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.