Met Office Triumphs & BBC Shame

Whilst the predicted storm was not anywhere near as bad as some thought, the Met Office have done a fantastic job warning people. The problem is that a probabilistic forecast can tell us that damage will occur but because the effects of storms can be very localised it cannot say exactly who will suffer damage and who will not. And if we don’t personally suffer a falling tree, we tend to think the warnings of falling trees were over-blown.
The problem is that both at the regional level the exact centre of the storm is difficult to predict in advance, and even when it is known where it will hit, the effects at the local level will be affected by local land topology which can funnel the wind in one area and not in another depending on the wind direction. And to cap it, turbulence from a 300m hill can extend 3km away causing local devastation from falling trees in one street with minor damage in another.
But whilst we praise their work for the short term forecast let’s not forget the same organisation still will not admit it cannot predict the global temperature just one year in advance having said they were only 0.06C per year out … when the predicted warming was 0.05C!
BBC up to their old tricks.Two big weather stories in the southern hemisphere. One of unusual warming and one of unusual cooling. The BBC only covers one with only minor trimming of the feathers of the bird brained journalists who always try to infer such events were caused by global warming:

Australian bushfires fan global warming debate

But I cannot find any mention at all of a similar story about excessive cold in Chile:

Global warming? Chile hit with worst cold spell in 80 years

Same old BBC: Hot so pro-warming is news, but cold so anti-warming is not. And they wonder why we want to stop the BBC tax.
The problem with the BBC is that they know they have to stop the obvious bias of their journalists who wanted to blame any unusual weather on global warming. So they no longer say “global warming caused”, but instead “could global warming have caused”. But that is a long long way from being impartial, and giving equal weight to cold as well as heat and equal prominence to news that contradicts the global warming scare as that which could support it.

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14 Responses to Met Office Triumphs & BBC Shame

  1. > the same organisation still will not admit it cannot predict the global temperature just one year in advance
    Sounds odd to me. I don’t think the Met Office have ever claimed to be able to predict the global temperature a year in advance. Can you point to one of their predictions?

    • As I recall between 2000 and 2009 they produced a yearly global temperature forecast together with a decadal one for 2014 – but of course, it has conveniently disappeared from their website.
      But I still have the original data, and checking I found this table (produced end of 2007):
      Year Temp**
      (°C) Met Office Predicted Confidence Temp Higher
      2000 0.238 >0.33 >80%
      2001 0.400 >0.42 >75%
      2002 0.455 >0.47 >50%
      2003 0.457 >0.50 >75%
      2004 0.432 >0.47 >75%
      2005 0.479 >0.48 >75%
      2006 0.422 >0.45 >50%
      2007 0.402 >0.49 >75%
      So each and every forecast from 2000-2007 was high. But worse, in most years it was far above what they predicted. So, e.g. in 2001 they had a 75% confidence that the temperature would be higher than 0.42C. It was actually 0.4C. In 2005 they said “75% confident it will be higher than 0.48” it was 0.479C.**
      So, what are the chances they get every prediction high like this? Based on their confidence levels I make it 1 in 20,480 that it was all high by pure chance. In other words I am 99.995% sure that they didn’t get this result from a pure statistical fluke but instead from a systemic bias in their prediction.
      **And guess what? When I tried to update the table around 2009 I found that most of the figures had been “upjusted” – and is it any wonder that I created the Climategate petition that (helped) force the inquiries!

      • Your complaint was phrased in the present tense. You can’t complain about (something you can no longer source from 2007) in the present tense. If I look at, e.g., then its full of caveats.
        > So, what are the chances they get every prediction high like this?
        Without knowing exactly what’s in your table, its hard to know what its describing. But your table was produced *at the end of 2007* so all the values you describe above aren’t forecasts; they are hindcasts. So as far as I can tell they are, with considerable honesty, reporting that their hindcasts weren’t terribly good. And your probability calc has failed to take auto-correlation into account, so is wrong.

        • The table takes each forecast for the next year (as detailed in their press release and accompanying document which all disappeared with the yearly forecast) and compares it to the actual temperature based on their press release (I assume it was HADCRUT).
          So, this is comparing like with like forecast versus actual.
          And no I fully understand auto correlation and so do the Met Office and they had every opportunity to include auto-correlation in their prediction and failed to do so. The statistic is how well they did when they knew the previous year, your comment on auto-correlation would only be meaningful if it had been a single forecast for the whole period.
          And what did their press release say when they stopped doing these (failed) forecasts? That they had been very good as they had only been 0.06C degree out each year. This compares with their stated warming of 0.05C!!!

    • And guess what, I’ve found the 2009 table available on the UK Parliament website:-
      It turns out that:
      2. Met Office yearly Global Temperature predictions. Nine out of 10 forecasts have been high with an average error according to the Met Office equivalent to 6C/century which is larger than the projected warming.
      Year Met Office
      Prediction* At confidence
      “better than” Actual**
      Temperature (°C)
      2000 0.33°C 80.00% 0.24°C Lower
      2001 0.42°C 75.00% 0.400°C Lower
      2002 0.47°C 50.00% 0.455°C Lower
      2003 0.50°C 75.00% 0.457°C Lower
      2004 0.47°C 75.00% 0.432°C Lower
      2005 0.48°C 75.00% 0.479°C Lower
      2006 0.45°C 50.00% 0.422°C Lower
      2007 0.49°C 75.00% 0.402°C Lower
      2008 0.37°C – 0.325°C Lower
      2009 >0.4°C – 0.438°C Higher
      Available data on Met Office global temperature predictions show them to be consistently high
      *Taking eg 2000, this should be read as: “the Met office” predict with more than 80% confidence that the temperature will be higher than 0.33C above the 1960-91 average. At 0.24C the global temperature was lower.
      **Reported historic temperature figures have changed (yet again) since this table was originally compiled in 2008 so figures are indicative. However the overall result, a failure to predict the climate, remains the same

      • > So, what are the chances they get every prediction high like this?
        Well, I’m sure you’re delighted to know that they didn’t – see 2009.
        But all we have here is your quotation. It is a great shame that you didn’t properly reference the page you got this from in your original submission – most unscientific of you. Had you done so, we could have looked them up on the wayback machine.
        However, we can look at this years’s forecast. Its at
        and says “2013 is expected to be between 0.43 °C and 0.71 °C warmer than the long-term (1961-1990) global average of 14.0 °C, with a best estimate of around 0.57 °C, according to the Met Office annual global temperature forecast.”
        The 2011 forecast for 2012 uses similar language:
        So I’m dubious about your table. I suspect that you’ve stripped away the uncertainty range and left only the “best estimate” value.

        • This is hardly rocket science. Taking each of your press releases I find the following two statemetns:
          Predicted: (on 4 January 2012) 2012 is expected to be around 0.48 °C warmer than the long-term (1961-1990)
          Actual: 2013: These showed that global average temperatures in 2012 were 0.45 °C above the long term average based on data from the three international global temperature datasets used by the World Meteorological Organization.
          They predicted 0.48C it was 0.45C which was cooler than predicted. This means that in at least 10 out of the 13 years their forecast was high. In one their forecast was too low and two are missing data. I think that shows consistent bias which shows they cannot predict the climate.
          (When I checked, the average error was only something like 0.01C better in their forecast than just using the previous year)
          So, please don’t blame me for presenting my table of what they did do, when the real problem is that the Met Office removed their failed predictions from their website which means the only source you have now is mine.
          All the table does is to reproduce the figures as given by the Met Office. The figures were in the form of a probability distribution which said something like confidence of more than “75% above C1, 50% above C2 & 25% above C3”. In the above example if it was below C1 (&C2 &C3) I quoted the C1 figure at >75% confidence. If below C2 (&C3) then I quoted the C2 figure, etc.
          And as I said, the Met Office lost the plot completely when they claimed their forecasts had been good because they were only 0.06C out (per year) when their estimate of the yearly warming was 0.05C. So even if you excluded all their predicted man-made warming, their forecasts were still too warm!!!

          • Indeed, its not difficult, but you have to quote honestly.
            A fuller quote is “2012 is expected to be around 0.48 °C warmer than the long-term (1961-1990) global average of 14.0 °C, ***with a predicted likely range of between 0.34 °C and 0.62 °C***”
            I’ve added stars around the bit you’ve omitted. Omitting the range when the give it simply isn’t honest. The actual value, 0.45, was well within their predicted range.

  2. > I suspect that you’ve stripped away the uncertainty range and left only the “best estimate” value.
    But I could be wrong. I’ve found:
    which says “Global temperature for 2007 is expected to be 0.54 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 °C”.
    That doesn’t include a range, but then it doesn’t include a probability either, and the 0.54 oC doesn’t match your 0.49.
    But then again your original “2007 0.402 >0.49 >75%” doesn’t match your 2009 “2009 >0.4°C – 0.438°C Higher” either.
    Incidentally, before I go too far down the path of defending their annual forecasts, I really don’t think they are a good idea (full explanation available on request).

  3. There is a caveat to this, in my opinion at least. What I think people often don’t acknowledge, or realise, is that there is a difference between global warming and climate change. Global warming is really just physics and is a process in which the climate system gains energy. There is extensive evidence that this is happening. We could debate the evidence, but it exists. Climate change is what happens as a consequence of this increasing energy. So, and I don’t know if this is the case or not, extreme cold in Chile could be consistent with global warming. Essentially there is an expectation (and some evidence for this) that increasing the energy in our climate system will change our climate. This doesn’t mean that it all has to involve only things associated with things getting hotter. Admittedly, what people have confidence about is that there are likely to be more heatwaves and more precipitation. There is less confidence about how hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather events are likely to be influenced by global warming (one, however, shouldn’t confuse low-confidence with “nothing’s going to change”).
    So, I’m not arguing that the extreme cold in Chile is a consequence of climate change. Nor am I arguing that the bush fires in Australia are a consequence of climate change (although there is evidence that suggests that this may be the case). I’m simply pointing out that just because the climate change is being driven by (or thought to be driven by) global warming, doesn’t mean that extreme cold events somehow disprove that it is happening.

    • The Met Office made a specific prediction for average global surface temperature, so any comment about the oceans is a complete red-herring. You are in effect saying: “their lack of ability to predict global temperature is because of their lack of ability to predict ocean temperature”.
      Climate change is just what it says on the tin: a change in the climate. This has occurred many times in the past and it will occur many times in the future and by the laws of probability it is occurring right now.
      As for Chile and Australia, the point is that one was reported by the biased BBC and the other not. Both articles show that some have linked these to global warming. An impartial organisation could not have reported one linking it to global warming without reporting the other, the BBC did not. Hence it shows they continue to fail in their legal duty to be impartial.

      • My comment referred to your criticism of the BBC, that you made in the post, not to your criticism of the Met Office. I don’t believe I mentioned the oceans at all.
        I must admit that I find it quite hard to know how to respond to your response. The biased BBC does seem to suggest that you’ve rather made up your mind. My point was that you appeared to be suggesting that an extreme cold in Chile somehow balanced wildfires in Australia. I was simply trying to point out that it probably doesn’t. Also, the climate is not changing in some random way. It’s all physics. I’m afraid that if you think we’re just undergoing some kind of random change in the climate with some unknown driver, then that – in my opinion – appeals more to magic than to science.

        • The “biased BBC” is a statement of fact. If you have had the experience of waking up in the morning to find the BBC likening you to a paedophile you would also know this to be true. From the advice I have had although it would be difficult (but not impossible) to sue for libel, their conduct does count as hate speech within the definition of the act. Unfortunately I don’t have the money (as yet) to take this to court. But nether the less their conduct has been appalling and in clear breach of their charter.
          So we have an organisation which is required under law to be impartial, which has carried out a vendetta against a group of ordinary people. It does not matter whether we are right in what we say … the duty on the BBC is to be impartial … even to faith groups!
          However, despite complaining to the BBC on this and numerous other factual errors and bias within their reporting, I don’t know of a single complaint by any sceptic that has been upheld. It appears we are like Jews in Nazi Germany … we have no protection from the law. They have even refused an FOI requesting a list of such complaints – something that is entirely counter to the FOI act – but there are only so many battles one can fight.
          However, even though they are clearly in the wrong and they have never admitted their fault, we have seen a small improvement. E.g. it was extremely noticeable that they interviewed a sceptic when AR5 came out.
          So, it appears some in the BBC are aware that if we sceptics had had the money to take them to court, the BBC’s much vaunted “reputation” for “impartiality” would be in tatters.
          However, it is also very clear that the BBC still have many journalists who believe they have a right to use the BBC to push their own green politics.

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