I believe). If a datum was missing it was fine to “guess” and fill in what you thought it ought to have been on the form.
    Now you can “oversample” a single thing and get a synthetic accuracy that exceeds your actual accuracy; that requires measuring the same thing repeatedly. We don’t measure each day/location repeatedly.
    We do take those whole F temperatures and start mathematically manipulating them (adding, dividing) to make many averages of averages. These are what becomes the basic input to GISS. NOAA provides a table of monthly averages of daily means in F with precision into the 1/10 F. GISS then converts these to C. The relevant bit of code is in USHCN2v2.f
    10 read(2,'(a)’,end=100) line
    read(line(1:6),*) idus0
    […]
    read(line(indd:indd+5),'(f6.2)’) temp
    if(temp.gt.-99.00) itemp(m)=nint( 50.*(temp-32.)/9 ) ! F->.1C
    end do
    write(nout,'(a11,i1,i4,12i5)’) idg,iz,iyear,itemp
    There is a bit of sloppiness here in that “9” is an integer and “32.” is a floating point number as is “50.” then they do a cast with nint into an integer type. I’m not sure what this mixing of data types will do to the precision in the low end bits (probably nothing) but a FORTRAN expert ought to pass judgement.
    A cleaner approach would have been to leave everything in F and avoid false precision, but they probably decided C was more trendy… They do have to at some point face the fact that one set is in F and the other is in C so doing it this way might make sense IFF you watch the false precision properly (which they don’t do).
    Some folks want to think this can be treated like an over sample of the month, but it can’t. There is no monthly temperature to repeatedly sample. There are only individual days with their own precision and accuracy. The monthly average is only a computed artifact, not a real thing to over sample.
    This is where the “fun” begins.
    The C number already has some false precision in it; but you can almost forgive it since they have the choice of giving a bit of false precision (but preserving all the information that was in the original full degree F number) or giving a full degree C precision (and having no false precision, but losing the difference in range that a degree F vs C has).
    Now GISS takes this number are starts doing strange and wondrous things with it. see:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/gistemp-step0-the-process/
    if you want to start touring the actual computer code and process.
    That includes a great deal of math and averaging. Now what I learned (“Never let your precision exceed your accuracy!” – Mr. McGuire) was that any time you did a calculation, the result of that calculation could only have the accuracy (and thus ought to only be presented with the precision of) your least accurate term. Average 10 12.111111111 and 8.0004 and you can only say “10”, not 10.000 and certainly not 10.1111 or 10.04 as that is false precision.
    (In fact, it’s slightly worse than this, due to accumulation of errors in long strings of calculations and the repeated conversion that GISS does from decimal in intermediate files to binary at execution and back to decimal in the next file… but that’s a rather abstruse topic and most people glaze so I’ll skip it here. But just keep in mind that repeated type changing corrupts the purity of the low order bits.)
    So what gets trumpeted and ballyhooed?
    Things (not temperatures, calculated anomalies based on averages of interpolations of averages of averages of temperatures – no, that is not an exaggeration! In fact I’m leaving out a few averaging and interpolating and extrapolating steps! ) measured as X.yz C! Not only is the “z” a complete fabrication, but any residual value in “y” from the greater precision of F over C in the raw data has long ago been lost in the extended calculations and type conversions. IF you are lucky the X has some accuracy to it.
    (Though GISS even manages to corrupt this via “the reference station method” that lets them rewrite the whole thing based on other temperatures or anomalies up to 1200 km away…)
    Under the Italy thread some weeks ago there was a blink chart of Pisa that showed about 1.7C “adjustment” IIRC to one of the data points. So if we are creating 1.7C of “fantasy” how much truth is left in the 0.01 C place?
    GISS data are thoroughly cooked and, IMHO, only useful for fairy tails and monster stories…
    To the inevitable assertion that it’s only the US data so the global number is still fine, see:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/so_many_thermometers_so_little_time/
    The fact is that the only long term records we have are dominated severely by the U.S.A. and Europe. GISS makes up much of the rest by various sorts of in-filling of average boxes and in-filling over time.

  117. Everyone needs to high-tale-it over to Climate Audit. There is a fun piece about how the climate community is very supportive of solid evidence that could undermine the current understanding and accuracy of long term climate model predictions.

  118. Prediction next winter, based on a markedly colder Pacific. Hard Winter. How markedly different is solar data? And remember, solar stuff has to get down to the same level (IE through Earth’s atmosphere) that cold ocean water is.

  119. Thank you all for you excellent ideas. In my letter I will concentrate on the leveling, then decrease of global temperatures since 1998 in the face of increasing CO2 and perhaps make reference to the medieval warm period when CO2 could not have been a factor. I am sure that there will be many angry AGW believers posting to the website of the newspaper.

  120. Stephen Brown (12:46:25) :
    From your link:
    “In January the European commission appeared to rule out intervening to prop up the falling price of carbon, and Ed Miliband, the UK climate change secretary, told the Financial Times he was “not convinced that a floor is particularly necessary”.
    Imagine, propping up the falling price of carbon. Wouldn’t that be investing in the very thing that evokes gnashing of teeth? Carbon trading – the greatest theft perpetrated on mankind. The UK and EU would do well to lower the entire fiasco into the round file.

  121. “E.M.Smith (13:39:45) :
    John Philip (23:29:04) : Hmmmm, let us not confuse weather with climate…
    Yes, lets not. So why is 30 year weather termed “climate”? ”
    E.M.,
    Haven’t you heard–people like John Philip are now saying that natural variability are suppressing global warming? And in 30 years our co2 skeletons are going to come out of the closet? The only thing that qualifies as “climate” to them is warming . Anything else that happens, even if it lasts for 30 years, is “weather”.
    You see, they are know-it-alls. And the ‘all’ they know is that co2 is destroying the earth. Oops, they forgot about photosynthesis.

  122. “Brian BAKER (09:45:34) :
    Of course if one was to turn to Piers Corbyn of Weather Action you would have seen that his forecasts were correct. But then you see, he’s not a believer.
    http://www.weatheraction.com/id7.html
    Some are arguing that we don’t know how much of an effect the sun has on temperatures and weather. But it can’t be argued that Piers Corbyn has figured something out in that area. The accuracy of his some of his forecast show he has a handle on some things. Certainly he’s more accurate than the MET.

  123. “Steven Goddard (05:38:24) :
    Pat,
    Penn and Teller did do an AGW show. It included scenes from AGW therapy workshops for people who had been traumatized by guilt about their carbon footprint. Some of them drove long distances to ease their carbon guilt.”
    Figures they’d have done something on it. I’ll have to find it on youtube. Thanks for that.
    “AndyW (02:41:46) :
    That was Michael Fish, not Ian McCaskell and it was October 1987, not 1988, and it was not a hurricane by the standard definition, though did have hurricane force winds.
    Regards
    Andy”
    Ok, thanks for that. Either way, I still recall waking up in th middle on the night to watch all manner of things, including the clothes, blowing about all over the place (Now reminds me of Wellington, NZ – This 1987 storm would be fairly normal wind there). I was rather amused by it at the time, and then day light broke.

  124. Sean Ogilvie (06:36:34) :
    About a month ago I copied images and data from GISS from 1880 to present. Today I looked and they have changed the 01/1880 anamoly from +0.47 to +0.50. I checked a few other months from the 1800s and they have also changed. That was 129 years ago. I’ve also noticed that several of the stand alone grid areas have changed shape.
    Does anyone know how this works?

    Yes. I do. (You have no idea how much it frightens me to say that!)
    The re-write the past based on “the reference station method”, the create anomaly maps where there are no data base on “the reference station method” and in particular to your point: The re-write the past every time they merge GHCN data with USHCN data in STEP0 so that there is no discontinuity between the two series when they glue them together…
    See:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/gistemp-step0-the-process/
    and scroll down to “let the games begin”.
    Reply: Also look at this post from last year by John Goetz-Rewriting history, time and time again. ~ charles the moderator

  125. Sean Ogilvie (06:36:34) : Does anyone know how this works?
    Oh, and in STEP1, from:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/step1-overview-and-sizes/
    see down at the bottom where I write:
    This same code ‘combines non-overlaping records’ via what looks like a varient of the ‘reference station method’. It looks to me like the code searches for ‘nearby’ stations that have data for any place where the present station has a gap, then computes some kind of weighting factor based on anomallies and uses that to ‘fill in’ the missing data in the gap (i.e. create data where there are none based on the notion that a near by station can tell you what this station ought to have been…)
    and
    This is possibly the explanation for the random places in GIStemp data where a station has a data point jump up or down for no reason in the middle of the series.

  126. Meanwhile, Florida’s winter has been 3.3 degrees F below average. This includes above-average temperatures in December.

  127. DJ (12:28:57) :
    “Lets just get a few things clear. 1) Seasonal forecasting is an initial value problem. It is not the same as climate change which is a boundary value problem.”
    Let’s get a few more things clear
    1) the Lorenz Effect (late Meteorology Prof. Ed Lorenz of MIT) — i.e. a sufficiently complex (non-linear) system can not be predicted beyond a certain point in time (Lyupanov time) due to there always being errors in the input information (input state) or in the coupling coefficients between the various equations (off diagonal elements of the matrix) – more prosaically Lorenz is often tied to Butterflies (“Butterfly flapping its wings can trigger a hurricane” and also the so-called Butterfly diagram associated with a complex system exhibiting a “Strange Attractor”).
    The Lorenz Effect is essentially the explanation why despite factors of 10^6 in CPU processing (*i.e TFoPS versus MFoPS) and similar increases in memory and thousands of X in volume and quality of input data sources (satellites, Doppler radar) that forecasts beyond 36 hours are only marginally better than they were in the early 1960’s.
    2) The fact that we can do any amount of useful weather forecasting is due to the fact that we understand quite well the local behavior of a small cube of the atmosphere — i.e. the transport of latent and sensible heat and mass in the atmosphere.
    Details are another matter as the air packet interacts with the ocean surface (getting wetter and losing momentum through friction that drives gravity water waves, picking up condensation nuclei, losing CO2, and getting either warmer or colder depending on the water temperature, etc.), cryosphere (the ice), terrain (mountains, deserts), and vegetation. Except for the largest scales the details are too fine-grained for current generations of models. For instance, take a look at “Ensembles” of the Model predictions that are generated for an Atlantic Hurricane. The Models are generally quite widely distributed in their predictions outside of the next 12 hours. For smaller scale phenomena such as individual thunderstorm cells we do even worse.
    3) Forecasting the details of a Winter (brutal icestorms, blizzards that shut down air and ground transport for days, dramatic southern freezes that cause zooming fresh fruit and vegetable prices) a few months out is a exponentially harder than just saying that the East will be milder and the South wetter than average. These latter “Long Range” Forecasts are not much better than just a taking some sort of average (frequently over 30 years) and then taking the anomaly in temperature and snowfall to be same +/- (epsilon) than it was last year. Most years are close enough for you to win this hand on an average — however such a forecast is nigh close to useless — as just one or two nasty outbreaks of winter such as occurred in the US northeast this year — (due to the enormous area that may be involved) can be more economically disruptive even than a land falling hurricane.
    4) Cranking any amount of input data into a computer model that lacks all of the relevant physics (and that you know it is lacking in relevant physics) is worse than an exercise in futility — it is a true case of intellectual dishonesty
    Today, we don’t even know the sign of the contribution to so-called “radiative forcing” due to clouds (statement from the IPCC about uncertainty in various factors) — in other words clouds might on the average make it either cooler or warmer — all other things being equal.
    5) It is of course even worse than that in the case of General Circulation Models that are used for Climate predictions. GCM’s are based on the Navier-Stokes equations for heat (radiation, latent heat of evaporated water) on a rotating sphere but to minimize the quantity of data and speed-up the runs most of the models don’t bother with the details of small mountain ranges using just an average surface roughness unless your are talking Alps or Himalayas. They also typically don’t deal with individual thunderstorms. This despite the observations that much of the heat that is transported north from the equator is pumped into the high troposphere in the form of water vapor by the convection of the thunderstorms. Hence to really turn the crank, we’ve got serious gaps even if we knew the strength of the relevant coupling terms in the very very complex system that is the Sun-Earth Climate System with bit roles played by Galactic Cosmic Rays.
    Moral of the story – we really can’t claim any more credibility in predicting the evolution of the climate than we can predict the behavior of stock markets.

  128. “WestHighlander (20:43:06) : Moral of the story – we really can’t claim any more credibility in predicting the evolution of the climate than we can predict the behavior of stock markets.”
    I understand your point, and I liked your comment.
    But, the stock market isn’t as hard to predict as climate.

  129. <blockquoteDamn! There’s still an interface problem between the keyboard and chair!!!!!
    Pat, in IT lingo, that is classified as a PEBKAC error – Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair!!!
    It could also be an I.D.10 T. error. Those are more embarrassing.

  130. Damn! There’s still an interface problem between the keyboard and chair!!!!!

    For instance, that was a classic I.D.10 T. error right there.

  131. Adolfo Giurfa (08:22:02) : It seems that there is plenty of room for private forecasters. Private or even individual research it is (and it has been historically) by far better than any (if any) done by government employees, they are sure nobody will remove them from their jobs.
    Well, my 2009 “The Old Farmers Almanac” predicted a cold dry winter, and that’s what we’ve had here. It’s copyright 2008 and I think I bought it about September? of 2008. Has on the cover “Cold, Snow, Hurricanes Blow – Global Cooling?”. Refreshingly, on page 81 they have a section titled “How accurate was our forecast last winter?” The temperature chart has a pretty good match of forecast to actuals (a couple of cities are off by a degree or so, many more are within a tenth).
    The “General Weather Forecast and Report” starts off with:
    Our study of solar activity suggests that as we enter solar cycle 24 we are at the beginning of a significant change. Over the coming years, a gradual cooling of the atmosphere will occur, offset by any warming caused by greenhouse gasses. We expect the La Nina that developed during the winter of 2007-2008 to continue in the winter of 2008-2009. Most of the nation will have below normal temps, on average. The area of heavy snowfall will extend from the Ozarks, northeastward into southern New England. (This is further south than the area of heavy snowfall in the winter of 2007-08.)
    Yeah, I’d say private forecasters are doing rather well. So well they can print it up half a year in advance and still be right…
    Well worth the money. Don’t plan your planting without it.
    BTW, they use a proprietary system that looks at sunspot cycles and maybe planetary positions IIRC. Page 74 has a chart of U.S. temp vs 11 year annual mean of PDO+AMO (1905-2000) with striking correlation. Page 72 has a chart of US Annual mean temp vs 11 year running mean TSI with fair correlation. So maybe they use more than “astrology” 😎 Don’t know if they do anything outside the U.S.A. though.
    They have a web site at:
    http://www.almanac.com/
    I’m just a satisfied customer.

  132. “1) Seasonal forecasting is an initial value problem. It is not the same as climate change which is a boundary value problem.”
    This is BS. Where do you people get this nonsense?? The seasonal forecasts, which obviously have limited (or no) skill, rely on the SAME algorithms as the climate models. And they both are initial value problems! If this is not the case, please show me where the climate models do not use a time-marching numerical framework…
    For additional information on this topic, please read these…
    http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-212.pdf
    http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-210.pdf

  133. sonicfrog (21:32:42) :
    For instance, that was a classic I.D.10 T. error right there.

    I’ve always been partial to “Loose nut behind the keyboard”.

  134. Common wisdom here ( Greece) watches the phases of the moon for short term predictions. The weather is supposed to keep on as it starts with each quarter of the moon. If it is north winds, a week of them, if its south winds and rain ditto etc.
    Mostly work, if you accept a day or so error :).
    Last quarter entered mild sunny and dry, this one starts with drizzle which is supposed to go for a week 🙂
    There are also moon sea-turbulance correlations due to the importance of the sea for Greece over the millenia.
    Probably works only in Greece.

  135. “E.M.Smith (21:34:53) : The Old Farmers Almanac…. Well worth the money. Don’t plan your planting without it.”
    My grandpa, who died just some months ago, swore by that book. I still remember his expressions when he talked about it. He was impressed by how uncanny the forecasts were. He had beautiful crops every year, without fail.

  136. I hate that “don’t confuse weather with climate” phrase. This mindset assumes that climate is steady-state, except for AGW effects, while weather varies. The fact is there is no timespan less than an ice age cycle over which climate is “steady”, and even then continental drift changes ocean currents and climate patterns. There is variation at every time length.

  137. “Just as they had forecast that 2007 would be the hottest year on record, prior to temperatures plummeting by nearly a full degree.
    2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office.
    Based on their past accuracy with seasonal and annual forecasting, you might want to bundle up and buy some new rain boots.”
    Interesting article Anthony. One comments re “rain boots” – in the UK, they are called “Wellingtons” or commonly “Wellies”. They are often a dull green colour. Even the Queen has a pair of Wellies, for those wet days at Balmoral.
    Following is my latest contribution to the scientific debate, worth at least a hundred hockey sticks.
    Regards, Allan
    The Welly Boot Song – Billy Connolly
    Chorus:
    If it wasn’t for your wellies where would you be
    You’d be in the hospital or infirmary
    ‘Cause you would have a dose of the flu or even pleurisy
    If you didn’t have your feet in your wellies

  138. anna v (22:13:55) :

    Well, well. Greenland is coming to join to the tip of Iceland if the weather does not change.
    It is strange but the sst anomaly still shows warmer waters in that area:

    The warm water around Greenland seems to originate from Iceland. It’s been there for over a year now. I suspect it’s volcanic in nature but if it’s not unusual activity then it shouldn’t show up on an anomaly map, but it does.
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0.png

  139. Great responses to an excellent Blog abut Met Office
    I sent this to the Education section AKA Ministry of Truth. Perhaps we can undo the cult brainwashing one victim at a time.
    To Eduction Met
    I wasn’t able to find individuals to contact, just general email addresses, so I forwarded to what I thought might have a human at the other end.
    I found the website http://www.metoffice.gov.uk to be full of self congratulatory information on how well you are doing, how valuable, your work is, and how all doubts about man made global warming have been resolved.
    As one who has read the Technical sections of IPCC reports, which are replete with qualifications about how much more we need to learn to understand climate, the Met Office website reads like a catechism of MMGB (man made global warming) Believers.
    I have two scientific degrees. But more importantly, in high school, I learned how the true scientific method is always challenging and examining the data to make sure its theories and hypothesis can stand.
    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Albert Einstein
    Your web has no deviation from doctrine, no heretical qualifications, only absolute religious fervor about the True Path.
    An yet, the Path lead to false doctrine in that it predicted the coming of the Heat for the past winter.
    But the Heat came not.
    But this deviation was resolved!
    Lesser Cold minus Bigger Cold = Hidden Heat.
    Layman interpretation: It would have been colder except for the hidden HEAT.
    All’s right in the World.
    And, I couldn’t find your analysis about this big miss on the website. Is the explanation for it buried somewhere? If so, please send link.
    Or are the hidden Revelations only available to the True Believers?
    Below from:
    From http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/03/final-score-for-the-met-office-winter-forecast/
    The UK Met Office famously forecast this past winter to be “milder than average.“
    25 September 2008
    The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average.
    Seasonal forecasts from the Met Office are used by many agencies across government, private and third sectors to help their long-term planning.
    The meteorological winter is over, and the official results are in :
    The UK had its coldest winter for 13 years, bucking a recent trend of mild temperatures, the Met Office has said.
    The average mean temperature across December, January and February was 3.1C – the lowest since the winter beginning in 1995, which averaged 2.5C.
    This missed forecast falls on the heels of two consecutive incorrect summer forecasts , both of which were forecast to be warm but turned out to be complete washouts. However, the Met Office appears undaunted by their recent high profile forecasting failures, and they continue in their quest to eeducate the public about the imminent threat of global warming.
    Regards Gary Fox
    Princeton Junction, NJ

  140. The Met office is run by the Ministry of Defence
    The miinistry of defence is run by the government
    The government appointed a non-scientist to run the met office
    The Met office has no credibility.

  141. Rain boots were originally created less than 200 years ago, in early 19th century England. Arthur Wellesley, the First Duke of Wellington, wore Hessian boots, which were tall, tasseled boots for men, brought to England by the Hessians. The popular Duke instructed his favorite shoe maker to modify the boots a bit, removing the fancy trim and making them a bit more form-fitting; the boots became known as Wellingtons or “Wellies” and became the fashion rage among well-to-do English men
    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-rain-boots.htm

  142. Have been out on a leafleting exercise today in East Devon, UK, about 5 miles from the coast of the English Channel. We were trudging through some 3 inches of uncleared snow in some parts, the snow fell two nights ago and there is a very slow melt. The Met Office has forecast rain next week so expect more snow!

  143. The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average.
    Seasonal forecasts from the Met Office are used by many agencies across government, private and third sectors to help their long-term planning.

    Article at the London telegraph states that the UK has 4 days of gas in storage. So much for their long term planning advice. 🙂
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/gas/4944782/Britain-has-only-four-days-of-gas-left-in-reserves.html
    Also in the same edition there are complaints that the Met office reports are dissuading people from holidaying in the southern counties of the UK. Attention is drawn to how the Met office pitches its reports:
    Three years ago the Met Office issued new guidelines in attempt to make forecasts more relevant and uplifting for the thousands of people who watch them.
    Forecasters were told to use “generally clear outlook” instead of “occasional showers” and “isolated storms”.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2481464/Devon-tourist-chiefs-say-gloomy-weather-forecasts-keep-away-visitors.html
    Myself, of late I find that if I subtract 2 deg. from the latter days of their five day forecasts it makes for a better fit come the day.
    Also noting of late that the BBC reports have taken to using a slide showing the measured and average when the temperature is above the average but don’t recall this particular presentation when the temperatures were consistently below average over the recent previous weeks where such references were very restrained IMO.

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