What on “Earth” is going on at the U.K. Met Office?

If you’ve been following the climate wars, you will know that for the past couple of years there have been numerous scientists and commentators who have discussed what has come to be known as “the pause” in “global warming”.

As each declaration made its way into public consciousness, someone or other from a “jewel in the crown, of British science and global science” (aka the U.K. Met Office) has leapt into the fray and dutifully performed some remarkable feats of linguistic gymnastics in order to “refute” such claims and/or (along with a virtual army of knee-jerk non-scientists such as Bob <fast fingers> Ward) berate those who have had the temerity to remark on this (evidently now former) taboo.

Yesterday, however, the Met Office appeared to be doing an about face and finally acknowledged “the pause”. And they did so by releasing not one, not two, but three papers:

The recent pause in global warming (1): What do observations of the climate system tell us? (pdf)
The recent pause in global warming (2): What are the potential causes? (pdf) **
The recent pause in global warming (3): What are the implications for projections of future warming? (pdf)

[** Not that I want to quibble, but … In my dictionary “potential” is indicative of “future” – and I’m not sure that (even in elevated stratosphere of post-normal science) one could have a future “cause” of something both present and past. So “possible” might have been a better choice of words, IMHO.]

In my books this much delayed triage trio is definitely an acknowledgement of “the pause”, which as I recall was first articulated by Dr. Judith Curry, during the course of her dispute with the (not recently heard from) BEST booster, Dr. Richard Muller.

The posts of both Andrew Montford and Curry on this much delayed acknowledgement from this “jewel in the crown” have generated a considerable number of responses on their respective blogs (Bishop Hill and Climate Etc)

For me, the major takeaway from these three papers was highlighted by Curry in the intro quote of her post:

The recent pause in global surface temperature rise does not, in itself, materially alter the risks of substantial warming of the Earth by the end of this century. – UK Met Office [emphasis added -hro]

As I had observed:

So the bottom line seems to be that this “pause” – which the Met Office and others have spent at least the better part of a year, in effect, insisting was not occurring and berating those who had the temerity to observe that it has – has finally been acknowledged!

But (in keeping with past “standard operating procedures” on far too many such dragged out acknowledgments), the “experts” have, in effect, pronounced that “it doesn’t matter, anyway … our models continue to rule!”

I could be wrong, but my guess would be that this is a rather determined and elaborate exercise in “spin” ahead of the Sept. “approval” of WG1’s contribution to AR5, in order to … uh … sustain what former UNFCCC head honcho, Yvo de Boer had declared last November:

“That [AR5] report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,” Mr de Boer said in the only scheduled interview of his visit to Australia. “I’m confident those scientific findings will create new political momentum.”

Not to mention that there appears to be no mention of the simple fact that even if the output of their gloriously faulty – if not significantly deficient – models turns out to be correct, they still have absolutely no empirical evidence (nor even a sustainably “alarming” correlation) which would support the hypothesis that the primary “culprit” is human-generated emissions of CO2. But perhaps this is not a message that the “experts” want to convey to the policymakers – or to the public!

When I took a look at this trio of triage exercises, I didn’t expect to understand all of the “arguments”. They are certainly beyond my pay-grade. But not beyond that of Nic Lewis, who had noted in a comment at Bishop Hill [Jul 23, 2013 at 9:51 PM]:

Writing as an author of the study, I think that the Met Office paper 3 factually misrepresents the results of Otto et al (2013) in more than one place.

“Spin” is one thing; but “factually misrepresent[ing] results … in more than one place” is a completely different kettle of (distinctly malodourous) fish, IMHO.

As I was reading through these three papers something else jumped out at me. It was certainly nothing that would “materially alter” this kettle of distinctly malodourous fish; but because it was so prevalent, I thought it was worth noting. Here’s what I … uh… unearthed. It was the authors’ frequent use of the word “earth” – or in their decidedly capital preference, “the Earth”. Word counts:

Paper 1: 9 (including one instance of “earth radiation budget”)

Paper 2: 35 (including one instance of “earth” in a reference title)

Paper 3: 13

This struck me as somewhat peculiar, to say the least. And definitely a diversion from the general … uh … consensus which is reflected in the following:

Capitalize this!
4. Proper nouns
Names of celestial bodies: Mars, Saturn, the Milky Way. Do not, however, capitalize earth, moon, sun, except when those names appear in a context in which other (capitalized) celestial bodies are mentioned. “I like it here on earth,” but “It is further from Earth to Mars than it is from Mercury to the Sun.

So what will we find in the next paper from this “jewel in the crown, of British science and global science”, I wonder. Talk of “Mother Earth”? Or maybe they’ll just go with Gaia;-)


4 thoughts on “What on “Earth” is going on at the U.K. Met Office?

  1. Pingback: These items caught my eye – 25 July 2013 | grumpydenier

  2. A hit! A very palpable hit!

    Thou art slain.
    The point envenom’d …

    In combo with the “no skill on any time scale” verdict, this should about put paid to the GCM-centered presumptions of competence.

    • A hit! A very palpable hit!

      Thank you ;-) As you say recent developments certainly should put paid to this agenda-driven nonsense.

      But, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, while the IPCC’s star status is rapidly diminishing, the <all sustainability all the time> scary stories crowd has been gearing up to take centre-stage, so to speak!

      And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see many of the “leading lights” leaping joyfully to a spot where they think the grass may be greener (pun intended)!

  3. A ‘future cause’ of something past? The future influencing the past?
    Like in some histree books with a lesson ter teach.
    And say, ‘future causes’ of past events depending on what’s goin’ down,
    that’s a tricky way ter come to a con – venient… er … truth.

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