Met Office sticks up for forecasts

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The Met Office has defended its forecasting after an e-mail emerged showing that it had admitted giving the government weather advice that was “not helpful”.

A 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 forecast 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 said yesterday: “In the context of where we were at that particular point as a country I felt it was right to emphasise the risk of dry conditions continuing as a precautionary principle.”