Met Office defends ‘nowcasting’

The Chief Executive of the Met Office, John Hirst, clearly subscribes to the view that if you keep repeating yourself and try to drown out any other sound, people will accept what you say as fact.  He’s certainly being given plenty of air time and column inches to spin his story about Met Office weather forecast accuracy.  But this is unsurprising given that his huge 25% pay rise last year depended upon performance and he is in self preservation mode.

Mr Hirst seems to be hoping that if he can hog the limelight and spin his version of events, people might not remember the laughable seasonal forecasts that were issued of a milder than average winter and might not notice the comment of his Director of Operations at the Met Office, Keith Groves, who made this frank admission on the BBC’s Daily Politics show:

‘I’m disappointed that our seasonal forecasts didn’t give a prediction or stronger probability of a colder winter.’

Hirst is trying to earn credit for warning us of the extreme cold weather and snow just as it was about to happen.  That is not weather forecasting, it is ‘nowcasting‘.  The Met Office was days behind US weather forecasts when the warning of January snow and ice was issued.  It’s nothing to be proud of.

Despite this the BBC is riding to the rescue in the form of climate propagandist Roger Harrabin, who has published an article focusing on criticism of Met Office “longer-term” forecasts (even though it is seasonal forecasting under the microscope so Harrabin is trying to sow confusion) in which he has sought the most supportive comments of the Met Office he could find.  The propaganda is so naked it is laughable.

But let’s be honest, when you’re paid more than the Prime Minister and you run a function that makes predictions based on their belief in global warming rather than actual weather and climatic observations, you’re going to fight tooth and nail to cover your back when the reality leaves you inches deep in the white stuff.  We can look forward to seeing more of John Hirst in the coming months as the focus turns to the Met Office’s prediction (hat tip: EU Referendum) that it’s:

“… more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record, beating the previous record year which was 1998.”

Why is it likely that this will come under scrutiny?  Perhaps because the expert meterologist whose forecasts proved accurate, Joe Bastardi, has made this comment on his blog

Let’s see what transpires.

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1 Response to “Met Office defends ‘nowcasting’”


  1. 1 Mike Spilligan 16/01/2010 at 3:47 pm

    … and what about “pastcasting”? On Wednesday (Jan. 13th)a “severe weather warning” was issued for the East Midlands at 1113, warning of black ice. I had discovered that for myself some four hours before.


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