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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Central England Temperature has fallen out of favour at WUWT

Sou | 3:07 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

Some of you might remember how various WUWT-ers were hailing the temperature in Central England (HadCET) as heralding in an ice age. Two years ago a denier at WUWT was claiming that an ice age cometh, and pointed to HadCET - which, as you'll see below, indicated no such thing.  In June that year, David "funny sunny" Archibald made one of his famous failed predictions, that Central England was in for a cold spell. A few months later, a chap called Tony Brown claimed that HadCET showed temperatures were back to those of the 1730s, which was utter nonsense. (That is, they weren't!)

Now that particular temperature record has fallen out of favour. Not even the most ardent denier can deny it's got a lot hotter there in the past few years. I say they can't deny it, but they do, still.

Record heat in Central England

For the record, here is a chart showing the anomaly from the twentieth century mean temperature:

Data source: Met Office Hadley Centre, UK

Notice the cluster of warm years to the right of the chart. Notice, too, the record hot year. That was last year - 2014. That year the average temperature was 1.4°C above the twentieth century mean. That's a lot!

And it was even higher when you take the full record into account. A whopping 1.7°C above the average of the entire period from 1659. If you only take it from 1772, when the records were more reliable, then last year was 1.6°C above the average.

So whatever way you cut it, Central England is heating up.

At WUWT, Anthony Watts copied and pasted another press release under his usual "claim" headline (archived here). This means that deniers are meant to poo-poo the research, as they are meant to do with every single science paper that WUWT refers to. Anthony Watts doesn't "believe" any science. Well, I can't say that for sure. What is clear is that he doesn't want his readers to "believe" any science. After all, science is from those awful people called scientists. And every WUWT fan knows that scientists don't know nuffin'. (Even while they quote their work showing that CO2 is plant food.)

Record warmth is 13 or 22 times more likely in Central England

The paper that Anthony Watts derided is about how human activities have increased the chance of a record warm year by at least 13-fold. The work was done by scientists from Australia: Andrew King, David Karoly and Sophie Lewis, and by Geert Jan van Oldenborgh from The Netherlands and Heidi Cullen from the USA. It was published in Environmental Research Letters and is open access.

From the press release at
Lead author of the study Dr Andrew King, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of Melbourne, said: "When you look at average annual temperatures over larger regions of the world, such as the whole of Europe, there is a lower variability in temperatures from year to year compared with smaller areas.
"As a result of this low variability, it is easier to spot anomalies. This is why larger regions tend to produce stronger attribution statements, so it is remarkable that we get such a clear anthropogenic influence on temperatures in a relatively small area across central England."
To arrive at their results, the researchers firstly used climate model simulations to calculate the likelihood of very warm years when there is just natural forcings on the climate and no human influence, and then when there is both natural forcings and human influence. The change in the likelihood of warm years due to human influences on the climate was then calculated.
The researchers then observed the CET and picked out the warmest years from the record since 1900. The warmest years were then plotted onto a graph which the researchers used to calculate the likelihood of warm years happening now and warms years happening 100 years ago.
The model-based method suggested at least a 13-fold increase (with 90% confidence) due to human influences on the climate, whilst the observation-based approach suggested at least a 22-fold increase in the probability of very warm years in the climate of today compared with the climate of a century ago (again with 90% confidence).

What have deniers got left?

I wonder what deniers will do now? Another denier standby bites the dust. Central England is now out of bounds. The pause looks as if it's on its last legs. Bob Tisdale can only claim it's getting hot because it's getting hot so many times before one of the deniers at WUWT will twig that it's getting hot.

From the WUWT comments

Latimer Alder doesn't go outside much, he hasn't noticed the large rise in temperature. Or maybe he's not yet reached his twentieth year and doesn't realise that England was quite a bit cooler in most of the twentieth century:
April 30, 2015 at 11:46 pm
Yep. I’ll have plenty of that, please. Bring it on!
30 years ago we were promised that London would have the climate of the Loire Valley in France by now. Warm, fruitful lazy long summer days. Mild winters. Luvverly.
I’m still waiting.

R. Shearer employs a logical fallacy. That's one of the strong points of deniers:
April 30, 2015 at 8:15 pm
So people in England no longer get cold? They sure did in the 1600’s.

TobiasN wouldn't last five minutes as a scientist, no matter what his fantasy:
April 30, 2015 at 8:28 pm
“When you look at average annual temperatures over larger regions of the world … there is a lower variability in temperatures from year to year compared with smaller areas”
Holy crap!, An “international team of researchers” made it out of fourth grade :)
then they write “The CET has undergone thorough and extensive quality control, making it an ideal resource for studying long-term temperature trends across the region.”
Sounds like what they do is study temperature trends, doesn’t it?
yeah but unfortunately someone gave them a computer “To arrive at their results, the researchers firstly used climate model simulations … blah blah blah”
Sometimes I wish I had sweet fantasy gig like these people 

markl admits he doesn't know the first thing about using models in science and technology. He can get as far as typing on a keyboard, but a spreadsheet would be beyond him:
April 30, 2015 at 8:52 pm
They had me at “…To arrive at their results, the researchers firstly used climate model simulations…” 
If Dave in Canmore is typical of the private sector, it's no wonder there was the GFC:
April 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm
“the researchers firstly used climate model simulations to calculate the likelihood of very warm years when there is just natural forcings on the climate and no human influence”
No one knows how to do this in any way, shape, or form!!!!
Seriously, how can you use unknown and poorly understood processes and variables to determine another unknown variable? These guys would die in the private sector.

I wonder who Wayne Delbeke's "they" are?
April 30, 2015 at 9:25 pm
Buy they couldn’t do it themselves. They had to enlist the underutilized folks from Australia. I am sure they are “experts” on CET climate as they are more than 100 km from home — “This research was undertaken with the assistance of resources from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), which is supported by the Australian Government.” 

John Silver doesn't believe in planning. It's against his religion:
May 1, 2015 at 1:01 am
Researching the future implies omnipotence.
I wonder what God have say about that! 

roaldjlarsen is just another WUWT conspiracy nutter:
April 30, 2015 at 11:36 pm
Of course the models show that, in fact the models show the “green” frauds everything they tell the models to show .. Fake data and tweaked data models do exactly that. Are they complete morons? (pardon my french ..)

knr is only one of many who now rejects HadCET, the deniers used-to-be-but-no-longer favourite temperature record:
May 1, 2015 at 2:35 am
‘This is according to climate model simulations’ GIGO in action and given their predicted power , they may has well use pine cones to tell if its going to rain .
‘ Central England Temperature (CET) record–the world’s longest instrumental temperature record dating back to 1659.’ which is no way can offer a degree of accuracy worth a dam for most of its history and therefore actual is what is unacceptable in most other sciences but celebrated in climate ‘science’ data whose quality is defined has being ‘better than nothing’

Chris Hanley put up some charts of HadCET, but didn't know how to read them. They all show the recent rise in temperature.
April 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm (extract)
...There’s no obvious human influence apparent in the complete, as opposed to cherry-picked, record 

References and further reading

Andrew D King, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, David J Karoly, Sophie C Lewis, Heidi Cullen. "Attribution of the record high Central England temperature of 2014 to anthropogenic influences." Environmental Research Letters, 2015; 10 (5): 054002 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/5/054002 (open access)

England set for 'substantial increase' in record-breaking warm years - press release at

From HotWhopper archives:


  1. "I wonder what deniers will do now? Another denier standby bites the dust. Central England is now out of bounds."

    It will be rehabilitated and passed for fit for service once random chance allows it to be used to 'show' a pause or an imminent ice age. Accusations of data fiddling are this year's fashion.

  2. Hi Sou,

    I still read your blog just about every day. I've commented less because the silliness at WUWT is just getting beyond mockery. It's pathetic as this article shows. Even CET can't be cherry-picked anymore...what's a denier to do?

  3. Bert from ElthamMay 2, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    They behave just like Maxwell's Demon sorting the evidence by some criteria that suits their worldview.
    It is difficult enough to understand the basic science for the uninitiated without these morons producing random noise by their ignorant and idiotic bullshit.
    Perhaps this is their real aim and only aim. Bert

  4. CET annual average temperature first passed the 10.0C mark in 1686; so call that the first 'record warm year' (probably too few samples prior to that).

    In that case, the 1686 warmest year record wasn't broken until 1733; 47 years later. The 1733 record stood for over 100 years, when it was finally pipped by 1834. The 1834 record stood for 115 years, until 1949.

    Between 1686 and 1950 then, the CET warmest year record was broken on average once every ~87 years. Also, between 1686 and 1950 there was no trend in CET to speak of (0.02 C/dec). That looks like a fairly random and natural pattern, does it not?

    What happened after 1950? The 1949 record fell in 1990. The 1990 record fell in 2006; and the 2006 record fell in 2014. Since 1950, the CET warmest year record has been broken on average once every ~22 years. The trend between 1950 and 2014 is 0.17C/dec.

    Only a WUWT regular might look at that record fail to detect that something pretty unnatural has been happening in CET since the second half of the 20th century.

  5. I am perversely hoping for an El Nino temperature spike to put the UAH and RSS datasets out of favour as well.


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