Loading The Dice


By Paul Homewood

A phrase we keep hearing over and over again, is that we are “loading the dice”. The idiot Miliband is the latest to jump on the bandwagon

If you keep throwing the dice and you keep getting sixes then the dice are loaded. Something is going on.”

(BTW – he has referred to 2012 as the “second wettest winter on record”. In the UK, the winter of 2012/13 was actually the 28th wettest since 1910. (2011/12 was even drier). To think we’re likely to have this cretin running the country next year!)

It is easy, of course, to pick one month or one year and say how wet it has been. Just as it is easy for me to find other wetter episodes. But if there is any truth in “loading the dice”, we should see two things:-

1) An increasing trend in…

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Nature is ‘conspiring’ against climate models

From the abstract of Gavin Schmidt’s latest

Climate models projected stronger warming over the past 15 years than has been seen in observations. Conspiring factors of errors in volcanic and solar inputs, representations of aerosols, and El Niño evolution, may explain most of the discrepancy.


Hubert Lamb offered this thirty years ago

it is clear beyond any doubt that there are other influences which also change climate and which were deeply involved in the last glaciation in particular. (The Earth’s orbital changes and volcanic dust can both be specified in this case). So, one must be suspicious of attempts to explain all the major turns of the Earth’s temperature history in terms of just one variable such as carbon dioxide alone.

Sometimes, the whole rise of world temperature in recent centuries (indicated by receding glaciers as well as available thermometer records) since the industrial revolution has been, perhaps more plausible, attributed to the increase of carbon dioxide. However, even this case seems more than doubtful when we examine the longest actual thermometer records.

The great oscillation of the prevailing temperature level amounting to almost 1.5 degrees in the 10-year means, that affected much of Europe, as well as Iceland, and perhaps wider regions of the world, between about 1690 and 1740—by far the greatest change in the record—cannot be explained by carbon dioxide changes or any human agency. It may be, but cannot be proved, that changes in the amount of volcanic activity or a fluctuation of the Sun were the dominant influences. Whatever models we produce must express a balance between the influences at work and their possible interactions.

h/t Bishop Hill

CO2 – A Cycle of Excuses

The following passage is by former Met Office supremo Hubert Lamb. Published at the height of the global warming scare – ironically just before the onset of ‘The pause [which] is a grand ‘whodunnit’ at the edge of our scientific understanding –  Lamb made the polar opposite view of current Met Office Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo. Remember this when we are told the debate is over and you find your voice is censored.

In 1896 the Swedish scientist, Sv. Arrhenius, professor of physics first at Uppsala and later in Stockholm, published his suggestion that increasing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as was already happening relentlessly, should be expected to warm world climates because of its absorption—i.e capture—of long-wave radiation that continually goes out from the Earth and so create a sort of ‘greenhouse effect’. And in 1938 in England G S Callendar seemed to show in a paper in the Royal Meteorological Society’s journal that the observed warming of surface temperatures over the Earth by about half a degree Celsius from around 1890 to the 1930s should be about right to be attributable to the radiation trapped in the atmosphere in this way. But there are some difficult points. Water vapour, which is abundant in the atmosphere except over the coldest regions of the Earth and in the stratosphere, also absorbs radiation and on almost al the same wave-lengths that the carbon dioxide absorbs.

Difficulties, too, beset attempts to show how variations in the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the past fit the theory that warm periods in world climate can be attributed to a greater CO2 content and cold periods to a lower CO2 amount. The CO2 content at various past times is presumably indicated by the gas trapped in bubbles in ice-sheets and glaciers. This does show less CO2 in glacial times, and during warmer interglacial periods the CO2 amount were greater. But, since carbon dioxide is more soluble in water—in the oceans for example—when temperatures are lower, the smaller amounts of CO2 in the bubbles in the ice sheets in ice age times could be just a result of the colder climates then prevailing. And, even within our own times, the suggestion that the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should be presumed to be the cause of the warming does not fit at all well with the sequence of observed values.

The great period of warming, at least in the northern hemisphere, was during the first 40 years of the 20th century (especially the first and fourth decades), but in the 1950s and 1960s when the CO2 was increasing more rapidly than ever before the prevailing temperatures were falling. Callendar himself was worried by this discrepancy and contacted both me and Professor Gordon Manley about it. There seem, in fact, to have been a number of shorter runs of sometimes up to 50 years with either rising or falling temperatures often setting in suddenly, and with no clear correspondence to changes in the atmospheric CO2 content.We also see that account must be taken of psychological reactions—even in the influential research community—to the variations towards greater or less warmth as and when they occur.

In the 1880s and 1890s, as a recent American meteorological investigator was the first to be able to show, world temperatures were lower than they had been since around 1850. That was just when Arrhenius came out with his suggestion that the man-made increase of carbon dioxide should be warming the Earth. And at that time the suggestion made little impact. When Callendar promoted the same idea 40 years later, however, it was in a warmer world, though very soon the bitter war winters came and implanted themselves in folk’s memories. And when G N Plass again put forward the CO2warming theory in papers published in 1954 and 1956, world climate was once more entering a colder phase, particularly in the northern hemisphere. Interest in the theory soon waned. It only revived after a run of up to 8 mild winters in a row affected much of Europe and parts of North America in the 1970s and 1980s. There then came a tremendous preponderance of publications on global warming, dominating the research literature, although over-all temperature averages in some regions, particularly in the Arctic, were still moving downward.

So, in spite of the sharp turn towards warming after 1987-8, and the undeniably very warm years 1989-91 and 1995, one must feel uneasy about the confidence with which global warming has been publicised as the verdict of science in official pronouncements from many quarters. The erratic course of the changes experienced through the 20thcentury surely suggests that there are processes at work which are still not adequately understood and possibly even some influences that have not yet been identified.[1997, p217-19]

h/t Enthusiasm, Scepticism and Science / Bishop Hill

“We have forgotten just how normal flooding in the UK is”


By Paul Homewood

With much attention on recent floods, it is worth reposting my report on a study by Professor Stuart Lane of Durham University in 2008.

The study found that the period from the 1960’s to 1990’s had been an unusually dry one, thus leading planners to underestimate the risk of flooding.

This is the News Release from Durham University:

Last summer was the second wettest on record and experts who have studied rainfall and river flow patterns over 250 years say we must prepare for worse to come. Professor Stuart Lane, from Durham University’s new Institute of Hazard and Risk, says that after about 30 to 40 less eventful years, we seem to be entering a ‘flood-rich’ period. More flooding is likely over a number of decades.

Prof. Lane, who publishes his research in the current edition of the academic journal Geography, set out to examine the…

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Government Weather and Climate Forecasts Are Failures

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Dr. Tim Ball

In general, we look for a new law by the following process: First we guess it; then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right; then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is—if it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. – Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman’s comment describes the scientific method but also applies to weather and climate forecasting. Many medium and long-term weather and climate forecasts are wrong…

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An increasingly vigorous cyclonic situation focussed over Britain

never done or known before:

According to Lamb, the 13th century experienced the highest number (by some margin) of “severe sea floods” along North Sea & English Channel coasts. Although the climate across NW Europe was still generally benign (indeed, the peak of warmth of the Medieval Age may have occurred in this century), from the middle of the 13th century, an increase in ‘unsettled’ weather events has been detected by some researchers; the first signs of the descent into the ‘Little Ice Age’. It is indeed possible that the increased storminess was concentrated in the second half of the 13th century



London, in common with much of the rest of the country, was already in the throes of meteorological introspection, and had been for some time. The weather, always a cause of complaint among the long suffering British islanders, had been particularly bad that year, with what seemed endless bouts of rain and strong winds gusting in from the south and southwest…[d]uring the week before the storm as many as five or six separate depressions with their origins in the Atlantic waters off France and Spain, coalesced over the British isles, forming what the historical meteorologist Hubert Lamb described as ‘an increasingly vigorous cyclonic situation focussed over Britain’

Richard Hamblyn (2005), introduction to  The Storm, Daniel Defoe (1704)

The above, and this, means we should not assume that the current stormy pattern has blown itself out. The main thrust of the storms – and preceding dips of cold in the USA – has roughly followed the sequence of Active Region 1944/1967 transiting the visible part of the solar disc. It has returned to the face of the solar disc and accuweather.com are reporting 

Last week’s thaw was a mere tease for the Midwest and Northeast with the polar vortex set to make an encore performance this week.

UK Winter 2013/2014 storms

Deadal Earth

Image Figure 1

Figure 1 (click for larger) is showing surface level air movement from weather GCM. The stuck cold air mass over North America is part of a lack of rotation of the polar air mass leading to a stuck Atlantic circulation bringing repeated storms to Northern Europe where the energy is from the ocean circa Caribbean but with a back feed from the coast of Africa. Around and around. The parallel red arrows are showing where cyclone and anti-cyclone meet, to the left there is a sharp merge of three flows, an unstable region, the shear point is where the St Jude’s day storm formed.

Image Figure 2 (click for 2.3MB animation)

Image Figure 3 (click for 1.44MB animation)

Two GIF animations, figure 2 for wind including figure 1, figure 3 for rain. Click to open full size and activate.

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El Niño and La Niña Basics: Introduction to the Pacific Trade Winds

Watts Up With That?

England et al. (2014) Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus continues to receive attention, and with that attention comes basic questions for many people about trade winds. NBC News has an article by John Roach with the title Global Warming Pause? The Answer Is Blowing Into the Wind. And the team from RealClimate have agreed and disagreed with England et al. (2014) in their post Going with the wind. We’ve already discussed England et al. (2014) in the post here, and we’ll discuss that NBC News article and the RealClimate post in an upcoming one.

For this post, we’re going to concentrate on why the trade winds blow and why they’ve grown stronger in recent years. This is an “introduction to” post. It is not intended to confirm or contradict the findings of England et al. (2014). It is intended to illustrate…

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