back to article UK climate change funding cut by 25%

The Met Office, home of UK weather soothsaying, is getting its climate research budget chopped by a quarter after the Ministry of Defence ended financial support to focus on "current operations." A loss of £4.3m ($7m) funding will hit the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Change, according to the science journal Nature. The …

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Black Helicopters

Once again..

Defense contracors screw the world... A super-computer is a much-better buy than a over-cost and underarmed destroyer.

Black Helicopter, because they are destroying the climate, anonymous, since they can destroy me too...

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Bullets more important than rain

Apparently the researchers don't have much field time, as in out on the battlefield. Then they would agree that dealing with an immediate hail of bullets is far more important than guessing about potential falling frozen water a few decades from now.

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FAIL

Not enough

Should have been cut by at least 100%, preferably having to pay back money that was given to it.

Climate change is a myth to sell Priuses (which are more polluting than normal cars over average miles and lifespan with manufacturing included) and overpriced electricity that has a much higher impact over time than nuclear or even natural gas.

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Thumb Up

Good.

Now cut more.

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Pint

Good

The Met Office's climate models are useless for forecasting and they want to spend even more millions producing models that don't work. Meanwhile real scientists such as Dr. John Christy are able to perform much better climate science by observing and measuring the real world

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0ml9zs9aZQ

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Anonymous Coward

I disagree

Climate change will affect 99.99% of the people on this planet. A lot more than current military operations. Maybe the answer instead should be to cut wars. Now that would save a lot of the countries money wouldn't it?.

Pity the arms dealers who make their millions from this sad fact of life. They probably pay a lot more than that sum to the generals while lobbying for the next war.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Something I don't understand

In around 200 years we have released huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere that took many millions of years for the earth to lock up. In the UK alone coal mines are stripped bare, and oil and gas reserves are bottoming out. At the same time, worldwide, we have destroyed vast areas of (carbon collecting) forest.

Yet people seriously try to claim that this has little or no effect on our environment.

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Coffee/keyboard

Prediction for the future

Over the next number of months, you're going to see even more horrifying predictions and reports about climate change as these researchers try to get back that funding. After all, that's how they got the funding in the first place.

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Flame

@will godfrey

Just one set of Victorian (Australia) bushfires in February released the same quantity of carbon dioxide as the entire human energy use for the State for the whole of 2008. HOW MUCH impact do we have as humans?

And you want us to kill our economy based on flawed pseudo-scientific postulations - just because they use computer models?

Pah!

What else could I use for an icon?

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Megaphone

To William Godfrey

Over the last 22,000 years CO2 has risen from 180ppm to 385ppm. Over the course of that time biodiversity has expanded, there are far more trees and greenery, and more species are capable of thriving that ever before (I do think we overfish...or rather the Spanish do but everyone takes the blame for them).

If you were just to take a small sample time period such as the last 200 years, you ignore the bigger picture.

For every acre of forest that has been cut down I can guarantee just as many trees and plants have been grown by people elsewhere. Take Britain for example. Not one tree existed here 20,000 years ago. Nearly all trees have been brought and planted here by humans. The United States has the same forest cover it did a century ago because the demand for wood and paper products has led to the creation of forests grown for consumption. Forests that never existed before.

Oil and gas is not bottoming out anytime soon. There are vast untouched reserves. However, fusion is what we should be aiming for.

As for CO2, technologically speaking we have been decarbonising for many centuries. We started with burning wood, then coal, then bitumen, then various oils and wax, then petroleum, then started using hydropower, then nuclear. With every step we moved towards a source of energy that had less carbon molecules than the ones before it. Did we do this because of some threat from global warming or pressure from radical political activists? Not at all. We did so because we are always looking for more and more efficient sources of energy.

You don't have to be a scientist to think rationally, but it does help to educate yourself before being suckered by the media and political agendas. You have information at the touch of the button so why allow yourself to be fed information as if you're a farm animal?

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Pint

Sounds good to me

Now all we need is a way of cutting off the feed to the rest of these scaremongers and maybe we'll be getting somewhere. The idea that our little scratchings about are 'causing' big, scary effects is pure hubris. Yes, the climate is warming. Climates warm and cool all the time, quite naturally, and at the moment ours is still warming up after the 'Little Ice Age' (slightly too long ago for Reg readers to remember it, unfortunately).

Chexk out the summary of peer-reviewed research on http://www.petitionproject.org/ - a rare glimpse of real science on the 'global warming issue'. Global Warming = Bollix.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will Godfrey

First of all we dont release carbon into the atmosphere, we release carbon dioxide. The increase in this gas has caused an increase in crop yields.

Secondly, the last figures I saw for the UK said there was enough coal in the UK for approximately 400 years. The problems are that it isn't that easy or cheap to get to anymore and UK coal has a high sulphur content.

Finally, from the IPCC figures, at the rate we are generating CO2 we are adding 1 molecule of CO2 for every 100,000 molecules of air every 5 years yet people seriously try to claim that this has a major impact on climate.

If you are that convinced about AGW then you should be fighting for them to have all their funding cut and it given to other research. After all, no matter how much money you throw at the Met Office, their research will not decrease CO2 by a single molecule, it will simply tell you what the climate will be like on some non-existent virtual world of the future.

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Boffin

@Will Godfrey

You forget that in general the deniers don't understand even the basic physics of climate. I have a theory that repeatedly explaining the fundamentals in small words, repeatedly slowly with plenty of encouraging smiles, perhaps some animations of little smiley-faced photons colliding with cheery-looking molecules of earth and so forth, can help in some cases. Unfortunately plenty of people get themselves emotionally committed to conspiracy theories, or "these scientists are stupid" or "it's all a scam to sell more Priuses" as one wingnut asserted up-thread. What I don't understand is how the reconcile the cognitive dissonance of fundamental physics and basic climatology, which presumably they accept, with whatever flavour of denialism they're clinging to. (I say presumably the physics is accepted because if thermodynamics didn't work as it does, electricity wouldn't work, and stars and planets wouldn't grow in the first place, and so forth - could be wrong there. Anyone from the wingnut community care to respond to that?)

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Government cut??

Say after me in a Scottish accent::

We are the party of investment.

Stop sniggering that boy at the back.

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Paris Hilton

Won't stop them publishing

Everybody gets to keep making theories -- nobody can be proved wrong on climate change.

You'd think 39 years after Earth Day 1970 (pollution, famine, climate) people would by now know for certain one way or the other what's really going on with the globe, which problems are real and which projections and scenarios came to pass and which didn't.

But the globe continues to be a system far more complex than we can understand, and that's not to say the skeptics won.... it means we all lost. It means our scientific efforts to understand (and manipulate) the globe have failed. We are flying blind into an unknowable future.

And that's the real bad news.

Meanwhile those with job titles can rest easy and continue to pretend to be experts and pretend to think they know something, and keep publishing, and journalists can keep waffling about it, and lay people can keep believing opinions, be it skeptical or consensist. Really, it makes no difference. Nobody can be proven wrong so everybody gets to keep their precious opinions.

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Yeeessss

Anonymous Coward is right when he says, "Climate change will affect 99.99% of the people on this planet". It will, because we're going to roll back the industrial age and all because of the pacific decadal and multi-decadal oscillation; something we have zero control over. History will look back on our politicians and a large swathe of our scientific establishment with incredulity. I forsee 1,000 psychology and philosophy papers circa 2075 demoaning the idiocy of the climate change movement.

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FAIL

and WTF?

"prioritizing success in current operations, such as Afghanistan".

Yes that's been a stunning success ... I look forward to living in a beach-front property come 2030.

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Bronze badge

Humm....

I seem to remember it was called global warming until some scientists noticed the earth wasn't getting warmer. Now it's called climate change because that makes it harder for anyone to contest because the climate is ALWAYS CHANGING - some times warmer, some times colder. CO2 in the atmosphere from human sources is about 0.1% of 1%. Indeed the bush fires in Australia and the US have put more CO2 into the atmosphere and there is no way they can be called man made because they happen in nature.

If the climate scientists actually spent more time and got their computer models right and included all the things that influence the climate then they might be believed.

I don't thing there is one model that when projected backwards actually shows the climate we've already had correctly. If they can't do that what hope they will be anywhere near in the future.

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Anonymous Coward

It may be the vino talking, but

climatology isn't a science. Any discipline (loosest form) that gets its power from concensus and doctrine at the exclusion and denial of those who don't agree, is most likely a religion or, at worst, a cult.

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@various

@John Angelico: At 20 million barrels of oil/day for the USA (wiki), that's an annual consumption of 7.3 billion barrels of oil/year and I don't believe that amount of carbon would be released from forest fires, especially a few just in february. Refs please. And BTW I don't think massive bushfires occur all that often.

@Aron: pre-industrial CO2 levels were 280PPM, not 180PPM. They rose that much in the industrial revolution, over about ~200 years, not 22,000. Nice fuddery. Britain was largely forested before outside the ice ages IIRC. May be "Not one tree existed here 20,000 years ago" - if it was the ice age, but I still don't believe that. You've got a fair bit of info wrong there - I call it not an accident.

"Oil and gas is not bottoming out anytime soon" - hmm, the oil industry would agree with you because it pays not to alarm people. Some say otherwise: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantarell_Field#Production_decline> <http://www.oilmarketer.co.uk/2007/02/13/north-sea-oil-gas-production-projected-to-decline/> plenty of other interesting figures for other oil fields, can't be bothered to find them right now. And ghawar, well, the saudis are a bit secretive over the size of their golden egg, but here's a view <http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2007/05/northern_ghawar.html>

"As for CO2, technologically speaking we have been decarbonising for many centuries" - so we went from wood burning to coal/oil/gas burning in huge amounts? You're talking rubbish.

"You have information at the touch of the button so why allow yourself to be fed information as if you're a farm animal?" - err, you can talk. Get your facts right first, it only takes a little searching as you say. Do you work for anyone in the energy business?

I'm not going to read any more witless comments, some of which I rather suspect may be astroturfing.

If only you had your very own world to destroy that would be good. Sadly we have to share it.

Rational beings - meh.

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Good Riddance to the lot of them

Seriously people, the Mystic Met office cannot predict what will happen tomorrow, so how the hell can they get it right so far into the future?

It doesn't matter how good your models are. Crap in = Crap out. Stop wasting money on attempting to predict the future.

Its the first sensible cut this government has made, and no doubt the last.

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CTG
Flame

Military consequences of climate change

Mmm, let's see. Can you think of any possible military consequences of uncontrolled climate change? How about considering a few relevant facts:

1. India and China between them have about 1/3 of the earth's human population

2. India and China both have nuclear weapons

3. India and China are both dependant for fresh water on glaciers that will disappear if the earth's temperature rises more than a couple of degrees

Nope, I can't think of any reason why the MoD should be concerned about climate change...

(Flames, because there isn't a mushroom cloud icon)

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Bush fires & Priuses

@John Angelico. Sorry to break this to you but those bush fires are due to plants burning; those plants were recently growing and removed an equal amount of CO2 from the atmosphere over the last few years as they have returned. Humans are adding new CO2 (geologically speaking) to the atmosphere. This is the problem.

@Anonymous Coward. Please don't cite (knowingly or not) the widely discredited dust to dust report re Priuses. Just go and attempt to read it - I guarantee a headache in fairly short order. This was no life cycle assessment.

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Tom Paine

(I say presumably the physics is accepted because if thermodynamics didn't work as it does, electricity wouldn't work, and stars and planets wouldn't grow in the first place, and so forth - could be wrong there. Anyone from the wingnut community care to respond to that?)

Yes, you could be wrong there!

stars and planets wouldn't grow? Huh?

The link between thermodynamics and "electricity" (is that a physical science?) can be established at the nuclear level, but, really, what are you talking about.

The main point to discus in AGW theory is how well do we know the climate's sensitivity to CO2 increases. In the chaotic,complex climate system thermodynamics and other science can only be applied if these processes are well established. They are not. Recent observations have not supported the high (3.5) sensitivity of the IPPC models, but not yet disproven.

By demonstrating your clearly poor understanding of the science involved, you have earned the "wingnut" label for yourself

Cheers

Hal

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Boffin

@John Angelico

The difference is that the trees burnt in the bushfires will be replenished in years or decades, thus removing the CO2 added during the fires, whereas the coal and oil humans are burning will not be replenished for many thousands of years, if at all. This is pretty basic stuff; if you can't work this out you probably shouldnt bother comenting on the climate change issue.

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FAIL

Met office - old boy network

I wonder if this is the same establishment that rejected my cousin (about 30 years ago) for a job as sysadmin because she wore a back brace - evidently all staff had to be able to climb up on to the roof to be able to check the weather readings? Of course it had nothing to do with her being female and more qualified than the head of department :-)

One of my old neighbours in Bracknell used to work at the met office about 15 years ago. He was on 14K when I was doing similar work for Cray at roughly 25K and most jobs were offering 30K for the same skills. When I asked why he worked for suchcrap pay he explained that salary reviews were based not upon job performance but upon academic achievements (such as papers presented etc) He kept things running and did not present papers so was paid nada. His boss did eff all and spent his time at conferences presenting papers.

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Pirate

Good Start!

Now lets see if they can get rid of the other 75%.

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Black Helicopters

What else does climate modelling and the MOD have in common?

Interesting fact, modelling climate and especially storm systems uses a particular set of supercomputer models. Another environment that has been heavily modelled using very similar models is thermonuclear explosions.

Whats the bet that the MOD has simply decided that it finally has enough data about how its aging weapons go boom that it is shifting its budget elsewhere. I mean, I don't really think the average MoD person is that interested in the potential changing of the weather over a battlefield 20 years hence to the tune of spending lots of dosh on it.

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3x2

Quick question

for the Panda Police. Take a look over at NOAA(1) and the CO2 trend. Now what I want to know is, based on the CO2 record, where are the world wide industrial slumps of the last 50 years or so? My second question is - Just how long and deep an economic recession do we need to create worldwide in order to dent that graph?

(1) http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html

Here is the last decade including, though you wouldn't know it, the current economic climate.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

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@3x2

Q1: Dunno. I suspect a slump in economic terms is a few % reduction in goods production overall over a couple of years. If so, it wouldn't really show up. I'm not sure there have been really big slumps since the '60s (a la 1929-sized). Good question, perhaps someone who knows economics can chip in.

Q2: A very deep recession in terms of our current view of life-as-consumerism. Leaving out the great implications of this, we'll get the huge reduction one way or another - either we do it ourselves or very likely it happens to us catastrophically.

Put another way, if you overspend on a personal level you either choose to reign in further spending until you've repaid it all, or the bailiffs come. Similar I believe with climate change. That behaviour has consequences can be a bit uncomfortable, and it's easier to ignore than face it.

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Flame

And again...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5206383248165214524

Watch it.

Anybody remember "The boy who cried wolf"?

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Boffin

@ Tom Paine

"What I don't understand is how the reconcile the cognitive dissonance of fundamental physics and basic climatology, which presumably they accept, with whatever flavour of denialism they're clinging to. (I say presumably the physics is accepted because if thermodynamics didn't work as it does, electricity wouldn't work, and stars and planets wouldn't grow in the first place, and so forth - could be wrong there. Anyone from the wingnut community care to respond to that?)"

I happen to have 5 minutes free, so here is an answer.

Fundamental physics indicates that CO2 does 'trap' (Ok - inaccurate, I know) heat, but to quite a small degree, and by a diminishing amount as the concentrations increase. All parties agree that increasing CO2 - from, say 300ppm to 400ppm - will change the world temperature by a minimal unimportant amount.if just the CO2 is considered.

The AGW claim is that a miniscule change of CO2 concentration will result in increased H2O evaporation, and it's this water vapour which will create a runaway climate disaster. For this to be the case, our climate has to be very sensitive to these gas concentrations, and there needs to be a positive feedback for H2O (more water vapour means more heat trapped, which means more water vapour)

We actually knew very little about climatology when this theory was first put forward. All the theoretical predictions were, and still are, developed by feeding calculations which comply with this theory into computer models, and not by any practical measurement. However, current research now indicates that:

- CO2 levels have varied and been much higher in the past - up to 1500 ppm, and no runaway has resulted

- More water vapour results in more clouds, which reflect and convect (again simplistic) large amounts of energy back into space.

- The net result is a stable, insensitive climate with strong NEGATIVE feedbacks from H2O

- although temperatures were rising in the 1990s, they have now leveled out and started to fall.

- CO2 levels are still rising though temperatures are falling, which indicates that CO2 levels do not cause unequivocal warming.

- the predicted signs for CO2-driven global warming, such as a hot spot in the Troposphere, have been found not to exist

So Ithe wingnuts have no cognitive dissonance. Science works. It's the AGW theory which is wrong. Would you care to share with us whatever bit of basic science you think disproves any of the statements I have made above?

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hmmm

i'd expect a dire report anytime soon, predicting yet more apocalyptic happenings...

followed soon by the reinstatement of funding...

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@Dodgy Geezer

Hmm. Okay, some interesting claims here. Clarification requested as there's clearly stuff I need to know more about, so

> Fundamental physics indicates that CO2 does 'trap' (Ok - inaccurate, I know) heat, but to quite a small degree,

Really? ref please

> and by a diminishing amount as the concentrations increase.

'diminishing' is a rather relative term, but anyway ref please?

> All parties agree that increasing CO2 - from, say 300ppm to 400ppm - will change the world temperature by a minimal unimportant amount.if just the CO2 is considered.

Eh? Ref please. Also as we're nearly at 400ppm anyway it's red-herring moot anyway. It's perhaps the 400->500 range that's now important.

> The AGW claim is that a miniscule change of CO2 concentration will result in increased H2O evaporation,

Why? because it's warmer hence more evaporation, or some other mechanism? ref please

> and it's this water vapour which will create a runaway climate disaster.

Didn't know this. Thanks.

> - CO2 levels have varied and been much higher in the past - up to 1500 ppm, and no runaway has resulted

'in the past' is a bit loose. From wiki: "While these measurements give much less precise estimates of carbon dioxide concentration than ice cores, there is evidence for very high CO2 volume concentrations between 200 and 150 Ma of over 3,000 ppm and between 600 and 400 Ma of over 6,000 ppm.", so much higher than your suggestion. So, please, when are you talking about?

> - More water vapour results in more clouds, which reflect and convect (again simplistic) large amounts of energy back into space.

From wiki on water vapour: "However, it is less clear how cloudiness would respond to a warming climate; depending on the nature of the response, clouds could either further amplify or partly mitigate the water vapor feedback" which tallies with my (non-professional) understanding. I thought clouds were water particle suspensions, which if temperatures were higher might not condense out at all, hence possible higher h20 vapour levels with no clouds.

> - The net result is a stable, insensitive climate with strong NEGATIVE feedbacks from H2O

Mmm. Strong claim. Incredibly strong claim. Kind of a linchpin assertion. Back it up?

> - although temperatures were rising in the 1990s, they have now leveled out and started to fall.

Ref please because I didn't know this (and fall over what period anyway)

> - CO2 levels are still rising though temperatures are falling, which indicates that CO2 levels do not cause unequivocal warming.

Global temps falling? Over a what period is this? ref please?

> - the predicted signs for CO2-driven global warming, such as a hot spot in the Troposphere, have been found not to exist

Yeah. Earlier you say "All the theoretical predictions were, and still are, developed by feeding calculations which comply with this theory into computer models, [...]" so you're apparently criticising computer models, now you put forward the above climate prediction failure which I presume was predicted by the selfsame flawed computer models, and then claim it supports your argument. One or the other please.

Also you say in full

"All the theoretical predictions were, and still are, developed by feeding calculations which comply with this theory into computer models, ***and not by any practical measurement***"

What kind of practical measurement is to be made of a state of the atmosphere which exists *in the future* ferpetesake? You have some four-dimensional thermometer?

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FAIL

@Tom Paine and others

Dodgy Geezer's answer is actually one of the simplest explanations for the problems with climate science. What is most interesting is looking at the climate models from the perspective of an engineer or statistician used to building models. When you build any model it is important to run a sensitivity analysis on your model. This would involve making small tweaks to your (estimated) input parameters to understand how much they affect the output parameters. Regarding water vapour (which is a major estimated parameter), all the climate models we are currently using are highly sensitive. This means that unless we are accurate with our assessment of the effect of the input parameters our results are rubbish.

A lot of our current models rely on the positive feedback effect from water vapour to get any major increases in temperature. In reality, cloud formation causes negative feedback. As an engineer if you give me 2 models one of which has positive feedback the other negative feedback and I need to figure out which one produces a particular output I'm going to look for very specific things. Models with positive feedback tend to have very abrupt changes (think square wave generators or triangle wave generators). Models with negative feedback tend to have gradual changes. Over geological time we have seen gradual changes in the climate, as such it tends to strongly suggest we need models with negative feedback. That in turn strongly suggests we are missing some things in our current models.

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@AC 19:43 GMT

Another curious post ignoring relevant questions. Still,

> Regarding water vapour (which is a major estimated parameter), all the climate models we are currently using are highly sensitive.

Regarding h20 + a million other variables, they all contribute to an intrinsically incomplete, fundamentally chaotic model. Intrinsically incomplete because we can never gather enough input to feed them, and fundamentally chaotic because that's the nature of climate, and hence of climate models. Even if we could gather every variable, the chaos in the models would render them still imprecise.

But that doesn't mean they're useless. They indicate possible outcomes. it's just that many of these outcomes are not nice. If temp in the UK rises 4 degress, or 5, or 6, or more - it's all unknown but the consequences of each of these are not great here and for the rest of the world. Or sea level. Bad in varying degress but probably still bad.

>In reality, cloud formation causes negative feedback

Ref? because I've already asked for it. Standard trick, repeat X until it becomes accepted.

>Over geological time we have seen gradual changes in the climate, as such it tends to strongly suggest we need models with negative feedback

We're not talking geological time, merely the past 200 or so years. If you want to go back far into the mists of time then any signals of sudden temp/co2/whatever changes would tend, I suspect, to be diluted over time and difficult to extract from them reliably what happened. Let's suppose a sudden increase of co2 might e.g. acidify the ocean for a millenium causing a die-off, but that leaves a thin fossil layer of very uncertain cause if we're looking back over it from 50 million years later (this is my *supposition* - I'm making this point because it seems a reasonable example. This is way outside my area of expertise). Not enough data to know for absolute sure, but I think enough to be very concerned; enough that it's past time to act.

Computer models are not omniscient, hence the handy loophole for deniers.

I await another mysterious post that re-asserts assorted stuff without references.

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Anonymous Coward

But,

>Computer models are not omniscient, hence the handy loophole for deniers.

Allowing us "deniers" to tell you what you believe has no basis in science, which is based on testing.

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Happy

It all sounds like bullshtit to me.

Attn. Tom Paine,

You will call be a denier , but I am really a Skeptic.

I have not believed anything the screaming greenies have said for over 35 years , as I found them to be a pack of lying , twisting lot.

With regard to the present hysteria about global warming, now changed to climate changed, there is plenty of evidence that the suppositions about the earth warming up is mainly crap.

Even James Lovelock of Gia fame , now believes that the warming idea is wrong.

There is a lot of evidence available about the non warming of the world., but I don't expect you know that.

Global warming has now become a religion, and non believers destined for the hot place.

Down here in New Zealand we had a Professor of Atmospheric Science named Augie Auer as head of the Met. Service for 8 years who strongly opposed the CO2 argument about it causing

catastrophic warming.

He stated that it is water vapour that is the cause of us having a nice warmish world as it causes 95% of the greenhouse effect that stops the world from freezing.

Will get onto Medieval Warm period and the Little Ice Age when next we meet.

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Silver badge

Wahey, more spin!

without any backup too. And possibly worse.

@AC 00:14 :

> Allowing us "deniers" to tell you what you believe has no basis in science, which is based on testing.

err, any evidence you'd care to offer to justify the "has no basis in science" bit?

@elderlybloke:

> You will call be a denier , but I am really a Skeptic.

Skeptic sounds more dignified, I agree. It rather implies you have a sound rational basis for your position, I'd love to hear it.

> I have not believed anything the screaming greenies have said for over 35 years , as I found them to be a pack of lying , twisting lot

oh, there it is. I'm convinced.

> Even James Lovelock of Gia fame , now believes that the warming idea is wrong

Massive FUD! Outright lie! From an interview with him (<http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange>)

<< Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. >>

Also, this bit may seem very faintly familiar...

<< This is all delivered with an air of benign wonder at the intractable stupidity of people. "I see it with everybody. People just want to go on doing what they're doing. They want business as usual. They say, 'Oh yes, there's going to be a problem up ahead,' but they don't want to change anything." >>

... but I'm guessing not.

> ... Augie Auer ... who strongly opposed the CO2 argument

Indeed, here's a link (<http://www.nzherald.co.nz/climate-change/news/article.cfm?c_id=26&objectid=10416137>) where it says the same. In the same link it says

<< MetService has distanced itself from former chief meteorologist Augie Auer over his stance on global warming.

Dr Auer is one of several high-profile figures involved in the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition - a group that challenges what it maintains are unfounded claims about global warming.

MetService chief executive John Lumsden said the latest World Meteorological Organisation report confirmed the global warming trend.

"We are certain of this observation and would like to point out that the views recently made public by Augie Auer in relation to climate change are his own, and in no way do they reflect those of MetService." >>

I also wonder if the misinformation provided here is being presented in rather too consistent & coherent a manner.

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Boffin

@bluegreen - some references

Since you appear to want references for everything, here are a few for you.

Regarding CO2 trapping heat, here is a good summary of how it happens - http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2000-11/975357138.Es.r.html

The reason CO2 suffers from diminishing returns with regards to increasing concentration is the equilibrium formed by the temperature gradient. All 'greenhouse gasses' have different levels of absorbtion, and thus different levels of diminishing returns. Because water has much stronger bonds than CO2, it can absorb a higher amount of infrared energy. This, combined with the fact that there is much much more of it, means it is more of a contributor to the absorbtion portion of climate changes.

Other 'greenhouse gasses' like CFCs and S02 influence the climate by affecting the concentration of gasses in the upper atmosphere, especially the ozone layer.

This increases the amount of energy that enters the lower atmosphere and is able to be absorbed. Because the equilibrium needs to rebalance and the amount that can be radiated is initially the same, the temperature must rise because more energy must be absorbed.

In simple terms, energy in = energy out + energy absorbed.

This is the traditional greenhouse effect which has been known since the 1890s.

The negative feedback that is referred to above relates to the fact that low dense clouds tend to have a high albedo and this increases the amount of energy reflected back into space, causing a cooling effect. High thin clouds tend to have a low albedo, so pass more radiation through, and also absorb energy themselves, both of which have a warming effect.

As can be seen in the tropics compared with more temperate regions, the trend as temperature increases is for the formation of more clouds due to higher evapotranspiration, which means while local temperature increases from surface emissions from the clouds above the overall atmospheric temperature decreases due to increased reflection.

For more information see http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Clouds/

AC @19:43 brought up the issue of how sensitive the current models are to changes in H2O concentration. You dismissed this as H2O plus a million other variables but you need to understand that since H2O is such a dominant percentage of the greenhouse gasses - up to 70% even by wikipedia standards, it has a correspondingly higher amount of impact. This means small changes to the H2O concentration have wildly variant effects on the models, you mention a rise of 5-6 degrees being bad, but you need to understand that a fall of 5-6 degrees is equally likely by the current models with minor changes in input parameters. This is also an equally bad scenario. Realistically none of the models talk of such drastic temperature changes over the short term, everyone reporting on their results suggest timeframes of centuries.

With regards to the concept of geologic time, this is *exactly* the timeframe we need to look at to get our models right - if the models cannot replicate what has already happened and that we have a plethora of information on, how do you expect them to accurately predict the future?

We cannot definitively identify the influence of anthropogenic effects on global warming without knowing exactly what we should be seeing from natural causes. Currently there are no models that can replicate the past without extensive tweaking of the results, which strongly suggests that people are manipulating the models to get the results they want, not which the models predict, which kind of invalidates the models. Also, we don't have to get them accurate over 50 million years, an accurate model for even the last ten or twenty thousand would be a massive increase on what we have, especially since modern humans have only really been settled on all continents for a little over thirteen thousand years.

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Anonymous Coward

Crystal balls

"no matter how much money you throw at the Met Office, their research will not decrease CO2 by a single molecule" (AC, a while back)

And no matter how much (or little) money you throw at them, the weather will carry on as usual.

Has it really taken the MOD this long to discover that they can look up the weather on the 'net without financing the Met Office?

Right now, according to the MO forecast for the Isle of Wight, we are basking in sunshine. According to Meteox.com, there is a good old deluge between here and the Channel Islands...

Perhaps they should be paid by results.

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@Mayhem

>Since you appear to want references for everything

I do, I call them facts. Otherwise it's bluster and bull which gets nowhere. And I really do appreciate what you've provided, I'll read them this eve.

[assorted Mayhem facts on GHGs, clouds, whatnot] - thanks, someone at last who knows what he's talking about.

> @AC @19:43 brought up the issue of how sensitive the current ...

actually that was my post. In any event, useful comments.

> Realistically none of the models talk of such drastic temperature changes over the short term, everyone reporting on their results suggest timeframes of centuries

IIRC the IPCC predicted up to 6.4C temp increase by 2100, albeit at the outer edge of their probabilities.

> With regards to the concept of geologic time, this is *exactly* the timeframe we need to look at to get our models right ...

Mkay, I didn't know that but discounted the idea because the detail is lost. We don't even agree in our own time that CO2 causes warming, nor that CO2 is anthropogenic - just see some of the posts above. If we can't do that right now, I can't see how it'll work looking back over millions of years. Depends what geological time is, though, as suggested by your following para.

> Currently there are no models that can replicate the past without extensive tweaking of the results...

Interesting. I thought we'd got past that stage. Bummer.

Quality post. Thanks again.

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Go

How to end a debate with an hysterical alarmist or Gore-Scientologist

Whenever I say the following during a debate about the temperature trend with alarmists there is a sudden end to debate and a dead silence from them.

<i>1. During the early years of temperature monitoring cities and surrounding areas were covered with dense industrial smog which blocked significant sunlight, and we were still coming out of the Little Ice Age. This was the worst scenario to start measuring temperatures and use as a baseline to compare our current temperatures with.

2. In latter years most of the smog cleared up and urban areas grew. surfacestations org has surveyed many weather stations and found 9/10 skewed by the urban heat island effect.</i>

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Headmaster

@Aron

"This was the worst scenario to start measuring temperatures and use as a baseline to compare our current temperatures with"

Good point. I notice that the MO is trying to make hay with the fact that June was the warmest and driest month for three years, which isn't all that surprising when you consider the previous two. What they would rather you didn't remember is that they forecast blazing summers on both those occasions, too. Whack-o!

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@Aron

This could be very important if it can be verified. I'd like to know, so (you guessed it)

1. Ref please

2. Ref please

Both to actual scientific papers please

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surfacestations

With regards to Aron's first point, I don't know of any pertinent references, but surfacestations is a reputable web based repository of information on the climate monitoring network in the US.

http://www.surfacestations.org/

The 9/10 figure he quotes refers to the fact that of the 807 sites physically surveyed as of january this year, 89% show a recording bias of >1degree due to artificial heating sources located adjacent to the climate monitor.

http://www.surfacestations.org/odd_sites.htm shows a range of examples where the bias is obvious at a glance.

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Happy

@Mayhem re: surfacestations

It's hard to see how they could have got so many monitoring stations so consistently badly sited and a quick look at the site (FAQs + user data collection guidelines + whatever) doesn't show how their bias was estimated - but it looks valuable nonetheless and I'm not arguing with it. At the very least it should cause the monitoring agencies to tighten up. Again, thanks.

(after a bit more scanning) - bias is per NOAA's own standards (link under main pic). Interesting indeed... and actually <written in bitter tones> valuable climate-change-skeptic info, unlike pretty well all the crud posted before.

Dammit, my first smiley is warranted. I'm chuffed.

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Grenade

@Mayhem 30/06 11:18

It’s always the small details that reveal when someone is just cutting and pasting to sound authoritative rather than actually knowing what they’re talking about.

Your comment about SO2 being a ‘greenhouse’ gas is just one such detail.

SO2 is too quickly hydrated to H2SO4 aerosols to have any greenhouse effect one way or another. The H2SO4 aerosol droplets are suffiently sized to reflect all light – hence the vapour is white – and this generally cools, as did Pinatubo in 1991 when it injected SO2 into the stratosphere..

H2SO4 smogs can trap heat if they form at lower levels, but in this case, the effect tends to be regional as there will still be an increase in albedo. You can look up Laki for such accounts.

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CTG
FAIL

@Mayhem

Watts a reliable source? On planet Bizarro, maybe, but you really think a TV weatherman is a more reliable source than hundreds of actual climate scientists? Who do you ask for medical advice, your mailman?

You do realise that a statistical analysis of Watts' work shows that there is actually bugger all effect from his so-called "bad" stations? That 70 of the stations he classified as being "good" still show the same upward trend in temperatures? And you do realise that there is an awful lot more to the world than the US, which is only about 2% of the earth's surface?

Does it matter to you that the temperature record is backed up by changes in sea-surface temperatures and satellite observations of the troposphere?

Probably not. Oh well. Go ahead and listen to the weatherman if it makes you feel better.

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@AC 08:42

AFAIK SO2 is considered a GHG (the fact that it does so by becoming sulphuric acid I didn't know) and it certainly does have an effect in cooling as you described. Mayhem never said it caused warming; he said "influence the climate".

Edward Teller suggested injecting it into the atmosphere to cause cooling, as if he hadn't had enough good ideas already. Shipping injects so much into the atmosphere (cos ships can legally burn undesulphured fuel because they're not near land??? dunno) that it was/is thought to have significantly affected temperatures over the ocean (from memory).

It certainly does have an effect and AFAIK it therefore seems reasonable to call it a GHG even if only in layman's terms. Be fair.

As for regional heat trapping events, didn't know that, ta.

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