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« Another one bites the dust | Main | Another devastating indictment of energy policy »
Friday
May102013

Quote of the day

[In 2008] Scientists from the Met Office's Hadley Centre responded to Lord Lawson's contention that there has been no global warming since 2000, saying this was due to the La Niña cooling event of early 2007.

From the Wikipedia page on Nigel Lawson's An Appeal to Reason.

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Reader Comments (40)

An event which had effects up to six years before it happened? Causality problem there I think.

May 10, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

That's clever. A retrospective La Niña. That help the modelers

May 10, 2013 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

It doesn't take much to keep the proles on programme.

May 10, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

It's a well fact that Climate modelers routinely use retarded Green's functions as propagators.

May 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Does Superman work at the Met Office? Is he spinning the world backwards again?

May 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

A nice example of Wikipedia chinese whispers. A muddled comment from Vicky Pope is muddled further by newspaper reporters and then re-muddled by Wikipedia editors.

You can see the anonyomous 2010 edit that introduced this sentence here.
The previous version was perhaps even more entertatining:
"New research, conducted in response to the claims made by Lawson, confirms that the world has cooled slightly since 2005, but says this is down due to La Niña, a cooling event, which developed in early 2007..."
I love the idea of scientists carrying out research in response to Lawson!

May 10, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I don't think that the people at the met office even want to be believed anymore.

May 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterKen Hall

Trying to understand what the warmistas are arguing, I think that it's a 'reverse escalator' - the opposite of the SS warming escalator.

The Wiki article references some Guardian pieces. They seem to argue that the apparent cooling is because:

1 - the 1998 temperature peak was so high that the several years after it looked low. That takes us to around 2005.
2 - the 2007 La Nina made the temperatures at that point even lower. Note that the book was 2008.

So the argument made some sense at that point. But by now it's looking rather silly...

May 10, 2013 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Here is the orignal article that the quote is from.

May 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Er... well known fact that ...

May 10, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

And thus the global warming prior to 2000 was caused by the El Nino of .... (choose any date retrospectively).

May 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

previous Met Office decadal forecasts,and because of Vicky Pope saying half of the next years will be the warmer than the warmest on record? (Pre cop15)

vs current decadal forecast

[In 2009]
However, the Met Office’s decadal forecast predicts renewed warming after 2010 with about half of the years to 2015 likely to be warmer globally than the current warmest year on record.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2009/global-warming

[In 2009]
The least squares trend for January 1999 to December 2008 calculated from the HadCRUT3
dataset (Brohan et al. 2006) is +0.07±0.07°C decade much less than the 0.18°C decade recorded between 1979 and 2005 and the 0.2°C decade expected in the next decade (IPCC; Solomon et al. 2007).

And:

[in 2009]
“Given the likelihood that internal variability contributed to the slowing of global temperature rise in the last decade, we expect that warming will resume in the next few years, consistent with predictions from near-term climate forecasts (Smith et al. 2007; Haines et al. 2009). ”

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2009/global-warming

May 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Perhaps Richard Betts can come and tell us how long the cooling due to A La Niña acts in both a forwards and backwards time frame.

May 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I think Bob Tisdale might have a some interesting comment to make on that..

May 10, 2013 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered Commentercloud10

Yeah, Phillip, forward and back La Niña plays. O chicica, as they say in Zaragoza.

May 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

It is just an edit down of a section which was introduced 28 September 2008
when I guess someone saw 2 loaded headlines to tempting to leave out
- "IPCC: Lawson wrong about climate change". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- "Met Office says climate change deniers deluded". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-28.

HiSTORY LOG
28 September 2008 creating new section "scientific criticism"
- text inserted-
"Scientists from the Met Office's Hadley Centre responded to Lord Lawson's contention that there has been no global warming since 2000. New research, conducted in response to the claims made by Lawson, confirms that the world has cooled slightly since 2005, but says this is down due to La Niña, a cooling event, which developed in early 2007, and has had a significant cooling effect on the global average temperature.[1] Vicky Pope, head of the climate predictions programme at the Hadley Centre, said this is due to natural changes in weather systems, and does not alter the long-term warming trend.[15]"

- It also included this phrase "Vicky Pope went onto predict that similar effects will result in temperatures remaining around the same level until at least Spring 2013"

...OK no it didn't I'm joking ..as Barry said she predicted more warming

May 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

May 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM | Phillip Bratby

Perhaps Richard Betts can come and tell us how long the cooling due to A La Niña acts in both a forwards and backwards time frame.

You'd like me to defend a comment on a blog which cites something on wikipedia which cites something in the Telegraph from 5 years ago which cited one of my colleagues?
:-)

Clearly, as Paul Matthews notes, there is a long chain of (mis)communication here. Clearly La Nina does not act backwards in time, and the influence of an individual La Nina on global temperatures only last a few months or so.

A reader looking at the Bish's post above might think that the comment on the 2007 La Nina has been made recently. Clearly this is not the case. Bish, I'm a little disappointed in that - you should at least have made clear that this was based on a newspaper interview in 2008, to avoid giving the impression that this was some sort of recent statement.

May 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

It didn't even occur to me that anyone would think it was recent, given that it's about responses to Lawson's book publication in 2008. I've clarified in case anyone was confused.

May 10, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Hang on a minute, wasn't it in about 2009, at least 2 years post the purported retroactive la Nina, that a certain prominent government-sponsored warmist fanatic bemoaned that:

"The fact is, we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it's a travesty that we can't."

I am staggered that, in a scientific field where literally every weather related phenomenon is proof of warming, it has taken them so long to "discover" the retroactive property of La Ninas. But why don't el Ninos have this retroactive property.

It hasn't warmed since 1997.

May 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide de Klein

But it's still there on Wikipedia and so is the global temperature anomaly standstill. Who's looking the most prescient, the author of the book or his critics?

In his original wiki, which saved only one previous version of a page, Ward Cunningham mooted the concept of an 'Eternal Now'. I took the mickey out of this and some other obvious weaknesses early in 1999 with Wiki Rewrites History - and was delighted by the response of the rest of the community. Though supporters of Al Gore predictably suffered a sense of humor failure.

Time does move on and it's interesting to wonder how the encyclopedia wiki will assist. But good catch Bish - as have been so many of the recent posts.

May 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Betts,

Are the model you are familiar with symmetrical in time and could they be run backwards?

May 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergenemachine

Bishop Hill

Thanks for adding the clarification.

genemachine

Interesting question! In principle I guess there's no reason why you couldn't run the models "backwards in time" as it were, with everything operating the other way round (eg: heat flowing from cold to hot, rain falling upwards, etc) Probably quite a fun thing to do, but doubtful whether we'd get the funding to do it, given the enormous expense of big computer models. Nice idea though. :-)

May 10, 2013 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

I'll bet Wikipedia haven't read the "scientific" review by James Dent in the Weather Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society by James Dent - I just looked it up.
Quote "If readers of Weather have not yet read Lord Lawson's book, I strongly recommend them to do so, not only for its contents, but also as an example of how to approach a complex subject in a reasoned manner. It should perhaps be of concern to us as professionals that an approach which retains perspective has been generally lacking in the outpourings on the subject. As revealed in the Viewpoint contributions in Weather of April 2008, our profession has a wide range of views, as might be expected, and we should not be in the business of accepting a consensus which does not exist.
He goes on to say, "Simplification by the media and politicians (who is leading whom?), to the extent that the focus is 'carbon', has led to extreme postulations on geo-engineering and mass extermination of ruminants, and devious politico-economic schemes for carbon taxes.
When those with genuine scientific reservations about some aspects of the topic are dismissed as 'flat-earthers' by the Prime Minister, the role of science in politics is becoming sinister indeed."

May 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

I don't see anything troublesome about that claim.

Say the temperatures were
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 in 2000, 18 19 20 21 22 23 then a La Nina drops things to 16 in 2007.
So the claim of no warming is now blamed on La Nina.

Bigger problem I have is how out of date Wikipedia is. They kept 2003-2004 CO2 emissions for a long, long time to hide China as the worlds leading emitter.

May 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

It's a well [known] fact that Climate modelers routinely use retarded Green's functions as propagators

Yet another reason for waterproofing the keyboard.

Excellent work GrantB!

May 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

So the argument made some sense at that point. But by now it's looking rather silly...

How so? Wasn't there a renewed warming after the 2007 La Niña, followed by another decline coinciding with the return of La Niña events from 2010? Doesn't that make the thesis of a continuing upward trend, occasionally interrupted by La Niña downticks, even more convincing? (Of course, there's a considerable difference between "no warming" and "less warming than is compatible with the climate models" but it's apparently not the latter assertion which Lawson was making.)

May 10, 2013 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

It hasn't warmed since 1997.
May 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM Heide de Klein


Yes it has.

It's just that the temperature has stayed the same.

May 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Bigger problem I have is how out of date Wikipedia is. They kept 2003-2004 CO2 emissions for a long, long time to hide China as the worlds leading emitter.
May 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM MikeN

Anything to do with climate, Wikepedia should be regarded as unreliable.

I had a "personal message" from Jimmy Wales asking for financial support. I sent back a personal message to him saying that I thought that Wikipedia's misinformation on climate change negated its benefits to the world.

I got a message back saying:

1. Mr Wales is not involved in day-day running of Wikipedia.
2. Connelly's activities are not a problem.

May 10, 2013 at 7:45 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Well you do what you have to do.

Make whatever excuses you can to cover for now, and make some other excuse later when that one is played out - and so on.

Claim that lack of Arctic Sea Ice causes cold March - then realise that can't be right because March 2012 was mild.

Where to next? - Who knows?

May 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Interesting question! In principle I guess there's no reason why you couldn't run the models "backwards in time" as it were, with everything operating the other way round (eg: heat flowing from cold to hot, rain falling upwards, etc) Probably quite a fun thing to do, but doubtful whether we'd get the funding to do it, given the enormous expense of big computer models. Nice idea though. :-)
May 10, 2013 at 1:53 PM Richard Betts

If you have a lumped parameter linear system that is stable (all poles of its transfer function in the left half of the Laplace transform s-plane), then reversing time results in a system with all of its poles in the right half plane ie unstable.

I'd imagine the same principle would apply with distributed parameter nonlinear systems (of which lumped parameter linear systems are just a special case).

May 10, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

It's about entropy isn't it? Throwing a egg in the air and catching it when it comes down works in reverse (like all Newton's laws of motion) but drop it and you've got a one-way entropy increase. The sun's heating and cooling of the desert would probably work (heat flowing from hot to cold then back again after nightfall) but not rain; easy to soak, slow to dry out.

However, important to understand these issues, no? (You weren't trying to be funny were you Richard?).

May 10, 2013 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Lots of La Ninas about lately.

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/2011-la-ni%C3%B1a-so-strong-oceans-fell

May 10, 2013 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

It hasn't warmed since 1997.
May 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM Heide de Klein


Yes it has.

It's just that the temperature has stayed the same.

May 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM | Martin A

Depends where you measure, of course.

May 10, 2013 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

I have not been able to find out exactly what equations they solve, but presuming it is the time dependent Navier/Stokes equations, which are parabolic, they cannot be solved for negative time. Using finite precision arithmetic, the solution will blow up and become meaningless.

May 10, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

I think they use a dartboard with all the low numbers removed. That could be run backwards.

May 11, 2013 at 2:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

"You'd like me to defend a comment on a blog which cites something on wikipedia which cites something in the Telegraph from 5 years ago which cited one of my colleagues? :-)" --Richard Betts

You had me at wikipedia. Or wankerpedia, as we are wont to call it. .

May 11, 2013 at 3:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Why don't we get the people who predict eclipses to have a go at running the Met Office?

May 11, 2013 at 5:25 AM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

I thought the release of HadCrut4 temperatures had already 'fixed' this problem:- by adjusting the late 1990's temperature downward and adjusting more recent temperatures upwards, thus synthesising a new maximum this century to keep global-warming 'up-to-date'?

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1990/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1990

(Cynics thought that was the point of the exercise).

May 11, 2013 at 6:15 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"I have not been able to find out exactly what equations they solve, but presuming it is the time dependent Navier/Stokes equations"

No it isn't, at least not explicitly. We can't even do that for the vastly simpler case of the airflow around an aircraft yet.
We haven't even been able to show that solutions always exist in three dimensions, or that they are continuous if they do.

May 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered Commentertty

Yes I know this is getting a bit off topic but ...

May 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM | tty

I include Reynolds-averaged NS in the general NS designation. They would be applied only in certain regions in the case you referred to. For the rest the Euler equations are quite usual these days I believe.

Obviously NS without a turbulence model is out of the question at full scale aircraft Reynolds numbers. I haven't looked into it, but it would not surprise me if RANS calculations were just about feasible for the atmosphere and it would not surprise me if that is exactly why the MET office is forever calling for bigger and bigger machines. If you are sure they do not solve the RANS, do you know what they do instead? I have asked on blogs but never get an answer!

We haven’t even been able to show that solutions always exist in three dimensions, or that they are continuous if they do.

You are thinking of aerodynamics, aren’t you? In practice wind tunnel simulations will always yield a solution, but whether it is unique is something else. When the boundary conditions are steady, an unsteady flow could indicate flipping between different unstable steady solutions.

Shocks and slip discontinuities can arise in the continuum approximation in inviscid flow, but not in viscous flow. In a real fluid there are well understood limits to the continuum approximation but it is rare that they need to be considered.

May 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

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