FOIA obtained Met Office document shows them to be clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year

Maybe all they need is a bigger computer

Guest post by by Paul Homewood

Following the wet summer in the UK last year, the  Met Office provided the Environment Agency with a briefing document, giving an overview of the weather. This was discussed at the September Board Meeting of the Environment Agency, which Met Office officials attended.

As far as I know, this document, which I obtained through FOI, has never entered the public domain. It is brutally honest in admitting how little the Met’s scientists understand about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year. This is in stark contrast to many of the hyped up claims, made in public statements in the recent past by, among others, the Met Office themselves.

The full document is reproduced below, but there are four particular areas I wish to focus on.

1) Drought

The document has this to say about droughts in the UK (my bold):-

Prior to April 2012 the UK was experiencing hydrological drought associated with a prolonged period of below average rainfall. The hydrology of the UK is such that replenishment of water reserves occurs predominantly during the autumn, winter and spring (October – April) referred to as the recharge ‘winter’ season; conversely, the summer period (May – September) is a time when the balance between precipitation and evaporation means that replenishment of water reserves is small. Summer is also the time when temperature can play a significant role in determining evaporation and soil moisture availability.

Although there is not a unique definition for major hydrological droughts it is generally agreed that 1975/76, 1963/65 and 1933/34 come into that category. They extend over 12 months in duration and can take in at least two failed replenishment cycles.

The drought of 2010/12 is similar in severity to these historical events and, as with past events, built up over 2-3 years. The 2010/12 rainfall deficit was not as intense as 1975/76, which ranks as the most severe for the past 100 years in many respects. Much of England and Wales received less than 65% of average rainfall, with sizeable areas receiving only 55 to 60%. Rainfall deficits in the recharge ‘winter’ of 1975/76 were particularly severe and widespread, with the effect that the UK entered the summer of 1976 with severely depleted soil moisture in many regions. In addition to the lack of rain, summer 1976 was also the equal warmest in the series from 1910 across England and Wales, and the sunniest in the series from 1929. The hot, sunny conditions would have significantly increased evaporative demand, and the dry ground would have also influenced the extreme high temperatures experienced during the summer.

Neither the development nor the severity of the 2010/12 drought was exceptional compared with historical events, and its climatological drivers have several similarities with past droughts.

It reinforces this message in the conclusion:-

Neither the development nor the severity of the 2010/12 drought was exceptional compared with historical events, and its climatological drivers have several similarities with past droughts.There is therefore, as yet, no evidence that it was due to climate change and not part of the natural variability of the climate.

We are constantly told how “climate change” will lead to more severe droughts. DEFRA’s own Climate Change Risk Assessment talks about “a reduction in summer rainfall of up to 60% by 2080”, while Environment Minister, Lord Henley, told us in 2011 “the recent exceptionally dry weather is a snapshot of what we might expect from climate change.”

It might, therefore, come as a surprise to many to find that recent droughts are in fact perfectly normal, and indeed much less than severe than some earlier ones.

2) Jet Stream Changes

It is now well known that that last year’s wet weather, (and the drought that preceded it), was the result of changes in the position of the jet stream. The Briefing Document has this to say:-

What is causing this summer’s wet weather?

 The jet stream has been displaced southwards compared to its climatological summertime position. The jetstream is the fast-moving ‘river’ of air at altitudes of around 30,000ft which forms in the mid-latitudes at the boundary between the cold air surrounding the poles and the much warmer air in the tropics. It usually runs from west to east, and acts to develop and steer the low pressure systems which are responsible for much of the UK’s rain. On average, these systems pass to the northwest of the UK, and hence northwestern parts of the UK – particularly higher ground such as in Western Scotland and Cumbria – receive the most rain.

 However, when the jetstream dips to the south of the UK, the distribution of rainfall is skewed away from the climatological average, and southern areas can see periods of significantly above average rainfall and associated higher risk of river and surface water flooding. Not only do the low pressure systems steer across southern areas, but the following factors act to increase the risk of heavy rain and flooding:

· different prevailing wind direction means that different windward slopes will be subject to enhanced rainfall

· the frequent southerly to easterly component to the airflow means that warm, thundery air from the near Continent may be drawn towards the UK, increasing the potential for heavy rainfall

· fronts are more likely to become slow-moving, giving persistent rain in some areas

· between the low pressure systems themselves, the dominant low-pressure (‘cyclonic’) environment is conducive to formation of heavy showers during summer. Again, these may be slow-moving, with an increased risk of intense downpours and surface water flooding.

Low pressure systems of this nature are unusual in summer and because the atmosphere is warmer it can hold more water than in other seasons resulting in significant amounts of rainfall.

The $64000 question, of course, is why has it moved. The Met Office are admirably frank. They admit they do not have a clue. This is what they say:-

The jet stream, like our weather, is subject to natural variability – that is the random nature of our weather which means it is different from one week, month or year to the next. We expect it to move around and it has moved to the south of the UK in summertime many times before in the past. It has, however, been particularly persistent in holding that position this year – hence the prolonged unsettled weather.

This could be due to natural variability – a bad run of coincidence, if you will – but scientific research is ongoing research to investigate whether other factors at play.

Factors which might contribute include:

· North Atlantic Sea Surface temperatures are warmer than normal. These can drive low pressure during summer over NW Europe, and have been a consistent feature of the last five summers (June, July August), all of which have been wetter than the climatological average for 1971-2000;

· It has been suggested that the decline of Arctic Sea Ice may drive low pressure over the UK, although this remains very uncertain at present. Record loss of summer Arctic sea ice cover has also been a consistent feature of the last five summers;

· Recent summers have been under the influence of La Nina-type forcing from the tropical Pacific. Although the tropical East Pacific has warmed in recent months and there are indications of a transition to El Nino conditions, the recent weather patterns in the tropical Pacific are still representative of La Nina conditions, with very disturbed weather over Indonesia and the West Pacific. La Nina drives an increased risk of low pressure over the UK and predisposes the jetstream to shift southwards.

· There is evidence that the circulation changes over the UK are part of a pattern of changes which circumnavigates the whole of the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes.

So, while they are researching various factors, they actually have no evidence on any of them, and certainly none which can link jet stream changes to “climate change”.

But none of this appears to have stopped Julia Slingo telling the TelegraphThe trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we are seeing around the world, in countries such as India and China, and now potentially here in the UK. “

Or head of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith, informing us “We are experiencing a new kind of rain. Instead of rain sweeping in a curtain across the country, we are getting convective rain, which sits in one place and just dumps itself in a deluge over a long period of time.”

Or DEFRA warning us that “The climate is changing. This means we are likely to experience more flooding”.

3) Madden-Julian Oscillation

The Met posed the question – What caused the shift from very dry weather to very wet weather in 2012? This was what they had to say:-

The reason for this sudden change is still being investigated. There is a suggestion that it could be linked to disturbed weather patterns over the Indian Ocean and tropical Pacific caused by a strong Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) – a large scale tropical phenomenon – in March. Understanding the initiation of an MJO event is, however, largely unpredictable, and remains one of the great unsolved challenges of tropical meteorology. It is therefore very unlikely that the MJO and its impact upon our own weather could have been anticipated in forecasts produced in early and mid-March. However, by the end of March, once the MJO had been observed, short range forecasts were able to predict the wetter and more unsettled weather the UK experienced during April.

To some extent, it may be that they are using this as an excuse to cover up their failure to predict the change. Nevertheless, as they make clear, climate science really does not understand this phenomenon.

It is a pity that their public statements do not admit this.

4) Decline of Arctic Ice

There have been many attempts recently to blame just about every bit of bad weather on declining Arctic sea ice. Julia Slingo, herself, told a Parliamentary Committee last year:-

“There is increasing evidence in the last few months that depletion of ice, in particular in the Bering and Kara seas, can plausibly impact on our winter weather and lead to colder winters over northern Europe”.

(This, of course, came a few months after previous predictions of warmer, wetter winters, and a few months before Slingo decided Arctic ice was responsible for heavier rainfall).

The private briefing document totally demolishes her argument and that of others:-

It has been suggested that the decline of Arctic Sea Ice may drive low pressure over the UK, although this remains very uncertain at present.

And

In the long term, most climate models project drier UK summers – but it is possible there could be other influences of a changing climate which could override that signal on shorter timescales.

If low levels of Arctic sea ice were found to be affecting the track of the jet stream, for example, this could be seen as linked to the warming of our climate – but this is currently an unknown.

The Met Office Hadley Centre, working with climate research centres around the world, is making strides in determining how the odds of extreme weather happening have been influenced by climate change. However, it is very difficult to do this type of analysis with such highly variable rainfall events, so it may take many years before we could confirm how the odds of this summer’s wet weather happening have been altered by greenhouse gases.

So why did Slingo give the testimony she did to Parliament?

In Summary

The Met openly admit that neither they, nor climate science in general, have any real understanding about the basic processes that affect our climate.

It is surely time that they, DEFRA and others admitted this in public, instead of continually repeating the same old speculations that every bit of bad weather is linked to global warming.

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clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year
Weather is not climate…

Thanks, Paul.

Coalsoffire

So the Met specializes in building two story houses. One story for insiders and another story for the unwashed common folk who pay the bills. BTW, speaking of Freedom of Information, any progress on the CG III emails? .

J.Cale

Then again, climate is NOT weather right?

clovis man

I’m comforted that there are some scientists in the Met office.
I’m disconcerted that the public pronouncements from their masters ignore them in favour of the politcally correct party line.

Certainty in public, uncertainty in private.

Great post, excellent work Paul.
The jet stream, like our weather, is subject to natural variability
I should think so:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NH-NV.htm

george e. smith

“””””…………………………””””” Well the heading gose in there.
There was nothing unusual about last years weather. The thing about weather, is that it usually is not the same as it was; but it usually changes to something else.

Excellent, Paul. I hope this gets spread far and wide. We need to get the masses to WAKE UP to this scam. When enough people demand the plug be pulled on stupid green funding, that plug will be pulled. Likewise the plug will be pulled on the IPCC and the UN.
C’mon, MSM, do your stuff!

Richard

it’s all coming out of the woodwork now. We thank mr Watts and Co for keeping us to date. Oh and thank Al gore for inventing the internet .

jayhd

Having kept up with the Met’s dismal forecasting record for the past several years, it was already obvious to me the Met doesn’t have a clue. To my acquaintances who live in England and Scotland, the Met’s forecasts are objects of great mirth. They usually prepare for the opposite of what is forecast.

Peter Miller

It is very sad and totally ridiculous you need an FOI action to get the truth out of the UK Met Office.
Because the document contains no alarmist climate orthodoxy, there is absolutely no chance of this being reported in either the BBC or the Guardian

Martin Hodgkins

I did this simple chart https://sites.google.com/site/ralulacet/rainfall/annual-rainfall
from the Met Office England and Wales dataset http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadukp/
If anyone can see anything unusual going on then please let me know.

philw1776

True, weather is not climate….except when it serves the “news” purpose of hysterical AGW propagandists lobbying for government control of the populace at the direction of their elitist members

dp

I think the science is finally settled and the consensus agrees those hacks really do not know what they go on about. It is no wonder the government there is mishandling the problem of the elderly dying from the cold. The decision makers are being given a load of crap from these wonks. The IPCC and their rogue enablers have turned killer and they’re getting away with it. And Michael Mann is bleating about death threats from a writer for a public press. Cheeky sot is inebriated on the elixir of government grant money.

theraggededge

There’s one in the eye for ZedsDeadBeds!

Myrrh

No carbon dioxide?

Dave Cochrane

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm
Weather is not climate…

Thank you, Leif. And in other news: This year Christmas will fall on 25 December 2013.

markx

The science within the department, and the honest expressions of uncertainty are reassuring to see.
Especially considering the presumably politically influenced public announcements.

mike

Did they get Steven Goddard or a fan of his site to write this common sense? 🙂
Behind the scenes they are running around like headless chickens admitting they are clueless.

TomRude

@lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm
clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year
Weather is not climate…
==
“This basic knowledge (with which all real climatologists ought to be thoroughly familiar) about the real mechanisms of meteorological phenomena, and about the processes whereby climatic modifications are transmitted, is necessary for the analysis and understanding of climatic evolution, across all scales of intensity, space and time.” Marcel Leroux.

jmorpuss

What we are seeing now was carried out back in 94 as an experament The ionospheric heater used looks to be from the same place they showed us this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxA0Asq2YDg And here are the Action Reactions and results of that test http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/31/64/49/PDF/angeo-16-1212-1998.pdf It states that the jet stream reacted when the heater was turned off and on, they even created a reversal . So why are people so quick to turn a blind eye to this being the cause for extrem weather paterns ?

Ulric Lyons

“However, by the end of March, once the MJO had been observed, short range forecasts were able to predict the wetter and more unsettled weather the UK experienced during April.”
A very cool and wet April 2012 was in my solar based long range forecast, with full confidence, as was with this March being very cold.

Jimbo

I read:

This was discussed at the September Board Meeting of the Environment Agency, which Met Office officials attended…………..It is brutally honest in admitting how little the Met’s scientists understand about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year.

This surely would have absolutely nothing to do with the climate change fanatic and former head of the WWF UK and Met Office, Sir Robert Napier , stepping down in SEPTEMBER of 2012? Heaven forbid.

Met Office – 18 July 2012
In September 2012, Met Office Chairman Robert Napier CBE steps down after six years in the role. Here he shares his thoughts on how the organisation has evolved in that time, and the reasons for its success………….But of particular satisfaction to the outgoing Chairman is the shift in the public’s perception of the Met Office as a respected global leader in climate change.

Nothing to see here, move along folks.

jack morrow

According to conspiracy buffs , [weather modification] is responsible for the strange and bad weather.
Vukcevic’s graphs make more sense to me, and I have been watching the jet stream patterns and they have definitely stayed farther south than usual for this time of the year.

barryjo

“A bigger computer”?? Possibly a high colonic would be more beneficial.

herkimer

PAUL
All the dates that you mention seem to be at or around solar minimums

clipe

Meanwhile a Winter Storm Watch in April
Watches
City of Toronto
4:27 PM EDT Tuesday 09 April 2013
Winter storm watch for
City of Toronto issued
Ice pellets and freezing rain likely Thursday.
A series of low pressure systems will give periods of rain to the regions into Wednesday night. On Thursday, a stronger low will arrive from the southwest and combine with a colder airmass from the north. As a result rain is expected to change to ice pellets and freezing rain Thursday morning. The ice pellets and freezing rain are expected to persist through Thursday night and be heavy at times.
Poor travel conditions are expected Thursday. In some places, power outages may occur. Conditions are expected to improve Friday.
There is still some uncertainty as to the track of the storm and the extent of the cold air Thursday. Environment Canada will monitor this situation closely and will issue warnings as needed as the track of the storm becomes more certain.

Special Weather Statement
WOCN11 CWTO 092139
Special weather statement updated by Environment Canada at 5:39 PM
EDT Tuesday 9 April 2013.
———————————————————————
Special weather statement for:
=new= Belleville – Quinte – Northumberland
=new= Kingston – Prince Edward
=new= Peterborough – Kawartha Lakes
=new= Stirling – Tweed – South Frontenac
=new= Bancroft – Bon Echo Park
=new= Brockville – Leeds and Grenville
=new= City of Ottawa
=new= Gatineau
=new= Prescott and Russell
=new= Cornwall – Morrisburg
=new= Smiths Falls – Lanark – Sharbot Lake
=new= Parry Sound – Muskoka
=new= Haliburton
=new= Renfrew – Pembroke – Barry’s Bay
=new= Algonquin
=new= Burk’s Falls – Bayfield Inlet
City of Toronto
Windsor – Essex – Chatham-Kent
Sarnia – Lambton
Elgin
London – Middlesex
Simcoe – Delhi – Norfolk
Dunnville – Caledonia – Haldimand
Oxford – Brant
Niagara
City of Hamilton
Halton – Peel
York – Durham
Huron – Perth
Waterloo – Wellington
Dufferin – Innisfil
Grey – Bruce
Barrie – Orillia – Midland.
Rainy over most of Southern Ontario through Wednesday.
Freezing rain and ice pellets over South Central Ontario
Thursday. Significant snowfall over northern and eastern
Sections Friday.
———————————————————————
==discussion==
A series of frontal waves is giving a wet week to portions of
Southern Ontario. Rainfall warnings are currently in effect for much
of Southwestern Ontario with rain at times heavy expected to continue
through Wednesday.
On Thursday, significant ice pellets and freezing rain are forecast
to affect an area from Southern Lake Huron to Western Lake Ontario,
including the Toronto area.
On Friday, the system will spread northeastward to affect northern
and eastern sections, including the Ottawa area, likely giving a
significant snowfall. Ice pellets will be possible near the St
Lawrence River.
Environment Canada is watching the development of this situation
closely and will issue further statements and warnings if required.
Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment
Canada at http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca.
End

Jimbo

Now the Met Office is talking about the climate and not the weather. Keep it up chaps.

……so it may take many years before we could confirm how the odds of this summer’s wet weather happening have been altered by greenhouse gases.

The WMO and IPCC sees climate as 30 years or more of weather data. This whole scam is based on the weather is now climate con job. You are not fooling me.

Jimbo

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year

Weather is not climate…

Amen to that. The unusual weather was, as you know, blamed on ‘climate change.’ I wish Warmists would pay heed to your very wise words. 😉

Jimbo

Robert Napier has ruined the formally bad name of the Met Office. This is not meant as a joke. The Met Office had a bad name before Napier stepped in, he made it worse. No joke.

cosmic

Weather is not climate…
It is when it’s hot.

Mike McMillan

“Maybe all they need is a bigger computer”
They have one. We’re on it.

Jimbo

Here are some results from computer model predictions / projections. I call it GIGO. Horseshit.
UK may get more droughts
UK may get more rain

The Met Office has admitted that prediction about weather AND climate are beyond the ability of charlatans with super computers, and have therefore switched to the seance with poltergeist form of forecast. Future predictions will be made by the ghost of Marcel Marceau….”the mime who brought poetry to silence”….offering the public the same level of accuracy and entertainment.

Jimbo

Michael Combs says:
April 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm
Certainty in public, uncertainty in private.

Exactly! See Climategate 1.

Green Sand

The format might be crap, but the data is real:-
UK Mean Central England Temperature, 2013
Month CET Anomaly
January 3.5 -0.3
February 3.2 -0.6
March 2.7 -3.0
April 3.5 -3.0 provisional, to the 8th
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/cet_info_mean.html
Somebody, somewhere, please turn on the CO2 generator, or if that is no longer politically correct, can I please have my Sun back?

Gerry, England

The words ‘it’s the sun, stupid’ come to mind. Nowhere in their hunt for the missing clue as to what drives our climate do they suggest that the sun might have something to do with it and so the clueless stumble on.
As to Slingo’s statement to Parliament, she was practicing a political technique known as ‘lying’ where you say something that you know isn’t true but hope that nobody notices. Cameron is a past master of the art, as was Blair, Brown, Major, Heath…….but notably not Baroness Thatcher. As the current political pygmies queued up to praise her you can’t help but notice what a useless bunch they all are.

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm
clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year
Weather is not climate…
Weather absolutely climate! Climate is the weather averaged over the long-term.

clipe

Winter storm watch in effect.
Tonight
Rain changing to drizzle before morning. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening and after midnight. Amount 10 to 20 mm. Low 6.
Wednesday
Drizzle changing to rain in the morning. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Wind becoming northeast 30 km/h in the afternoon. High 9.
Wednesday night
Periods of rain changing to wet flurries and ice pellets before morning. Risk of freezing rain before morning. Rainfall amount 5 mm. Wind northeast 30 km/h. Low zero.
Thursday
Rain or snow. High plus 2.
Friday
Rain or snow. Windy. Low plus 1. High plus 4.
Saturday
Cloudy with 70 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Low zero. High 6.
Sunday
Sunny. Low minus 3. High 8.
Monday
Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low zero. High 10.

As always, April showers bring May flowers.

Berényi Péter

There is nothing wrong with admitting ignorance in science, in fact it is the only way to proceed, should the state of affairs be such.
However, doing it in secret is utterly unscientific behavior and leads to nowhere. At first glance it is a grave violation of scientific ethics in itself, but for scientists whose job is done on taxpayer’s money it is bordering on criminal behavior, they have to be prohibited to withhold vital information from the public like that.

DDP

“So why did Slingo give the testimony she did to Parliament?”
Hmmm….£……££££££££££££
‘Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.’
John Steinbeck

tckev

“lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm
clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year
Weather is not climate…”
That’s because modern climate is what is ejected from computer models, not what really happens to the world.

clipe

Thursday
Rain or snow. High plus 2.
Friday
Rain or snow. Windy. Low plus 1. High plus 4.
Saturday
Cloudy with 70 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Low zero. High 6.

Saturday a 70% chance of rain or snow?

Latitude

So we let a bunch of weathermen…elevate their trade to climate scientist
…only to find out, they are just weathermen after all

Jimbo

Take a look at this Viner moment and keep in mind the recent UK winters and summers. 🙂

BBC – 27 February 2007
Met Office meteorologist Wayne Elliott
“It is consistent with the climate change message,” he told BBC News. “It is exactly what we expect winters to be like – warmer and wetter, and dryer and hotter summers.”
However, he warned that these figures could not alone be used as evidence of the impact of human activity on the climate but said that the “warming trend caused by humans is emerging from the natural variability”.
“The fact that the five warmest years on record are the five past years is interesting, but we cannot add anything more to that at the moment,” he observed.
“But the winter we have just seen is consistent with the type of weather we expect to see more and more in the future.”

So what has the “winter we have just seen” been like and is it “consistent with the type of weather we expect to see more and more in the future.”? You decide.

Jimbo
Jimbo

Here are 2 statements from the Met Office. Please compare and contrast.

It is exactly what we expect winters to be like – warmer and wetter, and dryer and hotter summers. …the winter we have just seen is consistent with the type of weather we expect to see more and more in the future.”
Wayne Elliott, Met Office meteorologist, BBC, 27 Feb 2007

and

Slingo told the MPs that there is “increasing evidence in the last few months of that depletion of ice, in particular in the Bering and Kara seas, can plausibly impact on our winter weather and lead to colder winters over northern Europe”.
Guardian – Wednesday 14 March 2012

Climatastrology at work. Warmcold drywet snowno winterheatfreeze. All proof of something or other.

Jimbo

I’m going to bed now. Let’s try our best to end this public funding fraud. Members of the UK tax paying public also have to write to their MPs as it is they who have suffered this winter and will continue to suffer until they take action.

Eric Barnes

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm
clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year
Weather is not climate…

until funding is needed.