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Magnetic attraction of climate 'scepticism'

Richard Black | 15:36 UK time, Friday, 30 October 2009

There's been interest on this blog and elsewhere about a meeting organised on Wednesday by Piers Corbyn, the independent UK weather forecaster who argues that the sources of modern-day climate change lie in magnetic interactions around the Earth rather than greenhouse gas emissions on it.

Sun clouds and chimneysSo - a genie to your Aladdin, though emphatically not all-powerful - I thought I'd go along.

Held at Imperial College London - Mr Corbyn's alma mater - the meeting featured presentations from Northern Ireland's famously "climate-sceptical" environment minister Sammy Wilson, botanist and ex-BBC TV nature presenter David Bellamy, and a handful of academics - as well as from Mr Corbyn himself.

(The meeting wasn't endorsed or sponsored by Imperial - I'm sure they'd want me to point that out.)

If you're a practising scientist reading this and are wondering "why did he bother?", by the way, read on... I've an assignment for you at the end.

Like other "sceptical" meetings I've attended, it featured a heady melange of science (some of which would be swiftly dismissed in some quarters as pseudo-science) and politics.

"We're going to refute, totally, the CO2 theory of warming," said Mr Corbyn in his introduction.

"Carbon dioxide is innocent of all accusations relating to global warming," said Hans Schreuder, who runs a website called ilovemycarbondioxide.com.

"I am a denier, and proud to be one," declaimed David Bellamy.

There was much more in this vein, including regular demonisations (and one quite amusing piece of mimickry) of Al Gore, complaints that environmentalism is essentially an anti-technology religion, and - frequently - the contention that governments have embraced CO2-mediated warming as a vehicle for raising taxes.

Al GoreIn fact, according to this meeting, the current rise in CO2 has very little to do with the burning of fossil fuels.

Why it's rising participants were not completely sure, although outgassing of the oceans as they warm could be a reason, some suggested - an extension of the notion that in the past, warming has driven CO2 to higher levels, rather than the other way round.

(The mainstream interpretation of past climatic variation is that greenhouse gas release has amplified warming caused by variations in the Earth's orbit - Milankovitch cycles - resulting in interglacial warm periods; CO2 concentration may lag behind temperature rise, but also contributes to it.)

When asked by my colleague Roger Harrabin (there to report for Radio Four's PM programme) how they felt about indications that CO2 emissions are changing the acidity of the world's oceans - with potentially major implications for the marine food web - speakers were uniformly "relaxed".

Ocean acidification is "utter nonsense" said Piers Corbyn.

Hans Schreuder spoke of the "great misconception" that warmer oceans will carry more CO2. (The mainstream interpretation of acidification isn't that oceans are absorbing more CO2 because they're warmer, by the way, but simply because there is more of it in the atmosphere).

The panel said that if we asked the real experts on this - based in Australia - they would say reefs are in a healthy state.

(I've sent e-mails to some eminent Australian coral scientists asking what they make of this, and I'll post their responses if and when they arrive.)

If there's no truth to CO2-based warming and no need to do anything about it, then why, you might ask, isn't that accepted and understood in the spheres of science, politics and public opinion?

David BellamyThe answer given here is that scientists are desperate to maintain the myth - even through "fraud", according to David Bellamy - in order to perpetuate the "global warming industry" in which they work, while politicians (as noted earlier) see it as a tax-raising exercise.

Environmentalism is a "religion", and the media just want scare stories.

Added to all that is the woefully poor scientific literacy of the UK population. (A climate researcher working at Imperial, who had come to the meeting out of curiosity and who was listening aghast, commented quietly: "And this meeting is a prime example of it".)

Some of the accusations are, frankly, easily dismissed.

Finding no net warming since 1998, the story goes, the "warmers" have since had to abandon the phrase "global warming" as a scary thing and have invented the phrase "climate change" instead.

In that case, why is the organisation set up in 1988 called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and not the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming? Why, the following year, did Margaret Thatcher raise the "problem of global climate change" with the UN, rather than the "problem of global warming" - and call for negotiations leading to "a framework convention on climate change"? Why did the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 adopt a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change rather than on Global Warming?

Perhaps someone has been back in a time machine to alter all the documentation.

We've been here before and will doubtless come here again. These issues have been bashed around the world wide web: if you want more - well, surf, fill up, enjoy...

It was a promise of new science from Piers Corbyn that brought me along to the meeting so let's concentrate on that.

In case you haven't come across his work before, Mr Corbyn has developed his own method of weather forecasting based on patterns of solar activity and interactions between the magnetic fields of the Sun and the Earth.

He's not shy about lauding the success of his technique in comparison to methods employed by what you might term "mainstream" forecasters, such as the UK Met Office.

Margaret ThatcherDetractors point out that he has not published scientific papers detailing his methods, meaning that it's impossible for others to verify them; also, that because his company WeatherAction sells these forecasts, he has a commercial interest in promoting his own success and in denigrating competitors.

At the meeting, he explained that the essential ingredients are phenomena that he terms "red strikes" and Swips (solar weather impact periods).

They derive from solar and magnetic phenomena, and are to some degree inherently predictable, he says - some forecasts can be made two years in advance.

He uses historical datasets to make correlations between patterns of strikes and Swips and patterns of weather. His forecasting works by assuming that a certain pattern of strikes and Swips now is likely to produce the same weather pattern as it did in the past.

During the meeting, Mr Corbyn made concrete forecasts relevant to the UK; here they are.

The period from 17-19 November, he says, carries an 85% probability of a storm surge in the North Sea. This will probably lead to snow and blizzards in Scotland and northern England, perhaps a few days later. There are likely to be coastal flood warnings for East Anglia and Holland.

The UK winter, he forecasts, is likely to be cold with some very cold spells. His bete noire, the Met Office, says in an "early indication" that temperatures are likely to be near or above the recent average (3.7C for December), though there is a one in seven chance of a cold one.

So there you are. The forecasts are out; let battle commence.

Mr Corbyn said that this presentation revealed more details of his weather forecasting technique than he has made public before, which is why I've detailed it here - the main interest, for me at least, is the climate stuff.

In his view, climate change ancient and modern can also be laid at the door of solar variability.

He is not the first to make this claim, of course.

Its most prominent champion in recent years has been Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark. He argues that variations in the flux of cosmic rays arriving at Earth - variations caused by the fluctuating solar wind - affect cloud formation, which in turn affects the Earth's temperature.

Several recent scientific papers have poured cold water on the cosmic theory of modern-day climate change; and Piers Corbyn doesn't agree with it either.

One of his arguments is that the cosmic ray mechanism would produce an 11-year cycle of temperature variations, because of the 11-year solar cycle. But when he did a Fourier transform - a mathematical process that draws out frequencies contained in a complex wave - on the often-used HadCRUT dataset of the Earth's temperature, he found that the dominant signal is a warming and cooling with a period of 22 years, not 11.

(This used annual average temperatures; Mr Corbyn tells me he is planning to do the same kind of analysis using records of monthly and daily temperatures.)

Fourier transform of temperature record from Piers Corbyn
A Fourier transform of the temperature dataset shows a strong 22-year cycle, says Piers Corbyn

So what's going on? His explanation is that at the peak of each solar cycle, the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field reverses. So for 11 years it's aligned with the Earth's magnetic field, and for the next 11 it lies in the opposite direction.

This alignment, he believes, largely determines the flux of solar particles into the Earth's atmosphere - and thus the temperature distribution around the planet's surface.

The next ingredient is the Moon. Every 9.3 years, its orbit crosses the elliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial background - a lunar node. Crossing once in an "upwards" direction and once in a "downwards" direction, the complete cycle takes 18.6 years.

Mr Corbyn says that his analysis shows the main peaks in the temperature record occuring shortly after the concurrence of a lunar node and the maximum of an odd-numbered solar cycle.

Graph from Piers Corbyn
Sharp rises are said to occur when solar and lunar components co-incide

His idea of a mechanism for this is a work in progress. But he has calculated that when you combine the two cycles - lunar nodes and the 22-year solar cycle - what comes out is another cycle with a periodicity of about 60 years.

Next, this voyage of discovery takes us to the Pacific Ocean. There you'll find a natural cycle of temperature called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which also appears to have roughly a 60-year periodicity.

Can the PDO affect - or even determine - temperature rises and falls across the Earth?

One "sceptical" US scientist, Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, thinks it can.

He claims that temperature changes seen over the course of the last century - both during warming and cooling phases - are principally determined by the "phase" of the PDO, with a little involvement from greenhouse gases.

(Cautionary note to climate sceptics planning to seize on Dr Spencer's work as unequivocal proof that man-made climate change is a myth: it uses a computer model! Therefore, by all that sceptics stereotypically hold dear, it cannot be correct, because as you all know: you can't trust models.)

So here is Piers Corbyn's hypothesised connection: he thinks the 60-year cycle derived from combining the periods of the lunar nodes and the 22-year solar cycle drives the PDO; and that the PDO drives global temperatures.

In fact, he holds that such mechanisms drive many, perhaps all natural cycles, including the El Nino Southern Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation.

To complete the even longer-term picture, I should add that he has proposed a variant to the traditional Milankovitch cycle picture of Ice Ages; but frankly this blog post is already longer than a Led Zeppelin drum solo and I should attempt some closing thoughts while you're still awake.

You can find a presentation very similar (perhaps identical) to the one he gave at Imperial here [2.5Mb ppt] - the conference site doesn't appear to have presentations posted yet, though organisers suggest it will over the weekend.

Thames Barrier

After the meeting I had a chat with Joanna Haigh, a solar physicist at Imperial who's published papers on potential links from solar cycles to climate change, and who's known Piers Corbyn on and off for years.

Her reaction: publish the science. Get it out in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, put all the physics in, and let other scientists scrutinise and pick over and debate and criticise - this is the way science advances.

Here's a simple reason why. Even if CO2-mediated warming were wrong, only one out of Henrik Svensmark, Roy Spencer and Piers Corbyn could possibly be right, because they all disagree with each other.

Only the development of properly scrutinised and quantified theories, tested (in the real world where possible) and debated through the traditional avenues of science, could tell which one; and the others would have to be prepared to retire gracefully, as scientists ought to when their pet ideas are proven wrong.

Mr Corbyn tells me he has drafted a paper on some of the climate (as opposed to weather) ideas, though it's not yet been submitted to a journal.

He also says that in one sense it doesn't matter what theories he is developing or how well they're developed; CO2 and other greenhouse gases from human activities cannot be the main driver of warming because they cannot explain a number of features, including the apparent levelling-off of temperatures since the turn of the century.

(It's important to note, of course, that mainstream climate science says this is quite easily explained, with La Nina and (according to some accounts) the cooling phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation temporarily blotting out greenhouse warming.)

Did the meeting live up to its billing of "refuting, totally, the CO2 theory of warming"?

Hardly. Because doing that seriously doesn't mean refuting it to my satisfaction, or yours, or that of the audience scattered about the Imperial College lecture theatre on Wednesday; it means convincing the greater community of climate scientists, and that brings us back to... publishing.

What some in the sceptical camp do not appear to appreciate is that published, peer-reviewed science is not only the sole way of establishing and improving theories; it's also, now, the only route to the policymakers they want to influence.

Modern-day ministers and their scientifically-qualified advisers are absolutely not going to listen to half-developed, unpublished theories or complaints about fraud and conspiracies.

As I noted above, many speakers at the meeting labelled mainstream climate science as "politicised". And in one sense it is: whenever a scientist steps away from considering what the data tells you is happening to suggesting what political or social actions sensibly flow from the data, it must be partially politicised.

And why not? I remember at an important HIV/Aids conference back in 2003 interviewing a very feisty French virologist who was gathering signatures from scientists for a petition demanding that governments put more money into providing anti-retroviral drugs for poor countries.

"What is the point of us researching the disease and developing drugs if no-one is going to pay for them to get to the people who need them?" was the basic argument.

James HansenPolitical? You bet.

And for good or bad, that's exactly what politically active climate scientists such as Nasa's Jim Hansen are doing - demanding the action that they think is justified by the science they have developed.

It doesn't automatically negate the worth of the science they do, for virologist or climatologist.

But politics cuts both ways. The timing of this week's meeting is a case in point.

I asked Mr Corbyn whether dropping hints of a new theory of climate change into the mix shortly before the UN summit in Copenhagen was accidental.

He initial answer was that it was "deliberate", before clarifying that the date had first been chosen to mark the first anniversary of the third reading of the UK Climate Change Act; but that when it was pointed out that Copenhagen was just around the corner, he and the other organisers had concluded it was "good timing".

"We are involved in the political debate about climate change," he told me. "The whole regime is suspect and has to be destroyed."

If you really wanted to be cynical, you could argue that enough information on the concept has been released to tantalise the palates of those hungry for a non-CO2 theory, but not nearly enough to allow proper scientific scrutiny.

It does generate a climate projection that is very different from the IPCC's - a "general cooling to 2030 and probably beyond", with temperatures staying below 2002 levels for perhaps a century.

Unlike a weather forecast duel, I don't think policymakers will want to wait until then before deciding whether greenhouse emissions need to be tackled.

Now, doubtless many of you will have views on the science and everything else in this post, and I look forward to reading them.

But the responses I would particularly invite are from working scientists - physicists, climatologists, and those in related fields.

At the beginning of this post, I suggested working scientists might like to read to the end - and here's why.

Piers Corbyn hasn't given you a scientific paper here but I hope I have relayed the main elements, and you can see his presentation for more details.

So please - have a look around. Some of you know about this stuff - orbital precession, solar cycles, Fourier transforms, magnetic dipoles - far, far better than I do. When you have a free moment or two, don't turn to Tetris, but have a play with this box of toys.

The datasets Mr Corbyn used are publically available, as is information on cycles of lunar nodes and such like.

Do the numbers and mechanisms stack up? Is the theory plausible? Compelling? Completely nuts? What do you think?

As of now, does it even qualify as a theory?

I'm certainly not qualified to pronounce judgement - but some of you may be.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with... and so, I'm sure, will everyone anxious to make sure that negotiators in Copenhagen are armed only with the best scientific evidence.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:59pm on 30 Oct 2009, Gates wrote:

    I think the reality is that the time for debating whether climate change and global warming is or is not caused by mad made CO2 emissions has passed. Whether its true or not I think the Scientific and Political community is closed to the idea. But to be fair they need to be to concentrate on actually fixing the problem, instead of wasting their time arguing about it further.

    I think there are 2 key points that are ignored by the skeptics. Firstly, yes the 1998 was the hottest year on record and temperatures have stabilized since then, but they stabilized way above average. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the last 12 years. It's perfectly normal for their to be stabilization periods in long term trends of temperature increase. Secondly is that they heavily defend the use of fossil fuels, despite the fact that they are a finite resource that will run out, so we have to find an alternative anyway. They claim its a scam to raise taxes, but the price of oil is going to go up and up until we make the step to alternative and infinite renewable power. These energies will not be expensive, they will be cheap. The reason oil is expensive is because its finite, the oil companies can control the supply, slowing it if they wish to increase demand and the price. Renewables on the other hand are infinite, therefore the price cannot be regulated by supply and demand. Once we introduce these the value of oil will drop as the demand drops. The longer we wait before switching to green power, them more expensive our lives will be, not the other way around.

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  • 2. At 5:10pm on 30 Oct 2009, JRWoodman wrote:


    An excellent blog, Richard. Thank you. I'll say no more because I want to leave it for the scientists to comment. I hope other non-scientists will take my lead.

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  • 3. At 5:17pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Richard,

    Well done! A reasonable 3000 words I think, and I am glad it is not too 'religious' either way, but I suspect both sides will snipe!

    One of the remarks made on Wednesday that I would like to know more about was about the debunking of the medieval warm period. Is it true that climate changers have or are attempting to massage the data so that it vanishes?

    Another question raised in my mind was the whole notion of causality relationship of CO2 levels and warming. It was suggested that there was little correlation between CO2 levels since the end of WW2 and global temperatures - is this true?

    I am also, as a scientist, concerned by the quality and accuracy of the data and surrogates used. Particularly when data from ice cores is used. Nobody in the whole field on either side of the argument has error estimations in their datasets - why?

    I do think that he and the other presenters raised serious concerns and that these concerned should be scrutinised by the dispassionate scientific community - that is if the subject has not become so politicised that there are no remaining dispassionate observers! I was rather dismayed by the unnecessary agendas than many of the presenters injected into their talks, but I suppose the other side has been fighting hard and dirty for quite some time.

    I want to know for if Piers is right I should decamp to the South of France till I am 75 to enjoy a temperate climate and move to Scotland to enjoy a similar climate thereafter (and of course by then free domiciliary care!) I'll probably do it anyway!

    One last thing that was part of many presenters talks was that the money that will (in their analysis) be 'wasted' on the ineffective reducing C02 should be instead expended on alleviating the most disruptive effect of changes in the weather. Floating houses for the Bangladesh coast as well as New Orleans (as already exist in Holland) come to mind.

    Dr. David Bellamy also made the quite coherent point that CO2 is not a pollutant, but a gas vital to life on the planet.

    I was also impressed by the time that CO2 lasts in the atmosphere arguments Pro Climate Change CO2 is bad = 250 years vs 5 years from the people at the seminar, can both be right and if so how did they conduct their experiments or make their estimates?

    The question of the amount of the planets CO2 was also interesting a figure of 7000 Giga-tonnes was presented for the total, but only 29 Giga-tonnes for all of animal sources (including man) are these figures right? Also the historic amounts - how were they estimated?

    More questions than answers, but questions that the IPCC should answer.

    When I have thought some more about Wednesday I will write some more. In the mean time,as you say it would be nice to flush out some discussion from the scientific community and indeed a paper from Piers. He is brave to choose to publicise his business in this way as by standing out against the orthodoxy of the IPCC and 'big science' he is hardly likely to secure for himself and his company many friends or sales.

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  • 4. At 5:29pm on 30 Oct 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    The science has been socially and politically skewed. First off there is ZERO and I do mead ZERO actual evidence that we're going to warm by the fantastic amounts suggested by most alarmists. If anything they should be dropping their predictions due to the obvious lack of warming but the predictions seem to be climbing. However, even if we assumed the warming rate of the 80s and 90s was going to continue the temperature anomaly still wouldn't reach much more than 2C. At the same time the alarmists warn of "feedbacks" that account for most of the warming but the feedbacks they mention are things that have been happening the whole time. Ocean heat rose during the warming period. Ice at arctic melted the whole time. Oh, news flash...a lack of sea ice wouldn't usher in a new era of HIGHER feedback it would usher in a new era of LOWER feedback, having entirely removed one of the major ones.

    What's sad is that the alarmist camp is utterly oblivious to the idea that every single explanation they can possibly give for a long period of stable (and starting to decline) temperatures takes away from the warming period rate. The PDO, AMO, NAO and solar cycle activity cannot lower temperatures now without having been the source of part of the warming of the past. Faced with an utter failure of the models though these are proposed as an excuse...never once seeming to admit that assuming a natural fluctuation of these systems implies a warming rate of about .5C per century since the last warm period. This is why many skeptics point out (rightfully so) that in the alarmist camp most "warming" is considered to be man's fault while most cooling is considered "natural variation".

    This is a handy turn of events though. You see, instead of running around like a bunch of ignorant chicken littles, suggesting that we should use a bunch of expensive, immature and highly erratic sources of power...we could just adopt a wait and see attitude for a few years. If the solar cycle and change of the PDO do drop temperatures then all of it will have been for little to no good. If it turns out to be a problem we SHOULD get some clear evidence soon in the form of significant warming and MAYBE some of those alternative technologies will have matured.

    In the mean time I would suggest a shift to a thorium based nuclear energy infrastructure (they're safer and more flexible and there's plenty of thorium) with fairly limited increases in wind power, mostly centered around areas with existing hydro plants. I'd also suggest that if anyone is going to push for solar they go with solar-thermal plants with integrated natural gas/oil backups. Solar thermal is the most efficient form of solar. Its a cheaper form of solar. There is zero incentive for people to steal the mirror panels (solar photovoltaic panels are expensive and functional by themselves). Finally, the "thermal" part of the equation means its pretty cheap to integrate the backup power by adding a burner...converting it from an erratic source to a base load source of electricity.

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  • 5. At 5:39pm on 30 Oct 2009, paul atrides wrote:

    I know that like most eco-facists you will ignore any comment which does not say - 'ooh you are wonderful.' But have you ever wondered why 46 per cent of American meteorologists (who are much more qualified to talk about climate than you) do not accept climate change, if it exists is man made? Have you studied their arguments? Could you please also state why if climate change is real, all the predictions made by warmists - (major population displacement by 2010, Maldives vanishing by 2005, snows of Kilimajaro melting 2007) have never come true? The IPCC which is a poltical organisation, states that world temperatures 'plateaued in 2001. Did you just chose to ignore that?

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  • 6. At 5:44pm on 30 Oct 2009, SmithTD wrote:

    There is good reason to be sceptical about the reasons for climate change presented and such reasons take away from a very significant argument made here and often brushed away in the scepticism.

    .. and that is that there is very little evidence that CO2 and climate change are related.

    The emphasis is always placed on the climate sceptics to sceintifically prove that CO2 is not causing global warming. But that is fundamentally unsceintific and requires the sceptic to prove a negative.

    It is time that the emphasis was put onto the none-sceptics to provide real evidence for their models.

    Otherwise once my theory that global warming is caused by invisible unicorns takes hold we are going to be in a very difficult position..

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  • 7. At 5:49pm on 30 Oct 2009, karlkopper wrote:

    The most exhaustive set of figures monitoring world climate is HADCET on the Met Office website. Look at these figures. Perhaps you could try and explain why average temperatures remained virtually constant from 1750 to 1980 when the amount of carbon dioxide increased exponentially during this time. Didn't that carbon dioxide have the same properties the gas has today? Perhaps you could also explain why human emissions of CO2 which make up 0.003 per cent on the atmopshere have apparently had such a very dramatic affect over the last 20 years. Why do we know this, when we have virtually no idea how the sun works?

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  • 8. At 5:59pm on 30 Oct 2009, freddawlanen wrote:

    I am not a scientist, I don't care if man-made CO2 or Mr. Corbyns sun instability theory is correct.

    What I do know for certain though is, the use of fossil fuels create many pollutants, the destruction of rain forests and dumping of chemical waste are damaging the environment and unless something is done soon about all 3 of these things, it will be too late to do anything at all.

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  • 9. At 6:00pm on 30 Oct 2009, Leftie wrote:

    Consequences and risk evaluations all help us understand what precautions we should take nowadays.
    Perhaps human geographers apply their sciences to advise us too? Suppose that global warming could happen and lead to higher sea levels, could geographers predict where the displaced populations would migrate to? If central London is flooded, where would we re-locate the bankers, civil servants and politicians who work there? Would those target locations welcome those invaders as potential neighbours and customers?

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  • 10. At 6:13pm on 30 Oct 2009, harrybristol wrote:

    I am surprise by your paragraph below:

    Like other "sceptical" meetings I've attended, it featured a heady melange of science (some of which would be swiftly dismissed in some quarters as pseudo-science) and politics.'

    I thought the nonsense we hear about climate change - causing beer to cost us £18 a pint for example was the definition of 'junk science.'
    Warmism is absolutely a political movement - how many proponents of AGW complain about inflating the British population or Labour's destruction of the Green Belt?

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  • 11. At 6:40pm on 30 Oct 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @leftilkley (re:displaced by sea level rise)
    Since the expected rates for the 21st certainly aren't any higher than the rates we've had over the late 19th and 20th century combined...honestly, who cares? Cities buildings and homes are generally destroyed and rebuilt within 100 years anyway. The buildings will slowly creep back (old ones demolished, new ones built farther back) or as the structures at the leading edge are replaced they'll also have additional earth moved in from other dig sites and they'll just be higher. It will happen so slowly that few would even notice. If you want some REAL irony, over the previous period of sea level rise, the large coastal cities have actually encroached on the ocean, not the other way around.

    @karlkopper (Re:knowing little about the sun)
    Indeed it is strange that while the sun's output is assumed by alarmists to have little impact on global temperatures it appears that a solar minimum is capable of ramming temperatures down by .2C hard and fast. This means either climate responds far faster than alarmists would have us believe with their "heat in the pipe" excuses...or the sun's fluctuations have a FAR more powerful influence on earth's climate than they suggest. Either way it calls serious question into the assumed sensitivity of earth's climate.

    @John_from_Hendon (Re:lack of warming during the cooling period)
    Yeah, they like to blame it on atmospheric aerosols.

    (Re:residence time of CO2)
    This is kind of useful, kind of not. The background noise of CO2 is the constant equilibrium shift of out gassing and absorption by the ocean. I don't mind granting the climate change group that the CO2 levels themselves are largely increasing because of man. Some of it might be additional out gassing from warming.

    Probably the easiest figure to work with is... half the CO2 we emit seems to stay in the atmosphere. The more we put in the air the faster it seems to be removed. This is why CO2 output has greatly incresed but the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 has not. If we stopped emitting tomorrow the atmospheric CO2 would start dropping. The initial rate of decrease would be almost as fast as the rate its been rising at but it would slowly level off.

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  • 12. At 6:40pm on 30 Oct 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #5:

    "46 per cent of American meteorologists do not accept climate change, if it exists is man made"

    That's an interesting statistic. Do you have a source?

    Presumably those American meteorologists are not members of the American Meteorological Society:

    http://www.ametsoc.org/POLICY/2007climatechange.html

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  • 13. At 6:48pm on 30 Oct 2009, David L wrote:

    @3. John_from_Hendon

    The WWII cold snap gets a million explainations. I found a new one just rechecking for myself, but an often floated idea is that we simply blew that much up during WWII that we released a lot of particulates into the atmosphere, resulting in a global dimming trend. Now, global dimming by SO2 has some very sound science behind it (large volcanos have quite consistant effects on the world climate) - the picture with particulates may be slightly less clear cut, but there are people here who know better than me.

    As a student engineer I wholeheartedly agree with 1. Gates 32.

    Fossil fuels have LOADS of drawbacks that aren't related to climate change. Air pollution is one of the top 10 global killers (though mostly in the developping world due to bad cooking techniques). I read recently an estimate that a European's life expenctancy is reduced 7 months through poor air quality.

    When are we going to grow up and just build some nice, cheap(ish), reliable Nuclear power plants instead of importing more than 50% of our energy in a politically unstable world?

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  • 14. At 7:02pm on 30 Oct 2009, NeilHamp wrote:

    Thank you, Richard. You said you would not ignore the conference and you have been true to your word. The report is somewhat jaundiced but fair.

    I await with interest the outcome of Piers prediction for mid November. Whatever occurs your comments will be of interest.

    We all await with interest the forthcoming winter when the Met.Office tells us "temperatures are likely to be near or above the recent average."

    Let's not foget that last year the Met.Office told us: -

    "For the UK as a whole, winter-mean temperatures are more likely to be above normal."

    In case you forgot we had the coldest winter for 12 years and I am sure none of us will ever forget the "barbecue summer of 2009".

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  • 15. At 7:24pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #11. poitsplace wrote about my posting #3

    "..half the CO2 we emit seems to stay in the atmosphere" - oh yeh - what is your source? Does it matter anyway as CO2 is being continuously interchanged between the atmosphere and the sea and plants. One molecule of CO2 is essentially indistinguishable from any other so what are you talking about as (apparently) out of the 7000 Giga-tonnes of CO2 only 29 Giga-Tonnes may have come from (or rather through) all human and animal sources? I don't think your 'half' has much meaning.

    "Yeah, they like to blame it on atmospheric aerosols" _ Sorry but the planet and has been heating and cooling for far far longer that man has been around and been producing aerosols - are you talking about the products of volcanism? (If so how do you estimate the effects of past eruptions? How accurate is your data?)

    "If we stopped emitting tomorrow the atmospheric CO2 would start dropping."

    What evidence do you have for this assertion? As it stands it is nonsense.

    And anyway there is no established causal link between a rise in CO2 being followed by an increase in temperature - perhaps the other way round. Piers's model, if I understand its summary, is that the solar and lunar and changes in obliquity may be reflected in changes in planarity temperature, along with short term effects of increases and decreases in volcanism. There is a huge amount of CO2 dissolved in sea water I understand (450 Giga-tonnes was mentioned), stir the see up with extra terrestrial heat and probably more will get into the atmosphere - but plants turn the increased CO2 into wood etc. and emit oxygen - mans' contribution is apparently tiny at 29 Giga tonnes. (Can anyone else who was at the seminar correct my statement if I am in error?)

    What most certainly has NOT been shown is that when CO2 goes up THEN the Earth gets warmer, or indeed vice versa.

    I think it is also interesting to examine the length of time individual molecules of CO2 remain in the atmosphere - attempts to do this by isotopic surrogates show times of the order of 5 years NOT 250 years I think this is critical to both explanations. If climate change, exists, and it is the result of CO2 then their model need man's recent (last couple of centuries) CO2 to still be in the atmosphere- and further that atmospheric CO2 increased BEFORE global temperatures rose. (It might be then possible to assert that CO2 is causal in some unknown way of a temperature change.) If this is unproven then their whole thesis falls - does it not?

    Further, the Climate Change and CO2 linkage theory must also show that on all, or at least most occasions, when CO2 levels have changed there has been a SUBSEQUENT change in global temperature. Of course the methodologies for measuring past CO2 levels and temperatures will have to hold up to very close examination - in reality one, I think, would look for a strong statistical correlation, also the measurements error estimates for CO2 and temperature will need very close examination for the data to be acceptable. Perhaps this is in the literature and someone could point me at the body of relevant work? But I have not seen it.

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  • 16. At 7:26pm on 30 Oct 2009, PAWB46 wrote:

    It looks like the science is not settled.

    Richard, you appear to be a sceptic. But Piers Corbyn's hypothesis seems as plausible as any of the other hypotheses as to what drives climate change.

    You say: "it uses a computer model! Therefore, by all that sceptics stereotypically hold dear, it cannot be correct, because as you all know: you can't trust models." Your attempt at sarcasm does you no favours. Having worked with computer models for more years than I care to recount, I can unequivocally say thet there are good computer models and there are bad computer models. The worth of a computer model depends on its evidence base, its formulation, its completeness, its verification, its validation, its documentation, its quality control and lastly, how good the users are.

    I'm pleased to see you say "Detractors point out that he has not published scientific papers detailing his methods, meaning that it's impossible for others to verify them". We sceptics have been saying for a long time that scinetific papers should publish the data and methods (do I need to remind you of the long list of warmist authors who refuse to publish their data and methods so that replication is not possible?)

    In answer to your final question, as a working scientist, I can categorically say that it does stack up. Certainly his mechanism is more plausible than CO2 as a driver of climate change, as historical and geological evidence shows. The climate is driven by the sun (and all the effects on the different types of incoming radiation) and then ocean heat; the atmosphere is too miniscule to drive our climate, and CO2 is too small a part of the atmosphere. Evidence clearly shows that CO2 is driven by temperature and does not and cannot drive temperature.

    Don't underestimate the abilities of Piers Corbyn. He is a far more competent physicist than anyone in the Met Office and its subsidiaries (most of whom are not physicists).

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  • 17. At 7:37pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #13. bringiton8989 wrote:

    in agreement with #1

    (presumably) "I think the reality is that the time for debating whether climate change and global warming is or is not caused by mad made CO2 emissions has passed."

    OK so assume climate change is not CAUSED by CO2, but CO2 reflects the global temperature. (As the other argument has little actual factual basis!) The economic and political consequences of the World spending trillions on lowering emissions of CO2 and nothing happens - bear in mind that there at of the 7000 Giga-tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere all of man's (and his animals and agriculture) contribution is just one 240th of this what difference do you think a change to this will have? (Bear in mind that CO2 levels have been as I understand it has been a hundred times higher in our history than our present levels and the global temperature was within a few tens of centigrade of what it is now - life as we know it has to have liquid water!)

    Returning to my point wasting money of 'fixing' something that we can't fix anyway rather than solving (or working towards solving ) global hunger, floods, the loss of the rain forests etc. - I know what it logic I would spend money on and it would not be CO2 modification!

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  • 18. At 7:42pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Perhaps contributions would indicate if they were also at Piers's seminar bearing in mind the house rules that we must not give away our names, or the names of other contributors! Much discussion also took place afterwards in the union bar - as one might expect!

    I was at it along with Richard Black (but I avoided him! He was up the back and I wasn't!)

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  • 19. At 8:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, PAWB46 wrote:

    Richard: Is the following account of the meeting true (see Andrew Orlowski of the Register at Climate Realists)?

    'The BBC sent two employees - who strangely, put as much distance between themselves and the "Deniers" as they could. If they were any further back from the stage, they would have been in the next room. A Freudian choice of seating?'

    and:

    'I'd mentioned the presence of the BBC earlier - which included the BBC's eco-activist (officially "environmental analyst") Roger Harrabin. He had founded the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme (CMEP), which gives seminars to BBC reporters on how to report environmental issues - which led to the unprecedented (in peacetime) decision to drop objectivity in reporting of climate change. A man with a mission.

    True to form, Harrabin asked a question dripping with contempt - "I understand your reluctance to blame humans," he began, adding an appeal to authority - that lots of people disagreed with the sceptics. He asked: "Is the panel utterly relaxed about ocean acidification as it is over Global Warming?" Gill replied that coral forms during warmer periods - so yes, he was quite relaxed.

    Harrabin actually got a warm round of applause just for turning up - attendees were far kinder to the BBC man than he was to them. Later that afternoon, Radio 4 broadcast Harrabin's summary of proceedings.

    His priority seemed to be to soothe an anxious nation.

    "The debate moved on a couple of years ago," but "some people were left outside that consensus and they're here today," he began.

    Corbyn said the IPCC had looked at the scientific evidence with "their eyes closed" - ignoring or downplaying anything that contradicted greenhouse gas as the primary factor.

    "That's quite an accusation - they're reputable," countered Harrabin, again making an appeal to authority. He introduced a climate modeller - Joanna Haigh - who seemed to make Corbyn's point for him - admitting they hadn't taken account of solar particles or electro magnetic influences, because they didn't think they'd be significant.

    Harrabin ended with yet another appeal to authority:

    "It's clear there is a lot of uncertainty about the future climate, but the world's politicians who'll be meeting soon in Copenhagen have decided that continuing with the planetary experiment of increasing CO2 to see how the world responds is probably not a prudent course."

    Satisfied that he'd extinguished all unsafe thoughts, Middle England was prepared for the next Met Office weather forecast.'

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  • 20. At 8:17pm on 30 Oct 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 21. At 8:25pm on 30 Oct 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    People working directly in the topic of Solar Activity and Climate can judge the contents of Piers Corbyn's methods.

    The rest of us, i.e. laymen and scientists working in other fields, have to treat it as a black box: how good are the predictions ?

    Piers did not predict a barbecue summer - like the discredited Met Office did. Neither did he forecast a warm and dry winter last winter - like some numpties did.

    Instead he makes a good living by selling his forecasts. Note that the Met Office recently lost its biggest customer for weather forecasts (the MOD).

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  • 22. At 8:47pm on 30 Oct 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 8:52pm on 30 Oct 2009, mrgrump wrote:

    Human beings have always believed their activities affect the climate, our modern civilisation is no different.
    It is futile to think we can change the climate by changing the way we live, but you Richard believe we can! That is not Science it is Faith.
    I do not share your faith.

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  • 24. At 9:03pm on 30 Oct 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Just wondering about the science qualifications of the 2 BBC writers at this conference ?

    I understand that one of them has a degree in ... English.

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  • 25. At 9:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Here is a different description of the conference from The Register (hat tip to PAWB46).

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  • 26. At 9:10pm on 30 Oct 2009, Richard Black (BBC) wrote:

    Sometimes life is a little more prosaic than you suppose, PAWB46. I sat at the back because a) I arrived a bit late and the doors were at the back of the hall, and b) I was typing notes on the laptop most of the time which might have been disturbing to people around. The fact that Roger and I came seemed to be generally welcomed and we got a round of applause at one point (and no, it wasn't sarcastic).

    I don't recognise the description you cite, to be honest. And I love the line "The BBC sent two employees".. Roger and I both proposed going - no-one asked us, ordered us, or even directed us remotely using neural implants.

    And thanks to you and to mrgrump for providing a neat example of how two pairs of eyes can see diametrically opposed things in the same piece of text. To one, I appear to be a "sceptic" - to the other, I apparently believe "we can change the climate by changing the way we live". Best brush up on the mind-reading, chaps...

    But this thread isn't about me, it isn't about the BBC, it's about what purports to be a new theory of climate change... shall we stick to that?

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  • 27. At 9:26pm on 30 Oct 2009, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Like other "sceptical" meetings I've attended, it featured a heady melange of science (some of which would be swiftly dismissed in some quarters as pseudo-science) and politics.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you change the "Sceptical" to " MM Activist" meetings, then I think the rest of your comment is valid.

    After all from the weather I have experienced in my 36 yrs, it is clear that Man Man Global Warming is just a pseudo-science.

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  • 28. At 10:18pm on 30 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    Richard says "You can find a presentation very similar (perhaps identical) to the one he gave at Imperial here [2.5Mb ppt] - "

    Richard's link to the presentation is faulty at the moment and leads to and Error 404 page.

    The actual document is at www weatheraction com/ pages/ data/ WAclimatechange but it's a power point presentation so some will not be able to view it.

    If anyone is interested in looking at the presentation I've created a placed a pdf version and placed it here. It's quite a large file (3.7 MB) so may take some time to download.

    But I think it's better to take a look before you make any comments.

    All the best; davblo2

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  • 29. At 10:38pm on 30 Oct 2009, Richard Black (BBC) wrote:

    I said in the post that I would post responses from Australian coral reef experts to the panel's comments on ocean acidification.

    Here are thoughts from Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg at the University of Queensland.

    "The thresholds that we know are dangerous for coral reefs (from their behaviour over the past few decades) are exceeded within 20 to 30 years. What we are seeing now is a slow and steady march to conditions that will be hostile to coral reefs. While coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef may still look great to the non-expert eye, scientific studies are showing a slow and steady deterioration. This was recently highlighted in a paper by Bruno and Selig who documented a 1 to 2% annual decline in coral cover on reefs throughout the Western Pacific, Great Barrier Reef and Southeast Asia. Doing the simple maths reveals that reefs will have little or no coral cover in 40 years time.

    There is an important study that the Australian Institute of Marine Science completed recently which shows a 15% decrease in reef calcification since 1990. This decline in a fundamental parameter of coral reefs (ie calcification) was unprecedented in the 400 years of record examined. This trend backs other studies that are reporting that coral reefs may begin dissolving at above 450 ppm.

    All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet."

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  • 30. At 10:46pm on 30 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    Richard asked for comments on the presentation.

    From the pdf I linked to in #28...

    Slide number...
    1. Too cluttered; what were they thinking?
    2. Key Explanations: ok. Key Messages: presents 4 conclusions in advance of any evidence.
    3. Headings "Science must come Before Ideology & Religion" and "Public Safety must come before politics & ideology". Both prejudging AGW as a religion and ideology; before presenting any evidence.
    4. Says: IPCC... failed; no evidence for CO2 effect, no evidence for mankind's effect. More claims without evidence.
    5. Talks of 4 types of GW Propaganda. Very scientific (not).
    6. and 7. Statement insinuating that our atmosphere is small and CO2 a minuscule part of it. Irrelevant facts.
    8. Even more about mankind's contribution being minuscule. Irrelevant.

    I'd have given up by now. That is not the way to present a reasonable scientific analysis.

    Feel free to carry on where I left off...

    /davblo2

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  • 31. At 10:46pm on 30 Oct 2009, Maurizio Morabito wrote:

    Richard - you wrote "peer-reviewed science is [...] also, now, the only route to the policymakers they want to influence. Modern-day ministers and their scientifically-qualified advisers are absolutely not going to listen to half-developed, unpublished theories or complaints about fraud and conspiracies"

    Would you mind to elaborate please on the above, either in a comment or in a new blog, in light of what has just happened to Prof David Nutt?

    My impression is that "modern-day ministers and their scientifically-qualified advisers are absolutely not going to listen to" anybody that doesn't say exactly what they want to hear.

    Considering the fate of Prof Nutt, the head of an independent advisory body, one can only guess about the freedom reserved to a governmental panel like the IPCC...

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  • 32. At 10:48pm on 30 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "..the media just want scare stories. Added to all that is the woefully poor scientific literacy of the UK population."

    this is encouraged by a government which belittles the value of evidence and scientific argument, for examples see today's sacking of Prof. D Nutt, or perhaps the shameful treatment of Dr D Kelly (before his untimely death).

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  • 33. At 10:59pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    re: #19. PAWB46 and #26

    I have now read the " Climate Fools Day rallies the heretics
    Stop them, before they Deny again!" piece by Andrew Orlowski and to be honest I have to agree more with Richard Black's description of what went on. Andrew Orlowski seems to me to have over dramatised the event. But he does include more of the science than Richard Black and this is a good thing, but I do not recall hearing some of the quotes that he uses.

    Of course neither of them captures my perception of the event, but we were all, I think, in the same hall!

    My impression was of a group of men presenting their science - the only part that grated with me and that I thought was unnecessary was the lack of understanding shown for their opposition (i.e. the pro climate change orthodoxy) - as I have said elsewhere - which I described as the 'agenda' or 'a chip on their shoulders'. This event went on from 1pm to a late finish nearer 6pm and then later in the bar till about 9:30pm, when I left. We had quite a number of speakers, including overseas contributors delivering their papers over the internet. We will have to wait until the full proceeding are published (which I hope will be soon).

    As to Richard Black's choice of seat: there was quite a lot a of space on all rows of the lecture theatre so he could have chosen to sit elsewhere and I was not aware of him coming in late (or no later then me!) - however as any journalist should do - he did ask Piers and the other speakers questions from the opposite position to the view widely held in the hall. I don't think that this action tells us anything about Rchard Black's personal opinion and frankly as he is a journalist I do not want to know his opinion rather, I expect him to inform us of the news from all sides and let us make up our own mind - anything else would be propaganda!

    The other problem with the seating was as, I have said before, the projectors were out of focus which forced those of us who did not have our glasses, and did not have exceptional vision, and actually wanted to see the Porwerpoint presentations to choose seats at the front! I wonder if Richard Black could see the screen from his position? Perhaps this explains the lack of numerical and graphical data in his (otherwise good 3000 word piece (above). To my scientific mind the data matters more than the emotion.

    So in summary: I support Richard Black's piece as far as it goes but I would have liked to see the inclusion of Andrew Orlowski's level of data and table driven presentation of the evidence.

    Richard - why did we have to have a picture of Mrs Thatcher instead of Piers Corbyn? Everyone knows what Mrs Thatcher used to look like - and almost nobody knows what Piers Corbyn looks like. I think it was personally and commercially brave for Piers to run this seminar when he did.

    I could pick apart Richard Black's 3000 word line by line and If I had been editing it I would have suggested altering some of the adjectives and adverbs to change the emphasis in places - but I do that to almost everything I read! But I thank Richard for taking the trouble to come to the seminar and I hope he and his colleague enjoyed themselves and found it a rewarding experience.

    (I have known of Piers and his company and his methodology of weather forecasting for many years. I have no commercial interest or relationship with him or his company. Just so you know.)

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  • 34. At 11:03pm on 30 Oct 2009, manysummits wrote:

    I will reproduce the words quoted above from:

    Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg at the University of Queensland.
    (from Richard Black's post #29):

    "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet."
    --------------------------------

    I second this in its entirety - in spades!

    - Manysummits -

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  • 35. At 11:11pm on 30 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    John_from_Hendon #33: ".. a rewarding experience"

    You must be kidding. See my #30.

    Is anyone else going to discuss the presentation as opposed to the seating arrangements?

    /davblo2

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  • 36. At 11:12pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #31. omnologos wrote:

    "My impression is that "modern-day ministers and their scientifically-qualified advisers are absolutely not going to listen to" anybody that doesn't say exactly what they want to hear."

    First, I would question the assumption that "scientifically-qualified advisers" are in fact qualified as they are generally civil servants of the administrative cadre which still precluded anyone from advising on anything they actually know about!

    Secondly: I agree with you and the quote - I have just received one of the most illogical and unwise letters I have even seen from a Treasury Minister (Obviously written for him by someone who have been promoted far beyond his abilities, skills and knowledge.) Quite obviously I am precluded from going into details.

    I am sure that the NAO will be writing a highly censorious report every year about the matter for a decade to come and there will be a great cost to the Nation and our businesses and our people. Buy hey this is not unusual - in fact it is sadly the norm! (I have a number of such responses over decades from Her Majesty's Government - but the perpetrators are never sacked as they would be in real life!)

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  • 37. At 11:14pm on 30 Oct 2009, Beejay wrote:

    As things stand, if we eliminate ALL man made CO2 will that make any difference to Climate Change as there is still the influence of the remaining 97% that is produced by "Mother Nature"?

    Is there something special about Anthropogenic CO2?

    Is there anyone in the BBC that can explain in simple terms how 3% CO2 has more apparent effect than 97% of the same gas?

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  • 38. At 11:21pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #34. manysummits

    I think that it is irresponsible of you (and Richard Black) to associate those who do not believe that there is evidence that CO2 CAUSES Climate Change with the rather silly pejorative terms used by the Professor.

    He may know his coral, but is he so sure of his planetary engineering to assert that it is a 'truth' that warming is CAUSED by CO2?

    This seminar (on balance) did not say that Climate Change does not happen it just said that there is no really good evidence that CO2 CAUSES climate variability and proposed alternative mechanisms with supporting evidence.

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  • 39. At 11:23pm on 30 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    globalclaptrap #37: "is there something special about Anthropogenic CO2?"

    Yes; it wouldn't be there if it weren't for us.

    It doesn't have "more" effect. It adds to existing effects; and adds, and adds and adds...

    /davblo2

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  • 40. At 11:26pm on 30 Oct 2009, fairlyopenmind wrote:

    Many, many years ago, there were stories to suggest that a particular starfish was attacking the great barrier reef at such a rate that it could be destroyed.

    Twenty odd years ago, climatologists of various ilks predicted a new mini ice age.

    Some of the same scientists switched to the global warming theory. Some of them will not - for whatever reason - release the computer models and data they use into the public domain. So how can a peer-review take place?

    All this stuff is a bit daft anyway. If scientists could have persuaded some science-illiterate politicians that pollution is a real threat, then all the arguments would simmer down.
    I doubt that anybody believes that it's a good idea to pollute the world.
    I doubt that anybody believes that oil and gas will run out.
    I doubt that any UK government minister has ploughed through all the Man Made Global Warming background papers, or challenged why some papers were incorporated, others discarded. Or wondered why some primary contributing scientists withdrew from the (politically driven) IPCC process.
    I doubt that anybody thinks it's a good idea that human detritus is clogging part of the Pacific Ocean.

    I'm doubtful that anybody would appreciate the "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition?", comment from a "scientist" as being a rational comment.

    If this whole "project" had been based on cleaning up the earth rather than than a bunch of computer models, maybe most people would buy in.

    For goodness sake, governments around the world couldn't even build economic models that incorporated human frailties. So why should we believe computer models that don't even include aspects of a universe we still don't fully understand?

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  • 41. At 11:27pm on 30 Oct 2009, grumpy-mike wrote:

    An excellent article. And, ….at this stage…..a few excellent comments….and then there are others.

    Some of the “others” I put in the category….”shooting the messenger”. A rather unfortunate behaviour we all have at some time when we don’t like the message.

    However, for those that have worked in “the scientific arena” (in my case for over 50years…now retired) there is a certain very clear message in Richard’s article.

    Let me repeat. I am NOT a climate scientist.
    I am Not a Pro-AGW.
    I am Not and Anti-AGW.

    I just understand very clearly the process that has brought us to the current scenario and the correct way forward.

    It begins way back but certain principles were cemented into place at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. (look up on google or Wikipedia “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development”) In particular, Principle 15.
    This is essential reading to understand the current state of play.
    For those who would like to know what principle 15 states without doing your own research:-
    In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
    Two years earlier, the IPCC came out with their initial report, updated in 1992 for the Earth Summit and their findings were (rightly or wrongly) that…….”There is a threat of serious or irreversible damage” from man induced climate change/global warming.
    If you like (or don’t as the case maybe) they got in first.
    Here’s the crunch…..under the Precautionary Principle (check that out on Wikipedia) it is now up to the “other side” to prove them wrong! You may scream “unfair”, “biased” or whatever but that’s the way it is. Like it or lump it.
    So how does all that relate to Richard’s article? Simple!
    IF the presenters of the Seminar that Richard attended at Imperial College DO have scientific proof that CO2 is NOT a driver of Climate Change, it is THEIR responsibility to present that proof in the Scientifically accepted manner.
    Publish and subject their findings to Peer Review.
    In the absence of that, the decision makers are obligated to adopt the findings of the IPCC.
    Messenger shooters…feel free.


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  • 42. At 11:31pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #35. davblo2 wrote:

    "a rewarding experience" - I was being excessively obsequiously polite to the BBC (with a touch of sarcasm - I hoped!) They were at work after all - many people thee had to take leave to attend.

    Details:

    Causality - where is the evidence that CO2 rises precede an increase in temperature (assuming we can agree on the data quality!) If an increase in CO2 was the CAUSE of global warming shouldn't temperature rise after CO2 rises - the opposite appears to be true (and only some of the time at that) Sometime the temperature goes down in the historical record yet CO2 goes up! (And I am deeply doubtful of all of the surrogate and indeed direct methodologies use to measure both temperature and CO2.)

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  • 43. At 11:45pm on 30 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    My #30 continued.

    Comments on slides presented at the "meeting"...
    (pdf linked to in #28)

    9. Pie chart showing man's CO2 GHG only 0.28% of total. Irrelevant.
    10. Chart showing CO2 rising but temperature falling over last 6 years. Who ever would take a 6 year period as indicative of climate change? Nonsense.
    11. Graph showing the 60 year periods in global temperature. Clearly show an increasing trend, but no commentary.
    12. Jumps suddenly to graph of solar activity, Arctic air temp and hydrocarbon use. Only shows the type of correlation that anti-AGW fans usually decry.
    13. Graph of Sargasso Seas temperature over 3000 yr. Not really global climate.
    14. Too much in one slide. Virtually incomprehensible.
    15. The old "temperature change leads CO2" story.
    16. Back to the fact that CO2 has been increasing but temperatures have not risen since 1998. Irrelevant.
    17. Chart of annual number of Hurricanes. Talk about changing the subject.
    18. Tornadoes decreasing. Is this climate science?
    19. Graph showing glaciers shrinking and sea level rising; but starting "before" man's use of hydrocarbons. So now glacier shrinkage and seas level rise is accepted by anti-AGW? Odd.
    20. The old; "CO2 never drove temperature rise in the past", (so it couldn't do it now) non-science.

    Give me a break...

    Was there supposed to be something new here?

    /davblo2

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  • 44. At 11:48pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #41. grumpy-mike wrote:

    I was at the seminar - the papers have been written and there is data - except as all of the data is re constructed via surrogates for the historical record there is essentially no hard data either way.

    I am impressed by the distinct lack of a causal link between a rise in temperature following a rise in CO2. OK so some of the time CO2 has been very high (if we believe the surrogate measuring mechanisms which I don't.) and so has the temperature (again I can poke great holes in the data.)

    Essentially we are presented with a decision that was made nearly 20 years ago on a twenty year old theory. We have had twenty years of data since then - unfortunately even this data is dubious (take for example global temperature the measuring stations have changed quite widely in their local environment (I.e. screens that were once in a field are now in a car park or by an air-conditioning outlet and some data sets have dropped off completely (such as in Siberia). We apparently got warmer till 1998 but have cooled a bit since yet CO2 has continued to rise. (again I doubt the datasets).

    I am not going to enter the debate about whether the nature of peer-reviewed journals are as good today as they were ten, twenty, thirty or forth years ago - but there are questions.

    However also consider the consequences of the CO2 link not begin causal.

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  • 45. At 11:52pm on 30 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    John_from_Hendon #42: "Details:..."

    Are you discussing the presentation?

    Have you seen anything new in it?

    So far I've gotten to page 20 (my #30 & #43) and it's all "old hat".

    That means we are wasting our time.

    /davblo2

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  • 46. At 11:57pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #43. davblo2 wrote:

    "Was there supposed to be something new here?"

    Yes, Piers talked in considerable detail about his weather forecasting methodology that has produced on (statistically significant) occasions better long term forecasts than those generated by traditional meteorology.

    I also had considerable problems with reading many of the graphs presented and I also found that the 'chips on the shoulder problem' did not add to the day.

    You also seem to be suggesting in your 'analysis' that the 'it isn't CO2 brigade' are not believers in Climate Change - this is (by and large except notably for the politician present) not true. Most were just as concerned about Climate Change but they did not accept that CO2 was the cause.

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  • 47. At 00:09am on 31 Oct 2009, fairlyopenmind wrote:

    #41, grumpy-mike wrote:
    "...So how does all that relate to Richard’s article? Simple!
    IF the presenters of the Seminar that Richard attended at Imperial College DO have scientific proof that CO2 is NOT a driver of Climate Change, it is THEIR responsibility to present that proof in the Scientifically accepted manner."

    GrumpyM,
    I would have thought it was the responsibility of the people who claim that CO2 IS the driver of Climate Change to prove the case. I still can't find it within IPCC documented evidence.
    It all seems to say that CO2 concentrations follows warming.
    Always happy to look at anything available...

    "In the absence of that, the decision makers are obligated to adopt the findings of the IPCC."

    If memory serves, the IPCC is a UN body. So a political, rather than a scientific forum.
    Which is presumably why a rather large number of originally contributing scientists withdrew from further engagement, because there was a spinning mechanism introduced, allowing the genuinely propagandist mob to steer all the action.

    "Messenger shooters…feel free."

    Like Gore? The guy who claimed he enabled the internet? Used highly discredited propagandist methods to tell a story about a highly interpretative area of "science"?

    Yeah. Go shoot.


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  • 48. At 00:13am on 31 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #45. davblo2 wrote:

    "Are you discussing the presentation?"

    No not really I am talking about what was presented on the day (from my notes and squinting at the screen!).

    Are you just going by the presentation?

    I am still impressed by the poverty and lack of quality of all of the data used by everyone, plus the lack of causality which I view as crucial. Piers's forecasting model seems to provide reasonable long term forecasts (something tradition meteorology is still failing to do.) And from his models that are empirically 'working' it seems reasonable to consider the possibility of extrapolating to decades or centuries and then millennia etc. (if we can actually believe the data that is.)

    The other factor that impresses me is that estimated CO2 has been many times higher than it is today which, if the IPCC model is right, suggests that there should have been no liquid water on the planet, but there was both full ice and water at times - I note that for life to continue (as it has done) that the planet must have had continuous liquid water and so the temperature must have been less that 100C or so and no lower that a few tens of degrees below freezing.

    In other words I find a link between global temperature and CO2 not very plausible as it lacks evidence.

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  • 49. At 00:18am on 31 Oct 2009, fairlyopenmind wrote:

    #42, John_from_Hendon wrote:
    "Causality - where is the evidence that CO2 rises precede an increase in temperature (assuming we can agree on the data quality!) If an increase in CO2 was the CAUSE of global warming shouldn't temperature rise after CO2 rises - the opposite appears to be true (and only some of the time at that) Sometime the temperature goes down in the historical record yet CO2 goes up! (And I am deeply doubtful of all of the surrogate and indeed direct methodologies use to measure both temperature and CO2.)"

    John of,

    I don't like pollution. There is no doubt that mankind could come up with better solutions than we have today to allow people to live good lives.

    I'm concerned that people talk about a "global temperature" with "authority".

    I'd be fairly happy if I knew that there were measurement points based at constant distances around the globe. They don't exist today. Definitely weren't even thought about 50 years ago. Some bits of the world were not even "known" to the people with measuring power 200 years ago.

    So how on earth do we "know" that things change and that we affect them?

    If historians and geographers are scientifically informed, then vast swathes of Europe were simply forests with a few clearings. Where are they now? Gone. Burnt. CO2 went where, exactly? How hot did the world get?




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  • 50. At 00:22am on 31 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    John_from_Hendon #46: "I also had considerable problems with reading many of the graphs presented and I also found that the 'chips on the shoulder problem' did not add to the day."

    Thank you for that at least.

    21. Polar bears: "Ice break up is a natural process..." Very poor graph... not clear what it's showing.
    22. Ocean Acidification said to be "Hysterical nonsense & a research grant scam". Not really convincing science.
    23. Something new. Shows a chart illustrating that extra heating caused by extra CO2 is all negated by "evapo-transpiration" from the extra plant growth.

    It seems to me that this claim is faulty. If the extra heat is carried upwards by "evapo-transpiration", then it still has to leave the atmosphere as radiation (the only way out); and that would require that something somewhere high up in the atmosphere be warmer. So there is no escaping the "warming" effect.

    Comments?

    /davblo2

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  • 51. At 00:30am on 31 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    John_from_Hendon #48: "Are you just going by the presentation?"

    Yes; I thought that was the general idea.

    Richard wrote "At the beginning of this post, I suggested working scientists might like to read to the end - and here's why. Piers Corbyn hasn't given you a scientific paper here but I hope I have relayed the main elements, and you can see his presentation for more details."

    /davblo2

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  • 52. At 00:35am on 31 Oct 2009, grumpy-mike wrote:

    44. At 11:48pm on 30 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    John, you are entirely correct when you state that "we are stuck with a 20 year old theory....." which is why I wrote ........."the IPCC got in first!"
    But....according to the "rules of engagement" adopted in 1992, ie. the Precautionary Principle, until such time as others come up with overwhelming "evidence" that the IPCC got it wrong (don't forget that the IPCC only claimed 90% certainty) and to do that, the correct procedure is to submit papers for Peer review, no one in a decision making position is going to listen.
    Believe you me, I and I'm sure there are many like me, would love to have the IPCC proven wrong IN THE CORRECT MANNER. My extended family includes a great grandson. I would love to KNOW that the world will still be in a worthwhile state when he grows up.
    Until then, nothing............absolutely nothing......convinces me that that is the situation.

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  • 53. At 00:39am on 31 Oct 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    If no one else is looking at the presentation then I'm wasting my time.

    I got as far as page 24. If this presentation was really what you had to sit through, then I can tell you I sympathise. I would have walked out in disgust.

    If the guy had anything useful to present he should have got to the point earlier.

    /davblo2

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  • 54. At 03:16am on 31 Oct 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @John_from_Hendon on CO2 residency and correlation

    Woah there, I'm a luke warmer. I honestly think worrying about CO2 is about as productive as worrying about Godzilla. As such I'm too lazy too lazy to find sources backing up residency (my figures on the average per molecule seem in line with yours) the rates of increase, the isotope concentrations that would lead us to believe APPROXIMATELY half of our CO2 sort of makes up the additional CO2 in the air, etc.

    I am entirely on the same page with you on the lack of correlation. Its a terrible correlation. I just leave open the possibility (although you normally wouldn't think it from my posts) that CO2 MIGHT do something. but again, we're not really warming much and I remember it was too cold in the 70's so...yeah, not a problem.

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  • 55. At 03:34am on 31 Oct 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To davblo2 #53:

    I was wondering if any working scientists or climatologists would appear?

    So far - not.

    I decided several blogs ago these people, termed by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg in Richard's post #29:

    "an anti-science special-interest lobby" [my bolding],

    are not only not worth talking to, that is their only purpose - to get 'us' to respond.

    There is the odd true 'sceptic,' no doubt. It will be possible to recognize this rare individual and respond. Other than that, I will be on the previous 'forest' blog, developing an idea.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 56. At 04:44am on 31 Oct 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @davblo2
    "It seems to me that this claim is faulty. If the extra heat is carried upwards by "evapo-transpiration", then it still has to leave the atmosphere as radiation (the only way out); and that would require that something somewhere high up in the atmosphere be warmer. So there is no escaping the "warming" effect."

    The notch in earth's outgoing spectrum caused by CO2 corresponds with the coldest temperature of the atmosphere (the tropopause) at 220k. It is hotter both below AND above.

    If energy tends to move from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentration...and it does
    If the coldest part of the atmosphere is the limiting factor on emissions of CO2's spectrum...and it is
    And if the coldest part of the atmosphere is sandwiched between warmer layers...and it is

    ...where exactly do you expect it to warm? If the tenuous (ie, easy to heat) tropopause gets warmer by about 1C its emissions will go up enough to offset the supposed additional absorption from a doubling of CO2.

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  • 57. At 06:40am on 31 Oct 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Still waiting to read some scientific assessment on Corbyn's theory and evidence. Surely someone must have some views on how he reached the conclusions he has?

    I do have a question to Richard - you note that Corbyn has a draft paper on his climate ideas but has not submited it for publication. Did he explain why not?

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  • 58. At 07:09am on 31 Oct 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @simon-swede on solar-magnetic

    Some information made the rounds on skeptic sites a little while back about a newly discovered and rather unexpected energy exchange between the solar wind and the earth. It could in some way back up this guy's claims. WUWT mentioned the journals it was published in.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/10/solar-wind-suprise-this-discovery-is-like-finding-it-got-hotter-when-the-sun-went-down/



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  • 59. At 08:18am on 31 Oct 2009, Rodmoly wrote:


    "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet."

    Hardly scientific comment is it.

    Could he explain the following observations.

    Corals became common in the oceans during the Ordovician Era – nearly 500 million years ago – when atmospheric CO2 levels were about 10X greater than they are today. (One might also note that there was an ice age during the late Ordovician and early Silurian with CO2 levels 10X higher than current levels, and the correlation between CO2 and temperature is essentially nil throughout the Phanerozoic)

    Perhaps corals are not so tough as they used to be? In 1954, the US detonated the world’s largest nuclear weapon at Bikini Island in the South Pacific. The bomb was equivalent to 30 billion pounds of TNT, vapourised three islands, and raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees. Yet half a century of rising CO2 later, the corals at Bikini are thriving. Another drop in pH of 0.075 will likely have less impact on the corals than a thermonuclear blast. The corals might even survive a rise in ocean temperatures of half a degree, since they flourished at times when the earth’s temperature was 10C higher than the present.

    There seems to be no shortage of theories about how rising CO2 levels will destroy the planet, yet the geological record shows that life flourished for hundreds of millions of years with much higher CO2 levels and temperatures. This is a primary reason why there are so many skeptics in the geological community. At some point the theorists will have to start paying attention to empirical data.

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  • 60. At 09:34am on 31 Oct 2009, Edward_S_H wrote:

    This article misrepresents so much. I'll just cover one point here, the so-called acidification. "The mainstream interpretation of acidification isn't that oceans are absorbing more CO2 because they're warmer, by the way, but simply because there is more of it in the atmosphere". Nobody makes this claim. The point about increasing temperatures is that with higher temperatures the oceans - any water - can hold less CO2. So, if the oceans become warmer, they emit CO2 and reabsorb it slowly when they cool. As for acidification itself, the average pH of the oceans is about 8.1 (mildly alkaline) - to be considered acidic this has to become less than 7! To achieve this the oceans would have to absorb an enormous amount of CO2, and if this is even possible they would have to be very cold indeed to do so. The colder water becomes, the more gasses it can dissolve. Simple physics.

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  • 61. At 09:53am on 31 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #52. grumpy-mike wrote:

    "...a great grandson. I would love to KNOW that the world will still be in a worthwhile state when he grows up."

    Certainty is logically impossible! But I share your concerns. What troubles me most is that with ample direct contradiction of the connection between CO2 and climate variability (even by using the IPCC published figures!) we are still going to waste trillions of dollars (or whatever) on an experiment in planetary engineering. Can you please explain the logic of your position?

    #54. poitsplace wrote:

    "that CO2 MIGHT do something" - consider that the heating MIGHT do something to CO2. Examine the evidence that (crudely) shows that CO2 levels trail rises in temperature and ask the question how a rise in CO2 can cause something before it has occurred. [c.f the light coming on BEFORE you have flipped the switch!]

    #59. Rodmoly wrote:

    "At some point the theorists will have to start paying attention to empirical data."

    Why? They (the CO2 is THE problem brigade) are in control and in nice well paid jobs and get big fat grants so why on earth should the bother with a little matter that their scientific basis has been shown to be false? Rather their reaction (as by the way similar groups throughout history have done) will be to use their power to rubbish all opposition even though they actually know that they are wrong - this is of the very nature of scientific advance. My guess at 'the sooner of later' will be in thirty of forty years time when the current people have retired. In the meantime it is unfortunate that the whole World's economy is being misdirected. This whole carbon taxing and credits nonsense will become a problem - its upside is that it will drive efficiency which everyone on all sides wants. The pity is that so much more could be done for the planet if we alleviated the problems rather than pursed the wrong problem!

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  • 62. At 10:08am on 31 Oct 2009, rohanstevenson wrote:

    The argument over climate change is moot - a red herring. Climate always changes - it always has and always will whether we are partly responsible for it or not, and the degree to which man contributes to it is really highly debatable. The real argument, I believe, should be over sustainability. Sustainability is directly and easily measurable - can we continue to consume and maintain our current lifestyles indefinitely? The answer is clearly no.

    All the things we are doing to mitigate our effect on climate are for the most part good things for sustainability. It seems sustainability has not been forgotten in the argument over climate change but ironically, some things we propose to replace burning fossil fuels would produce as much if not more greenhouse gasses. Hydrogen fuel cells produce water vapour as a byproduct, which of course is a greenhouse gas. Creating the liquid hydrogen in the first place also requires a good deal of energy. And then there is the infrastructure that needs to be put in place to keep the system going.

    I fall into the category of climate skeptic. By that I mean I am skeptical about the 'warmers' and skeptical about the skeptics. Too much entrenchment of views seems to be going on rather than dispassionate reasoned debate. Why should David Bellamy be 'proud' to be a 'denier'? That's just ridiculous. On the other hand could society really be motivated to make the necessary upheavals without some healthy laying of bricks in our pants? Fossil Fuels will indeed run out and be the source of conflict in the not so distant future as it becomes scarcer and harder to extract. Are we really ready to hold the complex issues in our minds as a motivator for change? Or do we need something scary to shake us out of our complacency and focus our attention. It would be nice to think that we can make rational decisions based on dispassionate science rather than the pseudo-religious nature the debate has acquired, but I honestly doubt that we can.

    A final thought; while the science might be pretty dodgy as to the extent to which anthropogenic factors contribute to climate change, it has had the effect getting us all to realize that we are all passengers in the same ship. The extent and speed of global consensus and unification over the need for common action is unprecedented. Maybe just for once, an idea however flawed, can bring us all together to work for the common good. Because while the force that brings the world together might turn out to be imaginary, the issues that will confront it eventually are not, and the perhaps by the time it becomes really critical we'll have worked out how to cooperate meaningfully to deal with it.

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  • 63. At 10:14am on 31 Oct 2009, StanleyRIP wrote:

    Fairlyopenmind, you should know that the 'starfish theory' (thorn of crowns starfish) was and remains quite true. What happened as a result of the theory is that there are efforts to control this animal, which are having some success.

    For the rest; all 'sceptics'. Richard, you are wasting your time. Better to try and get some of these people to understand the need for peer review; without is there is no science,

    John

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  • 64. At 10:20am on 31 Oct 2009, Iain Monks wrote:

    I find it hard to trust the scientists on "man made" global warming as it wasn't that long ago they were predicting our descent into a new ice age.

    But whatever is happening with the climate we need to stop poluting our atmosphere, water and soil if the human race is to continue inhabiting this planet.

    So whatever the question, the answer remains constant.

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  • 65. At 10:44am on 31 Oct 2009, QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet."

    This really is a disgrace. Is the implication that all sceptics are pandering to "special-interests" (presumably the oil industry) while those who support the theory of man-made warming are not? Climate change is now one of the largest special-interest groups on the planet as many people make a nice living from it. I am a sceptic but I have no truck with the oil industry or others who are actively destroying the environment. I hate cars and the damage they have done to the environment. I haven't flown since the 1980's and I am appalled by the destruction of rainforests, not because that is causing climate change but because it is destroying the habitats of other species, and we have no right to do that. I dearly wish that I could believe in man-made climate change but I have concluded that the evidence just isn't there. It doesn't help when believers in climate change make claims which are clearly exaggerated and biased. And as for "playing a dangerous game with the planet.", if the CO2 theory is correct, and emissions are dramatically reduced, then it follows that the planet may get colder, which would be an infinitely worse prospect that one which is getting warmer. However, I am looking forward to the excuses and apologies, which must inevitably come from the proponents of man-made climate change, when their predictions are proved incorrect, which will happen over the next decade.

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  • 66. At 10:55am on 31 Oct 2009, geobluejohn wrote:

    There is a vast amount of literature available to all out on the internet, all peer reviewer, all negating the argument that CO2 drives climate. The choice of CO2 is a cynical plot by the IPCC to get money out of the West to enrich a few, like Gore who ended his career as VP. with $2M but now has over $200m. I agree that the real science has to be looked at but bearing in mind the recent decision by the Brown government to ignore scientific advice on drugs makes me think that any advive contrary to government thinking will get the same result. Democracy in action I don't think.

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  • 67. At 10:59am on 31 Oct 2009, stnylan wrote:

    Of course, given the fairly close-minded way most scientists think (because they are human, and if anyone seriously thinks scientists as a group are not close minded they need to investigate how 'unpopular' theories have tended to be received by the scientific community - plate techtonics would be a good example) there is very little incentive for anyone who goes against the grain to publish, simply because they know that the work will get rubbished.

    Now their work might get rubbished because its rubbish, but the chances are even if it were good it would still get rubbished because it goes against established orthodoxy.

    If anyone thinks there would be a different outcome, you are extra-ordinarily naive.

    In two elements he is right though - governments are using the environment as an excuse to raise taxes, especially now since they have indebted us all the eyeballs and desparately need to punish us for their financial mismanagement - and some climatologists do hold fundamentalist views and benefit from the scare-mongering (some, by all means not all). Before the environmentalist camp should feel confident about being able address this sort of skeptic, perhaps it needs to take a good hard look at some of its own loonies and disown them.

    Perhaps you should too Richard.

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  • 68. At 11:16am on 31 Oct 2009, zzzzzzed wrote:

    Richard,

    Could you as Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg if it is true that corals became common in the oceans during the Ordovician Era when atmospheric CO2 levels were about 10X greater than they are today? Ask him if it is also true that the geological record shows that corals flourished for hundreds of millions of years with much higher CO2 levels and temperatures.

    I would also be interested to hear in what way modern corals have changed to become more susceptible to CO2?

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  • 69. At 11:22am on 31 Oct 2009, Sadlerorchit wrote:

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  • 70. At 11:24am on 31 Oct 2009, user1219 wrote:

    If you are interested in the science, I wonder why bother even going to see these skeptics, who are not even publishing papers. It also seems a little naive inviting "real scientists" to comment on the science. The way scientists comment on science is via peer-reviewed journals... not media web sites. The only thing digging up this pseudo-science does is provide more ammo for the skeptics, and provide an opportunity for another flood of skeptic posts. This post may be well meaning, but misses the mark rather widely.

    But there seems to be an elephant in the room when it comes to the debate on climate change. The elephant is the assumption that there is or can be a "rational" debate on climate change. The fact is most people don't understand or appreciate scientific explanations. Religious people has always been, and still is a more widespread belief system. e.g 54% of Britons think that creationism should be taught alongside evolution. While we are keen users of technology, we have never replaced our irrational belief systems with rational science based views.

    It has also been shown that people only seek evidence that agrees with a prejudged opinion, rather than assess a range of data then make a judgment. People are happy to accept the science of aeroplanes, microwaves or computers when it provides something useful to their lifestyle. But people quickly reject science in favour of religion when the science appears to be in opposition to their beliefs.

    The rational debate was lost well before it began. People will choose the view that most reflects their prejudged view. And people like the benefits fossil fuels bring. They would rather believe in pseudo-scientific nonsense than change their lifestyle.

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  • 71. At 11:49am on 31 Oct 2009, hohumbug wrote:

    "Modern-day ministers and their scientifically-qualified advisers are absolutely not going to listen to half-developed, unpublished theories or complaints about fraud and conspiracies."

    This was the wrong week for such an optimistic comment.

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  • 72. At 11:53am on 31 Oct 2009, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    "Detractors point out that he has not published scientific papers detailing his methods, meaning that it's impossible for others to verify them"

    In the first place, we don't have verify his methods, we only have to verify his results. And in the second, anyone with any familiarity with the shameful and continuing saga of the "hockey stick" would be tempted to say this is the warmist pot calling the sceptical kettle black!

    "It's important to note, of course, that mainstream climate science says this is quite easily explained, with La Nina and (according to some accounts) the cooling phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation temporarily blotting out greenhouse warming.)"

    "Explained" perhaps, yet curiously not quite so easily predicted, not least in the forecasts from the 1990s. The reason sceptics distrust computer models is not that we "don't believe any of them" but that the ones which are being relied on for the global warming myth have been proven - by 20+ years of failed predictions - not to work. Personally I and I suspect most other sceptics would very much like to see better models devised BUT NOT BELIEVED UNTIL THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO PREDICT. That is how science works, not by seeing who can outdo who for providing the most "on-message" and cataclysmic predictions of doom.

    I could go on, but this piece was consistently pathetic in its patronising sniping at those who are far closer to the ethos of science than Mann, Hansen and their ilk at the IPCC. Yes, by all means judge the predictions of those here by their results - but at the same time, why don't you take a look at Hansen and the IPCC's predictions for climate (which remember is far more reliable to predict that weather, so any warmist will tell you) from the 1980s and 1990s and apply a similar level of mockery there?

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  • 73. At 11:55am on 31 Oct 2009, Sadlerorchit wrote:

    As Richard Black points out Corbyn does himself no favours by not publishing and can hardly criticise the environmental "business" when he too has made a business out of his insights. I regret to say I have made a similar error involving my own scietific insights. This involved setting up a business and profiting from what I had found out. This has made it impractical for me to mount a serious challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy in my field, now dominated by fatuous finite element models run by clever post-docs on big computers rather than by careful, lengthy, and possibly inconclusive field and laboratory observation. My abundant observations are necessarily confidential and tainted by their context, but show that the computer models are way off track. In fact two of the models do include the mechanisms indicated by my data but these results are smothered in a mass of garbage. Lee Smolin (The trouble with physics, 2007, Lane, England) and others have pointed out how such futile armchair science has ruined cutting edge physics in the past two decades in exactly the same way. Here there seems to be no possibility of new observations, except, possibly from the LHC - although maybe we are blinded by our laziness? The trouble with the environment industry is that its customers are too impatient with the necessary timescales of significant observations (centuries, at least) and have little understanding of probability and risk. Any CO2-based global warming scenario should comfortably explain the spectacular Flandrian rise in sea level, which my research showed (Q.J.G.S., 1974, 125, 277-318) reached a rate of 1-2m/century at a time (8000 years ago) when there was no industry, no vehicles, rapid methane clathrate thaw, huge flocks of farting ruminants, and possibly the fastest extension of forest growth across the face of the planet during the Cenozoic. So if CO2 didn't drive that event (sorry Mr Gore) what did?

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  • 74. At 12:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    "Corbyn said the IPCC had looked at the scientific evidence with "their eyes closed" - ignoring or downplaying anything that contradicted greenhouse gas as the primary factor. "That's quite an accusation - they're reputable," countered Harrabin, again making an appeal to authority." - PAWB46 #19

    Two comments. One is look at the IPCC's handing of the (peer-reviewed) paper on urban heat islands, the one which showed by analysis that up to half of global warming last century was due to urban heat island effects on temperature measurements. It was, of course, rejected out of hand by those so-reputable authorities at the IPCC despite what would seem its vital importance to the matter at hand.

    The other, doubly ironically as they themselves are the first to try to use theirs in the warmist cause, would be to take heed of the motto of the Royal Society when it comes to heeding arguments of "authority" in matters scientific.

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  • 75. At 12:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, thinktank wrote:

    Reference the woeful lack of scientific knowledge in the general public and thus their readiness to believe what they are told by the IPCC. Does anyone recall the American duo Penn and Teller attending a climate change protest rally with a petition to ban the release of "di-hydrogen monoxide" into the environment. Hundreds signed it, including the rally organiser.
    However, an ignorant,frightened population is a controllable population.

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  • 76. At 12:09pm on 31 Oct 2009, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    "13. Graph of Sargasso Seas temperature over 3000 yr. Not really global climate." - davblo2

    And yet temperatures "read" from a dozen or so trees on one mountainside somehow are (even or especially if different to those read from trees in other locations)? Or do different rules apply to sceptics?


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  • 77. At 12:12pm on 31 Oct 2009, Maurizio Morabito wrote:

    To clarify how solid certain opinions are...all in all, the AGW believers (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to willfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet.

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  • 78. At 12:34pm on 31 Oct 2009, Brendan Fernandes wrote:

    You write: "What some in the sceptical camp do not appear to appreciate is that published, peer-reviewed science is not only the sole way of establishing and improving theories; it's also, now, the only route to the policymakers they want to influence."

    It's considered heresy in the scientific community to question the peer review process, but I'm not convinced of the need to appeal to authority to tell us how to think. We're perfectly capable of judging theories as individuals! The peer review system has only come to prominence in recent times, and many great theories including those of Newton, Darwin and Einstein were subject to little or no peer review. And what if Galileo had listened to his "peer reviewers"?

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  • 79. At 12:41pm on 31 Oct 2009, spectrum wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 80. At 12:53pm on 31 Oct 2009, spectrum wrote:

    If professional scientists disagree to such an enormous degree then the average person literally hasn't a clue who to believe. That would include journalists. Reading discussions between professional climate scientists reveals disturbingly deep disagreements about the most basic interpretation of data. They haven't a clue.

    The politics however are reasonably simple. Carbon trading was inserted into article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol at the instigation of Enron and BP. Kyoto was signed by Vice President Gore who has had a lifetime close financial relationship with Occidental Oil.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/677105.stm

    Yes, it was the oil companies that fought for Kyoto and donated large sums of money to environmental groups to promote it. Exxon were the fall guys who pretended to be against it by funding tiny pockets of opposition.

    Why would an oil/gas company like Enron want a tax on fossil fuel ? Because their only real competition was coal whic attracts a higher tax.

    ****

    Enron officials later expressed elation at the results of the Kyoto conference. An internal memo said the Kyoto agreement, if implemented, would "do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A37287-2002Jan12&notFound=true


    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sealed/gw/enron.htm



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  • 81. At 12:55pm on 31 Oct 2009, Maurizio Morabito wrote:

    As can be easily seen in #77, all it takes to respond to Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg's remarks (#29) is to change a single word "sceptics" to AGW believers. In my humble opinion, that is a sign of a lack of actual content, in the esteemed Professor's contribution to the debate.

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  • 82. At 1:11pm on 31 Oct 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    If I were a successful scientist, getting a regular pay-cheque each month, why on earth would I want to blog here? If I had some doubts about the global warming debate and it went against the grain of what I was being paid to do, I would keep quiet. However, if I knew of a blogger who was willing to express my private opinion and take the credit/abuse for it, well I might consider it, if it were important enough.

    Perhaps the only science bloggers here are retired scientist who don't have to worry about their career. Or, the science they are conducting is paid for by anti global warming funding. All possibilities need careful scrutiny along with the graphs, projections, assumptions and everything. The closer you are to the core of the real information the more you would have to keep your gob tightly shut, me-thinks.

    The one thing this blog does is allow the questions to be asked. Whether or not you will get the correct answer depends on how naively determined or financially suicidal you are if you ARE in the real science business. The boys at the top are VERY powerful and could squeeze your funding in an instant, such is life. However, on a positive note, at least people are discussing this, finding out information for themselves.

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  • 83. At 1:39pm on 31 Oct 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    I was hoping for some sort of scientific assessment, especially from those who think that Corbyn's work is compelling. Yet most of the posts so far seem to be happy just to repeat the same old criticisms of IPCC and sceptics arguments against CO2.

    From what little I understand of Corbyn's climate theory as described here, it seems to me that it amounts to little more than a claim for correlations and as yet no putative mechanism to explain how these things come together. I do not find this to be at all compelling.

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  • 84. At 1:42pm on 31 Oct 2009, adcamb wrote:

    This debate really joins free energy, creationism and the flat earthers as a science backed conspiracy trying to put down an obvious truth to satisfy some agenda.

    Richard invited people to discuss the presentation and debate the science, not to make personal slurs or to post un-referenced assertions; I have only seen davblo2 make a serious attempt to do so.

    The point is simple neither side will ever convince the other and certainly not by slinging mud in this kind of forum. If a series of credible, peer reviewed papers appeared debunking AGW, demonstrating free energy or showing that the earth really was thousands of years old, then the papers would be dynamite and journals would be fighting each other to publish them. Science is entirely about looking for errors in theories, politics often has a hand in trying to cover those errors up when the status quo is preferable, but that's got nothing to do with science.

    Scientific points of view are peer reviewed, independently verifiable and more interesting when they contradict. Political and philosophical views are expressed rhetorically and attract interest when they resonate. The anti AGW debate remains rhetorical the warmers would love to be PROVED wrong.

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  • 85. At 2:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #84. adcamb wrote:

    "Richard invited people to discuss the presentation and debate the science"

    So you do not think that the analysis of IPCC data is science? To my scientific mind for there to be a link between the changes in the level of CO2 in the atmospheres and global temperature the first and fundamental thing to show is that AFTER CO2 changes THEN Temperature changes. Please explain to me how this is not scientific? Look at the IPCC data and you will see that the reverse is the case.

    The seminar that you seem so ready and pleased to deride did not set out to debunk Climate Change, BUT to question the mechanism of CO2 as the CAUSE and to suggest that other mechanisms are actually a better match for the observations.

    There was no attempt to debunk Global Climate Change at all at the seminar (even from the Politician who spoke) - where did you get that idea from? What was done was to question the link to CO2 as the cause.

    It is true however that many of the presenters at the seminar did go overboard in supporting their own persecution complexes - but given they have to deal with a very hostile IPCC dominated World this was not surprising.

    You think that science is about looking for errors in theories - Is it not an error to say that one change is caused by another when the strong evidence (even in the IPCC datasets) that events occur in the reverse order? Unfortunately this question is fundamental and matters for us all!

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  • 86. At 2:18pm on 31 Oct 2009, StanleyRIP wrote:

    There is a failure in some of the posts here and in the wider community to appreciate the difference between weather forecasting (short term, subject to high levels of statistical noise), and climate science (longer term, noise averages out). Please keep the two sciences separate.

    Piers Corbyn may have made a better prediction about this year's summer than the Met Office, but that is a very long way from evidence that his method is better. The Met office forecast something which is statistically less likely, Corbyn something closer to a run-of the mill summer. Nobody's forecast is better than, say 95% accurate (to be very generous), therefore, because of false positives, a forecast which is conservative is much more likely to appear to be right than one which identifies a low probability event (such as a barbecue summer in the UK). Trust me, it's simple stats. To find out which is best you need a long run of forecasts using both methods, which can then be matched to reality after the event.

    I suspect the Met Office will be around long after Corbyn has retired.

    And I'd love to know where the peer reviewed science is on the internet; apart of course from the pay-to view journals,

    John

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  • 87. At 2:19pm on 31 Oct 2009, StanleyRIP wrote:

    Adcamb, your final paragraph is a brilliant, concise summary. Spot on,

    John

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  • 88. At 2:36pm on 31 Oct 2009, zzzzzzed wrote:

    I have just re-read this article and I have to say that I feel slightly insulted by it’s title - “Magnetic attraction of climate 'scepticism'“. It implies that scepticism is irrational and the result of an irresistible attraction.

    I used to be a firm believer in warming (and an activist). The first time I encountered the sceptic point of view was from 2 DEFRA experts whose job it was to pushing the warming agenda but who, in private conversations, didn’t believe a word of it. I argued against them fiercely and Googled every point they raised to gather facts to defeat their arguments but soon began to realise that they had a point.

    Since then I have spent 3 years spending part of most days looking into the arguments on both sides and, more importantly, looking for empirical evidence to support either point of view. So far the empirical evidence that I have come across has come down 100% to 0% on the side of the sceptics.

    The arguments and papers that support CO2 led warming seem to come from a very small group of scientists Hansen, Mann, Briffa etc who review each others papers but refuse to publish data and methods. Not only that when they make the mistake of publishing in a journal that insists that data is published and independent scientists are able to check their results they often turn out to be deeply flawed. We have all heard that recent temperatures are supposed to be the warmest for over 2000 years but the actual evidence for that come from a sample of only 12 trees on the Yamal peninsula. If you use the whole set of trees (or look at thermometer readings) you get a very different result.

    If the ‘warmist’ scientists want to kill scepticism stone dead all they have to do is publish some convincing evidence.

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  • 89. At 3:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, adcamb wrote:

    #85 John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "So you do not think that the analysis of IPCC data is science?"
    No I don't, it's rhetoric. In fact I don't have to think anything. I can simply look the two words up in a dictionary and choose the best match.

    It is possible to rebut the IPCC data scientifically and I'd welcome a genuine attempt to do so. So far most scientific analysis has agreed, most disagreement has been rhetorical. The word most is important here you will never get 100% scientific agreement on anything beyond basic mathematics. The UNCI documents on the side of AGW are every bit as rhetorical as the documents from the other side, but that just makes them equally irrelevant. Published papers showing a corelation between climate change and solar activity have been based on narrow time ranges and the fit tends to poor after the 70s.

    "The seminar that you seem so ready and pleased to deride".
    I derided the lack of debate on its content, I have no opinion of the conference that I did not attend.

    "You think that science is about looking for errors in theories - Is it not an error to say that one change is caused by another when the strong evidence". Publish the evidence, along with the methods and data, that's the process all other scientists have to follow.

    #86 StanleyRIP asked
    "And I'd love to know where the peer reviewed science is on the internet; apart of course from the pay-to view journals"
    I would recommend the directory of open access journals to you, but any search engine can help you answer this question for yourself.

    The "pay to view" journals are generally able to get the more interesting papers because they're more widely read, which in turn attracts readership. It's more an economic fact than a consipracy. The barrier to entry is merely level of impact. A paper casting serious doubt on AGW would have very high impact as would a paper demonstrating free energy.

    I've seen plenty of comments here about the global cooling hype from the early 80s, which I can promise you mearly died down. There evidence (N. S. Keenlyside et al 2008) that one effect is to some extent masking the other. This makes me wonder if anthropogenic global warming isn't helping us to a point and if preserving the ability to emit for the future so as to stabilise temperatures.

    Notice the difference between the two previous points; The first is cited, the second is a rhetorical expression of my opinion and may be claptrap.

    N. S. Keenlyside, M. Latif, J. Jungclaus L. Kornblueh & E. Roeckner (2008), Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector, Nature 453, 84-88

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  • 90. At 3:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, kbo234 wrote:

    When the free-fall 'pancake collapses' (a physical impossibility) of 9/11 are accepted as truth by our political and spiritual leaders and our professional thinkers, I no longer see the point of parliament, the Christian churches or our universities........because they are prepared to kow-tow and turn a blind eye to the obvious mass-murder of its own citizens by a shadow government operating in the interests of a dominating financial power.

    Why should anyone trust these degenerates? Why should anyone trust a media that must recognise significant public doubt in order to misdirect it in the direction of trusting the scammers and criminals who have so often lied to us in service of their paymasters interests? Why do you not treat the provable bull contained in Mr. Gore's comical presentation with the same amused skepticism with which you treat Mr. Corbyn?

    The bottom line is that, at the end of the day, you will find yourself pressing the government's Malthusian civilisation-wrecking project on an unwilling citizenry.......or lose your job.


    .......just as politicians, the media and (a lesser proportion of) the public revel in denigrating the BNP as evil racists while genuflecting before the dignity and righteousness of people who are responsible for killing 1,500,000 of our fellow human beings over the last eight years or so, we are all responsible for this appaling state of affairs.....mind you the dead are mostly arabs.....the anti-racist meme does not really apply to them.....does it?

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  • 91. At 3:11pm on 31 Oct 2009, eddhind wrote:

    @Edward_S_H re #60

    I am going to keep quiet on this blog as I know Richard is looking for a debate from hard-core climatologists on which I am certainly no leading authority... I am afraid Edward (good name by the way) I have am a little more qualified regarding your point. I am not sure where you read that ocean acidification is not proposed by anybody, but I thought I better clarify that (as I have pushed the problem of acidification on a few of these blogs).

    Firstly regarding defentions ACIDIFICATION does not make meaning making something an acid outright, it just means that the pH is lowering, which it is.

    Secondly
    "The mainstream interpretation of acidification isn't that oceans are absorbing more CO2 because they're warmer, by the way, but simply because there is more of it in the atmosphere"
    This is a claim made (perhaps more scientifically) by MANY scientists. Just search "ocean acidification" using Google scholar. The mentioned Ove H-G is amongst them. The problem with acidification is not that an Ocean with a negative pH will dissolve us when we go swimming. The problem is that it stops the process of calcification which is the process by which coral reefs grown and molluscs make their shells. This is a negative feedback lop as well as by forming calcium carbonate structure coral reefs are actually carbon sinks. With less coral in the seas, there is also more CO2 in the skies.

    Ocean Acidification is a proven, present and potent danger.

    I will watch other posts with interest. Great blog again Richard.

    p.s. One of the 'famous' sceptics is President of a very good and well respected coral reef organisation. For him to be so carefree about CO2 rises that climate aside will dissolve our reefs angers me a lot to be honest. He will be receiving a letter from me with haste asking for an explanation of this position!

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  • 92. At 3:15pm on 31 Oct 2009, adcamb wrote:

    #90 kbo234 wrote:
    "Why do you not treat the provable bull contained in Mr. Gore's comical presentation with the same amused skepticism with which you treat Mr. Corbyn?"

    I do treat it with the same amused scepticism of a politician who's clearly using science to further his own image. Many people on Gore's side are also well meaning, but poorly informed. However I'm trying to distinguish between scientific and rhetorical debate, Mr Corbyn can easily move from the second camp to the first by publishing. Two wrongs don't make a right.

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  • 93. At 3:19pm on 31 Oct 2009, diggerjock wrote:

    Unfortunately the attention you are giving to Piers Corbyn is tending to confirm the suspicion that your aim is to set up one of the more contentious of the climate sceptics as a "straw man" that you can use to attack the entire sceptical science.

    The fact that the sun influeces climate is uncontentious. It has been witnessed for more than 200 years through the Maunder and Dalton and other minima. There is plausible evidence through that whole time (see e.g. the Armagh Observatory record) that short intense solar cycles (like thos in the late 20th century) produce warmer weather and that long less intense cycles (like we are in now) produce cooling.

    You think that the fact that neither Spencer nor Svensmark agree in detail with Corbyn is a weakness. It most certainly isn't. Our climate and its planetary and cosmic influences is a sophisticated, complex and as yet rather poorly understood system

    As scientists Spencer and the rest are trying to grasp towards an understanding. They may not be quite there yet, but this is precisely how science should work.

    What we can say with absolute certainty at this stage is that the sciencsts who claim that the science is "settled" are mistaken. This is particularly true of those who like Hanson depend on and so strongly defend their crude, congruous but apparently deeply flawed global climate models.

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  • 94. At 3:57pm on 31 Oct 2009, Bishop Hill wrote:

    It's odd, isn't it, that the BBC felt it couldn't report the Yamal furore because it wasn't in the published literature, but has now decided it can report on Piers Corbyn, while pointing out that his methods are not in the published literature?

    This does rather seem to support the idea that this was an exercise in straw man argumentation.

    Richard, would you be able to clarify for us which non-peer reviewed science is deemed suitable for discussion here and which is deemed unsuitable? Thanks.

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  • 95. At 4:50pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    Bravo! a most orwellian use of words like 'mainstream' and many ad hominems before you actually get round to the point of the article (which was mainly to trash anyone who is a skeptic i believe? to judge by your sneering, unattributed 'authority' who just happened to be onhand and the tone of your text in general). i'm in the 'its the sun's fault you idiots, stop trying to tax into poverty and dictate the minutae of their daily lives to free people' tribe i'm afraid. obviously i just lost the remainder of the crowd of warming enthusiasts (as they tend to be a teeny bit close minded towards criticism) who hadn't realised i meant orwellian and ad hominem in a bad way. it is a religion to a lot of people and it uses a sense of 'justified wellbeing' ('i eat organic because i love the earth so i'm a good person, that proves it, well pat me on the back please god!' kind of thing) in place of divine rewards they get smugness. i have observed that the 2 groups of fascists in this country (the ones who love green and the others who hate anything not white) are both tiny and disproportionately noisy minorities who should be sidelined equally while rational people make the important decisions about our future. Here's to the future (when we'll know for sure whose right and whose just blowing hot air)!

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  • 96. At 5:25pm on 31 Oct 2009, Richard Black (BBC) wrote:

    Thanks for all the comments so far - especially those of you who've had a go at the original point of the post. davblo2, thanks for going to the trouble of making a new link for the presentation - not sure why mine broke.

    As quite a few of you have pointed out, there is a fair bit of "shooting the messenger" going on here and while all's fair in love, war and bloggery, I'm not sure what some of you really want. You castigate us for not covering overtly "sceptical" issues - then when we do cover one, you complain it's the wrong one (diggerjock, BishopHill - diggerjock clearly missing the several articles I've written relating to the Svensmark theory, see for example here). As Muddy Waters put it: I Just Can't Be Satisfied... And frankly, I think that when we're getting to the level of suspicions being raised about why someone chooses to sit in a particular seat there's a case for sitting back, taking a deep breath and smelling the coffee. Thanks for your comments on this issue John_from_Hendon and you are absolutely right I think about the irrelevance of a reporter's personal opinions. Although that's just my personal opinion...

    omnologos, you ask whether I'd care to comment on the sacking of government adviser Dr David Nutt. In short, I wouldn't; while I can appreciate the ironical timing involved here, it's been years since I reported on issues such as this and I don't feel remotely qualified to comment in as nuanced a way as would be required. But you might try this analysis of a government adviser's role, or see Mark Easton's blog post.

    simon-swede, I don't know why the paper hasn't been submitted yet.

    There seems to be a bit of confusion around about ocean acidification and thanks, eddhind, for clarifying it. Just to amplify; the seawater doesn't have to become acidic enough to corrode organisms, it doesn't even have to be on the acidic side of neutral at all. If organisms need a certain level of alkalinity to form their shells, then they'll be impacted when the alkalinity falls below that level. As a simple analogy, how well would your digestive system work if you could neutralise the pH in your stomach? Not too well - it needs a certain range of pH, but that range isn't close to neutral. More here.

    I should have posted links to the two papers Professor Hoegh-Guldberg cited - apologies. Here we are:

    Bruno and Selig - Regional Decline of Coral Cover in the Indo-Pacific: Timing, Extent, and Subregional Comparisons - this is the actual paper.

    De'ath et al - Declining Coral Calcification on the Great Barrier Reef - as Science is a subscription-only journal, this links to discussion of the paper.

    It's worth pointing out that coral scientists do not see warming oceans or acidification as the only causes of reef decline - over-fishing, local pollution, invasive species and others are cited alongside warming and acidifying water.

    For personal reasons I'm not going to be in a position to post for a few days now, but I'll get back on the thread eventually.

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  • 97. At 6:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, Bishop Hill wrote:

    Richard

    No, you have avoided the point. You refused, you said, to discuss the Yamal furore because it wasn't in the peer reviewed literature, but here you are discussing Corbyn's theories which aren't published anywhere at all. Either you have changed your policy or you are deliberately avoiding the Yamal issue.

    Yamal has been THE big story on the climate front in the last six months, but you will not even mention it, presumably because it raises awkward questions over the integrity of mainstream climatologists. Corbyn's ideas are not even on the radar of the majority of people who follow climate science yet he is given full (sniggering) coverage.

    Yamal is used in most of the paleoclimate reconstructions that are used to support the idea of modern temperatures being unprecedented. The modern sections of Yamal are based on just twelve trees. A reputable news organisation, a reputable journalist, would have reported this disturbing fact, which is not disputed, to its readers. The excuse that it is not in the peer reviewed literature is just that - an excuse.

    We might also wonder why you have failed to report the comments of Professor Korhola:

    "When later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st century as an embarrassing chapter in history of science. They will wonder our time, and use it as a warning of how the core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten as the actual research topic — climate change — turned into a political and social playground."

    A more damning indictment of the integrity of mainstream climatology is hard to imagine, and this from a man who is emphatically not a sceptic. This should have been at the top of every news bulletin since the time he said it. Can the BBC really not have noticed this? Were you not aware?

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  • 98. At 6:11pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    'There is an important study that the Australian Institute of Marine Science completed recently which shows a 15% decrease in reef calcification since 1990. This decline in a fundamental parameter of coral reefs (ie calcification) was unprecedented in the 400 years of record examined. This trend backs other studies that are reporting that coral reefs may begin dissolving at above 450 ppm.'

    very interesting. how many chemists were exploring the properties of coral calcification 400 years ago, in australia no less?? the science of chemistry itself can't claim to have been in anything other than its earliest infancy even in europe, at the time scientifically the most advanced area in the world. no-one was studying coral reefs 400 years ago so to claim that records exist regarding a concept that 400 years ago there wasn't even a word for is just so stupid. i don't know what evidence the good prof (i've known some bad profs as well you know) has for recent trends but he lost me when he back dated serious acheivements in chemistry by hundreds of years. give up you fascists. you've missed you're window. blame the goreacle for not being able to keep his lies straight or put forth consistent propaganda. blame yourselves for your truly selfish and base motives, despite the fine rhetoric and mutually masturbatory backslapping. you will not win this, and even if you do (by bludgeoning some draconian son of kyoto into being in december) you'll lose for good when the economy tanks and it becomes obvious that while your ideas are very noble they are also immensly narrowminded, misguided and lead to a masochistic, suicidal conclusion. give it a break, let people who aren't one note wonders with but one objective try to sort things out. you'll only permanently destroy you're credibility if you get lucky this year.

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  • 99. At 7:23pm on 31 Oct 2009, jenkida wrote:

    Richard, this peer review process you mention, would it be similar to the the ones used by the AGW brigade, namely [1] lets make sure that we cherry pick the data or use statistically flawed programs so that even random numbers will give us the results we need [2] select all our mates as peer reviewers as they will agree with the conclusions but who are also too stupid to figure exactly how we manipulated the data and the results [3] refuse to make the data available to anyone else, in case we get caught out too quickly.
    Is this what you are recommending as you never seem to have condemned any of the shenanigans involved with Mann Hockey Stick or with the Yamal tree rings but then should we expect you or the BBC to be objective and fair in reporting on climate change.

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  • 100. At 7:41pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    alas, apparently they are briefed on appropriate language to report on the subject. i'd be very interested for mr black to publish a summary of all his scientific qualications, his journalism qualifications and the specifics of and the reasons for any training/advice he has receiveed regarding covering the subject of 'global doom', apologies, climate change. i appreciate that mr black is now away, for reasons where we dare not tread (private stuff people, be nice) but a brief, concise and honest summary of both his scientific/journalistic qualifications and also any 'advice' regarding 'image creation/propagation' or whatever on this subject would be enlightening. Care to throw down mr black? maybe shrug off some of these, pretty damning in my opinion, accusations of partiality?

    regards

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  • 101. At 7:54pm on 31 Oct 2009, indiantoronto wrote:

    I would be mildly sympathetic to sceptics if there was the slightest evidence that any of them had ever apologised for being wrong about previous useless critiques that turned out to be nothing over the past ten years. All they do is move on to the next bogus notion. At least scientists are prepared to admit and revise. If anyone can show me one apology from any of these people.....?



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  • 102. At 8:01pm on 31 Oct 2009, manysummits wrote:

    \\\ Fear is the Only Darkness ///
    ( All Hallow's Eve, October 31, 2009 )

    My wife, Underacanoe, tells me I am looking worn and tired from all this blogging! Of course she is right.

    The concept of the "Limits to Growth" report first made public in 1972 by the 'Club of Rome' has never really left me, but in the potentially long and debilitating time since those early seventies I have managed to escape from that report's implications in a variety of ways, not the least of which was a mystic's retreat to the mountain world of climbing for some seven years.

    Now, married and with a son just turned five (Cloudrunner), I find myself once more struggling to survive.

    The "Planetary Boundaries" article from the Stockholm Resilience Centre published earlier this year is the latest full chapter in this "Limits to Growth" saga, one which confirms and emphasizes how essentially correct was the 'Club of Rome.' And both are an extension of the Malthusian views of almost two centuries ago.

    You would think that with so much brainpower available and so much warning we would'nt be in the situation that we are indeed in!

    A monstrous storm was seen coming - in many ways a 'perfect storm.' Instead of preparing for it, the human race seems bent on destroying itself.

    For most of a year now I have blogged on this site.

    Finally, we seem to be getting somewhere - with this particular blog, "Magnetic attraction of climate 'scepticism'.

    Two reporters from the BBC had the courage to attend a 'sceptic's' convention, and one to report on it.

    Finally a man has stepped forward, and a professional scientist to boot, and stated the obvious:

    "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet."

    Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg at the University of Queensland (post #29).

    Thank you, Professor, for having the courage to step forward like this, in so sunlit a place.

    Men of courage are always in short supply. Dr. James Hansen is another who has stated his views unequivocally, and suffered the consequences.

    There are a few regulars on this website who take the time and effort to engage in seemingly fruitless debate and discussion, aware that perhaps they are debating and discussing with a group who are in fact, not open to either logic or feeling.

    For myself, I regard this group of so called sceptics as in the main, an unholy cabal of 'business as usual' lobbyists, half-baked scientific amateurs (in the bad sense), with perhaps the odd certifiable lunatic thrown in for good measure. Welcome to the blogosphere!

    As for the prospects for all of us, the outlook is at least uncertain.

    We operate an almost preposterous 'democracy,' in which half of us don't even vote, and as for the half that do, we increasingly vote the 'business as usual' crowd back into office, in the mistaken belief that their interests will somehow trickle down to help us, or that we may ascend to the ranks of the wealthy, wherein we have the luxury of allowing a bit of loose change to trickle out of our pockets and down to the many struggling far below.

    I need to remind myself, when I get to thinking this way, that much is being done to address this approaching storm.

    On this evening, when for some of us superstituous, imaginative tribal hunter-gatherers, two words meet - I was wondering how many feel as do I?

    - Manysummits, Calgary -

    PS: I'm off to take care of myself - to the climbing park to test out a pair of boots on the featured boulder there, in the strong west wind and sunlit air of the eastern slope of the Canadian Rockies.



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  • 103. At 8:06pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    we have nothing to apologise for except refusing to toe a line we find bizarrely unsupported by facts. we don't have to prove a negative. like god fearing folks everywhere, the onus lies with those who make a positive supposition to actually support it (with genuine science not propaganda and misinformation, and character assasinations and the various other dispicable approaches taken by eco-fanatics) which they have not yet done to most peoples satisfaction. the problem with the left (and greenies tend to be lefties, not stereotyping here but green is the new red) is that they seriously underestimate the intelligence of those they want to 'save' ie control. when did gore apologise for the hockeystick (which the skeptics were right about) or ice cores they ignore (which support the skeptics) etc etc. sorry my canadian friend but you're comment is as irrational as it is jaundiced. you apologise for trying to hijack the discussion to the point where debate is impossible. you apologise for all the people who don't think, don't question, and are now utterly convinced that something that isn't true, is true. the shoe is on the other foot mes amis.

    regards

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  • 104. At 8:21pm on 31 Oct 2009, MrSkipp wrote:

    There seems to be a confusion on this blog between political decision making (e.g. the precautionary principle), which govern societies, and science, which seeks to understand the world

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  • 105. At 8:26pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    richard black ain't posting anymore cos he's getting called on some stuff he doesn't really have a defence for. hence out comes mr aspirational-nickname manysummits. i present to you that manysummits is merely an alterego of mr black that he uses when he wishes to propagate BS in these 'sunlit zones' and counter any reasonable or serious challenge to his 'authority' on this subject. wow. mr black needs to address the fact that he completely fails to report on or stresses the lack of peer review for anything that refutes anthropogenic global warming and yet will tout non peer-reviewed works that support anthropogenic climate change without mentioning a word of their lack of collective verification. he needs to inform his readers exactly how he has been 'trained' or advised to cover the subject and to what ends his methods are aimed. he doesn't need to send out the clowns meaningless prattle with the aspirational nicknames and fictional lifestyles (dude, always check for frays on ropes, we'd hate to lose you). we are not as foolish as you think. a fail for you. see me.

    regards

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  • 106. At 8:37pm on 31 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    mildlyoffensive #105.

    "i present to you that manysummits is merely an alterego of mr black that he uses.."

    I know this not to be the case.

    mildlyparanoid per-chance?

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  • 107. At 8:46pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    oh, i'll totally take your word for it, you're a legend round my neck of the woods, who could doubt you?! my statement was more rhetorical than a statement of fact. i'd still like an answer as to what evidence of rates of calcification the good prof has that stretch back 400 years in australia? it seems that point might of got lost/been conveniently ignored somewhere along the way.

    regards

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  • 108. At 9:04pm on 31 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    mildlyoffensive #107.

    ;-)

    "i'd still like an answer as to what evidence of rates of calcification the good prof has that stretch back 400 years in australia?"

    oh, ok, quick google of "acidification reef decrease" brings loads of results including a number of 'scholarly' papers, not sure the proof you're looking for is included though.

    hth

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  • 109. At 9:10pm on 31 Oct 2009, nealjking wrote:

    It's a pity that there hasn't been any input from relevant scientists. Just the usual quotation of talking points and denialism.

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  • 110. At 9:10pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    according to wikipedia (i don't trust it even when it agrees with me, ohh i know i'm so paranoid!) the first european settlement on the australian continent was at port jackson founded in 1788. so its been about 220 years since europeans first arrived there. yet we supposedly have 400 years of records for this area? preserved no doubt in the aboriginal oral tradition, majestic songs about millionth of a percentage changes in ocean acidification or the decline of the bivalves. it is possible that the records he refers to are specific to another area (where scientist had already actually managed to exist) but that isn't the tone given it by this article. either this article is misleading and fails to properly qualify the data it quotes (as a private comment rather than an offical post i might add) or the good prof needs to check his history cos for 200 years of the period he claims there wasn't anyone with the ability to write let alone record miniscule chemical variations in sea water on the continent in question.

    regards

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  • 111. At 9:41pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    a direction towards googel isn't a great arguement, you can find abundant evidence of just about anything through goole my friend, even that princess di was actually an alien overlord (reptilian naturally, blond by choice!) etc etc and i'm taking issue, as my previous post says, with the way this info is presented to us by mr black. i'd also (paranoid again) wonder as to whether the good prof has actually been contacted (as implied by the 'as soon as they get back to me' comments) or if he is merely being quoted from an earlier publication.

    my point stands: australia cannot have any kind of record of these effects as it was not even colonised until halfway through the quoted period so either: a)mr black is fudging b)the prof is blowing (admittedly fashionable) smoke up us. which is it please?

    regards

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  • 112. At 9:48pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    neal:

    i agree, thank god for your immense and wise contribution to the debate. how you have opened my eyes. you have a gift sir.


    regards

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  • 113. At 10:04pm on 31 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    mildlyoffensive #111.

    "my point stands: australia cannot have any kind of record of these effects as it was not even colonised until halfway through the quoted period.."

    right, and dinosaurs didn't roam the Earth because there weren't any humans recording the evidence 165M years ago.

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  • 114. At 10:36pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    actually the dino's left big bones that turned to stone and survived the ages for us to examine and study in the modern world. miniscule changes in concentration of specific ions in seawater leave no bones, no evidence to study unless i'm seriously misinformed about the properties of H2O. that one was easy. can you acknowledge that i have at least hit upon an interesting flaw in the arguement, that while still possibly a misapprehension or misunderstanding on my part, seems to merit at least a reasonable response? or shall we talk dino's, indulge in ad hominems and appeals to authority until the cows come home? which incidentally the greenies want to put a stop to as well (by a mass cull no doubt), because of the wind of their passage.

    regards

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  • 115. At 10:47pm on 31 Oct 2009, unusual_example wrote:

    I am in a slightly unusual position in this debate - I have a business that provides instrumentation used for measuring various parameters cited as "evidence". On BOTH sides. As such, I am frankly bombarded by data showing ice thinning, ice thickening, seas warming, seas cooling, 100 year graphs of X, 100,000 year graphs of Y, etc, etc. My conclusion?

    Neither side (and I'm simplifying in saying there are only two sides) has enough conclusive evidence one way or the other. What I will say is that those on the Pro-AGW side of the debate are, in my experience, without exception, driven by either ideological motive (usually those who comment), or financial/career incentives (scientists, pseudo scientists and hangers-on (90% of the IPCC panel for example)). Equally, those on the anti-AGW side are mostly driven by ideological motive and financial incentive. However, there are also "anti" people who are driven by nothing more than a desire to find out the truth.

    The simple fact is that NOBODY HAS PROVEN ANYTHING ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. As a scientist by background, I believe the burden of proof should be on those trying to prove a theory (i.e. AGW) not on those trying to disprove it. And it's very easy to present data with the conclusion "more work is required". Another 3 years funding on "Climate Change"? KERCHING!!!

    I have no axe to grind with either side - I make money out of both of them, and I wholeheartedly agree with all my customers, obviously. Who do I trust more? Certainly nobody (on either side) who pursues their research becasue they are paid to do so, or who has predetermined their conclusions before analysing their data. I personally believe, having a somewhat objective view, that the whole AGW argument is nothing more than a political issue; tax and rule by fear.

    I would also add (briefly) that the whole issue is something of a red herring. Alternative / nuclear energy should be pursued urgently because hydrocarbons are a finite resource (although, supplying that industry too, I believe the resources are greater than some would say). Be sensible with your energy usage, because it's sensible. And that, as the man said, is about all I got to say about that.

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  • 116. At 11:03pm on 31 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    mildlyoffensive #114.

    "can you acknowledge that i have at least hit upon an interesting flaw in the arguement.."

    yes, and I'm pretty sure (as much as a non-scientist can) that "miniscule changes in concentration of specific ions in seawater leave no bones.." is correct.

    however, what about the sedimentary record?

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  • 117. At 11:14pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    Mr. Unusual Example you are a breath of fresh air and true to your name. i concur with everything you say. i also agree with you regarding nuclear power, which we would have been persuing for decades if not for the same people now trying to force us to beleive CO2 is pollution. every living thing that isn't a plant is entirely constructed from CO2 mixed with a little water and sunlight to make sugar and then immensely complex hydrocarbons and proteins. CO2 is one of the basic chemical elements in the great chain of life that stretches back to the proto-organisms, eloquently described in dawkins 'river out of eden'. thanks for offering some hope to a jaded cynic.

    regards

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  • 118. At 11:31pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    hi JR! what about it? as someone who is like wise not schooled in this area: how is you're point meaningful? is there any reason you brought it up? what about the high atmosphere, droplets of water from time immemorial are still floating around up there. we should use those to prove stuff! how is your response this time different from you're 'what about dino's' line that was equally weak? aren't you just trying the same lame tactic of oneupmanship with the intent of getting the last word and looking like you've 'won'? i asked a question you have thus far avoided. i expect you're next response would be something along the lines of 'well if you don't know why sediment records are significant i don't have to educate you.' you brought it up, please explain to me why the sedimentary record is apparently very similar to ice core records (which suggest the earth is currently actually quite a lot cooler than it has been at certain times in its history).

    regards

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  • 119. At 11:36pm on 31 Oct 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    a correction to an earlier post: plants are indeed almost entirely constructed from the sugars produced by photsynthesis of H2O and CO2. alas i misedited the post while trying to reduce the length (and ranting).

    regards

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  • 120. At 11:52pm on 31 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    mildlyoffensive #118.

    debate only really works if we're on the same subject.

    you (#98, #107)

    "..coral calcification 400 years ago.."
    "..what evidence of rates of calcification.."

    so, why suddenly "what about the high atmosphere, droplets of water from time immemorial are still floating around up there"?

    "..oneupmanship .." -- barely worth it, don't you agree?

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  • 121. At 11:55pm on 31 Oct 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    oops, almost missed this, #120 cont'd.

    "you brought it up, please explain to me why the sedimentary record is apparently very similar to ice core records (which suggest the earth is currently actually quite a lot cooler than it has been at certain times in its history)."

    can calcification be evident from ice cores? I do not know.

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  • 122. At 11:57pm on 31 Oct 2009, Atomicblade wrote:

    If only Carlsberg made Blog debates......

    Oh, hang on. It appears that they do.

    Without a doubt the greatest mud slinging blog debate, that I have had the pleasure to follow.

    I'll lay my cards on the table. I work in the nuclear industry, so have a vested interest in the belief in humanity as a cause of climate change. Nuclear power remains the only credible route to large scale carbon free power.

    I have always proudly called myself a sceptic... about absolutely everything. The climate change through human emissions theory seemed plausible. A vast industry was built on it, and religions bent to its whim. Personal fortunes were (are and will be) made from it.

    My problem is that the evidence for the theory is pretty ropey. It is clear that Global warming has now become a religion. Facts are irrelevant. What is important is that people are made to believe, and to cough up the extra taxes. As a recipient of said taxes, all I can say is......

    Kerching!!!!!!!!!

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  • 123. At 00:05am on 01 Nov 2009, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    "If a series of credible, peer reviewed papers appeared debunking AGW, demonstrating free energy or showing that the earth really was thousands of years old, then the papers would be dynamite and journals would be fighting each other to publish them." - adcamb

    Tell me, are you at all familiar with the development of the theories of plate tectonics? Or of the solar wind? Those are the best examples I know of, but I'm sure there are many others. In both cases a (now accepted) theory was rubbished with "the consensus" because it tried to argue with the established worldview of the experts in that field.

    In *theory* science revels in the chance to prove itself wrong, to catch mistakes and strike out boldly in new directions. In practice, the inertia of reputation and habit can take years to resolve, even when the scientific evidence is - with hindsight - overwhelming. In the case of AGW, it's not just academic reputation that is at stake. There's political reputation, political influence, a colossal income stream for both scientists and the carbon-traders and indeed the whole basic reputation of science. So it's hardly surprising that even a decade after the apocalyptic temperature rise predictions of the 1990s have proven to (fittingly) just so much hot air, those involved in this "Emperor's New Clothes" AGW scandal are still digging their heels in and fighting a rearguard action against the observational truths.



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  • 124. At 00:09am on 01 Nov 2009, Atomicblade wrote:

    Oh, I forgot to thank everyone from greenpeace and friends of the earth for doing such an eloquent job of promoting Nuclear Power.

    I new their crusty hearts were in the right place.

    LOL

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  • 125. At 00:16am on 01 Nov 2009, mattiebl wrote:

    I take your point about the name IPCC, but at first it was mainly referred to as global warming and now you hear more and more about climate change. It was a fair point I felt.
    The cosmic ray theory Piers Corbyn said was wrong. That's doesn't prove the whole theory about the sun is wrong.

    There is one important point that MR corbyn makes. That is, past data doesn't show a correlation between co2 and temperature in the way that is hoped. Temperature rise preceeds co2 rise, but not the other way round.

    It is inexcusable that little kids are frightened to death by all the almarmist stories. Why should they be a political football?

    The Stuart Dimmock court case was interesting because AL Gore's movie can now only be seen in schools provided it is made clear it is merely somebody's opinion. |Failure to do this would now be considered political indoctrination.

    I take the point that not all political causes are bad. Eg AIDS because there is practical advice about safe sex. It seems more preventable than global warming or cooling.

    There seems to be a moral responsibilty to use Piers Corbyn's forecasts to protect the public. Infinitely better than blaming it on climate change after the event.

    When the public were told the theory is more or less proved I didn't get that sense it was a ground breaking discovery. It was like it's proved and that is that.

    Usually, when such a break through is made you get to hear all about it.

    Let's face it, such a theory or proof would be very interesting given how unlikely it is us mere humans have so effortlessly and quickly changed a whole climate system.

    If man ever can change the climate which has been around for billions of years surely he would have to think of something so powerful and great.

    Don't the repercussions of a nuclear fall out worry you far more than co2? Everybody still seems in favour of that.

    It must be mentioned how the medieval warm period about 1000 years ago and the holocence maximum about 10000 years ago were not included in the IPCC summary, I believe it was.

    In short, I take the point about acting now just in case.

    This is known as the precautionary principle which does not ask what the detriments are of acting too.

    It is detrimental to a world economy for something there is no evidence for and if true would be far from being apocalyptic judging by history of warm periods. By all accounts they have been periods of great prosperity.

    The bio fuels which from my understanding use crops are ludicrous in my opinion as it pushes food prices up. Not a good move in a recession.

    I suggest if governments are so worried about climate change they stop taxing us and instead stop building new runways. I do believe if they were that worried they would have practiced what they preach by now.

    Finally, what annoys me greatly is that this seems to legitimise the break down of law and order. Look at some of the climate change protests eg blockading airports and many more.

    Let's say a relative was dying overseas and the familty couldn't get over there in time.

    Doesn't it make you sick?

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  • 126. At 00:29am on 01 Nov 2009, mildlyoffensive wrote:

    hmm, perhaps i got a little heated? and at risk of insta-losing by responding: i was trying to ask (and i'd like to point out you did kind of dodge it again) how just saying 'sediment cores' was a reasonable response that answered my question? i haven't been able to google away because i'm at work and commenting when i get chance, i'l have a search this evening.

    also this pre-emptive moderation makes any communication really unwieldy, i'd like to add a voice for reactive moderation please. also while i'm glad we at least amused, its not right that this very important topic is the province of special interests on both sides and occassional truth seekers and so often degenerates into embittered partisanship. besides photosynthesis i'm infinitely suspicious anytime a government comes up with a great idea for raising taxes. no offence to anyone, its hard to joke without inflection and gestures!

    all the best

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  • 127. At 00:39am on 01 Nov 2009, U14197294 wrote:

    I am a microbial Oceanographer (microbial functioning in the water column), and although i dont publish in the field of Climate studies, I can say that I am well read in the field, and i should be fairly well qualified to make some general observations.
    I had a look at the Corbyn presentation, and for any non scientist who may still be reading these comments i have this important observation to make:
    I (or any scientist) would be laughed out of a scientific conference after a presentation like that. that is not science. none of the data that he uses to further his arguments are peer-reviewed or published in any form -instead he subtitles them "official data -by (author name) for Piers Colbyn" This is plainly ridiculous and i must stress that his data cannot be taken seriously until it has been released and examined by someone other than himself.
    It is absolutely impossible to debate the merits of his position until the data is available (through publication -peer reviewed or open access, or by whatever means) and until then he is just another crank with an axe to grind.
    Anyone can hire a venue and invite some speakers and put on a show.
    If he is so convinced that his view is correct then it should stand up to the scrutiny that every other working scientist has to submit his work to.
    I would be only to glad to assist in the review process.

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  • 128. At 01:27am on 01 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    mildlyoffensive #126.

    partisanship - sorry if that's how it looked. I simply replied to your #98 because I remembered reading about a study which showed a decrease in shell thickness in molluscs and also spoke of effects on coral, hence my (vague) instruction to google 'acidification reef decrease'.

    btw, adding 'sediment' to this search still yields plenty of results, among them:

    http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest/research-themes/community-metabolism.html

    varying the order of search terms makes a difference too.

    "..its hard to joke without inflection and gestures.."

    ;-)

    "also this pre-emptive moderation makes any communication really unwieldy.."

    spot-on, even after months of participation in debates, every post has to go "through the system" -- tedious.

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  • 129. At 01:57am on 01 Nov 2009, Facts-please wrote:

    User 1219 says sceptics are not publishing papers.
    Go to http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html for 400+ publications

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  • 130. At 04:19am on 01 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @manysummits and his approval of this line
    "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know. However, what is very clear is that these individuals are playing a very dangerous game with our future on this planet."

    Look in the mirror and you will have the answer to his question. Everything he said applies to you (and of course him as well). You just won't realize it for a few more years until all of this nonsense comes tumbling down. You and the "consensus" have cheapened the science you supposedly hold dear. This "science" will be held up to future generations as the most shameful and utterly pathetic perversion of ever perpetrated on the public and science its self...a lesson in what you must never, as a scientist, allow yourself to do and become.

    Hansen, BTW will probably be considered the Lysenko of our time.

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  • 131. At 09:56am on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    Sitting in my office on a Sunday morning (for shame!) I am preparing a paper for submission to an international journal in my field (which isn't climate). As usual I'm feeling nervous because I know that a couple of other people, who really know their stuff, are going to go at my paper with a sledge hammer. That's what peer reviewers do. I know, I review papers myself and have my own sledge hammer sitting in the corner of the room. If skeptics question how tough peer review can be I suggest that we write to the editors of the journals for which they review to question whether they should really be acting as reviewers - and if they aren't involved in peer review themselves I suspect that they don't have the necessary experience to comment. Since when, however, did qualifications or decades of self-critical study by scientists ever concern the skeptics? We are, after all, only in it to feather our own nests (tell that to my wife and kids who get dragged half way round the world as I pursue an academic career, have to endure my long absences on field work and conferences and for what? rather fewer feathers than my nest might hold were I, for example, an accountant or possibly a bus driver). When Mr Corbin has put his work through the same process of review the rest of us have to I will take it seriously. Until then I will keep my rubber gloves on my hands and the peg on my nose. Lets not have any more nonsense about skeptical science being rejected because it goes against the grain. If he has strong science it will get published - and if it's as strong a he says then it will make Nature.
    I read some of the papers, Facts-please. Is this the best you can do? The stuff by Beck is, sadly, flawed (I'm being polite) and anything in Energy and Environment is suspect since it acknowledges itself to promote a specificly skeptical point of view. Indeed it does almost nothing else. Some of the papers in other journals are interesting because they make sensible comments abot good science (for example Ecology, Volume 84, Number 6, pp. 1351-1358, June 2003- Roger A. Pielke Jr., Richard T. Conant), but they certainly don't support an AGW skeptial point of view as you and the site you link to suggest. The paper in Nature Geoscience 2, 576 - 580 (2009) "Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming" by Richard E. Zeebe1, James C. Zachos & Gerald R. Dickens could certainly mean we have more to worry about the positive feedbacks from GHG emmissions rather than less.
    So Mr Black, business as usual. The reason that scientists who know the issues won't comment on your blog is that they are getting on with their jobs and having to trawl through the stuff which skeptics like Corbin promote is an excercise in futility. Your own patience and diplomacy in handling this stuff continues to impress but I strongly recomend that you too keep your rubber gloves on.

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  • 132. At 10:10am on 01 Nov 2009, user1219 wrote:

    Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg at the University of Queensland writes
    "All in all, the sceptics (which I believe should actually be called what they really are, an anti-science special-interest lobby) continue to wilfully distort the conclusions of peer-reviewed science. One wonders what motivates these carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen? Is it personal gain from pandering to special-interest, or is it simply a pathological condition? We will probably never know."

    This sort of statement is commonly made by climate scientists, and I find it quite amazing. Have they never heard of psychology? It would be easy to pop round to the Psychology Dept and ask what motivates people, or if that is too hard, try Google. Climate scientists are fighting cognitive dissonance, and they don't seem to realise that's a losing battle.

    The climate scientists have the naive idea that they simply need to lay out the science and everyone will be convinced by the logic. That is unlikely to work. Scientific assessments are always set aside where politically inconvenient, that has been shown time and again.

    Demonising skeptical opposition as some sort of sinister conspiracy not only misses the point, it will antagonise people and prevent the message getting across. The amount of skeptic opposition and number of people not believing AGW is actually increasing, this shows that the skeptics are winning the battle.

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  • 133. At 10:13am on 01 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #127 titandgrbl wrote:

    As a scientist does it not concern you that "the CO2 is THE cause 'fact'" appears not to be well supported by the underlying data? (No matter how well peer-reviewed!)

    It worries me. (I will not repeat my causality arguments here yet again.) How do you explain that CO2 is seen as a 'switch' that can 'turn-off' climate change when in my view the scientific basis for the relationship of a CO2 change preceding a temperature change appears to be totally absent from the IPCC's data?

    (I am not concerned, and do not speculate, as to the precise mechanisms behind changes in the planets climate. Except that CO2 does not seem to be a cause. Indeed, I do not need to define a mechanism for my legitimate and scientifically based concerns to have a consequential and necessary impact on public policy. Perhaps you will comment directly on this?)

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  • 134. At 10:13am on 01 Nov 2009, minuend wrote:

    The UN-IPCC models, all 20+ of them, have been peer-reviewed. Not one predicted the cooling over the last decade.

    All the hockey stick curves were peer-reviewed and still beng published even though we know they have been thoroughly debunked.

    The claim of warming in the Antarctica was peer-reviewed and published without the merest qualm when it is clear that those involved invented data were none exists.

    All of Jim Hansen's papers over the past 30 years that predicted dramatic increases in temperatures and ocean levels were all peer-reviewed and all were ultimately found to be in serious error.

    All of the studies that "proved" man-made climate change were peer-reviewed and still they don't have the data - 10 years of cooling and counting.

    What scientists are beginning to realise that in the public mind peer-review is now seen as an integral part of the AGW scam. The journal gate-keepers just reinforce the notion of what constitues "accepted" science and what doesn't.

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  • 135. At 10:16am on 01 Nov 2009, mattiebl wrote:

    Message for Poitsplace.

    I understand the global warming science looks impressive to the untrained eye given its stamp of authority.

    The fundamental question to any Mathematical or Scientific theory is where is the evidence?

    Pythagoras theorem was found using evidence so why shouldn't this be?

    Since when has science been decided by consensus. It's decided by evidence.

    When is somebody going to produce a graph that shows CO2 rise coming before temperature rise?

    It's no good cherry picking data because when 2 things are not related they will of necessity at times go in the same direction and at other times in the opposite direction. If they went in the opposite direction all the time that would imply CO2 causes cooling.

    If the global warming people are happy with their evidence using their own standards then they should be even happier with the correlation between the solar effect and the temperature.

    I don't mean to be rude but the question must be to anything that's said.

    Where is the evidence?

    Where is the evidence?

    Where is the evidence?

    until the question is answered and not avoided.

    But, I'm quite convinced it will always be avoided because there is no evidence.

    However, I stand to be corrected.

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  • 136. At 10:16am on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    Before closing the browser and turning back to my own paper I thought I'd have a really good look at one of the papers on the skeptical website which Facts-please links. The paper is "Timing of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature Changes Across Termination III" by Nicolas Caillon, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, Jean Jouzel, Jean-Marc Barnola, Jiancheng Kang and Volodya Y. Lipenkov published in Science 14 March 2003: Vol. 299. no. 5613.
    The website extracts the quote "The sequence of events during Termination III suggests that the CO2 increase lagged Antarctic deglacial warming by 800 ± 200 years and preceded the Northern Hemisphere deglaciation.". It presumably proposes, therefore, that the lag in CO2 rise after a warming event shows that CO2 wasn't the driver then and isn't the driver now.
    But that isn't what the paper says and by cherry-picking a quote the website is being profoundly dishonest. Moreover, by intending to mislead its readers it clearly intends also to distort the debate. Given the seriousness of the consequences of AGW, were it to be a fact (not just very likely, which is as certain as we can be now), such distortions have the potential to do us all serious harm. If we fail to act to reduce our GHG emmisions now because skeptics use such falsehoods to sufficient effect we deserve everything we get.

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  • 137. At 10:23am on 01 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #131. Bryn_hill wrote:

    "...sceptics like Corbin..." At the seminar the scepticism was not about climate change; the scepticism centred on the role of CO2 as a CAUSE.

    The tactic of painting everyone who has any doubts about an scientific orthodoxy with the same paint brush and to use this as a way to dismiss all challenges is a very well established technique in science, politics and life - however it does tend to prevent reasoned discussion and this is my feeling about your use of the term 'sceptic' in this case. Please ask yourself the question: what if CO2 reflects temperature and is not a driver of temperature? (From the peer-reviewed and IPCC data that I have seen, CO2 reflects temperature is far more probable.)

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  • 138. At 10:49am on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    Of course CO2 lags warming, John_from_Hendon. Why wouldn't it? If I warm certain components of the environment they will emit more CO2 (and, more to the point, they and others will emit more methane). Indeed, such feedback is precisely what we have to worry about. But first we have to get the process going. Which is what we have done, and continue to do, by burning fossil fuels (and enhancing methane emmission by cultivation etc etc).
    I have no intention to tar anybody with a brush they would not tar themselves with. I have no blanket view of the protagonists in this pseudo-debate. But please, if you wish to debate the work of the scientists who have built the IPCC case then please do so directly with them - I cannot engage with you at their level since I don't know enough of the detail. If you have the breadth and depth of knowledge required to tackle the core issues with the core guys then put your main points to them, not to us amateurs. Perhaps you might then report back? I would certainly welcome that. Enough. I have work to do.

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  • 139. At 10:56am on 01 Nov 2009, mattiebl wrote:

    To Bryn_Hill

    Are you sure the global warming people weren't distorting the data that doesn't support their theory?

    AL Gore as far as I know used the graphs going back 650,000 years that don't support his argument because CO2 rise came after temperature rise.

    He tried to misuse it or was extremely ignorant about how to understand data.

    So, I don't think it's dishonest discrediting an argument in this way.

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  • 140. At 11:10am on 01 Nov 2009, SmokingDeepThroat wrote:

    Richard Black, to be honest I couldn't put it any better than minuend above, so I'll simply re-post what he said as he sums it up perfectly. You MUST understand that Piers Corbyn publishing a peer-reviewed paper doesn't mean much at all anymore. Peer-reviewing has been found to be very much wanting!...

    "The UN-IPCC models, all 20+ of them, have been peer-reviewed. Not one predicted the cooling over the last decade.

    All the hockey stick curves were peer-reviewed and still beng published even though we know they have been thoroughly debunked.

    The claim of warming in the Antarctica was peer-reviewed and published without the merest qualm when it is clear that those involved invented data were none exists.

    All of Jim Hansen's papers over the past 30 years that predicted dramatic increases in temperatures and ocean levels were all peer-reviewed and all were ultimately found to be in serious error.

    All of the studies that "proved" man-made climate change were peer-reviewed and still they don't have the data - 10 years of cooling and counting.

    What scientists are beginning to realise that in the public mind peer-review is now seen as an integral part of the AGW scam. The journal gate-keepers just reinforce the notion of what constitues "accepted" science and what doesn't."

    Spot on.

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  • 141. At 11:18am on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    Hi mattiebl. Briefly. Yes, I see no reason to think that they were distorting the data but I have no evidence either way. But I can probably get their dataset and discuss it with them to draw out its reliability - and so can you if you have doubts. I would be very happy if you'd like to report back having done so. Similarly I have no reason to think that my butcher puts his thumb on the scales when I buy sausages but I have had no evidence that he does not. I will have a close look next time I buy sausages and tell you what I found. Broadly speaking cheating is a dangerous thing for your career as a scientist or as a butcher. But might you read the paper, give us a critical review and tell us what you conclude?

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  • 142. At 11:27am on 01 Nov 2009, mattiebl wrote:

    To Richard Black.

    I've just read your point about all the solar scientists disagreeing with each other.

    Piers being right 70-80% of the time by my estimations means he must know what he's talking about. The other scientists haven't produced such impressive forecasts so Piers must be the best.

    Why not buy a forecast for each month or something at no great expense to see how impressive they are.

    There will be people who say because he gets something wrong he must be rubbish.

    I'm interested in the overalls.

    Let's say in the North sea storm surge the worst of the waves are in Holland and not in Britain, could anybody reasonable dismiss that as a failure?

    I don't think so.

    Not weatherman is perfect but he is by far the best for long range and pretty good.

    Short term forecasting is a different ball game because there the met office have the advantage of saying exactly where something is likely to go if very close to the event eg London or not.

    When assessing Piers it's important to average out his confidence levels for each forecast. If they average out at 70% let's say and it turns out about 70% accurate then that's about right.

    It has to be done over a period of time to get the most meaningful result.

    I'm sure you'll be impressed.

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  • 143. At 11:31am on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    No, Smoking, the assertions you make are not true. Peer review has its flaws but my personal experience of the review process tells me that it is often on the brutal side of robust. I can show you the scars. Tell me about your personal experience of it. None of us want AGW to be true. If my kids escape this particular future I'll be delighted. But if you manage to persuade the public that you are right, and by failing to act we fail to curtail AGW, then we are in trouble.

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  • 144. At 12:27pm on 01 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #138. Bryn_hill wrote:

    "Of course CO2 lags warming, John_from_Hendon. Why wouldn't it?"

    Because a CO2 change is claimed to CAUSE Temperature change. I know of no physical effect that happens before its cause, do you?

    This is quite separate from the observations that CO2 changes are not subsequently reflected in temperature changes. (i.e. the unpredicted, by the IPCC, cooling since 1999.)

    The World is intending to spend trillions on modifying CO2 when the evidence is that the CO2 level only reflects a PAST temperature change.

    (Sorry to keep you from your writing.)

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  • 145. At 12:42pm on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    Well, John_from_Hendon, my kids have various sophisticated theories about how windows get broken before balls are kicked etc so perhaps ... :-)
    But surely you don't think that this is really the question? What do you make of the closing argument in the Caillon et al paper?

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  • 146. At 12:45pm on 01 Nov 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    Well, that's 30 minutes of reading posts and links I'll never get back.

    Here's one from the original I picked up on:

    "I am a denier, and proud to be one," declaimed David Bellamy.

    A denier of what, exactly? And in those words? The 'reporting' made it hard to tell so, sitting as I was about 20 rows back... and a further 120 miles... I guess I'll need to rely on the opinions of those who were.

    Partisan accusations and way too defensive rebuttals. Par for a very weary course.

    Hence, not proving too satisfactory. And making further use of this forum to be erring on a total waste of time.

    Hardly the best use of my day, or licence fee.



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  • 147. At 1:23pm on 01 Nov 2009, diggerjock wrote:

    Richard

    You need to stop hiding behind "peer review" as a means of avoiding the issue.In many instances peer review does a great job but for whatever the reasons in Climate Science it isn't working and it has been left to those from outside to make the telling points.

    Although NASA is involved many of the issues are far from "rocket science"

    It is is not hard for example to be sure that the Tiljander series of lake sediments used by Mann in his hockey stick was upside down, particularly after Tiljander himself confirmed it.

    Nor is it hard to see that if there were 252 tree ring cores in the Yamal series but Briffa only used the 12 that fitted his theory then he could hardly claim to have taken a "representative" sample.

    CRU either has the original data it used for its weather records or it has lost them. The evidence so far is for the latter.

    There are thousands of photographs we can easily look at to confirm that the weather stations NASA depends on have suffered poor maintainance and the record shows that problems with missing data, station loss and compilation errors are rife.

    I could go on.

    The reaction of Climate Science to all this so far has been to crowd around and try to defend one another or to to denigrate those pointing out their mistakes. They badly need to 'fess up and get on with putting their house in order.

    Until they do how can anyone seriously think it is wise to pump in hundreds of billions of dollars on their say so?.

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  • 148. At 1:41pm on 01 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @bryn_hill

    "Of course CO2 lags warming, John_from_Hendon. Why wouldn't it? If I warm certain components of the environment they will emit more CO2 (and, more to the point, they and others will emit more methane). Indeed, such feedback is precisely what we have to worry about. But first we have to get the process going. Which is what we have done, and continue to do, by burning fossil fuels (and enhancing methane emmission by cultivation etc etc)."

    Imagine a world in which the oceans only come up to the edge of the continental shelves, essentially bottling up the arctic ocean. With much colder temperatures and with the arctic ocean essentially land-locked its winter ice remains all summer. Ice sheets and alpine desert (also high albedo) covers the now larger land masses down to 50 degrees north of the equator. Its not the most friendly of worlds.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Maximum (yeah, I know...it's wikipedia)

    Anyway, are you trying to imply that maybe the 2.5ish watts per square meter for the CO2 increase from glacial to interglacial (which always started its changes hundreds of years after the temperature started going up rapidly) was the "driving" force behind ten times as much forcing from ice and desert albedo?

    Assuming CO2 can drive climate...CO2 could drive its self and ice albedo feedback OR ice albedo could drive its self and CO2 feedback. It works both ways. The only problem is that CO2 trails AND CO2 only has a small percentage of the potential of ice (and desert) albedo. Honestly when it's put into proper perspective...isn't it actually incredibly foolish to assume that CO2 was driving the temperature swings of the ice ages?

    Of course NOW there's essentially no ice (and its farther north) to cause additional feedback. Sure, summer ice could melt but spring/fall ice would still be there reflecting every year. Albedo feedback at this point is incredibly weak and getting weaker.

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  • 149. At 2:00pm on 01 Nov 2009, Bryn wrote:

    I don't have the expertise to debate this with you, Poitsplace. I work in a completely different field. My understanding is that orbital forcings are still the favoured explanation for the ice ages, as the Caillon paper suggests. Thus, since we would expect CO2 increase to be driven by the warming which the orbital forcing produces we would expect the CO2 rise to lag temperature rise. I think we agree, and so I don't understand the problem but that is probably only my ignorance. The difference with the current situation is that the current rise in CO2 is driving a rise in temperatures and we will expect a variety of positive and negative feedbacks. If the positives are stronger (and they certainly look strong - there is a lot of carbon in the tundra) then GHG emmissions will increase further. I guess it's interesting that, seen through the very imperfect lens of proxy records and our various dating methods this might (200000 years in the future) look like another case where temperature lead CO2 rise because we wouldn't be able to distinguish the initial anthropogenic CO2 kick. Perhaps you too would like to comment in a bit more detail on the Caillard paper? I'd value the views of those who clearly know a lot more about it than I do.

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  • 150. At 2:02pm on 01 Nov 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @mildlyoffensive #105

    He was working on a Saturday. Why shouldn't Richard Black take the rest of the weekend and the start of next week off?

    @mildlyoffensive #98 #107 #110 #111 #113 #118 #126
    @jr4412 #108 #114 #116 #120 #128

    The coral records concerned weren't written by human scientists using ink on paper, they were written by coral in coral. Coral builds up year on year with new coral polyps growing on top of old ones.

    The big coral structures seen on coral reefs can be decades or even centuries old. Cutting through them you can see layers of older growth.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7807943.stm

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  • 151. At 2:41pm on 01 Nov 2009, MrSkipp wrote:

    If I am driving my car and I want to overtake the car in front, I use all the available evidence to assess whether it is safe or not. I may not know 100% that it is safe, and my decision is therefore weighted by the scale of the possible outcome - in this case death for me and my passengers and others. I therefore err on the side of caution. If I am walking along the street and the worst that can happen if I try to pass the person in front is that I collide with another pedestrian, I am not so cautious.
    In the case of AWG, I am very happy that in the absence of solid evidence either way, those who govern us are erring on the side of caution. I don't actually care about the truth one way or the other - I just care about my children (and yours) and their future.

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  • 152. At 3:04pm on 01 Nov 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    A few comments if I may about why this argument takes place and what practical suggestions might lead to such arguments not taking place so frequently in the future.

    1. The lack of study of open dynamic complex systems at school.

    School science based on reductionist Newtonian mechanics will imbue in many children a false understanding of complex reality. Bringing ENGINEERING to the forefront of schools, not sidelined into subjects derided by pushy people as 'technical studies' or 'things for less bright children'. In my humble judgement, holistic climate science is very difficult to carry out using SCIENCE, because it is more akin to complex fluid dynamics and hence, pretty unamenable to meaningful reductionist scientific analysis. ASPECTS of climatology can, however, be done successfully using science, however interpretation of such material in policy making may require 'judgement', whatever that may mean.....

    2. The politicisation of the scientific research process.

    It is well known that IPCC documents have over-ridden objections by many scientists to the extent that some felt it necessary to withdraw their names from the lists of scientists endorsing the reports. This is very serious. It is not acceptable to draw incorrect conclusions using the excuse that 'we need a simple picture to work with'. Comfort with complexity will be necessary both for climatologists and politicians in the next phase of human evolution, since the great issues facing the world are complex, dynamic, fluid and chaotic in nature.....

    3. The cut-throat nature of scientific research.

    There is every reason for Dr Corbyn NOT to release his methods if the result of that is others free-loading off his work and squeezing him out of the picture as a result. I hope he has patented his methods and that his patent attorneys were highly professional in their drafting. Alternatively, I hope that he has sufficient data, examples of the art etc etc to draft commercially valuable IP before agreeing to publish his data. The best time to publish is the day after the granting of patents in key global geographies, be that the EU, the US or other places, something I have seen on more than one occasion in other fields. Continuing that work under confidentiality until a strong IP position is reached would, far from being against the spirit of research, be entirely in tune with earning a decent living after 30 years of ostracism from the climatologists' international cabal.....if, of course, he is right and they are wrong.

    4. Understanding the nature of Dr Corbyn's bets.

    I think it would also be valuable to see a documented set of bets which he won and lost with the bookies, noting what exactly he predicted and what the criteria for success/failure were. It would also be worth calculating the odds of his achievements being possible by luck alone, since the degree of method in his apparent madness might emerge from that.

    It might also be worth asking the bookies to run some tests in future with various climatologists on some relevant indicators e.g. arctic sea ice, troposphere temperature, sunspot cycle maximum etc to see if any consistency of outcome emerges, since it is more healthy for polemicists to test the rigour of their arguments through their own wallets. The hypothesis to be tested is clear: it'll either get warmer (the warmists' view) or cooler (Dr Corbyn's view), particularly in the short-to-medium term. The key decision is who arbitrates it, what the basis for measurement is and who the referee will be.

    5. Inappropriate extrapolotion from the particular to the generality.

    I think it is also important to think about the difference between studying a very small phenomenon scientifically (e.g. studying ice cores, deep sea cores, glacier movements etc) and jumping to wide-ranging conclusions from that which distort the perceptions of non-specialists when reporting such work to the lay public. As an example, it is not a given that glaciers retreating in one place mean global warming/paucity of precipitation now, although in the cases of some glaciers, that is indeed the case. For others, this may be an indication of climate decades or even centuries previously.

    6. Optimising the skill set of those contributing to debate.

    I think those who think that the debate should be limited to scientists fail to understand that scientists are not disinterested parties in this debate. Their salaries, in the main, either come from research grants or are paid by HEIs/Research Institutes in the expectation that grant income will be secured. It would be most astonishing for a scientist chasing £2m grant income to study carbon dioxide in ice cores to be awarded the grant if the Government were strongly pro-global-warming and the scientist was a highly visible skeptic. The world simply doesn't work like that. And the scientists know it. That doesn't mean they are lying, it's saying that they are not disinterested parties. A very different proposition.....I'm sure all would agree that judges in courts of law SHOULD be impartial and almost all would agree that it is not hard to find examples of that not being the case in actuality - a brief chat with Mr Clive Ponting OBE might add one to the list pretty easily.....

    7. Ensuring impartial and equal coverage to different sides of the climate change argument.

    Few would dissent from the fact that IPCC reports are more widely covered than was the NGPCC report of 2008. That report explicitly documents the arenas of dissension with IPCC and contends that nature, not human beings, control the climate. Whilst I have read it several times in its entirety, I would not have learned about it through the BBC and certainly might not understand all of its contents were I not a reasonably highly educated person in one scientific discipline.

    8. Distinguishing policy imperatives from climate religion.

    I think there is broad public support for the concept that we need to continue producing energy supplies to live as we wish to. I do NOT believe that we should prevaricate on such decisions due to climate uncertainties. Commission them and get on with it. Be that nuclear, gas-powered, clean coal-fired and wind/solar-based.

    9. Stopping ad hominem attacks on opponents.

    The climate change debate is bedevilled with personal attacks, slurs etc etc and it behoves the national and international media to deal forcefully with that. No one is being gassed to death here, nor bombed to oblivion. There is no need for thuggery. There is every need to apply thuggery to mass murderers, however......

    10. Agreeing international standards of temperature measurement, including sufficient redundancy and cross-validation mechanisms to ensure that 'drift' does not occur due to technological failure.

    The methods of measuring temperature or calculating by proxy are neither exhaustive, cross-compatible nor have they been used consistently for long enough for the world to be sure as the reliability of data sets for drawing what are pretty world-altering conclusions. The sooner a cross-party agreement on global data generation, storage and access is agreed the better.

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  • 153. At 4:31pm on 01 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    I wonder how many science "sceptics" would chose medical procedures that weren't peer reviewed, or worse still were actively rejected by peer review?

    That said I do partially agree that we shouldn't always take scientists word for granted. I believe that science is a valid form of enquiry, but must be seen as one method of discovery. I believe we must also seek out the most relevant stakeholders and see what knowledge they have of their experiences. Fortunately I have had the chance to do this. So I ask you to talk to those flooded in Bangladesh, this living miles from a lake which was once on their doorstep (The Dead Sea), those who have dinner underwater in Tuvalu and those experiencing drought in Kenya right now. When you add these accounts to those of peer reviewed science then you are closer to a definitive answer. In this case the scientists and stakeholders say exactly the same. Corby in neither a key stakeholder or peer-reviewed scientist. I don't really see any point in listening to him for much longer.

    p.s. @mildlyoffensive

    Jane is right. Corals carry their own records, in the same way that trees do, etc. I can assure you papers would not be published if the methods were not rigerous. The records in Australia are not isolated. Similar research is available in the Caribbean and Indian Oceans, with similar conclusions.

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  • 154. At 5:08pm on 01 Nov 2009, pmbbiggsy wrote:

    Very snarky Richard, but no surprise there for a licence fee funded true believer. As far as climate models are concerned, they are useful diagnostic tools - the problem climate realists have with them is that they aren't 'crystal balls' that can tell us the future in any verifiable way. No 'consensus' climate scientist or models predicted the now verified temperature stagnation since 1998(BAMS, 2009) in advance, quite the opposite in fact. Please tell us if you can prove differently. You're wrong about the temperature stagnation being 'easily explained' - Kyle Swanson is on record as saying that the missing 0.2C is 'unexplained.' Global temperatures should have had an upward push from both ENSO and the 'radiative forcing' of CO2, but didn't. And no, global warming from CO2 can't be 'masked' by natural factors.

    The taxpayer supports the Met Office, but not Piers Corbyn. Which one makes a living out of forecasts without being subsidised by the taxpayer?

    As for what the public believes, go take a look at the Science Museum's Prove It! 'count me in'/'count me out' vote that the red-greens were caught trying to fiddle. You should have popped in to the SM to see the public being invited to participate in the poll and seen that the majority were opposed. About 6 to 1 against the 'Nohopenhagen' taxation and restrictive laws scam. We need a referendum on the UK's Canutian 'Climate Change Act,' and the Nohopenhagen Treaty.

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  • 155. At 5:20pm on 01 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #145. Bryn_hill wrote:

    "What do you make of the closing argument in the Caillon et al paper"

    I assume we are taling about Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M. Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of
    atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across
    Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731

    I suppose I am initially concerned about the accuracy of the estimates and the methodology employed (as I am with all papers in this field as almost none of the data is really as good and accurate as it is presented.)

    Leaving that aside - C02 rises lag temperature rises - but given the quality of the data I don't know how they make that conclusion! This ocean's business, isn't my field, but I don't trust the methodology again for bulk fluids with wave, wind and storm action. Wouldn't the latent heat of state transition under wind and storm action have a far larger effect? I suppose in essence I don't think much of the paper except it was a good initial attempt to prove what it was funded to prove!

    As I see it all of the papers in this field are full and dependent on unquantified experimental error so I fall back on not the subtle changes, but logic.

    If we accept that historic CO2 levels have been orders of magnitude higher than they are today why hasn't the temperature shown similar huge effects? We know that it hasn't as life has continued throughout these periods and so there must have been liquid water and this means that temperatures must have not been to far from the range 270 to 370K. Now man's contribution seems to be estimated at no more than 1/250 (29 GT/7000 GT)of current global CO2 which is only a tenth of some historic levels. (Also as I understand it the mean time of CO2 in the atmosphere is not the 250 years often quoted by the IPCC but nearer 5 years. See Piers's notes for these references.)

    It is simply illogical to me to make the assertion that a tiny increase in a tiny fraction of the global CO2 in levels that are a tenth of historic levels will make any difference at all.

    I think this whole 'blame CO2 business' got started from the observations of CO2 levels and temperatures that showed that when CO2 was high so was Temperature. (The methodologies for estimation of the data do not stand up to any close examination.) But having started there it is logical to say that when CO2 was high so was Temperature. But - this is a big but, the resolution (and error - mostly un-evaluated!!) of the data measurement in these early theories is so poor that it was really impossible to say if CO2 rose before Temperature or vv. There is also nothing to say that the apparent correlation implies or indicates causality at all.

    Let's face it the CO2 industry struggled with ever more complex reasons why CO2 is the culprit and in science quite often this happens when the theory is actually wrong. (E.g when 10 dimensional string theory does not provide for all forces and particles observed and speculated then we see a move to 11 dimensional mbranes!)

    I note one comment about the paper in Science " Caillon et al., "confirms that CO2 is not the forcing that initially drives the climatic system during a deglaciation." I actually don't think the paper 'proves' much actually even what it is cited for!

    Of course I may be wrong, but on the balance of probability I feel that the time is up for blaming CO2 (but not for very real concern about the urgent need to ameliorate climate variability.) It is just the CO2 explanation is shot full of holes and really should be abandoned.

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  • 156. At 5:23pm on 01 Nov 2009, millennia wrote:

    Reading through these what leapt out at me was the comments from the so-called Aussie scientist....
    1. Who has been measuring coral calcification for 400 years?
    2. Has anybody bothered looking for other reasons for coral degeneration or is CO2 just such a slam dunk it's better to take the money and fob everybody off with the answer they were expecting?
    3. Will anybody bother to stand up and point out the evidence from paleoclimatology that shows how a statement that coral reefs will be wiped out 450ppm is total bllx? Pop down to the white cliffs of Dover and look of the depth of calcite deposited in seas when the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was over 2000ppm and the mean global temperature 7C warmer than it is today. Several hundred feet of irrefutible evidence trumps your theories cobber.
    Who ARE these people, and why do we let them spout such rubbish? The next thing you know somebody is going to declare most of Britain is going to disappear under the waves in the next 10 years.... oh sod it Gore just did - 67 metres in 10 years just by loss of Arctic Sea Ice. You've gotta hand it to these guys, when they set out to be dicks they make a real good job of it....
    .... and then you wonder why there are sceptics :-\

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  • 157. At 6:35pm on 01 Nov 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @millenia #156

    1. Who has been measuring coral calcification for 400 years?

    The coral has. Large coral structures are built up of coral polyps on top of older coral polyps.

    2. Has anybody bothered looking for other reasons for coral degeneration or is CO2 just such a slam dunk it's better to take the money and fob everybody off with the answer they were expecting?

    Yes, they've found plenty of other contributory causes, including coral bleaching. Check the links in Richard Black's last entry (#96)

    3. Will anybody bother to stand up and point out the evidence from paleoclimatology that shows how a statement that coral reefs will be wiped out 450ppm is total bllx? Pop down to the white cliffs of Dover and look of the depth of calcite deposited in seas when the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was over 2000ppm and the mean global temperature 7C warmer than it is today. Several hundred feet of irrefutible evidence trumps your theories cobber.

    I've seen the White Cliffs of Dover. They are very white and chalky. They are made up from calcium carbonate calcite plates from single celled coccolithophores. Coral on the other hand, not so white, not so chalky. Coral is built from the skeletons of multi-cellular coral polyps. Which use a different form of calcium carbonate called aragonite.

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  • 158. At 7:30pm on 01 Nov 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @BishopHill #94 #97

    Are you sure you want the BBC to cover Yamal? They would have to report both sides in a timely manner. Such as this 27 October 2009 offering from Briffa:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/

    But I'm sure that's not a problem. Respectable sceptic blogs like Stephen McIntyre's own Climate Audit reported it within hours. Perhaps you could come up with a few more examples of such blogs?

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  • 159. At 7:32pm on 01 Nov 2009, DrJezW wrote:

    If Piers Corbyns ideas account so well for the current changing climate with all that is happening, why is what's happening now so different from what happened in the past. We usually heat-up out of a glaciation into an interglacial, we are heating-up beyond an interglacial. If his theories were correct there would be nothing different happening now to any of the previous patterns that have been recorded in the glacial record. His lack of publication and glib dismissal of all of the great body of research into climate change does nothing to raise any confidence in his "science". It is almost a waste of time to discuss the matter further, we know that CO2 and the other greenhouse gases trap more heat in the atmosphere, it is a simple matter of thermodynamics, less heat leaving creates an imbalance and warms up the planet until it is hot enough for the radiation back to space to equal what is coming in. All of the subtle dynamic effects within the globe are simply internal functions, and we know that many of these act to accelerate the warming, so Dear Piers, please let the serious business of saving a future for all living things continue without further muddying of the waters.

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  • 160. At 7:59pm on 01 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    @millenia

    Ocean acidification is one of a few "slam dunks' for coral degradation.
    Warming of the seas is another stress for corals (also caused by CO2 rise depending on where you stand).
    Others include overfishing of algal grazers.
    Overfishing of crown-of-thorns starfish predators.
    Sedimentation.
    Water pollution.
    Dynamite fishing.
    Coral mining.
    And a few others... but you get the picture.

    The quoted material from "so-called Aussie scientist" is not one voice. It is representative of a majority of those who research coral reefs. Don't let me tell you that... read the Call to Arms issued last year after the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. Link below.

    The reason coral scientists are really pushing the two stressors caused by CO2 currently is that it is a global issue. We are having quite a lot of success now managing the other impacts locally (Although there is still al lot of work to do). There is not as greater need to reach out to the global public on these more local issues (although we will continue to reach out on all issues as we would rather people are aware of all the issues).

    http://www.nova.edu/ncri/11icrs/calltoaction.html

    You can even sign the petition if you want! :o)

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  • 161. At 8:08pm on 01 Nov 2009, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    eddhind wrote: "I wonder how many science "sceptics" would chose medical procedures that weren't peer reviewed, or worse still were actively rejected by peer review?"

    Peer review makes it more *likely* that a theory or analysis may be correct. The whole sorry saga of the hockey stick (and we're talking multiple papers over several years with previous errors reported and ignored, not a single errant reviewer) shows that peer review in climate science does *not* mean that it is automatically correct, nor that the science and data therein has been properly examined, released or even documented.

    Likewise, lack of peer review may lead one to have less confidence in a theory or conclusion - hence, as you suggest, leading to medical reluctance! But it does not mean it must automatically be wrong.

    It would be a novelty, but just for once I'd like to see a pro-AGW argument that depended on a correct climate model prediction, not one based on authority, ad hominem attacks/insinuations (as in most of this article), head-counting ("we've got more scientists than you do"), attempted closing of the argument ("science is settled"), or on endless prophecies of doom in what might happen if temperatures did rise.

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  • 162. At 8:17pm on 01 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @Bryn_hill
    Sorry about the confusion. With respect to the paper that's essentially the position of many skeptics...that CO2 is driven by ocean temperature and has little to do with climate.

    But after your initial comments on the Caillon paper you make a comment that skeptics such as myself have a serious issue with...
    "The difference with the current situation is that the current rise in CO2 is driving a rise in temperatures and we will expect a variety of positive and negative feedbacks."

    As the atmosphere is not a sealed sample on a lab bench somewhere, some actual verification is needed before we can just assume its going to cause proportionate energy imbalances in a dynamic atmosphere. This fact is ignored time and time again. If you point out that CO2 as a driver isn't proven most alarmists (and those that have accepted CO2 as a significant driver of climate) oscillate mentally from correlation to correlation as if these correlations that are clearly driven by temperature are proof that CO2 is the cause of the temperature.

    Unfortunately all periods looked at thus far were naturally warming/cooling periods...including the recent ones and are therefore useless in determining if CO2 is a driver or not. Even the fact that temperatures had been going down for hundreds of years is ambiguous...as its done the exact same thing before during this interglacial, slowly cooling then temperatures popped back up.

    This next 30 years will tell us FAR more as the changes to CO2 will become far more pronounced during what should be a cooling period. Unfortunately alarmists are telling us that we must act NOW NOW NOW NOW!...even though the temperature increase has never shown a hint of rates necessary to exceed the (perfectly safe) holocene optimum's temperatures...assuming they'll even keep rising.

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  • 163. At 8:45pm on 01 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @DrJezW who wrote...
    "It is almost a waste of time to discuss the matter further, we know that CO2 and the other greenhouse gases trap more heat in the atmosphere, it is a simple matter of thermodynamics, less heat leaving creates an imbalance and warms up the planet until it is hot enough for the radiation back to space to equal what is coming in. All of the subtle dynamic effects within the globe are simply internal functions, and we know that many of these act to accelerate the warming"

    You could not be more wrong. We merely have some anecdotal evidence suggesting it MIGHT cause some warming.

    The atmosphere is NOT a sealed sample, its a dynamic system that will respond to any changes. The suggested mechanism is that CO2 will increase the temperature gradient across the troposphere but any increased gradient will increase convection, quite probably bypassing most of the absorption. Richard Lindzen studded the actual outgoing IR and found that at current rates a doubling of CO2 should only cause about .8C of warming in total, HALF the affect suggested by lower error bars of the IPCC assessment.

    As for feedbacks, most of the feedbacks in the universe stay in low to negative ranges (or are not coherent enough to feed back on themselves) because strong positive feedbacks lead to systems that are highly unstable. There IS a time when the earth's climate is highly unstable and that's between the glacial/interglacial temperature plateaus. This is a time when there is substantial albedo feedback...probably over 10 times the feedback possible in the range of temperatures suggested by current CO2 "forcing" (if any).

    See, its not a matter of simple thermodynamics. Your incorrect assumption of how well established the hypothesis of substantial anthropogenic global warming is...is a matter of grossly (uselessly) oversimplified physics and an assumption that feedbacks would be strongly positive, which is unlikely given the relative stability and obvious ceiling of interglacial temperatures.

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  • 164. At 9:24pm on 01 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    @RachelBlackburnI feel I should clarify what I meant with that comment. I am not saying that peer review necessarily means the science is correct... what I am saying is that if you went to a doctor you wouldn't agree to a procedure that wasn't verified by at least some other experts. Most of the anti-AGW "science" is not tested or verified by any peers... that is why I would reject it. I agree that peer review can prevent paradigm shift... but even then it should be possible to get papers published if the methodology of research is rigorous. There are many many journals... for non of them to accept the work of Corbyn (which I assume has happened - and if I am wrong I apologise) it seems the work my lack explanation of methods.

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  • 165. At 10:41pm on 01 Nov 2009, rossglory wrote:

    got as far as comment 60 and couldn't see any input from a self-declared scientist (apart from richard's comment). the rest was almost entirely a sceptic love-in. would love some genuine input, especially from climate scientists, but of course i know exactly what they're going to say because i like to follow the scientific literature - not pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo of the corbyn/bellamy type.

    i'm off to realclimate to see if they've picked up on it......now there's a red rag :o)

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  • 166. At 11:08pm on 01 Nov 2009, rossglory wrote:

    bryn_hill - very impressed with your posts and perseverance :o)

    but the sceptic torrent will grind you down long before they change course one inch. i get a fair bit of flack for refusing to debate the psedo-science but it's pointless and this is just a comment board after all. fortunately the real science is going on elsewhere and slowly persuading the political community.

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  • 167. At 06:42am on 02 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Does anyone of the sceptics out there have any comment whatsoever on the science and evidence thar Corbyn puts forward for his climate claims?

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  • 168. At 09:06am on 02 Nov 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    167. At 06:42am on 02 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:
    Does anyone of the sceptics out there have any comment whatsoever on the science and evidence thar Corbyn puts forward for his climate claims?


    i. He doesn't have a 'universal theory' to explain 'global warming' as such, he simply makes a case for the IMPOSSIBILITY of it being explained by rising carbon dioxide levels. It's along the lines of 'I don't know who I want to marry, but I know I don't want to marry my girlfriend' being the reason to ditch her. He is DEBUNKING a particular theory, not proposing an alternative one just yet, although it is clear that solar influences and magnetic field influences are his major drivers.

    ii. His other major contribution is to medium-range forecasting of EXTREME weather events. As I understand it, he won sufficient money from William Hills to be banned, which means that whatever it was that he was predicting, he was doing it sufficiently well to make some reasonable sums......otherwise why was he banned?

    iii. Predicting extreme events several months in advance is highly useful and practical activity, if it works 75 - 80% of the time. The sorts of things which are useful might include:

    a. How much snow will fall in Britain this winter and hence how much grit councils might prudently budget for.
    b. The likelihood of transformative rains in areas experiencing water shortages e.g. Murray Darling basin, the African Sahel, NW Texas etc etc.
    c. Damaging frosts during summer growing seasons, thereby damaging crop yields.

    Note that 80% accuracy is useful in the REAL world. Scientists expecting 100% accuracy are delusional and are playing politics.


    I think that the 'scientists' are obsessed about how the predictions work rather than focussing on their practical effectiveness. I don't have a clue about the detailed workings of a semiconductor diode, but I do know how to log onto this site and contribute to debate. What's important is that the wireless internet connection doesn't cut out. Not semiconductor physics.

    What I would like greater clarity on is the track record of success of Dr Corbyn's weather predictions reported and documented by a reputable source, allied to the nature of the predictions being made and what constitutes success and failure.

    I WOULD however, like warmists to design, carry out and report on EXPERIMENTAL PROOF FOR THE CARBON DIOXIDE HYPOTHESIS. It is THEIR job to prove their theory, not Dr Corbyn's, as they, not he, wish us to spend £250bn on CCS over the next 12 years.

    Just as it is HIS job to lay out details of his successful bets, his losing bets and a statistical analysis of the null hypothesis that his success was simply due to chance.

    He doesn't need to prove a mechanism for that, he needs to prove that his predictive skills are real not a fluke. Because if they are real, whatever he is doing must have some insight into how climate evolves and cycles, mustn't he?

    And if he wishes to make generalised 'temperature evolution' predictions based on his solar forecasting, then he should go ahead.

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  • 169. At 09:46am on 02 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    I don't know if I count. I'm technically just a very skeptical, luke-warmer. I think we might be causing some warming through various activities but that it's likely not much and certainly not dangerous...not the warming anyway.

    I think that the climate system is a chaotic mass with many subsystems and that anyone (like Corbyn) that uses more of those subsystems to help with their predictions will TEND to be more successful...but will still likely fail quite a lot. (it is a chaotic system) So in a practical sense he likely has more of it "right" than any that claim one single factor drives climate.

    With respect to the sun's contribution I really like the comment by the late John Eddy, "Were God to give us, at last, the cable, or patch-cord that links the Sun to the Climate System it would have on the solar end a banana plug, and on the other, where it hooks into the Earth—in ways we don’t yet know—a Hydra-like tangle of multiple 24-pin parallel computer connectors. It is surely at this end of the problem where the greatest challenges lie."

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  • 170. At 11:39am on 02 Nov 2009, Steve Milesworthy wrote:

    Given that I remember Corbyn's forecasts of further summer floods in 2007...just after the final flood subsided, and the repeated predictions of storms "likely to exceed that of the Great Storm of 1987" during the relatively calm winter of that year, I'm not too worried about his latest forecast.

    Putting on my physicist hat, whether the current correlations between randomly selected solar system statistics and warming is interesting, it should be noted that similar correlations have been identified between global temperatures and the make-up of the US Senate.

    Such correlations have been noted in the past (for example by Svensmark during the 1990s) and the correlation has immediately broken down after the results published.

    With CO2, the causation was identified over 100 years ago. The first serious predictions were made in the 1980s and warming followed largely as predicted.

    How many of the members of this meeting were predicting significant cooling 10 or 15 years ago.

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  • 171. At 12:38pm on 02 Nov 2009, bandythebane wrote:

    Sadly the thermodynamics are not as simple as you think, poitsplace (163).

    In fact they are so hard that the IPCC decided that it wouldn't even try to work them out.

    Instead it depended in its global climate models on a numder of assumptions and a range of adjustable parameters it was able to tweak to tune the model to known data and produce results that were plausible.

    The basic assumption amongst these that makes the models work is that the water vapour feedback to CO2 forcing is positive.

    There is very little experimental evidence to support this assumption. an in fact there is good evidence to suggest that it is incorrect. Amongst others, Roy Spencer the former NASA scientist mentioned above (who latterly ran the UAH satellite temperature determination and is a genuine climate expert) collected radiometer data which he has analysed to show that the IPCC assumption is untrue.This work has been both published and peer reviewed.

    There is of course as you may well imagine a very large body of vested interest that is trying to ignore this evidence, downplay its importance, demean the man or do whatever is necessary to make it all go away.

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  • 172. At 5:52pm on 02 Nov 2009, Steve Milesworthy wrote:

    Elizabeth Watt, that is outdated information described incorrectly. The water vapour feedback is a product of the models and the basic physics they use, and they compare well with what happens during warming (El Nino) and cooling (such as the eruption of Pinatubo).

    Roy Spencer and his colleagues famously argued that the satellite temperatures disproved the models. That was before a number of basic errors were found (by other people) caused by the difficulty of making such measurements. The models and satellite data are no longer contradictory. Ironically, much of Roy Spencer's most recent work is based on very simple models. There's still no good reason (apart from blind optimism) to think that he is right and everyone else is wrong.

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  • 173. At 6:34pm on 02 Nov 2009, SamuelPickwick wrote:

    Thanks to Richard for covering this. Pity he has to put 'sceptic' in quotes.

    #165 rossglory, you couldn't find any comments from scientists? Did you get as far as #3? John_from_Hendon, PAWB46 and myself are all scientists with a sceptical leaning, and there may be others who are scientists but don't want to go on about it.

    #157 Simon, I have mixed feelings about Corbyn. He is what you might call eccentric, and he does exaggerate some things, but a lot of what he says is quite true. For example
    - he is quite right that the IPCC graph of CO2 is misleading because of diffusion in ice cores
    - he is quite right there has been no increase in hurricanes.
    There's a huge amount of stuff in that talk, too much really.


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  • 174. At 7:34pm on 02 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    Actually Steve, there is only reason to believe all feedbacks are either very weakly positive or negative during the interglacial periods. That's why the temperatures stop rising significantly. It is the range between the lower glacial and higher interglacial temperatures that is unstable and therefore likely to contain high feedbacks.

    CO2's concentration may make a truly tiny contribution to the glacial/interglacial transition but it is clearly driven more by temperature than temperature is driven by it. It is only a twisted conglomeration of political correctness and environmentalism that has pushed people into the kind of self loathing necessary to believe that in a world of feedbacks which can each drive themselves and the others...that CO2 did anything significant during a period in which the other feedbacks were more than an order of magnitude higher.

    Let me say that again so its understood. Ice albedo feedback, water vapor feedback and even the feedback of expanding oceans were greater were each, individually several times more potent during the transition from glacial to interglacial than CO2 feedback. Each of them individually was several times greater than CO2's contribution and each of them individually was more capable of driving CO2 changes and changes in the others than CO2. In short, CO2 has essentially NOTHING to do with the glacial/interglacial transitions.

    Of course, this is a different time and we're talking about more CO2 so let me point out something that escapes most people's attention. The difference in earth's energy budget caused by the glacial/interglacial transitions is something on the order of 10% (quite possibly more) of earth's entire energy budget. It is not amazing how sensitive the earth's climate is...it is amazing how INSENSITIVE earth's climate is. Even the glacial/interglacial transition its self shows a sensitivity of less than 1C per percent change in the earth's energy budget...and that even includes a range of runaway feedbacks.

    But the sea levels cannot rise hundreds of meters and the continental shelves are already covered. While the poles seem big in our warm world there is comparatively scarce ice available to cause albedo feedback and it spends almost all of its time in relative darkness (ie, NOT a feedback). The northern hemisphere is no longer dry and covered with a vast tracts of frigid ice sheets or deserts (also high albedo, BTW).

    So in a world largely devoid of powerful positive feedbacks, little change can or should be expected from a doubling of CO2 and the supposed 3.7 watts (a little bit over 1% of the earth's energy budget). The next fairly small step is actually (and ironically) something that would help a large percentage of the people in the world...the greening of africa. That's something that hasn't been seen since the higher temperatures of the holocene optimum.

    Ironically almost all the things that would act as positive feedbacks are GOOD...yet everyone for some reason fears them. Sea ice actually makes the arctic and antarctic seas much LESS productive. The glaciers and permafrost make the nearby land inhospitable for life. The return of savanna to the region of africa now dominated by desert would help take the pressure off africas entire population...of a billion people. Expansion of forest into tundra and tundra into ice fields would allow wildlife in northern america/europe to move into a new and only sparsely populated range oh and by the way, there would be a lot more trees/wildlife in the world.

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  • 175. At 03:45am on 03 Nov 2009, elderchild wrote:

    Taking the bait! And The LIES are swallowed, hook, line and sinker ;-(

    Someone had written: "When I talk about people buying or being sold 'absolute junk' I'm not only talking about the material but also about the ideological. We are 'sold' on consumerism, the wars (Iraq), elections (the presidency), all manner of things. Unfortunately, so few people see that just because these ideas are on sale, that they don't actually have to buy them!"

    Sadly, the multitudes have bought The LIES ;-(

    The multitudes have taken the bait which is "ease of life", so-called, and The LIES were swallowed(believed),

    hook(money),
    line(education/religion),
    and sinker(technology/"progress") ;-(

    This place they call the u.s. of a. is the "bait"master and they catch their "fish" in every nation of this world ;-( Yet in england, france, germany, japan, etc, in all nations of this wicked world there are those who have become disciples of the "bait"master and they also have found other "waters" in which to catch their "fish" ;-(

    And so it is that today there are multitudes in every nation under the sun that have taken the bait(ease of life), and swallowed(believed) the hook(money), the line(education/religion) and the sinker(technology/"progress") ;-(

    Tempted, hooked, reeled in, and held captive as they but serve "time" in the prison that is this wicked world ;-(

    Simply, they could not withstand the media blitz(krieg), or their own desires, and their "imag"ination got the best of them ;-(

    Some two thousand years past The Truth bore witness to the fact that, "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control of the evil one"! (1John5:19) Yet, the "fish" continue to seek out that "good" place in the world, when in Truth the world today is but the product of mankind's "imag"ination, a dry and thirsty land of mirages, nothing but shadows, vapors and smoke ;-(

    And in this wicked world, "image"s abound and are worshipped ;-(

    So why receive that which is of mankind's "imag"ination?

    Even when such is supposedly "free" there will always be a price to pay, for mankind's "imag"ination is destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Grace, Faith, etc.);-(

    Consider the time when there were no radio's, no tv's, no movies, no newspapers, a time when there was no way yet "imag"ined and then manufactured, that would allow someone to publish or display the vain "imag"inations of mankind to the "masses". Sadly those who rule in this wicked world, and who control the "media", consider the "masses" to be but the M in E=MC(squared);-(

    And yet today, here i am publishing(sharing) that which i believe to be from the heart, The Spirit within, not the vain "imag"inations of my fleshly mind, for i believe that which i share is of The ONE whose Voice i have heard and whose Power i have experienced in The Miracle that is receiving "the love of The Truth", and The Miracle that is New Life, Real Life, and The Miracle of healing more than once, and The Miracle of deliverance that sets me free, free from the "I" in me!

    i believe that which i share is of The ONE who revealed the lies that are of this world, it's 'god', and it's systems of religion, as i received evermore "a love of The Truth". HE is The ONE WHOM i know and believe is the Giver of Life, The ONE and Only True Living G-D and Father(Creator) of ALL!

    Father Help! and HE does.......

    In times past, when i would wonder why things were as they were, i questioned?

    Do you feel as i feel?
    Do you wonder just what's real?

    D you see the little child?
    Do you see them running wild?

    i see their doubts and i see their fears,
    i see their hurts and i see their tears.

    Now could be that's what i look to see,
    Yet what i see is real to me.

    Now am i alone to care and cry?
    Or must i close these eyes and surely die?

    Sadly, the children, or those who once were called children, today are referred to as "kids" ;-(

    Sadder yet, the reference is true ;-(

    Baby goats abound because their 'parents' feed them all sorts of "trash", and so it is that as they grow, they "eat" any and all things, no matter the dis-eases(no-peace) that causes them to be pill pushers, peer pleasers, or worse yet enslaved by the media ;-(

    "Where have all the children gone? long time pa-as-sing" ;-(

    Progress? As promised things are getting progressively worse and worse!

    For "evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived".......

    Yet Hope IS Alive!

    For Miracles do happen!

    Hope is there would be those who would take heed unto The Call of Our Father(Creator) to "Come Out of her, MY people" for they will "Come Out" of this wicked world(babylon) and it's systems of religion, and they will no longer have their portion with those who are destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light,Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Hope, Grace, Faith, Mercy, etc.) ;-(

    And for those who have embraced "mother earth" and the oneness that is the natural Creation?

    Hope is they would also experience and embrace that Spiritual ONEness that is a common union with their Brother, The Messiah, and Their Father, The ONE and Only True Living G-D(Great Spirit), HE WHO is Creator(Father) of ALL!

    Family! indeed and Truth.......

    A Simple and Spiritual Life.......

    Forever.......

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this wicked world and it's systems of religion, for "the WHOLE world(not just a portion) is under the control of the evil one"(1John5:19) indeed and Truth.......

    Truth is never ending.......

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  • 176. At 09:54am on 03 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    I am disappointed that so much of this thread is taken up with a rehash of the old arguments rather than a discussion about what Piers Corbyn claims is happenning to influence climate.

    From what Richard describes, it seems to me that all Corbyn has is a claim for correlations and no putative mechanism to explain how these things come together.

    Am I missing something? Is there actually some substance to Corbyn's claims that his 'concept' is an explanation for what is influencing climate?


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  • 177. At 10:22am on 03 Nov 2009, oldgifford wrote:

    Climate Change and the Earth's Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection.

    Earlier this year I had my peer review paper published in Energy and Environment which shows remarkable correlations between the drift of the magnetic poles and global temperatures, and yes correlation is not proof of cause and effect, but read the paper and you will see that others have noted the changes in the Earth's magnetic field and climate change in their archaeological studies and the link between magnetic activity, climate and the North Atlantic Oscillation. I continually search for links between space weather and terrestrial climate and would appreciate it if anyone finds the link, they would let me know.

    You can find my paper at www.akk.me.uk/Climate_Change.htm

    Cheers Adrian

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  • 178. At 10:25am on 03 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Poitspace at #174

    You have an almost Panglossian vision of how beneficial the climate changes might be. An extensive assessment of the threats and opportunities posed by climate change was completed for Sweden in 2007. While there could be some positive changes, overall this study reached funadmentally different conclusions than the joyful picture you try to paint.

    For example, it concluded: "Terrestrial ecosystems in Sweden face great upheavals, and the loss of biodiversity will increase as a result of climate change. The adaptation measures in themselves may also lead to an adverse impact on biodiversity, for example in agriculture and forestry. ... While some of the changes could be expected to lead to bigger crops in agriculture, they are also expected to give rise to more pests as insects, fungi and viruses increase in a warmer climate. ...
    The different types of nature which today are an important part of Sweden and represent an important cultural basis for a large proportion of the population will change. The natural forests we have today will be transformed both as a result of climate change in itself and due to changes in forestry. ... The conditions for reindeer herding in Sweden will be significantly affected by climate change, for example as pressure on coastal winter grazing may increase as snow conditions become more difficult inland and in the mountains. ...
    It is expected that the temperature in the Baltic Sea will rise, the extent of ice cover will decrease, nutrient inputs will be increased and together these changes will probably lead to large-scale consequences and an increased burden on an already polluted sea. ..."

    So, all in all, not so good really?


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  • 179. At 1:00pm on 03 Nov 2009, CuckooToo wrote:

    @oldgifford #177

    Congratulations on having your first paper published.

    Remember the moon is moving away from the earth at a rate of 38mm per annum and consider the effect on the tides and oceans

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  • 180. At 7:09pm on 03 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @simon-swede
    Could you cast your net any wider there?

    First, ou really need to ask yourself, how did the flora and fauna survive the little ice age, the medieval warm period? How did they survive the transition from glacial to interglacial? How did they survive the holocene optimum?

    Second, you need to remember that I have absolutely no problem with measures to stop ACTUAL pollution and no objections to shifting away from fossil fuels and on to things like nuclear.

    What I don't want is for people to get swept up in the moment like they did with the alternative energy movement in the US in the 70's, the antinuclear movement....both of which seem to have helped to create the eventual dependence on fossil fuels we have today.

    I'd also like for people to somehow grasp the fact that there no longer sufficient feedbacks for the kind of temperature changes seen between the glacial and interglacial period. Water vapor is already moderating earth's energy budget to near its full extent. There are no vast ice sheets sitting on a continental shelf...where rising oceans will make them melt that much faster. Ice sheets and deserts (also high albedo) do not cover about 75% of Eurasia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Last_glacial_vegetation_map.png

    The feedbacks are weak if not negative right now. We have little to fear from CO2 production. There is therefore no need to panic and we've seen no signs of an unusual temperature rise (proxies simply converged at the period of time during which we studied/calibrated them and if you'll look, diverged again on the other side of that (around 1950s or 1960s)

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  • 181. At 10:46am on 04 Nov 2009, TonyN wrote:

    Richard says:


    "Modern-day ministers and their scientifically-qualified advisers are absolutely not going to listen to half-developed, unpublished theories or complaints about fraud and conspiracies."

    But don't they listen to people like Hansen, Gore and Porritt. Heaven forbid that a 'Modern-day minsters' might even read the Guardian and take what Monbiot says seriously.

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  • 182. At 1:20pm on 04 Nov 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    incidentally, that page is still up at a different part of NOAA's website:

    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/yos/resource/JetStream/atmos/ll_gas.htm

    must of been one really disgruntled employee (probably ex by now)

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  • 183. At 1:40pm on 04 Nov 2009, oldgifford wrote:

    CuckooToo, Thank you the congratulations.
    It took a long time to get the paper published. The first journal sent it back with some nice comments from the reviewer who suggested some improvements. I re-submitted but the guest editor had changed, an AGW supporter, and surprise, surprise, he wouldn’t even put it out for review.

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  • 184. At 4:55pm on 04 Nov 2009, yertizz wrote:

    Richard, you say:
    Environmentalism is a "religion", and the media just want scare stories.
    If this was meant as a snide reference to what you call 'The Denialists' you could not be more wrong.
    After the ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal yesterday environmentalism IS a religion.
    This happens to have been reality for years so far as rational, sensible people on my side of the argument are concerned...but people on your side of the argument couldn't ...or wouldn't...admit it.

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  • 185. At 08:57am on 05 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    #184, yertizz

    It is very misleading to claim that the judgement found that anthropogenic climate change is a religion. Did you even read the judgement?

    Nicholson claims that he was unfairly dismissed because he held a philosophical belief about climate change and the environment which affects many aspects of how he lives his life.

    The judge considered whether the rules extended to a "philosophical belief which is based on science, as opposed, for example, to religion" (those are the actual words used in the judgement). The judge ruled that such a science-based belief could be covered by the regulations.

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  • 186. At 5:49pm on 05 Nov 2009, bandythebane wrote:

    Roy Spencer is not alone as Steve_M suggests (171). in thinking that the nature and size of the water vapour feedback from CO2 forcing is poorly understood. Richard Lindzen as a lead author in IPCC1 in 1991 raised this very issue at the time with Sir John Haughton (and later resigned having failed to get a satisfactory answer). Much more recently he has presented evidence (Lindzen & Choi Nov. 2009) that supports of the view that this is still a major problem for the GCM models.

    The IPCC does not disagree with this. In AR4 section 8.6 when talking about feedbacks it states that

    "a number of diagnostic tests have been proposed, but few of them have been applied to the majority of models currently in use. Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining future projections of warming. Consequently a set of model metrics to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks has still to be developed"

    i.e. the IPCC admits that the amount of warming the GCM models produce (as a direct result of feedbacks) has not been tested because it does not yet know how to perform such tests.

    The tests the IPCC is talking about are axactly what Spencer, Lindzen Choi and the rest have been trying to work out. The results obtained so far (though not yet wholly conclusive) all suggest that the water vapour forcing feedbacks in reality are very different from what the GCM's assume.

    Until some such tests are devised and proved to be credible, the warming estimates produced by the IPCC are little more than educated guesses. And if the tests so far by Spencer et al are anything like right the climate sensitivlty and hence the future temperatures the IPCC is proposing will be much too high.

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  • 187. At 06:11am on 06 Nov 2009, HumanityRules wrote:

    "Even if CO2-mediated warming were wrong, only one out of Henrik Svensmark, Roy Spencer and Piers Corbyn could possibly be right, because they all disagree with each other."

    This, Richard, is an example of maybe one of your greater weaknesses. To expect something as complicated as climate to be explained by a single idea is wrong. As a microbiologist I see much smaller, less complex issues argued to death, with equally convincing data supporting opposed positions. That's not to say things can't be fully understood just that there is a process to these things. To believe that process has been completed in the last 25years with regard to climate is arrogance.

    On the subject of peer review. It shouldn't be held up in the holy grail way it is. It is the primary mechanism for scientist to secure future funding and has all the pitfalls associated with that. The cliche nature of the whole process is often ugly. Personality, position and mutual back slapping can prevail.
    Having said that I love science, love reading great science papers and would support the process until something better comes along. I wouldn't be surprised if the web was that something better. The opporntunity for democracy and transparency is exciting.

    The wider debate should continue even if Corbyn turns out to be a kook. The greens worry about the future of the planet. I worry about the future of society.

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  • 188. At 4:43pm on 08 Nov 2009, LarryKealey wrote:

    @Richard,

    Not bad - nice to see a little debate sparked - as opposed to the "all the science is settled" routine...

    Cheers.

    Kealey

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  • 189. At 7:52pm on 09 Nov 2009, mattiebl wrote:

    http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=103&c=1

    Please follow the link above to prove that MR Corbyn did in fact put a strong case disproving man made global warming.

    For Richard Black to say that he put no credible case forward is factually incorrect.

    Mr Corbyn said there is no observational evidence that co2 drives world temperatures, which was clear from the data.

    He also said the medieval warm period was wiped off the hockey stick graph.

    Why were none of these points mentioned? because you know he's right?

    The fact he didn't reveal his method completely is irrelevant to that point. It's obvious he doesn't want people to copy him and take away his business.

    If the facts don't fit the theory then the theory is wrong. Full stop.

    Why should the onus be on him to prove why it is wrong?

    The BBC are supposed to stand for impartiality, so put it into action.

    It's very rare you'll see a BBC article being sceptical of man made global warming.

    If nobody can come up with observational evidence supporting co2 driven warming then morally and scientifically we should never hear about it again.

    No IFs and BUTs finished.

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  • 190. At 9:52pm on 09 Nov 2009, mattiebl wrote:

    Richard Black,

    I thought Piers Corbyn said there is a 50-50 chance of there being floods in East Anglia and Holland. 85% confidence of the general weather pattern.
    He said the low might be further to the north preventing the actual flooding.

    You said he said it was likely to flood.

    50-50 is neither likely nor unlikely.

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  • 191. At 6:41pm on 11 Nov 2009, Richard Black (BBC) wrote:

    Just a brief visit after a number of days away - and a few points to pick up. Thanks to everyone who had a look at and commented on the Piers Corbyn presentation - that was the main point of the post, after all. As someone who has seen both sides of the peer review process, your perspective on it, Bryn_hill, made especially interesting reading.

    Some of the other comments have, to be honest, been more than mildly offensive. The only observation I would make is: if you think that's the way to persuade people you have a point worth listening to - well, best of luck with that strategy.

    A couple of other points. mattiebl, I spoke with Piers Corbyn by phone afterwards to confirm my notes on this. In your previous comment you're putting words into my mouth. HumanityRules, I don't think anyone who's looked at this seriously would expect climate (or even climate change) to be explained by a single idea. But certain combinations of ideas are mutually exclusive. Roy Spencer sees a role for greenhouse gases, Piers Corbyn doesn't - they can't both be right.

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  • 192. At 02:47am on 14 Nov 2009, Shadorne wrote:

    Richard,

    So what is the verdict - who is right so far?

    "During the meeting, Mr Corbyn made concrete forecasts relevant to the UK; here they are.

    The period from 17-19 November, he says, carries an 85% probability of a storm surge in the North Sea. This will probably lead to snow and blizzards in Scotland and northern England, perhaps a few days later. There are likely to be coastal flood warnings for East Anglia and Holland.

    The UK winter, he forecasts, is likely to be cold with some very cold spells. His bete noire, the Met Office, says in an "early indication" that temperatures are likely to be near or above the recent average (3.7C for December), though there is a one in seven chance of a cold one.

    So there you are. The forecasts are out; let battle commence."


    The IPCC and the Met Office (which supports the IPCC view) versus Piers Corbyn predictions???

    Who is right so far??

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8358530.stm

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  • 193. At 7:15pm on 16 Nov 2009, Ian Nartowicz wrote:

    It would perhaps be wrong of Richard to announce a winner until after the fact, but I see no sign of a storm surge in the North Sea, snow or blizzards in Scotland, or coastal flood warnings in East Anglia or Holland. Instead we are currently stuck in a relentless westerly, even southwesterly, flow bringing wind and rain to the western half of the country. Of course even assuming a completely failure of Piers Corbyn's prediction, there would still be a 15% chance that his methodology is valid. After a second similar 85% probable test (ignoring previous vaguer public predictions) that would drop to less than 3%.

    The "cold winter" prediction, I'm afraid, doesn't look very testable unless the actual prediction was much more precise than what is reported here. Winter will be cold and sometimes very cold? I could have predicted that :)

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  • 194. At 01:41am on 19 Nov 2009, HumanityRules wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 195. At 11:20am on 19 Nov 2009, NoWombats wrote:

    I know this is long after the original article was published, but it's now November 19th - bang on the time of Corbyn's first prediction.

    Yesterday (18th) the Met Office issued the following statement:

    "Extreme weather warning advises public to take action

    Very heavy rain is expected over Cumbria, western parts of Scotland and north Wales over the next few days. Rainfall totals of 75 to 100 mm are expected over parts of these regions by Friday with 200 mm or more possible over the higher ground of Cumbria.

    Southerly gales are also expected at times, with gusts of 60 or 70 m.p.h. in many western coastal areas. This, combined with current high tides, brings the risk of coastal flooding to Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria."

    Now I'm no expert, but I'd say Corbyn wasn't a million miles out with his prediction. A slight change in the temperature and the heavy rain would have been snow and blizzards. There's certainly a change of a storm surge, as the Met Office states.

    So, as far as I can see, it's round 1 to Corbyn.

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  • 196. At 12:11pm on 19 Nov 2009, Ian Nartowicz wrote:

    As I said on another blog, now you've all seen how to sell snake oil. Make a prediction, get some publicity, get the prediction wrong, but someone will believe it anyway and you'll make money. I'd laugh if it wasn't so sad.

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  • 197. At 9:10pm on 19 Nov 2009, Dn wrote:

    Over 100 hundred days ago Piers predicted extreme weather events over our small country. He was ambitious with his detail but to be honest with his limited budget he has done rather well. He may have got the temperature a little wrong and the location a little off mark but the scale and impact was spot on and within his plus or minus 1 day time scale for both the weekend storm and later in the week. Only a fool would ignor him from now on. Do you think it is right to dismiss such information Weatheraction can provide if millions of pounds of damage of even lives are at stake from the effects of such weather events? Is it not right that all information should be used to be prepared? Only fools could continue to brush this aside. On your heads be it!

    Imagine the effectivness of the MET office using weatheractions techniques within their models. Weatheraction need to be properly recognised and properly compensated for their work, they are a private company with share holders not govenment funded body. The way he is treated in this country is a complete disgrace. While we could be world leaders we are headless chickens. Well done to all those who mock Piers for being so narrow minded. I only hope he battles on -well done Weateraction.

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  • 198. At 00:06am on 20 Nov 2009, HumanityRules wrote:

    hey you're a real fan Dn. I wouldn't go as far as you just yet.
    maybe we can see what was behind the prediction of extreme weather.

    A low/high travelling in an x direction or whatever (you may be able to tell I'm no meterologist)

    and what was behind the actual extreme weather. if there is good correlation there then I'd be prepared to forgive him the rather large error in temperature.

    But I am somewhat impressed on first sight.

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  • 199. At 12:59pm on 20 Nov 2009, Bill Gibbon wrote:

    Hang on. The prediction was;

    "The period from 17-19 November, he says, carries an 85% probability of a storm surge in the North Sea. This will probably lead to snow and blizzards in Scotland and northern England, perhaps a few days later. There are likely to be coastal flood warnings for East Anglia and Holland".

    Right timing, wrong temperature, wrong side of the country. No cigar.

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  • 200. At 10:20pm on 20 Nov 2009, Ian Nartowicz wrote:

    Dn wrote:
    "Do you think it is right to dismiss such information Weatheraction can provide if millions of pounds of damage of even lives are at stake from the effects of such weather events?"

    Yes, if we'd all just listened then people could have moved away from the at-risk east coast areas to high ground in Cumbria and they would have been much safer.

    I can't believe we're even having this argument. The guy forecast bad weather in November, pretty much like shooting fish in a bucket. He forecast the wrong kind of bad weather in the wrong place and you suckers still think he's the next prophet Mohammed (Can we say Mohammed? Too soon?). Incidentally, for all you that couldn't be bothered to read the actual Weather Action releases, he forecast an East Pacific tropical storm or possible hurricane for the same time frame. Where is it?

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  • 201. At 4:11pm on 21 Nov 2009, Shadorne wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 202. At 01:34am on 05 Dec 2009, Peter Ravenscroft wrote:

    G'day Richard,

    Very interesting article, very well written. Take two gold stars.

    You said you are not up to assessing this. Much appreciated honesty - none of us are. Simple.

    I have been a user of magnetic and like data for 38 years, so I will have a fumbling attempt. Piers Corbyn has part of the solution and much credit to him, but I think the missing science is, that changes in the Earth's own magnetic field, down at the core-mantle boundary, are most likely the driver and are certainly being co-driven.

    And that puts AGW in the dustbin. The satellite temperature maps from NASA and ESA and now from others also when viewed against the magnetic modelling show a most remarkable correlation between where most surface warming is happening, and where the radial or vertical or z component of the geomagnetic field of the Earth is shifting most. They fit in time, in location, in order of magnitude and in shape - far too good to be coincidence. In matching size order, the dual anomalies are, Siberia north of Lake Baikal, Canada west of Hudson Bay (the big magnetic highs in the north) the Antarctic Peninsula and the seas to the west of, and Angola. With subsidiary hotspots troubling Australia below the northern part of the Murrray-Darling Basin and also the Middle East, centred on Iran. Crop collapses may hence explain much unrest. At least, the farmers out west here are getting unruly.

    And, per the AQUA satellite maps, 500 of them now, there is no correlation between where the warming is happening and where the real output of CO2 is coming from - the oceans where warming and up-welling, and the deep sedimentary basins in the northern hemisphere with the main one of those being the western Sahara, a real mind-blast. Probably the underground biosphere breathing. So what price gassing it with CO2?

    Here is the link to browse from. That is all there is, so far. no peer-reviewed papers and copyrighted and none planned.

    http://www.pool.org.au/group/climate_change

    You and your readers are cordially invited to skip the sarcasm, and just hop from map to map and skim the graphs with the brain in gear. Keep in mind, there are no experts in this and if so moved,do you own thinking.

    So who is this oddball, thinks he can do better than choirs of angels? Just the bunyip, reporting in. We used to do the weather. Back in the Paleolithic.

    I do not say I am right, just maybe. Except that I am prepared to be dogmatic on one thing - AGW, Arrhenius 1896 with brass knobs on - is invalid.

    Yes, this needs to be on the table at Copenhagen, But that is virtually impossible. The mainstream media has been a brick wall on this, including unfortunately our dearly beloved BBC. Unless we find it written on a lost pair of Marilyn Monroe's underpants,handed in at the front desk by a polar bear, we will not manage.

    Get back if so minded. you would be the first from the mainstream media.

    Best anyway, and keep at it. Superb work.

    Peter Ravenscroft

    Geologist, Queensland. Phone Australia [Personal details removed by Moderator] Anyone ringing,and all welcome, this is a farm, so let it ring. I often have to sprint for it.

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  • 203. At 4:37pm on 06 Dec 2009, jazbo wrote:

    But Richard the CRU data is now proven to be unsafe.

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  • 204. At 12:48pm on 05 Jan 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    The UK winter, he forecasts, is likely to be cold with some very cold spells. His bete noire, the Met Office, says in an "early indication" that temperatures are likely to be near or above the recent average (3.7C for December), though there is a one in seven chance of a cold one.

    So there you are. The forecasts are out; let battle commence.


    As I look out of my window, he's not doing too bad:)

    Any reason why this thread is so tricky to access now?

    Not more 'watertight oversight' again after that CRU thing strayed from the narrative, surely?

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  • 205. At 1:02pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    However, he got it catastrophically wrong with the recent Cumbrian flooding.

    And he's so uncertain of his work he refuses (via copyright claim) to let his work be tested without his accepting the work.

    Even the author doesn't believe his hype.

    Yet the appropriately named JunkkMale does.

    Because it lets him believe the convenient lie.

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  • 206. At 2:31pm on 05 Jan 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    Wow, that was quick. A month goes by with nothing, and a 'reply' by return within minutes of my post.

    It is interesting, but not surprising, to note how some seem rather oddly obsessed by names. At least for once that I choose to post under is spelled correctly.

    I have lost count how many who might not share my views, and are welcome to do so, also seem to find pointless comfort in gnawing at this. Creepy at best. It's like being stalked by a machine, when I am a person, not a number.

    Also not sure what lies, convenient or not, I am supposed to believe, or not. Knowledge of my mind via no more than some words in print off the ether is quite a stretch. If even creepier to contemplate. I both envy and pity those with such conviction in their rectitude. Especially in areas where, despite strident protestations to the contrary, the simple evidence of my own eyes and ears would suggest there is much unknown and worth pondering.

    There are a lot of folk, pro and con (A)GW, who put absolutist stock on forecasts and associated deadlines.

    Well of course trends matter, so there is value in doing one's best. So the science and the timelines associated with it have great value and impact. Hence I personally feel any who point at some snow as a nifty counter to 'Global warming' are being disingenuous at best.

    But I also take interest in communications, especially how messages are structured and prepared and broadcast, to inform, educate and, in some cases, persuade.

    Which is why I also question the wisdom of setting certain worthy notions for a fall by constraining them with ridiculous claims that can, and often do undermine any overall validity that may exist.

    Hence any time period Mr. Brown comes out with, for instance, will be viewed in light of previous lines in the sand he has drawn. And will doubtless be unable to resist blurting out again.

    So when the weather over the winter period was set up as some kind of contest, as here, it was I felt worth noting that, in this case at least, at, and about these points in time, the science was unsettled at best. Between one man and mighty research organisations equally. And structuring things in this way has made more rational debate less easy to progress, especially when nature fails to 'deliver' (depending on one's tribal advocacy).

    Mr. Corbyn's methodology may be suspect, and he merely struck lucky in one instance. As it would appear it failed him on the possibly rather narrow pinpoint of rainfall in Cumbria in comparison. 195. At 11:20am on 19 Nov 2009, NoWombats has a view and 199. At 12:59pm on 20 Nov 2009, Bill Gibbon quite another.

    All this really hardly matters in the context of my interests. Which is more the way things get discussed than various frankly near impossible to prove until the event accuracies, or not, which clearly are still open to varying opinion. I have a mind open to anything going that might be worth considering; while those of some are clearly made up. That's their prerogative. How they choose to go on to articulate their conviction can, and often might well prove to be more of a problem. Especially if their role is to persuade, and/or conducted in the spirit of balance, open access (Mr. Corbyn evidently to note if the claim on his claim is correct), and freedom of speech.

    And in that regard, it is pleasing to note the perceived problems with accessibility to this thread seem to have been resolved and further discussion may again be enabled.



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  • 207. At 3:00pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    " A month goes by with nothing, and a 'reply' by return within minutes of my post."

    Uh, when you post to a blog thread, it goes to the top of the list of threads on the blog.

    This makes it easy to spot.

    OR were you hoping nobody would read what you posted? If so, why post?

    "Mr. Corbyn's methodology may be suspect, and he merely struck lucky in one instance. "

    His methodology is HIDDEN.

    But you're right, he could be lucky in one instance. He could even have some skill, but he's so uncertain of that he refuses to show his workings.

    It's not science.

    "As it would appear it failed him on the possibly rather narrow pinpoint of rainfall in Cumbria in comparison."

    But he claims his method IS able to pinpoint rainfall.

    And that's hardly a pinpoint: there's a sodding great mountain range in the middle and to get the rain falling on the wrong side you have to get the weather really VERY wrong indeed.

    "All this really hardly matters in the context of my interests."

    Then why so gleeful if it doesn't matter? Your post was positively gleeful that the Met Office be proved wrong (maybe luck departed them) and Corbyn (who hides his method in an unscientific way and could even be getting his data and conclusions from the Met Office or another National Met Service and fiddling with it because we can't check his method) be right.

    Yet when queried, you go all sensible.

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  • 208. At 4:09pm on 05 Jan 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    207. At 3:00pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:
    Uh, when you post to a blog thread, it goes to the top of the list of threads on the blog.
    This makes it easy to spot.


    If you say so. Must be a different system to mine. When I surf my favoured watering holes (some do live beyond the BBC bubble), all I have is the Newsnight sidebar with a bunch of hyperlinked author blogs, the topic of which I then have to click on before I can even hope to see what's what. And the latest posts are at the end. So I dip back in to taste by whim mainly. Or if prompted.

    Just as well. If every thread I was interested in from a month ago suddenly gained a new post and alerted me that would be technologically interesting (I have seen 'Alert me by email to comments' on some sites, but not on the BBC, at least on this browser) but possibly a short route to madness. Which, now I think about it...

    Then why so gleeful if it doesn't matter?

    Gleeful? There with the mind reading again. I guess I found it ironic and felt it rather neatly highlighted my views on those who like to shout certain things when it suits and then either move along or go quiet when inconvenient. For instance, I am intrigued, bearing in mind the money and faith being placed in so much they are producing to high standards of scientific rigour, the turn of phrase 'maybe luck departed them' gets used about the Met Office. Now who is skipping betwixt levity and matters of great seriousness? Please remind me, who wrote the following again?:

    So there you are. The forecasts are out; let battle commence.

    To summarise my position on what I fully concede is a bag of worms of immense complexity: deadlines are daft, at least the kind favoured by some who feel they need to grab headlines by trumpeting them, especially in some silly p*ssing contest between two extreme tribes.

    Yet when queried, you go all sensible.

    Had a gander back. By way of a counter view: very little query; quite a lot of broadcast only personalised bombast. I guess it's sometimes hard to read intentions into text, which is why it's seldom worth it.

    But thanks, by way of reaching out I'll take sensible as a concession I may have written at least something you agree with. A route to progress?

    I was going to add that at least we can agree to disagree on the rest, and maybe even see things evolve so further synergies emerge, but suspect that may not be the case. Pity.

    Catch you in 5, I guess?

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  • 209. At 4:43pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "If you say so. Must be a different system to mine. "

    Nope, it's HTML. You have the same page as me.

    "I guess I found it ironic and felt it rather neatly highlighted my views ..."

    ... that AGW is all a hoax and any evidence for it is false and made up...

    Figured I'd better finish your sentence correctly. You made up a false ending in your attempt.

    "the turn of phrase 'maybe luck departed them' gets used about the Met Office."

    So bad luck isn't what happened to the Challenger disaster? That the flooding was deliberate because we spend money of flood defenses?

    I'd used that phrase because you used it.

    Seems you only like it when you use it.

    "To summarise my position on what I fully concede is a bag of worms of immense complexity: "

    I never asked if you conceded that.

    "deadlines are daft,"

    Why?

    'Tomorrow never comes'

    " at least the kind favoured by some who..."

    ... want me to do things I don't wanna do...

    Again I had to fix your sentence.

    "especially in some silly p*ssing contest between two extreme tribes."

    Oh look he's so moderate.

    You DO know that to americans the progressives are far left. They are the extreme.

    Yet to the rest of the world, they are mid-right, central at most.

    You assume that because one side disagrees with the other that these two arguing sides are the extremes?

    You are wrong.

    Read the IPCC reports. The dissenting voices (and they ARE in there) are in the IPCC reports.

    The screeching denialists are not "equally distant from the middle", they're far out beyond the lunatic horizon.

    An example:

    Although -1000 is negative and +10 is positive, it doesn't mean that zero is half way between them,

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  • 210. At 5:42pm on 05 Jan 2010, doubtanexpert wrote:

    So you are cherry picking your info that Piers suplied just like the Met Office. The Basic fact is he forcast a cold winter and incidently dismissed the Mets forcast of a barbercue summer.He is far nearer the mark than the Met office with thier super computers.If they cannot get whats happing in 6 months right, why should we belive what they say is going to happen in 20 odd years or so.

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  • 211. At 6:07pm on 05 Jan 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    I was going to add that at least we can agree to disagree on the rest, and maybe even see things evolve so further synergies emerge, but suspect that may not be the case. Pity.

    Ah well, I guess we can all get lucky with a prediction every now and then.

    209. At 4:43pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427
    You are wrong.


    Or, possibly. Not.

    Though I do have to admire the ability to juggle various threads with extensive replies, to the extent of not only telling me what I am thinking but what I would write.

    Here at 1.02 pm, 3pm and 4.43pm and then here,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/01/arctic_conditions_arctic_cause.html

    at 3.27pm, 3.34pm, 3.42pm, 3.47pm, 3.51pm, 4.06pm, 4.12pm, 4.14pm, 4.18pm, 4.24pm, 4.26pm, 4.33pm, 4.53pm, 5.05pm, 5.11pm, 5.12pm, 5.14pm, 5.17pm, 5.27pm, 5.29pm, 5.30pm, etc and, I am sure, etc.

    One has to wonder how you find the time to think, much less monitor each update and provide a considered written response. I'm amazed you managed to squeeze so much in between mine of 4.09pm and your several para long reply at 4.43pm. To read, consider, frame a response and pen before sending.

    Which may explain so much. But not excuse the seeming inability to resist making it personal. As I have been lowered to doing as well.

    Hence, reply you will, I am sure. But this level of obsession is one I find unhealthy to pursue further.

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  • 212. At 7:01pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "The Basic fact is he forcast a cold winter and incidently dismissed the Mets forcast of a barbercue summer."

    The basic fact is you're picking one success from Corbyn (whoo! Even a broken watch is right twice a day) with a NEWSPAPER HEADLINE.

    The Met Office predicted average or slightly higher temperatures with less rain than last year.

    There was less rain than the year before.

    But you can't have a barbie in the rain.

    So some idiot thought about "sexing up" the forecast and said "barbecue summer".

    Go back and read the forecast made, not the BBC headline.

    So much for you "Basic facts"

    /professor monckton

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  • 213. At 7:03pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "If they cannot get whats happing in 6 months right, why should we belive what they say is going to happen in 20 odd years or so."


    Because the 6 month forecast is weather.

    The 20 year average is climate.

    Weather is determined by fine balances and chaos.

    Climate is an edge case phenomenon.

    Or do you refuse to know when we can tell if a winter is warmer or colder?

    Because the reference point is the climatic mean of winter.

    If you can't predict climate, you can't say whether the winter is warm or cold.

    /professor monckton

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  • 214. At 8:02pm on 05 Jan 2010, Peter wrote:

    The thing that most people miss is that the ACTUAL "temperature anomoly" is currently +0.28 C compared to "normal" and that this is roughly 0.48 C higher than the temperature was in 1979. (In 1979, the temperature anomoly was -0.2 C or so).

    So, overall, the warming rate of the last 3 decades has been +0.16 C/decade, or about 1.6 C/century.

    This is the actual, documented rate using the satellite data.

    Don't know what the most recent IPCC "prediction" of warming rate is, but I am sure that they overshoot +1.6 C/century by a mile.

    Also, close examination of the satellite data shows that the temperature anomoly hit a maximum around 2002, stabilized until about 2006, and from 2007-present the temperature has actually declined. It is still above "normal", but the trend is CLEARLY returning towards normal, and perhaps even below normal within the next few years.

    The other thing that nearly all people seem to ignore is that CO2 is not an independent variable which controlls temperature. Quite far from it in actuallity. There is absolutely no proveable relationship where you can write an equation such that X (CO2) = +Y degrees C.

    To write (and believe) such an equation, you would have to ignore completely the influences of solar cycles, oceanic cycles, natural events (such as volcanic eruptions) and every other variable that is known to affect both weather and climate.

    So, who is right? Is climate controlled by CO2? By solar radiation? By cosmic rays? By magnetic fields? By water vapour and cloud formation?, by oceanic currents and temperature variations? The answer is, all of the above, and a whole lot more. There are currently no mathematical theories or models available that have even the remotest prayer of accurately accounting for all of the variables involved, or how these variables interact with each other, which is why we would all do well to be skeptical of models.

    The best models are ones that ACCURATELY PREDICT PAST DATA WHEN YOU RUN THEM BACKWARDS. None of the current IPCC models do that even remotely accurately. If you run the currently "accepted" IPCC models backwards, they consistently come up with WRONG answers as to what climate was like in the past. Therefore, obviously these models are not properly accounting for all the variables involved, nor do the modelers have any sort of real understanding of how these variables interact with each other.

    Knowing how one particular variable behaves is difficult enough. Knowing how that variable behaves in the presence of many other variables (which you need to understand the behavior of) is at best ridiculously difficult.

    If one can show me a climate model which back-predicts with any sort of reasonable accuracy, then I would be more inclined to believe that it had at least SOME chance of forward-predicting correctly. However, I would also have to be shown that the model made reasonable baseline assumptions about the behavior and interactions of as many of the variables involved as possible. It would be quite easy to fudge-up a model that back-predicted with absolute accuracy but was of no value because someone just invented a functional equation that fit previous temperatures without actually analyzing and trying to interpret all of the real variables involved.

    In summation, show me a REAL MODEL based on as many of the real variables as possible that can accurately back-predict, and then I might have at least a BIT of faith in its ability to forward-predict. I have yet to see a model that fits this description from anyone... most especially the IPCC.

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  • 215. At 8:08pm on 05 Jan 2010, Peter wrote:

    "Because the 6 month forecast is weather.

    The 20 year average is climate."

    You are incorrect. The proper definition is, "Climate is what you expect, weather is what you GET."

    Why a 20-year average? Because that is "a generation"? 20 years is a mere blip on the scale of geologic time. Historically, most warming trends tend to last 20-30 years, and most cooling trends tend to last about 20-30 years. So, for any useful "average" you would have to compute th rolling average for a minimum of 40 years to even be remotely close to the "correct" answer as far as "meaningful" trends in actual climate. Anything shorter than a 40-year rolling average and you could potentially have all of an upswing while missing the previous downswing and the following downswing.

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  • 216. At 8:48pm on 05 Jan 2010, doubtanexpert wrote:

    The basic fact is you're picking one success from Corbyn (whoo! Even a broken watch is right twice a day) with a NEWSPAPER HEADLINE.

    try the link to Mets own web site and they Quote ?http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20090430.html

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  • 217. At 9:25pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Yup, that was copy, not the forecast.

    The forecast was "slightly warmer with less rain than last year".

    No mention of "barbecue summer".

    You can read the seasonal forecasts from here:
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/uk_forecast_weather.html

    And select the seasonal tab.

    Check also here:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/index.html

    How well it matched can be seen here:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/2009/summer.html

    It's only a google away.

    /professor monckton

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  • 218. At 9:30pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Peter. Again.
    "Why a 20-year average? Because that is "a generation"? "

    Because you said 20 years.

    The rest of it is hysterical ravings.

    No, you don't need 40 years.

    But to say "this is the climate" you need ~30 years. If it's warming up over 30 years, then the climate is warming. If it's cooling over 30 years, then the climate is cooling. If it's steady over 30 years, the climate is steady.

    To see if the climate prediction is absolutely wrong, you need 30 years deviation before you can see the significance of the change.

    It's all basic statistical methodology. The noisier the data, the longer you must accumulate before you can draw conclusions.

    Why such difficulty with stats? This is barely A-level. Heck, you may get there well before your secondary school finals at 16.

    /professor monckton

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  • 219. At 9:40pm on 05 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "This is the actual, documented rate using the satellite data."

    And that's a long thermometer...

    "Don't know what the most recent IPCC "prediction" of warming rate is, but I am sure that they overshoot +1.6 C/century by a mile."

    Why don't you go and read instead of guessing?

    http://www.ipcc.ch


    "Also, close examination of the satellite data shows that the temperature anomoly hit a maximum around 2002, stabilized until about 2006, and from 2007-present the temperature has actually declined."

    But that isn't climatic. It's weather.

    Warm winters. Hot summers. Variations (weather) around the seasonal norm (climate).

    "The other thing that nearly all people seem to ignore is that CO2 is not an independent variable which controlls temperature"

    It's not ignored in the GCMs.

    Go look for yourself:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

    "There are currently no mathematical theories or models available that have even the remotest prayer of accurately accounting for all of the variables involved"

    You know this how?

    Read the literature and you'll find you're wrong.

    You have the code. You have the science boiled down in the IPCC papers (which you have admitted you haven't read because you don't even know what the increase they state is the result!).

    (You're wrong, by the way.)

    "The best models are ones that ACCURATELY PREDICT PAST DATA WHEN YOU RUN THEM BACKWARDS."

    Uh, nope.

    You have to run them IN THE PAST. Not "BACKWARDS". Chaos is not like newtonian mechanics where time reversibility exists. You can't "un-beat" an egg.

    And guess what? They do hindcasts.

    And the models work really quite well.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    "If you run the currently "accepted" IPCC models backwards, they consistently come up with WRONG answers as to what climate was like in the past."

    If you're taling about hindcasts, then you're wrong.

    "Knowing how one particular variable behaves is difficult enough. "

    Look at the source, Luke.

    They don't use one variable.

    "If one can show me a climate model which back-predicts with any sort of reasonable accuracy, then I would be more inclined to believe that it had at least SOME chance of forward-predicting correctly."

    Then check the literature.
    http://www.oceanweather.com/research/HindcastApproach.html

    Google for "assessment of hindcast accuracy global climate models" because sciencemag links are huge.

    Will you change?

    Lets wait and see...

    /professor monckton

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  • 220. At 11:36am on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Hi Richard

    Happy New Year to you and all your readers!

    Could I ask you to update or provide a new post on the predictions by Corbyn / Met Office as you have done with the almost hourly reports from Copenhagen? You know the sort of thing - Met office - warm winter, todate wrong, Corbyn - cold winter, todate correct

    Whatever Corbyns method, it may be a crystal ball for all i know, but he seems to be more right more often than the met office

    All the best

    /Mango

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  • 221. At 11:55am on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Mongo:

    "Whatever Corbyns method,"

    Well, that's the point.

    If the AGW science is false because they don't give out all and every model code, data and so on, Corbyn's method which isn't available AT ALL is irreconcilably false.

    /professor monckton

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  • 222. At 12:11pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    for once, Yeah_Whatever, i would agree with you, but this doesn't explain how he gets it right more often than the met office

    /Mango

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  • 223. At 1:09pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Who are you talking to, Mongo?

    /professor monckton

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  • 224. At 1:23pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    sorry, i was talking to you, got used to the other name, U14260427

    /Mango

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  • 225. At 1:44pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    OK, so please show us the statistical analysis that shows this comment:

    "but this doesn't explain how he gets it right more often than the met office"

    from you is correct.

    The Met Office is about 85% right in their forecasts (check the govgernment statistics office who do this)

    Piers Corbyn's forecasts? Where's the analysis of his accuracy?

    I would suggest that this action:

    "Piers Corbyn banned the use of any extracts of them in any articles unless they were approved by Corbyn. In addition the above newspapers and any publication which carried articles by Paul Simons were also explicity forbidden from quoting them."

    Would both make such analysis difficult and include only bias.

    After all, as Peter317 said of Corbyn:

    "He makes a living out of selling forecasts."

    So he'd hardly like to see any conclusion that he wasn't accurate.

    /professor monckton

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  • 226. At 1:55pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @U14260427 #225

    Richard was talking about long term weather forecasts, not weather in the next 5 days and specifically about 2 long term forecasts by Corbyn and the Met Office

    Forget opinion, who was the closest with their forecast of the 3 events so far? If your answer is the Met Office, then it just shows how little you know about this subject, despite all your filibuster

    /Mango

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  • 227. At 2:24pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "Richard was talking about long term weather forecasts, not weather in the next 5 days and specifically about 2 long term forecasts by Corbyn and the Met Office"

    So you have the figures for that, Mango?

    Well, let's see.

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  • 228. At 2:49pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @U14260427 #227

    Care to answer my question?

    Forget opinion, who was the closest with their forecast of the 2 events so far?

    /Mango

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  • 229. At 3:11pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Mango, how about two forecasts from Piers:

    "BAD LUCK for Piers Corbyn who is currently attempting to supplement whatever stipend he is given by London's South Bank Polytechnic by betting on the weather with Messrs William Hill...
    On 2 March, he predicted on the basis of his 'solar weather cycle theory' that there was a White Easter on the way."

    There wasn't.

    "Speaking yesterday ... Mr Corbyn said it was “vital” that the public were warned about the potential destruction on the way.
    He said: “We are predicting three waves of storms to hit the British Isles and Scandinavia.

    “The total effect is likely to be bigger than the storm of 1987 and aspects of them will have similarities to the tempest of 1703.""

    November:
    “November is looking generally unsettled with no significant peaks.”

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/22322/Killer-storms-to-lash-Britain

    /professor monckton

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  • 230. At 3:21pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Mango:
    "Forget opinion, who was the closest with their forecast of the 2 events so far?"

    But that answer is meaningless with respect to your statement that makes this your demand:

    "but this doesn't explain how he gets it right more often than the met office"

    And meaningless when it comes to ascertaining if Piers work has any merit.

    /professor monckton

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  • 231. At 3:34pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    more filibuster

    just answer the question

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  • 232. At 3:53pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    Why are you dodging the question, Mango?

    You stated first that Corbyn is more accurate than the Met Office.

    Yet you don't seem to have any data to support that.

    So you've made it up.

    This is not a surprise.

    /professor monckton

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  • 233. At 4:21pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    filibuster

    answer the question: who has been more accurate of the 2 long term forecasts made by Corbyn and the Met Office?

    /mango

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  • 234. At 4:31pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    You made a claim Mango and you don't seem to be able to substantiate it.

    Therefore your claim is false.

    /professor monckton

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  • 235. At 4:44pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    what claim?

    I said it seems Corbyn has done a better job than the Met Office. That is not a claim of any kind whatsoever

    All we ever get from you is filibuster, rhetoric and attacks

    Answer the question

    /Mango

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  • 236. At 4:54pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "235. At 4:44pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    what claim?"

    "220. At 11:36am on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    Whatever Corbyns method, it may be a crystal ball for all i know, but he seems to be more right more often than the met office"

    Stop wasting time.

    /professor monckton

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  • 237. At 5:23pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    seems

    /mango

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  • 238. At 5:43pm on 07 Jan 2010, U14260427 wrote:

    "237. At 5:23pm on 07 Jan 2010, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    seems"

    That is a claim.

    You have no evidence to give that impression, so therefore the claim is false.

    /professor monckton

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  • 239. At 9:37pm on 07 Jan 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    U14260427, MangoChutneyUKOK #225 - #238.

    Stalemate: a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves.

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  • 240. At 06:34am on 08 Jan 2010, besserwisser wrote:

    Good for Piers Corbyn and his courage to say what he thinks, despite the intimidation of establishment witch-hunts.

    You must admit, Richard Black, that he was RIGHT and the Met Office were... to be very kind... VERY WRONG in the light of the current "weather" (as what falls on us is called by warmists).

    It's not just the UK - look at the rest of the northern hemisphere - new 100-year records in Canada, for example.

    Good for anyone that thinks ouside the BBC and establishment box.

    Richard - watch out: Black ice ahead.

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  • 241. At 07:47am on 08 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @U14260427 #238

    ok, i looked out the window and watched the news and noted that the temperature had dropped, their was snow and ice and the UK was coming to a standstill.

    This evidence is empirical (observation) and verified by the BBC, therefore I can conclude Corbyn was right (cold with very cold snaps) and the Met Office was wrong

    Checkmate

    Or are you now able to answer my original question?

    /Mango

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  • 242. At 08:51am on 16 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Now that Yeah_Whatever has disappeared again, how about an updated report on the Corbyn/Met Office winter predictions?

    Thanks

    /Mango

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  • 243. At 09:06am on 17 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Now the BBC are dropping the Met Office as provider of weather forecasts, could I suggest www.weatheraction.com ? They seem to have a better track record than the Met Office.

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article6991064.ece

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  • 244. At 3:56pm on 24 Jan 2010, Rob barton wrote:

    To put the Met Office claims that they are right in their forecasts 85% of the time in perspective I understand that I can be correct 85%of the time by forecasting that "Tommorrows weather will be the same as todays"!

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  • 245. At 6:50pm on 24 Jan 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #242.

    "Now that Yeah_Whatever has disappeared again.."

    shame that, inbetween the outburts U14260427 managed some solid arguments, plus some neat logic -- good reading. FWIW, I shall miss 'professor monckton'.

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  • 246. At 07:33am on 25 Jan 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @jr4412 #245

    for what it's worth, if yeah_whatever hadn't been so abusive and presumably banned again by the mods, i think i wold have listened more to his arguments. He did on several occassions cause me to think again, altohugh after doing a little research on his arguments, i came to the conclusion that he was wrong on AGW.

    /mango

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  • 247. At 07:53am on 25 Mar 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Richard,

    Now that winter is over, I would like to formally invite you to announce the winner of the "weather forecast duel" and perhaps have a word with your bosses about filling the gap left by the sacking of the Met Office

    /Mango

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  • 248. At 07:06am on 26 Mar 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    Leftie

    If central London is flooded, where would we re-locate the bankers, civil servants and politicians who work there? Would those target locations welcome those invaders as potential neighbors and customers?


    [tong in cheek] Leave them where they are, England would be a happier place.

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  • 249. At 10:42am on 28 Mar 2010, Bonn1e wrote:

    @Richard Black


    'So there you are. The forecasts are out; let battle commence'

    ...and the winner is?

    Why the silence now please?

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