For your information…

I apologise for not letting you know earlier, but as you may already guessed I’m taking a well-earned sabbatical from my xmetman blog. I’ve put in a lot of effort into what is the second incarnation of the xmetman blog, posting 1,544 articles in the last two years for very little gain in the way of  new subscribers, which to me is the only true measure of how successful you are. I nearly made it to 100,000 views, but by the end I just ran out of enthusiasm to keep it going. You can find me on the Google Weather and Climate forum, and where for the moment I’m still posting various less wordy articles. I think I’ve simply found like the Weather Magazine, that any potential audience is just too elusive for me to capture and hold, with so many ways of keeping up with the latest weather and climate stories these days across the internet and social media. For the moment I won’t delete the site or its content, which I did the last time and bitterly regretted, so since I’ve paid for another year I’ll just leave it standing.

Ten postings today!

Figure 1 – Courtesy of

If you’re wondering why I’ve been posting rather frequently for the last month or so, it’s because I’m on the Michael Mosley 800 calorie a day blood sugar diet again, and the only thing I’ve found to keep my mind of food is writing articles for my blog. Hopefully I’m keeping the quality of them up to the usual high standard that you’ve come to expect and you find something of interest. Today I achieved a personal best and knocked out ten of them!

So why does the Met Office ban me from commenting?

Courtesy of the Met Office

I like blogging as you probably can tell from all 272 articles that I’ve written in this new blog since May of this year. If you are one of my few subscribers, you probably know that I have strong views, especially on freeing up observational, climatological and forecast data so that we can all use it (why not? we all pay for it). I don’t get that many comments these days, so I don’t engage in a lot of chit-chat, or for that matter get that much criticism, but when I do get something wrong or overstep the mark I invariably try to respond, not by blocking or deleting comments from readers in moderation, but arguing my point, or occasionally just saying sorry – I just got it wrong. That’s what blogging is about in my opinion, it’s there for you to post a story about what you think about a subject.

Courtesy of Oxford Dictionary

The Met Office on the other hand have a different perspective on blogging, and in their blog they publish about things that are important to them they don’t allow comments. Well that’ not exactly true, what I should have said is that they don’t allow any of my comments. There are no profanities in any of my comments I submit to them, and I try to keep any direct reference to personalities out of it, but I do question what they say, why they say it and how they say it. Over the last 5 years that has gone on without much problem, I make a comment, it takes them up to a week (to allow the newness of the original story to fade) to moderate and release my comment – end of story, but not anymore.

I don’t think I’m the only person that has been summarily banned, there must be others, and I notice that the last comments made by anyone were made on the 3rd of November, and they were mainly about grammar, so nice and safe. The obvious reason why I’ve been banned is that they don’t like criticism of any kind, on any subject, they see criticism as negative and they want to be upbeat, but if the comment meets the criteria of acceptability (although I’ve no idea of what those criteria are), and as any comments are very rarely answered anyway, what’s the point of deleting them?

Of course it maybe because I comment about things such as these:

  • The first month of their three-month seasonal forecast for winter has gone a bit pear-shaped.
  • Do you have to be an expert and the manager of the Polar Climate group to interpret a line chart of Arctic sea ice?
  • Why no  yellow alert for fog when the visibility at Exeter airport and the M5 for most of the day been less than 100 metres?
  • Why is Professor Adam Scaife allowed to use the Met Office blog to plug his new book?

Arctic sea ice on the mend (a bit)


The recent demise in the Arctic sea ice extent reminds me of a story that went around about the death of Mark Twain, which he refuted by saying “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”. It didn’t look good in September and October as the graph of the sea ice extent showed how slow the Arctic was creating new sea ice. So I decided to look at the figures from the NSIDC in a bit of a new way. The graph above shows daily anomalies, that is the value on the day, divided by the 1988-2016 long-term average [LTA] for that day of the year, multiplied by a 100 to get a percentage. The graph as you can see had two distinct dips, one in early September just after that early minimum when the anomaly was around 65% of the LTA. The sea ice bounced back very quickly from that minimum and before the end of October was above 76% of the LTA. Those gains were quickly lost though, and by the middle of October the values had dropped to less than 68%. But interestingly, in fits and starts, the sea ice extent has bounced back and is now above the 85% mark. If you look back at summer 2012 just before the summer minimum things were a lot worst than in September with the LTA  less than 55% of the LTA for a few days. Here’s a bit more of a close-up of the last few months.


This method of graphing daily anomalies is very sensitive to any daily changes in the sea ice extent, and I think it’s one of the best ways of keeping an eye on sea ice extent levels both in the Arctic, and the Antarctic, and talking of the Antarctic, here are the latest daily anomalies south of the equator.


The above graph shows very nicely the rise and fall of Antarctic sea ice in recent years. If you remember up until early 2015 Antarctic sea ice had gained a lot of new sea ice. In fact the 2014 season set a new maximum extent of over 20 million square kilometres, but since then things have been going down hill, and since early October of 2016 the sea ice anomalies have been tumbling. At the moment (3 December 2016) the anomaly stands at 84% of the LTA for that day, not a record low by any means, but certainly this season’s melt looks very aggressive, and these daily anomalies are the lowest since early 2011.

Sea ice extent is certainly in crisis, in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, but at least in the Arctic the season seems to be finally getting itself into gear a little.

The media seemed to have now picked up on this autumn’s shenanigans going on in the Arctic, a little bit late, but never mind.

Here is a list of recent articles that I’ve written on the subject, and I think it’s fairly evident that I have a bit of a thing for sea ice.

So you can see when I add a comment to the Met Office blog, and 10 days later it’s still sat there “awaiting moderation”, I do get a bit irked. I’m not sure what’s particularly wrong with it, there are no swear words or personal insults, just a few comments about the slightly arrogant tone of the piece, and how slow off the mark they’ve been (in my opinion). So here is what I said and you can be the judge, because after 10 days I think they binned them – so much for democracy!


Your comment is awaiting moderation…

Courtesy of the Met Office

I recently commented on this blog by the Met Office remarking that at first glance the maximum mean temperature anomaly chart for the first 14 days of September was more indicative of 14 days of tropical maritime air rather than ‘warm and humid air drawn up from the continent’ as they put it. I made that first comment on the 17th, and added a further one on the 19th after looking at the latest objective Lamb Weather Types. Here’s a list of possible reasons why both my comment are still ‘awaiting moderation’ (24 September):

  1. They’re short-staffed.
  2. Sick to the back teeth of me (highly likely).
  3. Fed up with five years endless criticism of the Met Office (I’m only critical ~75% of the time – honest).
  4. Delay every comment that I make by at least week in the hope that I’ll give up commenting.
  5. Delay every comment that I make by at least a week so fewer people will ever likely read it.
  6. I’ve over stepped the mark and I’ve been “moderated”.
  7. I possibly have a point!

Either way it’s no way to run a blog that allows readers comments and feedback. Here are the two comments that I would have like to have made. I think you’ll agree that neither comment is offensive, and are about the meteorological reasons for the warm start to this September.

Courtesy of xmetman

I’ve been a little busy but I’m back now…

work in progress

I did try to give up blogging for a number of weeks, but it’s proved to be impossible, so I have bitten the bullet, and invested in 12 months hosting with FVSHosting and repurchased my URL so that I can host my very own xmetman WordPress site.

I found that I just need an internet presence where I can express myself and display my creations on, even if no one reads the blogs that I write, it will still provide me with an outlet and a reason for all the weather and climate programs that I’ve written over the years.

There are a few advantages to owning your own blog rather than the free one from WordPress. For one thing you can embed your own JavaScript into your posts and pages, as well as installing from a much larger collection of widgets. So that’s why, at least for first few months, this site is strictly work-in-progress and a little on the experimental side. So please stick with me as I try out some of the new possibilities that are now opened to me, normal service will be restored eventually…