Thursday, January 10, 2013
The crazy climate change obsession that's made Britain's Met Office a menace
Below is a "Daily Mail" article, which will be read by millions
Was there ever a government quango quite so useless as the Met Office? From its infamous ‘barbecue summer’ washout of 2009 to the snowbound winter it failed to predict in 2010 and the recent forecast-defying floods, our £200 million-a-year official weather forecaster has become a national joke.
But of all its recent embarrassments, none come close to matching the Met Office’s latest one.
Without fanfare — apparently in the desperate hope no one would notice — it has finally conceded what other scientists have known for ages: there is no evidence that ‘global warming’ is happening.
The Met Office quietly readjusted its temperature projections on its website on Christmas Eve. Until then, it had been confidently predicting temperature rises of at least 0.2 degrees per decade, with a succession of years exceeding even the record-breaking high of 1998.
Its latest chart, however, confirmed in a press release earlier this week, tells a very different story: no more global warming is expected till at least 2017.
According to Dr David Whitehouse of the independent think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climbdown couldn’t be more dramatic or more devastating for the Met Office’s credibility.
‘They’re panicking. All the predictions they’ve been making about man-made global warming these past 20 years have started to come crashing about their ears.’
For two decades the Met Office has acted as Britain’s foremost cheerleader for climate change alarmism. In 2007, its Hadley Centre for climate change research produced a briefing document for the Government claiming its state-of-the-art computer models left no doubt: man-made global warming was a very real threat which needed to be addressed urgently by policy-makers.
‘The Met Office Hadley Centre has the highest concentration of outstanding people who do outstanding work, spanning the breadth of modelling, attribution, and date analysis, of anywhere in the world,’ claimed an expert from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) in the document.
Many in the Government were impressed for, a year later, the 2008 Climate Change Act was passed by an overwhelming majority.
The act has been described by veteran journalist Christopher Booker as the most expensive legislation in history, committing the government to as much as £734 billion (£18.3 billion a year for the next 40 years) in extra spending to ‘decarbonise’ the economy. It is also one of the reasons why our countryside is being ruined by ugly, noisy wind turbines.
But what if carbon dioxide isn’t the culprit for global temperature changes? What if all the expensive, economy-ravaging, job-killing, environmentally destructive measures we’ve taken have been a spectacular waste of money?
If so, the Met Office will be attacked for being not just risibly incompetent — but an active menace both to the integrity of science and to the nation’s wellbeing.
Hence its defiant attempts to argue that nothing has changed and it’s business as usual.
‘The fact the new model predicts less warming, globally, for the coming five years does not necessarily tell us anything about long-term predictions of climate change for the coming century,’ it claimed yesterday. In other words: ‘Never mind that global warming stopped in 1997. It will come back with a vengeance one day. We’re just not quite so sure when.’
This latest embarrassment comes just days after the Met Office was lambasted for yet another misleading claim, about the recent flooding. It said this is part of a growing national trend towards ‘extreme’ weather — as also heavily promoted by the BBC’s Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin, and by scaremongering documentaries such as Channel 4’s Is Our Weather Getting Worse?
According to the Met, Britain is apparently experiencing more rain by volume and intensity. ‘We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK extreme rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing, but this analysis suggests we are seeing a shift in our rainfall behaviour,’ said the Met Office’s top scientist, Professor Julia Slingo.
‘There’s evidence to say we are getting slightly more rain in total, but more importantly it may be falling in more intense bursts — which can increase the risk of flooding.’
But these claims appeared to be at best a dangerous fudge, at worst a complete nonsense. As is clear from the Met Office’s own data — the England and Wales precipitation records dating back to 1766 — there has been nothing particularly abnormal about the recent rain.
Not only were there two years, 1872 and 1768, wetter than the supposed record-breaking year of 2012; but also, the Met Office appeared to have overlooked two very dry years (2003 and 2011) to prove its narrative that the past ten years have been the ‘wettest decade ever’.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation’s Dr David Whitehouse believes the very notion of ‘extreme’ weather is an unscientific nonsense. ‘If you were to pick any period in history, you would soon find an example of an unusual weather event — maybe a heatwave in Russia or fires in Australia.
‘Somewhere in the world, a weather record is being broken almost every day. This is normal. What’s not normal is when people try to impose on it some kind of invented trend.’
This is what happened just yesterday, when the scorching Australian heatwave that has caused bushfires was linked in both The Guardian and The Independent to global warming.
The Met Office has subscribed to this sort of stance since at least 1990, when it became politicised under its then director John Houghton — the fanatical believer in the great global warming religion, who was also responsible for setting up the IPCC.
Under Houghton’s stewardship, it became an article of faith that not only was man-made global warming real and dangerous, but that it was the primary job of the Met Office to spread the alarmist gospel.
Dr Whitehouse notes that this is a sad betrayal of the Met Office’s traditional role: ‘When it comes to four or five-day weather forecasting, the Met Office is the best in the world,’ he says. ‘The tragedy is that, for the most part, the Met Office thinks weather forecasting is beneath it. Climate change is more glamorous — and brings in more money.’
And the Met Office’s obsession with climate change has wreaked havoc with its medium to long-term forecasting. That infamous ‘barbecue summer’ and its inability to foresee last November’s floods were the result of the same major flaw in its system: its computer models are all programmed on the assumption that as global CO2 levels increase, so will global warming.
This means they’re continually predicting warmer weather, in contradiction of all the real world evidence.
For two decades, the Met Office has abused its position of trust, authority and taxpayer-funded privilege to promote green ideology at the expense of scientific integrity.
Never mind the mere £200 million we pay a year to fund the Met Office’s dodgy, Mystic Meg prognostications: the real bill for its incompetence runs into the billions.
Met Office Says No Warming Before 2017: How Did The Media Do?
The fact that the UK Met Office had changed its near-term global warming forecast quietly on Christmas Eve was noticed by some Met Office watchers, especially the ever-interesting Tallbloke’s Talkshop website which reported it on January 5th. This piece started a flurry of blog comments. We at the GWPF republished the story the same day on our website.
The next day we internally discussed the Met Offices’ revised forecast. The GWPF published my analysis of the considerable implications of the Met Office revision on the 7th January. The analysis was distributed via CCNet at 11:51 am, including hundreds of journalists.
One and a half hours later, at 1.23pm, Roger Harrabin – the BBC’s Environment Analyst - tweeted that the Met Office had confirmed to him that it had cut its warming projection for the period up to 2017 by 20%. It was retweeted 12 times. This was clearly an important story. But the BBC decided not to cover it at all that day. However, the following morning the BBC reported it.
The first mention I heard was on the 5.30 am BBC Radio 4 news which I though dealt with the story in a clear way – that the Met Office had revised its global temperature predictions downwards and that some sceptics were saying that it shows previous estimates were exaggerated. At 6.00 am the story was repeated but with the significant error saying that the Met Office expected temperatures ‘in Britain’ not to rise by 2017.
Then, at 7.00am Roger Harrabin took up the story. In my opinion he did not do too well. The details of the statistics were presented very poorly. Harrabin also said that natural factors such as the Sun and oceans are an explanation. What he didn’t put over was that the Met Office can’t explain the standstill and are working hard to do so, but they believe that the Sun and the oceans could be a factor.
The story, important enough to be in the news bulletins, was not a part of the Today programme. This is possibly because the news bulletins, although broadcast during the Today programme, are not prepared by the Today team but by the Bulletins Desk. Personally I would have liked to hear John Humphrys get stuck into this story.
The late Brian Redhead used to call the Today Programme “a word in the nation’s ear,” and so it proved. A short time later Tom Chivers, science writer at the Telegraph, tweeted, “Did anyone catch what they were saying about the climate on R4 Today this morning? People on desk discussing it, want to catch up.” Andrew Neil then tweeted, “Other than #bbcr4today amazing lack of coverage in UK media re Met Office new temperature predictions.”
Whilst the newspapers planned their coverage the broadcast versions of the story faded for a while. Neither the BBC TV 1’ o’clock News nor the Radio 4 World at One covered the story.
It is good practice to have a report on the BBC News website about a story dealt with on BBC TV and Radio. The news website can go into more detail, give links etc and is especially valuable for those who may have missed part of, or misunderstood, the broadcast. Remarkably nothing appeared on the BBC Website for hours.
David Shukman’s eventual post was called “Climate model forecast is revised.”
In the second paragraph he claimed the Met Office had said the average temperature was likely to rise by 0.43 deg C by 2017 – as opposed to an earlier forecast that suggested a warming of 0.54 deg C. His misunderstanding gave the false impression as if the global temperature was going to rise by half a degree by 2017. Of course the Met Office never made such a claim. In any case, such numbers are meaningless when not placed in the context of recent years and a graph would have been nice/essential. When discussing the predictions of the new Met Office climate model that had given the new predictions, HadGEM2, he mistakes prediction period and baseline period.
Nevertheless, it was good to see that the important and obvious conclusion from the revised prediction was mentioned, “If the forecast is accurate, the result would be that the global average temperature would have remained relatively static for about two decades.” However, the term relatively static is a poor substitute for unchanging.
But then it says, “An apparent standstill in global temperatures is used by critics of efforts to tackle climate change as evidence that the threat has been exaggerated.”
In reality, it is not an ‘apparent standstill’ but a real warming standstill that has now lasted for 16 years and may last for 20 years if the Met Office is correct. In addition, and this is a vital point, the standstill is of interest to those interested in the science of climate change whether they advocate mitigation or adaption strategies.
The report continues: A Met Office spokesman said “this definitely doesn’t mean any cooling – there’s still a long-term trend of warming compared to the 50s, 60s or 70s.”
This should have been questioned as it is the heart of the story. The recent warming, the mankind-dominated climatically period started in 1980 (according to the IPCC) so what happened in the 50s, when climate was under purely natural control, is irrelevant.
The Met Office were also allowed to say; “Our forecast is still for temperatures that will be close to the record levels of the past few years.”
Again the BBC report failed to make clear that this claim, i.e. temperatures will be close to recent years, is simply another way of saying ‘No further warming trend in the coming years’.
Shukman also failed to mention that the forecasts made by the Met Office a few years ago have been proven wrong. All we get is an unnamed Met Office spokesman and nobody else. In the interests of balance and given that the story broke on sceptic websites and via the GWPF, a critic should have been quoted and the BBC should have insisted on a named spokesperson from the Met Office.
NASA U-turn Admits Global Warming Bias on Sun’s Key Role
In one of the biggest body blows to climate alarmism comes an astonishing new u-turn from NASA. In essence, the prestigious American space agency has admitted it has been shackled for decades into toeing a political line over man-made global warming so as to play down key solar factors.
The astonishing NASA announcement comes in the wake of a compelling new study just published titled, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate.” One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, overturned mainstream climate science thinking by declaring even slight changes in solar output have a considerable impact on climate. Kopp conceded, "Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth's core) combined."
The full report by Dr. Tony Phillips is available from the National Academies Press. The news story reveals NASA’s upper management was barred from stopping climate activist, James Hansen, head of NASA’s research on climate, from promoting a political agenda. The NASA climate retreat signals that a paradigm shift is now in full swing and the discredited claims of man-made global warming alarmists are being tossed aside at the highest levels of government.
Popular skeptic climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball was overjoyed at the news, ”Finally, NASA seem to have broken free of the “settled science” that the IPCC imposed. Climate science was effectively frozen for thirty years and NASA are now getting back to where they were in the 1970s. The last valuable contribution they made was Herman and Goldberg’s, “Sun, Weather and Climate”, in 1978.”
Of great satisfaction to Dr. Ball was the opening third paragraph that conceded:
“Understanding the sun-climate connection requires a breadth of expertise in fields such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry and fluid dynamics, energetic particle physics, and even terrestrial history. No single researcher has the full range of knowledge required to solve the problem. To make progress, the NRC had to assemble dozens of experts from many fields at a single workshop.”
For years Dr. Ball has championed the view that climatology is a generalist discipline that requires specialist feedback from numerous and otherwise disparate fields of science, something a secretive and controversial clique of researchers refused to accept. As chairman of Principia Scientific International (PSI) Ball has been instrumental in helping to build a team of almost 200 experts from relevant fields specifically to address facts that the climate science community was either ill-equipped or unwilling to examine.
Privately, Ball has been kept in the know from influential quarters. He reveals, “The information about higher ups came to me directly from a very reliable and knowledgeable management source when I was at the Heartland Conference in Washington. We had a long discussion after I signed a copy of the 'Slayers' book for the person.“
Now widely accepted as a key player in these 'climate wars' Dr. Ball has defended high-profile libel suits filed by two big hitters from the UN's global warming cadre, Dr. Michael Mann and Dr. Andrew Weaver. Ball recalls, “It was an article about this scientific block by IPCC that triggered the first of my current lawsuits.” (article link).
Ball believes this latest NASA publication marks the breaking of the control Hansen had over climate research at the U.S. space agency. “The comments of Hansen’s boss indicate the degree of political power Hansen had as a bureaucrat,” adds Ball. As he has written before, Ball has shown that the evidence is stacking up proving that Hansen was "out of control" and what he has been doing publicly and politically probably should have been censured, even prosecuted under the Hatch Act.
Ball notes, “I understand that upper management were advised by much higher authority not to touch Hansen. When you look at the manipulations used by Senator Wirth for his appearance before Al Gore’s committee it is not surprising.” This is a reference to Wirth's own admission that theatricality was used to unduly influence a key U.S. committee investigating global warming in the 1980's.
To Ball this article may be a small break through scientifically, but its political implications are profound. “Put this with the revisions at the UK Met Office, and it marks an even greater shift." The question now is: can the mainstream media be far behind? They will all want to be on the winning side, especially if it affects funding and credibility.
Ironically, Ball believes some of the scientists will have more trouble adjusting. This will particularly apply to those scientists who also hold the political view of those who hijacked climate science for a political agenda. PSI’s most senior fellow adds:
“I think NASA and others who let themselves be bullied must be held accountable. I remember in Winnipeg three Environment Canada employees telling me after a presentation that they agreed with me but would lose their jobs if they spoke out. I used to have sympathy for this position – not any more. It is precisely this type of coercion that must be countered at all levels. Why is there need for a whistleblower law in a supposedly open and democratic society.”
2012 Didn’t Crack The Top Ten For Record Maxima
NOAA has inflated the 2012 record maximum number by adding new stations which didn’t exist during the hot years of the 1930s. That is a completely illegitimate approach, suitable only for government workers.
An apples to apples comparison uses only the same stations. When that is done, 2012 doesn’t even crack the ten hottest years.
Record cooling proves warming -- to climate Jesuits
Bangladesh has recorded its lowest temperatures in nearly 60 years, an unexpected result of global warming, scientists said.
In the capital of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country the temperature dropped to 37.7 degrees F Wednesday, the lowest temperature in the last 57 years, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
That surpassed the previous lowest minimum temperature of 39 degrees, recorded in 1955 when the country was a part of Pakistan, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said.
The severe cold wave sweeping through normally tropical Bangladesh brought normal life and businesses to a near standstill, officials said.
The cold weather may continue for two to three days, meteorologist Shah Alam said.
Experts are blaming the cold temperatures on more intense cold fronts resulting from global warming melting polar ice.
About That Overpopulation Problem
Population projections are a classic example of how brainless straight-line projections of biological changes are. No prophecy is perfect but predicting a cycle of rising and falling and rising and falling (etc.) is generally the best we can do. So the birth dearth in the West will lead to a population decline there followed by a rise again. So the "extinction" prophecy below is also brainless
According to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.
And then it will fall.
This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gessellschaft, or “shrinking society.”
American media have largely ignored the issue of population decline for the simple reason that it hasn’t happened here yet. Unlike Europe, the United States has long been the beneficiary of robust immigration. This has helped us not only by directly bolstering the number of people calling the United States home but also by propping up the birthrate, since immigrant women tend to produce far more children than the native-born do.
But both those advantages look to diminish in years to come. A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.
Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.
Why is this happening? Scientists who study population dynamics point to a phenomenon called “demographic transition.”
“For hundreds of thousands of years,” explains Warren Sanderson, a professor of economics at Stony Brook University, “in order for humanity to survive things like epidemics and wars and famine, birthrates had to be very high.” Eventually, thanks to technology, death rates started to fall in Europe and in North America, and the population size soared. In time, though, birthrates fell as well, and the population leveled out. The same pattern has repeated in countries around the world. Demographic transition, Sanderson says, “is a shift between two very different long-run states: from high death rates and high birthrates to low death rates and low birthrates.” Not only is the pattern well-documented, it’s well under way: Already, more than half the world’s population is reproducing at below the replacement rate.
If the Germany of today is the rest of the world tomorrow, then the future is going to look a lot different than we thought. Instead of skyrocketing toward uncountable Malthusian multitudes, researchers at Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis foresee the global population maxing out at 9 billion some time around 2070. On the bright side, the long-dreaded resource shortage may turn out not to be a problem at all. On the not-so-bright side, the demographic shift toward more retirees and fewer workers could throw the rest of the world into the kind of interminable economic stagnation that Japan is experiencing right now.
And in the long term—on the order of centuries—we could be looking at the literal extinction of humanity.
That might sound like an outrageous claim, but it comes down to simple math. According to a 2008 IIASA report, if the world stabilizes at a total fertility rate of 1.5—where Europe is today—then by 2200 the global population will fall to half of what it is today. By 2300, it’ll barely scratch 1 billion. (The authors of the report tell me that in the years since the initial publication, some details have changed—Europe’s population is falling faster than was previously anticipated, while Africa’s birthrate is declining more slowly—but the overall outlook is the same.) Extend the trend line, and within a few dozen generations you’re talking about a global population small enough to fit in a nursing home.
It’s far from certain that any of this will come to pass. IIASA’s numbers are based on probabilistic projections, meaning that demographers try to identify the key factors affecting population growth and then try to assess the likelihood that each will occur. The several layers of guesswork magnify potential errors. “We simply don’t know for sure what will be the population size at a certain time in the future,” demographer Wolfgang Lutz told IIASA conference-goers earlier this year. “There are huge uncertainties involved.” Still, it’s worth discussing, because focusing too single-mindedly on the problem of overpopulation could have disastrous consequences—see China’s one-child policy.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here
Posted by JR at 6:33 PM