Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Twitter
Support

 

Recent posts
Recent comments
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« BBC links to BH | Main | The failure of the climate models »
Wednesday
Sep252013

Met Office concedes the error

Over the last day or so, Julia Slingo has sent a polite, but somewhat evasive response to Nic Lewis regarding his critique of the UKCP09 model. It can be seen here.

Nic Lewis's reaction is here. I don't think he is very impressed. The key exchange relates to the following paragraph in Slingo's paper:

Having said that, it is true that the relationship between historical aerosol forcing and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) depicted in your Figure B1 is based only on the PPE. But we disagree with your assertion that the results from HadCM3 are fundamentally biased. It is certainly the case that versions of HadCM3 with low climate sensitivity and strongly negative aerosol forcing are incompatible with the broad range of observational constraints. But the key point is that the relationship between aerosol forcing and ECS is an emergent property of the detailed physical processes sampled in the PPE simulations.

To which Nic's response is this:

This is a key paragraph, which in effect concedes that my main criticism is valid.
I don't dispute the point that in HadCM3 – and very possibly other models – the relationship between aerosol forcing and ECS is an emergent property. That is precisely why HadCM3 is not suitable for a PPE study in which, supposedly, "uncertainty in the response of the climate system to CO2 forcing is comprehensively sampled".

In essence, Slingo seems to be admitting that the low climate sensitivity, low aerosol forcing scenario that the observations suggest exist in reality cannot be simulated by HadCM3, but effectively handwaves this problem away. As Nic puts it:

 

In effect, her view seems to be that it doesn't matter what the observations imply, because the models rule out the possibility of low aerosol forcing, low ECS combinations. I am reminded of a famous line by Bertold Brecht to the effect of: "The people have failed the government. The government must elect the new people." But the Met Office can no more replace the real climate system with one that agrees with the models than a communist government could replace the people with one that satisfied its ideology.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (71)

Sorry?

The Met Office has said:

" You are right when you say that our model does not and cannot match reality. But it matches the other models. So reality must be wrong..."

??

Sep 25, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

'in effect, her view seems to be that it doesn't matter what the observations imply, because the models rule out the possibility of low aerosol forcing, ' this just follows the first rule if climate 'science' which is when the models and reality differ in value , its always reality which is in error .

Its hardly a surprise to find the politician Slingo, for they long give up doing science, conforming their approach is to 'follow the rules ' of their 'cause '

Sep 25, 2013 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

And, of course, you will note the last line of her letter, where she says that she won't talk to him any more except through 'proper peer-reviewed journals'.

By which, read 'censored'. Nic won't get a look-in....

Sep 25, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Begging indulgence, but Nic's response to the Julia Slingo's final paragraph, an attempt to kick it into touch, is worth quoting in full:-

JS-
As I said we appreciate your contributions to the literature on these topics; but the implications of climate change are so profound that it is essential that scientific debate takes place in the appropriate forum. With this in mind I think it is appropriate that further discussion be subject to proper peer review, through the scientific journals.

NL-
This appears to represent an attempt to stifle reasoned scientific debate. I am perfectly open to review by my peers. Anyone with expertise in climate science is welcome to try to pick holes in my critique of the Met Office July report (3) and, in particular, in what I say about the Harris et al study. The Met Office has singularly failed to do so, and in the course of its attempts has displayed worrying misunderstandings by its most senior scientist on several important topics. The limitations of peer review are shown by the fact that the fundamental weakness of the Harris et al study – and its sister study Sexton et al 2012 – was evidently not focussed on by the peer reviewers. And as has been commented on elsewhere, persuading a journal to publish a critical comment about a paper it has published is not easy – maybe particularly so when the paper is by scientists at the Met Office, a major source of journal papers. Peer review certainly has its place. However, often peer review gives a veneer of respectability to work that conforms with a consensus, but is in fact deeply flawed. Conversely, good work that contradicts the consensus may be kept out of the peer-reviewed literature, or at a minimum delayed, by gatekeepers defending consensus positions. The profound potential implications of major climate change, the huge costs involved in mitigation attempts, the unsettled state of scientific understanding of many of the key climate processes involved and the need for members of the public – particularly those with scientific or technical expertise – to place trust in the climate science involved surely all point to the need for an open scientific debate alongside the publication of peer reviewed studies. When protagonists refuse to provide reasoned and convincing defences to non-peer reviewed technical criticisms of their work by other researchers with established expertise in the area involved, that is a signal not to trust their work, irrespective of it having been peer reviewed.

Sep 25, 2013 at 9:57 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Slingo gigo ipso facto.

Sep 25, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

...she says that she won't talk to him any more except through 'proper peer-reviewed journals'...

It would be interesting to take her at her word, and ask for some assurance that the 'pal-reviewed journals' will actually print the response which has just been given.

To rub it in, Nic could ask for her support in getting the paper printed, given that she is so happy to be collaborating with him...

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Quick! Retreat behind the "Gatekeeper Line".

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Having lost the point, she tries to run off and hide in pal review.
She obviously does not understand that the whole CAGW charade was exposed from outside this process. The Mann hockey stick, Forster ECS, Marcott hockey stick, OLeary SLR, Trenberth hiding heat,... Have all been exposed as fundamentally flawed by dedicated folks who bothered to educate themselves on the science and scrutinize the studies. Something pal review on all the above failed to do.
She might be annoyed that that climate reality and her models don't match up. Doesn't really matter. Nic has exposed the situation for the world to see and learn, including her sore loser part. Bet lots of people and lawyers spent lots of time on her reply.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Isn't climate science extraordinary? In any other science we would expect outrage, apologies, intervention by authority, discipline. One way or another heads would roll.

But in climate science what happens is nothing. You can make the most egregious of errors and provided it tends to increase alarm everyone else holds their nose and looks the other way.

How many of the climate scientists do you think in their heart of hearts really and truly thinks that Michael Mann is a reputable scientist worthy of the accolades heped on him? Anywhere else in science I suspect he would have been drummed out long ago.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave

Your two links are reversed.[Done. Thanks. BH]

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterLance Wallace

I can see her developing another crafty line of defence.

...one could argue that the models provide a more physically consistent representation of the real world than spatially sparse and poorly sampled observational data...

She really IS going for the idea that sufficiently complex models are more real than reality! Someone send her that Feynman quote...!

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

When the Met Office is replaced with something useful, perhaps Julia Slingo should petition the BBC to bring back Jackanory. Then the current Met Office employees would have new work to fall back on.

In fact Doug McNeal and Richard Betts would make very good presenters for the show - naturals even.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Can someone here remind me?...

Which Met Office bod was it who said "Observational studies are not helpful" ?
I'm sure I'm not imagining this. It was a few years ago but googling the quote turns up nothing.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Does anyone have any trust in anything coming from the Met Office? Their weather forecasts for the past week have been abysmal. Yet they continue to pay themselves big bonuses with our money. The whole organisation should be sold off and forced to compete in the open market (or closed down as a liability to the UK - ditto the BBC). It's noticeable how third rate scientists have gravitated into the field of climate science. Is there anyone in the MO with any scientific integity?

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:30 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

She is the archetypical, snooty, New Labour place-woman, dismissive, superior, ignorant, sneering, gratingly certain of her place among the chosen few.

She is wholly ignorant, wholly sustained by a bloated salary she has done nothing to earn, wholly dependent on a similar monster of government-funded self-indulgence that exists exclusively to sustain her and her ilk in office.

In any rational world, she would, along with her gruesome self-certanties, be immediately offered opportunities to look for other avenues of employment.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

I suggest that the correspondence above, or a paper based on it, be submitted to a few journals - probably "Energy and Environment" will publish it. And I am sure that Steve McIntyre will be interested enough to put a piece on his blog...

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Julia Slingo writes

As I said we appreciate your contributions to the literature on these topics; but the implications of climate change are so profound that it is essential that scientific debate takes place in the appropriate forum. With this in mind I think it is appropriate that further discussion be subject to proper peer review, through the scientific journals.

This retreat into argumentum ad verecundiam is simply pathetic. Nic's superb response ably illustrates why such an appeal to authority constitutes an informal fallacy.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichieRich

Prof Slingo: "With this in mind I think it is appropriate that further discussion be subject to <I>proper peer review, ...." (My italics)

As opposed to 'normal' climate-related peer review, I suppose?

Sep 25, 2013 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Re: Sep 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM | agout

"She is the archetypical, snooty, New Labour place-woman, dismissive, superior, ignorant, sneering, gratingly certain of her place among the chosen few.

She is wholly ignorant, wholly sustained by a bloated salary she has done nothing to earn, wholly dependent on a similar monster of government-funded self-indulgence that exists exclusively to sustain her and her ilk in office.

In any rational world, she would, along with her gruesome self-certanties, be immediately offered opportunities to look for other avenues of employment."

Agout, you have articulated far better than I could have just exactly my thoughts on the matter!!

Sep 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

. Indeed one could argue that models provide a more physically consistent
representation of the real world than spatially sparse and poorly sampled observational data - Julia slingo

There you have it.

So if the Met Office predict it will be pouring with rain on friday and I tell you 'hey it's friday and it's fine" my data (for that is what it is) is "spatially sparse".

Sack the lot of them. I am sick of paying the wages of these air-wasters.

Sep 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Crawford

Alas...I am unable to only vaguely grasp the points made as I am almost entirely ignorant in the field of models or stats...and of course this is why it is almost impossible to expose the failings (if indeed there are any, because I am floundering) of the model to the general public.

Which is the problem.

Sep 25, 2013 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Julia Slingo and Emily Shuckburgh should join together to form the new 'chuckle brothers'. They are embarrassing.
I hope that fate allows me to live long enough to see these charlatans of both genders face criminal, or at least, civil indictments.

Sep 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterG. Watkins

Great quote from Nic:

"[O]ften peer review gives a veneer of respectability to work that conforms with a consensus, but is in fact deeply flawed."

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Julia Slingo is the type of public figure that decided me, after almost a decade spent living working in the UK and falling in love with that country, that I could not face retirement in a society that is continually mislead by the ignorant and dishonest elitists that she typifies. My regretful decision to return to NZ has been vindicated - I can afford to meet all my energy needs here on the basic Universal Superannuation every New Zealander is entitled without being forced to limit my intake of calories.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

You couldn't make it up. For years warmists have been defending their dubious temperature records, now Slingo is consigning them to the bin because they won't agree with her models which show that Its Worse Than We Thought!

This is not science.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Julia Slingo, then there's Alison Munro at HS2, there was Cynthia Bower at the QCC and not forgetting Dame Suzi Leather + team leader there's mad Hattie too - is there a theme here, failure and BS makes for big salaries.

Common purpose rules OK and the sisters are in step, bugger and never allow the facts to halt the long march towards Socialist Nirvana.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM | LevelGaze
"Can someone here remind me?...
Which Met Office bod was it who said "Observational studies are not helpful" ?
I'm sure I'm not imagining this. It was a few years ago but googling the quote turns up nothing."

One of my favorites, and deserves intense marketing-

“People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,” adding, “Our approach is not entirely empirical.”
Met’s principle research scientist John Mitchell

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

With this in mind I think it is appropriate that further discussion be subject to proper peer review, through the scientific journals.

If the Met Office is going to abide by this mantra then it should no longer make any press releases or pronouncements regarding climate, instead everything it has to say should be via peer reviewed literature so that it can be properly discussed. All those web pages on climate need to be modified so that instead of having, for example, a "What do we mean by climate?" web page they instead have a link to the peer reviewed paper that defines what they mean by climate.

I look forward to not hearing from them about AR5 and instead reading about it in 6 - 9 months time once what they have to say has passed the peer review process and been published.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

If I read this exchange correctly the MET don't want to be criticised unless the criticism is peer reviewed but they should still be free to make scientific claims themselves without peer review.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

I found Nic Lewis's response to Ms. Slingo quite incisive and readable.

I gave up trying to read Ms. Slingo's reply about one third into it convinced that she was not replying to anything and her tactic was to use bafflegab bs. Frankly, I'm impressed that Nic as able to break Slingo's twisted logic and vague language into sentences he could reply to.

Very good comprehensive reply Nic! You have far more patience than I.

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

@ chris y

Thanks for that, I'll archive it right now for future reference.
It's certainly right up there with the notorious Vinerism.

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Here are a couple of other comments that support a 95% confidence that climate models have now overwhelmed observations, and supply more than half of the nonsense in climate science.

“The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”
Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

“The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.”
Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

Sep 25, 2013 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

The modelers have always misrepresented their models. Their grandest conceit is that models can substitute for scientific theory. The modelers do not want you or anyone to understand their models.

Sep 26, 2013 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Sounds like:

"I resent the accusation that I lied!"
"Did you lie?"
"That doesn't matter, I still resent the accusation!"

Sep 26, 2013 at 3:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterkneel

Thankfully we are talking about settled science so there is no argument, eh?

Sep 26, 2013 at 4:00 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

@Thankfully we are talking about settled science so there is no argument, eh?

Hmm, quite =)

Perhaps we're entering a new phase in the decline of CAGW careerism where the smarter - or merely shiftier - carpetbaggers switch to (apparently) polite evasion, having realised that outright bombast is finished as a workable strategy.

Do tell, Julia.

Sep 26, 2013 at 4:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterchippy

“People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,” adding, “Our approach is not entirely empirical.”
Met’s principle research scientist John Mitchell

Sorry, folks, I'm as anxious as the next man to see the Global WarmingTM scam demolished, but the above statement is not bonkers. From the above words Mitchell may appear to be retreating into a virtual world, and saying "evidence schmevidence", but one would need to know the context of his statement. Imagine trying to understand Jupiter's stripes solely by looking at them, and making no attempt to model them, red spot and all. Empiricism on its own, with no theoretical foundation, is just plain dumb. Let's save the conspiracy theories for actual conspiracies, eh?

Tell you what: with that job title Mitchell should be tasked with finding out of Slingo has any principles.

Sep 26, 2013 at 4:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

If I have this right, Slingo has just used models to falsify reality. Is that the new scientific method the IPCC is hashing up?

Sep 26, 2013 at 4:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterdp

Sep 26, 2013 at 3:24 AM | Theo Goodwin

The modelers do not want you or anyone to understand their models.

Theo, I don't think that there's much to understand about their models and hence their reticence in allowing this into the public arena. If others can do simple models, with minimal 'knobs', that are more consistent with reality, then the majority of the 'knobs' in the 'sophisticated' climate models are mere decoration.

Sep 26, 2013 at 5:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

Will no one rid the Met. Office of this turbulent data?

Sep 26, 2013 at 5:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterManniac

"Indeed one could argue that models provide a more physically consistent representation of the real world than spatially sparse and poorly sampled observational data."

That is indeed an extraordinary statement. While it is correct that the observational data are sparse and poorly sampled, (the first time I believe that this has been admitted by the Met Office) it is this data set that has been used to supposedly calibrate and validate the climate models. So from the models' perspective, this sparse and poorly sampled data represent reality. Divergence from the observations means that the models have been falsified rather than validated.

Sep 26, 2013 at 5:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

empirical:
based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

antonyms:
conjectural, hypothetical, impractical, theoretic, theoretical, unobserved, unproved

Any physical model that isn't entirely grounded by empirical observations is worthless mental masturbation.

Sep 26, 2013 at 5:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

emergent = 'we're still working on the settled science'

I love the Brecht quote "the people have failed the government", brilliant.

Sep 26, 2013 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim Spence

Ah, it is soooo good to see the that the british government employs such highly educated and erudite directors such as those who have appeared in public and on blogs.

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

It is interesting and informative to take screenshots of the T+72 pressure chart and compare it with the actual chart 3 days later. One can then wonder at the Met Office paying itself million pound bonuses for achieving such staggering (in)accuracy.

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Kudos to Nic for exposing the aerosol flaw and the Met Office model's oversensitivity to CO2. But let's not forget that the Met Office model has more fundamental flaws - for example it does not appear to factor in the AMO which very likely has a global effect on surface temperatures. Here's the BBC's take on the Met Office model output from 2009 which projected a warming of 4C warming by 2060, and no cooling in the current period. Unlike Dr. Mojib Latif's model which also in 2009 predicted cooling for the next 10 or so years due to the AMO peak.

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:55 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Post modern science in all it's virtual brilliance.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Lapogus

Latif's model is a virtual reality as he maintains GHG's at 2000 levels and uses SC23 to represent SC24. It bears no relationship to the real world.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

That's it. The fraud line is being crossed. We knew it was coming with AR5, but it has arrived early.

The basis for all the trillions of boondoggling has been shown to be false, and the boondoggles are sticking their fingers in their ears.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

G. Watkins (Sep 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM): take that back – right now! The Chuckle Brothers have wit and humour; they have no pretensions of grandeur; they obviously love their job, but have no desire to insist that theirs is the only way, and will probably quite happily accept criticism without insisting upon it being “peer reviewed”. To liken them to that odious pair is quite beyond the pale.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>