Met Office forecasting skill on show.

Posted: February 10, 2014 by tchannon in alarmism, Analysis, government, Incompetence, Natural Variation

In the document backing up Dame Slingo of Somerset’s reframing of weather as climate we find this gem:

Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm in the last 100 years. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030. This equates to 23-27cm (9-10½ inches) of total sea level
rise since 1900.

(c)Crown Copyright 2014, Met Office, NERC

NOTE THAT MET-O has changed their wording a little: SEE UPDATE HERE:

Tim Channon has plotted this so we can take a look at what the MET Office is telling us:


Figure 1

See figure 1. Note units, 11-16cm  is  110 to 160 mm.



Figure 2

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the English Channel as follows:[3]
On the West. A line joining Isle Vierge (48°38’23?N 4°34’13?W) to Lands End (50°04′N 5°43′W).
On the East. The Southwestern limit of the North Sea.

Areas of falling land and rising sea levels:

Somerset, Cornwall and Devon
Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex
Kent and Essex

No excuse there of rising land.


Figure 3


Figure 4


Figure 5

Brest is almost abreast the English Channel but this a very long record, if unlikely to be correct. So what is that rough eyeball, 200 millimetre since 1900, 20 centimetres? Is ballpark “This equates to 23-27cm (9-10½ inches) of total sea level rise since 1900.”

Newlyn data? I usually avoid annual.
There is a circa 20 year wave but no sign of more than a linear or very long term curve which did not show. Fast movement shows signs of impossible periodicy, such as much too close to 3 and 6 years which if combined seem to fingerprint a linearity problem somewhere or Nyquist at work. I don’t think this substantially affects the outcome.

h/t to

Posted by Tim

  1. michael hart says:

    Tim, you’ve done the hard work, I just think you need to make it more obvious to the (very) casual or uninformed reader what the linear lines on the first plot represent. It deserves wider coverage but, honestly, I think most MSM journalists are not capable of reading down to the legend.

    Once it’s obvious that the orange line is the (linear extrapolation) from the real world, and the other two lines represent what the Met Office appears to be forecasting, then I think most people could follow the argument.

    That is: lots of disaster forecast, but it’s always tomorrow and not happening yet. (Probably not much you can do about those who don’t believe that sea-levels have been gently rising for centuries.)

  2. tchannon says:

    You are right MH. Best I can do fast.

    I toyed with using a different plot. Extending the dataset linear trend to the Met Office high takes it past the year 2100.

  3. Sparks says:

    This had to have been mentioned before, “PMSL” means, “Pissing My Self Laughing”. just saying!

  4. Chaeremon says:

    @tchannon: as we have discussed (implicit and explicit) elsewhere on tallbloke, there is no monthly mean&gt exhibited by natural phenomenae, in particular not for sea level data.

    Instead, there are “only” monthly +max and -max (highest and lowest) sea levels along the natural heartbeat of tides (and not along artificial calendars). Are tidal +max and -max sea level data points for the above land areas available?

  5. Ruth Dixon says:

    Excellent graph, Tim! The south of England is sinking, as you say, which will contribute a bit to sea level rise, but doesn’t predict a sudden acceleration in the next decade.

  6. […] Update: Tim Channon has plotted a graph of how this prediction compares to past SLR at Newlyn, Cornwall (the national sea level monitoring station) […]

  7. Apologies if this is somewhat o/t (or if it’s been addressed elsewhere) but I noticed that the (caption?) quote under Figure 1 includes the following:

    With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades … [emphasis added -hro]

    Obviously, I’m not a scientist and (unlike Dame Julia Slingo, amongst others) nor do I attempt to play one when speaking in public. But here’s the thing …

    I do recall – possibly from one of Stocker’s claims deriving from his version of AR5 WG1′s SPM and/or possibly elsewhere – reading words to the effect of ‘even if we radically reduced – or stopped – all CO2 emissions immediately (if not sooner), temperatures (and other favourite alarmist indicators) would still rise x amount by y decade.

    Strikes me that such ‘rise x by y’ claim would keep at the forefront that which they cannot explain: i.e. the failure of their mighty models and sclerotic scenarios to account for, project or predict (whatever the term of the week might be) the pause/hiatus of the last 17 years, while CO2 emissions have significantly increased despite the blight of unsightly windfarms and exorbitant expenditures on other useless so-called “renewables.”

    So I was wondering if this alleged ‘commitment’ to this alleged ‘future warming’ scare is yet another “reframing” of that which is not doing a very convincing sales job, so as to divert attention from (and save them from further questioning of) that which the Met Office (and others) were finally forced to acknowledge – in no less than three papers – last July.

    But notwithstanding any and/or all of the above, after reading Alex Cull’s transcript of Slingo’s silliness and slip-ups yesterday (and Betts’ belated lame limp to her defense over at BH), I have finally come to the conclusion that there is little (if anything) emanating from those dedicated to “the cause” – least of all from the ‘jewel in the crown, of British science and global science’ – that surprises me any more!

  8. tallbloke says:

    Sea Level Rise globally slowed after 2004 from 3.3mm/yr during the warming period to 1.9mm/yr

    I just posted this on ‘the conversation’

    Questions for our three experts:
    1) If the heat has been driven down into the ocean, when has sea level rise slowed from 3.3mm/yr 1993-204 to 1.9mm/yr 204-2013? Where’s the thermal expansion?

    2) Since stronger wind rapidly increases evaporation, which cools the ocean surface via the latent heat of evaporation, how much of the missing heat goes up via convection to the top of the clouds (bypassing co2) instead of down into the ocean?

    3) Why hasn’t that extra evaporation shown up as increased precipitation in the models?

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    Naturally, we were several years ahead of ‘the experts’ here at the talkshop

    And in any case, the sea level satellite altimetry is suspect

    Before it went kaput, the ENVISAT sea level satellite altimetry showed a much more modest curve, falling at the end. (A reason why the data suddenly became unavailable?)

    Nicola Scafetta published a paper showing C21st was likely to be less than a foot

  9. tallbloke says:

    Ruth: Well spotted and thanks for the reblog of your post.

    Hilary: Good points well made. The “committed warming” exists only in the minds of the warming-committed. The ‘missing heat’ already left the building. It’s somehwere past Alpha Centauri by now.

    Great plot Tim, I’ll add some suitable labels to the lower and upper bounds of the MET-O prediction range if you like.
    I was considering ‘daft’ and ‘dafter’.

  10. oldbrew says:

    The Met Office has ‘lost’ its embarrassing graph showing the decline in UK temps over the last few years. Just a big empty space where it used to be.

    Below the space it says: ‘The graph above…’ [etc]

  11. tallbloke says:

    OB: Good spot! The embarrassing plot-free page is preserved for posterity at

    Does anyone have a copy of the missing plot we can post here to see if the MET wants their balls-up back?

  12. oldbrew says:

    That looks like it to me, Chaeremon :-)

    The MetO website does say ‘If you encounter any problems or want to request a more reliable service please contact us.’ So I sent them an e-mail.

    1215: MetO assures me it’s a software problem and normal service should resume shortly (a number of days?). No data has been lost.

  13. tchannon says:

    Rog, I nearly added ‘I expect Rog will add some text tomorrow’.

  14. tallbloke says:

    Tim, I did add that the plot labeling was my responsibility not yours, but the caption text got mangled by wordpress. Change at will.

  15. Ruth Dixon says:

    Richard Betts just said on Twitter that the authors “are going to update the document to clarify.” See Update 2:

  16. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ruth: Resuuult! Well done!

    I anticipate a whirlpool of spin
    :) :)

  17. Fanakapan says:

    Glacial Rebound

  18. oldbrew says:

    TB: the basic MetO HADCET graph is back but the red trend line is missing, for now at least.

    As the notes below the graph still say ‘the red line is a 21-point binomial filter, which is equivalent to a 10-year running mean’, maybe the line will magically appear later ;-)

  19. Ruth Dixon says:

    Fanakapan – maybe glacial rebound but AFAIK that accounts for only about 1 mm per year.

    Thanks TB. We’ll see.

  20. tallbloke says:

    The dataset hasn’t changed. What fun! :)

  21. Kon Dealer says:

    And what about this piece of forecasting “skill” from the Met. Orifice?

    Met Office 3-month Outlook
    Period: December 2013 – February 2014 Issue date: 21.11.13

    “The forecast presented here is for the average of the December-January-February period for the United Kingdom as a whole.
    This forecast is based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement.

    The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).”

    How that charlatan, Slingo, can have the bare-faced cheek to talk about the recent run of bad WEATHER as “being consistent with climate change” is beyond me.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Well Don, to be fair to Dame Julia of the WetMETlands, it’s also consistent with the flying spaghetti monster being in control of the weather too.

  23. tallbloke says:

    Is this another missing graphic or is it my poky little P11Z computer not having a required plugin or something?

  24. oldbrew says:

    TB: works for me on the laptop. Still no red line on HADCET, maybe another e-mail to MetO tomorrow.

  25. […] Tallbloke here writes that Met Office predictions on sea level rise are equally […]

  26. tallbloke says:

    Richard Betts has ‘clarified’ (!) the MET-O document on Ruth Dixon’s site:

    Richard Betts on February 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm said:

    Hi Ruth

    The projected SLR of 11-16cm by 2030 for the English Channel comes from the UKCP09 projections, see this report, Table 2, columns for “High” (16.0) and “Low” (11.4) for London.

    But crucially, these numbers are relative to 1990 (the UKCP09 baseline), not 2014. This was not stated. Clearly there’s been some sea level rise since 1990, so the numbers between 2014 and 2030 would be smaller.

    Also, these numbers are for relative sea level rise, including both climate change and vertical land movement.

    So, Athelstan on Bishop Hill was right that this was part of the reason for the numbers seeming large compared to the AR5 global projections, and you were also right that there was more to it than that.

    The report has been updated, and page 2 now says:

    Sea level along the English Channel has already risen during the 20th century due to ocean warming and melting of glaciers. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990, of which at least two-thirds will be due to the effects of climate change.

    and page 21 now says:

    Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm during the 20th century; this is over and above the increases associated with sinking of the southern part of the UK due to isostatic adjustment from the last Ice Age. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990, of which at least two-thirds will be due to the effects of climate change. We are very confident that sea level will continue to rise over coming decades as the planet continues to warm, and these numbers represent our current best estimate for the UK. Clearly sea level rise from whatever source has to be factored into discussions about resilience to coastal and river inundations.

    References are now included in that paragraph.

    Thanks very much for spotting this!



  27. NikFromNYC says:

    The 2011 update of Church & White finally included a simple average of world tide gauges, alas plotted in yellow atop darker traces, obscuring its pencil straight linearity over the last 150 years, extracted in black with an added trendline, here:

    This should be the end of the whole Global Warming debate.

  28. tallbloke says:

    Nice plot Nik. Do you have the version with the other curves on?

    Eyeballing Tim’s plot, I don’t think the tinkering is going to make it plausible. MET-O’s new upper bound will be around 70mm above long term average trend in 2030. Lower bound about 30mm above. Still were talking 2-3 inches here, so I’m not going to lose sleep.

  29. […] Meanwhile, over at her Garden Pond, Ruth Dixon had found a rather glaring discrepancy in the “briefing” paper. I first read about it over at Roger Tattersall’s (aka) Tallbloke’s Talkshop. […]

  30. Paul Hogan says:

    The Met Office are just a member of the global group of Con Artists. Unlimited amounts of money for producing nothing of any use whatsoever, except for themselves of course. Easy money, join the gravy train.

  31. […] Paul Hogan on Met Office forecasting skill o… […]

  32. […] Garden Pond & Tallbloke have already picked up on this, and got some clarification from the Met Office’s Richard Betts, […]

  33. oldbrew says:

    Re Feb 10 @ 2:54 pm – the red trend line is back…still going down.

  34. […] Garden Pond & Tallbloke have already picked up on this, and got some clarification from the Met Office’s Richard Betts, […]

  35. Paul Hogan,
    Thanks for going to the heart of the matter. You have your useless government funded entities in the UK with windbags like Dame Slingo bloviating endlessly. Be thankful as the cost is relatively small becasue these people have no power other than their ability to persuade.

    Here in the USA we have the EPA with similar windbags in charge but they have real power to shape the lives of US citizens. Our taxes are funding government organizations bent on making energy more expensive!

  36. manicbeancounter says:

    I am a bit late to the party
    Ruth Dixon’s research is to be commended, along with Richard Betts for bringing the matter to the attention of the authors. We have gone from an apparent 700% acceleration in the rate of sea level rise, to absolutely zero compared with the global average of 3.2mm +/- 0.4 per annum for the last 20 years. Over 40 years that is 11.2mm to 14.4mm compared with the Met Office’s estimate of 11-16cm. What they have done with some of the best computing power on earth is equivalent to a forecast I did on a spreadsheet in two minutes. That is to assume that the local tide gauges will catch up with the satellite data. It makes sense if you assume that the satellites are accurate.

    Figures are at

  37. tchannon says:

    manicbeans, I’ve been somewhat involved but have ended up appearing kind of not involved.

    This article on the Talkshop is mine except that Rog altered the plot, adding colour and words.

    If you have a look here on my own blog you will see the last thing I produced on this

    Sea level rise is <2mm/year and it wouldn't surprise me if it is actually zero.

    Fraud is quite common. For example the French government painting ends on sea level plots. (satellite data)

    Lifting the edge of a carpet perhaps many think satellites can measure absolute position hence ocean height below an absolute reference. Sorry, no, things are not that accurate. In addition the satellites' orbits wobble, gravitational attraction and other things are not constant.

    Here is what the photoshoppers currently admit, note the ground reference.

    This may clarify a little more, such as the problem of waves, storms, air pressure, interference, lack of satellites, doesn't mention sampling theory. (4.1MB)

    Noticed something. What is missing?

    Terrestrial reference frame effects on global sea level rise determination from TOPEX/Poseidon altimetric data

    Do you start to get a picture, this is far from trivial.

    And what about the ground references, where are they, how stable are they? How do we know their stability without self reference, can't go using the systems using them to determine their own position.

    Measuring ocean height is one thing. Now what about the ground and ocean floors? What exactly is being talked about? Crustal movements are also involved.

    About the only clear thing is not a lot is moving. if you see a claim of some extreme go look and take it apart.

    Land moves?
    I can show you dramatic evidence, quite interesting because I have photographs from 1985 and there is a wealth of modern including Google Street view. Drawings go back far longer.
    Might make a worthwhile post sometime.

  38. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roger A: Nice plot!
    Glacier mass loss started slowing right around the times AGW is supposed to have got underway in 1950

    Accelerated sea level rise began in 1850, long before the alleged AGW started.

    I sense a new post. DO you want to write it, or shall I? :)

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