Piers Corbyn runs Weatheraction, an independent and rather controversial weather forecasting operation which claims to be able to make useful long-term predictions. It's controversial because most weather forecasters do not believe there is any merit in his principles (he claims that the forecasts are based on solar output) or his forecasts. Moreover, he refuses to detail his techniques or even test his skill in any objective manner. This article puts his case, and that of his critics, in a reasonably fair way. It seems likely that much of his "success", such as it is, is based on issuing forecasts that read like horoscopes, where an optimistic assessor would find merit, but a critical assessor would find fault. Anyway, I'm not really writing about his weather predictions, but his climate forecast.
On the 2nd February 2005, he gave this presentation to the Institute of Physics Energy Management Group. It contains the following:
In the next 5 or 10 years warming is likely to be maintained as a transpolar shift occurs. This will be followed by the magnetic pole moving away from the geographic pole, a decrease in solar activity, a southward shift in the Gulf stream and considerable world cooling by 2040 AD.
Of course this forecast strongly contradicts all the projections of the IPCC. If correct, it would have almost unlimited commercial value, as it implies (among other things) that all concern over anthropogenic global warming is misplaced. I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of scientists with any knowledge of climate science would say that the forecast is nonsense. However, what matters to me is what Corbyn himself thinks.
So, I emailed him to ask him if he could quantify his "considerable world cooling", and whether he would consider a bet with me on the subject. Note that unlike the other people I have previously tried to arrange bets with (here and here), he actually makes his living out of selling forecasts, and is proud to boast of taking on the bookies and winning. So he won't have the "I don't take risks" excuse of Myron Ebell.
I've not managed to get any reply out of him at all, still less a bet. For someone who claims a success rate of 80% or more with his forecasts, he seems remarkably reluctant to make any money out of this one. Could it be ... that he knows it is wrong?
So I'm still looking for that elusive consensus-busting sceptic who is prepared to make a forecast, and stand behind it. If anyone hears of a sceptical prediction, please let me know.