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« Spotting policy-based evidencemaking | Main | Soton scientists lose the plot »
Tuesday
Aug122014

Diary dates: Slingalongajulia edition

Julia Slingo is giving a public lecture at the Institute of Physics in London next month on the subject of climate models.

Taking the planet into uncharted territory: What climate models can tell us about the future

Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges that human civilisation will face in the 21st century. With the rise in carbon emissions continuing unabated and the evidence for human-induced climate change stacking up, the need to take action to mitigate future climate change grows. So what are these climate models on that so much of our decision-making rests?

Dame Julia’s lecture will examine how fundamental physics has shaped our understanding of the climate system, and how over the course of her career as a climate scientist, this has been encapsulated in climate models.

She will discuss how climate models act as the laboratory for climate science enabling us to understand how the climate system works; and explain how climate models allow us to look forward in time, and examine the potential impacts of climate change on lives and livelihoods around the world.

Finally, nothing is certain in science, and handling and communicating uncertainty is a major challenge for climate science. Dame Julia will conclude her lecture by discussing how this can be addressed within a risk-based approach to action on climate change.

Details:

Institute of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT
on Tuesday 2 September 2014.
Registration from: 6.00 p.m.
Lecture begins: 6.30 p.m.
Welcome: Dr Frances Saunders, President of the Institute of Physics
Expected conclusion: 8.00 p.m. followed by refreshments

Registration here.

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Reader Comments (65)

Oh that the good lady understood the arabic saying '(S)he who professes to foretell the future lies,even if correct'.And to do it with the MO models is folly indeed!

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Henney

Let's not be beastly to Juliaaar; she was taught fake fizzicks** and her position in society depends on pushing those same falsehoods.

[self-snipped!]

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

The soothsayer should read the articles by Robert Brown (RGBatduke) on climate models before she gives her learned talk..

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

When these charlatans stand up, and give their "lectures", is the audience generally submissive and quiescent, or does someone ever have the cojones to question the lecturer severely, and argue the toss, or are potential subversives readily identified at the entrance, and barred access? It makes me cross that so much rubbish is spieled by these people, and it gets lapped up by all and sundry.

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

'Dame Julia’s lecture will examine how fundamental physics has shaped our understanding of the climate system, and how over the course of her career as a climate scientist, this has been encapsulated in climate models.'

Is that how the understanding of the climate system been shaped or this?


We are a Trading Fund Agency within the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Eighty-five per cent of our revenue come from the public sector through trading agreements with various organisations such as Defra, the MoD, the Environment Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The other 15 per cent is from commercial contracts.

How does the Met Office make money?

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Given Dame Julia's recent enthusiasm for song and dance and storytelling as a way of getting her messages across, those lucky enough to get tickets for this event can reasonably hope for considerable entertainment of the deliberate sort. I closed my eyes and had this vision:

Before she comes on, the band will play 'There is Nothing Like A Dame'.

Before she goes off, the audience will have been led in community singing of 'Stormy Weather'

In between, there will be poetry readings, and of course, storytelling. Desperate story telling I imagine, perhaps not suitable for little girls to have read to them by their dads at bedtime. Like this for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDthR9RH0gw.

Eyes back open now.

The links I've found to the Independent's article about our Julia's own vision that

"We have to look increasingly at what society requires of us …," Slingo said recently to a gathering of leading climate change scientists. "We increasingly recognize that to reach the general public we have to use all sorts of different channels of communication.
"And it's not through tables and graphs. Sometimes it is through art, through music, through poetry, and storytelling and that is increasingly something we have to think about – how we communicate in a more humanist way."

didn't work, so let me give some secondary ones like this: http://www.steynonline.com/6410/the-axis-of-denialism
and this: http://scaramouchee.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/buh-bye-hockey-stick-graph-hullo-human.html and even this one:
http://www.energyforlondon.org/tag/hackney/

Judith Curry has given some thought to the challenges of climate proselytising ( she calls it propaganda, our Julia calls it something like pagan outreach (or 'how we communicate in a more humanist way')):


... a few words about climate propaganda, that uses climate science, sometimes with the participation of a climate scientist.  The use of ‘science’ to serve propaganda has a negative impact on the public perception of science and its trustworthiness.  Scientist/advocates irresponsibly involving themselves in propaganda damage the public trust in science, and can slow down scientific progress.  Propaganda tactics are used on both sides of the climate debate, but the ‘science says’ propaganda seems to predominate on ‘warm/alarmist’ side.

I hope someone from the cool, calm, and collected side of the climate furore will be able to attend and report back here on the extent to which the audience was entertained, distracted, diverted, informed, or misled about climate models as crystal balls.

Oh no, I can feel my eyes beginning to close again ..Is that Mystic Meg I see before me? Or is it Vicky Pope emerging from the mists of time ...getting warmer

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I am afraid that Dame Julia is another of those unfortunates who struggle to reach the dizzying heights of mediocrity.

Aug 12, 2014 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

Is she bringing this down from Edinburgh?

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterlindzen4pm

She will discuss how climate models act as the laboratory for climate science enabling us to understand how the climate system works; and explain how climate models allow us to look forward in time...

... and get it completely wrong e.g.

"by 2014 we are predicting that it will be 0.3C warmer than 2004". Met Office climate change expert Vicky Pope sets out the consequences of temperature rises (video)

climate - models v temperatures graph, STILL Epic Fail: 73 Climate Models vs. Measurements, Running 5-Year Means, June 6th, 2013, Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. -
Source page: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/06/still-epic-fail-73-climate-models-vs-measurements-running-5-year-means/

Doug M. Smith et al: “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model“ 2007 - Met office fail

climate models fail - IPCC - IPCC climate models fail

climate models fail - Models verses observations graph

Met Office warm bias - 13 out of 14 seasonal forecasts wrong (GWPF)

climate - UK rainfall and windstorms not exceptional - So what about 1929 Julia?

and so on.

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

I hope she comes clean and tells her audience that the warming and human induced climate change only exists in the models. The real world looks as though it might start cooling.

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The real World is cooling: http://notrickszone.com/2014/08/12/after-false-report-of-sighting-in-deep-oceans-missing-heat-also-not-found-in-europe/

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

I very much doubt she will be displaying the model results against real world measurements - says it all really.

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

The phrase that amused me was 'uncharted territory'. Surely some of the most charted territory humanity's ever sailed into, just not charted very well! I'll almost certainly go to this. Anyone else likely to be there?

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Harry Dale Hoffman has made an easy to interpret comparison Venus-Earth that proves CO2 does not cause warming.
I hope she answers that conundrum.

Also I am not aware that any FEA or other numeric method can get around the inherent difficulty of solving chaotic equations (Navier Stokes, entropy exchange equations, heat and transport dynamics)
I hope she will explain how this was supposedly solved during her career.
Otherwise we'll have to assume that all the computations are still GIGO (garbage in - garbage Out, completely in line with their results climate expectations projections etc)

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul the Nurse

"What climate models can tell us about the future"

Shouldn't that be "What climate models can't tell us about the future"?

Aug 12, 2014 at 5:26 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I'm booked. All I need now is RG Brown and Chris Essex sitting on either side!

Aug 12, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Ground control to planet Julia. Can you see the modelled tropospheric hot spot yet from up there as you look down on us? No? Your models say it should be there. Oh dear. Perhaps Tiny Clanger and the Iron Chicken will help you look for it.

Aug 12, 2014 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Tiny Clanger and Iron Chicken?

Aug 12, 2014 at 5:45 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

"by 2014 we are predicting that it will be 0.3C warmer than 2004". Met Office climate change expert Vicky Pope sets out the consequences of temperature rises (video)
...
Aug 12, 2014 at 4:08 PM lapogus

Vicky Pope had been in charge of the Met Office's modelling work.

Aug 12, 2014 at 5:46 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Taking the planet into uncharted territory: What climate models can tell us about the future

Answer to the first phrase - it's always been going into uncharted territory aka 'the future' and so far does not appear to have repeated anything.

Answer to the second phrase - they teach us how to dream up excuses for their failure - 30+ for the 'pause' so far.

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Fully agree with Paul the Nurse.

When I think about what would be required to apply the principles of "Transport Phenomena" to build a three dimensional physical deterministic model of the earths atmosphere my head explodes.

Climate models don't even get out of the starting blocks of credibility for me. We do not know what all the independent variables are, never mind understand all the physical and chemical interactions. It's a fools game, designed to suck money out of the public trough by blinding the technically illiterate with pseudo-science. As has been amply demonstrated the current "climate models" can be "adjusted" to give what ever output is desired, that fact alone discredits anything the models output.

(In my penultimate last year of Chemical Engineering I built my first predictive computer model. It was based on the principles of "Transport Phenomena", a subject which attempts to consolidate the fundamentals of chemical engineering, heat transfer, mass transfer, reactor design physical chemistry etc, Think discreet differential equation analysis. it was a "very simple" model with few, but known and well understood, independent variables, and with well defined boundaries. It would take over six hours to run on the most powerful IBM main frame of the day, late 60's. The measure of success was that it had to correctly predict a measured gas concentration at a point in space and time, no probabilities whatsoever involved, it was right or wrong, end of).

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

@jferguson

The Clangers have made a rocket. They set it off and, as all the best rockets do, it bursts in a cloud of beautiful coloured stars. They let off another but this one hits something and of load of assorted metal debris falls on their planet. The Clangers take cover. Then they come out and look at the odd objects. They are obviously all parts of the same thing so they carry the pieces below and assemble it. It assembles into an iron chicken which thanks them cordially and walks away through the caves. Tiny Clanger and Small Clanger take the pole-car to fetch soup. On the way they see the chicken eating the leaves of the copper-trees. They run to tell the Soup-dragon about this. The chicken comes to the soup-wells and with amazing disregard for elementary etiquette starts to drink the soup straight from the soup-well. The soup-dragon beats it clangourously with her wooden spoon but it takes no notice. It rises, thanks them cordially, turns and walks away through the wall.

Small Clanger and Tiny Clanger take home the soup. While they are telling Mother Clanger what they have seen the ceiling cracks and the iron chicken falls in. It lands on their table block and starts to eat their meal of blue string pudding. Major Clanger is angry. He addresses the chicken sternly. It is upset and goes broody. Tiny Clanger brings it a necklace and speaks kind words to it. The chicken is happier. It lays an iron egg and presents it to Tiny Clanger. They walk outside together where the chicken says goodbye and flaps away towards its spiky nest somewhere in the sky.

Original Conception:
Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Slingo & Co. should have held off until October and had a wider audience - London Comic Con 24-26 October 2014

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

"Finally, nothing is certain in science." I thought the science was settled .. oh, maybe "settled" means an extreme uncertainty within the limits set by officials. And, of course, a 3% error in energy transfer by evaporation from tropical seas can not play any role in determining a thermal balance of the planet (at 300K, 1% error is 3K).

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

I'm in. See y'all there.

And I hope that the good folks of the IoP - as well as the usual suspects - give her a good going over.

Physicists aren't as gullible as 'climate scientists' and I doubt they'll be satisfied with the usual handwaving BS. I note also that the IoP has not been ever so impressed with climos in the past

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/mar/02/institute-of-physics-emails-inquiry-submission

I will come equipped with a jumbo super size bag of popcorn - to whet my appetite for the canapes.

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

J.Ferguson, I being partly allegorical but this may help a little. In fact you read quite a lot of allegory into it. Especially the Soup Dragon.

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

As far as the Met Office is concerned, the main benefit of climate models has been to increase their income. They seem to have harmed their forecasting abilities. I am tempted to conclude that the main contribution of GCMs world-wide is that they are vehicles for fund-raising, and that their PR role was spotted from the start by those who observed the impact on the general public/mass media of the 'Limits to Growth' computer models in the early 1970s. They turned out to be junk when it came to forecasting and to providing guidance for policy. But they sure impressed the gullible, the poorly informed, and the vulnerable. They no doubt also impressed the mendacious, the grasping, and the humanity-despising eco-zealots of such as the Club of Rome. GCMs have served them all well in the decades since.

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:25 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Come on guys don't be shy, try speak out your criticisms for once 8-)

Ps having seen Rapley at the IoP, there'll be no attempt to ask difficult questions

pps Richard if you're reading this tell the Dame to explain how the best tool isn't necessarily a good tool

Aug 12, 2014 at 6:42 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Richard Drake says: "The phrase that amused me was 'uncharted territory"

Imagine if computers and the necessary software had existed in the 16th Century and the great explorers had set out to sail the computer modelled Terra Incognita instead of keeping eyes open and survey instruments busy.

Hopefully the current Captains of the Virtual Universe will fetch up on reality rocks soon and save us from disaster.

Aug 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

Betapug...no need to imagine. When Columbus wanted to set sail everybody knew Japan was 30,000km away and impossible to reach . thankfully he was mad enough to pretend them wrong, and happened to discover America.

Aug 12, 2014 at 7:08 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Betapug...no need to imagine. When Columbus wanted to set sail everybody knew Japan was 30,000km away and impossible to reach . thankfully he was mad enough to pretend them wrong, and happened to discover America.

Aug 12, 2014 at 7:09 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

" Taking the planet into uncharted territory: What climate models can tell us about the future" In case this is the title of the presentation the answer is NOTHING, as all these models are complex repackaged opinions.

Aug 12, 2014 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges that human civilisation will face in the 21st century.

IMO No it is not!
Stopping wars, feeding the whole population of the world, and combating illness are still our greatest challenges. Keeping this planet safe for both nature and the human race is a massive undertaking.
Paying big money to faff about with computer models and failing to predicting climate is very low on my the list.
Locally, getting the mush-head politician to secure cost effective, reliable, electrical power is very important.
An accurate 30 day weather forecast is far more important.

Epic fail again by the over paid, self important, burocratic functionary.

Aug 12, 2014 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

It's a great shame. I gave up my IoP membership on my retirement. This event might well have been worth the 750€ to get to it.

Aug 12, 2014 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Well, Slingalongajulia is back on top,

pictures and profile

when you type 'senna the soothsayer' into google

Aug 12, 2014 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Thanks much re: the clangers, Michael Hart and Billy Liar.

As to charting and the early explorers and especially more in apropos the current practice of climate science, our daughter, then aged 8, informed the family at thanksgiving dinner that most of has had misunderstood the Columbus story. He had told the queen of Spain that he was setting out to prove the world flat because if he'd told her anything else she wouldn't have given him the money.

Aug 12, 2014 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjferguson

I should have added that i didn't doubt that you had a politician over there known as Tiny Clanger, but I really did envy you your Iron Chicken. our chickens all tend to be limp.

Aug 12, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjferguson

Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges that human civilisation will face, but hopefully not in the 21st century. The end of the Holocene interglacial will hit humanity without warning unless climate scientists have the humility to wake up, see the wood not the trees and realise that natural cycles and their causes trump trivial human ones.

Aug 12, 2014 at 9:40 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Having been a research scientist for a decade or so, in the late 60s/early70s, and being a few years older than Dame Slingo, I was indoctrinated into the basic methodology of the scientific method involving rigorously and repeatedly challenging my assertions.

If she was exposed to a similar educational background, I don't know how she can sleep at night --- or maybe it's got something to do with her salary and place in the establishment?

Aug 12, 2014 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

Does anyone know if the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) has a policy on climate change? If not then perhaps Dame Slingo could be sent to Iraq in order to enlighten them.

Aug 12, 2014 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The only thing climate models can tell us is - in the present - whether climate scientists understand the (long-time) processes that make up our climate.

There is no way current models can show anything of the future, since it is quite clear from observations that the 'scientists' do not yet have the most important climate processes complete or don't even understand them .

It is very questionable whether climate models can ever tell us anything about the future. Currently, even simpler - but still quite complex - models like those used in the chip design industry cannot predict everything about complex circuitry. These can only be used for analyses of parts. In the end, the finished chip is the proof and when there is an unexpected malfunction the model processes have to be looked at.

Current complex models never are complete representations of physical reality and that probably will not change in the foreseeable future.

Aug 12, 2014 at 9:59 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Roy: "Does anyone know if the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) has a policy on climate change? If not then perhaps Dame Slingo could be sent to Iraq in order to enlighten them."

We have our own ISIS, the Climate Fascists who base their Power on the IPCC's fake fizzicks**.

**[self snipped]

Aug 12, 2014 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

Given her's and her agency's record in these matters of "fizziks", this should be a short lecture.

Aug 13, 2014 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

The Met army had been lobbing ordinance over the horizon for decades, trying to hit the elusive climate change monster, to no avail.
Generalissimo Slingo strode forward, issued a crisp order to the gunners, and awaited results.
There was a tremendous explosion, covering the landscape with an endless kaleidascope of catastrophes.Direct hit.
The press puppy pack paused their plaudits. " Hhooowooow did you dooowooo that, Mistress?" they whined.
"It was scientifically straightforward" she declaimed with maximum gravitas "I simply averaged most of the misses, and there it had to be."

Aug 13, 2014 at 1:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterghl

"Finally, nothing is certain in science, and handling and communicating uncertainty is a major challenge for climate science"

It's a wonder how some scientists successfully land probes on other planets when so much about science is uncertain.

Aug 13, 2014 at 5:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

Maybe Dame Julia should explain the "fundamental physics" being used by her fellow alarmists at NASA to produce these sorts of records. Either that or come out and condemn what they are doing.

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/what-part-of-this-isnt-clear-3/

Aug 13, 2014 at 6:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

In view of its authors' affiliations, I found the frankness of the following critique of climate models quite surprising.

The-Myopia-of-Imperfect-Climate-Models

Has anybody *ever* seen any other article by 'climate scientists' that is in any way critical of GCM's?

Aug 13, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"Dame Julia’s lecture will examine how fundamental physics has shaped our understanding of the climate system"

I'd love rgb..... who posts at WhatsUpWithThat to ask Dame Julia about these "fundamental" "simple" physics....

Which are neither "fundamental" or simple........

Never mind the fact that 97% of climate models have failed.....

Aug 13, 2014 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustAnotherPoster

Martin - everybody knows regional climate models have no know skills. When a Grantham person says they are unreliable, he/she means they are pure guesswork not worth the rnd function in MS Excel.

Aug 13, 2014 at 9:53 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

michael hart / jferguson / billy liar
Don't ever let it be said that we are not well-read on this site!
I'm told the Clangers are about to make a return. Given the state of the modern BBC I wait for this event with more than a little trepidation.

Aug 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

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