back to article Inside the new climate row as Mystic Met Office goes cool on warming

Britain's Met Office has come under fire for two pieces of crystal-ball gazing involving global temperature and British rainfall. On Christmas Eve, the Met's temperature prediction for the UK was quietly revised downwards, and only merited a press release this week after physics blog Tallbloke's Talkshop noticed the change. …

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Big Brother

Not the Met Office's fault.

Other venerable institutions have been falling over themselves to disgrace themselves too. Notable and spectacularly jarring examples of this present some spurious and flawed modelling based on spurious and flawed data as indisputable scientific proof that we're all doomed epidemic include the BBC and The Royal Society.

I believe there are dark (i.e. probably political) forces behind this. I'd love to know who comprised the clique that informed the BBC it was to be the mouthpiece of this movement, but, alas, it seems to have been decided for me that such information is none of my business.

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

It's actually your fault. You generate a strawman and then tut-tut as you knock it down.

If I asked you for evidence to back up your premise that the Royal Society claim "indisputable scientific proof that we're all doomed" you won't be able to because the Royal Society does't claim that and so doesn't do the disgraceful act you accuse them of.

"I believe there are dark (i.e. probably political) forces behind this"

So it's a conspiracy theory...

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

El Reg reported recently on an appeal over a Freedom of Information request where the BBC tried to hide who had been present at a big meeting where the BBC decided to "go AGW". But then the names leaked out anyway.

So yes, the BBC is guilty of hiding its policy-making.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

"I believe there are dark (i.e. probably political) forces behind this".

Not necessarily - unless you believe (plausibly enough, I'll admit) that all political forces are dark. The trouble is that meteorology, like many other important fields of practical knowledge, is simply not well enough understood to serve as a reliable basis for large-scale political action.

I'll cite you another two fields of knowledge in which charlatans and blowhards have been sounding off officiously for decades, yet which no one really understands yet because they are just too complicated. Nutrition and economics. In both domains there are famous, well respected, very highly paid individuals whose voice is as the voice of God, and to whom everyone listens deferentially. Worst of all, governments act on those people's recommendations - whether naively or cynically is anyone's guess.

In nutrition, there is huge anxiety over the so-called "obesity crisis" in Western nations (and increasingly elsewhere, as Western lifestyles spread). Since the 1970s the prevailing orthodoxy has gradually set like concrete: overweight and obesity are caused by eating too much and exercising too little. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and so on. Well, in the last few years a growing number of scientists have started to notice that there was never any actual evidence to support the view that cholesterol and saturated fat are bad for you, and you must eat whole grains and vegetables to be healthy. The very scientists who stated those things in ringing tones - and eventually got governments to parrot them - were contradicting the results of their own experiments and surveys, which showed nothing of the kind. No one really knows whether the Atkins diet, for example, is good, bad, indifferent, or what. But if you look around, in the media and the interwebs, what you will find is huge numbers of completely unqualified "experts", all relentlessly preaching their particular dogmas.

In a recent radio talk, the estimable Will Self suggested that finance is actually a religion - and, what's more, the dominant religion in the West. What is certain is that finance and economics are other domains pervaded by arbitrary dogma, most of which is selective and partial at best, and flat wrong at worst. Fifty years ago I first heard the remark that, for every world-class economist who preaches a given point of view, one can easily find another world-class economist to call him a gold-plated liar. As well as the sentiment, with which we can all sympathize, that if all the economists in the world were laid end to end it would be a very good thing. Ever wonder why economists and financial gurus are always listened to with silent respect, even though they all disagree and none of them can predict anything? It's a religion! (And a very good living - see Norbert Haring's excellent book "Economists and the Powerful: Convenient Theories, Distorted Facts, Ample Rewards".

Unfortunately, most human beings are very bad indeed at suspending judgment. We don't want tentative hypotheses, ongoing experiments, cautious suggestions. Instead, we want certain, concrete knowledge followed by fast, decisive action - right now! Businesspeople and politicians are among the worst offenders in this respect: they like to do stuff, not ponder while credibility and votes trickle away. As George McGovern notoriously told doubtful nutrition scientists back in the 1970s, "we Senators don’t have the luxury that a research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in". So they hastily and superficially sample opinions - foolishly giving more weight to the "good and the great", scientists who have long passed their sell-by date and no longer do much (if any) active research, and whose ideas have fossilized as a result. And, of course, those scientists who are shrillest and most insistent in presenting their conclusions are all too often the ambitious rather than the talented and persistent.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

Blimey, a post on El Reg with which I agree entirely! Whatever next? A squadron of fquadraped, even-toed ungulates flying majestically overhead? Well I never!

You're quite right, the orthodoxy on nutrition is complete and utter bullshine. High cholesterol doesn't cause high blood pressure, it's a symptom of inflammation which is itself caused by various vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid deficiencies. I know of what I speak because I had "high" cholesterol, heart problems and much else besides and I've reduced it by taking vitamin, mineral and EFA supplements alone. I'm still the same fat lump I've been for some time but I'm now fit and healthy. I came within a year or two of turning up my toes and now it looks like I might get my holographic centennial message from Old King Willie.

They say that politics is showbiz for ugly people and I reckon economics is politics for the permanently confused and bewildered. The only thing that keeps it from being exposed as a complete sham is the terminology which makes it completely impenetrable to all but the adepts but then the same can be said for most "profession".

Numerous scandals have been exposed in parliament, press, police and banking over the last 6 years but they are as nothing compared to the scandal that is modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. They have been raping and pillaging the tax payers of the globe for 100 years or more and then letting them die of entirely preventable diseases which they then pretend to research at vast expense when the answers are as plain as the nose on your face. If most people, in addition to a reasonable diet, supplemented themselves with a multivitamin and some EFAs, they'd barely spend a day of their lives ill; heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer's, etc. would be wiped out in a matter of generations. Not to mention the money we'd save on psychopathic/sociopathic doctors and their drugs. This is why doctors don't hand out vitamin pills because if they did, we wouldn't need them any more. Think on that as you swallow the same kind of bullshit that is AGW.

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

How else do you explain the extreme weather we've been having?

Floods almost every single year and in places not built on flood planes.The weather in the whole world is getting more unpredictable and crazy. Landslides, floods, droughts and so on.

You can choose to ignore it, but perhaps you will come around to climate change when it affects you directly.

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Meh

Fish.........

"Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way; well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't, but having said that, actually, the weather will become very windy, but most of the strong winds, incidentally, will be down over Spain and across into France."

Nothing has changed has it?

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

im not going to proclaim I know the answer to this debate, but (AN) answer to your questions about flooding in "new" places is basic GCSE geography knowledge

you build flood defences in one place, you shaft someone else. Its quite simple, we've been passing the buck all around the country for decades, coastal and river defences will all help protect one area at the expense of another that is what they do.

Id also be interested in seeing which places got flooded that were not in a flood plain or in a location of possible flooding? water follows the same fluid dynamics and laws of physics in any location, its not political motivated, its not following some master AGW plan, its relatively basic stuff, you dump a shed load of water in one place and its likely it will go somewhere else or not as the case may be

If you have been affected by flooding then I am truly sorry, but before you start blaming AGW, God, Aliens and the number of cows farting in the fields you might want to consider all the other folk around you that have all been saving their own arses and all the while been passing that water quicker and in much large quantities towards you.

much of our flooding issues are down to ourselves, over countless generations of "flood defending" acts and measures

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Re: ...I reckon economics is politics for the permanently confused and bewildered.

Would you extend that sentiment (permanently confused and bewildered) to W??

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Re: Fish.........

I think if you're going to mention the incident with Fish, then you have to describe the cause. The cause was a lack of observational data back in that time. It's not appropriate to blame an individual forecaster for getting it wrong. Technology today means they gather a lot more observational data and feed that into the numerical weather prediction models (NWP).

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

That's not entirely right. Whilst flood defences along one river will protect one town it may result in a higher than normal river level height which may affect another town further downstream, so I am prepared to accept there is an element of truth in what you say, but the fundamental problem is the change in the nature of the rainfall events, which are a) longer in duration, b) over a wider area, c) higher in rainfall rate (expressed in millimetre's per hour).

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

"I believe there are dark (i.e. probably political) forces behind this."

I agree with the rest of your post, but not the "Dark Forces" part.

Anti-global warming [sic] policies means new taxes for governments, which are spent on subsidies for the renewable industry, and research by places like the Met to justify further policies.

All 3 parties are simply acting in their own self interest - I wouldn't call that "dark".

Its just a shame that Governments have started acting in their own interests, rather than ours as they are supposed to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

Easy, its not extreme.

It is the easiest thing in the world to think that every time we see an event that's mildly out of the normal that there has to be a reason and there is a pattern.

Just like every young person thinks they discovered cool, or music or sex, and nobody ever had those things like we did.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

"It is the easiest thing in the world to think that every time we see an event that's mildly out of the normal that there has to be a reason and there is a pattern".

The same syndrome, broadly speaking, that caused Schiaparelli to think he saw canals on Mars when the only thing he could possibly have been seeing was the blood vessels in his own eyes - if even that. Confabulation. It can also contribute to paranoia, when instead of taking occasional unpleasant experiences as just random events and shrugging them off emotionally, you start to discern an underlying pattern of evil agents and conspiracies.

Of course, being paranoid doesn't necessarily mean that someone isn't out to get you. But it makes it less likely, and implies the need for careful objective fact checking.

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

I'm afraid I have to disappoint you here. Back in one of the early recent major floods (2002/3?) there was a guy interviewed on the TV News for Sussex who made an a statement of blinding obviousness but, due to his alliegances, it was completely ignored.

He said that the bulk of early stage flooding was due to changing from 'soakaway' to 'run-off' on uphill land. It made the land accessible much faster for the farmer who didn't have to suffer from tractors bogged down etc but it collapsed the timescale for rainfall to enter the river systems to a matter of hours.

I know that with the current situation with the water table at maximum this would make little difference but it would curtail a lot of these flash floods where the water hits the ground and then within minutes has been guided into a river. This is also a contributing factor to the droughts which got no better despite some rain.

Oh yes, the alliegances which caused the problem? He was from 'Friends of the Earth' so of course had to be spouting rubbish.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

"a statement of blinding obviousness"

"He said that the bulk of early stage flooding was due to changing from 'soakaway' to 'run-off' on uphill land"

"land accessible much faster for the farmer"

"tractors bogged down"

"so of course had to be spouting rubbish"

Yes I think your last statement is right. He was spouting rubbish , unless of course you can point me to the source of the research which shows that the "bulk of early stage flooding" is caused by these devious farmers.

However, living in a rural community and having spent many years on the mountains, including for voluntary work, I must say that I have never seen these farmers digging up whole hillsides to place plastic sheeting down to stop the rain soaking into the ground. In fact you don't often see tractors on the hills at all. getting bogged down or not.

How do you guide water into a river? The rain falls uniformly across the whole hillside. Unless you had a massive plastic dome over the hill or built trenches 6ft deep every 30ft (thus destroying the ability to farm the land) you can't do that. The land is far more effective at channelling itself into rivers than humans can (we can divert the course of an existing river or dam it though).

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

God?

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

A lot of the evidence is from the work done by the Environment Agency when they changed their river management from County based to catchment based. They were able to track a lot of problems to their source and in a large number of cases, farmers (and other landowners) had 'improved the drainage' of their land to get water off it more quickly. This can come in a variety of methods such as substantial ditches around fields to direct the water or adding channels of buried gravel where land is not ploughed.

Surface water can drain to the edge of a field faster than it can soak into the soil in most instances and so by adding a good sized ditch you clear the water faster than just letting it soak away.

You seem to have missed the bit where I mentioned Sussex, this was rather relevant as whilst you are generally correct in your comments about upland farming my comment was about the impact that changes to land management can have when a large volume of water enters the river system more rapidly than the system can cope with.

I may not live up a mountain but I believe that doesn't preclude being in a rural environment.

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Happy

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

I didn't even read your post, but I'll mark you up because of your username, which made me smile. I need cheering up on a dreary Monday.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Fish.........

The Michael Fish hurricane "quote" for '87 storm is a total urban myth.

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Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

Flooding and drought both have the same answer - build more reservoirs. Make some of them power hydro-electric generators and that is another box ticked.

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Happy

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

@Giles Jones: The weather in the whole world is getting more unpredictable and crazy.

Could you let us see your workings? I'm not disagreeing, just hoping to learn how the people who know do it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

"A lot of the evidence is from the work done by the Environment Agency"

Source? Citation?

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Terminator

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

Blindingly obvious move is to run trenches or berms across fields to increase drainage rates. In arid lands this is done to concentrate run off on field areas in wadis - the Negev is a good example where migratory Bedouin farmers and herdsmen have practiced this for centuries. In regions that are better watered, the same methods is sometimes employed to limit and collect sheet run off and direct it to channels more quickly. That reduces erosion on sloping fields that are already ploughed. Once saturated the entire slope might move, which would be bad. The strawberry growing areas around Watsonville in California are occasionally designed this way if there are serious sloped to deal with. Much of the area is short on clay and has an unfortunate vulnerability to gravity when wet.

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What "extreme" weather?

It isn't a matter of ignoring it. Whether you perceive extreme weather is a function 1) age, 2) memory quality, 3) where you were or are being raised. Age means that if you are as old as I am, and your memory works at least as well as mine, then you remember of wetter, hotter, colder, and drier weather, unless Alzheimers is setting in. The present doesn't stand out over 60 years in any way. If you were raised in an urban setting your perceptions are biased by that as well. Cities exist to shelter people from the slings and arrows of nature in the raw. It is also worth remembering that if you "have to adjust" data, before using it, what you really need is either better data or a better theory that doesn't demand adjustment.

If you really worship the words of "authority" and "expert" opinion, you want remember that neither of those words has any scientific merit whatsoever. An authority in science is someone who publishes a lot. That just makes them wordy, not necessarily reliable or believable. An "expert" is someone a lawyer wants on his side. Dueling "experts" are not employed for nothing in jury trials. "Experts" don't necessarily agree, so it is more than likely that for every expert you trust, there is another expert with a contrary opinion that someone else trusts just as much. Government agencies have lawyers who actually train scientists in how to be "expert witnesses." Essential points in the training including picking the stance you mostly prefer and treating that view like you are absolutely convinced that it is the only true reality. Don't qualify anything - qualifications "open the door."

For a really apposite example from climate science, read the comparatively sane discussions between the "team" members in Climate Gate 1 and 2 emails that recognize problems, issues and express the concern that skeptics may have legitimate issues. Compare that with the profound certainty expressed by the team in public. My personal view is that agency lawyers "trained" the "team" members on how to talk to the media and the public.

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Thumb Up

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

Well said Sir. Just ask any one along the Thames estuary who suffers when the London flood barriers is closed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not the Met Office's fault.

@Giles Jones

How about just climate change - as per normal!

Do you really think that various parts of the world have never, ever had bad weather before? Was it man that caused the Sahara desert? Was it man that caused the ice cap to expand and cover a good proportion of the now habitable areas, then contract so that we could enjoy the countryside a little bit further North than the tropics (or South, I presume). Not on your nelly. Just climate change, or to be more precise elements of this earthly environment, which, as it has done for millenia (or is that eons?) is continually changing - before during and I am sure, long after man is gone.

The problem is that man, before he started getting too clever, has continually adapted to the environment. If some coast line eroded, he moved further inland. If it started receiving little or no rain - move on.

Now that we all have a vested financial interest our own little bit of property, we demand that the government do something about it before they lose it.

Personally I can't wait for a bit of elevated sea levels. I should have a prime waters-edge property - until it erodes of course, but hopefully I will have sold be then and made a handsome profit.

Or even more likely, I shall be long dead along with any offspring I may have unknowingly sired. And their offspring ad infinitum.

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Happy

Good

Finally, the Met Office is caught out making statements about trends which it is unable to substantiate with statistical analysis. Sadly, it isn't as simple as saying that they are wrong, and there is no trend. All we can say is that they seem not to realise how easy it is to pick out a trend by eye which is in reality just random variation.

The Met Office has a duty to present their analysis of the data in a robust way. The dialogue linked in the article implies that their senior staff have no comprehension of what would be needed to achieve this.

We do, however have plenty of examples of their PR being interpreted to swallow the inaccurate interpretation so it seems reasonable to push them to issue a clear and unambiguous retraction of the idea that we have a rainfall trend that suggests ANYTHING. (other than a long term 1% per century increase, which could well correlate with the LIA, but is close to irrelevant in terms of panic-now)

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Re: Good

"Statistical analysis of rainfall records by the Met Office claimed to show days of heavy rainfall had become more common in England since 1960."

But note the above graph in the article is annual rainfall. It's not days of heavy rainfall. So it isn't even testing the Met Office claim, it's just put there to look like it does.

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Re: Good

What's this then?

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/17/Rainfall/UK.gif

Is that an uptrend in rainfall in the UK in recent decades? Ie could the Met Office be right? (shock!)

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Re: Good

>The Met Office has a duty to present their analysis of the data in a robust way.

As scientists they do have that duty and I am sure they do present it. There was simply one episode where scientists didn't disclose all the information they had and this has resulted in considerable damage to the reputation of climatologists.

But there is a difference in presenting empirical data and making interpretations, predictions based on that data. The average member of the public doesn't understand the complexities in climatology or meteorology and when a prediction is made they interpret it with absolutely certainty, but any scientist, mathematician or engineer, (any many other intelligent people) know that a prediction means there is some degree of uncertainty that goes along with it.

Weather and climate have many cyclical behaviours, some we understand and some we have only recently discovered. If the period of a cyclical behaviour is short enough compared to the lifetime of man then we have a chance to capture enough observational data to a) observe the behaviour and b) analyse what is causing it.

The problem is, we already know that a number of behaviours have periods in terms of thousands and tens of thousands of years so whilst it is ok presenting empirical data, we have to be extremely careful with making predictions based on prediction models which have been constructed based on observational data when we don't fully understand the behaviour.

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Holmes

Re: Good

Well, here in Jordan (where I'm working at the moment), the capital Amman has had 4in rain and 6in of snow in the past 9days. Apart from the whole place shutting down officially, no gritters or plows here the drainage systems are totally unable to cope. Roads flooded, a few homes literally washed away.

This is the rainy seaon but a whole months rain fell in one day.

As far as I'm concerned there is something strange going on with the weather.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good

Well guess what? Jordan was much the same in the early 1990s - it had weeks of torrential rain followed by prolonged cold/snow. A local there told me it was worse than some year in the 1950s when the same sort of thing happened.

Bloody awful place in winter, not much better any other time of the year.

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FAIL

The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

The Met Office predictions are lower than previous predictions, but note that they are still rising.

The global heat content of the planet has continued to rise over the last 16 years and surface temperatures are also rising, but that is not a long enough period to be considered statistically significant (which means that it has a 95% probabilty of not being by chance). Climate is never statistically significant over such a short period of time:

Look at the excellent video on the page for a very clear graphical explanation what is going on:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/16_more_years_of_global_warming.html

Look at it this way, the freak warm El Nino year of 1998 has now become the new "normal" temperature. Does that suggest no warming to you? How about the fact that 4.3 trillion tons of ice has melted in last 8 years?

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-036

When will the Register start getting its news from real science rather than AGW denier blogs?

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Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

uk.sci.weather vigorously discusses the operation of the Met Office every day. There are very few who support either side of the argument wholeheartedly. I think this is because the majority of posters on there are adept and quite a few are expert.

Your assertion about warming is quite correct with one small caveat:

Earth's heat budget doesn't translate from hot to cold but from warm air to low pressure.

There is no balance for any equations for places with higher temperatures versus places with lower temperatures. When it gets warm it doesn't stay warm until it gets warmer, not as long as night follows day it doesn't.

Likewise when all that terrible, nutritious greenhouse gas gets warm, it rises and although a lot of it comes back down again some of it acts as a coolant, making its way out of the troposphere to place where it can divest itself of all that destructive warmth you worry so much about.

And guess what else can happen up there:

CH4 +2O3 = 2CO2 + 2H2O

Most of the ozone reaction are nice simple easily balanced chemical equations like that.

It's almost as if there is a god after all.

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Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

I assume Andrew has also read this peer-reviewed paper (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0375960112010389) which demonstrates that over 90% of the Earth's heat imbalance is being stored in the oceans rather than going to warm the surface. Surface temperatures might be rising only very slightly, but the Earth as a whole is warming strongly.

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statistical significance

There is no such single thing as "considered statistically significant". It depends what your purpose is.

Among real scientists 2 sigma or 95% is considered to be the point at which you say "oh, that looks interesting, lets research it more to see if it's real" (i.e. try to add a few more sigma on to the probability.

The following article shows how physicists deal with such statistics, and don't consider something to be proven unless it reaches 5 sigma or 99.99994% probability that the observations didn't happen by chance.

http://www.physicscentral.com/buzz/blog/index.cfm?postid=5248358123737529836

That discussion is largely in the context of deciding whether or not Higgs' boson is real, a subject of absolutely no practical importance to anyone not in that academic field.

That something as serious as hurting the world economy to the tune of trillions of dollars and condemning millions of the most vulnerable people to starvation and death via raising the prices of food and energy should be decided by mere 2 sigma evidence is utterly ludicrous.

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Linux

Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

Yawn. Another post from the global cooling deniers.

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Mushroom

Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

If global warming doesn't appear in surface temperatures why did the AGW boys make such a fuss about them, and essentially if the surface temperature doesn't change, what difference is it going to make to climate?

Really, warmists are the people who really like to have their cake and eat it..

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Gold badge

Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

There's a lot of water on the planet and it is this which is warming more? this is why the ice is melting and it is raining more drastically? water evaporating tends to produce clouds?

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Re: statistical significance

You say...

"There is no such single thing as "considered statistically significant". It depends what your purpose is."

Then go on to compare the existence of a particle that can only be yes/no and AGW that could be no it's getting colder / nothing happening / warmer but not significant / warmer but cost less to deal with then prevent / we are all going to die.

And since this is not all about the science you could add, warmer but I'll be dead by then so don't care / warmer but it will be better for ME / warmer but only unimportant people will be underwater. To add to the non science side you have people on both sides just out to make money, oil companies and car companies on one side, and stuff like carbon trading and subsidised green power on the other.

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@Bruce Hoult: An Antecedent

"That something as serious as hurting the world economy to the tune of trillions of dollars and condemning millions of the most vulnerable people to starvation and death via raising the prices of food and energy should be decided by mere 2 sigma evidence is utterly ludicrous."

Unless you consider that, uh, "reducing the earth's population" might be a goal of the global warming alarmist agenda - a goal which might be an antecedent to anthropogenic global warming alarmism. (cf that loathsome racist Paul Ehrlich.)

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Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

"The Met Office predictions are lower than previous predictions, but note that they are still rising."

The article is talking about RAINFALL, not temperature!!

FAIL was a great choice of avatar for your post...

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Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

"90% of the Earth's heat imbalance is being stored in the oceans rather than going to warm the surface."

Firstly, its air temperature that is measured, not surface temperature.

Secondly the network of buoys recording sea temperatures is not actually recording any increase in sea temperature.

So the earth as a whole is NOT warming strongly.

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Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

"Secondly the network of buoys recording sea temperatures is not actually recording any increase in sea temperature."

Figures from folks such as the NOAA seem to indicate a rise in global upper ocean heat content, and a rise in sea-levels consistent with that (inter alia). Could you provide some links to the buoy records you're referring to please ?

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There isn't a universal threshold for statistics in science.

Statistical significance for physics is very different than for "soft science" (biology, geology,....). The soft sciences are far less rigorous than physics.

Physics **hates** to use statistics at all. Any use of statistics in physics just reduces rigor. That's why, when it is used, they demand lots of 9s.

If 1000 bricks were thrown into the air and 999 of them fell to the ground but one hovered in the air, the physicist would have severe doubts about gravity. 99.9% is not enough.

Soft sciences will accept far lower thresholds. For example, we routinely accept that smoking causes cancer when many smokers die of other causes.

What is important is recognizing levels of confidence. Sigmas etc are routinely cut from reporting because the journalists and public just don't understand them.

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Re: Chet Mannly

Doh.. where do you get that from? Links?

20 years ago one could snorkel the house reefs around the islands in the Maldives, all teeming with coral and fish. Last year the surface water temperatures were so piss warm it is no wonder that everything down to 2 meters is now dead and void of life. Not only a consequence of heat but also due to the overall global increase of acidity caused by the absorption of CO2

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-ocean-acidification/

http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/acidification/

http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

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FAIL

Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

That is a hypothesis rather than a fact. What is a fact is that Kevin Trenberth has complained about the "missing" energy. Since it _assumed_ that it has not yet left building, the obvious conclusion is that the oceans have it, though Trenberth actually said the data had to be wrong. Right now, globally the oceans are cooler than they have been for a considerable while. For example see this: http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2013/anomnight.1.14.2013.gif. Over half the marine surface shows a cool anomaly.

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FAIL

Re: Chet Mannly

DO you know what the change in marine pH was? Because, if you don't, you should probably look up some useful terms like "buffering," "acid" vs. "alkaline," find out about neutral pH, etc. The only legitimate fact is one you missed. The warmer water is the less gas it can hold in solution. That includes - wait for it - oxygen. Any change in sea life is far more likely to be due to lower oxygenation, not acidification - the oceans are alkaline and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

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Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

"Right now, globally the oceans are cooler than they have been for a considerable while. For example see this: http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2013/anomnight.1.14.2013.gif. Over half the marine surface shows a cool anomaly."

I thought the SST anomaly was the short term indicator (last day of the previous 2 week average) used for things like upwell anaylsis ?

Some of the long term indicators, such as global upper ocean temperature, can be found here (and related links on that page)

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/indicators/

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