Another Daily Mail Fail: Met Office Politely says, “Bugger Off you bloody, blithering Barmpot!”

October 15, 2012

Denial-land saw a bit of a ripple over the weekend with yet another in a long series of Daily Mail Climate fails.
The Mail’s David Rose wrote a piece making, once again, the tired, shopworn, “it’s no longer warming” claim.

The breathless headline caromed around the net – “Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it!”
Countless trolls, professional and amateur, fired up their keyboards and tweeted, posted, face booked, and comment-threaded the latest “scientific” results.

Things were going so well, until grownups at the Met Office stepped in and answered the bonehead claim.

UK Met Office:

An article by David Rose appears today in the Mail on Sunday under the title: ‘Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it’

It is the second article Mr Rose has written which contains some misleading information, after he wrote an article earlier this year on the same theme – you see our response to that one here.

To address some of the points in the article published today:

Firstly, the Met Office has not issued a report on this issue. We can only assume the article is referring to the completion of work to update the HadCRUT4 global temperature dataset compiled by ourselves and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

We announced that this work was going on in March and it was finished this week. You can see the HadCRUT4 website here.

Secondly, Mr Rose says the Met Office made no comment about its decadal climate predictions. This is because he did not ask us to make a comment about them.

You can see our full response to all of the questions Mr Rose did ask us below:

Hi David,

Here’s a response to your questions. I’ve kept them as concise as possible but the issues you raise require considerable explanation.

Q.1 “First, please confirm that they do indeed reveal no warming trend since 1997.”

The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming.

As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system. If you use a longer period from HadCRUT4 the trend looks very different. For example, 1979 to 2011 shows 0.16°C/decade (or 0.15°C/decade in the NCDC dataset, 0.16°C/decade in GISS). Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous – so the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the 2000s were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade.

Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ºC. However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled. The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.

Q.2 “Second, tell me what this says about the models used by the IPCC and others which have predicted a rise of 0.2 degrees celsius per decade for the 21st century. I accept that there will always be periods when a rising gradient may be interrupted. But this flat period has now gone on for about the same time as the 1980 – 1996 warming.”

The models exhibit large variations in the rate of warming from year to year and over a decade, owing to climate variations such as ENSO, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. So in that sense, such a period is not unexpected. It is not uncommon in the simulations for these periods to last up to 15 years, but longer periods are unlikely.

Q.3 “Finally, do these data suggest that factors other than CO2 – such as multi-decadal oceanic cycles – may exert a greater influence on climate than previously realised?”

We have limited observations on multi-decadal oceanic cycles but we have known for some time that they may act to slow down or accelerate the observed warming trend. In addition, we also know that changes in the surface temperature occur not just due to internal variability, but are also influenced by “external forcings”, such as changes in solar activity, volcanic eruptions or aerosol emissions. Combined, several of these factors could account for some or all of the reduced warming trend seen over the last decade – but this is an area of ongoing research.

———–

The below graph which shows years ranked in order of global temperature was not included in the response to Mr Rose, but is useful in this context as it illustrates the point made above that eight of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past decade.

87 Responses to “Another Daily Mail Fail: Met Office Politely says, “Bugger Off you bloody, blithering Barmpot!””


  1. A quick check to see whether the claim that there’s been no significant warming since 1997 really means anything is to compute the warming trends from 1995, 1996…1998, and 1999 to the present.

    Do that and you will find statistically significant warming trends for all of those other starting years, which demonstrates that the 1997-present figure is a “cherry-picked” outlier.


  2. […] Another Daily Mail Fail: Met Office Politely says, “Bugger Off you bloody, blithering Barmpot!” The breathless headline caromed around the net – “Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it!” Countless trolls, professional and amateur, fired up their keyboards and tweeted, posted, face booked, and comment-threaded the latest “scientific” results. Phils Blog Of Neglect…: Audiences and Media There has been extensive research over the years in order to determine how audience respond to messages conveyed by the mass media. According to Gauntlett “Direct effects of media upon behaviour have not been clearly identified” and many postmodernist thinkers would argue that media messages are ‘polysemic’ as individuals interpret things differently and it therefore has the capacity to carry a multitude of various meanings. […]


  3. Tracking the variability of surface temperature in the presence of chaotic fluid mechanics (sloshing oceans and atmosphere) is an interesting exercise. However, the long-term surface temperature trends have been defined by physics: orbital mechanics, solar intensity, GHG’s, and black body radiation. The world is warming, and will continue to warm, just as it did when GHGs were the primary forcing during the PETM. This time, it is man’s activity that is disrupting the geological carbon cycle. Emissions (aerosols) may be temporarily offsetting a significant portion of the GHG forcing and feedbacks, but that won’t last. That is simply a well understood scientific fact.

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      Re: “Emissions (aerosols) may be temporarily offsetting a significant portion of the GHG forcing and feedbacks, but that won’t last.”
      Yes that seems to be the consensus,and paradoxically,cutting back on GHG’s especially from coal,may actually accelerate AGW for a period of time,and if the Daily Mail happens to be around then,expect them to be trumpeting: “Co2 Reductions Causing Global Warming:AGW ‘Deniers’ Exonerated-Climate Scientists Baffled!!!”


  4. […] reported by Peter Sinclair on Climate Denial Crock of the Week, David Rose has lit up the deniosphere with yet another outing for his favourite “gobal […]


  5. Have you not thought that the Mail, it’s apologists, and Rose are not deliberately misinterpreting anything?

    Could be, and I may be going out on a limb, could it be they are really very stupid people who struggle with any concept beyond hanging murderers, and make the work shy unemployed do work fair. Perhaps that is it, it is not denial, skeptics aren’t wilful they are just thick.

    Think who do you know is a skeptic? see.. you know I’m right.

  6. danolner Says:

    Me: “But you know there can be an increase in temp that’s not statistically significant, right?”

    Omnologos: “Given the statistical nature of global warming, an increase in temperatures that is not statistically significant is equivalent to a zero increase (or even to a non-statistically-significant decrease).”

    Right, so you don’t know. This answer is nonsensical. “Given the statistical nature of global warming, an increase in temperatures that is not statistically significant is equivalent to a zero” – makes no sense. I even started writing an explanation, but I really shouldn’t need to.

    As with “you know the sky is blue, right?”, there are logically only two possible answers: yes, I know that or no, I don’t know that. There’s no third waffly answer.

    Anyone else care to play devil’s advocate on Omno’s behalf and attempt to find any possible shred of real meaning in his answer? Because at the moment it looks an awful lot like a clear demonstration of very basic ignorance.

    • omnologos Says:

      Danolner: you can huff and you can puff, but you aren’t good at pretending you have an answer you don’t.

      I don’t think I could state my argument more clearly than I did. If anybody has a counterargument, I am here to hear it.

      • danolner Says:

        I’m starting to think you’re a robot. You could paste your answer in as a reply to any point, it’s completely generic.

        On the other hand, I asked you a specific question and got waffle in return. So I’ll try again more directly with a very specific, direct, contained, answerable question:

        Do you undersand what statistical significance means? If so, could you please provide a short one or two sentence explanation in your own words? You expend plenty of wordage here on other matters, that shouldn’t be asking too much.

        • omnologos Says:

          Danolner – I am tired of being the one providing content to our exchanges. If you have a problem with the MO’s use of statistical significance, please ask them.

          In the meanwhile, if the GW signal is visible by taking multidecadal trends, any temperature variation that is not statistically significative, at whatever level of the MO’s liking, is by definition not part of the GW signal.

          We might as well discuss if the Thanksgiving turkey cooks better at 155F or 157F. Obviously, it makes no difference.

          • danolner Says:

            Again you don’t answer any of my simple direct questions and reply with something that doesn’t make any sense.

            To go back to why I’m asking, you said: “Eg they [the Met Office] say there is an increase in temperatures, and then they say it is not statistically significant.” Which sounds to me like you think those two things contradict each other.

            I’m really not asking much from you, so let’s try one last time. Try “yes” or “no” to the following two questions:

            Do you undersand what statistical significance means? Yes or no.

            Do you understand that you can have an increase in temperature (or a decrease) that is not statistically significant? Yes or no.

          • Martin Lack Says:

            Maurizio. I know the MO has rather screwed up its rebuttal by venturing into the pedantic territory so beloved of climate change contrarians. However, how can you dispute the statistical significance of so many of the warmest yeas on record coming in the last decade?

            As I have said to you before, the only people who can take any comfort from the recent hiatus in warming are those who deny that CO2 is the main positive climate forcing. However, there is a statistically significant (i.e. very large) amount of theoretical science – validated by empirical evidence – that strongly suggests that such people are wrong.

          • danolner Says:

            Martin: “However, there is a statistically significant (i.e. very large) amount of theoretical science…”

            Martin, some good points, but that doesn’t really help with trying to be clear on what statistical significance means!

  7. rayduray Says:

    “September 2012 was tied with 2005 as the globe’s warmest September on record…”

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2261

    The Daily Fail be damned.

  8. omnologos Says:

    Danolner – You’re right. The two statements (no statistically significant warming, small warming measured) are not mutually incompatible. In fact I did not mention them for that reason, rather to show two items about which the DM and MO agree. Apologies if it came across the wrong way.

    • Martin Lack Says:

      For goodness sake, Maurizio. The DM and MO are agreed on nothing – other than how easy it is to misuse and abuse the phrase “statistically significant”.

      I cannot put this better than Composer 99 on the blog of The Carbon Brief:
      David Rose’s claims about global warming are false, whether due to ignorance or motivated reasoning (which are excusable) or incompetence or dishonesty (which are not). As long as the Earth system continues to build up energy, global warming is still happening. That energy is distributed throughout the Earth (atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, surface). The data provided by Carbon Brief makes it unambiguously clear that this is indeed the case.

      • omnologos Says:

        Martin – what planet are you on today. We have the MO clearly writing what they agree with Rose/DM on.

        • Martin Lack Says:

          I’m sorry MM, but, like skepticmac57, I refuse to accept that you are so stupid that you do not realise what the MO were trying to do.

      • skeptictmac57 Says:

        At this point it should be abundantly clear that Omnologos is just F**king with his detractors for sport. (Some might even call this trolling)

  9. omnologos Says:

    Martin – you claimed that the DM and the MO “are agreed on nothing”. That is wrong. Anybody can read the comments at the MO blog post where Dave Britton, the MO person in charge of answering comments and questions, repeats three times that “We agree with Mr Rose that there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century”. If that is not enough, Dr Britton specifies also “Mr Rose and the Met Office agree that climate change is real and that man made CO2 is one cause of that change”.

    I rest my case.

    • Martin Lack Says:

      I know English may not be your mother tongue Maurizio but, even so, I do not think I have ever seen a more shameless contextomy performed by anyone. The full sentence (with emphasis now added) was:
      “The DM and MO are agreed on nothing other than how easy it is to misuse and abuse the phrase ‘statistically significant’.”

      Again Maurizio, I am sure you are not so stupid that you fail to see what Dr Britton was doing (i.e. trying to neuter Rose’s fallacious arguments). Indeed, I think Dr Britton was being more-than-a-little disingenuous because, as far as he is concerned, David Rose does not believe climate change is a real. If Rose did believe it is real, he would not deliberately – and repeatedly – misrepresent climate science to his readers in the way that he does (even after having his arguments comprehensively rebutted; presumably because he is a believer in Fred Singer’s WMO/UN/IPCC conspiracy).

      I think you need to rest your head – not your case.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: