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« The inner Duce | Main | Flood prevention »

Quote of the day, El Nino edition

In the UK, [El Nino's] impact is likely to be subdued, although past experience suggests that a colder winter could result.

Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus in Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL

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Reader Comments (36)

could could could

Jan 5, 2016 at 12:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

" Professor Emeritus in Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL"

AKA to the BBC as Comrade No 97. Go to specialty (this month) 'El Nino' alarmist quotes.

Jan 5, 2016 at 12:19 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Thus spake the Christmas turkey to the grand hurespex.

Jan 5, 2016 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

I can't take Bill McGuire seriously. He seems to model himself on the Fat Boy, who "wants to make your flesh creep", in The Pickwick Papers. His favourite topic is the supposedly ever-impending Atlantic mega-tsunami, which will drown us all. His mistake was to fail to dream up a solution, however implausible and outrageously expensive, which he could sell to the UN.

He must be a bitter man.

Jan 5, 2016 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

winter is still young

Jan 5, 2016 at 12:35 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

His forecast for the UK Summer, is sunny spells, cloudy at times, with scattered showers-may be occasionally heavy.

With a fully automatic, belt firing nail gun, I think he has nailed the climate forecast, whatever happens.

The BBC will say he is never wrong, that is why they use him.

Jan 5, 2016 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

...or a warmer winter or more rain, or less rain than in memory, most likely drought conditions with possible widespread flooding expected.

Jan 5, 2016 at 6:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterBert Walker

Cold, warmer, cool wet, warmish but not dry and more wet, since 1929 but we knew all that.

Knowing that, the up welling of warm water which drifts eastwards in the tropical Pacific zone causes some localized and world wide variability - knowing a known known. And that, knowing as you do during the winter wet season in Britain we suffer all sorts of known unknowns I therefore expected some variable unknown knowns. But I predict that, we are entering an unknown - right now, if not very soon, doncha jus' know it?

Next, slope slump and is the Canary singing?

Jan 5, 2016 at 7:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

George Monbiot is a brilliant man.

Jan 5, 2016 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

Aila: As you move on through the school system you will discover that life is about more than just parroting slogans. You will find that it helps enormously to challenge your intellect and take on board the meaning of the verb: discuss.

Jan 5, 2016 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I guess that's referring to 2010 when we had the last big el nino coinciding with the 'coldest ever' December. Which was also the point where the Met Office switched from predicting warmer and wetter to predicting colder and drier - due apparently to a mythical gulf stream switch caused by a warming Arctic. Of course now they have changed their tune again back to warmer and wetter.

Past experience actually tells us that climatologists and meteorologists have 100% failure in weather predictions beyond a week and 50% failure beyond 3 days. When they understand what causes the meandering of the Jetstream then they might have more of a clue.

Jan 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

UK Winter Storms 2015

Temperatures climbed well into the teens on Mon 9th and eventually peaked at just under 20 centigrade in many areas on Fri 13th.
...... of February 1998

Jan 5, 2016 at 9:07 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

I welcome a discussion of Monbiot's awe-inspiring genius. My contention, as an opener, is that Monbiot's dialectal corner speed is without peer.

Jan 5, 2016 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

Past experience suggests .....that Bill McGuire will continue to issue pointless non predictions.


Jan 5, 2016 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Aila, at 9.38 a.m.

"Dialectal" (a strange word to use, so I looked it up to check that it means what I thought - and it does) is the adjective corresponding to the noun dialect (and dialect refers to a a variety of a language peculiar to a particular region or group).

"Corner speed"? Put the two together, and I have no idea what you're talking about. I assume you're trying to be facetious?

Jan 5, 2016 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

It is only the forecasts that are wrong. Everybody knows that the models are correct. The leaders of almost every country in the world are in agreement about that so it must be true.

Jan 5, 2016 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

(Assuming spelling is a challenge for some) From the dictionary:

Dialectic or dialectics (Greek: διαλεκτική, dialektikḗ), also known as the dialectical method, is a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.
I don't see that writing a column is a discourse as it is one-sided and does not include others' points of view.
Corner speed
The intuitive ability to swerve or drift from the course taken onto a new course while trying to fool passengers (readers) that you haven't moved from the straight.

Jan 5, 2016 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

of it could be warmer , or there could be no difference , but what ever happens its 'proof' of CAGW

for in this 'unique science' there nothing that is not 'proof' and therefore nothing that can disprove it .

Jan 5, 2016 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

"Monbiot's dialectal corner speed is without peer."

Is that when a person speaks with such a forked tongue that no one can tell they've made a u-turn in what they've said before? Or is it some form of oral sex?

Jan 5, 2016 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"Monbiot" and "without peer" is certainly in reference to a very low threshold peerage.

Jan 5, 2016 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Now on topic - The weather is still unpredictable beyond about 2 weeks. Without doubt we are seeing new influences to the 'normal' patterns (eg the cold blob in the Atlantic) and these are adding new permutations to the way weather evolves. I wonder if there will ever be enough data to make an accurate guess about how the jet stream will act or where the high and low pressures will wander to.

Jan 5, 2016 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

@JamesG: "When they understand what causes the meandering of the Jetstream then they might have more of a clue."

Are you implying they haven't? Sarc-off. They have only really just discovered the Jet-Stream from a weather viewpoint, & only recently, say 5-10 years max, mentioning it in weather forecasts. I personally suspect it may have a lot to do with Solar activity & the Earth's magnetic field, but as yet we don't fully understand the drivers of climate. As said before, the Wet Office recently made a statement about reduced Solar activity causing potential cooler winters for the next 35 years or so, but of course it wouldn't affect long-term global warming. 30-35 years is a career for most people, & those within the WO will have long since retired on a cushy pension!

Jan 5, 2016 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Another example of a "Climate Expert/Scientist" getting it hopelessly wrong.
When will the BBC, or any of the MSM, call these so-called experts out?

Jan 5, 2016 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

As this was heading 'news' on radio Scotland at 1100 today, I broke a long standing rule and looked up Woger Harribin on the BBC website.
He is wetting his panties on the Global Warming meme.


Jan 5, 2016 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

This is Myles Allen's latest contribution:

Jan 5, 2016 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

"In the UK, [El Nino's] impact is likely to be subdued, although past experience suggests that a colder winter could result."

The professional weather girls call it "a mixed bag". He needs to get up to speed.

Jan 5, 2016 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"Normal weather...................... is a thing of the past"?

It's the way he tells 'em.

Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Prof Allen said compared the change in weather patterns to an athlete doping: “What we’re doing is loading the dice if you like, or like an athlete popping pills, we’re changing the odds. And we’re seeing the odds on these extreme warm, extreme wet winters increasing. And we’re going to need to plan for it.

Myles Allen.

Would it be pertinent to beg, it's not only the athletes is it? Who are at the Colombian marching powder and or, "popping some pills"?

I'm betting on, the next few winters in Britain will be: dry and cold.

Jan 5, 2016 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

When they understand what causes the meandering of the Jetstream then they might have more of a clue.
Jan 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

When they have got their brains around that, they might care to recall what was perfectly well known forty years ago, that a meridional jet stream is a classic sign of a cooling climate.

Jan 5, 2016 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

Prof Allen said “What we’re doing is loading the dice if you like, or like an athlete popping pills, we’re changing the odds. And we’re seeing the odds on these extreme warm, extreme wet winters increasing. "

Its a pity Prof Allan does not appear to read the material that the MET office issue.

"Annual mean precipitation over England and Wales has not changed
significantly since records began in 1766."

Page 12

The quote continues

. ....."Seasonal rainfall is highly variable,
but appears to have decreased in summer and increased in winter, although
with little change in the latter over the last 50 years. "

'Although little change in the last 50 years' refers to the winter period.

This publication directly contradicts Prof Allen

Jan 5, 2016 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Nice article here on the "unprecedented warming" at the North Pole.

With pics of US submarines on the surface at the North Pole, in 1958 and 1987.
1958 to 1987 is 29 years.
1987 to 2016 is 29 years.
Are we going to see any subs at the pole this year?

Jan 5, 2016 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRudolph Hucker

The author of that article
is Alex Carter, who seems to be the rarest of beast, a scientifically-literate journalist.

However, for some reason this knowledge appears to have been lost only a decade later, when the New York Times ran an article called The North Pole Is Melting, with the bold yet demonstrably erroneous claim "The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago." Interesting use of the word “certain” to describe events from before the dawn of humanity. This story was later retracted.

So why has everyone taken leave of their history? It’s not madness, or conspiracy, however it is down to some remarkably bad science involving carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a natural absorber of infrared radiation, and this ability is what causes the greenhouse effect that raises the Earth’s temperature to habitable levels. It is, however, neither as abundant in the atmosphere nor as potent an infrared radiation absorber as that most insidious greenhouse gas, water. Water has a remarkable ability to absorb many forms of electromagnetic radiation, and it is also in abundance in almost all of the atmosphere… except in the cold of the Arctic where the air is dry, owing to a lack of evaporation and an equal lack of life to dump it into the atmosphere. Water also absorbs infrared radiation at similar frequencies to carbon dioxide, which can confound measurements.

So what happens when you run a model of climate change based on carbon dioxide and fail to take into a account the infrared absorption of water? You get a model that predicts extreme warming where the carbon dioxide to water ratios are highest, i.e. the Arctic, and low warming where carbon dioxide is not the most important factor i.e. everywhere else on Earth. Secondly, carbon dioxide only absorbs greenhouse-inducing infrared at sub zero temperatures. Put those two things together and you get the classic 'global warming fingerprint' of warming in the Arctic. The above image from the UK’s own Hadley Centre shows the majority of warming happening in the Arctic.

A very nice theory, but unfortunately one that history shows is false.

So where is the error? One cubic metre of air only contains less than a gram of carbon dioxide, and the amount of infrared radiation that can be absorbed by that much (a simply GCSE physics calculation, if you can remember the formula for specific heat capacity) is approximately 1000 times less that the amount of heat transferred from the ground. In other words, carbon dioxide may absorb heat, but it isn’t even enough to overpower the heat emitted by ice. It is something that is unfortunately not taken into account by most lay people who take such images at face value (and an alarming number of scientists).

Jan 5, 2016 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRudolph Hucker

Oh, now I get it. This style of meandering of the Gulfstream does not relate to COP21 air traffic aroung Paris.

Jan 6, 2016 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

It's also apparent that the best place to look for any putative manmade warming is the Arctic but they don't because even the IPCC recognises that it has the same temperature now as in the 1930's and the fluctuations are a good match with solar activity:

Less dogmatic researchers might have recognised early on that CO2 could never be a climate driver anyway as it has no mechanism for cooling beyond a postulation of sudden & massive carbon sinks appearing from nowhere.

As for fossil fuels; the charlatans predicted enhanced warming from increased Chinese emissions yet now they say those emissions caused the pause; ie cooling. Clearly they just make stuff up to match whatever nature decides to produce and this 'consensus' seems to survive despite every prediction turning out wrong and the pathetic excuses for this blatant inadequacy contradicting each other. The only unifier beyond consistent failure seems to be the underlying hatred of fossil fuel companies (mainly Exxon) for some reason that defies logic, rationality, numeracy and experience.

Jan 6, 2016 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Well, if Warren Buffet can lose money - as he did in 2015 - I reckon the science of forecasting ANYTHING is about as scientific as flipping a coin...

But we knew that anyway, didn't we..??

Jan 6, 2016 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Sherlock, I beg to differ (slightly). I commend to you a recent book: "Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction" by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner. This is all about how to make better predictions - on a wide range of topics - and is eminently sensible. It hardly deals at all with climate change (except in one example where a 'superforecaster' comes unstuck). But it's full of good advice, from which all forecasters could benefit. Examples: generalists do vastly better than those with only one big idea; you must be continually self-critical; you are useless unless you compare your predictions with actual outcomes.

Jan 6, 2016 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

Why would an El Niño event have any effect on climate? The result of an El Niño is ocean heat released to the atmosphere where it is lost to space. It is energy accumulated during a La Niña event. It is a repeating cycle. Are the ying and yang in perfect balance? Not likely. That does not guarantee a trend. Is there evidence that a trend exists regards the incoming and outgoing energy that is manipulated by ENSO

Jan 7, 2016 at 5:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterdp

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