UK Weather report – Lots of snow coming!!!

Several UK tabloids have been reporting that a big UK freeze is coming and also claiming …

Britain is about to experience an early winter, with snow expected to arrive as soon as next month, forecasters have warned. Temperatures over the next three months will plummet to below average

This is coming from headlines in, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, and Metro, so of course it just must be true, right? Various folks have been mentioning this and repeating it to me as an established fact, so I thought I’d look into.

First stop, the UK Met Office, do they have a long-range weather forecast? Well, they do 3-5 day forecasts. They also offer 15 and 30 day views as well, but that’s about as far as they go (in public). Obviously they run longer range models, but it’s not public (as far as I can tell), so this is not the source.

Next stop is ECMWF (The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). Since they are based in the UK, they must have a winter forecast out. Even their name must be a clue, they must have an answer.Nope, they are into Global models, nothing dramatic springs to mind for the UK winter here.

Now if you refer back to the stories and check, it turns out that their source is James Madden, of Exacta Weather. Ah, so who are they? Well, they are described as “a voluntary weather organisation”, and also don’t “receive any government funding”. So are they a credible source?

I have the following observations:

  • With no real funding how can they actually forecast, they will not have the resources to collect data, or the computing power to crunch the numbers?
  • The official sites, UK Met Office and also ECMWF go into a lot of details about how they forecast, Exacta say nothing at all regarding their methodology and instead have lots of claims in which they boast about how wonderful and accurate their forecasts are?
  • Their forecaster, James Madden, is a Meteorologist? … er no, apparently he is a student who currently possesses a vocational qualification in Natural Sciences, and is in the latter stages of completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Geography.

So what do others say? On Climate Realists Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist and originator of the Solar Weather Technique (SWT) of long-range forecasting and founder of Weather Action Long Range forecasters says …

It’s baseless hype from a gaggle of wannabes

And then goes on the explain …

based on the meanderings of a gaggle of would-be forecasters, none of whom have an independent track record of significant long-range success … Their forecast of a cold & dry* October will fail. It will be generally WET & MILD

But lets’ be fair there is nothing wrong with anyone, qualified or not, attempting to forecast the weather and talking about it, but the Express, Mail and others hype up the qualities of their ‘Experts’; Mr Madden, eg, of Exacta is an unqualified geographer; and more shamefully the Express promotes this wild speculation as if it had substance beyond a game of ‘Spot the ball’.

So what has James at Exacta to say? … Well apparently one of Madden’s primary methods of analysing long-range weather conditions is his analysis of solar cycles (Oh, that sounds a heck of a lot like the approach Piers Corbyn uses). Commenting on the solar cycle, James Madden said:

“Periods of low solar activity at present and what we have seen in recent years influence the Earth’s atmosphere by allowing the stratosphere to cool. This has a somewhat more profound effect over Northern Europe and the UK in terms of colder and snowier winters, due to jet stream patterns that block warm air from reaching us and create more moisture.”

Now moving on, (it gets even more interesting), Piers Corbyn, who slagged off James above, is himself slagged off by others for his forecasts. A peer-reviewed work conducted involving Corbyn’s work was published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (2001) in which they wrote …

Some forecasts are clearly very good, and a few are very poor, but the majority fall in the gray area in between, where an optimistic assessor would find merit, but a critical assessor would find fault.

So even the critic of our rather dicey forecaster is himself on rather shaky ground.

Where next? Well, until we have solid evidence available, a real study written up that verifies that solar activity is a better more accurate way of predicting the long-term weather, I suggest we take all this with a rather large grain of salt and remain suitably skeptical about it all.

6 thoughts on “UK Weather report – Lots of snow coming!!!”

  1. Get real everybody. A forecast is only a forecast.It is not exact and who ever gets it right ?? Nobody.It’a an amalgam of granny’s backache, red skies, your dog’s behaviour, and other centuries-old ”phenomena” along with scientific observations, educated {??] guesses. I am sure everybody has a few more pishrogues to throw into the mix.My usual summer forecast for Ireland has always been ,RAIN WITH INTERMITTENT SHOWERS. I am right more than 50% of the time !!!!!!!

  2. James Madden seems to cherry pick from the best of the posters on Net weather. His main weakness is that his winter predictions always predict a snow Armageddon. I would advise anyone at all interested in the weather to visit Net weather and follow the threads especially the one on Stratospheric Warmings.

  3. Madden is extremely irritating and for me shows signs of rather bizarre delusional thinking. When he gets it spectacularly wrong he doesn’t just go quiet as he should but claims that what has happened was part of his prediction all along. According to his Face book page there has been widespread heavy snow showers across the country and apparently confirmed by the BBC! Very little mention of the actual case: high winds, storms, heavy rain, floods and average temperatures. He will say black is white, white is black and in his self delusional way seems to believe he’s been right all along.

  4. James Madden is a Clown
    He forcasts an apocalyptic winter every year in the hope of getting it right
    Equally stupid are papers like the Express that believe him and publish horror stories of the forthcoming winter. Between them all they do is cause anxiety in the more vunerable areas of society and they should be ashamed of what they do

    • I agree. Several years ago Madden did actually predict the very harsh winter that enveloped most of the UK. I think the success of that prediction went to his head and he’s been making the same prediction every year since, as you said, with much less success. That said, every year I hope he’s going to be right – love the snow.


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