Head of Cabot Institute sticks to alarmist climate narrative

Posted: June 2, 2014 by tallbloke in alarmism, Analysis, Carbon cycle, Celestial Mechanics, Dataset, Ice ages, Natural Variation, paleo, propaganda, sea ice, solar system dynamics

On Saturday My lady and I travelled with friends Ian and Susan down the Scott Polar Research Institute to a talk given by Rich Pancost, the professor at the head of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol. This outfit is comprised of a small team which co-ordinates cross disciplinary effort from other faculties at the University to help address the university’s ‘two big themes’ of environment and health.


Kind of interesting to see ‘social science and law’ right in the heart of this diagram. When prof Pancost brought his browser up on screen to show us some of his own research (diving paleo temperatures from the organic fatty deposits in rocks), we got a brief view of his email inbox. Ian is sure he saw an email from Stefan Lewandowsky, though there wasn’t time to read the subject line before the prof hurriedly clicked across to the tab with the info he wanted to show us, saying “you don’t need to see my email”. A pity, I think it might have been more illuminating then much of the lecture.

The first half of the talk covered glacial cycles of the last million years and to his credit Rich talked about Milankovitch cycles as the main driver. But he then moved on to the usual alarmist fare illuminated by slides of truncated datasets and exaggerated Y-axes attributing non-linear change at the onset of interglacials to co2 without question. One interesting animation showed a model-projected recession of ice in the Wedell sea in Antarctica, with a backdrop of Steig style lurid red warming across west Antarctica. The model ran to 2350AD and I asked what temperature increase was projected for that date, given the four degrees it anticipated for the end of the century in the waters around the coast. This produced some prevarication but it became apparent we were seeing over 10C of souther ocean warming in the animation! I wonder if Rich is aware that satellite data shows a cooling of the high latitude SO since the mid 80’s.

I also asked how much the biological effects of oceanic nutrient enrichment from melting icebergs and ice shelves he had discussed might affect the results of model-projections he had told us were based ‘only on the physics’. He admitted this was a good question and that uncertainty was high. Increased nutrients (particularly iron), lead to drawdown of co2 by plankton and the permanent removal of co2 in the formation of their shell which sink to the ocean bed when plankton die.

The talk continued with introduction to prof Pancost’s own research, illustrated by this plot among others


As you can see, his research on the molecular constituency of marine lipid cell wall fats indicates to him that paleo temperatures in the southern ocean were similar to today’s equatorial tropical temperatures around 50m years ago, when co2 was high.

The talk rounded off with the usual alarmist summing up and exhortation to action, and the prof then neatly avoided having a Q&A session by saying he’d run over time and the wine and cheese was ready for us. In the reception I sidled into the group he was chatting with and interjected some points about the high level of solar activity in the late C20th and the need to integrate solar data to get any idea of solar contributions to ocean heat content. Having  just done the fetch and carry to supply the prof with a glass of wine he had to let me get away with it.  I got a mention in for the high level of correlation we’d achieved between our planetary model and the 14C and 10Be records too. I suggested that the Cabot institute would do well to get someone who could provide input to the modelling effort with natural cyclic change knowledge. This he demurred, citing his own work as the contribution to natural change.

We finished another glass of wine and headed for Newark to help out with the by-election canvassing effort. This was great fun on Sunday, with a real buzz on the market square amongst the good folk of Newark and small army of UKIP volunteers. The Conservative campaign HQ across the other side of the square had one rather bored looking man wearing a blue rosette stood outside with his arms folded defensively across his chest. I asked him how things were going. “They’re going very well” he lied.


  1. tchannon says:

    ‘only on the physics’.

    Rest assured everything except for magic is only physics, a non-answer.

    Tweaked slide, head was covering something but removed anyway. Limited fidelity photo.

  2. hunter says:

    Peddling climate alarmist claptrap by intellectuals today is not really any different than about 100 years ago when intellectuals were peddling racist eugenics claptrap with as much enthusiasm and self interest.

  3. […] model showing massive WAIS recession by 2350 Cabot Institute director Prof. Rich Pancost was scaring the punters with down at SPRI last week is junk […]