Feeds

Met confirms secret Gov forecast of Brass Monkey winter

Didn't share it with us, though

High performance access to file storage

The Met Office gave Government confidential weather advice that contradicts their published public statements, according to the BBC's Roger Harrabin. Harrabin says the Cabinet Office was told to expect "an exceptionally cold winter", and he sounds pretty certain about it. But back in October, the Met published maps showing a high probability of a warmer-than-average winter.

The Met vigorously denies the map, reproduced below, is a "forecast". However it has confirmed that it "provided a long-range forecast to the Cabinet Office at the end of October highlighting the risk of a cold start to the winter".

According to separate internal documents released under the FOI Act, saying two things to two audiences is advisable. The BBC News website published excerpts from several internal executive reports that bemoan the ability of the public to understand probabilistic forecasts. This resulted in "less 'intelligent' (and potentially hostile) sections of the press, competitors and politicos" conspiring to damage the Met Office "brand".

By contrast, people who the Met deems "interested customers" should be told the three-month outlook will be available on the research pages of the website. "'Intelligent' customers (such as the Cabinet Office) find probabilistic forecasts helpful in planning their resource deployment."

The Met recommended that three-month forecasts should be available on the research pages of its website but "this message should not be used with our mainstream audiences" [our emphasis].

Critics have called for a Parliamentary enquiry by the Science and Technology Select Committee. Why the fuss?

In October 2008, the Met predicted "a milder than average" winter, only for Britain to experience its coldest in 10 years. The following year, the Met predicted that "the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue" – only for Britain to experience the coldest winter in 30 years. This winter has proved the coldest since records begin. Transport Minister Phil Hammond told Parliament he'll ask the Met if three cold winters in a row indicates a "steep change" in British climate.

In October, the Met responded to newspaper reports based on a probability map:

Most definitely not a forecast

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.