Blue skies at the UKMO Hadley Centre

I’ve just had a very enjoyable visit to the UKMO Hadley Centre, courtesy of Richard Betts. My talk was similar to the one I recently gave in Japan, which had been a bit clunky and unrehearsed in parts, so in the intervening weeks I revised it a bit which I think/hope made it a bit more coherent. Some of it was old stuff about single model vs multi-model ensembles (including work done ages ago in collaboration with UKMO people, in fact), and some was on model evaluation via paleoclimate simulations. I’ll not put the slides up online yet as this includes some unpublished work that I’m just a minor author on and which is under revision as I type. The last, still relatively unpolished, part of the talk concerned the thorny topic of model independence. I think I’ve now finally reached the point at which I’ve got enough material to write a paper on this. I’ve not usually worked this way round, but it seems that forcing oneself to put down thoughts sufficient to support a presentation can be a helpful way to kickstart the writing process. I had fun giving the talk, and judging from the questions after, many of the impressively large audience stayed awake.

The sun shone, so the UKMO building was particularly shiny and spectacular. I really like the design – easily the best science lab I’ve visited in that respect, though the open-plan interior arrangement is another matter. I didn’t dare take a picture – would probably have been carried away in an orange jump-suit if I had – so you’ll have to make do with this much better one off the web (borrowed from here).


We rounded things off with a lovely pub lunch with Richard, @dougmcneall and one other who despite our encouragement is still shying away from social media 🙂

The Virgin Cross-country train (direct from Leeds) is not the most comfortable way to travel (“airline” seats seems a bit of poetic license), but it did get the job done. The grim north is not so remote after all! Now we’ve got a month at home to do some work, before the next set of trips kicks off.

6 thoughts on “Blue skies at the UKMO Hadley Centre

  1. I’d be interested to hear your comments on another recent talk in Exeter, in this case given by Prof. Kevin Anderson at Exeter University:

    My main takeaway:

    “We can’t do [2°C] with low carbon supply. We can’t make the changes quick enough. You have to do something with our demand for energy, and that is very, very unpopular amongst all of us, all of our colleagues, all the policy makers, so basically the whole world, all the high emitting parts of the world, which is only a small proportion, none of us like this at all, and that’s why we don’t really like the science.”

    Do you agree with Kevin’s conclusions?

    • I’m not an expert on energy supply. I’m also not particularly excited by the 2C limit, which seems more of a political statement than scientific judgment. I do think that the only long-term solution to climate change is a large-scale switch to carbon-neutral energy sources, and hope for sustained political support for this.

      • I am compelled to agree with you about the “political” nature of “2°C”!

        What of Prof. Anderson’s point that rolling out low carbon supply as fast as humanly possible won’t be sufficient to meet that (arbitrary?) target though? He seems to be of the firmly held belief that large-scale cuts in energy demand will also be necessary if “dangerous climate change” is to be avoided.

      • Well, he may be a little pessimistic about the speed of exceeding 2C, as on current trends, that is still some way off and the much-anticipated acceleration is still mysteriously absent. But on balance he’s probably right about our likelihood of exceeding 2C.

  2. Pingback: On the meaning of independence in climate science |

  3. Pingback: Blue Skies Research on tour: Exeter edition |

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