The alternative climate reality that the U.K. Met Office seeks to occupy has moved a step nearer with news that a group of its top scientists has proposed adopting a radical new method of calculating climate change. The scientific method of calculating temperature trends over at least 30 years should be ditched, and replaced with 10 years of actual data merged with model projections for the next decade. The Met Office undoubtedly hopes that it can point to the passing of the 1.5°C ‘guard-rail’ in short order. This is junk science-on-stilts, and is undoubtedly driven by the desire to push the Net Zero collectivist agenda.
In a paper led by Professor Richard Betts, the Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office, it is noted that the target of 1.5°C warming from pre-industrial levels is written into the 2016 Paris climate agreement and breaching it “will trigger questions on what needs to be done to meet the agreement’s goal”. Under current science-based understandings, the breaching of 1.5°C during anomalous warm spells of a month or two, as happened in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2023, does not count. Even going above 1.5°C for a year in the next five years would not count. A new trend indicator is obviously needed. The Met Office proposes adding just 10 years’ past data to forecasts from a climate model programmed to produce temperature rises of up to 3.2°C during the next 80 years. By declaring an average 20-year temperature based around the current year, this ‘blend’ will provide ”an instantaneous indicator of current warming”.
It will do no such thing. In the supplementary notes to the paper, the authors disclose that they have used a computer model ‘pathway’, RCP4.5, that allows for a possible rise in temperatures of up to 3.2°C within 80 years. Given that global warming has barely risen by much more than 0.2°C over the last 25 years, this is a ludicrous stretch of the imagination. Declaring the threshold of 1.5°C, a political target set for politicians, has been passed based on these figures and using this highly politicised method would indicate that reality is rapidly departing from the Met Office station.
Using anomalous spikes in global temperature, invariably caused in the short-term by natural variations such as El Niño, is endemic throughout mainstream climate activism. ‘Joining the dots’ of individual bad weather events is now the go-to method to provoke alarm. So easily promoted and popular is the scare that an entire pseudoscience field has grown up using computer models to claim that individual weather events can be attributed to the actions of humans. ‘Weather’ and ‘climate’ have been deliberately confused. Climate trends have been shortened, and the weather somehow extended to suggest a group of individual events indicates a much longer term pattern. Meanwhile, the use of a 30-year trend dates back to the start of reliable temperature records from 1900, and was set almost 100 years ago by the International Meteorological Organisation. It is an arbitrary set period, but gives an accurate temperature trend record, smoothing out the inevitable, but distorting, anomalies.
By its latest actions, the Met Office demonstrates that the old-fashioned scientific way lacks suitability when Net Zero political work needs to be done. Trends can only be detected over time, leading to unwelcome delays in being able to point to an exact period when any threshold has been passed. Whilst accepting that an individual year of 1.5°C will not breach the Paris agreement so-called guard-rail, the Met Office claims that its instant indicator will “provide clarity” and will “reduce delays that would result from waiting until the end of the 20-year period”. The Met Office looks forward to the day when its new climate trend indicator comes with an IPCC ‘confidence’ or ‘high likelihood’ statement such as, “it is likely that the current global warming level has now reached (or exceeded) 1.5°C”. In subsequent years, this might become, “it is very likely that the current global warming level exceeded 1.5°C in year X”.
Why is this latest proposal from the state-funded Met Office junk science-on-stilts? A variety of reasons include that climate models have barely an accurate temperature forecast between them, despite 40 years of trying. Inputting opinions that the temperature of the Earth might rise by over 3°C in less than 80 years is hardly likely to improve their accuracy. There are also legitimate questions to be asked about the global temperature datasets that record past temperatures. Well-documented poor placing of measuring devices, unadjusted urban heat effects and frequent retrospective warming uplifts to the overall records do not inspire the greatest of confidence. At its HadCRUT5 global database, the Met Office has added around 30% extra warming over the last few years.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.