Come 27th July,
the London Olympics kick off with its Opening Ceremony. Weather can play a
spoiler. The Chinese demonstrated during the last Olympics that they had
the technology to even chase away the rain successfully. This time it is
different since here it is the British we are talking of!
So what’s the weather like
for the opening ceremony? Weather forecasters are divided. On one hand we have
the UK Met Office who promises of dry and shiny weather. On the other hand we
have Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist and owner of Weather Action who predicts a
damp and rainy day. So on the opening day of the London Olympics itself we are fortunate to watch one of the most fascinating duel as a sidelight to the Opening Ceremony.
The Indian Meteorological
Department (IMD) has been recently receiving alot of flak for their monsoon prediction
going awry. But compared to the UK’s Met office’s track record, they should come
out smelling like roses. The IMD possesses
a success rate of 22% which means at least one of four of their monsoon forecasts
possess the probability of getting it right. Last year, the IMD even forecasted
successfully a rainless day for the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
In contrast, the Met Office
has hardly any success to flaunt though their prediction that global
temperatures will rise by 4% by 2100 is extensively used by climate alarmist to generate
hysteria. This despite the Met Office possessing the
most sophisticated and expensive super-computer on earth. Even more ironical, the
Met Office Directors draw a salary even higher than those drawn by UK’s Prime
Minister and are thus the highest paid civil servants in the UK. So we can draw
some consolation it is not only in India where incompetence is often rewarded.
The UK, our former colonial masters leaves us far behind to claim the first
prize for this dubious distinction.
Christopher Booker of the Telegraph perhaps best gives us
the best graphic description of their incompetence as perhaps only he could:
“First it was a national
joke. Then its professional failings became a national disaster. Now, the
dishonesty of its attempts to fight off a barrage of criticism has become a
real national scandal. I am talking yet again of that sad organisation the UK
Met Office, as it now defends its bizarre record with claims as embarrassingly
absurd as any which can ever have been made by highly-paid government
The reason the Met Office
so persistently gets its seasonal forecasts wrong is that it has been hi-jacked
from the role for which we pay it nearly £200 million a year, to become one of
the world's major propaganda engines for the belief in man-made global warming.
Over the past three years, it has become a laughing stock for forecasts which
are invariably wrong in the same direction...
In line with IPCC theory,
its computers were programmed to predict that, as CO2 levels rose, temperatures
would inevitably follow.”
So what makes the Met
Office a national joke? Here are some samplers:
- In 2007, the UK Met Office warned we could
see "the warmest year ever",
just before global temperatures plunged by 0.7 degrees Celsius, more than the
world's entire net warming in the 20th century due to the effect of a super La
Niña! The gaffe provoked headlines like “The Met Office fries while the rest of the world freezes”
In 2009-10, the Met Office promised UK a “barbecue summer” which turned into a
damp squib as temperatures plunged due to heavy rains. In the event, July was
the wettest on record in England and Wales.
From 2008-2009 to 2010-11, three years
consequently, the Met Office predicted a "mild
winter" for the UK only to eat crow.
The 2010-2011 forecast seasons was
particularly severe for the reputation of the Met Office, as UK winter which
they forecast to be “mild” turned out
to be the coldest for over 100 years. This when climate sceptic meteorologists
of the likes of Joe Bastardi of AccuWeather; Jonathan Powell of Positive
Weather Solutions and Piers Corbyn of Weather Action hit the bulls-eye right.
To save themselves further blushes, the UK Met Office gave up seasonal forecast
of winter altogether and this is why they gave no such forecast for the winter
And their list of fumbling appears
unending. This summer the Met Office predicted record warmth and droughts (no
surprise). Instead what the UK got was the record seasonal cold and worst
floods in over 100 years (no surprise here too). It provoked articles as in
us make our position crystal clear: We are against this weather," the
venerable newspaper wrote in an unsigned opinion piece. "It must stop
raining, and soon."
“Met Office spokeswoman Sarah Holland was apologetic, saying in an
email that while the weather was disappointing, ‘unfortunately there is nothing
we can do about it.’”
Another newspaper observed:
Office has explained that the persistent damp is likely due to a fluke of the
jet stream, which normally migrates north of Britain in the summer but, this
year, has refused to budge. (Yes, this could be due to climate change.) Instead, it’s hovering
over the country, drizzling rain like a shower head in a bad hotel.”
The Met Office’s bête noire is the brillant but eccentric Dr.
Piers Corbyn, a meteorologist
and climate skeptic. He is the brother of bearded Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.
Piers Corbyn works in an undistinguished office in Borough High Street, London.
He has no supercomputer. Armed only with a laptop or a pocket scientific
calculator, huge quantities of publicly available data and a first-class degree
in astrophysics, he gets it right again and again. His short term forecasts
i.e. below 7 days has nearly a 100% success rate; medium term forecasts i.e. below
a month a success rate of 85% and long term i.e. above one month forecasts has a
success rate of about 60%. Head to head against the Met Office, Corbyn has
nearly a 100% success rate.
42 days before the Olympic
Opening Ceremony, Piers Corbyn predicted rains while the Met Office predicted
clear skies. A week before D-Day, while Piers Corbyn stood firm, the Met Office
lost their nerves and revised their forecast to rains. Then a few days ago,
while Piers Corbyn continued to stand firm, the Met Office once again did a somersault
to revert make to their clear sky forecast. A media report describes their
latest about turn:
the bad guy of Britain's washout summer, is heading back north, raising hopes
of warmer, sunnier weather just in time for the Olympic Games.
The soggy weather
system, which normally flows to the north of Scotland, has been sitting over
southern England for the past three months, bringing virtually non-stop rain
New data from the
Met Office suggests the situation is changing, however, and by Saturday the jet
stream will be closer to where it belongs.
The retreat of the
jet stream will allow a ridge of high pressure to exert its influence over
southern parts of England, bringing warmer, sunnier weather. Northern and
western parts are out of luck, however. They will experience what the BBC calls
The change in the
jet stream means the Olympics, which start on 27 July, may avoid the washout
which everybody thought was inevitable.
The BBC, which
uses Met Office data, predicts for the week of Monday 23 July- Sunday 29 July:
"Changeable conditions will continue into the following week. However,
there are now signs that the unsettled weather will become more focussed
towards northern and western parts of the United Kingdom. This will result in
drier, more settled conditions in the south with some brighter, warmer
Rain isn't exactly rare in London this time of
year. The average August in London receives just under
two inches of rain. London just set a record for the wettest June on record,
and July is off to a wet start.
Many events won't be impacted by the rain.
Swimming, diving, basketball and gymnastics all compete indoors.
However, track and field events can quickly change
in the rain. Field sports like hockey, rugby sevens (demonstration sport until
2016) and football/soccer become different, and sailing can be downright
dangerous in poor weather.
Beach volleyball is one of the events that would be
most impacted by weather. Even though players are accustomed to dealing with
"the third player," rain and wind do take away some of the advantages
of the better athletes.
So good times ahead. The first
competition for the London Olympics starts tomorrow, the Opening Ceremony - the weather forecast competition.
What is going to transpire?
Can a bloke beat the super-computers
of the UK Met Office with a laptop?
Watch this space!
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