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Discussion > Trouble At T'Jewel in the Crown

Hi Hilary

The MC&M article on Marcott was updated on 12th May on my request. The wording of the revised post came from me.

I do sometimes tweet "positive highlights from the skeptical side of the fence" - see this for example.

It is commonly understood on twitter that retweeting does not imply endorsement. @cheekyclimate tweeted me and re-tweeted them since (as I said to you on twitter when you mentioned it) I like to encourage online debate and discussion. That's why I come here and to other blogs, even yours occasionally! I certainly don't agree 100% with everything I engage with, and actually I get some criticism for posting on sceptic blogs as I am told it increases web traffic and gives the blog attention. But I just like to encourage discussion. As I said on twitter, I do agree with you that the particular joke that Martin A highlights is in poor taste, like the 10:10 exploding heads video was.

I'm not aware of any connection between @cheekyclimate and the Met Office other than them telling me about their Facebook page (as you saw), and them quoting something from the Met Office website. It definitely isn't Rob Hutt - he's been too busy doing other stuff for My Climate and Me, which I am sure you are looking forward to seeing.... :-)

Jun 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts

I've commented before to recommend it prudent to have an impacts assessment for a little ice age type cooling scenario ready in your back pocket 'just in case'. Have any of these commercial customers asked for that one yet? I would.

Jun 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM | Registered CommenterPharos


No, they haven't, although I was once a co-author on a paper about our simulation of the last 500 years, which included the LIA

Jun 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Hilary -
regarding the MC&M article, I think the heading was removed before May 14 which was when I posted my last comment beneath it.

Jun 12, 2013 at 6:19 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

"...actually I get some criticism for posting on sceptic blogs as I am told it increases web traffic and gives the blog attention."

A pep behind the scenes in the climate wars. What scientist on earth, with a theory worth a penny, wouldn't want to engage with his/her critics and explain his/her theory? On the other hand I know most religions don't encourage discourse with non-believers.

Jun 12, 2013 at 6:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Thanks geronimo. I completely agree with you there.

Jun 12, 2013 at 8:05 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

"...actually I get some criticism for posting on sceptic blogs as I am told it increases web traffic and gives the blog attention."

That is revealing (of the attitude of those who make such criticism).

If you think that continued acceptance of your theory requires making it difficult for people to find and read comments critical of your theory, that indicates that you yourself find the evidence for it less than convincing.

Desiring people to believe in something despite the evidence being less than 100% convincing means that you are playing the role of evangelist.

Jun 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

Again, I agree.

I should clarify that the negative comments I get tend to be from activists rather than scientists.

My twitter followers will have seen the disapproval I sometimes receive from certain people - there clearly is an evagelical element (at both ends of the debate). Far better, IMHO, to talk to everyone and be prepared to either criticise or agree with anyone on the merit of their argument rather than which 'side' they are perceived to be on.

Jun 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Please sir, I have a question.

Based on my conjecture that when the ice age returns the Met Office will be the last to know and the last to acknowledge it, is anybody there open-minded enough to be working on the possibility that if a signal rises and then levels off, the next move may well be down? That is, are we on a sine wave? I think it's arguable. If I were a serious scientist, I'd want to check it out, but my approach would need to be that that IS what's happening. If you go into it with a mindset that is one of defending your pre-conceptions (and the institutional wisdom of your employer) you are never going to find it. Is the Met open-minded enough to do that? Well, if it is, who is working on it?

Jun 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda


You might find the chart below to be of interest. It contains (I hope) the 30 year warming rates for HadCRUT4 and its constituent parts, CRUTEM and HadSST. LH scale is C/decade.

Appended to HadCRUT4 is the latest Met Office Decadal (5 year) Forecast - red dotted line.

Looks as though somebody thinks we are on a wave?

Jun 12, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Jun 12, 2013 at 6:19 AM | matthu

regarding the MC&M article, I think the heading was removed before May 14 which was when I posted my last comment beneath it.

Thanks, matthu. Richard confirms this in his response above. So it took three iterations and full two months before the MO removed this Marcott meme! Amazing, eh?! The MO's error correction protocol must be as unwieldy as that of the IPCC (if not more so!)

Considering that MC&M choose not to date changes on their posts - not to mention the many questions about their highly questionable judgment in posting it in the first place - I suppose it would have been nice if Richard had posted a comment here (or anywhere else that this MC&M post title had been discussed!), letting us know.

But I guess he has other more important things to do ... such as "engaging" with "fresh and fun" (and, as Martin has noted, "creepy") FaceBook pages of unknown authorship by retweeting their "birth announcement". And taking umbrage at GWPF's: Jan.7/13:

If the latest Met Office prediction is correct, and it accords far more closely with the observed data than previous predictions, then it will prove to be a lesson in humility. It will show that the previous predictions that were given so confidently as advice to the UK government and so unquestioningly accepted by the media, were wrong, and that the so-called sceptics who were derided for questioning them were actually on the right track. [GWPF's textual sin bolded by me -hro]

And subsequently blaming me for his more recent twitter-follies which morphed from 'teasing [me]' to "winding [me] up" to (many hours later!) being just desserts for the heinous sin of "sarcasm" inherent in "Nah ... must just be coincidence, right?!" with which I had concluded my previous observations - and questions - in this thread [Jun 11, 2013 at 7:05 AM].

Oh, well ... such are the rules of "public engagement": Retweeting and "SHOUT OUT"'s to "fresh and fun" (and creepy) Facebook pages of unknown authorship are unimpeachable behaviours. But any phrasing that might be adversely interpreted by those of sensitive temperament at this "jewel in the crown, of British science and global science" is, evidently, questionable - if not verboten, and/or subject to justifiable grudge-bearing and/or reprisal;-)

Jun 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Hi Hilary

My tweets last night were a bit childish - sorry! By "winding up" up I again meant "teasing" - I didn't mean I was trying to make you angry. Hopefully I didn't. And I didn't mean sarcasm (perceived or real) was a "sin", just that it was beyond just asking a straightforward question (as Barry said) and I replied in a sarcastic manner. Bit silly, I admit. No offence meant :-)

You're probably right that it would have been useful to highlight the change to the MC&M post, but I guess I just assumed that you'd notice anyway since you'd been keeping an eye on it. Another lesson in not making assumptions....! :-)

Best wishes


Jun 12, 2013 at 10:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Hi rhoda

What you describe is what we do already. We don't make the models behave in any particular way because someone has told us to. I guess we could force the models to induce an overall cooling trend over the next few years, but that would require either an expectation of an overall negative forcing or an assumption that there is some mode of internal variability that is simply not captured by the models. I'm not aware of any evidence for either of these, but I am open-minded about it. (I want to get the projections right - like you, I am not at all keen on expensive action being taken unnecessarily). Any convincing reason why we should expect long-term cooling would be welcome (other than a major volcanic eruption or other unpredictable external forcing).

Jun 12, 2013 at 10:40 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Hi Richard, do you have a few minutes to comment on the following (gash) chart?

I have a personal concern, if, BIG IF, HadCRUT4 is going to confirm a 60 year cycle, then CRUTEM (land) rate of warming is going to reduce significantly and as the majority of the recorded warming is in the NH, you will I am sure as a fellow occupant appreciate my concerns.

What do you think the chances are that a 60 year cycle will be confirmed? Should only take (IMVHO) another 3 to 4 years to do so and those years are covered by the latest MO Decadal Forecast.

As always


Jun 12, 2013 at 10:59 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Hi Green Sand

That figure doesn't have any info on what quantity is actually being plotted.



Jun 12, 2013 at 11:15 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard, as I tried to say, you won't find such a problem with that approach. Let's examine the physical rules you put into the models, and the parameterisation. Are you SURE that they are all correct? Have they each individually been confirmed by measurement? What I am looking for here is what I understand is called a red team in industry. A group whose question is 'What if we are wrong?' But I do not believe the Met Office could do that or that the careers of participants would be safe. Perhaps I am being unfair though.

Jun 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Hi Richard

From above:-

"It contains (I hope) the 30 year warming rates for HadCRUT4 and its constituent parts, CRUTEM and HadSST. LH scale is C/decade.

Appended to HadCRUT4 is the latest Met Office Decadal (5 year) Forecast - red dotted line."

Hope that clarifies the (gash) chart?



Jun 12, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

'Now for global warming. Of course we are going through a period of warming, but so far as human culpability is concerned I am a total sceptic and I fear we are dealing with political manoeuvring. There was, for example, much greater marked warming at the end of the Maunder Minimum; what about the Mediaeval Maximum, when Britain was hotter than it is now? No doubt, the present period of warming will be followed by a period of cooling, as has happened in the past time and time again. After all, the Sun is to a mild extent a variable star and we cannot control it' The Late Sir Patrick Moore, interviewed by Edward Hanna, Royal Meteorological Society, 2007 doi: 10.1002/wea.38.

Jun 13, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

I see claims that the Met is going to brainstorm the failure of the weather to match what they think ought to be happening. Just as I suggested. No need to thank me.

It will not work if the underlying aim is to protect what has been said and done up to now. What needs to happen is for somebody to stand up and say 'What if we are wrong?'. I fear though the theme will only be 'How can we stop looking stupid?'. The answer to that one is stop BEING stupid.

Jun 14, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

I'm late to the party as ever.

Richard, you wrote:

"...increasingly there are new sources of revenue such as commercial contracts with the private sector, which are competed for against other organisations (including commercial consultancies). This includes a growing areas of climate consultancy and climate services (ie: advice on climate variability and climate change sold to other organisations and businesses who see a business benefit in being able to make informed decisions on aspects of their operations which are sensitive to climate.

Presumably if these customers find this information to be not worthwhile, they'll stop paying us for it. However, on the contrary, this is a growing area, and we get a lot of repeat business. Some of these customers include industries which invest very heavily in long-term infrastructure - eg: energy sector (non-renewable as well as renewable), transport sector, utility companies, mining and oil companies. Opening a new mine or marine oilfield is a massive investment and they want to know about potential risks of, say, reduced water supply or changes in sea conditions."

How long would it take an organisation to evaluate whether information on climate change was worthwhile or not? Wouldn't that take rather a long time?

Are you suggesting that "this is a growing area, and we get a lot of repeat business" because your customers are finding that your assessments of future climate change are accurate, and have been accurate for some time? That seems rather unlikely to me, given the MO's track record.

Isn't it possible that you get a lot of business in this area because organisations are being scared into it by doom-and-gloom predictions of possible catastrophe? Haven't many of these predictions originated from the Met Office?

Isn't it of concern that the Met Office now has a very obvious financial interest in telling people to be worried about climate change?

Jun 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Also late to the party.

Richard, Rhoda asks if there is any modelling to investigate the possibility of falling temperatures. An interesting computation would be to model solar variability as a function of planetary dynamics (which seems to provide a reasonably good fit to the empirical data):

How easy, or difficult, would it be for your models to simulate that? Do you think that it is worth doing, as this theory seems to predict dangerous global cooling in the coming years?

Jun 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

I see claims that the Met is going to brainstorm the failure of the weather to match what they think ought to be happening. (...)
Jun 14, 2013 at 8:30 AM rhoda

Specially called meetings are a symptom of management panic in an organisation and they are a tacit admission that the organisation's normal processes are broken and are not coping with the situation.

On another discussion thread I asked RB (not too rudely/aggressively, I hope) if the Met Office has held a seminar on Professor Murry Salby's work.

Salby's work, so far as I can see, hangs together and makes sense. If there is a fallacy in it, I have not yet spotted it. But it is in many ways the exact opposite of the MO view on climate change.

Salby: Temperature controls CO2
MO: CO2 controls temperature

Salby: Recent temperature + CO2 changes are in no way unprecedented
MO: Recent temperature + CO2 changes are unprecedented

Salby: A hind-test is not a strong test of predictive skill.
MO: Computer models are the only way to predict changes in climate (...) their reliability is tested by seeing if they are able to reproduce the past climate.

etc etc

I think that whether or not the MO has considered Salby's work will be an interesting metric of where they are positioned on the "the science is settled" scale.

Jun 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

They get a lot of business because more and more organisations are forced to use environmental consultants in order to do anything, by green legislation.

We all pay in the end when the end product gets more expensive as a result.

Jun 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW


I can not see a fallacy in Salby's work either. I found his lecture very impressive and it should be recommended to all BH readers. After I watched it I pondered if a further step in his mathematics could have used Scafetta's cycles (see above) to provide further correlation, giving an overarching thesis that mean surface temperatures were entirely natural and governed solely by planetary dynamics.

(I am interested in Scafetta's work because it not only provides the 60 year cycle discussed above, but also a strong 983 year beat cylcle, that could be used to explain the MWP and the LIA).

Jun 16, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Rhoda, I am assuming that the Met Office brainstorming session will NOT be about how they came to make 12 out of 13 forecasts 180 degrees out of phase. We have had a hiatus in warming while the CO2 has risen 8%, so there is clearly something big they don't understand, some unknown, unknown that isn't in the models, but instead of admitting this Slingo et al have changed the message to "warmest years on record." They are activists plain and simple, at least at the top management level.

Richard's point about the models seems to assume that he is sure that everything there is to know. Surely that can't be true.

Jun 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo