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UK Met Office: Lack of computing power ‘hindering weather forecasting’ October 27, 2011

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Lack of computing power ‘hindering weather forecasting’

Hmm, the UK Met Office has a £30 million Super Computer (with a massive carbon bigfoot) and they claim that a lack of computing power is ‘hindering weather forecasting’. Garbage in, Garbage out boys! They’ll just get to the wrong forecast even faster he he he.

Maybe Piers Corbyn, the man who repeatedly beats the Met Office at its own game, can donate his laptop to the Met Office. He clearly beats them hands down when it comes to weather forecasting and his laptop has a much smaller carbon footprint too!

Via the BBC, 26 October 2011

A lack of computing power is limiting the improvements the Met Office can make to the accuracy of its weather forecasts, MPs have been told.

Prof Paul Hardaker, head of the Royal Meteorological Society, was speaking to the Commons science committee.

He said more supercomputers were needed to carry out complex calculations, but finding the money was “an issue”.

Via The Telegraph, 27 Aug 2009

Here is a rundown of the Met Office super computer by numbers:

:: The £30 million computer – more powerful than 100,000 standard PCs – was installed in the Met Office’s new £80 million headquarters in May.

:: It is capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second to feed data to 400 scientists.

:: The computer uses 1.2 megawatts of energy to run – enough to power a small town.


BBC Meteorologist Confirms Climate Skeptic Forecaster Was Right September 14, 2011

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BBC Meteorologist Confirms Climate Skeptic Forecaster Was Right

John O’Sullivan
Suite101, Sep 13, 2011

British maverick forecaster, Piers Corbyn, wins BBC accolade for best long-range weather prediction for Summer 2011.

With the summer of 2011 ending as the coolest in the United Kingdom since 1993 Corbyn has again left the UK Meteorological (Met) Office in the shade with his unerring accuracy.

BBC meteorologist and former Met man, Paul Hudson, has graciously conceded on his blog, “Of all the long range forecasts I read, only Piers Corbyn at Weather Action can claim success with his summer forecast.” [1.]

Disappointing Official UK Weather Statistics for Summer 2011

Across the UK, the mean summer temperature was 0.4 Celsius below the long-term average making it the coolest for almost 20 years at 13.6 Celsius. Average summer rainfall was almost 20 percent above average with sunshine hours slightly below normal.

These Met Officer figures are “provisional” figures because, once again, they have been released before the end of the month. Piers, always cynical of Met Office motives, warms that often these provisional numbers get revised downwards so we could see 2011 turn out to be chillier and wetter than these numbers show.

The summer of 2011 is the latest in a series of cool, wet summers that the UK’s Met Office has conspicuously failed to predict. The Government forecasters became a national laughing stock after the British media took them to task for their April 2009 gleeful forecast of a “barbecue summer.” The season became a wash out with months of heavy rain.

Not Just Weather, But Climate Models Also Wrong

The Met Office’s repeated failures appear diametrically opposed by the successes of 64-year-old Piers Corbyn, a trained astrophysicist who took up weather forecasting as a boy. Not only did Corbyn score top marks off Hudson but also the avuncular scientist boasts correctly predicting Hurricane Irene and Gulf Storm Lee “85 days ahead.”

Londoner Corbyn is the founder and resident guru of WeatherAction and has been winning fans (and new customers) with his astonishing success rate of 85 percent, as proven in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics [2.]. This achievement is even more remarkable because Corbyn publishes his predictions months in advance.

Read the rest here

Met Office seasonal forecasts to be scrapped March 6, 2010

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Met Office seasonal forecasts to be scrapped

BBC News, Friday, 5 March 2010

The Met Office is to stop publishing seasonal forecasts, after it came in for criticism for failing to predict extreme weather.

It was berated for not foreseeing that the UK would suffer this cold winter or the last three wet summers in its seasonal forecasts.

The forecasts, four times a year, will be replaced by monthly predictions.

The Met Office said it decided to change its forecasting approach after carrying out customer research.

Explaining its decision, the Met Office released a statement which said: “By their nature, forecasts become less accurate the further out we look.

Read the rest here

Mother Nature still defies the Met Office January 16, 2010

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Mother Nature still defies the Met Office

By Christopher Booker
The Telegraph, 16 January 2010

Barely a month after last predicting, on November 28, that Britain would enjoy “a milder than average winter”, the Met Office last week came in for yet another mighty pasting, for failing to forecast the renewed snowfalls and freezing temperatures which brought traffic to a halt again in much of the country. In some northern towns, roadways were so icy that people had to crawl across them on hands and knees.

Two independent forecasters who did foresee the return of Arctic weather, and are predicting that there will be more, are Britain’s Piers Corbyn (who relies on solar activity for much of his prediction) and the US meteorologist Joe Bastardi of AccuWeather, who largely bases his forecasts on movements of air and ocean currents. Unlike the UK Met Office, of which both are highly critical, neither has been blinded by imagining that rising levels of carbon dioxide play a key part in shaping the weather.

Mr Bastardi, who was predicting months ago that both Europe and America were in for an abnormally cold winter (while the Met Office was about to get it hopelessly wrong for the third summer and winter in a row), is now predicting that this year’s cold weather, with renewed snowfalls, will last at least until March. Last month, according to Rutgers University in the US, saw the second greatest extent of snow cover in the northern hemisphere since records began in 1966. Meanwhile the state of Florida experienced sub-zero temperatures for the longest period in 100 years. (For more details see Anthony Watts’s Watts Up With That blog.)

Mr Bastardi is also wondrously scornful about that recent prediction of the UK Met Office’s very expensive computer models that 2010 will be “the warmest year on record”. Those poor guys, he says, are relying on an El Niño event in the Pacific which is simply not happening as they hoped.

Read the rest here

UK Met Office chief receives 25 pc pay rise January 6, 2010

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Met Office chief receives 25 pc pay rise

By Christopher Hope and Martin Evans
The Telegraph, 5 Jan 2010

John Hirst: Head of Met Office receives 25 per cent pay rise

John Hirst joined the Met Office in 2007 Photo: PHOTOSHOT

According to a copy of the organisation’s latest annual report and accounts, John Hirst, the organisation’s chief executive, received between £195,000 and £200,000 in pay and bonuses in 2008/9.

The figure is a 25 per cent increase on the £155,000 to £160,000 “pay equivalent” for Mr Hirst in 2007/8. Mr Hirst had joined midway through the previous financial year in September 2007.

The remuneration package – which includes salary, performance pay, overtime and other allowances – is more than the £192,414 salary paid to Gordon Brown this year. Mr Brown receives £130,594 in Prime Minister’s salary, and £61,820 as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Seven other directors received pay rises of between 3 per cent and 33 per cent. The biggest rise went to Nick Jobling, the Met Office’s chief financial officer, whose total salary jumped by a third to up to £100,000. Campaigners said the payments were “jaw-dropping”.

The large pay rises for the management of the Met Office came despite a series of widely criticised forecasts, including a warm winter in 2009/10 last October.

This followed its much lambasted forecast of a “barbecue summer” last year which drew strong criticism after heavy rainfall saw the wettest July for almost 100 years.

The organisation’s prediction of a mild winter in 2008-09 was also criticised after heavy snow fell last February and parts of southern England had their coldest night for 20 years in January.

Read the rest here

It has a gigantic supercomputer, 1,500 staff and a £170m-a-year budget. So why does the Met Office get it so wrong? January 3, 2010

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It has a gigantic supercomputer, 1,500 staff and a £170m-a-year budget. So why does the Met Office get it so wrong?

By Richard North
Mail Online, 2nd January 2010

Cold of a variety not seen in over 25 years in a large scale is about to engulf the major energy-consuming areas of the northern hemisphere. The first 15 days of the opening of the New Year will be the coldest, population weighted, north of 30 [degrees] north worldwide in over 25 years.’

That is the chilling (quite literally) verdict of Joe Bastardi, a weather forecaster on the American TV channel AccuWeather.

Yet, while many months ago he and several of his rivals correctly forecast a pre-Christmas freeze, the organisation that told us last year to prepare for a ‘barbecue summer’ was getting it wrong again.

A Eurostar train makes its way through snow in KentBitter truth: A Eurostar train makes its way through snow in Kent last month despite optimistic Met Office predictions of a mild winter

This is our own famous Met Office, which last September confidently predicted a warmer than average winter for Britain. Tell that to Eurostar passengers stuck in the Channel Tunnel for 18 hours before Christmas, the breakdown of their trains blamed on the coldest weather for 15 years.

Not until late November did the Met Office tone down its prediction by saying that there was a ’50 per cent chance’ of a mild winter.

Spinning a coin could have given the same result – not one you would expect from an organisation that spends nearly £170million a year, has 1,500 staff and a team of scientists operating a £30million supercomputer capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second, with a carbon footprint the size of a small town.

Yet even with this brand-new computer in action since last August, on December 10 the Met Office predicted that it was ‘more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record, beating the previous record year which was 1998’. That prediction stands unchanged.

How could the Met Office be so wrong, both about its barbecue summer and the mild winter? And could the answer to that question have anything to do with its remarkable transformation in recent years?

Read the rest

UK Met Office climate scientist: World temperatures set for record highs August 1, 2009

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World temperatures set for record highs

The Telegraph, July 28, 2009

World temperatures are set to rise much faster than expected as a result of climate change over the next ten years, according to meteorologists.

In the last few years the world has experienced a “cooler period” since record high temperatures in summer 1998.

This has been used by global warming sceptics as proof that greenhouse gases are not causing a rise in temperatures.

However a new study by Nasa said the warming effect of greenhouse gases has been masked since 1998 because of a downward phase in the cycles of the sun that means there is less incoming sunlight and the El Nino weather pattern causing a cooling period over the Pacific.

But from this year solar activity will begin to pick up again and the El Nino phenomenon will cause storms and heatwaves.

The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies the US Naval Research Laboratory.

It adds to existing data from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that predicted temperatures will rise because of an increase in greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Because greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere, temperatures are set to increase over the next few years because the world is producing more carbon dioxide.

The new study adds the effect of El Nino, which is entering a new warm phase and of the impact of the solar cycle.

Gareth Jones, a climate research scientist at the Met Office, said the effect of global warming is unlikely to be masked by shorter term weather patterns in the future.

He said that 50 per cent of the 10 years after 2011 will be warmer than 1998. After that any year cooler than 1998 will be considered unusual.

“The amount of warming we expect from human impacts is so huge that any natural phenomenon in the future is unlikely to counteract it in the long term,” he said.

UK Media(including the BBC) turns on Met Office July 30, 2009

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UK Media(including the BBC) turns on Met Office

The Met Office should be sued
Times Online, July 29, 2009

With its prediction of a blazing summer, it has helped to trash the travel industry abroad

Met Office cools summer forecast
BBC, July 29, 2009

You will need a brolly on holiday in the UK in August – the Met Office is issuing a revised forecast for more unsettled weather well into the month.
It is a far cry from the “barbecue summer” it predicted back in April.
The news will raise questions about the Met Office’s ability to make reliable seasonal forecasts.

As millions of Britons holiday at home after that promise of a ‘barbecue summer’, how did the Met Office get it so wrong?
Daily Mail, July 30, 2009

It was in April that the Met Office proclaimed the chances were ‘odds-on for a barbecue summer’. Rather like Michael Fish in October 1987, after he mockingly dismissed claims that a hurricane was on its way, the aptly-renamed ‘Wet Office’ was forced to confess its shortcomings yesterday.

Rain Set To Upset UK’s ‘Barbecue Summer’
Sky News, July 29, 2009

It is a far cry from the prediction of a “barbecue summer” made in April and the revision raises doubts about the Met Office’s ability to make long-range forecasts.

Not only do the UK Met Office predictions fail, but they refuse to disclose Station Data.

UK Met Office Climate Prediction Model?

UK Met Office Refuses to Disclose Station Data Once Again July 24, 2009

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UK Met Office Refuses to Disclose Station Data Once Again

By Steve McIntyre on July 23rd, 2009

It must be humiliating for the UK Met Office to have to protect Phil Jones and CRU. Even a seasoned bureaucrat must have winced in order to write the following:

Some of the information was provided to Professor Jones on the strict understanding by the data providers that this station data must not be publicly released and it cannot be determined which countries or stations data were given in confidence as records were not kept.

Here is the complete text of the UK Met Office’s most recent refusal of their station data.

Our Ref: 22-06-2009-131902-003 23 July 2009
Dear Mr McIntyre

Request for Information – Information not Held and Refusal to Disclose Information
Your correspondence dated 9 June 2009 has been considered to be a request for information in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The Ministry of Defence is permitted to withhold information where exceptions are considered justifiable.

You asked “You stated that CRUTEM3 data that you held was the value added data. Pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004, please provide me with this data in the digital form, together with any documents that you hold describing the procedures under which the data has been quality controlled and where deemed appropriate, adjusted to account for apparent non-climatic influences”.

Your request has been assessed and this letter is to inform you that the Met Office does hold some information covered by the request. We do not hold documents describing the procedures under which the data has been quality controlled or adjusted to account for apparent non-climatic influences.

The information held by the Met Office is withheld in accordance with the following exceptions pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004:
• Section 12 (5) (a) Information likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and any International organisation;
• Section 12 (5) (e) Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest.
• Section 12 (5) (f) (i) (iii) The supplier was not under legal obligation to supply the information and has not consented to its disclosure.

As the above exceptions are qualified exceptions, a public interest test was undertaken by the Met Office to consider whether there are overriding reasons why disclosure of this information would not be in the public interest. The Met Office has duly considered these reasons in conjunction with the public interest in disclosing the requested information, in particular the benefits of assisting the public having information on environmental information, whereby they would hope to influence decisions from a position of knowledge rather than speculation.
Access to environmental information is particularly important as environmental issues affect
the whole population.

Read the rest here

Met Office Summer Forecast Drowning Again? June 10, 2009

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Met Office Summer Forecast Drowning Again?

Watts Up With That, June 8, 2009
By Steven Goddard

For the third straight summer, the UK Met Office has forecast hot weather using their state of the art computer models.  Summer 2007 and 2008 were complete washouts, ranking as two of the most miserable, rainy summers on record.

31 August 2007
Summer 2007 – a wet season
This summer looks set to have been the wettest since UK rainfall records began in 1914, Met Office figures revealed today This summer looks set to have been the wettest since UK rainfall records began in 1914, Met Office figures revealed today . .

Wet summer could end with a bang
29 August 2008
Forecasters at the Met Office are predicting that that final day of the summer could end with heavy rain and thunderstorms affecting some parts of the country this weekend … … Within the UK some local rainfall records have been broken, especially across parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland where flooding severely affected road and rail transport. Provisional rainfall figures show that Northern Ireland had its wettest August since 1914

The current summer isn’t looking much better. Here is the forecast from UK Weather Online.

Do you want summer?
Issued: 0900hrs Friday 5th June 2009
Duty forecaster: Simon Keeling & Captain Bob
If you’re requiring rain you’ll be in luck, if you’re wishing for summer, then perhaps don’t hold your breath!

It has now been 1,047 days since London made it to 30C.
I admire the persistence of The Met Office in getting their global warming message across to the public.  Perhaps their new £30 million computers will do better with their actual predictions?