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« The Royal Society and alarmism | Main | Big freeze in Guizhou »

Quote of the day

Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by the Met Office computer.

Phillip Bratby, in the comments.

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Reader Comments (29)

On this subject of smoke-and-mirrors, the BBC's Richard Black is at pains to point out that, worldwide, it has been "one of the warmest years on record". This implies that it's parochial to pay much attention to the frozen pipes of Little Britain in the second coldest December since 1659.

The gullible will assume that the "record" as in "one of the warmest on record" also stretches back many centuries. In fact his "record" covers a measly 31 years: it's satellite data.

This is about as useful as the observation that City is one of the greatest football teams in Manchester, or that John Cleese's wife is one of the tallest people in his marriage.

Jan 5, 2011 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Brent Hargreaves observes:

On this subject of smoke-and-mirrors, the BBC's Richard Black is at pains to point out that, worldwide, it has been "one of the warmest years on record".

I've just posted at greater length about this on the 'Big freeze in Guizhou' thread. In summary, the point the catastrophists are missing is that if the consensus analysis is correct this year should have been much warmer.

Merely equalling the 1998 El Nino is not by any means enough. Where's the projected decadal warming trend in all this?

Where's the 'missing heat'?

Jan 5, 2011 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

A hit, a hit, a palpable hit by Bratby.

Jan 5, 2011 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

And Philip, very droll.

Jan 5, 2011 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Mixing plays, I think ;-)

Jan 5, 2011 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The best comment for at least a thousand years.

Jan 5, 2011 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"And all the clouds that lower'd upon our house, in the deep bosom of the ocean buried..."

Jan 5, 2011 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

LOL, Shakespeare is always good to follow.

Jan 5, 2011 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air


Jan 5, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Risdon

I wield the flail of the lashing hail
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder...
I am the daughter of Earth and Water
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores
I change, but I cannot die.
(extract from The Cloud by Shelley)

Jan 5, 2011 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Somehow, I can't imagine a warmist being that witty - they seem a very dour lot.
I find it hard to resist the the thought that, like the Devil, sceptics have all the good tunes...

Jan 5, 2011 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Brilliant comment.

However, Matt Ridley is on to a winner I feel with his Reputation, Weather and Climate post:

Weather people, are you not getting just a bit disgusted with your climate collagues? By predicting a "barbecue" summer that was a washout in between two "mild" winters that were colder than average, did they not committ the cardinal sin of weather forecasting -- long term overconfidence? And drag you down with them?

Jan 5, 2011 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougieJ

Where's the cartoon, Josh? :)

Jan 5, 2011 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

To be, or not to be – that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
Slingo's Errors that cost us an outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against the CO2 rabble
And, by opposing, end them.

- sorry :(

Jan 5, 2011 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

A thought occured to me just this second and I had to write it down before the moment passed. It's important really because the government is betting it's mother on a green economy to pull us out of the economic mire we are up to our necks in.
The point that occured to me was a rather worrying one. I suspect the government want us all to own two cars.
One would be subsidised to the tune of £5000 and the other would be a "normal" petrol or diesel engine vehicle.
The reason for the two is that one would be used for spring and summer months and possibly the autumn period whilst the other (the petrol or diesel) would be required during the winter months. After all the past three winters have brought us heavy amounts of snow and ice and the subsidised (electric) cars would be unable to cope with extreme winter conditions due to inherent problems associated with electric cars including battery problems, range and power which is crucial to it's reliabiltity.
Maybe this is the government's secret which we have all missed out on. In order to get the economy moving again we should all buy two cars or at least buy an electric car and keep the gas guzzling monster for use in the warm weather.

Jan 5, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

have just read all the coverage of the harrabin/met office tale, and not one mentions the october forecast of mild months ahead.
for those considering FOI, thought the following are worth noting:

5 Jan: Scotsman: Frank Urquhart: Two bad winters need not be sign of things to come - Met Office
SCOTLAND'S ski centres may be revelling in the second successive year of ideal conditions for winter sports. But the Met Office stressed yesterday that there was no guarantee there will continue to be colder winters in future.
Met Office spokesman John Hammond said: "You can't say it's a sign of things to come.
"It is natural variability. We have had a run of mild winters and we are potentially heading towards another cold winter as well this season. But it is just the card that mother nature deals."...

5 Jan: Express & Echo Exeter: Patrick Phelvin: Met Office defends big freeze forecast decision
Spokeswoman Helen Chivers said the decision to switch to monthly predictions had been in response to public consultation.
"We stopped issuing public seasonal forecasts back in March 2010 because the public did not want them and told us that monthly forecasts would be more useful," she said.
"Clearly there are some organisations which do find seasonal forecasts useful for long-term planning, such as energy companies or the Government...

4 Jan: UK Daily Mail: Rachel Quigley: Met Office knew big freeze was coming but hushed it up
The Cabinet Office said that Met Office forecasts are shared ‘as appropriate’ but could not say if roads authorities, airports and water companies had been passed the explicit deep freeze alert...

4 Jan: UK Car Rentals: Samantha Williams: Met Office October forecast of big freeze kept secret
The revelation by BBC analyst Roger Harrabin raises questions which may prove even more embarrassing for the both the Met Office and the government. Had airports, train operators, water companies, local council gritting departments and the general motoring public been aware of the almost unprecedented Arctic weather heading for the UK, perhaps the country’s total gridlock could have been avoided or at least lessened...
The Cabinet Office was unable to confirm whether airports and other interested corporate parties were informed of the long-range forecast...

Jan 6, 2011 at 5:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Quelle surprise. I did aplogise to Shakespeare.

Jan 6, 2011 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Or even apologise (too early for the fingers to have woken up).

Jan 6, 2011 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If a forecast is made in secret and shared with no one, is it robust? (Question posed to the UEA philosophy class).

Jan 6, 2011 at 7:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

As the Met Office petaflop IBM has produced the answer "The world will get warmer.", I can only assume that Julia Slingo requires another to work out what the question was.

Jan 6, 2011 at 7:49 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Richard Drake

"The best comment for at least a thousand years."

Trouble is I only have access to 30 years of comments, so what do I know?

Jan 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave


"4 Jan: UK Daily Mail: Rachel Quigley: Met Office knew big freeze was coming but hushed it up
The Cabinet Office said that Met Office forecasts are shared ‘as appropriate’ but could not say if roads authorities, airports and water companies had been passed the explicit deep freeze alert..."

I don't know if they told the government it was going to be cold - Perhaps we will find out the truth through FOI requests eventually.

The trouble is that these days advice to any other part of government from any area of government is often on a paying basis. As far as I can see The Met Office has no remit beyond its Public Service commitments (for which I assume the Home Office pays it) to tell anyone else. Even day to day forecasts to councils and Dept.of Transport etc. for ice on the roads are the subject of commercial contracts.

If the Cabinet Office knew, then it is their fault if they sat on it, but it is a confusing mish-mash by the look of it. Some have suggested that the government might have sat on it in the run up to Cancun - don't want to talk about cold when we need to keep the AGW narrative going. Who knows?

In fairness to the Met Office it should be pointed out that a number of other forecasting companies supply icy road/gritting information to areas of local government and sometimes the MO get blamed for others shortcomings.

As for joined-up government............................

Jan 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

>the Met Office petaflop IBM has produced the answer "The world will get warmer."

But the explanation of that answer will require another computer, yet to be designed. Where's Deep Thought when you need him..?

BTW, this arrived in my in-box this morning. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry...

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Our clients epitomise todays market savvy investors who are increasingly demanding substantial returns, whilst adhering to socially responsible codes of conduct. Carbon emissions trading, reforestation and renewable energy projects can fulfil this criteria for private retail, corporate and institutional investors alike.

We at The Carbon Advisory Council know true ethical profits can harmonise with social responsibility, providing astute investors with the level of returns they require , and the reassurance they are positively contributing to our planets well being.

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It is commomly accepted that many of todays carbon credits will increase sharply in value as U.S. President Obama helps push ahead the markets expansion.

Jan 6, 2011 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Very good. Best laugh of the day. It is a much used quotation. The local outdoor/camping emporium every year puts out a large banner with the words;

Now is the season of our discount Tents!

Little O/T but makes me laugh as well.

Jan 6, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

Absolutely fabulous, Phil.

Now if the Muppets at the Met Office will just accept the following reality, everything will be hunky-dory.

Can we control the weather? NO. Can we control the climate? NO.

So, whichever way you cut it, if we can't control the weather, we can't control the climate and if we can't control the climate we can't control the weather.

Catch 22 ........END OF!

Jan 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered Commenteryertizz

It's my favorite play.

"Grim visaged War hath doffed his stained armour and now, instead of mounting barbed steeds to fright the souls of fearsome enemies, he capers nimbly in a lady's chamber, to the lascivious pleasing of a lute..."

Jan 6, 2011 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

As it is on the same theme, can I suggest the following as the best URL of 2010?

Jan 7, 2011 at 12:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Excellent Phillip, thank you!. And to simpleseeker for his very sharp 'deep-thought' observation about the desired new computer.

I suspect that some re thinking more along the lines of 'Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun?'

Jan 7, 2011 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles


Thank you Philip. It scans outrageously.

Jan 7, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterLucy Skywalker

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