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« By the numbers open thread | Main | Another line for Gordon's political epitaph »

Quote of the day, chutzpah edition

As a social scientist and policy researcher with a particular interest and involvement in the media I’ve long been frustrated by the predominant tactics aimed at mobilising public concern. Phrases like “the science is finished” and “the greatest challenge facing humanity” have sought to enrol the public and politicians in a grand cause. But these approaches may alienate as many as they attract.

This comes from Joe Smith, in an article at the Conversation. Smith's career to date involves trying to get just these kind of messages on the BBC airwaves, preferably by stealth.

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Reader Comments (55)

Wasn't Joe Smith also involved in the 2007(?) BBC seminar?

Mar 2, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Never mind. Next time I'll follow the links before posting...

Mar 2, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

No doubt his current interest, 'as a social scientist and policy researcher', will be rewriting history to cast himself in a more favourable light. Not sure that works anymore, though...

Mar 2, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Definition of chutzpah--

A young man convicted of murdering his parents appears in court for the sentencing.
When the judge asks him if he has anything to say, he responds:
"Go easy on me, your Honor, I'm an orphan!"

Mar 2, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

In cultural terms, climate change is a difficult body of new knowledge that holds significance for all the challenges that humanity has always faced regarding shelter, comfort, food and mobility.

Climate change is one of the strongest drivers of innovation in engineering and design, and is spurring radical new thinking in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It is catalysing major advances in lighting, mobility, communications, architecture, food and energy. It is also driving far-reaching and entirely novel conversations about where and how we redraw the boundaries of ethics and politics across time and space.

So he's still full of pretentious b****cks then.
Anybody would think that we are the first generations to experience climate change! Mankind has always adapted to climate change and the fact that our generations are more resilient to change than previously is testament to the breakthroughs brought on by an industrial revolution and cheap energy source.

Might just watch the program as I need a new TV.

Mar 2, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

"Might just watch the program as I need a new TV."


Mar 2, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Climate change is spurring an unprecedented number of second chances

Mar 2, 2015 at 2:28 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Give him five years and all his mates at MiniTruth will have scoured their files and removed him and his mates, Black & Harrabin, from the Warmist side. They'll have always been brave skeptics, fighting against big-Green.

We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

Mar 2, 2015 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

"I am somewhat in awe of your chutzpah." Good line!

Looking forward to a response.

Mar 2, 2015 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPoliytical Junkie

I love that line - "That pause in warming of the atmosphere surprised the media and public, even though scientists always expected this kind of thing could happen in the short term".

Talk about rewriting the past. A new slogan THE BBC WHERE IT IS ALWAYS 1984!

Mar 2, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

@ Graeme.

I know that Tamsin Edwards sweet talks Andrew and others here, but the outrageous audacity of that quote says all you need to know about her.

Mar 2, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

The first 2 1/2 lines of that quote indicate that he has never done anything useful.

It is amazing how people who attempt to shape public opinion, can't do anything else. Some form of brain overload, due to inadequate capacity, rather than excessive work?

Mar 2, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Hi Geckko,

I can provide references for that, if you like?

For example in my blog post "Pause for Thought", I said:

"Climate model projections have shown periods of cooling of about this length, embedded within longer-term warming, since before this pause happened."

and linked to a 1990 paper:

Syukuro Manabe, Kirk Bryan, and Michael J. Spelman, 1990: Transient Response of a Global Ocean-Atmosphere Model to a Doubling of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 20, 722–749.

- Fig. 10 in that paper has a pause of around 20 years, midway through the response to a doubling of CO2 (Email me if you want the pdf).

In the Nature Climate Change paper that the blog post refers to, we say

"The peer-reviewed literature contains much discussion of unforced decadal fluctuations in global surface temperature and the IPCC discusses internal climate variability extensively in all of their reports. Such variability has been invoked to help explain both the early twentieth-century warming [12] and the faster warming during the 1980s and 1990s [13]. In addition, projections from global climate models have shown decadal periods of cooling embedded within longer-term warming from when they were first developed [14] to the present [15, 16.]"

[14] Manabe et al. as above
[15] Deser, C., Knutti, R., Solomon, S. & Phillips, A. S. Nature Clim. Change 2, 775–779 (2012).
[16] Knutson, T. R., Zeng, F. & Wittenberg A. T. J. Climate 26, 8709–8743 (2013).

Again, do ask if you want the pdfs.

We also say we did a bad job at making this possibility clear... for example, by mainly showing long-term averages which smooth out this variability. Variability isn't the only reason of course - that would be too simple an explanation - a weaker solar cycle and underestimated volcanic forcing probably contributed too.

Luckily, I said this in my talk too:

"We think there are several contributing factors to this pause, including a change in the movement of heat around the planet, a dip in the brightness of the sun, reflection of the sun by pollution and volcanic eruptions. But because we need to use computer models to understand it, and because 17 years is not that long when it comes to climate, we don’t know the exact contributions of each."

Mar 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

so when it was 80s - 90s and everyone was making a fuss by a short period of relatively high decadal rate of warming. they shouldn't have?

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

You really need to go back and look at what the head honchos of climate alarmism (Mann, Jones, Santer et al) have been saying.
There is no pause; we'll start to get worried (why would anyone get "worried" that catastrophic global warming has been delayed or possibly is never going to happen???) if it lasts for 10 years 12 years 15 years 18 years. (And counting!)
To paraphrase Graeme No 3: "Climatology: where it's always 1984!"

PS Looking forward to tonight though the pre-publicity is not looking good!

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:11 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It must be very frustrating for climate modellers, that since all the predictions and models, about more damaging hurricanes, there have been fewer, to help them improve their models.

It seems that circular arguments, can't help, with rotating storms.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Looks like you've really done something to upset ATTP. Respect.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Oh how we engineers laughed at the loony lefty social scientists at Uni with their bizarre hair & dress, late starts & early finishes, selling the Socialist Worker to each other, staging sit-ins and getting themselves elected to every pathetic little committee because they were the only ones who either had the time or cared about standing in the first place. Now that we're apparently run by such pathetic committees of NGOs, quangos and even sodding charities, all completely dominated by politics that failed resolutely at the ballot box, it isn't so funny any more.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

But Tamsin, how about 2 pauses within less than half a doubling of CO2? After all, the current pause isn't the first since 1950, let alone pre industrial times, is it? And as we're at only about a third of the way through a doubling of CO2 from 288ppm, how many more can we expect? What percentage of years will there be warming compared to not warming? Give us something to measure climate science's success against, other than vague coverall predictions. If we see no atmospheric warming at all, how many years would it be before conditions can be said to no longer fit any climate science prediction? If warming is small, how many years before climate science would admit it?

Only the other day there was an article claiming that the pause might naturally last another 5 years before warming resumed. Fair enough, but if warming started this year then that claim would be ignored. Otherwise it will be rolled out every time someone commented about the pause. You can't lose.

If we were back in 2000 then this even handed approach would be excellent but I'm afraid the warmist brigade went full panic mode on CAGW. There were no dissenting voices in the public eye back then. No news conferences where someone said 'now hang on, warming will come in fits and starts, let's not give the public a false sense of a simple effect'.

You only get one 'ta daaa' moment and climate science went for shock and awe. You now have to live with the consequences. The public are underwhelmed. Subtlety repositioning the science won't work because (contrary to most warmists belief) the public WERE listening to you the first time. You actually have to admit that the original approach was wrong and set out how you intend to improve.

If you want the public to regain respect for climate science then you have to do the sorts of things that disgraced companies have to. And no, that doesn't mean PR.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

“the science is finished”

Carefully crafted to make it seem he's never been that closely involved. The internet never forgets, Citizen Joe.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRog Tallbloke

reflection of the sun by pollution

So that's why China's ever rising coal burn is good for the climate. Perhaps we should remove the FGD units and fire up our own stations. At least we'd get cheap electricity, and making all the concrete for the proposed Cardiff tidal barrage probably wouldn't be nearly so polluting (even if it contributes a very large amount of CO2).

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

I find it strange that the warmists have always said, UNIPCC et al, that the Sun does not affect the climate significantly, when they also state that they have a very low level of understanding of how the Sun affects climate. Yet they have mainatined that they know a lot about CO2, especially man's output. The reality is that it is becoming clearer that science whilst having learned much about climate of the last 25 years or so, still know very little about what drives it!

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Tamsin -
First, all three papers you cite are freely available:
Manabe et al. (1990) here;
Deser et al. (2012) here;
Knutson et al. (2013) here.

Regarding the Manabe et al. paper: I don't see how a pause in the response to a doubling (after the short-term increase has been effected) is at all comparable to a pause in the response to a steadily increasing forcing. After the immediate uptick in temperatures (cf. Fig. 9), it's to be expected that the secular rate of increase will be quite small, and can be overcome by year-to-year variability, or as in the Manabe paper, by a delayed cooling response of the Southern Ocean.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:37 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

The MannNoPause, hormonal imbalance, associated with diminishing productivity, and the realisation, that what was produced, no longer merits pleasant associations.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Well, I can only take responsibility for what *I* say, and I've only been in climate science since 2006, so I can't really be responsible for what other people said in 2000 :)

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards


Thanks for the links, and yes I agree "it's a bit more complicated than that", as they say. But the basic idea that an unforced climate model shows large decadal-scale variability (including cooling trends that could compensate current forced warming), and that such phenomena were published well before this pause, still stands, I'd say.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

Tamsin, perhaps you could contribute to the "mad diversity of ideas" Joe Smith claims is swirling around this issue?

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

Tamsin -
I'm going through your three references...
The Deser et al.(2012) paper doesn't appear to show the possibility of a *global* pause in warming. It emphasizes that regional trends may vary considerably. Can you clarify why you think it supports your contention that "projections from global climate models have shown decadal periods of cooling embedded within longer-term warming from when they were first developed [14] to the present [15, 16.]" as applied to a global context?

P.S. "Such variability has been invoked to help explain both the early twentieth-century warming and the faster warming during the 1980s and 1990s." I trust you're aware that Steinman et al.(2015) disputes that natural variability enhanced warming in the 80s/90s; in fact, they believe the opposite.

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:55 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Tamsin Edwards, you don't have to take responsibility for it but you will have to deal with the fallout. The question is, do you want to? Science might be a progress where mistakes happen and you learn from them, but this is the real world where mistakes happen and you pay for them. Do you trust companies that do bad things, just because there has been a change of staff? Why should the public trust climate scientists? Where is you commitment to accountability? Where are your written standards and auditing schemes?

Why should anybody trust any of you?

Mar 2, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

On the question of whether scientists expected behaviour like the recent slowdown in global surface warming, my tweets this afternoon give relevant quotes from IPCC 1990:

1/8 Did we expect the #slowdown in warming of the Earth’s surface in the last ~15 years (aka the #hiatus, aka the #pause)?— Tim Osborn (@TimOsbornClim) March 2, 2015

Click that last link to see conversation, or here are my initial tweets:

1/8 Did we expect the slowdown in warming of the Earth’s surface in the last ~15 years (aka the hiatus, aka the pause)?

2/8 Scientists expected such behaviour and said so. As did the IPCC.

3/8 IPCC 1990 Exec Summary of SPM “The rise [of global temperature] will not be steady because of the influence of other factors”

4/8 IPCC 1990 SPM “On a decadal timescale solar variability & changes in GHG concentration could give changes of similar magnitude”

5/8 IPCC 1990 SPM “volcanic eruptions can lead to a cooling at the surface which may oppose the greenhouse warming for a few years”

6/8 IPCC 1990 SPM “because of long-period couplings between..ocean & atmosphere, Earth’s climate would..vary..without external influences”

7/8 IPCC 1990 SPM “natural variability could add to or subtract from any human-made warming”

8/8 IPCC 1990 Ch6 “interactions between ocean & atmosphere can cause..interdecadal fluctuations that can mask..climate change for a while”

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Osborn


First things first. To cite a single paper, written in 1990, in 2015 in support of an observed and model-falsifying realised time series from 1998-2015 (actually longer) can not be taken as evidence of anything I am sorry. This gets back to the fundamental question of whether the theory of Catastrophic AGW (let's define that as a theory of TCR of at least 3 degrees) is now a falsifiable theory due to the fact that the proliferation of and variation in models and model simulations is so extensive that anything can be found ex post. As you demonstrated with 20/20 hindsight.

Secondly, speaking specifically to Manabe et .al. I quote from the abstract:

The evolution of the model climate during the 60-year period after the doubling is compared with the result from a control integration of the model without the doubling.

It is surprising that during the last 15 years of the 60-year experiment, sea surface temperatures in the Circumpolar Ocean actually reduce with time.

My bold

I think the following salient points are clear and unambiguous.

1. The observed cooling in this 1990 simulation commenced 45 years after a doubling CO2. In other words, while this simulation was based on a doubling of CO2 concentration, this 15 year cooling began after 45 years of no further increase and continued over 15 years of no increase. This simulate cooling occurs towards the end of the model's adjustment to its new steady state.

2. The abstract makes it clear that the cooling occurs in the "circumpolar ocean", somewhat short of total global land/ocean mean and, although I may be mistaken, exactly the opposite of what has occurred over the last 15 years. I believe both circumpolar oceans have warmed.

3. Related but different, the 15 years of cooling in the simulation occurred in the models sea surface temperatures, but on selected potential energy sink, noting it been atmospheric temperatures (which are the ones failing to show the warming). The paper attributes the simulated effect to a dampened mixing.

So you can see how I find your claim that:

scientists always expected this kind of thing could happen in the short term.

to be unsupported. You have established that a select group of (non-independent) scientists [Manabe et .al.] once published a simulation, among hundreds published in the last 30 years, that found a specific phenomena that does not relate to the data we are observing, towhit, 18+ years of no warming in the global near surface mean temperature anomaly.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

"We think there are several contributing factors to this pause, including a change in the movement of heat around the planet, a dip in the brightness of the sun, reflection of the sun by pollution and volcanic eruptions. But because we need to use computer models to understand it, and because 17 years is not that long when it comes to climate, we don’t know the exact contributions of each."
Mar 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

I've never understood why one reason/factor/explanation for the pause keeps getting the back seat. It just may be that climate sensitivity is at the low end of the range. And if your answer is that a low climate sensitivity parameter in models cannot hindcast well then I would also submit that maybe the climate models are not simulating natural variability well either.

I'm not a scientist but I am an engineer. And troubleshooting in my profession is similar to scientific investigation in its logical flow. I too have been trapped by ruling out an obvious explanation much too quickly. Unfortunately, I have also run into situations where one explanation was less desirable than others and have felt uncomfortable pressure which stretched my ethics. Nothing towards you but perhaps that is what is happening here in general.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeC

Tim Osborn, in conlusion, with so many known variables, pinning everything on CO2 was a mistake 30 years ago, and to keep up the pretence, gets more bizarre with every passing year?

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I've posted this before, but here's what the Met Office and Hadley said in 2005:

"Stabilising climate to avoid dangerous climate change" — a summary of relevant research at the Hadley Centre January 2005, Prepared by Geoff Jenkins, Richard Betts, Mat Collins, Dave Griggs, Jason Lowe, Richard Wood.

It is no longer on the website but it can be found here:
(and I have a copy originally downloaded from Hadley).


1. "What constitutes ‘dangerous’ climate change, in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, remains open to debate."

(This may have been 2005, but the consensus that the science was settled had been established in 1997, as quoted by Bob Watson at Kyoto and by David King in 2007, “Over the past five years the science of climate change has become very secure.”)

2. "The physical (chemical and biological) climate system — or components of it — are capable of changing rapidly, and the trigger point for such abrupt changes could provide one of the ways of defining ‘dangerous’"

3. "We can also investigate the impacts of relatively gradual change — and their associated costs — to seek ways of defining a dangerous change"

4. "The inertia of the climate system means that we could be committed to dangerous change, many decades before we reach the dangerous level"

5. "Once we decide what degree of (for example) temperature rise the world can tolerate, (how would they know?), we then have to estimate what greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere should be limited to, and how quickly they should be allowed to change.

6. "These are very uncertain because we do not know exactly how the climate system responds to greenhouse gases"

7. "The next stage is to calculate what emissions of greenhouse gases would be allowable, in order to keep below the limit of greenhouse gas concentrations." ( I think this re-defines hubris)

8. "This is even more uncertain, thanks to our imperfect understanding of the carbon cycle (and chemical cycles) and how this feeds back into the climate system"

6. and 8. are eye watering admissions.

Remember, there had by then been 3 IPCC reports and AR4 was in preparation, with all the claims of certainty. Tamsin presumably never read this, because she didn't start until a year later in 2006, by which time all these uncertainties had no doubt been resolved.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:32 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

"Climate change is one of the strongest drivers of innovation in engineering and design, and is spurring radical new thinking in the arts, humanities and social sciences."

They make bad weather sound like it's a good thing for humanity's development. It might be. So why are some of us still pretending to try and stop it?

It's simply a marketing technique. If it wasn't for the persistence of dirty teeth, I wouldn't need to buy toothpaste and floss at the store.

Market a need. Sell stuff for it. Yawn.


Mar 2, 2015 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

So in short, when someone says "scientists always expected this kind of thing could happen in the short term", they mean, I can find a published model simulation that, ex ante, would predict a 15 year period of no warming, in some part of the planet, for some particular reason.

Note that Tamsin's only potential proof of her claim (i.e. an ex ante simulation), didn't even begin to accurately describe what we have witnessed climatically (i.e. the simulation specifically found retarded mixing in polar oceans causing near regionalised surface cooling, brought about by increased precipitation).

She just cherry-picked a single artifact: something, somewhere cooled over 15 years for some reason.

We, in non-climate disciplines, find this level of discussion gobsmackingly unconvincing. I just can not bring myself o believe that people like Tamsin do.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Just one more and then I promise I will stop.

The "consensus" needs to justify the following inconsistency, which occurs as follows:

No matter how much they petition, their hypothesis can only be proven rigorously by an extended period of out of sample simulation (that means forecasting, not "hindcasts") of mean global atmospheric temperatures.

If they claim that 18 year is still sufficient time over which to do so (despite the IPCC own confidence bands), then they must wait for a longer period before they state with any confidence that they know how to model the climate with any acceptable level of accuracy.

Tamsin can't come here and say "18 years pause is too short to falsify my theory" and then turn around and say the theory has been proven by its ability to replicate the climate.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

MikeC My background is also surveying/engineering. Troubleshooting has also been a major part of my emploment.

One of the biggest problems in defects diagnosis, is the lengths people will go to, to protect their own feelings/professionalism/reputations.

A computer is a great aid to fouling something up, but someone had to programme it, with what they were led to believe, was the best information available.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

It was social scientists at Tyndall who came up with this sort of stuff:

Working Paper 72:
Does tomorrow ever come? Disaster narrative and public perceptions of climate change, Thomas Lowe, Katrina Brown, Suraje Dessai, Miguel de Franca Doria, Kat Haynes, and Katharine Vincent, (Tyndall Centre, March 2005)

This paper specifically researches the impact on public perception of the disaster movie, “The Day After Tomorrow”, based upon a supposed breakdown of the Thermo-Haline Circulation.

"expert elicitation on abrupt climate change undertaken by Arnell et al. (2004) found that several experts declined to respond because they felt the science was too uncertain and that subjective judgements would not be appropriate.

Thus, there exists no globally accepted consensus on the likelihood or extent of rapid climate change and agreement among scientists and policy makers over the ‘danger’ posed by abrupt changes in the climate system appears unlikely."

But not to be deterred, the Met Office published a web page entitled “Science meets Hollywood”: “The Day After Tomorrow”, with a subsection entitled “Will We Freeze?”

"The research involved a questionnaire applied to 300 cinema-goers in Norwich UK, prior to and after seeing the film shortly after its release in May 2004......our focus groups showed that any increase in concern appeared short-lived, with most viewers seeing the film as purely entertainment.

We argue that this has implications for climate policy and provision of public information.

The general public garners most of its knowledge about science from the mass media (Nelkin, 1987; Wilson, 1995). Therefore the role of the media is significant in the public’s cognition and perception of climate change issues."

Working Paper 58 2004
"The Social Simulation of the Public Perception of Weather Events and their Effect upon the Development of Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change"

This paper….. presents a quantitative dynamic simulation model of the social construction of a quasi-reality. By quasi-reality we mean a reality that thus far is defined by expert knowledge and is surrounded by uncertainty.

Global warming (or climate change) is, without elaboration, a much debated and contested issue. Not only is it contested among scientists, but also among all those with vested interests.

We suggest that, in the realm of the public, forces act to maintain or denounce a perceived reality which has already been constructed. That is, an issue introduced by science (or media for that matter) needs continual expression of confirmation if it is to be maintained as an issue.

In this paper, we explore under what conditions belief in global warming or climate change, as identified and defined by experience, science and the media, can be maintained in the public’s perception.

As the science itself is contested, needless to say, so are the potential policy changes. So how then do people make sense or construct a reality of something that they can never experience in its totality (climate) and a reality that has not yet manifest (i.e. climate change)?

To endorse policy change people must ‘believe’ that global warming will become a reality some time in the future.

Only the experience of positive temperature anomalies will be registered as indication of change if the issue is framed as global warming.

Both positive and negative temperature anomalies will be registered in experience as indication of change if the issue is framed as climate change.

We propose that in those countries where climate change has become the predominant popular term for the phenomenon, unseasonably cold temperatures, for example, are also interpreted to reflect climate change/global warming."

That's what is known as "Settling the Science"

Mar 2, 2015 at 6:07 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Social Scientists, people expecting to be paid, for talking about problems in their imagination.

Mar 2, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point:
it is getting colder. -New York Times – January 30, 1961

What time does the BBC4 program finish?

Mar 2, 2015 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Tamsin -
Further to my post of 4:55, I've now gotten at least a skim of Knutson et al (2013), your third citation. It concentrates on regional trends and contrasts with non-anthropogenic-forcings-only runs. The one place where I've been able to isolate a 15-year model trend for global temperatures is its Figure 7(a). It's true that the 5-95% spread of 10-year trends (2000-2010) from the models ranges from -1 K/century to 3.7 K/century, so it backs up your contention that "projections from global climate models have shown decadal periods of cooling embedded within longer-term warming". However, if we look at the 15-year trend (1995-2010), we see that the 5-95% spread of models' trends ranges from a tad more than 1 K/century to 4 K/century, so it doesn't support the larger point that the observed hiatus is within the range of models' predictions. Is there something more that I should be getting from this paper (in the context of model trends vs. observed)?

Mar 2, 2015 at 7:00 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Here is what 35 years of natural variability looks like. Even on this monthly average temperature basis it completely swamps CO2 induced political mind games and inappropriate use of linear regression. Discriminating CO2 induced warming or the lack thereof from the temperature record is not possible. Arguing about what the models may or may not replicate is therefore crass beyond words.

Here is what the underlying temperature shifts looked like across the globe. These serve to fixate one half of a human lifetime and we flip from warming to cooling alarmism at roughly 35 year intervals.

But this time around at vast expense to the general populous thanks to two decades of misguided Agenda 21 indoctrination instigated by Malthusian hand-wringers and sundry ne’er-do-wells. Confirmation bias by the truck load fortified by a 24x7 media circus, everything else is a fast buck or assertion of power for someone somewhere. This is how bandwagons are born but not how science is conducted.

Here is what reality looks like. Earth's climate is fundamentally chaotic; temperature evolution is non-linear on all timescales from hours to millennia. CO2 concentration evolves as the integral of temperature - lagged on all timescales from ~8 months to ~800 years. That is: the rate of change of CO2 concentration depends on temperature. There is no evidence that net energy retention in the entire atmosphere depends on CO2 concentration. CO2 does not “warm the atmosphere”; it has a miniscule effect on net energy diffusion through the atmosphere, which below the tropopause is completely wiped out by the turbulent behaviour of water in all three states.

The global warming crisis is a fiction born of radiative myopia, misapplication of statistics to the chaotic and above all – heavily induced group think.

Mar 2, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I see the "CC by Numbers" programme is preceded by "Nature's Great Events: The Great Melt."

Attenborough's usual: the polar bears will starve with such unprecedented melting. "Ice free within 20 to 40 years". Yada yada.

Yet Edwards, Osbourne et al think that this b*****ks is persuasive.

Mar 2, 2015 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

Not just any old Joe, eh?

Mar 2, 2015 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Harraballs has been spouting complete rubbish on the BBC News Channel about the new tidal energy projects intended for Wales and England. According to him it's all 100% reliable and predictable because the tides are controlled only by relationship between the Earth and the Moon - he seems to have forgotten about the effects of the Sun and weather on tidal ranges.

Even BBC Wales were relatively sceptical about the projects, didn't show Harrabin's contribution and were more concerned about the effects on Salmon and Sewin.

Mar 2, 2015 at 9:18 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

“… so when it was 80s - 90s and everyone was making a fuss by a short period of relatively high decadal rate of warming. they shouldn't have?”
Quite so. There has been a period of only about 20 years of net warming (~1980 — ~2000) in the past 65 years during which human influence could have been a significant factor.
It's not the so-called pause that is anomalous.

Mar 2, 2015 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Hi Andrew,

You have many misapprehensions of the seminars, which is hardly surprising as you wrote a book about them without attempting to contact me. (The BBC’s journalists would never have done that).

I’m aware that many of the comments and posts on your site reflect unshakably strong sets of assumptions about the seminars, climate change and more. I sense that you are attempting to create an enemy; to project a conspiracy; to ‘reveal a plot’.

Here are some relevant posts that describe the work of the seminars, or that explore climate communications and debate more widely:

BBC Real World Seminars – link to article:

About the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme and Earth Reporters:

More about the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme



Mar 2, 2015 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Smith


The thought that this tidal stuff is outrageously expensive doesn't seem to penetrate the brains of the BBC or the readership of the South Wales Evening Post.

In fact, commenter Dooyah is a denier... (I wonder if he is the Lords cricket pitch digger a.k.a. Peter Hain? The attitude is recognisable.)

Mar 2, 2015 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

The higher the sensitivity of climate to CO2 the colder we would now be without man's efforts. You'd better hope that the recovery from the depths of the Holocene has been predominantly natural, 'cuz if man's done the heavy lifting of warming, we can't keep it up much longer.

Mar 2, 2015 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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