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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Happy New Year

Best wishes to everyone for a fantastic new year after the remarkable year that was 2016.

Big Bureaucrats fired scientist who spoke too honestly to congress

Just another way Government strangles science:

Apparently a good scientist is not supposed to answer all of the questions from congress. In late 2014,Dr Noelle Metting was the only scientist DOE provided to help congress figure out what mattered,  but DOE management had already told Dr Noelle Metting not to answer queries outside of a certain zone they marked out. Alas, she was too helpful to congress though, and got the sack within a month. According to the report, emails within DOE reveal that her sacking was retaliatory, and the reason for her “removal from federal service was her failure to confine the discussion at the briefing to pre-approved talking points.”

This information comes from a congressional investigation chaired by Lamar Smith. (Rep)

Message to scientists — obey the bureaucrat masters, not the elected ones.

By censoring information to congress, the DOE was doing a form of lobbying. Her testimony related to low dose radiation and risks of exposure during terrorist attacks. DOE allegedly wanted to kill off this line of research so they could do more climate research instead. Just out to save the world but kill democracy.

Congress: Obama Admin Fired Top Scientist to Advance Climate Change Plans [...]

It’s about character: Rex Tillerson’s

Two stories shed new light on Rex Tillerson, the incoming Secretary of State for the US.

Read this. It’ll warm your heart: What I learned about Rex Tillerson.  A major corporate leader does what any good citizen would do. But in a sea of corruption and self serving glorification it’s a rare story and quite a good read too.

During a five day trial of a man accused of abusing a young girl, the jury noticed one juror was a tall and somewhat charismatic middle aged man who wore a business suit. Mysteriously, he always had another man in a suit present around him, but doing nothing much.  He was picked as the jury foreman, but declined to “be in the spotlight”. When finally asked about the extra man, he just pointed at an Exxon headline in the paper and just said “I work for them” and he needed extra protection. The jury used the internet to figure out who he was. In 2007 Tillerson was CEO, and Exxon was the second largest company listed in the Fortune 500 list.

Emily Roden:  “As our deliberations came to a close, it appeared we might have a hung jury.

More bad luck for South Australia, yet another blackout, 300 powerlines down, 125,000 homes cut off

A fifth of South Australia lost power yesterday due to a nasty storm.

You would think with all the climate models predicting more of every kind of extreme weather that South Australia, of all places, which is spending millions to prevent this sort of weather, would have upgraded their transmission lines to cope with it? Then again, maybe the models didn’t exactly predict these, not-so-extreme 120km/hr gusts.

Still Adelaide has a good desal plant to help them cope with climate change.

That wasn’t the case back in 1948 when a cyclone went through.

Roofs were blown off, flash floods occurred and a frigate washed ashore in 1948. (Click to read it all).

For the poor people of the west coast of SA, this may be their fourth blackout in four months. Some had another blackout last week due to lightning and a wind gust of “up to 111km/hr”.  It doesn’t look like this has anything to do with renewables, it appears to be inadequate infrastructure and probably the return of a natural weather cycle (Adelaide was hit by a cyclone in 1948, widespread damage in 1954, much damage in 1927, and in 1910 and 1916):

Almost one-fifth [...]

Climate leader China, taxes all kinds of pollution but not CO2

Looks like China is going to apply punitive taxes all sorts of human pollution even noise pollution, but they’re not taxing CO2:

Polluters will be charged for contributing to air, water and noise pollution, according to a copy of the legislation on the NPC’s official web site.

But CO2 did not make the list, which includes air and water pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and sulfite, taxed at rates beginning at 1.2 yuan ($0.17) and 1.4 yuan ($0.20) per unit respectively.

It also stipulates a monthly tax ranging from 350 to 11,200 yuan ($50 to $1612) for noise pollution.

China is the worlds largest emitter of CO2 and they are happy to do symbolic things for the climate, like sign the Paris agreement where they can commit to do nothing til 2030, and not much after that. But taxing carbon does  actual collateral damage on an economy. China is obviously having none of that.

For a change, the thing that apparently inspired these new laws was a real pollution problem:

The new law was precipitated after 20 cities in Northeast China went on high smog alerts, which forced the closure of factories and the removal of cars off [...]

Merry Christmas and a big thank you

Merry Christmas to everyone.

It’s a happy Christmas here, thanks to everyone who is chipping in to help cover the costs of science research and commentary that the government won’t fund.

A big thankyou also to the moderators.

Wishing everyone the best of health and happiness.

Mods take over the site, ask for emergency chocolate

We Must Maintain the Pressure Dear Readers and Supporters,

The Moderators have temporarily seized control of the posts. We mods happen to know some big bills are piling up, and the bank account is very low heading into Christmas, and Jo doesn’t like to ask, but your support keeps this work, research and blog going. Please hit the tip jar, buy Jo and David a beer, a steak, a month on the server ($100), or a mini-break.

The Climate Skeptic Movement has had a phenomenal year in 2016, though there is much still to do to slow the trillion dollar juggernaut that takes from the poor and gives to the wealthy. Progress is only happening through the persistent and hard work of prominent skeptics like Jo Nova who’s material is reproduced around the world, who continues to inspire and inform and who takes the brunt of abuse from climate alarmists in politicians and the main stream media.

As you all know Joanne came from a science communication background and once worked with our national publicly funded ABC, the ANU and the National Science and Technology Centre. Jo doesn’t say it on the blog, but asking questions about the ‘accepted’ [...]

UPDATED. Big dollars at stake: Irish families win court case against wind farm noise (or not)

These are Enercon wind turbines in Germany, Lower Saxony. Image: Philip May

UPDATE 3: In the washup, these updates #1 and #2  show the fierce battle to control a message. The Wind Industry denies everything, but reports say the plaintiffs are delighted.  If the story spread that wind farms were paying out to homes nearby without even contesting liability, it could go viral in a very bad way for the wind industry. Settling out of court with confidentiality agreements would be a gambit to stop a flood of similar claims. Perhaps the wind industry lost control of the message when the Irish Examiner reported it?

UPDATE #1: Hmm. Industry Body says it is all false? It’s a strange one. The original link has vanished from The Irish Examiner, and a pro renewables site SeeNews which covered their story has disappeared their copy too [cached here, screencap copy too]. SeeNews has posted an update which totally contradicts the news. Did The Irish Examiner get it wrong? Removing the story suggests they did, but they have not issued a correction yet. News of the update comes not from the court, but from the Irish Wind Energy Association, [...]

The US is the child saying “the emperor has no clothes”

The sorcerers say they can stop volcanoes with light globes. They come dressed as scientists, but chant fantasies about “deniers”.The Global Bullying has cowed whole nations into coughing up money for lost causes. But as I’ve said before, bullying is brittle, and once the cracks appear in the veneer, it can come apart very fast.

Francis Menton predicts the Impending Collapse  Of The Global Warming Scare

Just asking these questions in the public domain will change everything:

Now the backers of the global warming alarm will not only be called upon to debate, but will face the likelihood of being called before a highly skeptical if not hostile EPA to answer all of the hard questions that they have avoided answering for the last eight years.  Questions like:  Why are recorded temperatures, particularly from satellites and weather balloons, so much lower than the alarmist models had predicted?  How do you explain an almost-20-year “pause” in increasing temperatures even as CO2 emissions have accelerated?  What are the details of the adjustments to the surface temperature record that have somehow reduced recorded temperatures from the 1930s and 40s, and thereby enabled continued claims of “warmest year ever” when raw temperature [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Climate change causes full dams

Last week the Maroondah Reservoir, near Melbourne, was full. Thanks to Bob Fernley-Jones for a great shot, perfect for a weekend thread:

Observations early on 7/Dec/2016 in Maroondah Reservoir Park  Photo: Bob Fernley-Jones

In 2009 things were dry, the drought was endless, and in a panic, billions were spent  on desalination plants for Victoria (not to mention for Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane). Then the rains returned, the desal plants were mothballed. In Victoria alone, up to $18 billion will continue to be spent regardless of whether any water is used.

(Amazing what a desal plant can do for water storage.   )

Water Storage

Water Storage two weeks into summer, Australia:  Melbourne  72% |    Sydney 91%  |  Canberra  98% |    Adelaide     89% |  Hobart 98%   |     Darwin 68%   |  Brisbane 75%  |    Perth  28% *

There is water overflowing from the full dam below.   As Bob says: “Not the greatest overflow it’s ever been but positive, and its only part of an interconnected system that is currently a very healthy collective.”


Trump appoints even more skeptics

It doesn’t get much better than this. Mazin Sidahmed at The Guardian has posted a handy list of Trumps Cabinet Picks. The times have changed so much that it’s not a case of “spot the skeptic” but a hunt to find any believers in the climate doctrine. Make no mistake, things  are very, very bad for the fans of human-caused-weather.  Almost every name on this list would be the “top target” of green protests if they had been the one appointee among the standard Obama-Clinton picks. But almost all of them are drawing fire. People who have taken the toxic, unforgivable position of personally investing in oil and gas projects seem neutral now, compared to people who have run lawsuits against the government department they’ve been told to manage. If only The Guardian could find someone who was not in the bottom 10% of the Conservation scorecard!

Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand? Scott Pruitt: Environmental Protection Agency

Pruitt is the anti-christ for the EPA. He has led lawsuits against their unconstitutional grab for power. What’s not to like?

Ryan Zinke: Department of the Interior

He is  a congressman, former [...]

Climate Change causes more snow and ice on Greenland

Right now, the hottest year ever appears to be causing an extra 4 billion tons a day or so of frozen stuff on Greenland.

Thanks to Patrick Moore, @EcoSenseNow, who tweeted: “Holy Shomoly, look what’s going down on Greenland. Ice World” after Richard Cowley posted the DMI link.

Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day). Bottom: The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 24 years (in the period 1990-2013) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 24 years have been left out.

Source: Danish Climate Centre.

Over the last decade the Greenland Ice Sheet may have been losing 200Gt per year, but evidently, this winter it’s making some of that back. The Danish Climate Centre describes the graph:


The solar wind dumps energy into the far upper atmosphere through a kind of slow massive lightning

UPDATE: Libby Plummer at The Daily Mail  has a different take, calling this a natural thermostat that cools the upper atmosphere after solar storms. I guess we’ll have to wait to see the paper to see if this can be connected to the global surface temperature at all.

The solar wind is is coming at us at a million miles an hour, but we really don’t know much about what happens when it weaves and buffets past us. In a news release NASA GISS describe how their traditional understanding of what is going on 150 miles up can sometimes just turn inside out. That’s  “Revolutions in Understanding the Ionosphere, Earth’s Interface to Space”. It describes how energy from space weather can get into the ionosphere, and also muck up some of our satellites.

Despite climate models being sure that the Sun has hardly any effect, even NASA Giss admits there are some pretty wild things going on up there, and they are mostly due to the Sun. As the solar wind blasts in, it can set up a voltage difference between the upper layers of the atmosphere and the “magnetosphere”. A current will flow, discharging this energy into [...]

The Kelp coped: ocean gets 5.5 degrees hotter but no effect on giant kelp

After human pumped out 90% of all the CO2 they’ve ever made, the oceans might be a whole fifth of a degree warmer, tops, in the last 60 years. So when water that was a whopping 5.5 degrees warmer rolled over some giant kelp, researchers got excited.  (This is like 1,650 years of climate change right?!)  But the kelp pretty much did nothing, and you might say that researchers were shocked the kelp coped:

Kelp beats the heat

 They expected forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), known to be sensitive to such increases as well as to the resulting low-nutrient conditions, to respond quite rapidly to a rise in water temperature.

However, to the scientists’ surprise, that was not the case. The kelp, they discovered, was all right. Their findings appear in the journal Nature Communications.

“The response that we saw in kelp was really no different than what we’d seen in our temporal record,” explained lead author Daniel Reed, deputy director of UCSB’s Marine Science Institute (MSI). “The values were low but not necessarily lower than what we’d seen during cool-water years.”

A lot of other underwater things were not bothered either: