Laughing Stock Met Office…2007 “Peer-Reviewed” Global Temperature Forecast A Staggering Failure

Frank Bosse at Die kalte Sonne here puts the spotlight on a global warming forecast published by some British MetOffice scientists in 2007. It appeared in Science here.

The peer-reviewed paper was authored by Doug M. Smith and colleagues under the title: “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model“.

Using sophisticated methods, the target of the paper was to forecast the temperature development from 2004 to 2014 while taking the internal variability into account.

The claims made in Smith’s study are loud and clear (my emphasis):

…predict further warming during the coming decade, with the year 2014 predicted to be 0.30° ± 0.21°C [5 to 95% confidence interval (CI)] warmer than the observed value for 2004. Furthermore, at least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be warmer than 1998, the warmest year currently on record.“

The first chart shows their forecast:

Figure 1: Decadal forecast by Smith et al. (2007) for 2004 to 2014 (Source: Figure 4 of the a.m. paper).

Now that it’s 2014 and the observed data are in, we can compare to see how Smith et al did with their forecast. Boy, did they fail!

The following chart shows the actual result of the Smith et al forecast, showing the real observations since 1998:


Figure 2: Observed temperature development as to the MetOffice’s own data HadCRUT4 compared to the claims made in the Smith et al paper. The lower black line shows the linear trend of the observed results. The blue-gray lines show the confidence range of the forecast. The red line shows the linear trend of Smith et al. Chart modified from DkS.

Clearly we see that the Met Office observations show a cooling of 0.014°C over the 2004-2014 decade and is below even the forecast lower confidence limit. Moreover not a single year was warmer than 1998, despite having predicted at least three would be warmer.

According to Bosse, when the 2007 chart was published it was supposed to act as another nail in the coffin for global warming skeptics. The chart was even adopted by a German report titled: “Future information for the government.” Bosse writes:

Here one reads that ‘good decadal forecasts for policymaking and economy are very useful’ (page 6) … as long as they are ignored, one might add.”

Bosse calls the chart a fiasco because it falsely advised policymaking. Bosse adds:

Until today, since the first IPCC report of 1990, they have not made any progress when it comes to the central theme of climate prognoses: How many degrees Celsius of warming results from a doubling of Co2 concentration?”

Bosse writes that the 2007 Smith et al forecast failed neither to take known ocean cycles nor natural factors sufficiently into account and writes that the climate sensitivity value assumed by the IPCC must be reduced.

Now that 2007 is some years behind us, even Smith et al have realized their forecast was overinflated and so they produced a new paper which appeared last year. The latest by Smith has taken natural variability more into account and he is much more careful with prophecy-making. Still, the range of uncertainty the new paper offers makes it “more or less useless”, Bosse writes.

Figure 3: Latest forecast by Smith et al for global temperature until 2022 (Figure 8 of the aforementioned paper)

 Bosse concludes:

As long as man is unable to determine with the needed precision the role natural variability plays in our observed climate, calculating the impact of greenhouse gases will remain prophecy. Do you feel guilty that you are still using incandescent light bulbs? Don’t fret over it!

We’ll be revisiting Smith’s newest forecast in about 5 years time. In the meantime we have to ask ourselves if these people will ever learn. Science can take only so much damage.


29 responses to “Laughing Stock Met Office…2007 “Peer-Reviewed” Global Temperature Forecast A Staggering Failure”

  1. edmh

    After some 10,000 years our Happy Holocene Epoch is fading.

    The last millennium 1000-2000 AD was the coldest of the Holocene yet. This can be seen in the GISP and other ice core data. That most recent millennium was almost 3°C less than at the peak of the Holocene “climate optimum”.

    Looking at more recent records, the UKMO Central England Temperature record has already lost almost 1°C this century, i.e. since the year 2000 and more that 1.5°C in the winter months, December – February.

    With diminished solar output in he current cycle 24 and as presaged for cycle 25, significant cooling is a more likely outcome than Catastrophic Man-made warming for the foreseeable future.

    But even according to IPCC published data the much vaunted +2°C level of warming could never be reached however much Man-made Co2 is added to the atmosphere. The IPCC clearly confirms that the warming effectiveness of CO2 is diminishing with increasing concentration. So between the current 400ppmv and 800ppmv only ~9% of the effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas remains.

    Richard Tol has assessed that up to +2°C is universally beneficial. There are things with the climate we really should be afraid of and +2 °C warming is not one of them.

    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates fail to explain how reduction of man-made atmospheric CO2 can ever help to control Climate Change towards a cooling world.

    Nonetheless Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates continue to press decarbonisation policies as the solution to “Climate Change”.

    In reality any added atmospheric CO2 is just increasingly useful food for plants. If the world warms, it could well survive having additional areas available for viable, well fertilised, agriculture.

    But its getting colder !!!


    1. R. Hutch

      Agreed… cold kills. Truly, I hope the recent trends are not a sign of things to come.

    2. Brian H

      That 2°C figure was pulled out of a UN publicist’s posterior orifice. It has no (= zero) scientific credentials.

  2. John Shade

    I think their climate pretensions do make them a laughing stock, but yet laughter may not be appropriate. Such a misleading forecast could have done a great deal of harm. The weather side of the UK Met Office has long been highly-regarded, and that reputation unfortunately means that their climate side will be taken more seriously than it deserves to be by those who must make planning and other climate-related decisions.

  3. Loodt Pretorius

    Getting a job in the government is surely a job for life.

    Imagine missing the potty so spectacularly in the private sector, as these climate clowns did in 2007, and then coming back, with no sign of shame or remorse, in 2013 and then predicting more of the same BS! They are totally shameless.

    Even Greenpeace has asked their beanie who got the currency movement wrong to leave. Sorry, what is the difference between a faulty forecast for currency and that of temperature?

  4. Don

    Sad news, Moira Lamb (widow of Professor HH Lamb), died recently. I was just looking back and came across this obituary for Professor Lamb in the Independent, dated 9 July 1997

    I thought this comment towards the end of the obituary was particularly interesting

    “An irony is that, now the world is acutely aware of global climate change, Lamb had maintained a guarded attitude to the importance of greenhouse gas warming. Although many others have accepted this, he felt that there was too much reluctance to consider the full range of other, natural, causes of change. Right to the end of his life, he was promoting his “different view”.

  5. John F. Hultquist

    Here is a related item dated 2010. No time to read it all, but found 2 things odd.
    “Skilful multi-year predictions of Atlantic hurricane frequency” by Smith et al.

    *The title starts with the word “skilful” – a bit presumptuous, perhaps.
    *The first claim is “North Atlantic hurricane activity has increased substantially since the 1970s (refs 1, 2)”
    Meanwhile, Ryan Maue’s ACE charts show the opposite.

    Makes one wonder what Doug M. Smith and friends are smoking.

    On my screen, the so called “pink” lines in Fig. 2 are blue/gray.

    1. Billy Liar

      The UKMO 2013 Atlantic tropical storm seasonal forecast was another spectacular failure:

      The ACE forecast was 4 times the outturn! (and the bottom of their forecast range for ACE was over twice the outturn)

  6. steve mcdonald

    It’s becomming clear that predictions by the BOM in Australia are being made using polluted and manipulated data.

    It’s now being proven scientifically that they have being lying about temperature records constantly.

    Funding addiction has now gripped them by the throat.

    As the world has been cooling since 1998 they keep telling us with their eyes bulging our in fake horror that the year just ended was the hottest ever recorded.

    Aussies are starting to laugh at this bureau and are dropping off them like embarrassed flies.

    My sparring partners over the years are saying things like ” As much as it hurts me to say it, these people are talking shut”.

    1. Paul

      I think the Abbott government has realised this and the recent 90% cut in climate research departments is a convincing sign that they pretty much think along the same lines as us.

  7. DirkH

    This proves that warmist scientists and system media are anti-science – otherwise they would report on this failure; and discuss it in scientific circles.

  8. Stephen Richards


    Betts at the UKMO has gone quiet recently. His job was contructed around this super-duper infallable model and supre duper high speed, fastest evah, avah computer.

    They need to reissue their prognosis every 5 years to keep these useless people in work and spending UK tax money.

  9. Stephen Richards

    Makes one wonder what Doug M. Smith and friends are smoking –

    Pot wrapped in taxpayer’s money

  10. Stephen Richards

    My typing is inept this morning (fixed 🙂 )

  11. DR Norman Page

    It has been apparent from the start that the GCM modelling approach to forecasting is inherently useless and that a different forecasting method based on the natural cycles is required.
    In earlier posts on this at 4/02/13 and 1/22/13
    I have combined the PDO, ,Millennial cycle and neutron trends to estimate the timing and extent of the coming cooling in both the Northern Hemisphere and Globally.
    Here are the conclusions of those posts.
    1/22/13 (NH)
    1) The millennial peak is sharp – perhaps 18 years +/-. We have now had 16 years since 1997 with no net warming – and so might expect a sharp drop in a year or two – 2014/16 -with a net cooling by 2035 of about 0.35.Within that time frame however there could well be some exceptional years with NH temperatures +/- 0.25 degrees colder than that.
    2) The cooling gradient might be fairly steep down to the Oort minimum equivalent which would occur about 2100. (about 1100 on Fig 5) ( Fig 3 here) with a total cooling in 2100 from the present estimated at about 1.2 +/-
    3) From 2100 on through the Wolf and Sporer minima equivalents with intervening highs to the Maunder Minimum equivalent which could occur from about 2600 – 2700 a further net cooling of about 0.7 degrees could occur for a total drop of 1.9 +/- degrees
    4)The time frame for the significant cooling in 2014 – 16 is strengthened by recent developments already seen in solar activity. With a time lag of about 12 years between the solar driver proxy and climate we should see the effects of the sharp drop in the Ap Index which took place in 2004/5 in 2016-17.
    4/02/13 ( Global)
    1 Significant temperature drop at about 2016-17
    2 Possible unusual cold snap 2021-22
    3 Built in cooling trend until at least 2024
    4 Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2035 – 0.15
    5 Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2100 – 0.5
    6 General Conclusion – by 2100 all the 20th century temperature rise will have been reversed,
    7 By 2650 earth could possibly be back to the depths of the little ice age.
    8 The effect of increasing CO2 emissions will be minor but beneficial – they may slightly ameliorate the forecast cooling and help maintain crop yields .
    9 Warning !! There are some signs in the Livingston and Penn Solar data that a sudden drop to the Maunder Minimum Little Ice Age temperatures could be imminent – with a much more rapid and economically disruptive cooling than that forecast above which may turn out to be a best case scenario.

    How confident should one be in these above predictions? The pattern method doesn’t lend itself easily to statistical measures. However statistical calculations only provide an apparent rigor for the uninitiated and in relation to the IPCC climate models are entirely misleading because they make no allowance for the structural uncertainties in the model set up. This is where scientific judgment comes in – some people are better at pattern recognition and meaningful correlation than others. A past record of successful forecasting such as indicated above is a useful but not infallible measure. In this case I am reasonably sure – say 65/35 for about 20 years ahead. Beyond that certainty drops rapidly. I am sure, however, that it will prove closer to reality than anything put out by the IPCC, Met Office or the NASA group. In any case this is a Bayesian type forecast- in that it can easily be amended on an ongoing basis as the Temperature and Solar data accumulate. If there is not a 0.15 – 0.20. drop in Global SSTs by 2018 -20 I would need to re-evaluate.

  12. Stephen Richards

    that their climate side will be taken more seriously than it deserves to be by those who must make planning and other climate-related decisions. –

    I’m not convinced of that. One large UK supermaket chain uses the UKMO but checks it against another well known private company. So, no, the UKMO forecast are not trusted and certainly not their performance figures.

  13. DirkH
    1. Bernd Felsche

      Bring in half a dozen real polar bears and find out how cuddly they can be.

    2. Bruce of Newcastle

      The best Breibart story, Dirk, is this one:

      Global Warming Study Ridiculed After Temperatures DROP

      Well done Pierre!

      1. DirkH

        Thanks, I missed that one.

      2. Brian H

        Note the 5% confidence level cited. The reason hard sciences demand orders of magnitude tighter levels is that human bias is very ingenious and persistent. 5% doesn’t even qualify as a plausible speculation.

  14. Paul Matthews

    It is good to see this story getting more publicity – and now it is at Breitbart news.

    I blogged about it in November. The worst thing I thought was that the 2013 paper did not discuss the failure of the predictions made in the 2007 paper.

  15. Ken Gregory

    Friends of Science have several billboards up in Alberta,Canada showing “Global Warming Stopped Naturally 16+ Years Ago”. See night-time photo of one version here:

    Here is another version on the 42-foot superboard at Airdrie, Alberta:

    Our home page features the billboard showing source information.

  16. Daily Stock Tips |

    […] Laughing Stock Met Office…2007 “Peer-Reviewed” Global … Bosse at Die kalte Sonne here puts the spotlight on a global warming forecast published by some British MetOffice scientists in 2007. It appeared in Science here. The peer-reviewed paper was authored by Doug M. […]

  17. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. More information at our Data Privacy Policy