Sunday, May 26, 2013

[jules' pics] Butterfly

Denver has a Butterfly Pavilion. They ship farmed chrysalises from foreign, and when they hatch, the butterflies are released into the greenhouse, where they die. I suppose this is probably how most butterfly pavilions operate, but it did seem a bit like the greenhouse was the pet that was being fed by butterflies.
This one was huge. Bigger than a, um... tarantula?
eeep! The band of big furry spiders at the Butterfly Pavilion seem to thrive rather better than the butterflies. The zookeeper said this one was about 15 years old...

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/26/2013 10:30:00 AM

Thursday, May 23, 2013

[jules' pics] NCAR

Ben wishes to star on the blog yet again (spot him here). But first, here is NCAR, his workplace, which seems to be ageing awfully well for a 1960s concrete structure.
Perhaps the sandy concrete is soft enough that the surface remains fairly fresh looking. Perhaps that means it is wearing away, but there looks to be plenty of concrete left.

And here are Ben and friends at lunch in NCAR's famous cafeteria.
NCAR canteen
There's not much James and I wont do for a free lunch, so in the afternoon we entertained the workers with seminars.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/23/2013 12:16:00 PM

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

[jules' pics] Madness

"We like driving in our bus,
It is far too big for us"
(sung to the obvious tune)
Odd to see a car so big that makes James (6.5 feet tall) look like an ipsy wipsy imp. However, there is methodism in our madness. Next week the in laws arrive to be taken on a road trip across the Zenlands of Wyoming and Utah. In our bus we hope they will be able to swing their legs about in the back without getting DVT. It is a little alarming how well it climbs. Must have a massive engine, and is probably getting about 1 mpg. Hopefully it also has a massive tank. Oh well. At least it isn't using as much power as the NCAR climate model ensemble runs on the Yellowstone computer (also in Wyoming).

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/23/2013 02:20:00 AM

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

[jules' pics] The world from the air

rainy airport
Been seeing far too many aeroplane views recently, but even supposedly dull countries can look quite interesting from the air.
The Netherlands from the air
The Netherlands from the air
The Netherlands from the air
The Netherlands from the air

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/22/2013 06:56:00 AM

Monday, May 20, 2013

More on that recent sensitivity paper

Now I'm embarrassed at my is all as clear as day. The story goes as follows:

Way back in the mists of time (well, about 2011 or so) the IPCC authors agreed that the "likely" value for the equilibrium climate sensitivity was 2-4.5C. They then wrote the first draft to match, which was easy enough as they seemed to be unaware of most of the recent literature on the matter, and could easily brush off the few papers they did know about (like ours) as outliers.

Inconveniently for them, the observations of the planetary energy balance are actually incompatible with their preferred choice, and as well as some reviewers telling them about the papers that had already appeared, more papers continued to be written - too many to be just ignored this time. So that left them with a bit of a credibility gap.

The brilliant solution they have come up with is to write a paper on the planetary energy balance, which in numerical terms of course basically confirms what all the recent papers have said, but describe this with the phrasing that their result "is in agreement with earlier estimates, within the limits of uncertainty." (Here, "earlier" clearly refers to papers which do not use the last decade of data, ie those up to around AR4 time). Thus, this paper can be cited as support for the 2-4.5C "likely" range! They've even got one of their loudest critics, Nic Lewis, to agree with this!

Whoever came up with that wording certainly deserves a Nobel prize...for chutzpah. I suspect that Nic may regret putting his name to it, although he could argue - with some justification - that the numerical results should outweigh the verbal gymnastics.

Note by the way that it's not just the recent decade of data that points to a more moderate sensitivity estimate. For example, back in 2000, Forest et al generated an 90% range of 1.3-4.2C, when they used an expert prior - but at that time, the IPCC experts had all decided that a uniform prior was the correct approach.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A chink of light at the end of the tunnel?

At last the great and the good have spoken. There's a new article in Nature Geoscience (here, but the bulk of the details are in the SI which seems to not be paywalled) concerning the energy balance of the climate system, which basically confirms what had already been presented in the slew of recent papers pointing to a lowering of climate sensitivity estimates.

The analysis itself is not particularly novel or exciting: what makes it newsworthy in my view is the list of authors, which includes some who had previously been trying to talk down these recent estimates (e.g. Knutti: "my personal view is that the overall assessment hasn’t changed much"). Even though this paper is too late for the IPCC AR5, I hope it reflects a change in thinking from the IPCC authors involved. (Notable also that Nic Lewis is involved.)

The results are described in rather strange terms, considering what they have actually presented. They argue that the new result for sensitivity "is in agreement with earlier estimates, within the limits of uncertainty". But of course none of the published estimates are inconsistent with each other in the sense of having non-overlapping uncertainty ranges - no-one credible has excluded a value of about 2.5C, that I am aware of. The contrasting claim that the analysis of transient response gives a qualitatively different outcome (being somewhat lower than both the previous IPCC assessment, and the range obtained from GCMs) is just weird, since both their ECS and TCR results are markedly lower than the IPCC and GCM ranges.

This looks like a pretty unreasonable attempt to spin the result as nothing new for sensitivity, when it is clearly something very new indeed from these authors, and implies a marked lowering of the IPCC "likely" range. Although the paper does not explicitly mention it, the "likely" range for equilibrium climate sensitivity using the full 40y of data seems to be about 1.3-3C (reading off the graph by eye, the lower end may be off a bit due to the nonlinear scale). So although the analysis does depend on a few approximations and simplifications, it's hard to see how they could continue to defend the 2-4.5C range.

Update: post by Nic Lewis here, also coverage in NewScientist.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yet more sensitivity

This really does seem to be the story that runs and's another article in the NYT recently, this time by Justin Gillis, who summarises my views accurately (take note David Rose)

There is also this paragraph, which piqued my interest:
Several scientists say they see reasons to doubt that these lowball estimates will in fact stand up to critical scrutiny, and a wave of papers offering counterarguments is already in the works. “The story is not over,” said Chris E. Forest, a climate expert at Pennsylvania State University. 
I don't have any idea what the "wave of papers" is, although the recent splash about increased ocean heat uptake might have some impact. But several people - Forest prominent among them - have argued for some time that the models already take up too much heat, which suggests to me that while the new data on this might help to close the gap, it is unlikely to show models not mixing enough (which would be one route to arguing that sensitivity is actually high).

Friday, May 10, 2013

[jules' pics] Temples

We did a fair bit of templing while on unicorn safari, but weren't lucky enough to spot any more.
Here's ye olde village church.

And although it would be poetic if this was taken inside the same church, unfortunately that church was locked.
Bath Abbey
Instead this is just one of Bath Abbey's many windows. Don't see much stained glass in Japan. In fact our temples don't contain much glass at all. I suppose this explains how the dragons get in.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/10/2013 11:41:00 AM

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

[jules' pics] "summer" ?

It isn't just the Unicorns. Like Werewolves and the moon, British people become insane as soon as they see sunshine. Oblivious to the fact it is still actually rather cold, as soon as that pale yellow watery thing shines in their palid blue sky they switch off the heating and open all the windows. This must surely be a contributing factor to why we are presently not merely working from home, but working from bed. With 'flu. Still, it's not all bad. It is actually truly sunny and warm in Kamakura, and it is surely a good idea to get 'flu every decade or so to keep one's immunity up.

Here's some of that dangerous so called "sunshine".


Inner city housing
If you prefer postcardism to buddhism, you might prefer this one.

Bristol cathedral

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/08/2013 05:33:00 PM

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Another survey

Along with many other blogs, I've been asked by John Cook to post a link, which I am doing along with the accompanying blurb so you can see what it is about:

As one of the more highly trafficked climate blogs on the web, I’m seeking your assistance in conducting a crowd-sourced online survey of peer-reviewed climate research. I have compiled a database of around 12,000 papers listed in the 'Web Of Science' between 1991 to 2011 matching the topic 'global warming' or 'global climate change'. I am now inviting readers from a diverse range of climate blogs to peruse the abstracts of these climate papers with the purpose of estimating the level of consensus in the literature regarding the proposition that humans are causing global warming. If you’re interested in having your readers participate in this survey, please post the following link to the survey:

The survey involves rating 10 randomly selected abstracts and is expected to take 15 minutes. Participants may sign up to receive the final results of the survey (de-individuated so no individual's data will be published). No other personal information is required (and email is optional). Participants may elect to discontinue the survey at any point and results are only recorded if the survey is completed. Participant ratings are confidential and all data will be de-individuated in the final results so no individual ratings will be published.

The analysis is being conducted by the University of Queensland in collaboration with contributing authors of the website Skeptical Science. The research project is headed by John Cook, research fellow in climate communication for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The great David Rose con no. 9234: The hard proof that finally shows that he makes stuff up.

I know that in this context, late is probably little better than never, but the Daily Lies has now corrected Rose's fabrication concerning my opinions.

The modified article no longer has the offending content, and at the bottom they have added:
An earlier version of this article said climate scientist James Annan was predicting the true rate of global warming as about half that predicted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. In fact the UN’s prediction was a probable warming range of 2°C- 4.5°C if CO2 levels double, with a most likely figure of 3°C. Dr Annan now predicts a range of 2°C- 4°C with 2.5°C most likely. We are happy to set the record straight.
Which is good enough for me.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

[jules' pics] Ringfencing the Unicorn

It's golden week, a very busy time for travel and tourism in Japan. So we felt quite lucky to get the last two places on the West of England Unicorn Safari. It turns out that unicorns in the UK aren't much more rare than dragons in Kamakura.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/02/2013 06:09:00 PM