MET Office: Forecasting months/seasons ahead “Still in its infancy”.

Posted: September 1, 2015 by tallbloke in Forecasting, MET office
Roundup of comment on MET Office performance with UK summer weather forecasting from Benny Peiser at GWPF:
 Image Credit: Cartoons by Josh
The Met Office has defended its forecast for a hot, dry summer despite some areas looking set to have the most rain since records began. As summer officially came to a close amid extreme downpours on Monday, the forecaster was left facing questions about why it predicted a ‘drier-than-average’ season even though a strong El Nino climate event was expected. In May the Met Office said that it ‘wouldn’t expect (El Nino) to be the dominant driver of our weather’ in the summer months. Yet this weekend Met Office chief scientist Professor Dame Julia Slingo said that the El Nino phenomenon had disturbed weather patterns, which might have been predicted. “We all know that forecasting months and seasons ahead is still in its infancy and much more research needs to be done.”–Sarah Knapton, The Daily Telegraph, 31 August 2015

The Met Office’s prediction for the summer issued at the start of June led us all to believe it would be hot and dry. Instead, it has been one of the coldest and soggiest holiday seasons for nearly 30 years. The level of rainfall was already up 13% on average across Britain by last Wednesday, at 11in. It means it has been wetter than all but five summers since 1988 and the wettest since 2012 – which was the soggiest for 100 years. At the same time, temperatures have fallen to an average of 14C, which is 0.4C down on normal. It means it has been colder than all but four summers since 1988 and the coldest since 2012’s average of 13.9C. –Alistair Grant, Daily Star, 30 August 2015

The chief reason why the Met Office has been getting so many forecasts spectacularly wrong, as reported here ad nauseam, is that all its short, medium and long-term forecasts ultimately derive from the same huge computer model, which is programmed to believe in manmade global warming. Hence the fun we’ve all had with those “barbecue summers” when rain never stopped, and “warmer than average” winters, which promptly saw Britain freezing under piles of snow. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 30 August 2015

In September 2008, the Met Office forecast a trend of mild winters: the following winter turned out to be the coldest for a decade. Then its notorious promise of a ‘barbecue summer’ was followed by unrelenting rain. Last year, it forecast a ‘drier than average’ spring — before another historic deluge that was accompanied by the coldest temperatures for 50 years. Never has the Met Office had more scientists and computing power at its disposal — yet never has it seemed so baffled by the British weather. But there is no paradox. It is precisely the power of this technology in harnessing climate scientists’ assumptions about global warming that has scuppered the Met Office’s predictions — and made it a propagandist for global warming alarmism. It has become an accomplice to a climate change agenda that now affects where and how we travel, the way houses are built, the lights we read by. And its errors are no laughing matter to tourism industry chiefs in Cornwall and the north-west, who say the Met Office’s false warnings of dire summers cost hundreds of millions of pounds in cancelled bookings. –Rupert Darwall, The Spectator, 13 July 2013

Another Bank Holiday, another washout! It was not meant to be like this! Back in 2006, climate genius David Viner told us: Climate change could “dramatically” change the face of British tourism in the next 20 years, with European tourists flocking to the UK to escape unbearably hot continental summers, experts say. Research shows that European tourists may choose to holiday in Britain as resorts nearer to home become too hot.Weather changes may provide revival opportunities for northern seaside towns such as Blackpool and put new strains on roads and development in southern coastal resorts, a study in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism said. Academic David Viner, a researcher at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in Norwich, produced the report after analysing the work of experts around the globe. “The likelihood [is] that Mediterranean summers may be too hot for tourists after 2020, as a result of too much heat and water shortages,” the study said. Apparently nobody thought to tell the tourists! –Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 31 August 2015

  1. Not very scientific but I worked out the seasonal mean temperature by looking back at temperatures in my local area to 1797 – I was just 0.5C out. My rainfall and sunshine estimates were out but the signal for broadly average was there at the start of June.

    And, in view of the anonamously cold Atlantic SSTs at the start of the season, I would have thought that agencies would have taken this into account. It never was going to be a hot season.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Thanks for the link. This old prediction by UEA/Hadley in 1998 shows why the MET get it so wrong.

  3. oldbrew says:

    ‘Never has the Met Office had more scientists and computing power at its disposal — yet never has it seemed so baffled by the British weather.’

    Cool phase of the AMO is approaching. Do Met Office models factor that in?

    ‘The Atlantic Is Entering A Cool Phase That Will Change The World’s Weather’

  4. tallbloke says:

    OB: Hell no! Anyone at the MET Office talking about cycles in weather or climate is committing professional suicide.

  5. oldbrew says:

    But if they pay no attention to things like the AMO they are already ‘committing professional suicide’ 😐

    Or do they like being wrong all the time?

  6. Bryan says:

    I wonder if they use the computer models for the 48 hour shipping forecast?
    I have found the Met Office to be the most accurate source for this short period.
    My hobby is sailing off the west coast of Scotland so a reliable forecast is essential.
    My guess is that they use the well tested methods of meteorology and there are folk at the Met Office quite capable of that.

    For medium to long term forecasts they certainly screw up.
    In fact if you pick the exact opposite to their predictions you almost always get it right.

  7. craigm350 says:

    I left this comment over at the MetO blog back on the 28th:

    I’m confused. How does this:

    “looking back over past El Niños, you could have expected that a more unsettled summer might be on the cards for the UK”

    fit with this (from the JJA summary for policy makers)?

    “However, El Niño is not known to have a significant influence on the climate across northern Europe at this time of year.

    In the North Atlantic, sea surface temperatures to the south of
    Greenland are cooler than in recent years; this pattern of sea-surface
    temperatures is thought to increase the probability of above-average
    pressure over northern Europe in summer. At this time of year such a
    pressure pattern is often associated with above-average temperatures.”

    El Nino has an effect but it doesn’t. Cold Atlantic SST cause high pressure and low pressure? Which is it?

    Btw you could have followed the old ‘Be wary of warm and sunny Aprils’ for this summer and not gone far wrong. No super computer (££££!!!) needed 😉

    Paul Homewood picked up on the ENSO (it doesn’t affect us until it’s a convenient excuse – just like the jetstream and AMO) confusion – then we’ll wheel it out to explain [insert weather phenomenon we didn’t predict]. A few comments picked up on H.H. Lamb types.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Bryan says: ‘In fact if you pick the exact opposite to their predictions you almost always get it right.’

    Could they be holding their temperature charts upside down? :/

  9. tom0mason says:

    From the Met Office web site, they brag that they can get “92% of their daily max temperatures right to within 2C.” Yet they claim they can get their 100 year forecasts to 0.1°C.
    Also they say “91% of our next day wind speed are correct within 5 knots” So the slower the wind the worse the accuracy. Are these good performance limits?
    They are apparently up to WMO standards but are they up to public requirements?

    Has the Met Office forecasting ability got better over time? Better or worse than say, 50 years ago. Are weather patterns for the UK better understood today than when HH Lamb was studying them? Would Lamb have pointed out the obvious flaw that attempting to forecast future events through (computer)mathematically manipulating a few selected climate parameters is at best foolhardy, at worst stupid, when the underlining weather system is basically chaotic.
    Also of note is the huge cost change to make a forecast over the last 50 years.
    Is the Met Office value for money? Wasting tax-payer money on pie-in-sky nonsense about global warming.

    Sell the whole damn lot, save the taxpayer money and sell-off the Met Office!

  10. oldbrew says:

    We Got Summer Forecast Wrong: Met Office Admits To Mistakes
    Date: 02/09/15 Exeter Express and Echo

    “Much more research needs to be done.”

    Professor Dame Julia Slingo spoke out after the damp squib summer left many in the West country feeling disappointed and despondent.

    Must be that man-made climate change bogeyman again 😉

  11. ren says:

    “Climate scientists are better prepared than ever with prediction models and data on El Nino patterns, but the impact of this El Nino in the northern hemisphere is hard to forecast because there is also an Arctic warming effect at work on the Atlantic JETSTREAM current.
    ‘The truth is we don’t know what will happen. Will the two patterns reinforce each other? Will they cancel each other? Are they going to act in sequence? Are they going to be regional? We really don’t know,’ said David Carlson, the director of the World Climate Research Programme.”
    Changes in temperature over the polar circle depend on solar activity.

  12. Am I right in thinking that the North Polar ice situation is totally different to this time in 1997. Even if this El Nino matches or is greater than the 1997 El Nino event the different volume of ice means a re-run of the mild winter of 1997/98 (in the UK south-east) is by no means guaranteed?

  13. Jaime says:

    Even southern and central Europe are cooling now, at the beginning of September.

    So the Met Office Jul-Aug-Sep forecast even for this region looks like it will be 33% wrong at least.

    Back in May, somebody predicted that the early onset El Nino in combination with the wavy Jet Stream would give us a cool, wet summer, but it wasn’t the Met Office.

    Who knows what (if any) effect the current El Nino will have on our winter here in Northern Europe. When I last looked, there was still no discernible effect on lower tropospheric temperatures – there’s a lot of ground to be made up between now and December if 2015 is to become the hottest year ever in the satellite record!

    Interesting graph by David Archibald on the cumulative Southern ocean oscillation index and its relation to climate:

  14. hunter says:

    The last week in Ireland was the coldest week in September I have spent in my life. And apparently it has been the coldest summer for most in Ireland as well.

    Glad I brought my jacket and long sleeve shirts.

  15. oldbrew says:

    Another definite maybe – or maybe not – from the Met Office climate fortune tellers.

    The MetO’s own report: ‘Big Changes Underway in the Climate System?’ – September 2015

    Note the question mark 😉