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Science or public relations?

I was amused by this new paper out of the Met Office which describes a computer model study of the likelihood of future heatwaves. The title reads like something out of the Daily Mirror rather than a learned scientific paper:

Dramatically increasing chance of extremely hot summers since the 2003 European heatwave

The abstract that follows is equally odd. Take the first sentence:

Socio-economic stress from the unequivocal warming of the global climate system could be mostly felt by societies through weather and climate extremes.

Isn't that a bizarre sentence? The abstract goes on to talk about "ominous" predictions of further heatwaves further suggesting an "I want headlines" approach to the writing of the paper rather than anything particularly scientific. Let us hope the same sentiment doesn't apply to the study itself.

The lead author appears to be Greek, so we might charitably wonder if we have a language problem. However, you would have thought that the two British co-authors would have been able to help, and that a journal like Nature could afford to pay someone to resolve such problems.

The guts of the abstract it is as follows:

Here we investigate how the likelihood of having another extremely hot summer in one of the worst affected parts of Europe has changed ten years after the original study was published, given an observed summer temperature increase of 0.81 K since then. Our analysis benefits from the availability of new observations and data from several new models. Using a previously employed temperature threshold to define extremely hot summers, we find that events that would occur twice a century in the early 2000s are now expected to occur twice a decade. For the more extreme threshold observed in 2003, the return time reduces from thousands of years in the late twentieth century to about a hundred years in little over a decade.

So, if you believe a set of models that can't reproduce surface temperatures, can't do tropospheric temperatures, struggle with clouds, are useless with rainfall, can't do convection and are devoid of skill at subglobal scales, you might be convinced that heatwaves are about to get worse.

Less credulous people will not be holding their breath.

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Reader Comments (30)

"...Our analysis benefits from the availability of new observations and data from several new models..."

How Nature can continue to publish anything that suggests models produce data or observations is beyond me.

They could have easily, and more honestly written "...Our future funding prospects benefit from the pre-ordained output of several new models..."

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

And to deduce this phantom future they increase energy input in the models by 40% more than reality, then do a trick in hind-casting to give higher evaporation from oceans whilst purporting no average temperature increase. But these poor modellers have been taught this fake science for all their lives, so imagine it to be true.

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

According to my model of half-life natural decay of climate change papers, this will go down in flames before the end of the week (97% certainty).

It has all the marks of the deluded paper, including the recycling of Stott's 10-year-old attribution technique that was either Nobel prize material or bunk. A decade later and with attribution very much a wide open question, it's easier to tell.

The paper also relies on changes observed over a single decade, and of course we all know that regional climate models have no known skill, so any study about Europe might as well have used the RAND() function in MS Excel. This truism is not acknowledged at the Met Office, where I understand more than one career is based on ignoring basic truths hoping they'll go away.

There are more details on the paper at

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Perhaps an even more honest admission regarding the above would be that, all the data has been amassed by clairvoyants reading the tea leaves for the last 10 years.

As it strikes me that this is about the level of current computer modeling of climate change.

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterStu

Bunch of charlatans spouting their nonsense at taxpayers' expense.

The green-government-academic complex will take some dislodging.

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

There is an article in the Express with a comment by Benny Peiser. The first comment seem to be spot on as for the other two usual rubbish.

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

The Met Office are a laughing stock: "unequivocal warming"

And out of all their yearly forecasts for climate when I last checked 8 out of 9 were so high that the chances of them being so high was something like 30,000 to 1 based on the Met Office own statistics.

Then there 14 year forecast was just appallingly bad.

So, this is an organisation with a proven fraudulent record of predicting climate who continues to claim "unequivocal warming" when all their forecasts based on "unequivocal warming" turn out not to have "unequivocal warming", indeed they turn out to have no warming at all in most cases.

I doubt everyone at the Met Office are these greenblobbiests, but they are certainly tarnishing the whole reputation of everyone at that organisation and those who do not speak out against the greenblobbiests in their midst should be ashamed.

... so in short - why on earth are we paying for this greenblobbiest organisation any longer when there are commercial organisations who will no doubt do a better job for a lower price.

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

The news is worse than we thought. The following note appeared in my word-processor this morning, and I am led to believe it is an abstract of the real study for which the paper reported on above is merely a blatant attempt at a cover-up:

Socio-economic stress from the unequivocal hotheadedness of global climate activism could be mostly felt by societies through extremes of climate-related legislation. The vulnerability of European citizens was made evident during the Copenhagen Summit of December 2009 when the hothead-related hit-count ran into thousands. Human influence at least doubled the chances of such an event according to the first formal event attribution study, which also made the ominous forecast that severe waves of hotheadness could become commonplace by the 2040s. Here we investigate how the likelihood of passing something like the Climate Change Act in one of the worst affected parts of Europe (the UK) has changed six years after the original Act was passed, given an observed HotHead-Index increase of 0.81 Twats since then. Our analysis benefits from the availability of new observations and data from several new models. Using a previously employed insanity threshold to define extremely silly laws, we find that parliamentary events that would occur twice a century in the early 2000s are now expected to occur twice a decade. For the more extreme threshold observed in 2008, the return time reduces from thousands of years in the late twentieth century to about a hundred years in little over a decade.

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

"The abstract that follows is equally odd"

The only thing odd out of the Met Office these days would be real science!

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

The Met Office .Privatize it.
Who needs Micheal Fish when you got the internet.
He too failed to predict an oncoming great storm.
Clinging onto the Climate Change liferaft .

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

The vulnerability of European citizens was made evident during the summer heatwave of 2003 (refs 3, 4) when the heat-related death toll ran into tens of thousands

They love that heat wave. It gave them a death toll they could point a finger at.

Meanwhile, here in the UK winter cold deaths have dropped from 50k at the start of "global warming" to 18k last year.
That is 32000 less excess winter deaths in the UK alone.

Oddly enough, the BBC news story I got this information from is about warmer than average temperatures and death due to weather yet they never mention climate change. I wonder why?

Dec 9, 2014 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

"The lead author appears to be Greek, so we might charitably wonder if we have a language problem."

Certainly not. He's a polyglot fluent in double-dutch.

Dec 9, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I was amused by their claim that heatwaves such as the one in 2003 would now happen twice per decade.

Oh dear.

Dec 9, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

jamspid: "Who needs Micheal Fish when you got the internet."

It's more complicated than that. You might recall a lady named Thatcher who wanted to privatise everything. Well some of that was good, but unfortunately not in the case of the Met Office. Because at a time when the traditional "weather forecasters" were being downgraded by computer modelling nerds, in came a bunch of accountants and marketeers who started looking for ways for the Met Office to make money.

And didn't the global warming scare provide such a great get-rich scam for their new computer models!

So, out went the skills of people like Michael Fish and in came the accountants, computer modellers and dishonest marketeers.

And they were all so enthusiastic for science that we all lived happily ever after with perfect weather forecasts and ... sorry wrong fairy tale ... the ugly witch took over the castle, Michael Fish and his ilk were locked up in a tower and we've all been living under the influence of the evil witch ever since.

Dec 9, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

I was beginning to think it was not so much a case of 'harry-read-me' as 'harry-(loads of money)-enfield-read-me'. But then I realised it was Harry Enfield's Greek mate: 'stavros-read-me'

Dec 9, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

They recently had 97 million new reasons to carry on has before , so why would they change when such BS turns out to be so beneficial?

Dec 9, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

"temperature increase of 0.81 K" in 10 years?

Anyone know where they got this?

I thought we were on "pause" - but I saw Dame Julia claiming the other week that if you used some European figures, it was hardly pausey at all.

Dec 9, 2014 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergareth

gareth: 0.81K?? ... no idea, it looks like the figure is either made up or is a typo.

Dec 9, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

I have still never seen an answer to my simple question:

'When was the climate perfect..?'

Dec 9, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Yea! More barbecue summers! I want my Mediterranean climate. Of course we were promised this before, and are still waiting.

Still at least we'll recognise a heatwave because the weather will be hot. Thanks for that useful piece of advice, Met Office. That is quite a model.

Dec 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

they are continually moving the posts , in order to remain "right".

Warming becomes Weirding
The atmosphere warming becomes the overall system (including the galaxy I guess) is warming.

As long as they remain in charge and they and their buddies remain the parasites picking tax money.

Dec 9, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Where's that Met Office chap who always pops up to explain this sort of thing? No doubt this is NOT intended to be the crudest kind of propaganda but a serious defensible piece of science. Oh, and what's the tongue-in-cheek emoticon?

Dec 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

The GCMs can't do regional projections either....

Someone is telling porkies.

Dec 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"Dramatically increasing chance of extremely hot summers since the 2003 European heatwave"

See the map fopr 2003 set out in the Daily Mail

It is clear from this map that there was no European wide heatwave. I was at Spain over that summer and it was a disappointing summer, and the map shows that it wes colder than average in Spain, Scandinavia, Russia, Italy, former Yugoslavia and Greece. The only significantly warmer place was sothern/mid France.

Fior most of Europe (outside Russia), it was a good year but nothing exceptional, and if anything cooler than the 30 year average.

Dec 9, 2014 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Don - not as individuals perhaps, but once they are deployed as part of a single model family then who could fail to be impressed by their "seamless prediction" capabilities?!?

Wondrous to behold!

Dec 9, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Ross Lea (10:27 AM): what you forget is that the FOE, WWtF, GP, etc. are actually enemies of humans. They do NOT want people to live longer, healthier, happier lives; they want us ALL (with exceptions – i.e. them) to die young, after suffering miserable lives. That is their ultimate dream, this is the very reason why they will shout down the likes of Dr Peiser, as they give hope to humanity; this is why they do not like the idea of a warmer world.

Dec 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadclia Rodent


Do take your point about taking Climate prediction out of the hands of Meteorologists and handing it over to Computer programmers .

Wishful thinking maybe why doesn't the Skeptic Movement get some proper money and buy some Super Computing time and run our own Climate Models.See how they match up with the official Met Office predictions and see whats actually occurring.Or even run their computer models.

Dec 9, 2014 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

When Germany's Die Welt regurgitated this alarmism it got a swift boot up the commentary from its readers. From the current 20 comments at the newspaper's web site, not one is positive.

On Facebook, there are at present over 130 comments from (what looks like) more than 50 commenters. Not even 10 comments are remotely in line with the catastrophism.

The common theme is that they're calling it "Quatsch".

Has the Energiewunde converted Germans into sceptics?

Dec 10, 2014 at 1:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

gareth: 0.81 K?

They've lost a zero after the decimal point - innumerate as ever ...

Dec 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered Commenteranng

I could do with some socio-economic stress if the climate became a bit more like the south of France. What piffle they generate!

Dec 10, 2014 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

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