A row between weathermen threatens to wreck a BBC-funded project to test the accuracy of Britain’s weather forecasts.
The study, estimated to have cost tens of thousands of pounds of licence fee payers’ money, has been devised by the BBC’s senior environment analyst, Roger Harrabin.
But seven of the eight forecasters and bodies asked to take part have not agreed, with two blaming Mr Harrabin for undermining the study’s credibility, claiming that his reputation is tarnished by his close links to green groups who believe in man-made climate change.
Last year The Mail on Sunday reported that Mr Harrabin accepted £15,000 in grants from the university at the heart of the ‘Climategate’ scandal in which scientists were accused of exaggerating the effect of climate change. He used the money from the University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to fund seminars run by an ‘ad hoc’ partnership of himself and a friend.
The BBC Weather Test was trumpeted as the first assessment of the reliability of forecasting after a series of blunders including the Met Office’s forecast of a ‘barbecue summer’ of 2009 that never was and the failure to warn the public of the very cold winter of 2010.
But the project, supported by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, has descended into chaos. It has been dogged by disagreements between the BBC and the forecasters from its start nearly two years ago. The Met Office, the national forecasting body, says it won’t commit until it is sure the tests are ‘scientifically robust’ and will not cost any more ‘taxpayers’ money’.
Updated below with MUST READ comments from Piers Corbyn