Met Office in the Media: 14 October 2012

An article by David Rose appears today in the Mail on Sunday under the title: ‘Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it’

It is the second article Mr Rose has written which contains some misleading information, after he wrote an article earlier this year on the same theme – you see our response to that one here.

To address some of the points in the article published today:

Firstly, the Met Office has not issued a report on this issue. We can only assume the article is referring to the completion of work to update the HadCRUT4 global temperature dataset compiled by ourselves and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

We announced that this work was going on in March and it was finished this week. You can see the HadCRUT4 website here.

Secondly, Mr Rose says the Met Office made no comment about its decadal climate predictions. This is because he did not ask us to make a comment about them.

You can see our full response to all of the questions Mr Rose did ask us below:

Hi David,

Here’s a response to your questions. I’ve kept them as concise as possible but the issues you raise require considerable explanation.

Q.1 “First, please confirm that they do indeed reveal no warming trend since 1997.”

The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming.

As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system. If you use a longer period from HadCRUT4 the trend looks very different. For example, 1979 to 2011 shows 0.16°C/decade (or 0.15°C/decade in the NCDC dataset, 0.16°C/decade in GISS). Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous – so the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the 2000s were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade.

Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ºC. However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled. The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.

Q.2 “Second, tell me what this says about the models used by the IPCC and others which have predicted a rise of 0.2 degrees celsius per decade for the 21st century. I accept that there will always be periods when a rising gradient may be interrupted. But this flat period has now gone on for about the same time as the 1980 – 1996 warming.”

The models exhibit large variations in the rate of warming from year to year and over a decade, owing to climate variations such as ENSO, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. So in that sense, such a period is not unexpected. It is not uncommon in the simulations for these periods to last up to 15 years, but longer periods are unlikely.

Q.3 “Finally, do these data suggest that factors other than CO2 – such as multi-decadal oceanic cycles – may exert a greater influence on climate than previously realised?”

We have limited observations on multi-decadal oceanic cycles but we have known for some time that they may act to slow down or accelerate the observed warming trend. In addition, we also know that changes in the surface temperature occur not just due to internal variability, but are also influenced by “external forcings”, such as changes in solar activity, volcanic eruptions or aerosol emissions. Combined, several of these factors could account for some or all of the reduced warming trend seen over the last decade – but this is an area of ongoing research.

———–

The below graph which shows years ranked in order of global temperature was not included in the response to Mr Rose, but is useful in this context as it illustrates the point made above that eight of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past decade.

Graph showing years ranked in order of global temperature.

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399 Responses to Met Office in the Media: 14 October 2012

  1. miscanthus12 says:

    This post is one of the reasons why the blog is so helpful. Much better to have data set in a scientific context and evaluated rigorously. Thank you.

    • jdey123 says:

      The bar chart showing the hottest years is based on only 1 of the temperature data sets that has been compiled by the Met Office, other temperature data sets show different yearly rankings. There is no consistency in climate science. It’s about as scientific as astrology.

      • Dave Britton says:

        The bar chart is based on HadCRUT4, which is our current and most comprehensive dataset. You can read more about it in a news release here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2012/hadcrut-updates
        Or see the dataset here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/

      • Clive – so far, in this thread, I seem to be the one posting to research and papers. That doesn’t seem political to me. You may be projecting.

        Let’s look at Vostok again. From the paper I cited, “extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr” In other words, the ice records show CO2 is higher now than for getting on for half a million years.

      • clivebest says:

        @ John

        Let’s look at Vostok again. From the paper I cited, “extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr” In other words, the ice records show CO2 is higher now than for getting on for half a million years.

        I am not disputing that present day levels of CO2 are at unprecedented levels compared to the last 0.5 million years. However there is clear evidence both from Vostok and ocean sediment data that global temperatures were significantly higher during previous interglacials and also earlier this interglacial. This is strong evidence that CO2 is not the primary driver of global temperatures. CO2 levels fall during glaciations as the colder oceans absorb atmospheric CO2 and vegetation dies off in the Northern hemisphere. Likewise it increases as it outgases from the oceans during warm interglacials just in time to promote vegetation growth. ( Warm coca-cola looses its fizz )

        Man’s outgasing of CO2 from fossil fuels must have some effect on the radiation balance on Earth. Luckily the basic effect is logarithmic in radiative forcing, because the atmosphere is already opaque for CO2 absorption bands. The actual response is what is being measured by HADCRUT4. The evidence is slowly building that the warming period from 1970 until about 1995 is over and we have entered a flat period which is probably due to natural variation (sunspots, AMO, PDO etc.). In addition GCM models developed during the “naturally enhanced” warming period during the 1980s and 1990s are overestimating warming. They need adjusting to reduce assumed feedbacks.

        Oil production will likely peak around 2020-2030 and prices will rise as demand exceeds supply. Likewise cheap coal will become more expensive as it becomes more difficult to extract (and sell to China !). For purely economic reasons we should research new forms of energy. Even the most optimistic forecasts for renewables foresees a maximum of about 25% of UK energy needs. So either we reduce the population to 10 million or we go with nuclear. There is no other choice.

      • Clive – I disagree there that there is strong evidence that CO2 is not the driver. I’ve seen nothing convincing – and neither have most practitioners – most agree it is. You are, of course, welcome to another opinion.

        As for sensitivity, again, the consensus view is that the feedbacks are positive – and the word positive here is in a control theory sense – as per my Wikipedia citation I provided in another chain.

        I don’t really see any flattening in warming either. Natural variation is too handwavey for my taste. What variations are those?

        Now, onto points of agreement. Energy costs will soar as extraction becomes more difficult. And, and here you will disagree, as we move to a polluter pays model. It’s inevitable that as we add more CO2 to the climate there will be mostly negative side-effects. Someone is going to pay for these. It could continue to be victim pays, as now. Or it could be polluter pays.

      • clivebest says:

        John – CO2 is a greenhouse gas and regulates IR heat loss from the surface to outer space. So too does water vapor and H2O concentration changes on a daily basis, whereas CO2 changes on a time scale of 5-100 years. During the dinosaur era 50 million years ago CO2 levels were way over 1000 ppm, yet we did not have a run away greenhouse effect from positive feedbacks. In fact for nearly 4 billion years we know that the Earth has been mainly covered with liquid oceans despite huge variations both in CO2 (up to 5000 ppm) and in solar output (30%). This must say something very fundamental about the role of water and its 3 phase transitions in regulating temperatures on Earth.

        As far as getting “polluters” to pay, I invite you to ask China to pay carbon taxes. The annual increase in China’s emissions (DC/Dt) is greater that all UK annual emissions (C). The 100s of billion pounds of UK taxpayers money earmarked to meet the 2008 Climate Change targets by 2050 will have no measurable effect whatsoever on the Earth’s climate. They just delay China’s increasing emissions by 9 months.

    • Oh, yes ! Scientific context like the one of the Hockey Stick ? And rigor like frightening people with model predictions ‘exhibiting large variation’ ?

      • Multiple independent lines of inquiry all validate the hockey stick.

      • Ah, the faith of the believer ! And what about those invalidating it ?

      • Ok, bluff called. Please provide a link to a peer-reviewed paper that invalidates the hockey stick. I have boreholes, stalagmites, glaciers and temperature reconstructions all following the hockey stick shape. See http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm for descriptions and links to original material.

        Whatcha got?

      • nuwurld says:

        John, ‘what we got is’,
        Think I’d go with Viking settlements and tree growing on Greenland. That was during the Medieval Warm Period. When times where good and all the cathedrals were built in England. The Little Ice age which is well documented, including the Oort, Wolf, Sporer, Maunder, and most recently the Dalton minimum. All intriguingly at 178 year intervals, oh and that means we’re just entering the next solar minimum now after around 140 years of natural warming. What have you got, some sort of stick? Beyond that we have the ‘Dark ages cold period’, the Roman Warm Period’. Further back we have the Minoan Warm. Strangely all at regular intervals and in time with the harmonic structure retrievable through a Fourier transform of cataloged solar data. Earth follows solar.
        What did you say you had? Some sort of stick?

      • The MWp was neither as warm, or as global, as now. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period. Take a look at the graph. Sure looks like a hockey stick for me.

        As for the 178 year period, dare I say it, even A Watts doesn’t buy it, as per http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/28/astronomical-society-of-australia-publishes-new-paper-warning-of-solar-quieting-and-global-cooling/ – assuming, of course, that he’s critiquing the source you don’t cite.

        Against the original request, a peer-reviewed paper, you have not succeeded as you haven’t produced any. And, further, your use of MWP seems to validate the hockey stick.

      • By peer reviewed, you mean the endogamic ideological science revealed by the climate gate ? If you want a different point of view read what Leroy Ladurie wrote long before the polemic in 80’s about alpine icecap, maybe you could escape from the CRU lies. The denial of the Medieval Warm Period and of the fact you can check by yourself that during roman period passes which were covered by ice not 10 years ago were common way to travel. Otzi and his contemporaries used these passes, remnants of these usual travels are found in abundance : who is lying Mann or the evidences of much warmer periods archeologists find every years.

      • Remember that’s the university who condemned Galileo, the peer review has shown by Wegman and confirmed by the Climate Gate scandal is merely an association of people sharing the same views, they care about ideology not about science like those who condemned Galileo.

      • stashcode says:

        you just got b-u-r-n-e-d!

      • Another Galileo complex. You are not Galileo, rest assured. And you do know Weman has been discredited, don’t you – or do you need to be more sceptical?

      • I’m not Galileo but you are the university, concerning Wegman and McIntyre the critics they made on the poor statistical methodology remains as well as the cherry-picking of the samples. But you do not say anything about archeology, are these peer-reviewed papers fake science ? These findings clearly invalidate the hockey stick, and the plateau of temp variations during the last 15 yrs too.

      • You clearly don’t read the science but do take seriously the laugh out loud conspiracy theories that attempt to undermine it. Wegman and McIntyre are both busted flushes. The science continues to roll in and demonstrate the obvious physics – more heat entering the earth than leaving it warms it.

        The data David Rose didn’t use in his rush to bleat to his sheep actually demonstrates warming continues. You’ll enjoy the fifth graph, http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/temperature-analysis-by-david-rose-doesnt-smell-so-sweet/.

        Why so-called sceptics aren’t sceptical of their own data eludes me.

      • nuwurld says:

        Sorry John, my apologies. I forgot the Vostok ice core data which shows another 342 similar ‘natural’ warmings of similar magnitude.

      • Another nuwurld own goal. “extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr” from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/vostok.html.

      • clivebest says:

        John – you need to stop mixing up science with a political crusade. Lets look at the last 400,000 years of Vostoc data how does CO2 alone explain that?. A doubling of CO2 will likely cause warming of 1-2 deg.C. However there are far stronger effects at play here other than man.

      • Still no reply on archeology, is it science or not ? Are you bothered by findings challenging your views ? Is it the right scientific approach ? Can you seriously think that a reconstruction based on tree rings can go against many other evidences showing that the optimal medieval did occur and much warmer periods existed, is Nir Shaviv part of conspiracy too ? Are those not convinced by you ideology automatically conspirationists ? What is the logic behind what you say about Vostok ice core data ? It can be absolutely possible that C02 concentration is higher today than thousand of years ago, it does not mean that the warming which occurred at the end of the XXth is caused by that. Svante Arrhenius himself complained in his time about the logarithmic capacity of C02 to reflect IR.
        You pretend to do Science as the doctors of the University did while they merely obeyed the orders of Pope Urban VIII, in fact you regurgitate the alarmist doxa.

      • Clive – so far, in this thread, I seem to be the one posting to research and papers. That doesn’t seem political to me. You may be projecting.

        Let’s look at Vostok again. From the paper I cited, “extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr” In other words, the ice records show CO2 is higher now than for getting on for half a million years.

        As for climate sensitivity, you are welcome to your estimate, although most would deem it higher as per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_sensitivity#Radiative_forcing_due_to_doubled_CO2.

        Finally, what other stronger effects are you claiming? CO2 has clearly been the driver behind rising temperatures.

      • nuwurld says:

        John, you are being tangential. I am relating the ‘current’ warming to those depicted in the Vostok ice data. Obviously any CO2 present then was ‘not’ due to man’s activity. Think of it as like a ‘natural variation’. Without which modern standards and predictions have no value.

      • clivebest says:

        John wrote:

        Clive – so far, in this thread, I seem to be the one posting to research and papers. That doesn’t seem political to me. You may be projecting.

        Let’s look at Vostok again. From the paper I cited, “extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr” In other words, the ice records show CO2 is higher now than for getting on for half a million years.

        CO2 levels are higher than anytime during the last 0.5 million years, although they have been many times higher in the past – click here

        The Vostok data cover recent glaciations and these are triggered by Milankowitz cycles and have nothing to do with CO2. Some people have been arguing that CO2 is a “feedback” on Milankowitz, but so of course is H2O. The details of Ice Ages are still a mystery, however unfortunately the next one is coming fairly soon. You can read about it on my blog. Since you seem to be a bit snooty about “peer reviewed” papers you can read more about it here:
        Maureen Raymo & Peter Huybers, Unlocking the mysteries of the ice ages. Nature, Vol 451, 17 Jan 2008

      • Clive – I think you’re wriggling. Vostok shows CO2 higher now than any time in the last half million years. Man did that with CO2. No competing theory holds water.

        Tibor – you don’t provide any links to pursue to back up your assertions. I do provide links. I win.

        Further, Tibor, on the one hand you dislike appeal to authority – as in all the world’s scientific establishments agree. On the other hand you like to appeal to authority – as in your friend Nar Shaviv. There are scientists who disagree wtih the consensus – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming. But they are in a small minority.

      • Clive – I’m glad I have your attention. First of all you accuse me of being political and then of being snooty. Judge a man by the reputation of his enemies, say I.

        I enjoyed the Ice Age paper. They’re discussing possible cycles of tens, hundreds of even tens of hundreds of thousands of years. That’s quite a few orders of magnitude slower, and much more uncertain, than our 150 years of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. We’ve hit the system with a geological scale step function. In a few hundred generations we may have to cope with glacial ice – maybe. My children and their grandchildren will have to cope with global warming. Excuse me short-termism but I shall focus there.

        As for your blog, thank you for sharing. I’d already had a quick peek at it. I hope you manage to attract interest from a journal.

  2. Why does the Met office seem so unwilling to concede the lack of substantial warming in the 21st century. Yes, this can happily sit alongside the fact that the 21st century is also the warmest in the instrumental record.
    The lack of substantial warming, or pause, is of much interest to all climate scientists yet the met office response seems more concerned with supporting policy than a discussion about the data/science.

    As David Rose makes clear, this is not to say warming has stopped for ever but does raise questions about models and some more catastrophic visions of future climate.

    Presumably nobody should have been pointing at the last 16 years of data, showing a higher rate of warming, back in 1998? !

    • Dave Britton says:

      We agree with Mr Rose that there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century. As stated in our response, this is 0.05 degrees Celsius since 1997 equivalent to 0.03 degrees Celsius per decade.

      However, we do suggest that measurements over the longer-term are more representative of the trend in climate due to the influence of natural variability over shorter timescales.

      The Met Office will continue its research to understand both longer and shorter term trends, and how these are represented in global climate models.

      • omnologos says:

        Dave – does this mean that model-based projections over short-term periods have little meaning?

      • Dave Britton says:

        No, it depends on the context and how they are used. For example, when climate models are used to provide short-term projections they begin with an understanding of the current state of the atmosphere taken from observations. This provides useful probabilistic information.

      • jdey123 says:

        Dave, Drop the political mantra and acknowledge that Mr Rose is correct that there has been minimal global warming since 1880 and there has been no global warming since 1997. The IPCC models which claim that we can expect increases of 0.2C per decade up to 2100 by which time it’s claimed the world will have warmed by 2C is clearly ridiculous. There is no correlation between increases in CO2 and global temperature increases and the Met Office nor any other self-proclaimed climate scientist has a clue as to what actually causes variations in global temperature.

      • Dave Britton says:

        Mr Rose says in his article: “Since 1880, when worldwide industrialisation began to gather pace and reliable statistics were first collected on a global scale, the world has warmed by 0.75 degrees Celsius.”
        He later adds: “So let’s be clear. Yes: global warming is real, and some of it at least has been caused by the CO2 emitted by fossil fuels.”
        As we have said in response to a previous comment on this blog: “We agree with Mr Rose that there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century.”
        You may find this chart showing all three global temperature datasets useful: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/image/j/l/warmingtrend.gif

      • “building block of life” – as if one can’t have too much CO2. And floods are ok as you can’t have too much H2O. And what can one say about methane, after all one can’t have too much manure, can one?

      • nuwurld says:

        John, think some things are out of context here but, whatever! CO2 like ‘is’ the building block of life, do you reject the mechanism that forms the basis of carbohydrates, fats, sugars, proteins, alcohols, and our bodily composites, which are all, and so many more, produced from ATMOSPHERIC CO2. All through the mechanism that plants open their stomata to, to accept the gas you warn us so vehemently about.

      • nuwurld says:

        Mmm. I do smell something around here. This is hardly relevant of climate change. Pollution, toxicity, caring for our planet and its various inhabitants, is one thing, attributing change to the building block of life is another.

  3. It would also be perhaps useful to show a more usual graph of temperature anomalies for context, and I am very disappointed that the Met Office does not do so.

    As this is the full temp dataset, which shows, the period of late 20th century warming, and an early 21st century pause, and that it is laos true that this is warmest decade, it is more informative to the public

    I do not know whether the Met Office realises or not, but the graph shown of ranking, does seem to give the impression of not wanting to actually show the ‘pause’ in the data.. A casual glance might lead the reader to think, increased rate of warming in the 21st century, not noticing, it is by rank, not by time.

    If the next few years were a bit cooler for example, this style of graph would still give a similar misleading impression.

    Imagine, for example if a company prospectus showed a similar graph of sales performance, by ranking, instead of sales data by time.

    It would be percieved by any professional as trying to hide the pause in sales (or lack of substantial rise in sales in last decade – or even a drop off in the last year). Thus, by ONLY showing the graph above of rank order, gives the impression that a policy message is more important than clearly and unambiguoulsy presenting the science and data to the public.

    This type of approach in my opinion, does not help build trust.

    • Dave Britton says:

      Thanks for sharing this graph – you can also see one with all three of the global temperature datasets on it here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/guide/science/explained/temp-records

    • jdey123 says:

      Then we have HADCET http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/
      which records the central england temperature going back to the 17th century which shows that the UK’s temperature has varied little over this entire period and is currently cooling. Although the UK represents a small fraction of the globe, over such an extended time range either the UK would have to be the land that global warming forgot or this pseudo science should be confined to the dustbin of history.

      • Dave Britton says:

        As you point out, this is a record for Central England, which is “a small fraction of the globe”. Temperature trends over small areas are clearly not necessarily representative of what is happening globally, much in the same way that picking short periods of time in the record is not representative of what is happening over the longer-term.

      • jdey123 says:

        As Dave is insistent that the UK has miraculously existed as the land that global warming forgot for 400 years now, why should we care about global warming. It’s clearly never going to affect us.

      • nuwurld says:

        Yes indeed the HADCET. Proudly standing out as the longest set of instrumental temperature data on the planet. Eight years after the peak temperature, with their own downtrend impressed upon it. Nothing reported though. Every time some weather event occurs in the UK there will be some representative of the Met Office there saying ‘ this is due to Global Warming’, as some poor villagers are washed out of there homes. Face it the weather is changing. From warm to cold. When warm air meets cold, we get? All together now..,,……. PRECIPITATION.

      • nuwurld says:

        Dave, that is a great an very true answer. We in the UK have our own ‘little climate’ which depends ‘which way the wind blows’. If you as a representative of the met office want people to believe in the Met Office, then you have a limited time to come clean. People are seeing their world not warming. They are experiencing cooling. This will not abate until the Sun becomes active again around 2045. Again I am not bothered if you vet this. It is directed to you,

      • What dataset shows cooling? And what’s special about 2045?

      • nuwurld says:

        The Met Office HADCET shows cooling. It’s their own trend impressed. The temperatures in central England are systematically falling according to the Met. And anybody that lives in England that ventures outside have the ability to judge whether they agree with this.

      • We’ve just come full circle. I refer you to the very patient Met Office’s response to Mr Rose. You want to pick at one graph for a very small part of the world whilst simultaneously rejecting data for the entire globe. Fill your boots. I can’t believe that many impossible things before breakfast.

  4. Ric Werme says:

    You show 2011 in brown, but it’s not in the legend. That has 2000-2010, which is the only range with an end year that’s not a 9 and implies the past decade was 11 years long. When you update things for 2012, I suggest making 2010-2019 be brown and clarify whether the “past decade” is the last 10 years, 2000-2009, or 2001-2010.

  5. Nick Palmer says:

    Well, I think this post is a bit too kind to Mr Rose. Although I felt restricted by their legal requirements, I have just left this post on the Mail website:

    “Mr Rose manages to selectively absorb information that he thinks supports a conclusion he wants to come to, and ignores information that doesn’t. This shows that Rose is articulate and linguistically literate but also suggests that he is either scientifically illiterate and has badly fooled himself or has deliberately used one dubious argument and rhetorical trick after another to misrepresent the real meaning of what the scientists’ work says. If one looks at his back catalogue of journalistic “exposes,” one can’t help but notice the uproar that often seems to follow publication of his work by quite a few of those people that he quotes. Their usual beef is that he takes things out of context or cherry picks or draws incorrect conclusions. His big error here is to repeatedly use the classic global warming denialist trick of cherry picking the start point (hot El Nino year) and the end point (cool La Nina). If he had showed the graph over a longer time, his huge error would become clear”

  6. Ron Sadler says:

    OMG….don’t mess with the Global Warming industry….quick, get that fabricated rebuttal out ASAP!!

  7. Paul Burling says:

    Call me confused. They used a 16 year period to prove global warming was occurring, but a 16 year period cannot be used to argue against it? And solar activity might be a reason for reduced temp increases? Funny, I thought increased solar-flare activity increased temps, no?

    • Dave Britton says:

      As we say in our response, measurements over the longer-term are more representative of the trend in climate due to the influence of natural variability over shorter timescales.
      Solar output is one of many factors that can influence global temperature trends over shorter timescales.

    • dsl350 says:

      Ok: you’re confused. No one has used any surface temp series to “prove” that global warming is occurring. The theory of AGW is based on physics. The only important measure that provides support for the physics–beyond the basic lab work and direct measurement (e.g. Puckrin et al. (2004))–is the top-of-atmosphere energy in – energy out. Where the current imbalance in the energy goes is the subject of much modeling and observation. Only a small percentage goes into warming the troposphere. Keep in mind that global ice mass loss during the “haitus” period was accelerating. From 1979 to 1996, the Arctic lost about 3100 km3 of summer minimum volume (16,800 – 13,700). From 1996 to 2012, the surface temp “haitus” period, Arctic summer minimum volume dropped to 3263 km3. Ocean heat content during the “haitus” period also continued to rise.

      Further, novice and beginner analysis of surface temp time series is usually not done well. It’s fun to play with graphs, but of you want to know what’s going on, you have to look at what creates the temp trend. Solar, ENSO, aerosols (both positive and negative), greenhouse gas forcing, albedo, other oscillations, etc. all have to be accounted for. Total solar irradiation, for example, dropped to an instrumental record low during its most recent 11-year cycle valley–during the “haitus” period (and it wasn’t even close).

      • nuwurld says:

        Read that about five times. Still can’t make any sense of it. Not quite sure where you are going with that. No offence intended

      • More energy is entering the atmosphere than leaving it. The only possible result is heat. Further, mucking around with spreadsheets doesn’t make one a climate scientist. I think that’s the gist of it.

      • dsl350 says:

        It was a response to Burling’s claim that a 16-year period was used to prove AGW. I’ll break it down, point by point:

        > No one has used any surface temp record to “prove” that global warming is occurring. The theory of anthropogenic global warming is based on the physics of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, H2O, etc.). When atmospheric concentrations of those gases increase, the physical properties of those gases demand that more infrared radiation be temporarily stored within the system.

        > That temporary storage is read as an energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. If more energy is being intercepted, less is exiting the Earth. That means that more energy is coming into the system than is going out — until greenhouse gas concentration stabilizes and the Earth begins radiating at a higher temperature (until Earth once more reaches radiative equilibrium).

        > The only measure needed to confirm the physics is the energy balance at the top of the atmosphere. If more energy is coming in (via sun) than is going out (via albedo and infrared radiation), then the system is storing energy. We know the greenhouse gas theory is solid because satellites look down at the Earth and see chunks of energy missing from Earth’s spectrum–chunks at bands where greenhouse gases absorb/emit. We’ve also measured the thermal infrared radiation (“stored” via greenhouse gases) returning to the surface, and those measurements match model-based expectations very well.

        > The system is gaining energy. Where is that energy going? “Skeptics” like Rose, despite his little disclaimers, want you and the general public to believe that no surface warming means the theory of AGW is a fail. He doesn’t believe it himself, but he wants you to believe it. Else he would have titled the piece something quite different or raised heck when an editor re-titled it. The system is gaining energy, It goes into the oceans indirectly (about 93%), to melt global ice mass (glaciers & sea ice), and into the troposphere/surface system (about 5%).

        > Those percentages are theoretical. They are definitely in the ballpark, but they may not be precisely in the middle of the wickets. However, just because the surface isn’t warming as rapidly and consistently as expected, it doesn’t mean that the system isn’t gaining energy. Physics and measurements say it is.

        > Where the current imbalance in the energy goes is the subject of much modeling and observation. Only a small percentage goes into warming the troposphere. Keep in mind that global ice mass loss during the “haitus” period (the flattening of the surface temp trend in the last 12 years) was accelerating. From 1979 to 1996, the Arctic lost about 3100 km3 of volume at its summer minimum (16,800 – 13,700). From 1996 to 2012, the surface temp “haitus” period, Arctic volume at summer minimum dropped to 3263 km3. That’s 13,700 to 3263 km3 in 16 years. Ocean heat content (the 93%) during the “haitus” period also continued to rise.

        > Further, novice and beginner analysis of surface temp time series is usually not done well. It’s fun to play with graphs, but of you want to know what’s going on, you have to look at what creates the temp trend. Total solar irradiation, the El Nino/La Nina oscillation, aerosols (both absorptive and reflective), greenhouse gas forcing, albedo, other circulatory oscillations, etc. — all have to be accounted for when thinking about the causes of a global surface temperature trend. Total solar irradiation, for example, dropped to an instrumental record low during its most recent 11-year cycle valley–during the “haitus” period.

      • nuwurld says:

        dsl350, again no offence intended. You are using your your intelligence and your own arguments to come to terms with a problem that many shrug off or lead to the ‘superior’ argument of others, which I applaud. My influence here although limited, is to promote a deeper understanding. That is up to the reader as it cannot be forced. It has to be understood. I would not lie although through converse I might use metaphors, which arguably are open to personal cipher.

        Please read this carefully. It is not intended to deceive. If you don’t understand it, please read it again.

        Tyndall, who initially provided the measurable ‘bones’ for the ‘greenhouse effect’, confused absorption and opacity.

        A satellite in space looking down on the Earth will indeed measure a spectrum. On the ‘dark side’ of the Earth, that will be the total emissions from the surface and the sky. Or maybe not.

        What is being measured ‘full stop’, is the optical transmission spectrum through the detector acceptance angle.

        The questions you need to wrack your brain with is ‘what is absorption?’.

        If, as many believe CO2 absorbs in a thermal manner, then as an atmospheric component it has to share its energy through equipartition ( kinetic transfer between all degrees of freedom as a statistical mean). Hey, that’s absorption.

        Now if that where the case, why would a thermalised known absorber and radiator cut a chunk out of the output spectrum?

        Surely as viewed from space the heat absorbing and therefore radiating CO2 would mask its absorption with its re emission after thermalisation. As of Kirchoff’s laws.It’s either radiatively active through 4 pi steradians, or it knows which way is down.

        Or perhaps CO2 is good at SCATTERING. In which case as viewed from above it appears in the ‘absorption’ spectrum, which is actually measuring optical transmission which is the inverse of opacity of which absorption is one of three options.

        But it denies the radiation the ability to be counted because it never makes it through the detector, because of all the available angles to become space bound.

        This will free you of your confidence of satellite data. Go to google images and search ‘ nimbus 4 spectra’

        Witness the black body spectrum overplayed. Go on any spectral calculator and 300K is at 10um or 1000cm-1, not at 15um aligned with CO2 as depicted. Once you see an obvious flaw all credibility subsides.

      • dsl350 says:

        nuworld, you’re not actually suggesting that the greenhouse gas theory has been falsified, are you?

        So-called greenhouse gases lengthen the surface to space path of thermal infrared radiation. The atmosphere is not a single layer with regards to radiative transfer. You’re not going all Postma, are you? G&T maybe? I’m not going to copy an atmospheric physics textbook into the MO comment stream, nor am I going to re-write one. If you have a problem with the GHE, defend your thesis to your heart’s content:

        http://skepticalscience.com/postma-disproved-the-greenhouse-effect.htm

        http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/atmospheric-radiation-and-the-greenhouse-effect/

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/learning-from-a-simple-model/

        or don’t.

      • nuwurld says:

        I don’t have to defend anything. You are the people telling us that increased CO2 will lead to runaway and irreversible warming of the planet. All I am doing is pointing out the obvious. THAT IS DOESN’T MATTER, at these levels. According to the data.

    • nuwurld says:

      Paul, solar activity reigned through the last century. 2007 saw a two year extended solar minimum that saw the jet stream trend south. Of which the Met Office is fully aware. The current solar maximum is the weakest for 100 years and we have started to see snow returning to our UK winters and indeed to Northern Hemishere winters. Last week Australia experienced record snows. The Met Office know that active sun forces the jet streams towards the poles and weak solar UV fluxes allow them to flop around like fishes tails. They know about the photolysis and stratospheric ozone chemistry that is solar driven. They also know that the 11 year cycle is broken and extended.

    • nuwurld says:

      If I were to ask many people ‘in the street’ about solar activity they would probably say that it was high, or on the increase. Now that is strange.

      As someone who has followed solar activity because I have a lifetime correlation of its influence upon the world, I am amazed. Amazed that people don’t know the solar state.

      Solar activity is at a 100 year low.

      I was taught that all energy is sunlight. Yet today the forcing is CO2.

      The Sun can raise its output by a fraction. A thousandth of a percent. And with that fraction it can vaporise a small percentage of cloud. Then through the cloud it can pass its full potential of 1000Wm-2 through to lower levels. That same energy can melt ice, turning bright reflective white into something more absorptive.

      The Sun influences every process outside of human nuclear, it is our biology, our chemistry our warmth.

      It is a ‘nothing’ to ‘climate science’

  8. jdash9 says:

    Climate deniers are misrepresenting the data again. Global warming is the upward trend in globally averaged temperature since 1975, with noise around the trend. Deniers cherry pick data points emphasizing the noise. Attribution of global warming to us humans burning fossil fuels is established through physics – isotopic analysis of the carbon in the CO2 molecules in the atmosphere.

    Deniers want to sow doubt in order to oppose action on present and future climate impacts. Their misreading of the science is deliberate and politically motivated.

    • Dave Britton says:

      While looking at a timescale since 1975 is statistically significant, it’s more useful to look across the entire instrumental record dating back to around 1850. This helps to remove the noise of natural variability even further.
      You can see that instrumental record in all three of the main global temperature datasets here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/image/j/l/warmingtrend.gif

      • Dave, thanks for your clear responses and helpful links. I still have to agree with many that there were no predictions by any models that would have put a 16 year hold on temperature increases. I also find it intersting that with so much focus on the Arctic this year, that a an all time record extent set in the Antarctic was ignored. I believe it has warmed in the past 100 years, and it is somewhere near the 0.6 – 0.8 that is often repeated. But there has to be some recoginition that in 1850 we had about 2% of the world covered by accurate to that time measuring devies. There are continued adjustments made to historical data and a clear bias toward ignoring the impact of UHI on the long term records. With all the claims of the warmest decade, these are averages. The number of all time highs has not increased. Again, it has gotten warmer , as one would expect as we have been exiting an ice age. The bigger problems with the ever changing AGW, HICC, MMGW scare story is that the other predictions have also failed, such as increased intensity and frequency of tropical storms or accelerated sea level increases. Both are easily verified to be false. Given our exploding population, would we rather see the world drop a few degrees in temperature, shortening the growing seasons, increasing our consumption of energy to stay warm? Again, thanks for your responses.

      • jdey123 says:

        Your link shows that the earth has only warmed by about 0.8c over the entire period, and for the 1st 83 years there was negligible global warming. Where is the proof that CO2 is causing global temperature increases? Are you seriously going to tell me that for 83 years, heat was trapped in the deep ocean, which is the most common “explanation” provided as to why there are significant hiatuses in global warming.

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1850/to:1933/trend

      • bananastrings says:

        DavetheRealist, your assumptions about sea level rise predictions are incorrect. Sea level rise is currently at the top edge of IPCC projections. In other words, it was underestimated. Same thing–but to a much greater extent–with Arctic sea ice loss. If anything, circulation models simply aren’t yet accurate at dividing up the energy imbalance. That imbalance is quite real, and the cause of the imbalance is well-established. Unless you can find a general physical model that does not allow CO2 to absorb/emit at various pressure-broadened bands within the thermal infrared range, I don’t hold out much hope for the “it’s not happening” line (I would say “theory,” but most people who say “it’s not happening” don’t base their position within a comprehensive alternative theory).

      • steverichards1984 says:

        If the sea level rise is at its upper predicted range and global average temperature is in its lower predicted range, does this imply even more of a model disconnect?

      • bananastrings says:

        Steve, it implies some model inaccuracy, but some model inaccuracy doesn’t automatically imply that there’s less energy being stored in the system (i.e., that global warming is not occurring). It just means that the models still can’t reproduce the circulation system with absolute precision. It’s extremely difficult, since the circulation system is changing as the system energy increases. Modeling in AR5, out next year, should continue the record of model improvement.

        http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2012&q=cmip5&hl=en&as_sdt=0,26

      • nuwurld says:

        Bananastrings, Sea level rise underestimated because of Arctic sea ice loss? Are you for real? Ever wondered why it floats?

      • dsl350 says:

        nuworld, how did you get that from what I wrote? I was pointing out that sea level rise was underestimated by the IPCC. Part of sea level rise is thermal expansion, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that the IPCC has both underestimated and overestimated various responses to the increase in system energy.

    • nuwurld says:

      Not necessarily. Could just be healthy scepticism in a world where people don’t always freely express the truth.

    • nuwurld says:

      How can you mention cherry picking next to saying the warming started in 1975. What is special about that date!

  9. David Rose as part of the denial-sphere is becoming increasingly irreverent. The warming of the cryosphere seems to be affecting our weather now. 20 years on from the first warnings I feel the predictions are pretty well on track. Although the Met Office indicating we may be one of the countries to benefit with a warmer climate and vineyards was possible ill-advised.

  10. Gary Mirada says:

    You stress the point that ..’eight of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past decade.’ As you must know this is a logical fallacy and proves nothing. The earth has been warming naturally since the Little Ice Age so it is no more surprising to find that there has been a run of warm years around the turn of the 21st century than it is that most of the warmer days each year occur around and after mid- summer’s day, or that the warmest part of each day occurs in the early afternoon.

    This is not science it is advocacy.

    Similarly, David Rose’s claim that there has been no warming trend since 1997 is true. You are quite right that he has cherry picked the start date, but it does answer the question ‘How many years have passed without any significant warming?’ Given that the British public has been fed an endless line of alarmist stories – 50 days to save the planet – we must act now to avert thermageddon – the science is settled etc – this is a question to which the British public deserve an answer.

    Here is a very telling point. May 7, 2009, Phil Jones in an email says “Bottom line – the no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.” So please tell me why Jones should worry if it turns out the world is not warming disastrously?

    Can you please confirm that it is also the official position of the Met Office that if, as seems likely, the scare about global warming proves unfounded, it would be regarded as good news.

    • Dave Britton says:

      As acknowledged by yourself and David Rose, the world is getting warmer so it is not surprising to see decades becoming progressively warmer.

      With regards to when the world stopped warming, this comes back to the issue of which year you start from. Even over the last 15 years you can find periods over short timescales, or similarly periods of cooling. So again, we have to stress that meaningful assessments can only be made over longer timescales.

      Just to confirm, I don’t think anyone would argue that if man-made global warming were proved not to be happening then this would be a good thing. However, the international community – through the IPCC – has said it is very likely that the changes we have seen over the last 150 years are due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

      • nuwurld says:

        ‘Very likely’, that’s very scientific. Even though the warming doesn’t follow the CO2 trend or live up to any model predictions. The IPCC never set out to sort out the details of natural variation

      • richardscourtney says:

        Dave Britton:

        You say,
        “With regards to when the world stopped warming, this comes back to the issue of which year you start from. Even over the last 15 years you can find periods over short timescales, or similarly periods of cooling. So again, we have to stress that meaningful assessments can only be made over longer timescales.”

        What is “meaningful” depends on the meaning of interest.

        The 1997 UN IPCC AR4 Report predicted (n.b. predicted not projected) that global temperature would rise over the first two decades after 2000 at an average rate of 0.2deg.C/decade +/-20%. This rise was certain because it was “committed warming” which the models said must occur as a result of anthropogenic GHG emissions already in the system.

        The IPCC prediction can be seen at
        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-10-4.html
        In the graph the orange line represents the “committed” temperature increase the IPCC said would occur after 2000 if there were no additional CO2. Clearly, actual temps from 2000 until now are lower than the projected “committed” warming while CO2 levels have continued to rise.

        There are only four possible meanings of the flat-line in global temperatures over the last 15 years; i.e.
        1. The models are wrong.
        Or
        2. The global temperature estimates are wrong.
        Or
        3. Natural climate variation is sufficient to overwhelm anthropogenic warming.
        Or
        4. Some or all of the possibilities 1 to 3.

        Richard

      • jdey123 says:

        The IPCC has provided no proof for their claims. All their climate models have completely failed. Science isn’t about political concensus, it’s about facts.

        For 83 years, at the start of your HADCRUT4 temperature record, there was no global warming, that’s more than half your entire temperature record. Then we have the last 16 years with no global warming. The fact is that there are only short periods of time that actually show any global warming and then it hardly warrants the billions of dollars that are being spent on a problem that exists only in the minds of people who are seeking to enrich themselves.

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1850/to:1933/trend

      • bananastrings says:

        Richard, by your implied definition, the only models that can be “right” are closed-system models working with limited variables. All models that deal with real world data are “wrong”–or, more usefully, “inaccurate to varying degrees.” When a model is inaccurate to the point of being useless, then we might call it “wrong” if it served any purpose to do so. Current modeling is, according to that definition, most certainly not “wrong.”

        Assessing global temperature estimates requires strong critical thinking skills. Here we have Rose harping that global warming has stopped. Incredibly, that gets translated into “the Earth is cooling” in the comment streams.

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997.1/to:2012.1/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997.1/to:2012.1

        Hardly cooling. Let’s check on GISS, which incorporates the poles more effectively:

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1997.1/to:2012.1/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1997.1/to:2012.1

        Hrmmm . . . no global warming for 16 years . . .

        Recently, is there less surface warming than model projections? Yes. Is the ocean heat content trend within model error bars? Yes. Is global ice mass loss massively underestimated by models? Yes. Is the planet still storing energy? Yes.

      • nuwurld says:

        Bananastrings, global sea ice levels during the whole while have never varied more than about 12%, or 2.5mkm^2 out of 20mkm^2. Exactly how much there is depends on who you ask. The Danish met always convey more than the Americans do. The Japanese JAXA data also exceeds the cryosphere data too

      • steverichards1984 says:

        John, its warming to programmers estimates.

        The model is a human construct designed to obey human commands.

      • nuwurld says:

        It’s warming to the model ‘guestimates’. See that’s now a 98th percentile fit.

      • Steve – I think what you’re trying to say is the models work. They’re predicting useful results. They get better as we learn more and their mistakes are ironed out.

      • dsl350 says:

        nuworld, “very likely” is infinitely more scientific than “absolutely certain.”

        Also, what global sea ice does in any given year is irrelevant. What it does over 30 years is relevant. Max annual sea ice has been trending down steadily for thirty years, with recent acceleration. Min annual sea ice has also been trending steadily down for 30 years.

        If you think that slight Antarctic gain is some sort of counterweight to Arctic loss, or that Antarctic loss is some sort of evidence that the system is not storing energy, the science would not support your positions. The slight Antarctic gain has occurred with a low sun. The most rapid Arctic loss has occurred during the end of spring and the height of summer.

      • nuwurld says:

        dsl350, honestly, I am not in contradiction. This year sea ice will return with a vengeance. It is part of the delay between the thermal inertia of the sea and the current solar forcing.

      • The shouts of “Eureka” at any sea ice recovery should be viewed in the sober context of a graph, http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/1_ArcticEscalator2012.gif.

      • nuwurld says:

        John. Sea ice is coming back. It’s a periodic certainty

      • So the so-called sceptics claimed many years back. So far, the data says they’re wrong. How many more years data do you need?

        Your arguments rely a lot on unspecified periodicity.

  11. markbul says:

    1. You say the recorded increase in temperature over the decade was five one hundredths of a degree celsius. Are we expected to believe that sensor measurements have been accurate to two decimal points, and what are the error bars around that estimate?

    2. To say a period without warming was not unexpected is remarkable, given that no climate scientist I am aware of predicted it, or even predicted the possibility of it before it happened. With more CO2 now in the atmosphere, natural variation causing cooling should occur less often than in the past, so the past is not a reliable predictor of the present. And worst of all, the fact that such periods have occurred in the past does not tell us the likelihood that another such period should occur in the FIRST decade of the century. This is an elementary probability error. Your answer would be called special pleading in any graduate student discussion group.

    3. You didn’t answer the question – unless you’re trying to say ‘we knew it all along.’ As in, now that it happened, we knew that it might happen. Please share with us any climate scientist who said in 1997 that there might be no warming over the next 15 years. Not predict it – just allow for the possibility. I know of none.

    Finally, your chart is disingenuous. That’s a polite way of saying it. The matter at hand is the global temperature trend since 1997. As you well know, temperatures in 1938 are irrelevant to that question. In using this chart, you are merely parroting the bait-and-switch line that activist scientists have constructed. When challenged with a fact you cannot deny – that global temperature increases have stalled, contrary to your prediction – you change the subject without notice, and point to ‘the hottest decade on record.’ The fact that global temperatures are high relative to recent years is not at issue. The matter at hand is your predictions compared to the data. When the data does not fit your prediction, you do not get to point to an entirely different matter.

    The ultimate problem with the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is that in its current form it is not scientific. That is, it cannot be falsified. When temperatures do not increase as predicted, an act of God is invoked – natural variation. The longer the lack of warming goes on, factors like aerosols are invoked to post hoc explain away the data. With no explicit test that will falsify the hypothesis, there is no science. I any skeptics had said in 1997 that there wold be no global warming through 2012, the MET office would have ridiculed him as an anti-science loon. And you know it’s true.

    • Dave Britton says:

      You can see the error bars on this graph:

      All climate models show periods of little or no warming over shorter timescales, but all agree on warming over longer timescales.

      The Met Office will continue its research to understand both longer and shorter term trends, and how these are represented in global climate models.

    • nuwurld says:

      Mark, really well worded. I agree with ever line

  12. Chris Martin says:

    Simply, unacceptably defensive. I’ve never read a more evasive set of excuses. This is a perversion of science; the Met Office can no longer be trusted as an objective organisation. In any other sphere of life no one would get away with such a feeble excuse for not being able to accept what is now blindingly obvious – current theories and models of man-made global warming have no predictive value and must be reassessed. This is a public scandal – costing us millions.

  13. I think you need to sack your PR department. Just answer all questions this way, “Everything is caused by Global Warming/ Climate Change / Man. We have no further comment”. Maybe you can adjust so the comment seems cooler in the past but is red hot in the present. You know, stick with what you are good at.

    • nuwurld says:

      Exactly, every time something happens weather wise, someone from the Met is asked the obvious question. Their response ‘IS THE PUBLIC STATEMENT’. We only ask that it is measured and correct.

  14. “The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade…”

    Isn’t this statement somewhat disingenuous given the fact that August 2012 was at solar max and there were El Nino type conditions in the pacific as well.

    • Dave Britton says:

      August 2012 was not at a solar maximum. The solar cycle is currently in its upward phase from the minimum, and is expected to peak next year. NOAA latest guidance says ENSO neutral conditions continue.

      • nuwurld says:

        Actually the Sun’s northern hemisphere peaked Oct 2011, and now we might have to wait until 2014 for the southern to play out its decaying, weakest for 100 year,’peak’

  15. omnologos says:

    1. How long has the “current period of reduced warming” has to last before becoming “unusual”?

    2. Was Prof Jones wrong when he answered the previous question with “15 years”?

    3. With error bars of around 0.2C what is the meaning of speaking of warming in terms of hundredths of a degree? In other words how do you justify the use of the second decimal that by definition should not be given significance to?

    • Dave Britton says:

      1 and 2. As in our initial response, “It is not uncommon in the simulations for these periods [of reduced warming] to last up to 15 years, but longer periods are unlikely.”

      3. We’ve always given our global temperature readings to two decimal places and the figure provided is not intended to show significant warming has occurred. We agree with Mr Rose that there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century.
      Warming trends to two decimal places are given as the most likely, and error bars show the amount of uncertainty – denoting that the warming could be lower or higher within that uncertainty range.

      • omnologos says:

        Thank you Dave. My question #3 was at a more technical level. Would you mind providing an answer based on the principles of measurement theory: if the error bar is at the first decimal (1/10th of a degree), what is the meaning of providing a measurement at the second decimal (1/100th of a degree)?

        As for the 15 years, you appear to indicate a 16-year period to be unlikely. Is that so? Or should we understand it more like a 20-year or longer?

      • Dave Britton says:

        Hi omnologos. I’m not sure where the 0.2 error range comes you mention comes from, but it wouldn’t apply to the two-decimal place figure we quote in the article (0.05 or 0.03 per decade) as the uncertainty on this would have to be calculated separately.

        As for trends, the longer a flat trend goes on beyond 15-years the slightly less likely it is that it would be due to natural variability.

      • richardscourtney says:

        Dave Britton:

        omnologos asked a clear and scientifically correct question; viz.
        ” In other words how do you justify the use of the second decimal that by definition should not be given significance to?”

        None of the handwaving responses answer his question about justification (and the answer from Steven Mosher is plain wrong).

        Your answer says,
        “We’ve always given our global temperature readings to two decimal places and the figure provided is not intended to show significant warming has occurred.”

        But “we’ve always” done something incorrectly is not a justification for doing it incorrectly. And your wrong practice DOES imply “significant warming has occurred.”

        Unless otherwise stated, the number of decimal places presented for an empirical datum, indicates an error estimate of +/- half of the maximum possible value of the final decimal place.

        But the Met.Office states temperatures to two decimal places when the error estimate is +/- 0.1 deg.C and does not state the true accuracy with the presented data. Why?

        Richard

      • Dave Britton says:

        First off, the uncertainties are described in the paper http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/ and the time series are here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/download.html

        1-standard deviation uncertainty on the global annual average for 2011 was about ±0.05°C. We usually quote uncertainty ranges as 95% confidence ranges. For 2011 that is about ±0.1°C and the total 95% confidence range is 0.19°C

        The uncertainty range on the global average temperatures has several components, but we can split it into two main parts. First how accurately we can measure the average temperature anomaly that we measure. Second how accurate an estimate that is of the global average. In the past decade or so, the first component is smaller than the second. For 2011 the first bit represents a 1-standard deviation uncertainty of ±0.02°C. The second bit represents a 1-standard deviation uncertainty of ±0.04°C.

        Therefore the uncertainty is of the order of a hundredth of a degree so we typically quote the global annual average to a hundredth of a degree. The uncertainty on a trend needs to be calculated separately for the trend being looked at. It will not be the same as the uncertainty on the annual averages. In practice it is not easy to estimate the second part of the uncertainty for trends, particularly of the length used in Mr Rose’s article because one has to make assumptions concerning the behaviour of unobserved regions at time scales of several years.

      • omnologos says:

        Let me thank Richard Courtney for pushing my point in an obviously clearer way.

        Dave – as far as I know if the uncertainty is ±X, one should really show results in multiples of 2X. By showing figures in hundredths of a degree you are implying that the uncertainty is ±0.005C and that is simply not the case.

        I have asked some of your colleagues via twitter too, but so far no answer.

        Ps notice how I did not even enter the discussion about using one or two standard deviations

      • Dave Britton says:

        The full paper, Morice, C. P., J. J. Kennedy, N. A. Rayner, and P. D. Jones (2012), Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: The HadCRUT4 dataset, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D08101, doi:10.1029/2011JD017187, that describes the dataset and its error bars can be found at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/HadCRUT4_accepted.pdf

      • steverichards1984 says:

        I now understand that we have ‘post normal’ maths to match ‘post normal’ science that climate researchers use.

        Oh dear.

    • nuwurld says:

      Yes, he was wrong, but hey, that’s just an opinion based on Earth follows solar. Has done for 11,500 years

    • Steven Mosher says:

      Omno, perhaps I can help david.

      When you see figures such as warming of .054676543C you must not think that the figure being reported implies anything about the precision of the instruments. it’s an estimate that minimizes the error. That is to say, if I tell you the average global temperature is 14.67896C what that means operationally is that if you select any point on the land at random and record the temperature perfectly that my estimate of 14.67896C will have a smaller error than any other estimate. Such that if you estimated 14.6, my estimate would beat yours. It has nothing to do with the precision of the instruments ( which change the spread) and has everything to do with dimishing the error of prediction.

    • nuwurld says:

      Omnolgus, I’m afraid you are wading through mud on a slippery upward slope here mate if you want accountable reason.

  16. The Met is too polite to Mr Rose. He is a garden variety global warming denier. Why not ask Paul Dacre for a retraction?

  17. Barry Woods says:

    Hi Dave
    Well the Met office response seems to be a bit of a cherry pick itself, (1979) the start of a short term warming period.

    A couple of years ag Phil Jones gave a BBC ineterview, about the lack of significan warming… which drew a lot of attention.

    in 2011 Phill Jones spoke to the BBC and said global warming now ‘significant’ as he had include now 2010 data (a warm year, as shown by ranking)).
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13719510

    Phil Jones:
    “The trend over the period 1995-2009 was significant at the 90% level, but wasn’t significant at the standard 95% level that people use,” Professor Jones told BBC News.

    “Basically what’s changed is one more year [of data]. That period 1995-2009 was just 15 years – and because of the uncertainty in estimating trends over short periods, an extra year has made that trend significant at the 95% level which is the traditional threshold that statisticians have used for many years.”

    Since that BBC article, 2011 was cooler than 2010, and by your ranking graph, one of the cooler years of the 21st century. Thus should not Phil Jones be contactingthe BBC again with his data recalculated, to show ‘not significant’

    one rule for climate scientists? (this does seem a silly game to play with stats)

    Ideally the full temp dataset should be shown, (ie HAdcrut 4) but as both the Met Office, and Jones can choose starting points, they do not have much complaint when others do..

    It is worth mentioning that the rate of per decade warming, stated here, is about currently HALF that required to hit 2C by 2050, and that perhaps Judith Curry has a piont about the models. Soon we wil find where 2012 sits in the ranking of warm years.

    If Jones felt able to recaluclate with one additional year, why not 2011 (and then 2012) whicjh I expect will merely confirm no significance, and that the ‘pause’ has extended.

  18. Barry Woods says:

    Dr David Whitehouse (former BBC science correspondent) writes at the GWPF website in response to this blog article. I think confirming the complaint, that no fanfare made about Hadrcut 4 in the Daily Mail:

    Dr David Whitehouse:
    “It is disappointing, if not misleading, that when the Hadcrut4 data was announced in March, with data only available to 2010 (a warm El Nino year), the Met Office promoted it with a press release and briefings to journalists. They told Louise Grey of the Daily Telegraph that the Hadcrut4 data showed that the world had warmed even more than expected in the past ten years and that the warming between 1998 – 2010 was 0.1 deg C.

    When the full dataset was available, in the past week, showing global temperatures to August 2012, and telling a very different story, no press release was produced.”

    ——————–
    http://www.thegwpf.org/the-mail-on-sunday-and-the-met-office/

    A question perhaps for the Met Office, is what graphs will be it showing should 2013,2014, 2015 be relatively cool years aswell.(or even extending until 2020)

    ie a repeat of the trend following the rapid warming period 1910 -1940)

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/diagnostics.html

    As I don’t think any climate scientists I know would rule out the possibility of a similar short term relative cool period, due to natural variability

    (not disprove of AGW, but perhaps raising questions about more catastrophic scenarios, as was the concern in the Daily Mail article)

    ie by the Met Office own (cherry picked starting date of 1979?) figures the current rate of warming per decade is HALF that required to hit 2C by 2050

  19. Can you direct me to a Met O graph of ocean temperature record, with the continued loss of Arctic Ice I presume most of the heat is dumped in the ocean.

  20. steverichards1984 says:

    None of the IPCC predictions included any pauses for temperature rise.

    The IPCC aided and abetted by national weather organisations, agree that computer simulations show that there will be a continuous temperature rise due to man made CO2.

    Since none of these computer simulations have predicted ANY pauses, they are therefore incorrect.

    In science, if your proposed theory is falsified (failed to match reality in this case), your theory is falsified and you start again.

    Why do workers in the climate industry ignore all the normal rules of scientific research?

    I would appreciate valid science, as demonstrated in physics and chemistry research.

    If your ideas fail, stop supporting them.

    CO2 may be part of the small overall temperature rise, but it is looking increasingly likely that the effect CO2 has will be very small and be difficult to discern.

    • nuwurld says:

      The phrase you’re looking for with respect to CO2’s effect is ‘indistinguishable from zero’

    • Steven Mosher says:

      unfortunately it is not that simple.

      1. Some of the computer simulations do “predict” pauses. You should look at individual runs. if you do, you will see that some in fact predict pauses, even declines.
      2. No theory is falsified by a single experiment. First, you need to understand that the models ( around 22 different models ) each attempt to represent the theory in code. Some models do this better than others, but the IPCC seems committed to using all models. This so called democracy of the models is not necessarily the best engineering approach or best scientific approach.
      3. Even when an experiement contradicts a model, there are three practical responses:
      A) assume the result is correct and abandon the model
      B) assume the model is correct and re examine the data
      C) improve the model so it works better

      In most cases option C is the path taken. That is called progress.
      Today, we fly safer airplanes because scientists improved models that were “wrong” or “imperfect”. Nobody rejected known physics merely because the computer respresentations were imperfect. You identify flaws. You speak about them clearly and openly to end users and you measure and improve your skill.

      • nuwurld says:

        Every theory is falsifiable by a single repeatable experiment.

        Einstein,
        “A thousand experiments can’t prove me right, bit a single experiment can prove me wrong”.

        True science has a humble acknowledgment of the lack of knowledge.

  21. Barry Woods says:

    I do find it odd, that an article in respone to the Daily Mail, fails to actually link to the article.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released–chart-prove-it.html

    An oversite no doubt.

  22. Nick Palmer says:

    Boy, there sure are a lot of muddled thinkers commenting on this post. Virtually all of them display an incorrect perception of the situation which has led to their mistaken conclusions. Dave Britton’s patient responses, however, do not seem to go to the heart of the mix-up.

    Perhaps the most obvious cognitive error on display is most easily shown by a simple analogy. People here who confuse the accumulating warming due to extra greenhouse gases with the temperature records are like those in a place like Jersey, (which has up to a 40 foot tidal range) confusing waves with the incoming tide.

    They are metaphorically like someone on the shore watching the waves breaking – high up the beach – temperatures high. Back down the beach – temperatures low. Period of slack waves – no obvious movement up or down the beach – no warming for 15 years. The frequency and magnitude of the waves is driven by wind forces far out to sea causing rhythmical cyclical variations (waves/weather). The other force here is that from lunar gravity which causes the tides. This is analogous to the constant greenhouse forcing we are applying to the atmosphere. Just looking at the waves, a person on the beach would see where them going up the beach and back down the beach; big waves, little waves and periods of calm. All the while, the slow and steady, almost imperceptible, movement of the tide creeps up the beach. It’s not the waves, up and down the beach, that are too much of a threat to a person on the shore but, if they don’t move, the tide will come in and drown them. All the while, a person of muddled thinking who wanted to deny that they might drown could be choosing to cherry pick high and low waves and select trend lines from a high period to a calm period, to a low period and saying confidently that there was no trend – the water is not rising – all those warning notices on the beach were just alarmism. Of course, waves breaking fifty feet on to the shore every few seconds is much more dramatic than the one centimetre per minute rise of the tide of which is only obvious or noticeable over, say, 15 minutes.

    Perhaps this quote from steverichards1984 and the following one from Barry Woods encapsulates the problem.

    SR: “The IPCC aided and abetted by national weather organisations, agree that computer simulations show that there will be a continuous temperature rise due to man made CO2.

    Since none of these computer simulations have predicted ANY pauses, they are therefore incorrect”

    BW: “Why does the Met office seem so unwilling to concede the lack of substantial warming in the 21st century”

    steverichards is just making up stuff, or quoting others who have done so. At the heart of this is a cognitive/ perceptual problem whereby people conflate “warming” with “current temperature rise” and jump to their fallacious conclusions. Even though there is always a relatively constant effective input of extra watts per square metre (in reality, the same solar input but a reduced output to space) that does not mean, nor was it ever stated to mean, that there would be a smooth linear rise in measured global temperatures. I challenge the Barry Wood’s of this world to show where this standard denialist misinformation was ever stated by a credible source. When scientists talk to the public in science speak, they are usually talking about the isolated factor the paper is addressing, thus they will state that the expected temperature rise will be X degrees annually or per decade etc. All the messy cyclic causes of large planetary temperature variation is probably mentioned in all the papers, but the papers are about how much the extra greenhouse gases will cause the Earth to heat up due to that cause alone.

    When climate scientists or such as the Met Office communicate to the public I hear them mention how natural variations can mask trends but I think they make a bad job of communicating exactly what that means in language and terms that the genral public can understand fully. The evidence is clear that too many people do not hear all of what they are saying and so jump to their wrong conclusions thus becoming fertile ground for the mistaken idea that somehow global warming has paused. I think the IPCC did, and probably still do, fail to emphasise this important factor in their public utterances. I don’t think many people would dispute that most scientists are rubbish at communicating the concepts to the general public. Those such as Richard Alley are shining exceptions.

    Like the waves on the shore, the multiply caused cyclical variations in planetary temperatures are usually much larger than the small but steady increase in planetary temperature. They can easily mask the small steady global warming effect but they are caused by heat just moving around from the atmosphere to the ocean surface to the deep ocean and back (such as by El Nino/La Nina, PDO etc) but with no total change in temperature of the planetary ocean+land+atmosphere system. Global warming has not “paused” any more than the tide pauses when a wave runs back down the beach.

    I hope that is clear and understandable.

    • nuwurld says:

      Nup. Don’t get it. Models don’t predict it and there is NO evidence that Earth is following CO2. Prefer realism to alarmism.

    • steverichards1984 says:

      I do like the waves/tide on the beach analogy.

      However, when a human lifetime spans one wave cycle, it can be difficult to ‘see’ the scale of the combined waveforms. When the tidal cycle spans multiple lifetimes – including periods without instrumentation, it becomes increasingly more difficult to see very small signals.

      We are in a position now of having to accept a new form of science, where theories can not be falsified, data is not shared and data has been altered either through design or incompetence to reach a desired result.

      All I would say to people who accept all that is said in support of the IPCC aims and objectives:

      Share your data
      Explain your data
      Use normal scientific rules of progress.

      Then the results will be what every they maybe.

      • nuwurld says:

        Steve, didn’t read that correctly the first time. I do agree with what was said. My answer under yours wasn’t directed to you it was to Nick.

    • nuwurld says:

      You see that’s where we differ. I’m old school and measure temperature with a thermometer. You had a hope of convincing people about GHG’s whilst the world was warming. Now it wont be so easy.Oh, and I’m not the one making stuff up. I don’t have to explain where the missing Wm-2 go after 15 years of no measurable effect. Obviously you ‘feel’ the need to. In my world we try to explain things that are happening in order to learn about the world in general. If a model obviously fails, it’s time to move on.

  23. I’m constantly amazed at how well contrarians ignore massive pieces of the puzzle. Global Warming is global, so before any talk about no increase in temperatures, the intellectually honest would ask about what’s going on within our oceans!

    “Ocean Warming”
    2 Apr 2012 … A new study contrasting ocean temperature readings of the 1870s with temperatures of the modern seas reveals an upward trend of global …”
    http://www.bitsofscience.org/tag/ocean-warming/

    “Global ocean temperatures have been rising for at least a century”
    Apr 2012 … A new study contrasting ocean temperature readings of the 1870s with temperatures of the modern seas reveals an upward trend of global …
    http://www.bitsofscience.org/ocean-temperature-rising-5441/

    Here’s a graph that visualizes heat content above and below the sea surface

    from: http://www.skepticalscience.com/nuccitelli-et-al-2012.html

    Excellect lecture by Scripps physical oceanographer Dean Roemmich
    135 Years of Global Ocean Warming – Perspectives on Ocean Science
    Perspectives on Ocean Science
    Date: 9/12/2012; 56 minutes
    http://www.uctv.tv/shows/135-Years-of-Global-Ocean-Warming-Perspectives-on-Ocean-Science-23999

    • nuwurld says:

      It is very difficult to explain how the oceans can be warming without the met office being able to measure a rise in global temperatures. The sea is measured and as with El Niño, it affects and raises land temperatures.

      • steverichards1984 says:

        “Have a graph of warming over time, maybe that’ll help. ”

        I am impressed that with no rise in air temperature, sea temps are still rising!!!

        Just how do they get these figures?

        Is it the Kate Moss Model?

      • Steve – the explanation you seek may be found in her paper http://www.skepticalscience.net/docs/Comment_on_DK12.pdf. There’s more energy entering the atmosphere than leaving it. It’s going to go somewhere.

      • nuwurld says:

        John, we are talking about Global Warming . Thermal energy is measured with a thermometer across as many sites as the world can measure. If it hasn’t been measured, why say that it must be greater but hidden. You can’t hide it in the sea BEACAUSE IT IS A LIQUID AND ITS EIGENSTATES FORBID EQUIPARTITION BETWEEN THERMAL AND PRESSURE STATES.

        If you are wondering where’it’ goes, take solace in th FACT. That the budget is to 1Wm-2, unaccountable.

        Solar is broadband from long wave radio to gamma. Respective proportionality of its total flux is never rationalised or accounted for. Most of the Earth’s albedo is visible light. 49% reaching the ground is infra red and subject to interference coming in by harmonics of the same GHG’s that fuss with it on the way out. But none of that matters because radiative transfer is not ‘important’ at these temperatures. Provable by school room experiment. Go on I dare you.

      • You can’t hide heat in a liquid? Seriously? Are you really a Turing machine generating Poes?

      • nuwurld says:

        No you cannot hide heat in the oceans. The world has been warming since around 1750. (John, that’s the bent bit in your hockey stick handle).

        A liquid responds to heat by thermal expansion. As we monitor the ocean surface by satellite the volume of the ocean is known. The rate of increase in volume is the sum of thermal energy, land ice and water run off. If we know the rate of land ice loss and precipitation rated as measured around the globe then we can calculate the thermal expansion of the ocean knowing its changing volume. See that’s the wonderful thing, once the energy is in the water it’s in. Circulation doesn’t matter the same total heat is the same volume irrespective of thermal distribution, given the same quantity of water.

        The rate of instantaneous volume increase or decrease is the flux in or out of the water.

        You can’t hide heat in the ocean.

      • Beyond bizarre. The instrument record clearly shows the oceans warming and you refuse to accept that. The instrument record clearly shows sea levels rising. Ah well, maybe the Daily Mail is your sort of paper after all.

      • nuwurld says:

        John, both scenarios. The real events of history or the ‘lame pretence of the ‘hockey stick”, both result in the same oceanic response that involve a response from the ocean that cannot be brought into equilibrium within less than 400 years.

      • Hot off the press, http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012GL053262.shtml. The science moves forward. The anti-science moves in circles.

  24. steverichards1984 says:

    An interesting paper from Dr. D. Stockwell about errors in homogenization methods used in datasets such as Hadcrut4.

    His new paper to be presented at the Australian Environment Foundation on the 30th of October

    http://vixra.org/pdf/1209.0088v2.pdf

    Where he describes how current methods of ‘adjusting’ temperature datasets give noticeable bias.

    I wonder how the Met Office assures the data presented in Hadcrut4?

    With simple problems such as (Tmax-Tmin)/2 and more sophisticated problems suggested by Stockwell, can we rely upon Hadcrut4 for any policy making whatsoever?

    Met Office views on Stockwell’s work would be interesting.

  25. Jeff Gazzard says:

    Dear Dave Britton and all colleagues at the Met Office: I’ll keep this simple – please keep up the good work! Those of us at the environment lobbying/campaigning coalface (whoops!) really appreciate your applied meteorological science and these good-humoured responses to Mr Rose and his acolytes witterings.

    Thanks!

    Jeff Gazzard
    Board Member
    Aviation Environment Federation
    LONDON

  26. Gary Mirada says:

    This is how the IPCC operates. Resignation of Chris Landsea
    “Dear colleagues,
    After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from 
participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel 
on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the 
part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become 
politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC 
leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.
    With this open letter to the community, I wish to explain the basis for my 
decision and bring awareness to what I view as a problem in the IPCC 
process. The IPCC is a group of climate researchers from around the world 
that every few years summarize how climate is changing and how it may be 
altered in the future due to manmade global warming. I had served both as an 
author for the Observations chapter and a Reviewer for the 2nd Assessment 
Report in 1995 and the 3rd Assessment Report in 2001, primarily on the topic 
of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). My work on hurricanes, and 
tropical cyclones more generally, has been widely cited by the IPCC. For the 
upcoming AR4, I was asked several weeks ago by the Observations chapter Lead 
Author—Dr. Kevin Trenberth—to provide the writeup for Atlantic 
hurricanes. As I had in the past, I agreed to assist the IPCC in what I 
thought was to be an important, and politically-neutral determination of 
what is happening with our climate.
    Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane 
section for the AR4’s Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a 
press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic “Experts to 
warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense 
hurricane activity” along with other media interviews on the topic. The 
result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly 
connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by 
anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and 
reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is 
apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in 
such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media 
sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global 
warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.
    I found it a bit perplexing that the participants in the Harvard press 
conference had come to the conclusion that global warming was impacting 
hurricane activity today. To my knowledge, none of the participants in that 
press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor 
were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current 
research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, 
long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, 
either in the Atlantic or any other basin. The IPCC assessments in 1995 and 
2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the 
hurricane record.
    Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent 
credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon 
hurricane will likely be quite small. The latest results from the 
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of 
Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and 
rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even 
this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of 
the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 
2005, submitted).
    It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an 
unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global 
warming. Given Dr. Trenberth’s role as the IPCC’s Lead Author responsible 
for preparing the text on hurricanes, his public statements so far outside 
of current scientific understanding led me to concern that it would be very 
difficult for the IPCC process to proceed objectively with regards to the 
assessment on hurricane activity. My view is that when people identify 
themselves as being associated with the IPCC and then make pronouncements 
far outside current scientific understandings that this will harm the 
credibility of climate change science and will in the longer term diminish 
our role in public policy.
    My concerns go beyond the actions of Dr. Trenberth and his colleagues to how 
he and other IPCC officials responded to my concerns. I did caution Dr. 
Trenberth before the media event and provided him a summary of the current 
understanding within the hurricane research community. I was disappointed 
when the IPCC leadership dismissed my concerns when I brought up the 
misrepresentation of climate science while invoking the authority of the 
IPCC. Specifically, the IPCC leadership said that Dr. Trenberth was speaking 
as an individual even though he was introduced in the press conference as an 
IPCC lead author; I was told that that the media was exaggerating or 
misrepresenting his words, even though the audio from the press conference 
and interview tells a different story (available on the web directly); and 
that Dr. Trenberth was accurately reflecting conclusions from the TAR, even 
though it is quite clear that the TAR stated that there was no connection 
between global warming and hurricane activity. The IPCC leadership saw 
nothing to be concerned with in Dr. Trenberth’s unfounded pronouncements to 
the media, despite his supposedly impartial important role that he must 
undertake as a Lead Author on the upcoming AR4.
    It is certainly true that “individual scientists can do what they wish in 
their own rights”, as one of the folks in the IPCC leadership suggested. 
Differing conclusions and robust debates are certainly crucial to progress 
in climate science. However, this case is not an honest scientific 
discussion conducted at a meeting of climate researchers. Instead, a 
scientist with an important role in the IPCC represented himself as a Lead 
Author for the IPCC has used that position to promulgate to the media and 
general public his own opinion that the busy 2004 hurricane season was 
caused by global warming, which is in direct opposition to research written 
in the field and is counter to conclusions in the TAR. This becomes 
problematic when I am then asked to provide the draft about observed 
hurricane activity variations for the AR4 with, ironically, Dr. Trenberth as 
the Lead Author for this chapter. Because of Dr. Trenberth’s pronouncements, 
the IPCC process on our assessment of these crucial extreme events in our 
climate system has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost. 
While no one can “tell” scientists what to say or not say (nor am I 
suggesting that), the IPCC did select Dr. Trenberth as a Lead Author and 
entrusted to him to carry out this duty in a non-biased, neutral point of 
view. When scientists hold press conferences and speak with the media, much 
care is needed not to reflect poorly upon the IPCC. It is of more than 
passing interest to note that Dr. Trenberth, while eager to share his views 
on global warming and hurricanes with the media, declined to do so at the 
Climate Variability and Change Conference in January where he made several 
presentations. Perhaps he was concerned that such speculation—though 
worthy in his mind of public pronouncements—would not stand up to the 
scrutiny of fellow climate scientists.
    I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I 
view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being 
scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. 
Trenberth’s actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I 
have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4.
    Sincerely,
    Chris Landsea”
    17 January 2005

  27. In 2009 the MET tested the IPCC models and stated,”Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

    Does the MET intend to reassess IPCC models now that they have exceeded 15 years of near-zero warming?

    • Dave Britton says:

      We are constantly looking at not only our own projections, but those of others used in IPCC assessments. We will do this for AR5 as we have for the other assessments along witb the international scientific community.

      • nuwurld says:

        You are still left with the mathematical problem of pulling long term cancelling effects out of a system with a single geometrically rising driver. You can only admit that the cancellation is easily as strong or that the model is wrong.

    • nuwurld says:

      Really good question. Noticed how the response wasn’t a denial.

  28. Roy Everett says:

    If I recall his lectures correctly, Professor Jones acknowledged early in 2011 that the alleged human-induced global warming was not substantiated by the data and that the Met Office was complicit in what was either an earlier gross blunder or deliberate fraud. By so doing he was implicitly dissociating himself from the Met Office public relations exercise, which at the time was trying to convince us that the world was either warming or cooling and that humans were responsible. Is the Met Office still trying to convince the UK that humans are significantly changing global climate using oxidation of carbon? If so, who is ordering it to do so currently?

    • Dave Britton says:

      Roy, I am not aware of what lectures you are recalling, but the Met Office is still working very closely with Professor Jones on the joint Met Office Hadley Centre / Climatic Research Unit global temperature data set (HadCRUT4). The IPCC have clearly stated that it is ‘very likely’ that our climate is changing and that humans are responsible for these changes due to emissions of greenhouse gases.

      • Roy Everett says:

        When Professor Jones returned early in 2011, he confirmed in his lectures that there was no statistically significant warming in about the last decade. He is fully aware that the IPCC is a political body and that their statement that it is `very likely that our climate is changing and that humans are responsible for these changes due to emissions of greenhouse gases’ (the AGW hypothesis) is a deliberate falsehood, and that there was serious fraudulent tampering with the land air temperature records and deliberate use of incorrect models based on a radiative transfer model and incorrect optical physics. He seemed seriously shocked over these revelations. I am not aware of the contractual relationship behind your conjecture that `the Met Office is still working very closely with Professor Jones …. HadCRUT4′. Assuming that the contract is that Met Office is being advised on the science by Prof Jones, I would expect that the MO would either accept his advice to reject the AGW hypothesis, or to make it clear that they reject his advice and why. However, if the contract is that Prof Jones is being advised by the MO to take a political stance (that is, to promote a view rather than research the truth) then I would venture to suggest that the contract be re-assessed.

        Overall, Professor Jones, regardless of any earlier opinion he held and of any earlier activity in promoting the AGW hypthesis, is clearly currently advising against accepting AGW. I would consequently expect the Fifth Assessment Review to reflect rejecting the AGW hypothesis, unless the IPCC political procedures over-rule that, in which case the IPCC will lose credibility.

    • nuwurld says:

      Good question. Don’t think you will get an answer though!

  29. katabasis1 says:

    So where is the catastrophic – and accelerating – warming that we were promised and that many people such as yourselves have been dining out on for the last two decades?

  30. nuwurld says:

    Without any rationalisation of natural forcings or any idea of what today’s temperature should be without us on the planet, it’s all just a puff of rapidly cooling air. Winter is coming

  31. clivebest says:

    This is surely good news! There is no reason for the MET office to continue defending the extreme end of predictions if measurements consequently turn out differently. There is fairly clear evidence of natural variations in climate over a moderate warming trend. Everyone agrees that a doubling of CO2 causes direct warming of about 1-1.5 deg.C. The largest uncertainty concerns the feedback of increased evaporation and especially clouds. If it now turns out that water feedbacks are small or even negative then we should all welcome such a result. There is no rational argument for the UK alone to continue cutting emissions by 80% in 2050, when China increases its emissions by 100% of total 2006 emissions each year. This gives us more time to research the only current long term solution which avoids an eventual return to neolithic existence – nuclear fusion.

    • nuwurld says:

      Not everyone agrees. There is a fundamental problem with the physics. The atmosphere doesn’t work that way. Clue, coupled system, can’t use black body physics!

  32. Nick Palmer:

    When I commented about the ‘lack of substantial warming’ I was merely trying to find a suitable phrase for the ‘pause’ / plateau, slow down, or whatever phrase is acceptable.

    I use the phrase, because it was used in a Met Office scientists bio about the research he was doing:

    to quote him exactly (as he was not a apparently a ‘sceptics’ friend):

    “Part of XXXXXXX duties involves responding to queries about general climate issues, particularly so called “skeptical” or “contrarian” arguments and views. “

    he went on:

    “…being part of a team examining the possible reasons for the lack of substantial warming for the 10 years after 1998 and being a contributing author to the IPCC 4th assessment report.”

    If we cannot talk about the ‘lack of substantial warming’ against prior expectations, and that the cause were uncertain/unknown, and that climate scientists are very interested in this, it makes it very difficult to have any sort of debate. Too many organisation seem to want to stay on message. Sadly, when this was pointed out to a few Met Office colleagues, the bio was changed soon after. (web archives are available)

  33. Nick Palmer:

    May I ask you not to use the phrase ‘denialist’, and or ‘denier’, as it is very offensive to many, and is also very polarising.

    As the Guardian style guide acknowledges this,
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide

    I hope that you and others would respect this request. I also would ask the Met Office moderators to take this into account (After all it is a publically funded official blog),as this sort of language, will just alienate people.

    • Nick Palmer says:

      I apologise to you Barry. The assertion that I was criticising as “standard denialist misinformation” – that the models predict a smooth linear increase in temperature – actually came from steverichards1984 and not you and I mis-attributed it.

      I still maintain that the quoted assertion is misinformation and anyone who quotes it as if it was fact is in denial of reality, particularly those who have been corrected at least once and continue to use it. I am still not sure of what their purpose is but it sure isn’t wise.

    • Nick Palmer says:

      Why did you not pull up any of others who used that “shocking” word?

    • nuwurld says:

      I agree, although I am a denier. In light of the fact that I know the science is most definitely NOT done. But the climate is always changing. I commend the Met Office for facing this blog and allowing people to air their views. The truth ‘will out’ despite what I or anyone else says. It’s just a matter of a few winters.

      • Nick Palmer says:

        “But the climate is always changing”

        Of course it is! Within limits. So what? Climate changes, and has changed, due to natural forcings and cyclic variabilities. That clearly demonstrates that it reacts to forcings. Sticking a load of buried then re-oxidised carbon back up there is imposing a long lasting forcing on the planet that steadily forces the climate to change. The physics shows that the C02 forcing is much larger than the orbital Milankovitch forcings that send Earth into and out of ice ages over millennia.

        I see several others have come on here and pulled the old “natural variability swamps any CO2 signal”. Did you all miss the analogy above between waves on a beach and the tide coming in? How hard was that to understand?

        Another analogy I just made up would be a fat person eating, in aggregate, just 200 calories a day more than their body burns averaged over 20 years. Over 20 years plus they are going to get to be a morbidly obese 600 pounds! How would you all regard the intelligence of someone watching them who said that the person sometimes binged on 5000 calories a day for weeks, then went on a crash diet for weeks and their weight varied by 50 pounds cyclically but that the steady average one ounce a day weight gain from those unburnt 200 calories is totally “swamped” by their natural cyclic variability, so therefore is unimportant? I don’t think that is very smart. Do all you “natural variability swamps the CO2 signal” types agree now?

        Small cumulative dietary forcings add up to one obscenely fat individual over time. Climate forcings in the SAME direction mean steadily accumulating heat. Binges and diets give a wide CYCLIC variability of weight month to month. Just as natural oscillating climate variations give a wide variety of temperatures over decadal periods. So what? A fatty in denial of reality could easily pick and choose start and finish points to draw trend lines on the graph of their weight to fool themselves into thinking they were losing weight or stable – that they were doing fine – but they would be deluded…

      • nuwurld says:

        Nick, you are very good with words. If not so good with climate predictions. Always the entertainer.

  34. beesaman says:

    Why do you not show error bars in your graphs?

  35. janef20 says:

    Britton says:We are constantly looking at not only our own projections, but those of others used in IPCC assessments. We will do this for AR5 as we have for the other assessments along witb the international scientific community.

    Is this all you have?

    What about the “scientific method.”?

    The IPCC began with the proclamation that mankind is the cause of coming catastrophic damage. Next, the IPCC hired scientists to program computer models accordingly. Those models proved that mankind is the cause of climate disruption. Wow.

    And all your international scientific (political) communities – deftly accepting uncountable funding, with no end in sight – yes, let’s trust them.

    Please tell me, Mr. Britton, how much of your career is left? When will you be free of the obligation you have to the BBC Pension Fund, for instance, which invested billions in this debacle?

    How many politicians are still counting on the working man and woman to send all we earn to the government so we can be saved from carbon dioxide?

  36. Thank you MET for taking the time to try and correct these persistent falsehoods about global warming. I really does feel like playing wack-a-mole with rubber duckies.

  37. Paul Rose’s article was prebunked some time ago, http://skepticalscience.com/misleading-daily-mail-prebunked-nuccitelli-et-al-2012.html. I love the irony of so-called skeptics implying the Met is in an elaborate conspiracy and the acceptance of the Daily Mail as science. That is truly seeing white as black.

  38. clivebest says:

    John, Your argument would be valid except for the fact that IPCC themselves used a similar trick of fitting short linear segments to Hadcrut3 in AR4 to demonstrate “accelerating” global warming. Take a look at FAQ 3.1. If a repeat of this fit were to be done today then we would deduce “decelerating” global warming. I hope AR5 will now honestly address this issue.

    So you can’t have it both ways.

  39. I do find is absolutely fascinating to read a MET office omployee responding on this blog. What his responses cleary show is that there is a reluctance to acknowledge that temp rises have basically stalled and the models are wrong. It proves that the MET is politically driven rather than scientifically driven.

    • Dave Britton says:

      We have clearly said in the blog respsonse and our original respsonses to Mr Rose that the warming over the period he was looking at is indeed small. Our response is repeated here ‘The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period.’

    • nuwurld says:

      Again, very close to the mark. But the people who are vetting this are allowing people to air views and opinion. The fact that they are responsible enough to expose data which is controversial is what counts

  40. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave you keep making reference to the IPCC as if it holds some sort of position of authority. As identified by Chris Landsea the IPCC is a political body. There are many other examples of the IPCC’s lack of scientific rigour. The Met Office should be distancing itself from the IPCC.

    No-one could read AR4 WG1 and come to the conclusion that IPCC offers in the SPM. Indeed one of the important points in the Rose article which is acknowledged by Jones is that there is very limited understanding of natural variability. Natural variability is the null hypothesis and yet it has been discarded for a new politically motivated null of ‘CO2 is the climate control’. This is not science Dave as you must know.

    Don’t you find it telling that it seems that the chances of any warming in the near future appear to be dependent on the next El Nino event? Is anyone arguing that El Ninos are caused by CO2? And yet if there is a major El Nino the likes of the Met Office will no doubt trumpet it as evidence of manmade global warming.

    The one thing that is crystal clear is that whatever effects CO2 may have on surface temperatures they are easily overwhelmed by natural variability.

    The way that climate change has been dealt with is one of the most shameful episodes in the history of man. If you have any sort of conscience you must be ashamed of the organisation that you represent. I know that as a British citizen I am ashamed to have a national meteorological office that acts as a cheerleader for very shoddy science.

  41. “Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ºC.”

    As CO2 has been claimed to only have been affecting temp rises since the 1970’s, this statement is irrelevant at best and disingenuous at worst.

    The MET, like many others, needs to start being straight with people.

    • Dave Britton says:

      Scientists have understood for several hundred years that CO2 is needed in our atmosphere to make our planet warm enough for us to live on – they have also understood that changing the amount of CO2 or other greenhouse gases in our atmposphere leads to changes in global temperature and our climate. Therefore CO2 and other greenhouse gases have always affected our climate.

      • nuwurld says:

        Fourier, in 1824 expressed his views that we ‘know by immutable measurement’ how heat travels. That being the laws of thermodynamics. Now Kevin Trenberth, tries to tell us that we can apply black body physics to bodies that are THERMALLY COUPLED. All modes, conduction,convection and radiation apply. Unfortunately, for Kevin, radiation isn’t king. Convection rules. Go feel how the heat escapes from your own domestic ‘radiator’. Clue ‘above’.

      • nuwurld says:

        David, that statement is totally physically incorrect. As a weatherman you are obviously aware of the adiabatic lapse rate and must therefore have some understanding of its mechanism.

      • Dave Britton says:

        Please could you explain further how you are linking adiabatic lapse rates to the role of CO2 (or indeed other Greenhouse gases) with the ‘Greenhouse Effect”.

      • nuwurld says:

        David, the reason I am referring to the adiabatic lapse rate is that by understanding its mechanism there is little room left for a greenhouse effect.
        The ALR, can be derived from entry level physics using accountable mathematics and methods. It tells us about how gases behave within the atmosphere.

        Firstly, GHG theory tells us that the Earth’s surface temperature would be it’s effective black body temperature of -18degC, where it not for the ‘back radiation’ which raises the surface temperature because of and only through ‘greenhouse gases’. So thirty degrees or so are due to ‘back radiation’. Agree?

        Now in the real world we have these, indisputable facts.
        The atmosphere is gravitationally bound. Any change of height within a gravitational field constitutes energy being liberated as kinetic energy (thermal energy for a gas, expressed through it’s heat capacity as temperature), or work being done but stored as gravitational potential.

        Three factual equations link the above.

        Force = mass x acceleration

        F=m x a

        The acceleration here is gravity, for unit mass it is the force.

        Work= force x distance in direction of force, or height.

        W=f x d where f=g
        So W = -g x h (-ve as gravity acts against vertical height)

        And heat= mass x heat capacity x temp change

        H= m x c x theta or H= c x theta for unit mass.

        Both heat and work are energy. So

        -g x h = c x theta

        we can rearrange and express as rates of change

        dT/ dh= -g/ c

        Or, in words, the rate of change of temperature with height is – gravity divided by the heat capacity of the gas.

        Now this is the important part. The heat capacity of air is DEFINED BY ITS MAJOR CONSTITUENTS. Not trace gases, nor gases with special absorption spectra.

        This is the adiabatic lapse rate.

        For air the ALR has three documented rates that account for water content. Water has the ability to triple phase within the atmosphere and through change of state can liberate or absorb massive amounts of latent heat. It is the only significant atmospheric variable. So we have a wet rate, a dry rate and an average rate

        ie dT/dh for average air is -6.5 K/ km

        What does this mean?

        Well for any measurable point at altitude above the surface we can define a calculable surface temperature through the lapse rate.

        Eg if from measurement at the top of the tropopause we find the temperature of -50Deg C at 10 km. the lapse rate says that if we brought any parcel of air down to the ground from that height it’s temperature will become 10 x 6.5deg higher ie it’s temperature MUST rise by 65deg to plus 15 deg through liberation of stored gravitational potential energy. Pretty much what we observe. Similarly we can move any body of air between any points within the atmosphere and we find that the surface temperature we experience is normal within the atmospheric gradient through energy conservation and thermodynamics without mentioning ‘back radiation’. All of the atmosphere is to a reasonable approximation at the same level of total energy. The atmosphere is in reasonable thermodynamic equilibrium defined by its heat capacity, the force of gravity, and with the solar flux as regulated by its albedo.

  42. “As for trends, the longer a flat trend goes on beyond 15-years the slightly less likely it is that it would be due to natural variability.”

    Erm, more likely, surely?

  43. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave, here is a way for the Met Office to re-establish some credibility in the scientific community and the eyes of the public – issue a statement requiring the IPCC to immediately disassociate itself from all NGO’s – you know those activist organisations like Green Peace, WWF, Friends of the Earth, all of whom are running their own agendas – and from the renewables industry who have a vested financial interest in perpetuating the CO2 paradigm.

    And if you don’t think this is acceptable, then consider this – suppose the IPCC were infiltrated by representatives of the fossil industry and was publicly issuing support for the use of fossil fuels – how acceptable would that be?

    This is why the public are not buying the AGW meme. They know when they are being misled. Do you?

    • What a nonsense that would be – for the Met Office to deny physics and claim multiple independent lines of inquiry are all invalid.

      • katabasis1 says:

        Disassociation from activist organisations = denying physics.

        That’s a new one for me.

      • The problem with the IPCC is that its estimates are too conservative, too inactivist. As for running agendas, one should be be more skeptical about the so-called skeptics.

      • nuwurld says:

        The Met Office IS denying the physics. The atmosphere is gravitationally bound and therefore convection is king. The adiabatic lapse rate that sets the thermal gradient is about energy conservation. That’s what adiabatic means. The radiation is present but it maintains equilibrium and thermal gradient. It is not available to do work. Radiation and convection are coupled through opacity and the result is the law of heat transfer that Fourier was fully aware of. Ask any applied physicist or astrophysicist!

      • katabasis1 says:

        “The problem with the IPCC is that its estimates are too conservative, too inactivist. ”

        – Case closed, your honour.

      • I sense a few here do not understand the IPCC’s remit. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change:

        The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body,[1][2] set up at the request of member governments.[3] It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 43/53. Its mission is to provide comprehensive scientific assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, and possible options for adapting to these consequences or mitigating the effects.[4] It is chaired by Rajendra K. Pachauri.

        Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute (on a voluntary basis, without payment from the IPCC) to writing and reviewing reports, which are reviewed by representatives from all the governments, with summaries for policy makers being subject to line-by-line approval by all participating governments. Typically this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.[5]

        The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. A main activity of the IPCC is publishing special reports on topics relevant to the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),[4] an international treaty that acknowledges the possibility of harmful climate change. Implementation of the UNFCCC led eventually to the Kyoto Protocol. The IPCC bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific literature.[6] Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and UNEP.[7]

        The IPCC provides an internationally accepted authority on climate change,[8] producing reports which have the agreement of all the leading climate scientists and the consensus of every one of the participating governments. It has successfully provided authoritative policy advice with far-reaching implications for economics and lifestyles. In a context of unremitting opposition from fossil fuel interests, governments have been slow to implement the advice.[3]

  44. actually that graphic is a little bit naughty.. (colour code hotter I see.)

    there is no legend for 2010 – to date.

    yet, we have a 2011 rank shown, not coloured red, but a shade very similar.

    why not add the legend, and just for fun, put 2011, in black…
    (when the graph gets updated with subsequent years aswell)

    (just so it is obvious, where the most recent data point sits)

    the graph really gives the impression that the intent is to ‘hide the pause’.

    The art of using graphics is to present data clearly, and make it esay to interpret, this graphic I think fails that test. whilst it show, ranking ie 21st cent warmest decades, it does not show, the plateau

    this is probably quite unintentional, their is quite an internet debate amongst scientists recenetly, about colour coding of graphs ( @edhawkins – Reading Uni) and how this should be used. perhaps the Met Office could run my concerns by him, or take a look for themselves.

    The graph really SHOULD have a legend for 2011 onwards.

  45. In January 2012 we had a David Rose, DM 15 years no warming story – Dave Britton responded then, confirming my point earier, about lack of substantial warming/slowdown in warming.

    https://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/met-office-in-the-media-29-january-2012/
    Dave Britton (20:43:08) :

    The Met Office has been exploring the slowdown in the rate of global temperature rise for several years. A publication from late 2010, available here http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/m/6/evidence.pdf provides scientific review of the latest research at the time into what may cause the slow down in warming on short time-scales.”

    As Dave Britton confrms lots of research is going on (and different theories) of what ‘may’ be the cause – ie not known.

    On that occasion, a whole different graph was used. (with no hadcrut data)

    Additionally, the Met Office did not link to the Daily Mail story when they responded on that occasion either, may I ask why, is that a policy?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

    Previously the Hadcrut3 graph was only put into the article later on,(following the advice possibly of Prof Richard Betts, Met Office? – see comments at Bishop Hill) following complaints at Bishop Hill blog, with a number of comments asking again, why the apparent desire to hide the ‘pause/plateau’

    complaints from, a Reader of Mathematics, Nottingham, and a Prof of Physics, Oxford, about an apparent desire to ‘hide the pause’

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/1/30/a-rose-on-winter.html?currentPage=2#comments

    Now my comment is of course critical, but perhaps it is worth the Met Office reflecting on these concerns, as the actual answers to David Rose, do not really disagree with him.

    Perhaps this apparent PR response to countering the Daily Mail, is due to the Daily Mail Headline (ie Global warming Stopped’ which to be fair to David Rose, who does say, it does not mean all future warming has stopped, could be down to a sub-editor or editor and out of David Rose’s control..

    ie A similar headline problem casued a great deal of argueing (missing the content) because of a headline that Richard Muller says was changed by the newspaper. he wrote ‘Lets Cool the Global Warming Debate’ which the editor changed to ‘An End of Scepticism’

    http://www.capitolreportnewmexico.com/?p=6691

  46. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave, talking of regaining credibility your post above about working very closely with Jones is not a good idea. This is the man who hides declines, doesn’t want others to see his work and is worried that the world might not be warming dangerously. He is not a good example of an objective scientist is he? The Met Office should take immediate steps to disassociate itself from Jones and his ilk.

    Unfortunately for your fellow citizens there are far too many who, like Jones, put self-interest ahead of the science. For shame!

    Time to break free, Dave.

    • Repeating the “hide the decline” meme is a little dated now. He was talkng about three rings. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm. Jones is a good scientist – a scalp so-called sceptics would like.

      • Oh God, Romnesia attack again ! Remember :
        “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple… [There are] some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter.” (Briffa, Sep 22, 1999, 0938031546.txt)
        “For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.” (Briffa, Sep 22, 1999, 0938031546.txt)
        “Keith’s series… differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series.” (Mann, Sep 22, 1999, 0938018124.txt)

      • You’re back to Climategate. Give it up for goodness sake. There have been nine inquiries – and all vindicated the consensus. You can’t keep going back to a position you have repeatedly lost from. It shows that not only can you not learn but you only persist hoping that the next inquiry will fall your way – you are just looking for your right answer. Repeating a losing opening gambit in chess does not lead to a winning position.

  47. Arno Arrak says:

    Below are my reactions to the answers you gave to Rose.

    Q1 answer needs to be critiqued. You cannot jumble long stretches of temperature records randomly together because the physical processes which determine how climate behaves can and do change. It is your responsibility to be aware of such changes and treat the data accordingly but you have not done so. For example, it is totally impermissible to average the temperature stretch from 1979 to 2011 as you just casually mention. That is because everything changed in the middle of this period when the super El Nino of 1998 arrived. There was nothing but a series of ENSO oscillations in the eighties and nineties and global mean temperature stayed the same from 1979 to 1997. There were five El Nino periods there and one of them – the 1988 El Nino – is the one that Hansen imagined was 0.4 degrees Centigrade(!) warmer than anything else before it. The peak temperature of the super El Nino was twice as high as the ones that preceded it but you would not know it from your ground-based data. It is the inclusion of this super El Nino with the nineties that makes the nineties warmer than the eighties in your data set. With that super El Nino came a huge amount of warm water across the ocean that caused a step rise in global temperature. In four years the temperature rose by a third of degree, then stopped, and has been at a standstill ever since. It is the only actual warming within the satellite era that began in 1979. It is this step warming that is responsible for the unusual warmth of the first decade of this century, not an imaginary greenhouse effect. It starts a completely new temperature regime. The beginning of the century is taken up by a twenty-first century high because the La Nina that should have appeared in that time slot is absent. Regular ENSO oscillations return with the 2008 La Nina but the global mean remains constant at the level of the step warming that started it all. This means that within the satellite era we now have two temperature standstill regions – from 1979 to 1997 and from 2001 to the present that do not meet because of the intervening step warming. It is all there in the satellite record but for reasons of your own you have chosen to ignore it. As a result none of this info is present in your temperature curve. Not only that but you have substituted a late twentieth century warming in the eighties and nineties which makes your curve fraudulent as well. My suggestion is, revise that curve the soonest you can to incorporate satellite data. And don’t try to jiggle it with a computer. There is more and I suggest you absorb the section on temperature in my book “What Warming?”

    Q2 – Neither ENSO, which is well understood, nor any of the other poorly understood cycles have any explanatory power about global temperature change.

    Q3 – The graph is worthless and the rest of the answer is meaningless

  48. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave sorry to be making so many comments but GWPF have published some counter-comments here – http://www.thegwpf.org/the-mail-on-sunday-and-the-met-office/

    Can I ask you please to explain why there was no press announcement of the lack of statistical warming over the last 16 years. This is surely important news for the citizens of your country. The failure of the Met Office to deal objectively with data will cause the lack of credibility that the Met Office currently enjoys to become ingrained.

    Time for the Met Office to start acting like scientists, please!!!!

  49. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave thanks for your response. And I would like to go on record that I appreciate the time you take to deal with comments.

    You have acknowledge earlier that a finding of not guilty in the trial of ‘man v CO2’ would be good news. You have acknowledged there has been no statistical warming for 16 years. At what point do you tell the world that CO2 is not guilty? At what point do you admit that there is extreme uncertainty over the outcome of the trial? At what point do we let the science get centre stage and stop the charade of PR and spin? I am sure you are as tired of it as the rest of us are?

    And a response to John Havery Samuel at 14:14:01 – John I did not ask the Met Office to deny the physics. The science of radiative physics is beautiful. Elegant. Compelling. And well established enough not to be doubted or denied. I believe in science and the scientific method. Look at all my posts. They are all encouraging the Met Office to give up the spin and stick to the science and moreover to behave like scientists.

    My post that you chose to comment on points out a very worrying fact – the IPCC is infiltrated by activists. It cannot be seen to be doing science, and only science, whilst being influenced by activists. You may think that it is ok for the IPCC to be corrupted in this way. I don’t. And I don’t think our national meteorological office should be associated with a corrupt body.

    You see this has nothing to do with denying the physics or your multiple independent lines of enquiry (whatever they are). So can you see that your response can best be described as missing the point – in this case completely.

    • Dave Britton says:

      Gary, of course it would be great news if man’s greenhouse gas emissions were found not be altering our climate, but no alternative hypothesis has been put forward that accounts for the warming we have observed since the industrial revolution. As I have pointed out in an earlier response scientists all agree that CO2 is required in our atmospher to make our planet warm enough to support life and changes to the levels of CO2 are likely to lead to changes in our climate.

      It is interesting that comments on this blog have seen to forgotten that Mr Rose and the Met Office agree that climate change is real and that man made CO2 is one cause of that change.

      The Met Office, like other climate scientists are always dealing in uncertainties. This is inherent in any climate prediction for many reasons ranging from unkonwn socio-economic factors to an incomplete understanding of the huge complexities of our atmosphere. That is why climate scientists deal in uncertainties and why it is so important that our research continues to both understand, quantify and in time reduce those uncertainties. However all the data, projections, and understanding produced along the way is useful in taking forward the scientific process that you, and we are rightly passionate about.

      • katabasis1 says:

        “Gary, of course it would be great news if man’s greenhouse gas emissions were found not be altering our climate, but no alternative hypothesis has been put forward that accounts for the warming we have observed since the industrial revolution.”

        – We can’t think of anything else, therefore it must be man? How unscientific is that? And on top of you admitting here that natural variability can easily mask the supposed CO2 “signal”…..

      • richardscourtney says:

        Dave Britton:

        You say,
        “Gary, of course it would be great news if man’s greenhouse gas emissions were found not be altering our climate, but no alternative hypothesis has been put forward that accounts for the warming we have observed since the industrial revolution.”

        That is untrue, and it is also the classical logical error of ‘Argument From Ignorance’ (e.g. no alternative hypothesis to the actions of witches has been put forward that accounts for the bad harvest).

        It is untrue because several alternatives have been suggested.

        For example, internal climate variability is one such suggestion. Richard Lindzen states the matter more clearly than I could so I quote his words from
        http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/blog/?p=1450

        “For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century.”

        Importantly, there is good reason to suppose the AGW hypothesis is overstated and AGW cannot be a significant problem.

        Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0deg.C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of Idso from surface measurements
        http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf
        and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satelite data
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf
        and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data
        http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf

        If climate sensitivity is less than 1 deg.C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent, then it is physically impossible for the man-made global warming to be large enough to be detected. If something exists but is too small to be detected then it only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has effects (observation of the effects would be its detection).

        Richard

    • Nick Palmer says:

      “a very worrying fact – the IPCC is infiltrated by activists”
      ???
      You are just raising a straw man here. Of course the IPCC has “activists” influencing it. Political forces too. The straw is that you imply that the IPCC was set up to be a scientific organisation “doing science and only science”. It never was . Do some basic research before you say anything more – Google was invented a while ago!

      There are effectively three sections – working groups 1, 2 and 3 of which the overtly scientific group is WG1. Other sections have economists, strategists, governmental representatives etc etc etc. NGOS (AKA activists) although often there just as observers contribute to the whole process of deciding how to create policy and plan mitigation strategies to deal with the clear and present dangers. So what?

    • Of course the anti-IPCC mob haven’t an activist bone in their body or anything resembling a hidden agenda. Oh no.

    • nuwurld says:

      The physics is wrong. You cannot use black body approximations within a coupled system where all modes of heat transfer are feasible. Full stop. It’s only relevant when viewed from space whereby the output flux from the Earth equates to its equivalent black body temperature of 255K, -18degC, or its flux input depending on its variable albedo.

      • Black body physics babble will not suffice. CO2 causing global warming (all the globe and in three dimensions) has survived a generation of prodding. And it still does. No other theory has succeeded. Science does not prove, it disproves – and the surviving theory is the winner. Relativity was resisted. Quantum theory was resisted. Plate tectonics was resisted. CO2 and its models work. Sadly.

      • nuwurld says:

        The only thing it won’t survive John is explaining the lack of warming. Or the coming cooling. Time will tell. The babble about black body physics is in the hands of the IPCC. The atmosphere is convective. Do wish you would listen.

      • I’m listening – which is how I detect babble. If you’re so convinced, get published in something reputable. It’s gotta be worth a phyics Nobel. And, you know, it is warming out there. Seasons are shifting, more extreme weather is occuring, species are moving.

      • nuwurld says:

        John. CO2 and it’s models work! By proving that nothing will happen in 15 years. That the heat will be hidden! That all of sudden all hell will break loose! Unless of course we all change our ways to incorporate the new taxes. In which case, we might be ok.

        In the eyes of science and indeed by Daubert’s standard, it pays to have a theory that is provable or falsifiable through repeatable experiment. You had a period where CO2 and global temperature appeared to move together. Then they parted, 1 sigma, 2 sigma, 3 sigma away from predictions. You never had a theory that was consistent or beyond reproach. That is why people like myself ‘don’t get it’, because, it ‘does not make sense’. It goes beyond reasonable logic.

        You’ve got nothing, you’re standing on a very expensive ‘hill of beans’ poking a twitching donkey that’s being on its back for 16 years.
        Out of nothing more than compassion John, someone ought to take you by the hand and lead you off to find another ‘beast of burden’. This one is dead.
        I don’t really care if you do vet this comment guys. Said my piece. Thank you. David, I might not agree with you but you have my respect. You come across as the most sincere.

      • You mean every scientific body in the world is in some bizarre conspiracy to deny the facts? W00t! We have more variable weather, more droughts, more floods, more heat records being set – as the thrust of the theory and models set out over 30 years ago. Oh well, science progresses one generation at a time.

  50. The Met Office has produced a graph here with coloured bands on it. But there is no caption saying what these represent. Presumably they are some kind of error bar? It’s a very basic error to plot something without saying what it is you are plotting.

  51. clivebest says:

    Dave,
    You are doing a good job and thanks for your reasoned responses.

    It is really water vapour that makes our planet warm enough for life. The Oceans provide the thermostat which have maintained temperatures suitable for life for the past 3 billion years. During that time CO2 levels have been far higher than today and well over 1000 ppm for millions of years. Mars has 30 times more CO2 than planet Earth yet its greenhouse effect is only about 3 degrees.

    Humans have indeed had a massive impact on the Earth’s ecosystem. They have deforested most of Europe and the Middle East and plundered the natural world. There are massive environmental problems that need to be addressed in the next 80 years. Somehow the world’s population must be stabilised. However Climate change is way down the list of priorities and its impact is IMHO very likely minor. If anything it is probably beneficial for the UK. I recently studied all UK stations in HadCrut4 and could find no change in temperatures whatsoever.

    See this graph here

    regards

    • The oceans are warming – some CO2 emitting life form has turned up the thermostat.

    • nuwurld says:

      You are correct in many respects and indeed water does dominate and control many aspects of our environment. It is, and we are water based ( along with carbon from CO2), water is the strangest molecule on the planet and does moderate and respond in a very stable way in all respects. Well, all except one. Ice.
      Ice is the oddball. The white solid that floats in it’s own liquid state. The negative aspect of water, the great decider of Earth’s phase. Glacial or interglacial. Warm times have always been good to mankind. Ice is a different matter.

      • clivebest says:

        Exactly right !
        The entire development of human civilization fits nicely into the current inter-glacial period. Before that humans were nomad hunter gatherers numbering less than 1 million. Ice ages follow a Milankowitz cycle and time is running out after 10,000 years for the current warm period. Slow continuous cooling towards the next glaciation is predicted to begin within the next 1500 – 2000 years. This is the real show stopper.

      • Nick Palmer says:

        I just thought I’d reply to this one to show that I don’t think all of your comments are wrong. You are almost perfectly right in what you say here. Just the teeniest tiniest misleading bit near the end…

        “Warm times have always been good to mankind”

        True. No doubt you are certain that the warming will conveniently stop at a nice optimum temperature. That’s a pretty big gamble – you’d have to be really certain of yours fact and predictions to take that chance, wouldn’t you? How certain are you that potential “hotter times” will also be equally good to mankind in the future? Because, even with the displayed certainty of your rhetoric, you cannot seriously claim that you can completely rule that out. Your knowledge just isn’t that perfect.

        If you are gambling with the only life support system we have, you have to be be absolutely certain. Only if the effects only affect you would it be responsible for you to take that chance. Do you feel lucky, punk? You shouldn’t.

      • nuwurld says:

        Now, if the world WAS getting warmer, that would make sense. In the meantime ice has killed far more than heat in recent times. My knowledge isn’t perfect but I trust it to sort the wheat from the chaff.

      • Another assertion without a citation – ice has killed more than heat? Have you any studies to underpin that claim?

  52. Dan

    Q.2 “Second, tell me what this says about the models used by the IPCC and others which have predicted a rise of 0.2 degrees celsius per decade for the 21st century. I accept that there will always be periods when a rising gradient may be interrupted. But this flat period has now gone on for about the same time as the 1980 – 1996 warming.”

    The models exhibit large variations in the rate of warming from year to year and over a decade, owing to climate variations such as ENSO, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. So in that sense, such a period is not unexpected. It is not uncommon in the simulations for these periods to last up to 15 years, but longer periods are unlikely.

    That answer is an evasion. While it is true that 2.5% of runs in simulations in the A1B scenario show periods of 0 warming, that does not mean we could expect 0.2C/dec or the multi-model mean to be correct if we observe an earth trajectory of 0C/decade over 15 years. Indeed, we would not anticipate such a high probability of observing that trend if the variability of 15 year trends for the earth is typical of the internal variability in a typical model. The difference is highlighted in this graph:

    .

    The trace outlined in red is shows the ±95% spread of trends around the model mean we would expect to arise if the earth shares the internal variability of a typical model from the ensemble. (To estimate this I’ve computed the variance over replicate runs from both the hindcast and forecast for each model and then averaged the variance. ) This is the spread of trend you should be using if someone asked you if the predicted rise of 0.2C/decade is on track. That is the question Rose is asking. I would suggest it’s a question that has important policy implications. It is a question that should not be ignored. (Anyway, there is no point in ignoring it because people will keep asking it.)

    In contrast, the spread of all trends in all runs is shown to the right of one outlined in red. This is the sort of spread you are discussing your response to Rose’s question.

    That spread is larger than the one I outlined because in addition to accounting for the spread in trends due to internal variability for a typical model, in includes the variability due to the difference in mean trends for each model. These differences arise due to the structural differences in models. That is: owing to different parameterizations, some models have higher sensitivity than others. Some have greater (or lesser) time constants for the ocea and so on. The result is the mean trend under identical forcings can differ from model A to model B. This is the spread you use if someone asked you if the earth trend falls inside the dispersion of models. That’s an interesting question for many modelers. Its answer might tell you something about models and possibly help modelers identify what they need to improve.

    But the answer to “is the weather inside the full dispersion of models that disagree with each other”, is not particularly interesting to anyone who wants to know the best estimate of future warming. In contrast, “Is the model mean biased high (or low) is releavant to that question.

    More to the point: since your answer is supposed to be a response to Rose’s question, you should be using the tighter spread: that spread is relevant to his question. The full dispersion of simulation results is not. As such, in Q2, your answer should be more like: If “internal variability” is estimated based on the typical value for models, difference bewteen the model mean and the HadCrut trend fall outside the range consistent with “weather”. However, the difference does fall inside the range consistent with some of the models that show slower warming trends than the average for the ensemble.

    I realize climate science has been conflating these two spreads for a while now. However, it is a simple fact that sqrt(a^2+b^2)>sqrt(a^2). Likewise, the variance of n-month trends for all runs (a+b) in an ensemble of models with structural differences will always be larger than the average variance of n-month trends (a only) for replicate runs over matched periods with an individual model. The latter– smaller value– is the estimate of the spread due to internal variability. And it’s the one that is relevant to Rose’s question– which is often asked (and which people are not going to stop asking.)

  53. Gary Mirada says:

    I have no doubt Lucia will be back to reply in due course but I think you can find all you need and more on her blog, here – http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/rose-v-met-office/

  54. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave you say upthread that the Met Office is passionate about the science. I will give you the benefit of the doubt on that. But that being the case, is it not time for the Met Office to stop promoting an agenda and to report the science dispassionately?

    I come back to your statement ‘eight of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past decade’. Can you explain to me what the scientific merit of this statement is?

    Thanks

    • Dave Britton says:

      The merit is that this is observations and therefore is what we have actually seen, just as is the only small 0.03 deg C of warming we have seen over the past 16 years.

  55. clivebest says:

    Meanwhile I decided to try and update the Met Office’s own comparison of global temperature data to their model predictions. I am referring to a presentation slide called “Global temperatures are evolving as predicted in response to Human influence” showing a comparison between their climate model HadCM2 and Hadcrut3 data. I recalculated these 10 year averages but extended it to include data up to september 2012.

    Click here to see the graph

    The blue points are my values, which are almost identical to the original points up to 1990 (shown in black). The red point was their updated value calculated in 2009. The last two blue points are new averages for periods 1996-2005 and 2006-2012. The dashed curve is a recalibration of their model made in 2000 to better fit the data.

    While the model is still compatible with the data, it looks like another recalibration may yet improve agreement. I suspect that the error bars of both predictions have been combined to form the grey shaded area. The period looked at by Rose cover the last two points and indeed show no net warming. However on this scale we would have to wait another 10 years to finally decide.

    Disclaimer: I defer to the original authors in case I have mis-interpreted their averaging.

  56. omnologos says:

    Can we discuss on this blog the Guardian article on this same topic?

    • Dave Britton says:

      You may if you wish, but it may be more appropriate to discuss the Guardian article on the Guardian site rather than here.

      • omnologos says:

        Since this area is called “In The Media”, it would have been perfectly logical to read what the Met Office thinks of the wild exaggerations posted by the Guardian under the heading “Newspaper’s claim that ‘world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago’ is simply wrong, says Met Office”.

        And at least two of those exaggerations contradict what you’ve been writing here, Dave.

        Perish the thought the Met Office let the Guardian roam free because of institutional alarmism. I rather think the MO doesn’t care about a minor newspaper read by few people, and prefers concentrate on the Daily Mail as more capable of thought leadership (well, more capable than the Guardian, at least).

      • clivebest says:

        The Guardian article is emotional and biased rather than scientific. Interestingly though it actually contains its own self-contradiction – Thus :

        The Skeptical Science temperature trend is … 0.084 ± 0.152°C per decade.

        So now we know the error on the trend !

        So Met Office result should be 0.03 ± 0.15°C per decade.

        It is nonsense to quote error bars to 3 decimal places so lets be generous and round the error bar down to 0.1°C.

        Therefore the only trend that makes statistical sense is

        0.0 ± 0.1 °C per decade.

        So David Rose is quite correct to claim that statistically there has been no warming in global surface temperature data for the last 16 years.

      • The Met Office is responding to faulty reporting by the Daily Mail on Met Office supplied information. The Guardian article is not aimed at the Met Office, it is aimed at the Daily Mail. The Met Office had to respond to their name being misrepresented by the Daily Mail.

        But isn’t the Guardian article simply a reprint of the SkS article, http://skepticalscience.net/misleading-daily-mail-prebunked-nuccitelli-et-al-2012.html? If you object to that, shouldn’t you post on SkS?

  57. omnologos says:

    Thank you David for the Morice et al paper. However I am not after a discussion of uncertainties. I have no reason to believe they haven’t been properly analysed.

    My question is strictly about significant digits. I contend that an uncertainty of ±0.4C means that we cannot tell between 0.19C and 0.11C for example. IOW we should report figures in multiples of 0.8C, as that is the minimal granularity scientifically valid.

    Likewise if the uncertainty is ±0.2C we should report figures in multiples of 0.4C.

    By providing the public with what is not valid, such as ‘0.19C’ the risk is we’re misleading it, as if we could tell between 0.18 and 0.19 for example (as I have just shown, we cannot, at least not scientifically).

    But I might be wrong. Perhaps Dr Morice will be available to answer this point of mine? Or whoever else is familiar with measurement theory.

    • Dave Britton says:

      The Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (http://www.bipm.org/en/publications/guides/gum.html) gives various ways for expressing uncertainties. In general, the quoting of significant figures depends on the degree of uncertainty that needs to be taken into account. As noted, uncertainties don’t necessarily correspond to simple factors, but shoudl provide sufficient significant figures that another party can check the correctness of the calculation.

      • omnologos says:

        Dave – please do not infer what I have not written. I have absolute confidence that all computed values are correct, and that anybody with the time and disposition and ability to verify them would come to the same conclusion.

        Howefer, I specifically referred to the reporting of those figures outside of the circles of experts aware of their actual meaning. I would still like to see an answer to the issue of using the second decimal, thereby implying a resolution to the third decimal, when the resolution is in truth to the second decimal (0.2, 0.4).

        It is one thing to say ‘it warmed 0.33C’ to a person that understands the value is ±0.2 on the one std-dev, that is between 0.13 and 0.53, with the second decimal an interesting but ultimately informationless value. It is another thing to say the same to a person who thinks 0.33 is 0.33. In the latter case, the 3 1/100ths are effectively meaningless, and that’s why they are commonly dropped, and replaced with the most likely range (in this example, 0.1C to 0.5C).

      • clivebest says:

        Following up on the errors issue – you stated earlier that the standard deviation error for the global averaged temperature for 2011 was +-0.05 . I assume that this is the typical error for all global temperature values from 1997 to 2011.

        We now do a least squares fit (y=mx+c) to the 16 annual temperature data points each having a 0.05 error. The result of this fit is a gradient of 0.03/decade. My question to you is what is the error on that gradient? I have just tried a similar fit on Hadcrut3 and I think the error on the gradient is about 0.05/decade. I actually got -0.01/decade

        In other words the MET office response to Rose’s article stating…

        “The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade”

        should really say : is about 0.03(+/- X)°C/decade. If X > 0.03 then the statement could also read ” is about zero”.

      • So, drawing a line from an El Nino to a La Nina is a valid trick? Since when? Nino to Nino – ok. Nina to Nina – ok. Peak to trough – rubbish. You have just failed Engineering.

  58. What exactly do the coloured bands on the graph mean?

    • Dave Britton says:

      The graph shows the global average temperature anomalies for the 50 warmest years in rank order. The horizontal black lines in each coloured bar show the median estimate for each year. The colour of the bars indicates the period (shown in the legend) and the vertical height of the bar shows the 95% confidence range. The inset shows the full record from 1850 to 2011.

      • Barry Woods says:

        There is no legend for the current decade..

        why not show 2011 in black, as the colour makes it blend in 10 2001-2010 band.

        ie not eays to see where most recent data point is..
        A causal look atthe graph would make the reader think everyrisisng trend, with no variability (ie reader assumes by time, not rank)

  59. Could the metoffice please answer directly the following question please, as it seems from previous requests that you have avoided the answer to this crucial point

    Is the warming you have detected since 1997 statistically significant? – a simple yes or no please

    • Dave Britton says:

      Sorry that it took a while to reply but as you will see below I’m afraid that the simple answer is that the answer is not simple…

      When assessing uncertainties in trends fitted to the surface temperature data there are three sources of uncertainty that should be considered:

      The first is measurement uncertainty associated with basic measurement error and uncertain biases in the observations. These are included in the HadCRUT4 ensemble, and when computing linear trends in global temperatures from August 1997 to August 2012 these give a trend of 0.034 ± 0.011 °C per decade (95% confidence interval) for the observed portion of the earth.

      The second uncertainty component to be considered is that arising from limited observational coverage of the globe. If this is to be taken into account then we must understand trends in temperatures in unobserved regions. An assessment of the magnitude of this uncertainty component cannot be made using measurements alone.

      The third component is uncertainty in the linear fit and this is of a very different character. This component is entirely dependent upon the assumed model of the data. Different models will give different answers. One possible, albeit limited, assumption is that changes in global temperature over this period can be described by a linear trend and that departures from this trend are entirely random. Given this assumption, the uncertainty in the fitted trend is 0.021°C/decade at 1 standard error. The bounds on the 95% confidence interval for this trend lie at -0.005°C/decade and 0.074°C/decade. Therefore, although the trend from this statistical model is most likely positive, given the above assumptions we cannot state with confidence that the trend from this statistical model over this period is different from zero at the 95% level of statistical significance.

      There is a fundamental limitation here in the assumptions on which uncertainties in the linear trend are based. The assumption made here that temperature change is linear with departures from a linear change described by white noise is unlikely to be a good assumption in most cases for global temperature changes. A more advanced approach would be to assume some auto-correlated rather than white noise. Other statistical models that explicitly account for major sources of variability such as El Niño (Foster and Rahmstorf, 2011), can detect statistically significant trends over much shorter periods than can more naïve methods. Each of these assumed models of temperature change will give different uncertainty ranges in the trend estimates.

      Detection of significant trends according to a particular statistical model does not necessarily indicate whether or not the observed trend is significantly outside the range expected from the actual internal variability of the real climate system at some significance level.

      So what does this tell us? Firstly, that any departure from zero trend over the observed area of the globe for this period cannot be ascribed to measurement error. Secondly, that the stated uncertainty range does not account for limited observational coverage of the globe. Thirdly, given the available data and an assumed model of linear temperature change with departures from the trend described by white noise, it is not possible to state that the trend from this statistical model over the short period considered here is different from zero at the 95% level of statistical significance, although the most likely sign on the trend is positive.

      Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) Environ. Res. Lett. 6 044022 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/044022

      • clivebest says:

        when computing linear trends in global temperatures from August 1997 to August 2012 these give a trend of 0.034 ± 0.011 °C per decade (95% confidence interval) for the observed portion of the earth.

        Are you really sure about this result ?

        Should it not be 0.034 ± 0.11 °C per decade (95% confidence) ?

      • steverichards1984 says:

        Re: is statistically significant:

        If you need to use stats to prove something you can measure then you are taking the wrong approach.

      • In other words you cannot reject the null hypothesis : temperature stopped to climb during the last 17 years, we are far from the hysterical claims of an ‘Inconvenient Truth’, the IPCC models miserably failed : is it a romneysia crisis striking once again ? Just have a look at this article written by the autoproclaimed real scientists just 4 years ago. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/

      • clivebest says:

        Dave,

        I have read your reply very carefully. In the meantime I also decided to do my own analysis both of HADCRUT4 and HADCRUT3 over the same period. You can see both results plotted here. The results of the linear fits are:

        H4: decadel temperature trend = 0.03 ± 0.02 °C
        H3: decadel temperature trend = -0.02 ± 0.02 °C

        The correlation factors for the fits to the data are both poor R ~ 0.12.

        Both results are statistically insignificant and there is no evidence whatsoever of any warming(or cooling). The MET office reply is simply wrong when it states :

        The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period.’

        Regarding the other two sources of error.
        1) Measurement error. You quote a measurement error of 0.011 on the trend. Is this not the effective measurement error on a perfectly fit linear trend ? In this case you cannot conflate this error with the actual fitted trend value with its implicit 0.02 error.

        2) Coverage errors. This is a systematic error and is something I once looked into in detail. The results are here. One of the main differences between Hadcrut4 and Hadcrut3 is the addition of many new stations in the polar regions where we already know that past warming has been the greatest. This is why Hadcrut4 slows slightly more warming than Hadcrut3. CRUTEM4 added 628 new weather stations, including strangely enough over 50 from tiny Kyrgyzstan. Most of these stations are in far northern latitudes. There are no new stations at all in the Southern Hemisphere, while some others have been dropped see here.

        In conclusion there simply is no statistical evidence in H4 or H3 data that temperatures have changed from August 1997 until August 2012. There is no room at all for any warming (or cooling) trend in the data. The Met Office would be wise to agree. IMHO

      • omnologos says:

        Clive – I’ve given up. The MO is a place where they can measure Pi to the 30th decimal, and causally throw Foster and Rahmstorf in with their Amazing Trendfinder. Perhaps DNA was wrong and it’s not just in restaurants that maths assumes a new form.

      • clivebest says:

        I think the MO may have adopted a strategy of silence.regarding their dubious statistically claim. This can be contrasted with CERN who despite clear propaganda value, refused to confirm the discovery of the Higgs Boson until they were 100% sure of a 5 sigma signal.

      • candmoneill says:

        “There is no room at all for any warming (or cooling) trend in the data.”

        No, the data means there is room for no warming, not that there is no room for warming. Lack of sufficient statistical significance simply means we are not as certain as the required standard, it doesn’t mean we can make statements of certainty like “there is no room at all for any warming”.

      • omnologos says:

        There is no room in the data for any warming or cooling trend that anybody would reasonably find noteworthy, let alone newsworthy.

      • clivebest says:

        @candmoneil

        You are quite right and I should have written :

        “There is no evidence of any warming (or cooling) trend in the data”.

  60. ”We’ve always given our global temperature readings to two decimal places and the figure provided is not intended to show significant warming has occurred. We agree with Mr Rose that there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century.
    Warming trends to two decimal places are given as the most likely, and error bars show the amount of uncertainty – denoting that the warming could be lower or higher within that uncertainty range.”

    Does the above statement mean that should the trend go the other way by a few hundredths of a degree, you would acknowledge that a cooling trend of 0.03 deg C has set in ?

    • Dave Britton says:

      Yes, If the trend was indeed a cooling trend that is what we would say.

    • nickapalmer says:

      Ermm Dave… ManBear Pigg was trying to trap you there. Anyone who calls themselves that is referring to the South Park episode which lampooned Al Gore and called him manbearpig. This poster is clearly a denialist and your too simple answer will no doubt be used in the denialosphere to show that the Met Office are making impossibly precise predictions with large error bars. If you can, it would help if you phrased your replies in such a way that they could not be easily “quote mined” by those who would misrepresent you and your organisation.

  61. Is the global temperature rise you have recorded since 1997 statistically significant?

  62. suffolkboy says:

    I am still concerned about the adjustments by made to land surface temperatures over the last 120 years, especially the resulting way that the cooling trend is being masked. Up till this year, NASA/GISS adjusted the raw temperature data supplied by the weather stations historical logs by subtracting progressively more fractions of a degree the further back in time one goes (to about 1880). This makes temperatures around 1880 look about one degree cooler than was recorded.To put it another way, the adjustment, the same on each release of data, consists of a steady warming of, by way of example[1], 0.77 Kelvin per century. However, at the beginning of the 2012, this adjustment was abruptly doubled to 1.34 K/cy. This completely swamps the raw data[2], and transforms the statistically barely detectable cooling therein into a far more significant warming. In essence, the warming is all in the adjustments to the data, not in the data itself. Similar adjustments are made to the majority of the weather stations in the USA, and to some extent elsewhere in the world, notably Australia and New Zealand. Hardly any of the adjustments are in the direction of cooling, though in some cases[4,5] the adjustments are very bizarre: cooling for a century, followed by a decade of sudden warming, giving an upward flick, rather like a hockey-stick, in the last decade. Such adjustments do not show up very clearly in the temperature record at individual stations, because of the large degree of random variation from one year to the next. However, when the data from thousands of data is merged to form a “global temperature index”, the random variations tend to cancel out (in an inverse square root law), but the adjustments then re-emerge. To put it bluntly, pictures like [6] appear to me to be images of data alteration rather than images of reality.

    The obvious questions are:
    1. what are the reasons for introducing these adjustments? (It can hardly be corrections for change in urban heat island effect due to growth of buildings: such a correction would be *downwards to the right*).
    2. are we confident that these estimates of required adjustments are accurate? (This is important because the adjustments dominate the figures, as explained above.)
    3. are sure that nobody is deliberately altering the figures in this manner to promote some point of view or hidden agenda?

    [1] Adjustment: http://i39.tinypic.com/2ymhso8.gif
    [2] Raw: http://i44.tinypic.com/24xjkmd.gif
    [3] Adjusted: http://i41.tinypic.com/2mceil1.gif
    [4] Dublin adjustments: http://i54.tinypic.com/fxsf39.gif
    [5] Dublin: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=621039690000&data_set=12&num_neighbors=1
    [6] Alleged Global temperature index http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/9/95/20110319155829%21Global_Temperature_Anomaly_1880-2010_%28Fig.A%29.gif

  63. Renee says:

    You guys are superheros to be systematically answering all of the ridiculous claims of Internet amateurs and dabblers and cranks in your comment section with aplomb and grace and hard facts. Bravo.

  64. Gary Mirada says:

    Thanks Renee. We do our best. For you to characterise the Met Office as amateurs dabblers and cranks is a bit harsh but on balance a fair assessment judging by their performance to date. I am however ever hopeful that they will grasp the scientific method if we keep encouraging them.

  65. It’s true many scientists certainly do their job with the greatest honesty but it is also true that the social pressure on those who disagree with the ideological consensus is hard. When Henrik Svensmark and Nir Shaviv tried to defend their ideas they had to endure contempt and mockery, Stephen McIntyre faced the greatest animosity and it was almost impossible for him to get Michael Mann data, Richard Lindzen is regularly accused to lack of objectivity because part of his work was funded by petroleum companies but Michael Mann sues those who dare saying his work is questionable. The climate gate has cast the greatest doubts on the impartiality of the peer review process. There is a political agenda behind the alarmism, it is indubitable Al Gore is not a scientist nor Green Peace a scientific society. From a scientific point of view it is also clear that questions as important as climate sensitivity and cloud impact in GCM are still open. There is a massive ideological unanimity on Global Warming largely backed by the media, Richard Lindzen paper “A Climate of Fear” is striking and it is not exaggerated to say there is a climate McCarthyism; everything is good to make the good triumph on evil, fear intimidation, ostracism, funds cut and now trials.
    So Renée when you talk about amateurs dabblers and cranks you just show you know how to repeat the doxa, your add your little stone to the big disinformation edifice on this topic. If David Rose statement is maybe exaggerated and ambiguous (it can be understood as Global Warming has definitely ceased which would be a very bold affirmation) it is true that 15 years is a significative period and it is impossible to statistically refute his allegation. What is striking, I think, in the Met Office answer, is the graph they use, it has all the attributes of a manipulation, the presentation is uncommon, the scale is chosen to exaggerate the importance of temperatures rising, it hides the statistical irrelevance of the tiny rising which occurred during the period, it’s not science, it is propaganda. Shamelessly after that the authors come and present themselves as pure scientists in seek of the truth, it is not decent. This blog is for the laymen it should be as neutral as possible as an official institution, on the contrary as it is the case for the IPCC they defend an ideological point of view, mocking very good scientists disagreeing with them (by the way the number is not a criterion, all the PCCC and the Soviet Academy of Science agreed on Lysenko theory), they hide uncertainty on decisive subjects and use fear to influence the opinion. Micahel Mann using the overloaded term of ‘denier’ to design his contradictors is disgusting.
    Renée to follow the crowd may give a good feeling, for scientist it’s also a question of funding, it is not science.

    • LIndzen. What I love most of all about those who cite Lindzen as their demi-God is that his own university ignores him as in http://globalchange.mit.edu/. They tolerate him, which most annoy the plastic sceptics who’d rather he were tarred and feathered justifying their paraonoia.

      There is indeed a parallel with Lysenko – but the parallel is against the so-called sceptics. Lysenko did not hold with the scientific consensus. The government of the day felt his “sceptical” view suited them more, so used him. Consider governments beheld to fossil fuels seeking justification for not dealing wtih consensus on climate change. Just wheel out a so-called sceptic.

      As for Climategate, the so-called sceptics lost in nine separate inquiries. Nine. Lost. Same with Cuccinelli in Virginia. Lost. Same with NIWA in New Zealand. Lost. So-called sceptics keep using the law to determine science – and keep losing.

    • nuwurld says:

      Tibor, Very well worded.

  66. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave, Clive Best has posted on his blog here http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=4237 a suggestion that using the same methodology as you use to claim that the linear trend for HadCRUT4 shows a 0.03°C/decade warming trend, when applied to HadCRUT3 shows a cooling trend. His real point though is that neither of these trends is statistically significant. Do you agree?

    Note this is a scientific question that requires a scientific response. Not PR spin. I hope we have agreed that those days are behind us and we are now going to act like a scientific body?

    • Dave Britton says:

      Gary,
      I have already respoded to this question about statistical significance, but it mayhave got lost within the comments so I have repeated it here

      When assessing uncertainties in trends fitted to the surface temperature data there are three sources of uncertainty that should be considered:

      The first is measurement uncertainty associated with basic measurement error and uncertain biases in the observations. These are included in the HadCRUT4 ensemble, and when computing linear trends in global temperatures from August 1997 to August 2012 these give a trend of 0.034 ± 0.011 °C per decade (95% confidence interval) for the observed portion of the earth.

      The second uncertainty component to be considered is that arising from limited observational coverage of the globe. If this is to be taken into account then we must understand trends in temperatures in unobserved regions. An assessment of the magnitude of this uncertainty component cannot be made using measurements alone.

      The third component is uncertainty in the linear fit and this is of a very different character. This component is entirely dependent upon the assumed model of the data. Different models will give different answers. One possible, albeit limited, assumption is that changes in global temperature over this period can be described by a linear trend and that departures from this trend are entirely random. Given this assumption, the uncertainty in the fitted trend is 0.021°C/decade at 1 standard error. The bounds on the 95% confidence interval for this trend lie at -0.005°C/decade and 0.074°C/decade. Therefore, although the trend from this statistical model is most likely positive, given the above assumptions we cannot state with confidence that the trend from this statistical model over this period is different from zero at the 95% level of statistical significance.

      There is a fundamental limitation here in the assumptions on which uncertainties in the linear trend are based. The assumption made here that temperature change is linear with departures from a linear change described by white noise is unlikely to be a good assumption in most cases for global temperature changes. A more advanced approach would be to assume some auto-correlated rather than white noise. Other statistical models that explicitly account for major sources of variability such as El Niño (Foster and Rahmstorf, 2011), can detect statistically significant trends over much shorter periods than can more naïve methods. Each of these assumed models of temperature change will give different uncertainty ranges in the trend estimates.

      Detection of significant trends according to a particular statistical model does not necessarily indicate whether or not the observed trend is significantly outside the range expected from the actual internal variability of the real climate system at some significance level.

      So what does this tell us? Firstly, that any departure from zero trend over the observed area of the globe for this period cannot be ascribed to measurement error. Secondly, that the stated uncertainty range does not account for limited observational coverage of the globe. Thirdly, given the available data and an assumed model of linear temperature change with departures from the trend described by white noise, it is not possible to state that the trend from this statistical model over the short period considered here is different from zero at the 95% level of statistical significance, although the most likely sign on the trend is positive.

      Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) Environ. Res. Lett. 6 044022 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/044022

      • clivebest says:

        Dave wrote :

        Thirdly, given the available data and an assumed model of linear temperature change with departures from the trend described by white noise, it is not possible to state that the trend from this statistical model over the short period considered here is different from zero at the 95% level of statistical significance, although the most likely sign on the trend is positive.

        1. Lets assume that the station coverage error is half the trend change between Hadcrut3 and Hadcrut4 ~ 0.02

        2. Now combine all the three errors described above :
        sigmaT = sqrt(0.01^2 + 0.02^2 + 0.02^2)

        sigmaT = 0.03

        Trend = 0.03 ± 0.03 – This is a null result.

        Sorry to be so harsh but I really do think you and hanging on by your fingertips to the original Met Office statement.

  67. Gary Mirada says:

    Dave thanks very much for your response.

    Tibor seems to have hit the nail pretty firmly on the head. I do hope you guys are taking note. We want science not advocacy. Can I suggest that you keep that thought in mind with every word you write. I note you could not resist throwing in ‘although the most likely sign on the trend is positive’ which looks to me like pure speculation given everything else you say.

    It’s hard when you have been indoctrinated Dave, but I am sure you will get there. Science. Not advocacy.

    Agreed?

  68. John Havery Samuel, you talk about nine inquiries, it would be laughable, if would not be that sad: the Oxburgh committee avoided to go to the heart of the problem, there were no transcript, no notes, nothing, it was astonishing, the aim of this farce was to save the reputation of East Anglia and the CRU if possible. As I told you, you are the establishment and you behave as expected, you elude the questions and pretend to do science because you exhibit some graphs and links.
    What we could expect from such a site would be more openness (BTW the Oxburgh committee recognized at least Phil Jones and his team precisely lacked of openness), more explanations on the weakness of the current models, more explanations on why it is hard to understand such a complex system. For instance, I asked you several times what you think about archeology, why melting glaciers give rise to human remnants dating from the Romans? You did not answer, why? At least it could be interesting to show that on the contrary to what Mann’s Hockey Stick seems to imply warmest period did occur in Europe not so long ago.
    On the other hands we all know that cherry picking samples can completely change pictures, and we all know McIntyre showed that Mann’s methodology is very fragile on this aspect, we all know Mann refused to give access to all his samples. You can get McIntyre scripts on his site everything is open and testable on his side. That’s why I told you from the very beginning the Hockey Stick is at least questionable, without openness there is no science, the Royal Society was created to help scientists sharing their findings because what precisely go against science are secrets.
    I believe nobody told you here there was no warming the question is to assess the real impact of man made CO2. The expected rise of temperatures can vary from 1.5 to 4.5 according to the IPCC, this assessment is based on various models based on the same assumptions all sharing the same weakness, they are unable to take clouds into account, it’s very big an incertitude.
    Svensmark and Shaviv has been mocked but their findings are very interesting at such a point a very expensive experiment is conducted at the moment at the CERN by Jasper Kirkby on clouds formation.
    There are so many incertitudes in what is happening, what could happen and for what reasons that your arrogant assertions are the seal of the worst sectarian attitude. Just relax and accept the world is complex.
    A final point on this hot topic (yes I could not resist), you won’t prevent emerging countries to use fossil fuel, the deal is done, we are facing an irreversible process which will end when fossil fuel will become too expensive and men forced to seek new sources of energy, what is the more shocking in all this matter is the hate of mankind behind these apocalyptic predictions: you will be punished for your sins!
    I trust mankind and the way it adapts, I trust science and technology, not ideology and political commissars.
    Good night and good luck.

    • Are you referring to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7580294.stm? If so that would appear to confirm man is forcing global warming. If it’s not what you are referring to then produce a citation.

      • For instance but there are many more as the book of Leroy Ladurie I mentioned earlier. Can you explain your rational ? These remnants show temperatures in the Alpes were at least as mild as today at this time. You’ll find also papers about medieval remnants found under the glacier “La mer de glace” near Chamonix.
        Mann would have be inspired to take these clues into account before producing his graph (it is true is aim was maybe not science), even Briffa admits they made errors http://hol.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/10/26/0959683612460791.abstract

    • candmoneill says:

      “accept the world is complex”

      I just love how this is corrupted into meaning that we can assume the most benign outcome for our uncertainty about nature.

      • One thing is true, we cannot check hypothesis as we do in physics, you can check gravitation law, you can’t check prediction on climate. To overcome this limitation we use models and computers, the problem is that they bear in their design the prejudices of their designers, and therefore the only feedback they really show is a positive feedback on the initial prejudice: this is not science. And I think it is worth to stress on the fact these models do not take into account cloudiness which is just an fitting variable.
        This is what it could be read in a Nature editorial:
        “At a workshop last week in Oxford, UK, convened by the Attribution of Climate-related Events group — a loose coalition of scientists from both sides of the Atlantic — some speakers questioned whether event attribution was possible at all. It currently rests on a comparison of the probability of an observed weather event in the real world with that of the ‘same’ event in a hypothetical world without global warming. One critic argued that, given the insufficient observational data and the coarse and mathematically far-from-perfect climate models used to generate attribution claims, they are unjustifiably speculative, basically unverifiable and better not made at all. And even if event attribution were reliable, another speaker added, the notion that it is useful for any section of society is unproven.

        Both critics have a point, but their pessimistic conclusion — that climate attribution is a non-starter — is too harsh. It is true that many climate models are currently not fit for that purpose, but they can be improved. Evaluation of how often a climate model produces a good representation of the type of event in question, and whether it does so for the right reasons, must become integral to any attribution exercise. And when communicating their results, scientists must be open about shortcomings in the models used.”
        http://www.nature.com/news/extreme-weather-1.11428

  69. Roy Everett says:

    The graphs you linked to are merely rough calculations based on an incorrect model fed with tampered data in order to ensure continued funding. They are unconnected to reality, despite the site name. To continue to wilfully call the resulting output “data” after Jones and many others pointed out the errors would be to collude in the AGW fraud and to risk imprisonment. BTW, it hasn’t “warmed” in fifteen years in the real world.

  70. Want to stop climate change? Either become a god or boycott this and other climate change fear mongering.

  71. joenitwit says:

    Global warming? I’m a big fan, I hate the cold.

    More Global Warming!

    Dinosaurs had it best. Nice and toasty warm. Global Warming also releases CO2 from the oceans which makes the plants grow better meaning more food for all of us.

    MORE CO2!

    We are just now coming out of a mini-Ice-age in the Northern Hemisphere, thank goodness. Most global warming comes at the poles, not at the equator. This moves the tropic zones further north making northern (and southern) lands more habitable and livable and more productive for food production, another plus to global warming. Global warming can solve the global food shortage crisis!

    The oceans might rise a little but it will happen over decades so we probably will hardly notice. Average costal decay is one foot per year which will deprive us of much more land than ocean rise. Not much there to worry about.

    Harsh weather has to do with differential atmospheric temperatures. If we warm the poles, the difference in temperature between poles and equator will decrease making harsh weather decrease. Another great benefit of global warming.

    Global Warming – man’s best friend. Bring it on!

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