It is amazing that it took Doug Keenan , a crusading financial analyst in the UK to finally nail down the climate "scientists" advising the UK government to give a straight answer . The question put by Lord Donohue to was whether global warming since 1850 was statistically significant. Six times the question was put in the UK parliament and five times the answer was obfuscating spin about global warming without answering the question. However on the sixth time an answer was forthcoming. Global warming was not statistically significant. This is an incredible breakthrough and the post by Doug at Bishop Hill is attached below in full. Read on:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government … whether they consider a rise in global temperature of 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880 to be significant. [HL3050]
- Explanation 1: the coin is a trick coin, with a head on each side.
- Explanation 2: the coin is a fair coin, and it came up heads every time just by chance.
Last week, Lord Donoughue tabled Parliamentary Question HL6132, about statistical models of global temperature data. HL6132 is essentially the same as HL5359, which the Met Office refused to answer. The Met Office Chief Scientist does not have the statistical skills required to answer the Question; there is, however, at least one scientist at the Met Office who does have the skills—Doug McNeall. I ask you to ensure that the Question is answered.
I would like to assure you that the Met Office has not refused to answer any questions. The questions you refer to were answered by Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.I note that in her response to HL5359 and HL6132, and a number of other questions from Lord Donoughue, Baroness Verma has offered for him to meet officials to discuss this and related matters in more detail.
I do not know whether your message is serious or just your way of telling me to get lost. In case of the former, some elaboration follows.The question that Lord Donoughue has been asking requires the calculation of a single number. The calculation is purely arithmetical: there is no opinion or judgment involved (nor is background in climate needed). Furthermore, the calculation is easy enough that it could be done in minutes, by someone with the appropriate statistical skills. You could think of it as being similar to finding the total of a column of integers.The number that Lord Donoughue is asking for is 0.001, according to my calculation. (Yes, it is that simple.) Lord Donoughue, though, would like the number calculated by an official body. He therefore tabled Parliamentary Questions asking HM Government for the number.Lord Donoughue has now received Written Answers to four such Parliamentary Questions: HL4414, HL5031,HL5359, HL6132. None of those Answers give the number. Instead, the Answers make excuses as to why the number is not given. The main excuse seems to be that the number is not important. The importance of the number, however, is a separate issue: even if the number has no importance at all, the arithmetical calculation can still be done, and the number can still be given.HM Government has been relying upon the Met Office, to supply them with the number; the Met Office has refused to do this. In other words, the Met Office has refused to answer the question—contrary to the claim in your message. What reason does the Met Office have for refusing to supply the number? The required time would be less than the amount of time that the Met Office has spent in refusing.Parliamentary Questions have a history going back centuries. I do not have expertise in this area, but it is my understanding that HM Government is obliged to either provide an Answer to a Question or else give a valid reason for not providing an Answer. The refusal of the Met Office to supply the number would thus seem to be leading to a violation of a centuries-old parliamentary convention. Indeed, I have now talked with other members of the House of Lords and the Commons about this: there is real concern, and apparently also by parliamentary officials.Lord Donoughue has now asked for the number a fifth time. The tabled Question is as follows (HL6620).To ask Her Majesty’s Government … whether they will ensure that their assessment of [the number] is published in the Official Report; and, if not, why not.The Answer is due by April 12th. My hope is that if the Met Office continues to refuse to supply the number, HM Government will get the number from elsewhere.
Kind thanks for this. In principle, such a meeting would surely be valuable. The Met Office, however, is refusing to answer a simple arithmetical question, and moreover, is presenting dishonest reasons for doing so. Given that, I do not have confidence that discussion could be in good faith.Hence, I respectfully decline. If the Met Office supplies the number, I would be happy to discuss this further.
As indicated in a previous Written Answer given … to the noble Lord on 14 January 2013 (Official Report, col.WA110), it is the role of the scientific community to assess and decide between various methods for studying global temperature time series. It is also for the scientific community to publish the findings of such work, in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
I’m sorry for the delay in replying; I have been away from the office.I’m sorry if my previous e-mail gave you the impression I did not wish to discuss this matter further. That was not my intention. Indeed, if you are not satisfied with the answers that have been given to Lord Donoughue’s Parliamentary Questions, I would be more than happy for us to debate your concerns, as part of a detailed scientific discussion about the statistical modelling of global mean temperatures.I understand Doug McNeall has offered to arrange a meeting with you and other Met Office scientists who work in this area. I feel this would be a sensible way forward and, although our views may differ in some respects, can assure you we would approach this meeting in good faith.I look forward to hearing from you.
There are many ways to analyse time series, including the use of physical and statistical models. The relevance of any technique depends on the question asked about the data. The Met Office has compared the likelihood of the two specified models for fitting the three main independent global near-surface temperature time series (originating from UK Met Office and NASA and NOAA in the US), using a standard approach.The statistical comparison of the model fits shows the likelihood of a linear trend model with first-order autoregressive noise in representing the evolution of global annual average surface temperature anomalies since 1900, ranges from 0.08 (Met Office data) to 0.32 (NOAA data), relative to the fit for a driftless third-order autoregressive integrated model. The likelihood is 0.001 if the start date is extended back for example to 1850 (Met Office data). These findings demonstrate that this parameter is very sensitive to the data period chosen and to the dataset chosen for a given time period, for such a statistical model.A high value of relative likelihood does not necessarily mean that a model is useful or relevant. The climate is a highly complex physical system; to model it requires an understanding of physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere and oceans, natural variability and external forcings, i.e. with physically-based models. Work undertaken at the Met Office on the detection of climate change from temperature observations is based on formal detection and attribution methods, using physical climate models and not purely statistical models, as discussed in Chapter 9 of the Contribution of Working Group I to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, 2007.