Never confuse ‘scientists forecasting’ with scientific forecasting. Most scientists don’t know the basic principles of scientific forecasting. In Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasting (Energy & Environment, Vol. 18, No. 7+8, 2007), Green and Armstrong state
Specifically, we have been unable to find a scientific forecast to support the currently widespread belief in “global warming”…Based on our literature searches, those forecasting long-term climate change have no apparent knowledge of evidence-based forecasting methods…
Thus rather foolishly, the head of the Climate Programme at the Met Office, Dr Vicky Pope, assured us back in 2007 that now routinely on the Met Office’s computers
Much longer predictions are run, typically…predicting the next 100 to 1,000 years.
Predicting the next 1000 years? Fat chance!
The UK Met Office have recently produced the ‘UK Climate Projections 2009’ (UKCP09) which purports to project ‘how the UK climate may change for the 30-year period from 2070–2099 at a resolution of 25 km’. The Met office are expecting us to believe that they have a good idea what the climate will be like within any 25km x 25km cell over the whole of the UK out to the end of the century. Note the word ‘project’ rather than ‘predict’ or ‘forecast’. Anyone can project anything, and by devising different models there will be different projections. In fact, a projection is essentially meaningless – one can draw a straight line through any trend and call it a ‘projection’. So long as we don’t consider a projection to be a prediction or a forecast, then it is just a bit of speculation (or fun) and no weight should ever be attached to it in terms of planning or risk assessment and mitigation.
But the Met Office and Defra are playing fast and loose with this and are treating the UKCP09 projections as predictions to be used for planning, risk assessment and mitigation by everyone. The Met Office says
It is vital governments, businesses, organisations and individuals understand the challenges ahead and prepare for them now…UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) is a climate analysis tool, funded by Defra, which features the most comprehensive climate projections ever produced. Projections are broken down to a regional level across the UK and are shown in probabilistic form — illustrating the potential range of changes and the level of confidence in each prediction.
Yes, you read it correctly, it does say prediction, and they are telling you within 90% confidence limits what is going to happen before it happens, over the next 90 years. We’ll show just how unlikely this is in another post shortly. But this is what the renowned climatologist R.A. Pielke Sr, (Senior Research Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado in Boulder, and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins) has to say about UKCP09:
This study…is clearly a subversion of the scientific method. To state that that climate science is being stretched is quite an understatement. There is absolutely no multi-decadal prediction skill on the spatial scales presented in this study.
The scientists who present the viewpoint of skillful multi-decadal regional predictions to policymakers are deliberately and dishonestly misinforming the public and policymakers. (emphasis original)
What’s more, Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia and listed as a reviewer of this report, passes judgment as follows (emphasis added):
Unfortunately predictive skill is unknown for climate at the decade-to-century timescale. Unlike weather forecasts, whose value in informing decision-making can routinely be tested over time by comparison with observed weather patterns, there is currently no such empirical evidence with which to test the skill of climate predictions. Moreover, as knowledge of the climate system and how it responds to greenhouse gases improves, model predictions will change, as will their probability distributions. Because decision-makers lack experience in using climate predictions, there is a risk that they will place too much confidence in the results.
Continue reading ‘Met Office Fraudcast’