Julia Slingo says it: Sir Mark Walport needs to think about it

Posted: January 29, 2014 by tallbloke in Accountability, alarmism, Big Brother, climate, Forecasting, government, Incompetence, Natural Variation, Ocean dynamics, People power, propaganda, Uncertainty

I had high hopes when Sir Mark took over as chief scientist from Sir John wet-the-Beddington. I even billed him as having a sensible outlook on the climate debate. But it looks like he’s been assimilated by the Civil Borg. See Bishop Hill for this piece of Hubris:

walportClimate sceptics should stop attacking the science of global warming and have a “grown-up” debate, the Government’s most senior scientist has said. Sir Mark Walport accused climate sceptics of questioning the scientific evidence in order to dodge the more challenging question of what to do about it.
-The Times-

Sir Mark needs to listen to his own scientists, even if he won’t debate ‘the science’ with us sceptics. Because finally, the MET-O’s Julia Slingo gets it. I’ve been asking this question for  four years:

If the negative phase of natural oscillations can nix global warming for a decade while co2 rises 15%, how much did its positive phase add to ‘global warming’?

H/T to Barry Woods for this gem

“I wonder if Dame Julia Slingo – The Met Office’s Chief Scientist, has told Sir Mark yet, that the ‘pause’ might last 30 years?#innocentface”

slingo…it’s a great presentation about 15 years being irrelevant, but I think, some of us might say if you look at the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and it’s timescale that it appears to work, it could be 30 years, and therefore I think, you know, we are still not out of the woods yet on this one. …If you do think it’s internal variability, and you say we do think the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a key component of this, and it’s now in it’s particular phase, but was previously in the opposite phase, could you not therefore explain the accelerated warming of the 80s and 90s as being driven by the other [positive] phase of natural variability?

– Julia Slingo –   responding to Prof Jochen Marotzke of the German Max Planck Institute of Meteorology

Q/A session audio 44min 50s



  1. Valid question but wasn’t Slingo being rhetorical in asking it?
    I had the feeling that she didn’t believe that the PDO warm phase had any effect on GAT but wanted viable answers to the question for when it was asked by those who did.

    A political positioning of a scientist to avoid egg on face if Ministers were to ask the right questions.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Lord B: If so, who is ‘us’ in this quote?

    “I think, some of us might say if you look at the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and it’s timescale that it appears to work, it could be 30 years, and therefore…”


  3. mitigatedsceptic says:

    We are accused of “questioning the scientific evidence in order to dodge the more challenging question of what to do about it.” Surely this is what we should be doing? The Precautionary Principle has been used as a sledgehammer in the fear industry. A more sensible approach would be “If it ain’t broke – don’t mend it”. The first question – “is it broke/” needs answering BEFORE the hard working public has to cough up research money and face escalating living costs.

    The inmates are running the asylum. This whole scam is political and nothing to do with science!

  4. Anything is possible says:

    Who would ever have thought that Compo from Last of the Summer Wine would end up being appointed the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser?

  5. johnbuk says:

    Guys, I’m sorry but think about it, anyone who is appointed as “The Government’s ……..whatever” has been chosen because of their ability to toe the government’s line. No politician will appoint anyone who is likely to disagree with the politician’s message. Politicians are in it for the power and are very pragmatic people. Very little is left to chance, so, regardless of the title, if Sir Mark or Dame Julia wish to keep their well-paid jobs and pension entitlements then they need to be “on message”.
    Frankly it would take a very brave (and independently wealthy) person to say anything different.
    That’s politics, we have to hope the “pause” continues long enough so that the politician’s stance starts to look ridiculous enough to warrant them changing their own position.

  6. mitigatedsceptic says:

    Yes, Johnbuk, but don’t forget that sometimes we, the people, can force them to look for a day job. If we feel cold enough, if we feel violent enough, if we suffer enough, we really could turn this rotten lot out.A 1708/9 Great Freeze might just do the trick.

  7. johnbuk says:

    Mitigatedsceptic, agree wholeheartedly, IF it gets painful enough then the electorate MIGHT get off their collective rumps and so something. People need to be SHOCKED out of complacency – anything less then forget it.

  8. Jerry Lundry says:

    There should be little question the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has an apparent impact on temperatures. In the USHCNv2 database, which I download annually for my own analysis, the effects of the PDO clearly show an effect on USHCNv2 tempertures. An Excel 6-th order polynmial through the data shows minima in 1912-14 and 1973-75. There are maxima in 1944-46 and 2002-2004. So, the current “pause” is actually a downturn as shown by USHCNv2. The temperature decline is already about half of the temperature increase between 1973-75 and 2002-04. Some “pause.” This downward trend in temperature will continue until roughly 2032-2034 (the period of this cycle does vary).
    In response to what happens after the current “pause” ends, the answer is clear. USCNv2 temperatutes will rise for the next thirty years, say, 2032-34 to 2062-64.
    Apparently unmentioned as yet on this site are the effects of the 1,400-year cycle. This cycle had minima in roughly 400 and 1700, and maxima in roughly 300 BC and 1000-1200 AD. The temperature variation of this cycle indicates temperatures will move upward for another 400 years, as the last minimum was about 300 years ago. This increase is masked to some degree by the shorter temperature cycles. JLL from the USA.

  9. Doug Keenan has been posting about the PDO over at Bishops Hill trying to persuade some of us that it’s a figment of our imagination:

    ‘An example of how people were mislead by autocorrelation appearing to be a cycle is with the so-called Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The PDO is discussed by Roe [Annu.Rev.EarthPlanet.Sci, 2009].’

    ‘Roe considers the underlying physical mechanisms, the primary mechanism being “re-entrainment of wintertime heat anomalies into the following year’s mixed layer”. That mechanism implies first-order autocorrelation. Indeed, an AR(1) process well fits the data. Roe concludes that “the PDO should be characterized neither as decadal nor as an oscillation” (!). The apparent oscillation is an illusion.’

  10. oldbrew says:

    ‘it’s a great presentation about 15 years being irrelevant, but I think, some of us might say if you look at the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and it’s timescale that it appears to work, it could be 30 years’

    So which warming period is supposed to be ‘relevant’? 1975-2005 is 30 years for example.

  11. tallbloke says:

    Lord B: There is another big ocean basin called the Atlantic. Up at the northern end of it, on the seabed, there is evidence of the quasi regular 60yr cycle of deposition of ice rafted debris. This is stones etc picked up by glaciers before they calve off Greenland and float further or nearer south before they melt and ditch the stones into the deep.

    If Doug Keenan doesn’t know this, he has no right to be a well paid MET-O wallah.

    The AMO and PDO are not in perfect time, but near enough to be sure that the 60 year oceanic cycle is a real phenomenon. Autocorrelation or not.

  12. tchannon says:

    Jerry Lundry, it has been mention both in articles and comments. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 but the exact figure mentioned is not 1400 since this best known as 1470. 1500 is used too.

    Old word, or thereabouts

    Whether this period exists or not is of considerable dispute.

    Put this into Google to get pages of items.
    1470 year climatic

    Now try this one to get a different take on things
    1400..1500 year climatic
    (that is dot dot, a Google range query)

    And here could try but needs a context added
    site:tallbloke.wordpress.com 1400..1500

  13. Jerry Lundry says:

    Thanks for your comment on my comments, Tim. I was a little loose, as you have pointed out. I did not do a proper search on your site, so my statement ws irresponsible. My first source was Gerard Bond who does use 1470, plus or minus 500. I have seen both 1400 and 1500 used elsewhere, and have been guilty of using both.

  14. tchannon says:

    Irresponsible? For goodness sake no!

  15. Jerry Lundry says:

    Ok, how about careless?

    JLL in USA