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Diary dates, sea ice edition

The BBC's Costing the Earth show is going to look at the sea ice next week in a show that will feature Mike Hulme, Helen Czerski and Mark Lynas (the BBC, as is well known, must always broadcast the opinions of its beloved greens).

I'm not entirely sure that this is a group of people that will shed a lot of light on the matter. Expect lots of hypothesis dressed up as fact and speculation flouncing around the place pretending to be probability.

I'm sure it will be entertaining though.

With arctic sea ice shrinking and Antarctic sea ice growing, Tom Heap asks what is happening to the climate.

Despite the consensus of scientists around the world, there are still some anomalies in the computer models of the future climate. Tom Heap is joined by a panel of experts to tackle some of the difficult questions that lead to uncertainties in our understanding of the changing climate.

The perceived wisdom in the scientific community is that the climate is warming but evidence shows that even though Arctic sea ice is melting, there has actually been a growth in Antarctic sea ice. That, along with a documented slow down in the warming of the climate since 1998, has been a 'stone in the shoe' of the climate change story. So what is happening?

Tom is joined by BBC and Met office weather presenter John Hammond to put these 'difficult' climate scenarios to a team of experts: Mark Lynas is an author and environmental campaigner, Mike Hulme is professor of Climate and Culture at Kings College London and Dr Helen Czerski is a broadcaster and 'bubble physicist' at UCL.

With the help of this panel, Costing The Earth discusses how best to communicate anomalies that don't appear in climate models and make the science sometimes hard to comprehend.

Details here.

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Reader Comments (25)

I do hope non-climate science expert Mark Lynas (History/Politics degree Edinburgh) would not be talking about the science on the BBC - as non-expert Nigel Lawson is not allowed to any more on the BBC..

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

" ... anomalies that don't appear in climate models and make the science sometimes hard to comprehend."

Or wrong.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

"With the help of this panel, Costing The Earth discusses how best to communicate anomalies that don't appear in climate models and make the science sometimes hard to comprehend."


They're doing it yet again! Even in the PR blurb they're essentially admitting it's going to be a weasel-worded stich-up job about 'how to better communicate the message', rather than identifying and admitting there's a serious weakness in AGW theory v observed reality.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered


IIRC, the BBC said that Lawson was not banned, but that it would be necessary to explain that his views were not of similar stature to other guests. No doubt the same will apply to Lynas.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Any programme involving Tom Heap is pure alarmist BBC propaganda, devoid of any scientific evidence.

Lynas is an alarmist journalist who knows nothing about the climate, Hulme is an incomprehensible alarmist and Czerski knows nothing about the climate but is paid by the BBC to give alarmist propaganda. Lots of balance there as usual then.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"With the help of this panel, Costing The Earth discusses how best to communicate anomalies that don't appear in climate models and make the science sometimes hard to comprehend."

Ah, that old chestnut of "how better to communicate the science" being put into practice I see! They don't hang about do they? Why don't they just do what they normally do about anomallies in the science.......ignore it!

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"Costing The Earth" takes on a new meaning now, mega-bucks spent on "solving" a non-problem. The "solution" to this non-problem has not even had a significant effect on the atmosphere, let alone on the climate.

After CC by Numbers we have another "Team of (Non)-Experts", who will no doubt end with the BBC Party Line "Its up to us".

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

The curious thing about people who want to communicate the science is that they never seem to believe that communication occurs both ways.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

There is a clear pattern appearing in how the BBC now covers CC, allow a few carefully selected doubts to fly, then sit back and watch the carefully selected experts shoot them down. Since doubts have flown the BBC can claim balanced coverage.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Can the BBC really get away with calling these three people "experts" in this context?

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Costing the Earth, how much is losing Clarkson going to cost the BBC.

More boring sanctimonious doom laden Climate Change documentaries don't make up for losing our Jezza.
Look forward to Marcus Brigstock Star in a Reasonably Priced Car
Ultra popular Clarkson isnt around now to subsidize all the serious boring high brow sciencey BBC 4 output.
Clarkson sacked and poor very old Brucie finally retired before he drops down dead, that's two less reasons to watch the Beeb.
And a million signatories switching over to Sky or ITV.

PS Ask Mark Lynas are there any cheap holiday getaway Time Share Condos with building and contents insurance going on Zoopla .Com in the exotic Maldives lately.

Mar 27, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

its the wrong sort of ice growth ..

just like capitalism provides the wrong sorts of jobs..ACCORDING TO LEFTY SCUM

Mar 27, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenuNotWarmerDueToCO2

In CtE's alternate universe:

A predicted we saw an ice free arctic for the first time in recorded history this year. Global temperatures continue to soar uncontrollably. All the measurements show that 2014 was the hottest year ever. Polar bears are being marooned, starving on tiny ice flows and Adelie penguins are extinct. Meanwhile the Seychelles are 2ft under water and the northern temperate zones are wracked with unprecedented storms. These trends are set to continue. In 2100 the earth will be a barren scorched ball except the parts that are flooded.

To blame is runaway global warming caused by the burning of all the coal and oil that the earth has been able to provide. Luckily wind and wave power is supporting a thriving economy with free energy and rescuing gaia from the rapacious plague of humans.

Mar 27, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Marcus

Well with the Antarctic they have already tried several contradictory ways of communicating why the models are wrong:

a) It has it's own unique climate according to the BAS. Obviously you must look at the Arctic for manmade warming. But for past climates you must steadfastly ignore the Arctic with it's distracting (GISP2) previous warm periods and focus instead on the Antactic again. Clearly communication of such a blatantly biased meme is a bit tricky.
b) If you smear the peninsular warming over the rest of the continent using Mannian stats then all of it is warming. This palpably bad science grabbed the front page of Nature. That was communication all right but an eventual gross embarrassment that nobody likes to recall.
c) The cooling is caused by the warming according to Mark (death spiral) Serreze. No amount of communication could make anyone believe this whopper though.
d) Modellers expected all the time that their models would be totally crap for the Antarctic - just like they say now the pause/hiatus/plateau was to be expected. They just forgot to communicate this salient point to the media.

All of these contradictory memes were communicated very effectively at the time on as the absolute truth.

Wouldn't it be a nice if they just admitted the real truth on this programme; that they haven't a clue what drives climate and neither does anyone else yet but they are too arrogant to admit it.

Mar 27, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Using my 'model', powered by the worlds most complex organic super computer , I predict to 95% probability they will claim it its 'worse than we thought ' we a focus on Arctic.

no where is my grant ?

Mar 27, 2015 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

The BBC are today running a story on teletext and on the internet "Antarctic ice shelf thinning speeds up". Any reasonable reading of the story would leave you well aware that Antarctic ice is in deep trouble and that a huge rise in sea level is soon to be unleashed. In my innocence I had actually believed the scientific evidence of record sea ice levels in the Antarctic. Aren't we lucky to be allowed to pay for the BBC to sort out our misconceptions?

Mar 27, 2015 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGuirme

With arctic sea ice shrinking and Antarctic sea ice growing, Tom Heap asks what is happening to the climate.

Answer: Feck all - Antarctica - Temperature 1959-June 2013 - Hadcrut4 area weighted 70-90S. It's called natural variation, some years/decades glaciers speed up, some years/decades they slow down. Why should we expect glaciers to always move at the same uniform speed towards the ocean? Sea ice extent also depends on many factors, wind speed, direction, ocean currents and temperature. The Arctic sea ice minima in 2007 and 2012 were very much due to transport and break up of ice by winds, not by any significant increase in temperatures. Next programme.

Source page for graph:

Mar 27, 2015 at 2:49 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Knr: you answered your own question with your typo – “no where is my grant ?” Nowhere!

Mar 27, 2015 at 4:17 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

And of course, they use a polar bear to sell it.

I trust, given that they use a photo of a bear facing melt ponds on the surface of sea ice, that they will describe the difficulty that satellite imaging has in interpreting how much is ice, how much is a bit of water on top of ice, and how much is open water (and the default, which is to call it all "open water").

You might also consider placing bets on whether they will discuss the miniscule decline of spring/early summer ice or whether the focus will be entirely on the dramatic summer minimum.

Mar 27, 2015 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan Crockford

There is never anything funny about the Brussels Broadcast corp and it's biased reporting. It is sick and dangerous.

Mar 27, 2015 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Tom Heap makes quite good documentary programmes for radio UNLESS it is anything to do with the climate, which seems a peccdillo of his. He spends most of his time jetting around the globe telling everybody else to limit their travel. Par for the course .

Mar 27, 2015 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

Oh Good Grief - Michael Mann started to slag off the program (before seeg it) which led to an interesting twitter exchange with a number of people, which resulted in this:

Dr Helen Czerski:
And actually, it's v. balanced in sense that there is no "skeptic" voice.

I thought this other extract particularly funny:

There's Physics ‏@theresphysics
@SellaTheChemist Hopely @helenczerski agrees that the "pause" refers only to the surface. @MichaelEMann @4589roger @guynewey @BBCNews

Michael E. Mann ‏@MichaelEMann
@theresphysics @SellaTheChemist @helenczerski @4589roger @guynewey @BBCNews
And even then, not a "pause", but temporary slowdown!


Mar 27, 2015 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry Woods
Mann's 'abilities' to know the value of something without having any knowledge of it are not merely well know but are in fact a main feature of how his built his career.

the "pause" refers only to the surface, it refers to that which their are measurements for which is after all the only thing you can make a honest claim about .

'not a "pause", but temporary slowdown!' so the claim is its moving ' infinitely slowly' and 18 years is some temporary!

Mar 27, 2015 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

'Arctic ice is shrinking...'

Yeah - its called SUMMER....

Happens every year - but dont let that get in the way of a good doom-laden story....

Mar 28, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

From the R4 program link:

Despite the consensus of scientists around the world, there are still some anomalies in the computer....

Arse, elbow confusion - didn't Costing The Earth pronounce some time back that "a single 4x4 vehicle tank will power an average UK 3 bed home for a year"? and iirc hinting that every tank was a dead pensioner or somesuch?

Just toe-curling - simply just what one has to expect from our state broadcaster these days. "Entertainment" isn't a word I'd use to describe three people being paid what £250? each (+ a nice car there and back?) to spout fantastical drivel for 10 minutes each. Surprise guests will be RussyWussy Brand and Viv Westwood.

Mar 28, 2015 at 11:00 PM | Registered Commentertomo

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