Thursday, January 10th 2013, 2:24 PM EST
The Met Office is very cross with me. Well you can hardly blame it given that I've just published a big piece explaining what a spectacular waste of taxpayers' money it is.
So now it has used some of the £200 million we pay it every year to get one of its in-house turd-polishers to publish a defiant blogpost defending its inglorious forecasting record, such as its non-existent "barbecue summer" and the terrible, snow-bound winter of 2010 which, as late as October that year, it was confidently predicting would be "unusually dry and mild."
The Met Office's pathetic defence? That its five day forecasts accurately predicted all the weather events I claimed it failed to predict – and here to prove it was a letter from an Assistant Chief Constable and a successful complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.
This is just the kind of weaselly obfuscation you'd expect from an organisation as politicised and compromised as the Met Office. Here it is, misleadingly defending itself against a criticism which was never actually made. No one is quibbling with the Met Office's five-day forecasts: indeed in the article I quoted the Global Warming Policy Foundation's Dr David Whitehouse praising their accuracy. Rather, the issue is with the Met Office's medium-range forecasts, which for years have persistently erred on the side of predicting non-existent warmth because they have been corrupted by exactly the same dodgy computer models which tell us that as CO2 rises so inexorably will "global warming." For more details, read my old blog post The Met Office: Lousier Than A Dead Octopus.
Next the Met Office seeks to defend the integrity of its recent press release – loyally regurgitated by the BBC's Roger Harrabin – which sought to imply that there has been something abnormal about the recent rain record. It listed the "Top 5 wettest years", four of which were from between 2000 and 2012. It claimed: "Looking at individual countries, 2012 was the wettest year on record for England, third wettest for Wales, 17th wettest for Scotland and 40thwettest for Northern Ireland." It quoted its house boffin, Prof Julia Slingo, saying: ""The trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we are seeing around the world, in countries such as India and China, and now potentially here in the UK." And it sought to imply that this all had to do with global warming: "Increasing global temperatures may be another factor. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture and we have seen an increase of about 0.7 °C in global temperatures since pre-industrial times. From basic physics, this would equate to about a 4% increase in moisture in the atmosphere which means there is a greater potential for heavy rain."
Do you see what's going on here? You should do for it's about as subtle as a dead horse. What the Met Office is doing is deliberately talking up the meme which has become increasingly fashionable since global warming inconveniently halted in 1997: the idea that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have created something called "global weirding" or "extreme weather." It's a very useful theory for the climate alarmists because a) it distracts from the failure of their global warming theory and b) it means that whenever weather does anything remotely odd, anywhere in the world – which weather does, by nature, all the time – it can be cited in support of their alarmism.
Hence my criticisms in the article. If you look at the Met Office's longer term climate records going right back to 1766 you'll find there's nothing particularly abnormal about the recent rain. But of course the Met Office wasn't going to mention this, instead citing a much more recent record so as to make the 2012 rains seem more "extreme" and anomalous. I'm not the only one who suspects the Met Office of playing fast and loose here. When statistician Douglas J Keenan plotted the annual precipitation records on a chart, he was so disgusted by the Met Office's abuse of the statistical method that he wrote to Professor Slingo to complain:
From the plot, it appears that we should not have concern about recent annual precipitation being overly high. Moreover, during the last decade, 2011 (787 mm) and 2003 (761 mm) are particularly low.
By omitting the above plot, and any mention of the information in the plot, the Met Office would seem to have misled the public and the media. Consider this: if a listed company reported on its financial position, and omitted data that was as material to its position as the above plot is to the state of precipitation, the people who were responsible would probably face prosecution.
Obviously it must have been very galling for the Met Office to be called out in this way – and to be roundly condemned in a gloriously robust Daily Mail editorial as having committed it a "crime against science and the public." Clearly, it had to come up with some form of defence to protect its £200 million a year gravy train, but its case is so feeble and unconvincing you almost wonder why it bothered.
Let's just remind ourselves of the key charges against the Met Office:
1. Since 1990, when it was taken over by the arch-warmist Sir John Houghton (founder of the IPCC), it has become so wedded to the cause of promoting the AGW "consensus" with the help of its dodgy computer models that it has grown increasingly out of touch with climate reality.
2. The dramatic warming it has been so assiduously been predicting these last few year simply hasn't materialised. This suggests there is a major flaw with the AGW theory on which the Met Office has rather foolishly decided to stake its credibility.
3. Rather than admit its failure publicly, the Met Office tried to adjust its forecasts by stealth – on Christmas Eve: a good time to bury bad news – and got found out, embarrassed and humiliated.
4. Its desperation to "prove" the existence of man-made global warming has had an unfortunate knock-on effect on its weather forecasting, which in recent years has grown unreliable – especially in the medium and long term forecasting range – because it uses the same computer models which predict CO2 induced global warming.
5. We pay £200 million a year for this useless quango. We deserve far better for our money.
6. The Met Office has not managed to defend itself against a single one of these key charges, preferring instead to do what it always does when criticised: deny, distract, obfuscate. The blog it has written justifying itself is no better than an arsonist standing up in court and saying: "Well I'm not saying whether or not I burned down all those buildings your honour, but it's bleeding outrageous of Mr Delingpole to say I didn't wipe my shoes on the doormats before I visited those premises: and I demand he retracts that outrageous allegation immediately."
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