It seems that it isn’t only bloggers and newspaper journalists who understand the infamous temperature probability map that has done the rounds since this blog made a screenshot of it and published it.
This blog submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Cabinet Office to enquire if it issued any instructions or restrictions concerning the use of the ‘private’ Met Office forecast to the Government. The Cabinet Office states that it gave no such instructions to the Met Office. It also included the Met Office forecast that readers will now be familiar with.
But tacked onto the end of the FOI response, on page 8, were redacted copies of a couple of emails between the Cabinet Office’s Civil Contingencies Sectretariat (CCS) and the Met Office. One of those relates to the forecast information the National Grid was using – screenshot below.
It is clear that the government’s understanding is that the temperature probability map is exactly what we showed John Hirst acknowledging it to be yesterday, a forecast. The differential between the probability map and the forecast received by the Cabinet Office is clearly identified as being the age of the forecast. The difference can be accounted for by the Met Office’s two-week update cycle.
The clear inference here is that by the time National Grid and the media had used the temperature probability map to state the Met Office was forecasting a warmer than average winter, the Met had already updated its forecast to the one supplied to the Cabinet Office. This and the information in the screenshot below (helpfully highlighted by the Cabinet Office), refutes Met Office claims that the map was not a forecast and that it had not suggested a warmer than average winter:
The Met Office has twisted itself into so many contortions to provide it with deniability of any forecast that is inaccurate, it has put itself in a position where they are telling the media, the public, bloggers, National Grid and the Cabinet Office that black is actually white.
The Met Office did not consistently forecast the 60% probability of an average or colder than average winter. Indeed, the Cabinet Office actually refers to figures that bear out what was shown on the probability map – around a 60%-80% (below tightened up to say 75%) probability of a warmer than average winter:
What does all this mean? Simply that the Met Office is not capable of producing forecasts of weather more than a week or so ahead of time, unlike other forecasters who do not have a fraction of the computing power available to them.
The issue is the Met Office model assumes that as atmospheric CO2 rises, so temperatures must rise – and this means longer range forecasts have an in-built warm bias that can result in inaccurate forecasts as we have seen over the last three years. As such while their short term and ‘nowcasting’ performance is broadly acceptable, anything forecast beyond a few days seems fundamentally flawed due to a blind faith in the hypothesis of CO2 driven global warming and so we can have no confidence in it.