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"I think that Richard Betts is not/never was Vicky Pope's boss. So he is not responsible for her pronouncements and is under no obligation to speak for her."

True, but Richard comes here (informally) to speak up for the Met Office, therefore I would hope that he has the honesty to admit when the Met Office has made a mistake. He is not resposible for how that mistake has been translated into catastrophic policy decisions.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Sounds very much as if that incident was the inspiration for Nevil Shute's 1947 novel, The Chequer Board.
Mar 7, 2013 at 2:56 PM Barbara

Thanks Barbara - never read that one. One to add to the list.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:29 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Re: jamesp

The interim report said:

For this purpose Ofcom obtained rainfall data from the Environment Agency covering England and Wales from 1904.

It would have been nice to see what, if any, trends there where over the entire period the data covers.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS


I think that has already come up in the comments, although as one who had a jam-jar gauge until he could afford a tipping-bucket one, I can report that the old method still showed when it had been raining hard, which I gather is Ofcom’s main interest. As they’re talking about mm/hr/year it probably doesn’t matter too much how they do it...

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:58 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Martin A 1.06

Sounds very much as if that incident was the inspiration for Nevil Shute's 1947 novel, The Chequer Board.

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

“We offer an understanding of the future..”

Whose accuracy mysteriously increases with distance, unless it’s a weather forecast, when two days is about the limit...

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


That report in The Register is seriously snafued. The diagrams are rate of rainfall (mm/hr/yr), not amount of rain (mm). To measure rate, you need either) a tipping bucket raingauge which registers time taken to fill a set volume, or b) someone to dash out and read the gauge every set time.

The diagrams do not show rainfall increasing. They show that rate of rainfall is increasing in the area of England's bottom.

Jam jars with rulers on their own don't cut the mustard. Someone doesn't know what they are writing about. Surprise.

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

The Met Office's propaganda generation objectives

Margaret Thatcher listened to John Houghton and became convinced that CAGW was a real danger.

So the Met Office Hadley Centre was set up, with, as its aims

"To use models to predict climate change (...)", "To advise government policy on the mitigation of (...) climate change", and so on.

Its management built a team dedicated to delivering evidence for dangerous human caused climate change. They also sponsored complementary work at the Climatic Research Unit at UEA, with the same understood agenda. They played a leading role in the IPCC. The culmination of these efforts was the passing of the Climate Change Act 2008 by a government and by MPs mostly unqualified in science and reliant on the advice of the Scientific Civil Service and, above all, the Met Office.

Coaching of government ministers and their advisors by the Met Office lead to politicians saying such things as

"...What is now plain is that the emission of greenhouse gases, (...), is causing global warming at a rate that began as significant, has become alarming and is simply unsustainable (...). And by unsustainable, I do not mean a phenomenon causing problems of adjustment. I mean a challenge so far-reaching in its impact and irreversible in its destructive power, that it alters radically human existence...." (Tony Blair, 2004).

The Met Office had completed the transition of its core skill from weather forecasting, to advocacy and propaganda production.

Ironically, Mrs Thatcher eventually became sceptical of AGW as a danger; see her memoir Statecraft, which has a chapter titled "Hot Air and Global Warming".

Mar 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Jam-jar (evidence) trumps computer models..


Mar 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The Magic Roundabout!

"Policy relevant science"

"The Government funds the Met Office to do core research in support of practical decision-making.

We offer world-leading expertise to help Government and public services make strategic decisions about weather and climate change impacts.

We offer an understanding of the future through risk analysis and long-range forecasting, enabling them to make better informed decisions."

Mar 7, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

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