Guest post by Steven Goddard
On July 23, 2009 the UK Met Office issued their infamous winter forecast, ahead of the coldest winter in 50 years. It read:
“…Early indications are that winter temperatures are likely to be near or above average over much of Europe including the UK. For the UK, Winter 2009/10 is likely to be milder *(and wetter) than last year “.
I remember reading the article on the Met Office web site at the time. But something funny happened on December 30, 2009. The Met Office over wrote that link with a new article titled “Forecast for the rest of Winter 2009/10” which has no mention of the original prediction. It now reads:
…for the rest of winter, over northern Europe including the UK, the chance of colder conditions is now 45%; there is a 30% chance of average and a 25% chance of milder conditions.
Their original warm winter forecast seems to have been scrubbed from the web site, and there are no longer any press releases dated July 23.
According to The Independent, the winter forecast seems to have been updated on September 29, but the Met Office no longer has any press releases with that date either.
The Met Office came under tremendous fire as a result of their disastrously bad winter prediction
The Big Question: Should the BBC drop the Met Office as its official weather forecaster? By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
And this lead them to drop their seasonal forecasts, which have been notoriously poor in recent years. What could have motivated them to destroy their original winter forecast?
[From AW– Note: unlike government services in the USA, the UK Met Office gets bonuses, see their benefits package:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/recruitment/benefits.html So, this might be an incentive to remove poor work products.
The Times did a story about it last August after the BBQ summer fiasco: It’s raining bonuses at the Met Office
And the Met Office Chief, despite botched forecasts, got a 25% pay increase in January 2010, according to this Telegraph story:
The head of the Met Office, the national weather service which has been heavily criticised for getting its forecasts wrong, is now paid more than the Prime Minister, after receiving a 25 per cent pay rise.
For the record, here are a few of of their other classic mis-predictions:
2007 – forecast to be the warmest year yet Wrong – la Nina hit and temperatures plummeted.
Met Office forecast for Summer 2007 Hot summer – Wrong – it was the wettest summer on record with cold daytime temperatures.
A typical British summer 2008 Wrong – it was the second wettest summer on record with cold daytime temperatures.
Trend of mild winters continues 2008 Wrong – it was the coldest winter in 15 years.
Summer forecast 2009 “Barbecue Summer” 2009 Wrong – another miserable washout of a summer.
Warming could push Greenland ice sheet beyond ‘tipping points’ Complete nonsense