Met Office in the Media – 7 August 2015

Earth from space

An article published today makes a number of claims about Met Office weather and climate science.

It would be difficult to cover all the points raised in this blog, but here we look at the science and facts behind a few of the assertions.

The first decadal forecast issued in 2007

We did indeed publish the first groundbreaking decadal forecast in 2007. It had two headline statements:

  1. that half of all years after 2009 would be warmer globally than the record year at that time (1998) – This is doing well so far with two out of five years (2010 and 2014) warmer than 1998 and given current temperature levels, it’s likely this will be 3 out of 6 by the end of this year, consistent with our forecast for 2015
  2. that 2014 would be 0.3 °C ± 0.21 °C warmer than 2004 (giving a range of 0.09 °C to 0.51 °C) – WMO figures show the global temperature for 2014 was 0.13 °C higher than that in 2004; which is within the range of the forecast

Adjustments to global temperature data

The article says we adjust our temperature figures ‘without justifying why it is scientifically appropriate’. In fact, numerous peer-reviewed science papers from research centres across the world provide detailed explanations of how and why datasets are adjusted to ensure they are as accurate as possible. This is available for anyone to view and analyse.

The conclusion that the world has warmed is supported by independent analysis of global temperature data.

European heatwaves

We published a paper stating heatwaves like that seen across Europe in 2003 would become more frequent under climate change. Subsequent observations back up these conclusions; 2006 saw comparable heat in the UK, 2010 saw intense heat across eastern Europe, and there’s been a prolonged heatwave across much of Europe this year (although not in the UK).

Weather extremes

Met Office research supports climate research centres around the world which concludes we expect more extremes of heat and rainfall as the world continues to warm. The article says this ‘simply hasn’t happened’ but in fact, research shows there has been an increase in both. While here in the UK, we have also seen an increase in the number of temperature and rainfall records.

The article also states ‘the Met Office did all it could to claim the rain that caused last year’s exceptional flooding… was the worst ever recorded.’ We’ve done studies (here and here) of the exceptional rainfall in winter 2013/14., which across southern England was one of the, if not the most, exceptional periods for winter rainfall in around 250 years. Here’s a fuller research piece about the winter 2013/14 storms.

Greenland ice

The article says that we claimed Greenland ice would melt in future due to global warming. We did, and we were clear that it would take thousands of years to happen, not ‘any time soon’. Observations show Greenland has been losing 300 gigatonnes (1 gigatonne is 1000,000,000 tonnes) of ice a year over the last 12 years and research shows surface temperatures have clearly risen.

Other claims

A series of other claims are made in the article, mostly focusing on our forecasts over seasonal to decadal timescales. The Met Office is at the forefront of this pioneering area of research and we are increasing skill in this area.

According to standards set by the World Meteorological Organization the Met Office is ranked as the most accurate global met service in the world. We will continue our research in collaboration with our global scientific partners to improve this vital area of science.

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26 Responses to Met Office in the Media – 7 August 2015


    All this expensive research (and recent bonuses!) but so often an accurate forecast for a day ahead proves difficult!!!!!!!

  2. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog and commented:
    The Met Office’s response to recent headlines.

  3. And STILL no mention that Nov 1929 to Jan 1930 was much wetter than 2013/14 winter! (Not to mention Oct 1929 which was even wetter).

    What on earth is the Met Office trying to hide?

  4. No mention either that the hottest year globally is still 1998, as far as HADCRUT3 is concerned, before it was “corrected” to give the same results, or that the much more accurate satellite data shows the same.

  5. Deep Climate says:

    The other 4 main data sets (NASA, NOAA, Berkeley Earth & Cowtan and Way) all show 2013 warmer than 1998. Since 2009, that’s 3 out of 5, soon to become 4 out of 6.

  6. Joe Public says:

    The Met Office’s credibility at predictions is stretched, when in April 2015 it failed to correctly guess into which of its 5x categories, May/June/July 2015 UK temperatures would fall.

    Click to access A3_plots-temp-MJJ_v2.pdf

  7. “An article published today..”?
    What article are you talking about?
    There have been several I think.
    It is really pathetic and cowardly that you are not prepared to link to it or even name the author or location.

  8. With regard to the two headline statements:

    1. That half of all years after 2009 would be warmer globally than the record year at that time (1998) – The only reason you can claim that this forecast is still valid is because you ditched the HadCrut3 data-set and adopted HadCrut4 instead. Using HadCrut3, as per when the forecast was made, this would be a complete and utter fail.

    2. That 2014 would be 0.3 °C ± 0.21 °C warmer than 2004 – Why use the WMO figures? You’re the Met Office and produce your own data-sets. So why not the Hadcrut3 data-set you were using when you made the forecast? Or even the HadCrut4 data-set you replaced it with (and which is perfectly adequate when considering statement 1 apparently)? Are they not global? Are they not good enough? Or is it that if you use them you get very slight cooling since 2004 and, therefore, falsifying the prediction?

  9. jbenton2013 says:

    This must rank as the most disingenuous article printed on this site. It’s full of lies and half truths. The most obvious lie is the claim that half the years since 2007 have been warmer than 1998. Both satellite databases, which are by far the most accurate, clearly show none of the years since 2007 have come close to matching 1998. The land and sea based surface datasets, which unlike the satellite based datasets, only cover around 70% of the globe have been ‘adjusted’ to such a degree they are now discredited.

    And no Met Office, these adjustments have not been fully explained. Far from it, a lot of the adjustments have not even been properly archived, so your claims are again simply not credible.

    Likewise there is no evidence of increasing weather extremes in the data. In some cases there may be better recording nowadays which may give the appearance of more extremes, but only if you compare apples and oranges, which of course no credible scientist would do. Or perhaps they would if their funding depended on it.

  10. This is what your press release said (no error bars here)

    News release

    10 August 2007
    The forecast for 2014…

    Climate scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre will unveil the first decadal climate prediction model in a paper published on 10 August 2007 in the journal Science. The paper includes the Met Office’s prediction for annual global temperature to 2014.

    Over the 10-year period as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 °C warmer than 2004. At least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record

    These predictions are very relevant to businesses and policy-makers who will be able to respond to short-term climate change when making decisions today. The next decade is within many people’s understanding and brings home the reality of a changing climate.

    The new model incorporates the effects of sea surface temperatures as well as other factors such as man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, projected changes in the sun’s output and the effects of previous volcanic eruptions — the first time internal and external variability have both been predicted.

    Team leader, Dr Doug Smith said: “Occurrences of El Nino, for example, have a significant effect on shorter-term predictions. By including such internal variability, we have shown a substantial improvement in predictions of surface temperature.” Dr Smith continues: “Observed relative cooling in the Southern Ocean and tropical Pacific over the last couple of years was correctly predicted by the new system, giving us greater confidence in the model’s performance”.

    ◾Total global warming, on a decadal average, is 0.8 °C since 1900 (IPCC 2007)
    ◾1998 is the current warmest year on record with a global mean temperature of 14.54 °C

    For further information:
    Met Office Press Office

  11. “2.that 2014 would be 0.3 °C ± 0.21 °C warmer than 2004 ”

    That statement is not in the linked article…

  12. ‘An article published today…’
    I was expecting the word ‘article’ to provide a link to the article in question. But it doesn’t.
    And I can’t find a link or even a reference to the said article anywhere else in your piece.
    Please provide one – or point me in the right direction if you have already done so.

  13. tom0mason says:

    If the worst storm ever to hit Britain was to arrive; destroying thousands of buildings, ripping up at least half of the forest, washing away nearly all the roads, and kills thousands of people. Leaving sickness, sarvation and strife in its wake for many years, was to happen.

    If then after that, and a mere 13 years later, a very cold period arrives ushering in frozen rivers for at least four months, and many hundreds or thousands of people die or are very sick. Later for most of this year drought that ensure nation-wide sarvation and sickness and more loss of life.

    If then after another 13 years heralds the start of a four year dought! Thousands die, sarvation is wide spread.
    How many ALARMIST statements would this Met Office make if these events recently?
    Yet it did happen from 1703 onwards – when atmospheric CO2 levels were at apparently ‘safe’ levels.
    See here A Chronology of Notable Weather Events by Douglas V. Hoyt.
    The ‘AGW/Climate change’ message is nothing but a con, look at the evidence of last few hundred years of weather to see how bad weather was with low CO2 level.

    Climate has always changed, the current variation looks no different in intensity and duration than past times. Currently we are in a very calm, modestly warm period.

    This Met Office, by the evidence of their own reports, are not getting better at forecasting weather.
    What are the tax-payer paying for?
    Is this Met Office good value for money?
    Could not others in the weather forecasting market do just as good a job cheaper, and without all the ‘AGW/Climate Change’ propaganda?

    • tom0mason says:

      Writting is so tough for some of us now……
      Please insert starvation for savartion.

  14. Decadal forecast needs a grade D, must try harder.
    It is hardly an emphatic assertion.

  15. You might also want to provide a link to the article that so irks you. Just so we know what it really avocates.

  16. Or even ‘advocates’.

  17. jbenton2013 says:

    I see the Met Office have started to censor comments they don’t like now.

  18. Joe Public says:

    MO News Team – Please improve your ‘Moderation’ policy. It’s ridiculous posting a contentious article late on a Friday, then clearing off for the weekend.

    There were 19 replies ‘trapped’ in moderation.

    Some of which (unbeknownst to their writer) covered points raised by more-rapid responders. This then makes the later writer appear ridiculous, because the ‘release-from-moderation’ time stamp is the time of submission.

    Some other bloggers manage to have a policy of moderating a first reply, then allowing future responses through.

    Any subsequent posts which are deemed to *offend* may be deleted

Comments are closed.