The BBC may drop the Met Office for forecasts

From the London Times, signs that the Met Office might need a refresher course in basic forecasting skills and bonuses revoked. While I’m often critical of NOAA’s climate issues, the forecasts from NOAA put The Met Office to shame in terms of accuracy and detail. And, NOAA staffers don’t get bonuses, period.

Excerpts from the Times article by Steven Swinford

BUFFETED by complaints about its inaccurate weather forecasts, the Met Office now faces being dumped by the BBC after almost 90 years.

The Met Office contract with the BBC expires in April and the broadcaster has begun talks with Metra, the national forecaster for New Zealand, as a possible alternative.

The BBC put the contract out to tender to ensure “best value for money”, but its timing coincides with a storm over the Met Office’s accuracy.

Last July the state-owned forecaster’s predictions for a “barbecue summer” turned into a washout. And its forecast for a mild winter attracted derision when temperatures recently plunged as low as -22C.

Last week the Met Office failed to predict heavy snowfall in the southeast that brought traffic to a standstill. This weekend a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times reveals that 74% of people believe its forecasts are generally inaccurate.

By contrast, many commercial rivals got their predictions for winter right. They benefit from weather forecasts produced by a panel of six different data providers, including the Met Office.

Despite criticism, staff at the Met Office are still in line to share a bonus pot of more than £1m. Seasonal forecasts, such as the one made in September, are not included in its performance targets.

John Hirst, the chief executive of the Met Office, insisted last week that recent forecasts had been “very good” and blamed the public for not heeding snow warnings. He received a bonus of almost £40,000 in 2008-09.

Metra already produces graphics for the BBC, including the 3-D weather map that made some viewers feel sick when it was introduced in 2005. Weather Commerce, Metra’s UK subsidiary, has already usurped the Met Office in supplying forecasts to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

The Met Office was bullish, though, saying: “We have always been in the strongest position to provide the BBC with accurate and detailed weather forecasts and warnings for the UK.”

h/t to many WUWT readers


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Late fall last year the Japan Meteorological Agency forecast that the coming winter would be a warmer one, but in reality the whole country has been shivering since late December. Probably we too need to replace the personnel as well as their computer?


I hear the Farmer’s Almanac has a pretty good record.


“forecast” should read “forecasted”, sorry.

I vote for Piers Corbyn. He’s on the skeptics side! And competitive with Joe Bastardi on a personality (and accuracy?) basis. And, ENGLISH!- born Chippenham Wiltshire, 10 March 1947


You were ok the first time. Mirriam-Webster shows both ‘forecast’ and ‘forecasted.’ Take your pick.

Bob Shapiro

“The Met Office was bullish, though, saying: “We have always been in the strongest position to provide the BBC with accurate and detailed weather forecasts and warnings for the UK.”
This could prove to be another lousy forecast.

John Wright

Is Metra doing better than Corbyn?
By the way, Tokyoboy, “forecast” used in the past tense was OK.

Leon Brozyna

To read the coverage from the BBC, the problems the Met faces are just with its long-range forecasts.
Come on. Does anyone really believe anybody’s long-range forecasts? Seriously, I put them in the same category as that of a slick psychic. The Met has other problems. When they miss on calling a major snow event till the snow is practically falling, it’s hard to remain credible.


Yes, hopefully, it will be a Ceausescu summer for the Met Office.


90 yrs, eh? When you lash yourself to the deck of an agenda, and it backfires, you might be going down with the ship.
Hate to lose storied institutions, but the MET’s track record of the last 2 years is really horrid.
US institutions should be paying attention. Get your act together before political wind changes, if you catch my drift. Try some spring cleaning.
US forecast modles are suffering from a unique sandbagging tact the last year.
People are noticing.


Metra supply graphics for channels 7, 9 and SBS here in Aussieland – they are great graphics!!

Andew P.

While I don’t have much sympathy for the Met Office, whose over dependence on the use of computer modelling appears to have contributed to their demise, it would be ironic if the BBC (who are the chief propogandists for the unproven CO2 thesis) decided to drop them. I am sure that the Met Office has felt under considerable pressure lately and hopefully the debate they are having is not just on the symptoms of their devotion to AGW and dubious modelling, but extends to the CO2 thesis itself. To me that is at the root of the problem. See (and most of the comments – I should say that I am Lapogus) for a perspective on their problems, and for an article on this internal debate.


juanslayton (20:01:32) :
You were ok the first time. Mirriam-Webster shows both ‘forecast’ and ‘forecasted.’ Take your pick.”
Oh, really? Thanks my dear mentor!


Joe Bastardi has done a great job.

I haven’t relied on the Met Office / BBC weather forecasts for years. There are numerous other forecasting organisations that offer their prognostications free of charge over this wonderful interwebby thing.
My current favourite is I was initially put off by the thought that “tv” might stand for transvestite and the forecasts might involve burly lorry drivers in skimpy lace claiming to be called Alice. Fortunately there is not an inch of flimsy to be seen, just reasonably accurate forecasts that allow me to decide whether or not to venture out of FatBigot Towers.

April E. Coggins

We have finally reached the point that the global warmers demand that the voting public ignore the weeks, months and years of snow and cold outside of their windows and doors. The denialist strategy only works so long, then people get sick of it. Can anyone imagine the global warming lie continuing into next year? I can’t. The only drum beaters still remaining will be the bottom feeders who can’t afford to let the scheme go.

Baa Humbug

Is Danny “Lethal Weapon” Glover the first to claim Global Warming caused the Haiti earthquake?
He has a new movie in production….
Lethan weapon of Mass Destruction: CO2
and the sequel….
Lethan Weapon of Mass Destruction: CH4

p.g.sharrow "PG"

I believe the Farmer’s Almanac uses astrology for it’s long range forecasts, you know sun,moon and large planets. 😉
Maybe we need to reexamine a 6,000 year old science that was based on observations of facts rather then use of computer programs based on wishful thinking.
Don’t know for sure but sometimes when something works there might be a reason.
Just the ruminations of an old country farmer…

The Met Office’s reaction to charges off botched forecasts? From
> Professor Chris Folland from the Met Office said a re-analysis
> of weather science might even show that the actual temperature
> measurements have under-recorded recent warming – making
> the Met Office forecast even more accurate than it appears.
Just like the IPCC “re-analysis” of its 1990 graph, which had shown the MWP, no doubt.


I want Joe Bastardi to to win only so someone at the Met can explaim “BASTARDI!”


I once had to fire an entire department. It was like unblocking a toilet, only bigger.
Sometimes it’s just time for a change
Let’s face it, who would miss them anyway ?? Answers on a postage stamp please.

Marlene Anderson

I, too, vote for Piers Corbyn. He is absolutely the best candidate. Unfortunately, Piers is not in the pro-AGW camp so perhaps he has the wrong politics for the BBC warming enthusiasts. Anyone care to bet the BBC will go back to The Met? I think they will because The Met embraces AGW and the BBC will find it far more important to contract someone with the same religious beliefs rather than weather forecasting accuracy.


And because it’s Sunday, today’s weather forecast is from Weather Underground. Our accuracy rating for them is an 83, which is better than most of the others so they’ll continue on Sundays for the next month. On Wednesday we’ll reveal a new forecast source.


The MET lose the deal? Not a chance but the timing gives the BBC a great way of negotiating in order to get the price down. In the end the MET will roll on with its partner in AGW – the BBC only the ticket price will be coach.

Marlene Anderson

p.g.sharrow “PG” (21:24:26) :
The Old Farmer’s Almanac they have a story on the waning of Global Warming, You can find it here:


By Roger Harrabin.
The Met Office has now admitted to BBC News that its annual global mean forecast predicted temperatures higher than actual temperatures for nine years out of the last 10.

Professor Chris Folland from the Met Office said a re-analysis of weather science might even show that the actual temperature measurements have under-recorded recent warming – making the Met Office forecast even more accurate than it appears.

So over forcasted warming is transformed by re-analysis to under-recorded recent warming making the Met Office forecast even more accurate.
Thank you Sir Humphrey.


Recently the Met Office took it upon themselves to get 1700 scientists to sign a petition supporting the UEA/CRU. As a publicly funded organisation I wondered how they had found the budget/staff resources to carry out this, clearly out of remit, activity. So I wrote to them asking who had authorised the spend and how much it had cost in terms of wo/man hours. This is the response:
“1. Any documentation related to the approval for the spend of public funds in the pursuit of signatures to support the Met Office;
No documentation was produced relating to the approval for the spend of public funds in the pursuit of signatures.
It should be noted that the signatures referred to above were collected on behalf of the UK Science Community to show support for the statement below, not in support of the Met Office.
We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method.
The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal’ and that ‘Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations’.
2. The budget for the pursuit of the signatures and the actual spend made by the Met Office in terms of wo/man hours and any other expenses made in this exercise.
It is estimated that over the four to five days taken to collect signatures and produce the statement that a total of around 30-35 hours of staff time – spread across several staff – were used.
There was no budget set for this activity. There was no overtime paid, the time committed was done so alongside the normal roles of the staff involved. There were no other expenses occurred in this exercise.
I hope this answers your enquiry.”
You will note their robust defence of an unaccused “scientific community”, and what appears to be an obsession with proving global warming is real and anthropogenic. I noted the other day that the Guardian, right there with the BBC on AGW is now using Accuweather. It is a shame that the, once worldwide respected, Met Office has now become little more than a propogandist for AGW. And if they have the nerve to tell me that 2009 was warmer than 1976 I will explode!

p.g.sharrow “PG” (21:24:26) :
I believe the Farmer’s Almanac uses astrology for it’s long range forecasts, you know sun,moon and large planets. 😉

As told by TOFA themselves (excerpt) it doesn’t seem quite so … medieval:

Many readers ask how we predict the weather at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
We derive our weather forecasts from a secret formula that was devised by the founder of this Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792. Thomas believed that weather on Earth was influenced by sunspots, which are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun. Notes about that formula are locked in a black box in our offices in Dublin, New Hampshire. (Yes, that’s a photo of the unassuming black box below.)
Over the years, we have refined and enhanced that formula with state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations.
We employ three scientific disciplines to make our long-range predictions: solar science, the study of sunspots and other solar activity; climatology, the study of prevailing weather patterns; and meteorology, the study of the atmosphere.
We predict weather trends and events by comparing solar patterns and historical weather conditions with current solar activity.
Our forecasts emphasize temperature and precipitation deviations from averages, or normals. These are based on 30-year statistical averages prepared by government meteorological agencies and updated every ten years. The most recent tabulations span the period 1971 through 2000.

Steve Goddard

Chris Folland wants us to believe that snow and ice are now indicative of warm weather.

photon without a Higgs

Despite criticism, staff at the Met Office are still in line to share a bonus pot of more than £1m.
Government can do this. They can give themselves raises even with poor performance. Everyone else has to live in the real world.

photon without a Higgs

Governments should be hiring people like Piers Corbyn and Joe Bastardi, shouldn’t they?

Magnus A

Corbyn says he’s right 85% of the time (exactly how?).

Of course BBC can use Corbyn instead. 🙂 Anyway BBC can’t get stuck in global warming belief without scientific base (only fraud/IPCC/Cliamtegate) during a little ice age if they want to survive.
(Btw, are predictions of the sun more than 27 days into the future good?)

Is the Met connected with AIG? Are they Wall Street traders? Used car salesmen? Since when do public employees get “performance” bonuses? For what?
GB is a weird country, but really?
For a long time I have rejected the propaganda gloss that the political fight is between Party A and Party B. I think the real battle is and has been between public employees and everybody else. Privatize the BBC, the Met, NOAA, NASA, every University, every agency, the whole shebang.
Quis custodiat custodium?

Mike Spilligan

Yes, but all this chat about Met Office forecasting accuracy is just a side-issue. The important thing is how accurate they were with the bonuses forecast.

David Waring

How can any real scientist, let alone a climatologist (Folland) persist in a view that the model is correct and that the observations must therefore be in error ???


On Mombiot’s blog. The comments are hilarious 99 to 1 against. I admire Monbiot for hacking it though….
This is one of the funniest ones:
I was wondering when the climate change lobby was going to get its mitts off and explain away the cold weather.
I have nothing to say other than that I keep warm by tearing up climate change books and articles and stuffing them under my jumper.
I knew they must be good for something and it works for me.


Seriously though I would say Monbiot has lost all credibility and it seems he’s been taken as a joke by most of the commenters. What even funnier though, he apparently does not realize it!


Last one you can snip if you want but it is so funny:
I greatly admire Mr Monbiot’s courage, lowering his jewels so squarely on the chopping block of this whole affair. Time will vindicate or emasculate him but I suspect history will be not judge him kindly in either event.

The ghost of Big Jim Cooley

Prof Mobbs: “”All models have biases and these are very small. It may be, as the Met Office suggests, that the observations are wrong, not the model.”
I observed a foot of snow outside my door for the past two weeks. I observed p***ing down rain for most of the “barbecue” summer, which they are now telling me is going to be the hottest on record, once they’ve finished “adjusting” the data.
The Met Office has been infiltrated by the Greens and is little more than a propaganda machine for the AGW movement, scarcely interested in forecasting the weather, and only able to get it right, in the short term, i.e when the weather can be seen on the West Coast of Ireland the Met Office can tell us with 65% accuracy what it will be in the UK on the following day.

Patrick Davis

I’ve never before read any of Monbiot’s blogs however, I read some of the posts at the link posted by VG. Crickey, Is this man for real?
“The ghost of Big Jim Cooley (00:29:46) :”
The finger pointing continues and computer models are biased. LOL It really cannot get any better than this, can it?


O/T, but related.
“The World has been misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown. A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.
Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.
In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.”
More evidence that the MSM is slowly realising how badly they have been duped.

Old Goat

The Met Office, like the BBC are public-funded, so there’ll be a lot of “singing from the same hymnsheet”. Their governmental masters probably won’t take kindly to the BBC dropping the Met Office, so I’ve no doubt something will be cobbled together, after all they will want to present a united front in respect of their doom-ridden climate change prophecies, won’t they?

Dave Johnson

As a government employee myself, I wouldn’t get too exercised about the million pound bonuses. Most of it will be going in pay outs of about £150 to staff on salaries not greatly higher than the minimum wage.
On another topic, our friend Mr Pachauri won’t enjoy this prominent story in the Sunday Telegraph today

Gary Heard

I hope this works. From today’s Sunday Telegraph if looking on a later date
look for the cartoon from the 17th January
sums up nicely the feeling of how accurate the Met Office is


Small wonder they don’t get it right beyond a few days, and that seasonal and climate predictions are rubbish.
Back in the 60’s, Edward Lorenz showed that a system like climate, which is driven by deterministic chaos, accurate long-term forecasting is impossible. Doesn’t matter how much money is spent on a big computer, or how good the understanding of the individual climate mechanisms, climate sensitivity to initial condition will confound the result. The way forward is to look at quasi-cyclical events, such as the sun cycle, AO e.t.c, which at least give a general idea of what is to come.
Corbin and Bastardi seem to better than the Met does by employing this approach.


I would hope not only the BBC dump them but also ITV/Channel 4 as well.
There is no competition. Therein lies the problem.

Can we also drop the BBC for television broadcasts?? That would be like getting rid of the NKVD and Pravda all at once.


I watched a nice little pop science programme about chaos and order. It seemed to say that simple rules can behave chaotically, and that chaos can create patterns and order, but, those patterns are not predictable.
Intuitively, this is a reason I’ve been sceptical of AGW models, but I wonder if anyone could comment on if this is right or wrong headed thinking:
AGW activists claim that whilst the weather is chaotic, the science can figure out the boundary conditions of the climate. They also claim that whilst the climate has dealt with high levels of CO2 in the past, CO2 is now rising in an unprecedented way.
OK, I can accept that the climate has patterns (order out of chaos), but we only know what those patterns are from observing history (we know about the LIA, MWP, and so on (quibble over their extent of course)).
I say “only from history” because whilst patterns do arise out of chaos, like sand blowing in the wind forms sand dunes, those patterns are not predictable, they are merely obvious once we see them. Any new pattern is not predictable. So, AGW activists claim that the current CO2 forcing has been unprecedented and far faster blah blah. In effect they are saying that something new is happening. So how can they predict the new pattern that will arise out of chaos forced in a different way?