Buried way back in the article (which admits that the met office has had a tough time with long term forecast in the past, with special reference to the famous predicted "barbecue summer" of 2009 which turn out to be a chilly, rainy bust), is this admission:
“We now believe that [the solar cycle] accounts for 50 per cent of the variability from year to year,” says Scaife. With solar physicists predicting a long-term reduction in the intensity of the solar cycle – and possibly its complete disappearance for a few decades, as happened during the so-called Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715 – this could be an ominous signal for icy winters ahead, despite global warming.I've posted on the effects of the solar cycle on weather/climate here, here and here. It's looking increasingly likely that the sun is entering a period of low solar activity, and that this is likely to have a cooling effect on earth's climate. It's good to see the official bureaucracy of weather/climate predictions begin to acknowledge and utilize that relationship, however grudgingly.
Moving beyond the next season, Met Office scientists are also working on annual and, particularly, decadal forecasts – the territory between weather and climate prediction. Business and government planners are used to working on timescales 10 years ahead, but horizons of 50 or more years, often discussed by climate change researchers, may be too long term.
Found at Watt's Up With That.