8 responses to “Unreal

  1. Loquacity unnecessary.

  2. I must be in analogy mode today.

    Fred has a decent job, which pays fairly well. It also involves travel, which the employer expects Fred to pay for while he travels – but Fred gets reimbursed when he completes a travel claim. For longer trips, Fred can get an advance, so he isn’t out of pocket for a lot of money. The timing of these various expenses, claims, and advances means that Fred’s bank balance sees a lot of ups and downs.

    Fred also has a gambling problem. For the past couple of years, Fred’s bank balance has been dropping slowly – and is now dropping quickly as he tries to gamble his way out of trouble. He dropped $5,000 on the ponies last night, and $2,000 at the craps table the night before, and $4,000 in a poker game last weekend. The nest egg he and his wife had saved to buy that dream home is almost gone.

    Fred’s boss says “I have a long business trip for you to go on”, and arranges a large travel advance, deposited in Fred’s account. Just before he leaves on the trip, Fred. looks at a graph of his daily bank balance over the past two years, and notices that the current balance is almost as high today as the lowest value he had two years ago. With this astute observation, has Fred

    a) discovered that he has no gambling problem and his finances are fine?

    b) gone deeper into denial?

  3. Horatio Algeranon

    “Reality’s on Hiatus”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    Reality’s on hiatus
    Taking a little break
    Current Facebook status:
    “Out to lunch for steak”

  4. Could calculating the probability of extreme weather events allow more robust statements about AGW to be made?
    For instance, something like “This weather is a one-in-17,000 year event. Either that, or it is the product of climate change (of some ilk).”

    Real or unreal? That is the question.

    Recent wet weather in Southern UK has been pretty extreme. But how exceptional is this? The Met Office have shown in their report (published before the event had ended) that what was a 1-in-125-day rainfall event 40 years ago is now a 1-in-85-day event. Well, that won’t cause much of a panic!
    And neither will saying that, within the 140 year record, the HadUKP data for SE England does show* that very dry months are 50% less likely and very wet months are 50% more likely.

    But, importantly, this data also shows that exceptionally wet months are 500% more likely!
    And the January 2014 rainfall was one of those exceptional months. But how to present this? Is January 2014 something like a 1-in-2,000-year event? And for all months (see show* above & look close), we have had 3 such exceptional months in the last 14 years. Doesn’t such a frequency make that something like a 1-in-10,000-year event?

    Now the daily data for February will be posted on HadUKP early March, but the exceptional rainfall is behind us (the weatherman say). It lasted 60 days. If we plot annual max 60-day rainfall event for the record since 1931, and looking at a few available rainfall figures for the first half of Feb, it appeas likely that the recent event could turn out to sit at 4sd above the mean. So doesn’t that make it a 1-in-17,000-year event? Either that or the product of climate change (of some ilk).

    So real or not real? There is the question of variance in a skewed distribution (which is significant in the 60-day analysis). Any other pitfalls (apart from waiting for the data)?

  5. I know this is a bit off topic, but can anyone point me to any literature discussing sea ice extent as a lagging indicator to temperature? I fully admit to being an ignoramus in this field, however, it seems (logically, at least) that a step increase in global temperature would result in a period of years characterized by lower and lower sea ice extent until a new equilibrium was reached. In other words, if we saw temperatures rise an average of 1 degree C next year and then stay the same thereafter, could we expect to see lower and lower sea ice minimums for 2015 – 2020? How long, effectively, would it take for sea ice to stabilize? If there is a delay, what would current temperatures indicate sea ice minimums going forward? Any help would be greatly appreciated.