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« Congressional hearings? | Main | Building up to Paris »

The only way is Essex

GWPF have posted a new climate talk, this time given by Christopher Essex. No time to look at it myself, but it's here for those who are interested.


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Reader Comments (30)

Chris Essex is one of the good guys who, over a quarter of a century ago saw through Hansen's quackery and started to develop the thermodynamics of the real atmospheric heat engine which converts SW thermalised energy to OLR, also maintaining near zero net mean surface IR warming of the atmosphere, minimising radiation entropy production rate.

Feb 20, 2015 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Watched this the other day. Really good. Should appeal to those who want to understand the limits of the climate models. Worth an hour of your time.

Feb 20, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commenteroioi

I haven't watched it yet but the name sounds familiar. I have seen a talk of the same name back in 2013.

Feb 20, 2015 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha

The Beeb should move its "Climate Change Numbers" thing onto BBC3 (no doubt it features breathtaking camera work, obtained at breathtaking cost, so should have wide appeal), and run this in parallel on BBC4.

Feb 20, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

As i clicked I was just thinking "don't these academics have a lot of our money to waste of fancy presentation" - when it came up with GWPF TV.

The first part about social consensus fits in very well with my article today on Scottish Sceptic: Predictors of climate alarmism and scepticism".

Feb 20, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Can someone who was there (Josh, RIchard?) confirm, is this essentially the talk he gave to the GWPF on 11th Feb?

Feb 20, 2015 at 5:46 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Guys please, I am on your side here and Christopher Essex may be the most intelligent man in the universe but this video is dire.
I only got two minutes into it.

There appears to be two cameras videoing this and the Professor is looking at the one camera not being shown on the screen - it looks as though he is one of those people who do not make eye contact when talking to you. Extremely off putting.
Then, he is not slick enough when trying to explain his points. He may be a great Professor but trying to explain things to people who do not know or are sceptical requires fluidity, charisma, an easy going charm and a buy in persona.

I have done some video stuff for guys I work with and would not for one second put this sort of thing out to them because I know the level of critique that is out there.
Someone somewhere really needs to raise their game and realise that it isn't JUST about the content, it's about the presentation.

Feb 20, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAddolff

Addolff: "Someone somewhere really needs to raise their game". You should read the conclusions at: on predictors of alramism and scepticism as they fit very much with what you say.

Feb 20, 2015 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Proof that a competent scientist can explain even the most complex problems in a simple and clear manner... pity others aren't so gifted.

I wonder what Dr Betts thinks about Dr Essex's 'inconvenient truths'?

Feb 20, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Might I suggest that rather than trying to destabilise the models to simulate real systems Christopher might consider increasing the stabilisation to remove all instability and then add in extra noise consistent with the frequency of natural variation.

As for no experts on what is not known. There are known unknowns, the are unknown unknowns ...

Also I've got a perfect 100 year forecast. It updates automatically as new upjustments are received from the temperature record. it can be found at

Feb 20, 2015 at 8:06 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Having watched it the first thing it needs is editing!

We can't read the projection screen therefore showing it is useless.

They should replace that screen with the full screen view of the visuals he is talking about rather than just showing the visuals for such a short time that makes them again unreadable.

These visuals are the most important part of the talk therefore they should have much more emphasis (just look at how they do the TED talks).

Feb 20, 2015 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

So what I took from that presentation was that while we are used to garbage in...garbage out, you can also get: good stuff in...garbage out.

Feb 20, 2015 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

I've been using the "FAA doesn't approve of models for planes" for a good 6+ years in global warming arguments. I knew some of the reasons but had no idea the one of the fundamental reasons was the fact that a computer model can not mathematically make an airfoil.

I think that for simple sound bites thing like using the FAA and such are the best foils against cultists as they are forced to commit to something that you can use their name in and then show proof that they are wrong and horribly life threateningly wrong.

If you can't even model an airplane wing then modeling the planet is simply impossible.

Feb 21, 2015 at 3:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterrobotech master

I have only watched 5 1/2 mins of this presentation (I do plan to watch it), but I found what I saw to be ramblings.

People get bored easily. It is very important to get your key points across ASAP, before the recipient's mind begins to wander.

At 2mins 05, he introduces his first topic "The wrong rabbit hole", but even by 5 mins 30 secs, he had not begun to mention what he meant by this; what rabbit is the scientific/political debate presently discussing, and what rabbit should it be discussing.

My brief viewing suggests that it needs to be far slicker. The point is well made in the Clint Eastwood film (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly) 'when you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.'

If you have a point to make, make it. You can then waffle on afterwards. No disrespect meant, just constructive criticism.

Feb 21, 2015 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

So can any one explain why the Met Office has not claimed the prize for solving the Navier-Stokes equations and implementing them as a finite difference step computation on a digital computer?

Perhaps Richard Betts would like to explain how the MO can build realistic climate models and verify them without needing to solve the Navier-Stokes equations?

Feb 21, 2015 at 9:05 AM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Does anyone know if the slides have been published?

I have made presentations which have been videod. The usual approach is to have a main screen showing the slides and poiniting to each point made by the speaker. A small takeout screen shows the presenter, rather like the image screen used for providing signing for deaf people.

I would like to get hold of the slides and write a really punchy 20 minute presentation based on this. The material is really good, as is the story.

Feb 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

I hope anyone making the criticism that the presentation or production are not 'slick' enough are prepared to get their wallets out. Tickets for TED events can cost between $3,000 and $8,000, and donor memberships are $17,000. Hence they have significant budgets for AV equipment and so on.

It's a lecture, filmed, in real time, under various constraints.

If you need to refer to the visuals more closely, the video player has a pause button and a time slider. The slides are generally shown briefly so that Prof Essex's interaction with the slides can be shown.

Youtube caters for people who 'get bored easily' -- there are about a billion videos of kittens being goofy, and babies giggling. Watching a lecture is a skill -- unless it is a TED lecture, of course.

Feb 21, 2015 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Its a very informative piece. You might think that all model results (graphics etc) should be presented with a large warning about frigged formulae and false stimuli etc. Trouble is such models/results are not for public consumption are they ?

However, they are heavily financed by the public.

Feb 21, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

@Ben Pile,

I take your point but in place of the projection screen just show the slide that is projected. There are other places where he is talking about something on the screen and pointing it out but there is no way that the person watching can actually see what it is.

It is not a good idea to require the person watching to pause the video just to see the point the presenter is making. That way you very quickly turn people off and then the turn off the presentation and your message does not get across. This puts the presentation in the 'interesting, I may watch it all sometime' category when it should be in the 'gosh I didn't know that, why didn't they tell us' category.

Sorry, as it stands it is of little interest to most people and will not get the message across to those that it should.

Feb 21, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Ivan - it stands it is of little interest to most people...

As it stands, it has been viewed more than 4,000 times after only a day or so. Clearly it is of interest to some people. If you're expecting people who have no interest in the climate debate to switch off the puppy and skateboarding accident videos, to sit for an hour and ten minutes, you have probably misunderstood and underestimated the audience, and have unrealistic expectations of what videos can achieve.

Under the same Youtube channel, there are videos of various lengths. Some of them are as short as three or four minutes. This is the longest one at nearly 1 hour ten minutes. But you know what? ... Make a short video and some BH commenter will say 'it's too short'. Make a long video, and some other commenter will say 'it's too long'. Make a simple video, "it's too simple". Make a deeper video "nobody will understand it". Put simply: speak for yourself, not 'most people'. Most people really wouldn't be interested in a 1hr 10m video about simulating the climate.

"It is not a good idea to require the person watching to pause the video"

The viewer brings his own requirements to the video. If the slides aren't held for a sufficient duration, he or she has the tools to aid his understanding. Where there is a need for more attention on the slide, the slide is held for longer, or is repeated as it is referred to.

Feb 21, 2015 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

It is not very slick. I think it is the same talk given on feb 11 - the talk that was not advertised except to gwpf members, at which apparently the projector didnt work.
This all exposes the myth of the gwpf being well organised, highly influential, lavishly funded etc.

Feb 21, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Having said that, there is some good important stuff in the talk.
The physics involved is incredibly compicated. Much of it is fudged by crude approximations in the models. It is not possible to solve the equations. Grids are much too coarse which leads to them being overdamped by several orders of magnitude. Because of this (last section of talk) models dont show longterm variation, they only respond crudely to 'forcings'.

Feb 21, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Well I enjoyed it, it was very interesting, put some flesh on a lot I already knew about modelling. I just love the expression "good stuff in and garbage out!". It can happen, even in structural engineering. If you get the design prinicples wrong, no amount of computing power will help you out, & you can get good stuff in & garbage out! The real problem is in fact knowing when you are getting garbage out, which I suspect the modellers suffer from, or just plain tell porkies!

Feb 21, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Ben, how many of it has been viewed more than 4,000 times after only a day or so those viewing it are looking for conformation of their views? Could you show it to the likes of Ed Davey or other politicians and expect them to follow it?

I may be influenced by my many years of working in the back rooms of the film and TV industry but I see this as something that needs a much wider audience. I would go as far as saying that in need to be required viewing by all students of climatology but for that to happen it needs editing.

I understand you were filming under constraints but that should not mean that the end product should not be polished before final release.

Feb 21, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Ivan, if you think Davey has the slightest interest in learning from GWPF videos, you have unrealistic expectations of video. I imagine that Davey wouldn't take much of an interest in Essex's book, either. Or his journal articles.

There are lots of things that need a wider audience. some of us produce and share things hoping to reach that audience. Others just carp.

Let me say it again: it is a video recording of a lecture, shot in one take. It is not a documentary.

Feb 21, 2015 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben, there are times I wonder if Davey can even read considering the many stupid pronouncements he makes.

Thank you for producing this video and sharing it with us and please don't think I am carping, it is just that this information needs a wider audience.

Is it possible to get copies if the slides used? I would like to see them on a larger screen

Feb 21, 2015 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

I thought this was a very interesting lecture. I assume that the "science is settled" brigade won't like it, but, although Essex was very polite and diplomatic, his remarks did make me wonder:

i) if they (i.e. the "SiS" people) seriously believe "the science is settled", what they are all working on, these days;

ii) (even more than I thought before) how anybody can defend interpreting the output from climate models as any kind of reliable prediction, as opposed to a pre-programmed wishlist.

Feb 22, 2015 at 3:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

@BenPile @Ivan if you want Davey or his minions to eyeball something just put it on the DECC photo-competition hashtag #BackClimateAction

Feb 22, 2015 at 4:12 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I would like to see our school science teachers watching this film and the explanations illustrated. Ben - what have you got to lose in letting Ivan have a go at making this easier to digest. You could keep a tight control of the copywrite and end edit. If you do not like the result then you could just say 'no' at that stage. I am sure that Ivan or anybody could work within this carefully constructed, contractual constraint - unless you are worried that Ivan may be in another camp ? It happens - sadly - I know.

Apart from that - I struggled a little with the maths in the film at times - but I did get the gist - strongly. I was compelled to watch the whole film. The man puts over some quite complex issues in a way that I could still understand the underlying principles. I have learned things that I did not even know about - like the computer problems of handling complex model computations like climate predictions for years to come.

Am I a skeptic - well you don't tell a Yorkshireman that any argument (on mega-cost global warming or anything else) is''closed' or 'settled'' - without us folk getting our say in - particularly when we are being ordered to spend trillions in taxpayers money towards it - and on a cheap career politicians say so. We do not do 'settled' arguments in Yorkshire. In fact - if you really want to alert us to something that looks very, very fishy - then tell us that our opinions don't matter or that the debate is over.

Thank you GWPF for the presentation and debate.

Feb 24, 2015 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterIndependent Thought PLC

I agree with Essex - global warming is an insane culture.

Feb 26, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Registered Commentershub

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