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The point of the Met Office

The BBC has a programme on at the moment entitled "What's the point of the Met Office", a light-hearted, but critical look at this august institution. Apparently Peter Lilley and Piers Corbyn are featured at one point.


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Reader Comments (93)

I suspect a little dishonesty in play here. Harrabin is duplicitous at best. They just love to play the victimdon 'y they, implying the BBC really does have lost its impartiality in favour of sceptics on global warming! Difficult to tell whether they are CYA & hedging their bets, probably a bit of both! As said before, playing the "told you so" card.

Aug 5, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

The BBC's dam aimed at preventing discussion on climate modelling is breaking. One of the new facts emerging is that the predicted 'global warming' should be double what they presently claim. Therefore, the IPCC must withdraw all its modelling claims until the error is corrected!

Aug 5, 2015 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Ah Tom Burke, I remember him well.... (H/T dennisa comment on BH A dampish squib post Aug 4, 2015 at 5:29 PM)

The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance," said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change. We have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2 degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that we have already reached the point where our children can no longer count on a safe climate

Aug 5, 2015 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Piers is basking in celebrity limelight at the moment, and climate scepticism as well, thanks to his Bolivarian Brother.

Between the Rising Sun of Communist Utopia and the conformity of climate change alarmism, the BBC has a tough choice in their hands.

Aug 5, 2015 at 9:56 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

To the hard core of any 'faith' the idea that others can or even should be allowed to challenge that faith is something they find difficulty if not impossible to deal with. While in science challenges to claims are the norm, indeed that is the reason that critical review is seen has so important . so guess out of the two Deben & co are practising

Aug 5, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Quentin Letts is "trending on twitter", whatever that means exactly, as the self-righteous authoritarians foam at the mouth over the fact that the BBC makes a tiny concession towards fulfilling it's charter agreement by allowing 30 minutes of an alternative to the constant stream of activist propaganda from Harrabin et al.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"The vested interests are not amused".
They don't like it up 'em, Captain Mainwaring!

And will someone please explain to that idiot Burke (and anyone else who is still stupid enough not to understand) the "two degrees" was a figure plucked our of the air by Ottmar Edenhofer and to talk about it as some set of dangerous threshold does not accord with any scientific fact and can only be a deliberate attempt to mislead.
And if Burke wants to sue me for libel for calling him a liar then bring it on!

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Probably through fear of a programme called "What's the point of the BBC?", this was a fair balance of catastrophism vs realism and realism won. I particularly liked the bit where the Met Office had predicted global warming of 0.3 deg C by 2014 in 2004 and there has been zilch.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

As for trending, last night the Fabius Maximus blog got infested by copycat comments by swarms of warmists (or the same person trying different personas - as some texts were truly identical).

It's unfortunate that people like Harrabin just don't have spine enough to resist this kind of pressure.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Quentin Letts is often hilarious in the DM, and to him nobody is off limits. These self-indulgent squeals of protest reveal how scared of criticism alarmists really are. I wonder if they're afraid for a reason....?

Oh, and Harrabin's sour-faced assertion that sceptics have now had 'their' programme, via a satirical, whimsical half hour on a Wednesday morning is as much a joke as Quentin Letts latest one-liner.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

The squeals of protest just reinforce the point that the alarmist movement relies on constant propaganda and just one dissenting voice provokes massive retaliation. It doesn't say much for the robustness of their science.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

This is the result of a punt on the web wrt one of our local (Oz) politicians who is in somewhat of a consistency spotlight right now

So your Tom might also consider

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

Doesn't say much for their sense of humour either. Further evidence that what we are dealing with is a cult.
Most real scientists I know have quite a well-developed sense of humour.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


Christopher Monckton & James Delingpole are to be R4 Today program guest editors.

Desperate times warrant desperate measures

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I have yet to listen to the programme, but, if I might insert my tuppenceworth, the Met Office should do what it was set up to do: collect and collate meteorological observations in an attempt to predict the likely weather over defined areas within the near to middle future, thus allowing others to make appropriate plans. It is most definitely NOT to “advise” or lobby government or make any attempt to politically influence government policy.

Despite the ever-increasing amounts of data, and the processing power to deal with it, it has been quite comprehensively demonstrated that they cannot make accurate forecasts more than a few hours (24 is acceptable, though others might argue that 48 can be realistic) in the future. This might indicate several points: that there are faults in the data processing; that there are flaws in the data gathered; that there might be areas of potentially correlative information not being considered; that it is not possible to make anything other than short-term predictions on the chaotic system that is the planet’s atmosphere – or even that the entire tranche of data-sets is irrelevant to the process!

That the BBC is doing the funders of the Met Office (i.e. the tax-payers) a favour by holding it up to the light for examination has to be a credit to the BBC, and all the harrumphing clowns of the AGWista crowd can shout all they like, but they should have no more influence on this policy than those who question the new religion.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Piers Corbyn on R4? I nearly dropped my toast, imagining some dim researcher had picked the wrong brother from the BBC's hotlist.

Harrabin continues to wander even further into the realms of idiocy, though. One half an hour slot that hardly lifted the lid on the AGW scam (there was still a ritual 'this is very contentious' genuflection to The Cause) and he is seriously claiming it rights the vast imbalance in the BBC's coverage of the subject?

I'd say Harrabin was 'avin' a larf - but the steely eyed zealot doesn't seem the kind who has much of a sense of humour, does he?

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

tomo: "Christopher Monckton & James Delingpole are to be R4 Today program guest editors."

April 1st 2016 presumably.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTC

Watching the BBC review the Met Office I think would be a bit like watching the BBC interrogate Saville or the Nazi party holding the Nuremberg trials.

"Nothing to see - move along".

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Mike Jackson/Messenger: I wonder, when Burke says:

What this tells us is that we have already reached the point where our children can no longer count on a safe climate
if he can try a little thought experiment and transport himself back to the LIA: would he then come to the conclusion that a two degree rise in GAT (whatever that is) would be 'dangerous for his children'?

He needs to understand (perhaps he does...) that the world has survived changes in temp in the past and will do so in the future. However, his future is not going to provide any warming of the sort he scares his children with.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

RR: I completely endorse your views on what the Met Office should be doing. It is becoming a scandal that their weather forecasts are so far out; where the element of doubt is so great as to make them unreliable. IIRC, this was commented on by Richard Betts in comments quite some time ago when he reported that the models the MO use for forecasting weather use the same - or similar - algorithms as they use for climate projections. The conclusions to be drawn are obvious.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:47 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

The thing is repeated tonight (Wed 5th August) at 9.30pm radio 4, sceptics should get in the beer and popcorn, no need this time for the usual blood pressure pills when listening to R4.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky


This might indicate several points: that there are faults in the data processing; that there are flaws in the data gathered; that there might be areas of potentially correlative information not being considered; that it is not possible to make anything other than short-term predictions on the chaotic system that is the planet’s atmosphere – or even that the entire tranche of data-sets is irrelevant to the process!
Or possibly that
The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
IPCC Third Assessment Report, WG1, Executive Summary.
Just a thought.

Harry Passfield
The idea that Burke might like to try experimenting with thought raises some interesting possibilities!

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I do go on about "editorial guidelines" here since imho they drive alarmist AGW / Blobbie drivel into our media on a colossal scale - it now seems I have an ally....

Black Dick bleats that it ain't fair !! and rules are being broken (main whine at the usual place)

Expect more rattles flying out of prams.

@knr I'm sure BD dashed the piece off at 5:30am .... not.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Meanwhile Black , Harrabin's old side kick , has pop-up on the Guardian to add his condemnation to the R4 program, very quick that anyone would think that CIF have him and others on speed dial and such blogs are almost already written ready to bed pushed out at a moments notice.

That even such a mild suggestion that all it not well at the MET office , something which is clear you you consider they still fail to do their basic job despite bonus all around, attracts such quick ans extreme action is telling.

No doubt the poor producer of the show will now be required to do penance and reaffirming their unquestioning faith in 'the cause' let hope they can deal with the sack cloth and ashes that will be heading their way.

Aug 5, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Roger Harrabin is becoming more and more out of touch with reality and I suspect less and less tolerated by his peers. He recently suggested on twitter that a newly elected government with a majority mandate was out of touch with the public by tweeting: "Is govt out of step with public on #energy? why are renewables affordable in U.S. But not UK?"

Perhaps he is starting to realise that the people that 'he is so in step with' are rapidly becoming the minority. The BBC environmental department could do with attention in the cost cutting exercise.

There is the opportunity to ensure that "their" views are presented to the BBC Trust so that a balanced mandate is set up for future which may just entail that "their" as a portion of society that pays the wages of the arrogant bastard actually gains the same level of respect as the minority sections of society that Marxists like Harrobin gladly support.
We want your views on the BBC and what it should do in the future.

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

From viewing the Wet Office's forecasts in the past, (I haven't really bothere for several years now), especially the 5-Day forecast, I have noticed that say, Monday to Friday, by Tuesday to Saturday, it changes ever so slightly! Now the Wet Office would say that is merely fine tuning, but I would suggest that it may be a case of "fine correction"! I definitely think there is something afoot, certainly as a result of their recent announcement re the reduced Solar activity affecting the climate for the next 30 years, something they have claimed it couldn't possibly do!

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"Harrabin is duplicitous at best"

He certainly is - the programme started at 9:00, not 10:00!

As for Lord Gumboil and his request for the right of reply, what does he think he's been enjoying all these years?

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Radio 4's Feedback programme inbox will no doubt be buzzing with emails from just your ordinary Joe Bloggs and Jane Smith from down the road, who upon recourse to Google will turn out to be representatives of various climate activist and renewable energy organisations.

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

The MO's real scientists are replacing incorrect CO2 based warming with solar effects. It's being done because it's obvious to any professional that a key assumption made in the heat generation coding, apparently by the late husband of their Chief Scientist, is diametrically wrong. This is to assume the absorptivity of the upper atmosphere for OLR is unity hence by Kirchhoff's Law of Radiation justifying down |OLR|, an adaptation of Hansen's original idea in 1981 introduced to offset exaggerated modelled lapse rate. They explain it by yet more imaginary physics but it causes the warming bias and is a risk to the reputations of the competent. Solar effects are being substituted.

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

The BBC's blurb:

'From it's origins after a sea disaster 150 years ago, its importance during World War II, to its daily weather predictions, the Met Office has been part British life for a long time but as Quentin finds out it's future is part of a complex debate involving a £97 million super-computer, the accuracy of long term weather predictions and the science of climate change.'

Next week: what's the point of apostrophes?

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

I can tell Lord Deben that my experience of modern weather forecasts when I lived in the USA was that they are often better than the Met Office from this consumers point of view. TV tools like Doppler-Radar detailing individual storm cells as they track across a region are common, but seem not to have made it to the UK yet.

If they have, then why don't the paying public get to see them on TV? Perhaps it is the fault of the BBC, not the Met Office. My experience is that UK weather forecasts on the BBC have been dumbed down during recent decades, like we're a bunch of morons who can't understand isobars. Who the morons are that can't understand climate, I'll leave as an open question.

Aug 5, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

iirc the MO's forecasting on the basis of peering at computer monitors showing $upercomputer model outputs while slouching in £2K Aeron chairs was woeful - and the only way they managed to actually improve things was to install ocean met buoys up-wind the prevailing weather patterns.(rarely mentioned)

The place seems to be run by "status intoxicated" corporate communicators and bureaucrats - with the actual tasking as a public service coming in a very poor third. Political pawn-ery also figures - as in the move from Bracknell to Exeter.

What's not to like there eh?

A blog post elsewhere quotes a 19th Cent. observation (The Crowd - Gustave le Bon 1896 - BBC started the historical thing!) on the subject of prestige which Deben in particular should be compelled to write out 100 times.

… the special characteristic of prestige is to prevent us seeing things as they are and to entirely paralyse our judgement. Crowds always, and individuals as a rule, stand in need of ready-made opinions on all subjects. The popularity of these opinions is independent of the measure of truth or error they contain, and is solely regulated by their prestige.

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I've listened to a few of Letts's programmes in the past, and the formula has usually been criticism and a bit of pig-sticking for the first 20 minutes, followed by a more conciliatory view and the conclusion that whatever it was is OK really and may even be a Good Thing. Not so this time, though, and hearing Piers Corbyn, Peter Lilley and Graham Stringer in succession made a very pleasant change!

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


I think we should all write to Feedback, telling them what a great job the BBC is doing allowing some balanced debate...

Charlie :-)

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Both the BBC and Met Office seem more interested in the Political Climate Change that may cause unprecedented damage to their pay cheques.

Neither organisation has questioned their own part in their downfall.

Remember that in BBC/Met Office jargon, two or more warm days constitutes a 'heatwave'. How will they describe a permanent freeze in their subsidies?

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Be fair chaps!!

If we did not have the Met Office, who would there be to fiddle the data?

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Peter Lilley's demolition of Julia Slingo ..... priceless.

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterImranCan

Michael Hart: is available on a 5 minute resolution if you pay £25/year, and with map zooming to a very local level, and pixels smaller than a golf course and a 3 hour forward forecast. I make do with the 15 minute free version. I think the BBC only offer hourly resolution. I almost got tempted to buy the full version to try to guess how they implemented the forecast. A neural network/cellular automata approach suggests itself, perhaps supplemented by some observational data to steer it a little.

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

"used by USA on its most sensitive missions" (Deben)

Isn't that classified..?


5-minute resolution here.

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:44 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Why does Imperial College associate itself with this Burke?

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

The Guardians below the line frothing's are pricelessly hilarious. Question the Met Office and the gospel of Climate Change? Even slightly, with wit and repartee? Heresy! The effrontery!

Aug 5, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

It would be nice if some of the qualified commentators on here would organise complaints the way that CiF does. Frankly, Richard Black's piece should not have been commissioned and the CiF editor should be made to explain and apologise for it and to withdraw the piece on the grounds of obvious hypocrisy. The CiF crowd is busy organising entirely unjustified complaints to the BBC which will waste public money. This blog could organise a letter or similar to Tony Hall formally requesting that he instruct the Complaints department to ignore any complaints about Black's article.

I read this site because it is a voice of sanity but you are nowhere near as well organised as the CiF crowd. For instance, the 97% column should have been dropped for hopeless inaccuracy long ago by the Guardian but is still there. Largely it has to be said because the contributors to this site do their complaining and debunking here rather than to the Guardian's editor en masse.

Black and Harrabin should have been sacked by the BBC rather than allowed to retire, but that didn't happen again largely because contributors to sites like these didn't use the BBC's own rules to force the BBC to address Black and Harrabin's repeated breach of those rules.

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndais

@ jamesp, good idea - they shall shortly be receiving an email from "a delighted listener in Hounslow"!

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

This comment under Richard Black's extended moan was swiftly deleted. I wonder which guidelines it failed to follow? Insufficient reverence?

"This quirky opinion piece seems to have incensed the catastrophic warming crowd. No heresy is permitted in the True Church.
Were those the editorial guidelines on AGW that were agreed upon in the famous covert meeting of "experts" at the BBC so long ago?"

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Lord Beaverbrook: "Perhaps he is starting to realise that the people that 'he is so in step with' are rapidly becoming the minority. The BBC environmental department could do with attention in the cost cutting exercise."

That's why I now refer to them as "climate extremists".

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler


"It would be nice if some of the qualified commentators on here would organise complaints the way that CiF does."

I have made probably well over 100 different complaints including many where the statements were easily disproven.

Not once has any been upheld. There would have been more chance getting a Nazi Newspaper to print a correction about the Jews than getting the BBC to admit it is wrong on climate.

In short - nothing short of scrapping the BBC will solve this problem.

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler


Next week: what's the point of apostrophes
Week after: what's the point of catastrophes

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Ah, the BBC's back to normal with its account of evil America dropping atomic bombs on plucky underdog japan...

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCHarlie

I wonder what the Corbynista view on global warming will be post September. Brothers do not always agree of course, but I cannot remember Jeremy Corbyn distancing himself from his heretic sibling. Could be interesting if the radical left ally themselves with the tea party right of the USA. We live in interesting times.

Aug 5, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

Andais, the Guardian is part of a well organised conspiracy, intent on telling anyone who disagrees with their collective Groupthink, that they are conspiracy theorists.

There are multiple flaws in their logic processing powers, which may be due to CO2 acidifying their brains.

Aug 5, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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