Wednesday, 16 August 2017

'Actual' Climate Scientist Michael Tobis Thinks I Don't Exist

I thought about writing a post on this and then thought, meh, boring. So what if a paranoid scientist thinks I'm a sock puppet for fossil fuel interests? No big deal really. But he's pushed his paranoid conspiacist ideation  so far, I thought I had better write something, not least because this person is supposedly a representative of the 'climate science community'. As far as I know, nobody in that community has publicly criticised his bizarre, obsessive behaviour.

It started with an innocent tweet:

This sparked off a 2 day twitter stream (currently ongoing) so bizarre, I can scarcely believe it. Tobis apparently took great offence at my quote tweet.

For my sins, I suddenly found my identity being questioned:

Quite a few people got involved with the argument, mainly to suggest that Tobis was going over the top. He fired off a post on his own blog on the incident here. I quote one of his comments from that post:

"Let me be very plain. The profile picture is me."

This carries precisely no information, as it is exactly what a sock puppet would say.

"So I will leave you with your somewhat obsessive 'concerns' and I will promise not to quote tweet you again."

It's not an obsession. It's a hunch developed when I first encountered you yesterday. You have not convinced me that my hunch is incorrect, though it would be easy to do so. I would love to hear from someone who has met you to assuage my concerns.

Again, in the event that what you say is true, I sincerely apologise.

If it ain't, though, if you're not this one honest (if rather misguided) person but a dishonest person trying to be half a dozen or so trying to stoke the artificial anger at climate science, for whatever reason, I don't have anything to apologise for.

I don't propose to follow Jaime Jessop around trying to claim that the identity is a sock puppet. So if you're real, please rest easy; I don't intend to harass you, and I am genuinely sorry for the misunderstanding.

But *if* you're not Jaime Jessop, I make no such promise. I will pay no more mind to Jaime Jessop, specifically, in future than I have in the past, as long as Jaime Jessop also leaves me alone. However, I'm now interested to find similar accounts with other identities attached, identities which the actual you (per hypothesis) might be using to encourage an environment which unfairly distrusts climate scientists.

You could save me the trouble if you like, just by talking to me for even a minute. But apparently you don't want to do that. Yet you've already spent much more than a minute at this. I find this interesting.
To me, that is a downright weird comment for anybody to come out with, let alone a supposedly sober, rational scientist. Shub agreed:

Here's a selection of Tobis' other crazy comments on Twitter:

Note how they get increasingly suspicious and conspiratorial, like he's feeding on his own feverish imaginings. Apparently, he's got previous form. He accused at least one other person, Brandon Shollenberger of being a sock puppet too:

But he doesn't seem to have obsessively followed up his accusations in anything like the manner which he has done with me.

I'm rather torn between being angry, bemused, unamused and highly amused that anybody would have the audacity to doubt my existence and question my honesty in such a blatant and passively aggressive way. I don't intend to put him out of his misery any time soon by publicy acceding to his demands, but I will say that my existence is not privately in question, whereas Tobis' state of mind quite obviously is.

Friday, 22 January 2016

What did El Nino 2015 Contribute to the 'Hottest Year Ever'?

There's been quite a lot of excitement in the media and on Twitter following announcements by NASA and the Met Office that 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded 'by some measure'. In particular, the debate has centred around how much El Nino contributed to the 'record hot year' (not evident at all in the lower troposphere satellite data) and how much man-made global warming was responsible. Given that global mean temperatures usually show a delay of several months after El Nino peaks, it seems reasonable to suppose that 2016 will peak higher than 2015.
So, we might expect that in 2015 the contribution from El Nino would be modest. The satellite data confirms this: we see temperatures rising steadily throughout the year but failing to exceed 2010 or 1998.
It is very likely that RSS/UAH will continue to rise sharply in the first few months of 2016. The million dollar question of course is: will 2016 exceed 1998 to become the hottest year in the satellite data series? The multi-million dollar question is: will El Nino 2015/16 'step up' global mean temperatures to a new level or will the inevitable follow-on La Nina be very deep and 'step down' global temperatures? For it should be obvious by now that ENSO is the vehicle whereby global warming/cooling is expressed - not the driver of warming/cooling, I hasten to add.
So anyway, logic tells us that, for 2015 at least, El Nino might only have contributed to a modest rise in GMST. Peter Stott of the Met Office says that El Nino contributed a "small amount on top", although it's not clear if this 'small amount' is to the 1C total rise since pre-industrial times or just to the spike in temperatures that the surface datasets show for 2015. I think most sceptics are interested in what the contribution might be just to the 'spurt' in global temperatures between 2014 and 2015, which, according to the Met Office, amounted to 0.18C. According to NOAA, the increase was a staggering 0.29C and NASA put the figure slightly less at 0.23C. Of course, we can rely upon that all-knowing Oracle of Global Warming, the Guardian to give us the lowdown on this vital question:
"A strong El Niño event is peaking at the moment, putting the “icing on the cake” of high global temperatures. El Niño is a natural cycle of warming in the Pacific Ocean which has a global impact on weather. But scientists are clear that the vast majority of the warming seen in 2015 was due to the emissions from human activity.
“Even without an El Niño, this would have been the warmest year on record,” said Prof Gavin Schmidt, director at Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He said he expected the long trend of rising global temperatures to continue because its principal cause – fossil fuel burning – was also continuing.
“It is clear that human influence is driving our climate into uncharted territory,” said Prof Phil Jones, from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, which produces the temperature record – called HadCRUT4 – with the Met Office."
I agree. Even without El Nino, 2015 would probably have been a record breaking year in the surface datasets. What I am more sceptical about is whether this contribution to record breaking warmth has come from man-made global warming or man-made temperature adjustments (courtesy of Karl et al for NASA/NOAA)!
Let us abandon the flights of fancy of the Guardian and Gavin and come back down to earth with the realisation that ENSO does contribute to global warming. the Met Office tells us that El Nino 1997/98 elevated global mean temperatures by 'at least 0.2C':
"The major El Niño of 1997/98 elevated the global mean surface temperature by at least 0.2C. Since then the increase in global mean surface temperatures has been small and this has been linked in part to decadal changes in the circulation of the Pacific Ocean".
What is important to note is that this was after the La Nina which followed. 0.2C was a measure of how much ENSO 'stepped up' global temperatures. This is very different from what sceptics and AGW convinced scientists are squabbling about on Twitter, i.e. the transient contribution to GMST from an El Nino happening now. In 2016 the transient contribution to GMST and LT temperatures may be very significant - much more than a few tenths of a degree perhaps - but the question is how will the global climate system setlle down after El Nino/La Nina? That is the really interesting question. Will we see a new 'high' established, from which point presumably global warming will take off again in earnest, or will we indeed witness global cooling in late 2016, on into 2017/18?

According to GWPF:

Nasa says that 2015 was 0.13°C+/-0.10°C above 2014. The UK Met Office said that 2015 was 0.18°C +/- 0.10°C above 2014. Noaa says 2015 was 0.16°C+/-0.09°C warmer than the previous record which was 2014.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Final Word on the 'Unprecedented' Rainfall of December 2015

So, it's official, December 2015 was the 'wettest ever' [smallprint: 'in the UK record going back to 1910']. Much fanfare at the Met Office, Guardian, Indie etc., blah, blah, blah. It beat 1929 to the top spot and 'though El Nino undoubtedly played a part, such events are predicted to become more common as climate change (TM) progresses because of simple physics' - the well worn statement of implicit attribution combined with appropriate caveat and unassailable 'scientific' logic is now very boringly familiar to most.
So, yes indeed it was the wettest December in the UK since 1910, but is there a trend? Hardly, looking at the graph above. Decembers were wetter in the early 20th century, then they got drier and from the 1970's they've got progressively wetter again - but not significantly wetter than they were in 1910 (one record does not a significant rising trend make). If we look at each country of the UK, we see in fact that England has in fact become drier in Dec since 1910:
Whereas Scotland shows the only really significant increase in precipitation in December:
The EWP record which goes back to 1766 and which has not been referenced by the Met Office and alarmist press as far as I know, shows that December 2015 wasn't even a contender for a top spot, exceeded in the record by numerous other years and coming nowhere near the record set in 1876.
ts_ewp_decemberThus we must conclude that, for whatever reason, the ravages of climate change have not been visited upon the Sassenachs!
But I hear them say in climate alarmist land: "Ah yes, but the rainfall intensity in the north and Scotland was unprecedented!" followed by, "We expect this due to climate change and simple physics" . . . blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. etc. Well, OK, yes, it seems that records were set at individual weather stations and the biggie was at Honister Pass - 341.4mm of rain in a 24 hour period (a new UK record). But all may not be as it seems. You see, a 'day' of rainfall has traditionally been measured from 0900 GMT to 0900 GMT. I quote:
"The 09-09 GMT record is important because from a historical context much of the data is daily data recorded over the standard 09-09GMT period."
So even though Dec 2015 set a record for most intense rainfall in any 24 hour period (a relatively recent method of measuring rainfall), it failed to set any records for a traditional rainfall day. The records still stand as follows:

Highest 24-hour rainfall totals for a rainfall day (0900-0900 GMT)

CountryRainfall (mm)DateLocation
England27918 July 1955Martinstown (Dorset)
Scotland23817 January 1974Sloy Main Adit (Argyll & Bute)
Wales21111 November 1929Lluest Wen Reservoir (Mid Glamorgan)
Northern Ireland15931 October 1968Tollymore Forest (County Down)
All of them, you will note, set 1974 or earlier, gong back to 1929. 2015 did manage to set the record for rainfall in a traditional 2 day period though, which now stands at 405.0 mm measured at Thirlmere, Cumbria. This was the only recognised traditional short period rainfall record set in December 2015. If we look at periods shorter than 24 hours, Dec 2015 doesn't even get a look in.

UK rainfall records for short durations

MinutesRainfall (mm)DateLocation
Highest 5-minute total32*10 August 1893Preston (Lancashire)
Highest 30-minute total8026 June 1953Eskdalemuir (Dumfries & Galloway)
Highest 60-minute total9212 July 1901Maidenhead (Berkshire)
Highest 90-minute total1178 August 1967Dunsop Valley (Lancashire)
Highest 120-minute total193#19 May 1989Walshaw Dean Lodge (West Yorkshire)
Highest 120-minute total155#11 June 1956Hewenden Reservoir (West Yorkshire)
Highest 155-minute total16914 August 1975Hampstead (Greater London)
Highest 180-minute total1787 October 1960Horncastle (Lincolnshire)
* Approximate value.
# Reservations about Walshaw value, Hewenden value is next highest accepted value.
So much for the expected increase in intense rainfall. You will note that most of the shorter period records are set in summer, as one would expect with strong convective heating. But even so, the most recent year in which an intense short period rainfall record was set is 1989. The rest go way back as early as 1893. 
So overall, we're not seeing evidence of December being particularly exceptional in terms of monthly totals or shorter period more intense downpours. Not exactly what the alarmists want the world to hear.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Betting on 2016

Mark Boslough recently issued a 'challenge' to 'deniers' to bet against him that 2016 would not be a record breaking year in the GISS dataset, hotter even than 2015, the current 'hottest year ever'. He seems to think that this single event will confirm that "global warming is real". Strange man. Anyway, with a very strong El Nino (now peaked), it is virtually certain that global temperatures will peak (naturally) in 2016. Furthermore, with the GISS incorporating NOAA's 'pause-busting' SST data, it is highly unlikely that 2016 will not turn out to be another 'hottest year ever'. So no sceptic worth their salt is going to take that sucker bet.
A more interesting bet would be whether 2016 will exceed the warmth of the current warmest year (1998) in the RSS and UAH satellite datasets. RSS data for December 2015 is in; anomaly is 0.54, up from 0.43 last month.
RSS Lower Troposphere Global Temperature Anomalies
Mark Boslough wasn't interested in taking up my offer of betting on this far less certain occurrence - surprise, surprise.
My personal opinion is that it's entirely possible that 2016 will not turn out to be the warmest year in the satellite data. Even though, in terms of Nino 3.4 SSTs, the 2015 El Nino was more powerful than 1997, Nino 1+2 regions lagged quite a bit behind.
In this respect, the 2015 El Nino, for my money, resembled more a Central Pacific (Modoki) type El Nino than it did the 1997 very powerful canonical El Nino. Note also that Nino 3.4 in 2015 started nearly 1 degree higher than 1997, courtesy of the strong Pacific warming in 2014. The Met Office has a very interesting analysis of El Nino events, in which they say:
"The major El Niño of 1997/98 elevated the global mean surface temperature by at least 0.2C. Since then the increase in global mean surface temperatures has been small and this has been linked in part to decadal changes in the circulation of the Pacific Ocean. It has also been noted recently that CP El Niño events do not have the same impact on global mean surface temperatures as EP El Niño events; global mean surface temperatures are, typically, anomalously warm during and after EP events, but not in CP or mixed CP/EP events. It is also the case that since 1998, El Niño has been dominated by CP events, and this recent paper suggests that since the late 19th century, periods of slowdown in the rate of global mean surface warming typically contain only CP El Niño events, and no EP events".
It would not surprise me therefore if 2016 fails to exceed 1998 as the warmest year recorded in the satellite data series. What of 2016 and beyond? There are three possibilities: the expected spike in global temperatures may initiate a 'step up' (like 1998 did), it may not affect global temperatures significantly, in which case the current Pause will continue, or it may initiate a 'step down' in global temperature via a very deep subsequent La Nina cooling. If we're betting, my money is on the latter in late 2016/early 2017. If we get another 'step up' in global LT temperatures, I will be the first to admit that the anthropogenic CO2 warming theory may have something going for it, because many current climate indicators (AMO/AMOC/solar) point to imminent cooling.

Update: 05/1/2016
Bob Tisdale has posted an updated graphic to the one above:
We can see that El Nino has clearly peaked in all regions. Nino 1+2 regions peaked considerably lower and several weeks earlier in 2015 than they did in 1997 and they are now declining quite rapidly. We shall soon see if this affects any resultant spike in global temperatures in 2016.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

More on the 'Unprecedented' Rainfall Causing UK Floooding

In response to me linking to my latest blog post on Twitter, BBC weatherman and meteorologist Simon King pointed me to this graph of UK annual rainfall  since 1910 which shows a significant increase in trend since 1980 - a point which he made when being interviewed on BBC FiveLive apparently.
Aside from the fact that the UK series is very much shorter than the EWP which goes back to 1766, there is indeed a marked positive trend in UK annual rainfall, starting around 1973, and exceeding that of 1910. Here is the corresponding graph for England:
And for Wales:
Though the same trend exists, it is not very pronounced. It is more pronounced for Northern Ireland:
It is a lot more pronounced for Scotland:
Thus, it would appear that the overall increase in annual UK precipitation from 1973 is due in large measure to an increase in rainfall in Scotland, with a lesser contribution from Northern Ireland and only very minor contributions from England and Wales.
Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire are of course in England and the Environment Agency is of course responsible only for flood defences in England. So pointing out that rainfall in the UK has increased significantly, when much of that increase has been in Scotland and Northern Ireland, is not that relevant, particularly when the flooding in England has provoked sharp criticism of England's freshwater flood preparedness measures as managed (badly, it seems) by the Environment Agency. It is even more irrelevant in that even the UK annual rainfall data shows there has been no really significant increase in Winter precipitation since 1910, the issue at present being winter rainfall causing flooding.
2014 again stands out but there is very little overall increase in trend since 1910. Given the fact that winter 2015/16 still has 2 more months to go, it may or may not turn out out to be a particularly wet winter overall.
The lesson here (if there is one) is, don't listen to BBC Radio FiveLive if you want all the facts about current severe flooding and what may be contributing to it.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Flooding in the NW - Is December's Rainfall 'Unprecedented'?

Unprecedented flooding, unprecedented river levels, even - according to Liz Truss, unprecedented rainfall. I thought I would take a look at the HadUKP data to see if the hype from the politicians matches up to reality. Short answer: not really.

Firstly, let's take a look at the December graph for England and Wales, which goes back to 1766 (2015 data is obviously not in yet as there are a few days to go).

What is obvious is that for the first 100 years after 1766, England and Wales were relatively dry for this month. Thereafter, it got quite a lot wetter in general. In 1876, the record for December rainfall was set. Since then, no December has ever been wetter. 2015 looks unlikely to beat the 1876 record of 194mm - it is 120mm as of Dec 26th.

We would need very heavy rainfall widely across England and Wales over the next few days for this record to tumble. But regardless of whether it does or not, it can be seen that, from the beginning of the 20th Century, there has been no clear upward trend in December rainfall in England and Wales. Indeed, if we look at the decade centred on 1910, we can see that this actually had the wettest run of Decembers in the entire period.

So, what about December rainfall in the North West?

Again, no overall increase discernible since about 1910. It is noticeable that from about 1907 to 1920, Decembers in this region were consistently very wet, hence the peak in the decadal average. It has been quite wet in the NW in December since 1980 - though not consistently so - and the record was set in the early 80's, which also might be broken by this year's very wet December. But 'unprecedented'? Hardly. The NW records only go back to 1873. If 2015 rainfall exceeds the early 80's record, it will only be 'unprecedented' within the last nearly 150 years and even then, a fairly isolated extreme occurrence.

Finally, let's look at winter rainfall in general, firstly in the NW:

Once again, we don't see much evidence of a definite trend throughout the last 100 years. The record wet winter for this region occurred about 1992. Will 2015 be wetter overall? Jan and Feb are yet to come. Watch this space. What about winter precipitation in England and Wales as a whole?

It's the same story really. No clear increasing trend in winter precipitation since the very wet period centred around 1910. 2014 stands out as a clear record though, but very wet winters would have to continue for a good few years yet for meteorologists to point to a trend and then for climatologists and politicians to tell us that that trend is anthropogenic in origin.

So, the data (inconvenient as it may be) doesn't match up to the climate change rhetoric being spouted by politicians looking for an excuse for a woeful lack of flood preparedness, plus the hype by green activists and their insistence upon bandying around their favourite term 'unprecedented'.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Did Climate Change (TM) Cause the UK Floods? [Pt. 2]

Here we go again. Another wet UK winter, another round of attempts by politicians and activist scientists to capitalise upon winter flooding to advance their global warming agenda - in the case of politicians, to justify their need to impose swingeing taxation upon homes and businesses in the pursuit of a low carbon economy. First off the blocks, Dame Julia Slingo of the Met Office who last time (Somerset flooding in winter 2013/14) said "all the evidence points to a link with climate change". This time, a little more caution, or should I say, a greater use of weasly words which allow for more wriggle room but which still manage to convey intact the essential message that global warming is wrecking our weather:
"It’s too early to say definitively whether climate change has made a contribution to the exceptional rainfall. . . . . However, just as with the stormy winter of two years ago, all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record-breaking winter rainfall. Last month, we published a paper showing that for the same weather pattern, an extended period of extreme UK winter rainfall is now seven times more likely than in a world without human emissions of greenhouse gases."
Cue Liz Truss, our Environment Secretary un-extraordinaire, who then joined the party by claiming that the pattern of winter flooding was what could be expected due to climate change. The Times Environment Editor Ben Webster begged to differ, as did Christopher Booker, among others. The point is, what caused the floods was our weather, and what drives our weather during such wet winter periods is depressions crossing/forming in the Atlantic, guided by the Jet Stream. To glibly state that 'fundamental physics' suggests there may be a link between heavy rainfall in winter and global warming is ridiculous; it's just more global warming propaganda from the Met Office Chief Scientist. There are a huge variety of factors at play in determining the weather of the British Isles and the changing patterns of that weather and if you want to get to the root of what may be the emergence of a new pattern, you have to examine those factors in detail.
What is virtually certain is that neither the Somerset flooding nor this year's Cumbrian floods are in any way 'unprecedented'. They are notable, they are unusual in the context of 'recent' weather; taken in combination with just two years separating them, they may even be suggestive of a change in the pattern of winter weather over the British Isles, be it temporary or more long term. Certainly, the rain which Storm Desmond dumped on Yorkshire, causing the waterfall over Malham Cove to flow for the first time in what may be hundreds of years, is a precipitation event worthy of note. But of course, what this means is that, long before cars, buses, planes and trains - and coal-fired power stations - were emitting vast amounts of fossil fuel CO2 into the atmosphere, it was raining just as heavily oop north as it is now. And England was probably cooler on average then, if the Central England temperature record is anything to go by. Which brings me to an interesting post by Paul Homewood.
We see from this that Lamb identified a period of increased storminess and elevated precipitation in Northern Europe at the close of the Medieval Warm Period and the beginning of the Little Ice Age. Indeed, Paul Homewood has another enlightening post which points to increased storminess actually during the Little Ice Age. It would appear to be the case that an enhanced temperature difference between mid-latitude air and much colder Arctic air during the LIA was the engine that energised sections of the Jet Stream causing more storms over the British Isles, in combination perhaps with a more southerly tracking (meridional - 'looping' as opposed to zonal - more straight) Jet Stream at that time. This is exactly the type of pattern that appears to be happening now and, in addition to causing very wet, mild, stormy winters, has also given us a notably very cold winter during 2009/10, the 2nd coldest December since 1659 in 2010 and the very cold Spring of 2013. So over the last 6 years, it hasn't all been wet and mild as far as winters go.
England has been cooling on average since about 2005 according to the CET record. The record warm year of 2014 has reversed that trend a little, but not erased it and even with the warm winter we have so far had, 2015 is looking unremarkable. Meanwhile, despite a very strong El Nino, the Pause in global warming continues at least in the two satellite datasets, the Arctic this winter continues to gain ice at a record rate, whilst Greenland remains decidedly frigid and the North Atlantic 'cold blob' actually grows. Growing Arctic sea ice and a colder Atlantic are indicative of the slowing in AMOC [Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation] and the downturn in AMO [Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation], having recently peaked. These two major oceanic/climate indices, of course, are intimately linked.
With solar activity predicted to decline further in SC25, it is entirely feasible that the Northern Hemisphere at least may see a period of sustained cooling, especially if, as seems increasingly more probable, the actual transient climate response to CO2 is less than that which emerges from the climate model runs of CMIP5. With all this in mind, I am persuaded towards the heretical viewpoint that the climate of the British Isles is changing, but not because of CO2; rather, we are headed for a cooler, more turbulent period due to natural variability - entirely in keeping with past variations in the British climate. Who knows, by 2100 we may be growing grapes on Tyneside, but I personally doubt that!