Saturday, October 20, 2018

Credit where it's due

The GMD t-shirts continue to be good value. Jules and I usually try to wear ours at any scientific meetings to spread the word and it often sparks off some interaction. Recently someone prominent came up to me at the workshop dinner and congratulated me on my achievements in respect of GMD. He was particularly impressed with the CMIP6 special issue which is turning out to be very useful. I pointed out that jules (who was sitting beside me but in civvies) actually bore far more responsibility for this, not only in being Chief Exec Editor of the journal but also more specifically both in developing the whole concept of MIP papers within GMD and also in negotiating the details of how the CMIP6 special issue would work - which involved some lengthy negotiations with CMIP peoples.

At the end of the dinner as he was leaving, he thanked me again for all that I'd done. It's a tough job taking credit for other peoples' work but someone's got to do it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

The bet - final outcome

You may be wondering what had happened with this. As you will recall, some time ago I arranged a bet with two Russian solar scientists who had predicted that the world was going to cool down. The terms of the bet were very simple, we would compare the global mean average surface temperature between 1998-2003 and 2012-17 (according to NCDC), and if the latter period was warmer, I would win $10,000 from them, and if it was cooler, they would win the same amount. See here and here for some of the news coverage at the time.

The results were in a while ago, and of course I won easily, as the blue lines in the graph below show. It was never in much doubt, even though their choice of starting period included what was then the extraordinarily hot El Nino year of 1998. In fact the temperature in that year just barely exceeded 2012 (by less than 0.01C) and all subsequent years have been warmer as you can see from the black dashed line before. It seems unlikely any of us alive today (or indeed over the next few centuries at least) will ever see such a low temperature again.

So this should be the point at which I ask my blog readers for ideas as to what to spend the $10,000 on. I was hoping to do something that would be climatically and environmentally beneficial, perhaps something that might garner a bit of publicity and make a larger contribution. But they are refusing to pay. More precisely, Bashkirtsev is refusing to pay, and Mashnich is refusing to even reply to email. With impressive chutzpah, Bashkirtsev proposed we should arrange a follow-up bet which he would promise to honour. Of course I'd be happy to consider such a thing, once the first bet is settled. But it looks unlikely that this is going to happen.

It was obvious of course that this settlement risk was the biggest uncertainty right from the start. I had hoped they would value their professional reputations as worth rather more to themselves than the sums of money involved. On the other hand a certain amount of intellectual dishonesty seems necessary in order to maintain the denialist mindset. Of course it could be argued that it's unfair to tar all denialists with the same brush, maybe I was just unlucky to come across the only two charlatans and the rest of the bunch are fine upstanding citizens who just happen to suffer from genuine misunderstandings. Who wants to bet on that?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

[jules' pics] Clueing

The location can hardly be in doubt. But why? Here's a clue!

(And no, the clue is not only what massive hypocrites we climate change scientists are flying hither and thither for no reason at all )

Friday, October 12, 2018

"...because the stakes are so low"

In an earlier blog I alluded to the fact that someone had written a paper on ensemble means. I didn't think it was particularly interesting or useful since we had written a more correct and complete analysis some years previously (as blogged variously here here here). The particular point that the author Bo Christensen got most obviously wrong was his claim that the CMIP ensemble behaved like it was sampled from a high-dimensional space. In fact, as we showed via a variety of analyses, it behaves much more like it was sampled from an intermediate-dimensional space. Specifically, we found an effective dimensionality of about 3-11 depending on the details of the analysis. On top of getting that wrong, it didn't seem like his analysis actually added anything of significance to our results. Furthermore, Bo's analysis relies on the ensemble being perfect in the sense that the verifying observational data set (ie reality) is drawn from the same distribution as the ensemble members. We already demonstrated that the good performance of the ensemble mean does not depend on this very strong (and generally false) condition.

Amusingly, when I commented critically on his analysis after his EGU talk, he assumed I was Jonty Rougier, who seems to have been a dissatisfied reviewer of the paper (Jonty had also extended and improved on our work in some ways back in 2016).

So far, so boring, although it's a bit frustrating to see our own work so comprehensively misunderstood and denigrated. Bo did cite our paper, and Jonty's too, so was not unaware of them, but claimed (without much justification) that their explanations were not compelling.

What prompted me to bother writing it all down now is that a comment/reply pair has just appeared in Journal of Climate (full versions on sci-hub for anyone who cares). The comment is from Jonty Rougier of course. It's good to see that academic politics continues in our absence...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

That IPCC thing

Hello faithful blog readers. After a long absence I'm going to try to post some things again. Got a small backlog of ideas to write about and a little bit of free time to work at them.

I'll start with the tedious 1.5C nonsense since I can sense that you are all (both?) desperate for my opinions. The simple and efficient way for the IPCC to have responded to the stupid proposal from politicians that, having made no progress towards limiting global warming to 2C, they would instead really really try really really hard to limit it to 1.5C honest guv we really really mean it this time, would have been to say "No you won't, you are just pretending. Now go away and do something constructive rather than delaying and passing the buck". That would have saved a lot of money and CO2 emissions. But instead, we get lots of meetings, papers, scientists pontificating on the radio and ridiculous misrepresentations(*) like the Grauniad saying we have 12 years to save the planet. Back in 2008 we had less than a decade, so that's a step in the right direction.

What. A. Waste. Of. Time. And. Effort.

Perhaps Douglas Adams put it best when he said
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

(*) misrepresentation of the reality. I really don't much care whether it's the IPCC's fault for inviting this sort of interpretation, or the Grauniad for being clueless, or someone in the middle causing confusion. It's a gift to denialists either way.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

[jules' pics] Muffin

Cottonwoods instead of ash trees

Muffins instead of cream cakes (but still cappuccinos)

Universal toileting singly occupied, thus much less frightening than a Dutch version I experienced recently (where I had the bizarre experience of a man I know proffering me a paper towel that he had extracted from the machine, apparently as an act of chivalry. Ewwww!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Quakerism - refreshes the parts other religions cannot reach

Wikipedia says that academics can't agree on what a religion actually is. I'm pretty sure that Parkrun passes most of the criteria and I've long thought that the Settle Harriers and the Settle Wheelers should be welcomed into 'churches together in Settle and district'.

However, this week it's Quaker Week!!! It is quite hard to define Quakerism, but one thing rare among religions is that this one lowers rather than raises the pulse.

jules' pulse last Sunday - spot the period of calm 1030-1130am, Settle Quaker Meeting for Worship.

I would think that Zen Buddhism has a similar physiological effect but, unlike Zen, Quakerism doesn't demand mind control. If you like you can think about your shopping. No one will check later. (Suspiciously, in Settle, Meeting for Booths seems to closely follow Meeting for Worship - see active pulse period 12:00-12:30). You can believe whatever you like (including the creed of any other religion) but you cannot require that anyone else in the room believes the same. If you prefer, you can examine the innards of your soul, secure in the knowledge that if you can't cope with the consequences there are Friends in the room who will come to your aid if need be.

Usually people are expected to remain seated and only stand and speak if they have to. Thus the 'ministry' is typically short, truthful, relevant, incomplete and delivered from different viewpoints by different people. I am sure that like all things it wouldn't work for everyone, but I am often amazed how in just one hour I emerge transformed in some way, with some new way of approaching some problem or new understanding of life, the universe, and everything.