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« The Quarmby audit | Main | Winter resilience »

GWPF calls for inquiry into Met Office

From Benny Peiser

LONDON, 21 December 2010: The Global Warming Policy Foundation has called on the Government to set up an independent inquiry into the winter advice it received by the Met Office and the renewed failure to prepare the UK for the third severe winter in a row.

"The current winter fiasco is no longer a joke as the economic damage to the British economy as a result of the country's ill-preparedness is running at £1bn a day and could reach more than £15 billion," said Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF's Director.

"It would appear that the Met Office provided government with rather poor if not misleading advice and we need to find out what went wrong. Lessons have to be learned well in advance of the start of next year's winter so that we are much better prepared if it is severe again," Dr Peiser said.

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Reader Comments (63)

In the unlikely event that such an inquiry would be set up, I have no doubt that the chairman would be someone of undoubted integrity, impartiality and competence. The names of Lord Oxborough or Sir Muir Russell come immediately to mind.

Dec 21, 2010 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo

A major flaw involving the data manipulations of the climate zealots has been "no accountability". It is becoming abundantly clear that the record setting temperature models are largely a result of UHI effect and data fakery. In the real world where statistical models have accountability, such as in the financial investment business, climate modelers would have gone bankrupt long ago. Three years in a row of grossly misleading climate advice concerning winter planning should wake up the public. We are to believe that future heat-related catastrophes are just around the corner when the UK's economy is going south because of record cold winters? If the Met Office was providing investment advice for the commodity markets, would you subscribe to it and use it as a basis for your monetary investments?

Dec 21, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrCrinum

Does this prove that the Met Office did indeed suggest this Winter was going to be mild? I thought they were claiming they were not giving an opinion on anything further forward than a couple of hours hence?

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterEvo1

There is no need for an enquiry, we all know the met's computers have inbuilt bias towards warmer temperatures, this pleases the government no end as it aids their agenda.

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCmdocker

And we all know that inbuilt bias can be compensated for, given adequate funding.

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Over on the other side of the pond, I am wondering if NOAA/NHC is again, for the fourth year in a row, going to predict a much higher than average hurricane season? If they were throwing darts, the odds would be fifty-fifty. That they are so consistently wrong actually says something about reliability.

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

I don't know if anyone has posted this up but I would like to see the met office squirming out of this one.
"We didn't actually give any long term forecast".......

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I know that Zed will be watching in on this and never seems short of a response despite his own lack of 'climate science' credentials so this/these question(s) is for him/her.

What 'weather/climate' events/trends/anomolies etc would be required to CONTRADICT AGW?

What would go against the hypothesis?.

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones


No weather contradicts AGW. Monbiot says so, therefore it is a fact.

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

jones, please...

AGW cannot be contradicted as it is a matter of faith. There is not a weather situation that could disprove AGW because it is to do with 'climate', and as such 'changes'.

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Met Office people said that 2010 was going to be te warmest year on record, as an appetiser to the Can con party. To have made that assumption must have implied some form of foreast about the weather in the remaining 6 (?) weeks of the year.

Can someone ask the Met Office on what basis they made that statement?

Dec 21, 2010 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Monbiot has done a great service for sceptics. Despite past statements on the science the use now of contradictory evidence to support the AGW hypothesis shows that the global warming doctrine has transformed into climate change dogma. AGW has failed internally because it is sustained only by faith. Zealotry now displaces reason. Hell-fire preaching replaces debate. With three severe winters in a row the warmists are now in serious denial.

Dec 21, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I would be a lot happier if in the next few weeks the MET were brought down a peg or two and made to realise that their priority and main task is to accurately predict the UK weather for the next couple of months instead of trying to play the world stage and predict glogal temperatures.
It's our money invested in them to provide a service for this country and if I recall correctly they are still under the auspices of the UK Department of Defence and as such are publicly accountable.

Dec 21, 2010 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

This is clear proof of climate disruption and evidence that it's worse than we thought. Obviously we need to invest more money in our climate research centres to allow them to site their thermometers away from their supercomputer heat exhausts. Or we could just put Piers Corbyn in charge of the Met Office. Or failing that, find a senior officer from the MoD with a severe no-BS attitude to take over the Met Office and whip them into shape.

Dec 21, 2010 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

I certainly find it very difficult to understand why the Met Office is not being simply required to do the job it is supposed to do which is to provide the most accurate forecasts it can over whatever period it believes possible.
Leave it to the theoretical scientists in their ivory towers (or in the case of UEA, ivory-coloured plastic) to try to extrapolate as best they can from their proxies and their models. I'm sure there is a place for that branch of science, properly conducted, but the weather forecasts -- mundane as they might be -- affect everybody's everyday existence in one way or another. There is no room in there for political posturing or guesswork. Why does government put up with it? They are the ones who will carry (and are carrying) the can when it all goes pear-shaped.

Dec 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

Did any of the world temperature models incorporate data from the fraudulent New Zealand NIWA data set?

Man made global warming in New Zealand proven to have been caused by one man, Dr Jim Salinger, trained at UEA

Dec 21, 2010 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

The problem is the cost of them forecasting a warmer than usual winter and then it being unusually severe. We would have to agree that this one is unusually severe. The problem is, they keep forecasting warmer than usual ones, and public policy keeps being based on these forecasts. And what keeps happening is either cold normal ones, or like this one, more severe than usual ones.

Its not too bad if they forecast it being colder than it turns out. In that case, we have too much grit, but we can always use it next year. Or we have too big stocks of fuel oil, but they will get used up. Or we have too much snow ploughing equipment, but its not the end of the world, that stuff lasts.

However if as now they encourage policy to be based on warmer than usual and it turns out much, much colder, we are totally unprepared, and people start dying.

When you have the feeling that the reason they are forecasting warmer than it turns out to be all the time is basically prejudice and denial, this starts to seem seriously bad behaviour. Its of the same order of damaging behaviour as Lysenkoism. The problem is that it has real consequences in the world when they get it wrong in this direction, and the costs of being wrong are not symmetrical. But because of their belief in global warming they don't seem to consider the costs of being wrong at all.

The answer has to be a purge. Get the AGW activists at the Met out of there, and replace them with people who avoid taking any interest at all in AGW, and just focus on medium term (next season basically) forecasts. All the sections about climate on their site should be closed, and we need to get them focussed on weather and only weather.

It is completely stupid that we have public policy being determined by advice from people who are preconditioned to believing that the evidence from their forecasting methods should always be increased warming and warmer than average seasons. We have to put a stop to it right away. Its enormously damaging to economy and society.

Dec 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermichel

I think that until the Sceptic "camp" gets its act together, raises the required funds and takes somebody to court then nothing will change. They did it in OZ so why not here. Doug Keenan openly acuses Mr Alder's son Phil of fraud, no response. For what it is worth I have written to dear old Bob Watson (plus Chris Huhne) acusing him of lies told at the Moonbat debate in London this summer. I invited him to retract or sue me for liable, no response.
It all seems to be like water off a duck's back.
There is ample evidence that todays warming is neither unprecuidented nor dangerous. There uis also ample evidence that there have been long periods in recent cklimate history where levels of CO2 have risen but temperature has fallen. Any case brought should be easy to win.

Dec 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Sincere apologies for the spelling in the above post :(

Dec 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

These inquiries perpetrate and solidify the notion that the Met Office is somehow responsible for predictably forecasting the yearly weather trend based off their climate models.

I did not expect them to do that, to begin with, whatever their claims to the contrary might have been.

The climate consensus has not yet answered why no 'warming' has taken place in the past 10 years.

Their model outputs look like linear projections.

In order to be upset with them, one ought to have credited them with something, to begin with,

Dec 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Reposted with additions-

The Met Office has a commercial side. Remember the BBC was threatening to ditch the Met and choose another service supplier?

This from the Met's electricity industry sales blurb.

Long term planning
The Met Office provides Monthly Outlook and Seasonal Forecast services. We are at the forefront of weather and climate research and we can help the energy industry with long-term planning and adaptation strategies to climate change.

GWPF may not be alone in calling for an enquiry. There may be many angry customers of the Met Office who chose to stock their stores or plan engineering works based on a prediciton of a mild winter.

Dec 21, 2010 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Shub - what do you make of the fact that Julia Slingo testified to parliament that the climate change projection codes and the weather forecast codes are one and the same?

“At least for the UK the codes that underpin our climate change projections are the same codes that we use to make our daily weather forecasts, so we test those codes twice a day for robustness” (Julia Slingo, 1 March 2010)

It is possible that there is some truth in Julia's statement (she ought to know this after all and the statement was made to parliament). So weather forecasts and climate projections share common algorithms.

Does this mean, as Julia stated, that the climate change projections are proved robust because twice daily weather forecast using the same codes mean that the codes must be well tested?

Or does it mean the weather forecasts and the climate projects are both flawed, because they are based on the same code?

It would seem that the probabilities (1/8000 vs 7999/8000) are favoring the latter conclusion! But who knows if we were to repeat this experiment for another 8000 years, we might get one sequence of three winters like this in a row, even if the codes were perfect)!

Many politicians play the odds - so hopefully at some point the unreasonable odds that the Met Office are pushing will become apparent to even the most obsessed gambler, and the funding will be cut.

Dec 21, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

BAA may be looking round for someone to pin the blame on for its problems at Heathrow. I see the Met Office have specialist personnel devoted to airports and roads such as this chap, Benjamin Evans:
[Unfortunately the links to the products he's associated with - OpenRoad and OpenRunway - are broken!]

Dec 21, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterQuercus

Yeah I was thinking of them too :-D There's probably a confidentiality clause in the predictions that are made. It maybe why the newspaper that said that the MetOffice had predicted a mild winter haven't supplied more evidence.

That agreement won't hold much water if some of the big names are looking for redress.

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

ZT: ... what do you make of the fact that Julia Slingo testified to parliament that the climate change projection codes and the weather forecast codes are one and the same?

It's been stated several times by the Met Office that the same models are used for predicting weather as are used for their climate change predictions.

Since a large proportion of their funding depends on keeping the CAGW myth well stoked, it's easy to understand why their models have a bias in the "future = warmer" direction which results in their prediction of barbecue summers and mild winters.

The fact that they use the same model for weather on the less-than-a-year timescale as for climate change 100 years from now makes the remark, beloved by warmists, "the weather is not the climate" sound a bit hollow.

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

The GWPF doesn't have a snowball's chance in a climate model's fiery hell of yielding an independent audit or inquiry into Met Office practices and procedures.

At this point in time I am just waiting to find out how much hotter 2011 will be than this record setting heat we have experienced during the course of 2010.

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

The very fact that there needs to be an enquiry shows what a farce it is.

Anyone with a few O-levels reading WUWT for the last 12 months could have make a more accurate long term forecast, most blogoshere weather watchers were predicting a very bad NH winter back in June.

The MET Office statement is absurd, a semantic rebuttal at best, a downright lie at worst.

Another expensive whitewash seems the only way to avoid telling us what we already know.

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

ZT and Martin A

What makes Slingo's remark even odder is that the 'classic' GCM used for projecting future climate scenarios (eg GISS ModelE) is absolutely not like a meteo model.

I'm also sure that she knows exactly what she's talking about but I found her statement puzzling when she first made it, and still do so now.

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

O/T but I notice there's been a bit of a micro-trend for reporting just how abysmally wind generation is performing during the current cold snap.

In the last 24 hours wind contributed 1106MWh which is 0.1% of the total during the period.

As ever, real time data from

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

If the Met Office wishes to continue receiving public money, it should be for those members willing to don orange overalls and take a snow shovel to clear the weather off the minor roads. Otherwise they have no use.

Dec 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaura Hills

This should not just be an inquiry into the 'science' behind the Met Office's forecasts.
It should, as Dr Peiser says, also be an inquiry into the economical consequences of such faulty forecasts. And it should enquire why government authorities and local councils base their decisions regarding the severity of a coming winter on just one, the Met Office's forecast, when others are available and have apparently been used, to good effect, e.g. by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

What has been happening at Heathrow is a scandal. Why has Gatwick been doing better? Perhaps because the invested more in snow clearing machinery?

What has been happening on the motorways is a scandal - has any money been spent on snow ploughs - or was the money 'saved' because there are only mild winters now?

And last but by no means least - what is happening in rural areas where side roads are not cleared at all and children can't ge to their schools is a scandal. Worse however is the deal handed to pensioners living in small houses on side roads in the big cities. These roads have not been cleared, so there is no way any can get to the local shops, never mind the main roads.
Mail is not being delivered, cars can't get in or out of those roads. Even the rubbish isn't being picked up.

It is no longer about the science - it isn't even about politics as such. it is about the damage done to millions of lives which have been severely disrupted because the authorities have used the Met Office forecasts alone, in order to save money and sod the taxpayers.

Dec 21, 2010 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

And an Inquiry into the BBC would be a good thing too - they are quite happy to incinerate the people from Gatwick and Heathrow who are brave enough to come onto the current affairs radio shows but put a "climate scientist" (tm) on and all is kid gloves. If the climate crowd had been predicting/forecasting/projecting/whatever a series of severe winters, and if they had a track record of success, I'd expect that our transport operators would have been in a better state of preparedness than they are now.

Dec 21, 2010 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I like the idea of privatising the Met Office.

I wouldn't be buying shares myself. If they had to make money from their predictive skills or sink, rather than sucking on the public tit, I wonder how long they'd last? I wouldn't give them a year.

From the government's point of view, it would be a very neat way of shutting it down.

Dec 21, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Shouldn't the precautionary principle, which governs so much of pro-AGW argumentation and entirely eschews any consideration of costs imposed, provide that the UK always prepare as if it were going to be the most horrible winter ever?

Dec 21, 2010 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterThomasL

O/T, sorry, but I wondered if anyone else watched Vivienne Westwood on breakfast telly this morning getting all het up about 'the global warming'. Wonderfully batty and woefully lacking in credibility. Long may be she be wheeled out as a warmist figurehead.

Dec 21, 2010 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

Sir David King just gave a repeat performance of his explanation of the cold weather on Channel 4 news.

According to Sir David it's all due to a "lack of Easterlies from Portugal" (??) which gave us an "extremely hot summer" (?*!) and a cold winter. And what we need is European supercomputer to run the METs global warming models (so they can predict warm winters and barbeque summers in half the time presumably) - all this despite Joe Bastardi and Pier Corbyn delivering perfectly accurate forecasts using little more than paper and pencil.

Needless to say Jon Snow accepted this complete nonsense without question. Unbelievable.

Dec 21, 2010 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

@ Jerry M

Ah yes. Prof. Westwood. Astonishing mind. Quite astonishing.

Dec 21, 2010 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Keeping The Lights On

A real breakthrough is that today's Private Eye reports on its first page that, on a recent bitterly cold day, the UK's wind turbines produced barely one twentieth of their notional capacity in a full 24 hours. The article also notes that the wind turbines’ output never once rose to as much as even a tenth of their capacity throughout the day and thus contributed nothing but uncertainty to the nation’s supplies. The article also points out that cold snaps frequently coincide with periods of very little wind and that we will be paying through the nose for ever more of these highly subsidised white elephant wind turbines.

Is this Lord Gnome’s epiphany? Until now he has resolutely ignored the CAGW scandal. Let the ridicule begin!

Dec 21, 2010 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Mike Post

If PE has picked up on the inconvenient fact of winter anticyclones then things are indeed looking up.

Our political masters read it.

Dec 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Dec 21, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

[snip -venting]

Dec 21, 2010 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermacsporan

The whole point is that if you go monkeying about with the atmosphere by pouring vast amounts of CO2 into it it gets less easy to predict what it's going to do next, not more easy.


Reading too much Moonbat I see

Dec 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air

Julia Slingo:
“At least for the UK the codes that underpin our climate change projections are the same codes that we use to make our daily weather forecasts, so we test those codes twice a day for robustness” (1 March 2010)

"Secondly Climate Scientists aren't weather forecasters, they're Climate Scientists. The Met Officer are weather forecasters, so on several levels it's obvious you don't know what you're on about: blaming the effect for the cause, shooting the messenger and being unable to deal with the difference between weather and climate." (21 December, 2010) Bishop Hill site.

Someone is not telling the truth!

Dec 21, 2010 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

macsporan says:

If you want a predictable Climate don't pollute.

macsporan also says: on several levels it's obvious you don't know what you're on about...

Et tu macsporan

Dec 21, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

I should not say this because it shows that I am mean, rotten, miserable, bitter and twisted. But people get not only the politicians they deserve but also the MET office they deserve.

Dec 22, 2010 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

"It is becoming abundantly clear that the record setting temperature models are largely a result of UHI effect and data fakery."

There are no UHIs in the ocean or the lower atmosphere and they have warmed too.

Dec 22, 2010 at 1:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterCthulhu

"What 'weather/climate' events/trends/anomolies etc would be required to CONTRADICT AGW?

What would go against the hypothesis?"

If the world actually started cooling. Hasn't yet.

Dec 22, 2010 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCthulhu

"The GWPF doesn't have a snowball's chance in a climate model's fiery hell of yielding an independent audit or inquiry into Met Office practices and procedures."

That's their fault for picking a very obvious name. Wait...the Global Warming...Policy Foundation? Has political PR thinktank written all over it.

Dec 22, 2010 at 1:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterCthulhu

What would go against the hypothesis?"

If the world actually started cooling. Hasn't yet.
Dec 22, 2010 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCthulhu

Ta for that but wouldn't that also count as 'change'?.

Dec 22, 2010 at 1:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

@Cthulhu 1.20

The last ice age peaked about 20,000 years ago and for the past 10,000 years, apart from events like the Little Ice Age, the Earth has been warming. The question is why? The alarmists base their case on the past 150 years or so and put it down to increasing anthropogenic CO2.

Their hypothesis cannot be falsified - look at Monbiot's article yesterday. If the AGW hypothesis was correct there would have been a runaway warming in the Earth's past when CO2 levels increased rapidly.

Dec 22, 2010 at 3:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterEpigenes

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