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Tuesday
Jan082013

Today on Met Office models

For anyone who missed it, here is the Today programme on the new revision to the Met Office temperature projections. I gather there was an earlier segment on the same subject, but I haven't been able to find it yet.

Today: Met Office models

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Reader Comments (61)

Harrabin must be overworked today, haven't seen his article up yet on the BBC environmental web site!

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

How does Harrabin define "mainstream scientists" I think I know really.
Note the newsreader's first statement that the MO has revised its climate change predictions then immediately follows up with its revised temperature predictions.

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Thompson

Wow! Talk about a clenched-teeth presentation!

I suspect that the warmists have decided to head off any criticism of the BBC by presenting all the scary stuff on the TV, and then mentioning any skeptic info on the radio.

That way, they can claim to be presenting a balanced output. 'Equal airtime for skeptics'. Just no peak TV coverage. I wouldn't be surprised to find that they intend to put out a full skeptic half-hour piece. On the World Service (Icelandic language) at 04:00 am.....

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Anyone else chuckle at the end where he says "no pressure then" ;-)

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

The earlier segment was extremely short, roughly equivalent to the pre-Harrabin part of this one.

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

To add my own tuppence-worth, on the BBC POV site, I have raised the question of the term “Mainstream climate scientists…” and supplied my own supposition of definition.

The question is "in moderation" (aka subject to the censors' scrutiny - I have upset the Beeb a few times along these lines in not toeing the line, and they are very sensitive to these things), and doubt it will be passed; however, it will be interesting to see any responses if it does.

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

" .... by greenhouse gasses ....." three times in about 70 seconds. Do they think we get the message?

Jan 8, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

I heard this on the news this morning and have been looking for it ever since.

It will be interesting to see how much traction this gets. The house of cards is starting to look just like ...... well a house of cards.

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Well...The Great Rowback has to start somewhere at the Met Office. No sign of it at the BBC !

In ten years time no one at the Met Office will be admitting to having believed in CAGW. And they will all get way with it.

(Plural expletive!)

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Just in case anyone missed it, Tallbloke posted about this on Monday, and I expanded on it:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/ukmo-lowers-5-year-global-temperature-forecast-and-omits-the-second-5-years-of-the-decadal-forecast/

Here's a link to the gif animation that shows the new and old forecasts:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/figure-1.gif

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Tisdale

Bob T:

I did look-in on Monday and what struck me from your blink comparitor was that the MO has also rewritten their forecast history, even to show a match with the Mt Pinatubo eruption! What I have missed so far is their explanation for that: have you come across one?

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

In the back of his mind Harrabin must be wondering just how far down this rocky road he is expected to go
before, like Wile E. Coyote, he reaches his own 'tipping point'.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/files/2012/12/Wile-E-Coyote_falling.jpg

But they promised me it was CO twoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo........splat.

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

Daily Telegraph

Comments are entertaining.

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:50 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Thanks Lord B. The most recent comment on the Telegraph piece says

The Guardian appears to have overlooked this news.
Now there's a surprise!

Can that really be true still?

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Shukman : "ave temp likely to rise .43C by 2017"
No it doesnt say that!!

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul M

Just seen the BBC Shukman covering item. No comments obviously.

He is saying that HADGem 3 is "experimental" but the MO have made it the live model !

This gives the MO and their PR partners the BBC an opportunity to back both models as
"The Met Office stresses that the work is experimental and that it still stands by its longer-term projections"

How does that song go - 'there may be (divergence) trouble ahead".

Interesting to see how this plays out every year, here's to the HADGem4 downward revision next Christmas.

As the Telegraph have hidden the article somewhat - here's the link:-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9787662/Global-warming-at-a-standstill-new-Met-Office-figures-show.html

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

There are those on Bishop Hill who praise Richard Betts, a senior Met Office guy who has visited BH but who now says he does not like the reception he gets. Just imagine how popular he would be if he put in an appearance round obout now.
Up to about two weeks ago we were told that any apparent slow down in warming was still within the error margins and was not statistically significant because it had not so far lasted long enough. To his credit Richard Betts did admit that the MO really did not understand why the warming had stopped. However now the MO has revealed its new model which is so brilliant that it predicts volcanic erruptions. The new model only predicts out as far as 2017 (er let me think um oh yes that is 3 - 4 years so would that not be statistically insignificant?). The MO now says "One aim of attempting to project the climate on this timescale is to be able to rapidly check the accuracy of the models being used." so obviously statistical significance is now "so last year".
Some people I respect greatly say they understand why Richard Betts no longer visits us and in his defence they ask us to understand that were he to stand up and shout the truth then he would risk his livelihood and that of his family. Well sorry but that does not wash with me.
The world is in the mess it is in because everybody looks after number one and is not prepared to speak the truth.

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Registered CommenterDung

When I mentioned this snippet in work today, the reaction was almost universal that they were all closet sceptics really!! This was underlined by a damning report using this data on the story in the online edition of the Daily Mail. Though this is good news, the obvious caveat is that you cannot only accept data that proves your own case, this however works for both sides.I fear however that the hegemony of Harrabin et al will take a while yet to disappear.

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

It looks like the BBC did the story after David Whitehouse's devastating piece on the GWPF website yesterday.

Whitehouse should get journalist of the year for his work on the standstill. he's been proven right.

From now on I'm going to call him "The BBC's (Unofficial) Science Correspondent." What I might call Harrabin and Suuckman is another matter.

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDHe

Richard Drake


It has been the accusations of incompetence, misconduct and a lack of transparency that have probably dealt the biggest blows to public trust in climate researchers. They have been matched by a decline in the quantity and quality of UK national media coverage of climate change.

From the Guardian today, our old friend Uncle Bob.

Again check out the comments for a chuckle.

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Yes, jazznick, Shukman (see the Bish's link above) tries hard to minimise the importance of this:

The Met Office stresses that the work is experimental and that it still stands by its longer-term projections. These forecast significant warming over the course of this century.

A Met Office spokesman said "this definitely doesn't mean any cooling - there's still a long-term trend of warming compared to the 50s, 60s or 70s. Our forecast is still for temperatures that will be close to the record levels of the past few years". [Only "close to"? Hmm ...]

A paper published last month in the journal Climate Dynamics, authored by scientists from the Met Office and 12 other international research centres ... concluded that, "in the absence of volcanic eruptions, global temperature is predicted to continue to rise, with each year from 2013 onwards having a 50 % chance of exceeding the current observed record".

However he cannot avoid the real story:

If the forecast is accurate, the result would be that the global average temperature would have remained relatively static for about two decades.

But possibly most interesting are the admissions of serious uncertainty:

Climate scientists at the Met Office and other centres are involved in intense research to try to understand what is happening over the most recent period. The most obvious explanation is natural variability - the cycles of changes in solar activity and the movements and temperatures of the oceans.

... this is an emerging and highly complex area of science because of the interplay of natural factors and manmade greenhouse gases at a time when a key set of temperatures - in the deep ocean - is still relatively unknown.

"Decadal climate prediction is immature, and uncertainties in future forcings, model responses to forcings, or initialisation shocks could easily cause large errors in forecasts."

Interesting times.

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Focusing on global temperature increases or lack of same is so yesterday. The AGW movement has moved on and concluded that dangerous climate change has now been proved by the frequent occurrences of wacky weather around the world in 2012. Even the UN Secretary General says that "Abnormal is the new normal".

As a hydrologist for over 40 years, one useful thing I have learned is that the only thing normal about climate is variability.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

A German paper is being a little sharper:

German online daily Hamburger Abendblatt here has a story titled: Global Warming Takes A Break, citing the leaked copy of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, which is due to be released in September, 2013. The Hamburger Abendblatt writes (emphasis aded):

"The preliminary text is very clear that the global temperature increase does not follow the continuous rise of CO2 emissions. That’s water on the water-wheel of climate skeptics, who argue that it is more the impacts of the sun that warm the Earth, and greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, less so.”

The Hamburger Abendblatt asks:

"Just how reliable are computer simulations that, although they correctly predicted the CO2 increase of the last 15 years, were completely off with the temperature development?”

Source: http://notrickszone.com/2013/01/08/leading-german-daily-announces-global-warming-has-stopped-questions-ipcc-models/

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

The PA have picked it up: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/global-temperature-rises-slowing-152600405.html

The usual weasal-words, of course.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered Commentercui bono

Well (as if you are really interested), my post did appear on the BBC POV site - which was a surprise! But only briefly (which is NOT a surprise), being removed before anyone made a comment.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Robin, the quote about "natural variability" caught my eye, too.

Funny, isn't it, how the catastrophists scoffed at the idea of "natural variability" causing perhaps the greater part of the warming in the 80's and 90's? Oh no, they said. You can't just invoke "natural variability". You have to come up with a physical mechanism for the warming. And CO2 is the only show in town.

Yet now, "natural variability", coincidentally exactly equal and opposite to the supposed CO2 forcing (but unattributed), is invoked by the self-same people to cancel out and explain a predicted 20-year period of non-warming.

Well if they can have "natural variability" cooling effects, we can have "natural variability" warming effects. Fair's fair.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

As Paul M mentions above, Shukman says:

"[The new forecast] says that the average temperature is likely to rise by 0.43 C by 2017"

But surely that's wrong. The forecast says it will be 4.3 C above the 1971-2000 baseline by (the end of?) 2017. It doesn't say the temperature is going to rise 4.3 degrees in 4 (or 5) years. Or am I missing something here? Seems like a pretty basic error for the BBC's science editor.

Of course, what he's done is massively play down the extent of the revision. He can then say that the old model gave a "rise" of 5.4 C, so:

"By contrast the new model, known as HadGEM3, gives a rise about one-fifth lower than that of 0.43C"

But the predicted rise over the next few years obviously isn't one fifth lower than the old prediction. It looks about two thirds lower to me.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Two delicious quotes from the Tom Clarke article:
Chris Rapley:

I despair of the way data such as this is translated as 'global warming has stopped'. Global mean temperatures - whether measured or predicted - are not the issue.
and Myles Allen:
While every new year brings in welcome new data to help us rule out the more extreme (good and bad) scenarios for the future, it would be equally silly to interpret what has happened since the early-2000s as evidence that the warming has stopped.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Where in all the media reports, Channel 4, Telegraph, Shukman etc is there any quotes from 'sceptics?' we hear from the rent-a-quotes Rapley and Myles Allen but in the interests of fair and good journalism why are the quotes all from the one side?

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDP

Can I try that again with my decimal points in the right place? It's been a long day.

As Paul M mentions above, Shukman says:

"[The new forecast] says that the average temperature is likely to rise by 0.43 C by 2017"

But surely that's wrong. The forecast says it will be 0.43 C above the 1971-2000 baseline by (the end of?) 2017. It doesn't say the temperature is going to rise 0.43 degrees in 4 (or 5) years. Or am I missing something here? Seems like a pretty basic error for the BBC's science editor.

Of course, what he's done is massively play down the extent of the revision. He can then say that the old model gave a "rise" of 0.54 C, so:

"By contrast the new model, known as HadGEM3, gives a rise about one-fifth lower than that of 0.43C"

But the predicted rise over the next few years obviously isn't one fifth lower than the old prediction. It looks about two thirds lower to me.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

All of the articles above go with the "20% lower rise" idea. I assume they must all have been fed that by the MO. Can't any of them be bothered to actually look at the graphs?

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Did anyone tell Philip Schofield and Holly Wiloughby to tell Prince Charles.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Yes basic numeracy does not seem to be required for BBC science editors.

And the spin from Rapley is getting desperate.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul M

had a fun chat with the Sun's environment editor today (twitter and on the phone) more detail later...

ref this..
http://i46.tinypic.com/123147s.gif
previous met office decadal projections vs current
Met Off website update with the new one on Dec24th (no fanfair) and previous one vanished....

Jan 8, 2013 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Also from the Tom Clarke article:

"But in the last few years, though temperature records around the globe have been smashed , the global average temperature has not really gone up that much at all."

All measured temperature records are of finite length. Every year, somewhere in the world, the local temperature record will be "smashed" whether the average world temperature is warming or cooling. As record length increases the chances of a record being broken in a given year decreases, but not by much, and the probability is certainly not zero.

Jan 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

My reading on all the publicity today is the Met office got caught with its pants down. The new projection was published on 24th December and wasn't broadcast by any of the MSM. It was picked up by different blogs and several well written articles (notably David Whitehouse at the GWPF) and also Bob Tisdale.

It's likely that Harrabin and Shukman read these and from then on a public statement from the Met Office became necessary together with the caveats etc.

Jan 8, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Shukman on 6 o'clock quoting 'scientists'.

"Global warming is a long-term problem and it hasn't gone away."

He looked cheery having been given that assurance.

Jan 8, 2013 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Here's The Times webpage today: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3651191.ece.
Interesting Times, indeed.

Jan 8, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterH.M.

H.M.
The Times is paywalled.

Jan 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Before and after. Rewriting of history?

Jan 8, 2013 at 7:25 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Dung, I respect your position on Richard Betts but as you know I have a different perspective. The Met Office is an organisation with a very long history, and in that context has only recently (the past 20 years or so) been beholden to the CAGW meme, under the influence of the evangelical 'stewardship of the Earth' John Houghton. He is now 81 years of age and one could argue that his influence is waning; the Met Office may have been going through a 'phase' from which it is now in transition.

Richard is a youngish scientist (in his early 40s I gather), whose understanding of climate change has no doubt matured over the years. He clearly has retained an open mind and a willingness to look objectively at the evidence. He appears to place too much faith in climate modelling but that too could change.

Quietly working for organisational change from within is sometimes just as valid as external criticism. There have been signs for a while now that the Met Office is beginning to distance itself from climate alarmism. I think Richard Betts should be given the benefit of the doubt and be assumed to be part of that process of change.

Jan 8, 2013 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

The major problem that this "pause" is having regards the notion of feedbacks. Positive feedback can only occur as a result of warming happening. Without an effect to create feedback then we must conclude that any feedbacks that may have occurred as a result of previous warming has been spent. This is why some are desperately searching for the "hidden energy" in the system as without serious feedbacks, increasing carbon emissions will lead to small slow and beneficial warming (the point where warming moves to a negative state on a cost/benefit analysis is above 1.2K increase according to IPCC own figures).

Another problem is that the explanation that natural variations are overwhelming the effects of carbon emissions beggars the question: so CO2 not that influential after all then?

You think they would be happy at the good news...

Jan 8, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiT

Note how the BBC are majoring on the heat and fires in Australia while completely ignoring the record snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment.
http://iceagenow.info/2013/01/greatest-snow-record-december/

At least 114 dead from cold in Northern India
http://iceagenow.info/2013/01/record-cold-india/

From the IceCap website:-
"If UK Met Office still wants to talk of Global warming, they are OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY OF CLIMATE CHNAGE! If the UK Met Office has worldwide data, it can provide what world-wide temp are since New Year 2013! IIn newspapers here, there were also stories about “loads of ice in and around Shanghai with over 1000 ships stranded!

I think UK Met Office will do a great service by stating “There is NO Global Warming scare anywhere in the world! “

Trying to predict 2013 as ‘possibly warmest year’ is a meaningless exercise!

In my view, UK Met Office is losing its credibility!

Best Regards

Madhav Khandekar, IPCC reviewer from Solapur/Pune India, January 7th 10AM "

===================================================================
In Russia, the cold has killed two people in the past 24 hours, the Ria-Novosti agency reported, citing medical sources, bringing the total number of deaths to 56 by December 21st.

The freeze had also left 371 people in hospital.

Thermometers have been stuck below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in Moscow—and below minus 50 degrees (minus 58 F) in some parts of Siberia.

So, plenty of Cold stuff to talk about - why don't they ?

Jan 8, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

One could argue that it is a smart move. A stitch-in-time etc....More predictions means more chance of being right... You can win the lottery if you hold all of the tickets...

Sweeping-up behind them by sticking in a prediction which, at the lower confidence bounds, will allow for the later claim "We predicted temperatures would go down..."

...And anything above the lowest confidence bounds will still be: "Yesss. It's worse than we thought! Trebles all round!"

Jan 8, 2013 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Dung

It was me that Betts didn't like and you are on the same lines as me. Someone, a senior blogger such as the Bish, once said about the wimping Mann et al that if they can't stand the heat they should get out of the fire they lit. aka the kitchen.

I watchted the Shukman -slimy George interview. What I found interesting was that they slipped easily between "projections and predictions" and then corrected themselves back to "projections" soon after.

They deliberately avoided the conclusion that if their "projections" are correct there will have been no statistical warming for 20 years. Now that is significant. They were, however, keen to say that the warming will continue apace after that.

It will be interesting to see how they gradually modify this statement as 2017 approaches.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

What non of the 'mainstream' scientists are saying is that if the 'heating effect' of co² can be overwhelmed by natural variability how the hell are human beings going to control the climate by controlling co²?

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Quietly working for organisational change from within is sometimes just as valid as external criticism. There have been signs for a while now that the Met Office is beginning to distance itself from climate alarmism. I think Richard Betts should be given the benefit of the doubt and be assumed to be part of that process of change.

Jan 8, 2013 at 7:40 PM | Chris M

No evidence for this. As I have stated frequently, I worked in the same environment but couldn't stand it for too long.

He still shows utter faith in models in spite of analysis elsewhere which shows that have no skill what so ever. That maybe because without the models his job is defunct.

But that's enough of the Dr Betts issue, I think. As I said I wish him only the best outcomes.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

This is how the retreat continues. Inch by painful inch. Those who are invested in CAGW will do anything to avoid the rout that they know is round the corner. Just you see. Inch by painful inch.

Carthago delenda est.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

He still shows utter faith in models in spite of analysis elsewhere which shows that have no skill what so ever. That maybe because without the models his job is defunct.

(...)
Jan 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM Stephen Richards


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" Upton Sinclair

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:10 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The real question is who long can they keep this game going if the temperatures refuse to rise in the way they said they should ? As interest and so cash drains away even if their is another natural upturn will it be possible for them to get back to the 'good old days ' of climate doom or will it be a case of 'so what its just normal '

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

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