Another one bites the dust

Or nearly does, at least. It seems that the Wilkins ice shelf is hanging by a thread and bits are falling off. You’ll have to forgive me for being late with this news, as I’ve been off in the Real World for a week or so, with only intermittent internet connections. The paper world seems to have ignored the story, which will have annoyed BAS’s PR department. But there isn’t all that much to it.
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All quiet on the climate front

Whether its post-IPCC-AR4 fatigue, or a foolish Michaelson-like assumption that we just about know whats going on, but things seem to be rather quiet on the climate front, in terms of real news and results.

Which leaves people footling around for something to talk about, and temperature trends over the past decade, or since 2001 seem to have become a favourite. Climate refuses to behave itself, and insists on having natural variability imposing on longer term trends, which means you can get almost any result you like if you pick your time period. Atmoz has looked at this a bit, but if you prefer pointless statistics without physical understanding you want Lucia, or Prometheus. Lucia asks “is the recent flat trend statistically significant?” and decides it is. Its a fair question, and quite likely her (statistical) analysis is correct. But it doesn’t tell you much about what is going on. Analogy: roll a fair dice a large number of times. Sometimes you’ll get the sequence 6-5-4-3-2-1. Does that mean the next number is zero? Well, of course not. You know the statistics: the next number is one of 1..6, with a 1/6 probability for each of them. In climate, the difference is that we don’t know the statistics: we’re trying to work them out from observations, theory and models. What heppened over the past decade is only part of that.
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My scientific swansong is a paper with Tom Peterson and John Fleck about the famous 70’s cooling myth. John and I wrote up a post for this on RC as the global cooling mole, and its now been added to wiki so it must be true :-).

Someone there has found but not fully ref’d two Science articles from the 50’s that maybe predicted cooling, so there may be further to take this story. And of course, a full analysis of the old media coverage would be interesting.

Vulture funding?

Nature sez “Royal Society to fund carbon capture and renewables ventures”. Which seemed a bit odd to me – why pick just those? But Nature seems to have misread the RS, who themselves say something rather different: “Criteria for the projects will have an emphasis on non-medical research although interdisciplinary research that may overlap into medical applications will be considered” as the only hint of what they will invest in.
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Mountain unicycling and fluid dynamics

At the “lookout” in Bracknell. Bracknell gets a bad press, and the center is indeed horrible, but it has nice paths for walkers and quite a decent bit of woodland. Where I saw my first ever mountain-bike unicycle. I didn’t see anyone riding it, but they did have a lot of pads.

Inside, they had this rather nice fluid-dynamics toy: a perspex cylinder about 1/2m wide and 2m high, with a circulation about the vertical axis imposed by the water flowing in at the top. And a valve you could turn, that did something slightly unspecified, but which we’re fairly sure was to change the speed of outflow from an approx 1″ dia plughole in the center at the bottom. Which lead to the effect you see in the pic, of a very long thin tube of air reaching down to the bottom, much like a tornado. Note the interesting corkscrew patterns imposed on the sidewalls of the tube; those were quite stable, and didn’t turn. A coriolis effect thing; but of course they didn’t explain it.

Here’s a small random girl admiring it. Or is she admiring her reflection?

It takes more than good intentions / And a big bloke on the door / And though it’s never the same after the first time / That doesn’t stop them coming back for more

All hail the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

Via a wiki edit (which I rather unkindly sabotaged, though I doubt my version lasts for long) I discover the grandly named “Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”. DeSmog reports that its thick on the ground at the septic extravaganza.

The existence of the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” outside SF’s mind is uncertain; as indeed is the report: I can certainly find the summary, but the report itself is ellusive, or possibly illusive. The summary, oddly enough, is copyright SEPP, which makes you think it might have been written by SEPP, but how can it be, when its the report of the NIPCC. Or is the NIPCC SEPP in disguise? You may be wondering, is this report wacky enough to be worth reading? The trite answer is no, its the same old tosh all over again, but it does have the bouncing Czech (warning: following that link does terrible things to my browser, and thats even without reading the content, which will do terrible things to your brain 🙂 listed as an author, so Lubos fans can Czech him out (arf arf). We learn that the NIPCC is “not sponsored by the United Nations, national governments, or industry”. But we don’t learn anything positive about. I did find the utterly bizarre “The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) first met in Milan in 2003, then was activated after the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers appeared in February 2007. The team changed its name to the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)”. What a cunning plan, I can see the conversation now: “I say chaps, we’ve been rumbled. Quick, lets change our name from what it is now to *exactly the same thing*. That will fox ’em!”.

Strange things happen when you’re not around

Corbynwatch: shhh!

James scores Piers for Feb (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, well lucky you, err I mean wrt P not J, of course :-); but meanwhile, our nasty Free Press has been annoying nice Piers, leading him to say (thanks DM):

Media Policy

Weather Action forecasts are a commercial product and publication of any part of them in any media or on the web is not permitted except with the agreement of Weather Action. Owing to gross misrepresentation of our forecasts by the Guardian and more seriously and persistently by The Times (Paul Simons) and related gross distortions circulated on the web Weather Action has no alternative but to apply this policy firmly. Consequently:

1) Media or web users who wish to quote from the forecast must check what they have in mind with Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction and preferably use an issued summary form (below for this month [needless to say, the said summary doesn’t exist – WMC]) which is written to give an accurate rendering of essential points without giving away the detail which subscribers have paid for.

2) The Guardian and the Times and any media which carries articles by Paul Simons are explicitly forbidden from quoting any aspect of any WeatherAction forecast until further notice.

Oh dear, next he’ll be blacklisting James. Mind you, his own site leads with “Forecast errors in Jan and mid Feb…” so I guess even Piers has realised he couldn’t sell them as successes. He also needs to update his “latest news” section, which is attempting to sell forecasts for April 2007 :-). Is Piers taking the piss out of himself?

I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh

I can take the killing, I can take the slaughter, but I don’t talk to Sun reporters

Too hot to handle!

I feel very uncomfortable about the fate of the Brown/Pielke/Annan poll. For the record, I can’t remember whether I voted or not or was even asked; but I too would have been a 5. As I said, there were flaws in the poll, but it should have been published anyway. Its the curse of Annan, of course.

A familiar part of this is the curious response of the editor: ignoring the “problem” for months and then refusing to answer emails. I’ll mail him myself, see if that gets me anywhere (looking up his email, I find that the top google hit for “Fred Spillhaus” is JEB :-)… ah, probably because he only has one “l”). Well if anyone misspelt my name I’d be offended enough to reject their scummy paper.

An excuse for some more Bragg, though its not the same without the guitar:

Blue eyes fighting the grey eyes fighting the tears
Armed to the teeth for a war of words
Reaching all the years
I advanced across a poppy field
I saw the gleam as you raised your shield
And love screamed down
With the sun behind its back
I knew once again I was under attack
So stand fast my emotions,
Rally round my shaking heart

Our Fathers were all soldiers,
Shall we be soldiers too
Fighting and falling like soldiers
Fighting and falling like soldiers
Fighting and falling like soldiers do