Tuesday, October 10, 2017

We have corporate sponsorship

I've been waiting a long time to use this clip!

Finally signed our first contract for some work which is due to start shortly. It's not a huge project but should be interesting and generate some worthwhile results. We didn't really have to punch ourselves in the face or threaten to reveal the dirty secrets of climate modelling (jules already has a journal dedicated to that cause).

If anyone else wants to jump on the bandwagon and pay jules or me to do something interesting, leave a comment :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Stockholm art

Stockholm has a modern art museum and we all know how important it is to open one's mind to surrealist thoughts before a science conference...

We've never had a cargo disaster like this bicycle case, despite shipping 3 tandems across the oceans to Japan and back!

I soon discovered one of the escaped bicycle wheels spinning in a corner:

Wonder what beautiful piccies will be added to these frames, presently labelled "Plingeling" and "Pling":

Perhaps I should have looked behind this sheet to see the exhibit behind, but I was too shy:

But there was also some good stuff:

Can't beat Klein bloooooo! The handy information board informed me that he spent time in Japan learning Zen. That must partly explain why it is just so good. Ahhhh...

And then there was the extensive MODEL GRID SECTION of which this is a small part!!!!! 
Woo Hooo! 
If GMD had any money it could sponsor this!

[jules' pics] Stockholm

#PMIP2017 was held in Stockholm. Maybe it was the unusual warmth and sunshine, but Stockholm seemed like a very happy kind of place.


Nowhere else have I seen children swinging joyfully from the street signs.

Construction is always good sign of prosperity...?

Then there is the river

Private yachts.

Public life saving.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/01/2017 02:17:00 PM

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Running hot...or not?

The question has been asked (repeatedly): are the CMIP models “running hot”? By which it is not meant, are the models too warm - they have a wide range of temperature biases which are normally subtracted off by the use of anomalies (which is a separate debate) - but whether they are warming up too much relative to observations.

But I don't care about that, because I've been running too! It's been a bit warm in Hamburg and humid too, so I was a bit apprehensive about this morning's half marathon up and down a bit of river bank at the north edge of the city. 

However I didn't need to worry about that, it was grey and chilly this morning. What I should have been more concerned about is the lack of recent training and surfeit of pastries (not to mention currywurst).

It's a funny affair with another identical half marathon going off 20 mins ahead of us, that being the “Cup” event (part of a series of three races). (Fortunately I didn't find that web page until just now or I might have had to enter all of them.) But the cup runners are not all that quick, so I spent most of the race overtaking them. This wasn't really a problem as the small field of 500 runners was fairly well strung out by the time I caught them. The course was a riverside path, just hard-trodden earth which was mostly dry but a little slippery in parts.

It wasn't all as flat and smooth as this!

Plenty of sharp turns and short rises too. Despite being about 500m too short, it was still a personal worst, slower even than my very first half marathon when I'd never run that far before! 9th finisher in my race in 1:29:14, 2nd MV45 and also well beaten by one woman who was 2nd overall.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


I had curry for lunch on Thursday.

It was the wurst!

(Actually it was rather good, however we forgot to take a pic so you'll have to make do with this less appealing version from wikipedia.)

By massive coincidence I saw this tweet from Gavin on the same day:

which quotes from this NY Times article.

Google tells me Curry's been all over this "fundamentally dumb" idea like a rash. It must have seemed like a good wheeze to earmark some funding and publicity for those who can't raise it on the merits of their research. But now she's obvioulsy been tapped up for membership of the “team”, it's finally dawned on her that she'd have to work with a bunch of crazies and losers who have no idea what the hell they are talking about.

What hasn't dawned on her yet, is that that's where she belongs.

Seriously, who is she trying to kid? This is the very same Judith Curry who infamously puffed some brain-meltingly abysmal drivel by Murray Salby, doesn't know what the word “most” means, and wrapped herself in flags of convenience but couldn't explain what they meant. To name just three episodes early in her blogging career before I gave up even bothering to check what she was saying.

Apropos of not very much, she sent me her CV a couple of days ago.

Wonder why she thought I might be interested in it?

This “red team” stuff is hardly new. Who can forget the “Not the IPCC” report that never saw the light of day? Or the various attempts to set up sceptical journals or scientific societies that are invariably still-born (or more often, never-born). You think they'd work it out eventually. Same shit, different day, as they say in Georgia.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Beyond equilibrium climate sensitivity

New(ish, but I'm just getting round to writing about it) review article by Knutti et al on climate sensitivity. The detailed review of published estimates is impressive, a lot of work must have gone into that. It has been spotted that the Callendar estimate is wrong: the value in the paper is about 1.8C for a doubling of CO2, which is rather lower than the value plotted in the figure. (This calculation ignores changes in clouds, so it's impressively close to what we would estimate today for the same processes).

Probably the most important aspect of the update, however, is summarised in the figure of how radiative imbalance changes with temperature as a model warms up (after an abrupt quadrupling of CO2). Simple linear first-order modelling of the energy balance would suggest that the points should lie on a straight line, with the intercepts on the y and x axes being the initial forcing  and the equilibrium temperature change respectively (and these values can be halved to get those pertaining to a doubling of CO2). A handy consequence of this is that the equilibrium response could be estimated in a climate model, without the need to run the model to equilibrium. Based on this idea (often referred to as the “Gregory method ”), the equilibrium sensitivities of the CMIP models are typically estimated on the basis of a 150 year simulation following a quadrupling of CO2.

However models - and quite probably, the real world - doesn't behave like that. Instead, the points appear to cluster around a curve which implies the true equilibrium change is greater than that which would be estimated from analysis of an initial segment of the run.

I can't help wonder how rapidly and widely this method would have been accepted if it had been proposed by someone less eminent. I suspect there would be more of a “nice idea, but it doesn't really work that well”. Incidentally, the behaviour is nothing to do with quadrupling per se, you get similar results for greater and lesser forcing changes. I believe quadrupling was just chosen (rather than the more conventional doubling) to get a greater signal/noise ratio in the changes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Make our Planet Great Again

Our kind host has pointed us towards the German call for applications for 4-year fellowships under the joint France-Germany “Make our Planet Great Again” program. This was originally Macron's brainchild, which attracted a certain amount of media attention possibly disproportionate to its scientific importance. Now the Germans have jumped on board with an essentially parallel (albeit smaller) scheme which offers awards of up to €1.5m over 4 years to attract overseas scientists to set up groups in Germany, again focussing on climate and sustainable energy sciences. It may not be a huge initiative but it will surely be very attractive to a lot of people, including perhaps those in the UK who are uncertain what Brexit will bring. If we were remotely interested in going abroad and setting up a new research group we'd probably be applying. But we aren't.

Monday, September 18, 2017

More D&A and FvB.

By chance I happened to notice another paper with an interesting title appearing in Climatic Change on the very same day as the recent Mann et al paper: Is the choice of statistical paradigm critical in extreme event attribution studies? While my noticing it was fortuitous, the publication date was no coincidence, as it was clearly intended as a "comment on" in all but name. I am not particularly impressed by such shenanigans. I know that Nature often publishes a simultaneous commentary along with the article itself, but these are generally along the lines of a sycophantic laudation extolling the virtues of the new work. The climatic change version seems to be designed to invite a critical comment which does not provide the authors under attack any right to reply. Jules and I were previously supposed to be a victim of this behaviour when we published this paper. However the commentary never got written, so in the end we suffered nothing more than a lengthy delay to final publication.

Anyway, back to the commentary. Is the choice of statistical paradigm critical? I can't really be bothered discussing it in any detail. The arguments have been hashed out before (including on this blog, e.g. here). The authors provide a rather waffly defence of frequentist approaches without really providing any credible support IMO, based on little more than some rather silly straw men. Of course a badly-chosen prior can give poor results, but so can an error in your computer program or a typo in your manuscript, and no-one argues that it's better to just take a guess instead of doing a calculation and writing down the answer. Well, almost no-one.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blueskiesresearch.org.uk: Winton betting market

There could be something paywalled in the FT about this, the global warming policy foundation forum farce have copied a bit and managed to post a quote from somewhere saying
"A leading global warming expert believes that the latest UN warning on man-made climate change is a "big gamble" as temperatures have not increased since 1997"
Not really much of an expert then.

I heard about the Winton thing at the AGU, where Mark Roulston had a poster in the betting and finance session. Good to heard it’s progressing.

Thanks to Victor Venema I've seen the full article which seems entirely reasonable and doesn't contain the GWPF quote anywhere, so I guess they just randomly stuck it on to make themselves look ridiculous.

Edit: the actual site seems to be here though not functional as yet.

BlueSkiesResearch.org.uk: Blue Skies Research Ltd!

After thinking about it for a few years we have finally bitten the bullet and incorporated Blue Skies Research Ltd as a private company. Since there are two of us, we couldn’t very well set up as a sole trader and a partnership didn’t seem particularly attractive either. For our situation, the tax situation seems fairly similar in all cases: income tax and NI contributions on the one hand, versus corporation and dividend taxes on the other.

What precipitated the action is still under discussion, but will probably (hopefully!) be blogged about in the future some time. The overarching aim is to enable us to collaborate officially in research and funding applications with other partners: if anyone out there has a bit of spare end-of-project budget burning a hole in their pocket, or is considering a funding application that could benefit from our expertise, then we would certainly be interesting in hearing about it but we aren’t really planning a huge push for funding and world domination. Well not quite yet anyway 🙂