Thursday, May 31, 2012

PMIP at Crewe

We've been back well over a week, so the trip report is well overdue.

The main excuse for our recent lengthy UK trip was the PMIP meeting in Crewe. Although we had originally planned to combine this with the EGU in Vienna two weeks earlier, this didn't happen for a number of reasons. I should probably call the meeting PMIP3, as this is the third iteration of the project, but really the scientific content covered a lot of PMIP2-related work (including ours) and some stuff that isn't really PMIP at all, at least in the strict sense of modelling one of the handful of specific eras with community-defined boundary conditions. To be honest, although there was plenty of generally interesting stuff, there wasn't a great deal that struck me as particularly exciting or noteworthy at least in the context of my own area of research. I liked Sandy Harrison's presentation which summarised her huge effort (with others) in generating model(er)-friendly sets of paleodata which can be used to test climate models. I also had a lot of good conversations regarding my poster, which will lead to further analyses and hopefully improvements of the paper which is mostly written. I'll blog about that at a later date. The posters were up all week and located in the coffee area, so it was easier to have good discussions than is often the case. So it was a very useful week for me.

The contrast with Gavin's workshop in Hawaii was surprisingly large - the latter was much more focussed on actually using the past for informing on the future (eg validating/constraining model predictions) whereas PMIP has many more people who pay lip-service to this goal, while they really just look at the past because it is interesting science. I'm not meaning to be too critical of their approach, it's an entirely reasonable thing for an academic to do, so long as not all of them do it! There were also some general concerns expressed at the lack of "climate prediction people" at the workshop, but it seems to me that the links between PMIP and CMIP are continuing to strengthen gradually, and since this is the first time that PMIP simulations have been officially included in the CMIP experiments, it's hardly surprising that the communities are still somewhat disjoint. On the other hand, it was disappointing that there was no-one at all from the Hadley Centre, who seem to have basically given up paleoclimate modelling, just as the rest of the world is getting properly interested in it. GISS was another notable absentee - I'm guessing in this case it was just due to overcommitment or clashes, as several of them have generally been very active. Other than that, there was a good attendance, especially (and unsurprisingly) from the UK. So while we could have made a longer work trip out of it, our decision to not trip around the country to visit different institutes seemed pretty well vindicated. Plus, flying into Manchester made it easy to avoid Heathrow Airport which is never a bad idea.

The venue was great. PMIP has a history of somewhat exotic locations (previously Kyoto and before that Estes Park in the Rockies), and for this meeting we had originally been threatened with a Scottish castle in February (it seemed to me that everyone who had actually been to Scotland in February objected vociferously to this absurd proposition, but we were a small minority and outvoted). Fortunately, it proved impossible to find such a site, and Crewe Hall in May made for an excellent alternative. Until quite recently an elaborate stately home, it is now a modern hotel with excellent conference facilities. We spent most of our time in the modern bit, with the conference dinner and ceilidh in the old bit. Quite by chance, most of the organisers and their friends were also staying in the historic rooms too :-) Next time looks like it will be in Belgium, courtesy of Michel Crucifix. He promises it will not be in Louvain-la-Neuve.

Along with the work, we had holidays in Lancashire and Scotland, which were great (as you may have guessed from the pictures), but could have been just a little warmer. Not that the weather was anything like the record-breaking cold temperatures that Corbyn predicted, so no doubt he is busy hunting for cherries to pick out of the wreckage of his forecast, or re-painting his bullseye somewhere in the vicinity of the data.

Now we're back in Japan with the small matter of 5 papers to finish before 31st July...


Ridoy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Annan said...

Oh do piss off, spammer.

skanky said...

"but could have been just a little warmer"

You left too early, there were some warm temp records for Scotland for May broken, latter half of the month.

In fact PC was way out in that May ended up slightly above average.

James Annan said...

So I gathered...

It's ok, I have managed to confabulate some pleasant memories of our holiday based on the weather of the last couple of days which were tolerably warm :-)