The weatherman caught in a media storm

Rogue forecaster brands Met Office 'lying scum' after spat over his latest apocalyptic warning

It's surely one of the more sensational weather forecasts of the last few years – the prediction that next month will be the coldest May in Britain for a century.

It was splashed all over the front page of the Daily Express on Thursday and doubtless sent a shiver down the spines of many people already fed up with the chilly spring.

But it didn't come from the Met Office. No, this prophecy of a truly out-of-season wintry month came from an independent weather forecaster, Piers Corbyn, using what he terms his "solar weather technique" which involves calculating how solar particles will interact with the Earth. However, Mr Corbyn, 65, who has a degree in physics and runs a company named WeatherAction from an office in south London, declines to disclose his methodology in detail.

He specialises in long-range forecasts, especially those concerned with extreme weather events, and four days ago, in dramatic headlines on his website, he prophesied "the coldest or near coldest May for 100 years in central and east parts with a record run of bitter northerly winds ... spring put into reverse." He added that his confidence regarding mean temperatures in east and south-east England was 80 per cent for them being the coldest in 100 years, and 90 per cent for them being in the coldest five years of the century.

Contrast this with the current Met Office 30-day forecast, which says that temperatures up to mid-May "will generally be close to or slightly above the seasonal average". This is arrived at by using numerical weather prediction, the technique employed by all the world's meteorological services – running mathematical models of the weather on supercomputers.

There doesn't seem to be a meeting point between the Met Office and Mr C, and indeed, if you mention him to the chaps down in Exeter, the response is a world-weary sigh. "Piers Corbyn has never been able or willing to publish," says a spokesman, "detailed analysis of how he forecasts the weather".

Mr Corbyn's response to this is robust. "They're lying scum!" he snorts. "Because basically, whenever I've had meetings and invited them along, they've refused to come."

On his methods, he says: "We've published detailed results, or others have published detailed results..."

But the methodology...?

"We have published certain ideas..."

But not the whole thing in detail?

"Well why the f**k should I? The methodology is owned by the company, right? Why the hell do you drink Coca-Cola when the recipe is secret?"

Mr Corbyn will, though, give a generalised outline. "It's based on the fact that the weather and climate are controlled by activity from the Sun, and its modulation by the orbit of the Moon," he says. "It's a solar-magnetic-lunar system."

Reminded that all the world's national weather services use numerical weather prediction, he says: "Well, what they're doing there is delusional nonsense, because the weather is not controlled by the weather. It's controlled by other things, ie external factors.

"Their calling for more money to be spent on computers is just theft. All it will enable them to do is get the wrong answer quicker."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there