Met Office ends season forecasts – no more "BBQ summers"

BBC NEWS

Met Office (SPL)

The Met Office says its short-term forecasts are "extremely accurate"

The Met Office is to stop publishing seasonal forecasts, after it came in for criticism for failing to predict extreme weather.

It was berated for not foreseeing that the UK would suffer this cold winter or the last three wet summers in its seasonal forecasts.

The forecasts, four times a year, will be replaced by monthly predictions.

The Met Office said it decided to change its forecasting approach after carrying out customer research.

Explaining its decision, the Met Office released a statement which said: “By their nature, forecasts become less accurate the further out we look.

Tricky forecasts

“Although we can identify general patterns of weather, the science does not exist to allow an exact forecast beyond five days, or to absolutely promise a certain type of weather.

“As a result, ‘seasonal forecasts’ cannot be as precise as our short-term forecasts.”

It said the UK is one of the hardest places to provide forecasts for due to its “size and location”, making it “very hard to forecast much beyond a week”.

However, it said its short-term forecasts are “extremely accurate”.

The Met Office, based at Exeter in Devon, added that it would work towards developing the science of long range forecasting.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8551416.stm

=============================================

I see this more as an insurance policy than one of admission of lack of skill. Though they are right, beyond about a week, entropy and chaos kicks in. About all anyonecan forecast seasonally with accuracy is:

Spring will be warmer than winter

Summer will be warmer than spring

Fall will be cooler than summer

Winter will be colder than fall

We’ll so how well they do with short-term monthly forecasts that are “extremely accurate”.

h/t to WUWT reader Robert of Ottawa

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PeterB in Indainapolis

So basically they are willing to admit that their 3-month forecasts are highly inaccurate due to the lack of understanding of all of the variables involved once the forecast period gets beyond about 5 days.
But… they still expect us to believe that their forecasts of what is going to happen climate-wise 5, 10, 25, or even 100 YEARS from now are valid forecasts.
I am sure there are some people that see no problem with that.

Charlie Barnes

The Met Office
“Although we can identify general patterns of weather, the science does not exist to allow an exact forecast beyond five days, or to absolutely promise a certain type of weather.”
But they and others like them are happy to forecast a century or so ahead!

Sean Peake

“… By their nature, forecasts become less accurate the further out we look.” Really? So they can’t nail 3 months out but 100 years is a lock?
“… the UK is one of the hardest places to provide forecasts for due to its “size and location”, making it “very hard to forecast much beyond a week”. Tthe UK is tough but the rest of the globe is easy?
“… short-term forecasts are “extremely accurate”
Direct proof that the Met has windows.
Unbelievable. I guess they don’t want to expose themselves to any more ridicule, if that were, indeed, possible now.

Johnny Canuck

“The Mets new short term forecasts are EXTREMELY accurate”
Here is today’s forecast:
CLOUDY OTHERWISE CLEAR.

Anthony: I believe you’ve got a typo, Should the last sentence “We’ll so how well they…” actually be “We’ll see how well they…”?
BTW, I’ll miss their forecasts.

Henry chance

How is that new massive computer douing at the Met Office? It was purchased to do better and higher quality forecasts.

Harold Ambler

I predicted this. I also predict some funny comments on this thread.

TanGeng

LOL.
Did they really put scare quotes around “extremely accurate?”
That’s funny.

Lance

Tonight Dark, Tomorrow – light, and temperatures are expected.
Ok, now am I on the list to receive a Met Office Bonus for accurracy?

John Wright

Will they be putting their new super-duper “Deep Black” computer out on a skip in the near future?

wws

Don’t be so harsh that you miss the rather amazing admission they have just made – they just publicly admitted that AGW is useless as a forecasting tool. And I believe they did this knowing what that means – their failures have been so public and so outrageous that they’ve now got to scramble to keep their funding and their own jobs. Ideology goes out the window when survival is on the line.
The cognitive dissonance between what they’ve just said and any claim of what climate will be in 50 or 100 years is so great that those claims are now discredited by the Met Office’s very own words. And they can’t walk them back, now that they’re out there.
All in all, another pretty significant nail in the coffin of Global Warming.

Paul

So for local weather forecasts max 5 days for accuracy (with a success rate well inferior to 100%, it would be interesting to find out just how accurate they are), a general idea going out as far as one month, but up to 100 years for the globe is sound science? It beggars the imagination.
And before anyone mentions that there is a difference between climate and weather, that argument would go further with me if those same folks weren’t filling the media with cries of global warming every time there was a hurricane, snowstorm, warm spell, cold snap or earthquake.

ScottB

As I said on Bishop Hill, this is a bad move. Basically, they don’t want to make forecast within a timeframe that can be verified because it’s bad PR for their green agenda. The sad thing is, seasonal forecasts that can be verified add to our knowledge because we can learn from the errors on each forecast and improve on them in the future. Global warming forecasts only serve to scare the public because they will be entirely outdated by the time verification can be made.

Ian E

“The Met Office is to stop publishing seasonal forecasts, after it came in for criticism for failing to predict extreme weather. ”
Not really, it was criticised for being PLAIN WRONG time after time after time …
(And always in the direction of extra warming).

CarlNC

This is progress. They have admitted that their models are pretty much worthless beyond a few days. The lack of ability to forecast weather should lead to the conclusion that they don’t know enough about the science to forecast climate. Or maybe not. They are a stubborn lot.

TerryS

From this BBC news story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8462890.stm

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.
This “warming bias” is very small – just 0.05C. And the Met Office points out that the variance between the forecast and the actual temperature is within its own stated margins of error.

An annual warming bias of 0.05C is equivalent to 5C/century. This is the same software that they told the parliamentary committee validated their climate model predications of significant warming on a century timescale.

Rebivore

Met Office: “… the science does not exist to allow an exact forecast beyond five days, …” But Piers Corbyn (http://www.weatheraction.com/) forecast that January and February would be cold cold cold back in October. He was wrong – the snow started just before Christmas, so he was a whole week out. Dear me! But then, back in October the Met Office was forecasting the warmest winter on record (or something like that). So the science *does* exist to produce much more accurate forecasts than the Met Office can achieve – if not “exact”. I wonder what kind of forecasting technique the Met Office uses? Could it be the same models that the IPCC uses?

John Wright

I can imagine Piers Corbyn at the moment shaking with inward mirth – or rage – or a combination of both.

channon

If it gets fuzzy after a week, just how hazy does it get by 2050 or whenever the glaciers are supposed to have melted by, the sea levels risen and London underwater?

MattN

It is NOT for failing to predict extreme weather. It is for failing to have any clue about how to do anything. This winter was NOT extreme weather. It was weather. And they had no clue. For the Nth time in a row….

ScientistForTruth

Note how weather forecasting and climate projections interact in the Met Office. Apparently, according to Julia Slingo, seeing whether the daily weather forecast was OK is a good enough check on the models used for climate projections for 100 years. What does the fact that the Met office can’t get seasonal projections right tell us about the model?
She is the Met’s Chief Scientist and she says they use the SAME model for weather and climate. So her ‘testing the code twice a day’ for climate prediction verification amounts to nothing more than running the Met’s supercomputer twice a day to produce the daily weather forecast. If the daily weather forecast is sort of OK, then that means the model is OK for climate projections 100 years ahead. That’s all that’s needed for verfication!
Anyway, she can hang herself in her own words:
“I think what people find difficult to understand is what is this thing that we call a model? Well, it’s a huge computer code and it’s about solving the very fundamental equations of physics which describe the motion of the atmosphere, the motion of the oceans, how clouds form, how the land interacts with the sun’s rays, how it interacts with rainfall and so on and so on.
So what these models are is hundreds and thousands of lines of code which capture and represent our best understanding of how the climate system works. So they are not in a sense tuned to give the right answer, what they are representing is how weather, winds blow, rain forms and so forth, absolutely freely based on the fundamental laws of physics.
How do we know that they’re good? Well we continually test them against observations of the current climate in lots and lots of ways. At the Met Office we use the same model to make weather forecasts as we do to make our climate predictions, so every day we are testing the model and saying, ‘how well did we do with the weather forecast?’ We know that on many occasions our weather forecasts are incredibly skilful and that’s increasingly giving us confidence that the science in our models is fit to do this ‘crystal ball gazing’ into the future to say what will happen to our climate as we go really into uncharted territory. Because we are taking this planet to somewhere where it has never been before, or at least for millions of years.”
Incredible.
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/in-depth/ask/julia-slingo.pdf
See how this woman, President of the Royal Meteorological Society, has completely changed her tune with respect to regional climate projection to be ‘on message’ with government propaganda since she joined the Met Office:
http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/met-office-fraudcast/

But… but they were incorporating long term trends from the GCMs!
The GCMs, I thought they said they were ROBUST
How can this be?
/sarcasm off

John of Kent

I agree, as the Met office had admitted that their computer models do not work for seasonal forecasting, they should admit that these same models do not work for forecasting the weather for the next century either!!
By the way, Piers Corbyn and his Solar weather technique has been far better at seasonal forecasting than the Met office has- and with increasing precision. This winter he;-
1. Correctly forecast the snow and cold weather at the Copenhagen conference in december.
2. Forecast the heavy snow for Dec and Jan in the UK.
3. Forecast that the snow would return in Feb (it did).
4. Also forecast the current sunny “warm” (for March!) weather.
interestingly Piers has also forecast that the cold weather and snow will return by the middle/end of March for the UK. We will see about this one. All these forecasts were carried out 1 month, or more in advance, and his last five seasonal forecasts have all been correct.

son of mulder

“The Met Office is to stop publishing seasonal forecasts, after it came in for criticism for failing to predict extreme weather.”
I saw a Professor Slingo, Professor and Director,Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading , telling the Parliamentry Science and Technology Committee regarding the code for climate modelling that the same code is used for weather prediction and is tested twice per day.
Interestingly they seem happy for the code to predict extreme weather in 100 years time. Or maybe they’ve just not had long enough to test it or maybe just that they know none of us will be here to ridicule them in 100 years.

Indiana Bones

” no more “BBQ summers”
Great. What am I to do with my BBQ grill??

Charlie

As a farmer, I am regularly astonished at how bad the much vaunted 5-day forcasts are – but I’ve never got round to analysing them.
For February, however, I printed off the 5-day forecast for Winchester every night (starting the project on 28th Jan) , and also the ‘observations’ data for that day. When i get round to it, i’m going to compile a little record of just how bad they were! And they were awful.

ScientistForTruth

Oh, I forgot to include the most hilarious quote from Dr Vicky Pope at the Met Office:
“Much longer predictions are run, typically…predicting the next 100 to 1,000 years.”
And that was in 2007, before they got their new supercomputer.
So, 1000 year runs are ‘typical’, but anything more than a month ahead is just too tricky.
I’ll tell you what – I’ll do you a prediction for climate 1000 years hence. Exactly what value that would be to anyone, I don’t know. And if things didn’t seem to be going in the right direction over the next 30 years I can always run the argument that decadal changes are irrelevant: get back to me after a couple of centuries to see whether we’re on track and the model is holding up.

Simon

To be fair, there are some phenomena which are more easily forecasted on a large scale than a small scale.
Nevertheless, the Met Office has shown itself to have a “warm” bias and it is unfortunate for the Met that reality has to interfere with its wonderful understanding of climate.

Brian Johnson uk

Their 5 day forecasts are a joke. Unless the 5 day period is with a really stable zone centered on the UK their forecasts change daily. Here is one sequence I recorded a few weeks ago.
http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn77/aviate1138/Picture22-2.jpg

Ben

The Met office has failed to identify even general patterns. No one expects confidence from a prediction of rain on August 3rd made on April 13th. However, if you say “this will be a hot summer” and it is a cold one, then that just makes people angry. If you cannot even make sweeping, hand-waving predictions that are correct, don’t make any at all.
This is the correct decision. We may ridicule the overconfident imbecile who started the seasonal forcasts and management who allowed it to continue, but whoever gave the order to end it at least has their head partially in the game.

Which makes this all the more bizarre… and suspicious:
Climate change human link evidence ‘stronger’
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8550090.stm
Exactly how much faith can anyone have on their pontifications? Based on what data? What analysis? Is there an agenda that they’re not telling us about? How can this be so when all the evidence points to exactly the opposite conclusion?

supercritical

But hasn’t Julia the Supermodeller just blown a squillion on a megawatt processor array of 200,000 PCs, to do just this thing, with her ‘robust’ code?
And this article on the Beeb website, too?
I tell you, the wheels are falling off, bigtime.
( PS; If I ask Julia, do you reckon she’d let me have one of those redundant PCs? )

John Douglas

I thought they even screwed up some short term forecasts this past winter when they missed some big snows. I’m not even certain their short term forecasts are very precise either. I thought the Met Office came under heavy criticism for that and was one of the reasons the BBC was looking to an Australian company to provide its forecasts. I must have misunderstood given that the BBC doesn’t dispute the claim that the Met Office 5 day forecasts are “extremely accurate”.

Rick

Let’s see…I’m going to look out the window, and it will be sunny. Bullseye! It is sunny out! I still have extremely accurate weather forecasts.

Ray

With all the tools they have and their new Super-computer, if they can’t forecast a season ahead then why should they keep it opened? The Farmer’s Almach does a better job at forecasting. They should give the money to the farmers instead.

kadaka

Edit note, at the end of the post:
We’ll see how well they do with short-term monthly forecasts that are “extremely accurate”.
No more seasonal forecasts? Such a tragic loss of such a great source of humor. I shed one tear.
However, it said its short-term forecasts are “extremely accurate”.
They can look out the window, see it is raining, and predict with better than 50% accuracy that some form of rainfall will continue over the next hour. Now who can possibly want anything better than that?

Mike Haseler

Global warming is essentially the science of climate forecasting. So, I’ve always wondered why I seem to be the only person I’ve ever seen who has checked these forecasts and found them wanting (i.e. rubbish).
It doesn’t help that these removed all their forecasts from their website, but I suspect there may be a copy on http://www.climatemice.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Profiles.MetOfficeForecasting

RickA

To be fair to the Met – there is a difference between predicting the weather and predicting the climate.
We don’t know what the temperature will be at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 21st 2100 – but that is different than predicating what the average annual temperature may be in 2100.
I don’t think any of our climate models are accurate enough to do either type of prediction. But they are different types of prediction.

brian

If I want to know what the weather is NOT going to be like in 3 days time I look at the Met Office forecast.

John Mackie

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php
You can be absolutely sure there are thousands of warmists ON THEIR KNEES in the church of AGW, positively WILLING that dark blue line to go down.
Sickening hypocrisy.

Keapon Laffin

Funny that this came out the same day.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8550090.stm

Slowjoe

What ScottB said.
I have noticed that you can translate “1C” in tonight’s forecast to “OC or less” this winter. And this is in today’s forecast, for a small town called London.

Colin Porter

I have a great admiration for your superior knowledge in matters of climate science and weather forecasting, but on this one I have to make a correction.
“Autumn is cooler than summer.
Winter is colder than “Autumn.”
At least in the UK, the jurisdiction of the Met Office.
“Forever Fall” and “Fall Leaves” just don’t portray the same feelings

Sean Peake

Meanwhile, the Met states that the link between human activity and climate change is even stronger. This comes from an exhaustive study of 110 papers and fully supports the IPCC’s 2007 findings and is published in Wileys latest Climate Change Journal (has anyone seen this?). OK, now the science truly is settled. Phew!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8550090.stm
(My God, these guys don’t know when to stop)

geo

Being “highly inaccurate” is of course never good. Being highly inaccurate always in the same direction leads to people giving you the squinty eye about your biases waving in the wind for everyone to see.

zt

Peculiar – I wonder if Prof Slingo knew about this when she tried to convince the parliamentary inquiry that the climate models were accurate because the MET office runs the same code used to make climate predictions and to make weather forecasts?
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/uc387-i/uc38702.htm
(on errors in forecasts)
“Q210 Graham Stringer: You do not always get it right though, do you?
Professor Slingo: No, but that is not an error in the code; that is to do with the nature of the chaotic system that we are trying to forecast. Let us not confuse those. We test the code twice a day every day. We also share our code with the academic sector, so the model that we use for our climate prediction work and our weather forecasts, the unified model, is given out to academic institutions around the UK, and increasingly we licence it to several international met services: Australia, South Africa, South Korea and India. So these codes are being tested day in, day out, by a wide variety of users and I consider that to be an extremely important job that we do because that is how we find errors in our codes, and actually it is how we advance the science that goes into our codes as well. So of course, a code that is hundreds of thousands of lines long undoubtedly has a coding error in it somewhere, and we hope that through this process we will discover it. Most of the major testing is very robust.”
(always good to work in a ‘robust’)

JDN

Well, if the MET has vacated their space in the business of seasonal forecast, this is an exciting business opportunity. If Piers Corbyn is so good, let him fill the gap and claim the money (whatever it’s worth). This isn’t a swipe at him. The goal of a revolt is to replace the authorities. This is the opportunity.

zt

Should have included this as well….
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/uc387-i/uc38702.htm
“Professor Slingo: Yes. Around the UEA issue, of course, we did put the code out at Christmas time, before Christmas, along with the data because I felt very strongly that we needed to have the code out there so that it could be checked. If you think about the sorts of codes that we use in climate modelling, we are literally talking of hundreds of thousands of lines of code – I know because I have written some of them – and of course, there will be errors in them. At least for the UK the codes that underpin our climate change projections are the same codes that we use to make our daily weather forecasts, so we test those codes twice a day for robustness.
…emphasis added…

Robert Morris

HAHA! A certain Anthony Watts just had his email about the waste of cash represented by the Met Offices big shiny supercomputer read out on the BBC’s PM radio show.