Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Support

 

Twitter
Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

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

Powered by Squarespace
« Me and the NAS | Main | Quote of the day »
Thursday
Jan052012

A curiosity from Slingo's paper

Here's something else from Julia Slingo's briefing to central government that caught my eye:

Haven't temperatures been higher in the past? Isn't the hockey stick
graph flawed?

In 2006, the US National Academies of Science carried out a full review of the evidence of past temperature-the so-called 'hockey stick graph'. They found that for the Northern Hemisphere at least, the rapid warming of the past half century has resulted in a level of warmth not seen in at least 500 years, and likely for at least the past 1300 years.

This is rather odd, because the NAS panel concluded nothing of the sort. Slingo appears to have taken the IPCC's conclusions and ascribed them to the NAS.

One could again wonder about whether this represents a partial or impartial view of the science. Can one really brief policymakers on the paleoclimate reconstructions without mentioning the fact that the whole basis of these reconstructions is potentially undermined by the divergence problem?

 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (74)

From Tallbloke's Talkshop:

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/nice-work-if-you-can-get-it-230k-grant-for-exposing-the-decline-your-colleagues-hid/

The CRU have a £230K grant to investigate the divergence problem.

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

What it actually said:-

It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies.

Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.

Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods used to analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods.

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Dr Betts?

I thought that academia/climatology was tough on getting attributions right. They all wet their knickers when it goes wrong and throw their prima donna toys around their prams anyway.

The outside observer might speculate that most climatologits are far more interested in getting their papers published (and/or preventing others from doing so) than worrying about whether the content.

And such an observer might expect that Professor Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist of the Met Office would be especially hot on getting things right..especially with the recent MO PR cockups.

This is not hard stuff to do. You can get a grad student to do it as part of their familiarisation with the literature. And when the purpose is to provide a top level briefing for your most important customer and main source of funding, you might expect the Chef F...g Scientist to spend more than ten minutes on it!

Because otherwise, people will wonder just how good the hard stuff is, if she can't get the easy bits right.

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Tamino has a most interesting discussion going on. He has invited readers to state how likely they think it is that global warming will result in catastrophe. It would be more useful if there had been a definition of catastrophe, and if a time period had been specified, but still, the assessments and comments make fascinating reading. Whether AGW is vindicated by events or not, the social history of the hypothesis and reactions to it are going to be studied for many years as a case study.

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

@ michel

Whether AGW is vindicated by events or not, the social history of the hypothesis and reactions to it are going to be studied for many years as a case study.

Yes, the whole thing is very much an anthropological issue.

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Can one really brief policymakers on the paleoclimate reconstructions without mentioning the fact that the whole basis of these reconstructions is potentially undermined by the divergence problem?

Since when have facts got in the way of informing policymakers if you are a true believer with an alarmist agenda?

I particularly like this bit:

. CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas and the fundamental physics that links CO2 concentrations to temperature changes have been known since the 19th century.
. It is entirely consistent with the physics that global temperatures are increasing decade on decade since the mid 20th century.

The whole thing is a pack of cherry-picked and distorted lies from beginning to end. Of course it was sent to John Beddington to inform Ed Miliband, so there would be unquestioning by both of them of the message they wanted to hear.

I wonder what Richard Betts thinks of it.

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Can one really brief policymakers on...." writes the Bish.

The policymakers in question have nominated a bunch of ideology-driven green extremists to give themselves the advice they wanted at the outset. Ministry of Climate Change? Why not create a Ministry of Silly Walks while they're at it?

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Hi Latimer,

I like your "climatologits" term - in many cases at least, most appropriate!

Jan 5, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Latimer
I presume 'climatologits' was a typo.
On the other hand, you could be onto something!

Jan 5, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Type 'Senna the Soothsayer' into google and at number 20 you will find the google link to Julia Slingo met office profile.

In fact she is number one on google image

Jan 5, 2012 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Slingo really should check her sources and read the relevant literature if she is then going to quote from it.

That really is a bit slack, the point has been made, if this lot [the Met office] are as lax as this example exhibits - it makes one wonder about all of their work - how can we take anything they print or say be to be valid?
It is their [the subtext] imperious attitude which grates, "we say this, we are the experts and you should be grateful that we even impart these morsels to you proles!" But then, that is the attitude of government these days is it not and it is redolent of a greater power, the EU and its Imperial diktat and Brussels.
The Met Office is a government department and UK governance [especially in the DECC and DEFRA and in environmental departments the Met and all Quangos] is more or less direct from Brussels these days, it would be interesting to see how many days Slingo and her mates spend in the 'capital' of Europe - more than a few I'd warrant.

Jan 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Well spotted. Indeed the Met Office claim seems to be from the IPCC AR4 SPM (which even Phil Jones admits is political) which said
"Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years."
The wikipedia article on the hockey stick controversy is more accurate than this document from the Met Office that has a direct influence on central government.

Jan 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

'Climatologits' is not a typo.

The more I learn of their antics, the less respect (if such a thing is possible), I have for them. There are a few honourable exceptions, but only a few.

So an original typo is now mainstream in my vocabulary.

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

The high winds of the last few days seem to have caught the MO out again. I heard nothing on the BBC in advance suggesting that they would be so strong, and this morning's news of the damage caused contained no reference to the lack of warnings! Cosy or what?

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

As weather is not climate, why is the MO so busy with this new business: demand pull or supply push?

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Slingo and Palmer wrote a paper last year, "Uncertainty in weather and climate prediction" (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 2011 369, 4751-4767), which concluded:

"Lorenz’s theory of the atmosphere (and ocean) as a chaotic system
raises fundamental, but unanswered questions about how much the uncertainties
in climate-change projections can be reduced. In 1969, Lorenz [30] wrote: ‘Perhaps
we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be
perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles
as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers...We do
not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions
exist’. Thirty years later, this problem remains unsolved, and may possibly be
unsolvable.

Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible
level of uncertainty...the climate we have observed over the past century or so is
only one realization of what the real system might produce.

Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-theart
climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas
concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and
century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system
that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate
models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and
understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic
demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in
order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could
produce. Nothing is certain."

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Email sent to Met Office asking for an explanation of what could be read as an attempt by Professor Slingo to mislead the Government.

I'll keep you posted on any responses.

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

New just in:

In response to Don Keillor's e-mail The Met Office announce that hey have appointed an independent Board of Inquiry, headed by the independent Inquirer Muir Russell.

He said

'It is indeed an honour to be appointed to independently inquire into the lack of any misdoings whatsoever at the scrupulously clean and unimpeachable Met Office and all their wonderful hard-working, dedicated and completely impartial staff. I will be chairing the only planned meeting of the Committee next week, where I will have the benefit of the experience of Lord Oxburgh to help me. And I hope they have a good staff restaurant for lunch. I need to be elsewhere from 2:30 so will need feeding before leaving.

Apart from the obvious fact that the Met Office is completely innocent of any allegations at all from the well-funded Big Oil denier conspiracy, I can of course make no other comment until I have asked the Met Office which evidence they feel I should review and checked with their lawyers that they have no objection to paying my £40,000 fee in cash without invoice

Meanwhile. 'Met Office is Innocent' stickers, t-shirts, coffee mugs and banners are available from Oxburgh-Russell Merchandise at the usual address. Postal orders and cash only, please'

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'They found that for the Northern Hemisphere at least, the rapid warming of the past half century'

And if I were Chief Scientific Officer my first question to ask would be what is happening in the Southern Hemisphere then? What terrestrial or celestial processes are causing the marked asymmetry in temperature behaviour between the southern and northern hemispheres? Do we fully understand geo- solar-magnetic physics?

Jan 5, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

The historical records lend credibility to multi-proxy global temperature reconstructions such as this one for the past 2000 years.

http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/AGW/Loehle/

Don't the recent climategate emails have scientists calling Mann's work "crap"?

Jan 5, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Latimer, that would be the correct procedure.

Jan 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Bish,

I expect Julia was referring to Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years (2006) National Academies Press.


Pharos,

I'm not a palaeo expert but my understanding is that proxy data for the southern hemisphere is less extensive than for the NH so it's harder to draw conclusions about SH.

Jan 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Climategate scientists on Mann and his work: "probable flaws" and "clearly deficient" and "crap":

http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2011/11/climategate-scientists-on-michael-mann.html

Jan 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

"And if I were Chief Scientific Officer my first question to ask would be what is happening in the Southern Hemisphere then"

to which the answer would be, 'er...dunno'

to which the proper sort of Mandarin would respond, "then your whole 'analysis' is worthless, is it not?"

But as we're in a game of money, power and politics, what we're going to get is Slingo's half-truthing accepted as 'expert advice'.

Jan 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Richard, keep up! The point is, that NAS report didnt say what the MetOffice report said. It said what is quoted by michel. What the MetOffice report said came from the IPCC report.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

Dr Betts, you wrote above:

"I'm not a palaeo expert but my understanding is that proxy data for the southern hemisphere is less extensive than for the NH so it's harder to draw conclusions about SH."

Indeed - but that would imply that it is wrong to talk of 'global' warming. It should be 'NH warming', shouldn't it? Else they're firmly in 'all swans are white' territory.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Jan 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM | Phillip Bratby

The whole thing is a pack of cherry-picked and distorted lies from beginning to end.

...

I wonder what Richard Betts thinks of it.

My immediate reaction is actually to wonder whether Andrew Montford is happy to have a very clear allegation of "lies" written for all to see on his website!

Differences of scientific opinion is one thing, accusations of "lies" is another.

Just thought I'd point that out.


Jan 5, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Viv Evans

The instrumental record has a reasonable global coverage so we can talk about global-scale changes for the last century or so.

Although, as has been pointed out on another thread, the meaning one should attach to global mean temperature is open to debate. The global mean temperature doesn't actually do anything, it is merely one indicator of the state of the climate.

Can't stay longer here I'm afraid, got work to do. See you later I expect!

Cheers

Richard

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Just noticed Paul Matthew's comment on my way out.

Paul, BH said:

the NAS panel concluded nothing of the sort.

But the paragraphs cited by michel do say very similar things to Julia, and it's certainly not true to claim they say "nothing of the sort".

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Quote, NAS Executive Summary:

"It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies."

No mention of the NH, no mention of the word "rapid" or even "unprecedented".

and,

"Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified."

No mention of "likely" concerning the past 1300 years.

It looks like Ms Slingo has mispoken.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

If I remember correctly did the NAS panel or was it PNAS stated that these types of constructions should not use Bristle Cone Pines, which I believe Mann has still not removed from any of his affected studies.

Maybe Bishop Hill can confirm.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Lets reword Ms Slingo's original statement so that it truly reflects the NAS executive summary;

In 2006, the US National Academies of Science carried out a full review of the evidence of past temperature-the so-called 'hockey stick graph'. They had high confidence that the warming of the past half century has resulted in a level of warmth not seen in at least 500 years, but expressed less confidence that the warming of the past half century has resulted in a level of warmth not seen in the past 1300 years.

If Ms Slingo has said that then we could all have with lived with those words.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Richard Betts
Lies, mistruths, terminoloogical inexactitudes, being economical with the truth, whatever. On re-reading it, perhaps I should have used the word "facts" instead of "lies". The quote I gave, I wouldn't know how else to describe it. Perhaps you can tell me where I can go for a definitive guide to the physics linking CO2 concentrations to temperature changes, because physicists are debating this topic all over the internet without a consensus view.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Can I ask readers not to vent. Let's try to look at this dispassionately.

It seems to me that on the misattribution of the IPCC findings to the NAS panel, we should err on the side of cockup rather than conspiracy - the Slingo paper is so obviously straight from the IPCC that it would surely have represented an extraordinarily hamfisted conspiracy.

Like Mac, I think the NAS summary is much closer to the truth than the IPCC. "Likely" seems to me to be a word that is completely unsupportable with any paleoclimate study to date.

Jan 5, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

@Richard Betts,

You stated: "But the paragraphs cited by michel do say very similar things to Julia, and it's certainly not true to claim they say "nothing of the sort"."

This is an extraordinary interpretation. Let me offer you an alternative paraphrase of the NAS statement, and see if you still think it is "similar" to Slingo's comments.

It can be said with high confidence that the temperature in the last few decades of the 20th century is higher than at any time since the low temperatures associated with the Little Ice Age. Less confidence can be placed in the proxy evidence from 900 to 1600. Proxy data from some places indicate that those places achieved higher temperatures than modern temperatures, but many show temperatures lower than the recent data.

A bit different?
The simple rule is, if you are going to attribute, then a quote is safer than a paraphrase. If one is going to paraphrase, then it should be an honest reflection of the original.

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul_K

Phillip

Could you perhaps show us how the individual points should have been presented or show what is missing, rather than letting rip. The anger doesn't help.

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

"CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas and the fundamental physics that links CO2 concentrations to temperature changes have been known since the 19th century.

. It is entirely consistent with the physics that global temperatures are increasing decade on decade since the mid 20th century."

Not a lie per se, but something very close, because yes the physics does say that the temperature should rise with increased CO2, but Julia forgot to mention that the decade on decade increases also took place in the early 20th century between around 1910 and 1940 and in the late 19th century between around 1860 and 1890 (from my exceedingly unreliable memory). So she didn't give the politicians all the information and certainly cherry-picked the late 20th century so as not to raise doubts about the theory that the warming could have been caused by something other than CO2. Looks like advocacy at work to me.

Richard,

I agree we shouldn't be using the word "lie" on these pages, but please tell me that the Met Office is lying in its weather forecasts, else I'll run away with the idea that it's totally incompetent. Watch the BBC three day forecasts, they're rarely right before the and the forecasts change almost every day until they're finally right on the day itself, when we can all see what the weather's like by looking out of the window. -;

G

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@geronimo

I'd say the Met Office are pretty good 24 hours ahead, but then so am I, if I just look at the satellite images, radar and air pressure diagrams. Further out than that they are often absolutely hopeless.

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

To show how badly wrong is the physics in the IPCC climate models, Nicola Scafetta has published a new paper testing the IPCC GCMs against an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model. The World climate is far better modelled using the astronomical data: http://notrickszone.com/2012/01/05/scafetta-ipcc-warming-claim-is-erroneous-ipcc-projections-for-the-21st-century-cannot-be-trusted/

'Should the IPCC continue ignore new findings and claim their models are accurate and correct (when they know they are not), then it will be de facto entering the territory of scientific fraud. The next assessment report, due in 2013 or 2014, must include the new scientific findings. Anything else would be willful fraud. That’s what it is when there’s intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual.

There’s no way the IPCC will be able stick to its current climate models in its next report without opening themselves up to lawsuits for scientific fraud. No more excuses.'

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I've just had this thought.
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Experts in these fields have all the data they could possibly need - frequency; magnitude, location, etc, etc - yet they STILL cannot predict when either of these events will happen.
Yet - climatologists reckon they can predict CLIMATE (Julia Slingo's words; a 'chaotic system') over the next 100 years..?
Am I missing something..?

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

"CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas..."

If we're looking for accuracy, might as well start with the very basics.
By what definition of 'potent' is carbon dioxide a 'potent greenhouse gas'?
Use of non-specific terms intended to imply scale/severity is a blatant and quite frankly pathetic linguistic device.
If carbon dioxide is to be classed as a potent greenhouse gas, how would one define sodium hexafluoride (more than 20 000 times more potent)?

Why pick, sodium hexafluoride? Because it always reminds me of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PJTq2xQiQ0

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

I apologise Bish. It makes me angry that I have to waste a good part of my life dealing with the renewable energy nonsense that is the fall-out from this "scientifdic fraud", as Pierre Gosselin describes it as referenced by mydogsgotnonose above.

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If you look at the context that Slingo's (mis)statement was given - the IPCC was under attack - government scientists needed to support the IPCC - you realise that what Slingo did was deliberate.

Slingo needed independent support for the IPCC's findings, she chose to misrepresent the findings of the NAS's review of the hockey-stick to provide a substantial part of that support (i.e. IPCC and NAS were of one view)

It raises the question did she also misrepresent other aspects of science and opinion to fulfill that need?

Now that would need careful reading of Slingo's paper - do all her arguements stack up?

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

@ Buck,

@geronimo

I'd say the Met Office are pretty good 24 hours ahead, but then so am I, if I just look at the satellite images, radar and air pressure diagrams. Further out than that they are often absolutely hopeless.

Same with me, I tend to consult the pressure charts and deem where the fronts are moving relative to pressure cyclone areas and you can make an educated guess on the synopsis,ie, what you're going to receive - local met office forecasts are useless, you'd be better off asking a local farmer, even massive computer power cannot predict local variations - I don't really know why they bother.

There was fairly recently a RED weather warning given, concerning a deep cyclone approaching the mainland, at the weekend - a week before before the Met was forecasting it to hit Scotland, 5 days prior, still Scotland and then as it neared...... the track was further and further south, eventually the worst of it, hit and was over the channel in northern France - as you say Buck, better looking just 24 hrs in advance.

Which makes me posit, if they can't get it half right twenty four hours prior to the event, how can they say with any certainty anything related to weather...... er climate 25 years hence - it's all shooting in the dark and wild postulation.

Once more, a chorus of; "there only telling it like the government want to hear it" - after all they are only civil servants and who pays the piper?

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Richard Betts @12.12 "The instrumental record has a reasonable global coverage so we can talk about global-scale changes for the last century or so"

Consider that in the context of the Congo, under Belgian rule at the beginning of the last century. Consider the size of the Congo. I wonder how many measuring stations there were. I wonder how diligently measurements were taken. I wonder for what purposes the measurements were made, and, given the purpose, what degree of accuracy was required. I wonder how well the records have been preserved. And, given that since Independence, Congo has been in a more or less perpetual state of war, how much has the record-keeping deteriorated over the last 50 years (half the period in question).

OK, lets leave out Congo. Oh, and, I suppose Angola and Namibia too. And, given the size of some of the French territories in Northern Africa, we probably don't have much meaningful records for anywhere apart from their coastal regions.....

It goes on and on. How few records, of what quality and completeness, do you need before you claim you have an "instrumental record" covering Africa. And if the instrumental record for Africa is threadbare, how is the global one any good? Or, when we say 'global', do we mean 'excluding Africa'?

And surely those criticisms regarding the African record are just as valid for South America and the Far East?

So does 'global' now mean 'excluding Africa, S America & the Far East'?

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

SteveW

It’s climatologi(s)t newspeak:

Potent = marginal
Very likely = possibly
Likely = unlikely

Orwell meets marketing hype.

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@ Dr Betts:

Thanks for your reply. I liked this sentence:
"The global mean temperature doesn't actually do anything, it is merely one indicator of the state of the climate."

Indeed.

No need to give a resume of the various critiques of how that global temperature is worked out, no need to write yet again about how this global temperature has been used by various entities to implement the CO2 policies - just this question: how can anything sensibly be said about the state of the climate when there are virtually no means of comparison with a status quo ante?

Patently, because of lack of data in the SH, both for temperature proxies and meaningful temperature records, there is no global baseline, only one for the NH.

Also, patently, isn't it obvious that meaningful data have only started to become available with the availability of satellite probes, since 1979, that is?

Therefore, all we can say is that the climate right now is as it is.
Proxies used so far to indicate climate status and climate change are unsatisfactory, certainly to a biologist like myself.

It has been saddening me for some years now, that the scientific principles I had dinned into me when I did my degree course these many years ago, have been so blatantly misused in the name of political activism. I am sure I don't need to go into details, but it must be evident that using the last 150 years on the NH as indicator for "unprecedented" change is, well, ludicrous in view of the rather long time climate has existed on this, our planet.

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

“the rather long time climate has existed”

Indeed, Viv. The most pervasive feature of climate is its relative stability over eons. It’s got a bit chilly a few times, I grant you, but there seems to be a definite high temperature ceiling, irrespective of CO2 levels or pretty much anything else.

I’m sure there are plenty more worrying, and probable, events that we should be considering, such as Carrington Events and wayward asteroids...

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Prof Slingo operates, as does the entire Met Office, with one Robert Napier looking over her shoulder and hence may be forgiven for boilerplating IPCC material or leaning on the current IPCC line since that way a quiet life is to be found. Except perhaps in places such as hereabouts, but our getting hot and bothered is not likely to amount to much in her world.

I sometimes wonder what Napier does at the Met Office, and why he was attracted to join it in the first place. It is not an obvious slot for such a livewire. Perhaps a Met Office equivalent of FOIA would be a fine thing to enliven 2012 if he or she could liberate a few minutes and emails and 'for your eyes only' stuff from what used to be a dull and worthy sort of place, doing quite a decent job of making weather forecasts. A bit like the WWF used to do a decent sort of job of encouraging us to look after threatened animals and so on. Until, in each case, they discovered the headier and more lucrative joys of saving the planet. Weather forecasts, out the window. Furry creatures, out the window. At least 'out the window' for the heavy hitters, the money-earners, the main spinners. A bit of the old stuff is still required for window-dressing after all, and quite a few long-term employees are possibly not suited to much else anyway.

So my sympathies are with Prof Slingo to some extent. Perhaps one day, when she is retired to a little place in the country, she will publish her memoirs and tell us what it was really like in the Met Office.

More background on Mr Napier here: http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/eco-imperialism-every-environmentalists-dream/

Jan 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Richard Betts responded to the first query in my comment today at 10:57 AM, but (if I was Chief Scientific Officer) I would be even more interested in his views concerning the second query.

At around about the time that the Earth stopped warming, (over 12 years ago?) Mike Lockwood et al, working at the ESA on the Ulysses space probe and other data, wrote this fascinating letter to Nature in 1999

http://www.wdc.rl.ac.uk/wdcc1/papers/nature.html

And participated in a conference on the same topic the following year

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/GGGUN260NDC_Protecting_0.html

I do get the impression that such research on the magnetosphere/climate connection has suffered from protracted covert obstructions/delays due to political fears that it could damage their 'key climate message'.

Jan 5, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Latimer and Ian E
Ha, ha!
I misread "climatologits" and for a moment understood to be:
"Climatologititus": A nasty ailment, most commonly affecting climatologists, that causes them to think the same thing simultaneously, and consequently act as a group within the confines of that particular scientific meme... :D

Jan 5, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

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):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>