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Did Adam Scaife Lie About The Beast From The East?

March 29, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Readers will recall the story from a few weeks ago, about how Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, claimed to have briefed the Cabinet Office about the Beast from the East in early February.

This is how it was reported in The Times:

 

 

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Britain’s freezing “Beast from the East” exploded into life thousands of miles away, in the tropical waters of the western Pacific — and ministers were warned that it was coming a month ago.

Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, briefed the Cabinet Office four weeks ago, warning of a freeze. He was confident enough to stock up his home with extra supplies.

Scaife stocked up with wood and other supplies

Scaife stocked up with wood and other supplies

 

“I got extra oil, food and logs in, knowing this was coming,” he said last week.

His warning came after his team spotted a massive storm system moving east from the Indian to the Pacific oceans. Its effects rippled out, generating weather systems from the Pacific to the Arctic, warming the stratosphere, 20 miles above the North Pole, by 50C in two days.

The result was a zone of high pressure across the Atlantic so big that the jet stream, the wind that brings warm Atlantic weather to Britain, went into reverse, blanketing the UK in Siberian winds. “We recognised the pattern because we’d seen it before,” Scaife said. “The same thing caused the freezes of February 2009 and 2013.

“Since then our modelling has improved, so we can detect these extreme winter patterns much earlier, in this case a month in advance, enabling us to give long-term warnings.”

Scaife said it was harder to predict extreme summertime changes in the jet stream — the kind that might cause drought or flooding — but his team was working on it.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/met-office-alerted-ministers-about-the-beast-from-the-east-a-month-ago-9tnxpkxdt

 

 

The Times is behind a paywall, but exactly the same account appeared in the Mail here.

As I commented at the time, this was a rather surprising claim for Scaife to have made, since the Met Office’s own public news releases were much more vague at that time.

Intriguingly, the Telegraph, which also mentioned the Times’ story, noted that the Met Office said Mr Scaife was referring to a three-month outlook and that the extent of the cold weather only became clear around 10 days before it hit.

As I revealed, that particular 3-month outlook, published at the end of January, predicted the opposite, that there was little likelihood of a SSW in February.

I was therefore curious about exactly what Scaife had said to the Cabinet Office, and decided to FOI the latter. To say I was gobsmacked by their reply would be an understatement.

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19

 

 

So according to the Cabinet Office, the briefing that Scaife claims to have made never actually occurred.

Indeed, the Cabinet Office is also crystal clear on the updates it did receive from the Met Office. They were all news releases available to the public, as I highlighted in my post here.

As I pointed out at the time, the first warning on 9th February identified the likelihood of a SSW event, and specifically stated:

The resulting impact on the weather in the UK is still hugely uncertain, but there are some signs of conditions that an easterly flow could develop across Europe. Although we wouldn’t expect continuously cold conditions there is a greater chance of cold conditions recurring.

In no way could this be construed as the specific warning that Scaife claims he gave the government.

 

 

If Scaife has given false information to the press, in order to cover his own back and embarrass the government, his position now is surely untenable. There are clearly questions to be answered now.

It is now up to the Met Office to either publish the advice Scaife claims he gave, or admit that the Cabinet Office’s version of events is correct.

If the latter is the case, Scaife must go.

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28 Comments
  1. March 29, 2018 5:38 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Looks like this one could get very interesting

  2. March 29, 2018 6:14 pm

    I am still pushing the issue of Scaife’s lies via my MP. After my MP’s first brush-off letter, which did not respond to my questions, his second response of a week ago informs me that he has requested a written response from “the Secretary of State for Business – the responsible Minister”, presumably Greg Clark. However, this make take “a number of weeks”, so I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Stuart Brown permalink
    March 29, 2018 6:48 pm

    You asked if Scaife had briefed them and they replied that Schaife (note the h) never did. Well – he, whoever he is, didn’t!

    Harsh to sack the wrong man 🙂

    • March 29, 2018 8:03 pm

      I noticed the ‘h’ as well, Stuart! An ingenious piece of back covering? I couldn’t possibly comment. Maybe our host would like to take Ms Carter up on her offer of an internal review.

      • CheshireRed permalink
        March 30, 2018 9:28 am

        Ms Carter’s internal review sounds interesting…

    • March 29, 2018 8:53 pm

      Ironically the Daily Mail also spelt it with an “h”!

  4. March 29, 2018 9:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Roald J. Larsen and commented:
    So activists lie, what else is new?

  5. duker permalink
    March 29, 2018 10:25 pm

    They can be cunning with their replies though. They say the information is ‘not held’ but dont say they ‘didnt receive it’. Whenever I see wording like that I assume the question needs to be more tightly requested. ie request all memos , emails, aide-memoirs from the whole Met Office in the period concerned. While a briefing may not be held as formal paperwork, follow up emails to some of the 2000 employees of the Cabinet Office over broader weather topics will be on their computers.

  6. John permalink
    March 30, 2018 12:53 am

    Paul, I await the expected response from your followup action. I find it sad that it becomes harder to trust the public faces to which we listen and watch, as time passes.

  7. March 30, 2018 1:51 am

    Well when you fake global warming news as much as they have done you get used to lying.

  8. The Old Bloke permalink
    March 30, 2018 7:33 am

    John, so true. But then they are not accountable for what they do or say are they?

  9. Bitter@twisted permalink
    March 30, 2018 8:58 am

    “Professor” Adam Scaife studied at my old college (Fitzwilliam, Cambridge). We “Billy-boys” don’t like liars.
    I’ll be stirring the $hit as much as I can for this to$$er.

  10. Athelstan permalink
    March 30, 2018 9:19 am

    “Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office”

    Scaife, laughing boy is just another civil servant, and as with most of the UK administration, recognizing and relating the truth, even tacking a loose association to it – is not deemed a key ‘core’ skill.

    Scaife, is a narcissistic fantasist who believes, indeed adores the sound of his own voice – telling porkies is par because the it is the wet office modus operandi,

    I might have noted before, the wet office resigned the idea of objective weather prognostication, buried it deep in fact, To wit, all the wet office do now is toe the HMG dictated alarmist line. With their super computer still malfunctioning (hey blame the machine – right?) – er mainly because it is set to ‘warming’ – even short term forecasting: they get bu77er all right.

    • March 30, 2018 12:06 pm

      “Scaife, is a narcissistic fantasist who believes, indeed adores the sound of his own voice”.

      Substitute “MIchael Mann” for “Scaife”.

      I detect a definite pattern emerging.

  11. March 30, 2018 9:59 am

    It seems to me that most people have already assumed that Scaife lied, whereas I can’t see any direct evidence that he did – or am I missing something?

    • dave permalink
      March 30, 2018 11:39 am

      Cunning bureaucrats spend their time writing myriads of self-serving “Memo to File”s which they unearth when useful and shred when not. It seems this fellow forget to actually deposit a file to unearth. Hence the minor shit fan interaction.

      • duker permalink
        March 31, 2018 3:58 am

        Much more cunning than that. A common method is to have a shared ’email account’ where you write emails to a remote colleague and then save them in the drafts file. The recipient logs in, reads the unsent draft and then writes reply, again saved to draft file.
        Result is the email chain ‘isnt sent’ so cant be found when OIA does a search based on keywords’

      • dave permalink
        March 31, 2018 9:47 am

        “can’t be found when OIA does a search based on keywords.”

        Well – out of interest – with an AOL account I started to compose an Email, saved it as a draft, and then asked the system to search my account using the keyword – and it returned the draft at the top of the results!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 30, 2018 2:26 pm

      The sensible starting position when dealing with people like this is to ALWAYS assume they are lying, and you will generally be correct.

      • March 30, 2018 4:28 pm

        Oh, dear. This is the problem of being an optimist and thinking the best of people. Sometimes I wonder how I’ve managed to survive on the planet for three quarters of a century…

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        April 1, 2018 11:16 am

        The guy is a salesman, selling to politicians. Neither group are renown for their ability to stick to the facts. I can’t imagine that there are many people who think the best of both of these groups of people. In this case optimism could be defined as thinking the best of politicians and and salesmen despite contrary past experience.

  12. Europeanonion permalink
    March 30, 2018 10:05 am

    Well done you. The danger that is most to the fore in my mind is that such people are in a milieu that is charged with the necessity to support some current fashion or tendency, a political differentiator, earn credits, be imaginative in the cause. A thing which is seductive, especially when it could mean notoriety, promotion, escalation of pay grades.

    The idea that the concept of AGW is a thing which cannot be seen to fail, at a reputational level, leads one to the conclusion that there will be a trade in all manner of contrivances which will be sanctioned by those charged with its proof, of which not all may be true or have a need to be (as confusion, sowing its seeds, is a useful environment). Contradiction, in itself, suggests stasis. Buys time for some other, complimentary device to come to hand which will perpetuate the deception and through time make the initial premise immovable, entrenched.

  13. March 30, 2018 11:06 am

    I could have told them on December 1st that the risk of severe weather during winter 2017/18 was 20%, significantly higher than anything I’ve seen since making my long range forecasts in 2013, the risk usually being 2% to 5%.
    Also in December, when the first cold spell struck, the Met Office said there was a risk of cold and snowy weather lasting to the end of the month. Within days, however, that risk vanished and the weather turned mild. Those Met Office outlooks seem to change with every GFS operational run. In other words any idiot with a modicum of knowledge on model output could make the same forecast!

  14. Steve permalink
    March 30, 2018 11:54 am

    Here’s a plausible scenario:
    Adam Scaife, in common with other keen polar vortex watchers such as Judah Cohen, saw the chance in late Jan of a SSW in mid-Feb. The committee who decide the forecast put that into the 26th Jan statement.
    Then in early Feb, the committee backtracks because their model is producing warm weather in Feb… whereas Adam and people like Judah Cohen stick by the SSW forecast.
    I noticed how the media story focussed on the individual, rather than the Met Office long-range forecast committee.
    In this scenario, the worst Adam Scaife did was burn a lot of logs, and it was the committee deciding the forecast text who let-down the public badly.

    • March 30, 2018 12:43 pm

      I wondered at the wiseness of him posing in front of a load of logs, especially in the current climate. Very badly informed.

      • Steve permalink
        March 30, 2018 3:22 pm

        Slightly wiser than the committee in early Feb who favoured forecast models. That’s probably the real story here.

  15. April 1, 2018 1:06 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Interesting.

  16. April 3, 2018 8:37 pm

    It was ‘OK’ I guess, but not a patch on the 1987 cold snap. (I live in the south. People who live further north may disagree with me.) It would be interesting to compare weather charts of that occasion.

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