Morgan Griffith is a tosser

Time for some more insult-throwing. And Morgan Griffith is a deserving recipient of just about any insult you might care to throw. As the youtube video is so correctly titled: Climate Zombie Morgan Griffith: Vikings, Mars, And Global Cooling (uploaded by climatebrad, which leads off to the Wonkroom). And indeed, there he is, brain entirely dead, reading out a list of “questions” he has been supplied by some lobbyist, all of which have been answered long ago.

The bit I like is at about 2:00 in, where he says that when he was taught in high school, his text book told him that increasing GHG’s was going to lead to a new ice age. Has he got a ref for this? Is it true? Very dubious. Even if it was true, would it be of the slightest relevance? No.

Just to prove that he is a real idiot, he goes on to talk about global warming on Mars. I only wish our politicians were competent, so I could pour scorn on you colonial types in general for electing such fools.


* The Climate Zombie Caucus Of The 112th Congress
* tossers on site:

Sea ice, part 2

Or perhaps part 3. I’ve lost track. Sea ice – and now for something just a tiny bit different refers, as does the earlier This year’s sea ice. Yes, it looks like being part 3.


The above is the IJIS sea ice. Nothing very exciting at the moment (NSIDC have some nice pix. April 2011 was bang-on trend). As you recall, we’re trying to agree a bet or bets. I want to bet on monthly extent and some of the others want daily. After too much equivocation, I’ve decided to stick to my guns: monthly it is, and if you don’t like that, you’ll need to find someone else to bet with. Or, you can apply a handy adjustment. Rob reckons (based on IJIS) that the difference between monthly and daily is 0.17 (see this comment so you can adjust your expectation based on that, if you like.

Here is the pic I’m basing stuff on:


Green line is trend-to-year-using-all-data; so the 2011 point is the first extrapolated, and so on. Blue-dash is the trend, using last-10-years. And purple-dash is the same, but excluding 2007 (on the 2007-was-weird-theory; I’m not actually using that line). Red is the LS/Crandles exponential fit. What I find interesting is that every year since 1997 (except 2001) has been below the long-term trend “prediction” for that year. So I’m coming round to the view that things have changed. That means that for the pocket-money type bets, I don’t mind sticking to my pet theory (green line, so to speak) but for the serious money I’m afraid I’ll shift to the last-10-years theory (blue-dash). Where is the line dividing pocket from serious money? I don’t know, but $100 is P and $10k is S.

So to re-visit some earlier stuff: I said the chance of something beating 2007 and setting a new record low within the next 3 years (including 2011) seems quite good. So I’m not betting on that in response to Neven’s offer. But if I switch to the not-so-safe green line I think that just about fits the error bounds, so I’m now happy to take that on for the proposed E50. I’m basing that on the monthly values, of course. If you want to take up the offer based on daily values, then OK as long as we have a “buffer”: if the daily and monthly disagree about whether there is a record or not, the bet is void. Covering “the next 3 years” ie 2011, 12 and 13.

Another multi-year bet was Peter Ellis who says Allowing myself a reasonably wide fluff margin, like you’re doing, I’m prepared to bet £50 that the September monthly average will go below 2 million some time between now and the end of 2016. Bet voided if there’s one or more Pinatubo-scale eruptions between now and then. That looks OK; accepted.

Crandles offers 3 separate bets on the average of [2012, 2013 and 2014] (to be above/below 4.294, I take the high side), of [2013, 2014 and 2015] (4.119, ditto) and of [2014, 2015 and 2016] (3.94, ditto) for £67 each. That seems reasonable and is accepted.

That leaves me trying to satisfy Rob, which I think will be harder, since he wants to bet Real Money ($10k), so I’m going by the pale-blue-dashed-line. I think we might best off going for a bet on the single year where we disagree most, which (within an interesting timeframe) is probably 2016. So taking the 2016 point and subtracting my cowardly 0.5, I offer above/below 3.1, with me taking the high side. The data I’m using there is NSIDC (I’m fairly sure 🙂 monthly average extent. Having just checked, the IJIS seems to agree closely, as I’d expect (but I can’t find the monthly averages for that pre-made, so I checked 2007/09, which was within 0.1 of NSIDC). I suggest again that we buffer it: if the 2016 value for NSIDC or IJIS differs enough to affect the result, the bet could be void. To sweeten this not-very-good deal, I also offer Rob (but not me) the option to back out once the 2011 minimum data is in.

I think there are other people who have suggested they believe Maslowski’s “near total ice loss by 2016” stuff, and if you believe that, then I’d hope you’ll be happy with 3.1.

Did I forget anyone?

Tim Lenton is silly

timlenton However, I’m inclined to think that he isn’t a tosser, just naive (as someone said, I don’t think Tim understands the policy world very well). He looks a bit naive in his picture, doesn’t he? And that is a sure-fire way to tell. But maybe that is me being naive. Well, let me tell you and you can make up your own mind.

Assuming you can be bothered, go off and read his piece in Nature: 2 °C or not 2 °C? That is the climate question (you ought to; please don’t rely on my biased reporting of him :-). Tim has a laudable aim: he wants to ensure that global efforts to tackle the climate problem are consistent with the latest science. But alas he immeadiately goes off the rails, by talking about the

target to limit the global temperature rise to 2 °C above the average temperature before the industrial revolution…The target is linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”

But note the rather weaselly words “linked to”. Where exactly is the scientific basis for 2 oC? Tim is very interested in making our politics consistent with the science, so why isn’t he mentioning it? Is he, perhaps, continuing the rather dishonourable tradition of pretending that because lots of people have taken 2 oC for granted, then it must have a solid basis? I don’t think it has such as basis, and have said so before.

Continuing, Target setters need to take into account all the factors that threaten to tip elements of Earth’s climate system into a different state… Well, Tim is a Tipping Points man, so it is no surprise to see him pushing his stuff. I still don’t believe it though.

But anyway, onto the pointless naive policy suggestions: I suggest that the UNFCCC be extended. The climate problem, and the political targets presented as a solution, should be aimed at restricting anthropogenic radiative forcing to limit the rate and gradients of climate change, before limiting its eventual magnitude… The 2 °C target would translate into a radiative forcing of about 2.5 Watts per square metre (W m−2), but to protect major ice sheets, we might need a tougher global target of 1.5 W m−2″. Wonderful: we can’t meet the existing targets, because we lack political will. So rather than actually address that problem, let us fiddle the targets around and make them harder to meet. That will certainly be useful. Somehow or another this is supposed to connect to regional initiatives, in a way that didn’t appear to make any sense but I didn’t bother thinking about much as it was too obviously doomed to be very interesting.

Update: on reflection, I’m being too kind to Tim Lenton. This kind of get-yer-face-in-Nature stuff is malign.


* It’s not telly if you watch it on a computer, say middle class people.

Vote YES!

av-yes-banner1 For UK folks only, on the off chance that anyone reading this is swayable. Do you need any more than my recommendation (which is, FWIW, that AV is marginally better than what we have now, and voting no-I-want-PR is silly)? Then how about JEB? Or the cats-n-dogs version?

And just to pad out the post, a Q-and-A I had with a doubter:

> I’d heard the gist of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem and was aware
> tactical voting could happen in AV, I just wanted to know how and
> whether it was significant.

As I read that page, tactical voting is possible in theory (but possibly only under rather implausible conditions: “IRV permits tactical voting if voters have complete and reliable information about the other voters’ full preferences”).

> I have an aversion to hung Parliaments and coalitions.

Ah. I have no such aversion. Indeed, I would marginally prefer it, if that reflected voters wishes. At the moment, no party has a majority of the popular vote, so I would support a coalition, on the grounds that is what people want (well, not what they want, but what their votes lead to).

> I also would like to see extremist parties do less well. I’ve not seen
> an analysis the affect of switching to AV on how, for example, the BNP
> would do. Noting that the BNP are opposed to AV is doing much to
> encourage me to vote for AV. (The BNP are in favour of PR which tends
> to reinforce my rejection of that too).

I think we disagree there, too. Having extremist parties like the BNP crushed by the voting system is (a) unfair and (b) bad, because we rely on that to crush them, rather than actually attacking their arguments and support.

> Actually, as far as I’m concerned, the campaign that’s most persuading
> me to vote Yes is the No campaign. If the arguments they’ve been
> trotting out are the best reasons to vote no then, it’s pretty much a
> no-brainer to vote yes. 🙂

I can go with that.

[Update: well, as you by now know, the result was “no” 😦

* Vote 2011: Greens gain English council seats – Green party leader Caroline Lucas said there is now a sense that the Greens are a real alternative, after gains in the English local elections.
* Vote 2011: UK rejects alternative vote.
* At least Cambridge said Yes.