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Met Office New Decadal Forecast

January 30, 2014

By Paul Homewood




The Met Office have today published their latest decadal forecast of global temperatures, something they do every January.

The forecast covers 2014-18 (no I don’t know either!), and the graph looks like this.





Tallbloke has the spaghetti graph, which is the basis for this, and as he rightly comments, it looks like kiddie’s scribble!

Nevertheless, what can we glean from it?


1) The 5-year average range comes in at 0.17C and 0.43C. Remembering that this is using a baseline of 1981-2010, last year averaged 0.20C. (Question – will HADCRUT4 now be realigned against 1981-2010, as UAH is, and as I have been arguing for a while?)


2) As Tallbloke’s version of the graph shows, the red shading is NOT “previous predictions”, as the label misleadingly claims, and which of course implies that predictions made in previous years have been pretty accurate.

They are instead “hindcasts”, meaning that the model they are running now estimates that’s what temperatures would have been under the model assumptions.

They did exactly the same last year, and after much pressure changed the label to “retrospective predictions”.


3) It is interesting that they use 90% shading, rather than 95%. If they had used the latter, there would have been times when observations dropped outside the confidence range.


4) The range is ridiculously large, and is really saying they have not got a clue.

Maybe temperatures will stay pretty much as they are, or maybe they will half a degree! In a way, this parallels the annual forecasts. For this year, for instance, they are forecasting anything between 0.14C and 0.42C (again, based on 1981-2010). (Remember, last year finished at 0.20C).

It therefore seems that they are consistently predicting far too high.


5) Nevertheless, taking the mid point of 0.30C, this would imply an increase of 0.10C from now to the 5-year average 2014-18. Assuming this builds up gradually, it implies that by 2018 the number will be about 0.20C higher.

This is really a nonsensical number. Bear in mind that even 2010 only reached 0.24C, so even another big El Nino is unlikely to see us up to their figures.

(Note – the Met Office say 0.26C, but I make it 0.24C. I am checking this with them)


6) The answer, I believe, lies in this statement they make.


ScreenHunter_257 Jan. 30 19.21


However, the forecast initially remains towards the lower end of the range simulated by CMIP5 models that have not been initialised with observations (green shading), consistent with the recent pause in surface temperature warming.


Put simply, their models still have no explanation for the pause, so they have merrily carried on forecasting forward, as if the pause had never happened.



Perhaps it is about time the Met Office joined the rest of us in the real world.

  1. January 30, 2014 7:37 pm


    Opinions on Climategate seem to be converging on this conclusion:

    Instead of cursing the darkness, turn on the light !

    “We must assume behind this force [in the atom] the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind.

    This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

    –Max Planck, accepting the
    Nobel Prize for Physics, 1918

    When you can see the reality of matter and energy, you can see the reality of GOD.

    God is not some omnipotent dude in the clouds. GOD just IS. Physics and psychics are connected. pg

  2. Green Sand permalink
    January 30, 2014 10:55 pm

    Yup, yet again we are treated to another MO variant of a Cecil B. DeMille production.

    When all needed was a single line showing the best estimate and on the same basis a report showing how the previous decadal forecasts are fairing.

    The forecasts predict against monthly data, so report against monthly data, each and every month, simples!

    The early forecast must be reaching maturity, especially as a decade now only lasts 5 years! So how are we (homo sapiens) doing, modeling the development of our climate?

    I know we cannot be expected to be accurate, but maybe we should expect to be improving? Are we? Show me how we are doing, every month, decadal forecast against actual, report on it, explain thoughts on any deviation. Tis claimed to be the greatest threat blah, blah, last time such claims were made there were daily/hourly reports of the success of convoys and the tonnage landed.

    That was of course after the phoney war

  3. January 30, 2014 10:57 pm

    It is interesting to compare the tone of this one with the 2007 one (see that notorious Vicky Pope video and press releases).
    Now: temp might go up a bit or might go down a bit in the next 5 years. There might be a new record high soon.
    Then: temp will go up 0.3 C in next decade. Half the years after 2009 will break record.

  4. Mark Rubin permalink
    January 31, 2014 12:13 am

    I believe through government funded research grants, the oldest ingredient known in the making of corruption, money, along with a co-conspirator, politics, the scientific method as applied to climate research has been corrupted. But money is powerful and can work in many ways, opposite directions. The brutal winter this year has caused natural gas (NG)shortages which could have been prevented with better seasonal predictions, and some forecasts that were not preoccupied with pre-existing notions of warming did foresee a cold upcoming winter and advised clients accordingly. These shortages have hurt the average household. But that is not where the power is. It has undoubtedly caused major NG market trading losses and/or missed opportunity for financial gain. Once these powerful money centric interests realize a warm bias is hitting them where it hurts, on their financial bottom lines, then just as it was money and politics that corrupted climate science, so too will it be money and politics that liberates this field from the bondage of non-scientific environmental activism. (Note the key word “non-scientific” as we all care about the environment and the integrity of science, which will ensure we keep the world clean and safe while and affording prosperity through opportunity for all.)

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    January 31, 2014 1:41 am

    Have you seen one of those high signs that have messages announcing something and if they are short of Ms they stick up a W but upside-down. It appears the MET Office ran out of dark letters to make “near term” so they just left the bigger darker “Decadal forecast” as the headline. I guess they didn’t think to make it a “Half decadal forecast” either.

    About 2 years out the error band shrinks. That’s stranger still.

    They must be expecting a massive El Niño sometime during the next 5 years and the release of the Western Pacific Warm Pool. How else does the Earth warm rapidly? If that happens they will look good! If the pause continues or goes down just a bit they will still be able to say the temperature is within our (blue) prediction. The only thing this prediction doesn’t have is rapid cooling. I wonder if someone suggested that possibility and was hushed?

  6. Scott Scarborough permalink
    January 31, 2014 3:17 am

    To point number 3). A 95% confidence band would be wider than a 90% confidence band therefore the data would be less likely to drop out of a 95% confidence range, not more likely.

    • Brian H permalink
      March 3, 2014 9:24 am

      Horse pucky. 90% is error once in 10, 95% is once in 20. It is twice as tight, and the error band is half the width. 99% would be 5X narrower still, at once in 100, etc.

  7. Scott Scarborough permalink
    January 31, 2014 3:19 am

    As it is, there is a couple of times the observed data drops out of the confidence band. Since it is a made-up confidence band (hind cast) it doesn’t really make any difference.

  8. Brian H permalink
    January 31, 2014 4:37 am

    Green Sand permalink
    January 30, 2014 10:55 pm
    …how the previous decadal forecasts are fairing. [faring]

    The early forecast must be reaching maturity, especially as a decade now only lasts 5 years!

    They used the Precautionary Principle to cut the forecast period in half, so that at worst they can only turn out to be half wrong! Simples.

  9. Neil Hampshire permalink
    January 31, 2014 9:19 am

    Thanks Paul for this. Will you update your rainfall information.
    It seems very wet to me
    Is January “the wettest since 1910 when records began” ()BBC statement

  10. February 1, 2014 10:07 am

    I notice this has been well hidden on the web site (7 levels down), so you really have to know what you are looking for.

    This makes it less likely the the MSM will ever find it.

    I suppose that reflects the confidence the MO have in it.

  11. Bill permalink
    February 2, 2014 6:26 pm

    How do I get out of this rabbit hole?


  1. The Met Office’s New Decadal Forecast | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)
  2. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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