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« Royal Met Soc on AR5 | Main | 95% Certain? Yes, we are! - Josh 256 »

What Julia told Dave

In the wake of the publication of the Fifth Assessment Report, the Met Office issued various briefings for the political classes. These have just been released to me under FOI and the results can be seen here.

Many of the papers are extraordinarily short, and to tell the truth the only one of any major interest is a collection of powerpoint slides from which it seems that Met Office staff can draw to illustrate oral briefings. As the nearest thing to a comprehensive official view of AR5 this is fascinating. Suffice it to say that it's not what you'd call a balanced view. There remains a real possibility - a probability even - that the climate models are badly wrong and greatly overstate future warming - see for example the issues with the energy budget vs GCM estimates of climate sensitivity and the observational/GCM estimates of aerosol forcing, or the implications of the new claims that the missing heat is in the deep oceans, which presumably implies that such deep-ocean heat transport is an important climatic process that is not incorporated in the models.

See if you can find any hint of such concerns in the briefing. In fact see if you can find any caveats or examples of evidence running against the "we're all going to fry" narrative. I noticed just one. See if you can see it too.

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Reader Comments (39)

A good conversational gambit when confronted by the "it's gone into the oceans and will come out later" is to make the point that if the ocean can store heat and release it later, then couldn't the 1990s warming have been from a previous hot-ocean event from hundreds or even thousands of years ago?

As soon as they invoke a high-latency heat storage mechanism to explain the 'pause' they basically unexplain the 90s warming as anything to do with atmospheric CO2. it's an analog of the aerosol argument - as soon as they invoke one end, the corollary becomes true too.

Feb 7, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterTBYJ

Slide 6 "Extremely likely (95-100%) that most of observed increase in global surface temperature since 1951 caused by human influence."

Over every continental region, except Antarctica, human influence has made substantial contribution to surface temperature increases.

Indeed, it's called UHI.

Feb 7, 2014 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

That's some exercise in data torture and molestation by Slingo. Surely it's long past time this woman should have been removed from her post. Despite several requests for Peter Stott to produce data to support his many claims of "increased weather extremes" and their "link to AGW" he continues to duck the issue and hide away. His performance in front of the select committee last week was likewise weak and unconvincing.

Feb 7, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

The opening statement is fine:

Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise. The debate is about how much warming, where it will warm fastest and what the implications are for us.

After that it wanders off a bit.

Feb 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Slide 4 is a doozy.

Surprised there isn't a bullet point about the Tooth Fairy on that one.

Feb 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Is it too simplistic to question their leading item,
"1. Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse
gasses in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise. The debate is about how
much warming, where it will warm fastest and what the implications are for us."

Simply, they are concentrating on the energy path up to the stage of heating of GHG. They seem not to be concerned that though the physics indicates GHG heat, this heat is not in equilibrium and will disperse.
The rate of dispersal and the final path(to space?) are both major factors in determining if there is overall warming - or have I simplified too much?

Are they simplifying too much by stressing (more or less) the old line that Arrhenius, Tyndall etc showed GHG heat? That's not in dispute. The subsequent events, especially rapid ones, seem under described in my reading, which is fairly extensive.

Please disabuse me of any wrong simplistic notions I have acquired.

Feb 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Well done Bish for getting this stuff.


Martin's translation: The Earth had been warming rapidly but that has pretty well stopped.

Although Yeo was convinced it meant that the world was still warming rapidly.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I've never understood the 'deep ocean heat store' concept. I'm an engineer, and I deal in heat transfer, and one of our guiding principles is that heat will only travel DOWN a temperature gradient.
Now, if all this excess heat energy goes into the deep ocean and heats it up from (say)(because I don't jknow the real value, and can't be arsed to look it up) 10 degrees to 10.001 degrees. Who gives a damn? It can't flow back against the temperature gradient, so what's there to worry about?

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonJ

I've never understood the 'deep ocean heat store' concept. SimonJ

Simply the key word is 'deep' as in no data , very hard measure 'deep' so much can be claimed to be hiding in it with little chance of people truing around and saying 'no its not we looked'

In reality its a claim only needed because of the failure of the models in the first place, they said it will warm it has not , therefore its 'hiding ' somewhere.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

The worst bit I've noticed is page 14,
"slowing for a decade or so has been seen in the past in observations and is simulated in climate models"

What they don't say of course, following the Easterling and Wehner trick, is that the slowdown periods around 1982 and 1991 were due to major volcanic eruptions, while there's no such eruption in the last decade.

Even more economical with truth is "is simulated in climate models" - in fact AR5 chapter 9 says that 111 out of 114 model runs exceed the Hadcrut4 trend.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Simon J - Yes, I have wondered how "the missing heat", having fallen into a thermodynamic black hole in the cold deep ocean, is supposed to be able to leap back out and warm up the atmosphere. (I suppose a cold night at the North Pole is colder than the deep ocean, so it's only totally implausible, not totally physically impossible.)

Don't forget that 'the missing heat' is not derived from physical measurements - satellite measurements of the difference between incoming and outgoing are too great to be plausible. The 'missing heat' comes from computer models involving 'radiative forcing' and inherently incapable of validation.

The output of a computer model is, as someone pointed out, an illustration of a hypothesis, it is not an observation of reality.

My calculation needs checking but... I worked out that the total energy from the Sun, intercepted by the Earth in one year, if totally used for doing nothing but warming the oceans (none reflected back to space, none warming the atmosphere, none used for evaporation, none re-radiated as LWIR to space, etc etc) would result in the oceans warming by about 1°C. If my calculation is correct, it means that the thermal capacity of the oceans is quite big.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Well, if you can weave your way between the lies----

The IPCC is a scientific organization. NO it is not it does no science it reads a few papers all pall reviewed.

CO2 levels are their highest for 800,000 years. NO levels were measured in the 1800's and found to be higher than today, at near 500ppmv, using the same methods as we use. This data was ignored by the IPCC. We do not know what the levels were before the 1800's but I would bet that in the past 800,000 years there would be times when they were higher than today. Ice bubble data has a very poor resolution and should be discounted. Lake sediment data would be more accurate though not definitive. Other methods are available.

I could go on but I expect you want to retain your readers.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

I'm puzzled by the bottom slide on Page 11, where it says:

Long-term warming is approximately linearly related to total emissions of CO2."

I thought that the relationship was logarithmic?

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheSkyIsFalling

Missing heat?

If any of you have flown in the tropics then examples of the power of heat can be seen daily. Massive Cb clouds towering above the tropopause can show the heat loss from the surface and this heat radiates to space.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

I am just not getting this energy budget thing. Slingo says;

Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise.

Well established S-B Law requires if energy out reduces, that temperature reduces to satisfy that law where;
Energy out = ε σ T1^4 A

Climate science requires that as energy out reduces (the touted energy imbalance), temperature increases where;
Energy out ≠ ε σ T1^4 A

So which well established physics is Slingo using?

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise."

Well, no. That is to be proven. I would accept:

".. if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then energy flows will change".

The effects of those flow changes have to be determined. One of the possibilities is their scenario, and showing whether that is the real effect or some other is something that should be shown by observations. It seems to me that the timescale over which the excess energy escapes may be far smaller than claimed. One of the problems I've always had with AGW is the logical leap from Arrhenius to heat disaster via models. We should not accept the energy balance hypothesis without question. Or carry on the debate over the value of CS, which implies acceptance of the hypothesis and only contests the magnitude.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

While its still (just) the pantomime season..

'The missing heat's in the deep ocean..'

'Oh, no it isn't..'

'Oh, yes it is..'

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

How sad to see a national institution contorting itself to maintain a lie. People like Slingo are indeed shameless.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

"Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise."

Should that not read ...

"Repeated laboratory experiments tell us that certain gases present in the atmosphere could prevent the dissipation of heat and thereby increase air temperature, although the effects of other phenomena - such as clouds - could mitigate or nullify such an increase."

Or have I misunderstood the basic uncertainty surrounding claims that CO2 causes global warming ?

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterCassio

BH - well done for getting this via FOI.

theskyisfalling - well spotted. This new linear relationship was first mentioned by Stott in his post SPM5 interview in Stockholm with Matt McGrath, on BBC Radio 5 in September -

I get the impression (like most of us did back in September) that rather than fess up and admit the models are far from perfect, Slingo Stott et al are just digging themselves deeper into a hole. Big mistake in the longer term.

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:18 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Heat disappears into the briny and then, as if by magic it reappears?

Pull the other one.

Page 3.

From Palaeoclimate records, in the NH, last 30 years likely (60-100%) the warmest period of the last 1400 years.

Hmm, but what about this?

It's total BS, clutching at straws bonkers projection: Page 9.

"Warming will not be the same everywhere."

There is high confidence that long-term warming will be larger over the land than over the ocean and that the Arctic region will warm most rapidly.
Ocean warming will continue for centuries even if green house gas emissions are decreased.

How did they arrive at any of those blethering predictions? This is divination, not science.

Aerosols have offset a substantial proportion of warming from GHGs, though the exact amount remains uncertain.

All of it is most uncertain, actually it is all hot air.

Page 19.

Only a collapse of marine based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet, if initiated could cause global mean sea level rise substantially above the likely range during the C21th.

"Marine based", [give me strength] ice floats and displaces sea water volume, when it melts [on the twelfth of never - maybe] the overall sea levels remains the same - um.......................... not according to Julia.

Page 20.

Sea level rise is unusually high over the last 2000 years

Next, to a graphic showing exaggerated sea level rise in the last 114 years - leading the audience to conclude something which isn't the whole truth and that is blatant propaganda with guileful dissimulation - par for the course - of course.

Conclusion? - 0/22 - fail.

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Slingo says "The sign of the net radiative feedback due to all cloud types is likely (66-100%) positive" which shows that they have almost no understanding of how big the feedback is.

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndyL

For the sake of my blood pressure, I had to stop reading the Powerpoint crap, it's just so appallingly bad.

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

The Bank of England publishes the minutes of meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee, and, I believe, may be called on by Parliament to give explanations.

If (if) this subject was so important, perhaps the government ought to be equally open about what is said by whom at such meetings.

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

"Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise."

Close but no banana.

Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, then global near-surface temperatures will rise. That will be due to the re-distributive effect on energy received with less going into the surface, more going into the atmosphere and being entirely explained by lapse rate.

Correct but no alarm.

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

I still like the comment made by someone somewhere which started: "Here come de big warmy!"

Feb 7, 2014 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

AR5 introduced a new "high impact" graph which is shown in the last Julia Slingo slide before Q&A entitled "Total CO2 emissions are strongly linked to total warming". The slide contains a statement which I believe to be unfounded and totally misleading. "Long term warming is approximately linearly related to total emissions of CO2. For a given warming target, higher emissions now imply lower emissions later". There is no observational evidence for this statement.

Radiative forcing is well known to have a logarithmic dependency on CO2 concentrations. This can be derived from radiative transfer calculations- see for example here. The accepted formula for radiative forcing is DS = 5.3 ln(C/C0) watts/m2. If CO2 concentrations double then the predicted planck response (3.5 watts/m2) gives a temperature rise of ~ 1C. ECS values higher than 1C are based on positive feedbacks mainly in the water cycle.

Fig 10 in AR5 SPM appears to have been pulled out of a hat to now propose a LINEAR increase in RF with CO2 emissions. This is possible only if the natural carbon sinks are somehow saturating and that a higher fraction of the human emissions of CO2 are mysteriously being retained by the atmosphere. However there is no evidence for this whatsoever in the Keeling CO2 data and the retained fraction is constant. This graph can only be based on models which ASSUME that saturation will happen. Nature is acting differently!

A version of the same graph based on H4 data with constant fraction is shown here as the blue curve

Feb 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

Are the slides accompanied by quacking sounds ?
.. If you overstretch & assert things beyond validated science are certainty then that is quackery
(Have I said that before recently ?)

BTW if The MetO make predictions that then don't come true some people would call them "dangerous misleaders who need to be banned from the BBC", wouldn't they ATTP ?

Feb 7, 2014 at 2:21 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

A acid test is:-

"By how much, have government Energy Buyers reduced their contractual future nominated-consumption in anticipation of projected Global Warming?"

My guess is - zilch.

Feb 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

"This is possible only if the natural carbon sinks are somehow saturating and that a higher fraction of the human emissions of CO2 are mysteriously being retained by the atmosphere. However there is no evidence for this whatsoever in the Keeling CO2 data and the retained fraction is constant. This graph can only be based on models which ASSUME that saturation will happen. Nature is acting differently!"

Clive, I would also add that the WMO publishes graphs showing that carbon sinks are not saturating, but are still increasing in size.

Not only that, but the airborne fraction of fossil fuel emissions is also claimed to be decreasing, not increasing. What 'denier' would make such a claim? Errrm, James Hansen. No fossil-fuel shill, he:

"Remarkably, and we will argue importantly, the airborne fraction has declined
since 2000 (figure 3) during a period without any large volcanic eruptions.-James Hansen"

(Members of Parliament way wish to note that this might possibly be one reason why Dr Richard Lindzen choked with laughter when he appeared before them and somebody mentioned volcanoes)

Nature has indeed, clearly not got the memo about what the models claim will happen.

Feb 7, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

" Ministerial Briefing 20130924.pdf

To: Michael Fallon and David Willets
From: Met Office


Para 5
..........The Met Office was a major contributor to the report, with many authors coming from the Met Office and its observational and model results both being featured prominently."

How can our politicians claim to have carried out their responsibilities regarding due diligence?

They get a briefing document on the validity of a report from the people who authored the report? What a wonderful pass the parcel merry-go-round!

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand


So we agree then that this graph is crap. Yet Myles Allen appeared on the BBC with 10 lumps of coal on a table to explain how we had already burned 5 of them leaving just 5 left to burn to avoid a catastrophe.

A very powerful message to Jo Public.

Unfortunately it just isn't true!

Feb 7, 2014 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

Clive, we shouldn't be so hard on Myles. It is not as if he has said something totally ridiculous, for example that the planet was going to cook around us, is it?

Screen saver weather trial predicts 10°C rise in British temperatures

Feb 7, 2014 at 7:31 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

TBYJ makes a great point.
The AGW hypesters are tossing together a post hoc excuse for their failures.
Asking them when the heat skipping/storing mechanism started kicking in is a good line of questioning.
Asking them when else they can show this heat hiding mechanism in operation would be another good line of exploration.
The climatocarts are making this stuff up as they go.

Feb 7, 2014 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"high-latency heat storage mechanism"

Good point TBYJ, and high heat capacity too. If the ocean storage theory is true, then a given radiative imbalance would imply a drastically smaller temperature increase smeared throughout the (enlarged) climate system than previously supposed.

Feb 7, 2014 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy

Giving uncertainty as a range? That's nonsense isn't it?

Feb 7, 2014 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

An early slide says the IPCC research is "peer reviewed"
Later in the prose pieces it says the IPCC research is "primarily" peer reviewed.
No-one has yet done a count of 5AR citations but Donna Laframboise's count on AR4 was 30% non-peer reviewed citations.

Feb 9, 2014 at 12:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTony Thomas

At least Eric Pickles doesn't blame climate change:

Feb 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank Brus

Both ECS and TCR ranges moved lower from AR4 to AR5. The upper range of ECS is no longer unbounded.

So there is some progress.

Feb 11, 2014 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jay

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