Rutherglen is one of the seemingly best stations in Australia, apart from a break from 1955-1965. Bill Johnston looks closely at the raw data, finding that there is probably no trend — flat temperatures — rather than either cooling or warming. And that it’s difficult to fill in data from surrounding stations. He speculates that something fishy goes on in 1924. He also finds that rainfall probably drives a fifth of the temperature swings. He discusses his disappointment at the intellectual level of debate on The Conversation.
Because he knows the area, he also talks about the effect of wet years and dry years, and how that affects winter and summer temperatures. He has a dry wit, and lovely casual style.
I think that if we have to rely on statistical analysis to “know” whether data was shifted or moved when there is no documentation suggesting it was, all certainty is shot, and any definitive statement about temperature trends in Australia is a joke. — Jo
The Rutherglen stoush
Guest post by Bill Johnston
The raw trend is very different from the HQ adjustments which are very different from the ACORN homogenised set.
Before the big, fat, green, wrecking-ball totally trashes our economy and reduces our children and us to green-serfs, we need different national conversation.
- Are we really headed for the cooker; or is it just homogenised data that point that way?
- Has homogenisation produced a more believable ‘product’ or just a more-marketable brand?
- Is it really possible that temperature records are broken, seemingly every second day; when daily data have such obvious historical failings; and when modern data are not observed using thermometers and are possibly homogenised on-the-fly?
- Do we really need to irrigate the Southern Ocean with precious Murray-Darling Basin water; build expensively subsidised windmills and other green-trinkets; and even if you think so, will it really change our climate?
As shown in this essay, the biggest problem of all is that data were first collected in Australia to describe and understand our weather; not track the climate over time. People were no-doubt as vigilant as they could be. However, the odd missing-day was of little concern. Having measured weather for years, not far from Rutherglen, I understand the difficulties and how problems happen.
Observers also did not know that a generation or-so later; bunches of professors would pore over their data trying to polish-out some trend that could mean anything; or, like for these data, nothing at all. A close look at most of our long-term series unearths shiploads of problems. Starting with an arms-length independent audit of the Bureau’s data, let’s strike-up a new national conversation about climate science!
After contributing an analysis of Rutherglen Research’s raw annual minimum temperatures commentary erupted at The Conversation. I naïvely thought The Conversation was about having a conversation; in this case about data.
But it wasn’t. It’s more like a $6M opinion-mosh-pit run by universities that we constantly hear are too broke to teach our kids. It involved some who knew nothing about data; some who knew lots and wanted to share; and some defending their positions, come hell or high-water.
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How often do you hear a story of an easy software solution to a widespread problem? If you leave your computer running (with sleeps) for days like I do, the back up program might never back up the most important files which are open. A skeptic developed a quick inexpensive answer, and we’re impressed. I hardly ever hear David enthused about software. He said, “I was building backup software I’d do it like this!” – Jo
Backing up Joanne’s inbox
Guest post by David Evans
Joanne’s old computer developed a very flaky main hard drive (HDD) last year, and died after a few fits and splutters. With donations from this blog (thank you!) she bought a new Windows computer, which works wonderfully, and seems much quicker mainly due to the solid state drive (SSD).
We’d been using Microsoft’s SyncToy to do daily backups, like a lot of technical trendies from around 2007. SyncToy just synchronizes your data with a backup folder, thereby making a backup in the usual file format, without needing a special back up program to recover backed up files. Last year it turned out Joanne’s old HDD was cajoled into running a bit longer so we got everything off it without resorting to backups, but it was good to know the backups were there.
At the time, reader Ashley popped up and offered copies of his backup program for Windows, QuickShadow. I was extremely busy at the time (just discovered the notch-delay solar theory, see the update below*), so I made a note of this backup program and promised to have a look when I wasn’t so rushed.
A few days ago I’d finished a paper for submission, and felt it was time (time for a change of topic, anyway). I installed QuickShadow, and had that rare moment of surprise (shock even!) because for once everything went better, and worked better, than I expected, so I thought I’d write this note.
Quickshadow is pretty much the program I’ve thought about building for myself. I develop software, and have been frustrated at backup software that is too complex, has a geeky interface with arcane terms or far too many options, doesn’t schedule backups automatically, doesn’t tell you what it is doing, use some weird file format, or otherwise needlessly sucks your time. So, thank you Ashley!
The shortcomings with SyncToy
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In last week’s news we find — by golly — that the BOM are going to “rush” to set up an oversight panel that they were told to set up back in 2011 or 2012. Hey, it was going to take three years to set up the panel, but now they’re doing it in two! That’s what I call “action”.
So the BOM knows it’s in trouble, and they shift to Stage 2. They’ve avoided the skeptical questions, the FOIA’s, and the request for explanations for as long as they possibly could. But now the mainstream media is involved, something has to change — because nothing is worse than playing out the questions and answers in an uncontrolled way in public. To pack away those contentious points, what better method than by appointing a committee, review panel, or some kind of “independent” assessment? The right committee can produce toothless recommendations, vague praise, and a weak slap on the wrist and it can take years to do it.
Thus and verily do Ministers sometimes palm off problems, and responsibility. All decision-making power seemingly goes to the “review” (unless it somehow produces an undesirable result). Should the review churn out the conclusion the Minister wanted, he or she can fob off hard questions by dutifully claiming to be “following expert advice”. So public debate stalls superficially at the he-said, they-said stage — unless the media actually asks hard questions.
So whether or not a review is useful depends largely on who runs it, and their motivation for doing it.
Senator Birmingham appointed to oversee BOM review
So how motivated is Birmingham to get a real answer? Allegedly, he was one of the “keenest” for an ETS in 2009. In May 2013 he again made it clear he thinks we need global action for CO2 reduction:
“Senator Milne is right: the challenge of climate change remains one of how you get a global solution; how you get global action; how you get emissions down from those who are far bigger emitters than Australia…. Should we try to reduce carbon emissions? Absolutely. … We should be seeking, of course, to reduce their emissions” — Senator Birmingham
Birmingham may have little incentive to do a real review that shows up his former less-than-skeptical attitude. But if Cory Bernardi or Dennis Jensen were put in charge, no one would be asking whether the review was serious.
I’ve seen an email about this review saying that the BOM will be vetting nominations: (Dated Sept 23rd) Public nominations are not being called for, however any nomination will be passed on the Director of the Bureau of Meteorology for consideration. Nominations must be received within the next fortnight and all nominations must be verified by the person concerned and include academic resume and relevant reviewed scientific publications to ascertain credentials.
In other words, a whitewash. If the BOM was so sure it was doing world class, impeccable research, it would be demanding independent replication of its work to clear its name and assure Australians of the high standards. All methods fully published, testable, and reproduced. Anything less is not science.
The Australian Sept 16, 2014
Birmingham brings early change to bureau review
THE Bureau of Meteorology has been ordered to bring forward the creation of a panel of external experts to oversee the national homogenised temperature record, ACORN-SAT.
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Here’s a strange change. After 160 years of fairly constant maximum temperatures, the raw Melbourne records take a sudden step up by 0.7 0C in 1996. Coincidentally (or not) that is the same year that the automatic gauge was installed. The new electronic equipment is much more responsive to short peaks and dips compared to thermometers. Could the step up be due to the better resolution? It’s by no means definitive — these are yearly averages, not monthly, and it may be a real climate shift and not due to the equipment. The obvious question is whether this sort of jump occurs in other stations where AWS (automatic weather stations) were installed. That would have profound implications if it did, but surely it would have been noticed already? Melbourne is known for having “four seasons in one day”, so perhaps there is a small effect in most places, but the switchable peaks of of Melbourne summers make a larger difference. In any case, thanks to Tom Quirk (and Bill Johnston) we have another puzzle in need of an answer. These AWS’s were installed all over Australia in the late nineties. If there was some effect, then there would be a lot of artificial small step ups as better equipment started to detect faster, shorter peaks. The ACORN adjustments make no corrections to the max record in 1996 but there is an adjustment made to the minima then. Hmm. – Jo
Twenty-first century Melbourne temperatures
Guest Post by Tom Quirk
During the 1990s the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) started to install automatic weather stations. The minimum and maximum temperatures along with temperature readings every 30 minutes were recorded electronically. The weather stations used thermistors rather than mercury or alcohol thermometers for temperature measurements. Thermistors are electrical resistors that are very sensitive to temperature changes.
The Melbourne annual maximum temperature readings are shown in Figure 1. There is an unusual feature in the record as shown occurring in 1996. It is a break with a difference of 0.7 0C. The two straight lines are a best fit to the measurements and the difference is calculated from the lines at 1996.
Figure 1: Annual average raw maximum temperatures for the Melbourne Regional Office. The straight lines represent the best fit for two lines.
The ACORN-SAT adjustment record (Figure 2) shows only an increase of 0.41 0C to the maximum temperature record starting at 1 Jan 1990. This adjustment is explained as “statistical”. Interestingly the adjustment record shows a break in 1996 for the minimum temperature record.
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The wonderful Christopher Monckton is quietly venturing around Australia once again, this time at a more relaxed pace.
Hear Alan Jones interview Lord Monckton recently on 2GB.
As Alan Jones points out, Monckton has been thoroughly demonized, but as the evidence accrues, it’s clear he’s been on the right side the whole time.
Keep track of the Monckton Foundation page for other up and coming events that may occur.
For South East Queenslanders:–
Christopher will be in the IRISH CLUB, Brisbane (again) next Tuesday 30th September.
This week the Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, called people who oppose green energy subsidies “liars”.
Mr. Schmidt said: “And the people who oppose it (climate change) are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”
Meanwhile, Google uses mostly non-renewable fuel to power its operations, but has “pledged $1.5billion” to fund renewables. It has invested millions into solar panel plants that are “bird-fryers” — literally roasting birds in the sky. These investments mostly occur in states with renewable-mandates, would not survive without taxpayer funding, qualify for tax credits, and require infrastructure (like transmission lines) that electricity consumers or governments have to fund.
Wall St Journal
Google Kills Birds
The mercenary motives behind Eric Schmidt’s appeal to green virtue.
“The real charlatans are businesses like Google that use climate change as a pretext for corporate welfare.”
… nearly all of Google’s solar and wind farms are located in states with renewable-energy mandates, which create opportunities for politically mediated profit-making. For instance, California requires that renewables make up a third of electricity by 2020. Google has invested about $600 million in California’s solar plants such as the Ivanpah system in California’s Mojave Desert. Ivanpah is the world’s largest solar-thermal project, which is the target of environmentalists.
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Tom Quirk takes a close look at the long historic station of Melbourne. As we would expect, things have changed around the sensor since 1855 when records started. Amazingly he finds the maximum trend in Melbourne was largely flat from 1855 – 1995. The minimums shows a classic warming from 1945.
To find out how much of the warming in Melbourne may be due to the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) we can compare the minima at the CBD station to one on the outskirts — and Laverton is 20 kilometers away. The site near the CBD is warming at 0.2C per decade faster than the site on the outskirts. It amounts to a whole degree warmer over 50 years, though the rate may be tailing off now. It’s hard to fit in more concrete or more skyscrapers than there already are.
Tom has a close look at the adjustments and finds plenty of questions but few answers. These adjustments are done as step changes, and Tom (and I) wonder why the gradual increase in concrete would warm Melbourne “step-wise” rather than as a slope change. Tom also wonders why the BOM say that one change is due to a “time of observation” shift. He points out that the thermometers will hold the maximum or minimum for 24 hours, so the exact moment someone goes out to read the thermometer may only affect which date the reading applies too (and really only offset it by one day), rather than raise or lower the figure. The mystery?
The Melbourne Regional Office is located on the edge of the CBD, next to eight lanes of traffic and skyscrapers. Click for a close up.
Taking Melbourne’s Temperature
Guest Post Tom Quirk
The Melbourne temperature record is one of the “long time” instrumental records of Australian temperature. It starts in 1855 and continues to the present day. Originally measurements were made in the Flagstaff Gardens, then when the Melbourne observatory was established in 1863 near the Botanical Gardens, the measurements were taken at that location until 1907 when there was a move to the present location on the corner of Victoria and Latrobe Streets in central Melbourne.
My great-uncle Pietro Baracchi served as the Victorian government astronomer from 1895 to 1915. He was a meticulous experimental scientist so I am following the classic rule for scientific analysis – go look at the measurements.
The raw annual average measurements are shown in Figure 1. There were no thermometer changes between 1907 and 2000 for the minimum-temperature thermometer and between 1907 and 2001 for the maximum-temperature thermometer. As we shall see, the BOM high quality homogenized data set, ACORN-SAT, does not seem to follow the classic rule.
Figure 1: Melbourne Regional Office annual average minimum and maximum temperatures, first measured in the Flagstaff Gardens, then at the Observatory, and then from 1907 at the present site, the corner of Victoria and Latrobe Streets.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) now tells us that we can regard only the measurements after 1910 as being reliable. We might note in passing that the raw record itself does not suggest anything wrong with the earlier data.
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Jean S revisited “Black Tuesday” with a post on Climate Audit. Even though I’ve seen these graphs before. It is still so arresting:
(Click to enlarge) Graphs from a Richard Muller presentation
People can debate the finer details of “splicing” but ultimately the second graph is deceptive. Do tree rings work, or don’t they?
When it comes to “tricks”, this is not like a trick to get the photocopier to work. It’s a trick to hide something (see that famous quote below). We don’t need a committee report to tell us whether it’s OK. It’s not science.
Climate Audit has well written a minute by minute breakdown of the emails at the time. (It was Barry Woods suggestion to add the graphs but they finish up at the end of the post.)
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I guess scientific debate is too hard for some people. While skeptics want to talk about the evidence, some people just want to put their heads in the sand.
This story tritely reminds us that a picture is worth a thousands words. Indeed! The original caption read “Townsville Salutes the Australian government for their achievements in combating climate change”. But the scientific evidence is clear that there are more accurate captions, so I thought I’d help them — strictly in the spirit of satire of course.
Fully 99% of climate models didn’t predict global warming would slow. Even in hindsight, they still don’t know why it happened.
The organizers want the idea to spread:
Mr Hirst said he hoped that the concept would take off and that others would set up their own shots.
“People seem to like the idea … I would love to see people do it on Bondi Beach.”
Go for it, I say. Tweet this!
Click here for the story of the 28 million weather balloons, and how tricky the IPCC can be at ignoring them. There’s more on the missing Hot Spot here.
Perhaps we can recruit more people to help Mr Hirst? How about this one?
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Remember how skeptics are supposedly the right wing ideologues who deny the science and are driven by their desire for free markets? Projection anyone?
(Click to enlarge)
The Climate March in NY was another outpouring of innumerate frustration. Marc Morano went to the Climate March, despite being listed as the hate figure of the day and found no one was even bothering to hide the real aim, which was pro-socialist and anti-capitalist. Naomi Klein even admitted that the science is irrelevant, and she would be supporting all the same “solutions” even if the science was wrong.
During the panel discussion, Klein was asked: “Even if climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for same structural changes. Klein responded: ‘Yeah.’
Following the panel, Climate Depot asked Klein if she would support all the same climate “solutions” even if the science was wrong.
“Yes, I would still be for social justice even if there was not climate change. Yes, you caught me Marc,” Klein answered sarcastically as she abruptly ended the interview
Naomi Klein’s new book is titled “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate”. The enemy is “Capitalism” — hence big-coal is a target and big-dependent-renewables are her friends. It’s all about wealth redistribution. Since Klein has a crippling problem with numbers, she would prefer a world where people get ahead by networking and speaking, and not by competition to produce things that other people want. It makes sense in a self-serving kind of way.
Meanwhile Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wants to jail his political opponents.
When you can’t win an argument with persuasion, it’s the obvious next step.
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Despite all the “missing heat” hiding somewhere in the oceans, the extent of the Antarctic Sea Ice today is at a record high of 16.8 million square kilometers. In the Southern Hemisphere the record is 600,000 square kilometers more than has ever been recorded by satellites which began tracking the sea-ice extent in 1979 when CO2 was 336ppm. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen 20% globally since then and current global sea ice extent is slightly above than the average from 1978 -2008. The previous largest extent was 16.22 million km2 in 2012. This may not be the peak this year. Watch the chart with me this week.
The Antarctic Sea Ice usually reaches its annual peak the week after the Spring Equinox. Though it may peak as late as October 9th, as it did last year.
(Click to see the whole graph)
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Meandering off track…
Remember the experts who said we should drink skim milk? A new large study suggests that full fat milk is healthier. So much for that consensus about saturated fat. There have been signs things were amiss. A few studies recently have shown that milk, yogurt and cheese consumption were associated with a lower incidence of Diabetes Type 2. Dairy didn’t seem to make the heart attacks more likely either. Hmm. So this new study of 26,000 women looked at high fat versus low fat dairy products. Over 14 years the highest consumption (which is 8, crikey, portions of full fat dairy a day) is associated with … a 23% reduction in risk compared to the low fat dairy consumers. Time to eat more Brie? Maybe, maybe not.
I won’t be taking up 8 portions of full fat dairy myself – the 23% figure is not seismic, is based on a modeled estimate (so is open to debate). I suspect it’s not the fat content that is the most important thing here, but something else entirely. The “displacement effect” confounds this sort of study. It might not be that dairy fat is so helpful, just that it is less bad that other things it displaces. Hold onto your hat. Low fat dairy foods are much more likely to also have sugar or artificial sweeteners in them to make up for the flavour lost with lower fat. Coincidentally, also this week, an entirely different study showed that artificial sweeteners appear to have a bad effect, not directly on mammals, but through gut microbes.When mice were fed artificial sweeteners, they developed glucose intolerance. When bacteria in their intestines were transferred to other mice, those mice developed glucose intolerance too. In people, glucose intolerance is described as “the first step on the path to metabolic syndrome and adult-onset diabetes.”
For similar reasons it may also be that the fermented type of dairy matters. Cream was good, but fermented milk (like yoghurt and kefir) was better. Those gut microbes are popping up in study after study.
Confused? Fair enough. But this study, yet again, shows the diet consensus for the last three decades was wrong. Saturated fat, long painted as the enemy, is not necessarily, and artificial sweeteners, long painted as being useful to prevent diabetes, may be helping to create it.
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It must be some kind of misunderstanding. I’m sure the $25,000 Christmas Party was important to shed light on the impacts of climate change. (I think it’s already telling us something about invasive species.)
How could fine, infinitely-caring experts do such a thing? (Could it be — character is destiny — the self-serving are serving themselves?)
The Washington Post reports that a climate research group got caught partying and boozing on taxpayer funds in a draft audit, but what’s worse, the National Science Foundation and Defense Department officials are under investigation because they signed off on it. A whistleblower leaked the sordid story, and now two US Senators are investigating. They warn that this may be a widespread practice because NSF documents show the foundation knew what the expenses were but still paid them.
Sens. Paul, Grassley challenge climate group’s spending on lobbying, alcohol and parties
Two senators are investigating whether the National Science Foundation and Defense Department auditors skirted federal laws by signing off on a nonprofit organization’s use of taxpayer money for “unallowable expenses,” including alcohol, lobbying and extravagant parties.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said the practice came to his attention earlier this year when a whistleblower provided him with a draft audit that showed a climate change group used federal funds to pay $112,000 for lobbying, $25,000 for an office Christmas party, and $11,000 for “premium coffee services” and an unspecific amount on French hotels.
The partiers were the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) — who received $90 million this year from the NSF.
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This is a good sign. And oh boy, there is so much more material to extend this theme. I predict we’ll see a lot more of this new form of public debate…
Michael Loftus does do a good Al Gore.
Some very funny comments about this on The Blaze.
Ridicule and mockery rather takes the fun out of things for the bully-boys of climate fear. It will dent recruitment.
So how long before DeSmog find a link to The Kochs?
In the case of the century Mark Steyn notes that not one climate scientist filed an amicus brief for Michael Mann, who has been lauded by some as “taking a stand for science”.
Mark Steyn: “Gotcha. Michael Mann is not doing this for Michael Mann, or even for Michael Mann’s science, or even for climate science. He’s doing it for science. Mann is science and science is Mann.
Well, yesterday was the deadline, and not a single amicus brief was filed on behalf of Mann. Not one. So Michael Mann is taking a stand for science. But evidently science is disinclined to take a stand for Michael Mann.”
Today Michael Mann invited the world to do a Q & A on Twitter. How unfortunate. The twitter hashtag #AskDrMann is being referred to as a Mock-a-lanche.
Credit Scottie Mhic Leòid @variouspenguins · 15h
By TwitchyTeam @TwitchyTeam
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As the wonderful Delingpole puts it, timber framed buildings have been banned in the UK since the Great Fire of London in 1666. But in 1999 environmental experts decided it was alright again, and the rules were changed. Nottingham University used all their intellectual prowess and rigorous training, and decided to make their new science labs “Carbon Neutral” in the hope that they might be able to change global weather. The labs were designed to meet the most rigorous bureaucratic rules, but burnt down before they were finished.
Late last week the £20 million GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry was razed.
More than 60 firefighters dealt with the fire at its peak, after the first 999 call at 8.36pm on Friday.
Notts Fire and Rescue Service received more than 150 calls from concerned members of the public as flames and plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around. Social media was filled with photos and messages of shock and support.
It must be comforting to know it was built to the most stringent bureaucratic standards and designed by teams of top research academics.
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Questions about the BOM spread: “Adjusted Temperatures Need Explaining” by Tony Cox in the Newcastle Herald. Jennifer Marohasy picks it up and draws attention to the situation of Newcastle temperatures, which were recorded at Nobbys Signal Station, near the Lighthouse at Nobby’s Head.
Old Trove archive records show that in the 1939 heatwave there were protests that Nobby’s Head temperatures were too cool to represent the real heat going on in Newcastle because it is exposed to good sea-breezes. (h/t to Siliggy)
The BOM page for Nobby’s links to this graph of the raw data.
The raw data from Nobby’s shows a hot period in the late 1880s. This is Climate Data Online or CDO.
Jen Marohasy points out that the BOM ignore this long record and use Williamston RAAF near Newcastle instead as one of the 112 stations to calculate national trends.
Note the trends…. adjusted of course.
Marohasy argues that the BOM ignore the better long record and use the shorter airport instead:
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The sea ice around Antarctica is at a record high since satellites started recording, and snowfall is thumping down on the northern Antarctic Peninsula*, but alas — some glaciers on the same peninsula are continuing to melt, just like they have done for 300 years. Hence, a team of researchers-with-models conclude that this means these glaciers are especially, very, super-sensitive to air temperature changes and will “likely” melt fast, raise sea-levels, and disappear in 200 years time.
Glaciers in northern Antarctic Peninsula melting faster than ever despite increased snowfall
Increased snowfall will not prevent the continued melting of glaciers in the northern Antarctic Peninsula, according to new research. Scientists have discovered that small glaciers that end on land around the Antarctic Peninsula are highly vulnerable to slight changes in air temperature and may be at risk of disappearing within 200 years. – Science Daily
“Faster than ever!” Blame Climate Change TM:
[Prof Glasser]: “This unprecedented glacier recession, in response to climate change, will result in significant contributions to sea level rise from this and similar Antarctic Peninsula mountain glaciers and ice caps.” –Wales.co
Hmm. I note that other warming parts of Antarctica are near a string of volcanoes and (surprize) so is this one. Though some red dots are inactive or dormant.
The red dots on the map are volcanoes (up to 11 million years old). That includes the living and the dead ones.
The proximity doesn’t mean that volcanic or geothermal energy is melting the glaciers. But does anyone know if they aren’t? Dr Davies sweeping publicity suggests they can measure the geothermal heat flux under the ice and water. Call me unconvinced — rather than adding up the kilojoules, I don’t think we can even add up the volcanoes. It’s hard to tell what is going on under a km of ice. We seem to keep discovering new volcanoes — for example: like last May, and before that last November. As one researcher puts it, things are going swimmingly if you are a volcano researcher in Antarctica.
Prof Smilley describes the situation:
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