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Friday, July 19, 2013

Denier weirdness: Nature article and the UK Met Office

Sou | 12:28 AM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

I admit to finding this a tad weird even for WUWT.  Anthony posts an excerpt from a complaint by Stephen McIntyre.

Jeff Tollefson wrote a feature article in Nature about an experimental approach to modelling of near term climate projections (decadal forecasts).  McIntyre is complaining that he didn't write about something else instead.  I think, but I'm not entirely sure, that he wanted him to write about the difference in actual Met Office near term forecasts.  That is, to compare the current one to previous ones.  Even had Tollefson been able to read McIntyre's crazy mind in advance of McIntyre himself, I'm not sure that he would have obeyed his command.

I don't know why McIntyre wanted Tollefson to write about the Met Office near term predictions instead of the these experiments.  The Met Office itself has a number of articles on the topic, which McIntyre could read if he felt inclined to learn about it.  McIntyre's articles are so full of smear and innuendo that it is often difficult to understand what his actual gripe is so I'm guessing.  This is what McIntyre wrote:

In yesterday’s post, I observed that Nature’s recent news article on Met Office decadal forecasts failed to show the most recent Met Office decadal forecast ...
Well, Steve.  For starters, the article wasn't about Met Office decadal forecasts per se.  It was about an experimental approach to making near term climate forecasts, including the differing opinions held by various modelling experts on the usefulness of the approach.  I'd say there was quite a lot the article failed to show.  I noticed it didn't show any flying elephants, or sharknadoes or star-spangled ballet shoes.  But unlike you, I'm not complaining.

The article was about recent experiments with a different approach to modelling near term forecasts.  Here is how they describe it:
To make its climate prediction, Smith's team used its standard climate model, but broke the mould by borrowing ideas from the way meteorologists forecast the weekly weather. 
Typical climate projections start some way back in the past, often well before the industrial era, in a bid to capture the average climate well enough to forecast broad patterns over the long term. Weekly weather forecasts, however, begin with the present. They make multiple simulations with slightly different initial meteorological conditions to give an array of outcomes that has some statistical validity despite the weather's inherent chaos.
Steve wasn't happy with the scope of the article.  He wanted to talk about something different.

So somehow both McIntyre and Anthony Watts have managed to morph a complaint that the journal Nature chose to publish a topic different to what McIntyre wanted into: "the UK Met Office is hypocritical" and "the Met Office hides the decline".

Talk about denier weirdness!

Somewhere in all the kerfuffle, Richard Betts responded to a question from Anthony.  Neither Anthony nor Steve liked his answer and said so.  Which gave a person for the deniers to target. The name of an individual.  Deniers find it much more satisfying to attack a named person than a faceless agency like the UK Met Office.

Here are some comments from WUWT - bear in mind, the original complaint seems to be that McIntyre didn't like the topic chosen by Nature.  It's got nothing to do with the Met Office or with Nature - it's all about Steve McIntyre.

Goodness only knows what Fred thought he was was commenting on when he says:
July 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm This just astounding. The temp records around the world are being manipulated, and climate science says nothing. Don’t they realize the risk? If the temp is dropping and they are hiding the decline the world is unprepared for the right change!

Bill H doesn't care about the subject matter, he just wants to air his fantastic conspiracy theory:
July 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm  You must realize the IPCC is part of the UN. Their primary objective is world depopulation.. (UN agenda 21) .. The lie in hiding the decline is purposeful..

A prize to anyone who ever figured out Joseph Bastardi's denierisms - he is suitably outraged at someone or something but heaven only knows what:
July 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm This is flabbergasting. Is he really serious?

Solar Cycles gets caught up in the mood and like the others, doesn't have the first clue about what the Nature article is about, what Anthony is going on about or what McIntyre is raving about:
July 18, 2013 at 12:43 am  I’m surprised that others are surprised, temp manipulation has been part and parcel of climate science for over thirty years. The real shocker is are our governments aware?

Resourceguy seems to be talking about something else altogether when he says:
July 18, 2013 at 6:42 am  This is how dictatorships and monopolies work in day to day practice.

As for McIntyre and Watts.  They can sit back and feel smug.  They have rallied the idiots despite having said nothing that makes any sense.  All they had to do was make up a yarn out of thin air, toss out some smears and innuendos and everyone chimes in that climate science is a hoax.  It's a giant conspiracy involving the UN, the British Government, the US Government, every climate scientist in the world, every weather bureau in the world and probably every person in the world except the tin foil hat brigade on weird and wacky denier websites like McIntyre's place and WUWT.


  1. As far as I call tell, neither AW nor McI have understood the point about HadGEM not being initialised, and so not being usable as a decadal forecast. AW is probably stupid enough to have simply failed to understand; McI isn't, so is I think being deliberately deceptive (he probably missed it first time round, and its too late for him to admit error, because of course he's never wrong).

    1. McIntyre was looking to score a point of some kind. He was off kilter in basing it on the Nature article the way he did IMO.

      WRT Richard Betts' comment, I thought it simply related to how McI used HadGEM wrongly. But why McI is resurrecting the earlier model when the Met Office has moved on anyway isn't clear to me at all.

      I doubt that Watts has a clue what McI is talking about. I'm not really sure I do eitheršŸ˜‰ And it's certain that some of the WUWT readers think they are talking observations, not predictions.

    2. Another point - McIntyre's headlines have nothing to do with what he wrote. Just nasty like Steve himself.

  2. It's always puzzling when people say that those sounding a warning about climate change are trying to depopulate the Earth. Runaway global warming and the attendant disease, sea level rise, severe weather, among other things, is far more likely to wipe out large populations than things like conservation and switching to solar.


    1. ...and in a manner that doesn't bear thinking about!

      I'll add that we also get constant criticism for being totalitarians, but we're the best friends the liberal democracies could possibly have.

      The earlier we start dealing with the issues the less-intrusive the solutions are likely to be: moderate consumption, pollution and population growth in a timely manner and it won't be necessary to implement war-time style command economies or even more restrictive emrgency policies. Keep on going with reckless hyper-consumption and by the end of the century contemporary China will probably be looked back on as a liberal paradise...

    2. And the other thing that gets me is that economically we've had a few decades of reversing improvements (or at least what I would call improvements) in the distribution of income and wealth. The developed world is more unequal now that it was in the 1970s. This increasing inequality is - in my opinion - one of the great problems that we will have to address in the coming years. As far as I can tell, dealing with climate change is going to require investment in new technologies and the creation of jobs. It seems like something that is not only required in order to prevent major catastrophes, but is also likely to be something that can help to address the problem of rising inequality in the developed world.


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