Climate change at the Met Office

The Met Office lacks no certainty when it comes to climate change. But should it?

Richmond-Upon-Thames, 2013?
Sir John Redwood MP
On 11 January 2013 10:04

The Met Office lacks no certainty when it comes to climate change. It tells us that it now offers “weather and climate change forecasts for the UK and the world”. It seeks to forecast short term weather, 10 year general climate, and 100 year climate cycles. It belongs to the school of thought which says that we are living through a period of global warming, and argues that has been brought about by human generated CO2.

To reinforce this message its website is punctuated by the symbols of dangerous climate change. There is a picture of a baked landscape, clearly suffering from excessive heat and no rain; England in 2012 did not look like that anywhere. There is a thermometer obligingly showing 30 degrees C, a temperature we so rarely experience here in the UK.

Today I thought I would share with you some of their more interesting forecasts and statements from 2012.

In February 2012, in its “Climate change and drought” video, the Met Office was warning us about a serious UK drought.

This was followed up on March 23rd: “The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier than average conditions for April-May-June as a whole….the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April-May-June period”

But by the end of the year we were informed that 2012 was in fact “the second wettest year in the UK dating back to 1910 … with April and June being the wettest on record.”

The Met Office added: “Throughout the year (2012) accurate forecasts and warnings from the Met Office have helped everyone…”

And let’s look at the other facts: The mean temperature for 2012 was 0.1 degrees C below the 1981-2010 average. Consequently, on December 24th, the Met Office lowered its ten year temperature forecast based on a new model.

This record invites a few questions:

Does the Met office agree there has been no warming for the last decade?

Does it agree that world temperatures can be increased or diminished by solar action? How do they model that?

Does it agree that the move to the Medieval Warm period and then back to the Mini Ice Age was unconnected with human CO2? How does it model for similar changes in the future?

Is its current forecast for mild wet winters and hot dry summers in the UK, as global warming progresses? That was what they were saying in their general climate change views.

Could the change in currents and winds that gave us cold winters and cool wet summers recently affect future years?

What is the role of water vapour as a greenhouse gas? What influence can human conduct have on water vapour and cloud formation?

And wouldn’t it be a good idea to concentrate its money and research on weather, and try to improve the accuracy of the forecasts for the next few months, rather than attempting ten year and 100 year forecasts?

John Redwood is the Member of Parliament for Wokingham and Chairman of the Conservative Economic Affairs Committee. This post originally appeared on and is used here with permission

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