Posts Tagged 'Met Office'

The Hype Office strikes again

met_office_logoMet Office forecasts are seemingly becoming ever more sensationalist.  Observed weather conditions too often show that predicted extreme weather either fails to materialise, or turns out to be nowhere near as extreme as forecast.

Yesterday was another case in point.  The media was saturated with worry-inducing forecasts of high levels of atmospheric pollution at concentrations never before seen in this country. The Met Office were at pains to spread the warnings around.  And they are at it again today.

Yet in the event, the ‘high or very high levels of air pollution across southern England and the Midlands’ came nowhere close to the predictions. It turns out the pollution levels three weeks ago were worse than yesterday’s ‘7’, but that hardly got any coverage and hardly anyone except those with severe respiratory conditions actually noticed any difference.

There’s method in the Met Office’s hype madness, from all these ‘weather warnings’ and triangles on TV maps that now appear in seemingly every other forecast for conditions that are almost always perfectly normal for the time of year, to the Met Office’s new overblown pollution predictions.  They know that people will only remember the overblown warnings and the media’s fealty in reporting them with due prominence.  It is all intended to embed a sense that our weather is becoming ever more extreme, to fit their narrative on human induced climate change – and justify ever more millions for ‘research’ and ever more lavish computer systems.

The Met Office’s typically quiet concession after the fact that things actually didn’t get as bad (£) – or even close to as bad – as they believed, for some reason or other, never gets the same prominence of course.  They are able to say they corrected the record if challenged, but they quietly make the correction in the same manner in which a newspaper will bury an inconvenient correction on page 31, in a single column inch of tightly spaced lettering near the foot of the page.

Then everything is fine again. Until the next time. Meanwhile the bonuses continue to flow from our pockets into theirs as reward for alarmism rather than accuracy, and the propaganda continues to gush out of their site in Exeter, and the sites of their alarmist University allies in Reading, Leeds and East Anglia.  Also, to ensure these fearmongers are never challenged on their hype, the BBC commissions ever more ludicrous reports to criticise giving airtime to people who seek to counter the ‘consensus’ and point out flaws in the science, thereby justifying the naked bias in editorial decison making and coverage of the subject.

It seems the greatest warming that is happening is that of our hearts as we joyfully fork over ever larger sums to fund this nonsense without complaint or revolt.

We could be in the grip of a decade of wet summers say scientists at Met Office climate summit…

… reports the Daily Wail in the latest big global warming, climate change, extreme weather story.

This is yet another thing that was never predicted by those wonderful, high certainty, government policy-influencing computer models.  No doubt this warrants another round of fat bonuses at the Met Office this year!

The real reason for the Met Office ‘extreme weather’ meeting

And the hype continues…  This is all part of the ongoing effort to create FUD in support of the political climate change agenda that services a lavish money train.  The Daily Wail is happy to play its part spreading the propaganda.

Have you noticed how until fairly recently weather forecasts just predicted the weather that was expected (to the usual mediocre standard).  But now it is a more common sight to see the weather forecaster standing in front of a split screen with the map on the left and large ‘weather warning’ triangles on the right.  But the weather warnings are seldom extreme events, they are the same kind of conditions we have long been used to on a sporadic basis, but now instead as simply being accepted as the varying nature of our weather they are presented in a way that deliberately suggests the conditions are somehow extreme, out of the ordinary and cause for concern.

I can think back to a May in the late 1980s where I was on my way to the coast and we had snow in southern England.  I can think of numerous occasions where heavy rain resulted in serious floods that covered playing local fields and football pitches.  Even ditches became small rivers and we kids built makeshift rafts to sail along them and try to sink each other.  I can think of several rotten summers where school holidays were characterised by rain, lack of sun and cooler than usual conditions that made a day jumping in the local river and larking about on the riverbank in our swimming trunks less than balmy.  What we are seeing now is not exceptional at all, and I doubt previous generations going back centuries would find them exceptional either.

The issue here is not that the weather has suddenly got very bad, it is that the weather is failing to conform with the Met Office’s predictions for a global warming thermaggedon.

The real reason for this hyped up meeting it that, having had to quietly and reluctantly dial down the rhetoric on ‘global warming’ in the face of observed events, the Met Office is seeking to reinforce its push of the ‘climate change’ narrative, where even conditions that run contrary to the Met Office’s previous predictions (not warmer, not drier, and not less snowy after all)  just happen to have the same human induced carbon root cause requiring the same politically driven taxpayer funded ‘solutions’.  There is nothing new under the sun here, apart for the desperate and cobbled together justifications for ‘action’ being presented to us.

Anyone being taken in by these hyperbolemongers deserves to be taken for fools.  The Met Office remains a poorly performing laughing stock devoted to hype in service of their and the government’s vested financial interests.

Untouchable Met Office accused of sloppy, slipshod science

As we keep saying about the Met Office’s reliance on computer modelling, ‘rubbish in’ derives ‘rubbish out’.

As this piece shows, it’s not just a matter of whether the Met Office models for the stratosphere are right or wrong; it is the absence of peer review and appalling management of their data, coupled with an inability to explain or reproduce the methodology that was used to arrive at their results.

How can any government or organisation have trust or confidence in the findings and forecasts of an entity that has such a slapdash approach to scientific method?

Never mind. The UK government has the Met Office’s back. Most of the media will turn a blind eye to play down public awareness. MPs will stay quiet on the subject in the House of Commons. Public money will continue being poured into Met Office wheezes and climate alarmism campaigns; and the tidy bonuses will continue to flow to its executives.

The science is not important. The money train must be kept running.

A day in the life of the Met Office’s London forecast

How the Met Office’s general forecast for London has changed over a 24-hour period.

24 hours ago

12 hours ago

Latest

If this is the amount of change the Met Office makes to a forecast in one day how can we possibly rely on longer range forecasts?  Perhaps they would do better to spend our money trying to get the basics right, you know, just a day or two ahead so we know what weather to expect before it arrives.

Met Office continues ‘nowcasting’ – gets weather spot on

Truly the Met Office is a world class meteorology department.  Their ability to get the weather forecast just right is uncanny – provided you only want an accurate forecast a few hours ahead of the weather conditions.

Last night this was the weather forecast for London (note the snow flakes)…

This morning this is the forecast for London…

The delightful part of all this is that when challenged about the accuracy of the forecast the Met Office will say they got it right and point to the latest forecast – even though just 12 hours earlier the forecast was somewhat different.  What value for money.  They really are earning those bonuses down in Exeter.

Met Office ‘nowcasting’ and the power of wind

While the Met Office hits back at critics and points to its five-day forecast record as ‘evidence’ of its accuracy, over the last 24 hours it has been quietly revising its forecasts so they look very different on the BBC Weather page to what they did two days ago.

It’s very easy to claim wonderful accuracy when you simply point to the last forecast only hours before the weather condition arrived.  This time yesterday the forecast overview page for London did not display a single snow flake.  But now…

london_weather

Hypothetically, anyone hoping for no snow who was making plans and relying on the Met Office forecast of two days ago are likely to be disappointed tonight.  Yet this ludicrous organisation still enjoins the public to trust is accuracy in forecasting weather trends years ahead, even though it has been forced to change those in recent weeks.  This isn’t forecasting, it’s nowcasting and we can all do that for ourselves by looking outside.  Yet we pay a fortune for this slanted crap.

Moving on from the Exeter-based scam artists, now is a good moment to take a quick look at another scam – wind power.  It’s a bitterly cold night, increasing the need for energy to warm homes.  So how much power is wind energy pumping into the grid at inflated prices?

When it’s needed most, it’s not there.  Yet billions of pounds of our money are being poured into this unreliable and inefficient form of generation, with thousands more turbines planned.  The insanity continues.

Scorchio!

The problem with having taken a leave of absence from the blog is catching up on stories that are days old and presenting them as timely.

No matter, this little weather related story that emerged last week is worth covering nearly a week on. It comes in a blog post by our good friends down at the Met Office, reporting average temperatures across the UK in September were 0.7C below the 30-year average.

Of course, it’s weather not climate. However it goes without saying that if this was an increase of 0.7C it would have been a lead item on BBC News and in the Guardian, and cited worldwide as another indicator of the forthcoming thermogeddon. If I blinked and missed it then I take it back.  But, being a fall in temperature, it seems to have been relegated to being a one sentence footnote swept smoothly to the margins as the focus is put firmly on there having been more rain and more sunshine. The message is clear, nothing to see here… move along.

The provisional figures for the whole of September are in and, overall, the UK received 112.4mm of rain which is 117% of the long-term average. The wettest period of the month fell between the 23rd and 26th but with a very dry start to the month, the UK ended up 29th wettest in the national record that goes back to 1910.

The UK was also a little sunnier than usual, with 144.2 hours of sunshine, making it the 10th sunniest September on record. Meanwhile, the average temperature was 11.9°C which is 0.7°C below the 30-year average.

 

Met Office forecasting produces another epic failure

Regular readers will remember the intense period of blogging activity during the 2010/11 winter about the Met Office’s weather forecast failures and our work in exposing their fraudulent attempt to conceal the reality of their seasonal forecasting activity.

After handing the information and evidence on a plate to the Daily Mail and the Daily Express who then ignored the story – and being told by three MPs they would investigate the evidence but true to form did not keep their promise – this blog has largely left the Met Office alone.  It seemed pointless devoting time and effort pulling back the curtains to show the Met Office in its true light because the establishment has a vested interest in protecting the Met Office due to its high profile role and profitable role in the climate change industry.

But perhaps there is still some value in drawing attention to the rank failures of the Met Office in the hope more people ask questions about why the department gets its weather forecasting so wrong so often, and ask why its executives are lavishly rewarded each year with substantial performance related bonuses and are protected from scrutiny and criticism despite demonstrably false statements.  So it is we offer our thanks to Paul Homewood – writing on Watts Up With That? – who draws global attention to the Met Office’s seasonal forecast for UK for the period including April.

It is another epic failure by the Met Office characterised by a forecast of drier and forecast of warmer weather being more likely (as always, in line with their global warming orthodoxy and warming bias of their computer models) in the UK during April.  No doubt the Met Office will issue its now standard retort that people do not understand ‘probability’ and excuse that these forecasts must be used in conjunction with 30-day, 15-day and 1-to-5-day forecasts.

The observed reality makes a mockery of the Met Office precipitation and temperature forecasts once again.  This month just gone was the wettest April since records began in 1910, and the coldest since 1989, at some 0.65C below than the 1971-2000 average.

As always, there will be no investigation.  The media will happily mock the contrast between the drought in force in southern and central England, but will steer well clear of serving the public interest by focusing on why these forecasts are so badly wrong.  Attention will be diverted by all parties to other subjects, particularly efforts to fight climate change.  The performance bonuses will continue to flow to the Met Office’s executives as surely as night follows day.

It’s always helpful to connect the dots.  The Chairman of the Met Office is Robert Napier.  Not only is he a Non-Executive Director of Anglian Water, which has a drought order in place, he is also the former Chief Executive of WWF-UK, the UK arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature.  That is the same WWF exposed as being engaged in systematic fraud in the developing world and which supplies the International Panel on Climate Change with material to prop up the climate change industry.

Met Office 1 Public Purse 0

And so, one year after MPs doggedly refused to examine the evidence of Met Office lies and deceptions, a group of them have determined that supercomputers are required because they want the Met Office to produce seasonal forecasts but be clearer about the chances of getting them wrong.

The long running saga of Met Office distortions, whitewashes and cover ups covered on this blog last winter started as a result of Julia Slingo bleating about the need for yet more public money to ramp up Met Office supercomputing power.  Thanks to the Parliamentary equivalent of the three wise monkeys, we have come full circle and her wish is almost certain to be granted.

Ignorant of the fact the Met Office does create seasonal forecasts (click on ‘lies’ link above for documentary evidence) and only renamed them and changed their location because of their poor accuracy, and ignorant of the fact that all the supercomputing power in the world is useless if the models used are populated with assumptions and biases that do not reflect the reality of natural and chaotic climate system, the politicians are readying themselves to hand over millions of pounds more of our money on a whim.

We know why it is happening, and that it suits corporate interests but that doesn’t make it acceptable.  Not one MP (and I engaged with a number of them at the height of the Met Office winter forecast scandal and provided them with evidence of Met Office lies to parliament and the public) has stood up for truth and probity, or defended the interests of the public.

When our elected representatives continue to set aside the facts and ignore reality there is no hope that we can prevent this raid on the public purse.  We can confidently forecast one thing, even with the new supercomputing power we will not see any improvement in Met Office predictions.  Their determination to push the AGW narrative and the man-made CO2 scapegoat means their models are biased towards rapidly increasing temperatures.  It’s why they got forecasts badly wrong before and why they will continue to do so.  At our expense.  Nothing has changed.

Harrabin achieves aim despite BBC Weather Test unravelling

EU Referendum has a tidy summary of events this morning, building on today’s Mail on Sunday story about the Roger Harrabin inspired BBC Weather Test project falling apart.  If Weather Test does finally collapse it will not be any surprise to regular readers here.

For in addition to the issues highlighted on EU Referendum, we can point to our coverage of the evident lack of impartiality among the individuals and institutions Harrabin had lined up to assess the weather and the forecasts for the project, which would fundamentally undermine it:

  • The Met Office would be acting as competitor and judge, using its own weather stations
  • The statistics would be dealt with by Leeds University – one of three academic institutions with whom the Met Office formed what is described as ‘a world class academic partnership to tackle the problems of climate change ‘
  • The ‘independent’ meteorologist for the project, Philip Eden, is another BBC man and has since that blog post been accused of making disparaging remarks questioning the accuracy of independent weathermen’s forecasts

After we had aired these factors we went on to speak to several meteorologists and established a major flaw at the very heart of the project, concerning the weighting of the day to day results and major weather events.  If a competing forecaster was able to produce a forecast accuracy rate for, say, 75% of the days in the test period when there are no major weather events, but completely miss major events, how would that be weighted to demonstrate that when it comes to forecasts that really matter their accuracy was found wanting?

There was nothing in any of Harrabin’s written or verbal pieces about the Weather Test that suggested any thought had been devoted to this.  It defies belief that Harrabin would have had dealings with meterological specialists about this project and not known this problem or communicated how it would be addressed.

When everythying is looked at in the round it is hard to argue that the BBC Weather Test was set up to do anything other than fail.  Perhaps the reason for this is that is provided a convenient distraction from the highly public failings of the Met Office over its lamentable 2009 summer and 2010-11 winter forecasts.  Maybe that was all that was needed.  The Met Office would be afforded some breathing space from its warm-biased forecasts if it was committed to having its predictions measured against other forecasters whose records appeared to be more accurate.  People would wait for qualitative evidence that proved what they had long suspected.

Harrabin has done his bit for the organisation he has repeatedy provided cover for.  Greater love hath no journalist than he lay down his credibility and career for the cause. Having been completely compromised by his warmist affiliations and biased analyses, and now safely tucked out of sight in the United States, Harrabin can’t be held to account for the wreckage he has left behind.  But he has bought time for the Met Office and deflected attention from its failures for a time, and for that he will have earned the eternal gratitude of the Met Office and the AGW alarmist community for his services to the cause.  It is mission accomplished – and the money from speaking at or chairing warmist events will continue to flow into his bank account as a lavish reward.

Two wrongs still don’t make it right

In the aftermath of the Oslo and Utoya mass murders the vicious and juvenile leftist attempt to smear anyone who is right of centre, by highlighting any political position that appears to have been shared by Anders Breivik, continues apace.

It was only a matter of time before some activist would dig through Breivik’s ‘manifesto’ to see if he held any views on climate change.  They have, and he did. Consequently, because Breivik is a ‘climate change denier’ believes that global warming is an eco-Marxist plot ‘to create a world government’ using the ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming scam’, anyone who shares that view is, by definition, in league with the evil, homocidal maniac.  In fact, the piece cross posted onto Grist.org apportions responsibility for Breivik’s views on the subject on ‘climate denial pundits':

Inspired by climate denial pundits, right-wing Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik railed against global warming “enviro-communism” in his manifesto.

You can almost feel the author itching to make a connection between ‘deniers’ and the murderous attack itself.  The man who wrote this warped article is one Brad Johnson, editor of an electronic, Joe Romm cheerleading rag called ‘ThinkProgress Green‘. His hatred of anyone who dares question the hypothesis to which he subscribes is evident by the inflammatory rhetoric he employs throughout his labour of ego. Clearly the irony of this is lost on him, probably due to his mypoic, tribal, quasi-religous observance to left wing orthodoxy.  He kindly spells out his vested interests in leftist campaign groups to show where he is coming from:

Johnson is one of those big government loving, politicised, rent seeking ‘scientists’ who is so threatened by anyone highlighting flaws in the hypothesis he is wedded to he tries to invalidate them by labelling them climate change ‘deniers’.  He is completely wrong.

The issue is not whether the climate is changing, but what the cause is and to what extent mankind has any influence over it.  So vicious is Johnson’s assault it has prompted a remarkable comment from a somewhat unexpected quarter:

Ouch. While trying to draw parallels between a mass murderer and those who dispute the narrative on climate change, in a crass attempt to shame them into silence on the subject lest they be labelled Breivik sympathisers or allies, the distasteful Johnson has managed to fall foul of one of the people he would reasonably be expected to idolise.

However, in his comment, Richard Betts states that the ‘actual scientific evidence [for man made climate change] is pretty good’.  The problem with this assertion by Betts is that, like Johnson, he is completely wrong.

The ‘evidence’ for man made climate change that exists today is utterly flawed, fact.   There is still no proof whatsoever of causation, fact. The climate models upon which the whole climate change industry is based have singularly failed to predict the hiatus in warming over the last 15 years and as the Climategate emails made clear, the politicised scientists irresponsibly and cynically pushing the hypothesis as fact can’t account for the lack of warming, fact.  Therefore the claim that mankind is to blame for the observed warming over the decades remains nothing more than a theory. Fact.

Johnson’s piece is the latest in what will be a long line of similar hatchet jobs that seek to make right thinking people feel guilty for their views and opinions.  Over at EU Referendum, Richard ruminates on this with an excellent piece that puts matters into context and shows up the shallow nature of those seeking to exploit the situation for political gain.

Now is not the time to be cowed into silence. The only person responsible for the actions of Anders Breivik is Anders Breivik.  Just because he shared some of the views of a large number of other people on a number of issues does not make the views wrong.  What was wrong was his reaction to them.  Opponents of big government, the EU, climate change orthodoxy, et all have nothing to be ashamed of.  Keep presenting evidence that exposes failings in the narrative that misleads the public.

There is more tosh in the same mould here.

Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre

The Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre is a key role.  The man at the top is Dr Chris Gordon.

Just last month he was appearing at the Chinese Institute of Atmospheric Physics after leading a team of Met Office Hadley Centre scientists delivering lectures to academics and students there.

So it is of some interest that despite the absence of any news release from the Met Office or story in the media that I can find, Dr Gordon’s role is currently being advertised – boasting an £80,000 salary, benefits package, the all important bonus irrespective of performance and a tidy Civil Service Pension…

A call to the Met Office press office was met with a surprisingly defensive response from Helen Chivers to my request to be directed to the announcement that Chris Gordon is leaving his role.  The reason being one does not exist.  All they would say was Dr Gordon was moving to another role in the Met Office’s ‘Science’ area, but would not/could not say what role he will be taking.

As far as the Met Office is concerned the Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre leaving his position and someone else being recruited is not newsworthy, despite Dr Gordon being listed as one of the publicly funded Met Office’s seven most senior scientists.

Where he turns up at the Met Office will be of interest.  Also of interest will be the next holder of the Hadley Centre Director role.  This will be a key appointment by the Met Office and it will be of significant public interest to see who takes on the role and what their background and approach is.

Met Office’s pathetic self justification and lack of attention to detail

This morning the ‘Met Office News Blog‘ published a post of self congratulation titled ‘A year in the life of the Met Office’ in a tame attempt to justify the ‘news’ (something already examined and trailed by this blog in early May) that its staff will benefit from £1.5m worth of bonus payments.

We learn from the Met Office’s blog post that their Annual Report and Accounts for this year have now been published and are available to view on their website.  However as of 12.30pm today all attempts to locate the said information have thus far failed. Accuracy is clearly not something synonymous with the Met Office so this is no great surprise. Nor is attention to detail given the latest news page was apparently last updated on 4 May 2011 even though it holds news releases as recent as 24 June.

We are also told via the blog though that commercial revenues are up £2.9m on last year to £32.2m for FY 2010/11. Interestingly we are also told that for the second year running, the Met Office has exceeded all of its Business Performance Measures, including its weather forecasting targets and business profitability.

One can only assume that the number of commercial customers who have contracts with the Met Office is not a factor in those business performance measures.  For this blog learned a month ago through a FOI request that the number of customers purchasing services from the Met Office fell from 1257 last year to 1178 in the year being reported in the accounts.  In fact, since 2008-9 the Met Office commercial customer base has shrunk by 17.3%.

While the Met Office is at pains to tell us their range of products and services has increased along with their forecasting quality (dubious doesn’t come close to describing that claim) the fact is the trend in confidence in the department is downward.  If their forecasting quality had improved why is it senior Met Office personnel have spent time in the media excusing their performance and saying they need yet more public money to increase their supercomputing capability?

And while the Met Office claims to have ‘accurately forecast 12 of the 13 big weather patterns that blasted the UK last winter and 80% of people surveyed said they were aware of the warnings we put out and 95% of those found the warnings useful‘ it is difficult to have confidence in such assertions when the Met Office’s claim that the public did not want seasonal forecasts was based on a sample of just 16 people – and its claim that it no longer does seasonal forecasts was shown by Met Office Board meeting minutes to be a lie.

When considering this last year in the life of the Met Office perhaps people will do well to take into account the reality rather than the spin emanating from Exeter, designed to head off questions about bonus payments – subsidised by the hard pressed and poorly served taxpayer – that are wholly unjustified.

Another day, another IPCC report supporting vested interests

A report from the International Panel on Climate Change claiming that, within 40 years, nearly 80 per cent of the world’s energy needs could be met from renewable sources, most notably through a massive expansion of wind and solar power, is just the latest example of that body spreading disinformation in order to prop up vested financial interests.

One of the very few reasons for venturing onto the website of the pisspoor Telegraph these days is the fact Christopher Booker still writes there. And he has taken on the subject with gusto and a clarity that leaves other journalists in the shade.  As Booker explains:

What only came to light when the full report was published last week was the peculiar source of this extraordinarily ambitious claim. It was based solely on a paper co-authored last year by an employee of Greenpeace International and something called the European Renewable Energy Council. This Brussels-based body, heavily funded by the EU, lobbies the European Commission on behalf of all the main renewable industries, such as wind and solar. The chief author of the Greenpeace paper, Sven Teske, was also a lead author on Chapter 10 of the IPCC report, which means that the report’s headline message came from a full-time environmental activist, supported by a lobby group representing those industries that stand most to benefit financially from its findings.

Booker goes on the challenge the key claims in the report by resorting to the facts about wind power inefficiency and explaining just how much large corporations stand to make from wind farm developments, such as the one at Fullabrook Down in north Devon. Wind power is not about solving the energy challenge, it is about making vast sums of money at the expense of the taxpayer – first through the government subsidy handed out to make a wind farm financially viable, secondly through the law which forces energy companies to buy every watt of energy they produce regardless of the price and thirdly through the construction of conventional energy generation capacity that has to be on permanent standby to produce power when demand outstrips the supply due to the wind not blowing.

Step out of this foetid IPCC hothouse into the real world and consider what is going on at Fullabrook Down in north Devon, where they are constructing what will soon be the largest onshore wind factory in England. The developers boast of how the 22 giant 3MW turbines they are building on the hills between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe, at a cost of more than £60 million, will have the “capacity” to generate 66MW of electricity, and how they will contribute £100,000 a year to “community projects” to buy off the hostility of local residents.

In reality, this wind farm’s output is not likely to average more than 16.5MW, or 25 per cent of its capacity (the average output of UK turbines last year was only 21 per cent), an amount so pitifully small that it represents barely 2 per cent of the output of a medium-sized gas-fired power station. Yet for this, the developers can hope to earn £13 million a year, of which £6.5 million will be subsidy and of which the £100,000 they hand back to the local community will represent well under 1 per cent.

As always, we have to follow the money to understand how and why these wind farms are still allowed to be constructed. We have to identify the vested financial interests of big businesses and wealthy landowners who cash in at our expense to install wind turbines despite knowing the energy generation benefit to the consumer will be negligable.

We also need to be mindful of the state propaganda arms such as the Met Office which talk up and lend support to such projects, because rather than focus on getting on with doing their job better they prefer to focus on bandwagon jumping and pushing politicised agendas that support their own narrow commercial interests.

This is the reality of Britain today as our ‘representatives’ run riot with our money to line their own pockets and those of their wealthy backers. What defies belief is that there are still some useful idiots who want to deindustrialise the world, and who highlight examples in support of their argument that are shown to be false, who seem to think wind power is the way to go. Perhaps their vested interest is in candle making.

Met Office losing commercial customers

Earlier this month a report in the Sunday Express (published online late on 7th May) about the forecast for the Royal Wedding made a couple of interesting observations that prompted a blog post here on AM.

Firstly there was confirmation that the Met Office will pay performance-related bonuses this year which will push the total paid to its 1,800 staff in the last six years to almost £15million. Apparently these bonuses are based on profitability and when the Met Office meets its targets on forecasting accuracy.

Secondly there was a reminder that the majority of the Met Office’s £190million annual income comes from public funds by means of contracts to provide services to government departments and that critics say it is time to force it to compete in the open market against other forecasters.

It was these factoids that made me curious about the reality of the Met Office’s forecasting performance.  Do its executives really deserve the bonuses they are going to receive?

While the Met Office might like to aggressively counter stories like that in the Sunday Express, as it did on 9th May by claiming its forecast the day before the Royal Wedding was more accurate than the newspaper claimed, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  Or in weather forecasting terms, seeing how many private customers are sufficiently satisfied with Met Office forecasts to continue buying services from them commercially.  So this blog submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Met Office asking them:

Please will you supply me with full details of:

1. The number of non-Governmental (private) customers purchasing
forecasting services from the Met Office in the years 2008, 2009
and 2010 respectively

2. The total revenue received from non-Governmental (private)
contracts for forecasting services provided by the Met Office in
the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively

Please note I am not requesting details of the individual customers
or specifics of their contract terms.

It was a clear enough request.  However, the Met Office’s reply seemed to be trying to conceal something:

The number of commercial customers purchasing services from the Met Office over the three year period would show us whether the customer base is stable, rising or falling.  The number of commercial customers is a fair reflection of customer confidence in Met Office forecasts.  But the Met Office clearly did not want to deal in specifics.

So a follow up was sent asking that they provide me with the exact number of commercial customers in each of the three years specified as per my request.  Their reply arrived today:

While revenues (for the years where figures are available) have remained fairly constant, we can now see that since 2008-9 the Met Office commercial customer base has shrunk by 17.3%.

We can now see why the figures were not provided in response to the original request.  And this is happening against a backdrop of independent forecasters adding customers to their books.

Customers generally don’t leave specialist service providers that deliver good performance, so it is reasonable to assume that faith in Met Office forecasting is declining due to accuracy failings.  If performance is on the wane the question that must be answered is how can the Met Office’s executives continue to award themselves bonuses year on year?

Without the cushions and comfort blankets provided by guaranteed government contracts funded with our tax pounds one wonders how the Met Office would fare operating exclusively in the private sector.

The volcanic ash cloud story repeats itself

This is a story that needs to be covered properly, and thankfully Dr Richard North at EU Referendum has done so.

One of the many scoops broken by the EU Referendum blog was the story last year when we had the last Icelandic volcano eruption. Uniquely, Richard North identified that the situation had been made inestimably worse by the lack of real time direct ash monitoring, owing to the shortage of aviation assets.

As he recorded last May, the one and only aircraft capable of carrying out the necessary monitoring, a BAE 146 operated by FAAM, was in the hanger with its instrumentation stripped out, about to undergo a paint job.

Now, a year later, the airlines are disputing the severity of the situation, and Ryanair is disagreeing with the CAA about the extent (or presence) of any ash in Scotland. Once again, there is an urgent need to carry out monitoring to find out exactly what is going on, but history is repeating itself.  The FAAM aircraft is currently engaged on a full flying programme and is not available for volcanic ash sampling.

While it is clear Ryanair’s test flight cannot gauge the extent of ash concentration in the air, a strip down and inspection of the engines on the aircraft used would provide much richer information about the risk to aviation.  If the engines have been unaffected by flying through the ash particles the Met Office computer models say are there, then there is no reason to suspend flight operations.

Perhaps that is a point the media should be making, but thus far our intrepid newshounds have failed miserably to do.

Can’t they just try to get the weather forecast right?

And so the propaganda continues:

The Met Office has teamed up with Rapanui, an eco-fashion company.

The Met Office eco clothing collection is made from organic cotton in an ethical, wind powered factory and features a range of weather related designs inspired by the imagery, science and history of the Met Office.

Mart Drake-Knight co-founder of Rapanui said:
“The Met Office is the international authority on climate change research, as well as being our national weather service that provides weather forecasts that we can trust and rely on.”

Perhaps Mr Drake-Knight should be more mindful of the Trade Descriptions Act when spouting assertions like that in PR puff pieces for the Met Office.  There was once a time when a meteorological office would focus on, you know, just getting the weather forecast right.  But just doing the weather is not so important when thar’s gold to be had in that there climate change activism…

There now follows a propaganda broadcast for the Met Office

Although it took place at around 8.20am this morning, this should not be allowed to pass without comment and I’ve been itching to get online to do just that.

The venue was BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (listen again), the interviewing host was Sarah Montague and the guest was the Met Office’s government services director, Phil Evans. The subject was the Commons Transport Select Committee’s recommendation of investing £10m more in the Met Office to improve its seasonal weather forecasting.  Or so it thinks.

The Met Office’s money grubbing for millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay for more supercomputing power is something this blog has covered before.  But the Transport Committee has swallowed hook, line and sinker the distraction techniques employed by the Met Office over the failure to forecast the extremely cold early winter and played into the Met Office’s hands by endorsing their ‘if only we had more money’ plea.

As the post title suggests, this wasn’t an interview, it was a naked PR exercise.  Montague was worse than useless.  There was no challenge about the 70% average or cooler versus 60% average or warmer ‘forecast’, which the Met Office has previously said proved they had seen the harsh cold snap coming and told the government.   There was no probing to test the claim that longer range forecasting could be improved by buying more computing power.  There was no answer given to the comparison question about whether this was something other countries have that results in more accurate forecasts.  And when asked what the new investment would do, Evans’ answer was meaningless waffle about running models to get more details about the atmosphere and so give the Met Office a sounder footing about understanding the risk of severe weather.

Why was no one like Piers Corbyn from WeatherAction asked for comment? Or someone from Positive Weather Solutions to examine whether (supposed lack of) supercomputing capability is the reason Met Office forecasts of anything more than a couple of days hence are so unreliable? Why was no effort made to track down Bryan Leyland, whose own forecasts outperformed the Met Office although he used nothing more technical than Microsoft Excel?

This was nothing more than the uncritical and disgracefully biased BBC giving a free pass to their climate change campaigning friends at the Met Office to broadcast a partial viewpoint, without challenge or scrutiny, that might result in yet more taxpayers’ money being poured down the drain.  It was yet another example of BBC propaganda at its worst and the listening public being presented with wildly distorted opinion masquerading as fact.

Met Office covers itself in more bonuses

We rather hope that some media hack who is vaguely displaying signs of consciousness will seek out Met Office Chief Executive John Hirst and take the opportunity to ask this richly remunerated, teflon coated individual his definition of a performance related bonus.

For it seems that when it comes to the Met Office, performance related bonuses do not require performance to be good or even adequate.

It is utterly incredible, and defies both logic and reason, that after the manifest failures of the Met Office over its winter forecast those in senior positions will be awarded payments over and above their salaries.  The Met Office claimed it forecasted the bitterly cold early winter only didn’t tell the public, yet Freedom of Information requests by this blog and fellow blogger Katabasis drew out the forecast provided to the Government which proved to be statistically meaningless.

Thereafter this blog then exposed of the Met Office’s subsequent efforts to deceive the public and distort information sought by MPs in Parliament over that forecast.  We also discovered that the Met Office’s seasonal forecasts were only renamed and relocated rather than discontinued, as evidenced by its own Board Minutes.  Taken together these issues demonstrated it is an organisation beset by poor standards that is more concerned with pursuing agendas and absorbing public money than its core activity – forecasting the weather.

The Sunday Express, whose sister title the Daily Express was handed the Met Office story and supporting documentary evidence on a plate but failed to run with it, highlights that the plan to pay bonuses comes just days after the departments latest high profile forecasting failure.  This concerns the day of the Royal Wedding and in the story our friend Piers Corbyn gets a positive mention for his accuracy once again.

Right up to 29th April the Met Office was forecasting heavy showers that would dampen the day and affect thousands of street parties.  Many people who ventured to London took wet weather gear with them while many more planned indoor celebrations due to the forecast. Those who ignored the threat of rain were treated to a mild day with plenty of sunshine, as observed by a television audience of hundreds of millions around the world.

While the Met Office compounds its failure to cover itself in glory when it comes to weather forecasting it seems to have no problem covering itself in unjustifiable bonuses and telling porkies.  Just like last year


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