Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The new UKMO computer

I was thinking that this seems reasonable enough:


but then Mat Collins tweeted that it will "will also be used for making more reliable climate projections" which is a bit of a hostage to fortune. (Though technically, it may take so long to check this out that we never know if he is right or not).

Way back in the mists of time senior scientists at FRSGC (as it then was) imagined that their new superduper Earth Simulator would solve all the problems of climate change...

As for weather prediction, it's easy enough to demonstrate experimentally that higher resolution has the potential to improve performance (even though computer power is far from the only influential factor). So I expect they can claim quite confidently that the bigger computer will improve this.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

[jules' pics] falling water

As well as ocean swell, there are other after effects of storms. One is the amount of water falling in the water falls. I actually didn't know we live near a waterfall until this week. It is Scaleber Force, and only 1.3 miles from our house (although up a stupidly steep hill). I learned later that it is a top photography spot, so it is lucky that James encouraged me to take my camera along just in case there was something to see.
waterfall-1
waterfall-2
waterfall-3
This photo was taken at the same place, looking downstream,


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Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/23/2014 06:55:00 PM

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

[jules' pics] Autumn colours

Another storm yesterday, and the autumn colours are not going to last much longer. Better blog them while I still can.
autumn leaves


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Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/21/2014 10:42:00 PM

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

[jules' pics] ocean #2

The fun thing about the ocean, is that the waves can come quite a while after the weather. So, while the storm had blown over the day before, the sea was just getting going.

storm

storm


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Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/16/2014 09:35:00 PM

Thursday, October 16, 2014

[jules' pics] ocean #1

Some rain stopped us mountain biking on the way over to Scotland's east coast, but it had stopped by the time we got to the seaside.

seaside sunset


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Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/16/2014 09:31:00 PM

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[jules' pics] autumn

My memories of autumn from when I were a lass are of slipping about on mushy brown leaves on the ground, and of wind, rain and days so dark you can barely see across the school hall. There must have been some climate change because we now have some sunny days with little hints of yellow and orange on many of the trees. It's nothing like Japan, obviously (many more degrees of climate change to go before we get there), but still...

Autumn


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Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/14/2014 03:35:00 PM

Friday, October 03, 2014

Much ado about sensitivity

Well, perhaps not really very much ado. There's a new paper in Climate Dynamics, by Lewis and Curry, with a central sensitivity estimate of 1.6C with a 90% range of 1-4C, based on energy budget analyses over the instrumental period, updated to the present day, also taking account of the newer AR5 forcing estimates. I don't find it particularly exciting, the authors cite several recent papers with similar results including Aldrin and Otto et al. I wrote about those papers some time ago, and I think these posts (1, 2, 3) still stand. I've commented before on my objections to Lewis' method, and especially the sleight-of-words with which it is described, but (as I've also emphasised) I don't think this substantially affects the results in this application.

Clearly, the longer the relatively slow warming continues, the lower the estimates will go. And despite what some people might like to think, the slow warming has certainly been a surprise, as anyone who was paying attention at the time of the AR4 writing can attest. I remain deeply unimpressed by the way in which this embarrassment has been handled by the climate science insiders, and IPCC authors in particular. Their seemingly desperate attempts to denigrate anything that undermines their storyline (even though a few years ago the same people were using markedly inferior analyses of this very type to bolster it!) do them no credit.
One weakness of these energy-budget type of analyses, that I believe Lewis and others could easily address, is to demonstrate how well it works in application to GCM output. That is, can the method accurately diagnose the sensitivity of a model given equivalent information to that which we have for the real world? Aldrin et al addressed this rather briefly and in a very limited way, using a far stronger forcing scenario (1%pa CO2 enrichment) than what has occurred in reality. It would be easy to investigate the precision of the method, and whether it gives rise to any systematic biases, by using output from the more realistic 20th century simulations. It is also noteworthy that the Aldrin method struggles to cope with hemispheric differences, which may point to some limitations of the energy balance concept. While the climate system certainly does obey the fundamental conservation laws, supposedly “fixed” parameters (in simple models) are not actually constants in reality. And no matter now precisely we can determine the historical transient response to the current radiative imbalance, there will always be a bit of additional uncertainty in extrapolating that to an equilibrium 2xCO2 state.
Finally, it is also amusing to see Judith “we don't know anything” Curry to put her name to this new paper: it is unclear what she might have added, as Nic has been presenting analyses of this nature for some time now. But that's a minor matter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[jules' pics] running man

In light of recent events, it seems appropriate to post these pickturs.

Spot the marathon man...
runningman-1


runningman-2
The second photo shows James running towards our house, with Settle and Giggleswick in the middle distance, the two metropolises have merged together into one big conurbation, like Tokyo and Yokohama. And Ingleborough hill, like Fuji-san, lies further beyond. Perhaps I was hallucinating. At this point I was in a world of pain, having fallen off my bicycle about 40 minutes earlier. I carried on riding, as I decided that, as I was going to be in pain anyway, I could distract myself with a nice bike ride in the sunshine. The worst thing about falling over on gravel is the bath afterwards where you have to scrub the dust out of the wounds. The best part is the rolling about on the loose stuff which means that many parts of the body absorb the impact. So today everything hurts, but nothing too much.

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Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 9/30/2014 06:58:00 PM

Monday, September 29, 2014

2:59:46

I must have mentioned my goal of running a sub-3h marathon at some point. It was always likely to be a little ambitious, as running time calculators (which estimate likely times based on other races, eg here) suggested I would be very borderline based on my 10k and half marathon times, and the formula on which they rely are well known to be rather optimistic at extrapolating from shorter distances up to marathon (for running geeks, the Riegel factor for most people gets a little larger when you cross the ~2h time barrier, due to the need to take on food and water). After failing - but not disastrously - at Tsukuba last year, I had set my sights on Vienna as a fast flat course likely to have good conditions (if not too hot) but that was a long way off so for a various reasons we settled on running the Chesterfield marathon as a practice, with jules doing the half which conveniently coincided.

The early start required us to stay the night before, which was a little concerning when a friend who commutes from Nottingham to Sheffield said he had ruled out living in Chesterfield because it was too rough! But perhaps I misunderstood something, we had a pleasant walk around the town admiring the famous twisted spire before settling on a huge plate of ribs and potato for dinner. 


Most unusually, jules and I failed to clear our plates which was a good omen. The hotel was very obliging with an early breakfast which enabled us to wander down to the start in good time feeling as well prepared as it's possible to be for an event such as this. 

I didn't actually set out with the aim of running sub-3h, I could see the course was far too hilly for that with the organisers' claim of 287ft of climbing directly contradicted by their own course profile which showed rather more climbing (my Garmin trace agrees with the profile, and estimates ~350m of climbing):

Not knowing what time to aim for or how hard to set off, I decided to just run by my pulse meter and keep to no more than low 150s as this seemed to be the threshold above which things got difficult in Tsukuba. I hoped that with this strategy I would at least enjoy the run more and perhaps shave a bit off my previous time. The first 10k were rather uphill so it was no surprise that I was 20 secs down on 3h pace at that time. What was a surprise, was that I caught that deficit up and more on the 2nd 10k and went through half way in under 1:30 feeling very comfortable. It wasn't until about 30k that I started thinking seriously that I might do it, and allowed myself to start working a bit harder on the hills. The last few miles were mostly downhill and would have been fast but for the unexpected appearance of a gravel path twisting around a park, followed by what felt like the steepest climb of the course. Luckily it didn't drag on too long and I was able to enjoy the final lap of the cricket pitch where a fair sized crowd had gathered to watch.


(Pic courtesy of Barry Dyke photography)

It's not often that I will get the chance to hear the commentator announce my name and 8th place, so I thought I should make the most of it. Of course the serious marathoners in the north west were all preparing for Chester which is still a week away, I'm under no illusions about my level of performance! The winner was a local who pretty much turned up on a whim and ran it in 2:37 as a training run - a bit of google stalking reveals he's been 10 mins quicker at London. Jules also ran a PB for her half despite the hills. As well as being better prepared than last time (thanks to the Jack Daniels book and accompanying marathon plan) the weather was perfect - quite cool with no wind, which suited me much better than the late autumn heat in Tsukuba.

Overall the race was well organised for a first effort - I would have liked better signage at some points, as it was not always obvious which way to turn and at one point I ran for a couple of km on a completely unmarked road wondering if I'd gone off course. The locals turned up to give good support which was appreciated especially as the second half was pretty lonely! Most importantly perhaps, the distance was spot on, which matters when you're cutting things this fine...