Saturday, 1 November 2008

New low point for Piers Corbyn

When I started this blog I quite expected the weather to feature in it now and again, even more so when a notable meteorological event happens in my two counties such as the freak hailstorm at Ottery St Mary. What I hadn't expected though were the frequent referrals I've made to forecasts produced by Piers Corbyn. I'm sorry to harp on about him but as I am someone fairly obsessed with our weather and which way our climate might change I have become very interested in what Piers has to say. A reminder that Mr Corbyn does not go along with the mainstream view on climate change, he is convinced that it is not man's activities driving our climate but that sunspots and magnetic storms on the sun, or the lack of them are the main factors pushing our climate one way or another. As I am someone who instinctively prefers not to follow the herd I am certainly interested in Corbyn's theories but it is difficult to find a convincing narrative from him on the subject. Now Piers reckons that he has the ability to produce an accurate forecast up to year in advance, some considerable claim don't you think. The trouble is his forecasts frequently don't stand up to scrutiny.

On the homepage of his website here he has a summary of the month's expected weather. As it is only for the upcoming month when it is posted there and it is his proud boast that he can forecast up to a year ahead then obviously a vague summary would be just a doddle. In case the October forecast has been taken down by the time you read this I'll just repeat what Piers reckoned October would be like so that it's possible to do a reality check. This is what he says (or said): "October 2008. Unusually Cold with sleet or snow at times on frequent Northerly winds. Often foggy. Milder later ... a major damaging storm." So had did October pan out over the country as a whole. "Unusually Cold" etc - most of the month was pleasantly mild. "Often foggy" - remarkably little fog, don't recall many airports fogbound for instance. "Milder later" - no it wasn't, as we are all aware the last five days or so has seen a blast of arctic air over the country with some snow showers. "... a major damaging storm" - I'm still waiting for this Piers (the hailstorm that had such an impact on Ottery St Mary was very small in area and was obviously not what Piers was talking about).

From the above it can be seen that Piers covering the relatively short period of one month was 100% wrong not just incorrect in some minor detail. This is not just a minor relapse in normally accurate forecasting, if you look at the labels to the right of this piece and scan down to his name you will see a number of references to him. I'm not saying that he's never got anything right but as can be seen from the comparison I've just made it might be a risky business sending him money for his detailed forecasts; all I can do is to say "take his forecasts with a generous pinch of salt".

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