Bastardi and Corbyn reply

Following on from the blog post yesterday about the Met Office’s Julia Slingo claiming the recent ‘freak weather’ (aka a cold winter) could have been predicted if only the Met Office had more supercomputing power…

AM emailed respected meterology experts Joe Bastardi and Piers Corbyn to ask them what supercomputing technology they employ that helps them to generate forecasts that are consistently more accurate than those of the Met Office.

Both gentlemen, who enjoy an excellent track record for their forecasting accuracy, have very kindly replied and their answers are published in full below:

Joe Bastardi said:

I look at the models, and I do use them as input to the forecast with many other factors. However they are not Gods, and to make the excuse we need a bigger computer when in reality all they do is arrive at a solution … right or wrong … faster, and have nothing factored in  about past weather events, or natural cycles, or some of the other things Piers and I  use, seems to me to be  blaming the model and then saying you need more of what failed in the first place.

If the Physics is not right, then forget it. Modeling for instance, relying on greenhouse gasses to warm the atmosphere will come out at a warmer  solution. The UKMET model now has suddenly flipped to a cool solution across much of the world for the coming months, but well after it was obvious to us that major cooling  was going to occur ( last March I said 2011 would try to return to near normal, similar to the La Nina of the late 90s and the recent one… That is because I knew before the computer a major La Nina was coming on and said so in February.. and based the high  total number of hurricanes  for the season on the La Nina and the very warm tropical atlantic at the time ..which has cooled since then, btw).

As someone who has no access to public funds, or grants, well I don’t have the computer they do.

Which is interesting since I think we can agree since I joined this little forecasting battle the past  3 years,  I have hit the cold  over in Europe. Part of the reason is the model and computer has a warm bias since the PDO ( Pacific Decadol Oscillation flipped to cool). Now I wonder why that would be?

And what will happen when the Atlantic turns cold?  Throw in solar cycles, and increased arctic or tropical volcanic activity… no computer is going to handle that.

Computer models are tools to get an answer, but not the answer. There is the difference. These folks have not had the kind of forecasting experience that Piers and I have,  so they put all this faith in models. We use models, but only as  the icing on the cake so to speak.  While both of us may have our favorite  major climate driver,  The ability to see all the players on the field is enhanced when one does not rely on the computer. A good forecaster has to have a visual idea of what a pattern should look like BEFORE HE BRINGS IN THE COMPUTER MODELS, and then have the models  confirm or question  his conclusion.. much like team mates challenge each other in competition.

To simply use the model as the number one input to ones forecast.. well then what is the need for the forecaster?  Maybe that is what this is all about, getting rid of any  human touch to the weather, and convincing the public its so. Either that, or saying. I give up, I cant do it, so I will let the model  do it. Well I  not cut from the cloth that backs away at challenges  in things I was made to do, one of them forecast the weather, so I do not become a puppet of models, but instead will accept the model as a team-mate.. another source of input.  But that is all it is.

A forecast  for instance, for winter starts way in advance,  looking at  many years  of  past weather to understand similarities to where  we are now  UNDERSTANDING THE MAJOR PHYSICAL NATURAL DRIVERS  that are affecting the pattern and also understanding  where we are in the climate cycle and not assuming that the earth is headed in one direction.

Such open mindedness and the crucible of capitalism and competition, where if not right enough, Piers and I  will get fired,  makes a bigger difference than just saying I need more money for a bigger computer so I can rely on it.

Funny but true, a video I did back in March showed 11 year cycle forecasts for the summer indicating a warm US summer, while NOAAs  computer had it cool for summer  Guess what one was right.  The  11 year cycle forecast.

Last Spring, the computer had a very warm winter for Alaska this winter, which I  hammered. Well guess what is going on.

The UKMET model had a warm winter this winter.  Well.

It’s not the computer, it’s the limits of the computer in  trying to adjust to what only men can understand and use. I dont think you need more money to arrive at the wrong answer faster. Should put it into fighting hunger, or giving men a chance to be free enough to dream and pursue that dream… much better causes in my opinion.

Piers Corbyn said:

My answer to What supercomputers do I use? is:

W A I T  F O R  I T…………..

N
O
N
E

And before someone goes looking for the ‘NONE’ computer company I mean: We do not use ANY Supercomputer we use P H Y S I C S.

In WeatherAction my Solar Lunar Action Technique (SLAT) does involve a number of equations and theoretical concepts (Weather action indicators) and calculations which are all performed on a pretty low level PC.The key thing to understand is that all weather circulation patterns have near enough happened before; the key is to find out when and how this time around they will be not quite the same as before.

I explained at some length HOW & WHY my technique(s) work at our WeatherAction Climate Fools Day conference in October 2009 held at Imperial College London. The Warmists were explicitly invited and given a slot to speak but none came.

A video of one of my invites, made direct to John Ackers of Friends of The Earth live on Sky news in October 2009, is linked below. Looking at it now I find it even more hilarious than at the time (when we had ’50 days left to save the Planet’) and suggest readers have a look and a laugh (no mention of ‘cold is warm’ here!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6zSLQA-BrY

The GWers claim that we haven’t explained what we do. That is untrue. The truth is they don’t want to know and don’t want anyone else to know {Recall Phil Jones CRU E-mails described me as The MAIN enemy on the Europe side of the Atlantic and that he and his mates would do everything in their power to prevent the likes of me ever getting anything into print}. I thank blogs such as this which have enabled me and Bastardi and loads of others to break partly through the Greenwash cult.

I say our technique(s) plural because they are evolving and now on Solar Lunar Action Technique – SLAT5b, which supersedes our SWT (Solar Weather Technique). What I do is very different from Bastardi who is clearly also skilled especially for USA. Nevertheless his approach is more Earth-based, not so far ahead and less skilled and much less detailed [Of course we are not always right but I would just like to mention Xmas Day and the nights before and after in the UK were EXTREMELY COLD as we predicted from during November when I placed some successful bets on the matter of snow, contrary to his 'It will turn mild' prognoses].

A few links here explain key ideas of what I do -

1. VIDEO of why it (SWT/SLAT) works – Imperial college Oct 2009 -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMQNrP1NhVM

2. Presentation similar to as presented at Climate Fools day 2010 in Parliament:
http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=222&c=1

3. “World cooling has ….” -
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=3307&linkbox=true&position=3

On supercomputers and the The Met Office I would say that no amount of spending on their approach will ever produce better forecasts in any forecasting more than 3 days ahead. Standard Meteorology has reached the end of its potential. It can go no further. What we do is infinitely more skilled (since they have zero skill) in any long range forecasting. Let’s be clear no amount of investment in wax technology will ever produce a light bulb. For a small fraction of the extra money they want to waste on supercomputers we could reliably forecast extreme events and general weather development details across the WORLD many months ahead.

Happy 1 1 11 – see my WeatherAction new Year message –
http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=290&c=5

Piers Corbyn
Msc (astrophysics), ARCS FRAS FRMetS
MD WeatherAction.com long range weather & climate forecasters

Please note: If you’re a blogger or journalist and wish to quote from either response, please provide a link back to this post so your readers can see the comments in their full context and avoid any misunderstanding – it’s only proper.

There is clearly an overwhelming case here for challenging the Met Office robustly about its assertion that it requires additional huge sums of money to purchase more supercomputing technology. The question is, will those who control our tax pounds undertake that challenge and stop our money being spent wastefully? Bastardi and Corbyn’s replies demonstrate that the fundamental difference between the Met Office and those meterologists who forecast with much greater accuracy is a matter of technique and approach rather than technology and processing power. The politicians need to understand this.

I’m extremely grateful to Joe and Piers for taking the time late on New Year’s Day to consider the question posed on this blog and write such detailed replies so quickly. Thank you gentlemen.

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32 Responses to “Bastardi and Corbyn reply”


  1. 1 Andy Baxter 02/01/2011 at 3:06 pm

    well done AM, great post

  2. 2 Fay Tuncay 02/01/2011 at 5:27 pm

    Fab work AM thanks

  3. 3 Oldrightie 02/01/2011 at 7:12 pm

    Let’s hope these two Wunderkind don’t get paid off, Richard.

  4. 4 Barry 02/01/2011 at 7:44 pm

    The final paragraph from Joe Bastardi is really quite good. I get the impression that warmists have faith in their computer models and the authority of the State while sceptics have faith in people.

  5. 5 orkneylad 02/01/2011 at 7:58 pm

    Most excellent AM.
    More power to Joe & Piers’ collective elbows.

    Best wishes from the Glebe. :-)

  6. 6 Tufty 02/01/2011 at 8:10 pm

    Excellent work AM.

  7. 7 right_writes 02/01/2011 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks AM, good stuff…

    These two blokes really do know the difference between climate and weather.

    The Met Office was never meant to be in the business of climate science, or even for that matter weather forecasting.

    Back in the mists of time when the UK had a fishing fleet, it was really useful to have accurate weather reports, so that seamen could plan their route, it is clearly sensible not to sail into a storm if you know it is there, or moving towards you, hence sea areas.

    They should stick to what they know, and leave the science to the scientists, Piers Corbyn even looks like one.

  8. 8 Scooper 02/01/2011 at 8:58 pm

    Wonderful stuff but I’m not holding my breath about the Met Office being taken to task. As normal there is too much political capital to be lost through admitting the deficiencies of our National weather forecaster. More squandered tax revenue on the horizon I suspect – shameful.

  9. 9 ajk 02/01/2011 at 9:13 pm

    Great stuff. I follow both these pundits (or should I say alchemists) – and never bother with TV now- (or even back-)casting.
    No-one is ever 100% but these two followed over a period of time are amazing. Their approach is based on common sense and not the GIGO approach of the PC Met artists.

    Mind you I’ve heard interviews with some of them when they slip in the odd heretical aside I wonder if they get “Slingo whipped” back at the office.

  10. 10 John Blake 02/01/2011 at 9:28 pm

    The difference between Bastardi’s and Corbyn’s forecasts and the Met Office’s endless self-serving prevarications is less “technique vs. technology” than putting cyclical temperature patterns in context and perspective, ie. applying intelligence rather than mindless gigabytes to project real-world outcomes on an odds basis.

    Climate hysterics typically cite automated, mechanistic “models” –Pachauri’s comic-book sketches rather than in-depth analyses– to absolve themselves of responsibility for their extraordinarily feckless and incompetent scenarios while promoting vicious Luddite theses as a “precautionary principle.” Such foolish and malfeasant bleats and squeaks underlie all Statist mindsets, inciting popular concern as means to rent-seeking claims on public fiscs.

    After an entire generation since c. 1988, anyone who grants the Green Gang of Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, and Trenberth et al. the slightest credibility will perish impoverished, of willful societal neglect, which is precisely what Thanatists such as Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, lately Keith Farnish, devoutly mean to cause.

  11. 11 Mike Spilligan 02/01/2011 at 9:31 pm

    Excellent. Many thanks to all three of you.

  12. 12 meltemian 02/01/2011 at 10:02 pm

    Great Stuff. How good is it to get such good and intelligent replies, especially to have it confirmed that neither Joe nor Piers need to have
    vastly expensive super-computers to do their jobs. I get the distinct impression they could still manage it with only the ‘back of an envelope’. True professionals.
    Thanks AM.

  13. 13 alexjc38 02/01/2011 at 11:06 pm

    Excellent post, with thought-provoking, pull-no-punches replies from Joe Bastardi and Piers Corbyn. I feel this is going to be a rather interesting year!

  14. 14 Brian H 03/01/2011 at 2:14 am

    How much will YOU pay for the wrong answers faster?

    You’re about to find out.

  15. 15 kuhnkat 03/01/2011 at 3:12 am

    What is amazing is that the Climate Modellers really only claim accuracy at really long range as they do not even attempt to claim ability on short range and claim climate is somewhat chaotic so it isn’t possible!!

    How they can then claim to be able to do any kind of forecasting is simply incredible!!

    If climate is truly chaotic how can they then say they can do an extremely long range projection even??

    IPCC Climate Science os SOOOOOOO full of it!!!

  16. 16 Cassandra King 03/01/2011 at 5:59 am

    The UK met office is a wholly owned political tool of the UK political establishment, if this establishment needed the public to believe that the climate was being changed by demons and fairies then the met office would be claiming just that. CAGW and the CO2 theory is nothing more than a political vehicle designed to achieve a political end.

    The political class came up with the idea of a common enemy of nations that would enable the international political class to unite to fight this fantasy enemy, all very laudable so far but the concept was built on lies and the lies became ever more tangled. To control carbon is to control the energy matrix, a world governance built on global control of the economy while building a central global political state.

    High aims built on low morals, a new ideal based on lies and deceptions fully using the old ‘the ends justify the means’ platform. Lies and deceptions and fraud to build a new Jerusalem and the essential need to perpetuate the lies and deceptions means that the entire edifice is built on quicksand. The political class have not learned the simple lessons of history, the ends can never justify the means, lies can never be the basis of a noble enterprise.

    The political class needed CAGW whether it was real or imagined did not matter, the CAGW fraud is a political tool to further a political cause and the political class are the driving force behind the corruption of institutions and science, this highlights perfectly how the political class operates. We know that an ideal built on lies is doomed from the start, only when the political class realise this will sanity reassert itself.

  17. 17 DC 03/01/2011 at 9:17 am

    Is this a joke? Their forecasts are apalling – they just say they are good and the media believe them. The UK Met Office were spot on with their prediction of the cold weather and Joe Bastardi said it would be average with the cold going to the east!!! As for Mr.Corbyn, I’m still waiting for his blizzards he predicted for after Christmas!!! It’s ok though because we are used to misinformation in the UK media.

  18. 18 Lawrie Ayres 03/01/2011 at 9:25 am

    Here in Australia we don’t have a stand out long range weather forecaster although we used to. His name was Inigo Jones and he was the go to man in the thirties and forties. He correctly predicted a severe drought in the eighties and the grandaddy in the new millenium. He relied on the natural cycles, particularly the sun and planets. He of course was debunked by the BoM (Met). Meanwhile, this year, the BoM forecast wet in SW Western Australia and below normal rain in the SE (QLD, NSW and VIC. Well would you know it is very dry in SW WA and extremely wet in QLD and NSW (100 year records etc) and good rains in VIC. The BoM were 100% wrong and I suspect because they too have a warming bias firmly entrenched in their computers. They are also data fiddlers so God knows what they input as a baseline. Anyway they consistently get it wrong. When the El Nino was in full swing they were on safe ground forecasting dry because that’s what EN does here.

  19. 19 Autonomous Mind 03/01/2011 at 9:59 am

    No DC this isn’t a joke. But if you think the Met Office were spot on then I think you’re having a laugh.

    Just one recent example for you – http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/met-office-severe-weather-warning-ignored-in-northern-ireland/

    And of course before that we had the Met Office saying there was an 80%+ probability of above average temperatures in Nov/Dec/Jan for Scotland and South East England and a 60-80& probability of the same in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Look at the map for yourself – http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/met-office-memory-or-honesty-deficiency/

    So do feel free to share with us the links to the failed predictions of Bastardi and Corbyn. If they were wrong then their clients would vote with their feet. The evidence shows they are good.

  20. 20 Junius 03/01/2011 at 10:15 am

    Congratulations on a great post; and delightful to read the views of two intelligent beings that put brains before bytes.

    In the early days of computer programming we were used to being told that if you put garbage into your computer you would inevitably get garbage out – and we are getting an awful lot of garbage out!

    Could it be that the collected data is [over the age and cyclic nature of the planet] merely a minuscule amount to base predictions on – garbage-in in fact!

  21. 21 David Jones 03/01/2011 at 10:31 am

    This one I reckon –

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6898&linkbox=true&position=12

    I didn’t notice any blizzards in the south east after Christmas. Of course it may have been amended. In any event he doesn’t claim 100% accuracy but he’s pretty damn good!

  22. 22 Autonomous Mind 03/01/2011 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for that David. I’ll put it to Mr Corbyn.

  23. 23 cosmic 03/01/2011 at 11:04 am

    Cassandra King has it right. The Met Office has become a propaganda service for CAGW. The computer models are a stage prop. They have a ring of authority and rely on people having short memories and public funding (governments can’t go bust as easily as private companies and there’s a long history of government projects which have struggled on for years wasting public money hand over fist and producing nothing of value).

  24. 24 gryskopf 03/01/2011 at 11:34 am

    Joe Bastardi puts his finger on one of the crucial underlying issues that don’t face the Met Office – the crucible of capitalism and competition. If the Met Office had been privatised I wonder how many customers it would have lost over the past few years, and whether it could afford to employ the likes of Julia Slingo in a real world.

  25. 25 chris edwards 03/01/2011 at 4:43 pm

    By convention isnt a PS3 a super computer? and for all these 2 respected gentlemen have said the real truth seems to be that an ancient sinclair would give them the answer they design, the old programming adage is garbage in garbage out. Sack the lot of the taxpayer funded fraudsters and take bids on the contract.

  26. 26 DC 03/01/2011 at 10:34 pm

    You asked for some evidence of Bastardi’s failed forecast.
    Well publish this and let people living in Ireland, Scotland and England judge how good this was, published just three weeks before the harshest December for over a hundred years in most of the areas mentioned!!! A bit of a biggy to miss in a LRF just three weeks before it started.

    “AccuWeather.com Europe Winter Forecast for 2010-2011
    By Heather Buchman, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist.

    AccuWeather.com Chief Long-Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi is calling for the core of winter in Europe this year to target the southern portion of the continent, while areas from the United Kingdom into Scandinavia that were hit hard last year catch a break.
    The major player in this winter’s forecast is the phenomenon called La Niña, when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific are below normal. Last winter was characterized by an El Niño, which is the opposite of La Niña with warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures.Bastardi highlights that in past years in which there was a transition from an El Niño to a La Niña, such as this year, there tended to be unusual warmth north of latitude 40° north, which includes most of Europe. Bastardi highlights that in past years in which there was a transition from an El Niño to a La Niña, such as this year, there tended to be unusual warmth north of latitude 40° north, which includes most of Europe.
    This winter, Bastardi is generally going with this idea, though he is expecting the above-normal warmth to be a bit farther north. On average, above-normal temperatures are forecast for areas from the northern U.K. into Scandinavia. Precipitation is generally expected to be below normal in these areas.
    While winter enthusiasts across northern Europe may be disappointed with this forecast, many people will probably welcome a break after last year’s harsh winter. Farther south, Bastardi expects near-normal temperatures from southern England into the northern Europe mainland and colder-than-normal conditions from Italy and the Alps into the Balkans, Ukraine and southern Russia.
    Across northern Europe, snowfall and temperatures are expected to average closer to normal in London while areas toward Glasgow and Dublin experience slightly above-average temperatures and snowfall just a little below normal.”

    OH DEAR!

  27. 27 Neal Asher 04/01/2011 at 5:56 pm

    DC, Piers Corbyn writes: “What I do is very different from Bastardi who is clearly also skilled especially for USA.” So choosing a wrong forecast from Bastardi doesn’t undermine Corbyn. And really, both have them have a higher hit rate than the Met Office without using £200 million in funding and a £33 million super computer.

  28. 28 Norrie 05/01/2011 at 6:26 pm

    DC is the only one who is anywhere near correct on this. Both of the responders are constantly ridiculed on knowledgeable weather sites and forums though Joe does do better relating to the U.S.
    Piers regularly forecasts extreme events and occasionally one does just about hit. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t though as he will just claim the nearest storm either geographically or timeously as being the one he forecast.
    The Met O also does not have a good record on long range forecasts[hence why they have stopped publishing them imo] but is not so bad in the medium term overall.

  29. 29 Autonomous Mind 05/01/2011 at 6:58 pm

    There is a reason why I have described Joe and Piers as accurate, Norrie.

    At the end of 2009 and in early 2010 both Joe and Piers said we could expect another cold winter in 2010-11. They said it was part of a pattern. I don’t think you can get more long range than that and in all fairness and they have been borne out as accurately predicting this season – even if the timing or intensity forecasts as the winter drew closer were off at times. During last winter the Accuweather forecasts for my locality were consistently more reliable than those of the Met Office and they have continued to be during 2010.

    The Met Office in contrast described the winter of 2009-10 as an anomaly and since then as ‘freak weather’. The reason for this is their default position that the world is warming, through human activity, and that winters will be wetter and warmer will be evidence of this. However, observation is not bearing this out and we have suddenly seen a rush of warmists holding forth that actually extreme cold is evidence of AGW.

    As for short term Met Office forecasts, they have already failed badly on that score this month with a severe weather warning for Northern Ireland for freezing conditions, just as the thaw set in and temps reached 7C. Not one person I spoke to in Belfast was at all surprised. To a man they said they have no faith in BBC/Met Office forecasts because they are so frequently wrong.

    I think this story is one many people around the UK identify with.

  30. 30 chris edwards 06/01/2011 at 1:13 am

    What planet are some of you on? the met could not predict any farther than what is outside the window, due to the bias the inject they are doomed to fail. 4 years ago accuweather were very good for my area then (Cornwall UK) but dropped off and were only OK here in Ontario however they have been way better than the government efforts.
    To all the closet warmists here applaud these guys they do better using science than the government agencies worldwide do using their new religion!

  31. 31 Ambrose 06/01/2011 at 7:24 am

    If a forecaster has consistently better accuracy than the other by the same standard then one is doing things better than the other. Be it reading weather in the guts of a raven or something completely different.

    If a forecaster has 40% accuracy and the other 70% it makes no sense to demand a 100% accuracy from the latter in order to say it is doing something right. If you couldn’t find incorrect predictions he wouldn’t have a 70%, would he?

    If we all play by the same rules it does not matter if there’s a storm at 30 km or at 300 km because it affects everyones accuracy in the same way.

    What the Met Office has done (if we believe they did predict the extreme winter… or “cold”) is the equivalent of waiting until 23:55, smelling the humidity in the air and then go on out and happily claim they predict early day showers. Dishonest.


  1. 1 Eye on Britain (2) Trackback on 03/01/2011 at 11:38 am
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