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Did Caroline Ask The Met Office?

February 22, 2012

By Paul Homewood




I wonder what advice the Met Office gave Caroline Spelman before she announced a state of drought in the South East of England last week?


As we know, the Met gave up publishing long range forecasts a couple of years ago, after one too many BBQ summer forecast. However, they do produce a “3 month outlook” each month for the government. So let’s have a look at what the latest one for February – April has to say :-


The probability that UK precipitation for February-March-April will fall into the driest of our five categories is about 20%, whilst the probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is about 15% (the 1971-2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).


In other words, they really don’t have much of a clue. The slight bias towards drier weather is mainly based on their forecast for February, where they say :-


Firstly, there is an elevated risk of easterly winds in February, which tend to be dry.


As the outlook was published on 1st Feb, when these conditions already existed and were forecast to last much longer, it did not take a genius or a £33 million computer to work that one out.

As for the summer months, poor old Caroline is in the dark.

Apparently, Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee believe that new more powerful computers are needed to provide more accurate long term forecasts, even though they only had their last one 3 years ago.

The Met Office, of course, is part of the Ministry of Defence, who at the moment are having to lay off service staff and deploy aircraft carriers without planes to save money.

But I am sure that the ability of the Met Office to produce more, meaningless forecasts is much more important.

  1. dave ward permalink
    February 22, 2012 10:35 pm

    “New more powerful computers are needed”

    Remember the old saying – “Crap In, Crap Out”…

  2. February 23, 2012 11:46 am

    Their “forecast” for last winter (2010/11) was summat like this “30% chance of warmer than usual, 40% chance of normal, and 30% chance of colder”. At least the %ages added up to 100 (or was it 99.99999…?)

    We pay these people.

    • February 23, 2012 1:54 pm

      Back at the end of last October, they said about Nov

      “Forecasts from various sources for November show little agreement, and also highlight a wide range of possible outcomes. For this reason the November forecast shows a broad distribution that favours no particular outcome”

      November of course turned out to be particularly mild!

  3. February 23, 2012 8:17 pm

    The Met office is part of the Dept Of Business Innovation and Skills

  4. February 23, 2012 8:39 pm

    Thanks. Apparently it was transferred from the Ministry of Defence last July.

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