"It is the unhappy fate of the scientist today that he must play the role of Cassandra in the body politic, sending his fellow men to bed with nightmares in the hope to be heard in time."

- Arthur von Hippel, in "The Molecular Designing of Materials" (h/t @upbeatprof)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

UKMO: Hot summers increasing in Europe

"Hot summers are now much more common," said Gareth Jones of the UK's Met Office, speaking at the IUGG meeting in Perugia, Italy. "The current sharp rise in the incidence of hot summers is likely to continue."

Not much more but there is a brief article at environmentalresearchweb.org ;


David Duff said...

And with their usual impeccable timing the Met Office, the longest-running joke in British entertainment, issues this statement as we shiver and shake through the wettest, coolest summer for ages. This from an organisation in which, famously, one of their forecasters went on TV a few years ago and reported that several amateurs had telephoned to warm of gale force winds which he then went on to rubbish. The next morning we all awoke to scenes of devastation across the south of England with 3/4 of London street trees blown down, and the town of Sevenoaks had to be renamed 'No-oaks'!

Please, Michael, once again your Motherland needs help, but this time don't send food parcels, send umbrellas - oh, and a gun, too, so I can shoot that idiot from the Met Office!

Michael Tobis said...

David, you disappoint me. As usual you are wrong, but this time you are rather stupidly wrong; there are at least two very naive fallacies invoked.

1) The predictability of weather is very different from the predictability of climate

2) A single cold summer does not refute an assertion that warm summers are becoming more prevalent.

I would expect you to know these things by now.

The 'no-oaks' story is insufficiently droll to make up for the lack of originality and insight here.

I trust you will do better in future. If you say equally dull and silly things I just won't post them.

David Duff said...

Sorry to be silly and dull - again! - but if you, or rather the Brit Met office, cannot forecast tomorrow's weather why should we have confidence in their predictions for the next ten years?

Michael Tobis said...

If you were really interested in the subject you could find a dozen perfectly cogent explanations by googling "weather" and "climate".

Here is the short version. How do you know that Christmas in ten years will be cooler than midsummer's day in ten years if you don't know whether it will rain next week?

Whatever answer you come up with applies.

David Duff said...

Oh, I'm definitely interested in the subject, Michael, in fact my interest is such that I read the whole of this paper (pdf format):


by two experts in the science of forecasting, and they tell me that the IPCC WG1 paper isn't worth (and here I will use a particularly excellent Americanism) 'a bucket of warm spit'! Or perhaps that should have read 'warming/cooling spit (delete to taste).'

Michael Tobis said...

I already responded to that specious drivel in the comments to another article.

David Duff said...

I find it very odd, Michael, that experts in a field with which you re unfamiliar are treated by you with scepticism and are accused of arguing from authority, and yet, were I to demure even slightly from the experts with whom you agree I would be told not to be silly and dull! The woods 'goose', 'gander' and 'sauce' occur!

To be frank, I have no idea whether or not Armstrong and Green know what they are talking about but their credentials for doing so on the highly specialised subject of forecasting are not to be ignored and certainly amount to more than just opening a blog on the subject. At least they are willing to open their ideas to criticism which is more than certain climate scientists are prepared to do!

I could not resist the chance to quote you rown immortal words back at you:

"Climate physics is more constrained than social dynamics and less constrained than the orbits of the planets. So we can get more than 5 years and less than 50,000.

Beyond that you have to get into detail."

More than 5 but less than 50,000. Hmmmn! Yes, I'd certainly say you need to get into the detail, a place, of course, in which the devil notoriously lurks.

(I have copied this to the other thread and leave it to you or your readers to take it up at either place.)

Michael Tobis said...

You are not playing fair. You have responded to a coherent argument that your first comment was silly by changing the subject.

That said, your change is also silly.

It may or may not be specious to apply the principles of forecastingprinciples to the problems they mention and I make no particular claim to that effect.

It is specious to apply those arguments to climate, where physical as opposed to social or political reasoning applies. The fact that I did not supply detail does not necessarily imply that no such detail exists.

You are quick to claim the latter.

Perhaps the existence of the IPCC reports has excaped your attention. I suggest you read chapter 8 of the latest WGI report and references therein for the details you have missed.

David Duff said...

Well now I'm confused.

"It is specious to apply those arguments to climate, where physical as opposed to social or political reasoning applies."

But you were pointing out that it is easy to forecast the position of Jupiter which is about as physical as it gets!

Come on, Michael, the whole Global Warming business (I use the word advisedly) hinges on their ability to forecast future trends - otherwise why bother listening to them? Their guess would be no better than mine! Now we have two 'experts' (I give you the inverted commas just in case the International Symposium who invited them to speak failed to catch them out as charlatans!) in the forecasting business and they maintain that the IPCC WG1 does *not* comply with the principles of forecasting that they have laid down.

Now, you might say that that is *their* list of principles, not yours, or other people's, but it really won't do to just dismiss their criticism as "specious". Remember, these two are not primarily interested in whether or not the globe is warming, they are only concerned with whether the IPCC WG1 report is credible in forecasting terms. If you, or others, wish to come up with *your* set of forecasting principles, then I will read them with due diligence.

In the meantime, let me remind you that Armstrong has offered Gore a $10,000 bet that global temperatures will remain even during the next 10 years as against his prophecy of soaring rises. I can't afford that much but how about a $10 bet between you and me? By the time you have to pay up, the dollar should have raised itself against the pound so I should make a bit of extra profit!

Michael Tobis said...

David said:

"But you were pointing out that it is easy to forecast the position of Jupiter which is about as physical as it gets!"

and thereby managed to get something right.

David Duff said...

So no bet, then?

Michael Tobis said...

No bet on the terms specified by Armstrong, no, because there is something like a 49.8 % chance that I will not only lose my $10 but also provide you with another specious argument.

Contact James Annan if you are serious. He has been trying to set up a meaningful market for this sort of thing with little success.

If would be willing to bet that any specified ten year period in the next thirty years will be warmer in the global mean than any ten year period in the observational record, for instance. This requires some mutually agreed measure of the global mean, of course, and given the stuff you read we might not be able to find one.