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Met Office Lies Multiply

November 14, 2012

By Paul Homewood

 

 

The Story So Far

Last month David Rose, of the Mail on Sunday, published an article claiming that global warming had effectively stopped 15 years ago. The UK Met Office, clearly stung, issued a response that was full of misrepresentations, half truths and evasions.

In my post, More Met Office Propaganda, I referred to a number of points made in their response that were misleading or simply untrue. One particular statement, made by them,  that I criticised, quoted :-

The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming.

As I pointed out, “it is not true that August 2012 is “at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina”. The La Nina, in reality, fizzled out in January 2012, and since April there has been a mild El Nino.”

 

I was therefore intrigued to read in their 3-month outlook, issued a few days later, the statement “In recent weeks El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific have weakened further and predictions are now equally balanced between neutral and El Niño over the next three months. “.

So I thought I would ask the Met if whoever issued the response to the Mail was aware of the true facts, and whether they would issue a correction to that response.

 

 

The Met’s Reply

 

The first statement in your request refers to the warming trend from August 1997 to August 2012. It mentions that the latter part of that trend is at ‘the tail end of a double-dip La Nina’. This is the case, as the second part of the ‘double-dip’ La Nina came to an end around April this year.

During July and August the tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures rose to weak EI Nino-like conditions – but there was no atmospheric response to this, so the system as a whole remained in a neutral state. This tallies with the statement in our three-month outlook, which states that there is fine balance between weak EI Nino and neutral conditions expected in the next three months.

It’s clear then, that the double-dip La Nina this year and the move to neutral or weak EI Nino like conditions are entirely consistent with each other. There has been no misleading or inaccurate information from the Met Office, and there is no requirement to ‘set the record straight’ as we were accurate in the first instance.

 

So let’s examine this reply more closely.

1) The first statement in your request refers to the warming trend from August 1997 to August 2012. It mentions that the latter part of that trend is at ‘the tail end of a double-dip La Nina’. This is the case, as the second part of the ‘double-dip’ La Nina came to an end around April this year.

Having claimed that August marked the “tail end of the double dip La Nina”, they have now backtracked and admitted that it actually ended in April. Yet still they maintain that their original story is accurate!

However, it gets worse. As the ENSO Index produced by NOAA for 2012 shows below, the La Nina had disappeared totally in Feb/March. (The Multivariate ENSO Index is always calculated on a bi-monthly basis).

 

Month MEI Index
December 2011/January 2012 -1.046
January/February -0.702
February/March -0.410
March/April +0.059
April/May +0.706
May/June +0.903
June/July +1.139
July/August +0.579
August/September +0.271
September/October +0.103

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/table.html

 

So why did the Met claim the La Nina ended in April? Were they trying to minimise their original error, or was it simply incompetence?

 

2) During July and August the tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures rose to weak EI Nino-like conditions – but there was no atmospheric response to this, so the system as a whole remained in a neutral state. This tallies with the statement in our three-month outlook, which states that there is fine balance between weak EI Nino and neutral conditions expected in the next three months

 

The El Nino during the summer was certainly not a powerful one, as NOAA’s ENSO graph below shows.

 

image

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/

 

However, their 3-month outlook states “In recent weeks El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific have weakened further and predictions are now equally balanced between neutral and El Niño over the next three months. “

This quite clearly does not support what they are now claiming. The El Nino conditions did exist over the summer, (as the chart above proves), and are only now beginning to dissipate.

 

3) During July and August the tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures rose to weak EI Nino-like conditions – but there was no atmospheric response to this, so the system as a whole remained in a neutral state.

This is where the Met fall back to their Hindenberg Line. So, OK, we admit that we were not strictly telling the truth about  La Nina. But, hey, none of this had any effect on temperatures, so we were basically right, eh?

Well, the HADCRUT4 temperature data gives its own damning verdict on this piece of sophistry.

 

Month Temperature Anomaly Centigrade
Jan 2012 0.288
Feb 0.209
March 0.339
April 0.514
May 0.516
June 0.501
July 0.469
August 0.529
Sep 0.524

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/time_series/HadCRUT.4.1.1.0.monthly_ns_avg.txt

 

Temperatures bottomed out in February 2012, (indeed, this was the coldest month since Jan 2008), a month after the MEI index had bottomed out. By August, they had reached their highest level this year, (and their highest since November 2010), and again this was a month after the MEI index had peaked. To pretend that temperatures in August were still reflecting “the tail end of La Nina” is pure nonsense.

The following graph gives a good indication of the relationship between the ENSO index and global temperatures over the last three years.

 

image

 

The increase in temperature between February and August was 0.32C. This is a significant amount when you consider that, according to HADCRUT4, the increase from 1979 to 2011 was only slightly higher at 0.34C. To ignore this increase, as they have done, is simply dishonest.

 

Conclusions

The initial response from the Met Office to the Mail on Sunday contained a number of errors. In their reply to me, they have made three more claims that are not true, in an attempt to cover up for their earlier mistakes.

Were these incorrect statements deliberate or simply a result of incompetence? My personal view is that much of the propaganda fed to the public comes down from the management guys via the PR people. I suspect many of the actual scientists involved would tell you a different story, if they were asked.

Lies or incompetence? Take your pick. Either way, we deserve much better from a publically funded body that has a duty to be open, honest and transparent.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brad permalink
    November 15, 2012 9:22 am

    “Met Office Lies Multiply.”

    Well of course it lies multiply. When has a liar ever been content with lying singly?

  2. Brian H permalink
    November 26, 2012 6:26 am

    You could equally have said, “Met Office Lies Tangle”.

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