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Met Office Afraid Of The Truth

September 30, 2020

By Paul Homewood



Are the Met Office afraid of the truth?



Last year wildfires ravaged Australia. This year has seen reports of extensive fires in the Amazon, in California, and earlier this year during the hot spell, also in the UK. Even the area within the Arctic Circle is experiencing an extraordinary fire season, with thawing permafrost exposing large areas of carbon-rich peatlands, acting as additional fuel and a huge new source of greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s not just that we are seeing more in the news about wildfires, data shows the number of fires is increasing. By May this year, the number of wildfires recorded in South America was already higher than in any previous year since systematic monitoring began in 1998. And since the early 1970s, California’s annual wildfire extent has increased fivefold.

Wildfires are more severe during extended periods of hot dry weather, because higher temperatures cause more evaporation and that dries the vegetation, creating fuel for the fires. For example, last year, Australia saw very hot, dry, conditions caused by a pattern of temperatures in the Indian Ocean, known as the in Indian Ocean Dipole. The Indian Ocean Dipole is a natural fluctuation in the climate that affects the weather patterns around the world including in Australia, but now this fluctuation is adding onto a world that is warmer because of climate change.

So now that the globally-averaged temperature has risen to more than 1.0°C warmer than in the pre-industrial world, it is not surprising that we are seeing more wildfires around the world. Importantly though, higher temperatures alone will not necessarily lead to more fires. Fuel must be available and there needs to be an ignition source, either by human influence or lightning strikes. Climate change may also lead to wetter conditions in some places, as warmer air can hold more moisture, which can affect fuel availability and flammability.

In January this year, an international group of scientists, including from the Met Office, got together to survey the published scientific evidence and concluded  there is consistent evidence that hot dry weather conditions promoting wildfires are becoming more severe and widespread due to climate change.

So, we are going to continue to experience more wildfires as the climate changes. This is driving a need to provide forecasts that trigger fire prevention to limit accidental fires. At the Met Office we now produce forecasts of a ‘fire severity index’ for England and Wales. And earlier this year, scientists from the Met Office and from CEMADEN and INPE in Brazil, developed a technique to assess the likelihood of high fire conditions across South America during the riskier months of August to October. This is part of a broader move from traditional forecasting of weather into forecasting the impacts of weather.


Last week the Met Office put this item on their blog.


To which I replied:




My comment is still “awaiting moderation”!

I wonder what they have got to hide.

  1. ThinkingScientist permalink
    September 30, 2020 1:10 pm

    “Wildfires are more severe during extended periods of hot dry weather, because higher temperatures cause more evaporation and that dries the vegetation”

    Odd. I thought generally high temperatures result from dryness, not the other way round. Compare the Sahara (dry => hot) versus the tropics where insolation is a maximum but temps are moderated by evaporation and the hydrological cycle processes.

    Humidity is also the reason for the tropics having narrow diurnal temperature range and deserts very large diurnal variation. Its water controlling temperature, not the other way round.

    Water. The miracle molecule. Controlling the weather and climate wherever you are.

  2. Broadlands permalink
    September 30, 2020 1:34 pm

    “The Indian Ocean Dipole is a natural fluctuation in the climate that affects the weather patterns around the world including in Australia, but now this fluctuation is adding onto a world that is warmer because of climate change.”

    So..natural variability is the cause? The natural fluctuations in climate are increasing. Maybe they are beginning to get it? CO2 is not the control knob. And weather changes are not climate.

  3. Douglas Brodie permalink
    September 30, 2020 1:48 pm

    I’ve had the same “awaiting moderation” treatment from the Met Office when I submitted a comment which went against climate establishment orthodoxy. It was eventually deleted. We expect this sort of behaviour from The Guardian but It is unacceptable from a publicly funded body.

    • September 30, 2020 5:31 pm

      There doesn’t seem to be any moderation, which negates calling it a blog.

  4. CheshireRed permalink
    September 30, 2020 2:43 pm

    Business as usual for the alarmist cartels. Suppress and censor are their main tactics.
    Guardian, Indy, SkS etc – no sceptical comments allowed. It seems we can add the MO to that list of censorious shame.

    Here, WUWT, Jo Nova, No Tricks Zone, Judith Curry etc etc….allow comments from all views, subject too not being aggressive or profane, etc.

    There’s literally no contest between those who want to discuss the evidence and those who want to suppress it. (You paying attention Richard Betts?)

  5. Gamecock permalink
    September 30, 2020 3:14 pm

    ‘As wildfires continue to rage’

    This is the same as the sea ice nonsense. One shouldn’t assume a wildfire is bad. Fire is an important part of many forest ecosystems.

    ‘By May this year, the number of wildfires recorded in South America was already higher than in any previous year since systematic monitoring began in 1998.’

    Wow! Since way back in 1998!

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      September 30, 2020 3:47 pm

      And how many were started as part of (man-made) forest clearance?

      • Mack permalink
        September 30, 2020 6:15 pm

        And how many were started deliberately by activists to maintain the narrative? Or by your, common or garden, non-ideologically obsessed, arsonists who simply rejoice in watching a good bonfire? Or, indeed, by the great unwashed who, through recklessness or by accident, start a conflagration (discarded barbecues, fags, unattended fires etc)? Not to mention falling, poorly maintained power lines?

    • September 30, 2020 10:55 pm

      “‘By May this year, the number of wildfires recorded in South America was already higher than in any previous year since systematic monitoring began in 1998.’” – Gamecock

      I wonder from what “certain point of view” they would call that “true?” Even NASA doesn’t agree.
      “As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years.“

  6. Nordisch geo-climber permalink
    September 30, 2020 3:54 pm

    This is pretty damning behaviour from a taxpayer funded body, but not unexpected. How on earth do they maintain their scientific and intellectual credibility?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 30, 2020 4:31 pm

      As well as maintaining their scientific and intellectual credibility, how do any of them hang on to their self respect – knowing that you are having to tread the party line no matter that you may have some doubts?

  7. September 30, 2020 4:46 pm

    “Moderation”? Where is the bad language requiring moderation? Oh of course not speaking from the “official Politburo approved song sheet makes it instantly dangerous regardless of voracity. This is where the truth stops and BS begins because they consider ANY view not following the party line on climate as dangerous. This is contrary to the basic principles of science. This is irrespective of the fact that it can be based on bona fide data that even they use ( by that I mean not time scale selective which is the usual way that dishonest people with an agenda to promote handle official data

  8. September 30, 2020 5:00 pm

    Douglas, if what you say is correct and there was no excuse they could level based on abusive language then what they have done is totally contrary to the basic principles of scientific endeavour. They do not know everything yet they behave as if they do. I agree, totally unacceptable behaviour for a publicly funded body!

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 30, 2020 5:24 pm

    NTZ has a bit on Betts, a bit ‘hair splitty’ maybe.

    It’s silly linking fires to climate change – when the weather and climate is exactly as has been/could be naturally. It’s far more important/cost effective to focus on management, not waste time arguing about theoretical attribution. Even the ‘expert’ on BBC R5Live the other day said that the lessons of management over the last decades (most of which seem to have been forgotten) could negate the effect of climate change.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 30, 2020 7:42 pm

      Wouldn’t it be great to get Betts and his mates to come up with a model of wild fires. They could get their old friend, Harry to build it with Neil Ferguson – who could be looking for a job soon.
      On second thoughts, scotch Ferguson: he’ll only come up with Armageddon.

  10. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    September 30, 2020 10:48 pm

    “Last year wildfires ravaged Australia …”.
    The areas of Australia most affected by the 2019-2020 fires were along the E Coast that has received more annual rain over the period 1900-present.

    The overall annual rainfall trend has been positive and the 2019-2020 dry season in Australia was anomalous and therefore hardly a reliable portent of the future.

    The average annual surface temperature has increased over the past century but the size of that increase is disputed as is explicit attribution.
    As Paul mentions many other factors are relevant other than the CC™ bugaboo.

  11. Joe Public permalink
    September 30, 2020 11:10 pm

    Willis hits it in one:

  12. ThinkingScientist permalink
    October 1, 2020 8:13 am

    No comments appear to have been allowed at the Mets post. I don’t use any of the methods for logging in there – have others posted? If so I would like to compile some of them and send to my MP to ask why a government funded organisation is publishing easily refuted propaganda and then suppressing comments pointing out the claims are easily refuted

  13. Phoenix44 permalink
    October 1, 2020 9:09 am

    How does an average global temperature do anything locally? As I understand, much if that 1 degree rise is in the Arctic. If that is so then that has nothing to do with the UK – which has not had a one degree rise as far as I am aware? And what exactly is “consistent evidence”. And where is there any evidence that wildfires are now more “widespread”? This seems to play fast and loose with facts in many places.

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      October 1, 2020 10:28 am

      Central England Temperature data (decadel average) shows a rise of about 1.2 degC since 1900 to the peak in 2006. However, the decadel average has actually dropped slightly since by about -0.3 degC (contrary to Met Office predictions in 2009). Note though that the decadel average from 1700 to 1740 rose from 8.1 to 9.9 degC – that’s 1.8 degC in just 40 years, frou times the rate from 1900 to 2006. The 1740 decadel average peak was not exceeded until 1996 – unprecedented global warming? Currently in the decadel average we are at 10.2 degC, just 0.3 degC above the peak in 1740.

      The temperature rise of 1 degC is a problem for the GW argument, there is an inconsistency. The rise is steady since 1900, but the CO2 forcing increase is not – the IPCC claim that all warming post-1950s is man-made but are silent on causes prior to that. Prior to that the forcings are too small to give significant warming, yet significant warming there was.

      On a global scale, HadCRUT4 shows that the 30 yr warming pre-1950s has almost identical slope to post 1960s, but the forcings are completely different. Taking the average forcings and the temperature change over the two periods it would imply that it is not possible for post 1950s man-made contribution to be larger than about 40% contribution in order for the warming to be consistent with IPCC forcings. And of course that’s an upper limit.

      An interesting point on which I have done some work is that sea level rise commences around 1860 and is pretty linear since then, way before AGW forcings could be important. Glacier retreat in the Alps commences about 1850, same worldwide, and apart from some cycles is pretty linear since then. That means there has been steady, consistent warming since about 1850. IPCC forcings don’t go positive until about 1910 and are very small until post-1950s. So how does that work out for AGW then?

  14. Phoenix44 permalink
    October 1, 2020 9:16 am

    Everything is linked, nothing is the “start point” for anything in a complex, non-linear system. That’s why so much of climate science fails. It assumes a non-dynamic system in simple equilibrium with simple levers.

  15. October 1, 2020 10:38 am

    Moderation? Me too!!


    jeremyp99 says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    1 October, 2020 at 10:30 am
    Really? NASA is clear that the occurrence of global wild fires has fallen significantly. And the evidence – real world data, that is, rather than projections by flawed models – is that this is so.

    Stick to science please. Else why should we fund you?
    The major problem we have with wildfires now is the result of environmentalists managing to ban maintenance and fire break work, resulting in far more fuel being available than there should be. This we know from both Australia and California.

    100 to 1 on you don’t print this.

  16. Dodgy Geezer permalink
    October 1, 2020 9:17 pm

    I suspect you will find that you are banned.

    Just recently I was banned from a medical board for citing a paper listing the official false-positive rates for Covid testing.

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