The Met’s “expert” forecasts strike again

Written by Christopher Booker

Once again last week we saw Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s £240,000-a-year Chief Scientist, lecturing a conference of “50 experts” on the dire effects of “climate change and extreme weather on health and well-being”. This might have seemed timely. met office

Since last December, Dame Julia’s computer models were predicting that 2016 would be the hottest year since records began in 1850. It is true that even the satellite temperature records showed last year as being unusually warm. But this was due not so much to “man-made climate change” as the natural effect of an exceptionally strong El Nino: the warm phase of that Pacific current which raises temperatures all over the world.

We saw much the same natural effect in 1998, 2006 and 2010, when thanks to strong El Ninos, global temperatures spiked. But on each occasion this was followed by a La Nina, giving the opposite effect, such as the dramatic cooling of 2007/8, which lowered global temperatures by 0.7 degrees C, equal to their entire net rise over the past century. Much the same is now happening again.

As the El Nino effect switches back to a La Nina, the satellites show that global temperatures have already fallen in the past two months by 0.37 degrees, their second sharpest drop since the satellite record began in 1979. As they continue to fall, this is likely to make that Met Office prediction that 2016 will be “the hottest year ever” as laughable as its “barbecue summer” of 2009 and all those other forecasts which have made the Met Office synonymous with crystal balls. At least, as we swelter through this baking summer (not), Dame Julia got in her latest bit of scaremongering just in time. But if the rest of us want to know how the climate is changing, we might do better just to look out of the window.