2015 in review

Since I have a few free moments, I thought I would briefly review what’s happened in 2015. If you want something a bit more thorough, you could read Greg Laden’s or Skeptical Science’s reviews.

After 2014 was the hottest year in the instrumental temperature record, it looks like 2015 will beat this record, and the UK Met Office suggests that 2016 will then beat that. If so, I think this would be the first time in the instrumental temperature record that three consecutive years have each been the hottest on record.

The expected El Niño finally arrived. It was initially reported as being weaker than expected and then became incredibly strong. It is clearly been a contributing factor to this run of warmest years. All we have to wait for now are the claims of no warming since 2015.

We’ve also had some pretty extreme weather in 2015. The UK has had extreme precipitation and flooding, which may be partly due to the El Niño and partly due to climate change. South Africa is in the midst of the worst drought for a generation. This Northern Hemisphere winter has also been incredibly mild, with temperatures in the Arctic potentially reaching values 30oC, or more, above average.

I’ll make a quick comment about climate change and extreme events. Clearly all the above events are simply weather events and we can’t easily attribute anthropogenic influences to a single event. However, two robust expectations of anthropogenically-driven climate change is that we will – on average – warm, and we will see changes to the hydrological cycle; probably manifesting itself as an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme precipitation events. Not only can we not continue to ignore that AGW is probably at least partly responsible for the extreme events we’re experiencing, we should also be using such events to inform how we should respond to what the future is likely to bring.

It’s also time to recognise that not being able to make a robust attribution does not mean there is no link. If anything, given our understanding of physical climatology, it would be more surprising were we to discover no link, than to find that there is indeed a link. Also, because of our influence, the the environment in which these events are occuring is different to what it was before.

As far as the blog is concerned, there was a bit of a focus on climate sensitivity, in particular those estimates that rely on Bayesian methods. This lead to a related discussion on Andrew Gelman’s blog. Andrew also commented on Doug Keenan’s challenge. We also discussed drawing down atmospheric CO2, and had a few posts from Michael Tobis, most of which had titles that were song lyrics from one of my favourite groups.

That’s all I was really going to highlight. It’s also my impression that climate denial has become more marginal in 2015 than it has been before. It either seems less prominent, or those who promote it are becoming more obviously extreme. On the other hand, it might be that I’ve simply become more immune to it. I expect little better from some and see little chance that some will stop promoting their nonsense. So maybe nothing has really changed; I’ve just become better at blocking out the noise. Either way, 2015 has been an interesting year and I would expect 2016 to be even more so.

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61 Responses to 2015 in review

  1. dana1981 says:

    I don’t think you’re just becoming immune, I think it’s true that deniers are being marginalized. The media as a whole are giving them less attention and false balance, which has been great to see, and they were totally ignored at COP21, which was tremendous. As I wrote at the time, I think COP21 was just a brutal blow to deniers, since denial is really all about policy, and they were completely ignored in these international policy framework negotiations. In that respect, 2015 was a great year.

  2. The media as a whole are giving them less attention and false balance, which has been great to see, and they were totally ignored at COP21, which was tremendous.

    Yes, the lack of anything major from the climate deniers at COP21 was quite something. I had expected something, but nothing materialised.

  3. verytallguy says:

    I guess Paris didn’t make much of an impression on you then?

  4. vtg,
    I knew I was forgetting something 🙂 I wrote this, so should have included it in the post.

  5. I think another robust expectation of AGW is arctic amplification. Obviously the last decade of arctic sea-ice and NH snow cover stand as stark evidence. And at present we’re looking at an arctic on fire – no not the seemingly ever-present summer wildfires, but temperatures.

    Longyearbyen’s high temperature today was 43°F. In context, they haven’t seen the sun in two months and the average high at the peak of summer is 48°F. Today’s high is nearly 30°F above normal. Meanwhile forecasts this week for the North Pole are as much as 70°F above normal.

    Weather, but oh what weather. And the fact the sun hasn’t been seen in either location in months must make proponents of “It’s the sun!” squirm, just a little 🙂

  6. Pingback: Weather, Climate Change, and Related Matters in 2015 – Greg Laden's Blog

  7. Magma says:

    it looks like 2015 will beat [the 2014 temperature] record

    A very late entry for the understatement of the year. Based on the temperature pattern of previous El Nino events, the Met Office’s prediction that 2016 will be warmer than 2015 is reasonable, but still startling given the size of the margin by which 2015 will exceed all previous years on record.

    I agree completely with Dana regarding the marginalization of the deniers. Their attempt to show the flag at Paris was so feeble I almost pitied them. Almost.

  8. Joseph says:

    I think COP21 was just a brutal blow to deniers, since denial is really all about policy, and they were completely ignored in these international policy framework negotiations. In that respect, 2015 was a great year.

    Yeah I can’t think of very many countries whose policy is driven by denial of mainstream climate science. Some could do more than they are doing on mitigation efforts, but I don’t think that choice is made because of climate science.

  9. The Darwin Awards have brought delight for many years. Basically, individuals doing crazy things resulting in termination of their (genetic) future inheritance.

    Maybe it is time for the Tyndall Awards, named after another great scientist, and awarded to those who exhibit a similar disregard not just for their personal inheritance but for the future of our planet (so less deserving of dismissive humour). I propose we hold a black tie ceremony to reveal the scientific illiteracy that permeates the “nothing to worry about” brigade.

  10. Maybe it is time for the Tyndall Awards, named after another great scientist, and awarded to those who exhibit a similar disregard not just for their personal inheritance but for the future of our planet

    They’d probably misunderstand the context and take it as a compliment.

  11. Michael 2 says:

    Six mentions of “extreme” in one short article. I think that’s unprecedented 😉

  12. verytallguy says:

    Michael,

    Extremes are kinda inevitable when we’re experiencing unprecedented global temperatures.

    Here in the UK all kinds of records have been broken for rainfall and temperature this winter, and that’s without adding the impact from storm Frank, currently rattling my windows.

    http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2015/12/28/record-breaking-december-rainfall/

  13. Bernard J. says:

    Six mentions of “extreme” in one short article. I think that’s unprecedented

    And the consequences of global warming are still taxiing on the runway, waiting to take off…

  14. Andrew dodds says:

    Joseph –

    UK policy at the moment does not so much deny global warming as completely ignore it. Somehow, this seems worse.

  15. Jim Lovejoy says:

    I’ll take issue with you on one part of your post.

    They are probably going to be forced to go with ‘no warming since 2016’.

  16. Jim,
    Fair point. I wasn’t sure whether to go with “from 2015” or “from 2016”.

  17. EnonZ says:

    We can’t point to any one extreme weather event and attribute it to AGW, just as we can’t point to any one of Barry Bonds home runs and attribute it to his steroid use. We can, however, attribute the increase in frequency to its probable cause.

  18. Phil says:

    Andrew Dodds –
    UK policy at the moment does not so much deny global warming as completely ignore it. Somehow, this seems worse.

    Surely what seems worse is the fact that Cameron appears to give every indication that he thinks that the UK government is doing something

  19. January 2015 was the month of these lovely ClimateBall episodes:

    Things I thought were obvious!
    Tagged Bjørn Lomborg, Climate change, Climate policy, Richard Tol, Risk analysis
    519 Comments

    Climate “skepticism”
    Tagged climate scientists, Trust
    507 Comments

    Matt Ridley: Lukewarmer
    Tagged 97% consensus, Global warming, Lukewarmer, Matt Ridley, The Times
    633 Comments

    Puerto Casado
    Tagged Berkeley Earth, Christopher Booker, Climategate, Ed Hawkins, Homogenization, Puerto Casado, Temperature adjustments, The Telegraph
    569 Comments

    Models don’t over-estimate warming?
    Tagged Climate models, Climate sensitivity, EBMs, Ed Hawkins, Energy balance models, GCMs, Internal variability, Jochem Marotzke, Nic Lewis, Piers Forste
    729 Comments

    “Lovely” is defined as “containing more than 500 comments.”

    Only “Puerto Casado” is not self-explanatory.

  20. Joseph says:

    UK policy at the moment does not so much deny global warming as completely ignore it. Somehow, this seems worse.

    Well the UK has been doing “something” considering their CO2 emissions are 28 per cent below 1990 levels. (http://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-carbon-emissions-fell-9-in-2014)

    But you are right, all countries could do more and should have done more. What I think matters for the future is that all countries take action to reduce their CO2 emissions and that China, India, and the US make more progress in reducing their emissions. The UK should do it’s part, but in the global scheme they are not a large player.

  21. BBD says:

    Joseph

    Well the UK has been doing “something” considering their CO2 emissions are 28 per cent below 1990 levels.

    As a Brit I wish I could take more comfort from this, but as you will also read at Carbon Brief, government policy does not appear to be the main driver of emissions reductions:

    UK emissions fell steeply in 2014. But the government cannot take the credit, say the CCC.

    Between 2009 and 2013, emissions fell at an annual average rate of just 1%. In 2014, the rate of reduction increased to 8%, which is impressive – on the surface.

    This 8% fall puts the UK’s emissions 36% below 1990 levels. The UK is now well within its second carbon budget, covering the period 2013 to 2017, during which it needs to achieve a 29% reduction on 1990 levels. Even if emissions fell no further, it would meet its third carbon budget of a 35% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020.

    But there are serious questions about whether these reductions can be sustained in the long term.

    According to the CCC, the reductions were partly due to a mild winter, which meant there was low demand for heating. Adjusted to reflect this, the CCC says emissions would have still fallen by 6%. At this rate, the UK could achieve its 2050 target of an 80% reduction on 1990 levels 15 years early.

    This was not the only one-off event which influenced 2014 emissions.

    The largest reduction came from the power sector, says the CCC, where emissions were down by 18% in 2014. This can be attributed to a variety of factors. In addition to the mild winter, the share of UK electricity from imports rose by 2.2 percentage points – the UK does not include these emissions in its accounting.

    Coal generation also decreased by 23%. As this is the most carbon intensive fuel used in the UK, this pushed down the UK’s 2014 emissions. But is this a permanent change? Half of it certainly is, with 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity closing due to EU air quality directives, while 0.65 GW was converted to biomass.

    Of the 20GW of coal remaining, generation fell by 18 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2014 – but this does not necessarily make for a permanent reduction, as the plants are still up and running.

    Instead, the most indicative figure is the 4% reduction in emissions resulting from the increase in renewables generation, the CCC says. This is because almost all generation will need to come from low-carbon sources by 2030, and so it is this figure that represents the real progress towards the 2050 target. The 4% increase in 2014 put the UK’s share from low-carbon sources at 35%.

    These are not the only reasons for the CCC’s caution. Emissions from the industrial sector were down by 6%, although it is not clear why, it says. Across the remaining sectors – buildings, transport and agriculture – which account for 56% of UK emissions, there were no significant reductions. Indeed, CO2 emissions from transport rose slightly. The CCC report says:

    “The headline figures are dominated by the power sector and uncertain reductions in industry, whereas progress will be needed across all sectors to meet carbon budgets and the 2050 target.”

  22. Andrew dodds says:

    Yes, we replaced coal, largely, with a one time shot of natural gas from the north sea, and outsourced lots of industry.

    If the full life cycle emissions of LNG were accounted for, the picture would be less rosy right now..

    But trust me, the current lot are masters at pretending to care whilst doing the square root of f-all.

  23. Phil says:

    Joseph,

    Andrews original comment was on UK policy at the moment – which you would hardly expect to have an effect on figures for 2014. BBD’s response suggests that even that government which had greater Climate Change credentials (largely due to the junior LibDem coalition partners) than the current one played little part in this. The fact that the current one is doing “the square root of f-all” will be reflected in figures many years hence. As it is there is still a considerable pipeline of off-shore wind projects which were approved by previous administrations: see the table here

  24. January 2015 was the month of these lovely ClimateBall episodes:

    It only went downhill from then 🙂

  25. BBD says:

    The only losing move is not to drink 😉

  26. Getreal says:

    Personally, I think you are missing the bigger picture. Of course the IPCC has got the story right, and the people you label as ‘denialists’ are just being puerile. The real problem is that there is currently a massive habitat loss, resulting in a huge extinction event for flora and fauna. That habitat loss is caused by overpopulation, which is also a main driver for climate change. Climate change is essentially just an economic problem for the human population, it has much less impact on flora and fauna, grave though that is, than habitat loss. Also, civilisation is very dependent on cheap energy, so I also doubt that green alternatives will have much impact in supplanting fossil fuels. If you want to have a real impact on environmental degradation, including climate change, you would switch your emphasis from arguments with scientific illiterates to espousing voluntary birth control and similar educational measures. Apologies if you find this post off topic, and need to delete it.

  27. I think you are missing the bigger picture.

    I may well be missing many parts of the picture, but I’m a physicist so stick to what I think I understand and can defend.

    Also, civilisation is very dependent on cheap energy, so I also doubt that green alternatives will have much impact in supplanting fossil fuels.

    This may be true, but is a concern if so. Treating our atmosphere as a waste dump has consequences that we should – ideally – not be ignoring.

    If you want to have a real impact on environmental degradation, including climate change, you would switch your emphasis from arguments with scientific illiterates to espousing voluntary birth control and similar educational measures.

    As I said above, I’m a physicist so a motivation of this blog is to discuss scientific aspects of this topic that I understand and think I can explain.

    Also, I’m all for improving the lives of people all across the world. Improved education can clearly help to improve the lives of people. However, I’m not convinced that this would be sufficient by itself. If the standard of living in the developed world is going to stay the same, or improve, and if we intend to improve living standards in the developing world, then we will continue to increase energy use. If fossil fuels continue to dominate, and if we continue to emit the CO2 into the atmosphere, then climate change will presents risks that we should be taking seriously.

  28. February 2015 has been a slow month:

    Climate Dialogue
    Tagged Climate dialogue, climate sceptic, climate science, climate scientists, Dutch government, Marcel Crok, scientific community
    580 Comments

    Guest post : Label the behaviour, not the person
    [No tags – tsk, tsk.]
    403 Comments

  29. Groundhog Day? Just repeat the posts in 2016 and see if we can all do a better job?

  30. izen says:

    @-Getreal
    “If you want to have a real impact on environmental degradation, including climate change, you would switch your emphasis from arguments with scientific illiterates to espousing voluntary birth control and similar educational measures. Apologies if you find this post off topic, and need to delete it.”

    I don’t think you should apologies for raising the population issue, it is a frequent trope in the climate issue, often put forward as a primary factor or even cause.

    But while the numbers make the problem much more difficult to solve going forward, most of the cumulative increase in CO2 measured over the last century was generated by less than a billion people. While the problem in the future includes the risk of the REST of the global population wanting to use the same amount of energy as the rich 10%, the problem we have now was created by a much smaller population.

    I remember the media hype about the ‘Population Explosion’ back in the 70s, around the same time that the warnings of an ice-age coming were making the news. The best that can be said is that both were based on ignorance of the real dynamics of the situation.

    The growth in population is a consequence of improving infant mortality as much as anything. Espousal of voluntary contraception seems unnecessary. At least half of the human population seems to be quite capable of adjusting their fertility to ensure no more than a replacement rate given the basic factors of literacy to read the instructions of use and availability of contraception.
    Even religious prohibition does not seem to have much effect if it does not block availability as the birthrate of Catholics in countries where contraception is available.

    The continued rise, and stabilisation of the population is a built-in dynamic of the recent history. Hans Rosling at Gapminder makes the point well here –

    http://www.gapminder.org/videos/dont-panic-the-facts-about-population/

  31. Pete Best says:

    2015 in review comes down to Paris and although nothing is binding agreements were made and now we await action which will take time to accomplish. I don’t know how exactly we are going to enact these agreements, either by giving finance or incentives to countries that are growing or by eventually putting a price on carbon (unlikely) or by some other means of good will that renewable energy research and deployment can mean that countries will be more competitive and can sell this technology to other countries but we need a ww2 type action plan to reduce emissions quickly enough so we don’t degrade the systems we rely on so that we are adversely impacted.

    yes we can all join this and many other bloggers and continue the good fight against the deniers but seeing as how we already have and now 40 years too late and carbon emissions much higher we can start to reduce our impact and mitigate the effects of our delayed action.

    Its been a good fight and I have learnt much about the political and scientific process (some of which shocked me a first before you look deeper into what motivates humans or all persuasions) but eventually the science has prevailed and politicians and other influential bodies have finally comes to terms with what our emissions could mean if we continue on BAU (2-3% increase in global GHG emissions). So now lets see what we can achieve, I don’t deny it wont be easy, fossil fuels are everywhere and come in liquid, gas and solid form. are energy dense and drive pretty much everything. Our alternatives are available but cant replace everything we do but can at the very least replace coal and from my perspective this would be the easiest option along with energy efficiency measures. Coal is the dirtiest fuel and the easiest to replace technologically and economically, the political bit should also be possible post Paris.

    So here’s to the end of coal.

  32. My thoughts on the seeming new era of extreme flooding in the UK. I guess it sums up as ‘we better get our act together ‘cos we ain’t seen nothing yet’. https://medium.com/@JohnRussell40/flooding-in-the-era-of-global-warming-7e2aae7bf62f#.g2d660xmq

  33. snarkrates says:

    Getreal,
    No, it is not just population that is leading to loss of habitat. It is also increasing consumption per capita. And what is more, if we want population to stabilize or decrease, standards of living in the poorest regions of the world will have to increase. The thing is, we have an opportunity in the developing world to improve standards of living while lowering resource consumption (globally) if we are smart.
    I think that what you are missing is that climate change could seriously imperil the sorts of trends that Rosling and others have identified. As H. L. Mencken said, “For every complex problem, there is a solution–simple, easy to understand and wrong.” We need to avoid the wrong solutions.

  34. 2016 ought to be a great year: Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand has been suspended for three games and won’t participate in the 2016 Winter Classic agains the Habs.

  35. Joshua says:

    I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.

  36. BBD says:

    Makes rugby look like a tea dance.

  37. Joshua says:

    I went to a junior high school cafeteria food fight the other night and it climate change discussion broke out

  38. Pingback: The year in stoats: 2015 – Stoat

  39. Pingback: 2015 blog summary | …and Then There's Physics

  40. March 2015 also has been slow:

    Criminally negligent?

    Tagged Anthony Watts, Christopher Monckton, Climate change, Criminal negligence, criminally negligent, IPCC, James Delingpole, Lawrence Torcello, misinformation, Misinformation campaign

    Only 477 comments.

  41. April 2015 was even slower, but there was AT’s bestest:

    Ecology and the Environment

    Only 347 comments.

    An honorable mention to Andy Lacis responds to Steve Koonin, with 279 comments and the following tags:

    Tagged Andy Lacis, Climate change, climate science, Global warming, Hubris, Judith Curry, Radiative forcing, Steve Koonin

  42. May 2015 saw three ClimateBall ™ episodes:

    Tolerably tepid?
    Tagged Anthropogenic Global Warming,Lukewarmers, Tamsin Edwards, The Guardian
    364 Comments

    Guest post: Climate variability research: did the sceptics make us do it?
    Tagged Climate change, climate scientists, climate variability, Hiatus, pause, Richard Betts, Seepage, Stephan Lewandowsky
    353 Comments

    Watt about Roger’s questions?
    Tagged Energy balance models, Gavin Schmidt, Radiative forcing, Roger Pielke Sr, Watts Up With That
    250 Comments

  43. Mal Adapted says:

    The OP, on attribution of extreme weather events:

    It’s also time to recognise that not being able to make a robust attribution does not mean there is no link. If anything, given our understanding of physical climatology, it would be more surprising were we to discover no link, than to find that there is indeed a link.

    I think this is a key observation. Certain AGW-deniers insist that because no extreme weather event can be robustly attributed to AGW, such events cannot be counted as present costs of AGW. My position is that the burden is now on deniers to support the assertion that a particular weather extreme is not caused by AGW.

    In any case, mass-media reports of small communities struck by extreme weather are likely to be more persuasive to laypeople than abstruse statistical arguments. The real ‘C’ in the deniers’ “CAGW” dog whistle will be the sum of local and personal catastrophes. The turning point for mitigation policy may not occur until everyone at least knows someone who is affected.

  44. Kestrel27 says:

    Mal Adapted
    I don’t think I can run the risk that your comment might be the last on this thread. It really won’t do to demand that everyone who disagrees with you has to prove a negative because, as I’m sure you’ve been told, it’s impossible. Would you accept the proposition that you had to prove extreme events were not caused by natural climate change or ordinary variable weather? Of course not and nor should you.
    Defining what amounts to an extreme weather event isn’t easy either. The recent warm Christmas on the east coast of the USA perhaps, or the record cold spell earlier in the year in the same area, or the appalling December floods in the UK. On the last, there is no evidence that there has been any trend in UK precipitation, up or down, since 1870 and the wettest decade of all was in fact the 1870s. This is all in the Met Office statistics. On that basis was the December precipitation an extreme weather event? It had extreme consequences but that isn’t the same thing.
    Your last paragraph comes close to saying that you are happy for people to be misled by the media if it helps your cause. Personally, I think people deserve better and that the truth is a better place to start than an exaggeration made through ignorance or from political motives.

  45. > Your last paragraph comes close to saying that you are happy […]

    This comes close to mindreading.

    ***

    > […] than an exaggeration made through ignorance or from political motives.

    This comes even closer.

    ***

    > I don’t think I can run the risk that your comment might be the last on this thread.

    The audit never ends.

  46. anoilman says:

    Mal Adapted: Kestral: Strictly speaking there should be no records broken, yet they are, and frequently.

    Statistically over a hundred years your chances of breaking any climate, and particularly any temperature record declines exponentially since you have the hundred or so years of records before it to compare against.

    You can verify this with a random number generator…

    So why exactly are we breaking temperature records? There’s one excellent explanation, and its called Global Warming;
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/the-most-common-fallacy-in-discussing-extreme-weather-events/

  47. Kestrel,

    On the last, there is no evidence that there has been any trend in UK precipitation, up or down, since 1870 and the wettest decade of all was in fact the 1870s.

    Except I do not think this is true. For example, try this

    However, there is now some emerging evidence that, over the UK, daily heavy rain events may be more frequent (Figure 22). What in the 1960s and 1970s might have been a 1 in 125 day event is now more likely to be a 1 in 85 day event. This supports other evidence that UK rainfall is increasing in intensity14. This increase in the frequency/intensity of extreme daily rainfall events, as the planet warms and the atmosphere can hold more water, has been discussed in the literature for a number of years15, and robust evidence for this is increasingly seen around the world.

    So, you’re essentially doing what I objected to in this post. You’re using that the evidence isn’t yet watertight to argue that there is no evidence. That is incorrect.

  48. Mal Adapted says:

    Kestrel27:

    It really won’t do to demand that everyone who disagrees with you has to prove a negative because, as I’m sure you’ve been told, it’s impossible.

    Yes, which is why I didn’t “demand that everyone who disagrees with you has to prove a negative”. Have you been told about the straw man fallacy?

  49. Willard says:

    June 2015 was another slow month for ClimateBall ™:

    My issue with Ecomodernism

    Tagged Climate change, Climate risks,Ecomodernism, Ecomodernism manifesto, Economic risks, Risks

    320 Comments

  50. Willard says:

    July 2015 was the slowest, I believe:

    Is this the latest tactic?

    Tagged emissions reduction, extreme pathways, Mitigation skeptics, RCP8.5, RCPs, Representative Concentration Pathways

    143 Comments

  51. Willard says:

    August 2015 provided lots of ClimateBall ™ action:

    Representative Concentration Pathways

    Tagged Carbon budget,CCS, Concentration Pathways, emission, Emission pathway, emissions, IPCC, RCPs, Representative Concentration Pathways, Skeptical Science

    610 Comments

    Personal attacks on Met Office scientists

    Tagged Andrew Montford, Attacks on Met Office scientists, Doug Keenan, Julia Slingo, Met Office, Professor Slingo, Richard Telford

    232 Comments

    It’s more difficult with physical models

    Tagged Climate models, Economic models, Financial models, Fluid dynamics, Modelling, Models, Navier Stokes Equations, Viscosity.

    357 Comments

  52. Willard says:

    ClimateBall 2015, captured in a GIF:

  53. Kestrel27 says:

    I wanted to respond earlier but flu, family and the test match intervened.

    attp: I’m disappointed because I don’t think your reply to my comment comes up to your usual standard of integrity. My comment was about the amount of precipitation not its intensity. Accordingly what you said is not incompatible with what I said which was entirely correct. Please see https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015-was-not-unusually-wet

    The first of the met office graphs makes my point. I don’t think anyone with an open mind would be able to identify any significant trend in it either upwards or downwards. So I was not doing what you objected to in the post but looking at a particular piece of evidence.

    anoilman: whether a record has been broken depends on the time scale being looked at. What is a 100 year record may vanish into insignificance if a 1000 or 10,000 year period is looked at.

  54. Kestrel,

    So I was not doing what you objected to in the post but looking at a particular piece of evidence.

    I think you were doing what I was getting at in the post. The post is about the basic physics of what we would expect in a warmer world. Showing that something similar has happened before is not a counter to this point. Linking to Paul Homewood’s site is not really going to provide much evidence otherwise. The full title of his site should be “not a lot of people know that I don’t really understand what I’m talking about“.

  55. Two main ClimateBall episodes in September 2015:

    Constraining model ECS

    Tagged Climate sensitivity, ECS, Emergent Constraint, John Fasullo, Multi Model Ensembles, Perturbed Physics Ensembles

    291 Comments

    Emma Thompson

    Tagged Andrew Montford, BBC Newsnight,Bishop-Hill, Climate change, Emma Thompson

    268 Comments

  56. October 2015 had this 288 comments’ ClimateBall ™ thread:

    Greenland and climate science denial

    Tagged Climate science denial, climate science denier, Matt Ridley, Science denial, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, The GWPF

  57. Kestrel27 says:

    attp,
    Thanks for your reply. As has happened before I find at the end of the day that the difference between us may not be as great as the exchange might at first suggest. That is because you express your view moderately as you do on this point in your post. I put it to you though that while the fact that something has happened before is not a counter to the view that an event is consistent with a warming world it necessarily means that other explanations are possible or even likely. Here I was talking about what I see as being the absence of an event (no significant increase in precipitation) which makes the debate slightly surreal.
    Your swipe at Paul Homewood is a bit beside the point because I only linked to his site because of the graph and could have linked direct to the met office site. All it shows is that I read contrarian sites as well as yours. His site may be OTT from time to time, not uncommon on climate sites, but some of his best posts are those where he explores the records to show that media assumptions that the latest climate event is down to warming are exactly that – assumptions. In my view he takes a meticulous approach to this; if you disagree with him you could comment! That would make for some exchanges I would like to see.

  58. Willard says:

    > I put it to you though that while the fact that something has happened before is not a counter to the view that an event is consistent with a warming world it necessarily means that other explanations are possible or even likely.

    In return, I put it to you that facts don’t mean anything out of necessity, and that the construction “the fact that F doesn’t necessarily mean P” is trivial in a non-logical context.

    The best way to refer to a possible explanation is to put it on the table, and the best way to argue that it’s likely is to evaluate its evidence basis and to compare it with others.

  59. Kestrel,

    I put it to you though that while the fact that something has happened before is not a counter to the view that an event is consistent with a warming world it necessarily means that other explanations are possible or even likely.

    And the point I was getting at in the post is that our understanding of warming, energy balance, evaporation, etc are such that it would be more surprising if precipitation didn’t increase than if it did. If it didn’t, it would also imply certain things (like relative humidity actually increasing in a warmer world) that would also have impacts worth considering.

    In my view he takes a meticulous approach to this; if you disagree with him you could comment! That would make for some exchanges I would like to see.

    You might enjoy seeing it. I doubt I’d enjoy doing it. Hubris is a difficult thing to counter.

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