Leading Article: Just don't forget your umbrella

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THE Met Office has just issued a long-range weather forecast covering the next 100 years. It is thought to be the most far-reaching forecast to have been issued since records began. Summers will be drier, we learn, and winters wetter; and it will be warmer. But the weathermen are not committing themselves to day-by-day predictions. Mike Hulme, whose Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University helped the Met Office prepare the forecast, says: "We cannot say on a particular day in 2097 it will be very hot or very cold." Damn. Still, you have to concede that he is being prudent. After all, Bill Giles can't even say whether, on a particular day next week, it will be safe or suicidal to take a stroll in the Black Mountains. Perhaps, though, there is too much timidity in the forecasting trade. Let's throw caution to the winds. Here is our forecast for the period from now until 18 October 2098; and we guarantee its accuracy:

There will be floods and droughts, gales and blizzards - and no one will predict them; hundreds of millions of pounds will be lost - and made - due to adverse weather conditions; trains and boats and planes will be cancelled because it is too cold (or too hot or too wet or too dry); long- range weather forecasters will revise the forecasts they have made about global warming and predict a new Ice Age. Oh yes, and there will be rain with sunny intervals.

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