Monday, December 27, 2010

Met Office, Mormons and myth

'Must read'
Boxing Day in Scotland on Sunday supplied a dose of well deserved, if gentle, mockery of the druidical illogicality and gnosticism of the AGW movement.  In it Gerald Warner poked a bit of fun at Anthropogenic Global Warming devotees, using outlandish religious imagery to underline his pitch that the global warming movement is not based on empirical or theoretical evidence.

Now whilst you can take the religious metaphors too far (some of 'religion' is based on excellent evidence), he makes some very good points.  Last week I highlighted evidence of a distinct bias in the Met Office, showing that they had over predicted the mean global temperature in ten out of eleven years.  Warner lampoons them for other failed predictions:
These are challenging times for climate jihadists. Last week the Met Office was forced to issue a press release stating it "categorically denies forecasting a 'mild winter' ". In fact, in October, its long-range probability map predicted an 80 per cent probability of warmer than average temperatures from November to January in Scotland. It claimed Scotland, along with Northern Ireland, the eastern half of England and Cornwall, would experience temperatures above the 3.7°C average, more than 2°C higher than last winter.
The failure of the probability map to give the anxious nation the right steer for the forthcoming winter might be more forgivable were it not for that other forecasters in October were forecasting a cold winter. Add to that the previous predictions starkly falsified (barbecue summer and last year's predicted 'mild winter' come to mind).  And the brazen denial - without addressing the issue - is an echo of the outright denial of anything significant amiss which has accompanied the refutation of the basis of some key planks of 'climate science'.  These matter as our public policy is driven by a belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming which is not supported by the evidence.

The partisan (yet bizarrely labelled 'independent') public enquiries into the Climatic Research Unit are an example of conduct which undermines CAGW credibility.  The conduct of the Hockey Stick team, now surely discredited, in denial and obfuscating for all they are worth, is another example.

Which brings me to a book recommendation.  If you have not read the 'The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science' by Andrew Montford, don't allow yourself to proceed far into 2011 without reading it.  Warner labels the Scottish Parliament
. . . that tabernacle of AGW piety . . .
I agree.  Our Scottish legislaters, who in 2009 passed the (then) world leading Climate Change Act, might have done better due diligence if they had been aware of these and similar issues which were open for any diligent scrutineer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Official bias

The last few days has witnessed much consideration on the blogs of whether the Met Office is institutionally biased in favour of warmism.

How about this for a quote as regards UK winters:
"The famously cold winter of 1962/63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850."
That was Peter Stott, a Met Office Scientist on 25th February 2009.  Although we have a bit to go before this winter's temperatures are available (Dec, Jan, Feb), Peter Stott's comment is looking a bit thin.

I recall a comparison of Met Office/CRU predictions for global temperatures against the outcomes.  I have dug back to the post on the Air Vent and compared the predictions since 1998 against the outcomes as contained in this entry on the Met office website.  The comparison seems to show that the Met Office/CRU global surface temperature prediction overshot the actual result in ten out of eleven years. Here are the figures shown as the temperature anomaly above the 1961-90 average:
1999 ..…0.38…………0.26
2010……0.58…………(0.52 Jan - Oct)
It looks from those figures that the Met Office has over predicted the temperature by 0.07degrees centigrade  on average each year.  They undershot only once in 11 years.  That will almost certainly be once in twelve years at the end of this month.

So why the persistent over shoot when you might expect less of a pattern.  I suggest the answer is warmist bias in the models and the mindset.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wikileaks and Climategate

There is a fascinating strand of Wikileaks where Julian Assange, the founder, claims the credit for the release of emails from CRU on 17th November 2009. People familiar with the Climategate chronology are not impressed. For example, Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit contrasts the real time line with that given by Assange.  

Ross McKitrick says this of the video:
"They evidently like leaks that embarrass their political opponents, but in this case they found themselves tagged with a leak that had damaged the side they like; and since it seems to be more about political warfare against governments they dislike than some impartial ideal of transparency and freedom of information, they were stuck scrambling to make up a story about how it really served some nobler purpose. Of course they should simply have said that they weren’t the source of the leak, that it was in full circulation long before anyone looked to them for a copy and they didn’t know much about the details of what followed. But that would have been too humble, especially in front of a room full of simpering hero-worshippers. So they pretended to be insiders and proceeded to deliver a few minutes of sheer drivel."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Climate Change minister resigns - the irony

Climate change 'pleasure'
This evening Stewart Stevenson MSP, Scottish Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change resigned.

Two weeks of record snowfalls and record low temperatures, particularly across the heavily populated central belt of Scotland, when the motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow was closed in one direction for almost 2 days, led to the resignation.

In his own words, here is the reason he gave for his resignation in his letter to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister.
"Although we put in place significant efforts to tackle the event (the cold snap), I feel that I could have done much more to ensure that members of the public who were caught up in a difficult and frightening set of circumstances were better informed of the situation."
As is wont in resignation letters, he then reflects on his achievements:
"It was, however, a particular pleasure to be the minister who steered the climate change legislation through the Scottish Parliament."
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 was groundbreaking (at the time) in setting targets for emissions reduction beyond any other country in the world.  This, of course, has been the source of considerable satisfaction amongst most of Scotland's politicians.

Now I'm not suggesting that a couple of record breaking cold spells in Scotland on their own tell us very much about whether the globe faces catastrophic warming.

I have no reason to doubt that  Stewart Stevenson is a thoroughly decent and honourable man. And it does seem that his hounding by the press and his opponents has been a bit harsh bearing in mind the length of time since we last had a year of such snow and cold.

Perhaps in the greater leisure time ahead of him, however, he might reflect on the ironic conjunction of his passionate expectation of catastrophic warming, and nature's demonstration of how cold Scotland still is.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Herald: "A hellish vision. . ."

Yesterday The Herald newspaper, based in Glasgow, trotted out the following drivel, slavishly following the alarmist line so beloved of the catastrophists (and the Met Office), as the Cancun charade reaches its climax.  Apparently, The Herald leader writer believes that an increase of two degrees in temperature by the end of the century will have us at a catastrophic tipping point:

"Above that a hellish vision opens up of widespread floods and droughts, with millions of refugees roaming the world in search of food as ecosystems collapse and forests die of drought."
The full lead article is here.

And lest they don't print my response sent to them today I include it below.  Meanwhile look at this letter to the Economist.   This time the drivel is called astrology and the reposte is from Matt Ridley the science writer.