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A truly memorable Spring

Paul Hudson | 17:27 UK time, Monday, 6 June 2011

Provisional figures released by the Met Office show that Spring 2011 (March 1st to May 31st inclusive) with a mean temperature 10.2C was the equal warmest in the Central England Temperature series which dates back to 1659.

Only Spring 1893 was as warm as Spring 2011. Spring 2007 with a mean temperature of 10.1C is now 3rd warmest on record.

According to the England and Wales rainfall series, dating back to 1766, Spring 2011 was the 3rd driest since these records began, and the driest since 1893.

Across the UK as a whole, 185mm of rain was recorded, which is 80% of the 1971-2000 average. This masked sharp regional variations, with some eastern parts of England recording less than a third of normal rainfall.

Locally, Leeming in North Yorkshire also set new records.

It was the driest Spring on record with 37.8mm, beating the previous record of 46.8mm set in 1990.

It was also the sunniest Spring on record with 552.4hrs, beating the previous record of 544.1hrs set in 1948.

2011 was also the joint warmest on record with 9.7C, matching the previous record set in 1945.

Leeming's figures go back to 1945.

March and April in particular were dominated by persistent areas of high pressure which led to the dry and warm conditions. But early indications suggest that the the foreseeable future is likely to be unsettled across the UK as a whole, and dominated by low pressure with West or Southwesterly winds - climatologically normal for the UK - with no sign of the long hot summer widely talked about in the press.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    It may be the joint warmest spring since 1659, but it's good to know warm springs are not unprecedented and nor are dry spells

    /Mango

  • Comment number 2.

    I guess this must only refer to England and Wales. In Scotland spring was extremely cold and extremely wet...

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, based on HadUKP, the driest Springs in England & Wales were:
    1785 = 54.8mm
    1893 = 71.5mm
    2011 = 80.1mm
    Also, based on this series, April and May are normally the driest months of the year and Spring is normally the driest season of the year. On the other hand, the long-term trend in Spring rainfall is actually going up, as is that for annual rainfall. Up until this year, the 30 year ma Spring rainfall has been above the trend and it looks like it is now falling back to a more normal level.
    Otherwise, I think this is just part of the normal variability in rainfall patterns and is nothing to do with "climate change".

  • Comment number 4.

    "Otherwise, I think this is just part of the normal variability in rainfall patterns and is nothing to do with "climate change".

    But you can bet there will still be plenty of finger pointing. Meanwhile a lot of the US has had a rotten spring, with many areas having very late snow melts.

    Funny that the BBC weather website (via the MO) jumped on the hot summer band wagon and predicted a scorchio June just as the weather decided to break down from the blocking pattern. The SE is still suffering from critical rainfall shortages but I think Yorkshire is now settling into a much more normal summer pattern.

    There is still a risk of a major flood event as ENSO continues to pull away from La Nina as the enchroachment of lows are still bumping against persistent high pressure to the SE - just one stalled front over us and the long dry spring will be forgotten by the press.

  • Comment number 5.

    Anecdotally, it was exceptionally dry in the south east- my garden looks like a partial desert in places.

    It'll be interesting to see how things change over the next few months- also how many 'scare' stories we get off this data.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's seems to be becoming easier to break these records.

  • Comment number 7.

    Netweather's forecast of a summer like 1976 is already looking dodgy, June was going to be a long hot and sunny month according to their forecast issued only a couple of weeks ago.

    Quake: It was equally extreme on the cold side this winter, it's not just records being broken for warmth.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ 6- it's hardly suprising since we've been warming for nearly 100 years now...

  • Comment number 9.

    #6. - quake wrote:
    "It's seems to be becoming easier to break these records."
    Not sure if I agree with that.
    Maybe just more attention being given to records.
    To prove it, there would have to be considerable research into
    the number of new records broken over the last 100-200 years.
    By the way, while we are awaiting the May UAH anomaly figure with
    eager anticipation, the RSS global anomaly (adjusted to 1961-90), for May was up to 0.273c from 0.253c in April. The NH anomaly was down from 0.370c to 0.342c and the SH anomaly was up from 0.137c to 0.206c.
    I don't think that the increase in RSS will necessarily mean an increase in the other series, as they were already much higher than RSS. The adjusted global RSS figure of 0.273c is still much lower than last months HadCRUT3 figure of 0.405c.

  • Comment number 10.

    8. LabMunkey wrote:

    "it's hardly suprising since we've been warming for nearly 100 years now..."


  • Comment number 11.

    10. I wrote:

    Sorry, pressed the wrong button in 10!

    Was going to point out that the CET decadal trend for the whole of the past 100 years is currently 0.067 C per decade. But the trend over the past 30 years is currently 0.132 C per decade.

    In other words, CET has warmed twice as quickly over the past 30 years than it has on average over the past 100 years. This is despite there having being much less annual solar input on average over the past 30 years than there was on average over the past 100.

    Also, if you look just at Jan - May figures, then 2011 is the fifth warmest on record, despite La Nina conditions having prevailed until early May. The top five warmest Jan - May records have all occurred since 1998, a period of comparatively low solar output.



  • Comment number 12.

    sigh . . .
    newdwr54
    Yes, its been very warm. About as warm as it was in 1893 apparently. Wow - shock horror! Is this the dreaded curse of CO2? Being so warm, its almost as warm as it used to be.
    Seriously, the paragraph about solar averages is a total misrepresentation. You're a smart cookie so I can't imagine that you would knowingly post a fact that could be easily disproved. Therefore, I suspect that you've tortured the averages until you've found something you were looking for. Quite frankly, I can't be bothered to check since one glimpse is enough to see that solar activity increased markedly throughout the first half of the 20thC, peaked around the middle and then stayed at historically high levels into the early 2000s. That is the real solar story here and you've seen enough graphs to know it.

    Your final paragraph refers to what? CET or Global. If CET, then I'm not entirely sure that you would expect to see a la nina effect locally throughout that record.

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Was going to point out that the CET decadal trend for the whole of the past 100 years is currently 0.067 C per decade. But the trend over the past 30 years is currently 0.132 C per decade. "
    On the other hand, CET rose faster between 1695 and 1733, than it did between 1963 and 2006, and reached annual figures as high as we are currently experiencing.
    Far from a consistent trend over the last 30 years, in terms of annual temperatures, CET rose quickly from a low level between 1986 and 1990, remained fairly static until 2006 and then fell again until 2010. It remains to be seen if CET will now continue to rise or stay at about the pre-1986 level.
    I find it interesting that you have resorted to CET as evidence of "global warming", since we have just experienced the lowest annual CET since 1986 and low CET figures in the past have been dismissed as being over too small an area to be significant in global terms. Now apparently, when global temperatures are static or falling, but CET is rising, the latter are suddenly of some significance again.
    In reality, CET figures are based on only 3 locations in England and there is at best a weak correlation between CET and even the NH part of global temperatures.

  • Comment number 14.

    12. lateintheday:

    You seem to be accusing me of 'cooking the books' slightly on solar input data. I assure you I have not done so. Here is the WFTs index with 100 year and 30 year sunspot averages highlighted: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1912/trend/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1982/trend

    It's pretty plain that over the course of the 100 year period 1912 - present there was an overall rise in solar input, but that in the past 30 years that has sharply tailed off. It is odd that it is during the period of the tail off in solar input that CET surface temperatures data show their fastest rate of increase.

    There is no slight of hand here. There doesn't need to be.

  • Comment number 15.

    13. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "... CET rose faster between 1695 and 1733, than it did between 1963 and 2006, and reached annual figures as high as we are currently experiencing."

    The point about 1695 and 1733 though is that the 'Maunder Minimum', a period of prolonged low sunspot activity, roughly spanned 1645 to 1715. So the period 1695-1733 spans the period of the mid-to-end of the Maunder Minimum and subsequent recovery to warmer temperatures caused by increased solar output. There may have been other influences, such as volcanic activity.

    The point is that we have a ready natural explanation for the Maunder Minimum and the earth's recovery from it. As I discussed above, we do not have such an explanation for the warming of the last 30-odds years.

    While there are fluctuations in every temperature set, 30 data points is usually considered to be sufficient to identify an overall trend in a series and determine its statistical significance over time. In the case of CET from 1982-2010, the trend is + 0.132 C per decade.

    This equates to the +95% confidence interval that temperature rise is positively correlated to the passing of time time between 1982-2010. (The correlation value is 0.3813 versus the 95% coefficient for n=30 of 0.3610. You can carry out the correlation on your spreadsheet but you need to consult a table to get the appropriate coefficient value.)

    The statistics say that there is less than a 1/20 chance that temperature rise in the CET since 1982 is due to random variation in the climate system. This does not of course prove causation, nor does it suggest a mechanism.

    I have not at any stage today mentioned 'global warming' or given any explanation for the CET trend. I have also stuck mostly with the 'trends' themselves; there is always variation in any long term data set, as I know you appreciate.

    However, in my view it should not go unnoticed that *all five* of the warmest Jan-May values in a 353 year old temperature set all occur within the last 4% of that set; especially when one of the main drivers of temperature, the sun, has been at relatively low outputs during that short period.


  • Comment number 16.

    newdwr54 @14
    that link is a scream, well done. I must employ you as my accountant.
    In fact, I suggest everyone takes a look at it just for fun. I don't imagine that even Quake or Paul B would be able keep a straight face arguing that one.

  • Comment number 17.

    I have updated the plot to show the dramatic fall in solar activity over the past ten years:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1912/trend/plot/sidc-ssn/from:2000/to:2010/trend

    The fact that temperatures have remained stable is proof that it's worse than we thought ;)

  • Comment number 18.

    superb work Rob - yes, I'm really panicking now!

  • Comment number 19.

    @ newd
    I was of the impresion that sunspot activity was not the only factor affecting climate? also i was of the direct impression that total solar output was at a very high level and has remained so for some time- further that the touted 'no rate rise' figures were wholly misrepresentative of the issue- just take the kettle analogy.

    I wonder- is there a single good source for all this solar data?

  • Comment number 20.

    Well there you go, the dryer the weather the hotter it is. Normal weather that had happened in 1893 as well.

  • Comment number 21.

    19. LabMunkey:

    Solar output is relatively high if you look at the long term trend (100s of years). But on the decadal scale it is much lower than it was mid 20th century.

    A similar claim is true re global average temperatures: they are at historically high levels in the instrument record, even though the rate of increase slowed slightly since around 2000.

    In both cases we can say that values peaked at a plateaux, then, in the case of solar, fell slightly, and in the case of temperatures, remained steady or grew more slowly.

  • Comment number 22.

    UAH May 2011 global average surface temperature anomaly just revealed by Dr Spencer as +0.13: http://www.drroyspencer.com/

    This puts the UAH long-term trend back up to +0.14 from +0.13 per decade since 1979; so no 'global cooling' just yet - the opposite in fact. (Curiously DR Spencer does not highlight this fact in his post, though he made quite a big deal out of it when it fell from +0.14 to +0.13 last year. Perhaps he just forgot?)

  • Comment number 23.

    1659 may be the year that temperatures were first recorded in the UK but, these were not taken every day or even at the same time of day and certainly not at hourly intervals over the 24 hour period. The instruments then were crude to say the least with not calibration standard between instruments. So early records are sketchy to say the least. And we still claim to have the longest continuous temperature record.

    The UK may have been warm but Spain, at least where my daughter lives, was cold and wet.

  • Comment number 24.

    @21.

    wouldn't this then point to a sort of 'lag' effect then- more than likely linked to the oceans?

    If solar output peaked in the mid 2000's as you stipulate then i find it exceptionally believable that temperatures could and would still rise.


    The whole 'solar output has not been rising' meme depends on two large assumptions:

    1- that equilibrium was reached quickly as the solar output increased.
    2- that the lags for any warming/cooling phase were also small.

    WRT point 1, we have zero info on this- except for looking at the paleoclimatic data and taking guesses. I find it eminently believable that as the solar output fell (but still remained at high levels) the temperatures still rose as an equilibrium point had yet to be reached.

    This would be demonstrated by a stalling and/or a fall in global temperatures after the solar levels fell.

    WRT point 2; again we have very sketchy information on this. Ocean dynamics afaik are still unclear and then current measurements for ocean temp themselves make large assumptions.

    In short, i think it's impossible to rule out solar input as a cause for the recent (and now stalling) temperature rises.

  • Comment number 25.

    #23. - John Marshall wrote:
    "1659 may be the year that temperatures were first recorded in the UK but, these were not taken every day or even at the same time of day and certainly not at hourly intervals over the 24 hour period. "
    Is CET now based on hourly readings?
    I think that even now, it is only the average of max/min, which can produce
    inaccurate results.

  • Comment number 26.

    Regarding solar trends, this was on the GWPF website.
    I know that is a "sceptical" site but I still think the article may be of some interest:
    http://thegwpf.org/the-observatory/3151-solar-statistics.html

  • Comment number 27.

    24. LabMunkey:

    There was very little apparent lag between solar forcing and temperatures, perhaps just a couple of years, during the early 20th century. For instance the exceptional solar 'high' of 1957 was followed by the 1950s temperature peak in 1958.

    If you look at CET vrs sun spots there is also fairly close agreement in many places. Most palaeoclimate studies show a similar close relationship (2-3 lag) between solar output and temperatures, e.g.: http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/c153.pdf

  • Comment number 28.

    newdwr54
    I can't make out if you're being serious or just winding us up for fun - which it is by the way. Here's the deal. The overall positive forcing of solar output over the course of one full solar cycle must be fully expunged by the earth climate system before the next one begins in order to maintain any sense of equilibrium. If not, then the system contains more energy (warmer) at the start of the next solar cycle and is therefore less likely to achieve equilibrium following the second (if similar strength) cycle.

    After a number of solar cycles of increasing or equal forcing (entire 20th C), this could quite conceivably lead to a significant build up of extra energy stored mainly in the oceans. The positive ENSO events would be comparatively warmer since they have more energy to release into the atmosphere. One might even speculate that this would show itself in the temp record as number of step changes in temps rather than a gradual incline.

    We now seem to be experiencing a significant dip in solar forcing for the first time in over a hundred years. Now if you consider it possible that it took many, many decades to build up all the extra energy in the oceans, is it really conceivable that all of that energy will simply dissipate during one low cycle? I think not.

  • Comment number 29.

    lateintheday,

    I think you and I discussed this in some detail on a previous thread, although I don't have time now to go back and locate it.

    As I've pointed out before, global temperatures are actually likely to respond far more rapidly to a solar forcing than they would to a greenhouse forcing because the two work in different ways. A solar forcing will warm the oceans directly whereas a greenhouse forcing manifests itself in the atmosphere, with any warming of the oceans being indirect and hence far more gradual.

    In that previous thread I drew your attention to a paper which indicated that the lag between changes in solar intensity (TSI) and the response of global temperatures is only around 2 years - something which newdwr54 has confirmed above. Given that the solar cycles are normally around 11 years, this relatively short lag gives plenty of time for global temperatures to respond to each peak and trough in TSI. I seem to remember that the paper found a temperature difference between the top and bottom of each cycle of around 0.18 Celsius.

    The only thing that has been different about the most recent solar cycle is that the trough has been longer and deeper than usual and newdwr54 is quite correct - global temperatures would indeed be expected to be lower than usual at present in response to this. Now that TSI is rising again, global temperatures should start rising in response. If they do not, it will probably be time to re-evaluate the science!

    Paul

  • Comment number 30.

    Paul Briscoe - you’re right we have been here before, a few times.

    “A solar forcing will warm the oceans directly . . . and the response of global temperatures is only around 2 years”

    So since we have been through a prolonged solar trough, and response of GAT is around 2 years, we should all now be skating on the Thames? This doesn’t make sense to me I’m afraid.

    Throughout the 20thC solar forcing increased to mid century and then remained at historically high levels until around 2000/2003. There was also a significant rise in both SSTs and OHC throughout this period, along with atmospheric CO2.

    However, since the turn of the century, just as this historically high solar forcing has flattened, the SSTs and OHC and GAT have all followed suit. CO2 on the other hand continues to rise.

    Coincidence? Maybe, but Scafetta 2009 claims both a 2 year and 10-12 year signal can be detected in the data. Now of course this paper may prove to be in error in precise detail (like many others), but the concept seems sound. A 10-12 year signal, however small, means that the oceans do not necessarily reach a thermal equilibrium over the course of each individual solar cycle. This implies that for each successive strong solar cycle, the oceans will have gained more energy from direct insolation than they could release. This would be seen as an incremental rise in the instrumental record of SSTs and OHC. Of course GAT would also rise in line, ENSO notwithstanding.

    Also, please note, I’m not arguing that direct insolation is the only mechanism worth considering when looking at solar effect on atmospheric temps. There are quite a few clever ideas out there that assume different mechanisms for the GAT correlation with solar output. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with them.

    Paul, the slightly frustrating thing for me is simply this. . . I’m sure that if you were to play devils advocate for just ten minutes, you could put forward my argument much more succinctly.

  • Comment number 31.

    lateintheday

    "I’m sure that if you were to play devils advocate for just ten minutes, you could put forward my argument much more succinctly."

    Well perhaps I could if it was sound!

    I'll keep individual posts brief as there still appears to be an ongoing technical issue.

    First of all, it has to be pointed out that most scientists believe Scafetta is mistaken - she believes TSI has increased slightly since the 1970's, whereas pretty well everyone else believes that it has fallen slightly. However, even she acknowledges that "since 1975 global warming has occurred much faster than could be reasonably expected from the sun alone."

    So the bottom line is that GAT does not correlate with solar output in more recent times in the way it did in the past.

    Paul

  • Comment number 32.

    lateintheday (continued)

    "So since we have been through a prolonged solar trough, and response of GAT is around 2 years, we should all now be skating on the Thames? This doesn’t make sense to me I’m afraid."

    I'm not sure why we should be skating on the Thames when the difference between top and bottom of the solar cycle only equates to 0.18 Celsius. Also, this is the effect on global temperature, which is not directly comparable to CET.

    I'm no expert, but I understand that it is possible to calculate the forcing for a change in TSI. As I've pointed out before, the forcing caused by the increase since the Maunder Minimum has been calculated as 0.5 Celsius at most and less than half that figure for the 20th century. So the potential for the sun to have caused warming in recent times is limited.

    Paul

  • Comment number 33.

    well yes - I walked into that one.

    TSI slightly up or down is irrelevant though. Either way, it was still way above early 20thC forcing. Let's put it another way. If we have say, 2 consecutive periods of low solar activity, you would expect to see atmospheric cooling - yes? In which case, you must accept that the climate system does not do equilibrium very well. It won't suddenly develop a way of hanging onto the energy in the system, it will simply lose more than it gains. My argument here, is that the reverse must also be true. The system gained more energy than it could lose during the 20thC.

    Now I suppose to some extent you agree with that last sentence. The difference is, in your mind/model/belief the imbalance must be due to rising CO2 because the solar trend flattened out from say 1950 - 2000. Whereas in mine, you don't necessarily need a constant increase in solar insolation to achieve energy gain in the system. You simply need consecutive high solar cycles to increase the imbalance.

    And again, this is not intended as the end story. I'm sure it won't be anything like that simple. The feedbacks which are constantly applied to AGW theory will almost certainly have mirrors in solar theory.

  • Comment number 34.

    lateintheday (continued)

    "A 10-12 year signal, however small, means that the oceans do not necessarily reach a thermal equilibrium over the course of each individual solar cycle. This implies that for each successive strong solar cycle, the oceans will have gained more energy from direct insolation than they could release."

    The paper I described previously also detected a cycle of around 11 years. It is indeed probable that thermal equilibrium is not reached before the solar cycle reverses, but the same is true both at the top AND the bottom of the cycle. So I could just as readily argue that with the Earth being warmer than it has been in the recent past, the loss of heat during the troughs in TSI could be too large for the warming during the peaks to keep up! I think both arguments are equally flawed.

    In truth, in the absence of other forcings, GAT would be expected to stabilise around a figure dictated by the mean TSI......... which has been stable or falling slightly for around 50 years now.

    The following Skeptical Science article gives fairly comprehensive coverage of the various proposed effects of the sun and why they are unlikely to have had a significant effect on global temperature in recent times:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-advanced.htm

    Paul

  • Comment number 35.

    lateintheday (continued)

    "TSI slightly up or down is irrelevant though. Either way, it was still way above early 20thC forcing. Let's put it another way. If we have say, 2 consecutive periods of low solar activity, you would expect to see atmospheric cooling - yes? In which case, you must accept that the climate system does not do equilibrium very well. It won't suddenly develop a way of hanging onto the energy in the system, it will simply lose more than it gains. My argument here, is that the reverse must also be true. The system gained more energy than it could lose during the 20thC."

    I agree totally that the system gained more energy than it lost during the 20th century. That is self-evident. However, it is incorrect to say that TSI is "way" above what it was early in the 20th century. We need to put this in proper perspective.

    The increase in TSI during the 20th century amounts to at most 0.04%. The Skeptical Science article I linked to above includes a calculation showing that this equates to a temperature increase of around 0.22 Celsius - a small fraction of the total GAT increase. Furthermore, the solar forcing all came during the first half of the century and hence cannot explain recent warming. However, it CAN explain most of the warming during the first half of the century.

    There is another problem with your argument. Over the past few years, satellite data has shown the planet continuing to accumulate heat. In other words, the Earth was taking in more heat than it was losing even at a time when the amount of direct insolation was falling.

    Paul

  • Comment number 36.

    well I don't think we will reach an agreement on your first two paragraphs.
    However, I'm interested in your last one. Can you be more specific or provide a link please.

  • Comment number 37.

    lateintheday @ #36

    "well I don't think we will reach an agreement on your first two paragraphs.
    However, I'm interested in your last one. Can you be more specific or provide a link please."

    I note that you've made no attempt to explain why you disagree with my first two paragraphs above. Specifically, you haven't explained why you think the Skeptical Science article is wrong.

    Also, if you look again at Figure 1, you'll see that the increase in TSI during the 20th century is dwarfed by the amplitude of the individual cycles. I suspect that if you were to do the analysis, you would find that the increase in TSI is not even statistically significant! I'm not trying to suggest that the sun has had no effect, but I am saying that its significance is being overplayed by those trying to find arguments to counter AGW!

    As for the energy imbalance I touched on in my last paragraph, this has been discussed by a number of scientists over the past year or two. I read an article by Roy Spencer on the subject, but I don't have a link to hand. A number of Hansen articles and papers have discussed it too, including the one Paul Hudson covered on this blog recently. However, I think the first mention probably came in the Kevin Trenberth paper which spawned the "We can't account for the lack of warming......." comment!

    Paul

  • Comment number 38.

    well Paul, the reason I made no attempt to explain why I disagreed with your first two paragraphs was because you continually link to a site which sums up its solar page with this . . .

    As Ray Pierrehumbert said about solar warming,
    “That’s a coffin with so many nails in it already that the hard part is finding a place to hammer in a new one.”

    And also because you tend to ignore my repeated efforts to steer away from a simple TSI direct forcing as @ 33 final paragraph . .

    "And again, this is not intended as the end story. I'm sure it won't be anything like that simple. The feedbacks which are constantly applied to AGW theory will almost certainly have mirrors in solar theory."

    For this see: Scafetta, Hurst et al, Haigh et al, Nicoll & Harrison, Svensmark (GCR), Pederson/Pepke/Enghoff (GCR), Spencer etc etc. Clearly, there are still plenty of scientists who think that the "solar coffin" has been buried too early. Albedo and stratospheric water vapour changes cannot be indisputably attributed to CO2 any more than they can to solar theories.

    You say . . "furthermore, the solar forcing all came during the first half of the century and hence cannot explain recent warming. However, it CAN explain most of the warming during the first half of the century."

    Looks like you didn't read my post very carefully or understand the significance of the 10-12 year signal.

  • Comment number 39.

    lateintheday @ #38

    Let's start with this bit:

    "For this see: Scafetta, Hurst et al, Haigh et al, Nicoll & Harrison, Svensmark (GCR), Pederson/Pepke/Enghoff (GCR), Spencer etc etc. Clearly, there are still plenty of scientists who think that the "solar coffin" has been buried too early. Albedo and stratospheric water vapour changes cannot be indisputably attributed to CO2 any more than they can to solar theories."

    I can't find a "Scafetta, Hurst et al" paper, although I think Hurst may refer to the methodology. To quote from one of Scafetta's papers:

    "...we have found empirical evidences that the climate oscillations within the secular scale are very likely driven by astronomical cycles, too."

    Empirical evidence is actually the very thing that the papers you listed have NOT provided. Sure, some of them have made it through peer review and this is why sceptics, keen to find anything which might cast doubt on established science, have accepted them uncritically and been quick to hold them up as "evidence".

    However, they have NOT gained general acceptance amongst the wider scientific community because all they are really saying is that they *MIGHT* have identified a process which *MIGHT* have *SOME* bearing on the climate - this is the type of stuff the denial movement thrives on - the fact that the scientific community don't have a complete understanding of the science apparently means that they know nothing!! The point is that, on closer inspection, even *IF* the above scientists are proved correct, the implications for AGW science are likely to be very small.

    For a discussion of much of what is wrong with Scafetta's work try:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/03/solar-flare-activity-doesnt-account-for-recent-warming.ars

    Haigh et al were actually very careful to caution against reading too much into their paper as the results have not been validated. Gavin Schmidt explains this here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/10/solar-spectral-stumper/

    Regarding GCR's, I don't think any of the scientific community dismiss them. The key problem is that there is no trend in solar activity which would allow them to explain the recent warming trend. You might also like to have a read of this:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/05/an-incremental-step-blown-up/

    The key point is this:

    "that ions are important for atmospheric nucleation rate is not supported by the evidence presented in the paper."

    I would also draw your attention back to the pa

  • Comment number 40.

    Hmmm! It seem we lost the last sentence again. It read:

    I would also draw your attention back to the paragraph at the bottom of the Skeptical Science article entitled "Inability to Explain Empirical Observations".

    Paul

  • Comment number 41.

    lateintheday (continued)

    "Looks like you didn't read my post very carefully or understand the significance of the 10-12 year signal."

    I did indeed read it carefully. The problem is that what you are suggesting defies my understanding of the laws of physics! A warming TREND in global temperature can only result from a net increase in TSI averaged across the solar cycles. Given that the last net increase in TSI was at least 50 years ago now and given that research indicates that global temperature responds to fluctuations in TSI within 2 years, what you are suggesting is highly implausible to say the least.

    Indeed, if it was true that, with mean TSI remaining constant, the oceans could accumulate more heat during the "up" phase of the solar cycle than they could lose during the "down" phase, the oceans would have boiled away many millennia ago.

    Paul

  • Comment number 42.

    thanks for that, the arstechnica critique was new to me but I'd already read the RC reviews and comments.

    Chris Lee seems to be well qualified to comment - but no more so than the Authors themselves. The RC team are similarly well qualified to comment on papers (which is why I visit their site) but again, who am I (or for that matter you) to judge the quality of the paper or the critique. Clearly, some extremely bright people hold very different opinions. The fact that more of these people share one particular view does not surprise me in the slightest, nor does it influence me greatly.

  • Comment number 43.

    lateintheday (continued)

    Just one more quick point in relation to Pierrehumbert's comment. Did you follow the link to this article:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/07/friday-roundup/

    This article restates the Skeptical Science point that there is no recent trend in any of the indices of solar activity which would allow it to explain the warming trend since the mid-1970's.

    The following article also explains how previous work by Svensmark was given far more prominence than it justified. It echoes many of the points I made above:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/taking-cosmic-rays-for-a-spin/

    Paul

  • Comment number 44.

    lateintheday (continued)

    ".......but again, who am I (or for that matter you) to judge the quality of the paper or the critique. Clearly, some extremely bright people hold very different opinions. The fact that more of these people share one particular view does not surprise me in the slightest, nor does it influence me greatly."

    There are a number of points here:

    Scafetta is NOT an expert in the field (he appears to work primarily in human gait analysis), but applied expertise in statistics to the field. He has made a variety of comments which suggest that he is not entirely objective in his study of this field.

    As far as I can see, those who are trumpetting Scafetta's work are also not experts in the field and have made their comments in the blogosphere.

    Those who are criticising the work ARE experts in the field and have gone into print in the scientific literature to express their concerns - this is telling and is how science is supposed to work.

    There is much more here:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009_12_01_archive.html

    If you read the second article you will note that Scafetta inappropriately used the SATIRE-T model to study TSI. This was noted in a response to the paper - the accepted way of pointing out flaws in scientific papers.

    The bottom line is that if you trust the word of the blogosphere above that of acknowledged experts you will continue to be misled.

    Paul

  • Comment number 45.

    well I work in marketing and advertising - I don't trust anyone!!!

    However, rightly or wrongly I think it's taught me to understand actions and motives, and sift splutter from sense. Your last paragraph was perhaps not intended to sound like an appeal to authority, but of course for the sake of 90 years or so, a certain patent clerk might have been an avid blogger.
    I also prepared to excuse the word 'you' on the presumption it was not used in an accusatory sense.

  • Comment number 46.

    lateintheday,

    As a former research scientist, I do at least understand the way scientific research operates. I also know that only individuals who have studied a subject in depth over many years fully understand all the intricacies. Call it an "appeal to authority" if you like, but in something as diverse as science it happens to be true.

    It is a fact that most of those who are criticising the science of AGW are NOT experts. This is because pretty well every real expert has now been convinced by the evidence. Bearing this in mind, I find it very disturbing that so much credance is given to science of a poor quality from pseudo-experts just because it casts doubt on something which we all would prefer to believe was not happening. This is why you can probably sense my frustration!

    Scafetta, who we have been discussing here, is from a medical field - frankly, he is no more qualified to write scientific papers on the subject of AGW than I am (in my opininion he has no RIGHT to pretend that he can write knowledgeably on the subject).

    You talk of motives and actions, yet I don't see you questioning why someone who is not an expert in the field suddenly started contributing to publications from an oil industry funded think tank. This is NOT normal practice in science...... in fact, the last time it happened that I am aware of was when the tobacco industry was trying to discredit the science linking smoking to serious disease! The same think tanks were involved back then too.

    Paul

  • Comment number 47.

    Paul, I'm getting on for 50 years old. I've bowed to authority in my youth and marvelled at others intellectual capacity in the vain hope that they were in some way, the best of us. Unfortunately, and quite typical of young idealists, I came to realise that most people are simply in it for themselves, their families and their careers. That may sound bitter and twisted but essentially its true and I have no reason to assume that climate scientists are any different. The cream very rarely rises to the top in organisations - the politically astute do.

    Your argument is pure advocacy. The analogous linking of 'anti-establishment' science to oil and tobacco industry is old hat in my trade, and simply won't wash. Remember, it's what I do, day after day - try to persuade the public to buy products and services by appealing to their ideals rather than their realities. Using negative association tactics is really quite insulting these days.

    I read climate blogs of all flavours because I want to hear all sides. I don't rule out CO2 as the driver of temp rises - I just see one hell of a lot of garbage that is supposedly evidence to support the theory. Moreover, I recognise behaviors and tactics which one would not expect to see from those who purport to have substantive proof.

    Scafetta can write about whatever he wants as far as I'm concerned. If it's total rubbish it will be revealed as such and not just by the 'climate experts'. There are critics a'plenty out there within the skeptic camps as well - you ought to try visiting one of their blogs occasionally.

    And by pseudo-experts, you mean who exactly? Christy, Spencer or Lindzen perhaps? Or maybe just anyone with a different view. Is Judith Curry now a pseudo expert too?

  • Comment number 48.

    lateintheday,

    You and I are obviously of the same era (I'm just over 50). I would agree with your observations of life generally and would accept that they probably even apply to the politics within individual scientific institutions. However, I can say categorically that they do NOT apply to the scientific process. Scientists are a different "breed" and it would require the whole scientific community (thousands of individuals) to lose their objectivity for one view to predominate without proper justification. Also, do you really believe that pretty well every major science academy around the World would have endorsed the science if it was as much in doubt as you suggest?

    What has happened in the case of AGW, just like other branches of science, is that the consensus has grown in line with the evidence.

    So it is not a case of me being guilty of advocacy. Rather it is a matter of you extrapolating from your own experience to an area where you have none and presuming that the same rules apply. They do not.

    "The analogous linking of 'anti-establishment' science to oil and tobacco industry is old hat in my trade, and simply won't wash."

    The evidence that this is happening is unequivocal - it's just that you're not LOOKING for it! It also happens that fake experts and conspiracy theories (ie. suggestions of inpropriety by scientists) are established tactics of denial movements:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/5-characteristics-of-scientific-denialism.html

    Paul

  • Comment number 49.

    lateintheday (continued)

    "I just see one hell of a lot of garbage that is supposedly evidence to support the theory."

    Perhaps you'd like to be specific. As a scientist, I evaluate the evidence based on the scientific literature alone (just as it should be in science - to avoid the problems you mentioned above). Are you saying that the scientific literature on which the scientific consensus of AGW is based is "garbage"? This may be what the blogs you visit are telling you, but it is not true. On the contrary, it is the science being put out by those still opposed to the consensus that is of a poor quality - this is obvious even to me......... and yes, that applies to Spencer, Lindzen and Christy too!

    "Scafetta can write about whatever he wants as far as I'm concerned."

    Has it not crossed your mind, even for a moment, that it is odd for an indivdual with no previous experience in the field to suddenly be putting himself forwards as someone who knows more than the real experts?

    "If it's total rubbish it will be revealed as such and not just by the 'climate experts'."

    ....... but that is precisely the problem here. The real experts HAVE revealed it as being bad science. Those attacking the science, who have a clear agenda, will only attack the pro AGW papers and uncritically accept any sceptical paper that comes out. Has it not struck you as odd that Climateaudit only critically evaluates pro-AGW papers?

    Sorry lateintheday, but in my opinion you (and Judith Curry for that matter) have been duped by the huge amount of propaganda out on the internet. The problem is that it is produced far faster than any scientists can hope to properly counter........ which is why I only pay attention to blogs which base their approach on sound scientific method.

    Paul

  • Comment number 50.

    "Sorry lateintheday, but in my opinion you (and Judith Curry for that matter) have been duped by the huge amount of propaganda out on the internet. The problem is that it is produced far faster than any scientists can hope to properly counter........ which is why I only pay attention to blogs which base their approach on sound scientific method."

    And there perhaps reveals the gulf between us. You can only see the propaganda from your own rather extreme perspective. Try moving closer to middle ground, if only for a brief visit (a month or so) and you will see more clearly, the propaganda on both sides.

    Duped - moi? Well quite possibly, it wouldn't be the first nor the last time. I have at least the modesty to accept that my position may be wrong. The arrogance to cast the accusation in the first place is misplaced at best. To claim 'poor quality' science of any paper that dares to speak against the consensus view is also quite typical of those with a prejudicial view.

    "pretty well every major science academy around the World would have endorsed the science"
    If Sir Paul Nurse is a typical example then it's no wonder that this is the case. From the BBC (Horizon?) show, he clearly had very little knowledge of the AGW science but was nevertheless 100% behind it. Why? Perhaps because he, like you, instinctively trust that all scientists are of a different 'breed'. This is a nonsense - it's an ideal. We are what we are, warts and all. It's more probable that he was simply doing his job - sticking up for his peers without the slightest interest in examining the quality of the science.

    Scientific opinion is a commodity Paul - bought and sold like any other. Scientific method however, should be a different matter I agree, but is that really possible in practice? I wonder . . .

  • Comment number 51.

    Well I am over 60 and if years count for anything, I appear to outrank both of you.
    However, I generally agree with lateintheday.
    To take the example of Sir Paul Nurse's propaganda exercise on Horizon, to stand in front of two computer screens, one showing real climate conditions and the other those simulated in a model and believe it when the scientist said "look, they are both the same", (I paraphrase), was clearly either gullible or disingenuous. Clearly, it is not possible to evaluate the accuracy of computer models by visually examining their outputs on a screen and yet he was trying to convince the viewers that it was. I believe that a "true scientist" would have said, "yes they may look similar, but can you prove that at a detailed level"?
    So which was it, was he gullible or disingenuous?
    I believe that anyone who accepts the science without question is no longer a scientist.

  • Comment number 52.

    lateintheday @ #50

    "And there perhaps reveals the gulf between us. You can only see the propaganda from your own rather extreme perspective. Try moving closer to middle ground, if only for a brief visit (a month or so) and you will see more clearly, the propaganda on both sides."

    The real gulf between us lies in the fact that I believe in science being carried on through the proper channels rather than the blogosphere. In the latter, any old nonsense can be passed off as fact and most readers, with at best a modest understanding of science, will be none the wiser. This allows pressure groups with their own agenda to distort the science in a way which is impossible in the peer-reviewed literature. It is in the blogosphere, NOT the peer-reviewed literature, that propaganda exists.

    "Duped - moi? Well quite possibly, it wouldn't be the first nor the last time. I have at least the modesty to accept that my position may be wrong. The arrogance to cast the accusation in the first place is misplaced at best. To claim 'poor quality' science of any paper that dares to speak against the consensus view is also quite typical of those with a prejudicial view."

    It was not my intention to sound arrogant or patronising. I have reached my conclusions specifically because I have a fair knowledge of the science and have assessed the evidence for myself. Many times I have mentioned the "big picture", something which sceptics routinely ignore - it is the huge weight of evidence from multiple independent sources which forms the basis of the consensus amongst scientists.

    The "problem" here was that you presented scientific papers which are known to be flawed as "evidence" that there is serious doubt over the scientific consensus regarding solar forcing. This happens a great deal in the blogosphere for the reasons I described above.

    As for my "prejudicial" view regarding the quality of most sceptic papers, I would simply draw your attention to the many detailed critiques of the work of Lindzen, Spencer, Christy and co. over at Skeptical Science. You may not like what you read there, but the truth is that the site uses the same processes any trained and objective scientist would to assess a scientific study. The flaws in the papers are real and the criticisms entirely justified......... this, rather than prejudice, is why Spencer and co. now find themselves out on a limb.

    Paul

  • Comment number 53.

    QV @ #51

    “Well I am over 60 and if years count for anything, I appear to outrank both of you.”

    That’s one area in which I am entirely happy to cede seniority!

    "So which was it, was he gullible or disingenuous?
    I believe that anyone who accepts the science without question is no longer a scientist."

    I think you know enough of me by now to be aware that I don't accept anything without question........ and I'm quite sure that neither Sir Paul Nurse nor the various science academies have done so either.

    Obviously, for someone such as yourself, who has studied the models in some detail, the footage in the Horizon programme discussing the models was over-simplistic to say the least. However, the programme was intended for general viewing and was just one hour long, making it impossible to look in any depth at the evidence. So your expectations of a detailed and probing approach on camera are unrealistic. Sir Paul could also have done far more to unravel the nonsense spouted by Fred Singer, but again that would have taken too much time. The message he was putting out was that he DID have confidence in the competence and honesty of the scientists and he was trying to uncover why others did not.

    So I don't accept your assertion that Sir Paul was being either gullible or disingenuous. Personally, I think your expectations of such a media programme were just a bit too high!

    Paul

  • Comment number 54.

    "The message he was putting out was that he DID have confidence in the competence and honesty of the scientists and he was trying to uncover why others did not."

    And made a pigs ear of it in my humble opinion. Did he really think that the 'emails' could be so easily swept under the carpet? Does he really think that peer review is in rude health? Was his successful, public humiliation of James Delingpole a shining example of fair play? Why did he simply accept the claims of the NASA chap with regard to CO2 emissions, only to find himself rather embarrassed a few days later. Is this the sort of scientific rigour you expect from the Head of the RS Paul?

    Again, if the evidence is so strong, why stoop to these levels? If they now have irrefutable evidence of AGW, how can they make such a bad job of presenting it.

  • Comment number 55.

    lateintheday @ #54

    In your previous post you were lecturing me regarding propaganda, yet here you are putting a definite "gloss" on things which smacks of blogosphere assertions. Your account lacks the balance I would expect from someone attempting to be truly objective.

    "Did he really think that the 'emails' could be so easily swept under the carpet?"

    They were not! The reviews had already cleared the scientists of wrongdoing, so why should Sir Paul have made more of an issue of it?

    "Does he really think that peer review is in rude health?"

    I suspect that he does, because there is no REAL evidence that it was ever abused.

    "Was his successful, public humiliation of James Delingpole a shining example of fair play?"

    Were Mr. Delingpole's criticisms justified? No! So Sir Paul was entitled to point out the hypocrisy of his argument.

    "Why did he simply accept the claims of the NASA chap with regard to CO2 emissions, only to find himself rather embarrassed a few days later."

    This appears to be something you've picked up from James Delingpole's blog. Frankly, Delingpole is arguing over semantics - hardly surprising given the roasting he'd been given! The point the NASA scientist was alluding to was that the natural carbon cycle is in balance, with large releases of CO2 being offset by equal natural CO2 uptake. Therefore the NET CO2 emissions from natural sources are indeed far smaller than the anthropogenic ones. So Delingpole is the one being misleading here!

    "Again, if the evidence is so strong, why stoop to these levels? If they now have irrefutable evidence of AGW, how can they make such a bad job of presenting it."

    I would refer you back to my comments at #53 above - the programme was clearly not intended to look in detail at the evidence.

    Paul

  • Comment number 56.

    "They were not! The reviews had already cleared the scientists of wrongdoing, so why should Sir Paul have made more of an issue of it?"

    Simply burying your head in the sand here Paul. Like it or not, that 'scandal', did huge damage to the reputation of climate science whether there were was any wrongdoing or not. If Sir Paul was really interested in finding out why science was under attack (think that was the theme of the show) he really should have made more time available for this headline event. Dr Jones and the CRU may have had some credibility restored, had they put up a strong case. The inquiries have been roundly condemned (and quite rightly) for ignoring some of the central issues and for not calling upon potential hostile witnesses for their accounts. 'Yes minister' at its best.

    Peer review!!! The continuing debacle with Wegman shows that this issue will not go away. Its a tit-for-tat war, where again, the central issue is being shoved to one side by all parties, whose main aim is simply to get one over on the other side. Steig/O'Donnel being another example. Their results were more or less in agreement but they went at it like casts and dogs.

    Delingpole? No I don't generally read him. Clearly picking on him was easy - you could have taken him apart yourself I'm sure. So aside from the easy target, perhaps he should have taken on McIntyre or Pielke or Spencer or Svensmark etc etc. Those out there who can really think on their feet because they do understand the science. I seem to remember that Sir Paul did apologise a few days later for the CO2 emissions misunderstanding, although I would agree it was largely a fuss over nothing.

  • Comment number 57.

    lateintheday @ #56

    “Simply burying your head in the sand here Paul. Like it or not, that 'scandal', did huge damage to the reputation of climate science whether there were was any wrongdoing or not.”

    I’m certainly not burying my head in the sand and I agree that Climategate did damage the reputation of the science…….. but that was clearly the whole point of it. It is those who have not grasped the significance of the timing (just before Copenhagen) who are burying their heads in the sand. This will certainly not have been lost on those who undertook the various reviews of Climategate, nor will the fact that many of those attacking the scientists (and demanding their data) have an agenda of their own! Could this be why they were restricted to written submissions, I wonder…….?

    “The inquiries have been roundly condemned (and quite rightly) for ignoring some of the central issues and for not calling upon potential hostile witnesses for their accounts. 'Yes minister' at its best.”

    First of all, I draw your attention to my points above.

    I appreciate that there has been a lot of criticism of the various reviews (and no review is ever perfect), but it is also not lost on me that most of it is coming from the same people who sought to exploit the emails in the first place. Of course these people are crying “wolf” – the findings of the reviews make a complete mockery of pretty well everything they have said.

    In fact, the most wide-ranging review was the one by the US EPA - the blogosphere has remained strangely quiet about that one. This could be because it DID tackle each individual “endangerment” head on and in some detail. It too found that the scientists had no case to answer.

    Paul

  • Comment number 58.

    lateintheday (continued)

    “Peer review!!! The continuing debacle with Wegman shows that this issue will not go away.”

    Indeed it won’t, because Wegman himself is now under investigation. However, the Wegman saga was not really to do with peer-review. The same is true of Steig/O’Donnell. To my knowledge, only one individual tried to suggest that Steig was attempting to subvert peer-review and there is no evidence to support that view. On the contrary, when Steig and O’Donnell reached a point where they could not agree on further changes, another reviewer was appointed, proving that peer-review actually works!

    The bottom line is that, for all the innuendo on certain websites, there is NO real evidence of a problem with peer-review. I’m sure any scientist would acknowledge that it isn’t always perfect, but nobody has yet come up with a better alternative. It IS confrontational at times and cases such as Steig/O’Donnell are far from unusual. It’s just that you don’t normally get to hear about them!

    “So aside from the easy target, perhaps he should have taken on McIntyre or Pielke or Spencer or Svensmark etc etc.”

    I suspect the distinction here was that the individuals you mention have been prepared to contribute to the real scientific debate through the proper channels (ie. the scientific literature), meaning that their views undergo the same rigorous examination as everyone else’s. From Sir Paul’s perspective, the problem is the Delingpoles, who sling mud from the safety of blogs and the pages of newspapers without having to run the “gauntlet” of peer-review.

    Paul

  • Comment number 59.

    "From Sir Paul’s perspective, the problem is the Delingpoles, who sling mud from the safety of blogs and the pages of newspapers without having to run the “gauntlet” of peer-review."

    Ah yes, but don't you see that for every 'Delingpole" there is a Black, Revkin and Monbiot. I would agree though, that suggesting a better alternative to peer review is difficult. It does strike me (as an outsider) that perhaps peer review should be more transparent. I'm not clear what benefit there is in reviewer privacy. Presumably there must be one or that wouldn't be part of the system.
    I mention Wegman, simply because I'm aware that his current 'troubles" are very much akin to those (apprarently) suffered by the mainstream scientists in that the bloggers and pro AGW journalists have been instrumental in forcing the paper's recent retraction. It seems the paper could quite easily be re-written since the main problem was of proper attribution/plagiarism. So the motivation was not necessarily to attack the paper's conclusions so much as the Author's credibility.

  • Comment number 60.

    "Many times I have mentioned the "big picture", something which sceptics routinely ignore - it is the huge weight of evidence from multiple independent sources which forms the basis of the consensus amongst scientists."

    Part of my objection (and therefore one source of my skepticism) to the way AGW is presented is "the big picture". I agree that there is truckloads of evidence that the Earth has warmed up. What annoys me is the deliberate conflation of GAT/OHC/IceMelt etc etc with CO2. While much of the science provides strong evidence of warming, it then magically links it to rising levels in CO2. With our limited understanding of the climate system (clouds and oceans for example), a warming planet, by whatever mechanism, could show similar responses. Ice will melt, sea levels might rise, water vapour might increase.
    From what I have read (yes that includes the SS website) the 'fingerprint' is smudged.

  • Comment number 61.

    and perhaps on a final note from me . ..
    I realise it must be frustrating for you to debate with folks like me who have a very limited scientific understanding. I find this equally frustrating at times for different reasons. Here is an example of the difficulty for Joe Bloggs.

    Nils-Axel Morner.
    Is he a highly qualified, hugely experienced world expert on Sea levels or is he simply mad as a balloon. You tell me! I've read much which assumes the latter by the way so I won't need a link on this. What bothers me, is that if he is so wrong, how on earth did he achieve all of his career milestones. Who would employ such a numbskull and how did he get his PHD?
    Well, presumably he not a numbskull. Presumably he's a very bright bloke who, despite an entire career studying sea levels, doesn't know what he is talking about. But if that's the case, how do I value the scientific opinions of any of the climate experts. Based simply on the fact they they largely agree with each other? That can't be right since the very fact that they agree with each other is one significant factor in how they have built their reputation and careers. You're unlikely to be given a job at GISS if you reveal in interview, "I think AGW is a load of old cobblers."

    So systemic faults/bias are an almost inevitable consequence of institutional science.

    If I occasionally choose what you consider to be a poor example (paper or author) in my arguments - cut me some slack. There's no guarantee that in twenty years time, the reputations of Mann, Jones and Hansen will be viewed any differently by mainstream science than that of Morner's today.

  • Comment number 62.

    lateintheday @ #59

    “Ah yes, but don't you see that for every 'Delingpole" there is a Black, Revkin and Monbiot.”

    The difference, though, is that Delingpole and co. claim to know better than the experts, whereas Black and co. simply report what the experts are saying!

    “I'm not clear what benefit there is in reviewer privacy. Presumably there must be one or that wouldn't be part of the system.”

    Reviewer privacy is not universal. It depends on the journal. However, part of the problem is that reviewing papers is both time consuming and taxing. I suspect that if reviewers were forced to identify themselves to authors it might become quite difficult to find sufficient scientists prepared to do the job at all!

    Regarding Wegman, the issue was always whether his panel was truly independent, as there is strong evidence that it was closely linked to a Republican administration known to be playing down the threat from AGW. Significantly, the administration turned down an offer from the US National Academies of Science to carry out a review, choosing Wegman instead. Equally significantly, when the US NAS decided to do a review anyway, it came to very different conclusions to Wegman.

    I appreciate that Deepclimate is not liked by sceptics, but from where I’m standing there is one major difference between his investigations and the articles on most of the sceptic blogs. Deepclimate cross-references everything, so it’s easy to confirm whether what he says is true. He is undoubtedly very thorough and the evidence he has uncovered is compelling. If the Wegman review was biased or improperly conducted, it’s surely important that the public know.

    Paul

  • Comment number 63.

    lateintheday (continued)

    “What annoys me is the deliberate conflation of GAT/OHC/IceMelt etc etc with CO2. While much of the science provides strong evidence of warming, it then magically links it to rising levels in CO2.”

    I don’t think it IS conflated either in the literature or at Skeptical Science. If you check, you’ll note that the articles differentiate between the evidence for warming and the evidence that this warming is being caused by greenhouse gases:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-empirical-evidence-that-humans-are-causing-global-warming.html

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/its-not-us-intermediate.htm

    You can also add to the above the evidence in the fossil record, which shows clear evidence of other occasions in the Earth’s past when sudden increases in greenhouse gases have led to catastrophic warming – it is this which convinced former sceptic Bryan Lovell, President of the Geological Society, that the threat from AGW is real. These events make Lindzen’s claims of low climate sensitivity look highly implausible.

    My regular references to the big picture are fully warranted. The various strands of evidence are like a jigsaw – you have to put them all together and look at the whole to get a proper picture. This is something that scientists used to working with complex real World systems are trained to do. Most attacking the science tend to use a far more “piecemeal” approach.

    Paul

  • Comment number 64.

    lateintheday (continued)

    I have indeed come across Dr. Morner and I do understand your point. I’m sure that most scientists ask themselves the same question too! Most non-scientists would naturally presume that anyone who has reached that level would know what he’s talking about, so it is very confusing.

    The bottom line is that Dr Morner will have done at least some sound research in the past in order to get his PhD and more to achieve a reasonable level of seniority. However, how he latterly came to draw conclusions which all his former work colleagues say are wrong nobody can say for sure.

    It appears to me that something has caused him to suspend the normal standard of rigour and objectivity expected of professional scientists. This does seem to happen more when it comes to AGW than pretty well any other subject.

    Al Gore was certainly right about one thing – AGW is VERY inconvenient. This could be part of it. However, I have also seen evidence in some people of an irrational assumption that Man is simply too insignificant to impact on the planet as a whole. Has Dr. Morner forsaken his scientific instincts because they’re telling him something he doesn’t want to believe? Only he can answer that.

    Paul

  • Comment number 65.

    lateintheday (continued)

    I think you are mistaken to paint the scientific community as some kind of old boy’s network. The peer-review process in particular does not operate that way. A consensus develops because the majority of scientists find a particular line of reasoning more compelling than the alternatives. There are simply too many individual scientists at different institutions around the World for them all to influenced against their own better judgement.

    The contrast between the claims of Dr. Morner and the work of Jones, Mann and Hansen could not be greater. It is very unlikely that Dr. Morner would succeed in getting his claims through peer-review simply because the data self-evidently does not back them up. On the other hand, the scientific papers by Jones et al are really presenting data. Ultimately, it is up to the scientific community as a whole to decide whether that data is consistent with an anthropogenic signal or not.

    Paul

  • Comment number 66.

    appreciate your responses Paul.

 

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