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« Overstatement | Main | Lawson's standpoint »

Beng on the money

The GWPF has made a new appointment to its Academic Advisory Council. Alongside luminaries like Dick Lindzen we will now also see Lennart Bengtsson, former head of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting and director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

A very eminent guy, in other words.

This is a big deal in my opinion, and will make it increasingly hard for critics to try to brush GWPF aside.

Marcel Crok has been quick off the mark and has published a short interview with Bengtsson, looking at why he decided to sign up with GWPF and his position on scepticism.

I know some of the scientists in GWPF and they have made fine contributions to science. I also respect individuals that speak their mind as they consider scientific truth (to that extent we can determine it) more important than to be politically correct. I believe it is important to express different views in an area that is potentially so important and complex and still insufficiently known as climate change.

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Reader Comments (15)

New entries are being posted at non-skeptical science and De Smug Blargh even as we read this.

May 1, 2014 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterOtter

Yep, any second now and the smear campaign will be underway.


May 1, 2014 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

He will need a very thick skin ,as the attack dogs will quickly be on him now his no longer 'of the faith '

May 1, 2014 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Good - let's hope the attack poodles do their normal trick (it is in their "nature" after all) and reel out the Ad Homs, the Strawman and the personal attacks.

It is increasingly obvious that such tactics do nothing but backfire on them.

They only do it because in their little bubble world mutual admiration society - this is what passes for reasoned debate.

The rest of the population see it exactly for what it is.

May 2, 2014 at 6:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

This significant although not game changing yet. European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting is ackowledged worldwide to have the most reliable weather model which was developed under this guy.

May 2, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Some SkS fan called John is quick on the attack in the comments below the article. I particularly liked his response to the fact that CS appears to be lower than the models predict:

Observational data does not show anything itself, it must be interpreted via a model and the models he refers to has been showed to be biased low

Yeah, it's reality that's failed, not the models!

May 2, 2014 at 9:44 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Yes, but see Leo Smith's reply immediately below!

May 2, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It's good that GWPF have someone who's led the development of weather & climate models on their panel.

European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting is ackowledged worldwide to have the most reliable weather model which was developed under this guy.

It's also used for climate modelling. The ECMWF atmosphere model, along with an ocean, sea ice and land surface model, is part of the EC-Earth climate system model, which was one of the models used in IPCC AR5.

May 2, 2014 at 10:43 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Good. Hopefully this will increase both his influence and that of the GWPF. An extract from the Crok interview:

I think the climate community shall be more critical and spend more time to understand what they are doing instead of presenting endless and often superficial results and to do this with a critical mind. I do not believe that the IPCC machinery is what is best for science in the long term. We are still in a situation where our knowledge is insufficient and climate models are not good enough. What we need is more basic research freely organized and driven by leading scientists without time pressure to deliver and only deliver when they believe the result is good and solid enough. It is not for scientists to determine what society should do. In order for society to make sensible decisions in complex issues it is essential to have input from different areas and from different individuals. The whole concept behind IPCC is basically wrong.

The politically-driven machinations of the IPCC have helped bring about a disgraceful period in the history of science. Let us hope we have had the last of its SPMs, sundry manipulations, and 'planet-saviour' pretentiousness - the intended effects of which will serve only to weaken our abilities to cope with climate variation.

May 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

@John Shade That was my favourite (and, IMHO, the most telling) paragraph, too:

Quote of the week: Concept behind IPCC basically wrong

Although it would appear from his comment above that, in his determination to maintain his perception that models are the cat's meow - if not the be all and end all - Richard Betts might have missed it. Just as he seems to have missed the more longstanding and equally prestigious membership of the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council.

Furthermore, IMHO (as I had noted at Paul Matthews place, via comment still stuck in moderation), if one considers Bengtsson's GWPF appointment along with Lawson's awesome Standpoint piece and the reminder from Judith Curry about John Christy’s March 2011 testimony (long but well worth the read, including the appendices) before the US House Science, Space and Technology Committee, the view from here, so to speak, is that it's been a very good week for skeptics - and a not so good week for the Smoggies and others of the Lew-Mann bent.

May 2, 2014 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Yeah he missed it alright, and never the twain.

May 2, 2014 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

OT - An ECMWF post was always the top aim for us Reading Meteorologists as I believe all of them are Income Tax exempt I was lead to believe.

2nd choice was Postdoc at Reading Uni with a last resort being the Met Office in Bracknell (though it was always regarded as a more steady civil service job - but generally still mocked by all the students/postdocs). The Met Office moving to Exeter made it a lot more appealing. I see that former Reading Meteorology head Alan Thorpe jumped from CEO of NERC to Director General of the ECMWF fairly recently. There are only a fairly limited number of places that Meteorologists can work in this country and not actually that many people still working in this niche field.

May 2, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Third time quote of this paragraph:

European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting is ackowledged worldwide to have the most reliable weather model which was developed under this guy.

Judith Curry has a good analysis on why the American model (GFS) has fallen behind:

Interestingly, the qualities applied to the weather model (interaction, transparency, innovation, state of the art data assimilation) are not very common in other fields of climatology. Only shame is that the ECMWF is charging a fortune for a product that is already paid by the European taxpayer.

May 2, 2014 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommenterPatagon

The GWPF does a good job and more fire power is welcome.

A recent post there discussed the extraordinary way climate scientists use their models, for example, different models produce different results from the same starting parameters, but they are all treated as valid even though they don't agree with reality and can't hindcast correctly either. Then they average the results of a whole range of such models and present the outcome as scientific certainty.

In any other area of science these people would be laughed at and then sacked. I can't understand why the RS, CSA and the rest of the establishment support this junk science and criticise those who question it.

The GWPF does a good job and the models post is a good example. However, as far as I am aware, the junk science continues without even a comment from the rest of the science world. Perhaps some high profile appointments could help to get junk science on the public and scientific agenda.

May 2, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

"Only shame is that the ECMWF is charging a fortune for a product that is already paid by the European taxpayer."

I used to point to the ECMWF climate maps as a very useful resource, and a very useful baseline for all of mine and my fellow students work. As you say it doesn't appear to be available any more.

May 2, 2014 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

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