Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Met Office winter forecast lie is finally nailed

And heads must roll

With compliments to Katabasis whose FOI request has been dealt with more quickly than mine… The information in the FOI response he has received today and written up in a detailed blog post goes into much more detail than Bishop Hill’s release from the Quarmby audit team.

A look at the information makes clear there is nowhere left for the Met Office to hide. The Met Office has been caught ‘cold’ lying about its winter forecast in a disgraceful attempt to salvage its reputation. Its claim that it forecast the cold start to the winter lays in tatters thanks to an exchange of emails between the department and the Cabinet Office.

As a result the Met Office is completely discredited. Also utterly discredited is the BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin, who on the Met Office’s behalf used a column in the Radio Times (later carried in the Telegraph and the Daily Mail) to state that:
In October the forecaster privately warned the Government - with whom it has a contract - that Britain was likely to face an extremely cold winter. It kept the prediction secret, however, after facing severe criticism over the accuracy of its long-term forecasts.

Harrabin went on to say in his piece that:
Why didn't the Met Office tell us that Greenland was about to swap weather with Godalming? The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren't let in on the secret. "The reason? The Met Office no longer publishes its seasonal forecasts because of the ridicule it suffered for predicting a barbecue summer in 2009 - the summer that campers floated around in their tents.

The email exchange in the screenshot below proves this is a lie. The Cabinet Office civil servant (bottom message) confirms the weather outlook supplied by the Met Office earlier that day is what the government will use in its ‘Forward Look’. The Met Office employee (top message) agrees with it.

The all important sentence is the first. ‘The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter’. The Met Office knew this was the case when it sent Harrabin scurrying off to spin its lie that the Met Office did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October‘. The briefing to the Cabinet Office contains no such warning – and vindicates the parliamentary answer given by Francis Maude when questioned about the forecast the government received from the Met Office.

What is worse is that the Met Office knew this, yet with its claim tried to place responsibility for the lack of prepareness for an extremely cold start to the winter on government inaction. Harrabin added to this by saying he had put in a FOI to the government (referenced in this post) to discover what they were told, the insinuation being it was the government that had something to hide. This is very dangerous ground that leans towards the possibility of the Met Office and a BBC reporter engaging in a joint effort to undermine the government’s credibility.

This leads us to ask a serious question that must be answered: How is it possible that Roger Harrabin could claim the Met Office line he was retailing was the ‘truth’ with such certainty?

  • If Harrabin had seen the evidence and still spun his line then he has knowingly lied to the public

  • If he spun his line without seeing the evidence then he is utterly incompetent and the public can have no faith in the stories he broadcasts and publishes on the BBC

Either way Roger Harrabin’s position is now untenable and in addition to resigning he must make a full public apology. As for the Met Office, the buck stops with the Chief Executive, John Hirst, who has looked on as this false narrative was constructed and insinuations were made to deflect criticism from his department, yet did nothing to correct it.

We now have the truth. It is what many people have suspected since the story materialised. It’s now time for those who engineered the deception and those who allowed it to happen to pay the price for their actions. Over to the executive board of the Met Office and the trustees of the BBC.


Temperatures of the Past Six Millennia in Alaska

Discussing: Clegg, B.F., Clarke, G.H., Chipman, M.L., Chou, M., Walker, I.R., Tinner, W. and Hu, F.S. 2010. Six millennia of summer temperature variation based on midge analysis of lake sediments from Alaska. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 3308-3316.

What was done

The authors conducted a high-resolution analysis of midge assemblages found in the sediments of Moose Lake (61°22.45'N, 143°35.93'W) in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve of south-central Alaska (USA), based on data obtained from cores removed from the lake bottom in the summer of AD 2000 and a midge-to-temperature transfer function that yielded mean July temperatures (TJuly) for the past six thousand years.

What was learned

The results of the study are portrayed in the accompanying figure, where it can be seen, in the words of Clegg et al., that "a piecewise linear regression analysis identifies a significant change point at ca 4000 years before present (cal BP)," with "a decreasing trend after this point." And from 2500 cal BP to the present, there is a clear multi-centennial oscillation about the declining trend line, with its peaks and valleys defining the temporal locations of the Roman Warm Period, the Dark Ages Cold Period, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age -- during which the coldest temperatures of the entire interglacial or Holocene were reached -- and, finally, the start of the Current Warm Period, which is still not expressed to any significant degree compared to the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods.

Mean July near-surface temperature (°C) vs. years before present (cal BP) for south-central Alaska (USA). Adapted from Clegg et al. (2010).

What it means

In discussing their results, the seven scientists write that "comparisons of the TJuly record from Moose Lake with other Alaskan temperature records suggest that the regional coherency observed in instrumental temperature records (e.g., Wiles et al., 1998; Gedalof and Smith, 2001; Wilson et al., 2007) extends broadly to at least 2000 cal BP," while noting that (1) climatic events such as the LIA and the MWP occurred "largely synchronously" between their TJuly record from Moose Lake and a ╬┤18O-based temperature record from Farewell Lake on the northwestern foothills of the Alaska Range, and that (2) "local temperature minima likely associated with First Millennium AD Cooling (centered at 1400 cal BP; Wiles et al., 2008) are evident at both Farewell and Hallet lakes (McKay et al., 2008)."

In closing, it is instructive to note that even with the help of the supposedly unprecedented anthropogenic-induced increase in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration that occurred over the course of the 20th century, the Current Warm Period has not achieved anywhere near the warmth of the MWP or RWP, which suggests to us that the climatic impact of the 20th-century increase in the air's CO2 content has been negligible, for the warming that defined the earth's recovery from the global chill of the LIA -- which should have been helped by the concurrent increase in the air's CO2 content -- appears no different from the non-CO2-induced warming that brought the planet out of the Dark Ages Cold Period and into the Medieval Warm Period.


Prof. Claes Johnson throws down the gauntlet

For next week's Big Greenhouse Gas Debate on Judith Curry's blog

Questions to Lord Monckton, Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Fred Singer (and John Costella)

I pose the following questions to Lord Monckton and Roy Spencer motivated by their criticism of the book Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory:

* Do you consider the Kiehl-Trenberth energy budget to be essentially correct?

* Do you consider backradiation from cold to warm to be a real physical phenomenon?

* Have you read and understood my derivation of Planck's radiation law without statistics?

* Do you consider the derivation to be essentially correct?
Have you read and understood Planck's derivation of his law based on statistics?

* Which derivation do you consider to best represent physics?

* Do you think it is necessary to understand the derivation of a physical law to properly understand the meaning of the law?

* Is it correct to speak of a greenhouse effect from a whole range of a causes, but then connect the effect to one (small) cause?

* Is it correct to speak about a greenhouse effect from CO2 which may very well be zero?

* Is it correct to speak about a no-feedback climate sensitivity of +1 C from doubled CO2 obtained by a direct application of Stefan-Boltzmann's radiation law without any consideration of thermodynamics, as a basic value with physical significance? Isn't it a formality like a definition twisted into a physical fact?

* Do you think an IR-meter can give information of radiative flux by effectively measuring temperature? If so, how is the translation from temperature to radiation performed by the instrument?


Yet Another Warmist Group Says Communist Dictatorship “Looks Very Attractive”

What is with the warmist’s love affair with communist dictatorships? Yet another group of committed climate change worriers has come out to declare their abiding admiration for Chinese-style dictatorship.

The Islington and Hackney Carbon Reduction Action Group (how annoying do they sound?) have posted a notice to say that they are no longer trading carbon with each other, due to the fact that there are now only four people willing to trade carbon with each other, and no one wants to do the maths:
"Back in 2006, I thought that personal carbon allowances would be a great leveller in more ways that just in terms of carbon emissions and perhaps that would be a good thing. But now I think that even moderate greens living in our energy intensive, consumer driven western economies would be perfectly happy to buy up carbon credits from another person without feeling much guilt or being too concerned about the morality of it . . .

Looking at the global stage, back in 2006 I would never have believed that so little would be achieved at the international climate conferences over the following 4 years. But until politicians in the West, accept that the largest per capita emitters have to make the largest emissions reductions, and they can find a way of getting the electorate to still vote for them, progress is going to be slow. The Chinese system of command and control government seems very attractive from afar."

As The Register points out, the group managed to reduce their carbon emissions to 3.36 tons per person per year by “heroic” efforts, but their Co2 emissions were still way above the supposedly “sustainable” emissions levels of 0.5 tons.

Sadly for the Islington and Hackney Carbon Reduction Action Group, and warmists everywhere, the sort of WWII sacrifices that Greens are calling for are just not going to happen in a democracy, which perhaps explains the evident longing for the Chinese Communist “command and control” style of Government where they can just tell people what to do (for their own good, of course).


More Greenie misanthropy

To Warmists, Genghis Khan was a good guy

A study touting Genghis Khan's environmental record is being cheered by the team which produced Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Genghis Khan's great accomplishment for the green cause? Killing off 40 million humans so their un-tilled fields would be overtaken by forests.

While some may find genocide morally repugnant, environmentalists had a different concern: Would reforestation be enough to overcome the greenhouse gases released by all those decaying bodies? Julia Pongratz, who headed the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology research project from the Institution's Stanford University campus offices, provides the answer in a January 20 news release:
We found that during the short events such as the Black Death and the Ming Dynasty collapse, the forest re-growth wasn't enough to overcome the emissions from decaying material in the soil. But during the longer-lasting ones like the Mongol invasion ... there was enough time for the forests to re-grow and absorb significant amounts of carbon.

In other words, the problem with the bubonic plague was that is just didn't stick around long enough. The CO2 emissions from all those putrefying corpses were just too much for the regrowing forests to overcome. But Genghis Khan and his successors cleared out their empire for centuries. Once the initial wave of putrefaction ran its course, net CO2 uptake began in earnest.

The Carnegie Institution's conclusion is seconded by the Gore team. An article posted on "Take Part, Inspiration to Action" is titled "War, Huh-Yeah, What Is It Good For? The Climate, Apparently." Its author cheers:
According to a new study, however, war is indeed good for something -- the environment. ...

The study appears to reaffirm cold-blooded Malthusian common sense: there will be more of something (trees) when there are less of the parasites (people) cutting that something down.

So, can we safely assume that to save the planet we just need to wipe each other out in a series of protracted wars? Even that, according to Pongratz's study, may not be enough to overcome the negative effects of deforestation-induced climate change.

Which "we" would be "safe" if the rest were "wiping each other out"? Apparently the Gore team believes that the smug, "enlightened, conscious, and progressive" elite would be above it all.

"Take Part, Inspiration to Action" is part of the corporation which produced An Inconvenient Truth. According to its website, "TakePart is a website, for one, and also a Social Action Network that includes individuals, NGOs, online communities and brands who share a common interest in making the world a better place. We are a division of Participant Media, which has produced culture-shifting films such as An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, and Waiting for Superman."

Gore's team and the Carnegie Institution are not alone. Leading environmentalists around the world are cheering -- and showing that they fully comprehend the study's misanthropic conclusions. cheers "How Genghis Khan cooled the planet" and takes the time to point out that modern environmentalists must destroy agriculture, not just industry:
"It's a common misconception that the human impact on climate began with the large-scale burning of coal and oil in the industrial era," says Pongratz, lead author of the study in a press release. "Actually, humans started to influence the environment thousands of years ago by changing the vegetation cover of the Earth‘s landscapes when we cleared forests for agriculture."

The answer to how this happened can be told in one word: reforestation. When the Mongol hordes invaded Asia, the Middle East, and Europe they left behind a massive body count, depopulating many regions. With less people, large swathes of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Mother Nature Network asks, "Was Genghis Khan history's greenest conqueror?"
... the Mongol invasion cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

So how did Genghis Khan, one of history's cruelest conquerors, earn such a glowing environmental report card? The reality may be a bit difficult for today's environmentalists to stomach, but Khan did it the same way he built his empire - with a high body count.

Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world's total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests.

In Science Daily, putrefaction headlines the story "War, Plague No Match for Deforestation in Driving CO2 Buildup." The article explains: "Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today's annual demand for gasoline. The Black Death, on the other hand, came and went too quickly for it to cause much of a blip in the global carbon budget."

Similarly, environmentalists could conclude that the Nazi Holocaust just didn't last long enough. After twelve years of Nazi rule, Germany was defeated, and humans began to grow in number again. For seventy years, communist Gulags kept populations down on a more "sustainable" basis -- but alas, they too are gone. Now it is up to environmentalists, who have for years dominated the culture and legal system of democratic countries, to prove that they can surpass these earlier efforts and -- as Khan did -- achieve much more long-lasting results.

Pongratz explains: "Based on the knowledge we have gained from the past, we are now in a position to make land-use decisions that will diminish our impact on climate and the carbon cycle. We cannot ignore the knowledge we have gained."

According to its website, "The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future."

After nine years, they have finally discovered the foundation of "sustainability."


What is green job?

What is a green job? That question has a special relevance here in the early part of 2011 now that Team Obama has altered its environmental strategy.

When he campaigned in 2008, President Obama said he would create 5 million new green collar jobs. Even if you do not accept the premise of man-made global warming, it is necessary for the U.S. to transition away from traditional energy sources and embrace new, clean energy technology that create new employment opportunities, Obama declared in his first State of the Union address.

“I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change, Obama said. “But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”

On Tuesday, Obama continued his environmental pitch by asking Congress to mandate 80 percent of U.S. electricity come from ‘clean energy’ by 2035. Even with the the demise of “cap and trade” on Capitol Hill, it is now evident the administration remains irrevocably committed to interventionist polices that will ultimately translate into higher costs. The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has issued a report that shows electricity prices are almost 40 percent higher in states that have renewable mandates. Americans who live in the more industrialized areas have good cause to be concerned about policies that could unsettle cheap energy sources.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of various free market groups the public quite rightly came to identify “cap and trade” with “energy rationing” and “higher taxes.” But the repackaged environmental scheme Obama discussed in his second SOTU address is just as menacing to the free market. Benign sounding phrases like “green jobs” belie hard economic realities that deserve greater scrutiny.

Generally speaking, green jobs intersect with the same renewable energy sources that Obama Administration officials favor as a substitute for fossil fuels. But there is no clear definition.

Ben Lieberman, an analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has identified some key complications. “Some jobs are only occasionally green,” he has noted. “For example, workers who produce steel or cement are counted as having green jobs to the extent their products go into making wind turbines — but not when they go into coal-fired power plants.” Moreover, he points out, the definition becomes highly malleable once politics figures into the equation.

“In truth, the definition of a green job is highly subjective and can depend every bit as much on fads and fashions and political correctness as on any objective criteria,” Lieberman has observed. “Of course, now that federal money is involved, various special interests are vying to characterize themselves as green.”

However they are defined, there is no escaping the economic fallout from government policies that prop up green jobs, which would not otherwise be sustainable in the free market.

“To a large extent, the green jobs agenda represents the Europeanization and the Californiazation of the American Economy,” Lieberman has noted. That is bad news for job growth.”

Obama has cited Spain as model for the clean energy economy of the future. But here again, facts and economic realities intrude. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain, has produced a study that shows green jobs are mostly temporary, heavily subsidized and subtract away from economic performance.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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