Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. on UK's Met Office Press Releases on Climate

Reposted in its entirety from Climate Science

By Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. University of Colorado

There was an interesting news article in the Guardian on December 6 2008 by James Randerson titled Explainer: Coolest year since 2000

The article reads

“This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07.

The relatively chilly temperatures compared with recent years are not evidence that global warming is slowing, say climate scientists at the Met Office. “Absolutely not,” said Dr Peter Stott, the manager of understanding and attributing climate change at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre. “If we are going to understand climate change we need to look at long-term trends.”

Prof Myles Allen at Oxford University, who runs the climateprediction.net website, said he feared climate sceptics would overinterpret the figure: “You can bet your life there will be a lot of fuss about what a cold year it is. Actually no, it’s not been that cold a year, but the human memory is not very long. We are used to warm years.”

The Met Office had predicted 2008 would be cooler than recent years due to a La Niña event, characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean – the mirror image of the El Niño climate cycle.

Allen was presenting the data on this year’s global average temperature at the Appleton Space Conference at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Didcot, yesterday. The 14.3C figure is based on data from January to October. When the Met Office makes its formal announcement next week they will incorporate data from November. “[The figure] will differ from it, but it won’t differ massively,” said Stott.

Assuming the final figure is close to 14.3C then 2008 will be the 10th hottest year on record. Hottest was 1998, followed by 2005, 2003 and 2002.

In March a team of climate scientists at Kiel University predicted that natural variation would mask the 0.3C warming predicted by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change over the next decade.”

Lets do a reality check.

The statement that “The relatively chilly temperatures compared with recent years are not evidence that global warming is slowing” mixes up regional and global temperatures changes. Also, there has been no global warming in the last 4 years (at least; e.g. see). Global warming has stopped for the last few years.

The statement that “In March a team of climate scientists at Kiel University predicted that natural variation would mask the 0.3C warming predicted by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change over the next decade” is scientifically incorrect. Heating cannot be ”masked”.

As given in the examples below, the news releases provided by the UK Met Office make for interesting reading and show the complexity and difficulty of skillful season climate prediction.

Thus why should there be any confidence in the forecasts regarding climate change in the longer term?

Examples of UK Met Office News releases

1. For example, on April 11 2007, they wrote in a news release “Met Office forecast for Summer 2007″ [to their credit, they do have a readily accessible archive]

“The Met Office forecast of global mean temperature for 2007, issued on 4 January 2007 in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, stated that 2007 is likely to be the warmest ever year on record going back to 1850, beating the current record set in 1998.”

This did not occur.

2. On April 3 2008 they wrote in a news release “A typical British summer”

“The coming summer is expected to be a ‘typical British summer’, according to long-range forecasts issued today. Summer temperatures across the UK are more likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or above average for the three months of summer.”

On August 29 2008 they published a news release titled “Wet summer could end with a bang” where they write

“The return to unsettled weather will mark the end of the meteorological summer which has been one of the wettest on record across the UK.”

I suppose that rainfall “near or above average” fits what actually occurred but this is hardly a particularly precise or useful forecast.

3. On September 25 2008 they wrote in a news release “Trend of mild winters continues”

“The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average. It is also likely that the coming winter will be drier than last year.”

They qualified this news release with the article on November 25 2008 titled “A cold start to winter” where they wrote

“The latest update to the Met Office winter forecast suggests that although the coming winter will have temperatures near or above average, it is very likely that December will be colder than normal.”

Now, in addition to a news release on December 9 2008 they published an article ”El Niño gives colder European winters”, which states

Sarah Ineson, climate research scientist at the Met Office says: “We have shown evidence of an active stratospheric role in the transition to cold conditions in northern Europe and mild conditions in southern Europe in late winter during El Niño years”.

The message in th UK Met Office press releases is that, since their is such poor skill with seasonal weather prediction, multi-decadal climate prediction must be a much less precise and accurate science than we have heard promoted by the IPCC and in the climate change press releases given out by the UK Met Office and others.

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Retired Engineer

“Hottest was 1998, followed by 2005, 2003 and 2002.”
What about 1934 ?

The Met Office had predicted 2008 would be cooler than recent years due to a La Niña event, characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean – the mirror image of the El Niño climate cycle.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we cooler…. despite not having a significant La Nina this year?

TerryBixler

If the MET cannot get the short term ‘weather’ correct how can the be so sure of the long term climate. Some of the followers here have heard of the PDO and the shortage of sunspots (that have no effect on weather or climate birrr).

Mike Bryant

Sounds like when Dad was telling me about Santa. I did eventually figure it out.

Phillip Bratby

The Met Office and its offshoots such as the Hadley CRU are politicised organisations (like the BBC) and their products are what their masters in the (green and red) Brown Government want to hear from them. The Met Office no longer has any scientific integrity.

You’ve got Pielke spelled incorrectly on your head. Just a heads up.
Reply: Thanks, fixed. ~dbstealey, mod.

Meanwhile, here in Kalyfornia, the Air Resources Gestapo… I mean board, just passed sweeping new regulations to stop climate change.
The Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) is the first statewide effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions. It sets a firm cap requiring the state to cut its emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 (about 30 percent below business as usual).
Been tried – Kyoto – failed. Good luck with that.
My climate change prediction – The economic climate in California will grow extensively worse as businesses and many wealth individuals not tied to the film industry continue to move to more economic friendly states such as Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Meanwhile, the already struggling independent trucking industry will experience an implosion with more and more indies getting out of the business (and moving into employment by the ever expanding state prison system, and goods will then be hauled around by gross polluting Mexican trucks that drive right through the gaping loopholes of the environmental reg’s, courtesy of NAFTA….
I could go on, but I have work to do.

Paul Shanahan

sonicfrog (07:28:38) :
Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we cooler…. despite not having a significant La Nina this year?
I was thinking the same thing as I read the article. I thought that the “La Nina event” this year was just essentially the tail end of last years La Nina. Correct me if I thought incorrectly.

deadwood

As Lawrence Buja of NCAR recently pointed out (see icecap.us – Dec 10th in Icing the Hype) – “The skeptics are doing a good job because they are making us present ironclad proof”.
Gotta love that ironclad proof of golbal warming.

Chris D.

Perhaps not entirely on the specific topic of the post, but one word comes to mind when I read Dr. Pielke, Sr’s posts: Integrity. From there, it’s a very short walk to Trust.

Ed Scott

The looming tax on Carbon, the basis for all life on the planet Earth.
Obama’s Carbon Busters: A team of Al Gore’s protégés takes over energy policy.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122904166229300171.html
Retired Engineer
What about 1934 ?
That is so passe.

JimB

Exactly when is that “iron clad proof” going to be showing up?…
Anyone know?
Mary? ;*)

TFN Johnson

Yeah, I thought that correction of NASA computer programs had established that 1934 was th hottest in the 20th century. Is this still the correct view? It would be helpful to regularly (say monthly) publish a graph of global temperature using all the established corrections (NASA code errors, poorly sited instrumnets, UHI etc etc). Otherwise concerned but non-expert followers of the topic get to doubt what they heard a few months ago is still true.

Arthur Glass

But there was a moderate La Nina earlier this year, and the hang-over remains in the persistently positive SOI readings for the past three months.

Richard Sharpe

Ed Scott says:

The looming tax on Carbon, the basis for all life on the planet Earth.
Obama’s Carbon Busters: A team of Al Gore’s protégés takes over energy policy.

There. Fixed the link for you.
Anyway, this all looks like a standard failed ideology. The screeching becomes ever more strident towards the end as those most invested try to keep the whole mess on the tracks.
Then they run over the cliff.
People usually never forgive them after that.
I expect it will be another twelve months before this mess falls to pieces.

Bill Illis

It is interesting that UK Met points to the La Nina as influencing the relatively cold 2008 temperatures.
But they don’t say the relatively high temperatures in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 were influenced by El Ninos. They are happy to let global warming take the credit for those years.
Right now, we are in neutral ENSO territory. There is neither a positive or negative influence on temperatures from an El Nino or a La Nina.
Yesterday, the new AMO index figure for November came out and the index has fallen to +0.055C (which according to my other analysis would provide about 0.02C boost to temperatures or, in other words – nothing really).
So, we are right now, experiencing roughly “normal” temperatures without the oceans pushing the figures up or down.
It is not cool, it is not warm, it is normal. (a slightly higher normal than decades ago, but not that much higher).

David Corcoran

TFN, to my knowledge 1934 was the hottest year for North America, not the world (according to the oft-adjusted thermometer at NASA GISS)
Temperatures and oceans levels have risen since the last ice age and should continue to as a general trend until the next ice age or little ice age begins. Which could be now.

Les Johnson

Mcintyre over at Climate Audit corrected the NASA numbers. He found that in the US (important point, the US only), that a miscalculation showed 1998 to be the warmest, in the US. The correction showed it to be the second warmest, after one year during the 30s.

BTW, 1934 was hottest in U.S., but not (as far as we can trust the climateers) hottest worldwide.

David Ermer

“Manager of understanding and attributing climate change”
Wasn’t this Winston’s boss in Orwell’s 1984?

RW

“Global warming has stopped for the last few years.”
This statement is completely meaningless. Over periods of a few years, weather noise completely dominates the forcing due to CO2. You cannot measure global warming over a ‘few years’, so to claim that it has stopped is ludicrous. It’s like saying an oak tree has stopped growing because you couldn’t measure a change in its height over the course of a week.

Bruce Cobb

“The skeptics are doing a good job because they are making us present ironclad proof.” Talk about cognitive dissonance! The more so-called “ironclad proof” they present, the worse things get for them. The new http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=37283205-c4eb-4523-b1d3-c6e8faf14e84<a href=” U. S. Senate Minority Report:
More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims is out, all 231 pages of it.
Actually, it is the climate Alarmists who are doing a good job. The louder, and more alarmist they become, the more of us Skeptics/Climate Realists there are.
They are their own worst enemies!

Patti

Here is a quote from Prof. Myles Allen posted in the Guardian Dec. 5th, 2008 and my subsequent comment.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/05/climate-change-weather
“And 2008 would have been a scorcher in Charles Dickens’s time – without human-induced warming there would have been a one in a hundred chance of getting a year this hot. “For Dickens this would have been an extremely warm year,” he said. On the flip side, in the current climate there is a roughly one in 10chance of having a year this cool.”
How curious Prof Myles Allen would reference Charles Dickens, “For Dickens this would have been an extremely warm year,”. And why is that? Perhaps because Dickens’ lifetime which was from 1812 to 1870, overlaps the period called the “Dalton Minimum”, a period of low solar activity that lasted from approximately 1790 to 1830. (from Wikipedia) “It is named for the English meteorologist John Dalton. Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum it coincided with a period of lower than average global temperatures. Low solar activity seems to be strongly correlated with global cooling.” Gee Prof Myles, we are currently experiencing a period of low solar activity AND the temperature is unusually lower. I’m not an actual scientist myself, but maybe someone should see if there’s a correlation.

RW

TerryBixier: “If the MET cannot get the short term ‘weather’ correct how can the be so sure of the long term climate” – that’s a bit like saying, if we can’t predict the arrival time of individual waves on a particular beach, how can we be so sure about the tides?

Alan D. McIntire

I think 1934 was supposed to be the hottest year in the United States. The world wasn’t covered with thermometers at that time, so there was plenty of fudge factor available to keep the world as a whole warmer than 1998.

Ed Scott

From Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.’s website: http://climatesci.org/2008/12/12/an-upcoming-talk-by-roy-spencer-global-warming-as-a-response-to-the-pacific-decadal-oscillation/
On December 15, 2008 Noon-1:30pm there will be an interesting and provocative talk titled “Global Warming as a Response to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation” by Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama-Huntsville at the Capitol Hill Club 300 First St., S.E., in Washington, D.C. Reservations are required – RSVP by calling 202/ 296-9655 or email info@marshall.org[mailto:info@marshall.org]
Here is the abstract of the talk
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumes that there are no long-term natural sources of energy imbalances in the Earth’s radiative budget that would cause natural periods of global warming or global cooling. But recent satellite evidence suggests that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) does indeed change the Earth’s energy balance. When that PDO-related forcing is put into a simple climate model, along with the 100-year history of the PDO, a global temperature history results which is very similar to that observed, including 75% of the centennial temperature trend. This suggests that the IPCC’s claim of high confidence in global warming being manmade is misplaced.”

K

several: I believe 1934 is still established, by the narrowest of margins, as the warmest for the US. The world is a different matter.
Personally I think world figures before the satellite era are not worth much. There has simply been too much adjustment and selection of data. I do think many records from Europe and North America are good for the last two centuries. But which ones, and what can those local values tell us about global temperatures?
Even the thirty years of satellite data are certainly not perfect or pristine.
More and better satellites are launched every year. And more importantly, they are not all are controlled NASA or any other single source. That data will eventually settle the matter of warming and sea levels, even though it cannot tell us a cause.
Individual scientists who have worked the topic are not to blame for our uncertainties. But it would take a lifetime to figure out what past studies and data are reliable. I haven’t that lifetime. And no entity seems rich enough and sufficiently disinterested to do it.
It looks as if Obama leans toward giving free rein to Gore and his ilk. Probably not a good thing. Yet Obama has chosen a very qualified scientific adviser. We will see if Dr. Chu changes the politicians or they change him.

David Porter

TFN Johnson et al,
I think the temperatures quoted in the article refer to the maximums in the UK only. All so the high of 1934 refers only to the US, not global.

Steve Berry

The idea that (according to the Met Office) this year will be the UK’s 10th “hottest” is just absolutely ridiculous. It shows that something is going on with the temperature recording. Memory is short, that’s true, but we’ve had some rotten, miserable weather with cold temperatures that makes a mockery of what the Met Office says. According to them November was a whole half a degree C warmer ‘than usual’. Tell UK citizens that and they’ll laugh. It simply was not. We also had a rotten July, but they said it was 0.2 degrees warmer than usual! It’s beyond a joke here in England. They get the weather hopelessly wrong very often – so don’t trust a single word on temperatures or future climate!

David Porter

And I should know by now that “all so” is spelt “also”.

David L. Hagen

Cheerleader in Chief Al Gore rouses U.N. climate talks to more action
The major benefit from political action:

The talks were on course to meet a minimum goal, to sign off on a fund to help poor nations prepare for global warming, but they were likely to delay any decision on climate targets.

Jeff Alberts

“If we are going to understand climate change we need to look at long-term trends.”

Absolutely. And 30 years or 100 years, are not long term trends. Long term means millennial scale trends, or better yet, geological time scale…

Jeff Alberts

Meanwhile, here in Kalyfornia, the Air Resources Gestapo… I mean board, just passed sweeping new regulations to stop climate change.

That’s the spirit! Drive more business out of California and eventually out of the country! Go USA!!

Alex Llewelyn

No. In fact, 1934 was already the highest temperature on record by a small margin in the U.S.A. alone. The correction meant that 1934 and 1998 were more obviously split.
However, on a global scale the adjustment had negligible effect and made no difference to 1998’s title. 1934 is well behind the most recent years in the global data set.

David Ball

Hmmmmm, bathing suit or parka ( Winter Jacket)? I hate to use the precautionary principal, but I think I will opt for the winter jacket. If it happens to get warmer, I can always strip down to my skivvies (do not attempt to visualize this) !! Just purchasing the bathing suit seems to not be adequate to prepare for any contingency. ;^ )

Richard deSousa

Dr. Pielke is one of the most respected and level headed climatologist. He hit the nail right on the head when he listed the failures of the UK Met Office (aka Hadley) to predict the climate correctly. The sun is still very quiet… I still want Santa to bring us a Dalton Minimum… then see what excuses the UK Met Office makes.

Dave

As a UK citizen, I am seriously concerned about how the Met Office here records temperatures.
Two years ago we had a blazing hot summer, it was really great.
This year, it was wet and cold. I dont even record one warm day, not one, and that has never happened before. And then I look at the record for August 2008, and I find out that it was warmer than average! I know that they acknowledge that it was the warm nights that made up for the cool days, but even so I just dont believe this.
And now we are clearly having a very cold end to the Autumn here. It is rare for it to stay below freezing all day in the UK before January, but we have had days like this here now.
This has not been a warm year at all. Please bring back global warming, it was nice while it lasted.

David Ball

On the last thread, I believe codetech mentioned a phenomenon in southern Alberta, Canada called a “Chinook”. The Chinook is a weather event caused by wind coming down off the mountains where it compresses and gains heat as it speeds down the mountain face (extremely simplified description of event). Interestingly, the translation to english of Chinook is ” snow eater “. I love little weather tidbits like that !!! Hope you all do as well, …..

Chris V.

1934 was the warmest year for the UNITED STATES, NOT the world!
It amazes me that people still don’t understand this.

Bill Marsh

sonicfrog (07:52:45) :
“The economic climate in California will grow extensively worse as businesses and many wealth individuals not tied to the film industry continue to move to more economic friendly states such as Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee.”
But, don’t you see? The effect will be to lower Caly emissions, helping them towards their goal.

B Buckner

The El Nino began in September 07 and ended in June 08.

David Porter

TFN Johnson et al,
I apologise; the article is about global temps and not just the UK’s temps as I had first thought. However the 1934 temperature record was only related to the US and not global.

Leon Brozyna

This forecasting racket looks like it’s something one can make money off of. Here’s my three and six month forecast:
Temperatures are likely to be markedly lower over the period than during the preceding three months. There’s a significant possibility of freezing precipitation during the period, especially in the Great Lakes region where snowfall is most likely to occur in areas east of each of the Great Lakes. The possibility of significant snow in these areas will lessen toward the end of the period as the lakes will increasingly become frozen over with ice. In southern regions of the country there’s a possibility they may experience sleet or freezing rain event(s), depending on the timing of an influx of especially cold air. Along the West coast, there’s a fairly good possibility of significant snow events at high elevations as Pacific-bred storms slam ashore.
Over the longer term, in approximately six months, we can expect to experience the reassertion of global warming as temperatures soar to levels not seen since the June-August period this year.
As for today’s local forecast for Western NY, the models had been calling for sunny periods today; however, they did not anticipate the disturbance in the atmosphere that introduced clouds. Now that it’s snowing here at noon we’re confident enough in what the models now project for today to change our forecast to periods of light snow with the possibility the sun may make a brief appearance, depending on your location. Later this evening, after the sun sets, we can expect a protracted period of darkness. Right now it looks like we will experience temperatures in the 20 to 30 degree range.

David Jay

What kind of a job description goes with that title:
“The manager of understanding and attributing climate change”
Manager of Understanding ?!?!
Well, he is British, and so was George Orwell…

I’ve often heard/read: “We can’t always accurately predict the short term weather, but we can certainly predict the long term climate”.
Huh? That doesn’t follow. I can build model rockets, but can I put a man on the moon? No.
If the models are so accurate, shouldn’t they have predicted the 8 year cool phase? It seems to have come as a surprise to the modelers, and now they have to come up with excuses like “natural variation masked the warming” and “there will be a 10 year pause in warming” . All this after they have already claimed that man made CO2 has taken us past a tipping point where natural climate cycles cannot undo AGW! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. He’s there for your benefit.

james griffin

Last night on BBC’s “Question Time” they ended with environmental issues and expressing her views was a tv presenter called Esther Ransen who drives a hybrid car and was talking about C02 tipping points and being too late.
This woman has just flown back from Aussie where she picked up circa £70k ror appearing in ITV’s series “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” – its a sort of Big Brother in the jungle.
No mention of her carbon footprint for this trip!!!!!!
I then turned over barely able to keep my temper…hurling all sots of expletives at the hypocritical bitch…only to end up laughing my head off.
It was the BBC’s Ski Report.
Bloody good skiing just about everywhere, with the possible exception of Northern California…….this could have been made up for by the snow in Houston, Texas but they ain’t got mountains in Texas.
Seasons Greetings.
Hahahahahahah

jmrSudbury
John M

Chris V. (09:41:06) :

1934 was the warmest year for the UNITED STATES, NOT the world!
It amazes me that people still don’t understand this.

Me too.
http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/File/Commdocs/hearings/2007/energy/21mar/gore_testimony.pdf

David

1934 was the warmets for the US, not for the planet.

Gösta Oscarsson

Once again we hear of “the tenth hottest year ever registered”. Let us asume that the present nadir of the Western World continues another ten years. In other words no increase in the GNP. In 2018 we will then be able to say “this is the tenth most affluent year ever registered”. Everybody will be exuberant! Or will they?