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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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.

Richard deSousa

LOL… I like that dart board… almost as accurate as my Ouija board… 😉

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).


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?

Phillip Bratby

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?


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!


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.

John Philip

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!

Richard Heg

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.”

John F. Hultquist

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!


I guess the Met’s Xmas wish didn’t come true:

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.


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.


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 (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 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
Thank you once again for your interest and for taking the time to contact the Met Office.

anna v

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.

Mike Bryant

Lucia has a very interesting post that shows the models are way off on actual temperatures, and report only anomolies and trends. The graph with absolute temperatures of models and Gistemp are here:
The post is here:

Barry Foster

But what everyone seems to be missing is that there’s something VERY wrong with the stations that record that very winter temperature. I have highlighted this with Anthony, Junkscience and the Met Office itself. I’m still waiting on the Met Office for a reply.

John Finn

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. .

Barry Foster

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
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.

Lindsay H

forget co2 as a cause of climate change

Rhys Jaggar

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?


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

John Finn

– 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


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.

I confidently predict, that 2009 will be one of the ten warmest years this century!


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.


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


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.

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

Alan the Brit

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?

Tim Groves

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


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.

Parse Error

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


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.

G Adlam

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.
And for his account…
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.

Paul R

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.

Christopher Wood

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!

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.


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!

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…


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!

Dave The Engineer

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.

Phillip Bratby

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?

Ian B

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.

Tom in Florida

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

John Philip

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.

MODERATORS…Anthony… re Valentine (03:28:02)…
Quick! Kill before someone gets hurt.
Reply: Thank you, Roger! ~dbstealey, mod.


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


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!