Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Piers Corbyn: Crazy People Occasionally Get Stuff Right By Accident

AGW denialist and "alternative" meteorologist Piers Corbyn has been much in the news lately, having allegedly forecast (but note Nicks comment in the comments) Europe's current spell of nasty weather. However, FreeD's Peter O'Donnell (another AGW denier and amateur meteorologist pursuing alternative research paradigms) explains the problem:

I can add some inside knowledge on this story -- don't get on this band-wagon because Piers Corbyn has been trying to fit every winter since about 2005 to this "coldest ever" scenario and we can't get any sort of testable information on methodology, even for those of us following alternative research methods, the answers have been too vague to allow any testing, and if we took all known forecasts from his company, the track record would be a lot less encouraging than this one forecast seems to be. Also, any number of other forecasts were saying this would be a severe winter in Europe, it was fairly obvious from the trends and the blocking pattern that caused the Russian fires, that the winter would probably be very cold.

[...]

Now that he's finally hit the jackpot with this coldest winter in living memory forecast, we need to ask, what's the track record going to be in the future, or do we now just get "another severe winter" forecast every year until that hits?

If you want to check out what I'm saying, you could google the names Piers Corbyn, Positive Weather Solutions, and January 2008 which gave a false positive for cold that caused these names to link up with newspaper headlines about a very cold winter to come...


And, as it turned out, I wrote about Corbyn's 2008 performance back in March of that year. He bunged up so badly that any number of other of his fellow AGW Deniers denounced him on the movement's well known Climate Sceptic mailing list. For example, Dutch denier Arthur Rorsch complained:

My problem is, however, that Piers forecasts, which where not sufficient accurate, has been used against me in the national (Dutch) debate on climate change. I did never refer to Piers. But it was assumed that I support his view, (as a sceptic) which weakened my own case, because the Piers forecasts where seriously questioned and he has not as yet been prepared to show the basis for his forecasts.

And Hans Erren groused:

Piers missed today's severe gale. Combined with the absence of a forecast cold winter in holland I think there is not much confidence left....

Its funny that Corbyn should be getting so much play in the MSM when even his own tribe has raised questions about his methodology.

Incidentally, Climate Scientist and general badass James Annan has made a cottage industry of debunking Corbyn. He hasn't written much lately on the topic, but here's some of his older stuff.

And, also incidentally, under his real name Peter O'Donnell is one of the anonymous posters from FreeD that Richard Warman has launched defamation suits against. Warman is not only fighting Hate, he's out there saving mother Gaia.

PS. I note that Stoat has written on Corbyn recently, though in a somewhat scrambly fashion.

9 comments:

Paul S said...

Question is, do warmers do any better?

Several months ago, the Met Office was predicting a milder then usual winter in Britain, now, almost after the fact, they are predicting December 2010 as likely to be the coldest on record.

Add to that the fact that there are no Tuvalu AGW refugees, destructive hurricanes haven't increased and sea level rise isn't accelerating and warmists are experiencing something of a credibility crisis.

Robert McClelland said...

Several months ago, the Met Office was predicting a milder then usual winter in Britain...

Winter just began so how do you already know they aren't right?

...now, almost after the fact, they are predicting December 2010 as likely to be the coldest on record.

Oops, never mind. It appears you're not even smart enough to understand the difference between one month and three.

Nick Barnes said...

From what I have read, it appears that both parts of this story are false: Corbyn did not predict this winter would be severe, and the Met Office did not predict it would be mild.

Never give proven liars the benefit of the doubt.

Piers Corbyn said...

This article contains a number of lies and I suggest you withdraw them. I will just point out:

1. Over the years we have forecast both mild and cold winters and summers and our skill is independently proven - see Forecast accuracy button on www.weatheraction.com

2. I have never before forecast any single month or a winter to be as cold as this. We explicitly stated that this December would probably be the coldest in 100 years and it was.

3. You 'assessing' our work by listing mistakes which you dredge around for - which there are since we are typically 85% accurate - shows nothing more than your deceitful approach.

4. You and your standard meteorology chums have zero skill in long range forecasting and YOU should declare your interests.

5. Tell me do you feel better when you tell lies about people and do you advise your children to tell lies about others?

Piers Corbyn MSc (astrophysics), ARCS (First class degree Physics Imperial College), FRAS, FRMetS;
Managing Director WeatherAction long range weather & climate forecasters.

Paul S said...

Well Robert, you do have to admit the Met is off to a bad start.

And Neil, while I stand corrected in that the the Met no longer officially makes long term "predictions", they did infer just back in October that Nov/Dec/Jan would see above average temperatures.

John Cross said...

Piers: I like the logic expressed in your point 3) where you say

You 'assessing' our work by listing mistakes which you dredge around for - which there are since we are typically 85% accurate - shows nothing more than your deceitful approach.

The same could be said for the IPCC where a large number of people end up assessing the quality of the IPCC by dredging around for mistakes - which there are some since the report is only about 99.99% accurate.

Do you not agree?

Regards,
John

Fred from BC said...

John Cross said...

The same could be said for the IPCC where a large number of people end up assessing the quality of the IPCC by dredging around for mistakes - which there are some since the report is only about 99.99% accurate.

Do you not agree?



He wouldn't, since the IPCC is nowhere near that accurate. The IPCC is a political organization, not a scientific one; they cherry-picked the reports they needed to get their self-serving conclusions (ignoring all contrary evidence, and even misrepresenting conclusions when it suited them). They even had the gall to issue their conclusions long before releasing the data itself, saying they had to 'adjust' (wasn't that their word?) the data to conform to their conclusions.

(we won't even get into the 'hockey stick', tree rings, glaciers or their moving of the goalposts every time a prediction doesn't pan out)

If the directors of a multi-national corporation tried telling shareholders that they were adjusting their numbers before releasing them to shareholders, those directors would be jailed.

John Cross said...

Fred: Please cite some specific examples. The only ones that I can recall in regards to the science are the Hymloayian Glaciers and the Danish land. You have to agree these are minor. What ones do you know?

Regards,
John

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