JoNova

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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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Carbon tax and Sydney Uni economics, both slugs on the economy

Michael Harris,  Senior Fellow in the School of Economics at University of Sydney, has the impossible job of defending the monstrously ineffective carbon tax against the pointless-but-efficient “Direct Action” program. The carbon tax cost $15b, and cut emissions by 12 million tonnes. The Direct Action plan cost $660m, and is projected to save 47 million tonnes.

Having no numbers remotely on his side, Harris goes quantum semantic. Watch the leap. A tax is not a cost, only a transfer. That makes your tax bill so much easier to pay:

There is also a difference between costs to the economy, and transfers within it. The amount of revenue raised through any tax is not a cost; it is simply a transfer from one “pocket” to “another”. The money has not been destroyed, and it remains available to be spent on something.

Now it seems to me that if I buy a beer, it’s a transfer from one “pocket” to another pocket and if that money is destroyed in the process, that would be the end of the bottle shop. The world of economics rather depends on that money not being vaporised and being available for the shop owner [...]

Northern Greenland warmer 1000 years ago, warmer in the 1920s too

Thanks to the Hockeyschtick for pointing us at a new study of Greenland ice cores[1]. For the first time, 12 ice cores drilled in the northern section of Greenland have been “stacked” and published.  Curiously, these 12 ice cores were drilled from 1993 to 1995, so this is not new data– but it’s the first time that all 12 oxygen isotope records, which are a proxy for temperature, have been published together. The area represents about 10% of Greenland, and seems to behave differently to the southern part. The warm event in 1420 is described as a local effect. The researchers acknowledge that solar activity is important and solar activity correlates with temperatures. It must be growing more and more obvious to climate researchers that their models have to include the long term solar cycles.

The take-home messages for me are: 1/ Natural variability is big and unpredictable. 2/ When we get this kind of detail from all the continents and regions of the ocean we’ll definitely be in a position to start getting the big Global Climate Models to work. 3/ Until we figure out how the Sun causes climate change, the current models are useless.

… Click [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Vanishing hot days of December 1931 — and BOM monthly averages hotter than every single day that month

The hot desert border of Western and South Australia

Lance Pidgeon has drawn my attention to the mysteriously detailed weather maps of the Australian BOM, with their mass of contradictions. The intricate squiggles of air temperature profiles suggests an awesome array of data — especially remarkable in places like “Cook”, which is a railway station with a population of four. Eucla, the megopolis in the map, has a population of 368. The shared border in the map (right) is 674km long top to bottom.

Thankfully, after 80 years of modern technology, the weather at Eucla and in the Great Victorian Desert is much more bearable than anyone would have expected. The BOM ACORN data set works better than airconditioning. In places near Eucla, where old newspapers record 43C, the BOM tells us the highest maximum that month was “under 27C”. Far to the north of there, the highest maximum stayed under 36C, but the average for that same whole month was above 36C. Go figure. It’s a new kind of maths… [or maybe the miracle of reverse cycle a/c?]

There are a half million square kilometers in this map here and almost no [...]

How do we panic about warming during a maunder-type freeze?

Is this the way the Great Global Warming Scare fades out?

The UK newspapers are full of “Maunder Freeze Coming” as forecast by Ineson et al.[1] Rest assured, the solar-driven-cold is only a local effect, only 0.1C, and only a vague short 20 to 40 winters to come. The Sun, which has been ruled out as a major cause of global warming, is still not a cause of global warming — it’s just a minor technical issue called UV from a local star, which will be affecting an ocean current. Then the Big 6.6 degrees of heatstroke will land upon us.

Britain could be on the verge of a mini Ice Age as the Sun enters a cooler phase, the Met Office warned yesterday.

The last big chill was felt hundreds of years ago when Frost Fairs were held on the frozen River Thames.

However the Met Office said the new freeze will not be enough to cancel out the effects of global warming.

We’ve seen this all before, but not on this scale. If there was a volatility index — like a VIX for climate-PR –  it would be setting records. The contradictions [...]

Sherwood’s devout unscientific faith in “climate change” and the hot spot

In The Age this week, Stephen Sherwood explains how misleading skeptics have been for repeating obvious, incontestable results from millions of weather balloons. See, all along, Sherwood knew the weather balloons were wrong, and if only skeptics had his psychic powers, or connection to God, they would have too. Naughty skeptics,eh?

The article in The Age gives away a lot more than either Steven Sherwood (or Peter Hannam, the Fairfax journalist) probably meant to reveal. Sherwood’s still spruiking his latest study, which repeatedly adjusted and blended the weather balloon data and finally “found” the hot spot so effectively it even shows up in years when  it’s not supposed to occur. I’m not talking about his technique, but about his slip of the tongue. Spot the conflicting messages. (As usual, the gullible Peter Hannam let him step right in it, by failing to ask the obvious questions.)

Stephen Sherwood effectively tells four points. Figure out how they can all be true at the same time:

The hot spot is vital to the models, indeed to the current scientific understanding of our climate! This is the first time they have finally resolved the missing hot spot. Sherwood always knew the hot spot [...]

Relentlessly shrinking climate sensitivity estimates

Remember how all the news stories keep telling us the evidence is growing and getting stronger than ever “against the skeptics”?

David Stockwell has done a beautiful graph of the value of climate sensitivity estimates that of recent climate research that Steven McIntyre discussed in detail.

The trend looks pretty clear. Reality is gradually going to force itself on the erroneous models.

Indications are that around 20202030 climate sensitivity will hit zero. ;- )

The red line is ECS — Equilibrium climate sensitivity — which means after the party is all over in years to come, in the long run, this is how much the planet responds to a doubling of CO2.

The blue line is TCR — Transient Climate Response — is an estimate of what happens in the next 20 years. It’s a short term estimate.

Obviously the big question is: What happens when climate sensitivity goes negative?

Check out NicheModelling, Stockwell’s great blog, it deserves more attention.

h/t David, Lance, Ken

Your car causes war! Feel the fear about Australia’s climate security.

Not only climate change destroy coffee, chocolate and beer, but war is going to ruin your weekends too.

When war breaks out and they come for your first-born, you may ask if you should’ve left the car in the garage more. You may wonder if you could have used public transport, and converted all the lights to LEDs sooner and only eaten locally sourced oranges. Feel the guilt. Send them your money.

Walk for Peace!

There is no end to the combinations and permutations of ways to use fear to ask for funds. Before we set up Departments of Climate Change, Global carbon trading markets, Emissions reductions schemes, and prepare our Defence Force for the wave of violent desperate climate refugees that were forecast but didn’t come, we need one thing more than any other. We need climate models that actually work.

“Climate change will destabilise our region and undermine our way of life, yet we are doing nothing to prevent it.”

Exactly, we are doing nothing, nothing useful at all. Though we are pouring billions of dollars down deep wells trying to reduce CO2, and prepare for a climate we absolutely cannot predict. (Is that the kind [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

The Climate Wars are Damaging Science

Matt Ridley has produced the shortest whole, killer summary of the sordid state of climate science, science journalism, and science associations for Quadrant magazine. This is the ideal single-chapter-length-work to bring in anyone who missed the last twenty years of clima-farce, scandal, hubris and hypocrisy.

Matt is not just summing up the way his career as a science writer has transformed, but also writing the best review of the IPA book “Climate Change: The Facts” that I have yet seen. He talks about the way science writers used to ignore the papers that didn’t impress them, and leave it up to the scientists to take them apart, but now the supposedly most esteemed scientists stay silent while abject failures not only get published in the scientific world, but get absurdly lauded in the media, and tweeted by “the President”. Formerly great scientific institutions have turned themselves inside out:

“The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. “

Matt’s career, like mine, started with faith that [...]