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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Between a rock and a hard place ...

Two new articles got me thinking this morning as I watched the mist frustratingly hiding the partial eclipse I had hoped to observe. The first, at An Englishman's Castle, covers the news that the UK Meteorological Office, privately told the Cabinet that we were in for a severe start to Winter - but at the same time published an item on their website in September suggesting a mild winter. It seems that the Met Office, run by a Greenpeace/Fiends of the Earth activist, is now afraid to make its prediction public because their computer has been wrong for the last three summers and winters... Or, as An Englishman's Castle suggests, they didn't want to upset their friends holding their annual bunfight in Cancun. After all, you can hardly demand that the Western world gives up their cars, their jobs and their central heating, not to mention travel to warmer climates and food imports on the back of screaming "Run-away Global Warming" if they are simultaneously facing blizzards and a big freeze.

The second article has certainly got me thinking - and it should get everyone thinking. I found it - with the most useful explanatory diagram I have yet seen - on Watt's up With That. Under the title, "An unexpected limit to climate sensitivity," it analyses the mathematical equation used by the IPCC et al, to 'model' the amount of heat gained in the atmosphere due to 'Greenhouse' gas. It is worth knowing that the Blog is run by a scientist, a climate scientist to boot, who does not subscribe to the Anthropomorphic Global Warming "settled science" and with very good reason. This article is by Willis Eschenbach, an amateur scientist with a good grasp of mathematics. He is a Construction Manager by profession, an engineer, so has a very practical approach when analysing something, so it makes a lot of sense. Once again we find that the 'models' used to make all these sweeping statements actually contain 'constants' that seem to produce the desired result by actually suppressing variability and 'smoothing' data so that it shows a particular result.

Having a little experience with some of the early 'smoke control' models myself I have always been all too aware of the pitfalls and pratfalls built into them. As with all such 'models' they have a number of assumptions built in and these are often represented by 'constants' - numbers which 'make the formula work' as one of my mentors put it. While the models I worked with were often quite good at confirming what I thought had happened in an event/incident I was looking at, they were as often adrift from what had physically been observed. In the end I found they were, at best, useful for confirming one or two aspects of an unusual event, but they are generally not good at predicting. That is my experience and my opinion, I know its not shared by many of my colleagues who have invested a lot of time and energy in making them. Mr Eschenbach's graphic is the best representation I have ever seen covering what a model is really trying to predict - and as you can see, there are a lot of interactions and reactions simply 'smoothed' over...

All I can say is that some of the IPCC 'scientists' must have been taking lessons from Whitehall, the only other body I have come across that can write the conclusions to a study and then send out an "Enquiry Team" to find the 'proof' for the conclusions they want.

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