Met Office global forecasts too warm in 11 out of last 12 yrs
Global temperatures fell quite sharply in January, according to the UAH satellite measure.
The anomaly of -0.093C below the 30 year running mean equates to approximately +0.16C above the more standard 1961-1990 time period.
As regards 2011 as a whole, according to the Met Office, 2011 was the 12th warmest year in their 150 years of global temperature records with an anomaly of 0.346C.
This compares to their 2011 forecast of 0.44C.
Although this discrepancy is within the stated margin of error, it is the 11th year out of the last 12 when the Met Office global temperature forecast has been too warm.
In all these years, the discrepancy between observed temperatures and the forecast are within the stated margin of error.
But all the errors are on the warm side, with none of the forecasts that have been issued in the last 12 years ending up too cold.
And, in my opinion, that makes the error significant.
Some scientists who I have spoken to suggest that one of problems is the lack of observations in the Arctic, which is known to have warmed faster than other parts of the world.
They point out that if proper account was taken of this area of the world, then the overall observed global temperature would be higher, a point acknowledged by the Met Office when I spoke to them earlier this week.
In short, it could be that the observations are wrong, with computer predictions right all along.
Climate sceptics, however, say that the real reason why the computer predictions are systematically too warm is because they don't properly take into account some of the natural processes that are occurring, such as weak solar activity, which may be holding back global temperatures.
But in recent research conducted by the Met Office and Reading University, the possible cooling exerted by a less-active sun was found to have only a small effect on global temperatures.
This year, the Met Office is predicting an anomaly which is 0.44C above the long term average.
Whatever the reason for the ongoing 'warm bias' in Met Office global temperatures, their forecast for the first half of this decade, published in early 2010, that half the years between 2010 and 2015 would be hotter than the hottest year on record (with an anomaly of 0.52C set in 1998) is already looking in doubt.
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