The Met Office hides the decline, starring ‘Doctor No’

I’ve come to think of Richard Betts as “Dr. No” mainly because he seems to say no to any possibility that the Met Office might not be giving out accurate forecasts to the public. I’ve had a few Twitter exchanges with him this week, and one question I asked in particular tripped him up.

I asked simply:

betts_tweet1

The link went to this post by Steve McIntyre:

An excerpt:

Nature-mag Hides the Decline

Earlier this year, David Whitehouse of GWPF drew attention to a striking decrease in the UK Met Office decadal temperature forecast, that had been quietly changed by the Met Office on Christmas Eve. Whitehouse’s article led to some contemporary interest in Met Office decadal forecasts. The Met Office responded (see here); Whitehouse was also challenged by Greenpeace columnist Bob Ward.

Fast forward to July 10, 2013. Using UK Met Office decadal forecasts, Jeff Tollefson of Nature reported as a “News Feature” that “The forecast for 2018 is cloudy with record heat”, covered by Judy Curry here.

An innocent reader would presume that a Nature “News Feature” reporting on Met Office decadal forecasts would include the current Met Office decadal forecast. However, this proves not to be the case.

More here: http://climateaudit.org/2013/07/15/nature-hides-the-decline/

So I asked Dr. Betts if he could explain this.

betts_tweet2

While I’ll give him points for responding, the punchline is that Betts apparently didn’t get what Steve McIntyre was saying (or didn’t want to). McIntyre took him to task today for his response to me:

An excerpt:

More Met Office Hypocrisy

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 and that its inclusion would not have permitted the Nature headline. I also showed the large change from the Met Office submission to IPCC AR5 and their current decadal forecast. Asked to comment by Anthony Watts, Richard Betts of the Met Office did not explain why the Met Office either signed off on or had not objected to the omission of their most recent forecast. Instead, Betts claimed that my plot was “wrong” because “HadGEM2 not an initialised forecast, so Steve is wrong to plot it from 2010 high point – exaggerates difference”… as though this were responsive:

betts_tweet2

However, I had directly plotted from data from the Met Office so there was no inaccuracy in my graphic despite Betts’ implication. Nor, needless to say, there is no scientific or statistical principle forbidding the illustration of initialized and uninitialized forecasts on the same graphic. Ironically, as shown below, the UK Met Office had themselves done so in the very article (Smith et al 2012 Clim Dyn) from which the Nature News article had been derived.

Here is the graphic that Betts criticized. The CMIP5 contribution,as Betts had observed, is “uninitialized”, while the two Met Office decadal forecasts (green and blue) are “initialized”. The Met Office IPCC contribution also included a hindcast, but I had shown the CMIP5 forecast from 2010 on to highlight the difference (taking care to note that I had shown only the forecast portion.) All data, as noted above, is Met Office data. I plotted the CMIP5 contribution from 2010 on, estimating , as stated in the post, that 2010 was the approximate start of the “forecast” given the timing of the CMIP5 contribution. In response to Betts’ objection, I added the hindcast portion into a revised graphic, observing that this was irrelevant to the conclusions of the post.


Figure 1. See yesterday’s post for explanation.

Now here’s something interesting.

Read more here: http://climateaudit.org/2013/07/17/more-met-office-hypocrisy/

Maybe ‘Doctor No’ isn’t descriptive enough. ‘Doctor Nyet’ might be more accurate, since Dr. Betts seems unable to deviate from the party line in the face of obvious evidence.

53 thoughts on “The Met Office hides the decline, starring ‘Doctor No’

  1. This is 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!

  2. When dealing with a skeptic, it is sufficient to give a plausible reason for error. it is not necessary to point out an actual error. Making errors in the error is acceptable, as no alarmist will challenge the challenge of a skeptic.

  3. 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..

  4. I see they’ve managed to adjust 1998 down enough to make 2007 the highest. Quite an accomplishment, since 1998 hadcrut was already adjusted well below the normal hadcrut increment above the UAH/RSS satellite LT. Or maybe they adjusted 2007 upward.

  5. Anyone care to guess which roulette number Dr, Betts will place Met Office chips on next?

  6. Some at BH seem to think that he is God’s gift to communications with the warmista UKMO et al. I think that he’s just the ‘spin cycle’ wunderkind deliberately sent to ingratiate himself with realists. Never have I read so many words from an individual that amount to approximately zero in real content … well maybe he’s not up there with the best of them, but he’s close.

  7. it’s impossible to tweet in a perfectly transparent manner about one’s day job. one day the choice will have to be made, between truth and salary. no sane person will choose truth.

  8. I disagree, omnologos. An honest person will choose the truth. In fact, an honest person in a position that could impact lives would see no other alternatives.

    I said the same thing as Streetcred over at Steve’s place and, sure enough, an apologist for his lordship had to step up and prove my point.

    Mark

  9. @Streetcred: my opinion is that he intentionally agrees with low-hanging fruit in order to convince those on the fence of his good intentions. Stuff so obviously incorrect, but impossible for the leaders to concede without shattering the dissonance of the faithful. You’ll note that his “concessions” do not actually happen where they would matter, rather, at places dominated by skeptical minds. Brave, eh, telling a group of folks they were right while in their home? Yeah, real brave.

    Mark

  10. I am afraid that my faith in Dr Betts was severely dented when I had an exchange with him over the the Bishop’s place in the Discussion thread about the AR5 process. He asserted that the way the Summary for Policymakers and other key documents have been put together in the past (and for AR5) is absolutely trustworthy and hunky-dory – nothing to see here. When I raised indisputable examples of where this was not the case, he had no comeback, and certainly didn’t retract his assertion.

  11. No, I read it… sane and honest are not mutually exclusive. I think there is a lack of honesty in the climate field, that’s all.

    Mark

  12. I have critisized Betts fro his first appearance on the blogs. I have too often met people such as him when I worked in the UK and I have said many times ‘his job depends on climate models for it’s existence. He is in no way going to listen to anything that attempts to change the view of the UK Met off.

  13. omnologos says:

    July 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I guess that makes me insane but I’m happy to be so.

  14. 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?

  15. Maybe I’m unique here in that I have actually met Richard Betts and had a beer with him – after an event with Steve McIntyre run by the GWPF and attended by many BHers. So let me add my tennpennorth.

    He is undoubtedly a career MO guy with all the cultural assumptions that brings. But he’s also genuinely interested in understanding the sceptic viewpoint – he recognises that the MO can be prone to Groupthink and actively sought to counter it by coming to such events and – no doubt at risk of some disapproval from his co-workers.

    After our convivial and pleasant discussion (he and Prof. Jonathan Jones deep in discussion like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern was a sight to behold) he remarked

    ‘if only we had had such meetings ten years ago ,we might have avoided the climate wars’.

    Please be careful not to let your faraway cultural assumptions about the guy tread over the line from civilised discourse into something more at home with Joe Romm or Bob Ward.

  16. The Spectator article on Met Office forecasting failures was rebutted (here with link to original article: ).

    I was surprised that they’re proud of an 87% record of forecasting tomorrow’s temp. to within 2C. How hard can that be ? I reckon just forecasting “same as today” would do better. ANyone know where I can find historical UK daily max. temps to prove the point ? Ideally for several discrete locations so there can be no accusations of smoothing…

  17. This is what the Met office web site says about Richard Betts

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/our-scientists/science-leaders

    “Richard Betts is Head of the Climate Impacts strategic area, which includes climate impacts research and also the climate change consultancy unit. He was a Reviewer for the Stern Review on Economics of Climate Change.”

    “He is also the Editor of the Journal of Environmental Investing.” (A visit to their website shows him on the editorial board)

    http://thejei.com/index.php/JEI/about/displayMembership/2

    The website says: “The Journal of Environmental Investing is sponsored by the generous support of BE Bio Energy Group AG, Powering Energy Change”. It looks like their only source of funding.

    “Solør Bioenergi is a leading market player in the generation and distribution of renewable energy based on wood and wood waste. The core businesses are the energy recovery of impregnated wood waste, production of process steam and district heating, as well as the production of biofuel in the form of wood briquettes.”

    Meanwhile the UK is expanding biomass power station conversions from coal because of EU regulation and penalties against coal.

  18. I have made regular contributions to “Bishop Hill” about Dr. Richard Betts.
    My view, not shared by all, is that he is a “double agent”.
    He tries to come across as “reasonable” and wanting to engage with the sceptic community.
    This is an abstract of a talk he did at Oxford. http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php

    “If global mean temperatures reach 4°C above pre-industrial, which seems likely if greenhouse
    gas emissions continue at current rates for much of the coming century, we can expect a very
    wide variation in regional climate responses across the globe. This presentation examines a
    large number of climate simulations to assess such potential changes and the ranges of
    uncertainty in these. While most of the ocean surface is expected to warm at less than the
    global mean rate, the Arctic ocean surface is projected to warm faster than the global mean
    due to positive feedbacks from melting sea ice (Figure 1. At 4°C global warming, regional
    warming of 10°C or more is plausible in the Arctic.”

    Draw your own conclusions.

  19. Does anyone really believe what comes out of the Met Office or any of its workers?

  20. Latimer Alder says:
    July 18, 2013 at 12:53 am
    “‘if only we had had such meetings ten years ago ,we might have avoided the climate wars’.
    Please be careful not to let your faraway cultural assumptions about the guy tread over the line from civilised discourse into something more at home with Joe Romm or Bob Ward.”

    Oh and if only the BBC had not decided to treat CO2AGW as anything other than a theory. I actually liked the BBC’s science reporting pre 2000; when they always presented a counterview in their articles. This changed some time after 2000, as we now know, Richard Black and futerra schooled the BBC journos to treat CO2AGW as unequivocal fact.

    I don’t think the BBC will regain my trust. Even if they change their stance on CO2AGW some time in the future I know now that they are a corrupt organisation.

    I don’t think any debate with Betts or the MO would have changed that. Since 1972 CO2 and related climate science has been used as a political tool (Earth summitt Rio, Maurice Strong, later 1975 Endangered atmosphere conference in Stanford – CO2 was used as scapegoat for “new Ice Age”, then later for CO2AGW). Betts is deluded if he thinks he has a say in how he is used. He is a tool, whether he knows it or not.

  21. Latimer Alder says:

    July 18, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I gather that Brady was a reasonable guy to talk to as well as Dr Shipman. Just saying

  22. It’s a brave person who thinks they can pick an argument with Steve McIntyre and win. Brave or stupid.

  23. Latimer Alder says:

    July 18, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Betts seems to me to be saying that had we had these discussions 15 – 20 yrs the met off could have persuaded us that they are right.

    DirkH says:

    July 18, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Latimer Alder says:
    July 18, 2013 at 12:53 am

    It’s Dirk that hit the nail.

  24. Why didn’t they use straight lines for their forecasts? Those squiggles look disgusting. Why should anybody be bothered looking at squiggles when they can’t get their 1st and 0th-order effects right?

  25. Bottom line the MET stopped making public long term forecasts because they got it wrong so often , and by ‘lucky chance ‘ always in favour of ‘the cause ‘ and they have no issues with finding ‘good times to bury bad news’, such has the day before Christmas.

    You have to view the views to the ME’s principal, unlimited support for ‘the cause ‘ to see where it’s all gone wrong . But to be fair like others its offered many opportunities for funding and PR which otherwise would never existed so you can, on one level , understand them.

  26. There are several activities in the world which are way more dependent on accurate weather-/climate forecasts than others – for example:

    seabourne activities: Fishing, merchant shipping, naval military shipping
    landbased activities: Farming, the military
    airbourne activities: Civil aviation, military aviation

    I wonder if any of these are still relying on official forecasting – and how they are dealing with the differences in real world-weather / climate versus the forecasts made in simulation-lala-land – or if some (and if: how many) of the companies/entities who are active in the abovementioned areas have instead begun resorting to real-world-forecasts like those of Joe Bastardi at The Weatherbell, and like.

    It would be interesting to note the differences in hindcasts / forecasts between a certain basket of official, IPCC-approved met-offices, versus another group of “rogue”, yet successful private forecasters, who have lots to lose, if their forecasts were wrong.

    What’s your take on this? Let me know.

  27. Richard Betts was wrong in his comment. McIntyre does not accuse people lightly. He’s always clean and correct with his facts. If Betts had any ounce of decency or fairness left in him he would either retract his statement or apologise. Or he can leave a comment at CA. He has not done that and that shows his attitude. So let’s call a spade a spade. He maybe a lovely person to talk to and takes good care of cats, dogs etc. and whatever good deeds he may do. That does not detract one ounce from the fact that in the issue named above he has not been honest. And I have seen such evasiveness and untruthfulness in his BH posts.

    Let’s not create excuses that he works for MO and so can’t speak against his employer. His employment contract does not necessarily ask him to participate in blogs and practice evasion and dishonesty. That fact that he does that and defends every Met Office bad action shows that he is a false flag plant.

  28. Solar Cycles says:
    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?

    Of course they are aware, these are paid for results. The wrong results will pull the rug from under the tax / power hungry politicians’ feet and weaken / remove justification for carbon tax schemes and power of people. It would also remove the super star status and diminish funding for climate science research. “It’s in the oceans” is all they have left now. ;)

  29. The Met could sve a lot of time and trouble by just publishing graphs that support their desired outcomes.

    Why go to all the bother of collecting data when you are just going to adjust the crap out of it until it yields the desired graphs?

    So simple.

  30. Venter says:
    July 18, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Let’s not create excuses that he works for MO and so can’t speak against his employer. His employment contract does not necessarily ask him to participate in blogs and practice evasion and dishonesty. That fact that he does that and defends every Met Office bad action shows that he is a false flag plant.

    Not needing to make excuses for Betts and needing to indulge in horticultural speculation are two different things.

  31. Here is a paper from Dr. Svalgaard’s compatriots

    http://www.dmi.dk/dmi/sr05-02.pdf

    which may not go down well with the Stanford’s Solar Supremo
    (see Figure 1.7: Variation of Ice export through the Fram Strait and smoothed
    values of solar cycle length (SCL121) (heavy curve).
    via talbloke & hockeyshctick

  32. ‘Earlier this year, David Whitehouse of GWPF drew attention to a striking’, well we know all about thr GWPF:-

    ‘The use of factually inaccurate material without a legitimate basis in science is an abuse of the foundation’s [GWPF] charitable status, which is all the more reprehensible because the public is more trusting of pronouncements made by charities’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/lord-lawsons-climatechange-think-tank-risks-being-dismantled-after-complaint-it-persistently-misled-public-8659314.html

  33. look at the MET office “resources for teachers”. They are stating that man made CO2 has disrupted the ocean currents !! I have emailed them and asked for a reference for this statement as my lad who is doing GSCE geography is naturally baffled…..

  34. jonny old boy says:
    July 18, 2013 at 7:10 am

    They are stating that man made CO2 has disrupted the ocean currents !!

    They got it wrong way around.
    It is change in the ocean currents that cause global temperatures to go up and down. Oceans make 75% of the globe surface and by far largest store of the incoming solar energy.

  35. Those squiggles tell us that they are hoping against hope that the temperature plateau is over. I have news for them – it is not over, it is permanent. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is highest ever but it is simply unable to cause that greenhouse warming which their theory requires. Ferenc Miskolci has shown that greenhouse warming simply does not exist but his theory is vigorously suppressed and lied about by incompetent and dishonest pseudo-scientists at the Met Office and elsewhere. Miskolci studied absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere over time, using NOAA weather balloon data that goes back to 1948. He determined that the absorption had been constant for 61 years while at the same time carbon dioxide went up by 21.6 percent. This is scientific observation, not based on any computer projection. It shows that the addition of this substantial amount of carbon dioxide to air has had no influence whatsoever on the absorption of IR by the atmosphere. And no absorption means no greenhouse effect, case closed.

  36. blackadderthe4th says:
    July 18, 2013 at 6:59 am
    “‘The use of factually inaccurate material without a legitimate basis in science is an abuse of the foundation’s charitable status, which is all the more reprehensible because the public is more trusting of pronouncements made by charities’”

    The UK goes after Greenpeace?

  37. Caleb says:
    July 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm
    For higher highs the man doth lust.
    Thermometers he does not trust
    And so, adjust! Adjust! Adjust!
    *************
    Adjust, adjust, adjust we must
    And so, my friend, adjust we much.

  38. Latimer;
    Evidently, the translation from bureauspeak of Bett’s “could have avoided the climate wars” is “if I’d had enough input and access early enough I could have kept you all (baffled with bullsh**) and onside”.

  39. Seems I’m not alone in my suspicions. I like the term “double agent” from above. Yup.

    Mark

  40. I’ve certainly gone around enough mulberry bushes with Betts since 2011 to be as unimpressed as johanna with (what I perceive as) the pattern of his posting choices. Frankly, I’ve learned far more from that to which Betts has chosen not to respond than I have from any of his responses – whether in discussion of the Met Office failings, or those of the IPCC.

    Although, I must say, I have sometimes found it somewhat amusing to watch him bend over backwards to defend the indefensible and/or find excuses for the inexcusable, before he lamely limps away from a particular issue.

    False flag? No, I don’t think so. I suspect it’s more a combination of the bureaucratic constraints under which he operates (both at the Met Office and at the IPCC) along with, perhaps, a considerably less zealous dedication to “the cause” than we have seen from others – and a rather unfortunate habit of underestimating the intelligence and/or knowledge of those who may not see the world through his green-tinted glasses.

    That being said, I find it really unfortunate that all too often Betts’ preferred platform of engagement via “social media” is twitter, which I consider to be far from ideal as a mode of constructive discussion and dialogue.

    In my view, twitter makes it far too easy to make mountains out of invisible molehills – and not be accountable for one’s choice to do so, while ensuring that word of the mountain one claims to have discovered gets propagated far and wide (or at least to 2,600+ followers, in Betts’ case)!

  41. blackadderthe4th says:
    July 18, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Are you suggesting that we should take anything The Independent has to say on the subject of Global Warming in any way seriously??? This is the paper that used to advertise iteself with the strap line “The Independent. It is. Are You?” until they were told to stop because independent was certainly not an accurate description.

    Next you’ll be trying to tell us that Harrabin at the BBC should be viewed as objective.

  42. Wasn’t Dr. No one of the scientific elite Eisenhower warned us about in his second warning?

Comments are closed.