Putting Piers Corbyn to the test

I’ve been given a link in email today to a public forecast page for July by weather prognosticator Piers Corbyn, which you can investigate in full yourself here. I find his web pages and forecasts hard to read, and even harder to accept any more, because in my opinion, he presents them like a carnival barker with overuse of  exclamation points, bright colors, over bolded texts, random font changes, and fantastic claims. It tends to set off my BS meter like some tabloid newspapers do. Here’s his USA forecast for July:

[UPDATE: 7/8/12 – The full USA forecast has been made available by Mr. Corbyn and is available here for your inspection: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/usa-1207-july-inc-public-summary-news-page-full-fc-key-usa-maps-and-extremes-slat8a-prod-29jun.pdf ]

Some people say however, that despite all that unnecessary gaudiness, he makes accurate predictions. Because he’s made a public forecast and advertised its availability, urging “people to pass the links on”,  here’s a chance to find out if he demonstrates the skill that is claimed.

He made this bold claim yesterday:

“Terrible weather is coming the world over this July so WeatherAction has issued free summary long range forecasts for USA and for Europe…”

He sounds like Joe Romm or Bill McKibben talking about “climate disruption”. Of course, it could just be another July in the northern hemisphere. Here’s the rest:

The USA pdf link is issued today on July 4th to go with the Europe link issued the day before. We urge people to pass the links on.

“We also expect very serious near simultaneous solar-activity driven deluges and stormy conditions around the world during our top Red Warning R5 and R4 periods. Any communication of the forecasts must acknowledge WeatherAction”

– Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist WeatherAction long range weather and climate forecasters

WeatherAction Free Summary Forecast for July USA:-

“Could it get worse? Yes!” – Extreme thunderstorms, giant hail and ‘out-of control’ forest fires’

pdf link = http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews12No32.pdf

(or no links twitpic = http://twitpic.com/a3y28b/full )

WeatherAction PUBLIC warning Europe July 2012 “Off-the-scale” Flood & Fire extremes likely (WA12No31)

pdf link = http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews12No31.pdf

(or no links twitpic = http://twitpic.com/a3p7pm/full )

The USA forecast map he provides is a bit hard to read, since it seems he scanned it in from print…note the dot patterns in the graphics. I present it here from his PDF page.

Here’s his forecast page for Europe:

He lists “off scale” weather in NW Europe is one of the claims. I wonder how one should define “off scale” weather.

As Carl Sagan once said:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

So now that Mr. Corbyn has put forth some extraordinary claims, we can catalog here the evidence to support those claims, and revisit the results at the end of the month. I urge readers to continue to post both pro and con evidence here as the month progresses. I’ll put a link to this thread in the WUWT sidebar so readers can add information that might be relevant.

Since Corbyn is a fellow climate skeptic, let’s give him a fair but factual evaluation to find out if these claims hold up, of if he’s simply following the path of some prognosticators of the past, such as Jeane Dixon, who made claims so broad that even a small kernel of happenstance occurrences after the fact were used to justify confirmation of the prediction. According to the Wikipedia page on Dixon:

John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term “the Jeane Dixon effect,” which refers to a tendency to promote a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger number of incorrect predictions.

I don’t know that is what is going on here with Corbyn or not, but since he’s put out an open forecast, let’s find out. Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE: here’s a video of Corbyn explaining his methods:

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Editor
July 5, 2012 8:29 am

Anthony, I’d encourage readers to post their own hyperbolic forecasts — and then verify all of them at the end of the month. Winners could be paid in gold pressed latinum.
In terms of the Urban Heat Island effect and record high temperatures: I propose we stop fiddling with the current data. Just accept it as 100% truth. Go back and adjust the older temperatures upwards instead. That’s the standard practice in climate science anyways.

dp
July 5, 2012 8:29 am

To answer the question, posed I presume to an unthinking audience, “Could it get worse?”, of course it can and of course it will. Nature breaks records non-stop. This is tabloid weather at its worst. Reading past the headlines sucks knowledge from your skull – avoid it.

Eric
July 5, 2012 8:31 am

I would assume the “‘Out of Control’ Forest Fires” in the US for July would not include the ones already burning?

Farmer Charlie.
July 5, 2012 8:34 am

The Jeane Dixon effect:
I used to go to point-to-points in Hampshire, England with someone whose ability to have money on the winning horse was legendary. Some years later, someone tailed him as he placed his bets. He worked his way round all the bookies, backing every horse.

Edohiguma
July 5, 2012 8:37 am

Well, what I can say from watching the weather here in Austria, it doesn’t seem to be any different than every other July before. It’s hot, pretty much as hot as it gets in the local climate here in Vienna, with occasional thunderstorms. They’re not yet cooling anything, since it’s July. They usually start having a lasting effect in August (and tend to be more severe too.)
As for the flooding that he expects, those wouldn’t be anything new, really. Every so and so many odd years we get hit by one of the big ones. And in endangered areas there are floods every year. Some regions here are even more prone to floods and massive thunderstorms with hail. For example, the areas south-eastern and southern Styria are well known to have massive hail every year, and that goes back as far as I can remember. I remember as a kid, in the early 80s, my family almost got into such a storm with dad’s new car. I expect business as usual for local fire brigades and rescue services. There will be damages, but honestly, I don’t think they’ll be extremely off the average of the past decades.

July 5, 2012 8:40 am

When Piers made a set of very definite predictions about the extreme weather we would experience in May, I decide to pay for May’s forecast and see if I could check it’s accuracy.
My thoughts on it – http://mrsean2k.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/weather-action-reports-8/ – include some samples from the more quantitative portions of the report without the hyperbole.
Note that the portions of the report I show are from public domain examples, not from the paid version, in keeping with the terms and conditions.
I came to the same conclusion WRT it’s presentation – in dire need of improvement – but more problematically, I just couldn’t see how the way he makes his claims can be evaluated in a consistent and objective way.

DavidS
July 5, 2012 8:40 am

Piers said that May in the UK was going to be the coldest on record. It wasn’t!
I think he said 80% chance it would be coldest ever and 90% chance it would be a top 5 cold May. It was cool early in the month, but warm for the last 10 days or so, which meant we never got close to even a top 5 cold month. He is to be comended for putting his forecasts out there, but I haven’t yet seen him put his hand up and say, ‘I got that one a bit wrong’. But then who does!

Brian
July 5, 2012 8:45 am

So, he is a warmer now?

Brian
July 5, 2012 8:47 am

As an Englishman who has followed this site for a while, and never posted, let me just say that Piers is what we call lovably eccentric. However; it seems to me he is always more on the money than any Met office guess. Lets see, shall we.

H.R.
July 5, 2012 8:49 am

If the jet stream holds current position, Piers will look golden. If it moves, he’ll be the goat.
.
.
I like Ryan Maue’s suggestion. We can amuse ourselves while waiting to see how Corbyn’s predictions pan out.
I predict FROGS FALLING FROM THE SKY possibly in the midwest or thereabouts and possibly Algiers or Machu Pichu. At any rate, I’m sure they will be falling somewhere according to my general multichaotic nonlinear cat-circulation model (GMNCCM). My climate model is built on accurate observations of the general circulation of my 2 purebred Ragdoll cats as they nap, prowl, chase each other up, down, and all around as they beat the hell out of each other before passing out in a heap together. So far, it’s been remarkably accurate in forcasting hairsballs upchucked on the carpet and is consistent with rainy days.

Paul Coppin
July 5, 2012 8:50 am

We experienced record temperatures in several southern Ontario cities yesterday. Temperatures not seen since 1955. So what does this tell us? That its been at least this hot on July 4 in 1955 here. Big whup. That since 1955, the land mass of the cities in question have tripled(or more) in area of urban development, the bulk of which has been large scale urban/suburban residential and light industrial mix, acres of tar roofs and asphalt parking and roadways, including boxing the airport at which the readings are taken with square miles of heat entrapping materials. That the airport itself has had a probable increase of 10 fold in air traffic volume over its template. That the area committed to vehicular traffic and high speed highways mirrors the development of the airport.
So the likeliest conclusion? It wasn’t as warm yesterday as it was in 1955, in terms of climate driven temperature. Do we see UHI driven local convective activity? You betcha. Do we have more buildings to blow over and knock down? You betcha. Do we have more people to be affected and notice it all? A REALLY BIG you betcha.

Alan the Brit
July 5, 2012 8:53 am

To be fair, I think Piers said that it was possible that May would be the coldest “ever recorded”. I note also that the Met Office rounded up May with temperatures “around normal” for the time of year, requiring them to used every scrap of warmth in the last few days of that month, & probably night time temperatures as well to make it so! We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!

Caz in BOS
July 5, 2012 8:57 am

Brian@ 8:47 am has it right. Mr. Corbyn should be judged not by the pure accuracy (or not!) of his predictions, but whether they are MORE accurate than the next best thing. So that is now the question: Who else will throw down an alternative?

Brian H
July 5, 2012 9:03 am

As a forecaster, I give Piers a ??
As a webpage designer, an F-. Absolutely putrid.

July 5, 2012 9:05 am

Well for the next best thing for NA? How about Farmer’s Almanac?

Steve R W.
July 5, 2012 9:05 am

Grab a kilo of popcorn. You’ll need it.
This post is going to be fascinating.

Chris Hope
July 5, 2012 9:05 am

I analysed Piers Corbyn’s prediction for May in the UK at http://www.chrishopepolicy.com/2012/05/how-cold-is-may/
Short answer: He was wrong. I will be interested to see how wrong he is in July.
@cwhope

Slabadang
July 5, 2012 9:07 am

Lets be fair and critical at the same time!
Ive followed Piers for many years now and I am very certain in my conclusions that Piers has some prediction skills far beyond standard meteorology. But hes a pure disaster when it comes to structure management and communication and is in desperate need of support ´with an organisation that mirrors his ambitions. Im very glad that he gets the attention that his SLAT method deserves and on WUWT we all get the fantastic access to knowledege and scrutany in an fantastic forum. Piers has really stuck his neck down in a snake pit and his claims is very controversial in both parts of the sceptic camp as well in the CAGW one. And I m sure Piers will be here to comment as well.
The last “Coldest May in a hundred years” has been critizised and Im trying to find any forecast that was better than Piers….. has anyone who did? Met office?? lol!!

JA
July 5, 2012 9:14 am

Imagine you are a climate scientist (with access to modern computers , satellites, and other modern analytical procedures, etc) and you are experiencing the 30th year of the mini-ice age that the earth experienced a few hundred years ago.
You run some fancy schmancy computer analyses, etc etc and you proclaim with utmost certainty;
“there is simply no doubt that given the advance of the arctic ice sheets and below average – and remarkably consistent below average temperatures- over the last 30 years, we can expect much of the Northern Hemisphere to be covered in ice sheets in 20 years. In fact, there is simply no doubt that we are in the very early stages of a new ice age that should last at least several thousand years. Canada and the northern USA will be buried under ice sheets at least 5000 feet thick, as will much of Russia.
Of course, this climate scientist would have been totally wrong.
Extrapolating recent trends of the last 10 or 20 or 50 or even100 years always assumes that the future will unfold as the past. Yet, the earth’s climatic history has been shown to be unpredictable. A forthcoming ice age does not in fact become an ice age just because it has been cold for 50 or100 or 200 years. . A period of warming ends in cooling, not hotter and hotter climate and ever higher and higher CO2 levels.
If CO2 causes warming, than previous very hot periods that lasted thousands of years should have produced ever higher and higher CO2 levels that , literally, should have burned off our atmosphere. But it did not. In fact, all these really warm periods ended in global cooling or in an ice age.

climatebeagle
July 5, 2012 9:17 am

Isn’t that forecast map from June and for June29th-July 1st?
It is in the pdf for the July outlook for the US, but seems to there to prove the June forecast was correct (see the arrow to the picture of the fire).
The actual July forecast seems vague, “searing heat will grip West/South” for where I live. How can you evaluate that, if only some areas have searing heat, if Arizona is hot will that count, even though it usually is?

July 5, 2012 9:19 am

It’s right and proper that WUWT should scrutinise Piers’s predictions with the same scepticism applied to the AGW religion.
The Hockey Team ‘keep the faith’ with each other in sordid collusion, never contradicting each other, keeping the Global Warming Gravy Train running.
True science is what’s left when all attempts at falsification fail. Good on you Anthony for holding Mr. Corbyn to the same standards as The Team. The truth is indivisible.

ARW
July 5, 2012 9:21 am

On the question of record heat/cold. One should expect that as our historical record data base extends with time the frequency of record highs and lows should diminish. If we had a set of weather records extending back 1 billion years, a series of closely spaced high or low termperatures might mean something. Unfortunatley the relative “abundance’ of headline weather extremes is simply indicative of a data base that is short in length, relative to the entire possible population of temperature measurements and therefore is essentially useless for determining the relative severity of a weather event(s).

pokerguy
July 5, 2012 9:24 am

Bastardi has the same over the top, ego driven style, though not as extreme. I really dislike this style of forecasting as it gives the impression of rooting for catastrophe. I’ve been following Bastardi for many years now, and there’s no question in my mind he roots for damaging weather events as a means to showing what a good forecaster he is. PLus, he just finds it exciting.
That said, he is good. One of the very best. So that’s the bottom line. I’m less familiar with Corbyn’s record.

JFB
July 5, 2012 9:30 am

Hello, I think we are returning to 1950-1970 climate conditions. The planet is cooling again, and extreme weather will be back like that times. Is very likely that we must live hard times in the next decades.
The more clever warmists knows that, and they are playing the game (more frequent weather extremes, blá, blá). This is the new challenge to sceptics. How explain this to ordinary peoples that have no memory about ? I think is good start to explain right now. Call Goddard!!! 🙂

daveburton
July 5, 2012 9:36 am

For the USA, I agree with the prediction of “out-of control’ forest fires.” What else should we expect, after the Obama Administration gutted the U.S. Forrest Service’s aerial firefighting capabilities? Eleven months ago the Obama Administration abruptly cancelled the contract for the U.S. Forest Service’s best firefighting aircraft, “the backbone of the aerial firefighting arsenal.”
But the hand that taketh away also giveth: President Obama offered hugs and money to the victims.

spartacusisfree
July 5, 2012 9:37 am

1. Piers admits he got the last 10 days of may wrong and has learnt from it.
2. His method is to develop a form of expert system into which he puts solar/lunar data. his present predictions are based on the low magnetic field of the sun making weather similar to the early years of the LIA.
3. His visceral hatred of the IPCC/Met. Office modelling scam is based on the dilution of standard meteorology in favour of an imaginary CO2 effect. The Met. Office meteorologists are fighting back against the dumb modellers but have clearly been forbidden from bringing Piers into the fold.

Sleepalot
July 5, 2012 9:38 am

For the UK, I predict seagulls with speeds up to 30 mph in coastal areas, with the possibility of ice-cream later.

matt v.
July 5, 2012 9:39 am

Canadian weather forecasters have predicted a warm and dry summer for Central Canada .Personally I see this extra warm weather extending all the way to September possibly. A similar pattern existed in 1949. So all the erratic weather events associated with extra warm weather are a real possibility especially at the boundary areas between the warm and colder regions . Some of these erratic events have already happened to date in June like extra rain and heavy floods in some areas, hail, high wind and tornadoes , power black outs, etc. Europe often gets some of its weather from across the Atlantic as can be seen via the current jet stream patterns . Some of this western warmer air is going to get to Europe like the heat from El Nino events does but slightly lagged . So some of Corbyn’s predictions are no surprise. I am not surprised at his predictions . They may not all happened to the degree he states but he quite rightly is waving a flag of a threat that may be real for some parts of Europe and North America.

stephen richards
July 5, 2012 9:44 am

I agree, it’s a shame that Piers behaves the way he does. His site is appalling and his forecasts over sensationalised. However, his forecasts, which are based on betting methods, do appear to be better than the standard Met off (which appear to be useless).
I’m on holiday in SW england from france and have watched carefully all this weeks forecasts. I give the Met Off 0/10. This is where their HQ is. We saw rain where they forecast sun and cloud and rain in lieu of cloud. Not one day correct.

Oldjim
July 5, 2012 9:48 am

Regarding the UK the current weather warnings from the Met Office for Friday are fairly horrible http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
and from the local Manchester paper they are reporting 50mm rain
http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1582677_weather-warning-flooding-alert-as-50mm-of-rain-is-forecast-to-fall-in-greater-manchester?all_comments=1

Steve C
July 5, 2012 9:51 am

I agree with everyone else about Piers’ graphic design – not the easiest on the eye. But it’s a bold move and (while not looking forward to the predicted weather) I wish him well with it.
I think an appropriate response to people who point out that (for instance) it wasn’t the coldest UK May in a century is to point out that Piers, like any forecaster, updates his prognosis later if things start deviating from his forecasts, but also improves his model. The first three weeks of May fitted his prediction very well, and I recall from watching the charts at the time that during the fourth week there were a couple of shonking great lows which sat to the west of us all week. Assuming that Piers’ original assessment was that those lows would be over the UK in the fourth week, he would likely have been spot on for the whole month – and from a darn sight further ahead than the Met Office would try. As it was, he revised his theory and came up with a newer version which (presumably) tried to build in whatever blocked those lows from reaching us.
But as Alan the Brit says, if he wasn’t any good at it he wouldn’t still be in business. FWIW, the Met Office promised us torrential downpours here in the Midlands only this morning; as I write it’s a shade over 26°C and 21% RH outside, with the sun out most of the afternoon. Now, I’m off to re-wax my jacket!

stephen richards
July 5, 2012 9:52 am

Chris Hope says:
July 5, 2012 at 9:05 am
I analysed Piers Corbyn’s prediction for May in the UK at http://www.chrishopepolicy.com/2012/05/how-cold-is-may/
Short answer: He was wrong. I will be interested to see how wrong he is in July
So where is it that you work, Chris? His forecast was 75% correct. It was far more accurate than the “above normal temps, below normal rain of your met off. Don’t expect too many people to ask for your analyses techniques. They are abysmal.

July 5, 2012 10:02 am

Thank you Anthony for taking a measured, cool, truly scientific look at a hot, sometimes-inspired guy. Your points are well made.
Slabadang says: July 5, 2012 at 9:07 am
Lets be fair and critical at the same time!
Ive followed Piers for many years now and I am very certain in my conclusions that Piers has some prediction skills far beyond standard meteorology. But hes a pure disaster when it comes to structure management and communication…

This looks like a considered statement, thanks. My own impression is that Corbyn used to win overall (not every time) at the betting shops on his forecasts, and they had to stop him betting. I also seem to remember that Boris the Mayor of London listened to him rather than the Met Office and thereby London was prepared for the freak snow and ice we had December 2010.

AnonyMoose
July 5, 2012 10:09 am

“Off-scale” rain, thunder-floods, giant hail, gales & tornado damage likely in NW Europe

A starting point is to check the measurements of July rain and see if any of those are off-scale. I look forward to the thunder-flood measurement graphs. I think the giant hail might depend upon the current beanstalk crops. Crystal Gale’s tour schedule does not list Europe at all, so damage is not likely from her; I don’t know how many other gales will be there.
RyanMaue: +1

TomRude
July 5, 2012 10:14 am

I think it’s a tad disingenuous to take one set of predictions and grill the guy if it does not completely materialize, just as Chris Hope did in his pubescent blog. So the last ten days of May changed the forecast… big deal: 20 days were miserable and the switch occured one week earlier.
Yes Corbyn appears quite a character but do we truly believe that if he was making no waves his work would be noticed?
Finally comparing him to McKibben, Romm is totally unfair.

Jimbo
July 5, 2012 10:15 am

Since Corbyn is a fellow climate skeptic, let’s give him a fair but factual evaluation to find out if these claims hold up,…

Whether right or wrong his claims are testable unlike the CAGW cheerleaders.

Editor
July 5, 2012 10:16 am

I don’t understand how I’m supposed to tell if Piers is right or not. He only makes four “forecasts” that are so vague that Nostradamus would be proud of them:

• Waves of major thunderstorms, tornadoes and giant hail continue mainly in N/E parts.
• Searing heat will grip West / South parts with extremely dangerous ‘out-of-control’ forest fires especially later in month.
• Frequent low pressure over Great Lakes / N/E
• Variable band of high(er) pressure from NW to SE parts divides USA through July

As far as I can see, not one of those is specific enough to be falsifiable. How hot is “searing”? How many fires? Just how high is a “variable band of high(er) pressure”? How “frequent” will the low pressure be, and how low does it have to be to count?
I like Piers, and I’ve corresponded with him. But I keep waiting for him to make an actual verifiable checkable falsifiable forecast. Perhaps he’s made one, I haven’t checked them all, but the ones I have looked at have been the equivalent of these, vague claims about “searing” heat and “frequent low pressure”.
My own forecast is that we will continue to have waves of thunderstorms, tornadoes, forest fires, and frequent instances of high and low pressure, particularly over the NE, SW, NW, and SE parts of the US.
w.

July 5, 2012 10:17 am

His site has some design elements in common with http://timecube.com/ . His prediction style is getting a little “alarmist” and shot-gun style – I’m sure in the barrage of shouty assertions on those pages (I didn’t have the mental stamina to wade in very far) SOME of those predictions will stick.

Skeptikal
July 5, 2012 10:27 am

My cynical view is that this “open public release” is nothing more than a marketing ploy. Even if none of his predictions eventuate, he’ll have generated traffic to his site and maybe sold a few subscriptions.

Kev-in-UK
July 5, 2012 10:34 am

Just my twopenneth
1) ALL forecasting of specific weather over a period of greater than say, a week, is fairly fanciful – and anyone who feels it is not is dreaming IMHO.
2) Thus, it follows that any such forecasting must be ‘speculative’ and must be described in fairly broad terms. So, I don’t think it’s fair to pick on Piers’ textural context too much! (though his site and hyperbole is indeed excruciating!). But my first thought was to recall the quatrains of Nostradamus and the inumerable events ascribed to his drivelling writings!
3) Our resident comedians at the UK MetOffice are no better – in fact probably an awful lot worse (but that would require lots of analysis to demonstrate!), especially when they talk about weather ‘probability’ – things like 33% chance warmer, 33% chance colder and 33% chance of ‘average’ – LOL – and I’m sure their computer cost a darned lot more than Corbyns’??
4) My counter argument to Piers’ claims of accuracy and ability would be to demonstrate his method(s). If they are shown to be valid, even 80% of the time, they would be worthwhile to know? Only then, perhaps, would his apparent eccentric and egotistical behaviour become somewhat more acceptable to us general skeptics!

Bryan
July 5, 2012 10:39 am

In March Piers gave two low probability predictions for the UK April/May.
Winds from East and colder East coast but warmer west.
Much higher than average rain.
Both predictions were against the usual UK pattern.
The UK met office predicted a drier than usual period and thus supported the hosepipe ban being introduced.
Piers was proved uncannily correct.
In May for UK June Piers predicted cold wet and large hailstones.
The reason he said was the Jet stream moving south and blocking.
UK met office predicted usual weather for period.
Piers was proved uncannily correct.
The final irony was in late June the UK met office came up with a reason for the unusual wet cold weather
The reason was the Jet stream moving south and blocking.
So in LATE JUNE the BBC showed the recently updated theory from the met office with a graphic that was almost an exact copy of Piers graphic produced in MAY.
Talk about a clear embarrassment for the establishment.

Paul
July 5, 2012 10:40 am

A good post Anthony. I agree Corbyn’s presentation and communication skills are bizarre, eccentric and very possibly unhinged at times. He lets himself down with how bad it is. I also think his forecasts(I bought December 2011’s forecast) are too hard to follow to be of use. As far as how accurate his predictions are…

Lex
July 5, 2012 10:40 am

I think mentioning Piers Corbyn here is far to much honour for this guy. Piers Corbyn made himself ridiculous in NW Europe around 2009. His forecast were all extremely incorrect and to attract more attention he came with the wildest forecasts (superstorms), which again were also correct.
Europeans start to grin when they hear his name

Editor
July 5, 2012 10:44 am

As far as the UK is concerned, the Met Office say :-

The probability that UK precipitation for July/August/September will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 20% whilst the probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is also around 20% (the 1971-2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/6/3/A3-plots-precip-JAS.pdf
Instead of a £300 million computer, perhaps we should have given them a coin to toss.

July 5, 2012 10:46 am

Why is that horrible, nasty Sun doing this to us?

July 5, 2012 10:48 am

What a nasty thing for a friendly Sun to do to us.

July 5, 2012 10:51 am

Hi
I support and promote Piers Corbyn at ClimateRealists.com, and you are right that he makes claims that are wrong some of the time, but in general he IS right MOST of the time in the way the weather unfolds during a month. The Met Office issue a “higher then” or “lower then” average temperature forecast along with “dryer” or “wetter” then average that is little of use and they have millions of tax payers funding to do this.
Piers is way ahead of the MO but as he does not support “man made” climate change, he has no funding, instead he has real customers who want real result, and they are happy with what he does.
I posted the recent Front page news article about his 100 year cold UK May prediction issued in the “Daily Express” in MID APRIL it went wrong for the last ten days of May due to a huge Sunspot going off later then Piers or anyone else had forecast and it threw this prediction out for 10 days by changing the jet stream location to a higher track. After ten days of the jet stream resumed its original location and the UK reverted to having a much cooler June then the MO or anyone else had forecast. What im trying to say is Piers has a very good way of forecasting weather patterns in advance using the predictable solar events on the Sun. But if the Sun does something unexpected then as we noticed in the UK at the end of May, the forecast kicks in again!
Take a look at this link from ClimateRealists.com and you will see what i am saying:
http://climaterealists.com/?id=9746

David Walton
July 5, 2012 10:52 am

Re Ryan Maue: \”Anthony, I’d encourage readers to post their own hyperbolic forecasts.\”
Here are my predictions for July:
Searing burgers, steaks, and sausage will dominate the West. Consumption of massive quantities of slow smoke barbecue and beer will cover the South East and South West. There will be an epidemic of children nation wide playing in pools, streams, and lakes. Summertime pandemonium will ensue across the land. Young lovers will seek cool shady and private places, people will get sunburned, fatso\’s (like me) will wear inappropriate clothing and cause laughter. Massive groups of teenagers will gather in public places and hang out. There will be copious quantities of cotton candy, funnel cakes, kettle corn and other questionable food items consumed at county and state fairs. A bunch of tweakers will set up camp next to you and blast heavy metal music all day and night.
(I wish I had the skills to change text size, font, boldness, and italics in all of the above.)
It is going to be another long and horrid summer.

AJB
July 5, 2012 10:52 am

I’m more intrigued by how his SLAT technique is reputed to work. Solar wind + lunar position used to lookup conditions in the past giving forecasts months ahead. Doesn’t that mean Piers must be able to predict solar flares and coronal holes? I’d love to know how he does that.

Ged
July 5, 2012 10:54 am

Just by looking at the spacial daily temperature and how it’s been changing over time, versus the ENSO… I’ll throw out a “July will be milder and gentler, temp and weather wise respectively, than June for the central and eastern continental United States. The Pacific NW will warm versus July averages relative to June.”
Let’s see how well an almost totally random prediction like that will work relative to his!

July 5, 2012 10:54 am

Does anyone have an old copy of the Magazine ‘Analog” from about 1962? It carried a fact article that if I remember properly was entitled “Is Astrology Bunkum?” The magazine used weather forecasts from the planetary positions and compared them to the USA weather bureau and predictions by roulette wheel. The planets one hands down. I lost my copy in a house move.

Brian
July 5, 2012 11:01 am

So, it’s that he thinks we’re headed for another Ice Age. So it just has to be one or the other.

Editor
July 5, 2012 11:06 am

Looking at the Hadley Centre records going back to 1766, summer rainfall (J/J/A) for England & Wales, which averages 196mm for 1971-2000, exceeded 300mm thirty times, or about once every 8 years.
However since 1958, the only occurrence was 2007, which suggests we have been in a run of unusually dry summers in recent decades. The wettest years were 1879 and 1912.
If July and August come out on average this year will be around 290mm.
I’ll post up in more detail tomorrow.

John Edmondson
July 5, 2012 11:14 am

Piers is better than the Met Office, which admittedly is not saying much.
The Met office stopped their quarterly forecasts because they were hopeless. Can anyone remember their infamous “barbeque summer” farcecast?
However, the Met Office are about to get a new computer (£42,000,000). I am not building up my hopes that forecasts will be better, but at least they will be quicker.
Currently we have from the Met Office for where I live:-
“Issued at – 05 Jul 2012, 13:47
Valid from – 05 Jul 2012, 14:00
Valid to – 05 Jul 2012, 23:55
Scattered heavy showers or thunderstorms are likely at times on Thursday, particularly during the afternoon and evening, with the potential for some torrential downpours in places. Southeastern areas of England are at less risk than areas further north, with any showers there tending to clear later.
The public should be aware that these showers, where they occur, may lead to surface water flooding.”
Actual weather – bone dry.

AJB
July 5, 2012 11:16 am

Anyone thinking that SLAT must involve a lag between incoming solar wind conditions + lunar position and resulting weather forecast should note this post from Piers in the “Biggest solar storm since 2005” thread in late January:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/24/biggest-solar-storm-since-2005/#comment-874936

Great stuff. This is the driver of our current top level (on the scale 1 to 5) ‘R5′ red warning of solar-weather effects and increased major earthquake (trial) risk ~25-26 Jan. It is on time

P. Solar
July 5, 2012 11:16 am

Alan the Brit says: We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!
False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?

Ross Lea
July 5, 2012 11:24 am

Anthony: You do not have to wait you can check Piers record historically. Presumably past weather is recorded in detail so all you have to do is obtain his forecasts and check them against the actual wearther, Earth Quakes etc. Also to be fair you should do the same with the Met Off and a U.S. weather forecasters. I look forward to the results.

Vince Causey
July 5, 2012 11:25 am

As I sit here in Derbyshire, England, we’ve just been visited by a downpour extreme in both intensity and duration. The Met office never forecast this. Latest forecast at 18:00 was for rain to move into England from the West by dawn tomorrow.

Frosty
July 5, 2012 11:27 am

For a fairer assessment would it not be better to pay for the full 9 page forecast? Seems this 1 page taster is designed to get people to do just that! If my business depended on the weather I would subscribe for Piers forecasts, I find them much more accurate than the MO for the longer range, the May forecast put out in the middle of April saved me a ton of work replanting seedlings. However the forecasts are too expensive to justify for a hobby weather watcher like me, so I make do with the rather ambiguous free summaries.
Looking at the warm spot in the North Atlantic SST anomaly map pointed out by Mr. Tisdale the other day, coupled with the Southerly track of the jet-stream viewable on the stomsurfing model [1], I think it is safe to assume the UK will be getting above average rainfall for the next couple of weeks.
[1] http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=glob_250

July 5, 2012 11:28 am

Anyway, what Piers predict can’t be worse than the long range weather forecasts we hear sometimes from the multimillion dollar/euro computer programs of the different Meteorological Services (you know the notorious “soft winters without snow” forecasts of the UK Met Office…). A few months ago, the different programs were tested on their predictions and the skill was about 50%, as good as what the average fortune teller would do. With a crystal ball at a fraction of the price of the computers…

Peter S
July 5, 2012 11:32 am

From a graphic design point of view, I think Piers’ website looks fantastic. In an age of overly-polished, off-the-shelf, formulaic, WordPress-style dull conformity, it is refreshing indeed to see a website governed more by its proprietor’s enthusiasm for his work than by a preoccupation with the vagaries of fashion which one normally associates with a high street teenage boutique.
The web needs far more websites like Piers’. And it is a lesser place without them.

Editor
July 5, 2012 11:32 am

Co2Sceptic says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

Hi
I support and promote Piers Corbyn at ClimateRealists.com, and you are right that he makes claims that are wrong some of the time, but in general he IS right MOST of the time in the way the weather unfolds during a month.

As I pointed out above, his forecast for July is so vague as to be useless. If you ask believers, they’ll tell you that astrology IS right MOST of the time … but again, that’s just because the prognostications are vague and can apply to just about any result.
Is Piers more accurate than the UK Met service? Near as I can tell, most astrologers are more accurate than the met service, but hey, that’s just me …
w.

Editor
July 5, 2012 11:34 am

P. Solar says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

Alan the Brit says:

We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!

False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?

False logic. The Met Office is supported by the government and loses nothing if it is wrong. Not only can it not go out of business, like most government agencies it is harder to kill than a Hydra.
Piers, on the other hand, is running a private business that must sell its wares to survive.
w.

Jim
July 5, 2012 11:41 am

Piers has done an exemplary job with his forecasts. The weather we are experiencing is indicative of global cooling, not global warming. A cooler climate is more prone to severe droughts. As you have pointed out on numerous occasions, the sun is entering a dead phase, which will portend 30+ years of severe global cooling. We last saw this in the 17th through 19th centuries, when ice festivals used to be held on the River Thames and snow and cold would last from late fall into mid-spring in parts of North America.

View from the Solent
July 5, 2012 11:43 am

P. Solar says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am
Alan the Brit says: We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!
False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?
——————————————————————————————————————————-
The MO is not in business. It has a guaranteed income from our taxes.
Piers depends on customers making a choice to pay for his forecasts. And they can stop if they don’t like the product.

July 5, 2012 11:47 am

Dr. Corbin’s did his science degrees at a college in the London’ Exhibition Road
(I went there too), so no surprise that his a bit of a ‘showman’.
http://www.exhibitionroad.com/

AJB
July 5, 2012 11:49 am

Adrian Kerton says, July 5, 2012 at 10:54 am
Could it be this one by any chance? FIrst article looks like it might fit:
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?56773
You can pan through the issues via the backward and forward links next to Notes: heading.

MangoChutney
July 5, 2012 12:00 pm

Perhaps rather than just report on Corbyns long range forecast (July), you should compare the Met Office long range forecast (Monday)?

MikeA
July 5, 2012 12:01 pm

As an Englishman I find him an embarrassment. I’ve attended one or two meetings in the House of Commons committee rooms where he has made presentations and sadly I have to admit he fits the Steve Jones description of ‘Pratt’ (sorry US readers you may have to look that up somewhere). I agree with Anthony about his written stuff; fonts, colours and what have you – he hasn’t a clue. He’s on the right side, though I think he presents a wonderful target for the other side and his net effect is negative.

July 5, 2012 12:13 pm

Hi Willis Eschenbach
When you mention:
[i]his forecast for July is so vague as to be useless[/i]
Have you see the FULL forecast? Or just the FRONT PAGE?

Laurence Crossen
July 5, 2012 12:22 pm

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” is itself a subjectively defined requirement. By this means many can and do reject out of hand anything they feel like rejecting. I recommend that the requirement be stated objectively:
“Fundamental conjectures require fundamental proofs.”

daveburton
July 5, 2012 12:29 pm

I’m reminded of this. (Note: March 15th, 2011 was right after the Japanese earthquake.)
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David Burton
Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 6:32 AM
Subject: WeatherAction
To: climatesceptics@yahoogroups.com
I remember that when I received this email (March 4, 2011) I thought, “No way, Piers, that you can possibly forecast earthquakes from solar effects!”
I’m less certain, now. Wow.
Dave
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Piers Corbyn
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 2:33 AM
Subject: [Climate Sceptics] WeatherAction issues extreme (TL) weather warnings for USA & Philippines and gives subscribers MORE Forecasts for LESS + VIDS & NEWS

After New Zealand quake Piers Corbyn warns: “Expect more earthquakes world-wide for two years”
http://bit.ly/fAUnOO

Kay
July 5, 2012 12:33 pm

@ Bryan Hunt
Well for the next best thing for NA? How about Farmer’s Almanac?
This was posted at the Farmer’s Almanac site on April 16. I’ll let you decide whether they nailed it or not.
This summer, we’ve predicted that unseasonably hot and dry weather will be on tap for the Rockies and Great Plains, as well as the eastern states, while the Pacific Northwest will see below-normal precipitation.
On the other side of the coin, the Great Lakes and the Midwest could have above-normal precipitation, from locally heavy showers and thunderstorms. Across the Southeast it will be typical summer weather, complete with oppressively high humidity, very warm-to-hot temperatures and the ongoing threat of pop-up showers and thunderstorms, particularly in the late afternoons and evenings. The Southwest should also experience normal summer weather: hot and mainly dry, save for the seasonal monsoon showers and scattered thunderstorms over the deserts.
For Canada, our long-range formula indicates unseasonably warm to hot-and-dry weather across eastern Quebec and the Maritimes from New Brunswick northeast into Newfoundland.
Above-normal temperatures are also forecast for southern and eastern Saskatchewan, nearly all of Manitoba, and northern and western Ontario. Very dry conditions are anticipated for parts of southern Saskatchewan, all of Manitoba, plus northern and western Ontario. These very dry conditions could even spread north as into the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. British Columbia and Alberta should also see below-normal precipitation, though not to the extreme degree of the provinces farther east.
Southern and eastern Ontario, including the Great Lakes and areas in adjacent western and central Quebec, could see above-normal precipitation, in locally heavy showers and thunderstorms.
Look for a hot spell just about everywhere in late June, with temperatures soaring into the 100s in many areas, followed by stormy weather that will hopefully cool things down. The heat will remain turned up across North America in July, with unsettled conditions, thunderstorms, and another exceptional heat wave toward the middle of the month.

Pamela Gray
July 5, 2012 12:42 pm

Extremes are often caused by Rossby Waves in the Jet Stream. There are patterns of northern hemispheric pressure systems, temperature, and precipitation that are typical of positive and negative phases of this atmospheric oscillation and that can be used for weather pattern variation predictions. The Sun has nothing to do with exteme weather events.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/teledoc/nao.shtml
RyanMaue: I agree completely. Often severe weather occurs at night.

Jacob
July 5, 2012 12:44 pm

His style and website may look exaggerated, but I deeply respect Piers Corbyn for being the only one out there who gradually develops a technique for predicting weather 30 to 45 days ahead.
Yes, he got it wrong sometimes, and he has admitted so various times, that’s why he has now arrived at SLAT (Solar Lunar Action Technique) version 8 last time I read it. His SLAT technique is work in progress.
Basically his hypothesis is that solar activity drives the jet stream (with corrections for lunar influences), and the jet stream drives the large weather events. As far as I know he did correctly predict the large heat wave in Russia and the large flooding at the same time in Pakistan.
I think his SLAT technique offers a lot more perspective on reliable long-term weather predictions that the multi-million dollar (or pound or euro) supercomputers. As Piers Corbyn in his somewhat over the top style complains “the Met Office gets millions from the taxpayers (for purchasing new supercomputers) to get it wrong quicker”, and I certainly think there is a lot of truth to that.
Piers’ technique is based on actual physical phenomena, whereas the standard meteorological models so far leave out the variables that Piers takes into account. Past 14 days the standard meteorological models work with so many variables and chaotic possibilities as to become totally meaningless, whereas Piers’ technique seems to get it right quite a few times.
Finally, please keep in mind that Piers has only recently begun turning his attention to predictions for North America. He is more experienced with Europe, as he has admitted various times.

Joe Guerk
July 5, 2012 12:51 pm

Jim says:
“As you have pointed out on numerous occasions, the sun is entering a dead phase, which will portend 30+ years of severe global cooling. We last saw this in the 17th through 19th centuries, when ice festivals used to be held on the River Thames and snow and cold would last from late fall into mid-spring in parts of North America.”
I for one am looking forward to it. There is nothing like a winter of seemingly unending ice, snow and cold. Just the thing to watch from the window while sipping a fine wine and nibbling on crackers slathered with Brie.
A winter like that makes the warm weather, when it finally arrives, all the more welcome, and gives a certain frisson of anticipation to fall – laying in food and drink, prepping the generator, filling the oil tanks, saying goodbye for six months to the easy flow of life.

Crispin in Waterloo
July 5, 2012 12:56 pm

@Brian says:
“As an Englishman who has followed this site for a while, and never posted, let me just say that Piers is what we call lovably eccentric. However; it seems to me he is always more on the money than any Met office guess. Lets see, shall we.”
Well that is the point, isn’t it? Forecasting weather is difficult, especially a month ahead. The Met Office has no skill at all one month out. Piers has some. It does not take long to find out.
Above are many comments that if he was wrong for May (at leastly mostly/partly) then he has no skill. Yet he often correctly and publicly predicts major storms in the US as a favour to those who want advanced notice. People pay him every month for his analyses and predictions. Why?
The bottom line is whose prediction would you pay $$ for if you had to choose: The Met’s or Piers’?

Jimbo
July 5, 2012 12:57 pm

P. Solar says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

Alan the Brit says: We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!

False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?

False comparison.
Met Office = public funds
Piers Corbyn = private

July 5, 2012 1:04 pm

If he made these forecasts for record t-storms in the North East and huge wildfires between June 29th and July 1 in May then those who wish to deride Corbyn’s showmanship will have to wait for his next forecast and hope he gets that one wrong. Because he came as close to nailing that forecast as you can hope for in weather forecasting.

stephen richards
July 5, 2012 1:04 pm

P. Solar says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am
Alan the Brit says: We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!
False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?
PRAT !!!!!!

Darkinbad the Brightdayler
July 5, 2012 1:07 pm

I went to school with him and his brother Jeremy. Whether they are right or wrong headed, they were neither of them charlatans.
As I understand it, even the Met Office short term forcast never betters 70% so if he, without the benefit of their budgets or computers can come even near to that, he deserves to be taken seriously.
As for the bold type and exclamation marks, yes they are an irritation, but I didnt see any claim that it was a scientific publication.

roger
July 5, 2012 1:07 pm

Our wonderful Met office now has the July CET at 0.0 despite the cold and rain that affected Wimbledon early in the week and despite the BBC interviewer and her interviewee at 9am on Tuesday morning at Centre Court wearing SCARVES and others wearing GLOVES in JULY!
Liars!!!!!!!!!!
No doubt when 2012 is over it will have been the warmest sunniest year evahhh!

July 5, 2012 1:13 pm

Also, I think it’s quite unfair to call some of Corbyn’s forecasts vague given that events like forest fires are not pinpoint predictions as you can never be sure where they will start, but when you predict extremely dry conditions for a large swatch of the Midwest it is safe to predict that some even will spark a huge forest fire there.

Dizzy Ringo
July 5, 2012 1:15 pm

MikeA – where’s your sense of humour and national identity? Gt Britain – note the description – is renowned for its eccentrics who carried cricket, cravats and Christianity all over the world. (Sadly cricket got transmuted into baseball in some of the colonies). The world would be a sadder and poorer place without these eccentrics.

TRM
July 5, 2012 1:23 pm

I’ve always liked Piers I do find his layout skills lacking. That said he has been right a lot more than the MET office with their hundred million dollar computer farm. I’ll cut him some slack but expect specific predictions.
On the plus side he is making public predictions before not after the events. We’ll see how it goes for him this month.

TRM
July 5, 2012 1:26 pm

” Willis Eschenbach says: July 5, 2012 at 11:32 am
Near as I can tell, most astrologers are more accurate than the met service, but hey, that’s just me … ”
Made me laugh. Good line, I’m going to use it.

Spillinger
July 5, 2012 1:26 pm

There’s something appealing to my essential ‘Britishness’ about Piers’ low tech, ‘Ms Word’ graphics. I’ve often thought that the British would be much more convinced of the fairness and impartiality of the National Lottery if, instead of the hi-tech machines, independent observers and glitzy showmanship, the draw was performed by a vicar’s wife and a tombola filled with raffle tickets. So it is with Piers’ newsletters- low key and proud of it.

Hugh Davis
July 5, 2012 1:29 pm

Piers is carrying on both in the style and apocalyptic tradition of “Old Moore’s Almanack” which has been published in Britain since 1697 and is still going strong. (It was written and published by Francis Moore, a self-taught physician and astrologer who served at the court of Charles II.)
Like Piers it specialises in predictions that are too generalised to be either verifiable or falsifiable – eg “The will be earthquakes in the Far East in July”, and “A cruise ship will catch fire in late summer”.

Editor
July 5, 2012 1:30 pm

Co2Sceptic says:
July 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi Willis Eschenbach
When you mention:

his forecast for July is so vague as to be useless

Have you see the FULL forecast? Or just the FRONT PAGE?

Thanks, Co2Skeptic. I have not seen the FULL forecast, because I’d have to subscribe to his forecasts to do so, and I don’t have the $$ to do so. As he says:

3) For Full forecasts
Subscribe to WeatherAction’s game-changing forecasts
– Do yourself a favor: Get ahead of the rest! Forewarned is forearmed …

w.

July 5, 2012 1:34 pm

Entire generations, arguing about the weather.

Ian W
July 5, 2012 1:35 pm

Co2Sceptic says:
July 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm
Hi Willis Eschenbach

Unfortunately, both the US and the EU links are to front pages. So people here are doing the equivalent of trying to find the precise share price from a headline “DOW Dips” and comparing it to the FT pages. Not exactly a fair approach.
I don’t know if the ‘florid advertising’ style is continued inside the professional site. Perhaps Piers would release last months pages? Indeed releasing pages published a few months ago if they are accurate would be an exceedingly strong advertisement.

Hot under the collar
July 5, 2012 1:38 pm

My prediction is that an eccentric (but possibly very clever) nutter will beat met office and CO2 alarmist predictions any day. But please don’t role him out in front of the cameras as alarmists love to do to make us all look like ‘pratts’. : )

John from CA
July 5, 2012 1:39 pm

Just out of interest, what is a ‘Super Storm’?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
http://www.almanac.com/weather/longrange
Note: generally predicts the Midwest and Upper Midwest will be below average temperature and below average precipitation.
Region 9: Upper Midwest
Duluth, Minnesota
JULY 2012: temperature 67.5° (1.5° below avg.); precipitation 2.5″ (1″ below avg.); Jul 1-7: T-storms, then sunny, cool; Jul 8-10: T-storms east, sunny west; cool; Jul 11-14: Sunny, turning hot; Jul 15-24: Scattered t-storms, seasonable; Jul 25-28: T-storms, then sunny, cool; Jul 29-31: T-storms, cool.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
JULY 2012: temperature 67.5° (1.5° below avg.); precipitation 2.5″ (1″ below avg.); Jul 1-7: T-storms, then sunny, cool; Jul 8-10: T-storms east, sunny west; cool; Jul 11-14: Sunny, turning hot; Jul 15-24: Scattered t-storms, seasonable; Jul 25-28: T-storms, then sunny, cool; Jul 29-31: T-storms, cool.

polistra
July 5, 2012 1:39 pm

The last time we hit the same phase on the 66-year cycle, with stuck jet streams forcing long heat in some places and long cold in others, UHI was insignificant. Low urban density, no air conditioner compressors.
So we have the same phenomenon as the ’30s, but with temperatures a few degrees higher.
As for the super forest fires, the actual Forest Service people are blaming lack of logging and insect infestation. In other words, the idiotic “Endangered” “Species” Act, and wind turbines killing bats.

Rab McDowell
July 5, 2012 1:40 pm

Piers Corbyn sounds a lot like a chap we have in New Zealand called Ken Ring who sells long range weather forecasts which appear more astrology rather than science. He developed quite a following, given that if you cherry pick his forecasts in hindsight you will get quite a few hits. His weather theory is based on the cycles of the moon and its gravitational pull, amongst other things. He does quite well with the sale of books giving daily forecasts for a year ahead for NZ Aus and the UK as well, if I recall correctly.
He lost a lot of credibility when, following the Christchurch earthquakes, he extended out into earthquake forecasting, again based on the gravitational pull of the moon. Chch was having so many aftershocks that he was bound to be right but one of his forecasts caused widespread panic with all flights out of Chch full with people fleeing the city. He was roundly condemned for this and he went into hiding for a while because of threats.
He will bounce back because there are always people who look at the occasional successes and belive he is on the mark while ignoring the role of chance.
Problem is, like Piers, he is a strong global warming sceptic which adds to his attraction for many but I, along with many others, do not think he is the kind of advocate scepticism needs.

Editor
July 5, 2012 1:41 pm

Ross Lea says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

Anthony: You do not have to wait you can check Piers record historically. Presumably past weather is recorded in detail so all you have to do is obtain his forecasts and check them against the actual wearther, Earth Quakes etc. Also to be fair you should do the same with the Met Off and a U.S. weather forecasters. I look forward to the results

I love guys like you, Ross. You’re all too happy to tell Anthony what he can do, rather than do it yourself.
So how about YOU “obtain his forecasts and check them against the actual wearther, Earth Quakes etc. Also to be fair YOU should do the same with the Met Off and a U.S. weather forecasters.”
I definitely look forward to YOUR results, Ross, but my guess is that it will be a below-zero day in the place of eternal damnation before you report back to us …
w.

Ian W
July 5, 2012 1:42 pm

And just to add some information from the UK Daily Telegraph 7:03PM BST 05 Jul 2012….
Most severe floods of this summer expected
You thought it was bad but this summer is about to get worse with the most severe flood warnings yet issued for most of the country.
The Environment Agency warned households in central England, the North and East Anglia to be ready to evacuate their homes as two months of rain is expected to fall in 48 hours.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/9379745/Most-severe-floods-of-this-summer-expected.html

Curiousgeorge
July 5, 2012 1:43 pm

I hope it does get warm and dry where I am in the South. I’ve got several hundred board feet of primo lumber I’m trying to dry.

Editor
July 5, 2012 1:47 pm

Laurence Crossen says:
July 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” is itself a subjectively defined requirement. By this means many can and do reject out of hand anything they feel like rejecting. I recommend that the requirement be stated objectively:
“Fundamental conjectures require fundamental proofs.”

Thanks, Laurence. First, other than mathematical theorems nothing can ever be proven in science, only falsified, so the proper quotation is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“, not “extraordinary proof”.
Second, I don’t see that your statement is any less subjective than the original statement. How is the term “fundamental conjectures” any less subjective than “extraordinary claims”?
w.

Editor
July 5, 2012 1:52 pm

Ian W says:
July 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Perhaps Piers would release last months pages? Indeed releasing pages published a few months ago if they are accurate would be an exceedingly strong advertisement.

You are correct that it would be an “exceedingly strong argument” to release your last month’s forecasts. If I were right as often as Piers claims that he is, I’d release my (presumably correct) forecasts every month, month by month, and point out just how right I was.
The fact that Piers doesn’t do so is of interest …
w.

Editor
July 5, 2012 2:04 pm

I’d like to point out something. People have looked at the forecast and gone yes, he sure got the forest fire thing correct, Colorado is about burned to the ground. And Piers shows a picture and gives a link to the extensive Colorado fires in his claim that he is correct. What’s not to like?
If you are one of the people who said that, go back and look at his forecast … he NEVER FORECAST FOREST FIRES IN COLORADO. According to his forecast, Colorado was just supposed to be “sunny”, and the fires were supposed to be in Arizona and New Mexico … like I said, Nostradamus would be proud.
w.

July 5, 2012 2:05 pm

Anthony:
People like commodities traders and farmers pay Piers for his forecasts because he is consistently correct using only a laptop and makes them money. Meanwhile,The Met Office with its Supercomputer is consistently wrong and has people preparing for heat when there is cold.
You are being obtuse in criticizing the presentation esthetics of Piers’ forecasts. The substance is what matters.
For crying-out-load, he is on our side! Give him a break!

Rob Potter
July 5, 2012 2:08 pm

The issue with weather forecasts – even for the five-day periods that we seem to believe get it pretty much right – is that the actual weather we get is usually only reported once (or sometimes not at all), but the forecast is given many many times. Watch a typical TV news program and you will see weather forecasts at least every 10 minutes so if they are saying “hot” or “cold” that is what gets fixed in your mind, Tune in again tomorrow and what do you get – the forecast for today (or tomorrow) every 10 minutes – but what about yesterday? Never mentioned unless it is some kind of record event and even then this is probably a report from somewhere else as there will always be a record somewhere.
Therefore, the forecast is what people believe as opposed to the actual event. This is why media weather forecasters have become the front-line in arguments over CAGW – the way they present the forecasts drives the impression of what is happening.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to the people reading WUWT because we are all nerds who actually look at the records to find out what did happen yesterday! However, the thing we all need to remember is that we are very small minority who do this – most people end up believing the forecast and only notice the actual weather when an extreme happens when it is not forecast (or vice versa). Then the general public is up in arms about the Met Office (insert your own weather bureau here), but the rest of the time they are quite happy.

July 5, 2012 2:14 pm

I’ve decided to go head-to-head with Piers in forecasting for the remainder of the year using my own unique forecasting approach. Like Piers, I cannot reveal my precise methodology as I wouldn’t want to be put out of business. It’s good to see him agreeing with my forecast for July in the UK: http://durotrigan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/september-2012-forecast-heatwave-for.html

P. Solar
July 5, 2012 2:18 pm

stephen richards says:
July 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm
PRAT !!!!!!
Since you are safely out of arms reach, I bow to your obviously superior intelect, sir.
To others who did not agree with my comment, my point was that “selling” weather predictions does not depend upon being right any more than selling horoscopes does.
No disrispect to P.Corbyn., I think he has the right idea, although I don’t have enough information one way or the other to comment on his success rate. The fact that the terms of use seems to prohibit divulging the detailed reports, even after the fact, makes me a little dubios. The current “public release” which in fact does not release anything useful, is clearly a clever marketing ploy.
I’m sure he could put out a couple of reports per month in less time than I spend reading WUWT, so the idea that he would “go out of business” if he was not getting it right, simply does not stand up.
That is the point I was making. It appears I was crediting some of the readership here with a little more inteligence that was strictly justified. Sorry.

anticlimactic
July 5, 2012 2:20 pm

One interesting point is that Ladbrokes, a large UK bookies, will not accept any bets on long range weather forecasts from Piers Corbyn. I doubt that anyone from the Met Office suffer this ban!
He is trying to earn a living from this so he does have the ‘showman’ about his presentations. He does not get large amounts of public money thrown at him like the Met Office, he earns money by results.

Robert of Ottawa
July 5, 2012 2:23 pm

Pro Piers: His record is better than the UK Met Office
Contra Corbin: He doesn’t publish his method
Pro Piers: He’s Skeptic
Contra Corbin: He’s a showman

Robert of Ottawa
July 5, 2012 2:25 pm

BTW Willis, what geographical accuracy is required to be a valid prediction? Colorado ain’t so far from Arizona and New Mexico.
Someone said he should publish his detailed reports after the period they covered – this covers his commercial interest and would, presumably, be great advertizing.

D. Patterson
July 5, 2012 2:26 pm

Southern Illinois in 2012 is experiencing 106F temperatures, but the same area in the cool cycle of 1967 had the same hot temperatures or greater. The thermometer under the tree in 1967 as we baled hay in the field read as high as 112F, while the thermometer in the barn loft under a steel roof read 132F as we put the bales of hay into the loft. Today, the people not yet born then find it hard to understand these kinds of heat waves have happened before in the same place.

MangoChutney
July 5, 2012 2:32 pm

Nostradamus supporters also only reveal the quatrains were correct after the fact, whilst ignoring the wrong ones, oops, ones that haven’t come true yet.

Mark-London
July 5, 2012 2:47 pm

I can recall Piers on the news when i was a kid in the 70,s,the bookies were banning him from betting on the weather anymore.
Over the years he has been right enough to make me feel he is onto something.
From what i can gather he bases his forecasts on what has happened before,that sounds better than most the modelling the met office use.
He may not be spot on,but im pretty sure he is on roughly the right track.
But i can understand why you johnny foreigners get a bit shocked at his eccentric style.

FrankK
July 5, 2012 2:49 pm

Dont know about May but in June it was unseasonably cold in the UK (it was supposed to be Summer) based on our frequent visits. Yes a few days of high temps but then cold. Perhaps rather than a month he should be given a statistical assessment over a year together with the predicions by the Met office to be fair.!

P. Solar
July 5, 2012 2:58 pm

Following Durotrigan’s lead , let’s all play the game:
July : unusually wet even by UK standards , though since the world is not going to suddenly loose the heat it has accumulated since 1965, this will still be one of the hottest 15 Julys evah (on record).
Expect flooding in the Calder Valley on a scale not see since the mid 60s.
Flock of migrating geese in V formation fooled by bizarrely warm air currents gets mistaken for a hijacked stealth bomber causing British army to launch SAM’s sited on residential roof tops near Olympic stadium. Family of 27 killed at wedding party in East London by falling SAMs.
August: almost as grey as July but slightly warmer. Also one of the hottest months of August on record. Especially wet and grey in the Pennines. Truely bizarre weather reported by BBC.
September. A couple of nice weeks earlier in the month before temperatures drop sharply towards the end. One of the warmest Septembers on record.
Overall outlook: there will be a 65% chance that this summer will be in the top 20% of the hottest UK summers on record with a 45% chance of it being in the hottest 10%. 5% chance of it being in the hottest 5%
Arctic sea ice extent second only to low of 2007. Guardian’s Suzzie Goldberg erroneously reports Arctic ice 95% below normal. Trenberth says “told you so”.
Piers Corbyn publishes a report highlighting the bits he got (very nearly) right.

Editor
July 5, 2012 3:05 pm

daveburton says:
July 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I’m reminded of this. (Note: March 15th, 2011 was right after the Japanese earthquake.)
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David Burton
Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 6:32 AM
Subject: WeatherAction
To: climatesceptics@yahoogroups.com
I remember that when I received this email (March 4, 2011) I thought, “No way, Piers, that you can possibly forecast earthquakes from solar effects!”
I’m less certain, now. Wow.
Dave
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Piers Corbyn
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 2:33 AM
Subject: [Climate Sceptics] WeatherAction issues extreme (TL) weather warnings for USA & Philippines and gives subscribers MORE Forecasts for LESS + VIDS & NEWS

After New Zealand quake Piers Corbyn warns: “Expect more earthquakes world-wide for two years”
http://bit.ly/fAUnOO

Dave, you are perfect example of humanity. We all love to find corroboration for our theories in the simplest of events. Pier’s claim, made on February 21st, 2011 was as follows (emphasis mine):

“Prediction of individual Earthquakes is very hard but we are very confident of a continuing period of significantly enhanced earthquake and volcanic activity as well as extreme weather events for the coming one or two years, probably exceeding the levels of the most active extended periods in at least the last 100 years“, said Piers

Here is the USGS worldwide record of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 and greater since the turn of the 21st century.

SOURCE Note that I have doubled the figures for the first half of 2012 to give a rough idea of how many earthquakes there have been this year.
As you can see, far from having earthquakes “exceeding the levels of the most active extended periods in at least the last 100 years”, we haven’t even exceeded the record for the last ten years … and despite that, you (and I suspect Piers as well) are claiming a “wow” factor …
w.

Editor
July 5, 2012 3:09 pm

Robert of Ottawa says:
July 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

BTW Willis, what geographical accuracy is required to be a valid prediction? Colorado ain’t so far from Arizona and New Mexico.

Robert, you make my point exactly, there are no fixed boundaries. That’s one of the Nostradamus aspects of his prognostications, if they are anywhere near where he predicted it, he claims it as a win.
Me, I’d settle for it occurring in the state(s) he actually specifies, rather than claiming success when there are fires in a nearby state.
w.

Editor
July 5, 2012 3:14 pm

P. Solar says:
July 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

To others who did not agree with my comment, my point was that “selling” weather predictions does not depend upon being right any more than selling horoscopes does.

While that may be correct, it was not your point, which was that it was a “logic fail” because the Met Office hasn’t gone broke … which was palpable nonsense, so I can see why you are now disowning it and trying to change the subject.
w.

Editor
July 5, 2012 3:18 pm

Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
July 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

… For crying-out-load, he is on our side! Give him a break!

Absolutely and definitively not. If we were to “give breaks” to people because we happen to believe in them, or they seem to support our ideas or theories, we would no longer be engaged in science.
Confirmation bias is already insidious enough, and because of it, in fact we need to investigate things we believe in harder than we investigate those we disagree with.
So no, I will give Piers no more of a break than I give the Met Office. Sorry, but that’s science.
w.

Marion
July 5, 2012 3:35 pm

WeatherAction do come highly recommended from an unlikely source – the Climategate Mails
– in a fascinating exchange between an Agenda 21 Director and UEA
email 2318
to Mike Hulme at UEA from Julian Jones, Director Vision21 (Glos. C. C. Agenda 21)
“I am very concerned by the strong correlations between UK Winter Rainfall and solar activity and the failure of the authorities to incorporate such data in their forward planning – we appear to be paying a bitter price for this here in Gloucestershire.
Your rainfall data had been previously been published to illustrate increasing UK rainfall due to Greenhouse Gas emission led Global Warming – there would appear to be a strong solar component to this also.
By failing to acknowledge this and incorporate this in our plans we are also failing to produce a cohesive argument for Sustainable Development – certainly as far as the petrol protesters are concerned!”
Mike Hulme passes the mail on the Tim Osborne to respond,
From Tim Osborne UEA to Julian Jones –
“Mike Hulme asked me to reply to your email (copied above). The possible link between solar variability and winter precipitation intensity is very interesting – one of the scientific reviewers of our paper in fact asked us to add some comments about it to our original scientific paper. We declined to do so…..Nevertheless, as more observational data and improved statistical analysis techniques become available, it is becoming increasingly obvious that solar variations are important. For temperature, many scientists now feel that natural solar variations were the main contributor to the early 20th century warming that occurred between about 1910 and 1950. The dramatic warming since 1980, however, cannot be explained by changes in solar output. So, the role of solar variability is starting to be acknowledged, though it cannot explain all changes, and is much more uncertain than the greenhouse effect….”
Julian Jones responds
“….I have also asked Weather Action at SBU to provide longer time series
correlations between solar activity and terrestrial weather related
factors. We have used WA forecasts for planning the arable farming on 2500
acres here in Glos for several years – and they have been of great benefit.
They seem to achieve similar accuracy to conventional forecasts at 5 days
range, yet are produced months ahead, and are usually best at showing
overall trends, as well as extreme storm events. I appreciate such
forecasts could be produced by purely mathematical means; but the WA people
seem very sincere in their claim that these forecasts are produced by
correlations with solar activity – and certainly those graphs I originally
sent you would indicate (well beyond the chance of coincidence) that such
links do exist….”
This whole exchange was highlighted by E.M.Smith in an excellent post on the Climategate Mails and Agenda 21- well worth reading in its entirity – something of an eye-opener!!!
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/foia-agenda-21/
So please let’s have a comparison between the performance of WeatherAction and the Met Office, I think it would be somewhat fairer!!

UK John
July 5, 2012 3:37 pm

I am fed up with the rain!

Paul Coppin
July 5, 2012 3:39 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm
[…]
If you are one of the people who said that, go back and look at his forecast … he NEVER FORECAST FOREST FIRES IN COLORADO. According to his forecast, Colorado was just supposed to be “sunny”, and the fires were supposed to be in Arizona and New Mexico … like I said, Nostradamus would be proud.

Arizona, New Mexico, close enough. Using CERN precision, 4-5 SD’s gets you in the ballpark. What’s not to like?
/sarc

Marion
July 5, 2012 3:51 pm

Addendum to Marion says: July 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm
Sorry, missed out the second Climategate mail reference on the above post ie mail 4803.
http://di2.nu/foia/foia2011/mail/4803.txt

Martin Judd
July 5, 2012 3:52 pm

“Putting Piers Corbyn to the test”…..
Yes; put his forecasts to the test. Compare is past predictions with what has come to pass.
Although this article does not attempt that, many comments have prejudged the outcome.
Hopefully WUWT will present a follow up article where a range of Piers predictions are reviewed.
And “yes” focus on the substance not the presentation.

Ross
July 5, 2012 3:54 pm

reminds me of a quote once on a NIWA website (New Zealand’s weather Bureau) that they get the weather right 50% of the time and that no one (in context, other weather bureaus) does better than that. I haven’t been able to find that quote again, and the NIWA website does get changed frequently to remove “offending” material. Of course, there are more than two possible weather states, so 50% is better than random, but not much better. If Piers is getting 75% he is doing well. The main points I took (from the video) was that he is at least searching for causal factors and that he acknowledges all theories (including his own) are inadequate.

daveburton
July 5, 2012 3:55 pm

Willis, there’s something very strange about USGS earthquake counts which show far more 4.something earthquakes than 2.something and 3.something earthquakes. The counts of big earthquakes are probably correct, but the counts of small earthquakes aren’t. The less-than-magnitude-4.0 counts are certainly wrong, and the 4.something counts are questionable.
Unfortunately, those are the only bars that are clearly visible in your chart.
If we just look at the frequency of really big earthquakes (8.0 & up) it appears that Piers might well be onto something:
2000: 1
2001: 1
2002: 0
2003: 1
2004: 2
2005: 1
2006: 2
2007: 4
2008: 0
2009: 1
2010: 1
2011: 1
2012: 2
That looks pretty normal until you recall that:
1) 2011’s magnitude 9.0 Honshu ‘quake happened just a few weeks after Corbyn’s prediction, and
2) the two 2012 ‘quakes are just so far, in the first half of the year.
So that’s three 8.0-or-larger quakes, so far, in the 15 months since his forecast, and one of them is ranked 4th largest since 1900. That seems to me to fit the definition of “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”

Mr.D.Imwit
July 5, 2012 4:14 pm

I have been watching Piers Corbyns weather forecasts for a few years and noticed a good forecast within +/- 200 miles,although not precise, generally correct.
A remarkable achievement for a month in advance.

Judy F.
July 5, 2012 4:15 pm

Piers’ USA forecast, sent out June 1, 2012 included:
June1-4. His little signs straddled the Utah and Colorado border: “Fires”,” Forest fires”. “Colorado very hot”.
June 5-8. “fire” signs in both Colorado and New Mexico
June 18-21 “serious fires” sign straddles the Utah, Arizona border
June 22-24 “Hot” “Forest Fires” sign straddles Arizona and New Mexico border.
June 29-July 1 “Very Hot” “Forest Fires” straddles the Arizona, New Mexico border.
His July forecast, sent out July 1, 2012 includes:
July 1-4 “Extreme thunder with giant hail, tornados and tornado swarms” in an area that has its southern border running roughly from northern Kentucky to Washington DC. That could be the derecho
I understand that Piers uses his Solar/Lunar technique in conjuction with existing weather records to do his forecasting. With the USA, especially the western parts, not having very many years of weather records ( compared to the UK) and the size of the US compared to the UK, I think that Piers is pretty accurate in his long range forecasting. He does use percentages of confidence in his forecasting ie: 70% confidence, timing normally to one day.

Doug Proctor
July 5, 2012 4:26 pm

If Piers gets it right, or is perceived to have gotten it right, then he was vague enough to be counted right or we have a confirmation bias happening. If the Met Office gets it right, it is because they are established, orthodox analysts with a lot of technical work. If either of them get it wrong, they are both dummies for thinking they can forecast that far ahead in that detail.
So far that’s my analysis of typical WUWT opinions on weather forecasters not in the standard weather forecasting business. Short-term, very short term.
Credit goes to the status quo and those with status. IF there is any value to forecasting weather one month out, and again I am unsure anyone on this blog thinks so, then one of them should be more-right or more-wrong, as they approach their forecasts from different angles. If they are equal, then the approaches are equal to anothe “random walk” and we are back to “why bother” except that lots of people have jobs and computers through the desire to have somethingt that doesn’t exist.
It is interesting that Piers’ predictions generate controversy, but those of NOAA and the UK Met Office do not. We’re asked to determine Piers’ statistical accuracy, but not do the same thing for the US national air service or that of the UK.
As Penny says on Big Bang Theory (the TV show): crystals and stuff don’t work, but don’t mess around with voodoo! (We each have our real vs whoo-whoo! limits.)
At WUWT, Piers seems to be out there with crystals. Are NOAA/MetOffice real or real-voodoo-real?

Barbara Skolaut
July 5, 2012 4:41 pm

And here’s my prediction for July’s weather in the U.S.: HOT.
Bet I’m right.
[Moderator’s Prayer: From your lips to God’s ear. I was afraid March was going to be the high point of the summer. -REP]

AJB
July 5, 2012 4:51 pm

Is Piers another Irving P. Krick? I wonder if their methods were similar:
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/30/us/irving-p-krick-89-who-made-a-business-out-of-forecasting-theweather.html

AJB
July 5, 2012 4:53 pm

Arggh! their there not there there, never mind, there therw. Sod it!
[Fixed. I hate it when I do that. -w.]

July 5, 2012 5:05 pm

David Walton says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:52 am
. . . It is going to be another long and horrid summer.

Thread winner! (Read the entire post.)
/Mr Lynn

July 5, 2012 5:25 pm

I have met Piers several times at realists events such as our repealtheact meetings and he’s a really nice, if rather eccentric, chap. I’ve also bought a few of his forecasts and been extremely surprised at how accurate they have been even though they had been released several weeks before time. Obviously he’s not spot on all the time but he sure is a lot more accurate than the Met Office, for which we UK taxpayers are asked to fund to the tune of millions each year.
The forecast you have is a tiny snippet of the actual downloadable forecasts. These are set out daily and are of the same % driven forecasts that the met office now also use i.e ‘80% chance of rain on 25th July in ….’ except of course that the met office now only predict (guess) 5 days in advance and change their forecasts on the hour. It seems to me that their forecasts are more like having a person in every area looking out the window, and passing on the information to the met office on the hour; but even then they are usually wrong. Mind you their daily predictions are made on the same super (expensive) computer that predicts AGW.
For instance today 5th July here in East Yorkshire we have had torrential rain all day complete with storms. The rain led to immense flooding in our local town and one building was hit by lightening and caught fire. Yesterday there was, according to the Met office, very little chance of rain here. By lunchtime today it had changed to weather warnings! I could have told them that hours before! Pretty pathetic.
We have had so much rain over the last couple of months that I almost traded in my car for a boat, and yet this same met office super computer forecast a ‘much drier than average Summer, with drought conditions that would last until the Winter’ causing the Govt. to create hosepipe bans around the country and dire predictions that this was down to AGW.
Within literally days of these pronouncements it started raining and has hardly stopped since, almost all of the bans have now been rescinded. We can now lay claim, as I like to state regularly to all who will listen, to the wettest drought in history!
Without Piers’ proper downloadable forecast I really don’t see that this can be a proper test of his accuracy. Have you talked to him about this? Maybe he might agree to allowing you access so you can truly test his accuracy? Worth a try I would have thought and far better than snide remarks about something very few of you have had access to before!

LearDog
July 5, 2012 5:31 pm

“Very Hot – Tx + NM”. In June. I guess he got that one right……
Thunderstorms forecast issued on 31 May for June. He really went on a limb on that one. Duststorms on the other hand….. A Fail it seems.

u.k. (us)
July 5, 2012 5:36 pm

Doug Proctor says:
July 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm
“So far that’s my analysis of typical WUWT opinions on weather forecasters not in the standard weather forecasting business. Short-term, very short term.”
—————-
Thanks for your analysis, it might (yet) save ourselves from ourselves.

Craig M350
July 5, 2012 5:43 pm

It’s worth mentioning that Piers is pointing specifically to his R4/5 periods which often correlate to earth facing coronal holes. The weather is never unprecedented but will be more extreme during these periods – as a basic interpretation he is saying previous weather patterns tend to repeat on cyclical basis, based upon predictable solar/lunar patterns.
The May forecast was never for the UK or England as a whole but Eastern parts (we may be a small Island compared to North America but contrasts can be massive – well for us). For 3 weeks it held well but he put his hands up when it veered away. The timing/change of patterns happened on cue but not as expected – jury is out as to what happened but even the models were struggling until this came into a reliable time frame. He did admit the prediction was wrong from around 20/21st when we had a lasting heatwave in the UK (more than 7 days) which threw the CET figures massively. I have not been able to pin down the regional breakdown as the HADCET does not appear regional for temps (precipitation is different). Philip Eden’s site http://www.climate-uk.com did show well below av temps until the 21st but by the month end it was ‘average’. It was anything but average with large rainfall and cold front loaded that month and then the dry & heat for the final third of the month. I appreciated the warning for the cold May start as I kept plants indoors – others who didn’t have suffered from lost crops.
His forecasts are a guide and are never exact. They are designed to give warning in advance of the patterns to expect – primarily this is the movement of the jetstream and the blocking which has suddenly become the lexicon of forecasters the past few years (or this solar cycle to be more precise).
To give you an example the Met Office have yellow/amber warnings close to my location for Fri/Sat. I mentioned this to a friend who extended the warning to our area knowing that the MetO mostly get this wrong. In the UK we have major problems with the CO2 asphyxiated Met Office. It really is as if the Jetstream magically does what it wants unless it’s extreme when CO2 is the be all and end all excuse (CO2 ate my hamster). Only last week we had no warnings despite most weather models showing a very high risk of thunderstorms. I watched the models for days and it wasn’t as if it didn’t show, but the Met Office were silent. Most people rely on the Met forecast (used by the BBC) as our weather guide. As it was we had very large hail in Northern areas and very heavy rainfall (for us – it’s wet here but not as wet as the Monsoon zone which I lived in). Due to Piers June forecast I had expected such an eventuality last week and that in a nutshell is why I have buy his forecasts.
Piers works from a laptop, whilst the Met Office are massively subsidised (how market friendly is that?) yet have the perpetual begging bowl out for a better computer claiming they can predict the climate in 100 years but fail to get the short term (i.e. less than 24 hours), which what they are paid for, right. That is the big issue in the UK. We pay for the ideological crud the Met Office churn out – we have no choice in this. I choose to pay for Piers forecasts, But at least I have that choice.
The July forecast therefore is for the extremes to be focused in/around the R periods not necessarily the month as a whole – a below av temp prediction is obviously for the month as a whole (or most of month) but he states 6/8 periods will be correct so forecasts are not a bible. If a forecast does not come to pass an R period often coincides with pattern changes and will be more extreme for wind and precipitation (as a general guide) +/- 1 day. That is why it’s useful. Despite the heatwave in late May we went back into cool wet weather (damn that CO2). I use his forecasts as an advisory for growing plants (which love the CO2), like knowing the early May cold meant I kept only frost/cold hardy plants outside – it worked. I gave up on the Met Office a couple of years back after using their guides and watching my plants die in droves. In this sense his forecasts are invaluable but I would agree they are not easy to read and Piers communication skills are anything but media savvy or accessible. Having said that the likes of Mann/Jones et al are Media Savvy and look where that’s taken us? Al Gore is great on TV but I’d trust a banker before him! (sorry UK joke)

July 5, 2012 5:57 pm

Reading the comments from the UK folks it appears that it really isn’t a question of how accurate Piers is… but how wrong the Met office is. I wonder how much the 21st OWS forecasts differ from the Met office.

Stu N
July 5, 2012 6:04 pm

One comment, 9:51am 05 July:
“FWIW, the Met Office promised us torrential downpours here in the Midlands only this morning; as I write it’s a shade over 26°C and 21% RH outside, with the sun out most of the afternoon. Now, I’m off to re-wax my jacket!”
A second comment, 11.25am 05 July:
“As I sit here in Derbyshire, England, we’ve just been visited by a downpour extreme in both intensity and duration. The Met office never forecast this. Latest forecast at 18:00 was for rain to move into England from the West by dawn tomorrow.”
For those unfamiliar with UK geography, Derbyshire is technically in the east Midlands, though I’d rather more describe it as north Midlands. Anyway, my point is, why does one Midlander think the Met Office predicted rain and another think they didn’t? Thankfully someone has posted an actual forecast, though didn’t specify ‘where I live’:
‘Currently we have from the Met Office for where I live:-
“Issued at – 05 Jul 2012, 13:47
Valid from – 05 Jul 2012, 14:00
Valid to – 05 Jul 2012, 23:55
Scattered heavy showers or thunderstorms are likely at times on Thursday, particularly during the afternoon and evening, with the potential for some torrential downpours in places. Southeastern areas of England are at less risk than areas further north, with any showers there tending to clear later.
The public should be aware that these showers, where they occur, may lead to surface water flooding.”’
I’m tempted to conclude that our Derbyshire Midlander failed to comprehend the forecast, which clearly expected downpours in at least a few places, while the other two managed to stay dry on a showery day (FWIW I’m in the Southeast and there were no showers here, fine as I am in the ‘low risk’ area). What’s my point? Well, it’s mostly that I don’t think the Meto did a bad job today.

Editor
July 5, 2012 6:17 pm

daveburton says:
July 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Willis, there’s something very strange about USGS earthquake counts which show far more 4.something earthquakes than 2.something and 3.something earthquakes. The counts of big earthquakes are probably correct, but the counts of small earthquakes aren’t. The less-than-magnitude-4.0 counts are certainly wrong, and the 4.something counts are questionable.
Unfortunately, those are the only bars that are clearly visible in your chart.

Hey, I just report them. That’s what the USGS says, and until you can come up with something more authoritative, your claim that they are somehow “questionable” is … well … questionable.

If we just look at the frequency of really big earthquakes (8.0 & up) it appears that Piers might well be onto something:
2000: 1
2001: 1
2002: 0
2003: 1
2004: 2
2005: 1
2006: 2
2007: 4
2008: 0
2009: 1
2010: 1
2011: 1
2012: 2
That looks pretty normal until you recall that:
1) 2011′s magnitude 9.0 Honshu ‘quake happened just a few weeks after Corbyn’s prediction, and
2) the two 2012 ‘quakes are just so far, in the first half of the year.
So that’s three 8.0-or-larger quakes, so far, in the 15 months since his forecast, and one of them is ranked 4th largest since 1900. That seems to me to fit the definition of “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”

Two things about that. First, the numbers of earthquakes in the largest category is far too small given the sample size to conclude anything at all.
Second, once again we’re into the Nostradamus zone. Piers’s prognostications are so vague that you can almost always find something that fits. If the total number of earthquakes doesn’t go up, perhaps the number of quakes greater than magnitude four has gone up … and if not, we can look at the number of magnitude six quakes … then magnitude seven quakes … and so on. Color me totally unimpressed. Here’s a visual comparison of the numbers of earthquakes for the last 20 years. I see nothing remarkable about 2011-2012.

SOURCE: USGS
And of course, when Piers does make a specific prediction like “forest fires in New Mexico and Arizona”, both he and his followers say see, there were fires in Colorado, that’s definitely close enough …
No, that’s not close enough. If we’re standing a couple hundred miles apart, me in Arizona and you in Colorado, and I predict lightning is going to strike me, and instead it strikes you, I doubt that your heirs would count my claim as a correct prediction.
w.
PS—Even by your terms, and assuming that we get two more quake greater than 8.0 this year, that would make 5 quakes of that magnitude in two years … which was exceeded in 2006-2007. So no, that is not “significantly enhanced earthquake activity”, particularly when he says earthquake activity will be “probably exceeding the levels of the most active extended periods in at least the last 100 years”. That doesn’t even exceed the last ten years, much less the last 100.

Editor
July 5, 2012 6:27 pm

Doug Proctor says:
July 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

… It is interesting that Piers’ predictions generate controversy, but those of NOAA and the UK Met Office do not. We’re asked to determine Piers’ statistical accuracy, but not do the same thing for the US national air service or that of the UK.

Interesting observation, Doug. There are several reasons for that. First, Pier’s forecasts tend to be very vague. Second, they are not available for retrospective analysis. Third, he does no such analysis himself, or at least none I’ve ever seen.
Look, I like Piers, as I said I’ve corresponded with him, and indeed he may be onto something. But until he shows that he is, we’re justified in questioning him.
Finally, as to the accuracy of the UK Met Office forecasts, we don’t have to wonder about them, because the Met Office regularly publishes the statistics showing just exactly how accurate their forecasts were at varying lead times … and Piers publishes nothing of the sort. If he did, his forecasts would likely generate a lot less controversy. Instead he claims something like “STUNNING SUCCESS” in red capital letters when he is right … and says little when he is wrong. That’s a guaranteed recipe for generating controversy.
All the best,
w.

Louis Hooffstetter
July 5, 2012 7:13 pm

Please, everyone…
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions never have been, and never will be ‘weather’ events. There is no “butterfly effect” whereby atmospheric perturbations somehow cause movements in the lithosphere. Anyone who claims that climate influences earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions is a witch doctor, not a scientist.

LC Kirk, Perth
July 5, 2012 8:57 pm

Just as a comment, I instinctively like the man and find him credibly sincere in his opinions and scientific conclusions. Don’t be put off by his presentation style, lack of graphical skills, Billingsgate accent or disheveled, schoolmasterly appearance. You’re not looking at a slicko marketing job from Al Gore Incorporated here; you are looking at a genuine, intelligent human being, who does all his own work and is more concerned with the content than the medium.
I have twice had the experience of introducing genuine scientific achievers from the mining industry, each on the cusp of a major ore body discovery, to stockbrockers who could have funded and massively profited from their efforts, only to have them laughed out of the room by such people, who could only be impressed by sophisticated marketing, silver-tongued conceit and the de-rigeur powerpoint presentation. The people who get it right in the mining industry are concerned with science, engineering, costings, facts, logic, hard work and precise technical details. They have no interest in doing anything that they see as unnecessary simply for the sake of appearances. Stockbrokers, conversely, are ‘prestidigitateurs’ – conjurers on a stage, with silk hankerchieves, top hats and tinselled, leggy assitants. They are only interested in the illusion of the moment, the take at the box office till and the applause of the crowd.
Piers Corbyn’s presentational style and website graphics are irrelevant. It is the content that counts, as Anthony clearly realises in focussing on it and testing it.
(The less overt marketing, the more the truth, marketing being lies by any other name: hence Gore)

LC Kirk, Perth
July 5, 2012 9:03 pm

Sorry, I should have spell-checked that first! Wretched bifocals to not improve typing skills..
Just as a comment, I instinctively like the man and find him credibly sincere in his opinions and scientific conclusions. Don’t be put off by his presentation style, lack of graphical skills, Billingsgate accent or dishevelled, schoolmasterly appearance. You’re not looking at a slicko marketing job from Al Gore Incorporated here; you are looking at a genuine, intelligent human being, who does all his own work and is more concerned with the content than the medium.
I have twice had the experience of introducing genuine scientific achievers from the mining industry, each on the cusp of a major ore body discovery, to stockbrokers who could have funded and massively profited from their efforts, only to have them laughed out of the room by such people, who could only be impressed by sophisticated marketing, silver-tongued conceit and the de-rigeur powerpoint presentation. The people who get it right in the mining industry are concerned with science, engineering, costings, facts, logic, hard work and precise technical details. They have no interest in doing anything that they see as unnecessary simply for the sake of appearances. Stockbrokers, conversely, are ‘prestidigitateurs’ – conjurers on a stage, with silk handkerchiefs, top hats and tinselled, leggy assistants. They are only interested in the illusion of the moment, the take at the box office till and the applause of the crowd.
Piers Corbyn’s presentational style and website graphics are irrelevant. It is the content that counts, as Anthony clearly realises in focussing on it and testing it.
(The less overt marketing, the more the truth, marketing being lies by any other name: hence Gore)

July 5, 2012 9:15 pm

The challenge him to a bet he has to beat the UK met office or it’s US equivalent but in a manner acceptable to you both, make it a case of beer or wine or champagne. I’ve found found him to be more accurate than the Met. His most interesting claims however tie into earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and we shall see about that one.

daveburton
July 5, 2012 9:19 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:

daveburton says:

Willis, there’s something very strange about USGS earthquake counts which show far more 4.something earthquakes than 2.something and 3.something earthquakes. The counts of big earthquakes are probably correct, but the counts of small earthquakes aren’t. The less-than-magnitude-4.0 counts are certainly wrong, and the 4.something counts are questionable.
Unfortunately, those are the only bars that are clearly visible in your chart.

Hey, I just report them. That’s what the USGS says, and until you can come up with something more authoritative, your claim that they are somehow “questionable” is … well … questionable.

Well, how about the top of that very same USGS web page? Is that authoritative enough?
It says there are an estimated 130,000 magnitude 3.0 to 3.9 earthquakes per year, but they only counted an average of 7,126 per year over the 12 year period 2000-2011.
That doesn’t sound like a complete count to me, does it to you?
It also says that there are an estimated 13,000 magnitude 4.0 to 4.9 earthquakes per year, but over the 12 year period 2000 – 2011 they counted an average of only 10,448 per year.
That also sounds like an incomplete count, don’t you agree?
Now, if you object to counting only 8.0 magnitude earthquakes, then I suppose you could get a more meaningful measure by counting all 5.0-and-up earthquakes, weighted by energy released. Does that sound reasonable to you?
A 1.0 increase in magnitude corresponds to a 32x increase in energy released. So that one 9.0 earthquake in 2011, which occurred a few weeks after Piers’ prediction, was roughly equivalent to 32 magnitude 8.0 earthquakes, or 1000 magnitude 7.0 earthquakes, or 32,000 magnitude 6.0 earthquakes, or 1,000,000 magnitude 5.0 earthquakes. The USGS page says that in 2011 there were no magnitude 8.0-to-8.9 earthquakes, 19 magnitude 7.0-to-7.9 earthquakes, 185 magnitude 6.0-6.9 earthquakes, and 2276 magnitude 5.0-5.9 earthquakes.
You do the math. It’s clear that, whether by luck or by skill, even if there were no more earthquakes at all in the next 9 months, you’d still have to conclude that Piers was right about the “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”
Dave
Louis Hooffstetter says:

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions never have been, and never will be ‘weather’ events. There is no “butterfly effect” whereby atmospheric perturbations somehow cause movements in the lithosphere. Anyone who claims that climate influences earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions is a witch doctor, not a scientist.

True, Louis, but Piers has not made such a claim. Rather, it is my understanding that he believes astronomical events (e.g., the movements of Jupiter and Saturn) affect both climate and earthquakes (as well as “space weather”).
That is not voodoo, it is quite plausible.
Dave

Marion
July 5, 2012 11:35 pm

Re: Willis Eschenbach says:July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm
“Finally, as to the accuracy of the UK Met Office forecasts, we don’t have to wonder about them, because the Met Office regularly publishes the statistics showing just exactly how accurate their forecasts were at varying lead times … and Piers publishes nothing of the sort. If he did, his forecasts would likely generate a lot less controversy.”
Sorry Willis but not particularly impressed by the Met Office statistics in the link you provided
” used to produce a percentage number of the times when the forecast is accurate to within +/- 2°C. This is based over a rolling 36-month period to smooth out extremes and give a representative average.”
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/who/accuracy/forecasts
The fact is the Met Office consistently appear to show a warm bias and are more intent on pushing out “The key message .. that global warming continues.”
These were the words uttered by Julia Slingo of the Met Office back in December 2010 during a particularly cold winter the Met had failed to forecast –
“This is not a global event; it is very much confined to the UK and Western Europe and if you look over at Greenland, for example, you see that it’s exceptionally warm there,” she said.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/the-uk-may-be-cold-but-its-still-a-warm-world-says-met-office-chief-2165492.html
The problem was if one looked beyond Greenland one found
Australia swaps summer for christmas snow
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jv1dn_cAmrXQCkEWRMCZpKryjPpA?docId=CNG.fa1b2905c40572e9934b2e3a6b52d6f4.611
After the southern United States was hit with a rare “White Christmas,” snowstorms moved north where the major cities were pelted with snow blowing sideways.
http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE6BP1EW20101226?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true
Northern India remained in the grip of cold wave with mercury hovering around freezing point in several parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/123129/cold-conditions-continue-northern-india.html
Thousands of livestock die in blizzard-hit north China county
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/7247130.html
Not quite the ‘local event’ that Ms Slingo had preferred to portray!
In the Climategate mails I linked to above the better WeatherAction forecasts over the Met Office had prompted an Agenda 21 Director to suggest
“a joint UEA-EA-WeatherAction project to sort out the greenhouse vs. solar problem”
way back in the year 2000, something the Met Office appear to have declined!
http://di2.nu/foia/foia2011/mail/4803.txt

Bryan
Reply to  Marion
July 6, 2012 12:04 am

Piers differs from the broad sceptical position on the current weather.
Most sceptics argue that e.g.the current spell of very hot weather in parts of the USA and the very wet cold May/June/July in the UK are not unusual.
Piers argues that they are highly unusual and correspond to solar driven changes to the jet streams as we shift to a global cooling era.
He predicted months ago the current weather for the UK.
Last night the M77 was closed due to flooding.
Today 18 flood alerts are in force for the UK with one months rain falling in the next 48hours.

Editor
July 5, 2012 11:56 pm

daveburton says:
July 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm


Well, how about the top of that very same USGS web page? Is that authoritative enough?
It says there are an estimated 130,000 magnitude 3.0 to 3.9 earthquakes per year, but they only counted an average of 7,126 per year over the 12 year period 2000-2011.
That doesn’t sound like a complete count to me, does it to you?

Of course it’s not a complete count. That’s why they include the estimates, because as earthquakes get weaker and weaker, the odds of them being picked up by seismometers gets to be less and less … is this a surprise to you, that not all weak earthquakes are counted? It shouldn’t be, because on the same webpage, directly above the figures that I cited, it says:

The USGS estimates that several million earthquakes occur in the world each year. Many go undetected because they hit remote areas or have very small magnitudes. The NEIC now locates about 50 earthquakes each day, or about 20,000 a year.
As more and more seismographs are installed in the world, more earthquakes can be and have been located. However, the number of large earthquakes (magnitude 6.0 and greater) has stayed relatively constant.

So no, Dave, this is not the count of the estimated several million earthquakes that happen each year. It is the count of the 20,000 or so per year that are actually measured.

Now, if you object to counting only 8.0 magnitude earthquakes, then I suppose you could get a more meaningful measure by counting all 5.0-and-up earthquakes, weighted by energy released. Does that sound reasonable to you?

Sure, that sounds reasonable. I suppose I should ask you to do it, but I’ll do it for you this time … I don’t have the data down to magnitude 5, but here are the counts for magnitude 6 and up, adjusted by energy released:

Still not impressed, sorry. Even if there are two more 8+ magnitude earthquakes this year it still won’t beat 2007, and if there are no more 8+ magnitude earthquakes the game is over.
Note again that none of this makes the slightest difference. We cannot either support or falsify Piers’s prediction, because his prediction is far too vague. So we’re off in Nostradamus land, whatever the numbers may show.
w.

July 6, 2012 12:05 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm
…Finally, as to the accuracy of the UK Met Office forecasts, we don’t have to wonder about them, because the Met Office regularly publishes the statistics showing just exactly how accurate their forecasts were at varying lead times …
Sarcasm, right?
Look I’m not understanding why you (Anthony) are bothering with this?
Piers receives no funding from anyone other than what he earns selling his forecasts. I dip in occasionally and, as I said last night, he was pretty accurate in the forecasts I bought. He is eccentric in his presentation but that’s actually a part of his charm. He’s not harming anyone, he’s not forcing people to buy his forecasts, unlike the met office who cost us UK taxpayers £170m a year and fail regularly:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/met-office-april-forecast-drought-impacts-in-the-coming-months-are-virtually-inevitable/
If people trust Piers’ forecasts and want to invest in them then so be it, surely there are more important things to get excited about than this!

Editor
July 6, 2012 12:05 am

Marion says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Re: Willis Eschenbach says:July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

“Finally, as to the accuracy of the UK Met Office forecasts, we don’t have to wonder about them, because the Met Office regularly publishes the statistics showing just exactly how accurate their forecasts were at varying lead times … and Piers publishes nothing of the sort. If he did, his forecasts would likely generate a lot less controversy.”

Sorry Willis but not particularly impressed by the Met Office statistics in the link you provided
” used to produce a percentage number of the times when the forecast is accurate to within +/- 2°C. This is based over a rolling 36-month period to smooth out extremes and give a representative average.”
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/who/accuracy/forecasts

Thanks, Marion, but that’s not enough information. What is it about their statistics that doesn’t impress you? Are you objecting to their methods? If so, what is your objection, and what method do you think they should be using in place of what they are using? If not their methods, then just exactly what is your objection?

The fact is the Met Office consistently appear to show a warm bias and are more intent on pushing out “The key message .. that global warming continues.”

I agree with that, and I don’t have a clue what that has to do with the statistics that I cited. I was answering the question about why Piers’s results “generate controversy”. So I gave that as an example, and as I said above, if Piers were to publish something similar, there would be less controversy surrounding his results.
All the best,
w.

Rhys Jaggar
July 6, 2012 12:06 am

Mr Watts
The BBC weather service is predicting up to 60mm of rain for Northern England and the Midlands today, July 6th 2012, which represents a whole month of rainfall in one day. Actually, in one morning.
Given the summer we’ve been having this isn’t ‘off the scale’, but it is certainly enough to trigger plenty of flooding.
We’d actually like your drought for about 2 weeks here!

Marion
July 6, 2012 12:12 am

Marion says: July 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm
Woops – should have written “something the UEA EA appear to have declined!”

July 6, 2012 12:28 am

^ forecast maps in the new format since May, same data off of same tabled raw data, produces the same csv files, just more detailed graphics, now 8 nearest neighbors, with max search radius of 8 degrees, 3 mile grid squares, instead of the original maps with 32 nearest neighbors, a search radius of 70 degrees, on 60 mile grid squares. Much less smoothing and more local details visible. I pay all costs of production out of my own pocket, no commercial content or advertising, no narrative bluster, just the maps from raw data to stand or fall on their own.
Maps for the next two years available for viewing today for all of North America, Canada, and now Australia. All the content viewable all the time for FREE!

Jack Cowper
July 6, 2012 12:42 am

Corbyn’s Technique has been the subject of a peer reviewed paper.
Early Weather Action (Solar Weather Technique) skill was independently verified in a peer-reviewed paper by Dr Dennis Wheeler, University of Sunderland, in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol 63 (2001) p29-34.
Whilst I believe there is some skill in this, I think at times Corbyn can be his own worst enemy with the way he makes his claims.

Editor
July 6, 2012 12:45 am

Carrie says:
July 6, 2012 at 12:05 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

…Finally, as to the accuracy of the UK Met Office forecasts, we don’t have to wonder about them, because the Met Office regularly publishes the statistics showing just exactly how accurate their forecasts were at varying lead times …

Sarcasm, right?

Wrong. If you have an objection to their methods of analysis of the success/failure of their forecasts, as I said to someone else above, you’ll have to spell it out in detail. Simply dissing their results without reasons, citations, details, and specific objections is totally inadequate in the world of science.

Look I’m not understanding why you (Anthony) are bothering with this?

I can’t speak for Anthony, but for me, I think all claims should be examined closely and that we should attempt to falsify everything, including particularly my own work. This adversarial skepticism is at the heart of science. I’d also love to be able to show that Piers’ method was indeed more accurate than climatology …

Piers receives no funding from anyone other than what he earns selling his forecasts. I dip in occasionally and, as I said last night, he was pretty accurate in the forecasts I bought. He is eccentric in his presentation but that’s actually a part of his charm. He’s not harming anyone, he’s not forcing people to buy his forecasts, unlike the met office who cost us UK taxpayers £170m a year and fail regularly:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/met-office-april-forecast-drought-impacts-in-the-coming-months-are-virtually-inevitable/
If people trust Piers’ forecasts and want to invest in them then so be it, surely there are more important things to get excited about than this!

Carrie, you seem to be the only one that’s excited here. For me, I’m curious about all parts of science. I’d love to see a dispassionate examination of Piers’s methods and predictions, but neither one is possible. The first is not possible because Piers (understandably) doesn’t want to release his methods, and as a businessman, he has every right to not release them.
The second, however, is more problematic, in that (as far as I know) Piers has never given a public listing of his actual detailed predictions so his successes and failures could be examined and analyzed. And that one, he could do.
But in either case I have no problem with him selling his forecasts nor with people buying them, and I wish him the best of success.
w.

Agnostic
July 6, 2012 12:59 am

There are several reasons for that. First, Pier’s forecasts tend to be very vague. Second, they are not available for retrospective analysis. Third, he does no such analysis himself, or at least none I’ve ever seen.
Willis, my understanding is that his paid for forecasts are very detailed and he gives confidence ratings for them in percentage. His chief customers I understand are farmers and supermarkets and they seem to be pretty satisfied. He claims his prediction rate to be around 80-85% and in interviews he is a lot more circumspect than his somewhat tabloid-esque website newsletters which I agree with others are..err…eccentric to the say the least.
It should also be pointed out that some of his predictions are uncannily accurate, with great precision well ahead of time (within a just a few days), while others are very vague and usually given with low confidence. He is also geographically more detailed at certain times and less at others. I suspect this is due to the nature of what he can determine using his technique, which I am personally intrigued by. Your suspicion that he may be ‘on to something’ is the general impression I get having kept a bemused eye on him for a few years,
But I would encourage you to distinguish between the different types of predictions he makes; those that are very specific and those that are more general. It seems to me that the more extreme the weather event, the more accurately he is able to predict them. I have long been intrigued by his predictions, and idly considered trying to work out for myself just how accurate he is. It would great to see WUWT turn their skeptical attention to it and see if there really is something to his theory. Just don’t forget that details of his ‘theory’ are a commercial secret for him – in the same way the recipe for coke or KFC are for them.

Agnostic
July 6, 2012 1:03 am

The second, however, is more problematic, in that (as far as I know) Piers has never given a public listing of his actual detailed predictions so his successes and failures could be examined and analyzed. And that one, he could do.
I’d love to see a dispassionate examination of Piers’s methods and predictions, but neither one is possible. The first is not possible because Piers (understandably) doesn’t want to release his methods, and as a businessman, he has every right to not release them.
Cross posting – I agree with this 100%

Marion
July 6, 2012 1:12 am

Re: Willis Eschenbach says:July 6, 2012 at 12:05 am
“just exactly what is your objection?”
That when it comes to weather or climate for that matter, ‘averaging’ can be rather misleading in determining accuracy and that +/- 2C is a somewhat generous temp span here in the UK.
My particular objection is that the Met Office is diverting large amounts of effort and funding into propaganda used to push a political agenda.
One need only peruse their publications, including the top one which was issued just prior to Copenhagen
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/library/publications/climate-change
I am sure Piers Corbyn could put Met Office resources to far better use!

Thomas the sceptic
July 6, 2012 1:49 am

So, he predicts tornados in northern Europe? I live in the northern part of Europe and as far as tornados goes I think we’ve had one in the last hundred years that actually did some damage. Off-Scale rain I really can’t comment on since I don’t even know what that means, more than last year, more than the last ten years?
Hail doesn’t happen a lot here either during the summer, in the autumn and spring it’s fairly common though.
I will watch this with interest and hope for normal sunny and warm weather for July and August so my time off work won’t be spent inside looking at tornados, gales and hail.

July 6, 2012 2:27 am

What these ‘forecasts / predictions’ dont show is the many weather modifications taking place – not just in america but globally- and therefore isn’t allowing for the interconnected nature of weather to be fully understood by those who use such ‘forecasts / predictions’ for their work and lives.

SteveP
July 6, 2012 3:04 am

I predict Rain for Ireland in July (and August, September…)

daveburton
July 6, 2012 3:18 am

Willis, there’s something very wrong with your weightings. You show 2007 and 2011 exactly tied on the magnitude 8.0-and-up bar. That’s not right. The bar for 2011 should be 3.3 times as tall as the bar for 2007.
2011 had a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and 2007 had nothing close to that: just an 8.5, two 8.1’s, and an 8.0.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake releases:
5.5x as much energy as an 8.5
23x as much energy as an 8.1
32x as much energy as an 8.0
So, adding together all four of 2007’s “8.0 & up” earthquakes we get:
(1/5.5) + (2/23) + (1/32) = just 30% of the energy released in 2011’s 9.0 earthquake.
Obviously that qualifies as “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”
Piers was right. I don’t know whether it was skill or luck, but he was definitely right.

Heather Brown (aka Dartmoor resident)
July 6, 2012 3:36 am

I’m another UK reader who has sometimes paid for Piers Corbyn’s forecasts. As others have said, he is not always right – and, yes, he does admit it – but he certainly has a track record for getting his long term forecasts MUCH more accurate than the Met Office or any others I know about. I totally agree with the comments about his presentation, but have great respect for his ability and the way he makes his forecasts public.
He has been banned from betting on the weather (presumably because he was consistently winning) and has frequently requested an impartial audit of his long range forecasts against others – and, as far as I know, no-one is willing to take him up on it.

daveburton
July 6, 2012 3:43 am

2012 is also a big earthquake year. We’ve already had an 8.6 and an 8.2 this year!
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake releases:
4.2x as much energy as an 8.6
16.5x as much energy as an 8.2
So, adding them together we get:
(1/4.2) + (1/16.5) = 30% of the energy released in 2011’s 9.0 earthquake = 100% of the energy released in all four of 2007’s 8.0 & up earthquakes, combined — and the year’s only half over!
Now, as it happens, 2007 had a lot of 7.something earthquakes, too, including a 7.9 and a 7.8. So if we don’t get any more big earthquakes this year then 2012 could still end up with less earthquake activity than 2007. But there’s no question that, regardless of what happens the rest of this year, 2011+2012 will go down in history as a period of very high earthquake activity, much higher than any other two-year period in the last dozen years.
In other words, Piers was right.

daveburton
July 6, 2012 4:01 am

Here’s a “top 17” list of earthquakes:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/10_largest_world.php
Notice that there was a surge of big earthquakes between about 1950 and 1965 (peak in 1960), and another from 2004 to present (peak, so far, in 2011). That’s about 60 years between peaks. Does that ring any bells?
http://pages.citebite.com/j2d0k3n9tqpc

jh
July 6, 2012 4:07 am

FIO Willis Eschenbach
“the three stage investment of up to £500,000 in weatherXchange, a joint-venture company set up between the Met Office and other investors in 2001…”. The company was placed in administration with a loss to the public purse of about £4.5 million in total.”

Steve C
July 6, 2012 4:12 am

Stu N – The rain has arrived overnight, though steady rather than torrential (so far). Actually, after June, I think most of us have learned to expect rain!
An analogy occurs to me. Remember the good old days of sending pictures down slow phone line connections? The first few passes gave you a picture which became less ‘blocky’ with each pass, until eventually the full detail of the picture was shown after a few more passes. I’d suggest that Piers, with his astrophysical technique and ability to compare with similar situations in history, provides the first few passes: yes, there’s definitely a red bit here and a green bit there, storms here or drought there, give or take a day or two or a few hundred miles. Closer to, the Met Office style gives a much more detailed picture, but rather than starting from the outline detail from WA they use their CO2 warmist theories, a solid red background. Result, we get Piers’ picture, giving us an overall, modest resolution impression, and the MO picture which not only looks sort of reddish but, while pin-sharp, keeps flickering as a frisky Jet stream flips us some more rain or a (to them) unexpected blocking high, like bad digital TV reception.
I’m always quite impressed how many plants Piers’ forecasts seem to save – moderate resolution is evidently of use there. And href=http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/05/putting-piers-corbyn-to-the-test/#comment-1025307>Marion – that is the comment so far, beautiful. Piers should put that quote about his forecasts right at the top of his site, with full attribution.
Now, if we could just get the Met Office to work with a man who can quite obviously point their models in the right direction, we’d be getting there. Sir Piers Corbyn could direct the ongoing (and now available) research into how our solar system drives our weather, and we’d all know that rock festival next month was likely to be a mudbath, or that we’d be needing a lot of salt for the roads in January.
Still raining. Wax is good.

July 6, 2012 4:34 am

I don’t have access to Dr. Corbyn’s forecasts, but I know that the world of climate forecasting and the climate science would be much poorer place without him.

Tenuk
July 6, 2012 4:47 am

I’ve notice that here in England summer weather patterns often repeat on a 7 year cycle – here’s the Met Office summary for July 2005…
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/2005/july.html
Would be interesting to see the UK forecast from Piers Corbyn for this year and see which method produces the best result.

July 6, 2012 4:53 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 6, 2012 at 12:45 am
‘I can’t speak for Anthony, but for me, I think everyone’s claims should be examined closely and that we should attempt to falsify everything, including particularly my own work. This skepticism is at the heart of science.’
We’re talking about a man who produces weather forecasts, tons of people do the very same thing on both sides of the pond. What is there to be skeptical about, it’s hardly a scientific paper is it! If people choose to buy his forecasts fair enough, market forces prevail…if his predictions are wrong most of the time, he will go out of business. I guess I’m wondering why Piers?
‘Carrie, you seem to be the only one that’s excited here. For me, I’m curious about all parts of science. I’d love to see a dispassionate examination of Piers’s methods and predictions, but neither one is possible. The first is not possible because Piers (understandably) doesn’t want to release his methods, and as a businessman, he has every right to not release them.’
I’m not excited Willis, I’m just uncomfortable with the fact that someone who obviously believes completely in his skills and has had some major successes is seemingly being singled out and in some cases derided. I don’t like it, this all feels a bit school playground’ish to me. Sorry I thought WUWT was better than this.

David, UK
July 6, 2012 4:54 am

Since Corbyn is a fellow climate skeptic, let’s give him a fair but factual evaluation…
I’m sure it wasn’t the intended impression, but that line reads like one must be a fellow sceptic in order to qualify for a “fair but factual evaluation”. I’m sure we all agree that anyone who receives evaluation is entitled to a fair and factual evaluation.

David, UK
July 6, 2012 4:55 am

Sorry, I meant to italicise the word anyone.

dave ward
July 6, 2012 5:05 am

Down here in UEA land it started raining in the early hours and now some 9 hours later my rain gauge is showing 32mm. Looking at rainfall radar playbacks we haven’t had the worst, and a much heavier band of rain passed North of here – the lot heading for the Midlands by the look of it….

KM
July 6, 2012 5:20 am

It’s true Piers doesn’t have a 100% success rate, but I personally know several farmers and growers who prefer to pay hard cash to Weather Action, instead of using the “free” Met Office, because Weather Action has a higher success rate.
For his customers to get their money’s worth, he doesn’t need to have a 100% success rate, just a significantly better success rate than the Met Office.
The MO “prediction” for June and July was a continuation of the drought. It’s proved to be a very wet drought.

KM
July 6, 2012 5:39 am

Oh, by the way, here in the UK, this drought is getting so wet, we’re wondering if St Swithin’s day has arrived early this year. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10644550

ozspeaksup
July 6, 2012 6:50 am

LC Kirk, Perth says:
July 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm
Sorry, I should have spell-checked that first! Wretched bifocals to not improve typing skills..
Just as a comment, I instinctively like the man and find him credibly sincere in his opinions and scientific conclusions. Don’t be put off by his presentation style, lack of graphical skills, Billingsgate accent or dishevelled, schoolmasterly appearance. You’re not looking at a slicko marketing job from Al Gore Incorporated here; you are looking at a genuine, intelligent human being, who does all his own work and is more concerned with the content than the medium.
I have twice had the experience of introducing genuine scientific achievers from the mining industry, each on the cusp of a major ore body discovery, to stockbrokers who could have funded and massively profited from their efforts, only to have them laughed out of the room by such people, who could only be impressed by sophisticated marketing, silver-tongued conceit and the de-rigeur powerpoint presentation. The people who get it right in the mining industry are concerned with science, engineering, costings, facts, logic, hard work and precise technical details. They have no interest in doing anything that they see as unnecessary simply for the sake of appearances. Stockbrokers, conversely, are ‘prestidigitateurs’ – conjurers on a stage, with silk handkerchiefs, top hats and tinselled, leggy assistants. They are only interested in the illusion of the moment, the take at the box office till and the applause of the crowd.
Piers Corbyn’s presentational style and website graphics are irrelevant. It is the content that counts, as Anthony clearly realises in focussing on it and testing it.
(The less overt marketing, the more the truth, marketing being lies by any other name: hence Gore)
===================================
thank you, After seeing so many usa “characters” I really am amazed at the accusations hes a showman etc.
hes an Honest chap . he admits errors . which is a damn sight more human and likeable than the rest of the weather crews are.
ok so he charges for info that can and does give Farmers especially, a better chance of judging planting and crop damage possible.
he warned of big wet in sth sthwest aus when , from the weather we were getting, and the Boms info it was going to be dry.
I admit even I scratched my head thinking no way., from the weather we were having which was far warmer than it should have been standard at that time.
well Piers was right, we copped flooding in large parts of the state, completely out of the norm ,and I had told people I knew and suggested they did plan for rain. and I also pre planned getting hay and wood up and dry. he saved my butt fodder wise, and that was only the free snips, as a pensioner, now with the added insult of rising power water and carbon scams, I cant afford his full charts., but i sure would if i could.
you dont “like” his web page design?
oh really. how precious of you….it isnt the presentation that matters FFS its the info!

Ian W
July 6, 2012 6:55 am

KM says:
July 6, 2012 at 5:39 am

From the URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10644550
“Legend has it that he asked to be buried humbly outside Winchester Cathedral when he died but his remains were dug up in 971 and moved inside the building.
The act was said to have coincided with 40 days and 40 nights of violent storms, indicating his displeasure at being moved.”

Nowadays they just blame CO2 with a similar amount of correlation logic.

beenzontoste
July 6, 2012 7:28 am

Piers has a certain style. But, i think you should judge him by his major competition, that is the Met Office. here is the link, http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/ The met office has come a cropper in recent years with their barbeque summers, which weren`t. On the subject of this May, Pier said it would be cold etc etc, and it was, i know, i live here. The dear old Met Office hedged it bets and said by and large it would be touch warmer than average. Asi t turned out i was bloody cold by may standards for three weeks, then we all got fried. Over all it was `average`, but it was actually nothing like average it was a tale of two extreme. On balance Pier was right.

July 6, 2012 7:44 am

Willis wrote:
“Carrie, you seem to be the only one that’s excited here.”
There are 174 posts on this thread so far. It would appear that Carrie is not the “only one that’s excited here”. If Anthony is going to do a follow-up on Piers Corbyn’s accuracy, I presume that means he will be using Corbyn’s more detailed product and not just his teaser page. Is that true?

Keith
July 6, 2012 9:10 am

Piers Corbyn was much more accurate than the MET office in the UK this year. In March this year there was concern regarding drought because of two successive dry winters. The MET office predicted dry April May and June with April the driest of the three. As a result, a number of water companies in the UK issued hosepipe bans on the 6th of April – by which time it had already started raining heavily. This led to the hilarious photo which WUWT blogged of an advert on a London bus about drought, while all the people waiting for the bus were soaked, in the middle of a downpour, holdng umbrellas. In contrast Piers predicted floods in April, a colder than average May and floods in June. The only bit he got wrong was that the last week of May was unusually warm, and so the statistics for the whole month looked very normal. I dont subscribe to his forecasts but from his webpage you could see that in May he predicted floods on the 6th and 7th June. He was out by one day – the flooding began on the 8th. I would say, give the guy a break. He is very interesting. He makes his predictions using a laptop, while the MET, who he outforecasts, are seeking ever more money for bigger computer systems.

Editor
July 6, 2012 9:48 am

daveburton says:
July 6, 2012 at 3:18 am

So, adding together all four of 2007′s “8.0 & up” earthquakes we get:
(1/5.5) + (2/23) + (1/32) = just 30% of the energy released in 2011′s 9.0 earthquake.
Obviously that qualifies as “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”
Piers was right. I don’t know whether it was skill or luck, but he was definitely right.

If Piers had said “If you calculate the actual energy released by the earthquake, and ignore the number of earthquakes, the energy released will go up” he would have been right.
But he didn’t say that. Instead, he made a very vague Nostradamus prognostication, one which you yourself have already used three different methods to calculate. Now you’ve finally found one that agrees with him … sorry, Dave, but that’s special pleading. When Piers makes a falsifiable prediction, then we’ll be able to determine if he was right or not.
But as it stands, it’s just like his other predictions of things like “searing heat” and “waves of thunderstorms” and “frequent low pressure”, none of which are anywhere near specific enough to be falsified.
w.
PS—You guys seem to be of the impression that I think Piers is a charlatan or a fraud or something. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think it’s great that he beats the UK Met Office (although that’s a pretty low hurdle). I think, as another poster said, that the world of climate forecasting would be much poorer without him.
I just wish that he would a) be much more specific in his forecasts, and b) publish them with full details after the fact so that we could see how well he is actually doing, rather than just speculating. I say this last because his habit of trumpeting his successes and ignoring his failures, quite frankly, makes my urban legend detector start to ring … if I were as successful as he claims, I’d be retrospectively publishing every one of my forecasts, good and bad, in full detail so that I could rest on my laurels. He doesn’t do so … which as I said, makes my detector start to ring.

Editor
July 6, 2012 11:06 am

Long term data from the Met shows that the wettest summers were back in the 18th and 19thC. After a trend to drier summers in the 20thC up to about 1970, the trend since has been to wetter ones since.
DEFRA however project drier summers ( and wetter winters, which incidentally have been getting drier in the last few years). Either their models are wrong or we are getting colder.
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/english-summer-rainfall-trends/

Paul
July 6, 2012 11:15 am

I see Piers hasn’t turned up to defend himself…

F. Guimaraes
July 6, 2012 11:58 am

I don’t know what to say about Piers, I like the connection with the magnetic fields of the Sun and Earth. He should expose his ideas more openly for the debate, show his formulas and graphs, not only the forecasts themselves.

Pertinax
July 6, 2012 12:12 pm

I have to agree with Willis, particularly as he ‘stole’ nearly every salient point I intended to make here already! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I am a professional meteorologist responsible for forecasting operational threats to the electrical transmission and distribution system of a large eastern US energy company. Spring of 2011 I read several positive comments regarding Piers’ forecasts and thought that I would evaluate them (his US forecasts) for a year. My evaluation was done subjectively, noting on a calendar the various notable threats in Piers’ forecasts that could impact to our area and subsequently noting if they provided any useful signal of upcoming threats to our system.
Apart from his forecast for Hurricane Irene (which I would count as a decent success even though Piers’ forecasts for the remaining entirety (June – November) of the 2011 Atlantic TC season was poor), his forecasts offered no beneficial signal regarding operational threats. In the real world of operational forecasting, a forecast of “Heavy rain turning to HEAVY Snow with thunder snow” across the Upper Great Lakes, Ohio River Valley, and Blue Ridge from a low moving out of the Great Lakes into the Canadian Maritimes for day X *does not count as a successful forecast* for a heavy wet snow from the northern Mid-Atlantic through New England from a nor’easter on day X-2; that at least was a ‘close’ forecast. There were *many* forecasts for significant events that never happened, and visa versa. Again from my operational experience (for the US at least) Piers’ forecasts are at best worthless.

stephen richards
July 6, 2012 12:32 pm

Richard Holle says:
July 6, 2012 at 12:28 am
Richard
I read your aerology thesis sometime ago and still have it bookmarked. I found it very interesting and , as far as I could determine with very little info from piers, you and he are on the same track.
Good stuff!

UK Dissenter
July 6, 2012 1:03 pm

A fair test for a fair and honest man
Like a number of other UK commentators, I have bought and used Pier’s predictions. Sometimes he’s more-or-less spot on, other times he’s way out. By this I mean that he gets the weather around Birmingham, my home town, approximately right, sometimes, but certainly not always. I don’t mean I have done any careful statistical analysis of his predictions compared with what actually happened.
I attended a meeting at Imperial College (Piers’s old alma mater) at which he, and other sceptics spoke in Autumn 2010. He had said that he would explain his method and ‘reveal all’. He didn’t go into detail but, from what I remember, as others have said, his approach is based on the belief that the Sun’s output of solar wind, radiation (and magnetic field??) influences the upper atmosphere and the movement of the jet streams. It appears then that he applies some kind of pattern recognition, and examines what happened last time the Sun’s output pattern of charged particles etc was similar and how the weather responded. Please excuse my vagueness but I am not knowledgeable, and he did speak in generalities. This sort of fits with the forecasts I have bought. Sometimes they predict the weather pattern uncannily. Other times they are completely wrong. It’s as if the pattern has repeated and is the same, and then it doesn’t repeat, although Piers was expecting it to do so i.e. he seems to get it either completely right, or completely wrong.
Something like an objective comparison of weather predictions has been proposed by Roger Harrabin (BBC Environment correspondent) http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9699000/9699478.stm. But whether it is, and whether it happens isn’t currently clear.
Willis argues that Piers should construct his own assessment of his prediction skill, and I agree that this would be a good thing to do. But it takes time and money to do this sort of work, and I am not sure that Piers has either. It would be a powerful marketing tool.
I don’t think he’s a charlatan. I think he’s tried to develop and refine his method. He’s running a business from which he makes his living so he’s not going to give away his method. This is frustrating because it’s therefore not possible to independently and critically examine his theory and the strength of the evidence supporting it. All we see is the output, the forecasts, and we have to pay for them. As a number of people have pointed out, people including farmers and food businesses do pay for the forecasts which is suggestive evidence that Piers’s theories seem to have some validity. Having said that there are a lot of gullible people ‘out there’, but I don’t think of farmers and food retailers as naïve dupes, so maybe Piers’s onto something. The frustration for all of us, he won’t tell us what!
His model is based, he believes, on physically plausible effects by the Sun, and the Moon, on the Earth’s atmosphere. This is, according to Piers, based on physically plausible, predictable mechanisms (which he won’t share). It’s on this basis that he predicts long-term weather patterns. The Met Office, as I understand it, uses CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to predict how the atmosphere will behave three, four or five days ahead. Because of the inevitable chaotic behaviour of the atmosphere it’s impossible, no matter how big or expensive the computer, to predict further ahead than, say, five days. The Met Office seems to have no theory of what influences weather outside of CFD. So it’s stuck in CFD land. At least Piers seems to deal with physical effects (from the Sun and Moon) i.e. he’s dealing with effects that are causal and influence weather patterns in a physically plausible way.
I am with LC Kirk when he says:
“…I instinctively like the man and find him credibly sincere in his opinions and scientific conclusions. Don’t be put off by his presentation style, lack of graphical skills, Billingsgate accent or dishevelled, schoolmasterly appearance. You’re not looking at a slicko marketing job from Al Gore Incorporated here; you are looking at a genuine, intelligent human being, who does all his own work and is more concerned with the content than the medium.”
Piers isn’t slick. His presentations are amateurish, and opaque. He does look like an absent-minded professor, and he’s no media savvy ‘slicko’. He does tend to over-claim and he does overdo it with the !!!!! None of this matters if he’s right, and he’s onto something. The frustration is that he can’t, and won’t tell us more. Pity.

Martin Gordon
July 6, 2012 1:39 pm

No need to share the method, but as already stated, the fact that he doesn’t release out of date forecasts for evaluation says everything that you need to know.
How many farmers, how many supermarkets -what size?

daveburton
July 6, 2012 1:44 pm

You’re reneging, WIllis.
I said, “if you object to counting only 8.0 magnitude earthquakes, then I suppose you could get a more meaningful measure by counting all 5.0-and-up earthquakes, weighted by energy released. Does that sound reasonable to you?”
You replied, “Sure, that sounds reasonable.”
But that was when you mistakenly thought that the calculation would put 2007 ahead of 2011 in earthquake activity.
Now that you know that by that “reasonable” measure the earthquake activity of 2011 dwarfed 2007’s earthquake activity (and every other recent year), you’ve changed your mind.
This is not a “special pleading.” This is a metric that you (correctly) agreed is reasonable. IMO, it is the only reasonable metric.
Simply counting earthquakes is not reasonable. A 9.0 earthquake releases 1,000,000 times as much energy as a 5.0 earthquake. Equating them is like equating a 500 lb conventional bomb (explosive yield equivalent to about 210 lbs TNT) to a 105 kiloton nuke. (For comparison, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was 12-15 kilotons.)
The fact is that Piers’ earthquake warning last year was absolutely right. I don’t know whether he was very smart or very lucky, but he was unquestionably correct.
Dave

daveburton
July 6, 2012 1:46 pm

BTW, what’s the secret for embedding those graphs in your messages, Willis? I can’t seem to make it work!
REPLY: You have to have author privileges here to embed images – Anthony

Editor
July 6, 2012 2:01 pm

daveburton says:
July 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm

You’re reneging, WIllis.
I said, “if you object to counting only 8.0 magnitude earthquakes, then I suppose you could get a more meaningful measure by counting all 5.0-and-up earthquakes, weighted by energy released. Does that sound reasonable to you?”
You replied, “Sure, that sounds reasonable.”
But that was when you mistakenly thought that the calculation would put 2007 ahead of 2011 in earthquake activity.
Now that you know that by that “reasonable” measure the earthquake activity of 2011 dwarfed 2007′s earthquake activity (and every other recent year), you’ve changed your mind.
This is not a “special pleading.” This is a metric that you (correctly) agreed is reasonable. IMO, it is the only reasonable metric.

Well, duh, of course you think that it is the “only reasonable metric”, because it is the only metric by which Piers is right. Is it a reasonable way to measure earthquakes? Sure. Does it prove that Piers is right? No chance, because that’s not what he predicted.
You don’t seem to have grasped my point, which I’ve been making all along. Piers’s prognostications, about earthquakes and in most cases about weather, are so general as to be unfalsifiable. As you have just shown, one earthquake metric supports his claim and one metric doesn’t … but you choose the one that supports his claim.
This is only possible because his claim lacks the required specificity to be either falsified or verified, as you have clearly proven.
So no, I’m not “reneging” on anything, I am simply reiterating what I’ve been saying since my first post on this thread—his predictions are like those of Nostradamus—they are pliable enough to twist them to mean whatever you want them to mean. And when they are not that pliable, people just ignore the fact that he said “New Mexico and Arizona”, and decide that they are “close enough”.
w.
PS—You are making the claim that Piers was right based on the fortuitous occurrence of one single large earthquake. Without that one earthquake, his results would show the opposite … do you know how many statisticians are rolling over in their graves regarding the foolishness of such a claim, based on a single occurrence?

daveburton
July 6, 2012 3:21 pm

Willis wrote, “Well, duh, of course you think that it is the “only reasonable metric”, because it is the only metric by which Piers is right.”
Wrong. There is no metric even marginally reasonable by which Piers isn’t right about this.
You didn’t like considering just the really big earthquakes (8.0 & up), because it was obvious that Piers was right. So I suggested the most precise metric: summing the energy from all the earthquakes which are big enough to be reasonably counted (5.0 & up), which you agreed was reasonable. But by that metric, too, Piers is obviously right.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise: There’s not really much difference between counting just the biggest earthquakes and counting all the earthquakes big enough to be reliably detected and counted, because because most of the energy released by earthquakes (and most of the destruction) is from the very biggest ones.
2011’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake released the same energy as 32,000 magnitude 6.0 earthquakes. In the big earthquake year of 2007 there were only 2,074 earthquakes between magnitude 5.0 and 5.9, so the 5.something earthquakes are nearly negligible in their contribution to the sum.
2011’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake released the same energy as 1000 magnitude 7.0 earthquakes. In 2007 there were only 178 magnitude 6.0-6.9 earthquakes, so the 6.something earthquakes are nearly negligible in their contribution to the sum, too.
That’s why it is reasonable to ignore the small earthquakes, and just consider the large ones: because that is a good approximation of the correct metric, which is to sum the energy released by all the earthquakes big enough to cause damage or be reliably detected and counted.
What’s not reasonable is equating earthquakes of wildly differing sizes, as in your bar charts.

daveburton
July 6, 2012 3:36 pm

Willis wrote, “PS—You are making the claim that Piers was right based on the fortuitous occurrence of one single large earthquake. Without that one earthquake, his results would show the opposite…”
Not really, Willis. Did you look at that list of biggest earthquakes since 1900?
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/10_largest_world.php
The 4th largest and the 11th largest earthquakes in the last 112 years have both occurred in the 15 months since Piers forecast “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”

Doug Proctor
July 6, 2012 5:57 pm

Willis,
Thanks for your comment. I’m sensitive, as a skeptic, to anything that feels like an automatic rejection of the off-beat. As a professional geologist, I am very aware of the inherent questioning that comes of thinking outside the consensus box. Skepticism in climate science, of which I am a solid supporter as it now goes, does, at times, have an element of if-Hansen-says-it-it-must-be-wrong. Or a Piers, in this case: he is outside the social box, for sure, and that tends to generate a belief (in all of us) that he is outside the reasoning box.
Piers, as others have noted, is a promoter. It is not in his professional interest to provide a baseball score, unless he is way beyond the curve. I get it. But perhaps Anthony and Joe would be better to discuss: how good is ANY prediction 1 month out?
This is the delimema of both warmist and skeptic alike: how far can you reasonably predict ANYTHING? If a 3 month forecast is, historically foolish, how can you blame the 2010 Russian heatwave or the current American heatwave on anything? If you can’t connect forward, can you really connect backward? As a geologist I build internally consistent stories to explain the current geology, but I know that those stories are not necessarily correct, but only consistent as far as the data goes – or most of it. That is why geologists have a career: the stories we made yesterday are not as good as the ones we make today, and we’re prepared to be paid to declare thus.
Thanks again.
D.

David A. Evans
July 6, 2012 6:00 pm

P. Solar says:
July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

Alan the Brit says: We shall see what develops, if he wasn’t any good at it he would have gone out of business by now!
False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?

Has any publicly funded business ever gone out of business?
DaveE.

Editor
July 6, 2012 8:36 pm

Dave, you still haven’t responded to my underlying problem with Piers’s claim, the vagueness that underlies all of his claims. He makes no mention of how we are to measure the earthquakes. There are three obvious possibilities–number, magnitude, and energy released. By two of the three measures, there is nothing unusual. By the third one, energy released, there is an anomaly, although it does not appear to be statistically significant.
However, Piers didn’t say which measure he was talking about, so I’m sure if there had been a bunch more earthquakes you would have claimed victory as well. After all, he didn’t say that the earthquakes would be more energetic, as you keep claiming. He said, and I quote:

As New Zealand is struck by Earthquake Piers says:-
Expect more earthquakes world-wide for next two years
• More Earthquakes near solar activity minima
• Odd-Even cycle minima (like THIS one) probably worse
• More Earthquakes associated with Solar proton events

Note that there is not one word in there about “more energetic earthquakes”, Dave. Three separate times, he said “More earthquakes”. So for sure, if there had been more earthquakes, you would still be claiming victory even if they were not strong earthquakes. Since there weren’t more earthquakes, you now claim victory because there were some strong ones.
And that is the problem. His forecasts are so vague as to allow a host of interpretations, and people can pick the most favorable.
I thought that there might be a way out, in that it should be possible to test his related claim that there are “More Earthquakes near solar activity minima”. We have decent earthquake records of large quakes for a couple of solar minima. The problem, of course, is that 2011-2012 is not a solar minimum … the last solar minimum was in 2008, before that in 1996, and before that in 1986 … and I see no shred of evidence supporting his claim of “more earthquakes” in the record for those years.
Of course, the problem once again is that Piers has left himself a way out, saying that there will be more earthquakes “near” solar minima … more Nostradamus vagueness, what does “near” mean? Within ± one year? Within ± five years?
So go ahead, Dave. When Piers says “more earthquakes”, you are free to claim he is right because a couple of the ones that did occur were quite powerful … but PIERS DIDN’T PREDICT MORE POWERFUL EARTHQUAKES, HE PREDICTED MORE EARTHQUAKES. And guess what …
There haven’t been more earthquakes. Period. There have been a couple more powerful earthquakes, but there have not been more earthquakes.
w.

July 6, 2012 9:02 pm

Greetings to all Citizens of Science. There’s a lot here and I havn’t read it all. Some comments:-
1. THANK YOU (Ok apols for caps) Anthony for posting these SUMMARY FORECASTS (and no apols for these caps).
2. Please distinguish between forecast material and views you may have on type-faces etc.
3. Anthony, I think you are partly confusing news pieces about forecasts – or forecast adverts – with the forecasts themselves which are not difficult to understand at all. In fact they are more precise than any around of more than a week ahead in terms of what and when (let’s say compared with UK Met0).
4. Willis Eschenbach, I am ASTOUNDED (no apols for caps) at your remarks. In the old Climate Sceptics group you and I used to communicate quite a lot and I always found your contributions excellent and objective and helpful and when you report here I still do. However look please be real. You are treating a summary eye-grabbing (it was said) page on the month as all their is and being wantonly derisory of what is said there – which in fact is pretty unambiguous. It also makes clear the timings etc are in the full forecast.
Our WeatherAction USA forecasts cover 10 pages and the whens and whats are spelt out.
[Btw subscribers don’t complain about color coding there, in terms of colors there is less use in Europe forecasts and less colour again for Britain+Ireland, but let’s keep to content] .
It is NOT (no apols for caps) the case that this forecast detail or summary could apply to almost any July. At the end of the month I invite you to compare our forecast with the last 10 July’s and see to which actual obs it is closest in term of
(i) General development summary and extremes – ie summary page
(ii) Detail in 8 corresponding date-wise weather periods through each of the July’s.
And, (iii) If standard Met underestimated strengths of deluges etc in their one or two day ahead forecasts during our R5 and R4 activity periods.
The usual warmist ‘assessment’ by listing of mistakes (and there will be some) is just dishonest. what has to be assessed is what was forecast against all the possibilities that might reasonably occur and against what others said (although that is often nothing)
In order to do this I make available for publication on this site the FULL 10 pages of forecast for July USA as the pdf. I am aware this will upset some subscribers and will make it up to them somehow by extending their site download access by another month.
5. There are a lot of subscribers in USA, Europe and Brit+Ire who subscribe again and again and rate our forecasts very highly and indeed ‘swear by them’ for usefulness allowing for stated uncertainties (and bear in mind these are one shot generally rather than UKM0 5 or more shots). Growers in Britain were VERY grateful for our May forecast which spelt growing problems and that is what they suffered. We get fantastic support from forecast users.
6. The claim that we hadn’t admitted/discussed/ assessed the warm 4th week in May is totally false. I object to arrant falsity being posted on WUWT (Anthony it is libel). The consequences of public and private discussion has been SLAT8A (Solar Lunar Action Technique 8A) under which this July forecast is produced. USEFULNESS is our guide to forecasts rather than word games to be ‘right’ a la UK-There-will-be-some-weather-M0. Usefulness coupled with defined boundaries of uncertainty give us weather bets. so read on.
7. For completeness this month we have NOW (6/7 July) also posted our EXTREME Warnings Brit+Ire JULY Forecast SUMMARY PAGE as issued 28Jun (very similar to ’45d’ forecast issued 15 June) http://twitpic.com/a4q45r/full
On this we said that we had a 60% confidence that England+Wales will be the wettest of the 247 Julys since 1766 (and 85% confident in wettest 5%). NOW we estimate with 85% confidence that it will be the wettest out of 247 years of records and 95% sure it will be in the wettest 5%. Anyone care to bet?
8. We – a friend known to be a proxy for me – attempted to place a bet with William Hill that the Olympic opening ceremony in London on 27th July will suffer disruptive downpours etc. The word came back from the new boy on the block that “Piers Corbyn was £14,000 ahead on his betting account with us before we closed it (in around 1999) so we errr…”. Anyone care to bet?
8. Thanks very much Spartacus is Free, SteveC, Bryan and others for putting the facts.
9. Our long range weather forecasts have proven significant skill – inc peer review stuff on UK gales and more detail since – see http://www.weatheraction.com/pages/pv.asp?p=wact45
– especially the pdfs which cover our early USA trials. For information, not there, of the Accuweather extreme weather events listed in their annual summary for 2011, ALL of them were predicted by us. This success was not due to overforecasting (ie always saying, eg, there will be a hurricane tomorrow).
We predicted Hurricane Irene formation to within one day from 12 weeks ahead and improved on standard Mets track forecast in special short range ‘End game’ forecasts:-
http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews11No12.pdf
http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews11No14.pdf
Concerning one ignorant remark on bets etc:-
(i) The peer reviewed report on gales forecasts years ago stated the success was not due to overforecasting but real significant skill, and
(ii) ALL our month ahead etc bets were on the William Hill account which was £14000 ahead to me when they closed it. I had no other betting account.
10. Our Earthquake forecasts are public TRIALS and being developed. They too have skill various observers have commented but they are still only trial status.
11. Evidence-based science is the only science

PennDragon
July 6, 2012 9:05 pm

People are making a mountain out of a mole hill here. Piers Corbyn has done some very basic research science – something any astrophysicist could have done. He has gone back to basics: he has studied past weather patterns and looked for correlations between them and heavenly objects and their relative positions, particularly the earth, moon and the sun. It’s no big deal that it has unsurprisingly worked in part. The only surprise is that it appears to have worked better than would have been expected. His untested, hypothetical explanations are just that and obscure the simple process behind his predictions.
The real take home lesson is that our theoretical climate science contains many even more untested theoretical hypotheses and they are failing miserably. He beats the UK BOM. I probably could too: just bet against every long term forecast they make. It is not so much a reflection upon him as a reflection of the mendacious pseudoscience that is promoted as climate science and the real world phenomena it neglects to consider and their unscientific methodology. Climate scientists probably are amazed to see real scientists so excited over how close CERN has got to the experimental confirmation of the Higgs Boson. To them it has been computer tested so it exists so finding it is no big deal.
When one astrophysicist with a laptop does better than billions of dollars of research and equipment and thousands of so called scientists the guy with the laptop should be the least of our worries.

Bryan
Reply to  PennDragon
July 7, 2012 12:58 am

This morning on the BBC news channel the news team plus the Met team had an extended discussion about the series of severe flooding incidents affecting the UK.
The poster of the UK with the Jet Stream south of the UK was produced.
This poster was first shown by BBC less than a month ago.
Its almost identical to Piers graphic shown almost 4 months ago
All are agreed now that its a Jet Stream problem.
The Met men said “lots of research going on” melting ice caps was mentioned as being a cause.
Solar activity influencing the stratosphere was not mentioned.
The Met men were trying to portray that the Met was ‘ahead of the game ‘.
In reality the Met team seem to be predicting the past.
Piers was not mentioned even though he and his forecasts are well known and in the public domain.
The whole discussion carefully avoided the ‘Piers elephant in the room’.
Is the BBC as an impartial broadcaster of weather/climate news?
It stinks all the way to the stratosphere!

July 6, 2012 9:21 pm

I am not sure where my other post has gone, I know it takes time of course, but just on a couple of false statements
(i) We DID say more powerful earthquakes or words to that effect
(ii) Why are you going on about earthquakes, these are not the subject of the post and are trial forecasts only?
(iii) We never said May would be ‘the coldest ever’
If people have to make up false versions of our forecasts in order to prove them wrong we cannot advance.
Come on citizens, science please.
PC
PS I am sending the full pdf

Crispin in Waterloo
July 6, 2012 9:42 pm

Thanks Piers. Your forecasts are certainly more accurate than those of the crowd at the CBC in Canada.
The Canadian Farmer’s Almanac used to be based on extra-terrestrial influences and I noted their very accurate blizzard warning for the NE US 3 years ago (February) – got it within 3 or 4 days, 5 ft of snow. Now they have a new computer with ‘proper science and spout warmist BS – quite a lot (lots of hot-cold-wet-dry). It turns out (I checked) that the blizzard warning was written the previous March.
I believe their methods used to be very similar to yours though they said it included the position of Jupiter.

Gail Combs
July 6, 2012 10:10 pm

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says: @ July 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm….
Thank you for making the entire 10 page forecast available to WUWT. I for one have been dying of curiosity. We use Wunderground (Hubby’s decision) much to my disgust. The maps there are great but the forecasts So-So. I normally do my own “forecasting” based on the maps. For the last year or so that has been difficult because the Jet Stream has changed and the weather no longer routinely comes from the west as it used to. The change is messing up the forecasters too. Last week I saw the forecast change four times for the next day.

Paul Vaughan
July 6, 2012 10:58 pm

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) (July 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm) wrote:
“I make available for publication on this site the FULL 10 pages of forecast for July USA as the pdf.”

Anthony? Moderators? I still don’t see any link.
Thanks if you can find time to provide.
Piers: Thanks for stopping by.

daveburton
July 6, 2012 11:13 pm

Willie wrote, “Dave, you still haven’t responded to my underlying problem with Piers’s claim, the vagueness that underlies all of his claims.”
I’m not talking about “all of his claims.” I’m talking about one specific prediction, which, when he made it, I thought preposterous… but which turned out to be spot-on.
I’ve not paid any attention to his weather forecasts, and have no opinion about them.
“He makes no mention of how we are to measure the earthquakes.”
There’s really only one reasonable way, plus ways that approximate that one reasonable way.
“There are three obvious possibilities–number, magnitude, and energy released.”
Wrong. “Number” is not a meaningful measure. There’re millions of insignificant earthquakes every year. Nobody knows how many, they can’t be counted, and they don’t matter.
Magnitude and energy released are really the same thing. The “magnitude” number is, very roughly, equivalent to a shorthand notation for the energy released by a single earthquake.
Total energy released is how you sum the sizes of multiple earthquakes. It is the only reasonable way to do so.
“By two of the three measures, there is nothing unusual.”
The only measure by which there might be nothing unusual is the completely meaningless one: the count of insignificant earthquakes.
As for magnitude of individual earthquakes: We had a 9.0 quake — only the 2nd in 47 years — just a few weeks after his prediction.
As for total energy released: 2011 was huge, and 2012 is on track to be way above average, too.
There certainly does appear to be some kind of cyclical element to the frequency of big earthquakes. In this USGS “top 17 earthquakes since 1900” list:
The 1950s & 1960s had 7 top-17 earthquakes, including the top 2 and 3 of the top 6.
The 1970s through 1990s had none.
The 2000s & 2010s have had 6 so far, including the other 3 of the top 6.
“By the third one, energy released, there is an anomaly…”
Translation: Piers was right.
Come on, just say it.
You can say that you think he was just lucky. But you can’t say he wasn’t right.
“…although it does not appear to be statistically significant…”
Justify that, please. If you can.
“Three separate times, he said ‘More earthquakes’.”
Sloppy language, granted, but it was obviously shorthand for “more big earthquakes” or “more earthquake activity,” because the total number of earthquakes is inconsequential and unknowable, and because he also used the synonymous but more careful phrase, “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”
“I’m sure if there had been a bunch more earthquakes you would have claimed victory as well.”
1. Nonsense, because if there were we’d never know it. There’s no way to know how many earthquakes there are. They cannot be counted. Only big ones can be counted, and if you count them it only makes sense to weight them according to their sizes (energy released).
2. It’s not my victory! I have no dog in this argument. Like Anthony, I cringe when I see Piers’ garish newsletters, and I really and truly believed he was nuts when he made that earthquake prediction. Nobody was more shocked than I was when he was vindicated.
I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and in this case credit is clearly due. To my complete shock, and he was right.
“Since there weren’t more earthquakes…”
You don’t know that. There’s no way to know whether there were more or fewer insignificant earthquakes.
“The problem, of course, is that 2011-2012 is not a solar minimum…
You’re right. Since he’s showed up here, perhaps he’ll explain that.
*** Piers, will you please address that question? ***
“PIERS DIDN’T PREDICT MORE POWERFUL EARTHQUAKES, HE PREDICTED MORE EARTHQUAKES.”
Shouting doesn’t make this very weak argument any stronger. You’re nit-picking his prose, and cherry-picking from it, too. The phrase I noted was “significantly enhanced earthquake activity.”
THAT, we certainly got!
“There haven’t been more earthquakes. Period. There have been a couple more powerful earthquakes, but there have not been more earthquakes.”
Willis, in the trenches here in NC, I’ve been arguing about sea level with Climate Movement activists who are absolutely certain of things they can’t possibly know. I’ve come to expect that sort of nonsense from them. A few days ago a UNC Professor in the Biology Department even called my description of the principle of buoyancy (Archimedes’ Principle) “crazy logic.”
But you are just about the last person in the world I thought would ever have that problem. So many times I’ve seen you carefully, and often very originally and entertainingly, analyze a problem, with open eyes and open mind. It’s almost your trademark! I’ve never before seen you defiantly proclaim as Revealed Truth that which you can’t possibly know.
The number of earthquakes is determined almost entirely by the number of insignificantly tiny earthquakes, and they can’t be counted, because they can’t be reliably detected.
The amount of earthquake activity is only reasonably quantified by summing the energy released by them, but it can be approximated by summing the energy released by just the largest earthquakes.

daveburton
July 6, 2012 11:34 pm

Willis, w/r/t the good point that I thought you made (“2011-2012 is not a solar minimum”) I regret that I didn’t go back to Piers’ newsletter to check what he wrote. You quoted his headline; this is what he wrote further down (emphasis mine):

…for solar drivers it appears that the odd-even minima, particularly the later part ie the rising phase of even solar cycles – WHICH IS WHERE WE ARE NOW (early Solar Cycle 24) – are the most dangerous.

Willis, I hereby withdraw the “you’re right” that I addressed to you, and the “Piers, will you please address that question” that I addressed to Piers.
 
Piers, you asked Willis, “Why are you going on about earthquakes,…
Well, that’s my fault. I posed this, and Willis answered with this, and off we went.

Hari Seldon
July 7, 2012 12:39 am

Wish people would remember that predicting the weather is not like predicting the outcome of a horse race. It is not binary. You cannot evaluate generate weather predictions with what happens locally.
Weather is a chaotic system, you will NEVER get 100% accuracy.

Venter
July 7, 2012 12:39 am

Thanks Piers, for putting up the entire 10 page forecast. You have always been fair and honest.

Editor
July 7, 2012 1:46 am

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
July 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm

4. Willis Eschenbach, I am ASTOUNDED (no apols for caps) at your remarks. In the old Climate Sceptics group you and I used to communicate quite a lot and I always found your contributions excellent and objective and helpful and when you report here I still do. However look please be real. You are treating a summary eye-grabbing (it was said) page on the month as all their is and being wantonly derisory of what is said there – which in fact is pretty unambiguous. It also makes clear the timings etc are in the full forecast.

Piers, it is good to hear from you. Let me start by quoting what I said above:

You guys seem to be of the impression that I think Piers is a charlatan or a fraud or something. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think it’s great that he beats the UK Met Office (although that’s a pretty low hurdle). I think, as another poster said, that the world of climate forecasting would be much poorer without him.

Let me add that I find your work and your forecasts fascinating. My regret, as I said above, is that you have not made the whole of your past work public. I understand that you are running a business, and that you are wisely not exposing your business secrets. What I don’t understand is, once your WeatherAction News is no longer timely, once the date of the most long-range forecast in that issue is past, why have you not published that issue? That way, we could all see and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your forecasts.
Now, it’s clear from your post you have problems with something that I wrote … but what? If you would quote what I said that you object to, I could respond to it. As it stands, I don’t have a clue what it is that I wrote that you are objecting to. All I know is that your are ASTOUNDED by it. The lack of details is an insuperable obstacle.
You make vague assertions that I have somehow done you wrong, but you neglect to quote what it is that I said that you are objecting to.
For example, I was clear (I thought) that I had not seen the entire forecast, just the summary. I said:

Co2Sceptic says:
July 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi Willis Eschenbach
When you mention:

his forecast for July is so vague as to be useless

Have you see the FULL forecast? Or just the FRONT PAGE?

Thanks, Co2Skeptic. I have not seen the FULL forecast, because I’d have to subscribe to his forecasts to do so, and I don’t have the $$ to do so.

Despite my making it perfectly clear (I thought) that I was only talking about the summary, you say that I am “treating a summary … as all their is”. I am not treating it as all there is. I am discussing what I have access to. I read you have published a full WeatherAction News, and I commend you for that.
From my perspective, you said that

“Terrible weather is coming the world over this July so WeatherAction has issued free summary long range forecasts for USA and for Europe…”

For reasons of concern over the upcoming “terrible weather”, you’ve released a summary forecast. Presumably it contains valuable information. Presumably it has some substance. I am fully justified in dealing with your summary forecast as a summary, and pointing out any flaws it might have, just as I am free to comment on or point out flaws in the abstract of a peer-reviewed scientific paper. It’s all we have to discuss … so that’s what we discuss.
So … in any case, I think it’s great that you have joined the discussion, it’s good to hear from you again. Again let me request that you quote what I said that you object to, my actual words, so that we can discuss it.
w.
PS—On another subject, you say:
Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
July 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

(i) We DID say more powerful earthquakes or words to that effect

Piers, you may well have done so … but I can’t find it anywhere, and your capital letters, while impressive in your newsletters, in this context establish nothing but your belief. A link to where you made the statement would put the matter to rest.

(ii) Why are you going on about earthquakes, these are not the subject of the post and are trial forecasts only?

We’re talking about earthquakes because the topic is your claims regarding forecasting the future, and you have claimed to be able to forecast earthquakes. Did you expect to make that claim and not have it discussed?
PPS—You also said:

8. We – a friend known to be a proxy for me – attempted to place a bet with William Hill that the Olympic opening ceremony in London on 27th July will suffer disruptive downpours etc. The word came back from the new boy on the block that “Piers Corbyn was £14,000 ahead on his betting account with us before we closed it (in around 1999) so we errr…”. Anyone care to bet?

Depends. I’m a betting man, if only for the publicity … as a chance to discuss what makes a falsifiable forecast and what is vague handwaving. I got a hundred bucks US if the odds are right. What odds are you offering? But I’m not fool enough to bet on what you call a “disruptive downpour etc.” without first spelling out the “etc” in great detail.
As examples. Are you just talking about rain falling on the Olympic Stadium itself? What if no rain falls on the Olympic Stadium, but it does fall on the ring roads and disrupts the Opening Ceremony? How much rain are we talking about? What are the time boundaries? Noon to midnight? Twenty-four hours? Just during the Opening Ceremony itself, and if so, what are the hours?
For me to win the bet, I have to show that your forecast was false. If we don’t spell that stuff out in that detail and more, then your forecast is much harder to falsify. So give me the odds, and the time and place and amount of rain you are forecasting and which rain gauge will be used to measure it, whatever terms you want to put on it. Only then can I see if I want to take the bet.
Looking forward to it actually.
My best to you.

Editor
July 7, 2012 1:57 am

I feel foolish asking, but Piers says “In order to do this I make available for publication on this site the FULL 10 pages of forecast for July USA as the pdf.”
I feel foolish because I looked and looked and I couldn’t find the pdf, although a couple of commenters sounded like people had seen it … where is the link to the 10-page forecast? I’ll be fascinated to see it.
Many thanks,
w.

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 2:40 am

Corbyn says:
“For completeness this month we have NOW (6/7 July) also posted our EXTREME Warnings Brit+Ire JULY Forecast SUMMARY PAGE as issued 28Jun (very similar to ’45d’ forecast issued 15 June) http://twitpic.com/a4q45r/full
According to the summary page:
1-4 July Heavy rain with thunder, hail and floods over most parts of Britain and Ireland.
Correct? No.
5-7 July Showery and breezy/windy in Scotland, N Ireland and N England. Showery with broken cloud in central parts. South brighter.
Correct? No.

Bryan
Reply to  Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 3:04 am

Martin Gordon says for the UK
“1-4 July Heavy rain with thunder, hail and floods over most parts of Britain and Ireland.
Correct? No.”
What planet do you live on Martin?
This forecast was correct.
I don’t know about the hail but the rest is spot on.
“5-7 July Showery and breezy/windy in Scotland, N Ireland and N England. Showery with broken cloud in central parts. South brighter.
Correct? No.”
Again a reasonable forecast for this area with locally heavy showers at times.

Rhys Jaggar
July 7, 2012 3:21 am

I have been following Piers Corbyn for about 5 years now and have bought a few of his forecasts.
My judgement of him is this:
1. Long-range forecasts are most accurate when predicting really extreme events, since these are most likely to be the things where cyclical footprints are likely to be identifiable in the historical databases. His predictions of cold in December 2010 and 2011, several months in advance, were spot on. His forecasts for later in those winters, often closer to the event, were less accurate but by no means completely wrong.
2. I think you need to be realistic in how you evaluate his ‘predictions’. Let’s take May 2012: his predictions from 1st to 20th of very cold and wet were really accurate for the SE of England. However, we had 10 days of hot weather (23 – 27C) with no rain from 21st to 31st. That means that the monthly average was wrong, but the reality of what happened in the first three weeks of May was important for gardeners, farmers etc. Of course, the likelihood of getting the last 10 days right in advance is less than getting the first 20 days right. Isn’t it?
3. His June and July forecasts have broadly said it was going to be wet and cool in the SE of England. So far, that’s exactly what we got and the BBC is saying that next week our top temperatures will be 17 – 19C with night-time temperatures decreasing to 11C. We’ve already had rain every day in July here in the SE and we avoided all the floods further north.
I agree with other posters that Piers could do with a PR professional/marketing specialist to present his forecasts in a more amenable fashion. Entrepreneur mavericks often find that difficult to accept.
I suspect also that Piers could do with some support staff to professionalise the retrospective analysis methods, the definitions of various forecasting outcomes (hot, cool, windy etc etc) and also, to be blunt, to churn out the standard forecasts. Piers would be best employed optimising the methods used and being the expert called upon when distributing particular forecasts of economic importance (in the UK, that is floods, widespread snow cover, frosts/cold temperatures for farmers and overall summer temperatures for certain crops).
Not to put too fine a point on it, he needs a professional CEO for his business and he needs to be prepared to take commercial direction from them.
Whether he wants to do that is up to him of course.

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 3:38 am

Where were the floods in that first period Bryan? Remember, we’re not talking about our backyards but ‘most parts of Britain and Ireland’

Bryan
Reply to  Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 5:13 am

The period June to present has been a series of heavy rain events causing severe flooding in the UK (where I live).
Martin perhaps you live in Outer Mongolia but here is a flavour of our recent weather;
………………………………………………..
Met office issued 4/7/2012
July follows where June left off with more wet weather to come
The theme of wet weather is set to continue this week – with particularly persistent and heavy rain affecting parts of the UK over the next few days.
………………………………………………
Now Piers predicted this general theme months ago!
The long range Met Office forecast on the other hand was for drier than average conditions.
This led to hosepipe bans in several areas.
Give Piers some credit for calling it correctly.
In particular when he added that the net prevailing wind for this period would be East to West which is quite different from the prevailing South Westerlies which is the usual pattern for the UK.
I don’t think that weather can be predicted to the accuracy of plus or minus a day months in advance.
His prediction for May held for the first three weeks but also for the last few weeks of April .
I would think that the weather pattern had merely advanced slightly quicker than he calculated.
However he was not satisfied with that and he has made adjustments to his program.

H.R.
July 7, 2012 4:15 am

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
July 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm
Thank you for joining in. I’ll be waiting for the end of the month to see how accurate you were. I’m not expecting hour-by-hour around-the-globe forecast perfection. Considering how far ahead you work, I’ll have give you a big thumbs up if you can come in at 60-80% correct.
Meanwhile, I’ll be Binging every day to see if my forecast for raining frogs happens this month. I could get lucky :o)

Agnostic
July 7, 2012 4:58 am

I often suspect with some of Piers forecasts is that sometimes the forecast is characterized correctly but the timings are wrong. For example, but for the last week of May, the forecast of May being the coldest on record would have been correct if May had started a week earlier. I wonder if July is looking like that too, with the characteristics correct, but the timing slightly out?

Agnostic
July 7, 2012 8:41 am

@Rhys Jagger July 7, 2012 at 3:21 am
This assessment is line with my perception as well.
I would love to see a properly skeptical independent analysis done of his forecasting.

July 7, 2012 8:50 am

Willis Eschenbach
You say to him, “Now, it’s clear from your post you have problems with something that I wrote … but what?”
The tone of what you said was a bit harsh. It sounds like you were part of those saying he’s just a quack that luckily gets it right now and again. You don’t speak, in word, as harshly as that. But in the tone, well, I think it’s safe to say you don’t sound friendly.
And it could be you don’t realize you came across like that.

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 9:59 am

Thanks Bryan, I was referring to a specific forecast for specific dates. I note that you were unable to answer my question,

Editor
July 7, 2012 10:24 am

Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
July 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

Willis Eschenbach
You say to him,

“Now, it’s clear from your post you have problems with something that I wrote … but what?”

The tone of what you said was a bit harsh. It sounds like you were part of those saying he’s just a quack that luckily gets it right now and again. You don’t speak, in word, as harshly as that. But in the tone, well, I think it’s safe to say you don’t sound friendly.
And it could be you don’t realize you came across like that.

Thanks, Amino (great screen name, by the way). I was quite careful (I thought) to be clear that I do not think he’s a quack. I said:

You guys seem to be of the impression that I think Piers is a charlatan or a fraud or something. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As to my tone, I fear that I am a plainspoken man. When someone forecasts fires in two states, and then claims success when fires occur, not in those two states, but in a neighboring state, I fear I may not treat such claims with kid gloves.
However, as I pointed out, Piers has not said what it was I said that upset him, so I’ll wait for him to respond.
All the best,
w.

David, UK
July 7, 2012 10:33 am

@ Willis: I don’t think anyone could accuse you of being “plainspoken.”
d.

Paul Vaughan
July 7, 2012 10:51 am

Rhys Jaggar (July 7, 2012 at 3:21 am) wrote:
1. “I agree with other posters that Piers could do with a PR professional/marketing specialist […]”
2. “I suspect also that Piers could do with some support staff to professionalise […]”
3. “Not to put too fine a point on it, he needs a professional CEO for his business and he needs to be prepared to take commercial direction from them.”
My interpretation of this comment…
(sarcasm on)
Divert all the research money to:
1. marketing.
2. admin.
3. CEO.
To h*ll with ruthlessly prioritizing research almost no human can do.
Cosmetics before substance.
(/sarcasm off)

Editor
July 7, 2012 11:17 am

Here’s an example of why it’s hard to judge whether Piers is correct or not:

Martin Gordon says for the UK

“1-4 July Heavy rain with thunder, hail and floods over most parts of Britain and Ireland.
Correct? No.”

What planet do you live on Martin?
This forecast was correct.
I don’t know about the hail but the rest is spot on.

“5-7 July Showery and breezy/windy in Scotland, N Ireland and N England. Showery with broken cloud in central parts. South brighter.
Correct? No.”

Again a reasonable forecast for this area with locally heavy showers at times.

Here’s the rainfall data for all English stations, and split by north and south:

DATA SOURCE: WeatherOnline
So … was Piers’ forecast correct? Overall, I’d say no in both cases. The period July 1-4 had less peak rains than either before or after. And the period July 5-7 was not “brighter” in the south than the north, the south was rainier both in peak rain and in total rain.
In addition to the peak rains being higher before and after July 1-4, there was also more total rain in the four days before July 1-4 (1905 mm) and in the three days after July 1-4 (2191 mm) than there was from July 1-4 (1815 mm).
My point here is not whether this specific forecast was right or wrong. It is that we have two people actually living in the area affected by Piers’ forecast, and they have come to very different conclusions regarding the accuracy. This is why it is crucial to compare the forecasts, not to whether someone says “Spot on” or not, but to the actual data.
w.

Bryan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Willis and Martin obviously don’t live in the UK
For June and into July the UK news stations are carrying items on unusual flooding and very heavy rain.
“Brighter” does not automatically mean more (or less) rain.
We often have very overcast days with no rain.
For this particular period April to July Piers has an outstanding record for accuracy.
Its nit picking to say he was wrong on a particular day when the forecast was given months in advance.
As several posters have pointed out he is well ahead of any other forecasting methods.
What annoys certain people is that Piers says atmospheric CO2 extent is irrelevant for climate prediction.
Perhaps your linked graph would make more sense if you included the long term UK average for June(9.8mm) and July(8.5mm)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_the_United_Kingdom

Editor
July 7, 2012 11:20 am

David, UK says:
July 7, 2012 at 10:33 am (Edit)

@ Willis: I don’t think anyone could accuse you of being “plainspoken.”
d.

The dictionary says:

PLAINSPOKEN: blunt, direct, frank, straightforward, open, explicit, outright, outspoken, downright, candid, forthright, upfront (informal), unequivocal

w.

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 12:15 pm

Thanks for expanding on my post Willis. Like you I was looking at the forecast areas as a whole to make my assessment. Bryan seems to only refer to his backyard.

Paul Vaughan
July 7, 2012 12:32 pm

Piers sent the file to Anthony at 10:50PM Pacific time Saturday.
Anthony: Please check your e-mail.
Best Regards.

Paul Vaughan
July 7, 2012 12:33 pm

Friday – sorry – not Saturday.

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 12:35 pm

Thanks Bryan, I do indeed live in the UK.
My post was in direct reference to a July forecast that Corbyn had posted. You say “Its nit picking to say he was wrong on a particular day when the forecast was given months in advance.” To be precise I was commenting on the forecast for the first week of July which was divided into two halves, the first half containing, widespread floods and heavy rain, the second half indicating more showery conditions. It was wrong. What is the point of issuing a longer range the forecast in detail ( periods of 3 to 4 days) if it then has to be defended that it’s unfair to expect it to be accurate because it was issued ‘months before’ Although I note it was actually issued on the 28th June!

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 12:38 pm

I think your rainfall figures are a bit low Bryan!

Bryan
July 7, 2012 12:44 pm

Martin says
“I think your rainfall figures are a bit low Bryan!”
Well look at the table I linked for England.
Check your own figures and then contact Wiki

Bryan
July 7, 2012 12:56 pm

Piers is at his best with the long range big picture of general trends for which in the period May to July he has a record of outstanding success.
Traditional meteorology is quite successful with current 5 day forecasts.
Apparently in Britain for longer term forecasts the Met Office are compelled to use the East Anglia CRU models based on IPCC science
Their attempts at seasonal predictions are a standing joke.
In fact it often seems (like present May to July) that they not just inaccurate but seem to be exactly wrong.

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 1:07 pm

Bryan whilst discussing rainfall you refer to the ‘long term UK average’ then give figures for England showing the average number of days with rainfall of less than 1mm.

July 7, 2012 1:20 pm

Farmer Charlie. said @ July 5, 2012 at 8:34 am

The Jeane Dixon effect:
I used to go to point-to-points in Hampshire, England with someone whose ability to have money on the winning horse was legendary. Some years later, someone tailed him as he placed his bets. He worked his way round all the bookies, backing every horse.

Then there’s the David Walsh effect. Every time he walks onto the racecourse, the bookies’ odds shorten dramatically, so he (actually his syndicate) employs runners to place the bets. His winnings finance the largest privately owned art gallery in Australia.
Please note that even though David’s syndicate wins more than it loses, the winnings represent a small percentage of their annual turnover of something north of a billion dollars per year. Similarly, for Piers to win at Ladbroke’s, he doesn’t need to win every single bet. The idea that he is “banned” from betting seems somewhat ludicrous given that Piers could do what David Walsh does: employ runners. I can’t imagine Ladbroke’s banning every single punter (turning away business).
This being such a long thread I haven’t read all comments, but Piers’ forecasts were the subject of analysis in a peer reviewed paper some years ago that concluded his predictions were better than chance.

Ulric Lyons
July 7, 2012 1:25 pm

@Willis Eschenbach says:
July 7, 2012 at 11:17 am
“So … was Piers’ forecast correct? Overall, I’d say no in both cases.”
You need to refer to the “R” periods and not the forecast windows for the rain events. They were June 29-Jul 1, July 3-4 and July 6-7. The heavier UK rain was all within these impact periods. The indicated weather types are clearly what we are getting for the nation as a whole, but the regional disparity is no surprise considering what the NAO has been up to in the last week:
http://policlimate.com/climate/cdas_ao_nao_daily.png

Martin Gordon
July 7, 2012 1:34 pm

So Ulric, we need to refer to the R periods for rain? If these are wrong we refer to the forecast linked here http://twitpic.com/a4q45r/full and that covers all bases, giving a successful forecast – smart!

July 7, 2012 2:27 pm

Rhys, Bryan, thanks for your useful comments.
I have to say I find it pathetic that some ‘mark’ our long range forecasts – on which it (eg for Brit+Ire) explicitly states “Likely possible weather map scenario…; +/-1 day and gives a confidence (B=75% in case of 1-4th July) – against final outcomes and say therefore we are ‘wrong’.
Its like complaining a punter who got the winning horse right but didn’t get the color of the jockey’s socks right.
By the standards these churls apply all forecasts are ‘wrong’ unless perhaps the UKM0 ‘warnings’ of events as they happen.
The question is:
a) compare us with whatever anyone else said that time ahead [and NO the July forecast was made 15th June and any changes very minor on 28th (issue meaning desk top publishing) re interpretation of maps already defined unless we changed SLAT procedure which we did not in this case. If there are changes we say so].
b) compare with say the last ten years of July periods (eg 1-4th) July.
To set up a competition between M0 one day ahead (or nowcasts) and our long range (which also include much longer ahead at times) is really deceitful.
[And here I jest not; we experienced one smartie, years ago, judging our forecasts from weeks or months ahead against MO one day ahead (that being defined as what happened). He found the M0 one day ahead was closer to itself than we were to it! Wow]
Just be clear WeatherAction forecasts are about getting the best long range picture for useful decision making and they work and win on scientific bets. Farmers use them to see around when is there a chance of dry time for harvest / rain for… etc
In terms of the first week of July Brit+Ire we have had a useful few reports on this on http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=471&c=5 – readers comments and note many said 1-4th or 1-5th allowing one day was a very good forecast – see Louise Woods on facebook
Facts:
(i) There was hail
(ii) there were floods – Barnsley (eg)
(iii) there was a tornado on 5th in Yorkshire http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcFhC18XK-4
Did MO expect tornadoes?
“Oh”, the standard Met nerds go on “ah youve given yourself one day” – from say 10 days ahead (or it might be months ahead) (and they give themselves more than 2 or 3 hours from one day ahead).
Let’s be clear WE WRITE THE FORECASTS and DEFINE what we mean. We can give as many days uncertainty as we deem appropriate. People re-defining what we say and mean in order to denigrate is totally unacceptable.
Principles
1. Like must be compared with like.
2. Any forecast must be considered as stated with all provisos and compared with all other reasonable possibilities.
3. Betting style measures of skill are the most meaningful.
Thanks PC

Ulric Lyons
July 7, 2012 3:32 pm

@Martin Gordon says:
July 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm
“..the fact that he doesn’t release out of date forecasts for evaluation says everything that you need to know.”
I spent a couple of hours yesterday to see how many long range forecasters have a forecast archive available on their site, I only found one that does: http://www.weatheraction.com/pages/pv.asp?p=wact46

July 7, 2012 4:46 pm

Ulric you might have a peek at my website ^ the maps posted for May, and June, are still there and if you use the way back machine you can find the past four years as well, (due to the upgrade of my site and transfer to commercial server past maps prior to May were no transferred over.)

John Wright
July 7, 2012 5:03 pm

@ Paul Vaughan
Not only does Piers need a CEO, he needs the services of an archivist. That costs both time and money. Difficult when you’re reacting to a constantly evolving situation.

July 7, 2012 6:03 pm

I had the pleasure of meeting Piers and Anthony on the same day in March of 2008. I was impressed by both individuals. Anthony’s presentation of his station site analyses was quite fascinating. Piers was not on the agenda but got about 15 minutes to make a short presentation quite apart from his forecasting skills. He did offer a forecast of a dreadful snow storm that would set all time records in the mid-west around the middle of the month with a +_1 day tolerance. That was in 2008 and he was spot on.
I had received a few forecasts starting in December 2009. He forecasted a snow storm for New England the day after Christmas. He said it would be far worse that standard meteorologists would claim 1 to 2 days in advance. On Chrismas Eve, the forecaster’s predictions went up faster than Hansen’s Hockey Stick. Piers was 100% correct. We had not sen that kind of snow ever! During January, after telling several about the Christmas prediction, people were asking what is Piers saying? He was spot on for the next 3 super storms using the same description and each was on the day he said it would happen. My house in Connecticut was nearly buried by these storms. Very unique in my 65 years on the planet.
I will say that he did forecast a 4th storm and it happened but went just south of us. Not a bad stretch.
Since then I have occasionally seen his forcasts with some mixed results. Sometimes things happen and are not on his maps. I asked Piers about this. He told me that if there was a high uncertainty of an effect, he would just leave it out. The result is some severe weather that he does not predict. The idea of hisextreme forecasts is to identify those events that are most likely to occur. It does not mean that he will get them all. If he does not chose to forecast an event, he does not consider this a miss. He does use these occasions as learning moments.
I have recommended to Piers on several occasions to acknowledge his “mistakes” and perhaps explain what happened, assuming he knows. I have noticed this happens more often these days.
I just checked his forecast for a day in late June comparing the current satellite map to his forecast map. There was an uncanny resemblance of one to the other. The July weather forcast for the planet is pretty wild. It will be interesting to see if it happens. I read that one comment said he was at odds with the skeptics by forecasting extreme storms. He is forecasting events with an assigned cause. Solar activity. There was a piece on the news tonight of significant solar storms. That can’t be good. Warmers are making bold claims with non-specific information with no time frame. I would bet on Piers to get the big ones right. The rest doesn’t really matter.

Ulric Lyons
July 7, 2012 6:36 pm

@Willis Eschenbach says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:16 am
“I don’t understand how I’m supposed to tell if Piers is right or not. He only makes four “forecasts” that are so vague that Nostradamus would be proud of them:”
I would pay particular attention to the R periods. I’m not aware of anyone else connecting solar activities with the propagation of simultaneous weather events globally, and mapping these out months ahead to within a day. After seeing every UK forecast since July 2007, I would conclude that all meteorologists will be employing this method in the future.

Alvin
July 7, 2012 6:41 pm

If he was correct, I would not care if he wrote them in crayon.

Paul Vaughan
July 7, 2012 9:49 pm

John Wright (July 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm) wrote:
“Not only does Piers need a CEO, he needs the services of an archivist. That costs both time and money. Difficult when you’re reacting to a constantly evolving situation.”

Last sentence: Yes.
First sentence: With an infinite amount of resources: sure.
But with a tight budget & small staff, it might not be wise deflecting resources to cosmetics. (I see your middle sentence.)
Some might argue it would attract resources, but that sounds like a gamble that might clock Piers out, causing him to fail to reach his full learning potential during a finite lifetime.
I’m sure Piers has a better sense than us of what might be best for optimizing the lifetime learning that he passes on. I wish him efficiency.

Editor
July 7, 2012 10:59 pm

Bryan says:
July 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Willis and Martin obviously don’t live in the UK
For June and into July the UK news stations are carrying items on unusual flooding and very heavy rain.
“Brighter” does not automatically mean more (or less) rain.
We often have very overcast days with no rain.
For this particular period April to July Piers has an outstanding record for accuracy.
Its nit picking to say he was wrong on a particular day when the forecast was given months in advance.
As several posters have pointed out he is well ahead of any other forecasting methods.
What annoys certain people is that Piers says atmospheric CO2 extent is irrelevant for climate prediction.
Perhaps your linked graph would make more sense if you included the long term UK average for June(9.8mm) and July(8.5mm)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_the_United_Kingdom

Thanks, Bryan. Always glad to have someone investigate my work. Here’s my previous graph recalculated as an average rather than a total.

I couldn’t find the rain data at the link you gave, but it is available here. Here’s the data, comma-delimited, to cut and paste into a spreadsheet.

Month, Max Temp [°C], Min Temp [°C], Air Frost [days], Sunshine [hours], rainfall [mm], rainfall [days], Days, rainfall [mm/day], rainfall [mm/day, rainy days only]
Jan, 6.1, 0.7, 12, 44.6, 120.5, 15.7, 31, 3.89, 7.68
Feb, 6.3, 0.6, 11, 65, 86.8, 12.3, 28, 3.10, 7.06
Mar, 8.5, 1.9, 7.9, 97, 95.9, 14.3, 31, 3.09, 6.71
Apr, 10.8, 3.1, 5, 141.3, 69.6, 11.3, 30, 2.32, 6.16
May, 14.4, 5.7, 1.4, 184.6, 66.2, 10.9, 31, 2.14, 6.07
Jun, 16.9, 8.4, 0.1, 169.4, 72.6, 11, 30, 2.42, 6.60
Jul, 19.2, 10.6, 0, 174.3, 69.6, 10.5, 31, 2.25, 6.63
Aug, 18.9, 10.5, 0, 166.5, 84.6, 11.4, 31, 2.73, 7.42
Sep, 16.1, 8.5, 0.3, 123.6, 100.4, 12.5, 30, 3.35, 8.03
Oct, 12.5, 6, 1.7, 91.6, 117, 14.3, 31, 3.77, 8.18
Nov, 8.8, 3, 6.3, 58.7, 118, 14.9, 30, 3.93, 7.92
Dec, 6.9, 1.5, 9.8, 38.4, 124.8, 15.3, 31, 4.03, 8.16
Year, 12.1, 5.1, 55.6, 1354.9, 1126.1, 154.4, 365, 3.09, 7.29

The last column is the average rainfall on rainy days.
You also say:

Its nit picking to say he was wrong on a particular day when the forecast was given months in advance.

It doesn’t matter how far in advance he made the prediction. Regardless of when he made the prediction, he gave separate and distinct forecasts for the periods July 1-4 and July 5-7. I am treating them as forecasts for that time and no other. If he is really talking about “July 1-4 plus or minus six days”, he needs to say so. Until then, I will take him at his word that there is one forecast for July 1-4, and a separate forecast for July 5-7.
I am aware that the forecasts are made months in advance. But he is the one specifying the dates of the forecast intervals, not me. If he wants wider intervals to be counted and included, he needs to specify them. You can’t claim them after the fact as you wish.

As several posters have pointed out he is well ahead of any other forecasting methods.

Perhaps he is, and I’d be overjoyed if that could be shown to be true. However as in this case, sometimes when we actually compare his forecast with the observations, they are wrong. In this case the intervals on either side of the forecast “Heavy rain with thunder, hail and floods” for July 1-4 were wetter than the forecast time of his previously predicted pluviation …
And sometimes he claims successes when none are there, as when he has predicted wildfires in New Mexico and Arizona, and then taken credit for wildfires in Colorado.
Look, I wish Piers well and I’d love to believe … but I don’t believe anyone until the results are checked. I checked this one. I’m not impressed with this particular forecast. What can I say? I just follow the observations.
w.

Martin Gordon
July 8, 2012 1:28 am

Piers Corbyn says (in reference to the forecast period 1-4 July)
“Facts:
(i) There was hail
(ii) there were floods – Barnsley (eg)
(iii) there was a tornado on 5th in Yorkshire http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcFhC18XK-4
I cannot find any flood reports for Barnsley for that period, levels on the River Dearne were below flood level.
Having watched the video there is not enough detail to confirm it was anything more than a scud cloud.
The forecast indicated that *most* of the UK would be suffering from heavy rain and floods.

July 8, 2012 5:51 am

David.. “I haven’t yet seen him put his hand up and say, ‘I got that one a bit wrong’.”
You’re not looking very hard David; yes he does!
>
>
Pokerguy.. “I really dislike this style of forecasting as it gives the impression of rooting for catastrophe.”
I suggest you borrow a dictionary and look up the word ‘catastrophe’ !
Plenty of catastophes around the world due to flooding because of heavy rains right now. Hundreds of deaths, thousands of homes and businesses flooded out, millions of $$ worth of stock and furnishings destroyed. Millions homeless or without power for weeks. Thousands of livestock and masses of wildlife drowned. Is this not catastrophe?
>
>
Lex.. “His forecast were all extremely incorrect….”
I find that very strange, because I have monitored this past years forecasts and I found that they have been extremely(?) correct. Maybe Piers personal learning curve is shaped like a hockey stick!
>
>
AJB.. “Doesn’t that mean Piers must be able to predict solar flares and coronal holes?”
Yes it does, and he has the scary ability to do just that. I’ve been an active amateur astronomer for over 35 years and I am truly shocked at how Piers can predict periods of solar activity.
>
>
P. Solar.. “False logic. Have the Met Office gone out of business?”
The Met Office are paid £170 million a year by the government in compulsory tax payer donations.
Where’s your logic?
>
>
MikeA.. “I have to admit he fits the Steve Jones description of ‘Pratt.”
Oh lord here we go with the ad’ hominem attacks. I knew the serene atmosphere of this thread couldn’t last forever.
>
>
Pamela Grey.. “Often severe weather occurs at night.”
…and? Are you saying that the sun switches off at night?
>
>
Willis Eschenbach.. “..and I don’t have the $$ to do so..”
What a cop out! For less than 3 gallons of gas/petrol for a whole months forecast? You have got to be kidding me? Buy a whole years forecasts and they work out to around 2 gallons per month.
When we bought the full years 30 day forecasts they cost about the same as just one weeks supermarket food shopping.
Also
“..other than mathematical theorems nothing can ever be proven in science..”
Water is wet and destructive…falsify that! (hehehe)
Also
“he NEVER FORECAST FOREST FIRES IN COLORADO”
As I remember it, Colorado is joined at the hip to New Mexico.
In the meantime:
http://fires.globalincidentmap.com/home.php
Click on Arizona and scroll down the pop-up, then read the date. Case Closed!
>
>
Doug Proctor.. “Piers seems to be out there with crystals.”
Nasty! Of course geologists have a complete understanding of their chosen subject don’t they Doug? Ahem!
Is Richard Holle using crystals too, because using your logic he must be?
>
>
Louis Hooffstetter.. “Anyone who claims that climate influences earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions is a witch doctor, not a scientist.”
Without having to re-read this whole thread, could you point out the post where this was proposed please Louis?
>
>
Richard Holle..
Well, you are certainly on the right track with your research Richard.
>
>
Carrie.. “I don’t like it, this all feels a bit school playground’ish to me. Sorry I thought WUWT was better than this”
I totally agree.
Eccentric? Can’t build a fashionable website? I believe Einstein was called eccentric and was an awful cook, plasterer, bus driver and nanny!
>
>
Pertinax.. “Again from my operational experience (for the US at least) Piers’ forecasts are at best worthless.”
I found your post intriguing up to the point you said “Piers forecasts are at best worthless”. At that point I lost all faith in your credibility.

Agnostic
July 8, 2012 6:03 am

It doesn’t matter how far in advance he made the prediction. Regardless of when he made the prediction, he gave separate and distinct forecasts for the periods July 1-4 and July 5-7. I am treating them as forecasts for that time and no other. If he is really talking about “July 1-4 plus or minus six days”, he needs to say so. Until then, I will take him at his word that there is one forecast for July 1-4, and a separate forecast for July 5-7.
Willis, did you read Piers’ reply?
I think it does matter how far in advance he makes these predictions. If he says a significant weather event will occur, and give a confidence level for when it occurs, I think it only fair to judge him on 1) whether the event occurred within a reasonable period of time and 2) the accuracy of the timing.
If he is able to predict a significant weather event well ahead of time when no one else is, then it somewhat misses the point to use the accuracy of the timing as a way discrediting the forecast. If he says there is an 80% chance that the significant weather event will fall within this time frame, and you only look at one example, then you have a 1 in 5 chance of picking an event he will get wrong in timing.
That’s not entirely fair I would submit.
He is saying well ahead of time, expect shed-loads of rain with the risk of flooding at around about the period 1-4 July, and it turns up 5-7 instead, then you ought to be able to say that he predicted the event accurately but not the timing. From a real-world usefulness perspective, I think it still important to know that you are going to get a deluge and prepare for it accordingly, even if the exact period it occurs is slightly out. That he got the deluge correct in his predictions a month away is pretty significant IMO. He didn’t say ‘a bit of rain’ or ‘the possibility of rain’, he said it would effectively p-ss it down and it most certainly did.
So if it transpires he is predicting these events well ahead of time, and despite other confounding factors and the possibility that timings may be off at times, then it stands to reason there is something to his methods. Like a lot of commentators I have a hunch that he is onto something. Some one like you would be ideal to take a serious look at his accuracy of his predictions, taking into account confounding factors such as the system he uses might not be perfect but still have interesting and useful skill that could be improved. If you were to throw yourself into a skeptical analysis, I’m pretty sure I would not be lone in following it with immense interest.

Kevin Mannerings
July 8, 2012 8:46 am

Mr Watts, you are using cheap shots. Not difficult in this case, I know, but a pity.
Corbyn is a member of the Royal Metereological Society and he called on that body to organise systematic trials of weather forecast skills. That is clearly the way forward. It will involve a clean definition of methodology and statistical analysis. Your once off test has no status. FWIW, I first started taking notice of Corbyn when he correcly predicted the tornado on Helgoland July 12, 2010. What does that prove? Nothing at all, any more than your ignorant and arrogant polemic.
Regarding earthquakes, I have done a little work on this, and believe there may be a correlation beween deep quakes and the fast solar wind, modulated by the moon, as Corbyn predicts.
However, there is a lot to do before that postulate can be confirmed.
If you want to test Corbyn, please do it properly or not al all.
REPLY: My goodness, you sound like one of the people that regularly defend Michael Mann. I don’t care if Piers is a member of the International Society of Dog Catchers, or a Noble Laureate, or Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx. If his work can’t withstand some scrutiny then it isn’t of much use to anyone. I’ve emailed Piers privately on many occasions that his presentation is subpar and tried to help him produce a more professional product. He’s ignored me. Personally, I think it looks like weather astrology the way it is presented. You are welcome to get your own blog and do/say/test whatever you wish. The post stands. – Anthony

Editor
July 8, 2012 10:35 am

Agnostic says:
July 8, 2012 at 6:03 am

It doesn’t matter how far in advance he made the prediction. Regardless of when he made the prediction, he gave separate and distinct forecasts for the periods July 1-4 and July 5-7. I am treating them as forecasts for that time and no other. If he is really talking about “July 1-4 plus or minus six days”, he needs to say so. Until then, I will take him at his word that there is one forecast for July 1-4, and a separate forecast for July 5-7.

Willis, did you read Piers’ reply?
I think it does matter how far in advance he makes these predictions. If he says a significant weather event will occur, and give a confidence level for when it occurs, I think it only fair to judge him on 1) whether the event occurred within a reasonable period of time and 2) the accuracy of the timing.
If he is able to predict a significant weather event well ahead of time when no one else is, then it somewhat misses the point to use the accuracy of the timing as a way discrediting the forecast. If he says there is an 80% chance that the significant weather event will fall within this time frame, and you only look at one example, then you have a 1 in 5 chance of picking an event he will get wrong in timing.
That’s not entirely fair I would submit.

Yes, I did read his reply. I also read his prediction, which is why I don’t have a clue what you mean when you say “If he is able to predict a significant weather event well ahead of time” … did you notice that his prediction was made on the 28th of June? That’s a whole three days in advance of the start of the period he is forecasting, which was July first to seventh.

He is saying well ahead of time, expect shed-loads of rain with the risk of flooding at around about the period 1-4 July, and it turns up 5-7 instead, then you ought to be able to say that he predicted the event accurately but not the timing.

No, in this case he is not saying anything “well ahead of time”. He made his prediction a mere three days before the start of his forecast period. From that distance, if you are out by three days in your forecast, it’s a joke.

From a real-world usefulness perspective, I think it still important to know that you are going to get a deluge and prepare for it accordingly, even if the exact period it occurs is slightly out. That he got the deluge correct in his predictions a month away is pretty significant IMO. He didn’t say ‘a bit of rain’ or ‘the possibility of rain’, he said it would effectively p-ss it down and it most certainly did.

A month away? A month? It was three days away, and he still got it wrong. Nor was it a “deluge”, it was one day of rain on the 7th which was about average for a rainy day in July, plus less rain on other days. In addition, the interval predicted for the “deluge” was drier than the period before and the period after. How you count that as a successful prediction is beyond me.

So if it transpires he is predicting these events well ahead of time, and despite other confounding factors and the possibility that timings may be off at times, then it stands to reason there is something to his methods. Like a lot of commentators I have a hunch that he is onto something. Some one like you would be ideal to take a serious look at his accuracy of his predictions, taking into account confounding factors such as the system he uses might not be perfect but still have interesting and useful skill that could be improved. If you were to throw yourself into a skeptical analysis, I’m pretty sure I would not be lone in following it with immense interest.

I am taking “a serious look at his accuracy of his predictions”, and I’m taking a lot of flak for doing so. Is there “something to his methods”? Quite possibly, as I’ve said from the start. It’s just very difficult to determine, for reason I explained above. One of these is his habit of claiming that close is good enough.
You don’t seem to understand that if the Met Office says it’s going to be a nice weekend and it rains instead, nobody says “well, they predicted nice weather and it was nice on Tuesday, give the Met Office a break, they were close.” Why on earth should we not hold Piers to the same standards to which we hold the Met Office?
Look, I’m willing to give Piers as much slack regarding the time interval as he asks for. But he has to ask for it. If he’s predicting someone for a four-day period, and then something else for the following three days, then that is what I will judge him on. He is the one that is setting up the dividing lines, not me.
Now, as you point out, the further ahead you predict things, the less accurate they are likely to be. But that’s Pier’s lookout, not mine. If I predict right now, this minute, that there will be storms on July 3rd of next year and that the 4th of July will be clear and people can barbecue on Independence Day, then that is my prediction.
And if it turns out that the 3rd of July is clear, and that everyone who set up their barbecues based on my prediction gets rained on, then my prediction would be wrong. Not close. Not “cut me some slack, I predicted it a year ahead and it was clear on the day before the 4th.” I would be wrong, and people who depended on my prediction would justifiably be upset.
Look, if someone is foolish enough to make predictions for a three-day window two months from now, or one week from now, then that’s their business. And if they do so, then that’s what I will judge their results on. Those three days. If Piers want to be judged on getting it right within ± 3 days as you claim in this case, then he should have made it a ten-day window and not a 4-day window.
It’s like Piers forecasting forest fires in Arizona and New Mexico, and then claiming success because there were forest fires in Colorado. Sorry, but if he meant “the American Southwest”, then he should have said so, and he would have been right. He didn’t do that, he said New Mexico and Arizona. If you do that, I don’t care if there are fires in Colorado, or Utah, or California, or Texas, or Nevada, or Oklahoma, all of which adjoin the predicted states. If the fires don’t happen in New Mexico or Arizona, you don’t get to say ‘oh, I really meant fires in those two states plus the six adjoining states, so I was 100% right’.
Because once you start down that road with the nonsense about ‘he predicted a rainstorm in the period from the 1st to the 4th, and there was a windstorm on the 7th, that’s close enough, he was 100% right’, then just about any prediction is correct.
Me, I assume Piers means what he says, and nothing else. If he says tornados, I assume he means tornados, not rain, not snow, but tornados. And if he says the first to the fourth of July, I assume he means July 1-4, not the 7th. If he wants rain on July 7th to be included as a correct forecast, then he needs to include July 7th in his forecast interval.
That’s why, when Piers offered to bet on whether “the Olympic opening ceremony in London on 27th July will suffer disruptive downpours etc.” I said I’d be glad to bet US$100, but as part of the bet he had to specify exactly where and when and how much downpour there would be. I don’t want him claiming success because there were downpours the day before or the day after, or because it rained in Colorado, or because there was a mild rain on the Olympic Stadium. Predictions need to be specific to be falsifiable.
w.

Agnostic
July 8, 2012 10:52 am

… did you notice that his prediction was made on the 28th of June? That’s a whole three days in advance of the start of the period he is forecasting, which was July first to seventh.
No mate – he made his prediction at the beginning of June and updated it on the 28th. Read his reply again. He made no major changes to the prediction he had issued a full month earlier. You could criticize him for not adjusting the exact time closer to the time, but I don’t think you can call him out for having gotten the prediction wrong within such a close period time so far ahead. And as I said sometimes he does get the timing right. Whether the exact period is correct or not is not as interesting as him making a specific prediction about a significant weather event. We aren’t just talking about a bit of rain on a day you might want to BBQ, we are talking a serious weather event that causes floods.
Now, as you point out, the further ahead you predict things, the less accurate they are likely to be.
What do you mean by accurate? If he had predicted snow, or a heat wave, or strong winds, then you could say he had been inaccurate. But he predicted deluges and they did occur albeit later than he thought. And you are looking at a very isolated period. I submit to you that whether he is accurate to within a week is not as significant as his being able to detect an event so far ahead of time.
You are really good at skeptically looking into claims in scientific papers, and checking peoples sums and assumptions, but the big issue here is whether or not Piers can reliably detect significant weather events well ahead of time, and do it where others cannot. It seems to me anecdotally he might just be able to do that, and if he can then that’s really very interesting. I just getting caught up with how accurately in time he predicts them (within reason obviously) is missing the big point. Accuracy with timing is interesting too – but it should be looked at separately.

Martin Gordon
July 8, 2012 11:21 am

@ Agnostic
To be accurate, the forecast is an update of the forecast made on the 15th June.
As Willis Eschenbach says, what is the point of including dates in the forecast if those dates can be ignored. Widespread flooding was forecast for 1-4 July from a forecast made 2 weeks before and updated 3 days before. Flooding actually took place on the 7th/8th July during a period forecast to be showery.

Editor
July 8, 2012 11:23 am

Russ says:
July 8, 2012 at 5:51 am

David..

“I haven’t yet seen him put his hand up and say, ‘I got that one a bit wrong’.”

You’re not looking very hard David; yes he does!

Cite?

Lex..

“His forecast were all extremely incorrect….”

I find that very strange, because I have monitored this past years forecasts and I found that they have been extremely(?) correct. Maybe Piers personal learning curve is shaped like a hockey stick!

Cite?

AJB..

“Doesn’t that mean Piers must be able to predict solar flares and coronal holes?”

Yes it does, and he has the scary ability to do just that. I’ve been an active amateur astronomer for over 35 years and I am truly shocked at how Piers can predict periods of solar activity.

Cite?
Russ, you need to understand that this is a scientific site. As such, your claims that Piers is right and can predict solar flares and coronal holes are interesting but anecdotal. Do you have, for example, Piers’s last ten predictions of the “solar flares and coronal holes” so that we can compare them to the actual observations?
Best regards,
w.

Editor
July 8, 2012 11:48 am

Agnostic says:
July 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

… did you notice that his prediction was made on the 28th of June? That’s a whole three days in advance of the start of the period he is forecasting, which was July first to seventh.

No mate – he made his prediction at the beginning of June and updated it on the 28th. Read his reply again.

Thanks, Agnostic. I read his reply correctly the first time. It doesn’t matter if it’s an update of a forecast from last year or last week. The actual forecast that we are looking at, the one that is quoted from and being discussed by a number of people above, was made just three days before the start of the forecast period.
So it is not a long range or months-ahead forecast as you claim. The forecast we are discussing was written on June 28th. It was not written, as you keep claiming, a month in advance. That was a different forecast, one which we (or at least I) have never seen, and which is superseded by his later forecast.
It’s the same with all forecasts. Here, the TV weather guy typically issues a forecast for the coming week. Then he changes the forecast as the time gets shorter and shorter. The most recent forecast should presumably be the most accurate, and it supersedes earlier forecasts.
Now, that most recent forecast is, as you point out for Piers, an “update” of the TV guy’s earlier longer-range forecast … so what? The most recent forecast should be the most accurate because it was made most recently. The fact that an earlier longer-range forecast was made by the TV weatherman means nothing regarding his most recent forecast. Nor can the TV guy go back and say “well, I said yesterday that today would be sunny and it rained, but I’m still right because a week ago I said it might rain today”. The more recent forecast replaces the older one.
Similarly, Pier’s most recent forecast, made three days before the start of the forecast period, should be the most accurate. Why? Because it wasn’t made a month before the forecast period, it was made three days before the forecast period.
And since it was made three days before, a three-day error means that it is way wrong. If on Wednesday the Met Office says the weekend will be sunny, but it rains on the weekend and doesn’t clear up until three days later, you don’t say ‘the Met Office forecast for the weekend was right because it was sunny the following Wednesday and Thursday’ … so why are you saying that for Piers?
If Piers wants to break out his earlier one-month ahead forecast, we can discuss that, but at present, all we have to discuss is the three-day ahead forecast.
Finally, I say again that if Piers wants rain on the 7th to be counted as a successful forecast, he has to include the 7th in the forecast period. You can’t predict rain on the 1st to the 4th and claim success because it rains three days later, that way lies madness.
w.

Editor
July 8, 2012 11:59 am

Agnostic says:
July 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

Now, as you point out, the further ahead you predict things, the less accurate they are likely to be.

What do you mean by accurate? If he had predicted snow, or a heat wave, or strong winds, then you could say he had been inaccurate. But he predicted deluges and they did occur albeit later than he thought. And you are looking at a very isolated period. I submit to you that whether he is accurate to within a week is not as significant as his being able to detect an event so far ahead of time.

Look at the data, Agnostic. Here it is again:

He predicted “heavy rain with thunder, hail, and floods over most parts of Britain and Ireland”. But nowhere in the data is there a significant heavy rain event. The largest rains in the entire period are just average rainy days, they are not deluges. They barely exceed the average July rainy day. And the rest of the days are, well, just above or below average for July. So I fail to see the “heavy rains” he predicted. The issue is not just the timing, as you keep saying. It’s that even the wettest day (July 7th) is just an average July rainy day … and even that didn’t occur when he predicted the “heavy rain”.
w.

Ulric Lyons
July 8, 2012 12:57 pm

@Willis Eschenbach says:
July 8, 2012 at 10:35 am
“… did you notice