The probability of Precipitation

Although the weather has been a bit rubbish in the last week or so, the Met Office are in hot water. But not because of their ability to forecast what’s going on, but rather in their descriptions!

They have won the dubious honour of a giant Golden Bull Award in the Plain English Campaign’s annual name and shame game. The award was for the expression “The probability of Precipitation”. Or as we might say, “the chance of rain”? They also use the phrase, “Temperatures really struggling”, which I think they might struggle to explain.

Harrow Council were up there too – with the delightful, “Personalisation Implementation Team” – you can only try to imagine what they do. Dreamers I guess? I once had one of the golf ball gadgets that allowed you to personalise your balls…

There are some people who are capable of using 3 words when one will do.

Accordingly, this blog stops here.


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The Himalayan Glaciers will be gone sooner or later?

It seems once again that the green movement has over-exaggerated claims about Global Warming.

Lake Imja Tsho courtesy of the UNEP

The supposedly respected WWF have been relying on a ‘report’ which suggested that the Himalayan Glaciers would be gone by 2035! Now they have issued an apology – buried on their web site in the press release section (not on their front page). They do have information on the Copenhagen Conference and a statement, “What we have after two years of negotiation is a half-baked text of unclear substance”. Pretty much like the half baked unclear data they trotted out to frighten us?

If you do a little digging around it seems that this prediction was a mathematical schoolboy error. A Glacier had been measured over 121 years and the rate of loss had been divided by 21 not 121… An ‘F’ in maths then?

My real frustration about this is that there clearly had been a loss, but the corrupt data (for that is what it is) does nothing for the cause. I blogged before about some of the, frankly, crackpot, ideas being promulgated – details here.

Before Christmas the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit was also caught with its pants down when it seems that some of their data in projecting hockey stick ‘growth’ in global warming might not have actually been based on real figures.

Some of this misinformation started with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – it is well established that much of the headline grabbing data was simply not true. For a list have a look here.

I think we need some real information. And we need it to be capable of being robustly tested. If we can (could?) put a man on the moon this should be relatively easy? It doesn’t need political tweaking or spinning. It needs to be right. Then people might actually take notice?

UPDATE 26 January 2010 – this may be older news than I thought?

UPDATE 24 February 2010

It seems that the data we have been relying on from our own esteemed Met Office might have a few little errors. So they are going to revisit the numbers. Seems we need all of this data to read the same – that the planet is warming up. Read the PR here. Not sure I can fully comprehend what they are getting at. Written in great ‘spin-speak!

Another own goal?