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May 31, 2012 at 2:08 PM | John Shade

I was referring to the global mean temperature change.



Jun 1, 2012 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Lord Beaverbrook and others

When I said "We talk to engineers..." I meant the Met Office.



Jun 1, 2012 at 8:47 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:58 AM | RKS

Since when did that entitle you to use the functions of a publicly funded organisation to seek political influence through organized meetings with political bodies and pressure groups?

It doesn't, and I don't.

What will you do when another 'more convincing' hypothesis [not even a theory] is 'proved' to show that the effect of CO2 on the Earth's climate is, within measurement errors as accurate as those you use at present, practically zero?

If this were to happen, which I think is unlikely, but as you say it is worth considering risks, then I'd just carry on researching the impacts of natural climate change / variability and contributing to the ongoing development of climate models to improve their predictive skill.

Pretty much all of what I have been discussing here (the need to improve regional forecast skill on the timescale of seasons, years and decades) applies whether the driver of climate change / variability is human or natural. When people want to know what kind of weather to prepare for, the actual reasons for changes / variability are of secondary interest.

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts


Temperatures evolve in the same manner that global warming equals climate change and a drought can be in effect at the same time as a flood! Confused, I some times think that is the intention, unless there is a competition going on to see who can get their name best associated with new terminology.

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:01 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

May 31, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Lord Beaverbrook

[...] I do so hope that the 'we' does not refer to the IPCC as I thought our previous banter was referencing, because that would be beyond belief.

Or is there no distinction between the two anymore!

You may be hoping in vain, Lord B. At least if Myles Allen's presentation is to be believed. It isn't in the text of his execrable presentation but it is definitely in the video. Shortly after wowing his audience with the "evolving"** temperature which yield a "genuine prediction", he spoke of "The IPCC or us scientists, so to speak".

Please don't make me go watch it a third time so that I can tell you the point in the video at which this occurs ... somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30, I think.

**I guess temperature doesn't go up and down anymore, it "evolves" ... in this brave new world.

Jun 1, 2012 at 7:16 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

I think it comes down to the attitude to risk that I have mentioned before.

We know we are exerting some degree of influence on the climate. We are seeing changes that are consistent with this influence, and there is evidence that the human influence is the major cause of the change although there is still some uncertainty in the extent of this. Moreover, understanding of the system suggests that the strength of human influence will increase further in future.

There appear to be two views in how to respond in the face of this uncertainty:

1. Take a risk-averse approach and scale back the increase in human influence until we know for sure that it is harmless

2. Wait until we have more actual evidence that human influence is harmful before acting to scale it back

Of course the scaling-back of human influence is not without consequence itself.

I wonder if this analogy works? (I'm not very good at analogies so please bear with me!)

We are out for a drive in the car and it stops. We decide to push-start it (we have to do something). We've just started pushing when we see a sign saying "cliff ahead" - but it doesn't say how far ahead. Then we get into an argument about whether to stop pushing or not. One person says of course we should stop pushing because it's taking us towards the cliff. Someone else says that we still need to get the car going, and maybe it's OK because there might be an uphill before we get to the cliff, which would stop the car before it gets there. Someone else says, hang one, what if there is actually a downhill before the cliff, in which case the car will run out of control? However, we don't know for sure what lies ahead, other than that there is a cliff somewhere.

Personally I think most people would suggest stopping pushing the car and check out what lies ahead before continuing, instead of merely assuming everything is OK without knowing for sure.

This is probably a bit of a poor analogy (if so sorry!), but hopefully you get my point about it being about risk management.

May 31, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Richard Betts>>>>>

You say "WE" know.

Who is "WE". Is it the hundreds of thousands of people like yourself who's pay packet depends on the "RISK" being propagated to all and sundry.

I't certainly does not include me or, from the look of it, many other contributors here. It is only a RISK for me if I believe it to be so.

Ergo, the nub of your "risk management" sophistry is that because SOME scientists, many of whom have never qualified in any subject related to the accepted physical sciences, say they "BELIEVE" there is a risk, we should all be prepared to cause industrial collapse through excessive fuel costs, and quite happily take active part in the deaths of our elderly relatives [collateral damage?] by forcibly freezing them to death via 'fuel poverty'

As an unelected scientist at the Met Office you seem, by your posts, to be a nice enough guy.

Since when did that entitle you to use the functions of a publicly funded organisation to seek political influence through organized meetings with political bodies and pressure groups?

My opinion on the subject of your post is not directed to you on a personal level, but over time my previous child like faith in the words of professional scientists has turned into contempt at the way some, perhaps even a majority, of the science 'community' seem happy to corrupt the scientific process in order to gain personally or departmentally.

What will you do when another 'more convincing' hypothesis [not even a theory] is 'proved' to show that the effect of CO2 on the Earth's climate is, within measurement errors as accurate as those you use at present, practically zero?

Surely, after this hypothetical post of yours, that "RISK" to the current CO2 hypothesis also deserves discussion.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Huhne: let's hope he's sentenced to a diet of worms.

May 31, 2012 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

“…climate is probably going to carry on warming for a while, for… political reasons”.

And there we have it. The logic of officialdom: climate is also driven by political ideology! Of course, it must follow – it has to. Look:
Humans make CO2
Humans have politicians to make policy
CO2 changes the climate
CO2 policy happens or doesn’t happen
Politicians drive climate

On closer inspection we can easily see:
Climate was in the past driven by political ignorance
Climate in the present is driven by political indecision
Climate in the future can be driven by political inaction

Those damned politicians. Is there no end to their bureaucratic meddling in the weather?

I don’t suppose you’d admit that that was a classic Richard?

May 31, 2012 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert


I'm not overly familiar with English court procedure but the piece you link to ends with the term "...Friday's plea and case management hearing."

This is a procedural milestone to ensure that, following mutual disclosure of the prosecution and defence evidence, both sides are ready to proceed to trial - we have "intermediate diets" and "preliminary hearings" in Scotland which perform a similar function.

Given that the cards are now on the table, it's not unknown for guilty pleas at this stage in order to secure a lesser penalty, but it's not a foregone conclusion.

May 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

Chris Huhne is appearing in court on Friday - presumably to plead?

May 31, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

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