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« Accelerating global warming | Main | Dellers on Radio 5 »
Friday
Mar232012

Pinning down the debate

In his Radio 5 interview, James Delingpole correctly framed the argument over AGW as being over (a) how large the effect is (b) how much warming there will be and (c) how much of a problem it is.

Vicky Pope at the Met Office has taken a different approach in an article in the Guardian today.

You can see research by the Met Office that shows the evidence of man-made warming is even stronger than it was when the last IPCC report was published. A whole range of different datasets and independent analyses show the world is warming. There is a broad consensus that over the last half century warming has been rapid, and man-made greenhouse gas emissions are very likely to be the cause.

Long-term changes in our climate system have been observed across the globe, from shifts in rainfall patterns to a decline in Arctic sea-ice. The changes follow the pattern of expected climate change and bear the fingerprint of human influence, providing the clearest evidence yet that human activity is impacting our climate. The rate of warming and ice melt varies and some regions warm faster while others don't warm at all for a while. Again, it's the big picture that's important.

Given the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change, it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time. In fact, it's essential we move on and focus on the future, because climate change will pose challenges for humanity.

Saying that it warmed in the last century is not really helping anyone get to grips with the debate, since everyone agrees that this is the case (we can quibble over UHI and stuff like that, but this is not going to make the warming trend go away). How these changes are "rapid" somewhat eludes me, since even Phil Jones has agreed that warming at similar rates has been observed in the past.

Likewise, "overwhelming evidence for manmade climate change" is a point of agreement across all sides. Man has affected the climate since the forests were cleared for agriculture. The question, as I say, is how much raised carbon dioxide levels will affect the climate and to what extent it is a problem. The evidence for this, I would say, is not overwhelming at all, relying on models that have no proven skill in predicting the temperature.

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Reader Comments (56)

Vicky Pope:

"...Given the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change, it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time...."

Time to stop wasting money funding research then!

As to 'overwhelming evidence', let's hear about some, instead of just repeating the same old pathetic AGW alarmist mantras.

Mar 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

Her job clearly depends on keeping Chairman ex-WWF Napier happy, not the public she is meant to serve. She is going to say anything to contradict the boss? Is the Pope Vicky?

Mar 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterLondonCalling

There is a broad consensus...

Yeah yeah.

Given the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change, it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time....


When - and how - was it "proved"? I obviously missed that bit.

It certainly wasn't mentioned in the emails.

Mar 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Usual hand-waving flannel.
When she comes up with some serious evidence I might be interested in listening.
How anyone who knows anything at all about the earth and its history and its climate can use the phrase "long-term changes" when talking about anything less than a millennium let alone fifty years or can imagine for one minute that Arctic ice that may be at a low level compared with thirty years ago is anything particularly out of the ordinary beggars belief.
The woman either simply does not know what she is talking about or doesn't care as long as the grant money keeps rolling in.
I agree with you, DougS. If the evidence is so overwhelming, turn off the tap. We can spend the money on us hard-put-upon pensioners!!

Mar 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"The changes follow the pattern of expected climate change and bear the fingerprint of human influence, providing the clearest evidence yet that human activity is impacting our climate"

Fingerprints are found by forensic investigations. Forensic investigations are related to scientific methodology.
Where is the scientific methodology that has found the human fingerprint.This is Mythology not methodology.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

"Dr Vicky Pope

Vicky is Head of Integration and Growth. She is responsible for maximising the benefits for government of our science capability and that of our partners.

(...)

Building on her scientific research experience, in 2002 she was promoted and moved to become a programme manager in climate research. This was first as Head of Government Meteorological Research, then as Head of the Defra Climate Prediction Programme and from 2007 as Head of Climate Change Advice. In these roles the focus was on the provision of climate change advice to underpin policy development. More recently, she focussed on improving the communication of climate change in the light of its increasing importance in the public arena. "

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/people/vicky-pope

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

It's a classic Straw man. Frame the debate and the audience will believe that is what the debate is about. The BBC are brilliant at it.

Examples.
We want to spend less: You want to spend nothing.
We want to talk about immigration: You hate foreigners.
We want to talk about how much warming there might be and is it dangerous: You deny any warming.
These particular scientists are incompetent/crooked/bullies: You hate all scientists.

Simple, but effective.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

For those that have not seen it, take a look at:-

"Open letter to the Met Office:"

http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/1727950?currentPage=3

"It is exactly this kind of misleading propaganda put out by
climate scientists that is responsible for the increasing
distrust of the whole field by scientists from other areas."

Encapsulates the MO precisely, always, always, propaganda before science. Spin destroyed the public trust in politicians and the MO and their ilk will destroy the public trust in science, a far more serious situation. This could affect the way the public relates with scientists for generations.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Do read the article, then comment at the Graun. The title and sub heading say it all:

Do you believe in climate change?
That's not a question you should be asking – it's a matter of empirical evidence, not belief
And the article is entirely about empirical evidence - not of climate change, but of public confusion, caused by politics and “cognitive dissonance”. The evidence has been gathered by Vicky herself, in pubs and the like.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

>>A whole range of different datasets and independent analyses show the world is warming. <<

Really, Vicky.

Here are three that clearly don't, right back to 1997. All good stuff, two from your very own Hadley Centre

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1997/plot/rss/from:1997/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997/trend

Stop making stuff up, dear.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterCatweazle666

Vicky Pope:

"Given the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change, it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time."

So I take it Vicky has disproved the Null Hypothesis? No? Oh dear. Onward and upwards then.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

'More recently, she focussed on improving the communication of climate change in the light of its increasing importance in the public arena.'

Is this not all but identical to Michael Mann's chosen focus in recent years? I can't find it right now, but I think I came across a recent quote by him to the effect that he was enjoying his move into being a communicator about climate change.

Did they all draw lots to take on this role? Did he and Vicky get the short straws or the long?

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Vicky NOT mentioinng that the warming in1st half of 20th century, is put down to natural, is also annoying.. just states 0.75C since 1900. no break down of attribution.

clear implication in her writing, that all is agw.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

The Met Office model has a warming bias because they have programmed it to regard CO2 as the dominant driver and of course, CO2 concentrations are increasing, albeit in trace quantities. They also underestimate and reject the possible relationship between solar activity and climate because it is a threat to their assumptions.

Their credibility is declinining because there is no longer a correlation between CO2 level and temperature and the longer this situation lasts, the more isolated their position will become. It is therefore essential for them to keep the pressure on the government to regard global warming as a serious threat.Their funding is at stake.

The central message of the Guardian article is that the evidence of man made warming due to CO2 is overwhelming.

Clearly, the opposite is true. It is underwhelming and paper after paper shows that the assumptions about sensitivity were wrong and scientists greatly exaggerated the threat to policy makers.

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

"There is also increased activity among sceptical groups to obscure the scientific evidence in order to influence public opinion"

Links to an article about Heartland. Ooh my ribs are hurting.

Mar 23, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

This is not an article about climate change, but about public opinion, a subject on which Ms Pope is clearly confused. Think about her position. She says we shouldn’t be asking whether we believe in climate change. We should just .... believe. Because she says so.
The question arises: should scientific-minded people like Delingpole deign to debate with those like the Met Office’s Vicky Pope whose opinions are clearly faith-based?

Mar 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

linking to Guardian - reporting FAKE quotes designed to smear as well..

Does Vicky really believe, that Heartland want to 'dissuade teachers from teaching science'..

Heartland say fake, and have explained why. many media commentators also agree a fake, that no sceptic would talk like that.

Vicky seems to have a very shallow understaning of why sceptics are sceptical..

seems to think, repeating the earth has warmed since 1900 is the only argument.

Mar 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Likewise, "overwhelming evidence for manmade climate change" is a point of agreement across all sides. Man has affected the climate since the forests were cleared for agriculture. The question, as I say, is how much raised carbon dioxide levels will affect the climate and to what extent it is a problem. The evidence for this, I would say, is not overwhelming at all, relying on models that have no proven skill in predicting the temperature.

The sorts of questions I think are important are along the lines of those asked by the Bish.

What's the most likely value of climate sensitivity?
What is the uncertainty around this value?
Are models a reliable guide to determining climate sensitivity?
If not, how best do we determine climate sensitivity?
What are the likely impacts for a range of emissions budgets at the most likely climate sensitivity?
What are the uncertainties around these impacts?

There are similiar questions around the cost (uncertainties) of various rates of mitigation and adaptation.

Mar 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichieRich

"it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time."

If that is the case just what are HadSST3 and HadCRUT4 for, if not for new propaganda “fixes”?

O the transparency!

Mar 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

The problem is that the mindset of the people employed in the global warming industry is for self preservation of the status quo. The only way this will be expunged is in a court of law. The sooner this happens the better.

Mar 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

What IF, in the next decade or 2 (natural variability) , we lose all of the rise in tempdue to the late 21st century warming (period of about 20 yrs)

This of course would NOT disprove AGW

But what would Vicky say.. of course what cause the rise could course the fall.. ie ocean cycles, solar cyscles, combination.. or would it be down to all those chinese coal fired power stations, aerosols.. etc

I'm not saying this is going to happen. But the next 10 years actual observed temps should be interesting..

Mar 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

This is interestesting:

http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/nzclimate-truth-newsletter-no-287.html

Mar 23, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

I did actually put a quote with that post but it disappeared.

"I have been an Expert Reviewer on every one of the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and I can tell you that there is not a scrap of evidence in any of them that human emissions of carbon dioxide have any harmful effect on the climate."

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

Vicky Pope: "Given the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change, it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time. In fact, it's essential we move on and focus on the future, because climate change will pose challenges for humanity."

We are invariably told that the evidence for catastrophic man-made global warming is 'overwhelming'. So it's worth asking what actually gets overwhelmed by the evidence and what climate scientists might be doing if the evidence was simply convincing or, perhaps, compelling?

If the statement is supposed to mean the evidence for catastrophic man-made global warming overwhelms the evidence against it, then we might think it is the job of science to shift its curiosity onto the lesser evidence in an attempt to discover (and then acknowledge) a value in it - a process which, if successful, would result in a more balanced overview.

If (as I suspect) Vicky Pope means she has been overwhelmed by the evidence for catastrophic man-made global warming, we would be justified in asking if anyone in a state of being overwhelmed is able to do their job effectively? It may be that when Ms Pope (and her cohorts) talk of being overwhelmed, what they are letting us know is that a deep-seated political felt-need has become attached to an area of scientific research and overwhelmed it. In which case, to be 'overwhelmed' and to be 'corrupted' are one and the same thing.

Demands to "move on" and "focus on the future" (usually someone else's), of course, are classic diversions we expect to hear from any person overwhelmed by something debilitating and in denial about it. In psychology, I think it's called a 'protection racket'.

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

The Met office evidence page that Vicky links to is very interesting:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/policy-relevant/evidence

It starts out with
"The evidence continues to accumulate, strengthening the link between man's activity and a wide range of indicators of a changing climate"

however, in the body of the document there is not a single point of evidence linking man's activity to climate change. Maybe I missed it, it is early and before coffee here.

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

Pope, yet again uses prestidigitation [what's new?], what she fails to tell us - is mankind's signature cannot be detected in the noise of what is a pretty moderate but rather bountiful warming and therefore, if mankind's trace and influence is thus so small - then what is the problem?

We have knocked back all of their flimsy 'evidence', now the MET OFFICE tack is, there is no argument and the game is over - fingers in ears and singing lalala. The theme being - "we must carry on regardless and on course, wasting taxpayer's money, buy bigger computers and continue with promulgating our march into green taxes, sustainability renewable energy madness - which will inevitably end in Knighthoods for us and de-industrialisation for all you - the disgusting proletariat" - so says Vicky chief apologist and lackey of Napier WWF/ Met office climate agitators inc.

Met Office say there's a problem = there isn't a problem, why do we pay these dull witless civil servants, I mean the DECC/DEFRA could have written this - BS AGW echoes and advocacy permeates this pathetic coalition government and all of its administration - the MET OFFICE being a prime example.

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I think she is utterly out of her depth. Presumably she joined the Met Office to do scientific research. She now finds herself promoting a lie (current excuse for lack of warming - 'we have to look at the bigger picture') to the dim-witted and gullible.

It wouldn't make me very keen to go to the office every day unless a big, fat non-Greek pension was in the offing.

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Maybe she meant to say 'underwhelming evidence'?

If we can prove that the rise in CO2 is a direct consequence of the MWP it'll be the end of the line for the Great Global Warming Hoax:

http://endisnighnot.blogspot.com/#!/2012/03/lets-get-sorted.html

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

John Shade.: this is the Mann quotation you thought of, I expect -(H/T harold on Thought for the Day post)

"I have gradually grown to embrace the role that I now find myself in - as a communicator"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztKFTxC6kVI ( reported and produced by Suzanne Goldenberg)

Mar 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

We live in two parallel universes. One where the planet is warming rapidly with a temperature/graph curve shaped like a hockey stick, used by a few scientists to play climate hockey with, and another universe where planet earth's temperature is shown as cyclical in the daily, seasonal, yearly decadal, multi-decadal and mellenial scale.

We have the option of choosing the universe one likes best.

The truth is that the southern hemisphere has just had a summer without a summer, while the northern hemisophere had a few warm spots and a near record ice cover, both land and sea.

Mar 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

A few weeks ago Richard Betts apologised here for allowing his name and that of the Met Office to be linked to hysterical comments in the Graun by (I think) Damian Carrington. Now Vicky Pope has allowed her name and that of the Met Office to be linked to an article peddling lies from a forged document. And she wants us to believe her. In fact she says we must believe her.
First she should insist that the Guardian issue an apology for allowing her name to be used in this way. Then tell us exactly what it is that she demands that we believe.

Mar 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

From the archives...


Warming
Climate change - the facts
(Met Office publication 2009)

It's now clear that man-made greenhouse gases are causing climate change. The rate of change began as significant, has become alarming and is simply unsustainable in the long-term. Climate change is a very real and urgent global issue. Its consequences are being experienced every day. We read about it in newspapers, hear it debated in Parliament and our children learn about it in school.

(...)

Our well-being will be threatened by more frequent and intense heatwaves, floods, storms, wildfires and droughts around the world.

(...)

Since the industrial revolution, additional greenhouse gases have had about ten times the effect on climate as changes in the Sun's output. (...) We now know that man-made CO2 is the likely cause of most of the warming over the last fifty years.

(...)

Are computer models reliable?
Yes.
(...)
Computer models are the only reliable way to predict changes in climate. Their reliability is tested by seeing if they are able to reproduce the past climate, which give scientists confidence that they can also predict the future.

(...)

What's the rush?
Urgent steps need to be taken to tackle climate change
(...)

Mar 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

She now finds herself promoting a lie (current excuse for lack of warming - 'we have to look at the bigger picture') to the dim-witted and gullible.

And that to include all of her colleagues at The MO Exeter because not one of them has the either the scientific acumen, knowledge or guts to correct her BS.

Mar 23, 2012 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Peter S
I’m not sure that Vicky Pope means that she has been overwhelmed by the evidence for catastrophic man-made global warming. I think that, as a scientist, she would see it as her job to refuse to be overwhelmed, while, as a communicator, it’s her job to see to it that we are overwhelmed.

It’s a class thing, officers and other ranks. We’re not supposed to ask questions.

Mar 23, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

The Dellingpole interview was a very telling one. He is right in that this has not very much to do with science any more and a lot to do with career and reputation. Richard Bacon is a classic case, young and unprepared,but knew that it would cost him his career not to give James Dellingpole a grilling reminiscent of the Spanish Inquistion. This is the price you pay when earth science over two decades ( once called geography) is paraded as a pseudo science of which any witch doctor would be proud. If it is any consolation, I find hard line climate changers few on the ground these days ( on a sliding scale with economic gloom), a rational consensus may well emerge.

Mar 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth.

Mar 23, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Argument analysis of Vicky Pope article

First 508 words of article: Useless. Setting the stage stuff. Good for her, but there is nothing new.

Then comes claim (1) (in paragraph 7 of the Guardian article):

You can see research by the Met Office that shows the evidence of man-made warming is even stronger than it was when the last IPCC report was published.

Actually, there are two claims here. Firstly, that more 'evidence' has accumulated, and secondly, that the Meteorological Office page she links to provides such evidence. Both are false. Indeed the page, gingerly, provides speculations to the contrary.

Then comes claim (2) in continuity:

There is a broad consensus that over the last half century warming has been rapid, and man-made greenhouse gas emissions are very likely to be the cause.

This leads to another page of the esteemed Meteorological Office. The page makes this categorical statement:

Temperature increase — global temperatures have increased by about 0.75 °C over the past century and 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. Human influence has been detected on every continent

Mindnumbed by the bald non-sequitor, I looked at the paper which allows the Office to make such statements. It is to be found here. Called "Detection and attribution of climate change: a regional perspective", this Stott and Hegerl paper itself finishes with the global attribution argument quickly enough, to deal with its preoccupation - regional attribution. I won't even get into that aspect, which, scientist Roger Pielke Sr has simply labelled 'climate science malpractice'. However for the paper the global attribution argument appears based on three main points (found on page 193-194):

1) Cooling can happen in long term warm trends: "However, as demonstrated in papers by Easterling and Wehner and by Knight et al.,decade long trends with little warming or cooling are to be expected under a sustained long-term warming trend... "

Analysis: True or not, the above point is irrelevant in a pro-attribution argument, which Stott and Hegerl are making.

In addition, Zorita et al. have shown that the observed recent clustering of warm record-breaking global temperatures is very unlikely to have occurred by chance in a stationary climate.

Analysis: Mind-numbing circular argument black hole. This is classical 'begging the question' and nothing more: Does a 'clustering of warm events' result in 'climate change,' or does a 'change in the climate' produce a clustering of warm events? No answer.

and then, finally,

The simplest technique [of attribution] is to compare observed changes in aspects of the fingerprint with model simulations with and without anthropogenic forcings, as illustrated in Figure 2

Figure 2 is nothing but the famous IPCC 'with-CO2 without-CO2' graph. Without getting into the circular argument the IPCC makes with that graph, ...we need to pause here.

It looks as though the global attribution argument of Stott and Hegerl that Pope cites, rests on the IPCC 2007 argument. In which case Pope's claim that new evidence has accumulated since the IPCC report is patently false. The 'evidence' is neither new, nor are such modelling exercises 'evidence'.

One can, of course, be more strict and throw out Pope's entire argument on far simpler and more robust grounds. Only 5 more years worth of 'evidence' has accumulated since the last IPCC report and, if anything, these 5 years worth of data have only been problematic to the attribution argument.

Then comes another 222 words from Pope: Again, useless. If the case was not made in the foregoing passage(s), the concluding portion is without little basis anyway.

Mar 23, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Vicky Pope's article is embarassingly devoid of substance, and the linking to the disgracefully and probably libellous Heartland article by Suzanne Goldenberg in the Guardian to dismiss scientific debate by smearing sceptics is particularly repugnant.

Mar 23, 2012 at 5:10 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Trefjon on Mar 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

In my day, Geography wasn't considered a science at all, and though Geographers did use scientific results to great effect, they would often use data that had not been collected in a scientific experiment.

Counting the number of vehicles crossing a line in the road may be an experiment, but it is not science! Neither is cooking, but it can be used to great effect as well.

There are also some university departments listed as "Geography and Earth Science Department" (http://www.uwlax.edu/geography/) which does hint that they are different!

Earth Science and Geography are different, as listed here:
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=difference%20geography%20and%20earth%20science&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww0.hku.hk%2Fearthsci%2Fdepartment%2FGeographyandEarthSciences.doc&ei=x6lsT_e-BZSk0AXuwKHKBg&usg=AFQjCNHyfJBVq0dES2qYZhCH0OzrquR53Q&sig2=6rlXJszRXHddGsoGwpUO4g&cad=rjt

Geography - The study of the earth’s surface, form, physical features, natural and political divisions, climate, productions, population, etc. Geography is usually divided into two main branches – physical geography and human geography. It is the physical geography part which is more closely related to earth sciences. Subjects commonly studied include:
Biogeography (study of the distribution of plants and animals)
Cartography (study of maps and diagrams)
Climatology (study of climate)
Geographical information system (study of computer applications in geography)
Geomorphology (study of landforms)
Historical geography (study of the history of geographical development)
Pedology (study of soils)
Transportation geography (study of communications)
Urban geography (study of major settlements especially cities)
Career - Mainly as school teachers

Earth sciences - The science including:
Climatology (study of climate)
Economic geology (study of materials that can be utilized profitably)
Engineering geology (study of geological applications in engineering)
Geochemistry (study of the chemistry of the earth)
Geochronology (study of dating methods and their applications)
Geomorphology (study of landforms)
Geophysics (study of the physics of the earth)
Hydrology (study of global water)
Meteorology (study of the atmosphere)
Mineralogy (study of minerals)
Oceanography (study of oceans)
Palaeoclimatology (study of climates of the past)
Palaeoecology (study of the relationship between organisms and environment in the past)
Palaeogeography (reconstruction of the physical geography of the past)
Palaeontology (study of fossils and the history of life on Earth)
Pedology (study of soils)
Petrology (study of rocks)
Planetary geology (study of the geology of other planets)
Sedimentology (study of sediments and sedimentary rocks)
Stratigraphy (study of layered rocks in time and space)
Structural geology (study of geological structures)
Tectonics (study of the larger deformation features)
Volcanology (study of volcanoes and their associated products)
Career - More variable depending on specialization; in Hong Kong mainly as geologists/engineering geologists/geotechnical engineers

Mar 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Posted by Martin A, above (originally published by the Met Office):

"Computer models are the only reliable way to predict changes in climate. Their reliability is tested by seeing if they are able to reproduce the past climate, which give scientists confidence that they can also predict the future."

Posted on BH by Richard Betts, Mar 20, 2012 at 9:52 AM:

"The 20th century simulations vary between models, but there has not been enough of a CO2 rise so far to allow the differences between the model to become as apparent as they are in future projections"

My brain hurts.

Mar 23, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Shub
Excellent work. Have you posted this as a comment at Pope’s article? If you’re banned or under moderation, perhaps someone else could do so?

Mar 23, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

It is really quite shocking that a scientist from a government funded organisation should write such blatant propaganda in a national newspaper.

But then we have become bored by the alarmist message, we stopped believing the Met Office years ago and we are not surprised to see the Guardian print this sort of stuff.

It is still very, very sad.

Mar 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The very first link on Vicky Pope’s article (“Everything you need to know about climate change”) is to the Graun’s own FAQ page, which is signed by Christine Oliver, Giulio Frigieri and Duncan Clark. The first two are graphic artists, and the third is a founder of 10:10 and has a degree in music.
Has Vicky Pope been seriously misled by the Graun, or is she a willing participant in this farce?

Mar 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

The met office really puzzles me. You have the modelers coming here to try and fluff up the pillow a bit before they land on it from an enormous height. But then you have the Pope preaching to the converted at the graun, apparently trying to see how many eggs she can cram into the one decrepit basket. If I was Mr Betts, my first priority would be to beg Vicky Pope to stop communicating.

Mar 23, 2012 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

When climate scientists like me explain to people what we do for a living we are increasingly asked whether we "believe in climate change". Quite simply it is not a matter of belief. Our concerns about climate change arise from the scientific evidence that humanity's activities are leading to changes in our climate. The scientific evidence is overwhelming.
(Vicky Pope, Guardian: 11 February 2009)
Which brings me on to the question, should you believe in climate change? The first point to make is that it's not something you should believe or not believe in – this is a matter of science and therefore of evidence ... Given the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change, it could be argued that it shouldn't be necessary to keep going over old ground to prove it time after time. In fact, it's essential we move on...
(Vicky Pope: Guardian, 23 March 2012)
Well said Vicky. Look forward to hearing from you in 2015, 2018, 2021...

Mar 23, 2012 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Mar 23, 2012 at 11:46 AM | John Shade

"Is this not all but identical to Michael Mann's chosen focus in recent years? I can't find it right now, but I think I came across a recent quote by him to the effect that he was enjoying his move into being a communicator about climate change."

In a year or so people will no longer remember that Mann was once considered to be a scientist. In academia, the change has taken place. What scientist would attend a public lecture by Mann expecting to learn about science? None. Mann and the whole crew are finding themselves trapped "on the advocacy side," to paraphrase Trenberth.

Mar 23, 2012 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

... and man-made greenhouse gas emissions are very likely to be the cause.

The use of "very", "real" or "really" (and other emotionaly-tinged words) in a scientific argument is pointless unless it is supported immediately by "real" data (see what I mean - redundant).

"Very" is like shouting, or block capitals or thumping the table or waving one's arms about. It shows you have lost the argument.

(see also Godwin's Law - according to which if you make a comparison to the Nazi's you lose the argument.)

I try never, never, ever to use "very" in scientific discussion.

Mar 23, 2012 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

Geoff,
Thanks. But I cannot post it at the Graun as I entered the 'premoderation' category long ago.

Mar 23, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Mar 23, 2012 at 7:58 PM | Alan Bates

'Very likely' is Met Office weasel wording for 'in our fairy tale world of unrealistic models, 95 times out of a 100 this is the garden path up which we are led'.

Mar 23, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

A bit of 'deja-vu all over again' in the comments and the zip file league at Tom Nelson?

http://tomnelson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/bill-mcfibben-on-weirdest-weather.html?showComment=1332474068759#c3606534236157289132

Mar 23, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

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