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« NOAA slips up? | Main | Mixing science and economics »

Peter Lilley on Newsnight

Peter Lilley was on Newsnight, allegedly to discuss the economics of climate change. Unfortunately he appears to have been ambushed, being called upon to discuss Professor Peter Wadhams' bid for the AGW alarmism limelight instead.

Lilley did rather well, I thought (from 35:20).

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Reader Comments (39)

"what is known as the albedo effect"

Only at the BBC...

Sep 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Must be swan song season for CAGW at the BBC here how Shukman is now avoiding the issue altogether.

Sep 6, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Shukman still managed to get in a rabbit punch:

"Fossil fuels once made this place and may transform the Arctic in decades ahead.

For now their effect on the atmosphere is being patiently measured by the scientists. "

However, the use of the word "may" instead of "will" is a refreshing return from the brink of faith.

Sep 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterElftone

Last desperate attempt by the warmists to purport that the World has gone beyond its tipping point. In reality the World is now cooling as shown by the jet streams moving nearer the Equator.

As for the Arctic ice:

Notice the sudden fall Aug 4th - 9th. This was a very unusual, massive depression which broke up the ice and piled it on distant shores. How dare Wadham claim it was melting when any competent scientist knows you can't get that much heat in. What will happen next is a re-freeze and normal progression.

Sep 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

A couple of points in the outrageous department.

Did I hear Wadham or the voiceover say that disapperance of the Arctic ice would double the impact of CO2? What's the science behind that?

Despite all the blather about Albedo, isn't one of the reasons that the poles are so cold is that the sun's rays are mainly passing through the atmosphere so whether the ice or the water are refelecting whatever, the effect is trivial anyway? I need to look at temps for the late 30s to see whether there is a correlations between Arctic warmth and global warmth.

Did the madwoman from the Greens say that the green economy was 9% of GDP. Was Lilley too astonished to simply say that was aboslute rot?

Did I detect a bit more cyncism from Paxman?

Off thread re my proposed pub rant, I will post a date shortly and we will just see who turns up.



Sep 6, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Maynard

“What will happen next is a re-freeze and normal progression”

And since it will be happening from an (artificially) low point, it will look like a record increase, leaving the greens to explain why it really isn’t...

Sep 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Thanks, and well done Peter Lilley!

I found the opening interview between Natalie Bennett and Paxman amusing in a groundhog kind of way:

JB: If the effect of melting arctic ice is as suggested, there is no benefit in making the adjustments to our lifestyles you are suggesting.
NB: Not at all. By cutting our carbon emmissions we can make our society better and stronger.
JP: But that will make no difference to the suggested effects of the melting ice.
NB: But it will make a difference to people's lives. We want to bring industries and farming back to Britain.
JB: That's entirely a different point.
NB: No, what we need to do is use less fossil fuels.
JB: Why?
NB: Because then we won't have the melting ice.

Where exactly does the green argument start I wonder?

Sep 6, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

Curses! They won't stop trying to ambush our heroic Galileos with their darned real world evidence, will they?!

Sep 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMieScatter

Paul Maynard

I noticed we got the usual "ten percent of the Earth's surface is covered with ice and snow." Not as seen from the Sun it aint.

They should try multiplying by the cosine of latitude.

Sep 6, 2012 at 2:12 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

These amused me: (I reported on this association back in 2009)

But this next one is a real jaw-dropper:

Sep 6, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Roger Pielke Jr makes an important observation

What does such a large [albedo] feedback imply for previous estimates of radiative forcing, as none of the models projected rapid Arctic warming?

Yes indeed.

Sep 6, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Newsnight gave the impression that the Arctic footage they showed was shot very recently - with the sun high in the sky - adding emphasis to Wadham's claims about reduced Albedo. However, in September the sun barely gets above the horizon at the North Pole, and sinks beneath the horizon for 6 months from 24th Sept onwards. So the Arctic footage was clearly shot much earlier in the summer. The fact is, at this time of year, increased Antarctic ice area where the sun is high in the sky, produces a much larger effect than reduced Arctic ice area where the sun is low in the sky.

Sep 6, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

“We want to bring industries and farming back to Britain”

Hmm. What industries would those be, then? Muesli weaving and hand-thrown yoghurt? I suspect that the sort of farming she envisages is somewhat different to current methods, too...

Sep 6, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

There was a large increase in cloud cover over the Arctic this summer.

The ice-Albedo effect actually produced the opposite result to that surmised because cloud cover increased.

Reflected solar radiation in the Arctic in July 2012 was considerably higher than July 2011 according to the CERES instrument on the Modis satellites.

Sep 6, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill Illis

I noticed the scary 3D spinning graph they showed was an estimate of ice volume from '79 to 2012 from the PIOMAS *model* - not from actual measurements. The animation was done by some bloke called Andy Lee from YouTube.

Sep 6, 2012 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Hudson reported the

radiative forcing caused by the observed loss of sea ice in the Arctic between 1979 and 2007 is approximately 0.1 W m−2; a complete removal of Arctic sea ice results in a forcing of about 0.7 W m−2, while a more realistic ice-free-summer scenario (no ice for one month, decreased ice at all other times of the year) results in a forcing of about 0.3 W m−2, similar to present-day anthropogenic forcing caused by halocarbons.
Greenhouse gas forcing has been increasing at about 0.04 W m-2 per year. [Source.] So I don't understand Wadham's "the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man".

Alternatively, the 0.1 W m-2 figure can also be compared to ~0.3 W m-2 increase over the same period, attributed to black carbon. [Using the same source for forcing cited above.]

Hudson's paper is from 2011; perhaps there's something more recent available.

Sep 6, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Video here:

Sep 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterukipwebmaster

There are increasing indicators that the BBC are making efforts to rebalance the climate debate by giving skeptics at least some air time. Having a discussion on Newsnight with equal representation seems unusual. It appears that Harrabin has been forced to kiss the ring of the new director general and make references to both sides of the argument in his recent articles. Maybe Richard Black was not prepared to adhere to the new edict?

Sep 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

I agree Lilley did very well. Paxman is an arse and this showed him up again.

Sep 6, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Can any one point to a peer reviewed study of the energy balance of the Arctic if or when it becomes ice free in late summer?

It seems to me that the ice greatly reduces energy both entering and leaving the ocean below it. It is not obvious to me, when the ice has gone, that the energy entering the ocean at a shallow angle during the daylight hours will exceed that leaving the ocean round the clock and able to radiate in all directions above the surface.

Sep 6, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

Sep 6, 2012 at 5:17 PM | David Holland
It is not obvious to me, when the ice has gone, that the energy entering the ocean at a shallow angle during the daylight hours will exceed that leaving the ocean round the clock and able to radiate in all directions above the surface.

Yes, that is my take also. Tallbloke and others too. But this negative feedback is never mentioned by the catastrophists (or the media).

Sep 6, 2012 at 5:32 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus


I've just noticed that HaroldW mentioned a 2011 paper by Stephen R. Hudson which is here:

I shall have a read.

Sep 6, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

Your Grace

But this next one is a real jaw-dropper:

Thanks for the link. Perhaps Lewandowsky should include a question on belief in psychic mediums in his next survey.

Sep 6, 2012 at 5:47 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Hang on a minute.....

The BBC has a vested interest in CAGW....

The BBC gets an annual compulsory licence fee of £142.50 per household via government legislation for the privilege of owning a television. The BBC Pension Trust is worth about £8 billion. The BBC’s handsome pension pot is invested in the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) alongside another 50 plus member funds. The total assets of this consortium is around €4 trillion.

The chairman of IIGCC and BBC head of pensions investment is one Peter Dunscombe. The BBC is in the chair of this carbon trading driven investment scheme. Have you ever wondered why the BBC’s thought police have been censoring climate skeptics shamelessly for years?

Sep 6, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterfretslider

Wadhams is a Newsnight favourite, and is very matey with Susan Watts. He has been pushing his debunked submarine data on ice thickness for many years, since around 2000 and the message is that there is a 40% plus reduction in ice thickness. It's a bit like the "97% of scientists" claim, it doesn't stand scrutiny. The paper below showed once again that a major factor in ice measurement in the Arctic is the wind effect.

Ice and Climate News, No. 1, September 2001 "Is Arctic Sea Ice Rapidly Thinning?"
Greg Holloway and Tessa Sou, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney BC, Canada

"Estimates from submarines and moored sonars, near the North Pole (Shy and Walsh, 1996), in the southern Beaufort Sea (Melling, personal communication), along a transect from Fram Strait to the Pole (Wadhams and Davis, 2000), and along a transect from the central part of the Beaufort Sea to the Pole (Winsor, 2001) are regionally limited and suggest differing results, from no significant trends at the Pole or along the Winsor transect to substantial thinning along the Wadhams and Davis transect.

A broader Arctic basin study was reported by Rothrock et al. (1999) based upon records from US military submarine cruises from autumns of 1958, 1960, 1962, 1970 and 1976 compared with subsequent cruises during 1993, 1996 and 1997. These results were stunning. Systematically over all the regions sampled by the submarines, thickness had markedly decreased from the earlier to the later period. From 29 locations where records could be compared, average thickness was reduced 43%."

So was it true?

"Large-scale wind patterns are ever changing, and the Arctic ice pack is readily rearranged.

Everywhere the environment always changes, and ability to sample those changes is limited. Inferences from limited observations can be misleading. Numerical ice-ocean modelling together with re-analyses of atmospheric forcing can help refine inferences. In the case of submarine-inferred rapid loss of Arctic sea ice, combined modelling and data argue that a more physically plausible inference is that the ice was not "lost" but only shifted within the Arctic. The pattern of submarine sampling happened to miss the shift. Observations to date, together with model physics, imply only that the loss of sea ice volume is not inconsistent with the 3% per decade loss of ice area, a modest rate itself not inconsistent with multi-decadal natural variability."

Wadhams still repeats the 43% as does the BBC, the Guardian and all points left and we are talking 12 years now. Al Gore also quoted submarine data at one point. The other thing is that according to Wadhams, the Arctic should have been ice free in Summer by 2010.

Sep 6, 2012 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

I found some more Wadhams links:
Arctic Meltdown
February 27, 2001

The Arctic ice cap is melting at a rate that could allow routine commercial shipping through the far north in a decade and open up new fisheries. But a report for the US Navy seen by New Scientist reveals that naval vessels will be unable to police these areas.

Peter Wadhams of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge agrees that the Arctic could soon open up. "Within a decade we can expect regular summer trade there,"he predicts.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009 00:27 UK
Arctic to be 'ice-free in summer'
By David Shukman Science and environment correspondent, BBC News

"The Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free and open to shipping during the summer in as little as ten years' time, a top polar specialist has said.

"It's like man is taking the lid off the northern part of the planet," said Professor Peter Wadhams, from the University of Cambridge.

Professor Wadhams has been studying the Arctic ice since the 1960s. He was speaking in central London at the launch of the findings of the Catlin Arctic Survey."

Thursday, 7 December, 2000, 11:36 GMT
Arctic sea ice 'thins by almost half'

By environment correspondent Alex Kirby
"Two UK scientists say they have found evidence to show that sea ice is thinning across the Arctic.
The two, Dr Peter Wadhams and Dr Norman Davis, are from the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

They say their work shows that the ice in the Fram Strait, between Svalbard and Greenland, thinned by nearly half in two decades. And they say the findings have serious implications for climates at high latitudes. Dr Wadhams told BBC News Online: "Between summer 1976 and summer 1996 there was a 43% thinning of sea ice over a large area of the Arctic Ocean between Fram Strait and the North Pole.
"The amount of thinning, which is very large, agrees with results published last year by Drew Rothrock, of the University of Washington, for thinning rates on the other side of the Arctic."

In 2007 he was crying "foul" because his funding had dried up. Fred Pearce was on the case: Berks at NERC snub Peter Wadhams, again. By Fred Pearce, 04 Sep 2007

Fred Pearce on the apparent snubbing of Britain's top oceanographer by the Government's Natural Environment Research Council

"I was expecting to die," Britain's top oceanographer Peter Wadhams told me back in March. He had just emerged unscathed from an explosion aboard a naval submarine beneath the Arctic ice.

He lived, but he has now fled the country after suffering academic death by a thousand cuts at the hands of a research council charged with keeping British environmental research afloat. In my humble view, it is a disgrace.

Wadhams is most famous among scientists as the man whose researches aboard a British sub in 1996 revealed that Arctic ice had thinned by 40 per cent since the 1970s.

"NERC is constantly saying in its publicity that sea ice is a critical parameter of climate change," says Wadhams. "But it won't provide me with any funding, even though the submarines are being provided free of charge."

NERC has turned down his last TEN grant applications - including critical studies into mysterious giant whirlpools off Greenland that may drive the Gulf Stream, another topic on which he is a world authority. "I am the most experienced Arctic researcher in Britain. So I have to conclude that it is personal," he says."


Sep 6, 2012 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

I thought the best bit was the Met Office bloke saying the melting ice could force the jetstream south like this summer and so the consequence of climate change for the UK is (a) wet, mild summers and (b) cold easterly winds in winter with snow.

So complete reversal of the predictions from 2001, which as I recall were hot dry summers and mild wet winters with lots of flooding.

Clueless. They are clueless.

Sep 6, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Thanks, Bish and also ukipwebmaster for the permanent video link, I'm adding this to my (long) list of things to transcribe.

Sep 6, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

BH link:

Jaw dropping indeed from Wadhams.

And surely the mother and father of logical fallacies (argumentum ad verecundiam) when he concludes that Crookes must be correct because he's a fine upstanding scientist.

It beggars belief!

Sep 6, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

If you find anyone daft enough to think that the current Arctic ice extent is "unprecedented", just refer them to this.

Sep 6, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

it seems that Wadhams is due a rigorous debunking/debagging....a classic example of scientist as grant-hunter

Sep 6, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Is there any chance that your grace might consider opening a psychotherapy section on Bishop Hill? I believe that Natalie Bennett is in serious need of help (as probably is the rest of the Green Party).

Sep 7, 2012 at 12:43 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Sorry Dung, but people who you disagree with are *not* nutters! There's too much of that attitude around at the moment.... let's not start it here.

Sep 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM | Registered CommenterDR

DR is right - not all nuts are green.

Is there any chance that your grace might consider opening a psychotherapy section on Bishop Hill? I believe that Natalie Bennett is in serious need of help (as probably is the rest of the Pistachio Party).

Sep 7, 2012 at 9:17 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Shukman had a seriously doom-laden extended BBC news piece on the melting Arctic at lunchtime and was there, (somewhere), in person, in a boat on an open lead, with fractured pack ice all around as "evidence that it was melting". He did mention that it would freeze again in the winter, (wow), but not as thick as before. Doesn't that depend on how cold it is this winter?

There was the usual mantra about how the Arctic is heating twice as fast as the rest of the planet, which of course is gathered from the fact that in 1977 there was a phase shift in the PDO and temperatures rose by around 3 deg F in a year and stayed there. Hence the "twice as fast" claim. The use of deg C and deg F can be misleading for the general public.

Check out the Alaska graph for Fairbanks 2000-2010 which shows temperature declined, with a slight recovery in 2010.

"Climatological data of the first decade of the 21st century are now available, and we analyzed the data for Fairbanks (see graph). Related to the temperature, the warmest year was 2002 with a mean temperature of 30.3°F, the 7th warmest in our records of more than a century. Higher temperatures were observed during the following years in order of decreasing values: 1926. 1987, 1928, 1993, 1940, and 1981. The coldest year of the last decade was 2006 with a mean temperature of 25.7°F. Numerous values below that level were observed during the last century. While the overall trend since 1906 shows warming, the best linear fit of the data points of the last decade displays a fairly strong cooling of 1.78°F."

"Nevertheless, the last decade was on average warm, actually the second warmest decade of the last century; only the 1980's displayed a higher temperature in Fairbanks. The temperature has varied widely over the last century, 1926 being the warmest year. In 1976/77 a sudden and substantial temperature increase was observed in Alaska, which we attributed to a change in circulation, which is expressed in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The PDO shifted from dominantly negative to dominantly positive values. Since that change, the temperature trend has been fairly flat for Fairbanks."

Note that the 1980's were warmer than the period 2000-2010, (which of course is 11 years and they do show 11 data points), which demonstrates the cooling from the 80's to now, in spite of increasing CO2. Also, 1926 was the warmest year of the previous century, but of course that is weather, as we know.

Sep 7, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

Sep 7, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

The Met expert on that Newsnight programme warned we will have to expect very cold wet summer weather as occurred during the Jubilee Flotilla. Last year we were warned to expect long hot dry summers:-

These alarmist views change 'like the wind'.

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMickeyG

Sep 6, 2012 at 5:17 PM | David Holland
It is not obvious to me, when the ice has gone, that the energy entering the ocean at a shallow angle during the daylight hours will exceed that leaving the ocean round the clock and able to radiate in all directions above the surface.

Yes, that is my take also. Tallbloke and others too. But this negative feedback is never mentioned by the catastrophists (or the media).
Sep 6, 2012 at 5:32 PM | lapogus

Yes and don't forget that for several months in the
Arctic there is NO SUNLIGHT AT ALL, 24Hrs a day !
Of course this is why it freezes in the Wintertime !
Wadhams is an out and out fraudster, I'd say.

Sep 9, 2012 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterKwi Chang Caine

Sep 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM | DR wrote :
..... people who you disagree with are *not* nutters!
There's too much of that attitude around at the moment....

Yes that's right, they may be wackos, flakes,
or even bampots, but they are not nutters !


Sep 9, 2012 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterKwi Chang Caine

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