UK May 2012 Coldest For 100 Years – Was Piers Corbyns Prediction Right

Around 19 April Piers Corbyn of made a prediction eastern and northern parts of Britain would have coldest or near coldest May for 100 years with 80% certainty of being coldest and 90% certainty of being in the 5 coldest years over the last 100 years.

Now it’s nearly the end of June we should be able to answer whether Piers was right.

And the answer, as far as I can tell, is it’s difficult to say.  However I’m not  going to be a tease so I’ll say I believe he was largely right but he missed the spike in temperatures at the end of May.

For people like Bob Meyrick the answer is easy Piers is wrong but the reason Bob thinks Piers is wrong is because he doesn’t like “right wing” papers like Telegraph and Mail supporting Piers.

Why do I bother? Because I dislike Piers Corbyn’s arrogance, I dislike the way the right-wing press (Telegraph, Mail and Express) use his pronouncements as a stick with which to beat the Met Office (it’s a government-funded organisation therefore it must be bad). I’m amused by his Dave Spart-like language (“Whacking the McWarmist deluded zealots”), though, probably a relic of his Marxist days. I suppose he doesn’t see his own zealotry.

Bob doesn’t seem any different to NAZIs who dismissed relativity as Jewish physics.

Piers didn’t explicitly state the region of UK he was saying would be cold,  specifically which weather stations should be used to test his prediction.

Met Office publish monthly CET and also publish there own version.

As off 25 June these showed


Met Office
Month CET Anomaly Temp 71-00 Avg
January 5.4 1.6  5.77  4.2
February 3.8 0.0  4.46  4.2
March 8.3 2.6  8.41  6.3
April 7.2 -0.7  7.65  8.1
May 11.7 0.5  12.48  11.3
June 13.1 -0.9  13.37  14.1

Both CET and version show May as warmer than average but April and June as colder. has a map showing the area it uses for it’s version of CET,  clearly quite a bit of the west of England is included and a lot of the east of England is excluded especially the north and all of Scotland.

Although CET May average is 11.2°C  Met Office regional averages for May show for UK as whole it is 10.0°C and for north and east Scotland it is only 8.1°C and 8.3°C.

Moreoever, while the monthly average for CET and UK was 0.5°C above average for north and east Scotland it was 0.1°C below average.  All of which suggests monthly May average for east and north Britain (wherever that is) would be below the UK average of 10.0°C and long way below CET.

Here is a graph of average CET for month to date

UK May 2012 Average CET For Month To Date

There were a couple of above average days at the start of the month, then temperature dropped to over 1°C below average and stayed there until around 22. Then month ended with 5 or so hot days which lifted the monthly average above the long term average.

Apparently 1996 had the coldest UK May for the last hundred years when average temperature was 9.1°C.

We have seen that average CET  for May is 1.2°C above UK average. So it is at least possible UK  for part of the month was below 9°C, with the north and east of Britain being even colder.

Obviously this sort of argument is fairly hokey, the proper thing to do would be to get data from weather stations and work out the average.  When I have time I may do it, or perhaps someone else will in the meantime.

It seems pretty silly to use monthly averages, why should the weather care what our calendar months are.  Piers pointed out, in advance,  for a time temperatures would be unusually cold and for 15 to 20 days they were.  Roughly a month.  This sort of prediction would be useful to growers and people in tourist industry.

Finally Piers’ prediction was part of a more general statement, the period of warming is over and we are now in a period of cooling.  From the CET table it can be seen April was below average, June to date is below average and about 3/4 of May was below average.  Looks like cooler to me.


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3 Responses to UK May 2012 Coldest For 100 Years – Was Piers Corbyns Prediction Right

  1. Bob Meyrick says:

    Jeremy, I’ve just looked at Piers’ forecast for the period 20-23 July, in which he forecasts “Thunderstorms, damaging hail and floods, especially later. Scotland and North Ireland less wet.” Where I am in the East Midlands right now (21 July) it’s sunny, dry and warm. The outlook for the next couple of days looks pretty similar. For 24-28 July he says “Scotland largely dry and bright at times. England, Wales and Ireland extremely wet.” We’ll see.

  2. Bob Meyrick says:

    Update 24 July. Still hot and sunny. No thunderstorms, not extremely wet.

  3. Bob Meyrick says:

    I see my initial comment in response (18 July) to your post is still awaiting moderation. While I appreciate that a blog is a personal thing, it seems a shame that you won’t post a not unreasonable reply to some of your comments about me. Incidentally I predict that if there’s a spot of rain on Friday during the Olympic opening ceremony, Piers will be claiming a massive success, despite the last week or so of his forecast ( being wrong.

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