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Sunday 31 March 2013

Whose Forecast Is The Best?

Weather scientists have become the butt of many jokes, and however the wording, there is inevitably someone ready to select and spin in order to assert that they don’t really understand the business, and that they couldn’t predict an act of alcoholic derangement in an EU wine lake. On the other hand, forecasters in the climate change denial camp are positively lionised.

So let’s check out just who is talking turkey, by looking at this bout of unseasonal cold weather we’re having right now. Yes, it’s gloriously sunny, but the east wind is still going, and it’s frosty at night. And there was snow a week ago. Who predicted that, then? Well, had you been reading the deeply subversive Guardian, you’d have seen that prediction last September.

Arctic sea ice melt ‘may bring harsh winter to Europe’” was the headline of Stephen Leahy’s piece. And mainland Europe has certainly seen some harsh winter weather recently. The Guardian helpfully reminded readers last Monday, with environment editor John Vidal explaining “Melting sea ice, exposing huge parts of the ocean to the atmosphere, explains extreme weather both hot and cold”.

The results of the sea ice melt could, we were warned, slow down and/or move the trajectory of the Atlantic jet stream, something I noted some time ago. The weakening would in turn slow down the movement of weather systems, producing “blocking effects”. The Guardian mentioned the recent Russian heatwave; the December 2010 cold snap was another side-effect of this.

We also saw “blocking effects” last summer, as high pressure systems over the north Atlantic blocked out the usual south-westerly airflow, and weather systems dumping large amounts of rain therefore got stuck over the UK, hence the flooding. So what do the prophets of the denial lobby have to offer us? How about, for instance, Bozza’s favourite forecaster Piers Corbyn of Weather Action?

Well, last Monday, Piers made a very clear forecast for Easter weekend: “We confirm our warning that this (29 Mar – 1 Apr) will be (85% confidence) the worst Easter break for decades in Britain, Ireland and NW Europe in terms of travel disruption and general discomfort”. It would?

Strong biting wintry winds, snow and blizzards are expected to blast across the UK and Ireland in two waves during the 4 day Easter break with heavy rain or sleet in South and West parts at times”. And guess what? “These cold snowy events are further aspects of the predicted developing Mini Ice Age”. They sup some strong stuff down on Borough High Street.

That’s one seriously wrong forecast. So you’ll see none of this eagerly trumpeted by Corbyn’s pals in the climate change denial lobby. That pesky 15%, eh?


xianwol said...

Ha, how dear Piers has changed since the days he was a leading light in IMG (that's International Marxist Group, Tariq Ali's lot) and the squatting movement. His attempts at world revolution were farcical then, and now he seems to have gone over to the other side with all his old revolutionary fervour

Sparky Mark said...

I remember a story in the Sun over 20 years ago about global warming would cause arctic winters here in the UK. Odd how their stance changed.