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Unforced variations: Feb 2014

Filed under: — group @ 4 February 2014

A little late starting this month’s open thread – must be the weather…

435 Responses to “Unforced variations: Feb 2014”

  1. 201
    Walter says:

    #195 Richard quotes:
    Professor Collins told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’

    From the 1990 IPCC Report

    (Yes 1990, if I make errors in my comments/jargon, please correct them)

    Equilibrium Climate Change – and its Implications for the Future

    Page 154

    “A reduction in mid-latitude synoptic variability might be expected as a
    result of the reduction in the equator-to-pole temperature gradient (polar vortex system) at low levels”

    “There was a general reduction (in difference/gradient) in the standard deviation in mid-latitudes in winter though the patterns of change differed considerably”

    “One study (Bates and Meehl 1986)
    reports a reduction in blocking (defined as areas of high
    pressure anomaly which persist for more than seven days)
    in the southern hemisphere, and changes in the positions
    but not the intensity of blocking in the Northern
    Hemisphere though no information was provided on the
    statistical significance of the results.

    “In the live models considered these was a general
    reduction in the standard deviation of inter-annual variations
    in monthly mean SLP (se-level pressure). However the patterns
    varied considerably from model to model so no other meanings
    or conclusions could be drawn.”
    [end quote]


    Walter says:

    Imagine what they know now about climate variability caused by a warming world? Well thankfully somebody kept FUNDING climate science work and so not long after the climate scientists worked out the there IS a “Polar Vortex” BLOCKING in the northern hemisphere as well.

    Published Scientific Papers have confirmed this, and prescient physical observations now physically confirm the major effect of this significant change in the global climate. See west USA, east USA and the UK right now.

    Warnings have been given already last year (and before)

    Climate, Ice, and Weather Whiplash
    Jun 3, 2013
    New video couples interviews with two experts — Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters

    The Polar Vortex shifts due to major warming in the arctic polar region has been established climate science for over a decade now. The extreme weather caused by “blocking”. This blocking is caused by the massive shift in the usual Jet Stream processes connected with the POlar Vortex.

    And it is THAT which is currently occurring, and THAT has been directly ATTRIBUTABLE to climate change, and was predicted and forecast as INCREASING in intensity and frequency as temperatures slowly rose across the globe for over a decade now.

    But in regards the antarctic it was in the IPCC FAR Report in 1990 – 23 years ago now. Who knew? Not Richard. Not Politicians for whom it was written.

    But of course, despite 25+ years to top shelf “high end” climate research, no, this is still not enough for Richard and so many others who have refused to listen to the scientists for decades and continue to not look at scientific evidence nor the conclusions.


  2. 202
    Walter says:

    Richard et al,

    All measures able to be followed from this 1990 IPCC report (uncertainties aside and SLR) all measures have been tracking at or above BAU forecasts at that time.

    eg CO2 wasn’t expected to hit 400 ppm until ~2020+

    However, in all the explanatory texts the IPCC report has proven true and correct in it’s overall ‘thesis’ or rather Message given then. They did articulate the future expectations of what ‘should’ occur under AGW theory and known facts.

    In fact they are very spot on how this report was presented, and they clearly laid out the high level of uncertainties and the need for much new detailed climate science research. I doubt one denier could find one error in it bar the SLR estimate.

    In 2014 everything is now running at or above BAU with zero (effective CO2e) mitigation occurring. That’s where we are 25 years later.

    25 years worse off from the entrenched irrational inaction of our Global Politicians.

    So, thanks for nothing!

    1990 IPCC FAR

  3. 203
    Walter says:

    Richard et al,

    Matt Collins?

    One snow flake doesn’t make a snow storm!

    A thousand climate denial scientists and blog sites, a million even, will not ever change reality. Reality is Real. Nothing else. Best deal with it and not frenetic fantasies and wishful thinking.

    Beliefs, Ignorance, not even Consensus, has anything to do with it.

  4. 204

    Richard, I am glad you feel better that somebody of stature made AGW a trivial matter about these storms. But you should reason what he said:

    “by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual. – ”

    Stuck in winter? This is more of a summer thing, when the temperature difference between Pole and equator is something like 30 degrees C less. IT is not a very cold winter in the UK hey?

    And can someone elaborate about the often used explanation of the Jet stream usually being North of the UK in winter? My understanding of this is that the Polar Jet stream traditionally migrates Southwards during the cold season. Is there something particularly strange about its present tendency to hit the UK?

    – NAO being positive does just that jets –

    and it has been positive :

    The interface between cold Arctic air and warmer temperate air masses is where you find the Polar jet stream. But a cyclone at about the stream can be usually South of the Cyclone in the NE Atlantic. Many warmer than Polar air Atlantic Cyclones, by this description, mean that the jet has to be at lower latitudes.

    So the problem is most likely something to do with a greater number of particularly Strong Cyclones, which appears to be the same thing which has been warming the high Arctic all winter.

  5. 205
    SteveF says:

    r.e. Matt Collins, he writes on Twitter:

    “I said that the models don’t tell us much about how the jet stream is affected by climate change. I don’t disagree with Julia”

  6. 206
    barry says:

    Richard @ 195,

    Likely the Daily Mail asked Prof Collins if the current jet stream anomaly was a result of climate change (“no”), and then pretended that Dame Julia Slingo had said the opposite in order to concoct a controversy. From the quotes available it appears she said an increase in heavy precipitation events and persistent storm tracks further south is consistent with global warming projections – not that global warming would cause the jet stream to “get stuck.”

    See if you can find her proposing as much in this news article, which includes her quote that the Mail cited.

    The Mail elided Slingo’s more nuanced quotes, obscuring the difference between her comments and Collins.

    It seems you are skeptical about the science but uncritically receptive to the tabloid press.

  7. 207
    Mike McClory says:

    The Daily Fail article is the latest instalment from David Rose. Given his past performances I would not be surprised if it were an ‘accidental’ misquote or a failure to provide the full context of the quote…

  8. 208
    Ray Ladbury says:

    In actuality, there is active investigation going on as to whether the sort of Summer melting we have seen in the Arctic could weaken the Jetstream and lead to just the sorts of Arctic incursions we are seeing. The results to date are tentative but quite interesting.

    The thing you have to understand is that science is not a monolith of bedrock knowledge, but rather a method for finding out about the world around us. There are some facts that you can take to the bank–e.g. that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that greenhouse gasses warm the planet. There are some facts that are pretty well agreed upon–e.g. that doubling the CO2 will raise the planet’s temperature more than 2 degrees–but still being refined and somewhat controversial. Then there is the frontier–by far the most interesting aspects of the science, but aspects we are just starting to grasp. For the most part, the effects of climate change are in this realm. What we know, however, is not reassuring.

  9. 209
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Chris Snow: “The sceptic side had to jet in two of its witnesses from the US and Canada.” – See more at:

    Great, perhaps exporting idiots can become a major growth industry on this side of the pond.

  10. 210

    #195–It’s not that dramatic, actually–at least not from the scientific perspective. The matter is currently being researched and, yes, debated. Some (notably Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers) feel that sea ice extent is driving these changes. Dr. Francis and others have shown apparent association of the two in a few papers, such as Francis and Vavrus, 2012:

    Two effects are identified that each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds, and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

    Others (notably the energy budget guru, Dr. Kevin Trenberth) feel that this is unlikely, arguing that there is not, so far, a specific identified physical mechanism by which this could work, and that it seems implausible on energetic grounds.

    The matter is considered here:

    (Haven’t had time to go through the video myself, yet–full disclosure!)

    So, Dr. Collins is correct: the link is hypothesis, not ‘knowledge.’ The Daily Mail, as usual is incorrect: what Dr. Collins said, as you quoted it, is that there is “no evidence” of the link. But as we know, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (And Dr. Francis and others would likely contest the ‘no evidence’ assertion.) But of course the Mail won’t be careful in thinking such things through, and of course, they will take the most ‘anti-AGW’ tack they possibly can, subject to their own (low) standards of avoiding utter absurdity.

    The other point that should be made here is that while this weather may or may not be caused by AGW, it is nevertheless related to AGW, in that there is work showing that England (and other parts of Northwestern Europe) could well see much more of this under a “business as usual” scenario. One paper, cited by Mark Lynas in his 2008 book, Six Degrees, found a 37% increased in ‘western gales, with increased flooding and coastal erosion.’ The quote, by the way, is not Lynas’s; it’s a paraphrase of my summary of the section “Blighty Gets A Battering,” from the “Four Degree World,” found here:

    (If anyone cares to read the ‘parent piece’–a summary of the whole book–there’s a link to it in the “Four Degree World” summary article linked above.)

    And that brings up a germane point: the projection cited was relative to a much larger rise in global mean surface temp (GMST) than we have so far seen–that’s why it’s in the chapter “The Four Degree World.” In that sense, the observations could be a a preview, or foretaste, rather than something that will turn out to be ‘the new norm.’

  11. 211
    Marco says:

    Richard, note what Matt Collins himself had to say:
    (hope this works)

    “I said that the models don’t tell us much about how the jet stream is affected by climate change. I don’t disagree with Julia”

  12. 212
    Radge Havers says:

    Hmmm. Bill Nye, Meet the Press “debate” summary of sorts from NBC:

    Unfortunately I missed the first part of it, but saw Blackburn make unchallenged (because of Gregory’s handling) assertions about the benefits of Carbon.

    I’m going to go punch a wall now. Before I go, Simon @ 199, you’ve been hanging around here long enough to know that your petty objections have been discussed from a variety of angles. If you’re too lazy (bored? lonely?) to put some effort into your comments, expect flip responses.

  13. 213
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Richard, a timely piece.

    Maybe you want to look elsewhere than the Daily Fail for your science news.

  14. 214
    simon abingdon says:

    #210 kevin mckinney “as we know[!], absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”

    On the contrary, the scientific enterprise is based absolutely on such an assumption:

    absence of (any) evidence (that the null hypothesis is false) is indeed evidence of (the) absence (of any null hypothesis falsification)

  15. 215
    richard says:

    [edit – can you try and submit comments that are not laced with ad hom name calling? You have a valid POV but that is not the way to get any engagement here. Of course, I am assuming that is what you want. – gavin]

  16. 216
    richard says:

    lol gavin. ok lets try again


    from your link

    “Francis says it is premature to blame humans for these changes.

    “Our data to look at this effect is very short and so it is hard to get very clear signal,” she said.

    “But as we have more data I do think we will start to see the influence of climate change,” she said.”

    just another person saying there is no evidence and linkage? why is that better than the daily mail?

  17. 217
    richard says:

    201 walter

    if we start cherry picking from ippcc reports especially not the recent one i think we be here all night. anyone can play that game too eg glaciers. As we all know co2 rise has not resulted in expected temp rise. ok some people go looking in the oceans to find the ‘missing heat’. Until we find the heat the current interpretation of the link is suspect? what if like weapons of mass destruction in iraq there isn’t any heat?


    the co2 linkage is not something we can take to the bank. where is the missing heat? All the predictions based on it like the 50m refugees by 2010 haven’t happened. Imperial statements is not the same as comparing prediction and actual. Until people can explain the difference what confidence can there be?

    why did collins feel the need to come out with a public statement about there being no evidence for cause? because people were making one.

    [Response: He was just interviewed and was asked specifically about changes in the jet stream and this was misconstrued to imply that MO statement about intense precip was wrong. Error was by Daily Mail, not Collins or MO. Joint statement from both to appear tomorrow. – gavin]

    Ok some say lack of evidence is no reason not to believe something and to say we will find the evidence given time? but that’s a dark road isn’t it and well within daily mail land?

  18. 218
    Brian Blagden says:

    Ray @ 213 & Kevin @ 210
    Two papers from last year that suggest that position and strength of jet stream is not unprecedented:

    Royal Meteorological Society

    “Long records of the latitude and speed of the North Atlantic eddy-driven jet stream since 1871 are presented from the newly available Twentieth Century Reanalysis. These jet variations underlie the variability associated with patterns such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and have considerable societal impact through variations in the prevailing westerly winds. While the NAO combines variations in the latitude and speed of the jet, these two characteristics are shown to have quite different seasonal cycles and interannual variability, suggesting that they may have different dynamical influences.

    In general, the features exhibited in shorter records are shown to be robust, for example the strong skewness of the NAO distribution. Related to this is a clear multimodality of the jet latitude distribution, which suggests the existence of preferred positions of the jet. Decadal variations in jet latitude are shown to correspond to changes in the occurrence of these preferred positions. However, it is the speed rather than the latitude of the jet that exhibits the strongest decadal variability, and in most seasons this is clearly distinct from a white-noise representation of the seasonal means. When viewed in this longer term context, the variations of recent decades do not appear unusual and recent values of jet latitude and speed are not unprecedented in the historical record.”

    Geophysical Research Letter

    “Previous studies have suggested that Arctic amplification has caused planetary-scale waves to elongate meridionally and slow down, resulting in more frequent blocking patterns and extreme weather. Here trends in the meridional extent of atmospheric waves over North America and the North Atlantic are investigated in three reanalyses, and it is demonstrated that previously reported positive trends are likely an artifact of the methodology. No significant decrease in planetary-scale wave phase speeds are found except in October-November-December, but this trend is sensitive to the analysis parameters. Moreover, the frequency of blocking occurrence exhibits no significant increase in any season in any of the three reanalyses, further supporting the lack of trends in wave speed and meridional extent. This work highlights that observed trends in midlatitude weather patterns are complex and likely not simply understood in terms of Arctic amplification alone”

    To be fair I’ve not read the papers – just the abstracts. However, I don’t think it is possible at this time to claim with any certainty that the position of the jet, the presence of blocking highs and thereby the cold in North America and the floods in the UK are as a result of emissions of GHG’s.

  19. 219
    prokaryotes says:

    Why are there no journalist investigating the science properly? What went wrong?! ps. Thanks Walter #201, very interesting that the IPCC back in 1990 elaborated already on the jet stream blocking characteristics.

  20. 220
    prokaryotes says:

    If you want to laugh or cry, here is a news item from the Spiegel on the recent UK floods: Translated Ger->Eng (In a nutshell, it reads like UK just had a few stormy rainy days)

  21. 221
    Hank Roberts says:

    Simon A., the statistic tells you how likely it is that you can tell something about what’s real by using the information at hand.
    The statistic doesn’t tell you what’s real.

  22. 222
    richard says:

    gavin -so he denys he said this bit? ” ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’” i’ll wait to see what they do say.

    [Response: No. He said that, and as far as I can tell no-one disputes this. It is the Mail who things that this is contradictory with increases in precipitation intensity and they appear to be unique in this belief. – gavin]

  23. 223
    Chris Snow says:

    Ray Ladbury @ 209

    Maybe we can arrange a trade. What would you offer for Christopher Monckton?

  24. 224

    #218 Brian

    “However, I don’t think it is possible at this time to claim with any certainty that the position of the jet, the presence of blocking highs and thereby the cold in North America and the floods in the UK are as a result of emissions of GHG’s.”

    I can literally trace on a map the position of the jet stream with a 700 or 500 mb charts, especially by being fully aware that over North Pacific and Atlantic cyclones the jet stream can be to the south of them, all while following the interface between coldest polar and temperate air over the continents. If the planet warms the jet should be to the North of its usual meandering paths. If they haven’t found it so yet, is likely because they don’t do the right sketches!

  25. 225
    Theo Hopkins says:

    DAILY MAIL climate change denial alert! :)

    The UK has been having the wettest Jan/Feb since records started, some going back 250 years, others 100 years. There has been widespread flooding and transport disruption.

    Julia Slingo of the UK Met Office says “all the evidence suggests that climate change has a role to play” in the rain and storms.

    However, the (notorious) Daily Mail, a climate sceptical newspaper, and their jounalist David Rose, have come up with a story that Prof Mat Collins of Exeter University and the Met Office has said “‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge”.

    So CO2 climate change isn’t happening.

    Readers of Real Climate will know that David Rose has “form” when it comes to mis-reporting climate change issues and Mr Rose has from time-to-time be taken to task and corrected on this Real Climate site.

    This is the story:

    “No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office’s most senior experts”

    And here is the link:

    Would anyone like to comment on this or explore the issue further?

  26. 226
    prokaryotes says:

    Water shortages could disrupt Britain’s electricity supply, researchers warn
    Team of academics say climate change could force nuclear and gas-fired power stations to shut down during droughts

  27. 227
    wili says:

    Revkin has a piece on the blocking patterns with good addenda of emails from Francis and Green responding to claims made. Greene refers to a paper by Cohen et al. that features extra snow in Siberia as a crucial link between warmer, more open Arctic and alterations in the jet stream. Has this paper been discussed already here somewhere and I missed it amongst the verbiage?

  28. 228
    richard says:

    Given the reliance on models surely no model can be validated or verified unless it can reproduce past events accurately? I understand current climate models do not pass this test consistently? if so why is anyone even talking about them never mind relying on them to project and predict upon which policy and taxation is based? I’m shocked. Who checks the flow charts before the code is written? Put it another way would anyone use and rely on an unvalidated air traffic control system in real time?

    until it validated its meaningless. Are the flow charts and code open source for anyone to look at?

    the use of unvalidated models explains a lot imo about the debate about divergences and why there is often more heat than light?

    [Response: Mainly because of comments like these. There are plenty of article on climate modeling on this site – explaining what they are, what they are used for, why you can’t get a perfect model and how they are evaluated and how we decide what they are (and are not) useful for. (see here and here). Read those first, and then come back and ask questions that make a little more sense. – gavin]

  29. 229
    Walter says:

    #217 Richard

    “As we all know co2 rise has not resulted in expected temp rise”

    Tell me, by way of a quote from the IPCC or other reputable CS body what this “expected temp rise” was supposed to be, over what time frame are YOU referring to, and exactly what CO2 rise are YOU referring to. I don;t deal with “vacuous” statements. What you said is meaningless. I know of no such evidence. You need to get very specific about the word “expected” and give a hard quote that qualifies your claim ‘we all know’.

    Furthermore, one doesn’t need a scientist to tell them their local climate has changed in there last decade from what it was 50 years ago. It’s self evident.

    The science details the accumulated ’causes’ and tries to quantify those and the effects over time which includes ranges and degrees of confidence.

    My point about the 1990 FAR is that what is in there has unfolded to be true. NO reference is there anywhere in IPCC reports of 50 million refugeees either. That’s typical distraction of one’s inability to remain focused on the topic ands the subject matter.

    Big deal some earlier estimates of glaciers and SLR have turned out not to be as close. Meanwhile the Sea Ice in the arctic is tracking 30 years ahead of schedule.

    There is NO missing Heat. How does ice melt if there is insufficient heat to melt it?


    It’s a big big world Richard. GMSTs are but a small piece of a Pie. Eat the entire 10 course meal before you leave the table.

    Of course you won’t and will carry on regardless. Too clever by half.


  30. 230
    barry says:

    Theo @ 225, meet richard @ 195. Keep reading from there.

    Let me guess. At WUWT or similar someone has posted the Daily Mail story and no one there has been skeptical enough to verify it.

  31. 231
    wili says:

    Here’s an article that speaks to an issue that was hotly debated for a while a couple weeks ago:

    “Do We Have the Courage to Bring the 800-lb Gorilla out of the Corner?”

    “…our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) serves as a self-evident indicator for loss of nature and liquidation of our shrinking resource base.”

  32. 232
    Walter says:

    231, thanks wili. good well balanced rational article. I like this quote “Acknowledging our contribution to the problem isn’t enough — otherwise it’s just rhetoric. We must act and model the behavior we hope for ourselves and others. ”

    By way of example for those who haven’t seen it, here is Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows-Larkin example (i’view at COP19): (links go direct to video time)

    KA “I haven’t flown in 8 years”
    – they both caught the train from Manchester to Warsaw

    Alice Bows-Larkin responds to an Al Gore comment on individual action:

    An out-take of James Hansen from 2009 about civil resistance, moral responsibility, inter-generational injustice, and comment by KA on the scientific community thus far:


  33. 233
    Walter says:


    here please listen to this for a couple of minutes, and then by all means ignore it.

  34. 234
    Walter says:

    wili this is a very good section – travel slow, save money, increase your productivity, and lower GHG emissions all at the same time.

    – about KA’s train trip to China and back

    A slow life is a happier longer more fulfilled life. I love my relatively tiny carbon footprint.


  35. 235
    Walter says:

    #227 wili, that dot earth tete a tete was excellent!

    So often I see this where even the wizards of CS speak at cross purposes to each other.

    In this situation, someone starts a ‘public’ debate over the Polar Vortex, and then this gets mimicked into multiple lines of thought and ensuijg arguments related back to climate change. one being the ‘record temperatures’ and other specifics. two weeks later people are arguing about these varying specifics and have lost site of the original cause of why the subject came up in the first place.

    In this case it is about the unusual “blocking pattern” of the tongue. Not so much about the ‘temperatures or the snow falls’. It’s the blocking which is unusual climatically here …. drought in CA, warm in Alaska, and freezing snow in the central east down to florida. Those details in themselves do not matter in the climate science more ‘extreme weather’ sense. It’s the shift in temp differences due to global warming that is sending the polar vortex on a loop more than “historically normal” would have it.

    It’s that which is a direct result of AGW and climate changes. And anyone saying “well we don’t have enough science yet on these specifics” is throwing up a phurphy and not addressing the genuine links that are there in this winter time nth hemisphere that something is way beyond “normal” . The is self-evident, not have the exact data from the science to hand on every single nuance is irrelevant.

    There is a common sense and observations. Worked for humans for a few 100K years and it is as valid today as back in the caves. The science should ADD to our knowledge with evidence , but ti doesn’t need to replace basic human nature and for people to deny what;’s right in front of their eyes. The flooding wind and waves in the UK is a case in point. That ain’t normal. Flooding is normal, gales are normal but what’s going on there now is NOT a normal UK climatic pattern in winter by a long shot.

    An absence of hard CS data to confirm or deny that is unnecessary. Unstable weather patterns and changes in “normal climatic conditions” is the common sense aspect that should apply here. NO directly proven attribution is necessary, no one should confirm it and no should deny it either.

    The extreme weather is what it is … EXTREME. Every IPCC report has told the world since 1990 that MORE extreme is what one will get. Here it is. LOOK ! Get over it, I say. Another study to “prove it” is unnecessary.

    What’s needed is ACTION to reduce GHG emissions. the rest is a BS distraction whether it is the Daily Mail or scientists arguing in public about who said what first and what did they “really” mean. imho.

    This quote from your link is super, because it is True, and rational!

    “It is time for theory to be reconciled with the observations.”

    Climate change is real. No one needs another paper to prove that. No one needs the weather bureau to tell you when you are in the middle of a hurricane either. Though a it of warning sure does help. The world has had the ‘scientifically valid’ fore-warnings now for 25 years.

    Scientists don’t determine what is, nor why, reality does. They don;t need to be perfect, they don;t need to always have the answers for every dumb-assed question put them either.

    By the same token they also don’t need to say X isn’t happening, isn’t related just because they don’t have the data yet or never thought of looking for it 2 decades ago.


  36. 236
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Climate models underpowered?

    There is a note, Risks from Climate Feedbacks, from the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. It’s about climate feedbacks. Commenting on the (CMIP5?) models it says

    For the models to be useful, climate processes must be well characterised within the models. The underlying physics of physical climate feedbacks are relatively well understood so they are comparatively well represented in models. However, some carbon cycle feedbacks are either poorly represented or omitted from climate models because of uncertainties in their underlying biological and geological processes. Some commentators have suggested that the under-representation or omission of feedbacks in climate models may result in inaccurate projections. This does not alter the fundamental model prediction that increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will cause the climate to warm, but it does increase uncertainty about the magnitude and speed of the warming.

    and concludes

    Compared to existing model estimates, it is likely that climate feedbacks will result in additional carbon in the atmosphere and additional warming. This is because the majority of poorly represented climate feedbacks are likely to be amplifying feedbacks. This additional atmospheric carbon from climate feedbacks could make it more difficult to avoid a greater than 2˚C rise in global temperatures without additional reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The strength of many amplifying feedbacks is likely to increase with warming, which could increase the risk of the climate changing state (Box 3). Some commentators suggest the uncertainties in our knowledge of carbon cycle and physical feedbacks may mean the Earth will warm faster than models currently estimate.

    And (surprise!) the BBC has been showing an interview with Jennifer Francis. It’s also on their website.

  37. 237
    dhogaza says:


    “Are the flow charts…:”

    Modern software engineers don’t use flow charts. I doubt you know as much about software engineering as you pretend to know.

    “and code open source for anyone to look at?”

    NASA GISS Model E is open source. Have at it. You coulda googled it, you know? If that was too much work, I doubt you’ll make much headway with the code.

  38. 238
    Walter says:

    In the public domain, scientist would best start working out when they are being intentionally jerked off. Scientists the MetOffice etc need to start learning real quick that they do NOT give answer to questions put to them by David Rose and his ilk. Black list them. Given them nothing but your website url to share with readers in the newspapers and tv bulletins.

    Only deal with genuine “journalists”. Cut the rest loose, give them nothing. A rose by any other name is still a disingenuous jackass looking for drama and controversy. Put him on permanent “block sender’ on your phone and email.

    There’s a pattern, look up from your modelling work for a moment and recognize the flags of this pattern:

    When there is extreme weather they say there has always been extreme weather.

    When there is drought, well we always had droughts, this is normal and natural.

    When there is no major sudden dramatic increase in temperatures, well this means AGW and climate change isn’t real.

    When there are 50C temps in Australia they say well it was that hot in 1910, no big deal, it happens.

    When the arctic melts they say it’s normal for the climate to change.

    When it snows like hell is freezing over they say that is normal, no climate change there.

    When the largest hurricane ever seen hits NE USA and then Philippines, that’s ok, that’s not climate change, we always had hurricanes, who knows how big they were there in 1423?

    When there is normal ‘weather’ for a season it means there is no climate change.

    When it is abnormal extreme weather the next season it means there is no climate change, it’s normal too. Weather “changes”. The climate is fine.

    Next week they the same talking heads will say hey, the climate has always been changing, nothing to look at here. Move along.

    See the sophistry yet?

    Stop engaging with those who use you and your ‘authority’ to quote you in order to spin even more BS.

    Go hard, take no prisoners. Stop being nice and polite to jackasses in the media. Don’t give them the time of day, is my best suggestion.

    Can’t you all get together, instead of the ~5,000 sites all over the place, and at least start your own Internet Climate News Channel like YoungTurks or something on Youtube?

    Get Bill Gates or someone to fund it even also launch such a beast on Cable/Satellite TV worldwide?

    Like, just cut out the middle man making billions off disinformation, crackpot journalism and rank lies; the “Master Puppeteer”?

    Oh well, doesn’t matter.


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  41. 241
    richard says:

    gavin-i have no problem with models that don’t work but it explains why climate science has a worse rep than 2nd hand car dealers right now. Until there is validation then well its not valid. If IPCC and other reports are based on unvalidated models no wonder its full of junk predictions. Why does saying something is unvalidated make one ‘a denier’ or whatnot? Its thro the iteration process that you can discover the missing equations so its no big deal to say models are beta or whatnot?

    Posting a long list of excuses why a model doesn’t work doesn’t make it valid? Writing reports upon their outcome and claiming its ‘the truth’ isn’t science and seems to be at the root of the hostility the public have? Its natural.

    if people didn’t overclaim i doubt there would be a problem?

    [Response: You insist on asking the wrong question and not understanding why you get the answer you do. Models have been evaluated in many ways and they do show skill at predicting emergent properties. Do try and get over the obsession with ‘validation’ – (Newsflash! All models are wrong – but some are useful). If you don’t want to use information from complex models, then you are stuck with simple ones which are ‘even wronger’. Your choice. – gavin]

  42. 242
    Nigel Williams says:

    John 234 – Aust Govt denial? Don’t give them that much credit. They know plain and simple that renewable energy doesn’t use coal. Coal is money. Money is politics. That’s all its about – greed and corruption.

    ‘In 2011 Mr Warburton co-authored a two part-article in the conservative journal Quadrant called “The Intelligent Voter’s Guide to Global Warming”, which questioned the findings of mainstream science about how much global warming would be caused by man-made emissions.’


    ‘… prompted Mr Abbott to say:…
    “It is one thing to have solar hot water systems and what have you but it’s another thing to expect that we can deliver base load power with renewables. That is why all of these renewable systems need conventional backup.”

    Read more (if you must!):

    Australia has probable resources of 150Gt of coal (plus its oil) out of the lower bound limit of 200Gt before we pass 2 degrees warming. A HUGH proportion of the global climate PROBLEM is heading for a dock in Newcastle as fast as it can.

    Pathetic, but no surprise.

    Tell me Mr Abbott, is it bush fire, drought, hurricane or flood season in Australia at the moment? Well at least the Lucky Country isn’t impacted by climate change. Oh how pleased I am for you! Karma is so satisfying isn’t it!

  43. 243
    simon abingdon says:

    #208 Ray Ladbury “some facts that are pretty well agreed upon–e.g. that doubling the CO2 will raise the planet’s temperature more than 2 degrees–but still being refined and somewhat controversial”

    That’s odd, I seem to remember that about a year ago you’d firmed up on 2.8, saying that climate sensitivity was a “mature field”.

  44. 244
    patrick says:

    Even the Daily Mail Online said: “Prof Collins made clear that he believes it is likely global warming could lead to higher rainfall totals, because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water.”

    Response @217 says, “Joint statement from both to appear tomorrow.” That’s today.

    Collins, yesterday on Twitter: “I said that the models don’t tell us much about how the jet stream is affected by climate change. I don’t disagree with Julia”

    Feb 14 he tweeted: “The issue of the role of climate change on this weather cannot be solved by a debate between two opposing sides. It requires scientific work”

    So, attack dogs who are already attacking Collins for the joint statement, you aren’t really paying attention, and you are already wrong.

  45. 245
    richard says:

    hey guys relax no daily mail this time :)

    Evaluation of Climate Models Wednesday 5 February 2014
    Presenting author:
    Dr Catherine Senior, Met Office and Prof Peter Cox,University of Exeter. this is the pdf

    ……and there is an audio

    but i think DM would print some of it if they knew what was said in

  46. 246
    patrick says:

    Re: the jetstream:,30.36,256,30.36,512

    Paraphrasing comment #1, “Exploring CRUTEM4…”: In stark contrast to how deniers portray the situation, the level of openness and even ease of use regarding global data is impressive.

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  48. 248

    Comment 228 seems curiously unresponsive to (or perhaps unaware of) previous responses to similar questions (not to mention Gavin’s multiple explanations.) To wit:

    richard, I have been presuming that you have been asking questions in good faith, but I’m beginning to rather doubt that that is the case.

    Speaking to my comment only, I cited two good sources explaining in great detail that models are in fact carefully evaluated and, yes, validated, and that moreover they do have a solid record of successful predictions versus real-world observations.

    Yet here you are in #228 blithely asserting that “the use of unvalidated models explains a lot imo…”

    Unresponsive repetition is not a mark of curiosity or good faith. It’s also boring after a while. Yet in its way, it, too, “explains a lot.”

    So, if you wish to be taken seriously, please show some sign of responsiveness. Otherwise, you will soon find that no-one responds to you.

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    #218–Brian, thanks for the links. Chris Colose has also made related points on RC in the past.

    But, to be clear, I wasn’t claiming the one side of this debate or another was correct. It seems to be a matter under active investigation, as your links help document.

  50. 250
    Walter says:

    #195 et al The Mail on Sunday issue and the Media in general.

    Rule #1 of public communication known by all good politicians is – ‘answer the question you wanted to be asked, and tell the public what they need to hear’

    eg. “Mat Collins, a Professor in climate systems at Exeter University, said the storms have been driven by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual.”

    Professor Collins when asked by the The Mail on Sunday “Can the current extreme weather, flooding and snow storms be attributed to global warming and climate change?” [MAY HAVE] said [SOMETHING LIKE] the following: [edits to clarify that following is an imagined statement, not what Collins actually said]

    Well Mr Rose, you have asked me a question about extreme weather events and climate. What we all know for certain Mr Rose, is that all aspects of weather are directly connected to Climate in every way. They are intricately linked together. You cannot have one, without the other.

    What your readers need to understand is that we know that the climate system as a whole is warming, and this is predominantly caused by the accumulation of increasing levels of GHGs in the atmosphere, like CO2. This is incontrovertibly true and frankly, undeniable. Over 100 years of good science proves this beyond any doubt now.

    We also know that the main causes of this increase in GHGs has been the combination of 250 years of ongoing fossil fuel use, plus the destruction of forests globally that used to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As well as other human activities like cement production.

    We know that the level of warming we have now does have a direct effect on the climate system and it is causing long term changes already. These are measurable and clear.

    While it is impossible for science to determine accurately exactly how those changes affect every location in the world, it is a fact that a change in the climate system itself means changes in the weather patterns experienced in different ways across all regions of the earth.

    It is not a question of ‘if this event or that event’ is attributable to climate change. This is the wrong question to be asking. Weather and climate are directly connected in a symbiotic dance across the entire planet. The more the planets atmosphere and oceans warm, the more the weather patterns will change and the more the state of the climate changes too. Exactly when or by how much, here or there, isn’t the question either.

    What we do know from the science however is that a warming world will lead to, and has already led to, far more extreme weather events and other consequences. Events such as those we are seeing right now, but even far worse.

    Your readers also need to know that global warming is not about average global temperatures rising 1, 2 or 3 degrees into the future. It is about large temperature increases on a regional and local level of maximum summer heat waves that are 6, 8, 10 degrees above your previous highs. Sometimes for days on end. People need to think about the implications of this kind of new kind of extremes in weather where they live.

    The question really should be, no matter what the weather is today or tomorrow, what are we going to do now about reducing the amount of GHGs, CO2 from fossil fuels in particular, we are putting into the atmosphere each and every day?

    Because this is the main thing that we can do to hopefully stop the climate system moving into even worse extreme weather events than those you are asking about today.

    Rule #2 – REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT (while ignoring all followup questions)

    Rule #3 – Stay *On Message*