This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I may be jumping the gun a bit, but I think I detect a slight thawing (ha ha) in the MSM position on AGW.
It isn't because they have been pursuaded by the sceptics scientific arguments, I'm pretty sure that such attitude change as we may be seeing, is actually due to the snow.
In other words the weather appears to be influencing the MSM attitude on climate.
It may be that this simply reflects a more widespread change in population attitudes? The population at large, I suspect, is happy to blur the distinction between weather and climate and it may be that it is the credibility gap between the MSM and its readership that is most influential.
Telling the general population that pretty well anything is due to global warming is fine when that anything isn't the northern half of the planet turning into an ice cube.
Of course, such softening in MSM position may be partly illusory and mostly transeient but it is an opportunity to get more of the sceptic arguments into the media.
I wonder, by the way, how far the BBC bias investigation will get? Or is this too illusory?
I don't think there is actually any qualitative difference between weather and climate. Climate is just weather averaged over longer periods, just as weather consists of temperature, rainfall and wind averaged over shorter periods.
Frank - there's definitely an attempt by the Met office and others to define a difference between "weather" and "climate" - and to beat the public up about there lack of understanding about the difference.
I did hear a quote (from the Met Office I believe) - that weather is what happens on a day to day basis whilst Climate is what happens over a period of 30 years.
Where they get this figure of 30 years I have absolutely no idea - it seems amazingly short to a geologist !
It seems like a construct that fits in with the proposed scale of man-caused "global warming" to me.
They want us to think that that there is a climate 'signal' of which weather is the 'noise'. I think this is untrue and that a graph of temperature over time is self-similar, i.e. it is no smoother or more regularly fluctuating over long periods than over short ones. Does anybody know?
I too have gotten a sense of reduced hostility toward climate scepticism in the mainstream media lately. What with the leaked (or stolen, as you may prefer) CRU emails and some of the most severe cold weather for several decades, not just in Britain but in other locations in the northern hemisphere, after the Met Office predicted the fifth mildest winter on record.
The obvious question, and this is not the first event that has given cause for it to be asked, is to what extent does an instutional belief in global warming affect the Met Office's long term seasonal forecasts? Particularly when other organizations have made cooler seasonal forecasts with apparently greater skill.
I have seen a few Met Office people on the television being asked to explain themselves, and their response is to try and deflect the issue by saying something like "a cold spell in Britain does not undermine all of global warming science" or words to that effect, when that is actually a different matter entirely.
As the Met Office uses the same computer model for seasonal weather prediction as it does for long term climate prediction, does the propensity for its output to overstate seasonal forecast temperatures say anything about its long term climate predictions?
We might also ask, to what extent has global warming propaganda, coupled with dodgy Met Office seasonal forecasts, left the country unprepared to deal with a bit of snow falling over several days? Councils believed that they only needed so much grit and so many snow ploughs, etc, and there was no government legislation to make them acquire more.
The distinction between weather and climate is something that the sceptics used to go on about a lot, back when the mainstream media used to bring up global warming in connection with any instance of unseasonable warmth or extreme weather event that climate change activists had sort to tie to global warming, like a flood, a drought or a hurricane. For some examples, here are the results for a search of "climate and weather" on the Number Watch website:
The global warming lobby did not seek to make such a distinction between climate and weather back then but now that the shoe is on the other foot they are only too keen to do so.
Here is the BBC's climate change man, David Shukman, explaining that behaviour over thirty years is suddenly a definition for climate, in a clip entitled "How the big freeze fits theories of global warming" (a title that probably leads us all to ask, what cannot be made to fit in with global warming theories through some ad hoc refinement to them?):
Why thirty years is arbitrarily chosen should be apparent. Recalling the graph of the instrumental temperature record, it has fairly flat regions and regions where it is increasing. It was the latter region where it was increasing that precipitated the current global warming frenzy. It ran throughout the last three decades of the twentieth century. Thus, thirty years is now chosen as the length of time over which climate can be defined. Throughout the last decade, the temperature has been fairly static again. The sceptics have thus said that global warming stopped more than ten years ago.
The believers have claimed this is fallacious reasoning, because many of the warmest years on record have been in the last decade, but really that only means that the temperature has held, on average, warmer than previously, not that the temperature trend continues to increase, which it has not.
I remember that there were two different scenarios put out by global warming believers for the future of Britain. One, that seemed to win out, was that Britain would get warmer along with everywhere else. The other scenario, that I have not heard much of in the past several years, was that Britain would be plunged into cold, because the melting of the Greenland ice would "shut down" the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. However, if there is a trend toward cold winters and mild summers in the future, watch for it being blamed on melting Greenland ice, and thus on global warming.