Met Office trying to walk back some of their “prediction” stupidity?
“The BBC has been accused by the Met Office, its own forecaster, of making “unrealistic” claims that climate change will make Britain like Madeira by the 2060s and allow farmers to grow pineapples.”
Tom Heap, the Countryfile presenter, said the Government’s own research suggests that in 50 years time “there is a pretty good chance” Britain will look like the semi-tropical island off Africa.
Broadcasting from the popular holiday destination for Costing the Earth on Radio 4, he suggested that British farmers will be able to grow papaya and prickly pear within decades.
But the Met Office said it would be “impossible” for the future climate of the UK to equate to the present-day climate of Madeira in the 2060s.
Dr Richard Betts, the top climate change scientist at the forecaster, said it was ‘unrealistic’ to expect a climate like Madeira by the 2060s.
The Met Office’s intervention comes after a BBC weather presenter admitted overlooking computer predictions of thunderstorms and forecasting a clear, sunny day on Sunday.
Although Madeira is a maritime climate like the UK, it is a lot hotter in the summer and warmer in the winter.
In the most likely scenarios, the Met Office climate change predictions for the Government forecast temperatures in the UK to increase from the 1961 to 1990 average of 10 to 17C in the summer to 15 to 22C by 2080.
This is comparable to Madeira’s summer temperature range of 19 to 23C but would not happen until well into the 2080s, with the hottest temperatures only in the south of the country.
Also, in the winter UK temperatures are set to increase from below freezing to 6C to between 3 and 10C by 2080, much cooler than Madeira where the climate is between 15 and 17C.
Dr Betts said pockets of the UK might approach the temperatures of Madeira “in the most extreme circumstances”.
But he pointed out that Madeira is off a huge land mass, that includes the Sahara, and has different daylight hours so the climate for growing plants will always be different.
“It is inaccurate information,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our predictions do NOT say the UK will be like Madeira in 2060.”