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Wednesday
Aug272014

More on GCMs and public policy

Richard Betts posted some further thoughts on GCMs and public policy in the previous post on this subject. Since the thread is now heading for 300 comments I thought I'd post his ideas up here and respond in turn.

Richard first set out his understanding of my position.

I'd initially thought that you were claiming that the very need for any kind of climate policy was based on GCMs. Clearly it isn't, for the reasons I stated, but it seems this isn't your point here anyway. You seem to be moving a step further and talking about the importance of GCMs to the details of climate policy (eg. a carbon tax). Here I do partially agree with you - GCMs do of course play a role in the details, as they help with understanding the climate system, but they are by no means the only source of information. Moreover, I don't think the examples you give would be substantially affected if we didn't have GCMs.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug272014

Diary dates, modelling edition

The Rotman Institute of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario has an interesting conference this autumn:

We are delighted to announce that the Rotman Institute of Philosophy will host its second annual conference, Knowledge and Models in Climate Science, on Oct. 24-26, 2014.  The conference will bring together researchers to discuss the use of models in understanding the climate from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  Models and computer simulations are essential not only for understanding the factors determining climate processes, but also for evaluating how changes in climate will affect ecosystems and human societies.  Recent gains in modeling precision and realism have allowed climate researchers to address both questions more confidently, yet there are many remaining sources of uncertainty. Participants in the conference will explore different approaches to modeling in order to gain a better understanding of the nature, strengths and limitations of the knowledge it produces, and build a better understanding of the means by which these uncertainties can be managed.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug262014

What is energy?

From the journal of the Economic Research Council comes this paper by John Constable of Renewable Energy Foundation fame. It considers the question of whether energy is just another factor input into the economy or whether it has a more fundamental role. The conclusion is that energy is different, the reason being found in the realms of thermodynamics:

...wealth is created by using energy to introduce improbable order into the world, in other words a reduction of entropy in one part of the system at the expense of a greater increase in entropy in another.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug252014

Kelly on the engineering challenge

Mike Kelly sends details of a talk he gave last week to a symposium on "Energy Challenges and Mechanics".  Mike writes:

There were about 130 energy experts from 40 countries in the room.

I was heard in respectful (stunned?) silence, and there were two mildly critical questions out of a dozen that I was able to handle.

Several came up to be and congratulated me for the courage in speaking out against the consensus.

If you take a look at the slides (PDF below), you will see that there is nothing that would surprise readers at BH, but 130 more people learning that the renewables king has no clothes is good news indeed.

Kelly ECMA

Sunday
Aug242014

Moonshine

The parliamentary briefing linked in the previous posting is very interesting. There are several bits and pieces worthy of comment. In this post I'm going to pick up on something Keith Shine FRS told the MPs about climate sensitivity.

  • The presentation gave an overview of the fundamentals of the climate system and discussed how sensitive the climate system is to increases in CO2 concentrations. AR5 stated that it was extremely likely that the temperature increase will be between 1.5°C‐4.5°C, although extremely unlikely that it will be less than 1°C and very unlikely of being greater than 6°C.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Aug242014

GCMs and public policy

In the thread beneath the posting about the Chen and Tung paper, Richard Betts left a comment that I thought was interesting and worthy of further thought.

Bish, as always I am slightly bemused over why you think GCMs are so central to climate policy.

Everyone* agrees that the greenhouse effect is real, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
Everyone* agrees that CO2 rise is anthropogenic
Everyone** agrees that we can't predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don't know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can't be certain of large changes in future, but can't rule them out either.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug232014

Dixon's cunning plan

I spent yesterday evening at the Edinburgh Book Festival at a debate about the need for fracking featuring Richard Dixon, the head of Friends of the Earth Scotland and Zoe Shipton, a geologist from the University of Strathclyde. As always with these things one came away frustrated with the sheer brassneck of the environmentalist contingent.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug232014

Before the deluge

Last night climatologist Gareth Jones tweeted that there had been two dozen papers on the pause this year. In response, I wondered how many would have been published if David Whitehouse hadn't have written his groundbreaking report on the subject. This prompted Doug McNeall to comment "About two dozen", a sentiment that was endorsed by Gavin Schmidt.

It's always nice to be challenged, so I thought I'd look into this a bit. Take a look at Google Trends:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug222014

Lewis on Chen and Tung

Nic Lewis emails:

I am sorry to see that Piers Forster has given what I consider to be an incorrect statement to the Guardian (p.19) regarding the new Chen & Tung Science paper about the Atlantic storing excess heat. He is quoted as saying: "Most importantly, this paper is another nail in the coffin of the idea that the hiatus is evidence that our projections of long-term climate change need revising down."

The paper very much supports the view of those scientists, including myself, who consider that natural variability in the ocean significantly affects surface warming trends on a multidecadal basis. It does not support the view that a reduction in the rate of increase in radiative forcing caused by aerosols, solar variations, reduction in stratospheric water vapour, etc. is the prime cause of the hiatus.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug222014

It's the Atlantic wot dunnit

Updated on Aug 22, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Overnight the big climate news has been the new paper by Chen and Tung, which seeks to explain the pause in surface temperature rise, now nearly 18 years old on some measures. Judith Curry has excerpts here, while a layman's summary is available at the Economist.

The story goes that much of the missing heat is to be found in the Atlantic, with a slow-moving current speeding up in recent times so that heat is drawn down into the deep-ocean. The theory seems to be that this process runs over a 60-year cycle, for half the time with the depths warming and the surface cooling and half the time the other way round. Chen and Tung conclude that we are currently in a surface cooling phase, so the pause could last another ten years or more.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug212014

UKIP target Climate Change Act

UKIP seem to be perservering in their opposition to the UK's insane climate and energy policies, according to an article in Prospect magazine.

The party is also committed to the abolition of the Climate Change Act, which he estimates costs Britain £18bn a year. “We are looking to shrink the Department for Energy & Climate Change,” he says, adding that, “there are elements of BIS [Business, Innovation and Skills] that we are looking into.” The plans to shrink these departments will be independently reviewed, though “not by the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility], even though they are likely to tear it to pieces anyway.”

Thursday
Aug212014

In retwardian, "grossly misleading" means "correct"

Further to this morning's post about Bob Ward's New Statesman attack piece against Matt Ridley, take a look at this. In his article, Ward said the following:

...Ridley's article suggested that “there is no global increase in floods”, and “there has been a decline in the severity of droughts”. Both statements were grossly misleading. Climate change is increasing global average temperature, but its impact on extreme weather differs across the world. Some regions are becoming wetter while others are becoming drier.

Ridley's claim about drought was based on a paper that did the rounds of the internet a few months back. The key graph is this one:

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug212014

Oi, Lord Stern! Your boy took one hell of a beating

Bob Ward has one of his tedious disinformation pieces at the New Statesman blog, yet again attacking Matt Ridley.

Bob is getting something of a pasting in the comments.

Wednesday
Aug202014

Belgium asks "Can I borrow your power cable?"

Reader "Wellers" writes with an update from Belgium on the energy crisis there.

Yesterday there was more bad news regarding the two 1GW power stations already shut down in Belgium. They are probably shut down for good.

Predictably, the Energy Minister has come on air to try to allay the public’s fears. He appears to have a “cunning plan”, as Baldrick would say. Here is a quick translation I made from today’s De Standaard newspaper:

“There is an extra power station, but the cable is missing”

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug202014

The science of flooding

Anthony has an interesting report about a new paper that finds that increased flooding is mostly due to increased exposure - in other words that we are building homes closer to rivers than before. Flooding is therefore yet another area in which an impact from the warming at the end of last century is yet to be demonstrated.

Is there any justification for the kind of ambulance chasing exhibited by the Committee on Climate Change, for example this little gem from Lord Deben?

I hope floods will cause pause among dismissers. Can't forget "some woman Slingo" It revealed contempt they have for science.

Click to read more ...