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


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Hyping cyclones

Reports are coming in that the BOM and ABC are spinning the Queensland cyclone. This is the thread for those comments. I’ll add more detail as the situation “clears”.


The mysterious BOM disinterest in hot historic Australian Stevenson screen temperatures

When it comes to our rare high-quality historic records, and the real long term trends of Australian weather, the silence is striking. There are some excellent historical records of long term temperature data from the late 1800s in Australia, which lie underused and largely ignored by the BOM.

For the BOM, history almost appears to start in 1910, yet the modern type of Stevenson screen thermometer was installed across Australia starting as early as 1884 in Adelaide. Most stations in Queensland were converted as long ago as 1889 and in South Australia by 1892. Though states like NSW and Victoria were delayed until 1908.

Here’s a photo of the ones in Brisbane in 1890.

Brisbane was recording temperatures with modern Stevenson screens in 1890, as were some other stations, but the BOM often ignores these long records.

The BOM don’t often mention all their older temperature data. They argue that all the recordings then were not taken with standardized equipment. The BOM prefers to start long term graphs and trends from 1910 (except when they start in 1950 or 1970, or 1993).

The BOM was set up in 1908.  Before that there were Stevenson screens going in [...]

What to call a “doubter” asks Justin Gillis. NY Times agitprop: is namecalling “scientific”?

Welcome to “science journalism” at The New York Times where climate forces are not so much about sunlight and cloud cover, but about “deniers”, “doubters”, and “disinformers”. While our climate is supposedly the crisis the world must face, the NY Times solution is not to investigate and debate the leading ideas, but to ask what names we toss at Nobel Prize winners who don’t endorse the approved establishment line. Pravda would be proud.

Most surveys and polls show 50% of the population are skeptical. A real newspaper that was leading and shaping the public debate would find the most informed views from both sides and put them forward, shaping and hammering out the public debate. Instead, the NY Times discusses petitions pushing namecalling.

Justin Gillis asks: What to Call a Doubter of Climate Change? What indeed, I wonder? Does any single real person doubt that the climate can change? I have not met such a person (though many believers of the dominant government-endorsed paradigm seem to think the climate was stable and perfect before emissions of man-made CO2). The UN redefined the boringly obvious term “climate change” to be a coded shorthand for “man-made global warming”. Justin Gillis has [...]

Australian Academy of Science hides model failures, other rainfall predictions, feedbacks evidence

The Australian Academy of Science (AAAS) updated their “Science of Climate Change” document. It’s more glossy unscientific propaganda.

Garth Paltridge wonders in The Australian  if the Academy will come to regret it. As usual, it’s what they don’t say that matters. They don’t mention how badly the current models have failed, and they hide that climate models give contradictory rainfall projections and just cherry pick one that gives the answer they want. They repeat the meaningless argument that their models don’t “work” without CO2. Perhaps they should let the taxpaying voters know that their models don’t “work” with CO2 either? None of the models can explain what caused the Medieval or Roman warming when CO2 was “ideal”. They conceal that the model forecasts rely on assumptions of feedbacks that the empirical evidence shows are wrong.

“Basically the Academy has fallen into the trap of being no more than a conduit for a massive international political campaign ”

 Climate of cherry-picking Garth Paltridge The Australian

The problem is that, after several decades of refining their story, the international gurus of climate change have become very good at having their cake and eating it [...]

The quickening for Paris has started: gravy-train begins PR avalanche

The pace and volume of the cheerleading is picking up. Over the weekend, the Vatican announced that climate is now a Catholic issue, and they are setting up an enviro “think tank” (what does God think of Climate Change?)  The Australian Academy of Science produced its new advertising to feed the cash-cow called climate-grants (details on that later). The zombie issue of imaginary climate refugees resurfaced — 45 Fijian Villages are “projected” to be relocated in the next five to ten years; which bureaucrat says this, and will they apologize and quit 10 years from now if this turns out to be a wild exaggeration like the last  claim?

It’s On. In 2015, we are going to be swamped with climate-spin.

The UNFCCC meeting in Paris is a major money and power-grab, and those with snouts in the trough know that their future fat cheques depend on how well they push propanganda, silence critics, and shout down intelligent debate. At one stage they were asking for 1.5% of global GDP (about $2,500 per Western family of four annually).

How much will they take? As much as we let them.

We can protest now, or protest later, but why wait? They [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Study shows skeptics know more about climate science than believers

UPDATE Dan Kahan has replied in Comment #54.

So much for the theory that skeptics are dumb or uninformed.  Fox News reports that a new study shows that when people are quizzed about climate science, the skeptics outscored the believers.

Dan Kahan at Yale did the study on 2,000 people, but with only nine questions, so there is limited insight here, but it fits with his previous study which found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical.  Readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in comments) are likely to have hard science degrees. The world is slowly waking up to the fact that the skeptics are more knowledgeable about science.

In a proper science quiz, the gap would probably be even larger. On two of the nine questions, skeptics got the science right.  But believers “outscored” skeptics at repeating the propaganda (which shouldn’t be a question in a survey about scientific knowledge). I’d like to see all nine questions (can anyone find a preprint or the paper?)

Skeptics get science right:

One question, for instance, asked if scientists believe that warming would [...]

Heatwaves in Australia: in many ways they are not hotter, longer or more common. Why won’t BOM and ABC say that too?

Heatwaves are a wonderful headline generator. That’s because the term sounds scary, yet the “wave” itself is undefined. A hundred different types of heatwave are theoretically possible, but they all sound the same in a headline. It means an activist team could pick and choose the particular one that scores a “record”. Heatwaves can be 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days. They can be measured by town, city, state or national data and they are can be above 35, 37, 40 degrees or… pick a number. A heatwave can be measured as days above some percentile of average. That means a few warm days in a cold town can be defined as a heatwave.

Geoff Sherrington, drawing no dollars from the taxpayer, takes a simple and obvious approach, and looks at 5 capital cities with the BOM raw and adjusted ACORN data. He considered 4, 5, and 6 day heatwaves to see if there was a trend. With 5 cites, 2 data types, 3 lengths of heatwave, Sherrington created 30 graphs. After testing all those different combinations of heatwaves, there were only three graphs out of 30 that showed an increasing trend. Over half of the heatwave graphs showed [...]

A bonfire of waste: $100 billion burnt by big-government renewables mismanagement

Renewables, are not just inefficient, unnecessary, and deadly to wildlife, but they were also a disaster of planning and management. The list of dollars and euros destroyed in the Glorious Renewables Quest has gone “nuclear”. The World Economic Forum estimates $100 billion Euro has been wasted, but its even worse than it looks. I had to read their opening sentence twice. I thought it read “European countries could have saved approximately $100 billion if each country had invested in the most efficient energy source.” I was thinking they could have saved that sort of money by using coal instead of windmills… but no, those huge savings would be over and above those ones. The WEF is talking about money saved if “badly managed renewables, had been “well managed ones”.

The inefficiency here is the scale only big-government could achieve.

The Energy Collective

Europe Loses Billions in Badly Sited Renewable Power Plants

European countries could have saved approximately $100 billion if each country had invested in the most efficient capacity given their renewable energy resources, that is, by installing wind turbines in windier countries and solar power plants in sunnier places.

But why would we be surprised? [...]

Disaster. Australian cyclone season is quiet! We have to stop that!

Get ready:

“Australia records its third quietest start to the cyclone season in 50 years.” ABC news, Jack Kerr

Bravo, I thought. ABC covers a good-weather story… but no, lo, for the climate oracles tell us this is ominous and bigger nastier storms are coming. Be afraid!

This weather is weird?

There have only been four occasions since the mid-1960s when cyclones haven’t crossed the mainland before February.

Only four. Golly! This year is almost as “bad”as the worst of the prehistoric era, i.e. ’68, ’80, ’88).

It’s not like the good ol’ days  — when people used to get decent cyclones all the time:

Back in 1870, when Cairns started life as a gold port, four to five severe cyclones would hit the Queensland east coast every decade. By 2010, that average was down to less than two.

Lucky them.

To see the effect of man-made global warming, look hard at this graph below.  Spot the… trend.

A high bar means a long slow quiet start to the cyclone season.

At the start in 1964 CO2 was a wonderful 320ppm. Now it is at 400ppm and obviously (when seen through a computer [...]