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Coldest Autumn In UK Since 1993

December 6, 2012
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By Paul Homewood


Autumn 2012 Mean temperature 1981 - 2010 anomaly


The UK Met Office report that the UK has just had its coldest autumn for nineteen years, leaving 2012 on course to be second coldest year since 1996.


Mean temperature in November was 0.4C below the 1981-2010 average, the third month in a row when temperatures have been well down on normal.

The average temperature for the autumn in the UK was 8.6C, compared to the long term average of 9.5C and the coldest since 1993. It is also the sixth coldest autumn in the last 50 years.

The year as a whole is currently running as the second coldest since 1996, beaten only by the exceptionally cold year of 2010. Temperatures so far in December are 2 degrees below normal, and the Met Office are forecasting that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

One of the features this autumn is just how persistent the cold weather has been. There have not been any exceptionally cold interludes, as, for instance, we saw with the heavy snow in November 2010. Instead, the weather has just been consistently cold.



Figure 1



Rainfall totals for the UK during the autumn amounted to 374mm, about 8% above normal, but nothing exceptional. For instance, this total has been beaten six times in the last 30 years.



Figure 2


Several areas were affected by floods towards the end of November, particularly in SW England and Wales, and the map below shows rainfall totals were well above normal there during the month.




However, as Figures 3 & 4 show, the rainfall totals just experienced in that part of the country, during both November and the autumn as a whole, are actually very commonplace. Indeed, it can be seen just how variable the UK’s weather can be!



Figure 3


Figure 4


Met Office Autumn Forecast

At the end of August, the Met Office 3-month outlook forecast:-

The balance of probabilities suggests that September will be slightly warmer than average whilst for the period September-October-November UK-averaged temperatures will be near the 1981-2010 climate mean.


For UK averaged rainfall the predicted probabilities weakly favour below normal values during September. For the period September/October/November as a whole the forecast favours a slightly higher than usual risk of above average rainfall, whilst the risk of dry conditions remains around climatological levels.

Woefully wrong on temperatures, but a bit better on rainfall. I’ll give them a C+ overall!


All Met Office data is available here.

  1. Coldish permalink
    December 6, 2012 6:34 pm

    Thanks again Paul. It’s clear that the Met have no skill at three-monthly forecasts. Does anybody know why they keep issuing them?

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      December 6, 2012 10:23 pm

      They no longer issue a prediction as such. They just leave it on their web site where persistent people can find it. Only those who understand uncertainty are qualified to read it. You and I don’t qualify because we think that getting the balance of probabilities wrong equates to lack of skill. They would disagree because the real world usually fits within their range of possibilities. In other words, they bet on every horse in the race and claim to be experts on the Grand National because they always hold a winning ticket.

      Nobody has been able to tell me the difference between uncertainty and useless.

      • December 7, 2012 9:42 am

        If you make a probabilistic prediction that, say, 60% of the time it will be warmer than average and 40% of the time it will be colder than average, then the forecast is wrong if it is warmer than average 100% of the time.

        However, most people interpret probability forecasts in terms of the above forecast being “we think it is going to be warmer than average and this is how confident we are”, so that if it is colder than average it is an inaccurate forecast, and if it is warmer than average it is a good forecast.

        The way to accurately measure how good a seasonal forecast is by making many historical forecasts, and seeing whether if the forecast says it will be warmer than average 60% of the time that this is what happens.

        Obviously, an accurate probability forecast with forecast percentages that are higher is more useful, but itn terms of accuracy it is whether the probabilities are correct that matters.

        I think the Met Office view is that they have very little, or no, skill for rainfall, and only a little skill for temperature for Europe. Generally in the Tropics there is more skill, because of things like El-Nino.. In 10 years time they will hopefully be a lot better though.

      • December 7, 2012 5:02 pm

        In other words, it’s a complete waste of time.

  2. Robin permalink
    December 6, 2012 10:17 pm

    How do you access the current CET data? I used to get it via Metcheck, but in their new guise it has vanished. Any ideas (or knowledge?)



  3. December 6, 2012 11:08 pm

    If you spend a few minutes reading my paper and at least the abstract of the paper published by the American Institute of Physics (cited in reference (8) in my reference [13]) you might understand what happens in the atmospheric physics of both Earth and Venus.

    I’m still waiting for a satisfactory alternative explanation from anyone in the world regarding the Venus surface temperature.

    Pressure does not maintain high temperatures all by itself, anywhere, not even on Venus. So forget that “explanation.”

    My paper is up for PROM (Peer Review in Open Media) for a month, so feel free to publish a rebuttal or debate it with some of these members of PSI. Such a review system far outstrips the “peer-review” system used for typical pro-AGW publications.

    Doug Cotton

  4. December 7, 2012 12:56 am

    Track record: even with the weak forecasts, I wonder what their record is.

    If a person says he is 70% sure that X will happen, we can determine if that is true. So it is the the Met Service. The waffling is still open to statistical review. If even the waffle is less than 65% accurate, I’d say even the waffle is worthless.

    Of course, if the waffle is to wafflish, it is worthless anyway.

  5. December 7, 2012 2:08 pm

    related news: November in Virginia (US) was the coldest since 1996

  6. coldoldman permalink
    December 7, 2012 5:02 pm

    I seem to have missed this bit of news on the BBC this morning. I wonder what I might have heard if it had been the warmest?

    • December 7, 2012 5:29 pm

      They’ll probably tell you it was the 50th warmest on record, or some such!


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