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:
The link went to this post by Steve McIntyre:
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.
So I asked Dr. Betts if he could explain this.
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:
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:
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.