Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Support

 

Twitter
Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Sinks and sources | Main | Rainfall: everything obscure »
Thursday
Jan012015

An also-ran in the climate prediction stakes

Back in 2013 I wrote a report for GWPF about the official UKCP09 climate projections and Nic Lewis's discovery that the underlying model was incapable of simulating a climate that  matched the real one as regards certain key features of the climate system. The final predictions in UKCP09 were based on a perturbed physics ensemble: a weighted average of a series of climate model runs, each with different key parameters tweaked, with the weighting in the final reckoning determined by how well the virtual climate produced matched the real one. As Lewis revealed, since the climate model output couldn't match the real one, we were effectively being asked to believe that a weighted average of unrealistic virtual climates would nevertheless produce realistic predictions.

James Annan has an interesting post on the subject of UKCP09 here, making the point that there is now a lot of research that suggests that the whole perturbed physics approach is flawed anyway:

[It was] our series of papers on ensemble analysis starting in 2010 (eg here, here, here and here) that most clearly argued not only that PPEs had serious problems, but also that the MME was much better than previously believed.

So not only is UKCP09 fatally flawed but the whole perturbed physics approach to climate prediction is at best an also-ran in the climate prediction stakes.

The New Year's resolution for the Met Office is presumably to get back to the drawing board.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (44)

"The New Year's resolution for the Met Office is presumably to get back to the drawing board."

Experience predicts it will be to lobby for a bigger computer!

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The New Year's resolution for the Met Office is presumably to get back to the drawing board.
You don't really believe that, do you? Still it is nice to see someone inside the community starting to agree that a lot of climate research has been leading us up a blind alley.
But it's not the first time Annan has broken ranks. Pierre Gosselin had this on the subject of sensitivity almost two years ago. Nobody else seems to have noticed.

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

not only that PPEs had serious problems, but also that the MME was much better than previously believed

MME = Money Making Enterprise?

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Is anyone surprised that the Muppet Office produces flawed physics?

Business as usual then!

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

May I suggest that 2015 will be the year when astute climate researchers come to the realisation that surface temperatures are controlled by thermodynamic processes (sensible convective heat transfers) as distinct from radiative heat transfer. This is the 21st century new paradigm shift I first wrote about late in 2012. Momentum is gathering as other climate blogs like The Hockey Schtick, Clive Best and Tallbloke get onto the effect of gravity, even though they have not correctly explained the energy transfer mechanisms which can be explained by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You only have to wonder a little about how the Venus surface warms when the Sun shines to start to realise that it's not all about radiation absorbed by the surface.

Have a happy and relaxed New Year, everyone, comforted by the now proven fact that carbon dioxide does not warm at all because valid physics shows that all it can do is cool by a minuscule amount.

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterClimate Researcher

As a retired, simple minded experimental physicist, I find it difficult to understand how these, brilliant modellers can produce something, so complex, that they cannot understand how it works. Yet, they have incredible confidence in its projections/predictions.

Happy New Year to the bishop, and all fellow sceptics.

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

I find it depressing to think that the branch of science that currently attracts the most attention, ridiculously high levels of funding and wholly undeserved respect is built on a foundation of guesswork that is averaged out and tweaked in order to match carefully selected periods of the climate record.
I hope 2015 is the year that green activism is consigned to the dustbin where it belongs.

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

@Peter Stroud

...As a retired, simple minded experimental physicist, I find it difficult to understand how these, brilliant modellers can produce something, so complex, that they cannot understand how it works. Yet, they have incredible confidence in its projections/predictions....

@If I were to pay you what they're getting, and if your family and career depended on keeping that grant, I'm sure you would have a sudden flash of insight...

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

@Joe Public - Experience predicts it will be to lobby for a bigger computer!

Would this be in addition to the (new) £100,000,000 model currently being installed in Exeter?

Happy New Year to one and all.

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

Would this be in addition to the (new) £100,000,000 model currently being installed in Exeter?
Jan 1, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Yertizz

Given that for the last 20 years or so the climatocracy has made loud claims of being able to reproduce the politically salient aspects of the climate with existing models, and that their 'projections' are only ever wrong to due inherently unpredictable factors, one wonders what possible use they can have for an exhorbitantly expensive new computer. Are they expecting it to produce different results?

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Prediction is hard. Especially about the future.

We looked back at the projections made in January’s Wall Street Journal survey of economists against what we know today. You won’t judge the forecasters too harshly if you know how they work: Economic projections are a difficult guessing game based on complex computer models, instinct and lots of luck. Here’s to better luck next year.
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/12/31/what-the-economic-forecasters-got-right-and-wrong-in-2014/?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

Jan 1, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

In the real world the real world continually perturbates the system so that the amount of chaos grows.

In the climate ensembles, they add all the variability at the beginning and as the model progresses, the amount of "randomness" gets squeezed out.

In other words, its as if you are predicting the climate by making it slightly different at the beginning but ignoring the massive massive influences so that it runs without any solar, volcanic or any other massive source of change having any affect whatsoever.

Jan 1, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"..some of them said they were scared of being labelled sceptics"

".. the additional argument that the incestuous and cliquey nature of climate science in the UK made it a bit of a career risk in terms of future funding"

Therein lies the problem. Show any signs of deviation from the "True Path" and be labelled a Heretic & thus be forever outcast from the Holy Mother Church of Climate Change.

Jan 1, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

In the meantime, 'national treasure' David Attenborough is still on tv banging the alarmist drum, citing the 'overwhelming evidence' on climate change.....

Trouble is, of course, 'luvvies' like him get listened to...!

Happy New Year, everyone - and may we take further baby steps down the path of truth....

Jan 1, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

You can build a model aircraft. It may look great, and have cost a lot of time. You may be very pleased and proud of it.

If you have stuck the wings on upside down, it won't fly.

You can suspend your model aircraft, with thin bits of cotton from the ceiling, and pretend it is flying. But it isn't actually flying.

No 10 year old would expect tax payers to fund their model making hobby.

Unfortunately, many of those 10 year olds grew up, and do expect taxpayers to fund their money making hobby.

Jan 1, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@ Golf Charlie

Not only fund their hobby but ride in their model plane until it crashes.

Jan 1, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

@Peter Stroud; it's because they assume a Radiative Emittance is a real energy flux rather than the potential flux to a sink at Absolute Zero. They also incorrectly assume OLR comes from a single 360 degree emission zone. The net result is to create 40% more energy than reality.....

Jan 1, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

I wonder if the Met Office's new £100,000,000 computer would be capable of calculating enough epicycles upon epicycles to make the Ptolemic model of planetary motion a viable alternative to the Copernican model? At least the Ptolemic model in its original form was more successful in forecasting the motions of the planets than our climate models are of forecasting climate change.

Jan 1, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Let me see if I understand this by way of example.

We wish to calculate the position, x(t), of a ball dropped from a tower on an airless planet. For convenience, we measure distance from the top of the tower, i.e., we set the initial position, x0 = 0 and study deviations therefrom. High school physics tells us that

(1) x(t)=(1/2) g t^2,

where g is the acceleration due to gravity, and t^2, the best I can manage for "t-squared".

The object of the exercise is to calculate x(t), to which end, we can use Eq (1).

Suppose, however, that Eq (1) is unavailable, i.e., that Newton, Leibniz, etc. never lived. Lacking an equation deduced from first principles and supported by experimental observation, we guess a solution of the form

(2) x(t) = a0 + a1 t + a2 t^2 + ... + an t^n.

Here a0 = 0 by choice of coordinate system, and {a1, a2, ..., an} are unknown parameters, Then a PPE would be a set of Eqs (2) each with a different set of constants, {a1, a2, ..., an}. Likewise, we can generate an MME by guessing multiple equations, for example, by choosing different values of n. However, since n can also be regarded as a parameter, calling the resulting constructions PPEs or MMEs is a matter of personal preference.

Climate models are, of course, complicated and consequent in their particulars to ad hoc decisions made by the modelers. Here, distinguishing PPEs and MMEs is defensible — the more so because formulating the various models as perturbations of a "master model" is probably impractical.

What is not defensible is the expectation that fiddling of the sort discussed above will likely yield the correct answer; likewise, ignoring the fact that the nature of said answer is itself an object of considerable contention.

Jan 1, 2015 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterT. A. Speaker

they wont stop lying distorting obfuscating backstabbing and using doublenstandards all the time, while living the good life off our backs?..

2000y of catholicism should have made us wiser.

Jan 1, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

More flagship garbage from the Met Office.

Does the Environment Agency know that their wonderful UKCP09 advice is based on an ensemble of flawed models tweaked in a flawed process to produce a flawed result?

As a taxpayer who funds this nonsense I want heads to roll and my money back.

Jan 1, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Golf Charlie wrote with respect to model airplanes, "If you have stuck the wings on upside down, it won't fly."


The flight behavior of an aircraft depends on the scale to which it is built, the density of the air and the speed of flight.

At subsonic speeds the relationship between these is expressed by the Reynolds number. Where two models at different scales are flown with the same Reynolds number, the airflow will be similar. Where the Reynolds numbers differ, as for example a small-scale model flying at lower speed than the full-size craft, the airflow characteristics can differ significantly. This can make an exact scale model unflyable, and the model has to be modified in some way. For example drag is generally greater in proportion at low Reynolds number so a flying scale model usually requires a larger-than-scale propeller.


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

Models are not reality whether airplanes or economies or climate.

Jan 1, 2015 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Happy new year to fellow travellers and remember we are all children of the miracle molecule

Jan 1, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

Climate Researcher: why do you not put your tuppenceworth in the discussion entitled “Understanding the role of CO2”? Not that I think you will be challenged, or that you will upset many, but it would be a good idea to collate all the ideas, hypotheses and theories about CO2 in one location.

Jan 1, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Speed, yes, the models are hopelessly wrong. At vast taxpayers expense, massive effort has been wasted, on trying to make them work, or at least try to make them appear to work.

The models must all be programmed with the same garbage, for them to be so consistently wrong.

It can't surely be so simple as the X Factor?

Where X = an assumed average increase of temperature for every extra part per million of CO2?

That would be so basic and simplistic, it couldn't possibly be true! Could it?

Jan 1, 2015 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Golf Charlie: "No 10 year old would expect tax payers to fund their model making hobby. Unfortunately, many of those 10 year olds grew up, and do expect taxpayers to fund their money making hobby."

I'm afraid your analogy is a bit out of kilter. The politicians have jumped on the AGW bandwagon, and will happily give as much taxpayer's money as they have to, to model making hobbyists in order to try to keep justifying their decision.

Jan 1, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

The question was once asked: how many wrong answers do you have to average together to get the right answer?

-------

I suppose PPE will ring a bell with the odd useless minister or two. When I had school friends going to Oxford, they did PPE because they couldn't get in to do a proper subject. Now the bottom end has been redefined.

-------

In the real world the real world continually perturbates the system… (MikeHaseler )

Does this mean there is perturbation and music in the halls of retexE?

Jan 1, 2015 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

Jan 1, 2015 at 3:09 PM H2O: the miracle molecule

Yes dad.

Jan 1, 2015 at 6:26 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The problem with post-normal policy-led science is that it's practitioners always read from map (policy and models) to ground (data). If the ground doesn't fit the map, they change the ground rather than change the map. Furthermore, much of their map is blank with, "here there be dragons" writ large upon it. The penalties for doing the correct thing, of reading from ground to map, are so high for individuals that it takes a great deal of personal courage, and a separate income, to change over.

Jan 1, 2015 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

..".one wonders what possible use they can have for an exhorbitantly expensive new computer. Are they expecting it to produce different results?"
Jan 1, 2015 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

It will produce the wrong answer faster.

It may also have a larger "carbon footprint", but let's not go there.

Jan 1, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The New Year's resolution for the Met Office is presumably to get back to the drawing board

No Chance. But the new computer will enable them to calculate their bonuses and pensions more accurately.

Jan 1, 2015 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Happy New Year, Met Office! And many more millions to run your models, which a falling leaf can throw out of balance, but tolerate a 2% error.

Jan 1, 2015 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

Sherlock1 @ 12.33, apropos our "national treasure" and his current slightly incoherent article in the Independent,
google " Nepenthes Attenboroughii" to see that there are still botanists with a sense of humour.
In passing, Nepenthe is an ancient greek potion which induces forgetfulness - recently a brand name for Ticture of Opium.

Jan 1, 2015 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

@Sherlock1 & diogenese2 : I do find it ironic that both David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell are regarded as icons of the green movement, when both of them spent a lot of their early 'professional' lives capturing endangered species to sell to zoos.

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:18 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

"If you have stuck the wings on upside down, it won't fly."

If only the angle of attack is positive it will, though it will probably have to go a bit faster than usual to do so. Remember that a lot of successful aircraft have actually had completely symmetrical wing profiles (e. g. the Pitt S-2 and SAAB J 29)

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

RadicalRodent:
I'm pretty sure that "climate researcher" is Joe Postma.
Everyone knows what he thinks.

Jan 1, 2015 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerry Cain

"I find it difficult to understand how these brilliant modellers can produce something so complex that they cannot understand how it works, yet they have incredible confidence in its projections/predictions." --Peter Stroud

Hubris, venality, poor judgment, insanity, ignorance, carelessness. Name one. Name several. Or perhaps they're not brilliant at all.

Jan 2, 2015 at 6:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Terry Cain: so? More grist for the mill. All views should be considered, even if only for discarding.

Jan 2, 2015 at 6:16 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

I think it's worth restating that UKCP09 *IIRC* is the "gold standard" or benchmark with which government both municipal and national estimate the "future impacts of climate change" - in the case of one that I do know about (the Environment Agency) - they seem to place the risks to be "insured" against higher than the 100 year high water mark so to speak and are lobbying for budgets to build out some quite nutty projects to "fight climate change".

It's not just that the Met Office is unhinged - it's the scrummage of public sector "me-too"s that are following in the MO's wake - leveraging this trash to fill their pockets.

Jan 2, 2015 at 9:22 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I'm sure that Richard Betts will wish to defend the accuracy of UKCP09.

Jan 2, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Salopian and diogenes2 - New Year's Greetings..

I once had lunch with David Bellamy - (well - in the same way that climate alarmists tell SOME of the truth, this is not quite the whole truth. He was guest speaker at some conference I was at and he came and sat at our - large - circular table...)
Anyway - I find it very sad that such a dedicated and enthusiastic botanist is now pretty much excluded from everything because he doesn't sing from the 'correct' hymn sheet...

Jan 2, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

RadicalRodent:
I wouldn't discard his views, if I were you - his model of atmospheric processes seems to me to be rather good.

Jan 2, 2015 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerry Cain

Terry Cain: that is what I thought; you gave me the impression that you did not rate him(?) much. My intention was to get as many views on the role of CO2 into the discussion on that subject, so that there was one easy-to-access reference point for many views. It would be interesting to see TheBigYinJames's reaction.

Jan 4, 2015 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent:
I didn't mean to give that impression, it was just a throwaway final sentence.
AFAIR Postma suggests about -0.15^o C per doubling of CO2.
I think that Postma has seen off all the challenges so far to his model, but I am still open-minded enough about it to be interested in reading other views.
Of course, as a non physicist, I am very susceptible to bad arguments, especially if they are well-expressed.

Jan 4, 2015 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerry Cain

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>