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« Wind power eases off | Main | GWPF TV on the floods »
Tuesday
Feb252014

Met Office tweaks the evidence

In the comments on the previous posting, Doug Keenan notes that the Met Office have been..ahem...tweaking the evidence:

The video shows, at about 1:10, a document that was issued on 21.11.13, by the Met Office. The document is available at
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/m/8/A3_plots-precip-DJF-2.pdf

I found the document by googling this:
"21.11.13" site:metoffice.gov.uk

The google results list the title of the document as “below-average precipitation”. That must have been the title at the time that Google indexed the document. On the Met Office website, the title is now changed to “A3 plots-precip-DJF-2”.

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Reader Comments (54)

Yep, good work Doug. It got me wondering when and where was the first reference on the Met Office site and elsewhere on the Web to this PDF document (or to be more precise, to one of the four documents found by Google in response to Doug's search - click 'repeat the search …' to see all four). It's certainly not easy to establish (the new UK Government Web Archive isn't helping with a bug right now) but the earliest external reference I've found is someone called Richard Dixon on 25th November on the Google Group uk.sci.weather with Met Office DJF contingency planners forecast.

I've got to get back to programming in Ruby on Rails now and will not be at all surprised to be trumped by someone else by this evening. I'll show some of my working then. :)

Feb 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Two different documents - one forecasts temperature the other forecasts precipitation

In the header above the green box summary both claim " This forecast is based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement." ......both, however seem to be pretty meaningless as weather forecasts!!

Feb 25, 2014 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Caught with a hand in the sweetie jar, eh?

Feb 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Agree that title of the precipitation document has been altered since November

Feb 25, 2014 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

But they're just using a 'trick', which as Dr. Gavin Schmidt says is a neat way to deal with the scientific problem evidence data...

Feb 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterManniac

Isn't it a bugger when the facts mean that you have to alter history..?

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

The latest thread to be touched on that Google Group is entitled (surprise surprise) UKMO and 3 Monthly Forecasts and was started by Lawrence Jenkins five days ago:

I don't want to get accused of UKMO bashing but I think this is a reasonable question. We all know the infamous 3 -monthly forecast produced in March 2012? at the end of a winter drought. It was for April/May/June. However is this a regular event a three monther, I've looked on their website to see if there are others that have been archived and can't find any.

Anyone?

It's much harder than it should be to reconstruct an audit trail of these things. But note how the point is being made by someone who doesn't want to be accused of 'UKMO bashing'. I'd not always say the same about my esteemed colleagues on Bishop Hill :) But I think this can be seen as another straw in a prevailing wind that is, little by little, changing for the better.

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

“Great liars are also great magicians.”

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

"The forecast for December will be superseded by the long-range information on the public weather forecast web page.........,starting from 29 November 2013."

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Sorry, this is nonsense.
Those Met Office docs are always labelled something like this.

Just google

A3_plots-precip

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"Met Office tweaks the evidence"

Or as Hansen would say "homogenising" the evidence

I wonder when we will see their predictions of disaster changing.

Why does climate "science" remind me of the Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984?

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

CharmingQuark.... follow me, to Room 101 for some intellectual readjustment. You'll find it doubleplusgood. (squeak squeak)

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTBYJ

Yet more inconvenient evidence that the Met Office wishes to hide (or change) just to keep the great waddling pile of egos confortable.
As I have said many time - these people should be on contracts that only give payment by results, coupled with sackings for a lack of performance. This office is a sink of money that actively causes losses for industries, farms, and ordinary citizens. Surely it is time for a change!

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

Like Watergate (how apt), it's always the 'cover-up' that gets them!

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

There appears to be two "precip-DJF" pdfs, created seconds apart. Document Properties indicates a difference in the file sizes.

"A3 plots-precip-DJF"

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/r/q/A3_plots-precip-DJF.pdf

22/11/13 - 09:58:50

161.48 KB (165,356) bytes

" SUMMARY - PRECIPITATION:

Confidence in the forecast for precipitation across the UK over the next three months is relatively low.

There is a preference for below-average precipitation during December. For the December-January-February period as a whole there is a slight signal for below-average precipitation.

The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).."


--------------------------------------

"A3 plots-precip-DJF-2"

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/m/8/A3_plots-precip-DJF-2.pdf

22/11/13 - 09:58:29

146.79 KB (150,318) bytes

" SUMMARY - PRECIPITATION:

Confidence in the forecast for precipitation across the UK over the next three months is relatively low.

For the December-January-February period as a whole there is a slight signal for below-average precipitation.

The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).."

-------------------------------------

The above is from downloaded pdfs. There appears to be a difference in properties between the online and downloaded properties. This is more than likely due to my lack of knowledge. Therefore all the above requires confirmation. Haven't checked the rest of the documents but the change in the summary is not significant. I think we are probably looking at an administration tiding up exercise

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:24 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I think one of the major examples of the Met Office 'tweaking the evidence' has got to be that graph they published back in 2009 in the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate talks. The media were all hyper-ventilating about 'Global Warming' at the time and the Met Office were no exception despite knowing full well that 'Global Warming' had not been happening for over a decade by then!!

http://www.worcester.gov.uk/fileadmin/assets/pdf/Environment/climate_change/DECC-MET-office-warming-brochure.pdf

Remember the lies they told -

"It’s now clear that the emission of man-made greenhouse gases is causing climate change. The rate of change began as significant, has become alarming and is simply unsustainable in the long-term"

And the accompanying mega-hockey stick graph on page 4. Where was the stop in warming on this graph??? Sure there's a gap - explained by ten year smoothing but join the edges of the gap and the trend is ever upwards with no sign of a plateau!!! Absolute deceit from the Met Office - compare that to their more recent five year 'decadel' forecasts!!! Whoops now down to four years!!!

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/met-office-new-four-year-decadal-forecast-spaghetti/

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I'm struggling to see any relevance, can the MO have any influence on how google presents it's results? If you search google.co.uk limiting the search to the UK only via the search tools, 3rd in the list is the relevant document, carrying the aforesaid unaltered title

"[PDF]below-average precipitation. - Met Office
www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/m/8/A3_plots-precip-DJF-2.pdf‎"

The cache of the document is exactly the same as the direct link, as covered by GWPF on 8/1/14.

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Now,now, children. We are all getting a bit too excited about this....

There must be more important/interesting things to talk about.

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Dame Julia: "Winston! Have you got your Speak-write fired up?"
Winston: "OK. Fax the Forecast."

[Apologies to G Orwell]

Feb 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I'd love to have a job where the summary of my work (using supercomputers no less) resembles the above statement.

I.e, there's a small chance it's going to be very dry, a slightly smaller chance it's going to be very wet and a very large chance it's going to somewhere in between very dry and very wet. Wow, I am completely underwhelmed.

Feb 25, 2014 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeC

Sorry, my use of blockquote is obviously out of whack. Any assistance would help.
______________________________________________________________________

"The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%)."

I'd love to have a job where the summary of my work (using supercomputers no less) resembles the above statement.

I.e, there's a small chance it's going to be very dry, a slightly smaller chance it's going to be very wet and a very large chance it's going to somewhere in between very dry and very wet. Wow, I am completely underwhelmed.

Feb 25, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeC

The google title will depend upon how their web crawler found it.

There are probably several hundred web pages out there with phrases such as:

"the met office predicted below average precipitation for the winter".

Google's web crawler will pick all of these up and as a result it presents the results as it does. The title google returns doesn't reflect what the Met Office calls the document or what the document calls itself. It represents what the majority of pages that link to the document call it.

Feb 25, 2014 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

lol
I wonder if I can win Richard Betts another small wager with his colleagues....Let me guess....like Dec 24th 2012 the change was made by a junior rushing to meet a deadline...

Feb 25, 2014 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The woeful record of seasonal forecasts by the Met Office has given them plenty of practice in twisting, turning and weaving in their frantic efforts to defend themselves against justifiable criticism.

You would think that the penny would have dropped by now, but they still insist on believing their global warming models. I wonder how long they can keep this up. Our politicians don't seem to notice that the advice is wrong every time.

Feb 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterScrodinger's Cat

Met. Office have apparently changed the name yet again - the document is now called "Here - Met Office"

Either that, or TerryS is correct, and this entire topic about "Met Office tweaks the evidence" is completely wrong, and they deserve an apology.

Just saying ...

Feb 25, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

I repeat what I posted on the other thread where Keenan raised this issue, for what it's worth:

Douglas J. Keenan: "That must have been the title at the time that Google indexed the document."
Possibly not. If you click the "repeat the search with the omitted results included" link, Google presents two versions of each file (A3_plots-temp-DJF.pdf as well as A3_plots-temp-DJF-2.pdf). For the "DJF" file, one is listed by its file name, the other listed as "Here". This suggests that "Here" and "below-average precipitation." were text fields in an original document which linked to the .pdf files, and from which Google first located those files. (Rather than your suggestion that these are former document titles.) E.g., Google located these files by running across a reference which went something like "[start of tag to DJF file]Here[end tag] is the three-month forecast, indicating [start of tag to DJF-2 file]below-average precipitation.[end tag]"

That said, I don't really know how Google gets the "title" line of its hits for items like .pdf files. Above is just speculation, based on the uninformative "Here" of one file, and the full-stop in the title of the other.

Feb 25, 2014 at 3:49 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Here is an article from the New York Times called Engineering Google Results to Make a Point about what is known as Google Bombing.


The perpetrators succeed by recruiting a small group of accomplices to link from their Web sites to a target site using specific anchor text (the clickable words in a link). The more high-traffic sites that link a Web page to a particular phrase, the more Google tends to associate that page with the phrase - even if, as in the case of the president's official biography, the term does not occur on the destination site.

That is probably what has happened here. Multiple sites have used the "below-average precipitation" phrase when linking to the document and as a result Google uses it as a title.

The Met Office have no control over the title Google uses.

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Also called Googlewashing - which is more descriptive when the attempt to manipulate the search results has a political purpose:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Orlowski

I met an old Obstetrician once. He practiced medicine long before ultrasounds made the sex of a baby easy to determine. He told how he would answer anxious parents regarding the sex of their expected bundle of joy:
He would guess what they wanted to hear and tell them what they wanted.
In his notes he would write the opposite.
If he told them "boy", he would write, "girl".
If the "boy" turned out to be a "girl", and he was confronted by a parent challenging his guess, he would just show them his notes, where he had written "girl".
The AGW corrupted weather services, just like with the climate crisis driven models, are attempting to do the same sort of thing: sell us panic and chaos, then point to their written records which they can then claim said something different.

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Mike C

Sorry, my use of blockquote is obviously out of whack. Any assistance would help.

Copy and paste from the HTML below including < & >. Insert it before the text then after but with </&>

Try a test in unthreaded.

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentersmart arse

For blockquote (or any HTML) with Firefox, highlight an example that someone else did correctly, right click, and select "View selection source". Firefox shows you how it was formatted.

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Re: Andrew Orlowski

> Also called Googlewashing

I wonder who came up with the Googlewash phrase? Any ideas?

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The term Googlewashing was coined by Andrew Orlowski in 2003 to describe the use of media manipulation to change the perception of a term, or push out competition from search engine results pages (SERPs).[4][5]

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Re: steveta_uk

Click on the googlewash link I provided

Feb 25, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Please let's not get paranoid.

Those are two different documents (precipitation and temperature). Both were created in November, 2013 and they have not been altered since (adobe reader > file > properties).
Titles on search results depends on how google indexes the file.


Google:
A: We use two main elements to determine the title shown: the title metadata within the file, and the anchor text of links pointing to the PDF file. To give our algorithms a strong signal about the proper title to use, we recommend updating both.

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.at/2011/09/pdfs-in-google-search-results.html

Feb 25, 2014 at 5:22 PM | Registered CommenterPatagon

My guess is that this is a red herring.

I ran a post on 7th Jan with a screen capture, which has the same as the current wording.

If the Met Office really did change it, they would have had to have done so before then, which seems unlikely as nobody had picked it up as an issue before.

The Jan version is here.

http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/met-office-did-not-see-floods-coming/

Feb 25, 2014 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Don't y'all just hate it when the troll is right?

Feb 25, 2014 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Patagon @ 5:22 PM, Feb 25

You raise an important point, which I had not considered. I just checked the anchor texts of web pages linking to the Met Office document. One of the web pages—at
http://notrickszone.com/2014/02/10/global-laughing-stock-uk-met-office-lost-touch-with-reality-corrupted-valuable-british-institution/
—does indeed have anchor text “below-average precipitation.”. That gives strong support to what you are saying. Hence my original claim was in error.

Feb 25, 2014 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

Well done actually
- the commenters picked up the problem ..so the system works as it should
- Douglas owned up & admitted it was likely an error ..good on him
..and the troll turned up an the last minute "to poach a goal" & gloat..but so what ? we are made of sterner stuff here
..make a claim, test your claim , quickly admit when you are wrong ..That's not something I see on the alarmist webblogs

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Patagon & Douglas J. Keenan

"Those are two different documents (precipitation and temperature)."

Not that it is any big deal but there are two different "plots-precip-DJF" docs out there (see my previous up thread)

Only difference I can see is a slight change in the "Summary" wording, haven't gone into any further detail and don't intend to. As I said before it looks like an admin tiding up exercise.

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

There seems to be three different documents 1 temperature and 2 precipitation.

On a quick comparison of the 2 precipitation docs it seems that "Fig P2" is missing a December precipitation outlook chart, but the "Fig P2" heading remains as
"1-month and 3-month UK outlook......."

There is also some wording changed in the intro paragraph and summary paragraph.
I haven't looked too closely at Fig P1 and Fig P2.

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

At this stage it is worth remember why the MET stopped making its mid to long range forecasts public , because they were wrong so often , and by lucky chance always in favour of AGW , that is had become embarrassing for even the elephant hide of the MET.

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

Wait. REALLY??? You're deleting my comment because I mentioned that ZDB's comment might have had merit? This is low. Are you going to delete every ZDB comment, and every comment that refers to a ZDB comment, without regard to merit? I know this must be time-consuming, but it's a solution that's far from ideal.

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Douglas J. Keenan,

As they say,

"A wise man changes his mind sometimes, but a fool never. To change your mind is the best evidence you have one. "

Feb 25, 2014 at 8:02 PM | Registered CommenterPatagon

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:57 PM James Evans

Yes - that's the Bish's policy.

Replying to those comments results in wasting the Bish's time iin deleting them. So don't bother doing it.

Feb 25, 2014 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Just for easy ref:-

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/r/q/A3_plots-precip-DJF.pdf

OR

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/m/8/A3_plots-precip-DJF-2.pdf

Feb 25, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I'm one of the biggest sceptics there can be, statistician who sees little evidence to support the AGW claim. But the Met Office to their credit assigned a 'relatively low' confidence to their prediction. As a statistician I read that as they don't really know but here's a stab in the dark.

Nothing to see here, move on.

Feb 25, 2014 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Shaw

James

Yes. Zed and responses deleted as a matter of policy. I don't read either. I assume that the object of Zed's coming here is to disrupt. The policy prevents that object being achieved.

Feb 25, 2014 at 9:28 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I'll excuse myself from the apologisin' or complainin' and, as promised, outline some of the problems I found earlier with building up any kind of audit trail of the Met Office's 3 month forecasts, after the event. It goes without saying that there should be a crystal clear time series of forecasts, in one place, easily found through Google.

As a valid point of comparison think of the released versions of an open source library like jQuery:

1. One googles jQuery releases
2. The first page found has all the latest downloads
3. Soon afterwards one finds the official blog with a record of, and link to, all historical releases going back to January 2006. (And just one file per release, not two or even four. Ugh.)

With the Met Office 3-month forecasts it's far more opaque. But, thanks to guys like Tim Berners-Lee and other open source advocates (including many young Ruby programmers, strangely enough), the UK is in areas other than climate said to leading the world in open government. Too big a subject to deal adequately with here - especially the glaring differences, so often, with the climate case. But worth returning to from time to time.

Anyway, as mentioned above, as part (I assume) of the drive for open gov there's now the UK Government Web Archive with an Advanced search option in beta. I tried putting one or more of the pdf URLs returned by Doug's original search in under 'a specific website'. Earlier in the day that gave an error message declaring a bug. Now it simply says that nothing's found. But worth a further play as the archive develops - and surely worth petitioning for Met Office stuff to be wholeheartedly included.

Back to the more general (and often wonderful) Wayback Machine. The problem is that to get where we want to (a reliable and complete time series of 3-month forecasts) one needs a URL for an HTML page that regularly has the link to the three month forecast. The best candidate seems to be this one:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/publicsector/contingency-planners

(Readers like Paul Homewood will probably know better. This is one amateur having a go for a few minutes, inspired by Doug's initial search.) Anyway, Wayback last archived this URL on November 2, 2013, as you can see there. So we just miss out on the forecast of interest of 21st November.

I agree with those that say that there's no massively smoking gun even on 21st, by the way. But the lack of proper audit trail I consider a scandal. That's where the story should be on this thread, in my view.

Feb 25, 2014 at 11:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Prosecution case investigated, fair hearing given, accusation withdrawn, case dismissed.

An impressive example of the wide-ranging expertise and ethical integrity of the Bishop's congregation.

Feb 25, 2014 at 11:18 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

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