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« Costing the Earth resumes normal service | Main | New blogs on the block »
Wednesday
Oct022013

A report from the Royal

The Royal Society is holding a two-day meeting to discuss the Working Group I report of the IPCC. Reader Katabasis was there and send this report.

So the first day of the meeting at the Royal Society to discuss the IPCC AR5 report was quite an eye-opener.

The tone was set from the start with the first two speakers wringing their hands over the issue of "communicating the message", pointing out that sceptics were apparently "very good" at it.  According to Mark Walport, chief scientific adviser to the Government, we sceptics (sorry, those who "deny the science") are "single issue, great communicators." Thomas Stocker followed in the second talk emphasising the "Key 19 messages" in the SPM report.

Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute, in the audience, stood and made some handwaving point that included "knowing that there were sceptics here who managed to get a ticket". He cast his arm around to take in the whole audience as he said this and I wondered if he thought we were like hidden bodysnatchers amongst the innocent attendees that everyone needed to be wary of.

I made lots of notes during the day; however, in the interests of brevity I'll just mention a few highlights and then go into more detail regarding the final talk that really demonstrated the shocking discrepancy between the IPCC's actual position and the media's hysterical portrayal of it.

The day was, as expected, extremely model heavy. When actual observations were superimposed upon model projections they were often embarrassingly small relative to the "data" supposedly being presented. Model outputs were continually referred to as "data", including outputs that refer to something in the future.

Several speakers referred to claims that global warming has stopped. They said this claim was untrue and that in fact warming was continuing, it had just slowed down. This is despite the fact that in section B.1 of the SPM, it says: "the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade)"

There was a palpable air of many having been rattled by "the hiatus". Excuses ranged from aerosols to soot to natural variability. One of the latter invocations caused an intervention from the Met Office's Julia Slingo - she pointed out that the PDO could lead to no further warming for up to 30 years, "so we're not out of the woods yet". I thought that was a particularly curious turn of phrase given how so many dedicated alarmists tell me they would be overjoyed if no global warming came to pass.

Throughout the day though, having read through the SPM a third time, and taken in more layers of official IPCC positions I became increasingly conscious of the greatly diminshed role of feedbacks. I checked through the SPM one more time, looking at each reference to "feedback". No I wasn't imagining it, it is very muted. Suddenly the focus of almost every presentation on predictions for the year 2100 made more sense. We'd previously been promised fire and brimstone long before that. The IPCC it seems, was actually climbing down from this position, though I didn't quite grasp how profoundly until the final talk by Matt Collins on 'What is the chance of abrupt or irreversible changes?':

What "Abrupt" and "Irreversible" mean in IPCC speak

AR5 has apparently introduced very specific definitions for the above.

Inigo Montoya, in the film, 'The Princess Bride', says to one of the main antagonists, “You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”, after he says "Inconcievable!" for the nth time that his plans are foiled. 'Abrupt' and 'Irreversible' will obviously be reported by the media in quite lurid terms. They won't match the reality of what the IPCC means by them unless the journalist as done their homework. Both definitions can be found in the section 'TFE.5: Irreversibility and Abrupt Change' in the draft report and are worth repeating in full here:

"Abrupt climate change is defined in AR5 as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems."

Is that quite what you thought it would mean? No, me neither. Wait, there's more:

A change is said to be irreversible if the recovery timescale from this state due to natural processes is significantly longer than the time it takes for the system to reach this perturbed state.

Abrupt changes that aren't really abrupt and irreversible changes that aren't really - er - irreversible.

Catastrophe? Er - we don't know.

Matt Collins began his talk disarmingly by saying that it could well have been very short - he could have just got up on stage and said "we don't know". I'm glad he didn't because otherwise I would not have been made aware of Table 12.4 in the draft report. It lists all of the catastrophic scenarios that many of us have become used to hearing wailed over by the media and associated directly with the notion of "strong positive feedbacks". Collins showed us the table and went through the details of two of the entries as examples of just how uncertain this area was (click image for full size).

What? Yes that's right. The real story may not be in the IPCC rowback on temperature ranges, or its cack-handed "explanations" for the stalling temperatures. It may in fact all be in this table. Be sure to look for yourself. Every single catastrophic scenario bar one has a rating of "Very unlikely" or "Exceptionally unlikely" and/or has "low confidence". The only disaster scenario that the IPCC consider at all likely in the possible lifetimes of many of us alive now is "Disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice", which itself has a 'likely' rating and liable to occur by mid century with medium confidence. As the litany of climate disasters go, that's it.

This prompted me to put a question to him, which was the first I'd been able to raise via the chair all day (I'd tried in several talks). I said to Matt:

"What the IPCC says, and what the media says it says are poles apart. Your talk is a perfect example of this. Low liklihood and low confidence for almost every nightmare scenario. Yet this isn't reflected at all in the media. Many people here have expressed concern at the influence of climate sceptics. Wouldn't climate scientists' time be better spent reining in those in the media producing irresponsible, hysterical, screaming headlines?"

Tumbleweed followed for several seconds. Then Matt said:

"Not my responsibility".

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Reader Comments (128)

Met Office's Julia Slingo - she pointed out that the PDO could lead to no further warming for up to 30 years, "so we're not out of the woods yet".

In this expression, the woods represent danger hence not being in safety yet, or being lost in the woods: being in peril.

Unlike the generous interpretation of the previous poster, this cannot be a 'communication' task.

If the 'hiatus' lasts another 15 years the whole subject will be dead and buried by then. It will not be an on-going "communication" problem.

Like Schneider's "honest or effective" dilemma, which he also rapidly tried to qualify, once you slip on your freudian banana skin, there's no way back up.

This just reveals how perverse the thinking has become. It has to get worse so that they will be proven correct, then we will have to listen to them when they tell how to "save the planet".

The planet saving itself is NOT an option.

That is the woods they are in, and they see it getting darker. They are so damn sure that they are right that they refuse to turn around and walk towards the light.


Tip for Dr Slingo: if you're still stuck in woods by night time, trying crying "wolf !".

.

Oct 3, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Goodman

@Green Sand

"From what you say it does appear that Prof Slingo is of the opinion that a protracted hiatus of another 15 years or even 30 years is not out of the question."

That's not what I meant - sorry if I wasn't clear. My understanding is that she meant there could be up to a 15 year effect of the natural variability part of the hiatus. Not 30 years. And not a continued hiatus, because on top of the variability there is expected to be warming e.g. from increasing solar and greenhouse gas warming (partly offset by e.g. cooling aerosols from industry and volcanoes). In other words, we could see a longer period where the ocean is taking up more heat from the atmosphere, but that's not the same as saying we could see a long hiatus. That would depend on the balance of the warming and cooling forcings.

Oct 3, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

They make it up as they go along.

Oct 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Tamsin,

What if "climate change" appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? I think it is, but do you ever think about it.

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterEdim

Is any of their science refutable within a 30year timespan?
Or are all their "results" and "predictions" neatly (conveniently) laid out when they have long reached and cashed in their pension funds??

Just trying to compare the lot with -cough- , real people.

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

There is some real BS on the #RSclimate twitter tag at the moment.
This may be related to the fact that Peter Stott is speaking.

"What we're seeing is the signal of climate change becoming increasingly clear over the noise of natural variability"

"Australia's angry summer 2013 v likely at least 2.5 times more probable due to human influence"

"Anthro contribution best estimate slightly higher than total observed trend."

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Tamsin

Let me get this right, are you saying that the following statement is incorrect?

"One of the latter invocations caused an intervention from the Met Office's Julia Slingo - she pointed out that the PDO could lead to no further warming for up to 30 years."

i.e. are you saying Prof Slingo did not say "that the PDO could lead to no further warming for up to 30 years"?

In your first reply you mention "The implication I took from that was.... " now you say "My understanding is that she meant".

Hence my confusion, your interpretation and your understanding of what she meant does not answer the question.

I truly appreciate your involvement. But either she said it or she didn't, I wasn't there and it is a significant statement, hence asking for your help.

At present variability, increasing solar and greenhouse gas warming (partly offset by e.g. cooling aerosols from industry and volcanoes) are not part of the issue they are for later and the debates regarding them are by implication destined to last longer than any potential hiatus:-)

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Tamsin, I don't expect the models to match the timing of trends over a short period. I always think of the analogy of bouncing a tennis ball down a flight of stairs. You won't be able to predict which step the ball may bounce on after the first bounce, but you know where it will end up. I can't fault any model which can't predict so precisely. But if an entire ensemble of models doesn't match observations at all I don't want important things decided using their output. That's all. The current generation of models is only good for an iterative process of improvement which may one day lead to something that works. But even that is an impossible target if the physical principles are not properly described. Chuck out the bad, improve the not-so-bad, and fix whatever is the common wrong assumption which makes them all hot.

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Sea level rise always struck me as the only plausible disaster scenario the Chicken Littles ever squawked about, but it's not even listed in table 12.4. Presumably it's treated in a separate section, though I haven't read it yet. I don't read homeopathy papers either.

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Again, another rant, to state the obvious ...

I am familiar with turbulence modelling where, depending on the approach, some terms in the nominally exact governing equations will always remain impossible to compute without further manipulation. The unknown terms are typically modelled by arbitrarily setting them equal to combinations of quantities which can be computed. The precise combinations are fixed by making use of good quality wind tunnel experiments, for instance.

The modelled equations are therefore consciously and necessarily approximated and the models depend critically on a limited number of particular observations. The subsequent calculations must by definition reproduce the calibration flows which therefore do not test the modelling. The test is to compute the time-averaged turbulence, for example, in a different configuration, often for which no experiment may yet exist or would be impossible to carry out in a wind tunnel. Engineers have been doing this for a century and know how to make it work well enough for design purposes. It is now a well controlled process. It is sufficiently accurate but can never be exact of course. Model performance still has to be verified in every case.

Note that although the turbulence of interest to most practical applications never stops fluctuating, as long as the boundary conditions are constant, it does reach a state of dynamic stability whereby averages can be defined and do not change once they have been established, no matter how long the experiment is allowed to run.

This process cannot be applied to climatology. Instead of wind tunnel experiments we have history, but climatology is analogous to turning on the wind tunnel and measuring only for the first few instants, well before any reproducible averages have been collected. Leaving aside the nature of the complete governing equations (which may well preclude accurate prediction beyond a relatively short time), I do not believe we know how long we have to measure to construct reproducible averages and I do not think that the boundary conditions can ever remain constant even to permit the dynamically invariant averages to form.

This may be why calibrations from historical data must be continually adjusted to account for failure to predict the expected future outcomes.

Then there is the question of natural variability. If the equations are capable in principle of faithfully reproducing processes in the atmosphere and oceans the variability can only result from the variability of the boundary conditions, which in turn must faithfully reproduce in detail the boundary conditions which apply to the Earth, because small differences will be amplified.

If nominal numerical perturbations are introduced without reference to naturally occurring variability, it should not be expected to be able to compute observable natural variability. Another aspect of this question is the fact that the discrete equations that have to be used in the implementations have solutions which cannot be generated by the continuous equations and it is only the continuous equations which are believed to apply to the fluid dynamics of the Earth’s air and water systems.

Signed (and sighed),

A despondent sceptic

Oct 3, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

Tamsin - "we will be coming out of the solar minimum (i.e. more warming expected),"

I'm don't usually see the solar min/max cycle as a big driver in this, but would like to point out that we are currently likely at the solar max for the current cycle right now, so it's downhill for the next 5yrs anyway, and by the time of the next max in around 11 years we'll likely only be just back to where we are now, so I think invoking the solar effect as a warming influence to rescue the hiatus is a tad optimistic.

Oct 3, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Re: Oct 3, 2013 at 1:39 PM | rhoda

"...fix whatever is the common wrong assumption which makes them all hot"

- the obvious choice but unfortunatley precisely what they DON'T want to do as it would destroy their 'raison d'etre' !

Oct 3, 2013 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Tamsin Edwards wrote ...

... stuff about Slingo's PDO speculations ...

Is it not possible to say whether or not a PDO is occurring? I'm pretty sure I've seen a graph of the PDO cycle. Or is this yet another post hoc deduction based on a single variable? Are there no climatologers who specialise in this area? Perhaps their attention is focused elsewhere for some reason.

... we will be coming out of the solar minimum (i.e. more warming expected) ...

I don't recall solar cycles being touted as an important factor by mainstream climatologers before now. What I do recall is a screeching denial that solar cycles can play any role, because for a while it was being suggested as an alternative explanation for 80s warming by denialist reactionaries. Are solar cycles now factored into model hindcasts? Model projections? If not, how is it respectable to appeal to them now? Perhaps there should have been an announcement a few years ago to the effect that, "OK folks, the sun's gone a bit quiet of late, so we can expect warming to stall for a while. Phew that was hard work. 'Working from home' tomorrow methinks."

... and the relative balance of greenhouse gases and aerosols (rate of warming will depend on our emissions of both, and eruptions of volcanoes).

I gather that GHG concentrations are measured. What about aerosols? Why is it necessary to speculate about them? Is this yet another post hoc deduction based on a single variable? Are there no climatologers who specialise in this area? Perhaps their attention is focused elsewhere for some reason.

... if you look at the past 60 year trend, the models are pretty bang on.

Well, they are tuned and fiddled with until they are 'bang on' are they not? Any model that wasn't 'bang on' would not be published, right? This is evidence of what, exactly?

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

"In other words, we could see a longer period where the ocean is taking up more heat from the atmosphere, but that's not the same as saying we could see a long hiatus."

Tasmin,
Are you now saying the above statement is gospel, even though there is next to no supporting data or evidence to support it?

A

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM | Anthony
============================
Quite. If all this missing heat is in the deep oceans, then surely Argos would have noted warming then cooling in the upper regions of the oceans. This, I gather, has not happened. The idea is hugely useful of course - as it cannot be proved the heat is there. I thought science worked the other way, but, pace Tamsin and co.- post-normal science is the norm for climate science as aimed at the IPCC. Occam tells us the heat is not there. Propaganda with no proof of the hypothesis tells us it is.

Frankly, I'm sick to the back teeth of this. As one of the Climategate miscreants noted (Jones? Trenberth), words to this effect, "if it all turns out to have been down to natural variability, they'll kill us"

Damn right. And not only that, we'll want refund of all of our money you have pissed away on this nonsense. The IPCC could be something in Alice in Wonderland.

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

IF the heat's going into the ocean, WHY has it started to do that when it didn't before? Unless the team can put forth a logical answer to that, supported by data, it's just an off the cuff unsupported hypothesis as valid as any that a bloke down the pub can come up with.

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Oct 3, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Let us hope that it is a sign that some are beginning to envision life beyond the IPCC. Maybe some are growing eager to become "two handed" scientists again. (President LBJ complained publicly that he wanted "one handed" scientists who would never say "on the other hand.")

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Some good, fair questions - sorry for absence of response so far - been listening to talk(s) - will try to come back later.

T

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

Oct 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Tamsin Edwards
====================================
Appreciated!

Oct 3, 2013 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Sounds to me like the Scientists are gearing up for a climbdown and it's going to be the media that gets thrown under the bus.

Oct 3, 2013 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJace_F

Tamsin - I agree with with all of this this.

ref:
--------------------------------------
Tamsin

Let me get this right, are you saying that the following statement is incorrect?

"One of the latter invocations caused an intervention from the Met Office's Julia Slingo - she pointed out that the PDO could lead to no further warming for up to 30 years."

i.e. are you saying Prof Slingo did not say "that the PDO could lead to no further warming for up to 30 years"?

In your first reply you mention "The implication I took from that was.... " now you say "My understanding is that she meant".

Hence my confusion, your interpretation and your understanding of what she meant does not answer the question.

I truly appreciate your involvement. But either she said it or she didn't, I wasn't there and it is a significant statement, hence asking for your help.
-----------------------

please don't interpret her, that's not helpful

What did she say specfifically? word for word.. not interpreted. Slingo is a scientist, she knows how to be specific

personally if a decent rate of warming doesn't start soon in say the next 2-5 yrs.
At say over 0.15C per decade, but 0.2C or more needed to meet earlier projections

then it will be game over politically for climate science and climate policies, but I don't think the scientists understand that

Oct 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Tamsin Edwards writes:

"What about the fact that we don't expect individual simulations to predict the timing of different phases of natural variability (only their statistical properties)? Why is that not relevant to you? We didn't successfully predict something (i.e. relatively short-term trend) that we didn't try to predict...this is not evidence that the models are inadequate.... "

Your simulations do not handle (‘predict’ is the wrong word here) the timing of the different phases of natural phenomena such as the PDO yet you believe that they handle the phenomenon as a whole. Modelers believe such things because they have made the extremely top-down assumption that the cool and warm phases of the PDO must sum to near zero over the long run. This assumption comes from the very high level principle that phenomena such as the PDO cannot generate energy. However, in making the assumption, modelers rule out all empirical investigation of the phases of the PDO. This is a mistake for the simple reason that no one has a complete description of the PDO as a natural phenomenon. Empirical investigation most likely would reveal that it consists of many other natural regularities whose correct description would enable discovery of the actual timing of the various phases of the PDO. Until you have reasonably well confirmed empirical generalizations that describe the PDO’s behavior your models will remain toys.

I apologize to Dr. Edwards if my comment comes across as too much of a challenge. I have great respect for Dr. Edwards and I am always excited to see her posts.

Oct 3, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

As I mention from time to time, I am not a scientist. People like me are mainly limited to reviewing whose evidence and analysis "seems" most credible when we cannot truly assess all the details but need to judge who/what to accept provisionally as providing a basis for policy judgments.

One type of argument that has seemed quite plausible to me, until someone can point to an effective rebuttal, is that the ensemble approach of graphing many CMIP3 or CMIP5 model runs really has no physical or mathematical meaning. I.e., that every model needs to be assessed individually, not as a group, if I understand the point. I would like to know if Tamsin or Richard Betts or anyone can kindly explain what is wrong (if anything) with the arguments of physicist R.G. Brown of Duke Univ., as stated most recently at Climate Audit:

R.G. Brown at Climate Audit

P.s. I am well aware that I can't fully engage with the scientific and statistical arguments. This kind of comment is simply a friendly request, "can anyone provide or point to more onto, etc."

Oct 3, 2013 at 5:08 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

we know there is more heat in the oceans because we can compare measurements now, with measurements from 12 buoys , from er 20years ago, at er some undocumented depth er somewhere.

we know during 1850-1950 the ocean was not doing anything obtrusive with the heat because we er we "know" that, I er "believe".

lol

an undergraduate can puncture these "theories"

Such is the intellectual depth of the lightweights at the Royal Society, motto: "omnis in verbiage".
How much taxes do we pay for that club of privileged unaccountable tw-ts?
Does "sir" Nusse really needs to fly first class I wonder, or is it to make the contrast with his organisation's scientific performance maximal.

Oct 3, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Tamsin, thanks for popping in. It is interesting to see Julia recognising the role of the PDO, a number of us have been saying ocean cycles for many years now. Curious why she has cited the PDO but not the AMO which is also going negative and will be for another 20+ years?

But why can't Julia et al see that a small change in cloud cover and thus an increase in insolence could be the simple explanation for the rise in surface temperatures in the late 20th Century, and then the pause since 1998?

Compare these graphs: Global cloud anomaly (%), 1983-2012, from Palle & Laken, 2013) and Hadcrut4, 1982-2013. (invert the Hadcrut4 graph and resize it by a ratio of about 1.13 to get the scales to match if you have an image editor).

Is it just too obvious for IPPC / Met Office / Royal Society climate scientists that a decrease in global cloud cover will result in higher insolence and thereby warmer surface temperatures?

And btw I too am still waiting to see Slingo and Stott's 'evidence' that the heat has now decided to go into the deep ocean, and a credible explanation for why it is apparently doing this now but wasn't before 1998? What physical processes have changed to enable all the heat to disappear under the lobsters and dragons of the deep?

Where is the evidence that there is now a clear linear relationship between human CO2 emissions and global temperatures, as Peter Stott stated to the Stockholm delegates and to Matt McGrath on Friday? What happened to the Stefan-Boltzmann law? Are the magical properties of CO2 now so powerful that they can change the laws of physics?

And even in the unlikely event the heat is now hiding under the lobsters, the ocean's are such a vast heat sink, that 15 years of extra 'forcing' from CO2 will only result in an average increase in ocean temperatures of a tiny fraction of 1C, which can have no discernible effect on the global climate system. The only rational conclusion here is that the IPCC / Met Office / Hadley / Royal Society scientists have completely lost the plot now, and will say anything to buy them some time in the hope that some warming return so they can blame CO2 and justify their past alarmist groupthink bollocks.

Oct 3, 2013 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Sorry, the link for the Palle & Laken cloud cover graph is: Global cloud cover anomaly (%), 1983-2012, Palle & Laken 2013)

Oct 3, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Katabasis,

I cannot find the words to adequately praise your journalism. Will you submit your work to the MSM? Journalists could learn much from you.

Oct 3, 2013 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Theo Goodwin, agreed, and it doesn't hurt to highlight how Katabasis elegantly captured one of the most exasperating features of public discussions of climate science:


This prompted me to put a question to him, which was the first I'd been able to raise via the chair all day (I'd tried in several talks). I said to Matt:

"What the IPCC says, and what the media says it says are poles apart. Your talk is a perfect example of this. Low liklihood and low confidence for almost every nightmare scenario. Yet this isn't reflected at all in the media. Many people here have expressed concern at the influence of climate sceptics. Wouldn't climate scientists' time be better spent reining in those in the media producing irresponsible, hysterical, screaming headlines?"

Tumbleweed followed for several seconds. Then Matt said:

"Not my responsibility"

Oct 3, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Tamsin -

To address some of your points:

- I don't have a perfect record of what was said, I was scribbling furiously. I don't think I even got my exact turn of phrase right in the question I asked when I later came to write it down for this summary. In any case if the audio record is published as promised, that will settle it. Bob Ward may have said 'have registered' instead of 'got tickets'. His hostility to sceptics being there however was absolutely clear and as others have said before you should probably see how he communicates elsewhere. Perhaps you missed some of his other outbursts like when Piers Corbyn got up to speak and he shouted "This isn't Kareoke you know!" and "Give us a song!"

- Slingo was responding directly to proposed mechanisms that may "explain" the so called "hiatus". To clarify as far as I took her response she was pointing out that including the last 15 years, if the PDO was to blame then it could have a similarly noticable affect for up to 30 years including the 15 we have already experienced. I think your treatment of her "not out of the woods" comment is far too charitable - she's one of the public faces of alarmism and has an awful lot to lose if she is wrong.

- I didn't claim there was any active conspiracy to silence sceptics, yes Piers and Benny were able to get questions in. However, there was some passive effect at work - the majority of those who had the chance to speak were called by name by the chair. Also see the following rant:

I had high hopes after seeing the presentations and talking to a number of climate scientists over the two days who didn't speak that there was significant common ground to be explored between sceptics and the mainstream climate community. It seemed the media and green activist community were the primary forces polarising everything, but this seemed surmountable especially if the more responsible climate scientists began standing up to be counted and rein in their more irresponsible colleagues and in particular the irresponsible press reporting of imminent catastrophe and black and white "scientists" versus "deniers" narrative.

That hope was completely dashed today by the last talk by the utterly execrable John Ashton.

His presentation was every bit as bad as Geoff Chambers warned earlier. He painted a picture of this being about a "reality" community versus a "non-reality" community. Amongst his other humdingers were:

"its not rocket science to discuss what the best response to climate change is."
"Your" enemies are apparently "dark forces behind the scenes" (he never specifies who exactly).
"Four degrees of warming" is apparently the most likely scenario and
"There is a systematic attempt to manufacture disputes and uncertainty because then it isn't settled".

He *actually said* "the science isn't settled". NO ONE pulled him up on this.
In fact he didn't receive a single bit of criticism.

The chair was especially careful not to pick people who might be difficult questioners. All he got was pattycake points and questions (unlike Gavin Schmidt earlier....). I made eye contact with her numerous times whilst I had my hand up. She definitely purposefully passed over me.

Frankly if you folks tolerate this then you get everything you deserve. He did a disservice to every good scientist there. By using irresponsible slogans like "the science is settled" he intentionally polarises everyone and associates climate scientists with complete and utter buffoons like Al Gore.

Now, is that what you want?

Oct 3, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

Katabasis is indicative of the problem we face. He has some strange advantage that we in the reality camp cannot fathom despite running his output through our best models. What does he have that an entire army of mainstream corporate journalists don't ?

It's a real mystery.

Oct 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

lapogus:

"And btw I too am still waiting to see Slingo and Stott's 'evidence' that the heat has now decided to go into the deep ocean, and a credible explanation for why it is apparently doing this now but wasn't before 1998?"

- I asked Stott to explain what the precise physical mechanic behind anthropogenic forcing leading to detectable (anthropogenic) additional heat going into the oceans. All I got was handwaving.

Oct 3, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

There seem to some previously highly touted scare scenarios that are not on this list.
Is this only the potentially abrupt scenarios?

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Even the BBC had to admit super high powered Anglo American legal sent to prosecute President Milosevic hardly laid a finger on him despite him have no clerical support.

When faced with witnesses he simply called them liars and he was a thousand times too smart for any dodgy little lawyer.

If I was faced with the Royal Society's witnesses, I would call them liars because that is exactly what they are. No more needs to be said.

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Just a quick post to say thanks to Tamsin for popping in- I followed it all on Twitter via your messages there - and I HATE Twitter normally.

I don't imagine you could ever address all of the points raised here.

A forum where these kinds of things could be raised and answered by Climate Scientists would be good - kind of like a Real Climate but without the silly moderation. Maybe some of skeptics could turn into not, or indeed the other way round.

A fair debate is all we ask for.

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

PDO? Bob Tisdale's yer man.

http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/an-introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-1/

He always seems to be very amenable. A sceptic, so on the outside looking in.

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Ward is a zealot. What I call a "Climate Jihadi". Not a very well brought up man, he seems to think it appropriate to abuse those who disagree with him. Quite what such an approach is to do with science, I can't for the life of me fathom. It was, indeed, Monbiot's identical behaviour, (admittedly outside the camp) that led me initially to my current scepticism. Abusing those who disagree with you is nothing to do with science. It's to do with zealotry. And I can't stand zealots - they wish to impose their world view on you, and restrict what you may and may not do. That's the reality of the likes of Ward, the hysterical McKibbon, "noble cause" Gleick, and the "40 years and never once been right" twins, Hansen and Ehrlich. Who on EARTH do they think they are that they behave in such a way?

/rant

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Ward is paid for what he does.

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

May I add my thanks to Katabasis for his excellent reporting and also to Skiphil for his reference to the comment by Robert Brown and to lapogus for pointing out the cloud issue. As Tamsin is regrettably the only representative of the establishment view here, it would be extremely helpful for those of us that seek enlightenment if she could find the time to comment on both issues - to paraphrase: RGB says the notion of an ensemble of single models runs having any scientific merit is a sin; and lapogus produces evidence that cloud cover can go a long way to explain surface temperatures.

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Bobby Ward falls into the category of girls who will do anything for money. His sugar daddy is $ 100 billion hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Grantham


Grantham's 2Q 2010 letter


Global warming will be the most important investment issue for the foreseeable future.

http://www.gmo.com/websitecontent/JGLetter_SummerEssays_2Q10.pdf

Grantham has given another of his little playmates her very own shop


Stern launches carbon credit ratings agency

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the UK’s Stern report on climate change, will launch a new carbon credit ratings agency on Wednesday, the first to score carbon credits on a similar basis to that used to rate debt.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/897fc1b4-4219-11dd-a5e8-0000779fd2ac.html

Oct 3, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Many thanks Katabasis for your report from the Royal it provides an insight that would be otherwise unavailable. It is greatly appreciated.

I am also grateful for your further clarification of the Prof Slingo comments regarding the PDO and its potential ongoing effects. Amazing how many well known and proven natural variations hand waved away as irrelevant a decade ago are now being invoked as saviours of the cause.

Flip flop science, which with its present guardians, is destined never to settle.

Oct 3, 2013 at 9:31 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Great post by Katabasis, and good to meet you too!

I echo your comments, especially about John Ashton. It felt like he was the closing rally crier, there to pep up the faithful and send them out to evangelise the world.

As you say he suggested that climate scientists were the true realists when, for two days, they had been documenting how much they didn't know, and that what they did was uncertain, the data was poor, the models were a bit duff, and could they do some more research, please. Maybe he attended a different event. He was instant-sceptic maker material.

But most of the two days were fascinating, some up to date science from expert scientists. I loved it. (And cartoon notes update as soon as I can scan them in).

One of the fun 'moments' today happened when Peter Stott was asked how, in AR5, they could be more confident, i.e. the infamous 95%. He replied that they calibrated their confidence from the answers they gave before. So no science required then. Baffling.

Oct 3, 2013 at 11:34 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

The latest Metoffice blog is titled 'Should climate models have predicted the pause?'. It is so banal that it defies belief. The appended comments are not only unanimous in their contempt- they are a symphony of justifiably exquisite excoriation...

http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/ipcc-5th-assessment-report-in-the-news/#comments

Oct 3, 2013 at 11:42 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Oct 3, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

Why the scientists permit their fields to be turned into mental mush is one of the great mysteries of this time. My only speculation is that most of them see their graduate departments closing if an avalanche of funding of the sort that CAGW propaganda provides is not secured soon.

Katabasis' writing reminds me of the wit and intelligence of 18th century English journalists. Like them, he/she has a gift for simplicity in description. The wit and intelligence rests on simplicity.

Oct 4, 2013 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

"PDO? Bob Tisdale's yer man.

http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/an-introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-1/

He always seems to be very amenable. A sceptic, so on the outside looking in.

Oct 3, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton"

Tisdale prides himself on writing entirely at the level of the facts. He is the world's expert on the facts that make up ENSO and he knows a great deal about similar phenomena such as the PDO. But no one has done the empirical research to create well confirmed general statements which describe the several natural regularities that make up even ENSO. We refer to these phenomena as cyclical but a quick look at historical data shows clearly that none are. They should be understood as "tip of the iceberg" phenomena and empirical work on finding the regularities underlying the "somewhat cyclical" phenomena should be pursued vigorously. The true cycles lie underneath.

When modelers treat them as a kind of "internal variability," they are referring to their models and not to the real world. Modeler-speak "internal variability" is not "natural variability" which exists in the real world. Modelers constrain their own representations of such phenomena with the assumption that their cool and warm phases must sum to zero over the long run. The real world recognizes no such constraint. When Slingo says that the cool phase of the PDO might last another 15 years (check Edwards above) she is referring to her models and not the world.

Oct 4, 2013 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

I just discovered that Tisdale agrees with my position:

"One wonders how climate models can have any value at all if they are “not expected to reproduce the timing of internal variability”—especially when one considers that internal variability was a strong contributor to the warming that occurred from the mid-1970s to the turn of the century…and has now stopped that warming."

Tisdale has an excellent post at Jo Nova's:
http://joannenova.com.au/2013/10/bob-tisdale-six-questions-the-media-should-be-asking-the-ipcc/#more-31039

Oct 4, 2013 at 2:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

"so we're not out of the woods yet"

Note the use of the royal plural.

Oct 4, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Heyworth

Before I start it's probably worth linking to the IPCC report (all chapters, including Technical Summary):

http://www.climatechange2013.org/report/review-drafts


On the sun
========

My mistake, sorry, I wasn't thinking straight on the the "emerging from solar minimum". I stated the opposite of the "hiatus" forcings without thinking it through. Indeed, we are now in a solar maximum.

As I understand it, we do think the 11 year solar cycle has an effect - it has always been included in historical simulations - but it's the weakness of the minimum a few years ago that contributed to the hiatus.

I looked up the bit about effects of the sun on the "near-term" predictions for 2016-2035 (Chapter 11). Note this is talking about long term trends in the sun's output, not the 11 year cycle itself:

"Possible future changes in solar irradiance could influence the rate at which global mean surface air temperature increases, but there is high confidence that this influence will be small in comparison to the influence of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere" (p11-3, 11-51)

Multi-decadal variability
==================

@Edim "What if "climate change" appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? I think it is, but do you ever think about it."

Yes, absolutely we do think about it. For example, I recently came across several papers from the late 1980s and early 1990s considering whether the observed changes could be natural variability alone. We continue to do so.

Model success
===========

@rhoda
"I don't expect the models to match the timing of trends over a short period…."if an entire ensemble of models doesn't match observations at all"

OK - what criteria do you mean by "an entire ensemble of models doesn't match observations at all", if we're not talking over a short period?

Julia and the PDO
==============

I didn't write down what she said - how about we wait for the recording? It will be online in a few weeks (and will include the discussion sessions).


Sorry not to reply to all questions... got some work I need to get done today...

Oct 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

@Theo - thanks for the comment and your qualifier at the end.

To clarify - by "This assumption comes from the very high level principle that phenomena such as the PDO cannot generate energy" - are you saying you wouldn't class the PDO as a mode of internal variability, or that modes of internal variability can generate energy?

and why do you say: "However, in making the assumption, modelers rule out all empirical investigation of the phases of the PDO"?

I don't think we rule out empirical investigation of anything...? People are very interested in measuring and understanding the PDO.

Tamsin

Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

Thanks Tamsin

"-how about we wait for the recording?"

No problem, a recording would be ideal! I wasn't aware there was going to be one. It would be a major step forward if the norm for such meetings was to publish unedited videos of the proceedings, or at least a similar audio. A far better nuanced understanding can be gained listening in real time than can ever be gleaned reading reports or even a full transcript.

Looking forward to it

Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Thanks for coming back on those points Tamsin. I'd have to pull you up on the solar thing though:

"but it's the weakness of the minimum a few years ago that contributed to the hiatus."

I'm not a solar specialist, but all the data on the standard solar cycle I've seen shows the various values more or less coming down to a common baseline at minimum, then rising to a higher value at max (though some parameters are the inverse, but the same baseline applies). To speak of a weak minimum really doesn't cut the mustard since the baselines seem common, and consistent. If you'd said that the current very weak solar Maximum was a contributory factor to the pause, then that would make more sense, but to claim a weak minimum is rather pushing it.

Your further statement from the report that the long term solar effect is small in comparison to CO2 effects rather suggests having cake and eating it. Is it thought that the solar effect is measurable, and contributes to short term variability, or is it not? Is it part of the excuse for hiatus or not? If the current weak cycles are having a measurable effect, then it seems disingenuous to claim that solar effects in the long term are not significant.

It does all rather seem to be a bit arm-wavey.

Speaking of waves, I think when you get a moment that a lot of us would still like to hear your explanation of the decision of the heat to head for the water.

Oct 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

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