Is the Met. Office facing relegation ?

Snow at Heathrow

Is it possible that everything we do is dwarfed by the moods of the star that gives life to the world?  The Sun is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man.

Well, folks, it’s tea-time on Sunday and for anyone involved in keeping people moving it has been a hell of a weekend.  Thousands have had their journeys wrecked, tens of thousands have been delayed getting away for Christmas; and for those Londoners who feel aggrieved by the performance of any part of our transport services, I can only say that we are doing our level best.

Almost the entire Tube system was running yesterday and we would have done even better if it had not been for a suicide on the Northern Line, and the temporary stoppage that these tragedies entail.  Of London’s 700 bus services, only 50 were on diversion, mainly in the hillier areas.  On Saturday, we managed to keep the West End plentifully supplied with customers, and retailers reported excellent takings on what is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

We have kept the Transport for London road network open throughout all this.  We have about 90,000 tons of grit in stock, and the gritters were out all night to deal with this morning’s rush.  And yet we have to face the reality of the position across the country.

It is no use my saying that London Underground and bus networks are performing relatively well – touch wood – when Heathrow, our major international airport, is still effectively closed two days after the last heavy snowfall; when substantial parts of our national rail network are still struggling; when there are abandoned cars to be seen on hard shoulders all over the country; and when yet more snow is expected today, especially in the north.

In a few brief hours, we are told, the snowy super-fortresses will be above us again, bomb bays bulging with blizzard.  It may be that in the next hours and days we have to step up our de-icing, our gritting and our shovelling.  So let me seize this brief gap in the aerial bombardment to pose a question that is bugging me.  Why did the Met Office forecast a “mild winter”?

Do you remember? They said it would be mild and damp, and between one degree and one and a half degrees warmer than average.  Well, I am now 46 and that means I have seen more winters than most people on this planet, and I can tell you that this one is a corker.

Never mind the record low attained in Northern Ireland this weekend.  I can’t remember a time when so much snow has lain so thickly on the ground, and we haven’t even reached Christmas.  And this is the third tough winter in a row.  Is it really true that no one saw this coming?

Actually, they did.  Allow me to introduce readers to Piers Corbyn, meteorologist and brother of my old chum, bearded leftie MP Jeremy.  Piers Corbyn works in an undistinguished office in Borough High Street.  He has no telescope or supercomputer.  Armed only with a laptop, huge quantities of publicly available data and a first-class degree in astrophysics, he gets it right again and again.

Back in November, when the Met Office was still doing its “mild winter” schtick, Corbyn said it would be the coldest for 100 years.  Indeed, it was back in May that he first predicted a snowy December, and he put his own money on a white Christmas about a month before the Met Office made any such forecast.  He said that the Met Office would be wrong about last year’s mythical “barbecue summer”, and he was vindicated.  He was closer to the truth about last winter, too.

He seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time and serious business people – notably in farming – are starting to invest in his forecasts.  In the eyes of many punters, he puts the taxpayer-funded Met Office to shame.  How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun.

He looks at the flow of particles from the Sun, and how they interact with the upper atmosphere, especially air currents such as the jet stream, and he looks at how the Moon and other factors influence those streaming particles.

He takes a snapshot of what the Sun is doing at any given moment, and then he looks back at the record to see when it last did something similar.  Then he checks what the weather was like on Earth at the time – and he makes a prophecy.

I have not a clue whether his methods are sound or not.  But when so many of his forecasts seem to come true, and when he seems to be so consistently ahead of the Met Office, I feel I want to know more.  Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years.  He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.

Is he barmy? Of course he may be just a fluke-artist.  It may be just luck that he has apparently predicted recent weather patterns more accurately than government-sponsored scientists.  Nothing he says, to my mind, disproves the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, that our species is putting so much extra CO₂ into the atmosphere that we must expect global warming.

The infamous hockey-stick graph promoted by the I.P.C.C.

The so called hockey-stick graph (Mann, M. E., et al.)

The question is whether anthropogenic global warming is the exclusive or dominant fact that determines our climate, or whether Corbyn is also right to insist on the role of the Sun.  Is it possible that everything we do is dwarfed by the moods of the star that gives life to the world? The Sun is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man.  We are forged from a few clods of solar dust.  The Sun powers every plant and form of life, and one day the Sun will turn into a red giant and engulf us all.  Then it will burn out.  Then it will get very nippy indeed.

Boris writes for The Daily Telegraph on Mondays.

24 thoughts on “Is the Met. Office facing relegation ?”

  1. “Nothing he says, to my mind, disproves the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, that our species is putting so much extra CO2 into the atmosphere that we must expect global warming.”

    Well, perhaps the Mayor ought to direct his mind to the science itself, prepared to have it enlightened.  The majority of real scientists does not agree with the Socialists’ ‘consensus’ ;  the majority does not support the actions of the U.N.O., the E.U. and so many national and supra-national bodies and frankly disreputable academics that amount to a crime against humanity.

    Prof. Hal Lewis’s letter of resignation from the American Physical Society is something to which I drew the attention of this site’s readership in October.  Any-one interested might like also to look at The Petition Project, a move by thousands of real scientists to fight back against the anthropogenic-global-warming fraud.  Light at the end of the tunnel ?  Don’t get your hopes up :  too many politicians, academics (and their institutions) and members of the multi-trillion-dollar ‘green’ industry — including the Prime Minister’s father-in-law — have a strong vested interest in smothering the whole story.


  2. With even more winters behind me than Boris, I have become convinced that weather forecasting is a form of fraud, where people get money by deceiving the public. Weather forecasters, I think, are like economists and astrologers: ju-ju men in suits, witch doctors with charts, their sacred
    computer ‘models’ merely crystal balls with silicon chips.

    But Boris’s friend Piers Corbyn would appear to be perceptive: perhaps he could now turn his attention to the prospects for economic growth, or at least the winning numbers for this week’s lottery?

  3. Met Office, 25 February 2009: Peter Stott, Climate Scientist at the Met Office, said: “Despite the cold winter this year, the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue, with snow and frost becoming less of a feature in the future.

    “The famously cold winter of 1962/63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850.”

    P.S. Boris, you don’t really believe in the Hockey Stick Fairy? No scientific idea has been more thoroughly disproved.


    Greetings. Please pass this on.

    Harrier aircraft blast their hot jet downwards. Pass one at very low level up & down a runway and all the snow & ice will be melted and blown away. It works with getting sand off a runway.

    BAA should then buy a couple of, now redundant, Harriers to be kept for annual use at snowbound airports.

    Good luck and best wishes

  5. Its a shame that he also seems a bit of an ignorant nutter.
    Earnestly he claims that the last 10 years have not seen warming.

    Well you cant have your cake and it. Using only 10 years of data is even more limited than the climate scientists.
    Sorry but only the ignorant would expect those last 10 of the warmest years on record to be consistent and linear.

  6. But after the jump jets have passed over, the vapour will freeze, and fall, as snow. So we’ll be back to square one. If self-defeating hot air is really what’s required, surely we should send Vincent Cable?

  7. Of course, it’s always a good idea to recycle things at any time and not just now because of the so-called global warming.

    But as always, there are always some opportunists: bent scientists who want to make a name for themselves from global warming, bent business men who want to profit from global warming.

    Then there are trendy and politically correct authorities: local councils, the EU…

    The result is it is the taxpayers who have to pay more tax for this sexed-up global warming fighting war.

  8. I have under-estimated the local councils and the EU. I should have called them power hungry, power mad, power wielding, trendy and politically correct local councils and the EU instead.
    Or we could use Harriet to clear the snow on runways with her hot air. She is full of hot air lately… re some people sending their money to somewhere…

    ( I only casually mentioned it, folks, I know what you lot are like. Please don’t hate me.)

    You know there have been many weird religious cults set up by weird people over the years to make money and enjoy free sex from their brain-washed disciples.

    So remember few days ago I said it looked like Assange invented his own cyber cult? It’s true now, as one of his disciples just told the press that Assange has a lots of female followers whom they call ‘groupies’ who throw themselves at Assange and offering him sex for free.

    Now, we are not sure if this disciple said so to discredit the 2 women of his Master’s rape charges, but there you are – now we know for sure that WikiLeaks is a cyber cult. A new cult in this internet age.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Jemima wanted to hook up with Assange so she would be famous, more famous than the Beckham family. Did you see photos of young girls and women holding their ” I WANT JULIAN ASSANGE’S BABIES ” placards outside the London court last week, folks? How sick is that?

  9. Oh dear Boris, you’ve been drawn in by Piers Corbyn’s spin and unique self-verification of forecasts. I thought you should be able to spot self-promotion a mile off being a politician.

    And if you can find the press release from the Met Office that details their “mild winter” forecast, you’re a better man than me. Having spoken to one of their long-range forecasters, the forecast they issue to the private sector (and those that subscribe to their services) was of a first-half of winter considerably colder than normal. Do get your facts right before going off on a rant.

  10. Oh I have just read in the paper that the recent 4 week long or so snow storm is just the norm and that how our English weather should be – cold and snow in winter, rains in spring, long hot summer and dry, cold crisp autumn.

    Our fruit trees, bulbous plants like bluebells, snowdrops etc benefit from a really cold spell and our insects benefit from something else if our weather return to its good old fashioned way like in Victorian times.

    The recent snow storm is not a sign of global warming or Ice Age coming.
    An essay:

    Although the weather is mild we can feel Christmas as early as in mid-November. With dry, dusty and chilly mornings- cold enough to wear your thin jumper, if you owe one, that is. Poor kids like us just have to cross our arms thightly and hunch our back to fend off the cold and manage to keep ourselves warm somehow. Mum says: “Till the sun shines.”

    In our front garden, the old Poinsettia tree, as tall as the head of a tall man sitting on another tall man’s shoulders, is now completely covered in huge red blooms, swaying in the cool morning breezes. Bright red colour against the blue sky. Mum propagate it by chopping its old bare branches into hand-long sticks which are then pushed into the soft ground. And they will grow without fail.

    We also have a sea pine tree which is trimmed into a Christmas tree shape. In early December we kids tie pieces of colourful, old tinsels and crepe paper balls and stars to its stems. Our Christmas tree just lits up in the sunshine.

    My famille is not really religious but Mum seems to embrace all things which makes her a rare woman in our neighborhood.
    On Christmas Eve she usually cook a curry; either chicken or duck and is served quite late with fresh baguettes. We only start our Christmas Eve meal when we know some neighbours are coming back from the church. Their chattering, laughters and the noises of crunching gravel under their footsteps. It’s like a signal for us to start our special dinner.

    Mum doesn’t measure her ingredients, saying you only need to weight your ingredients if you want to bake a cake and you want it to rise. She makes cooking look easy. It’s always a joy watching her cook in our open door kitchen.

    This is how she cooks her curry. Here goes:

    Chop the meat into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle some curry powder, crushed garlics, some salt and sugar onto them and mix them in with bare hand until the meat turns curry-orange colour, with a very thin layer of wet curry paste on the meat so that you know you didn’t use too much curry powder. Put aside for 30 minutes or so.

    Fry the meat in some very hot oil until sealed. Place some crushed fresh lemon grass stem on the bottom of a pot and pour the meat on top. Add some onion cut into big chunks. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into big chunks and throw them into the pot. Pour boiling water into the pot, just enough to cover the surface of the veg. Bring to the boil and season with salt and sugar. Turn the cooker down to minimum heat, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes or so until the meat is tender, with still plenty of curry stock in the pot. We kids can always smell her curry from the street.

    Switch the cooker off. Add some coconut cream or coconut powder to the hot curry and gently stir. That’s all.

    Mum says the trick is don’t make your curry taste too salty at the beginning. Light on salt. Just a bit salty and a bit sweet. Then you pound some salt and one red hot chili pepper in a pestle and mortar into a fine, red hot mixture. And you sprinkle some of this chili salt onto each curry serving and a squeeze of lime juice into the curry. Oh as if by magic, it all helps to make your hot, creamy curry taste more delicious.

  11. Oh over in Ireland, ” Drivers will next month face stringent US style roadside tests for drugs. Gaydar will be able to check drivers’ eyes for dilated pupils and carry out other physical co-ordination tests…”

    ( Oh I think they’re so heavily in debt and so broke that they’ve gone bonkers ) Read more: http://www.independent.i.e/national-news/roadside-drug-tests-for-drivers-in-weeks-2478353.html

    Oh and please don’t let those bent scientists tell you that salt is baaaaad for your health. Of course, too much salt is bad for your health, but surely your body does need some salt.

    Just don’t eat too much salt – you will know when you have eaten too much salt: you feel thirsty. Your body will tell you if it has taken enough salt or it feels bland and needs you to eat some salt on its behalf. As simple as that. And that’s how people lived in the past.

    Troubles with this modern day Information Age is that we are constantly fed with information and news whether we need them or not. Like unwanted daily junk mail pushed through our letterboxes. And all these come with bent scientists:

    ” You must brush your teeth every night! “… ” No, too much teeth brushing will damage your teeth! “… ” Chewing gum is good for your teeth.”… ” No, chewing too many chewing gum sticks will wear out your teeth!”… ” Jogging is good for your health.”… ” No, jogging will wear out your bone joints!”

    Anyway, your body needs some salt. Feel pity for those countries that have no seas, therefore have no natural sea salt and have to import it.

    Salt is a wonderful thing. Contestants of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here went bonkers because they didn’t have enough salt for their cooking. And have you tried this before, folks? You know lots of people don’t like fresh pineapple as they think it tastes too sour and prefer tinned pineapple instead.

    Well, tomorrow you go to your Tesco and buy a nice, big, fresh pineapple with green leaves, firm and fresh skin, yellowish and smells sweet ( ripeness ), or nice firm green skin will do ( and not the ones with soggy, brownish coloured, defrosted looking skin and yellow leaves, mind ).

    You remove its skin and cut the flesh ( minus the bland, stringy core ) into bite size pieces. Then you put 1 teaspoon of salt and half a red hot chilli into a pestle and mortar and just pound it until you have a fine red chilli salt mixture. Now, sprinkle some of this chilli salt mixture onto your pineapple and you will be surprised at how sweet your pineapple tastes!

  12. Niceday, I think your cooking tips are an excellent addition to this chatter. (Certainly an improvement on Boris Johnson’s advocacy of croutons in minestrone)

    I am convinced that the reason why so much food in this country is nowadays so bad, is not because of the suppliers, nor the supermarkets, nor even the marketing companies who design it. It is the consumer who demands plastic-sealed, tasteless fare packed in chilled boxes.

    Maybe I should organise a quiet riot? A tightly knit band of fundamentalists, committed to good taste, shall distribute devilled kidneys, salad nicoise and roast beef outside the nation’s hellish supermarkets, all cooked to the recipes of Mrs Elizabeth David. If the consumer can be won over by moronic advertising and packaging, then let’s hit back with a guerilla campaign of proper food! Politely.

  13. You see, folks? Eco-bulb cost to treble: bent business men/ opportunists cash in as the ban on old-style bulbs kicks in soon!

    Consumers should have a choice – if they prefer normal light bulbs for some reasons, they should still be allowed to buy them and shops should still be allowed to sell them. The higher cost of their electric bills will make some of them turn to eco-bulbs anyway.

    But people should be allowed to have a choice. In order to stop bent businessmen and opportunists to cash in on any bans. In this case, how? Because if shops were still allowed to sell normal light bulbs and eco-light bulbs then manufactures wouldn’t have a chance to push their eco-bulbs prices up. If eco bulbs were too expensive, people would buy low-cost normal bulbs instead. But now, shops are not allowed to sell normal bulbs any more, only eco bulbs, we have no choice but to buy eco bulbs at ANY prices set by the manufactures. Will and can the government force the manufactures to sell their eco bulbs at a fixed low price? I doubt it.

  14. The point raised by niceday is but a small example of the effect on the World’s population of the anthropogenic-global-warming fraud.  The entire ‘green-energy’ industry is reaping the benefit in similar fashion … and laughing all the way to the baled-out bank.


  15. Twice in recent days Johnson has defended bankers and campaigned against the 50p higher income tax rate, arguing that the higher tax rate will harm London’s role as an international financial centre.

    Johnson has form in this area, having previously argued that 9,000 bankers would leave Britain if the bonus tax was imposed. In a letter to the Treasury select committee he even argued: “Goldman Sachs is considering relocating staff and JP Morgan is reviewing whether or not to axe plans to open a new European headquarters in Canary Wharf.”

    The highly paid, in some cases astronomically paid, investment bankers haven’t deserted London at all, and have in some circumstances increased their payrolls. The chief of JP Morgan duly unveiled the new European headquarters in Docklands, adding for good measure: “This acquisition is a long-term investment and represents part of our continued commitment to London as one of the world’s most important financial centres.”

    The same argument – that bankers will flee higher taxes – has proved false in both of these cases, the bonus tax and the 50p higher rate. It misunderstands how modern, successful economies work. Britain has a leading role in financial services just as it has in other industries like pharmaceuticals. This can only arise after years of sustained investment in those industries, most especially in the interconnected skills of a highly specialist workforce.

    Of course, many other countries and centres would like to capture some of that business for themselves. The only way to maintain competitive advantage is to continually reproduce the causes of the initial success, by investing in technology, in infrastructure but above all in the skills of the workforce.

    The lowest corporate tax rates in the OECD prior to the crisis were set by Iceland and Ireland and helped to deepen their crises. The highest corporate tax rates were the US and Japan, followed by France and Germany. Higher taxes clearly do not deter businesses and – invested properly in education, transport and infrastructure – can be used to attract business investment.

    Prior to these latest adjustments put in place by the Labour government, the total “tax wedge” (which combines taxes with social security contributions) in Britain was the lowest of any European country except for Iceland. This is not an advert for low income tax rates.

    The idea that a modest tax adjustments lead to a flight of talent is a myth perpetuated by those who favour regressive systems where the poor pay an ever-rising proportion of their incomes on consumption taxes like VAT, while ultra-high earners and bankers’ profits go virtually untaxed.

    Johnson’s campaign to defend the bankers put him to the right not only of George Osborne and David Cameron but even of Margaret Thatcher, who was content to set a higher tax rate of 60p for most of her time as prime minister. This Tory-led government is itself an extremist one, with actual cuts to services being twice as deep in real terms as those made by their heroine, Thatcher. Yet Johnson is their critic from the right of the Conservative party.

    The 50p tax rate has been defended by former chairman of Cadbury and CBI president-in-waiting, Roger Carr and supported by the public by 57% to 22% in a Populus poll and 68% to 20% in a YouGov poll.

    So while services are being decimated, taxes on the poor are increased and vital investment in education and transport are cut, Johnson steps forward to defend the bonuses and profits of the bankers. Naturally, the bankers will support their champion – but there’s no reason why anyone else should.

  16. Your comment about Mrs Thatcher and tax rates baffles me, mate. I recall raising the rafters with cheers when Mrs Thatcher’s government cut the horrible 60% rate. And having just filled my car with tax, I’m getting very hacked off with this so-called Tory government. Or am I being governed by hypocritical Green-Liberals? I’m not at all sure.

  17. You are right to be baffled, Ed.

    Boris Johnson is a hypocrite in many respects, not least pretending to support cycling yet repeatedly taking vote-winning measures which encourage more driving in London.

  18. We all know goods made from recycled materials cost less than goods made from brand new materials. Example: brand new wood pulp costs more than paper pulp made recycled old papers.

    But at stationary shops, rough surfaced,off-white and greyish writing papers made from recycled pulp cost the same or even more than brilliant white and smooth surfaced writing papers made from brand new wood pulp. Why?

    Some folks still buy these so-called green writing papers, simply believing that the money they spent will go to protect our planet and that they are doing their bit as responsible citizens.

    Other folks proudly pay for these highly priced recycled at the tills in front of other customers as if saying ” I’m a green and trendy person. ”

    ( I just go to a £shop and buy a brilliant white writing paper pad for a quid ).

    If you want to encourage people to use goods made from recycled materials, they should be priced cheaper than goods made from brand new materials. Not only to encourage people but also it is a fact that it is cheaper to produce goods from recycled materials.

    In poor countries, people go round their neighbourhood collecting discarded empty plastic bottles/ bags, tin cans, papers etc. and sell them to trash buyers who do pay good prices for them; enough to live feed your family for one or two days. And this is also the reason why you don’t see much rubbish on their streets. And over here, we think they do that because they are poor (!)

    Over here, you put your rubbish out for recycling for whoever come to collect them for free! You even have to take them by car to supermarkets to put them in recycling banks for free! There is no motivation for folks to save their rubbish and sell them later for some handy cash. And this is why your streets are full of rubbish.

  19. Edna, I helped a friend cleaning two dozen wine bottles and a dozen plastic bottles, even removing the labels, as per the council’s instructions after the Christmas festivities, and then stacking them into the correct plastic box. This took about three-quarters of an hour. Then we started on the cardboard. I think an invoice would have been a justified accompaniment to this effort on behalf of the council. But then they can not be bothered to either clear the snow or take away the rubbish. Maybe we should invoice the council for our taking our refuse to the tip as well?

    Am I hopelessly naive in thinking that they work for us?

  20. There’s a very good reason for the fact that goods made from recycled materials are as expensive as those made from new, sometimes more expensive :  the cost of collection and recycling often exceeds the cost of manufacture from new.

    A real benefit to the environment and economy might be found in re-use but it would still have to be economically justifiable.  For example, glass is relatively inexpensive to make and silica, the principal ingredient, abundant ;  economic reality dictates therefore that we no long get a penny back on the bottle :  no doubt a crying shame as far as small children are concerned.


  21. Edd love, no need to remove labels from empty bottles before putting them out recycling love. They will crush everything in machine, wash them and separate glass from paper pulp and metal at the same time. ( I’ve watched a document on scrap yards and how they crush old cars into chips and the clever machines separate metal chips from plastic chips and other things.)

    I’ve heard some folks even wash out empty tin cans before putting them out for recycling collection. Only in England, love.

    I agree that some fashionable things made from recycled materials ( like Mrs C’s 1,000 Coke ring pulls shoulder bag ) by children in poor countries should be sold at high prices or reasonable prices, but surely, expensive writing papers made from recycled old papers by some factories in England?

    You can get a nice washing bowl made from recycled plastic in China from a £shop. And that’s because it’s made from recycled materials.

  22. Edna! You don’t follow the council’s explicit instructions on the disposal of household waste? I have a little card, delivered by our council, with full instructions on this, and endorsed by Sting himself.

    Do you realise the risk you are taking, in this snitch-riven nation, where one cannot drop a cat into a wheelie bin without facing punishment by the state? You have gone through the roof in my estimation, you devil-may-care refuse cavalier!

  23. “Allow me to introduce readers to Piers Corbyn, meteorologist and brother of my old chum, bearded leftie MP Jeremy. Piers Corbyn … he gets it right again and again.” Don’t judge Piers Corbyn by his own publicity – his forecast for January was exceptionally cold and snowy, and did we get it? Don’t think so.
    Here’s the exact quote – “Our forecast for an exceptionally cold and also snowy January in Britain & West Europe stands and despite its unlikely occurrence according to standard views we expect with 80% confidence that much of Britain (eg Central England) to be in the three coldest Januaries in the last 100 years.”

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