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FOIA, Government-Funded Climate Science and Hole-Digging

Here’s  a benefit FOIA probably didn’t imagine. Skeptical networks. For anyone who doesn’t know, Jennifer Marohasy has published one of the longest-running skeptical blogs in the world, and she’s one of the few other women on the front lines. I don’t know why we hadn’t spent a long time on the phone before. I’m delighted that we are in much better contact…

– Jo

—————————————————————————-

Guest Post By Jennifer Marohasy

FOIA is a recognised shorthand for Freedom of Information Act.  Legislation by this name has existed in the USA since 1966, Australia since 1982 and the UK legislation was introduced in 2000.  It was climate scientists at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, conspiring to evade the UK FOIA that probably inspired Climategate, with Mr FOIA, as the “hacker” calls himself, releasing over 220,000 documents and emails beginning in November 2009.  In a recent email he explained: “The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen.  Later on it could be too late.”

By providing public access to emails and documents from leading climate scientists, Mr FOIA exposed how tricks, adjustments, and corrections, were routinely applied to climate data to support the propaganda of the largely government-funded global warming industry.

I recently scrutinized documents from a successful FOI request by John Abbot to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, DCCEE.  As far as I can make out from the documents the entire Australian Climate Change Science Program can be likened to what Mr FOIA describes as “a massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor” for which the climate scientists are generously remunerated by the Australian taxpayer.  Let me explain in more detail:

Modern history suggests that democracy aligns, and progresses, with the expansion of civil liberties including access by the ordinary citizen to government information.   But in the Climategate emails, it is clear that leading UK climate scientists held the FOIA in contempt, considering it a waste of time and recommending that data and information be deleted rather than released.  The problem extends beyond the CRU to western democracies more generally where ballooning bureaucracies are increasingly reluctant to share information with their public.   Yet without meaningful public oversight of public expenditure there is reason to fear that government bureaucracies will become self-serving and oppressive which is the antithesis of the egalitarian democratic ideal.

“It appeared that there were significant accounting discrepancies suggesting the overpayment of CSIRO and BOM of about $10 million.”

In Australia, for example, public expenditure on global warming has continued to increase, but there is no evidence that there has been any corresponding improvement in climate science, for example, through improved seasonal rainfall forecasts.

In March 2010, John Abbot  – a PhD scientist who is also a qualified solicitor – made a Freedom of Information request to the DCCEE asking for documents concerning the Australian Climate Change Science Program, ACCSP, including how monies were allocated between specific projects and the outcomes from these projects.  The request was initially denied, claiming various exemptions as detailed in recent peer reviewed articles in Environmental Law and Management [1] and Public Law Review [2].

Following a protracted appeal process through the Information Commissioner that included scrutiny of the manner of application of the public interest test and bogus claims of intellectual property rights, the original decision was reversed and the documents were eventually released.

These documents detailed funding for 160 government climate scientists, almost all of these employed by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, BOM.  It appeared that there were significant accounting discrepancies suggesting the overpayment of CSIRO and BOM of about $10 million.   The DCCEE has declined to comment on the discrepancy, in particular the provision of funding for salaries apparently far in excess of what could be reasonably justified and supplementary to core agency funding.

Professor Abbot’s FOI request was made at a time when there was much public discussion and debate about the merits of the newly-elected Australian federal government introducing significant economic reform by way of a wide ranging carbon tax to address issues of anthropogenic global warming. The BOM and CSIRO were cited in support of government policy developed by the DCCEE and underpinned by the assumption that the Millennium drought (2001-2009) was linked to climate change.

The BoM and the CSIRO had directed much of their research efforts towards understanding rainfall patterns and generating rainfall projections by using General Circulation Models, GCMs.  These are the same models that are relied on to provide evidence for global warming associated with greenhouse gas emissions.  The models require very large capital expenditures for supercomputers (tens of millions of dollars) and are also very expensive to run to perform calculations.   A reasonable question from a public interest perspective is therefore – do these models perform well at forecasting rainfall?  After investing millions of dollars, has this actually improved rainfall forecasts in a practical way?   There is no evidence, however, in any of the documents released under FOIA that the DCCEE has any interest in the real world application of this climate research.

***

Jennifer Marohasy is a biologist and blogger.  She has also recently made comment on FOIA and proposed Australian media reform here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/03/media-rules-prohibit-dissent/

[1] Abbot J. & Marohasy J., 2012.  Accessing information under Australian freedom of information legislation: a case study involving climate change. Environmental Law and Management, Volume 24, Issue 3, pages 114-118.

[2] Abbot J. & Marohasy J. , 2013. Barriers to accessing environmental information under Australian Freedom of Information, Public Law Review, Volume 24, pages 10-16.

 

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130 comments to FOIA, Government-Funded Climate Science and Hole-Digging

  • #
    Speedy

    Morning Jennifer – welcome aboard!

    You raise an interesting point:

    A reasonable question from a public interest perspective is therefore – do these models perform well at forecasting rainfall? After investing millions of dollars, has this actually improved rainfall forecasts in a practical way?

    Seeing that a significant amount of “research” money is spent on climate models, has anyone done any hindcasting (as opposed to forecasting) to determine whether the models actually worked? They’ve been going long enough, and the global temperature pause of the last 16 years (Met Bureau, Dec 2012) should be a notable feature in a successful predictive model.

    So – how many actually predicted it?

    Cheers,

    Speedy

    281

    • #
      Quack

      i can predict the rainfall by looking at the sky – don’t need no supacomputer to tell me. billions of dollars wasted!!!

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      • #
        JFC

        Well done Quack! It’s obvious to us all that you don’t need no fancy book learnin’.

        512

        • #
          Quack

          not so KFC – i read a few magazines and the internet every day!!! we are statistically cooling – agw is dead. the politicians are all ju-liars and the emails prove scientists are corrupt!!!!! the planet has been around for thousands of years and the climate has always changed and will continue to do so!

          no fancy book needed!!!

          263

          • #
            Nice One

            the planet has been around for thousands of years

            Jennifer Marohasy, care to comment? Perhaps you could also help Joanne with her concept of “statistical significance”, Jo’s a little stuck.

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            • #

              Nice one, since your lot are downright underhand about what is “statistically significant” to the point where you and yours have mangled the both of them I’d stop barking at the moon if I were you.

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            • #
              Popeye

              Nice one

              Stop wasting your time here (and a lot of other peoples time as well – you still have some unanswered questions over here

              NICE to know you’re back – but please – don’t leave a whole heap of unanswered questions in your wake on multiple topics – people will begin to think you’re just a troll!!

              Cheers,

              50

              • #
                Nice One

                http://joannenova.com.au/2013/03/climategate-iii-the-password-is-out/#comment-1254309

                Mark D posted randomly links and said “so there”. Doesn’t really qualify as worth responding to. Once you post an argument showing the ocean is NOT warming, then I’ll engage. Till then, I’m still waitong for you to show us how the data is wrong. I’m still waiting for Nova to justify her claim with evidence.

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              • #
                Mark D.

                Posted “randomly links”?

                I’m demanding evidence from you (and I went first). Prove how warm water sinks. Then tell me how one measures “ocean heat content” empirically?

                The data is not wrong, it is manipulated (oh so familiar with warmists), and there isn’t much of it to begin with. You and your warmist buddy Levitus THINKS he found it by eliminating ARGO data that competed with what he THINKS should be happening then ran it through a model of his choosing.

                The other “randomly” links offer evidence that steric expansion (sea level rise) isn’t corresponding to the amount of “hidden heat” you claim (via Levitus etal) to be there.

                Talk about statistical significance, how many deep ocean temperature data sets are they and how far back in time do they go? Is it “robust”? Is it over 30 years of data?

                You chose not to comment about that because it is your little “inconvenient truth”.

                NOise is all I hear.

                70

              • #
                Popeye

                Nice one

                I did post one last statement over there:

                “If you CAN’T/WON’T respond to my original request then it shows you are FULL OF ..IT!!”

                Looks like you are and Mark D would be first to agree.

                Trolls who won’t/don’t/can’t be bothered answering simple and valid questions should be BANNED!!

                Cheers,

                00

              • #
                Nice One

                Yep. A bunch of random links with no argument attached. That’s what you wrote.

                Prove how warm water sinks.

                You seem to believe that this needs to happen in order for the OHC to show warming at both the 0-700m and 700-2000m range. It does not.

                Both the 0-700 and the 700-2000m depths are warming, but that doesn’t mean the lower depths are warmer than the upper layer.

                The lower depths can even warm faster than the upper layers without breaking the “hot on top, colder below” rule.

                Observe the following ENSO observations. The lower layers often show a higher temp anomaly (upper image), but the absolute temps (upper image) show hot on top, cold on bottom.
                http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml

                The data is not wrong, it is manipulated

                If you mean to achieve a global value, then yes, of course. If you mean purposefully to decieve everyone into thinking it’s warming, then no, there’s no evidence of that.

                Let me know when you have something other than blogger webscience to support your argument.

                The other “randomly” links offer evidence that steric expansion (sea level rise) isn’t corresponding to the amount of “hidden heat” you claim (via Levitus etal) to be there.

                Be specific. What exact link, what exact argument? Most “science” Nova posts is usually easily debunked.

                Talk about statistical significance, how many deep ocean temperature data sets are they and how far back in time do they go? Is it “robust”? Is it over 30 years of data?

                I’ve not mentioned anything about a trend, or tried to prove how significant it is, the current data shows warming which is contrary to what Nova wants you to think.

                You chose not to comment about that because it is your little “inconvenient truth”.

                Nah, I chose not to comment when someone throws up a bunch of links and expects the reader to go find the argument for them. That’s just laziness on your behalf.

                Next time, speak up and make a point.

                14

              • #
                Mark D.

                Nah, I chose not to comment when someone throws up a bunch of links and expects the reader to go find the argument for them. That’s just laziness on your behalf.

                Yes where have I seen that before?http://joannenova.com.au/2012/10/man-made-global-warming-disproved/#comment-1259119

                Very lazy indeed.

                Next time, speak up and make a point.

                DUMBASS ARE YOU DEAF?http://joannenova.com.au/2012/10/man-made-global-warming-disproved/#comment-1261514

                00

          • #
            Streetcred

            I am humbled … excellent comprehension of the world today ;)

            10

          • #
            Speedy

            Quack

            You certainly have a gift for understatement! Earth’s been around for 4.5 billion – or 4,500,000,000 years, which is nearly 5 thousand thousand thousand years.

            On the other hand, there’s a bunch of guys who would prefer that the “science” didn’t even extend as far as the most recent 1000 years of our history – I refer to the hockey stick gentlemen. And the reason for their reluctance – modesty perhaps? Or perhaps because even 1000 years of history demonstrates the exact point you are making – that natural variation in the global climate looks much the same as the “evidence” they use to justify their half baked global warming theory? (Refer CO2Science.com for examples.)

            You can decide for yourself.

            Cheers,

            Speedy

            22

            • #
              Nice One

              Bunch of guys, really, like Richard Alley explaining how CO2 acts as a feedback during interglacials.

              013

              • #
                Speedy

                Nice One

                A drop in CO2 might have an effect as these papers try to suggest – but is it significant? It would seem not.

                You would be aware of the Vostok ice core data, which demonstrates that changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration occurs AFTER (Subsequent to, later than, in chronological succession to)changes in global temperature. Typically, 800 years or so after the climate warms, the CO2 in the ocean (about 50 times the tonnage present in the atmosphere) is released. (Refer Henry’s Law, CO2 solubility in water). Obviously, if the CO2 that is consequently released from the ocean was relevant (in a warming sense) then the world would continue to warm, the oceans would spit out more CO2 etc. In other words, we’d all be nicely broiled a few billion years ago. But we haven’t.

                Furthermore, it seems that the current interglacial is no warmer (and indeed may be cooler) than the preceding 3 interglacials, despite the fact that atmospheric CO2 levels were lower in the earlier interglacials.

                Jo has kindly provided a link to CO2Science.com, where you will find further links to this effect. You might even learn something. Enjoy!

                Cheers,

                Speedy

                50

              • #
                Nice One

                You would be aware of the Vostok ice core data, which demonstrates that changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration occurs AFTER (Subsequent to, later than, in chronological succession to)changes in global temperature.

                Yes, which is why in the above post I called it a FEEDBACK and that’s what Richard Alley spent most of the video explaining.

                That you didn’t bother to engage in the argument, but instead just sprouted the usual “story” tells us that you’re not prepared to learn and subbornly cling to what you think is right no matter what the evidence suggests.

                28

        • #
          crakar24

          JFC,

          You have misspelt the word learning (learnin’)suggest you read a few books with the fancy titles of “see spot run”, “The little engine that thought he could” and any books from the “Thomas the tank engine” series in order to address any shorfalls you may have in English language reading and comprehension skills.

          45

          • #
            Speedy

            G’day Crakar

            I didn’t mind the feeble sarcasm, it was the poor logic of JFC’s comment got to me. A fact is a fact, no matter who says it.

            Argument from authority is no argument. And the reality is that the alarmist’s “projections” are showing up to be B/S.

            Cheers,

            Speedy

            20

    • #
      Jennifer Marohasy

      Hi Speedy

      I’ve done a fair amount of hindcasting, and also benchmarking, of output from the Bureau’s GCM for monthly rainfall. They are not very good!

      More information here… http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/05/using-artificial-intelligence-to-forecast-rainfall/

      200

      • #
        Ian

        Dr Marohasy Did you ever get any communication from the BOM regarding your results and have you continued your studies in this are since May 2012?

        00

        • #
          Jennifer Marohasy

          Hi Ian

          Yes and yes.

          In order to benchmark against output from the Bureau’s POAMA model we needed their raw data output. This ended up involving a trip to Melbourne to the Bureau. We put what we had on the table for them to see. There was no surprise on their part that our forecasts were more skillful. But they have already made their investment in GCMs… never mind that they don’t work. No one is holding them to account for their expenditure and their lack of success.

          I’m always reminded of the late Thomas Kuhn’s comment in his book ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’… “As in manufacture so in science – retooling is an extravagance to be reserved for the occasion that demands it.” ;-)

          Meanwhile, John Abbot and I have made an investment in more computers and are looking at ways to significantly improve the skill of our rainfall hindcasts because while we may have more skill than the Bureau our hind cast are not that good.

          We have just completed a couple of conference papers with detailed results – paper to be presented in the UK in May. And have just also completed applications for government funding outlining the direction we would like to go into the future to hopefully make a step improvement in forecast/hindcast skill.

          290

          • #
            Jennifer Marohasy

            I must add… this work has so far been funded by the B.Macfie Family Foundation… which is Perth-based.

            190

          • #

            Doctor Marohasy,

            I know I’ll probably be flamed by some for saying this, but I was wondering if anyone has thought of getting in contact with Hayden Walker. He’s the son Of Lennox Walker, and he took over his father’s work.

            Why I say this is that Lennox took over from Inigo Jones who took over from Clem Wragge (the man who actually started the tradition of naming Tropical Cyclones).

            Now I understand that Long Range Weather Forecasting has that aspect that people (somewhat disparagingly) refer to as mumbo jumbo, but the data that these four men compiled goes back to the mid 1800′s, and Clem Wragge started taking rainfall records from 100 meteorological stations in Queensland, together with 400 rainfall stations from the late 1800′s.

            All four had a remarkable accuracy with their forecasts, based in part around all those early and detailed records.

            Perhaps those records might prove to be of some use, when it comes to comparisons with some other sources who, umm, seem to have an aspect of fudging figures about them.

            Tony.

            Early history of Walker’s Weather

            142

          • #
            cohenite

            Jennifer says of the BOM:

            We put what we had on the table for them to see. There was no surprise on their part that our forecasts were more skillful. But they have already made their investment in GCMs… never mind that they don’t work. No one is holding them to account for their expenditure and their lack of success.

            That is remarkable. I wonder what would surprise them; a termination slip after September perhaps?

            252

      • #
        Nice One

        Could we have your predictions for the rest of the year?

        311

        • #
          Jennifer Marohasy

          Hi Nice One

          Fair question, but at this stage we (John Abbot and I) are investing our time in improving the methodology. We test our skill through hind casting… that is comparing model output against actual observations.

          If you, or other readers, are interested in what we are doing there is opportunity to help through:

          1. There is a PhD scholarship opportunity through CQ University. We would be particularly interested in working with someone with a signal processing/ electrical engineering background.

          2. We could do with a significant funding injection. One of the conference papers we will be presenting in May details the skill of our monthly forecasts for a locality in the Bowen Basin. If you knew of a mining company that was interested in better medium term rainfall forecasts… Our method has been developed for the Australian east coast and we hindcast/forecast up to 3 months in advance for a one month period.

          60

          • #
            bobl

            Hmm, interesting, I am an EE with a signal processing background

            20

            • #
              Jennifer Marohasy

              Hi bobl

              If you are interested in following up email me at jennifermarohasy at jennifermarohasy.com and/or telephone 041 887 3222.

              John is particularly interested in deconstructing the patterns in the rainfall data and climatic indices (e.g. Nino 3.4) from a signal perspective. The signal components can be used as inputs and outputs for forecasting with neural networks. This approach is beginning to be investigated in several Asian countries in conjunction with rainfall forecasting.

              I can email you recent publications in this area if you get in contact.

              30

          • #
            bobl

            Hmm, interesting, I am an EE with a signal processing background…

            00

    • #
      Jon

      The climate models are based on the political established UNFCCC. They all have not been validated so its not science but more policy based nonscience.

      61

  • #

    Well put Jen. I think Lord Monckton said there is a need to use the law to expose wrong doing by people who are unscrupulous and have a political agenda to pervert democratic processes. One of the reasons the “Greens” support moves to muzzle the press is likely to be about their concern of exposure by FOI inquiries.
    Simon Turnill of Australian Climate Madness had some success with FOI about the false claims of death threats at ANU (http://australianclimatemadness.com/foi/)
    Could I suggest that in Queensland there are two laws which could be used to curb excesses by publicly funded officials making decisions which could relate to climate.
    a)PUBLIC SECTOR ETHICS ACT 1994 which applies to the public service in the government and local government, to named institutions and government owned entities (includes Queensland University and other Universities) and may apply to contractors such as the CSIRO
    It would apply to John Cook of that non sceptical blog as he is funded by Qld Uni
    I suggest that the officials in charge of FOI inquiries should be reminded of their obligations under the Ethics Act and that they could themselves be charged.
    b)Professional Engineers Act 2002
    Under which it is a criminal offense to provide an engineering service if not registered.
    The defintion of service in schedule 2 of the act is
    “professional engineering service means an engineering
    service that requires, or is based on, the application of
    engineering principles and data to a design, or to a
    construction or production activity, relating to engineering”

    Note the word data and the fact that thermodynamics, heat & mass transfer, fluid dynamics and reaction kinetics are engineering subjects which are used in assessment of climate, its effects and design of structures. Rainfall and runoff is data required for dam design. IEAust has published a book titled “Australian Rainfall and Runoff”
    I my view some at BOM and CSIRO in Queensland could well be in breach of the PE Act.

    273

    • #
      JFC

      Is this a turkey voting for Xmas? (my bold).

      Lord Monckton said there is a need to use the law to expose wrong doing by people who are unscrupulous and have a political agenda to pervert democratic processes.

      536

      • #
        Backslider

        Are you bored or something? Too quiet for you today?

        If you stand by your comment, please provide evidence.

        70

      • #
        Joe V.

        Could you perhaps explain that one for us JFC ?

        50

      • #
        Quack

        outing warmists is Lord Moncktons job and its not something oil pays for!! anyone can pay or donate not just political politicians.

        41

      • #
        AndyG55

        Your comments here cause damage to the cagw agenda.

        I think that is probably counter-productive to your intent.

        20

    • #

      the application of
      engineering principles and data to a design

      Refers to the application of the data, not to the provision of.
      Engineers apply the data, CSIRO and BoM activists provide the data.

      If anything, this highlights the fact that engineers are compelled by law to apply the data provided to them by the “experts” at BoM and CSIRO.

      112

      • #

        What you say is not correct. Engineers have duty to check any data that they use, even if it is supplied by another professional engineer who follows the code of conduct and applies best practice. Further, they need to set out how they use the data and keep a record for outside scrutiny. Do so-called climate scientists such as Michael Mann or Phil Jones (who have no engineering qualifications) do that?

        70

      • #

        engineers are compelled by law to apply the data provided to them by the “experts” at BoM and CSIRO.

        Not so. While is may be considered “safe” for them to do so, in a CYA fashion akin to tamely applying accepted Standards, Engineers may use other methods as long as those methods are consistent (with known science – “first principles”; and reality!) well documented, understood and accepted as valid by the end user. Almost inevitably, any product designed using novel techniques is required to undergo type-testing (usually to destruction, to demonstrate ultimate capability) if the product’s parameters do not also meet existing codes (Standards).

        As such, Engineering provides for the flexibility to innovate; not just in products but also in the way that products are designed.

        70

    • #
      Joe V.

      Well cementa…, perhaps the former, but failing to register is a technicality.
      Subverting the Democratic process is the offence. Having a political agenda to that end is just evidence of it. Conspiring (with others) to subvert the Democratic process, well Shouldn’t ICLEI be in the dock ?

      70

  • #
    A. O'Brien

    Speedy: If the abilities of the Met Office ere in the UK is anything to go by; I would say that the expendature has not been worth it.

    OB

    100

  • #
    Eddie Sharpe

    FOIA bringing people together. Now wasn’t that what the UN was supposed to do ?

    120

  • #
    Stephen Harper

    From the intro:

    It should read:

    “…Jennifer Marohasy has published one of the longest…”

    —–

    DAMN. I forgot to send you an advance proofing copy… thanks Stephen. Jo

    20

  • #

    I seem to recall reports a while back of issues with low morale at the DCCEE ?
    I thought at the time it might be the sufferings of the righteous faced with the difficulty of converting all of us heathens to the Creed. Perhaps I misjudged. “Massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavors” would have the same effect.

    60

  • #
    Peter Miller

    Every time I have accessed the Australian website of any official organisation, or NGO, on ‘climate change’, all you ever see is blatantly one sided scary stuff, designed to perpetuate pointless employment.

    One even had a emotional article entitled “Hug a Climate Scientist Day”. It would be interesting to know what these clowns pay themselves – if they are in NGOs, they can just about write their own ticket. Any chance of providing us with a ‘Salary (plus bonus) List of Shame’?

    At the end of the day, most of the people in these organisations are just overpaid, over-protected, bureaucrats, who are experts in data manipulation and prepared to spew out any old rubbish to try and emphasise the importance of their ‘work’.

    The obvious analogy to these ‘climate change’ organisations is a cancerous tumour, which just grows and grows and eventually kills its host.

    270

    • #
      Peter Miller

      I do not like replying to myself, but having read Jennifer’s and other posts here, I deduce the following:

      1. There is no way the Australian climate industry’s salaries/benefits are going to be made publicly available. I guess the reason is obvious, namely the fat cats at the top are raking it in and do not want to risk a public outcry over their undeserved wealth.

      2. There are probably quite a few real scientists in the climate industry, some of whom have poor morale due to: i) political interference, ii) the suppression of true science by the need to toe the party line on CAGW, and iii) the financial demands of the pointless parasite bureaucracies that surround them.

      3. As with most things to do with today’s climate science, there is too much opaqueness and too little openness. Embarrassing facts must be concealed or buried. Data interpretation is regularly made inexplicable without the correct code, which is all too often either not provided,or only made available in a difficult to duplicate form. On the other hand, spurious, usually unsubstantiated, headline grabbing statements are encouraged, as a means of demonstrating the ‘value’ of climate science and the ‘need’ to provide more funding.

      The solution?

      It is always difficult to remove entrenched bureaucrats. Also, tax hungry politicians will resist any attempt to return climate science to a pure, non-politically motivated, state.

      Perhaps there should be a two tier tax system, kicking in at around an income of $80,000 per annum. This would apply only to those receiving receiving cash benefits from government, or quasi-government organisations. Between $80,000 and $100,000 per year there would be a tax surcharge of 10% and this would quickly rise to a point at $200,000 or above, where the marginal tax rate would be 90%, or more.

      In the great scheme of things, you are not supposed to get rich by working for government; a concept which is vigorously suppressed by today’s top bureaucrats, and especially by those working in the climate industry.

      50

  • #
    Sean

    How many articles have there been looking at the performance of GCM’s when trying to make regional climate predictions? Professors Roger Pielke Sr. and Judith Curry, both academics in the climate science field, have posted topics that show their lack of effectiveness. The British Met Office uses GCM’s for regional forecasts and has been spectacularly wrong so many times they had to stop. There are really no secrets here. The truely sad thing are meteorologists who do seasonal forecasts based on the set up of the oceans and do a reasonable job, though not perfect, of seasonal forecasting. As I recall, the heavy rains and flooding was anticipated in Brisbane a couple of years ago by a meterologist using the ocean temperature distribution and the southern oscillation. (I should also point out GCM’s ability to predict ENSO features, even in hind cast, is very bad. The GCM’s show small blips for El Nino and La Nina temperature distributions when reality measures temperature anomolies 5 to 10 times larger. It’s no wonder the GCM’s can’t be used for regional forecasts. Frankly, you don’t need FOI to figure out this abysmal failure.
    A commenter also noted that there is a very poor moral at CSIRO and the BOM. I suspect this is not because the public and pundits are treating them badly. A good scientist wants to be a pioneer not a share cropper. Since “consensus science” regarding the climate allegedly knows that CO2 in the atmosphere is dial that controls the global temperature, how much of the R&D is done to support a predetermined outcome. In other words, they have to plow the field that consensus science has defined for them and stay within those bounds. This is probably a great place for bureacrats who want predictable funding but for a scientist that wants to find something new and actually make good predictions, it’s a constraint that defines frustration. In other words, the moral problem may have much more to with the leadership than anything going on outside the labs.

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  • #
    agwnonsense

    How was the fishing Jennifer.

    31

    • #
      Jennifer Marohasy

      Yeah. I got a few things finished, in particular an important paper on the micro-fossils of Lake Alexandrina. But I won’t be shouting (or blogging) about this until the technical paper is published somewhere peer-reviewed. So far editors have been passing it on as though it was a hot potato. But hopefully it is now with a keeper.

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        JFC

        Why would you bother with [my post. [Snip. JFC you are out of order.] ED

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          crakar24

          Dr,

          Please allow me to appologise on behalf of contributors here for the behaviour of JFC (which i suspect is a three letter acronym), you see JFC does not have the ability to recognise when he is out of his depth. I personally dont mind if/when he treats me with utter disrespect when it comes to the sciences because i am not one however there is no excuse for the comment he has made above.

          In some ways through utter stupidity JFC is correct, we have seen Hansen and Best produce papers for public consumption prior to completing the peer review process simply because the standard of the paper in question was so poor it would have been rejected over the course of time, what JFC fails to understand is that a majority of scientists still cling to the morals and ethics of which they are bound, unfortunately the small minority that dont are the ones that he cheers for from the sidelines.

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            Quack

            I suspect KFC is a four letter acronym – hes just hiding the fourth letter. somewhere in the emails well be finding it!!! i said it before, we dont need peer review when we can best judge which science wins just using logic!!!

            (Let’s get back on topic) CTS

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            JFC

            (Snipped the baseless insult) CTS

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          AndyG55

          This is the sort of inconsidered, stupid comment that gives rabid warmists such a bad reputation. Keep it up, Jelly-Fried-Goose.

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    Stacey

    The BBC yeaterday Broadcast a documentary about Professor Feynman’s role on the Rogers commision looking at the Challenger disaster. It is worth considering this quote of his

    “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

    I think this applies to all sciences even climate science?

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    Doug UK

    ………………………….
    Stacey
    March 20, 2013 at 2:05 am · Reply
    The BBC yeaterday Broadcast a documentary about Professor Feynman’s role on the Rogers commision looking at the Challenger disaster. It is worth considering this quote of his

    “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

    I think this applies to all sciences even climate science?
    ………………………….

    I too watched this programme Stacey – and was also struck by the same quote.

    How similar the incestuous relationship between all the parties re the Challenger disaster and what “The Team” has managed to organise.

    But the truth will out

    Huge strides have been made and nobody, apart from the faithful, is prepared to consider that “The debate is settled”.

    In the UK we are starting to see the MSM questioning the dogma. About time – but good none the less.

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    Roy Hogue

    Yet without meaningful public oversight of public expenditure there is reason to fear that government bureaucracies will become self-serving and oppressive which is the antithesis of the egalitarian democratic ideal. [my emphasis]

    No more important statement about government has ever been made. We have to keep our eyes on what we get and do not get for our money.

    Even in the private sector this happens. Witness WWF and Green Peace to mention only two.

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    Backslider

    St Patrick’s day joke:

    A fellow was watching Paddy and Mick, working hard at it for the local council. Paddy was digging holes, with Mick following filling the holes in. The fellow walked up to them saying “Guys, I’m really impressed with how hard you work, but I am curious. Why does one of you dig a hole and the other follows and just fills it in? Mick looks up at him and says “To be sure, normally there are three of us, but Darcy who plants the trees is off sick”.

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    • #
      Joe V.

      They Irish are no daft. I think the jokes on the council, providing no supervision, oversight or leadership.

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    Alexander K

    Welcome, Jennifer! I frequently read your blog and am always impressed by the quality, scope and importance of the info you present.
    More power to your elbow!

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    Yonniestone

    If you look back to the US founding fathers they were very adamant about the rights of the people over government including to maintain that education of the people of their rights, it seems to be slowly forgotten or eroded by tyranny in all democracies today.

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    Safetyguy66

    Great to see you posting here Jennifer, always loved your site and your thoughts, missed them quite a bit during your abscence. Excellent post, thanks

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    The cowards are trying every trick today to stay in power:

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/345-7/

    But ultimately they too will find that “Truth is victorious, never untruth”

    With kind regards,
    - Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

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    [...] comment was first published at Jo Nova and also On Line [...]

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    pat

    unfortunately, in the “real world” of the Coalition, there is no sign they are listening to sceptics at all:

    20 March: Brisbane Times: Tom Arup: Climate-driven disasters cost Victorians $4 billion
    Climate-driven disasters such as bushfires and floods have cost Victorian taxpayers more than $4 billion over the last decade, it has emerged, as the Napthine Government released its plan for Victoria to prepare for the future impacts of climate change.
    The plan – released on Tuesday in state parliament – aims to manage risks to Victoria of increase bushfires, heatwaves, droughts and floods as climate change intensifies…
    It comes as Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Kate Auty, released an annual audit of greenhouse gas emissions from state government departments and agencies…
    Launching the state adaptation plan yesterday, state Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith said it would deliver improved risk planning and stronger partnerships with local government to build Victoria’s resilience to climate change…
    The plan outlines a number of risks for Victoria from climate change including compromised transport networks, damage to electricity distribution infrastructure, and reduced water availability.
    It says the Treasury Department has estimated the cost to government for recovery after natural disasters as more than $4 billion over the last ten years. It added that research showed projected increases of bushfires due to climate change would cost the Victorian agriculture sector an extra $1.4 billion and the forestry industry $2.8 billion by 2050…
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/victoria/climatedriven-disasters-cost-victorians-4-billion-20130319-2ge1o.html

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    Thanks, Jennifer, for all that you have done to defeat tyranny.

    Yesterday the New York Times published these remarkably candid images of instabilities in Earth’s heat source – the Sun:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/03/19/science/space/0319-solar.html?_r=0

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    Mark

    Unfortunately (but predictably), Freedom Of Information Acts have been emasculated into Freedom From Information Acts.

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  • #

    This point is one I want to know more about:

    “It appeared that there were significant accounting discrepancies suggesting the overpayment of CSIRO and BOM of about $10 million.”

    I shall be asking Jen for more detail.

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      Jennifer Marohasy

      Hi Jo

      From the documents provided we calculated the staff costs for the 160 individual researchers (part time and full time) from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO for the 31 separate modeling projects under the Australian Climate Change Science Program. The budgeted total staff cost of $18.1 million spread across 82 full-time equivalent employees equates to $220,000 per person for 1 year. This did not include travel or operating expenses that were itemized separately. This is an extraordinary amount of money given a computer modeler with postgraduate qualification, in a management position, with at least 10 years experience, employed by government, based in Melbourne, is unlikely to earn more than A$80,000.

      We have put our query to the DCCEE and they have indicated that they have no obligation to explain the discrepancy. So, how could this be progressed?

      We have the information as an Excel spreadsheet.

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        Backslider

        $18.1 million spread across 82 full-time equivalent employees equates to $220,000 per person for 1 year.

        But of course, it is hardly likely that this amount is spread evenly over 82 employees. Some are clearly raking it in!

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          crakar24

          How much do you think cracked crab buffets at exotic locales cost Backslider?

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            Safetyguy66

            Are we talking dollars or carbon food miles ? LOL

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            Jennifer Marohasy

            Crakar24,

            To be clear, our calculations, the $220,000 per person per year, is for income only. There was MORE money/additional funding for travel and dining.

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              crakar24

              Ah yes my mistake so this is an “extra” payment.

              I work for a government department however the work we do has no bearing on AGW so are considered surplus to requirements and therefore operate on a frugal budget so it may be hard for me to find similarities between the two.

              One possibility is that they are under staffed in that they are allowed to hold so many positions but have yet to fill all the vacancies. Executive levels can command 3 figure salaries so you would need quite a few to soak up 10 mil but this may account for at least some of it.

              Do your figures factor in training? Where i work we have a budget of 1.9M which does not go very far.

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              AndyG55

              darn, and I could have been part of that.

              oh well :-(

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              Speedy

              Jennifer

              220 gorilla’s eh? You can buy a lot of conscience for that. Particularly from people who believe (and act like) they don’t have one!

              I sometimes wonder whether the religion that is CAGW was created to fill a moral vacuum among such people.

              Cheers,

              Speedy

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        Backslider

        We have put our query to the DCCEE and they have indicated that they have no obligation to explain the discrepancy. So, how could this be progressed?

        FOIA

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          Jennifer Marohasy

          We can’t get any more information through FOIA. We have got the figures. But there is no written explanation for the discrepancy.

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            Sceptical Sam

            Hi Jennifer, good to see you here.

            Just on those salary figures, it might be worth a look at the BoM’s and CSIRO’s Consultant’s, as it’s just possible that people were not employed as staff but as consultants but paid for out of that budget you’ve identified. While generally reported in the Annual Report information there has a dollar cut-off (in BoM’s case $10,000) and anything under that doesn’t get reported.

            Canberra and consultants are synonymous for big charges. $5,000 per day is not out of the question. How the calculation of “Full-time equivalent” has been determined may also be very relevant. ie one FTE = one person for a whole year or 52 people for one week each?

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            Backslider

            But surely they must report their expenditure to somebody? Surely these could be coughed up?

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              crakar24

              BS,

              The fact of the matter is that they are not willing to divulge this information.

              You can look at it two ways, the first is that they spent the money somewhere and they are not prepared to tell you where or the second is that they spent the money somewhere but no one knows where, i suspect the latter.

              Now compare this with where i work, i have a company credit card but all expenditure must be preapproved, in other words if i use the CC to buy an ice cream like someone else did they would arrest me before i got out the shop door. You have to remember this is climate change prevention/research so hang the expense.

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            handjive

            ❝ A DOZEN Climate Change authority executives dining out at a posh Italian restaurant to get to know each other better left tax-payers with an almost $2000 bill. ❞

            Well, there’s one out of the petty cash!

            Maybe this is what the warmists mean when they tell us it will cost a lot more if we wait.

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              Speedy

              Handjive

              Most unfair of you. These hard working saviours of the planet were probably workshopping a working paper for austerity guidelines.

              To be applied to others, of course.

              Cheers,

              Speedy

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            Roy Hogue

            We can’t get any more information through FOIA.

            Jennifer,

            Do keep after them. I’m seeing a combination of persistent pressure and public exposure starting to pay off here in the U.S. But it takes fanatical persistence.

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        Jennifer, when estimating employee/staff costs in feasibility studies, I have always used about 60% on-costs. The on-costs include such things as super, annual leave, meal allowance, travel or car allowance, and administrative costs (such as for payroll, health and safety etc) The level of on-costs depends on location and the degree of feasibility accuracy. A first stage feasibility study with a higher on-cost level may have an accuracy of +/- 30%. A final stage with better allocation of costs may get down to an accuracy of +/- 5%. BOM and CSIRO have a bloated administrative structure, half of which could easily be sacked. A large administrative loading in their estimates/ or actual loading would not be surprising. With travel& accommodation to lots of talkfests by hierarchy & overstaffing to build the pyramid (and salaries of the top few) on-costs of 100-120% would not surprise. However, an average of $220,000 is a bit over the top.

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        • #
          crakar24

          Cement after a little bit of research most of the on costs you mention would not be a factor as these jobs are Australian Public Service jobs, well not quite the same as APS, CSIRO and BOM have there own little arrangement and are called something different but you are still a gov employee.

          This 10 mil is going somewhere else maybe its a bribe, maybe its petty cash but it is enough to keep the movers and shakers on the payroll if you now what i mean.

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        AndyG55

        Jen, I suggest that this covers payments to outside researchers, such as PHD candidates etc

        Expenses for conferences, accomodation etc are also not trivial.
        And as ‘cement guy’ says, these allowances can add up very quickly.

        i know that one particular department where I work used these sort of funds to bring the staff rooms up to a semi-livable standard.. ie air-con that actually works, lab equipment that is within 5 years of up-to-date etc..

        I think the main issue is that the guys in charge at both BOM and CSIRO are not really scientisits, they are government beaurocrats, that have economic/political ideals rather than any sense of real science, and have arranged to employ like minded people over time, thus corrupting the whole system..

        ps..ignore typos please… been a long day !!

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        ghl

        Temps always get more.Not bad but.

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        Sugarplumfairy

        Hi Jennifer,

        AS CAF says, what you have failed to acknowledge are the oncosts for each employee. These are items such as Superannuation, Workers Compensation, Long service Leave, Payroll Tax etc. Also every Engineering/Technical organisation requires Administrative support staff: someone to answer the phone, do the payroll and pay the bills. So while you may have the equivalent of 82 full time Technical staff on the payroll, you may well have another 10 Admin staff who have to be paid as well. On top of that you need consumables like pens and paper, computer hardware and probably a Coffee Machine. And then there are the bills for heating/cooling, telephones and lighting etc.

        I had a quick look for Computer Modellers pay scales, and according to http://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Data_Modeler/Salary the median rate is around $130k per annum. They refer to Data Modellers so I’m assuming it’s the same thing.

        The local Ford dealership charges $120 per hour for a technician to service your car. That equates to $237k per year. The technician, if he has at least 10 years experience, might be paid around $60k if he’s lucky.

        You should ask any Engineering Consultancy firm their Charge Out Rate: you might get a serious shock. I know of one legal firm who charge $500 per hour for one of their Lawyers, but he’s not earning $1million per annum.

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        connolly

        Take the material to the appropriate Shadow Minister which I think would be Greg Hunt. Request that Hunt propose an an Assuarnce Audit from the Auditor-General’s Office which conducts performance and financial statement audits. The Auditor-General undertakes other assurance activities which “generally consist of reviews undertaken by agreement with the client, either at the request of the client or in response to requests from stakeholders, including Ministers and Parliamentary Committees “(from their web site. Also a Senate Estimates Committee may be an appropriate place to question Vertessy about the funding. You have to get assistance from the parliamentary Opposition which is really a government in waiting anyway.

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          connolly

          PS I checked with the Meteorology Act 1955. The BOM is subject to the Auditor General powers. Good hunting.

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    Rod Stuart

    Doctor Marohasy
    Are you familiar with the work of Evelyn Garriss who publishes the Browning Newsletter?
    Evelyn carries on a weather forecasting tradition for North Americal primarily.
    Her forecasting techniques are somewhat unusual I believe in that she studies me a myriad of atmospheric parameters and compares them with previous situations in years gone by, and in finding a ‘match’ uses the outcome of that situation for a current forecast.
    Or at least that is my understanding of the way in which she consistently comes up with deadly accurate forecasts.
    I apologise in advance for being somewhat off topic, but it occurred to me that it might be of interest to you if you study this type of thing. Her clientèle consists by and large of farmers, ranchers and fishers who depend upon accurate forecasting for their survival.

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      Jennifer Marohasy

      Hi Rod

      It sounds like Evelyn uses a method similar to Ken Ring in New Zealand. He uses synoptic charts from, I think it is, 18.6 years previously to forecast for a location. He publishes almanacs with a five year lead time.

      We also use historical data, but feed the data into a neural network (form of artificial intelligence) that mines for patterns. We use lagged values for a range of inputs with IPO, Nino 3.4, atmospheric temperatures and historical rainfall usually being of most value. Our method is dependent on 100 or more years of rainfall data for the particular locality of interest.

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    crakar24

    Way off topic as per standard practise so appologise to Dr Marohasy but i wanted to show the fallacy of the arguments used by KR.

    The following excerpts are taken from the GWPF report (link attached)

    We have reached the point where the temperature standstill is becoming the major
    feature of the recent global warming period that began in 1980. Since then, global
    temperature has remained constant for longer than it has been increasing. Perhaps this
    should not be surprising, as in the seven decades since 1940, the world has become
    warmer in only two of them, and in each decade individually the increase in temperature
    has barely been statistically significant. Only when the warming in the 1980s is added to
    that of the first half of the 1990s does the recent warming exceed the noise in the system.

    But what does this 15-year temperature standstill mean? For some it means nothing.
    Ten to fifteen years is too short a time period to say anything about climate, they would
    argue, pointing out that at least thirty years is needed to see significant climatic changes.
    They also point out that this decade is warmer than the 1990s, and that the 1990s were
    warmer than the 1980s, which is a clear demonstration of the underlying rate of global
    warming.

    So the question posed by the author earlier on in the report becomes very perinent

    Since 1979 we had has about 16 years of warming and 16 years of temperature standstill. Which is the short-term natural variation? The warming or the standstill?

    Next time KR appears we should ask him to address this question rather than having to endure listening to his linguistic gymnastics.

    Here is the link

    http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2013/03/Whitehouse-GT_Standstill.pdf

    Once again appologies to Dr Marohasy

    Cheers

    Crakar

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    Jennifer Marohasy

    We all need inspiration and motivation at different times. Mr FOIA has been a great inspiration to me. I was so pleased to read the covering email to Climategate 3. It inspired me to phone Jo, and she inspired me to write this post… sharing some information that I have been “sitting on” for some time.

    Anyway, Mr FOIA wrote:

    Oh, one more thing. I was surprised to learn from a “progressive” blog, corroborated by a renowned “scientist”, that the releases were part of a coordinated campaign receiving vast amounts of secret funding from shady energy industry groups.



    I wasn’t aware of the arrangement but warmly welcome their decision to support my project. For that end I opened a bitcoin address: 1HHQ36qbsgGZWLPmiUjYHxQUPJ6EQXVJFS.



    More seriously speaking, I accept, with gratitude, modest donations to support The (other) Cause. The address can also serve as a digital signature to ward off those identity thefts which are part of climate scientists’ repertoire of tricks these days.



    Which prompted me to find out about bitcoins and establish a bitcoin wallet. That was the easy part.

    Working out how to convert Australian dollars into bitcoins has been more of a challenge and I’m not there quite yet. But hopefully I will have dollars in a Technocash Ltd account within the next few days, from which I can place a trade at the Mt Gox exchange.

    With these few bitcoins I hope to make a transfer to Mr FOIA.

    I encourage others to start the process… it takes time to get your account verified with MtGox. And without account verification its impossible to get money into the Technocash Ltd account.

    Unless someone else has a better method? Is obviously much easy if you live in the USA.

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      ghl

      Great to hear from you again Jennifer.
      I assumed that the bitcoin address was a joke, surely it would be traceable?

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        Jennifer Marohasy

        Hi ghl

        No. Not a joke. Its an interesting currency and an address is not necessarily traceable. Go to the hacker sites and they ask to be tipped in bitcoins advertising their addresses.

        But because I don’t live in the US or an Australian city, it appears the easiest way for me to turn dollars into bitcoins is through an exchange, e.g. the Mt Gox exchange, and to do this I need to get verified.

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        • #

          Jen,

          e.g. Bit Innovate (not a recommendation) and others provide for cash deposits at major bank branches throughout Australia. Transferring money from a named account would defeat the anonymity of transactions. See the relevant HOWTO.

          I read today on the Facebook page of a German libertarian magazine magazineeigentümlich frei that Bitcoin prices have risen from 37 to over 50 Euros in the past couple of days. Still rising … Australian price now over AUD$67. Compare rates if you’re buying!

          I’ll leave it to the spectulators to decide if one should wait until trade cools off (with a possible but not necessary drop in price) or to step up and buy ASAP to catch it on the way up.

          Bitcoin is perceived by some as a viable denationalised currency, as described by F.A. Hayek in his 1976 book “The De-Nationalisation of Money” (PDF from mises.org), Bitcoin being a “competitive” currency.

          The US government issued advice that it’s putting a money laundering watch on such virtual currencies as of March 18th. That’s when the Cyprus “solution” was first widely discussed. But it’s far from the only reason why the US is trying to manage the currency.

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    John Gorter

    Warrick Hughes at ‘Errors in IPCC climate science’ quite regularly contrasts BoM predictions with reality. BoM are nearly always wrong.

    Ciao

    John

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      Streetcred

      Given that they slavishly follow the UK-MO that is not surprising.

      I was recently put on to a Norwegian Met Office (?), yr.no site, and track BoM forecasts against yr.no … yr.no provides a range of periods and is nearly always more accurate and about 2C cooler for Brisbane. That’s strange.

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    Ross

    Jennifer
    Thanks for contribution. I think it is great when the author of a post interacts ( has a conversation ) with those posting comments.
    I’ve only seen it on a couple of other blogs , but it always makes the thread more interesting.

    Jo
    I’d think Jennifer has set a great precedent here for your guest posts and I’d suggest you encourage future guest posters to do the same if they can spare the time.

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    If weather is not climate and vice versa, I would imagine that the information provided by “those” sorts of climate scientists to weather forecasters would be very frustrating indeed. I’m thinking in particular of the famous British Met Office and it’s almost comical habit of inadvertently predicting opposites. Politics is not a science and there has to be some sort of separation at some stage. The following statements struck me “The BoM and the CSIRO had directed much of their research efforts towards understanding rainfall patterns and generating rainfall projections by using General Circulation Models, GCMs. These are the same models that are relied on to provide evidence for global warming associated with greenhouse gas emissions.” How do they do that?. Are GCMs longstanding perceived wisdom or are they the bastard child of the status quo. Thanks by the way for the article Dr Marohasy. Please feel free to rejoin us for discussion in future. There are some pearlers here.

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      Jennifer Marohasy

      Hi Ceettee

      I’ve cut and paste the following text from something else I’ve written to provide some background to different forecasting methods…

      The Bureau relies on both statistical and dynamic models to generate rainfall forecasts.

      Dynamic models, such as general circulation models, use computer simulations that attempt to model physical processes in the climate system. This method can give seasonal rainfall predictions from 1 month up to a year in advance. The dynamic forecasting approach is more expensive to implement and operate than statistical climate prediction systems. Despite substantial research efforts and technological advances, sophisticated dynamic systems are still unable to consistently outperform simple statistical prediction systems.

      Statistical methods require the existence of sufficiently strong empirical relationships between rainfall and other input variables particularly climate indices. This requires the availability of long data records and stationary relationships over time. Simple statistical models rely exclusively on the existence of linear relationships between rainfall and the input variables such as lagged climate indices. In practice, linear relationships for rainfall are highly discontinuous and fragmented when considered on a spatial and a temporal basis. Using only simple linear models, it is essentially impossible to create a unified statistical model that can be applied over an extended geographical area such as south-east Queensland, and also incorporate statistically significant relationships between input and output for more than a limited period beyond a few months of the year. The result is essentially a set of rules corresponding to a highly complex classification system for rainfall prediction, with limited practical utility. The inevitable conclusion is that continuous simple linear relationships are not fundamental properties of the climate system, and it is preferable to utilize statistical modelling techniques that are designed to accommodate non-linear relationships.

      Neural networks (NNs) have been used to forecast rainfall in places like India, China and Iran. This is a statistical approach that enables non-linear relationships to be considered as well as facilitating the input of multiple variables. … this is the approach that John Abbot and I have been using.

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        Jennifer Marohasy

        ps After enthusiastically posting something to explain the difference between the three systems of forecasting I see I haven’t answered your question.

        In a nutshell, GCMs are fashionable and where managers have chosen to invest. Also they are expensive, fun to play with, and can give really scary projections.

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    Streetcred

    I was an avid reader of your blog, Dr Marohasy … haven’t been to it for a while now since it went into hibernation … does this blog article mean full speed ahead again ? In which case I look forward to your writings once more.

    10

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      Jennifer Marohasy

      Hi Streetcred

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. But maybe not full speed ahead with blogging. And with Jo working so hard, I can do other things. ;-)

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    wayne, s. Job

    Thank you Jennifer, the fight against politically driven science has not been easy.
    That the weather gods of old do not like interference seems to be apparent in the refusal of the climate to follow the new demigods dictates.

    It is like watching a Greek script as the weather gods take their retribution on the usurpers, it would seem that Sol will have the last laugh after a few of the lessor gods have given them a good kicking. If Jo allows please come by more often. Wayne

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    inedible hyperbowl

    OT. Sorry but now I am slaver (as well as a denier and pedophile).

    Professor Hoffman said a “social consensus” to fight climate change needed to be built, similar to that created in the past to combat smoking and slavery.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/climate-change-a-values-problem-expert/story-e6freuz0-1226602004376

    (and yes smoking contributed to the death of all of my 90+ year old aunts and uncles).

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    Geoff Sherrington

    Hi Jennifer,
    Do you recall how shocked you were to read my letter in The Australian of 5th Feb 2006, including the words
    ““THERE is an excellent argument for curbing the public statements of scientists like those from CSIRO, a former employer of mine. Scientists, like the public, cover a spectrum of beliefs, some of which are based on emotion rather than science. There are greenie scientists in CSIRO and there are honest ones. Human nature being what it is, there are private agendas pushed by CSIRO people that would make your jaw drop. An example is the selection of Australian weather recording sites used to construct the temperature measurements of the continent, which play a big part in southern hemisphere weather models. From the beginning, most sites that showed little or no temperature rise or a fall from, say, the 1880s to now were rejected. The few sites selected to represent Australia were mainly from capital cities and under suspicion for “heat island” effects. I could give example after example as it was one of my employment functions to distil the best results from the bogus on many matters related to energy/greenhouse/nuclear etc. I found few truly objective submissions among those masquerading as science.”

    Sort of started the ball rolling a bit, did it not?
    How accurate do you find it today, in hindsight?

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      Jennifer Marohasy

      Geoff,

      You were ahead of me. Warwick Hughes was also drawing attention to discrepancies early on.

      But it is now Jo and Ken Stewart et al. who are now doing a lot of the “heavy lifting” on this issue of temperature records for Australia.

      Excellent blog post here http://joannenova.com.au/2012/06/threat-of-anao-audit-means-australias-bom-throws-out-temperature-set-starts-again-gets-same-results/

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      • #

        Jennifer, thanks for mentioning Ken Stewart. On his blog (http://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/)
        he has made some rain forecasts some months ahead since about Sept 2012. The result has been very accurate in timing but he does not forecast the amount.
        Here is what he wrote on 2nd Jan 2013 “Over time I improved my methods, to the point I am confident in predicting specific dates +/- 5 days, and made more precise predictions.

        What have I learnt?

        That this method doesn’t necessarily predict rain (I admit I got carried away thinking it could) and I will leave predictions of amount of rain to the experts- the Bureau.

        That I can accurately predict a change in the weather (indicated by a temperature change or rain) up to 160 days ahead.

        That there are regularly repeating cycles of weather.

        That this method may be used in southern parts of Australia as well.”

        To my mind BOM has no good record of predictions out more than a week. I can do just as well by a) looking out of the window at the sky, b) noting the movements of ants and spiders into the house and c) listening to the call of the black cockatoos (which always seem to be overhead a couple of days before it rains after a fine period -maybe they are sensitive to pressure changes). However, Ken’s predictions have been spot on as I noted in some comments on his posts.
        As I read your paper you are looking at monthly rainfall totals, climate patterns and event history to try and forecast rainfall totals for a period and get maybe get some forewarning of significant events such as floods and droughts.
        I think every council in flood prone areas and every farmer in all locations would wish for better forecasting.

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    Tim

    So who says that the IPCC, the CSIRO, the ACCSP and the BOM are not transparent enough?

    I say they are. You can see right through them.

    Thanks Jennifer.

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    The Black Adder

    Meanwhile Jennifer…
    I believe the silly incompetent fools running this country introduced more laws regarding the Murray River…..
    But those silly sea walls are still there at the mouth??
    Are we going mad???

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    Thanks, Jo, for cross posting this great article from Jennifer. And thanks, Jennifer, for all of the work that went into this.

    Regards

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    val majkus

    Hi Jen
    It’s great to see you back!
    I’d be interested to know the period of time between the lodging of the appeal to the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman’s decision

    I’ve been peripherally involved in a matter where the appeal was lodged in May 2011 and there’s been no decision yet

    In relation to your query have you checked the CSIRO’s annual reports from 2000 onwards which are here http://www.csiro.au/Portals/About-CSIRO/How-we-work/Budget–Performance/Annual-Report/Annual-Report-2011-12.aspx

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      Jennifer Marohasy

      Hi Val

      It was about 17 months between when the information was requested and when it was released, and about 15 months from when we appealed the initial decision and when the information was released. There was no decision by the Ombudsman as such, which we believe was a mistake. The information was simply released. We argued the DCCEE made the following errors in refusing us access to the documents…

      The following seven errors have been made by the DCCEE, the first five in claiming exemptions under s.45, Confidential Information:

      1. The DCCEE is wrong to assume confidentiality in some part of a document automatically imparts confidentiality to the entire document. If some sections of a document under consideration are found to be confidential, these sections should be redacted and the remainder of the document disclosed.

      2. The DCCEE is wrong to consider individual employees of government agencies, including CSIRO and BoM, as third parties.

      3. The DCCEE is wrong to assume intellectual property generated by an employee is vested with the employee, particularly in the case of a government employee.

      4. The DCCEE appears unaware that there is a three-step test to determine whether disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence after Coco v AN Clark (Engineeering) Ltd. This test must be applied to each alleged instance of confidential information within the documents.

      5. The DCCEE is correct in stating that s. 45 is an unconditional exemption. However, the public interest test must still be applied to determine whether disclosure of the alleged confidential information would constitute an actionable breach. The DCCEE has not applied the public interest test.

      Correct application of the Business exemption, s.47G, first requires identification of genuine third parties and a specific analysis for each project proposal where the exemption is claimed. If there are instances where the exemption can be engaged, the public interest test then must be applied. The following errors have been made by the DCCEE in claiming exemptions under s.47G, Business:

      6. The DCCEE is wrong to consider CSIRO and BOM or its employees as third parties. Guidance information from the Office of the Australian Information Commission explains that the business exemption does not apply to government agencies or their employees.

      The public interest test is required for both actionable breach of confidence and the business exemption. Factors for and against disclosure must be stated, explored and analysed before any balancing exercise can be meaningfully undertaken.

      7. The DCCEE has failed to state any factors and examine any factors favouring disclosure.

      Detailed information is provided for the following four factors favouring disclosure under the FoI Act:

      1.Promote Effective Oversight of Public Expenditure
      2. Increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of Government’s activities
      3. Contribute to innovation and the facilitation of research, and
      4. Inform debate on a matter of public importance.

      ***

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    Geoffrey Cousens

    Jennifer is a breath of fresh air!

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    Speedy

    Nice one

    (In reference to comment above 1.1.1.1.2 – I can’t reply on the thread.)

    So CO2 is not a cause of global warming, it’s now become a “feedback” (or side effect?) of a warming world? If so, then surely the scientific effort to control harmful warming (if such exists) would not be to focus on the “feedback” – which history demonstrates is ineffectual – but on the root cause of the “harmful” warming.

    In which case, why would we punish society by taxing something that is only a secondary effect (or feedback) of the actual cause of global warming.

    Of course, you could also claim that CO2 is both the input and the feedback for global warming, but would then have to explain why the secondary effect didn’t lead to tertiary effects etc, ultimately to our demise. Good luck.

    Also, I can’t help but notice that you seem to get abusive when you’re losing.

    Cheers,

    Speedy.

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