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Latest Decadal Forecast From The Met Office

February 7, 2016

By Paul Homewood 








The Met Office has published its latest decadal forecast of global temperatures, commenting:


During the five-year period 2016-2020, global average temperature (see blue shading in Figure 3 below) is expected to remain between 0.28°C and 0.77°C (90% confidence range) above the long-term 1981-2010 mean (0.88°C to 1.37°C relative to pre-industrial conditions represented by the period 1850 to 1900). The warmest individual year in the 160-year Met Office Hadley Centre global temperature record is 2015 with a temperature of 0.44 ± 0.1 °C above the 1981-2010 mean. Averaged over the whole five-year period 2016-2020, global average temperature is expected to be between 0.42°C and 0.67°C above the 1981-2010 mean (1.02°C to 1.27°C relative to pre-industrial conditions).

The forecast is for continued global warming largely driven by continued high levels of greenhouse gases. However, other changes in the climate system, including the largest El Niño since 1997 and longer term shifts in both the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), are also contributing. Near record temperatures are predicted for the coming five years, consistent with the Met Office annual global temperature forecast. However, the recent run of consecutive record years is likely to end in 2017 as El Niño declines. The forecast remains towards the mid to upper end of the range simulated by CMIP5 models that have not been initialised with observations (green shading in Figure 3). Barring a large volcanic eruption or a very sudden return to La Niña or negative AMO conditions which could temporarily cool climate, ten year global average warming rates are likely to return to late 20th century levels within the next two years. Nevertheless, the recent slowdown in surface warming is still an active research topic and trends over a longer (15 year) period will take longer to respond. For further discussion on the surface warming slowdown see the Met Office reports on the recent pause in warming and on big changes underway in the climate system



Eyeballing suggests a rise of nearly 0.3C by 2020 from the 0.44C recorded in 2015. This really does look to be pie in the sky, but they have painted themselves in a corner where they have got to keep on forecasting big rises in temperature to fit in with their earlier predictions and models.

We must not forget that their decadal forecasts a few years ago were predicting temperatures would be 0.3C higher by now than in 2004. Even with the current El Nino, which has probably added 0.2C to global temperatures, that forecast has only just been achieved by moving the goal posts, and adding 0.06C to current temperatures, when they switched from HADCRUT3 to HADCRUT4.


In all likelihood, global temperatures in 2020 will still be lower than last year, although they may slightly pick up this year, depending on how long El Nino conditions last.

Perhaps more relevant is the 5-year average, which they expect to be 0.55C (between 0.42 and 0.67C). If we get a major La Nina event in the next year or so, I suspect we’ll be looking at an average no higher than the last five years, which is 0.24C. This would be a mammoth fail for the Met Office.

They have, of course, given themselves get out clauses, referring to barring a large volcanic eruption or a very sudden return to La Niña or negative AMO conditions which could temporarily cool climate.


The reality is that they know they are on extremely shaky ground. 

A look at the pattern of PDO and AMO cycles shows that the warm 1930’s and 40’s occurred when both ocean cycles were in warm phase. Similarly the cold 1960’s and 70’s coincided with the cycles at rock bottom.




The AMO is still in warm mode, but probably for not much longer. Meanwhile, the PDO has temporarily turned sharply positive. There is no evidence that the cold phase has ended prematurely, and there have been similar, if less pronounced, episodes in the past. For instance, in 1957/8, strong El Nino conditions saw an interruption to the cold phase of the PDO, which quickly returned to normal for another two decades.

The prognosis for long term warming is not good, as I think the Met Office realise. But they cannot afford to admit this.

  1. Adrian permalink
    February 7, 2016 5:29 pm

    So if it’s hot, it’s agw and the gods of the met office are right.
    If it’s not, it’s agw and the gods of the met office are right.
    Whatever happens it’s agw.

    Why doesn’t the betting-shop community allow me to bet like this?

    “I wish to bet something might, or might not, happen and if it happens, or not, I’ll tell you what it was and I win.”

    • Kelvin Vaughan permalink
      February 8, 2016 2:24 pm

      They are betting on the favourites – Climate Change, Global Warming and CO2. The other runners are Rapid Cooling, Big Freeze, Little Ice Age, Fulll Blown Ice Age, It’s The Sun, Urban Heat Island, and Natural Event. There are rumours that CO2 has been vastly over rated.

  2. February 7, 2016 6:02 pm

    Paul, I share both your view about the next half decade, and your opinion that UK Met has painted itself into a difficult corner of their own making. Here are some additional observations that support your view. Arctic ice appears several years into the cyclic recovery phase of a cycle that can be qualitatively traced back to about 1900. The stadium wave paper projects NH cooling (at least lackmof warming) into the mid 2030s. The last global ‘cooling’ lasted about 25-30 years, not the 15 we have seen this go around. All but one of the previous strong Ninos going back into the 1970s were followed by a strong Nina, and that one barely missed. Quiet sun. The one Russian GCM that sort of got temps from 2006 to 2015 right says UK Met will be wrong about the next half decade. There is a lot empirical evidence from which to think UK Met will be embarrassed despite their escape clauses.

  3. February 7, 2016 8:17 pm

    The Met Office is following what their model says, which is similar to other CMIP5 predictions (projections).

    For the next future climate period, 2006-2035, CMIP5 models project (on average) warming of 0.23C/decade, ranging from 0.097 to 0.375/decade.

    ristvan is referring to the INMCM4 model (Russian).

    It shows warming 0.52K/century from 1861 to 2014, with a plateau from 2006 to 2014, and 0.91K/century from 1979-2014. It projects 1.0K/century from 2006 to 2035 and 1.35K/century from now to 2101. Those forward projections are much lower than the consensus claims, and not at all alarming.

    However, no climate model is able to predict (project) cooling, due to the CO2 warming parameters.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    February 7, 2016 8:21 pm

    Last time the Met Office put the AMO and PDO in their climate model the result was a fairly flat outlook to 2018.

    Met Office scale back global warming forecast (Jan 2013)

    Comparing with the satellite temperature record there’s enough data now to see that even with the downwards revision to their pre-2013 outlook they still overestimated by about 0.1 C. Which is a lot in only 3 years.

    Now they’ve supposedly managed to ‘keep’ the AMO and PDO yet erase that projected dip after 2016. It’s amazing how if you massage data brutally enough it will give you the projection you want.

    (Incidentally the Met Office seems to have removed mention of the AMO and PDO from the original 2012 forecast page, but there’re are plenty of blog posts from the time which refer to this aspect.)

    • February 8, 2016 9:25 am

      That 2013 forecast will probably be more akin to the satellite data by 2017 than the HadCRUT4 data.

  5. February 7, 2016 8:42 pm

    Until then, we can take a look to “the hottest year” and to the tiny cold hole – No comment, just that I don’t believe in NOAA, Met Office and their “predictions”.

  6. February 7, 2016 8:43 pm

    Figure 3 looks very convincing and will no doubt be used by the “warmists” as further justification for energy taxes and subsidies. However apart from unscientific confidence intervals, the difference in anomaly between 1960 and 2010 is 0.5 deg K, i.e. 1 deg K/ century; which is approximately the long term trend since 1860.

    Are the temperature fields used the infamously homogenised NOAA / NASA data?
    That is the only way that the model predictions would look so good.
    What happens if real values are used?

    Why are the satellite data not shown?

  7. February 8, 2016 10:11 am

    ‘0.88°C to 1.37°C relative to pre-industrial conditions represented by the period 1850 to 1900’

    Big deal. Instead of ‘relative to pre-industrial conditions’ they could just as easily say ‘since the end of the Little Ice Age’.

    LIA: ‘It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, or alternatively, from about 1300 to about 1850’

    • February 8, 2016 6:43 pm

      That would not create the desired effect of heating above a rural ideal; image is everything to those who believe that they are saving us from ourselves. Honesty has to give way to hype.

  8. NeilC permalink
    February 8, 2016 11:37 am

    As their models din’t predict the current, almost 19 years, pause. We know their models don’t work, why should we believe their models for the next 19 years?

    Their modus operandi is, If reality doesn’t fit with the models, adjust reality.

    This has nothing to do with science, nothing to do with trying to understand how our climate works and gaining and ability to predict the future. It everything to do with a political agenda.

  9. tom0mason permalink
    February 8, 2016 4:18 pm

    More reading of entrails and runes from the Met Office.

    Can the Met Office indicate, to any degree of confidence, when the next 3 month drought will be?
    Can the Met Office indicate, to any degree of confidence, when the next snowless, or snowiest winter will be?
    Can the Met Office indicate, to any degree of confidence, when the next wettest year will be?
    Can the Met Office indicate, to any degree of confidence, when the next great storm (on par with the 1703 event) will occur?

    If they can correctly give their predictions to within +/- 50 years I will be impressed. However I know they can not, they just fake their predictive expertise by issuing evermore forecasts (closer to any event), and issue nonsense such as this flabby badder of empty sophistry.
    All this at a total cost to the taxpayer of….?? £300million/year ?

  10. Paul2 permalink
    February 8, 2016 6:05 pm

    God works in mysterious ways:

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