JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Muller-the-pretend-skeptic makes three claims. He’s half right on one.

Almost all the coverage of the Muller and BEST results confounds three different points, is poorly researched and mixes up cause and effect. Richard Muller is shamelessly promoting himself as something he is not, and his conclusions are nonsense on stilts that defy rational explanation.

Everyone knows hot air rises off concrete, yet scores of people get befuddled by statistics. The maths-talk is irrelevant. If your analysis tells you that thermometers next to combustion engines and industrial exhaust vents is recording global warming — your analysis is bunk, and we don’t need a peer reviewed paper to say so.

Muller’s three claims:

He’s a converted skeptic. (Naked, demonstrably wrong, PR.) The world has warmed by 0.3C/decade. (He’s half right — he’s only exaggerating 100%.) That it’s mostly due to man-made emissions. (Baseless speculation.)

As far as public policies go the only point that matters is 3, but most of the conversation is about 1 and 2. Worse, most journalists and many so-called scientists think evidence for warming is the same as evidence that coal fired power stations did it. How unscientific.

We need to deal with each claim separately.

1. He’s a converted skeptic. No he’s a dishonest alarmist. [...]

Blockbuster: Anthony Watts skewers Muller, BEST, and the surface record all in one paper

It’s all up on Watts Up now.

What Anthony Watts and Evan Jones have revealed is breathtaking.

[Art thanks to: Cartoons by Josh]

This new pre-print paper by Anthony Watts accomplishes so much. Assuming that no major problems are found, the pieces of the jigsaw fit and pass the common sense test. Yes, hot air rises off concrete. There goes half the warming trend. The most accurate thermometers in the right places are not recording high trends. High estimates come from combining good records with poor ones then adjusting that up. They show Muller and BEST’s latest exaggerated claims of 1.5C are meaningless. They show that only class 1 and 2 stations (which are placed well, not next to concrete, car-parks, or air-conditioners) give reliable data and the warming trend from these stations is much lower than the warming trend from Class 3, 4 or 5 stations. It’s what we always knew — thermometers near artificial heat sources are measuring artificial warming, but it’s not the global kind. Mueller, BEST, GISS, Hadley and all the others should have removed the data from poor stations entirely. No amount of statistical chicanery can correct the artificial warming effect no [...]

The big news is out on Watts Up: Half the trend is due to badly placed thermometers and erroneous adjustments

It’s all up on Watts Up now.

What Anthony Watts and Evan Jones have revealed is breathtaking, a must see. Half of the warming trend has gone. 92% of the artificial rise was due to” erroneous adjustments of well sited stations”. Muller et al used an older siting classification system. The new classification system shows that siting does have a major impact on the data.

We always knew thermometers were never meant to be stuck next to air-conditioners. Now we know they shouldn’t be recording global warming near airports either.

[Art thanks to: Cartoons by Josh]

Go and Visit Watts Up and enjoy!

I’ll be posting my own analysis with graphs and information soon.

This is one of those blockbuster moments when the pieces come together. For Anthony it’s five years work, and overturns so many studies all at once. This graph rather sums it all up. Raw well placed thermometers recorded 0.15C per decade. Badly sited thermometers recorded 0.25C, and adjusted ones recorded 0.3C!  Fully twice the warming trend.

Figure 19 – Comparisons of regions and gridded values for all CONUS compliant stations, all CONUS non-compliant [...]

Müller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training

Müller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley About 18 months ago, as soon as I heard of Dr. Richard Müller’s Berkeley Earth Temperature project, I sent an email to several skeptical scientists drawing their attention to his statement that he considered his team’s attempt to verify how much “global warming” had occurred since 1750 to be one of the most important pieces of research ever to be conducted in the history of science. This sounded too much like propaganda.

“…from 1695 – 1735 Central England warmed seven times faster than what Muller finds in the 262 years during which we are supposed to have influenced the weather.”

He was posing, I said, as a skeptical scientist; his results would broadly confirm the pre-existing temperature series; when his research ended, he would declare himself to have been converted from scepticism to the belief that merely because the world had warmed the warming must be our fault; and publication of his results would be exploited as a triumphant and final confirmation of the “global warming” orthodoxy.

My doubts about Dr. Müller’s motivation intensified after I met him at the Los Alamos Climate Conference in Santa [...]

Watts Up Speculation Thread

Watts Up Suspended

You know you’re going to speculate. The emails started coming in to me early this morning ten minutes after the unusual WUWT post was published.  No — it’s not ClimateGate III, not FOIA. I have my theories.

Rereke calculates the release time for WUWT In New Zealand it will be 7.00 am.

Officially the release is listed for: “Sunday July 29th, around Noon PST in California”

Rereke notes: “Anthony Watt’s site does say PST, which would be 8.00am NZT. The question is, “Is that a typo?” I assumed that it was, because people just look at the clock. It is only people like me who are anal enough to worry.

By assuming that it should be PDT, I might be watching an hour early.”

So here are some other times (assuming it is PDT):

California: Sunday 12:00 noon New Zealand:  Monday 7 am Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane Australia : Monday  5am Perth, Australia: Monday: 3am Delhi, India:  Monday 12.30am Jerusalem Israel, Helsinki Finland: Sunday 10pm Paris , France; Berlin Germany; Rome, Italy: Sunday 9pm London, UK:  Sunday 8pm New York, USA: Sunday 3pm Corresponding GMT Sunday 7pm

Times thanks to Timeanddate.com

 

So do tune [...]

Some good news science – growing spare parts for people

With all the corruption and failures in climate science, sometimes it’s nice to read about how some areas of science are still working, and developing something that matters.

There are thousands of people working on a frontier of science that promises to revolutionize medicine. We are living in the last days of what we’ll come to know as the “old medicine” where surgeons do the unthinkable — cutting out healthy blood vessels to get spare parts for more important sites, or treating people with drugs that affect cells all over the body (with many unwanted side-effects) when what we need is a way to get the right molecules into a tiny percentage of cells. Then there is the devastating cost of using transplants from other people (deceased or not), and then having to use immune-suppressant drugs for life. Growing your own spare parts — customized and make to order — is the brilliant alternative.

Our lives would be so much better if the money used to install vast inefficient solar arrays, or bird-breaking windfarms was used instead on gene therapy. That doesn’t mean everything about this is unquestionably good, like any powerful tool, gene therapy can kill as well as [...]

Local weather affects about 1% of people in polls on Global Warming

For every three degrees F warmer (or cooler), about 1 % of respondents in surveys think there is more (or less) evidence that the Earth has been getting warmer (3 F = 1.6 C).

Alarmists will use this survey to tell us how dumb the punters are, but remember that even if temperatures are 10 degrees C hotter or colder than normal that still means 94% of people answering the survey have not changed their position, and that the question itself largely misses the point. The important factor is whether human emissions caused the warming, and if so, what percentage of the increase was due to man-made effects.

Local Weather Patterns Affect Beliefs about Global Warming, NYU and Temple Researchers Find

Local weather patterns temporarily influence people’s beliefs about evidence for global warming, according to research by political scientists at New York University and Temple University. Their study, which appears in the Journal of Politics, found that those living in places experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures at the time they were surveyed were significantly more likely than others to say there is evidence for global warming.

[...]

Climate Institute Poll finds we are all stupid, confused. Gillard must sell The Carbon Pox better!

We know the answer is always that they are smart, and that if we don’t “get their vision” they just need to explain it better.

“Australians have limited understanding of climate change, Climate Institute finds”

A new survey by the Climate Institute on attitudes to climate change shows the majority are concerned for the environment, but confusion reigns supreme.

After years of vigorous and at times toxic debate, more than 1000 people surveyed gave an amazing array of answers …. Sixty-nine per cent thought humans were causing it. But when asked to explain the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing scheme, focus groups returned blank stares.

The reality is of course that climate scientists have a limited understanding of our climate, and that most Australians are suspicious that a tax can change the weather.

Try not to throw up reading the actual report: Climate of The Nation. For starters, the low contrast colors in baby blue and penitentiary-grey-brown are designed not to be read, but to be absorbed. The layout and feel is very much the style of a baby formula brochure. Bask in the “atmosphere” as you scan, but bring out your magnifying glass if you [...]

Spinning more bad news to pretend it answers skeptics. When 400 “equals” zero

Believers really do have trouble with numbers. Today 400 is apparently a lot like zero.

Since when was 400 years a gap that anyone called “close”? Especially when we are talking about a molecular effect that works in microseconds (or hey, even less).

Newspapers today are full of the spin that an Antarctic survey by Pedro et al, that found CO2 only lagged temperature by a mere tiny 400 years ‘… “addressed the argument of “climate sceptics” that CO2 increases did not lead to temperature rises because the temperature rise must come first.’ [The Australian]. Didn’t the editor notice that a lag of 400 years is still a lag? Did the journalist (Rosanne Hunt) not realize that even if the lag was measured in hours it still means temperature drives carbon dioxide, and not the other way around? This is nonsense on stilts. The Australian only published 6 lines, and one of them is barking.

The “lag” might be small on this scale, but it’s long compared to a taxpayers lifespan. Graph from the Australian Antarctic Division

 

The Australian Government (Antarctic Division) says it “closes the gap” and “Their findings suggest that feedbacks in the climate system – in [...]

Storm trends in Australia and New Zealand? No evidence that CO2 increases extreme weather

Get ready — for all the fears of extreme weather coming our way — studies of Queensland, Victoria, the whole of SE Australia, New Zealand, and Perth show that either nothing is changing (there have always been bad storms) or possibly, the weather is better now than it used to be. Where is the evidence to support the claims by alarmists that increasing CO2 will make “extreme weather” more common? It’s less windy now across South East Australia than it was in the 1920′s. It’s less stormy on the southern coast of Victoria, and records that go back 7000 years in New Zealand and 5000 years in Queensland show repeated examples of monster storms that — should they hit today, would be described as being “likely” due to coal fired power stations and excessive use of SUV’s.

The Science and Public Policy Institute published  Historical storm trends in Australia and New Zealand in June. This post builds on that publication.

It’s less windy across South East Australia

Alexander et al 2011 looked at locations from Port Lincoln (SA) to Goondiwindi (QLD), to Hobart (Tas) which pretty much covers everything anyone could call South East Australia. They used wind [...]

Sugar cane ethanol biofuel produces 10 times the pollution of gasoline and diesel

Indur Goklany calculated that biofuels policies killed nearly 200,000 people  in 2010 alone. That was before this study showed things may be worse than we suspected.

Brazil is the largest sugar cane ethanol producer in the world, but people are burning four times the area of sugar cane plantations than previously realized, and it’s producing far more pollution than they thought. For every unit of energy generated, the ethanol-biofuel use produces a lot less CO2 (plant fertilizer) but more volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), more carbon monoxide, more nitrous oxides, as well as more sulphur dioxides. (See Graph b below).

Compared to gasoline and diesel, over its whole life cycle, every unit of energy produced with sugar cane produces 10 times as much volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), carbon monoxide,  and nitrous oxides.  The amount PM10′s and PM2.5′s produced with ethanol fuels is even higher. Most of the pollution comes from burning fields of sugar cane (see graph a). Hence the people suffering the most from ethanol production will be villagers and rural farmers living near areas of sugar cane production. While there have been efforts to encourage farmers to produce cane without burning fields, over half of sugar-cane crop loads continue [...]

Denialists will soon run the show? Not at all. Those in denial are losing to the realists.

O woe betide those who are losing. Graham Readfearn moans and laments the Green-Labor losses that are likely to come nationally in the near future. Readfern packs the whole kit-and-kaboodle of fallacies, misnomers, and confounded reasoning into one article.

“Anyone who places any stock in safeguarding the current and future climate (and for that matter anyone who doesn’t) should prepare themselves for the risk that very soon, climate science deniers, contrarians and sceptics will be running the show.

But who are the deniers here? Readfearn fashions himself as a bit of an expert on deniers, so you’d think he’d be able to say what they deny. But Readfearn thinks skeptics deny that CO2 absorbs infra red:

“To Pearson and others, the experiments of John Tyndall in 1859 which established the warming properties of what we now know to be greenhouse gases just didn’t happen.

Dear Graham, if you bother to get accurate you’ll note that Spencer, Lindzen, Monckton, Michaels, Douglass, Singer, Idso, Knox, Soon, Svensmark, Christie, Watts, Carter, Giaever, Schmitt and I could go on (Evans, and dare I say Nova in that list) — all agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It may come [...]

Medieval Warm Period found in 120 proxies. Plus Roman era was similar to early 20th Century.

Two major proxy studies, larger than ever, were released in April and June 2012. They show that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) existed, and was similar to current temperatures. These comprehensive studies suggest current temperatures are not unusual, and that itself is not all that surprising — I’ve mentioned before how there are hundreds of proxy studies showing it was as warm or warmer back then. (CO2science has been documenting them.) But these studies are worth a mention because they are so large.

Climate models cannot explain what caused the warming 1000 years ago, nor the cooling  300 years ago, so they can’t rule out the same factors aren’t changing the climate today (though they claim they can). If climate models can’t explain the past, they can’t predict the future.

The last 12 Centuries

Ljungqvist used 120 proxy records — nearly 3 times as many proxies as previous studies and conclude: “during the 9th to 11th centuries there was widespread NH warmth comparable in both geographic extent and level to that of the 20th century”. Their proxies included ice-cores, pollen, marine sediments, lake sediments, tree-rings, speleothems and historical documentary data.

Ljungqvistet al 2012 Fig. 4. Mean time-series of centennial [...]

Vote to get Gillard to answer questions that matter

“Hangout with the Prime Minister“

There are only hours to go before the three winning questions that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard must answer are decided. Andrew Bolt noticed that the author of one question got US voters involved. (From BOLT: It seems the author has got US Internet forums to help.  Also here: not-so-pointless-poll-on-australian-chaplains / aggregator | AtheistAus | pzmyers. “Should blog readers fight fire with fire? It does seem odd having US readers demand answers from an Australian PM that they’ll almost certainly won’t hear about a program that doesn’t affect them in the slightest.”)

Those who log in can register 8 votes. But it closes very soon: Voting ends on July 19th at 5 PM.

At the moment:

Q1

“Dear Prime Minister, as the first female, atheist, unmarried Prime Minister of Australia, and leader of a self-described socially progressive party, how do you explain your opposition to same-sex marriage and “deeply held” belief that same-sex…”

Q2

“Dear Prime Minister. Against the strongly expressed concerns of mental health professionals, teacher unions and secular organisations, why do you allow the outrageous situation to continue where largely unqualified, religious evangelists have access…”

Q3

“By how much, measured in thousandths of degrees [...]

Carbon prices fall to new record low — $4 per ton (Australians will pay $23 — that’s 500% more!)

So much for that global “free” market.

Scott the trader writes to explain that the EU “CER” credits are the ones people can buy and exchange for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) but they have sunk to $4. The more expensive $9 EUA units that most commentators mention, are not exchangeable in the Australian market:

“The EU CER price is equivalent to about A$3.80  per tonne…  Almost $20 below Australia’s fixed price.    These are the products most comparable to Australia’s $23/Tonne as it will be CERs that we can surrender instead of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) to satisfy an Australian Clean Energy Scheme liability.   It is incorrect as most media commentators are doing in Australia to compare to EUAs which are at about $9 Australian.  Australia cannot access EUA’s to satisfy our carbon liabilities.  The only comparison is $3.80/T for a CER and $23/T for an ACCU.”

So most commentators are comparing the wrong type of carbon  credits, and the Australian market is even more overpriced than  people recognize. Australians will be paying 500% more than the largest carbon market in the world.

The Australian scheme is the most expensive, and most ambitious in the [...]

Topher is doing another Forbidden History video — just hours to go….

Topher did the brilliant “Forbidden History” video, which has hit 50,000 views and he wants to make two more to remind people of the importance of free speech.

There are only hours to help him to reach the tally. Pledges are only processed if the total hits $35k and I hear that there is a big donor as yet unlisted, and the remaining gap is small, so those last promises today might make all the difference.

The post here last month on The Forbidden History of Unpopular People garnered a very enthusiastic response.

“It’s about arrogance, it’s about powerful people here in Australia who believe that they are smarter than you, that their opinion is worth more than your opinion, and that their thinking is better than your thinking, and if you think they’re wrong, you should just shut up.”

Help stop the News Media Gestapo

I’m sorry I wasn’t onto this earlier in the piece…

[...]

BOMs new data set, ACORN, so bad it should be withdrawn (954 min temps larger than the max!)

When independent auditors found errors, gaps and deep questions about the HQ (High Quality) dataset for the official record of Australian temperatures, the BOM responded by producing a completely new set called ACORN in March 2012. But this set is also plagued with errors. One of the independent auditors, Ed Thurstan writes to me to explain that though the BOM says it aimed for the “best possible data set” and specified that they check internal consistency of data (one such check is to make sure that the maximum on any given day is larger than the minimum) when Thurstan double checked ACORN he found nearly 1000 instances where the max temperatures were lower than the minimums recorded the same day.

This raises serious questions about the quality control of the Australian data that are so serious, Thurstan asks whether the whole set should be withdrawn.

Why are basic checks like these left to unpaid volunteers, while Australian citizens pay $10 billion a year to reduce a warming trend recorded in a data set so poor that it’s not possible to draw any conclusions about the real current trend we are supposedly so concerned [...]

Charles Sturt’s time: so hot that thermometers exploded. Was Australia’s hottest day in 1828? 53.9C!

Australia’s hottest day? Not 2010, but 1828 at a blistering 53.9 °C

Back before man-made climate change was frying Australia, when CO2 was around 300ppm, the continent savoured an ideal preindustrial climate, right? (This is the kind of climate we are spending $10bn per annum to get back too?)

We are told today’s climate has more records and more extremes than times gone by, but the few records we have from the early 1800’s are eye-popping.  Things were not just hotter, but so wildly hot it burst thermometers.  The earliest temperature records we have show that Australia was a land of shocking heatwaves and droughts, except for when it was bitterly cold or raging in flood.

In other words, nothing has changed, except possibly things might not be quite so hot now.

Silliggy (Lance Pidgeon) has been researching records from early explorers and from newspapers. What he has uncovered is fascinating. — Jo

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Charles Sturt  (1930 postage stamp) Wikimedia

Lance Pidgeon writes:

“EXTENSIVE FLOOD”, “AWFUL BUSH FIRES”, “PROLONGED DROUGHT“ AND “CHANGES OF CLIMATE“.

These Australian headlines from the 1800′s above describe extremes the early colonists faced. At the time the European explorers who were instructed and equipped to [...]

Monckton: The Counter-strategies to logic denial on campus (that Eos won’t publish)

Two biology and environmental academics from Schenactady and Rensselaer Polytech New York were apparently concerned that their young prodigy might be lost from the religion of global warming (and misled by “Deniers”) so they put together together a guide to help others facing the onslaught of common sense and reason. The piece titled “Effective Strategies to Counter Campus Presentations on Climate Denial” was published in Eos.

 What they didn’t do, was put forward empirical evidence. (If only they’d thought of that?)

The source of their angst? Christopher Monckton (of course) who spoke at Union College (thanks to CFACT), with help simultaneously from none other than Ivar Giaever (the Nobel Prize winning physicist we saw yesterday) who spoke at Rensselaer. (Imagine the very idea of a Nobel prize winning physicist speaking on campus about uncertainties of predicting the weather?)

 Eos , Vol. 93, No. 27, 3 July 2012

 Effective Strategies to Counter Campus Presentations on Climate Denial

 Jeffrey D. Corbin and  and Miriam E. Katz  [PDF]

Assuming the world copied the Australian Carbon Tax… it will cost $2,000 trillion to cool the planet by one degree.

Monckton send [...]

NZ Scientists “stunned”, “shocked” by mere 1% rise in CO2 absorption. What spin!

The NZ Herald reports a new study showing that since 1988 there has been a sudden increase in the absorption of CO2 over land. It’s in the order of a billion tons of CO2 a year and amounts to 10% of all human emissions. As usual, the spinmeisters frame it in terms of our guilt instead of their ignorance. “Look! Things would have been worse and even warmer if not for this new unknown factor.”

But globally plants already emit about 80Gt per year. Finding one extra Gt of absorption is both predictable and largely insignificant. What this episode really shows is just how far the alarmist PR departments will go to find any excuse to cover up for two decades of poor predictions.

Dr David Evans, formerly a carbon modeler for the Australian Greenhouse Office calls the new discovery “just noise”:

Sounds impressive, but it’s not significant. Rough numbers: there are currently 800GtC (gigatonnes, or billion tonnes) of CO2 carbon in the atmosphere, and each year: plants oceans absorb 80GtC and emit 80GtC, oceans plants absorb 120GtC and emit 120Gt, and human emissions are 8GtC. (Notice that the total turnover in CO2 carbon each year is about [...]