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.
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.
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?
Organisation: Cabinet Office
Address: 3rd Floor, Kirkland House, 22 Whitehall
County: Inner London Borough
Region: Greater London
Post Code: SW1A 2WH
Tel: 0207 276 6226
Fax: 0207 276 6271
For those new to the issue, some background here:
Also, if you did not note it in the article link, this PDF of the FOI request is instructive.
h/t to Indur Goklany
UPDATE: In comments, we have this –
Steve McIntyre says:
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