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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Floods of incompetence

When one has attained the loftiest pre-eminence in so many fields of study it becomes natural to expect others to attend carefully and gratefully when one offers an opinion on some important matter of judgement. It was a surprise to me, therefore, when in 2011 I received a letter from the office of the Environment Minister thanking me for, but respectfully declining, my offer to form and chair an expert panel to review the  flood defence plans of his department, an offer I had made after watching televised footage of the devastating inundations in the December of that year. Of course, I knew what was behind the rejection: professional jealously and resentment on the part of the minister's chief advisor- the head of the UK Meteorological Office.

Earlier I had made public my views on a proposal by the Met' Office to invest £27 million in a new super-computer which its proponents claimed to be an essential tool to model climate change and which I knew to be a monstrous white elephant. For years the Met’ Office had been justifying an obsession with computers by arguing that the notorious inaccuracy of their long-term climate forecasts was due to inadequate investment in technology, and only if they were given an ability to collect data about the weather everywhere, and sufficiently vast computing power to  model that data, would it be possible to foretell climate change.


Did Einstein divine relativity by using supercomputers to track all the world’s light rays? Of course not- he was led to his insights through the contemplative consideration of fundamental natural principles. The Met’ obsesses with observing the weather in ever increasing detail, when it is clear to anyone who steps back from the detail that a small number of established thermodynamic principles are governing the evolution of our climate. To put the point simply, a Lagrangian tensor depiction of the enthalpy of the planet, considered as a closed hermetic system with bi-variant dispersive thermal conductivity, when subjected to a de Vriess coordinate inversion with spinor distensions, reveals a clear and systematic increase in mean surface temperature consistent with more-extreme precipitation. The mathematics conveys the idea more clearly than do  my words:

Ergo even wetter winter weather in Yorkshire. A child could follow it, yet I might as well have been talking nonsense as far as the Environment Minister was concerned. I said then that it would all end in tears, floods of them.

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