The Met office and the BBC- caught cold

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From the blog autonomous mind, a cold ill wind blows from Britain. At least this time, FOI requests weren’t quashed like they were with CRU.  Below are excerpts. The photocopy of the email from the FOI request is telling.

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autonomous mind writes:

A look at the information makes clear there is nowhere left for the Met Office to hide.  The Met Office has been caught ‘cold’ lying about its winter forecast in a disgraceful attempt to salvage its reputation.  Its claim that it forecast the cold start to the winter lays in tatters thanks to an exchange of emails between the department and the Cabinet Office.

As a result the Met Office is completely discredited.  Also utterly discredited is the BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin, who on the Met Office’s behalf used a column in the Radio Times (later carried in the Telegraph and the Daily Mail) to state that:

In October the forecaster privately warned the Government – with whom it has a contract – that Britain was likely to face an extremely cold winter.

It kept the prediction secret, however, after facing severe criticism over the accuracy of its long-term forecasts.

Harrabin went on to say in his piece that:

Why didn’t the Met Office tell us that Greenland was about to swap weather with Godalming? The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren’t let in on the secret. “The reason? The Met Office no longer publishes its seasonal forecasts because of the ridicule it suffered for predicting a barbecue summer in 2009 – the summer that campers floated around in their tents.

The email exchange in the screenshot below proves this is a lie. The Cabinet Office civil servant (bottom message) confirms the weather outlook supplied by the Met Office earlier that day is what the government will use in its ‘Forward Look’.  The Met Office employee (top message) agrees with it.

(note- I rotated the original photocopy image to make it more readable)

The all important sentence is the first.  ‘The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter’.  The Met Office knew this was the case when it sent Harrabin scurrying off to spin its lie that the Met Office did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October‘.  The briefing to the Cabinet Office contains no such warning – and vindicates the parliamentary answer given by Francis Maude when questioned about the forecast the government received from the Met Office.

What is worse is that the Met Office knew this, yet with its claim tried to place responsibility for the lack of prepareness for an extremely cold start to the winter on government inaction.  Harrabin added to this by saying he had put in a FOI to the government (referenced in this post) to discover what they were told, the insinuation being it was the government that had something to hide.  This is very dangerous ground that leans towards the possibility of the Met Office and a BBC reporter engaging in a joint effort to undermine the government’s credibility.

This leads us to ask a serious question that must be answered: How is it possible that Roger Harrabin could claim the Met Office line he was retailing was the ‘truth’ with such certainty?

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Read the entire report at autonomous mind and also at Katabasis and give them traffic and props for seeing this through. In case anyone is wondering, the address in the document links here:

Organisation: Cabinet Office

Address: 3rd Floor, Kirkland House, 22 Whitehall

Town: London

County: Inner London Borough

Region: Greater London

Country: England

Post Code: SW1A 2WH

Tel: 0207 276 6226

Fax: 0207 276 6271

www.cabinet-office.gov.uk

For those new to the issue, some background here:

MetOffGate – the questions begin

Also, if you did not note it in the article link, this PDF of the FOI request is instructive.

h/t to Indur Goklany

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UPDATE: In comments, we have this –

I’ve met Roger Harrabin and am completely confident that he behaved with total integrity in this matter. I am sure that he was misled by his sources.

That may very well be true, but it leaves Mr. Harrabin in the uncomfortable position of defending sources or defending himself. I’ve sent him a  private communication offering WUWT with no caveats should he wish to use it a sa platform to explain his side of the story. – Anthony

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“Its claim that it forecast the cold start to the winter lays in tatters….” Is it proper to use the transitive form to lay instead of the intransitive to lie? The forecast lies in tatters?

old44

So, there was a 130% chance of milder, near average or colder conditions and a 50/50 chance of dry or wet, WOW!

Cold_is_the_new_hot

Ahh maybe I am missing something but the photocopy e-mail does include a summary which says that there is a slightly increased risk for a cold and wintry start and a mild end to the winter……
I hope fellow skeptics arent going to overplay things and make mountains over molehills.
Even if UK Met did warn the government of a cold start to winter it doesnt explain why they told everyone else something else.

The same Anti Irish autonomous mind? who I unsubscribed to! the plot thickens!

Well there was a 100% chance the met office would use the politicians as a scapegoat and now it seems there is a 100% chance the politicians will refuse to take the blame. United they stood, divided in lies they fall. So much for millions upon millions spent on computer modeling when our grandparents could have forecast the weather better.

Evan Jones

Wintergate?

MetOffice is going private anyways…

The AGW story now is how the dogma of climate change has stood between known climatic variations (and their scientific prediction) and public policy decision making.
The story extends from Snow clearing equipment at Heathrow to Desalination plants in Eastern Australia.

P.G. Sharrow

The only thing they were positive about, was that they were certain they had no idea what the winter would be like, maybe. Instead of a 40 million computer, why not a small coin that they could toss, might be more accurate. pg

Stephen Rasey

Re: Wintergate?
I don’t think so. Climategate and Watergate had break-ins in common. The Met Office fiasco only involves breaking ice.
I will keep an open mind. Perhaps along with Watergate and Climategate, Wintergate is another case of “Follow the Money.”

Clarence Causey

Looking at those statements, it seems a nice summary would have just been to say “…we don’t know…”, rather than what they actually said. But I guess if they did that, the “science” would be called into question, and let’s face it, a lot of people, scientists included, are clearly uncomfortable with the notion that despite all the brains and machines in the world brought to bear, maybe, just maybe, at the end of the day, it’s simply just not possible to know the real answer.

Andrew30

A 50%/50% chance of more/less precipitation
A 70%/60% change of colder/warmer
Three months in advance.
A 100% chance of warmer.
A 100% chance of more drought.
100 years in advance.
Big computers can only make Big predictions with Big leadtimes.
Please don’t confuse Climate Computers with Weather Computers.
Climate Computing is not Weather Computing.
If you want a weather prediction, get a coin.
If you want a climate prediction, send the coins to us.

rbateman

I have to wonder why the US East was so unprepared for heavy snows.
My gut instinct tells me that GISS had a hand in pushing it’s adjusted temperatures into the forecasts.
It’s time to call the US counterpart of the MET onto the rug.
Warmest evah and heavy sustained snow & cold does not compute.

Anything is possible

The Germans had no problem forecasting the cold five weeks in advance, and making proper preparations for it :
http://notrickszone.com/2010/10/20/cold-weather-silences-the-climate-media/
The $64,000 question for me is :
Is the Met Office merely incompetent, or is there a more sinister explanation? Did the “Green Mafia” who now run it deliberately suppress all talk of a cold winter because it doesn’t fit into their paradigm of a warming world?
Either way if, come October 2011, the British authorities want a decent forecast for Winter 2011-12, they should ask the Germans…..

wws

it may not be possible to know the answer- but that’s not the disgusting part. The really bad part is how they LIED when they were caught and then tried to pass the blame off to someone else! And what’s worse, they lied STUPIDLY about something that any fool would know could be quickly and easily checked!!!
Doesn’t say a whole lot for their smarts in general, does it? but it DOES say that they have absolutely no moral scruples whatsoever!!!

Just because they can’t get an accurate prediction a month out doesn’t prove they are wrong about 100 year prediction. It just proves they have no idea what they are talking about.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

The question at hand is not about the statement “70 per cent chance of near average or colder conditions” but of, supposedly, forecasting in October an “extremely” and “exceptionally cold early winter”. They are different. They are not the same.
…..extremely cold……. The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October
Near average or colder, and “no clear signals for the winter”, are what was said in October.
The Met will not be able to put a fig leaf over that. But the question remains, will this story make it into the media so the general population knows about it?

Amino Acids in Meteorites

How about MetGate?

Amino Acids in Meteorites

An all-of-the-above approach, put all the bad eggs in one basket:
GlobalWarmingGate

frank verismo

Chairman of the Met Office: Robert Napier
Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project ($64 trillion under management): Robert Napier.
Any questions?

Amino Acids in Meteorites

John Kehr says:
January 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm
Just because they can’t get an accurate prediction a month out doesn’t prove they are wrong about 100 year prediction. It just proves they have no idea what they are talking about.
BOL!!!

higley7

Ha!
This reveals exactly what I predicted: the MET Office did not suddenly and inexplicably become competent at forecasting. That would be unbelievable, and unlikely.

RockyRoad

This is what happens when a cult replaces science. The faster the MET and BBC are discredited the better. Let scientists do the work, not irrational climate theologians.

Mick

I think the MET Office using they ‘super-duper computer’ as a Jukebox:
coin-in-Political-Correctness-out. It’s your coin(s) …
It’s not the crime, but the cover-story!!

Steve from rockwood

There is a 70% chance of colder weather and a 60% chance of milder weather which gives a total 130% chance they are making up their forecast.

Neo

70 per cent chance of near average or colder conditions
60 per cent chance of near average or milder conditions

A quick application of set theory yields ..
40% colder conditions
30% near average conditions
30% milder conditions
Simple probability would have these 33%, 33%, and 33% (depending on your definition of “near average”)
This doesn’t look like the Met Office provided much “added value” to the effort to “guess the weather.”

pat

LOL. Cultists trying to predict the eclipse after the fact.

frank verismo

@RockyRoad:
This is what happens when a cult replaces science. The faster the MET and BBC are discredited the better.
Funny you should mention those two in the same sentence. Further to my previous post:
Head of the BBC’s pension fund: Peter Dunscombe
Head of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change: (wait for it . . . . ) Peter Dunscombe!
Does anyone else detect a pattern here?

Earle Williams

David Thomasq,
The forecast lies in tatters.
The Met Office lies in … ? Tatters? Or should that be spades?

frank verismo

P.s. – any wild guesses where Mr Dunscombe invested the BBCs pension funds?

FrankK

Caught with their pants down.
Reminds me of Faulty (sic) Towers with Basil Fawlty and noble cause Manuels. Kay!

MartinGAtkins

The Met Office are going to have to throw Harrabin under a bus and deny they told him they advised the Cabinet Office of an “extremely cold winter”. This should be fun because in trying to defend the Met Office, Harrabin is going to look like a gullible chump.

thingadonta

Trouble with predicting the future is that people can soon find out if you’re wrong, or if you change your mind, or if you cover up what you’ve said.
Once ideological expediency sets in, information is manipulated to the point where the manipulaters no longer know when they are lying, but with the future people soon find out who has succumbed to ideological expediency.
I don’t know the exact quote, but it’s one of my favourites:
“No person (or organisation) can wear two faces, without eventually not being able to tell which is which”.
Also: “No person (or organisation) can tell two-faced lies, without eventually not being able to tell what is true and what isn’t”.

Sean Peake

The Lie that came in from the cold.
It is one thing for the Met to be totally incompetent; it is quite another for the BBC to provide cover. Deliberate deception and conspiracy, pure and simple. Charges must be laid.

Peter Miller

Wsetern civilisation is buckling under the weight of having to finance armies of incompetent, often pointless, expensive bureaucrats.
The ‘climate scientists’ at the UK’s Met Office are just another example of this.

Old England

The most interesting part of this to me and to many other’s in Britain will not be the forecast, illuminating though it is.
It will be the snapshot of the email header which shows:
Town: London
County: Inner London Borough
Region: Greater London
Country: England
The significant part being “Region: Greater London” which shows that despite the public rejecting Regionalisation in the UK that the Cabinet Office views London as a Region of the EU. Precisely as EU bureaucrats demand.

Doug in Seattle

wws says:
January 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm
The really bad part is how they LIED when they were caught and then tried to pass the blame off to someone else! And what’s worse, they lied STUPIDLY about something that any fool would know could be quickly and easily checked!!!

Maybe, but I think what we are seeing here has more to do with the warmers having gotten away with big lies for so long that they don’t think about CYA.
Why would they? The press always covers them without checking – at least they always did!

tokyoboy

Snow is now raging in the western part of Japan:
http://www.jma.go.jp/jp/bosaijoho/radar.html#a_top
(Click bottom-left orange button for the past 3-hour movie at 10-min steps)
Our MET office predicts (probably correctly) it’s getting worse for 12 hours to come.

Phillip Bratby

Clearly the Met Office and the BBC have been conspiring to deflect attention from the Met Office’s incompetency and to place the blame on the UK Government. That is clear political interference by the BBC and Met Office. Heads should roll at the BBC and the Met Office.
Why is the UK Government doing nothing about this?

Gary Hladik

This doesn’t entirely absolve the government. They should know by now that when the Met forecasts an average winter, they should gear up for snowmageddon.

Amino Acids in Meteorites has given part of the key quote from the BBC’s Roger Harrabin in the Radio Times, which was picked up by various news sources, including the Press Association and thus The Independent on 4th January 2011:

The Met Office warned the Government that the start of this winter would be “exceptionally cold” but did not immediately inform the public.
It advised Cabinet Office planners in October that Britain was likely to be in for freezing conditions.
But it only issued a public alert a month before December’s hugely disruptive snow storms after changing its policy on releasing seasonal forecasts.
The BBC’s environment analyst, Roger Harrabin, said the Met Office did not publish its warning of bad weather because of the embarrassment caused by its mistaken prediction that the UK would bask in a “barbecue summer” in 2009.
He wrote in the Radio Times: “Why didn’t the Met Office tell us that Greenland was about to swap weather with Godalming?
“The truth is it did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren’t let in on the secret.
“The reason? The Met Office no longer publishes its seasonal forecasts because of the ridicule it suffered for predicting a barbecue summer in 2009 – the summer that campers floated around in their tents.”
The Met Office stopped issuing seasonal forecasts to the public in March last year, and now provides a rolling forecast for the next 30 days on its website.

Nobody in the Met Office denied the correctness of Harrabin’s claims. That means that the Met Office is guilty of deliberately misleading the British people over a matter of great importance.
As for Roger Harrabin, he needs to move fast to open up every bit of ‘evidence’ he was given to write what he did. Otherwise it’s looking terrible for him too.

I’ve met Roger Harrabin and am completely confident that he behaved with total integrity in this matter. I am sure that he was misled by his sources.

izen

Anything is possible says:
January 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm
“The Germans had no problem forecasting the cold five weeks in advance, and making proper preparations for it :”
Interesting that the German Weather service got it right.
Despite apparently sharing the same outlook on the climate that every other official weather service has, that of climate change caused by human production of Co2.
The German Weather service is here –
http://www.dwd.de/
Their position on AGW/climate change can be found in the link to -Klimawandel- in the column on the left.

Malcolm Carkeek

In the Met Office Initial Assessment of Risk for Winter 2010/11 document, it says “This will be updated monthly through the winter …”.
I wonder if anyone has FOIs in for the end of November, December and January updates.

Stefan

When people lie it is often using a half-truth. Maybe this is how AGW proponents mix the truth of cold events with the continued certainty it’ll get warmer in the log run. If one were lying to deceive then one would mix fact and fiction. But the nature of climate is defined as “statistical” anyway so facts are always being mixed with what is believed the climate is really doing. The similarity of this process to lying is too close and makes it hard to distinguish truth from error, as lies try to hide the truth, whilst statistics tries to reveal a hidden truth.

Myrrh

Who at the Met Office?

Martin Brumby

@Steve McIntyre says: January 29, 2011 at 12:22 am
I agree, Steve.
Unfortunately that still leaves him looking like a “Gullible Chump”, as MartinGAtkins puts it.
And I suspect that not wanting to rock the Cancun boat comes into the equation somewhere.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

Call Jo Abbess and her eco friendly crystal ball to save Harrabin’s backside

Perry

If Harrabin thinks that ‘The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter’., means “the Met Office ‘did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October”, then words do not have the meaning that I understand them to mean.
Thus, Steve McIntyre’s words above probably mean [snip – more civility please – mj] Correct me if anyone knows a different translation.
Regards,
Perry

It is entirely possible that whoever spoke to Roger Harrabin from the Met Office needs to explaim to Roger Harrabin very carfully ‘about advising him about a ‘secret’ extremely cold winter piece of advice to the government.
Roger is on the record as having now put an FOI request for this information. Which would indicate he did not see this email and depended on the word of someone at the Met Office (which he SHOULD be able to depend on)
I will look forward to him analysing this, and saying what the MET Office said, as it looks like the Met Office was trying to use the BBC to attack the Government.
I would definetly give Roger the benefit of the doubt, as he reported in the past, about Al Gore and aide standing over him and shouting, making him feel like a ‘climate sceptic traitor’ merely because he had asked an inconvenient question, about ‘An Inconvenient truth’
ie CO2 lags temp in the icecore data
BBC: The Heat and Light of Global Warming – Oct 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7040370.stm
Roger also repeated this encounter in his recent BBC program ‘Uncertain Climate’, not the actions of someone covering for one side.
Perhaps he has been a little to trusting of some of those on the warmer side of the debate. I am sure he will be asking why the discrepancy, between what he was ‘told’ and the FOI evidence he has requested, part of which? is now in the public domain.