Thursday, 31 January 2008

January a dreadful month for Piers Corbyn

Weather forecaster Piers Corbyn, what a controversial man he is! Piers is the chap who claims he can forecast the weather accurately many months in advance, because he tells us the world's weather is driven by what is happening to the sun in terms of sunspots and magnetic storms. An interesting idea if correct but unfortunately I have found his forecasts wide of the mark as I have previously mentioned on this blog. Now in all fairness I hadn't done any long term sustained checks comparing the reality to what Piers was forecasting, I was just looking at some isolated events. However on his 'WeatherAction' website Mr Corbyn has been displaying a moderately detailed forecast for the whole of January on his homepage. Originally issued on 29 December 2007 Piers admitted errors (a rare occurrence for him) and so produced an update on 13 January. This updated forecast was for the remainder of the month only i.e. about two and a half weeks so hardly compares with the long range prophecies of up to a year that he boasts about.

In his forecast at the end of 2007 he was intimating a very cold month with heavy snow in the south/east at times, a prolonged exceptionally cold spell from about the middle of the month and generally less rain than normal. Totally, utterly wrong on all counts Piers! His corrected forecast moved the very cold spell to a later part of the month but stated that winds and snow would be more intense than first forecast. Again wrong. He waffles on about high pressure persisting over the northern British Isles with low pressure down to the south. If this had happened then yes conditions would have been ripe for an icy Siberian blast but the reality has been one of typical Atlantic weather with successive depressions coming in with west or south westerly winds. The jet stream has been where it should be allowing high pressure to the south to nose in now and again. This is the complete opposite to his predictions. To be fair to him he also said in the 29 December forecast that air from the Arctic is likely during the last week of the month. This is starting to happen but my guess is that we are talking about 48 hours or so and is what one would readily expect at this time: a deep Atlantic low moves through and draws in cold north westerlies in its wake, but only briefly before the next depression gives us a drenching.

Someone on the internet, I'm not sure of the link at the moment, is shadowing the forecasts that Piers produces over a reasonably long period to see how well he does on average. This should prove interesting. I've made the comment before about the way Piers presents his forecasts - they are very shrill, he switches font sizes and colours on a whim and his phraseology is appalling, even worse than the tabloids who publish his apocalyptic warnings. This alone undermines my confidence in him. He also has a massive ego to satisfy it seems, or maybe he can't accept that others aren't attuned to his theories. He also angrily condemns the Met Office on a regular basis and those scientists who support the theory of man made climate change.

In summary he has got it very wrong even trying to do the relatively short term of a fortnight ahead. I rather like people as a rule who are prepared to go out on a limb but Piers you have really blown it this time.

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