Met Office under cloud over its ‘dry’ forecast

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THE Met Office has defended its forecasting after an email emerged showing that it had admitted giving the Government weather advice that was “not helpful”.

A note uncovered by a BBC News Freedom of Information request showed the organisation made the concession after April 2012 became the wettest on record despite a forecast sent to contingency planners suggesting it was likely to be drier than usual.

According to the BBC, the three-monthly outlook stated: “The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier than average conditions for April-May-June, and slightly favours April being the driest of the three months.”

The Met Office memo said: “Given that April was the wettest since detailed records began in 1910 and the April-May-June quarter was also the wettest, this advice was not helpful.”

The prediction was made as part of a three month forecast that is no longer made public after the Met Office was lampooned for its “barbecue summer” claim ahead of the less than balmy summer of 2009. Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You have to, of course, with probabilistic forecasts, look over a large number of events and we do that and on about 65 per cent of occasions we do give indeed very helpful advice.”