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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    • CommentAuthorTimSmall
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2013 edited
     
    One of my more conspiracy-theorist relatives emailed me a link to a blog posting pointing out that the Met Office has downgraded it's forecast for the next decade, based on their ensemble climate models. The site itself is fairly polemical/sensationalist, I'm sure a favourite search engine will turn it up for any interested parties...

    Anyway, the actual content this:

    1. Page containing new forecast global mean surface temp graph:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/long-range/decadal-fc

    previous graph:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/image/l/0/fcst_global_t1.png

    black graph is observed values, blue is forecast, white/red are previous forecasts (although different data is shown on both).

    Old forecast attached to this post.

    Any comments from those who are more up-to-date on climate science than me? My judgement was that it's good news, but not exactly time to go out and buy a few fan heaters...
    • CommentAuthorTimSmall
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2013
     
    New graph attached to this one.
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2013 edited
     
    No comment on the met info. My only thought is potential negatives of estimated global warming is only one example of the many possible pressures on our ecosystem.
    Future social structure needs to be planned for a circular 'cradle to cradle' resource regenerative economy regardless.
    • CommentAuthorcrusoe
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2013
     
    I'm not looking to start a climate change debate. And I do not question a changing climate. But I do question the drivers and the theory that it is all CO-driven. And I also feel that the 'conspiracy theorists', like Gallileo and non-conformists ever since, have a pretty rough ride.

    When you have to feel apologetic for putting an alternative view in a scientific context, then my hackles rise and I feel manipulation at work - because so often those rail-roading the 'accepted' scientific opinion have agendas of their own (Al Gore & co among others). And there are heavyweight scientists on both sides.

    There is a very commonsense video on youtube which makes the point that it is sensible - whatever our beliefs - to prepare for a climate change scenario, as the results of not preparing, if the worst forecasts do happen, would be catastrophic. Whereas if we do prepare, and the worst doesn't happen, then all we have done is spend money...which might well kick-start our well-known and entrepreneurial British innovation-glands - and the economy with it.

    All I would reserve the right to do, while preparing for a crisis, is to keep an open mind to both sides of the debate. And be wary of those wishing to stifle such debate. Things have, after all, already moved from global warming to climate change. Who's to say it won't change again?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2013
     
    Posted By: TimSmallwhite/red are previous forecasts (although different data is shown on both).

    This is not surprising. As the text associated with the first link makes clear these are retrospective “forecasts” made with the model starting from 1960 onwards in five year steps. The purpose is to give some indication of the skill (as they call it) of the model. It's to be hoped that these retrospective forecasts for the more recent model are closer to the observed data than those for the older model - that's one measure they'd use to test if they're improving the model.

    Over these relatively short periods the variations in the global temperature are dominated by internal variability - particularly the effects of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. A tweaked model is very likely to give somewhat different results, I'd have thought. Whether the difference is particularly interesting is another question, of course. Clearly reasonably reliable predictions on these time scales would be very useful from the point of view of agriculture but for the long term I can't see how it'll make much difference.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013
     
    Posted By: crusoeI'm not looking to start a climate change debate. And I do not question a changing climate. But I do question the drivers and the theory that it is all CO-driven.


    Got to ask who says it's all C02 driven?

    I'd be surprised if most models didn't also take into account other things like methane from melting perma frost, changing solar output, the earths orbit, ice cover etc.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013
     
    The two graphs look so different! The second one looks like the real situation with the possible exception of the blue bits, predictions from the models seem not to be giving us what we are seeing.

    The models are built by people many of whom have a good idea of what the result "should" be.
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013
     
    The Met Office had two choices: to publish this result or to hush it up.

    Publishing chucks a morsel of consolation to the climate-change deniers, who don't understand that all climate predictions are uncertain and that progress comes from gathering more data and improving our theories.

    Hushing it up would have been much worse. It would have got out sooner or later, emails would have been leaked to the tabloids and the whole episode would have been known by something ending in -gate.

    Well, actually, as a scientific organisation the Met Office had only one choice.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013
     
    Posted By: crusoeBut I do question the drivers and the theory that it is all CO-driven.

    Presumably you mean carbon dioxide, not monoxide. And, as CWatters implies, nobody thinks it's all due to CO₂ but most think CO₂ is important. Do you have any reason to think otherwise?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013
     
    Posted By: rhamduPublishing chucks a morsel of consolation to the climate-change deniers, who don't understand that all climate predictions are uncertain and that progress comes from gathering more data and improving our theories.

    Exactly. All these graphs show is that short term predictions (mostly of the ENSO) are not good but are getting slightly better. That they're getting a bit better is somewhat good news for agriculture but not particularly relevant to long-term climate prediction.

    I doubt the idea of hushing up some graphs which show their models are getting a bit better even occurred to them.

    Posted By: tonyThe models are built by people many of whom have a good idea of what the result "should" be.

    Yes, this bothers me too. In theory the models are purely physical but parameters have to be set for processes which are not well represented in the model (e.g., convection cells smaller than the model grid size) and it's not difficult to imagine that these get tuned, deliberately or unconsciously, to match previous climate in ways which a) invalidate matches to previous climate as a test of the model and b) might not extrapolate into the future very well.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013
     
    • CommentAuthorSeret
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013 edited
     
    I'd be very wary of drawing dramatic conclusions from a single signal generated by a complex system like the weather. A climate model spitting out a slightly different amount of warming than you previously expected doesn't necessarily mean you should revise all your assumptions. The system is far too complex for that, there are probably a thousand things that could affect the output like that. To say whether this supports the view of climate change deniers you'd have to have a really good look through the data and suss out why the estimate an estimate might have changed. Just pointing out that it has means very little.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
     
    I abandoned my Masters in Climate Science because the over reliance and belief in climate models, the assumption that CO2e is the only major contributor, the lack of decent historic data and, with the people I studies with, the inability to see other viewpoints. Not all climate change supporters are nice rational people.

    What is not well understood, is cloud cover (the area I worked in, I picked the hardest) and how it can affect moisture levels (the the thing that affects climate the most) in the neighbouring areas, one of the problems is that we have very little historic global data on this, usually proxy data from floods, but they are very localised events and soon scrubbed from history by erosion and weather (different things).

    We also have to remove our UK-centric view on weather and climate, we have a fantastic climate with few extremes and find it hard to imagine other climates that do have extremes in the normal course of events (Canada is a good example, ask Paul).

    Tony
    Some of us tried to show that there are other factors, unsuccessfully usually. The one that is recognised is land use change, this has a greater effect on the local climate, the aggregated sum of which is the global climate at any time in the past.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
     
    Posted By: SeretTo say whether this supports the view of climate change deniers you'd have to have a really good look through the data and suss....

    Nope, I don't see how this has much at all to do with the views of climate change deniers.

    We know that the climate models are pretty rickety when it comes to short-term (few years) predictions. This is about baby steps to improve them in this area. It's interesting and very worthwhile but I don't think it has much to say one way or the other about long-term climate change.

    Even if there wasn't any long-term climate change then research on predicting the various climate cycles (ENSO, NAO, PDO, etc) would be a good thing as it would have obvious implications for agriculture.
    • CommentAuthorMikel
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
     
    Steamy Tea,

    Quite concerned about your comments on abandoning your Masters in Climate Science as I was toying with the idea of doing something like that. Can you give more details or a link to that course?

    I've had a quick search via Google but most of the courses are about sustainability/policy and climate change.

    Was your course a pure climate science course? If so, I am surprised that the lecturers would be making the assumption that CO2e was the only major contributor. CO2e is very likely to be the current major contributor to the rise in global temperature over the recent past (since the industrial revolution) but I would expect to see the syllabus to include earth orbital changes, weathering, plate tectonics, continental drift, ocean current circulation, change in sun output over very long periods, volcanic events and the paleocene eocene thermal maximum to name but a few. I would also expect to see the study of dynamics and feedback.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
     
    Mike
    Don't want to slag them off on here, but there is a lot of nonsense at the other university down here :wink:
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeaDon't want to slag them off on here, but there is a lot of nonsense at the other university down here

    Ah, thanks for posting that. I wrote a longish response about how you must have a hugely different view of climate science from me but decided it would be too inflammatory so didn't post it. Hadn't realized that you were talking just about a specific course.

    Still:
    ...the lack of decent historic data and...

    OK, so people 50 or 100 years ago or whatever weren't prescient and skilled enough to take the global temperature readings which would be more useful to us today. But is that a sensible reason not to study the subject now?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
     
    There is every reason to study it, every reason to study anything really. Just that it should be science and not policy/opinion that leads the research.
    There is also a big difference in pure research work at higher degree level and under grad work/taught higher degree level, and research work that uses primary data and research work that uses secondary data (or in my case using primary data and secondary data and seeing what the difference is).
    Primary data tends to be limited in scope and used to show what is happening in a small area, secondary data tends to be more aggregated and is supposed to show more of an overall picture, though not always.

    What I can say about doing a Masters is that need to be passionate about the subject/research methods, I though I was passionate about climate science, found out I like weather, very different things.
  1.  
    let the back pedalling begin
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013
     
    Some context which might be helpful for those who are actually interested in what this about:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/decadal-forecasting
    • CommentAuthorMartinH
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013
     
    The predictions are still suggesting an increase in temperature - just a smaller one for the next 5 years - the temperature being global air temperature. The oceans are still warming (arctic ice cover reached a record minimum this summer) as much of the heat (90%) ends up in the oceans. How the global air temperature (THE "measure" of warming) changes depends on ocean atmosphere interactions, which are complex. There are cycles of varying length in the different oceans. These cycles seem to be currently in absorbing heat mode, but as the cycles progress, the heat will be transferred to the atmosphere and there will be a burst of warming.

    The focus on just air temperature as THE indicator of warming is naive.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013
     
    The focus on just air temperature as THE indicator of warming is naive.

    Understatement!! insane I would say
    • CommentAuthorTriassic
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013
     
    Humanity is probably the main driver of climate change and at some point Darwinian principles will probably result on a significant change in population size, thus helping the reset the climate back to 'normal' - what ever normal is!

    The trigger for change may well be rising water levels, pandemic, crop failure, war, fires or pestilence (manmade or natural).

    Only time will tell!?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013
     
    Posted By: TriassicHumanity is probably the main driver of climate change
    It probably is at the moment, but Material World was talking about a comet hitting us in 2039 or something, mind you a large volcanic eruption can have a huge effect and we have not had one for a while.

    Posted By: Triassicat some point Darwinian principles will probably result on a significant change in population size
    I agree, but will it be limited by wealth (less kids as more survive, more cash for OAPs) or disaster as you mention.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: SteamyTea: “It probably is at the moment, but Material World was talking about a comet hitting us in 2039 or something,...”

    Asteroid. That already tiny risk's been eliminated in the last couple of days:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/01/10/apophis_impact_new_observation_show_it_to_be_bigger_but_no_longer_a_threat.html
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2013
     
    Was a repeat of Material World and I was not paying close attention.
    • CommentAuthorecohome
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2013
     
    Much debate on twitter about this - an extended forecast is here http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2013/what-will-the-simulations-do-next/ & this was fascinating http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/jan/09/global-warming-met-office-paused

    Met Office say "The 2012 prediction is the first to use the Met Office's latest experimental decadal prediction system, based on HadGEM3. This includes a comprehensive set of improvements based on the latest scientific understanding.
    HadGEM3 has been thoroughly tested and has more accurately reproduced temperature variations over the past few decades, suggesting it shows greater skill than was available from previous decadal forecast systems."

    This video is extremely clear http://youtu.be/u_0JZRIHFtk
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2013
     
    We seem to confuse weather and climate especially when talking about climate change.

    There is an almost universal acceptance of the notion that the observed increases in CO2 are entirely due to human activity and that these increases drive rises in global temperature. I have yet to see any evidence that this is in fact the case, CO2 levels rose from the fifties to the seventies at which time the next ice age was the big threat (temperatures were falling). Were global temperatures to rise then we would expect to see increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as a direct consequence of those rises.

    Finally any model that shows consistently rising temperatures or exponentionally rising temperatures must be ignoring Stefan’s Law which says that heat is lost in proportion to the fourth power of the absolute temperature, setting up a very strong force to stop or at least reduce any increases.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyI have yet to see any evidence that this is in fact the case, CO2 levels rose from the fifties to the seventies at which time the next ice age was the big threat (temperatures were falling).

    The cooling up to the early 70s is pretty well understood¹ and reproduced in model “hindcast” runs. Please find out a bit more about the subject if you want to make useful comments.

    Finally any model that shows consistently rising temperatures or exponentionally rising temperatures must be ignoring Stefan’s Law

    I was previously a bit miffed that you assumed I didn't know about that law:

    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=8939#Comment_142793

    For you to assume that the people doing climate modelling, etc, aren't taking it into account is, frankly, ridiculous.

    ¹ although the lack of exact knowledge of the cooling effects of aerosols is one of the greater sources of uncertainty in climate projections.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2013
     
    Longer-form answer to Tony:

    http://edavies.me.uk/2013/02/stefan-agw/
   
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