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Monday
May302011

Lockwood: no wind for 40 years

Well, that's not exactly what he said, but it's not far off:

...the last two winters have featured exceptionally low temperatures and were remarkably still when they should have been the windiest seasons of all, as high pressure diverted the jet stream from its normal position.

Meteorologists have found that the position of the jet stream has been influenced by the lower levels of activity on the Sun. This decline in sun-spot activity is expected to continue for the next 40 years, with potentially serious consequences for the viability of wind farms.

Professor Mike Lockwood, from Reading University, said: “Changes in the jet stream will change the pattern of winds that we get in the UK. That, of course, is a problem for wind power.

“You have to site your wind farms in the right place and if you site your wind farm in the wrong place then that will be a problem.”

So, when you see a windmill standing still, despite all the billions of subsidy thrown at them, you can console yourself with the fact that things will have picked up a little in time for your children to see the benefit.

If only Prof Lockwood had discovered this before we spent all that money eh?

Sunday
May292011

Quote of the day

A propos of my earlier piece about the Hockey Stick, here's Keith Briffa's take on the "NAS defence", from Climategate email no 1140039406.

...you have to consider that since the [Third Assessment Report], there has been a lot of argument re [the] `hockey stick' and the real independence of the inputs to most subsequent analyses is minimal. True, there have been many different techniques used... but the efficacy of these is still far from established.

Sunday
May292011

Subscribe

I've switched the tipjar on for this month's fundraising drive. There's also now a subscribe button for anyone who thinks a regular payment might be more the thing.

Sunday
May292011

Dealing with the civil service

Lubos had posted up this clip from a new Spanish movie about dealing with civil servants. Looks like fun.

Sunday
May292011

Wolff on the Hockey Stick

I thought I'd set down my thoughts on one aspect of Eric Wolff's email to Neil Clark - namely the millennial temperature reconstructions. Eric has adopted what I called the "NAS defence" when I discussed it in the Hockey Stick Illusion. This is the idea that, whatever the failings of the Hockey Stick itself, a series of other temperature reconstructions have reached broadly the same conclusions - Mann may have used in appropriate data and a biased methodology but he still reached the correct conclusions.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May282011

Engagement

Eric Wolff has sportingly responded to Neil Craig's emailed list of questions and Neil has equally sportingly acknowledged that he could have worded things more delicately. So we've had a hiccup, but everyone is being grown-up about it and making an effort to engage constructively.

Eric's response is here at Neil's site. I hope everyone can keep a lid on things over there.

 

Friday
May272011

'Eco-dictatorship'

I leave you on this rather depressing note:

Germany ‘Sliding Head Over Heels Into Eco-Dictatorship

Germany's green government advisors admit frankly that decarbonization can only be achieved by the limitation of democracy - both nationally and internationally.

Read the whole thing.

 

Friday
May272011

Nursing a hurt - Josh 100


More cartoons by Josh here

Friday
May272011

More from the Beddington FOI

Here is another interesting document from the Beddington FOI I mentioned last week.

This was sent in February 2010 when the furore over Climategate was still at its peak and before the inquiries got under way. It consists of a summary of the science of global warming sent to Beddington by Julia Slingo, the chief scientist at the Met Office. Slingo, you may remember, later appeared at the SciTech committee hearings alongside Beddington.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272011

Minority event

There is an interesting live chat at Sciencemag with Laura Manuelidis, a scientist who opposes the prion theory of BSE. Her story has a familiar ring:

Unfortunately, self-interest makes a few "expert" powerful scientists less than open to those who disagree with them. In TSEs, they populate most of the grant committees and are also the same people who are on the the editorial boards of most journals. Anonymous "peer" review allows people with a clear conflict of interest to make false statements. Without transparency they can never be held accountable. Their success is a poor ethical model for young scientists. And it also limits financial support for more creative approaches to a problem

Friday
May272011

The Hockey Stick and Gaia

Some discussion of the Hockey Stick and the Hockey Stick Illusion at the website of scientist Lee Klinger, a former NCAR researcher. Klinger has queried the presentation of Mann's graph at a conference about the Gaia hypothesis without mention of the controversy.

(H/T Jane Coles in Unthreaded)

Friday
May272011

Nurse-made allegations

Maurice Frankel, the head of the Campaign for Freedom of Information has a letter in the Guardian repeating many of the points I made yesterday about the strange claims Paul Nurse made in his speech on freedom of information.

The president of the Royal Society calls for changes to freedom of information laws to prevent them being misused (Data laws 'misused' in climate change row, 26 May). However, existing safeguards address many of his concerns. Deliberate attempts to "intimidate" scientists, if that is what they are, can be refused under the Freedom of Information Act's safeguards against vexatious requests. Unreasonable requests for all pre-publication drafts of scientific papers can be refused under an exemption for information due for future publication. Explanations of why changes to successive drafts were made do not have to be provided unless they exist in writing. Multiple related requests from different people, if they are co-ordinated, can be refused if the combined cost of answering exceeds the act's cost limit.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272011

Circular funding

Times Higher Ed reports the raising of university eyebrows at the decision by Imperial College to stop paying subscriptions to CASE - the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

Times Higher Education understands that Imperial College London previously paid an annual subscription of about £3,000 to the lobby group, which was widely credited with helping to secure a ring-fenced, flat-cash research budget in last October's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May262011

Met Office hurricane forecast

The Met Office has just issued its hurricane forecast for the 2011 season in the North Atlantic. At 12 storms and an ACE of 151, it's apparently going to be absolutely normal.

Thursday
May262011

Helping

I gather on the grapevine that Dr Wolff has had some fairly unpleasant emails as the result of his exchanges here. This really, really doesn't help.