Meet “deep black” the Met Office supercarbon footprint climate computer

The original press release from the Met Office that started this story is here. There’s no mention of a carbon footprint in it, but they did manage to provide a photo of it with a green halo, shown below. When such a machine is powered up, does it make a “giant sucking sound’?  In other news, Obama inauguration sets new record for private jet use. – Anthony

From the Times online, UK

Met Office forecasts a supercomputer embarrassment

A new £33m machine purchased to calculate how climate change will affect Britain, has a giant carbon footprint of its own

For the Met Office the forecast is considerable embarrassment. It has spent £33m on a new supercomputer to calculate how climate change will affect Britain – only to find the new machine has a giant carbon footprint of its own.

“The new supercomputer, which will become operational later this year, will emit 14,400 tonnes of CO2 a year,” said Dave Britton, the Met Office’s chief press officer. This is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by 2,400 homes – generating an average of six tonnes each a year.

The Met Office recently published some of its most drastic predictions for future climate change. It warned: “If no action is taken to curb global warming temperatures are likely to rise by 5.5ºC and could rise as much as 7ºC above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Early and rapid reductions in CO2 emissions are required to avoid significant impacts of climate change.”

However, when it came to buying a new supercomputer, the Met Office decided not to heed its own warnings. The ironic problem was that it needed the extra computing power to improve the accuracy of its own climate predictions as well as its short-term weather forecasting. The machine will also improve its ability to predict extreme events such as fierce localised storms, cloudbursts and so on.

Alan Dickinson, Met Office Director of Science and Technology, said: “We recognise that running such massive computers consumes huge amounts of power and that our actions in weather and climate prediction, like all our actions, have an impact on the environment. We will be taking actions to minimise this impact.”

Dickinson believes, however, that the new computer will actually help Britain cut carbon emissions on a far greater scale than those it emits. He said: “Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Machines like the Met Office’s new computer are important tools in the battle to slow climate change. They are the only way to assess the potential impact of rising CO2 levels over the coming years and decades.

This is because producing even a short-range weather forecast requires billions of calculations, something that would take weeks to do by hand. Computers enable forecasts to be generated in time to be useful.

Dickinson said: “Our existing supercomputer and its associated hardware produce 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, but this is a fraction of the CO2 emissions we save through our work. We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency.

“Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

When it is finally completed, around 2011 the Met Office machine will be the second most powerful machine in Britain with a total peak performance approaching 1 PetaFlop — equivalent to over 100,000 PCs and over 30 times more powerful than what is in place today.

However, supercomputers and data centres require vast amounts of power – a problem that increasingly confronts the global information technology industry. Last week Google admitted its systems generate 0.2g of CO2 per search, even though each one lasts just 0.2 seconds.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Carbon dioxide, Climate_change, Politics, Ridiculae. Bookmark the permalink.

140 Responses to Meet “deep black” the Met Office supercarbon footprint climate computer

  1. darwin says:

    The left doesn’t care … their rules only apply to others. Plus they’ll rationalize everything and eventually it will become George Bush’s fault.

    Maybe the anti-climate changers should act like the environuts and barge in and destroy the supercomputing monstrosity … they could plead they were only doing it to save the polar bears.

  2. Kmye says:

    I find it interesting that part of their justification for the CO2 emitted by this computer’s operation is that it will “accelerate action on climate” (reducing CO2, in turn) as a consequence of the better data it produces.

    If they already KNOW that these newer, better models are going to produce results that generally confirm their existing dire predictions, why build it and produce all that CO2 in the first place?

  3. Ah, the old saying “Do as I say, not as I do” in full swing there…

    Could this be the reason that the MET are forcasting a warmer 2009? Lol!

  4. MarkW says:

    Would that be “carbon black”?

  5. Mike86 says:

    Just on a bet, I’d like to see that office do “billions of calculations” by hand in any reasonable number of weeks.

    So they’ve got a new computer to make calculations using the current models at a faster pace. Have they improved the models or are we just making the same errors more rapidly?

    On the positive side, in two years there will be that much more data to look at. Heck, they might just use the current computer to predict those two years and see how close they get.

  6. GP says:

    Heh! No problem.

    For another £33 million they could build a windmill farm to power it and take the fould polluting monster off grid.

    I think they should be challenged to do just that to see what the response is.

  7. Ray says:

    A Super-computer used to calculate a no-problem… great!!!

    Maybe they should add a link to WUWT in the computer and just find out the truth.

    Or maybe they should have just use a few Playstation 3 to do the calculations instead of this useless behemoth.

    As you see, there is a lot of money involved in the AGW business. How could they now say that CO2 is not the problem and that the earth will not warm up?

  8. Gary Palmgren says:

    This is neat having a whole PetaFlop to play with. They will be able to run models that assume a constant solar output and constant relative humidity really fast. They will be able to ignore more measured data and create more errors per second than has ever been computed before. Hello, Guinness Book of World Records.

    Steve McIntyre said it best. Ooga in, Chaka out; and at one PetaFlop, thats a lotta Chaka

  9. edward says:

    From Reason Magazine today:
    “While there might be a moratorium on new coal-fired plants in the U.S., the rest of the world will not be joining it. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2008 projects that fossil fuels will still account for 80 percent of the world’s primary energy production in 2030. Nearly 90 percent of the increase in world electricity demand will be driven by the economic growth of developing countries, especially that of China and India. In other words, coal will still be fueling civilization for the next couple of generations. ”

    This suggests that there will be no net reduction in emitted CO2 levels for at least another two decades. At best the rate of increase will be slowed. No matter what happens there will still be a lot of carbon being pumped out all the way until 2050. Hansen has stated that Obama has 4 years to save the world from the “tipping point”. How? By asking the UN to mandate the shut down of every Coal fired plant in the world? It’s clear CO2 PPM will scream right past 450 while the world will wonder how to keep warm as temperatures fall and crops begin to fail due to shorter growing seasons. In the future, will Climatologists still use GCM’s to forecast constantly falling temperatures down to absolute zero i.e. a reverse hockey stick?

  10. Ron de Haan says:

    I reject “Green Inventions” like “carbon footprint” which is nothing more but a cheap tool from the propaganda machinery of the Global Warming Doctrine demonizing CO2.

    Recently an article was published stating the worldwide use of the internet produced more CO2 than the entire aviation industry.
    From this perspective “Deep Black’s” emissions is nothing but a cow fart in the wind.

    However, if we take a close look at the energy consumption of processors and the cooling equipment we see a constant reduction in energy use.

    In a few years “Deep Black” will be scrapped, recycled and replaced by a more powerful super computer that probably will use 40% less energy.

    It’s the best proof that the Green objective to cripple the western economies in order to save the planet is the most stupid and devastating idea in human history.

  11. Leon Brozyna says:

    From the “do as we say, not as we do” department?

  12. Pearland Aggie says:

    Anthony, Anthony, Anthony….it’s off to the re-education camp with you!

    /sarc

  13. Ron de Haan says:

    In regard to the increasing use of private jets I can only say that I am a big fan of individual transport.
    The manufacturing of aircraft is a pillar of the high tech industry.
    Development of aircraft is an important source of income for many universities and provides a constant push for innovation.
    At this moment we experience a revolution in the field of avionics, navigation and flight management, applied materials, aerodynamics and engine development.
    Humanity can’t afford to hold these developments in the name of Gaia.

  14. Cassandra King says:

    Mirror mirror on the wall? The met office spending vast sums on a computer which cannot work as expected unless it is fed with selective data which is then ‘adjusted’ to find the required answers, rubbish in and rubbish out.
    One wonders what the AGW/MMCC believers will do should their beloved models not give them the answers they require, hide the data/fix the data/ignore the data/ask for a refund/kick the computer/phone the helpline!
    ‘Computer sez no'(British joke) and I wonder if after months of grinding and churning the computer chucks out the number 42(another British joke) sorry but ya gotta laugh at the hubris and stupidity of people.

  15. Bet some of those Hollywood [snip] ‘stars’ that believe in AGW flew in on their private jets…

    HYPOCRITS!

    http://www.cookevilleweatherguy.com

  16. alexjc38 says:

    “When it is finally completed, around 2011 the Met Office machine will be the second most powerful machine in Britain…”

    When switched on, and given the task of finding the answer to Global Warming, it will probably ponder for many years, and then give the result: “42”. It will then be up to the most powerful computer in the land to calculate the question to the answer…

    My own answer to Global Warming is “Don’t panic” (preferably written in large, friendly letters.) :o)

  17. Shawn Whelan says:

    So you think these scientists are expected to live like us regular old peasants. Think of Castro to get an idea. Why do you think David Suzuki so loves Castro and his oxen based farming system?

  18. J.Hansford. says:

    It would seem the met office isn’t a great believer in the Precautionary Principle after all…..

    So if you need something that produces CO2, just buy it. Everyone has just as good a reason as them for doing things…. Or are Bureaucracies somehow different and more important than us simple folk in the ranks of the great unwashed???

  19. George E. Smith says:

    So a Google search emits 0.2 grams of CO2 footprint.

    How much CO2 footprint is generated by getting into your car, and driving over to the Stanford, or Santa Clara, or San Jose University Library, and searching on foot to find that information stored on dead tree?

    Just asking !

    George

  20. Steve Berry says:

    The Met Office should be more embarrassed about their rotten predictions. The UK was supposed to have “Hotter, drier summers and wetter winters”. Oddly, the exact OPPOSITE has happened since goreball warming began in the late 1970s http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Monthly/EWP_seasonal1.gif

  21. Chris Knight says:

    Trust the MetO to buy a coal-fired computer. They could have got a wood-burner for half the price.

  22. Allan M says:

    Some years ago I sat in on a presentation by a guy from the Met Office about AGW. At the end he told us that their two supercomputers were nicknamed “The Kray Twins.”

    The real “Kray Twins” were a pair of gangsters running an extortion racket in London!

    Nothing changes.

  23. Tim F says:

    How many tons of CO2 does the average person emit in a year?

    How many tons of CO2 are produced annually from all sources? What percentage of this total is economic/industrial?

    How many total tons of CO2 in the atmosphere?

  24. Jeff Alberts says:

    Dickinson said: “Our existing supercomputer and its associated hardware produce 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, but this is a fraction of the CO2 emissions we save through our work. We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency.

    Too bad their forecasts (or ANY weather/climate forecasting) aren’t worth the chips used to process them.

  25. Alan the Brit says:

    Cassandra King:-)

    The Met Office is spending our taxes, not its own money! They have to justify there own existence as much as possible in these hard times to stop the cash tap from turned off or at least the flow reduced, which it no doubt will be.

    Guess what everyone, the good ol BEEB has just released a new story on the 6:00pm news, (an old one by this site’s standards). It’s about “proof” that Antarctica is actually warming, they highlighted the peninsula all nice & red with the rest all white, with just a casual mention that some other parts have cooled only slightly, but that the warming was as usual unprecedented. Funnily enough, they seemed to say that there is no proof that man-made greenhouse gases are responsible, but that “some scientists believe they are!” I think this was put out in Science or Nature journals a few weeks or even months ago. They must want to spice things up now President Obama is in office I suspect in the belief he will take the AGW torch all the way to the precipice!

    Curiously there was no evidence of it on their website, so I suspect they do a trade off with mix ‘n match stories so that they pick here & there what environment stories they want to tell. Doesn’t sound that professional to me! What they did manage to do, was wonderfully manage to link into a story that the same reporter followed scientists to the region 8 years ago so that the same recycled news can be trotted out. Oh I’m getting far too cynical these days.

  26. W. A. McQuiddy says:

    Look on the Met side of things. They will be able to correct their predictions at giga-flop speed.

    On a side note, it would appear the EU is reducing their carbon footprint drastically, courtesy of Russia and the Ukraine. But who gets the credit thereby enabling them to emit more CO2? The EU, Russia or Ukraine?

  27. Thanks for the ‘snip’…it was probably the right thing to do..I was a little ‘fired-up’ when I made the first post! :)
    —————————————-
    CookevilleWeatherGuy (10:08:46) :
    Bet some of those Hollywood [snip] ’stars’ that believe in AGW flew in on their private jets…

    HYPOCRITS!

  28. Mike McMIllan says:

    G I G O

    £ I G O

  29. jae says:

    It’s now a race between the Met office and AlGore to see who can tell the biggest lie and look the stupidest!

  30. Tim F (10:42:22) :
    How many tons of CO2 does the average person emit in a year?
    How many tons of CO2 are produced annually from all sources? What percentage of this total is economic/industrial?

    I have to say, I’ve seen many a theory on what humans produce, but the truth is, we don’t really, really know. We can guess by using predictions and maths but not until we can tag each particle with “Human” or “Nature” lables will we ever really find out.

  31. M White says:

    Remember the BBCs computer model predictions

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/climateexperiment/whattheymean/theuk.shtml

    2020 I wish

    “New evidence on Antarctic warming”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7843186.stm

  32. Bill Junga says:

    Garbage and Pounds Sterling in, Garbage and CO2 out

  33. Dave Wendt says:

    It is amazing how thoroughly the malignant fallacy that energy is an inherent evil has suffused human discourse. A machine that brings a 30X improvement in performance must be chided because it uses 40% more energy. This highlights the unrecognized damage inflicted on the world by the warmist propaganda efforts. If, as I suspect, the next few years do finally bring public recognition of the falsification of warmist theories, I fear the anti-CO2 prejudice has become so deeply rooted in human consciousness that it may take another decade for decisions to begin to be made without its’ pernicious influence. Since every unit of energy introduced into our society yields a significant multiple of wealth to our collective coffers and does so for other places about the globe to a greater or lesser extent, continuing to limit the development and deployment of energy resources will inevitably limit the growth of wealth in the world. A society’s ability to deal with the vagaries of climate and natural disaster has been shown to be directly related to its’ relative level of wealth, so limiting the world’s ability to create wealth will inevitably lead to more people in the developing world suffering and dying as a result of weather disasters than has been envisioned in the worst case warmist nightmares.

  34. Michael says:

    OT (I wish there was an separate place for this sort of thing??)

    Hi

    Any comments on this story in Nature as reported in the Australian saying the Antarctic is melting after all and not getting colder?

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24946572-12377,00.html

    Michael

  35. dales says:

    I’m not sure what you wanted above for the website so left it blank. Anyway, I’ve been reading and following this site for several months. On my Reuters News site (get it as a part of a commodity info site), an article was posted today by one of their correspondents that was titled ” Antarctica is warming, not cooling – study shows”. The author was Eric Steig of the Univ of Washington in Seattle. I’m guessing you’ve already read. Just wanted your or other’s thoughts regarding it.

  36. Jeff L says:

    So this is what the Met office would call good science ??? – as they seem to have the conclusion in hand ( drastic warming) before the machine is even hooked up & the models run. Absolutely no consideration to an alternative outcome. Astounding ! Do they have any idea how stupid that makes them look? Do they realize how this completely supports what the skeptics have been saying all along (that AGW is about politics, not science) ? I guess I shouldnt be surprised given the alarmists track record, but it is still very disappointing as a scientist to see such conduct.

  37. AnonyMoose says:

    We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency.

    If they just got the computer which calculates carbon effects, how do they know their effects upon aviation? And wasn’t the carbon budget already fully understood so they already knew human effects?

  38. othercoast says:

    When your computer model runs faster, you get to have more runs in the same amount of time, thereby enabling you to incrementally improve the tuning of your data and/or model towards the desired results. These models are too complex for simple one-time faking of data towards specific desired results.

  39. Roger Sowell says:

    Many years ago, in the late 1970’s I think, the first non-governmental Cray supercomputer was to be alloted to a university through a competition based on the good that would result from having the Cray at that university. The University of Texas at Austin won, beating competition from Stanford, MIT, and Cal Tech among others.

    UT used the Cray for three primary tasks: oil field simulations, nuclear fusion simulations, and underwater acoustics (submarine technology, we were told).

    The oil field simulations were successful, the nuclear fusion simulations were frustrating, and apparently the underwater acoustics went pretty well but nobody was talking.

    The benefit from oil field simulations was the cost to find oil went down dramatically. The lay-language used was that before that, oil formations were thought to be like a watermelon, just find the rock with the oil, poke a hole in it and the oil would flow. The Cray results showed oil formations were more like a bunch of grapes, and required poking a hole in each one to produce more oil.

    Or so we were told. Perhaps others have more accurate information on that first Cray outside of government.

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  40. Gary Plyler says:

    All animals are equal, and some animals are more equal than others.

  41. Roger Sowell says:

    An ancient document (1991) re Supercomputer usage. (includes the oil reservoir reference)

    http://wiretap.area.com/Gopher/Gov/GAO-Tech/REPORT8

  42. CodeTech says:

    All we have to do is spread the word:

    Increased CO2 and warmth = better pot crops

    Boom! All the 60s hippies will be on board… oddly enough, that probably includes the majority of warmist evangelists…

  43. L Nettles says:

    Let’s rename it Carbon Black

  44. othercoast says:

    Jeff L,

    “Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Not just a foregone conclusion, but apparently a plan to produce ever-worsening predictions, in order to cause “an acceleration in action …” as they say above.
    “Do they realize how this …?” Well, given politician’s and the media’s track records, they know can likely afford to be brazen and blatant.

    …and people are stupid. When my daughter’s incompetent German teacher departed for Germany for a years-long teacher exchange, I warned him of some of the fact-free antiamericanism he was likely to encounter. Response: “well, some of it is deserved. Since Bush rejected Kyoto in 1996 …” I cut him off right there and pointed out the impossibility, but few people take a correction like that as a trigger to question their worldview and the sources of their “knowledge”.

  45. Roger says:

    Alan the Brit.
    That was a quick posting! I too heard that newsitem on the BBC and was equally surprised by their statement that there was “no proof” of AGW but that “some scientists believe” there is. Had it not been for the evident joy with which the newscaster announced “scientific proof of global warming in Antartica” as the leadin to the story, one could be forgiven for thinking that the BBC was rowing back from their position of total belief and apostacy of climate change to one of unbiased reporting. On the other hand……..

  46. Cassandra King says:

    Jeff L makes a very valid point, the met office seem to be saying they want this new system to ‘verify their own predetermined position’ NOT to actually find whether there is a problem.
    This does seem to be the equivolent of the Giant North Korean speakers overlooking the DMZ, look at our shiny new toy it agrees with us, quelle surprise!
    BTW by the time this beast is hooked up and shaken down it will be obsolete!.

  47. davidgmills says:

    “Eventually it will become George bush’s fault.” How true. And as it should be. Here’s a guy who fires all the legitimate scientists but leaves Hansen.

  48. Craig says:

    OT – Micheal Mann has written a paper or something that states the Antartic has been warming for the past 50 years. The I found it at http://www.livescience.com/environment/090121-antarctica-warming.html.
    Is this the same Micheal Mann who drew the discredited “Hockey Stick” temperature graph? Could somebody with more expertise than I check his math? I don’t trust the guy myself but I am not in a position to refute his claims.

  49. Pierre Gosselin says:

    OT
    Antarctica Warming – Seth Boringstein:

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-01-21-antarctica-warming_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

    According to Svensmark’s theory, a warming Antarctica would actually confirm his theory that cosmic rays cause cloudiness and cool the globe while warming Antarctica.

    Certainly coincides with our current solar activity.

  50. hunter says:

    Computers do not ‘emit carbon’ unless they are burning.
    Why are they burning up a ~$50 million dollar computer system?

  51. A Wod says:

    Concerning the melting of the Antarctic ice, there is an idea that the Antarctic Peninsula area is volcanic, which is why it is melting compared to other areas. There was a report recently that they were going to put an underwater robot underneath the ice to find out if there is volcanic activity going on. The Antarctic Peninsula looks like a chan of volcanic mountains, doesn’t it ?

  52. Ray says:

    They used the term “Climate Change”. So, by the end of 2009 they will change the story to how to use their new Supercomputer to increase and optimize the CO2 emissions in order to combat the next Ice Age. They will claim to be ahead of everyone when they decided to aquire this tool… afterall, they talked about climate change and not global warming. Or maybe they will say that it was necessary to spend so much time and money on global warming models in order to combat Global Cooling… afterall they claim that the planet is cooling because of global warming.

  53. Paul says:

    I know this is OT but I found an interesting story about frogs being “eaten out of existence.” I’m not sure how this story reconciles with the standard party line that global warming is killing all the frogs.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/4307043/Frogs-being-eaten-into-extinction.html

    Do you think CO2 in the atmosphere is making the frogs (and “Sea Kittens”) more tasty?

  54. Bruce Cobb says:

    Terrific. I suppose they’ll be naming it “Al”?

  55. John Galt says:

    We all know “all pigs are created equal, but some are more equal than others”.

    — Hats off to George Orwell, even though I took the liberty to change “animals” to “pigs”.

    Seriously, just because the common folk are supposed to suffer and scrape by doesn’t mean the government is going to. Government’s appetite is never sated. If it’s good times, there’s plenty of money to be spent. If it’s bad times, when else do we need government more?

  56. Tim F says:

    Paul shanahan (11:05:07) :

    I have to say, I’ve seen many a theory on what humans produce, but the truth is, we don’t really, really know. We can guess by using predictions and maths but not until we can tag each particle with “Human” or “Nature” lables will we ever really find out.

    Paul,

    Thanks for your reply. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of what is the weight of the carbon dioxide in an average human exhalation. And what is the average number of exhalations per minute/hour/day/whatever.

    I can get myself to tons/year from there.

    Tim

  57. Roger Sowell says:

    Hunter,

    Re Burning Up a Computer

    Supercomputers require massive cooling, as in cryogenic temperatures. The energy required to produce that cooling is what they are referring to.

  58. Joseph says:

    Tim F (10:42:22)
    Paul shanahan (11:05:07)

    There is a good article today over at Roy Spencer’s blog as to the sources of atmospheric CO2.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

  59. Dave Johnson says:

    I am so very proud that our very own GB Met Office is doing it’s bit to combat global cooling:-)

  60. Malcolm Hill says:

    If you must use the word then pleases spell it correctly.

    Its, HYPOCRITES

  61. Alec, a.k.a Daffy Duck says:

    Not trying to change subject, but since this is dated today…

    Increasing Atmospheric CO2: Manmade…or Natural?
    January 21st, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

  62. Stefan says:

    Perhaps newspaper editors are starting to see a shift in public opinion.

    Formerly the story angle was the noble smart scientists being silenced by powerful oil companies. And the greenies started out with that angle. But perhaps they were a bit too quick to go for that, as the oil companies never did really get involved as adversaries.

    So now the story needs a new edge. Silly boffins lecturing us from ivory towers, and wasting our money?

  63. Tom in still cold Florida says:

    What we have is an advanced version of GIGO. It has been upgraded to GIFGOF:
    garbage in faster, garbage out faster.

  64. Steven Hill says:

    Roy Spencer is not a team player and has a bad attitude by going against Gore, Obama and Hansen…how dare him be so arrogant! (just kidding) hehe
    thanks for the link

  65. tarpon says:

    Apparently it’s not as easy being green, as it is to tell others to be green.

  66. A Wod says:

    I didn’t include references. Article on Antarctic volcano at volcano. Article on robot going to go underneath Pine Glacier at robot. Lastly, an article on Pine Glacier and volcanoes that have erupted nearby atPine Glacier

  67. D Werme says:

    From Roger Sowell: “The benefit from oil field simulations was the cost to find oil went down dramatically. The lay-language used was that before that, oil formations were thought to be like a watermelon, just find the rock with the oil, poke a hole in it and the oil would flow. The Cray results showed oil formations were more like a bunch of grapes, and required poking a hole in each one to produce more oil.”

    Sorry, but that is simply inaccurate, perhaps the view of someone in the computer industry. Geologists knew all about inhomogeneity in reservoir rocks well before anyone tried to model it on a computer. There may have been an engineer or two would say something similar to your watermelon analogy, but they would then endure the geologists favorite past time, abusing engineers. The supercomputer has allowed models to come up to a level that geologists can tolerate, but they have done little to add to the knowledge of the complexity.

    The main impact supercomputers have had on the cost to find oil has been in the processing of three dimentional seismic data. In that respect the contribution has been significant.

    Getting back to climate science, it is a common perception that petroleum geologists are skeptics because they are paid by oil companies. In most cases I know of, their skepticism stems from their familiarity with paleoclimate, and their mistrust of attempts to model of complex natural phenomenon, a mistrust developed through seeing so much failure.

  68. Alan the Brit says:

    Personally I would name it Marvin, as in “the paranoid android” from HGTtG fame. All it churns out is doom & gloom.

    I would suggest that if these supercomputers need “cryogenic” style cooling, why don’t they take the damned thing down to Antarctica & run their models there, then at least we won’t have to endure the bovine faecal content of the output, (excuse my French & please feel free to remove if considered appropriate)!

    I note that the artcle re warming in Antarctica has now appeared on the bbc website, a bit different in wording from the tv report with even more doubting re AGW causes I felt, perhaps not. Are they carefully positioning themselves for an easy escape from looking like complete fools?

    atb

  69. james griffin says:

    Dear Met Office,
    Just tell everyone it is getting colder, dont waste £33m and save loads and loads of CO2….not that it matters that much.

  70. Arkansas says:

    Dave Wendt (11:11:45)
    I’m with, buddy. The whole point of industry is to improve the quality of life for the masses. Nobody but the elite want to go back to the days medieval. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, I speak only for myself, but I really liked what you had to say.

  71. Ron de Haan says:

    The next phrase will be “Climate Instability”.
    This sounds really scary and covers everything produced by the weather.
    Really scary!

  72. Robert Austin says:

    I predict that “deep thought” (oops, “deep black”) will flop away for years and the final answer will be 42. The acolytes of climate modeling will then announce that AGW is proved conclusively.

  73. Roger Sowell says:

    D Werme,

    You are likely to be absolutely correct about what geologists knew and when. All I remember is what we were told about the watermelon and grape theories. I worked in the refineries as an engineer, not the oil production side. We did not suffer abuse by geologists! We got our abuse from the marketing-types.

    The 1991 article I referenced earlier does speak to the seismic data processing that you mention.

    As to the first use at UT for oil reservoir simulation, it may be that the supercomputer was used to confirm the geologists long-held belief that the grape structure (non-homogeneity) was more accurate than the watermelon. It was a long time ago, and I have searched for an article to refresh my memory without success.

  74. hunter says:

    Roger,
    I knew that.
    It was their poor use of language I was enjoying a jab at.
    BTW, if the Met office dedicated its power supply to windmills, they could have cut that footprint by half.
    This press release by the Met is like all other annoying eviro-fascist propaganda- poorly written, deceptive and uninformative.

  75. Ron de Haan says:

    Roy Spencer thinks 86% of CO2 can be explained by rising temperatures, not by human causes.
    Anthony, this is an interesting article that is in need to be “thrown for the Lions”.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/increasing-atmospheric-co2-manmade%E2%80%A6or-natural/

    REPLY: He posted an earlier version of that here last year:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/28/spencer-pt2-more-co2-peculiarities-the-c13c12-isotope-ratio/#comments

    I’ve been reading his current article. His latest effort today is a response to Tamino’s recent critique to the two part post Spencer made here last year. Spencer refuted Tamino’s critique last year, see this:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/08/dr-roy-spencer-evaporates-taminos-critique/

    Tamino doesn’t like to lose, hence the renewed attack almost a year later to the day. I’ll probably repost Dr. Spencer’s most recent article here, but I want to digest it first.

    – Anthony

  76. brettmcs says:

    “..weather forecast requires billions of calculations, something that would take weeks to do by hand”. Yeh, about 2000 weeks, at 1 second a calculation. On the other hand, slide rules have a low carbon footprint! And think about the employment prospects!

  77. D Werme says:

    A bit more on my experience with comples models of earth science on big polluting computers.

    It has been my experience that the bigger and more sophisticated the model, the easier it is to get the answer you want.

    In a simple model. a little bias is easy to spot. In a big model, one can input reasonable, defendable values and parameters with just a small bit of bias. The cumulative affect is that in the end one has an extremely biased answer, but there is not one single, easy to indentify flaw in the input.

    It is sort of a “Slightly rancid food in, putrid garbage out scenario”

    This computer is perfect for that approach.

  78. Simon Evans says:

    Michael,

    Any comments on this story in Nature as reported in the Australian saying the Antarctic is melting after all and not getting colder?

    Yes, it would be good to see a separate topic on this.

    Abstract of the paper is here:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7228/full/nature07669.html

    and Professor Steig has discussed the paper at Real Climate here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/state-of-antarctica-red-or-blue

  79. B Kerr says:

    The Met Office destroying the planet.
    14,400 tons of CO2.

    No mention of this on the BBC.
    No no no no.
    The BBC is there to inform and educate!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7843186.stm

    Is this the BBC i informing and educating?

    BK

  80. “We Had To Destroy The Planet In Order To Save It”

  81. Filipe says:

    I wish I had one of those.

    If the sea is releasing co2, mankind is burning oil and coal, the damn thing is going where? Increased biomass?

  82. George E. Smith says:

    “” dales (11:22:25) :

    I’m not sure what you wanted above for the website so left it blank. Anyway, I’ve been reading and following this site for several months. On my Reuters News site (get it as a part of a commodity info site), an article was posted today by one of their correspondents that was titled ” Antarctica is warming, not cooling – study shows”. The author was Eric Steig of the Univ of Washington in Seattle. I’m guessing you’ve already read. Just wanted your or other’s thoughts regarding it. “”

    Well I read that Paper by Professor Eric Steig of WU. Strangely, although I am a paid up member of AAAS, I was not able to log in and download that “embargoed” paper, so I had to get it from somebody with a top secret clearance.

    So I already e-mailed Prof Steig; and first I asked him, given that the West antarctic is warming at over 0.1 deg C per decade; when does he prdict it will reach the melting point and start the global flooding by raising the sea.

    He replied that he doesn’t make such predictions; but that it would be “many many decades before melting started” My guessw as 3000 years.

    So then I aksed him how deep down in the ice do the satellite measurements observe the temperature, and how deep in the ice does his 0.1 deg C per decade propagate. He replied that the satellites only measure the very surface temperature; that ice is a very good insulator so the rise doesn’t go very deep. He said that the major heat source of that 6000 feet of ice is warmth from the earth underneath.

    In other words, a storm in a teacup. The Prof and his team used 25 years of satellite data, which can roughly cover the whole of Antarctica, and they used ground based but coastal weather station sites that date from OGY in 1957/58 to calibrate the satellite data, so they then extrapolated the coastal measured data over the whole continent.
    East Antarctica is still cooling; so no problem there, but west is warming more than East is cooling, so net warm.

    Please note that cooling is bounded by 0K or -273.15 C, while warming has no known upper limit.

    Also note that EM radiation cooling from Antarctica goes as T^4, so a net increase overall, means that Antarctica increases its pitiful contribution to the cooling of planet earth.

    So let’s hear it For a warming Antarctica.

    By the Way Prof Steig was very polite, and forthright and sounds like an OK chap to me.

    But it still sounds to me like a report that somebody found that a sheet of toilet tissue now absorbs water faster and will sink a little sooner.

    George

  83. This just goes to prove that you can have the best tools in your shop, but you are still a crappy mechanic doing low quality work. If you do not understand what you are working on all the fancy tools in the universe will not help you solve the problem.

    My Father always said trust a man with used tools to fix your car, guys with all new tools usually just started to work with them….

  84. D. King says:

    The story in the Australian referred to earlier in this post is

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24946666-2702,00.html

    symptomatic of the problem we have. Just read the last sentence!
    Maybe we should dump CFCs into the atmosphere, or build a giant space cork.

    Mr. Watt, this is getting out of hand!

  85. tallbloke says:

    Nothing less than obscene. Last year the UK science council axed the solar research program for less than half this amount.

    Words fail me. For once.

  86. Kevin B says:

    I am not a meteorologist but I’ve always been a science buff and, since I’m English, I take a keen interest in the weather.

    From my recollections of how they used to forecast in my youth, the met office would get reports of temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction, and humidity from all the land based stations and from ships at sea and then compile maps with all the useful information on them. (I used to love looking at these maps with their isobars and trying to work out what the weather was going to be.) They would then use a mixture of skill, judgement and memory, (hmm… the last time a map looked like this the weather was like that), to predict the weather for the next hours and days.

    Then they got cloud radar and satellites and the predictions got better. Computers meant they could produce the maps quicker and, when they got super computers they could do the past comparisons quicker and eventually model weather on the basis of what paricular conditions had led to in the past. And the weather predictions got a bit better.

    Then they got GCMs. GCMs can take the data from the weather stations and ships, and model (some of) the physical processes that cause weather to change and predict what’s going to happen. I’d really like to say that the forecasts improved, but I can’t.

    I recall, a year or two ago, that the Met Office proudly anounced that they’d incorporated Global Warming algorithms into their weather forecast model and that this would improve their medium and longer term weather forecasting.

    I’m sure that anyone who has been following their seasonal forecasts for the last few years will have noticed the improvement.

    So now they’ve got a new supercomputer. Ok, my taxes have probably only paid for a keyboard or two, but until there is a change in attitude at the top, I expect the forecasts to be wronger, quicker.

    (I’m sure Anthony will be able to correct my layman’s memory of meteorology in the latter half of the twentieth century, but that’s how I remember it.)

  87. Simon Evans says:

    George E Smith,

    East Antarctica is still cooling; so no problem there

    You are misreporting Steig et al’s paper. Owing to uncertainty, East Antarctica may be cooling or it may be warming. You say that you’ve read their paper – may I suggest you read it again?

  88. Kevin B says:

    We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency

    The fuel savings for the aviation industry come from predicting wind speed and direction and are as much a matter of data collection and collation as prediction. The airlines are not interested in lower carbon emissions. They want to save fuel. They pay for this data, and I would be interested to know if they feel they are getting their money’s worth, and whether their figures agree with the met office estimates.

    (Further to my previous post, I still like to see the isobars, fronts, highs and lows on the weather maps on TV. I’m sure the modern graphics make it much easier for most people, but I like to do some of the work myself. It makes me feel more involved.

    Oh, and congrats to Anthony and everyone on your award, and for all the work you put into making this the great site it is.)

  89. darwin says:

    Wouldn’t recording and analyzing simple observations be ultimately much cheaper and more accurate?

    You know, like observing minus 20 temps and 3 feet of snow.

  90. henry says:

    Alan Dickinson, Met Office Director of Science and Technology, said: “We recognise that running such massive computers consumes huge amounts of power and that our actions in weather and climate prediction, like all our actions, have an impact on the environment. We will be taking actions to minimise this impact.”

    This means they’ll simply turn it off and fill in the missing information by hand.

  91. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    How much plant life will benefit from an extra 14,400 metric tonnes of CO2.

    How many trees would that support.

    We could celebrate the METs efforts to green the planet.

  92. Mike J says:

    edward (09:43:27) : “It’s clear CO2 PPM will scream right past 450 while the world will wonder how to keep warm as temperatures fall

    Don’t bank on it. Fred Lansner has shown that atmospheric CO2 levels are influenced by temperature (he used UAH LT), with a 3-9 month lag. His analysis suggests that CO2 levels will decrease if temperature anomaly falls below about -0.023. [name and all details from memory, apologies if I have got anything wrong].

    Certainly it makes sense, and if he’s right and if the Earth is entering a significant cooling, then we may see CO2 levels drop without any assistance from Kyoto, ETSs etc.

  93. Jim Arndt says:

    Bet it is great to play Counter Strike Source on it or maybe DOD:S.

  94. Werner Weber says:

    The electricity bill for computers has become a big cost factor at universities. A couple of Megawatt are constantly needed, especially for multi-processor clusters, and about the same amount is installed for cooling. I guess the IBM machine at Met office is another supercluster. Remove the local weather station from there.
    Britain is planning to build of order 10 new Gigawatt nuclear power stations. Is Met office refusing to use nuclear power?

    Antarctic warming: There is a website:

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs2.cgi?someone@somewhere

    which Bob Tisdale pointed out to me.
    There you can generate instant temperature plots for antartica. UAH looks like slight cooling, GISS however…

  95. Steve Moore says:

    “Our existing supercomputer and its associated hardware produce 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year…”

    Strictly speaking, I doubt that hardware “produces” as much as a millifart of GHG.

    The electricity it uses would be produced and used regardless.

  96. Ron de Haan says:

    Kevin B (15:17:04) :

    “We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency

    The fuel savings for the aviation industry come from predicting wind speed and direction and are as much a matter of data collection and collation as prediction. The airlines are not interested in lower carbon emissions. They want to save fuel. They pay for this data, and I would be interested to know if they feel they are getting their money’s worth, and whether their figures agree with the met office estimates.”

    Kevin,

    So if I understand your post correctly MetOffice is selling weather forecasts to the aviation industry and at the same time they undermine their own customer base by promoting AGW hysteria?

    They must have a real “Genius” running the place.

    I would not trust their data even if I got paid for it.

  97. Werner Weber says:

    Antarctic warming:
    I forgot to mention:http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt
    They give trends of -0.08 (total), -0.10 (land), -0.07 (ocean) for south pole,
    means the land of antarctica has cooled by 0.3 centigrades in the last 30 years.

  98. Smokey says:

    The Met O’s new computer will be programmed only by people who believe in AGW. That tells us all we need to know about what the results will confirm. But their fancy new computer is only a symptom of a much larger problem.

    There is a reason for everything, and there is an ulterior motive behind the world-wide movement to falsely demonize “carbon” — a movement which will ultimately reduce everyone’s standard of living substantially [except in those countries that are rapidly accumulating national wealth, based on their ramping up of coal use and other types of carbon based power].

    It is an indisputable fact that socialism [and of course communism] greatly reduces national wealth [East Germany/West Germany, North Korea/South Korea, etc.], and that capitalism greatly increases national wealth and the standard of living of everyone, rich and poor. So why do people want socialism, something that will only make them poorer? The reason is not, as you would expect, based on wealth. It is based on status.

    Status explains the misguided drive toward inefficient power [windmills, hydrogen, etc.]; and the push to eliminate the most efficient power sources [coal, nuclear, etc.], along with the insane demand by the environmental movement to deconstruct major hydroelectric dams; and the baseless demonization of natural, necessary and beneficial carbon dioxide, based on the ‘environmentalists’ [repeatedly falsified] claim that increasing CO2 from 4 parts per ten thousand to 5 parts per ten thousand will cause runaway global warming.

    This is an example of how social status works: when people are asked whether they would prefer to earn $100,000 a year when everyone else they know is earning $50,000 a year, or whether they would rather earn $150,000 a year when everyone they know is earning $300,000 a year, the answer is invariably that they would prefer to earn the lower amount — so long it is more than other people earn .

    Another example of status: during the Roman civil war, when Caesar’s army was marching in northern Italy, they came upon an extremely destitute, dirt-poor village. One of Caesar’s lieutenants jokingly asked Caesar how he’d like to be head man of that no-account village. Caesar answered, “Better head man here than second man in Rome.” Status is deeply ingrained. It goes back to Cain and Abel, and it trumps wealth.

    Money is not the motivator for socialism; status is. The AGW scare is only a means to an end: the tearing down of wealthy societies in order to reduce the differences in status.

    Lack of status explains why the more numerous poor voters [actually, today they are only less affluent] would rather narrow the income gap through wealth redistribution, and through the jacking up of energy prices — even when the result will hurt them more than it hurts others, and even though it means that the national wealth of their own country, and their own standard of living, will decline significantly.

    Status also explains why so many already-wealthy citizens [billionaires, movie celebrities, CEO's, etc.] love the idea of socialism: they already have theirs, and in a stagnant socialist economy it is much less likely that others will be able to rise up and become rivals for their status. Socialism always provides the wealthy with much higher social status than capitalism does, and it also gives them cover: the wealthy can always point out that socialism provides for everyone.

    Within any country rich people are happier than poor people. But as a country becomes richer, its average happiness doesn’t increase [cite on request]. Even if it is much less likely that a ‘poor’ person will become rich under socialism, self-serving politicians constantly remind the less affluent that redistribution of wealth will narrow the gap between them and ‘the rich.’ The status gap narrows — but at a significant cost to national prosperity, and at a severe cost to the nation’s ethics, too:

    Public servants who claim that small rises in an extremely minor trace gas will lead to climate catastrophe in short order must surely know better. That’s why they refuse to debate; their lies would be exposed. With the AGW/carbon scare, the country suffers both a reduction in its citizens’ living standards, and a loss of basic honesty. We can see the result right here: science is no longer trusted.

    Voters are short sighted, and seldom think through to the end result: that a capitalist country will have much more discretionary wealth to provide medical services, transportation, low cost energy, cheap commodities, etc. Rabble rousing politicians throw gasoline on the flames of jealousy and envy by appealing to the difference in social status between the majority of voters and “the rich.”

    It doesn’t matter that those who accumulate more wealth are those who tend to work harder and save more. By dragging down the most productive members of society, the status gap is narrowed, and that is what matters.

    Social status was ingrained in human nature for millions of years, before any accumulation of wealth or money had ever begun. Most voters don’t consciously understand why they vote for socialism. They repeat all the phony reasons ["carbon," "the poor," "the environment," etc.]. But they are not really voting for the money; rather they want to equalize status.

    There is an old story of a Greek and a Turk. One of them [depending on who is telling it] is given one free wish by a jini. The catch is that whatever he wants, fame, fortune, etc., his enemy will get exactly double what he wishes for. His wish? “Put out one of my eyes.”

    Society seems intent on figuratively putting out one of its eyes as a means of equalizing status. That is the basis of the irrational, emotional herd behavior of the AGW movement. The only ‘evidence’ for runaway global warming, with meters-high sea level rises, and disappearing glaciers, and melting sea ice, and so on, comes from always-inaccurate computer models — which have been programmed by the very same people who have an AGW agenda — and also from hearsay based on other hearsay based on other hearsay: “Coral bleaching!” [but of course the British court found coral bleaching to be completely unproven, along with many other AGW claims].

    The real world refutes the alarmists time and again, but something as hard-wired in the human psyche as status is an enormous obstacle to overcome. We are well past the Age of Enlightenment. I certainly hope not, but the Dark Ages may be on the horizon. Everything goes in cycles.

  99. Steve Moore says:

    Smokey:

    RE: Ceasar story & status:

    A more apt quote might be “It’s better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

  100. DaveE says:

    Maybe it will fail sometime during the windpower blackout.

    Naa, don’t think so, they’ve probably got fiesel backup :-(

  101. DaveE says:

    Oops

    Diesel.

    DaveE.

  102. Lance says:

    I also saw the BBC news story/ad, standing by a ice flow fault line saying “it could go at any minute!” , so explain to me to me this? How can they have a news story about the heating at the south pole with reporters, reporting from the south pole with green grass behind them for effect, on the same day they report the tempatures are all wrong, been adjusted, and NOW it’s getting warmer by a whole whooping average of .17C
    Boy, BBC is just right on top of things in the world to their credit…….. riiight.

    Well, they did have one of those video shots looking up at the person talking to add more dramatic effect, okok a little zooming in and out effect would of given it that “scary” feel for sure, but who am I to judge? :p

  103. Jeff L says:

    D Werme (13:07:22) :

    Getting back to climate science, it is a common perception that petroleum geologists are skeptics because they are paid by oil companies. In most cases I know of, their skepticism stems from their familiarity with paleoclimate, and their mistrust of attempts to model of complex natural phenomenon, a mistrust developed through seeing so much failure.

    As a petroleum geologist, I can say you are spot on. In exploring for new reserves, failure is a way of life. If you are good, you are right 1 in 3 times and wrong 2 out of 3 times. Modeling climate / predicting weather / predicting where to drill for new reserves are surprising similar processes. All have highly under-constrained & noisy datasets + gross simplifications of physical processes needed out of necessity to get an answer in a reasonable period of time. It leads to errors routinely – in all 3 fields mentioned. As geologists, we are more accutely aware of this than most professions. Almost everyone I know in the business is skeptical for this reason. It is ironic that we be can cast as having a conflict of interest when we have unique qualifications to judge the science. Of course, there’s no conflict of interest between “big green” & the alarmist crowd ….. yeah, right.

  104. WestHoustonGeo says:

    Roger Sowell, et al,

    Perhaps the most important aspect of massively parallel supercomputers in petroleum exploration is the ability to process the incredible amounts of seismic data that it takes to make up a 3D picture of the subsurface. For an idea of how much data, a large 3D survey records data at the rate of 10’s of megabytes per second -more or less continually – for months. The processing is also quite complicated to make a depth image out of those terabytes. Seismic processing it one of the most compute-intense industries around

    The results are a high resolution and quite accurate map of subsurface structures where oil and gas accumulations can be reliably targeted. Just 20 years (or so) ago, 2D seismic could only tell you a general picture and drilling was hit or miss (like 8 or 9 misses to one hit). Those numbers have been reversed.

    Geologists have known that oil accumulates in pockets since the early days but they had to drill in a pattern to find them. To use your fruity analogy – they drilled for watermelons and found a few grapes. Now they drill directly for the grapes, because they know where the little suckers are.

  105. Mister Jones says:

    “14,400 tonnes of CO2 a year” That’s one very dirty computer.

  106. Bob Tisdale says:

    Antarctic warming? Lots of comments on this thread.

    Take a look at the data.

    Did it warm? Yes. Has it warmed in recent years? No. Does the referenced paper cherry-pick the years? Yes.

    Lower troposphere temperature:

    You’d really have to massage the data to get any warming out of that graph.

    And here’s a blurb from my post on Surface Temperature By Continent:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/land-surface-temperature-comparison-by_07.html

    “ANTARCTIC

    “We’re often told that the Antarctic has a high rate of warming over the past fifty years. In numerous prior posts, I’ve illustrated that the claims are not consistent with SST data, since SSTs for the Southern Ocean flattened in the 1980s and has been dropping like a stone since the 1990s. The ERSST.v3 and ERSST.v3b versions of the Southern Ocean SST data also show a significant drop in SST since 1880. Looking at the LST anomaly data for the Antarctic, Figure 7, reveals something else. There was a significant drop in LST anomalies in the late 1950s, so choosing 1960 as a starting date for Antarctic LST data could be described as cherry-picking. (I left the years covered by the Antarctic graph the same as the others for those who like to fix on specific years with their cursors and scroll down through the graphs.)

    “Figure 7”

    And the capper that seems to contradict their claim that the recent Antarctic cooling is a result of the change in ozone, blah, blah. How did man vary ozone in the early period of this graph to cause that drop in temperature from 1880 to 1920? Looks more like the recent cooling is part if a 60-year cycle to me.

    One of the authors of the Nature paper, Eric Steig, made an appearance at Lucia’s website and had a discussion with Roger Pielke Jr that’s worth reading. I, of course, had to throw a few graphs into the conversation.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/who-expects-a-tropical-tropospheric-hot-spot-from-any-and-all-sources-of-warming/#comments

    Regards.

  107. Ric Werme says:

    When it is finally completed, around 2011 the Met Office machine will be the second most powerful machine in Britain with a total peak performance approaching 1 PetaFlop — equivalent to over 100,000 PCs and over 30 times more powerful than what is in place today.

    I’m surprised that there is no mention of this at http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/deepcomputing/ or at http://www.top500.org/

    The Met Office press release says the initial configuration will be “only” 125 Teraflops, one eighth of the final system. So it will be only 4X the speed of the current systems, and the extra computes could be completely used up by doubling the the X and Y dimensions of the compute grid. The full system would allow an extra doubling of the three dimensions. If you want to add more physics to the model (they need it!) then you won’t be able to use as much of a finer grid.

    The CPUs of the system are likely to be Xeons (used in some PCs) and PowerXCell (used in some video game platforms), so nothing too mystical. Just lots and lots motherboards with lots of RAM and some very fast communications.

    When such a machine is powered up, does it make a “giant sucking sound”?

    No, though at CMU we discovered that the vacuum motors in our tape drives were
    high-priced versions of a motor used in some residential vacuum cleaners. So we used them the next time the motors wore out. The tape drives then sounded like vacuum cleaners. Fortunately, those didn’t last long and we went back to the high-priced versions.

    The CPU for that system had a pair of discrete transistor circuit board racks, each about five feet wide and tall, and half a foot thick. Cooling was a long blower at the bottom. When that started, it sounded like a jet engine coming up to speed at first, but then the siren sound would fade away and there would just be a lot of fan noise.

    The current generation of supercomputers typically use very densely packed circuit boards and probably use lots of small fans moving a lot of air. Not as loud a one spot as a hair dryer, but you may need to raise your voice. A lot of the noise will come from the air conditioning units.

  108. Smokey (16:34:56) :

    That, my friend, was an incredible post! I think you have summed up the situation brilliantly.

  109. vg says:

    wow antarctica has been warming due to re-hashed old data from 50 years can’t believe Nature has stooped so low

    http://www.nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/s_plot.html

    There all just too compromised….LOL

  110. Dan Debrunner says:

    In the BBC article on Antarctic warming it gives figures of 0.1 and 0.17C for warming across a decade. The graph embedded in the article (through a link) shows the confidence limits for any temp reading to be about +/-1C. Wouldn’t this mean that the only claim for warming would be 0C +/-1C, ie. how do they get to an accuracy of a tenth and one-hundredth of a Centigrade?

    It seems a valid trend would be a horizontal line of delta=0C through the confidence limits?

  111. Dan Debrunner says:

    BBC Article referenced in previous comment is:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7843186.stm

  112. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    Smokey (16:34:56) :

    WRT Status – very interesting and plausible comment.

    Cheers G

  113. Steven Hill says:

    I guess the South Pole is warming now….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/science/earth/22climate.html?hp

    Ban all CO2 asap and save the planet, man is a virus that must be eliminated.

    All of these people are so smart but yet so ignorant

  114. Bob Tisdale says:

    And for those interested in the TLT of the Antarctic Peninsula, here’s a graph of it compared to scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies and to Sato Index data. The anomalous dip in 1986 appears to be the cause of the positive trend in Antarctic Peninsula Lower Troposphere Temperature.

    I should be posting the rest of Antarctic data in a day or two at my website.

  115. Steven Hill says:

    Oh there no ice down there now, it’s all melted due to SUV’s and Coal Fired Power Plants. We are all doomed! I fear for my life just like in the days of JFK and the Cuban missle crisis!

    Ground all jets, stop all trains, shut off the tractors, ban a autos…

    Doomed, doomed, doomed!

  116. hunter says:

    The real question about the Antarctic fear piece pretending to be science is this:
    Why?
    It is misleading, it is old, it is cherrypicked.
    Yet it leads the news.

  117. G Alston says:

    Smokey — “Money is not the motivator for socialism; status is.”

    I thought this was a climate blog.

    REPLY: one comment does not a paradigm shift make. – Anthony

  118. Ben says:

    Hope someone will graph the Climate Change during the Bush Administration.

    Did the world undergo Global Cooling during his 8 years?

  119. J.Hansford. says:

    Good grief… Now they are saying the Antarctic is warming, http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24947265-662,00.html

    So record sea ice means warming in the world of AGW….. Science has become so compromised as to be almost meaningless I’m afraid to say.

    The Media has become so uncritical, their objectivity non existent, that they are less than useless in civilized company…. Lives and livelihoods are being sacrificed so that educated elites can extort money through fear mongering and exaggerations….. Only ill can come of this.

  120. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    Antarctic Melt is all the rage at inhofe.

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=fc7db6ad-802a-23ad-43d1-2651eb2297d6&Issue_id=

    I do believe that approx 4 months ago many on this site were predicting a shift in media focus from Arctic Melt to Antarctic Melt in line with “Summer” in the Southern Hemisphere.

    It’s just Media… They can’t seem to help themselves.

  121. Robert says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/science/earth/22climate.html?_r=1&hp

    “Some regions of Antarctica, ,,, have warmed,,,,but others,,, have recorded a cooling trend. That ran counter to the forecasts of computer climate models, and global warming skeptics have pointed to Antarctica in questioning the reliability of the models.
    In the new study, scientists took into account satellite measurements to interpolate temperatures in the vast areas between the sparse weather stations.

    Which one of these definitions of interpolate works best?

    in⋅ter⋅po⋅late  [in-tur-puh-leyt]
    1. to introduce (something additional or extraneous) between other things or parts; interject; interpose; intercalate.
    2. Mathematics. to insert, estimate, or find an intermediate term in (a sequence).
    3. to alter (a text) by the insertion of new matter, esp. deceptively or without authorization.
    4. to insert (new or spurious matter) in this manner.

    I like 3.

  122. Neil Jones says:

    Today (22nd Jan 2009) in the Telegraph (UK)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/4307829/Antarctica-is-warming-faster-according-to-scientists.html

    Te final quote is the most interesting to me “There is significant warming in Antarctica expected in the future and it will in the next 100 years or less become more serious…”

    This suggests it is yet another article about projections into the future not trends based upon current data.

  123. Ross says:

    Smokey (16:34:56) :

    Sorry to say that I agree completely with your essay, and for this I despair for the future of our civilization.

    Fortunately (?) for me, I am getting along in years and will most likely not be around to see the consequences stated or implied.

  124. evanjones says:

    Gigagarbage in . . .

  125. Neil Crafter says:

    evanjones

    and this just means the gigagarbage will just be processed faster.

  126. alexjc38 says:

    Slightly OT but about the BBC’s objectivity (or lack of it) in their reporting – it appears that they have adjusted Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, in one of their news programs, to make it seem like he was focussing on Global Warming more than he actually was. See here for more details.

  127. Ken Hall says:

    “How much CO2 footprint is generated by getting into your car, and driving over to the Stanford, or Santa Clara, or San Jose University Library, and searching on foot to find that information stored on dead tree?”

    In my case that would be onehellova lot, as I am in the UK.

    OH and I Love this blog and all the Hithchiker’s guide to the Galaxy references.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the planet that is created, to figure out the question to the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything, was to expire five minutes early due to the effects of AGW?

    Oh, but those wonderful Fjords!!!

  128. Pierre Gosselin says:

    “The BBC is there to inform and educate!”

    No longer so. Today it is:

    “The BBC is there to DISinform and RE-educate!”

  129. Allan M says:

    Does this machine do Freecell?

  130. realitycheck says:

    So now, instead of producing gigabytes of meaningless numbers at the scale of x in 1 week, it will be able to produce petabytes of meaningless numbers at the scale of 0.1x in the space of a few days.

    Couldn’t each taxpayer just spend 30 minutes a day writing down very big random numbers on a postcard and mailing to the Met Office – it would have as much skill in predicting our future climate…

  131. JimB says:

    “Arkansas (13:19:45) :

    Dave Wendt (11:11:45)
    I’m with, buddy. The whole point of industry is to improve the quality of life for the masses. Nobody but the elite want to go back to the days medieval. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, I speak only for myself, but I really liked what you had to say.”

    Actually, the whole purpose of industry is to make a profit :)

    JimB

  132. GP says:

    Ron de Haan (16:27:15) :

    “So if I understand your post correctly MetOffice is selling weather forecasts to the aviation industry and at the same time they undermine their own customer base by promoting AGW hysteria?

    They must have a real “Genius” running the place.”

    I see your drift but then remember that the airline’s leaders, or some of them like Branson at Virgin, are also keen on the AGW concept for reasons I can’t quite fathom other than being rich enough for they and their families not to have to worry about it too much.

    Slowly over the last 2 decades or so and on many fronts even the hardiest of realists for humanity seem to be reduced to some form of acceptance of negative influence.

    The Warmist surge leading up to the Obama election seems well timed from their perspective on many fronts, possibly even the renewables projects which may now obtain ‘government’ money where private equity investment would not have been forthcoming.

    It’s a sort of tipping point, bit not one that people in the climate arena have been talking about openly.

    What they may begin to realise, on the back of the collapse of carbon certificate trade prices in the EU market, is that the financial meltdown may already have instigated a more dramatic collapse in carbon output (therefore sellable, fortune-making scam bonds) far greater than policy targets could hope to achieve.

    This real live experiment, unthinkable in stable times, may inform us about the consequences of long term reductionist policies. It will be interesting to see whether the politicians can escape their focused drive towards their current objectives and respond sensibly to the changing panorama that surrounds them.

    ‘Carbon Black’ may well be obsolete before it is fired up. Perhaps it already is?

  133. George E. Smith says:

    “” Simon Evans (15:11:34) :

    George E Smith,

    East Antarctica is still cooling; so no problem there

    You are misreporting Steig et al’s paper. Owing to uncertainty, East Antarctica may be cooling or it may be warming. You say that you’ve read their paper – may I suggest you read it again? “”

    Thanks for the tip simon; I read it again; here’s the second paragraph in the paper. Well at least the paper as it is published on the Washington University web site.

    “”” But new research shows that for the last 50 years, much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world. In fact, the warming in West Antarctica is greater than the cooling in East Antarctica, meaning that on average the continent has gotten warmer, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Quaternary Research Center at the UW. “””

    So maybe I did misread his paper; I did find this in the paper though: “”” The study found that warming in West Antarctica exceeded one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade for the last 50 years and more than offset the cooling in East Antarctica. “” and I also found this: “” Antarctica isn’t warming at the same rate everywhere, and while some areas have been cooling for a long time the evidence shows the continent as a whole is getting warmer. “””

    But Simon, nowhere in the paper did I find anything like this: “”” Owing to uncertainty, East Antarctica may be cooling or it may be warming. “””

    So maybe you could cite the reference where you found that !

    And let’s just say that you are correct and Steig, Mann et al are all wrong.

    So we don’t know if East Antarctica is warming or cooling; but it is 3 to 4 times the size of the warming West Antarctica, and is 10,000 feet mean elevation versus 6000 for West Antarctica. Seems a fairly safe bet that there is nothing to worry about; well at least not for the next 5000 years therabouts, which is how long it will take West Antarctica, at its present alarming rate of rise, to reach the melting point.
    Well I’m being an alarmist here; Steig told me that only the surface is warming; not the whole how ever many thousands of feet that ice thickness is.

    And Trenberth of the UN’s IPCC, says he is “skeptical” of Steig’s methodology and his results; something about making up data where there is none; maybe I got it wrong and it could have been John Christy of UAH who said that. I talked to so many people about it in the last couple of days, and I forgot to take notes.

    But thank you for pointing out my error.

    George

  134. Henry Galt says:

    Thanks for that George. I get frustated when a paper that should be in the Public Domain is not, or is paywalled.

    I, for one, am very grateful that you can both obtain such and precis the points for those of us who cannot.

    If you read this, could you have a quick look in “The Infra Red Handbook” for me and tell what it says for CO2, N2, O, O2 and O3 please. Someone elsewhere is becoming pestilent about “centuries” of lifetime in atmosphere, and CO2’s blackbody qualities and none of us at the office who care about such things can agree either.

    Thanks in advance,
    Henry.

  135. Lars Kamél says:

    Let me see… The world is going to get 5.5-7 C warmer this century? This means 0.55-0.7 C per decade… We are near the end of the first decade of this century… And sofar, the warmning of this decade has been… 0? When is this supposed warmning going to start? Tomorrow?

  136. Steven Hill says:

    Have you seen this poll?

    Would you support a gas tax to fight foreign oil dependency and global warming? 87% said no way, 12% yes and 1% does not know.

    I can see it now…..gas is cheap and we need to tax it to save the planet.

  137. Simon Evans says:

    George,

    The study confirms East Antarctic cooling in recent decades but found a slight (statistically insignificant) warming in East Antarctica over the whole period. Since we can neither reference the paper directly (it being behind a paywall), I’ll refer you here, as you have referred me to press reports:

    In East Antarctica, where temperatures had been thought to be falling, the researchers found a slight warming over the 50-year period. With the uncertainties, East Antarctica may have indeed been cooling, but the rise in temperatures in the west more than offset the cooling.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/science/earth/22climate.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

    I think that is very much in accord with my own summary, viz., ” Owing to uncertainty, East Antarctica may be cooling or it may be warming “, although it would have been more accurate to say “may have been…over the studied period”. Anyway, you’ve been in communication with Steig, so you can clarify this point if you wish. Perhaps our difference of statement is over whether we are describing the whole period studied or the ‘current situation’. On reflection, I think your statement probably refers to current conditions rather than to the longer trend, and thus I withdraw my challenge to what you said. :-)

  138. Ben Kellett says:

    Well, I hope “Deep Black” helps the Met office get its seasonal forecasts right!!

    This comes in the light of the UKMO finally conceding defeat with a forecast of an “average or colder than average” end to the winter. The original winter forecast clearly stated “average or warmer than average” which on each successive update as been changed to the colder side of average. So, in short – a cold start, a cold middle and finally a forecast for a cold end! Can’t wait to read the seasonal analysis!!

    Ben

  139. Bruce in Tulsa says:

    Now they can run their flawed computer models even faster!

  140. Smokey says:

    The folks who think the globe is heating up because of AGW can now put their money where their mouth is: click

    Heck, for that matter, anyone can play! [link source]

Comments are closed.