Julia Slingo on BBC Radio 4

I just wanted to post this youtube clip of Julia Slingo – Chief Scientist at the UK Met Office – being interviewed on BBC Radio 4 about how 2015 and 2016 are likely to be the hottest years on record. The interviewer was John Humphrys, who asked a few “skeptic”-like question, which – given that he has form – is maybe not surprising. The interview is pretty short and Julia Slingo explained it all extremely well.

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16 Responses to Julia Slingo on BBC Radio 4

  1. It appeared that John Humphys has toned it down a bit since previous interviews on climate. The ‘skeptic’-like question approach is just the normal ‘devil’s advocate’ interviewing technique. And at least they no longer seem to automatically invite Nigel Lawson on to bluster over the scientists as a deluded attempt at ‘balance’.

  2. john,
    Yes, fair point. The questions were a bit “skeptic”-like, but that is probably normal in such a setting. At least Julia Slingo got to respond thoroughly and wasn’t pitted against a Lawson, a Montford, or a Ridley.

  3. Marco says:

    2015 and 2016 *were* likely to be ?!?!

    Have I slept for 1.5 years?

  4. Marco,
    As, yes, I’ve changed it to “are”. I think the “were” was meant to refer to the post in the past tense, not the years, but I’ve no idea if that makes any sense 🙂

  5. guthrie says:

    It sounded more like a mix between devils advocate and denialist; i.e. they wanted to make some sort of opposing questions, and used denialist talking points for them, rather than, I don’t know, something more reality based.
    She coped well enough with them.

  6. anoilman says:

    Its illegal for Canadian government scientists to speak in public. This kind of speech from a government official is not permitted in Canada.

  7. Richard says:

    Anoilman, are there any left? I thought Harper was on a mission to ‘lobotomise’ Canadian science.

  8. anoilman says:

    Richard, I don’t think there are any left. If there is a regime change, then what’s left will likely be permitted to speak in public again.

    Its also sad to think that Conservatives have to rely on tactics like eliminating data they deem inconvenient to solve their problems. Really sad. Can anyone on this planet point to a situation where its wise to ignore facts, figures, and data in order to succeed? Is there a single management text book that advises this as a good course of action?

    Anyways, the “National Research Council” can probably be renamed “Free Engineering For Big Companies On Tax Dollars”. I’m an engineer and I totally get the difference… Its bad. One of the big projects they are working on is trying to detect leaks in pipelines. (Politicians are such newbs, like no one has looked at this before…)

  9. Andrew Dodds says:

    I hate this kind of prediction.. It’s practically inviting a large volcano to blow somewhere near the Equator, followed by a decade of septics warbling on about how a prediction of record heat turned out cold.

    aom – You are trying to decipher the thoughts and motivations of an alien species (management and politicians) in your own context here. Physical reality is just an irritating special interest, and it dosen’t even dress appropriately.

  10. Richard says:

    I get the impression the MetOffice has worked hard on these communicating these findings effectively.

    JS did a great job, showing how to be direct and not be knocked off main points by snide remarks from JH (avoiding the trap of scientists so often … ‘on the one hand this, and on the other hand, …’

    The article on their website was also clear, and accessible …

    Click to access Changes_In_The_Climate_System.pdf

    Great job, Met Office. Actually, doing the job we pay them for!

    P.S. ATTP, you tweeted that the MetOffice news releases had some typos etc. not sure if these were fixed. This one seemed ok >>


  11. Richard,
    It wasn’t that they had typos, it was that when I went to that page it was simply full of random ascii characters. Apparently they had a problem with their Content Management System and that this sometimes (rarely) happens, and only to some. It’s working for me again now.

  12. I would much rather temperatures didn’t do as predicted. Vindication of the science is important, but the results should not be welcomed, in that the hotter we get, the more f**ked we are. Sometimes denial is an attractive proposition 😦

  13. Michael 2 says:

    “2015 and 2016 are likely to be the hottest years on record,” She says while wearing a warm, long sleeved jacket…

    Note that “hottest” replaces “warmest”.

    “Preliminary figures show that 2014 is on course to be the warmest year, or one of the warmest years”

    But I’ll admit that “warmest” is absurd; warm being halfway between hot and cold, how exactly can you be MORE halfway between hot and cold?

    So how scary is this?

    “The global mean temperature for January to October based on the HadCRUT4 dataset (compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit) is 0.57°C (+/- 0.1) above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.00°C. This is consistent with the statement from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). With two months of data still to add, the full-year figure could change but presently 2014 is just ahead of the current record of 0.56°C set in 2010 in the global series which dates back to 1850.”

    So it is “hottest” by 0.01 degree with an uncertainty is ten times larger (0.1 C) if you compare a series 1961-1990 to a series 1850-2010. That’s what I get out of it anyway.

    “Even for the UK itself, the current record temperatures have been shown to be 10 times more likely because of human activities.”

    What exactly does that mean? The consensus is 97 percent sure that it is over 50 percent human caused. How can there be ten times more likely than half? The most you can have is twice and then you hit 100 percent. It seems Orwellian.

  14. M2,
    If you shift a distribution then something that maybe had a 0.1% chance of happening, could have a 1% chance of happening. Hence it becomes 10 times more likely.

  15. BBD says:

    It seems Orwellian.

    Actually, this response seems paranoid and steeped in conspiracist ideation.

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