Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Good point | Main | One of the lucky few »

Vicky Pope on climate change

Dr Vicky Pope is a climate modeller from the Met Office. Here she is speaking about future climate change.

Highlights include

  • a 1 degree warming will lead to irreversible changes in marine ecosystems
  • a 2 degree warming will lead to the irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet and over longer timescales to a 7m rise in sea levels
  • a 3 degree warming will lead to the loss of the Amazon rainforest.

Today she has an article in the Guardian in which she says

Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public

Is it the sound of backsides being covered I can hear?



PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (24)


I noted this yesterday and thought the same thing. I go to Comment is free today, and there is a piece by Patrick Michaels on the Antarctic 'warming' story and the insanity of placing absolute faith in climate models. Even more interesting, Roger Harrabin covered Roger Pielke jr's speech in Birmingham yesterday on why climate policy is about to crumble.

What IS going on?
Feb 12, 2009 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGooner2008
I think the answer is "the credit crunch".
Feb 12, 2009 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Perhaps the cognitive dissonance is now just too much to bear. Even the mind of an infantile green leftist can no longer cope with it.
Feb 12, 2009 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Weetabix
I think the Met Office might be positioning themselves, with an eye on trying to build support for AGW mitigation at Copenhagen later this year (run-up to Kyoto 2). This may be the start of a rebranding exercise, if you like, with a sober "climate change you should believe in" replacing the soap-operatic "climate change no-one is taking seriously any more." Could be a tough proposition, particularly if Copenhagen coincides with the absolute bottom of the current recession. Bishop, I think you may well be right.
Feb 12, 2009 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull
Oh dear! Dr Pope is going to be shown to be VERY wrong. In the video she says that they (she) expects 2014 global temperature anomaly to be 0.3c higher than 2004. As 2004 was 0.447 it would obviously mean 2014 being 0.747c. The high peak in global temperature was 11 years ago - 1998's peak was 0.546. However, 2008 was 0.325. In other words, for Dr Pope to be correct, there would have to be a large turnaround in global temperatures, as the present trend is decidedly downward.

The Met Office ARE trying to find a back door out of climate change alarmism - all the while forgetting that they were complicit in it!
Feb 12, 2009 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Foster
Hysterical global warmists tells everyone to cool it. Priceless!
Feb 12, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Wood
She said "it's difficult to disentangle natural variation from climate change". This means her definition of climate change is definitely man-made global warming. What a terrible speaker. I couldn't bear listening to this bovine scatology to the end.
Feb 12, 2009 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby
She talks very glibly about irreversibility of a 3000 year trend, damage to the Ocean and harm to the Amazon in a way that doesn't seem to be supported by anything she could directly know, yet she doesn't quote her sources, even in passing.
And all those speculations are piled on top of the original climate speculations that come from her own speciality.
If I was seeing this from scratch without knowing the provenance, I would say that there was a person pitching a deal to someone. Not a science presentation.
The Met Office is an obvious believer in the gamblers fallacy, they keep punting for a number in the future, and I am sure they will be turn out one day:)
Feb 12, 2009 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

"Today she has an article in the Guardian in which she says"

No she does not.

But don't let that stop you.
Feb 12, 2009 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

I see that the headline is not her words, you are right. I don't think this is a misrepresentation of her current views is it?
Feb 12, 2009 at 8:43 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Why don't you try reading her article. It's certainly a misrepresentation of that.
Feb 12, 2009 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer
No, Frank, the Bishop admittedly misquoted Ms Pope, but he didn't misrepresent her. She wrote "News headlines vie for attention and it is easy for scientists to grab this attention by linking climate change to the latest extreme weather event or apocalyptic prediction. But in doing so, the public perception of climate change can be distorted." A more accurate representation might have been "Apocalyptic climate prediction linked to climate change distorts the public's perception". Even so, that's essentially what the Bishop said.
Feb 12, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

No, she was clearly talking about some specific cases like short-term greenland melt and short-term arctic melt, not that any 'apocalyptic' prediction related to climate was misleading simply by virtue of being 'apocalyptic'. Stuff like 'greenland will melt tomorrow', not 'greenland will melt in hundreds of years'. And even then, that would be justifiable to consider if it wasn't simply extrapolating a short-term trend - e.g. if some evidence gave reason to think it might happen sooner.

And her remarks were equally addressed to the 'sceptics' also, but somehow they miss that part.
Feb 12, 2009 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer
It looks like institutions like the Met. may well have to re-establish a different position in the debate as the science and economic parameters change. See Prometheus.

Well spotted Bishop !
Feb 12, 2009 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAyrdale
The simple point, Frank, is that her comment "it is easy for scientists to grab ... attention by linking climate change to the latest ... apocalyptic prediction ... in doing so, the public perception of climate change can be distorted" is essentially the same as the Bishop's "Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public".

That's all.
Feb 13, 2009 at 8:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

"is essentially the same as the Bishop's "Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public"."

The quote is due to the author of the Guardian article - the Bishop just misattributed it.

And no, they're not essentially the same. One says some apocalyptic climate predictions can be misleading, the other implies that all of them are misleading.

This is clear enough if you read her original article and not just the headline - and indeed read the rest of her recent output - but I think some people are more interested in spinning a headline to deny obvious facts than they are in the truth.

What's also clear enough is that the Guardian article is itself misleading, and that the 'sceptics' don't really mind if anyone is misled. Indeed they are clearly misled and misinformed themselves, most of it self-inflicted.
Feb 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer
Frank, in what way is the Guardian article misleading?
Feb 13, 2009 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Weetabix
Look, Frank, I have already agreed that the Bishop misquoted Ms Pope. But clearly his misquotation ("Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public") is essentially the same as her words: "it is easy for scientists to grab ... attention by linking climate change to the latest ... apocalyptic prediction ... in doing so, the public perception of climate change can be distorted". Look carefully at the former: no mention of "all". Look carefully at the latter: no mention of "some'.

You've got this wrong - get used to it.
Feb 13, 2009 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier
Oh dear - she mentions the "Flat Earth Theory Of Ice Albedo Feedback"
Feb 13, 2009 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergufpott

"Look carefully at the former: no mention of "all""

And conveniently, no mention of 'some' either.

" Look carefully at the latter"

I notice the word 'can'. Why don't you?

So no, they're not the same. Not even 'essentially'. Especially when you read the entire message she wrote, this is pretty clear.

But hey, if you prefer a misleading soundbite to the obvious facts and desperately wish it to be so, suit yourself. I realise you must take what you can get. But as Richard Feynman said,you can fool yourself but you can't fool nature.
Feb 13, 2009 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer
Frank: on the narrow point we’ve been discussing you’re plainly wrong. Nothing desperate about it – just simple fact. So let’s move on and, as you sensibly suggest, consider the “entire message”.

Superficially, it appears to constitute an huge U-turn. For example, after lamenting “apocalyptic prediction” (see above), Ms Pope says “Recent headlines have proclaimed that Arctic summer sea ice has decreased so much in the past few years that it has reached a tipping point and will disappear very quickly. The truth is that there is little evidence to support this. Indeed, the record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer sea ice increasing again over the next few years.”

Hmm – that would seem to be an amazing admission from the Met’s head of climate change advice, undermining the credibility of so many recent alarmist warnings. But, as I suspect you’d be quick to point out, it’s not all it seems.

What I believe she’s doing here is preparing the ground (and protecting the Hadley budget) just in case summer ice recovers (as it showed signs of doing in 2008) over the next few years. Thus she goes on to say that the tipping point claim “diverts attention from the real, longer-term issues”.

And, on that basis, she cannot lose. If summer ice continues to retreat, the scary headlines (and doomed polar bear scares as repeated in the recent and otherwise excellent BBC programme, Nature’s Great Events) will continue. But if it doesn’t – well, as she says, “all the evidence points to a complete loss of summer sea ice much later this century”.

So there you have it: manmade global warming is a hypothesis that can never be disproved. Therefore it’s a poor hypothesis.
Feb 13, 2009 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

"you’re plainly wrong."

Declaring victory is never an impressive argument.

"Hmm – that would seem to be an amazing admission from the Met’s head of climate change advice, "

Not to anyone who's been paying attention (which doesn't include those who get their information from WTFU et al). It's always been clear that the recent record melt in the arctic could have been due to natural variation and many said so at the time. But of course, the obvious decline over decades is another matter.

"But if it doesn’t – well, as she says, “all the evidence points to a complete loss of summer sea ice much later this century”.

So there you have it: manmade global warming is a hypothesis that can never be disproved. Therefore it’s a poor hypothesis."

Complete non sequitur. All the evidence does point to complete loss of summer sea ice and (as with most of these predictions) the main uncertainty is not if, or why, but how soon. All you need to 'disprove' it is evidence that points somewhere else - which so far neither you nor anyone else has.

And there are many observations that would in principle be inconsistent with MMGW - just not the ones you want, and certainly not the ones we're seeing.
Feb 13, 2009 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer
Frank: you say “you’re plainly wrong … is never an impressive argument”. Well, perhaps not. But in this case it’s true.

You claim that “many said” that the recent melting of Arctic summer sea ice could have been due to natural variation. Well, I accept that most informed sceptics have been saying that but, although I have “been paying attention”, I’m unaware that any of those who are active in warning of the dangers of MMGW have done likewise: surprising, I would have thought, if “it’s always been clear”. Perhaps you could provide some examples. BTW, I’ve no idea what you mean by “WTFU” – please clarify.

Regarding Arctic summer sea ice, you refer to its “obvious decline over decades” and repeat Ms Pope’s assertion that “all the evidence points to a complete loss of summer sea ice much later this century”. The difficulty with these statements is that the only comprehensive evidence we have is that derived (by the University of Illinois’s Arctic Climate Research Center) from satellite observations going back to 1978. But 30 years is too short a period to establish an overall picture. For that, it would be necessary to determine earlier sea ice changes, preferably going back hundreds of years. There are, of course, some data: a recent example is that the summer melting measured during of the 1930s and early 1940s appears to have been more extensive than that recorded recently. It subsequently recovered. See, for example, the Polyakov et al paper (“Arctic decadal and interdecadal variability”) published in 2002 and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report (Cambridge University Press 2004). And there is earlier – but indirect – evidence of extensive melting: for example, during the Medieval Warm Period. But obviously that cannot be compared with modern satellite observation.

In other words, the evidence is inadequate to support Ms Pope’s assertion. Your statement that “All you need to 'disprove' it is evidence that points somewhere else” suggests you think that lack of other evidence somehow proves she is correct. You must know that’s nonsense.
Feb 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier
The Met Office looks to be up for privatisation. Mght that prospect be influencing things?
Feb 15, 2009 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianSJ

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>