Friday, May 18, 2012


date: Tue, 19 May 2009 17:22:15 +0100
from: "Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC)" <kathryn.humphreyatXYZxyzRA.GSI.GOV.UK>
subject: RE: URGENT advice needed on Weather Generator
to: "C G Kilsby" <>, "Phil Jones" <>, "Jenkins, Geoff" <>, "Roger Street" <>

Quick outcome from the meeting with the Secretary of State:

- He is comfortable to launch the weather generator.

- It may launch a few weeks after the public launch as it is tied in with the fate
of the UI- decision on that should be made soon.

- Suggested that Bob Watson, Robin are joined by Chris/Phil to go back to Jacqui
in a conference call and discuss her concerns with the WG, as it is still unclear what they
are- for a few weeks time. Will set this up soon.

- I'll do some "weather generator sound bites" as part of the launch comms.

Thanks for all your help this morning!


From: C G Kilsby []
Sent: 19 May 2009 12:21
To: 'Phil Jones'; Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC); 'Jenkins, Geoff'; 'Roger Street'
Subject: RE: URGENT advice needed on Weather Generator

I'm away 25-28 too.


From: Phil Jones []
Sent: 19 May 2009 12:13
To: Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC); C G Kilsby; Jenkins, Geoff; Roger Street
Subject: RE: URGENT advice needed on Weather Generator

I'd be happy to do this. I'm away next week May 25-28.
At 11:13 19/05/2009, Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC) wrote:

Thanks Phil, Chris and Geoff- I am whacking all of this into a document to take through
with Robin later.

I know this is extremely frustrating for you and completely understand where you are
coming from.

This is a political reaction, not one based on any scientific analysis of the weather
generator. We did the peer review to take care of that. I can't overstate the HUGE
amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on
climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong
one and don't want to be made to look foolish. Therefore, every time they hear about
any criticisms from anyone, they jump.

I'll let you know how I get on in dealing with this today. It might be helpful if you
come in, Chris and Phil, and speak direct to Robin as well at some point soon. Would
you be happy to do this?


From: Phil Jones [[1]]
Sent: 19 May 2009 10:40
To: Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC); Chris Kilsby; Jenkins, Geoff; Roger Street
Subject: Re: URGENT advice needed on Weather Generator

What would be a good start to the first question would be to switch it around to who
doesn't need the WG! As I've said on numerous occasions, if the WG isn't there,
all the people that need it will go off and do their own thing. This will mean that
individual sectors and single studies will do a whole range of different things.
This will make uncertainties even larger!
The UKCIP helpdesk will get the continual question - how do I get daily output?
As for those that need it. The EA will need it, they have a scoping study which
will show them how to use it. Similarly UKWIR have a scoping study doing much the same
thing. I'm involved in the latter, which is being led by Atkins. There are a number of
EPSRC projects that need it. What all these projects need are daily time series data
for input into time series models (agricultural crop models, building design, river
modelling and water resources, and there are likely many more).
Anyone who wants to look at sequences of temperature and precipitation in the future
will need it. Many users are expecting it!
WRT point 2, I'd have thought it was fully integrated into the reports. It is in the
Briefing Report
and probably mentioned in the Science report.
WRT point 3, if the WG was at 25km scale, users would try and scale it down to 5km
and you'd be back to users doing a whole range of different things. There is a section
the WG Report (5.2) on the scale issue.
We can't do the WG at the 25km scale, as this is the RCM grid! The observed data are
available at the 5km OS grid or at station (point) scales. They are not available at
the 25km RCM
rotated pole scale. No observed data are available on this scale/resolution. Many users
find it difficult to cope with the rotated RCM grid, and will say why can't the output
be on
the OS grid.
Just seen Geoff's reply - totally agree, the scale issue is a red herring. What
matters is
daily output!
There is an issue of user knowledge. The size of the WG output files means that
will need to know what they are doing when they get their output. Those working for the
EA, UKWIR and within the above projects will. It is likely that Joe Public and media
types won't.
Have any of these 'sensible scientific experts' have read the WG Report or read the
Document? We have been through the international peer review like the rest of the
We had a lot less to respond to than the science report. Why don't we (Chris, Geoff,
get a chance to talk to these 'sensible scientific experts'! Are we not deemed
'scientific', or 'expert' enough? I know you're only the messenger, Kathryn!
It seems to me that your Director, and DG etc have no idea what users want or how
UKCP09 will be used.
PS Colin will have some results comparing UKCP09 for two sites (Ringway and LHR)
later this morning. These compare 2050s medium UKCP09 output (produced via the
interface) with a different RCM simulation produced by MOHC (with extra heat input
into major UK cities) from the SCORCHIO project. Colin will also redo the 10 key sites
by the end of the week. Everything so far, looks exactly as expected. Output
comes back in about 15 minutes now.
At 09:43 19/05/2009, Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC) wrote:
Hi all,
Could you please send me some comments urgently on the issues below. I have a meeting
with Hilary Benn this afternoon and this is likely to come up (at 4.30). As you know we
have already given him some advice on the weather generator but perhaps I need to give
them more on the validity tests etc as well. I think the problem here is that the
people in these meetings (my Director-General, Director and so forth) don't have the
technical background to be able to head off these criticisms at the time. The advice I
put up previously was to keep the WG in with the launch package.
Anyway as a start if you can give me responses to the three points below that would be
very helpful!
From: Mortimer, Robin (CALR)
Sent: 18 May 2009 20:00
To: Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC)
Cc: Unwin, Peter (NEG); Watson, Robert (SEG); Capstick, Jonathan (ACC); Maresh, Jennifer
(ACC); Lewis, Rupert (ACC); Cahill, Teige (ACC); Hurst, Martin (WaFERR); Hawley, Clare
(ACC); Packer, Kathryn (ACC)
Subject: advice needed on Weather Generator
Importance: High
Bob Watson, Peter Unwin and I spoke to Jackie McGlade this evening, along with Bob
Mitchell and James from Met Office.
After some initial misunderstanding about the nature of the criticisms Jackie McGlade
has been making about UKCP09, she clarified that she is very supportive of the approach
being taken to downscaling to 25km grid square level; and indeed would be willing to
champion this being adopted more widely across Europe. This is good news. We all
agreed (and Bob outlined the conclusions of the peer review panel on this point) that
there was of course a cascade of confidence as we move down from continental to 25km
scale, but, so long as the uncertainties were clearly presented, this was robust.
The remainder of the conversation focussed on the Weather Generator. JM raised two
issues on this (a) that the level of "statistical noise" involved in moving down from
25km to 5km scale meant that the results became so uncertain to the virtually worthless
and (b) the very fact that so many sensible scientific experts shared this opinion
risked discrediting the rest of the UKCP09 package - essentially everything was getting
`tainted' by the WG. She argued we should drop it. In response BM set out the
justification for the WG using the usual arguments.
As you know Ministers have also raised questions about this so we will need to go back
to them with some further advice, starting with a heads up at the meeting with SofS
tomorrow afternoon.
Please could you provide some further advice on three questions - a quick initial view
by tomorrow afternoon insofar as this is possible would be v helpful:
� Who needs the WG? Ie What is the user community and what do they want it for?
For example, do EA plan to use it in relation to floods modelling? Coastal mapping?
River flows? Etc What about users wanting to do heatwave planning - what does WG given
them that 25km data doesn't. [A few specific examples would be most useful here rather
than generic information]
� What are the practical issues involved if Ministers decide they want to drop it
from the launch of UKCP09 (either to ditch it altogether, or to release in some
different way)? (I mean removing all reference to it on the UI and other documents, not
simply referring to it but making it impossible to access which would be misleading).
How doable is it in time available?
I assume we would need UKCIP input on these two questions, which is fine, making clear
no decision has been taken.
� More technically, what is strength of the argument, in terms of the escalation
of the level of uncertainty in moving down to 5km scale. If her argument is that 25km
is at the absolute limit of what the climate model capacities allow, is it fair to say
that when bringing this together with observed historical data at 5km scale (ie local
perturbations) to produce the WG we are moving into even greater levels of uncertainty?
Would having a WG at 25km scale theoretically get around this?
Happy to discuss further.
Robin Mortimer
Climate Change Adaptation, Air Quality, Landscape & Rural Affairs (CALR)
Tel: 020 7238 4226
Mob: 07733 037968
PA: Lynn Korup (tel as above)
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

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