Met Office Knew It Was Going To Be Cold, But Didn't Tell Anyone.
In October the forecaster privately warned the Government - with whom it has a contract - that Britain was likely to face an extremely cold winter.
It kept the prediction secret, however, after facing severe criticism over the accuracy of its long-term forecasts.
Roger Harrabin, an environment analyst at the BBC, told the Radio Times: “The trouble is that we simply don’t know how much to trust the Met Office. How often does it get the weather right and wrong. And we don’t know how it compares with other, independent forecasters.
The Met Office stopped making its long-term forecasts public in March after a series of major gaffes.
In 2009 a predicted “barbecue summer” became a washout, while a subsequent forecast of a “mild winter” turned out to be one of the coldest in 30 years.
This winter, however, its seasonal forecast proved more accurate. Mr Harrabin said: “Why didn’t the Met Office tell us that Greenland was about to swap weather with Godalming? The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren’t let in on the secret.
“The reason? The Met Office no longer publishes its seasonal forecasts because of the ridicule it suffered for predicting a barbecue summer in 2009 – the summer that campers floated around in their tents.”
A spokesman for the Met Office said: “In late October we informed the Cabinet office that there were early indications of a cold start to winter. Following public research we were told that a monthly outlook would be of more use which is why we now have the 6-15 day and 16-30 day forecast on our website.”
The public prediction was for warmer, as Autonomous Mind has pointed out. so what does this back covering story tell us?
Is it a desperate attempt to say we woz right all along, passing the blame for unpreparedness to the Government (who could hardly act without Met Office backing) or did they just say to the Cabinet, it could be hot or it could be cold, we haven't got a clue? Or did the Met Office really believe it might be cold and refused to warn us in case it upset the case in Cancun?
However you spin it the Met Office doesn't come out of it well. I hope there will be an Inquiry.
(The Met Office also sells its long term forecasts to other concerns as well as the Cabinet Office, Mr Tesco et all dropped the Met Office for Metra Long Range Forecasts or other forecasts, but someone must still be using them, and what the forecast they bought said would be revealing.)