Climate Scientist Calls For Another Billion

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness/Philip Bratby



A top climate scientist has called for more investment in climate computing to explain the UK’s recent topsy turvy weather.

Prof Tim Palmer from Oxford University said there were still too many unknowns in climate forecasting.

And in the month the SpaceX launch grabbed headlines, he said just one of the firm’s billions could transform climate modelling.

Short-term weather forecasting is generally very accurate.

And long-term trends in rising temperatures aren’t in doubt.

But Prof Palmer says many puzzles remain unsolved: take the recent weird weather in the UK, with the wettest February on record followed by the sunniest Spring. 


We keep giving the Met Office millions for new computers, and it is always on the same premise – better forecasting. Yet they still appear to be totally unable to forecast the weather even a month in advance.

As we know, the locked jetstream over the last three months has given us a warm, sunny spring, with the jet looping well to the north of the British Isles, thus locking in high pressure. Such weather is a perfectly common event here, and always has been.

However, the jetstream has already shifted this week, shifting back south and leaving the UK exposed to low pressure to the northeast:



The jetstream forecast for the next fortnight suggests little change, with low pressure never far away, so don’t expect a hot, sunny June.

Yet the Met Office’s 3-month outlook issued on 21st May never saw this coming:



I have commented before that the Met Office used to add a note for the first month of the outlook, but gave this idea up a year or so ago, no doubt embarrassed by its repeated inaccuracy.

But we can look at their graph, which gives a range of forecasts for June, the pink crosses on the right):




The fact that these range from 12C to 16C tells us a lot about the uselessness of their models. But it is fair to say that most scenarios centre around the 14 to 15C range, which is much higher than the 1981-2010 average of 13.0C.

It remains to be seen what the weather will be like at the back end of the month, but given the current jetstream forecast it seems unlikely that June will be anywhere near as hot as the Met Office are suggesting.


Which brings us back to square one. Why should we give them another billion, when they cannot even forecast the weather two weeks ahead now?


June 5, 2020 at 05:06AM

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