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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Mass carbon emissions, yet Australian sea levels rise at similar speed as 1920 – 1950

Australia is one of the most stable land masses on the planet, and has more gauges than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, so it’s very useful for sea-level measurements. It also had a couple of rare continuous long records “… the two longest sea-level records in the southern hemisphere, Sydney Fort Denison from 1886 and Fremantle from 1897″ .

A new paper by White et al, concludes that Australian sea level rises are similar to global measurements (so not a bad proxy for the world), and that during times when CO2 levels were much lower — like before World War II, sea levels were rising at the same speed (or possibly faster) than they are today.

A generalized additive model of Australia’s two longest records (Fremantle and Sydney) reveals the presence of both linear and non-linear long-term sea-level trends, with both records showing larger rates of rise between 1920 and 1950, relatively stable mean sea levels between 1960 and 1990 and an increased rate of rise from the early 1990s.

Does a “larger rate of rise” mean larger than today, or larger than average — I think, given the error margins, that we could only be sure it [...]

Dennis Jensen MP — Calls for audit on the BOM and CSIRO data

Dennis Jensen, M.P. in the Australian Parliament, made a formal parliamentary request for an audit of the BOM and CSIRO data handling processes.

This is an excellent request, something Australia desperately needs. Good data on the climate.

Given how important our climate is, I’m sure Tim Flannery, The Climate Council, The Australian Conversation Foundation, and The Australian Greens will join us in demanding that the BOM and CSIRO datasets are independently audited. Naturally, all of us would want to ensure our climate data is of the highest quality possible and not subject to any kinds of confirmation bias, or inexplicable adjustments. Right? And maybe its even worse than we thought, so they will want to check, yes?

Let’s leave no stone unturned in making sure we understand the threats to the Australian environment, the impact on our farms and homes, and on our National Balance Sheet! How could any Green disagree?

Dennis Jensen talks about the response he got from the BOM and the questions he did not get answered:

” … the BOM state the temperature trend prior to 1910 is unreliable. But the IPCC use data on Australia going back to 1850. So [...]

Get Headlines! How to find a heatwave in five easy steps

Heatwaves have become a publicity tool. Far from there being a clear trend in Australian heatwaves, Geoff Sherrington shows that it’s also legitimate to claim heatwaves were worse 80 – 100 years ago in Adelaide and Melbourne and things are getting better. Those officials who cherrypick their claims might be technically correct, but it’s outrageously deceitful and unscientific at the same time.

Just how hard is it to get a record heatwave? It’s so easy that if it’s summer in Australia, it’s hard not to set a record. That’s because heatwaves come in so many flavors  –  there are seven capital cities which can all have 3 day, 4 day, 5 day or 6 day heatwaves. Then there are the heatwaves over 40C, or over 38 C, or over 35C… already that makes 84 flavours of wave. If a hot spell doesn’t break one type of wave, it could easily break another. Then there is the pre-heatwave, and there would be another 84 types of heatwaves that we haven’t had, but might get, you never know. You might think I’m kidding, but pre-heatwaves get headlines already:

“More Canberra heatwaves forecast”

“A heatwave could return to Canberra next month, [...]

Forgotten: Historic hot temperatures recorded with detail and care in Adelaide

What I found most interesting about this was the skill, dedication and length of meteorological data taken in the 1800′s. When our climate is “the most important moral challenge” why is it there is so little interest in our longest and oldest data?

Who knew that one of the most meticulous and detailed temperature records in the world from the 1800′s comes from Adelaide, largely thanks to Sir Charles Todd. The West Terrace site in Adelaide was one of the best in the world at the time, and provides accurate historic temperatures from  “Australia’s first permanent weather bureau at Adelaide in 1856″. (Rainfall records even appear to go as far back as 1839.)  Lance Pidgeon went delving into the National Archives and was surprised at what he found.

If we want to understand our climate the records from the 1800′s in Adelaide are surely worth attention?

The BOM usually shows graphs like this one below starting in 1911. You might think you are looking at the complete history of Adelaide temperatures and that smoothed temperature is rising inexorably, but the historic records remain unseen. While “hottest” ever records are proclaimed in [...]

Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die.

Photo: Jo Nova

Post by: Lance Pidgeon with assistance from Chris Gillham and others.

It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.

In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). The maximumun at or above 102 degrees F (38.9°C) for 24 days straight.

By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains.  As reported at the time, the government felt [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want climate resistant oysters, or climate “Justice”? The ARC has millions to help. But no money for skeptics.

File this under “Monopolistic Science”

Australian Taxpayer funds in 2012 are supporting around 50 projects about “climate change” or “greenhouse gases”.

One David McKnight has got $95k to study how Australian governments “spin” the news. So which cancer research project was knocked back so he could study a “hyper-adversarial” news system? And what is so bad about a competitive news system in any case? What are we aiming for — real news or better propaganda? (See my response to David McKnight in The Australian to see how confused this journalism lecturer is.)

The dollar values here are usually for three year projects. Some of these projects potentially produce press releases which are nothing more than disguised forms of government advertising for big-spending climate policies.

Jo

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Guest Post: Dr Roberto Soria, Perth

The ARC Major Grant results for 2012 were announced in Nov 2011.  Here is what Australian scientists are up to this year.

The ARC (Australian Research Council) is the main source of funding for all researchers in all fields of natural, political and social sciences. Getting a grant will make a difference between carrying on doing research and finding another job, for many researchers. Take a [...]

THAT famous email explained and the first Volunteer Global Warming Skeptic

Years before Climategate, THAT email, from Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes told us everything we needed to know about the scientific standards at the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia. THAT email was the tip of the iceberg, and below is what lay underneath the surface — the things that were said behind the scenes at the time. Geoff Sherrington has pieced together a sequence of climategate emails, his own emails, and parts of Warwick Hughes work to recreate the sequence.

And for the true skeptic-aficionados, here’s a new layer of history to the skeptical chronology. Where did this volunteer audit movement begin?

Who would have guessed that at least one skeptic, Hughes, was asking for the data Phil Jones worked with, as long ago as 1991? (That was way back in the days where people worked with hard copy print outs, and drew graphs by hand!) Does Hughes rank as volunteer Skeptic Number 1?

UPDATE: I asked Warwick, and he thinks the first unpaid skeptic was Fred Wood in 1988*.  — Jo

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Guest post by: Geoffrey H Sherrington, Scientist.

This is the longer story behind one of [...]

Labor censors Dr Dennis Jensen — denies peer reviewed science

The Labor Party claim they think science is important:

”We can’t let this debate be waylaid by people who don’t accept the science,” Ms Gillard said in May.

Yet, when Dr Dennis Jensen  wanted to table peer reviewed papers on the Parliamentary record this week, Kate Ellis refused to allow it. Jensen is the only PhD scientist in the Australian Parliament and the papers are directly relevant to the policy under discussion.

The ALP will accept  an unaudited foreign committee report, whole, without question, but not scientific evidence from an elected Australian representative.  Who are the climate science deniers? Is it the same team that calls people mindless denigrating names?

Ms Gillard said in Parliament in March that Mr Abbott should admit he was ”a climate change denier”

The Labor Party denies the science

From Dennis Jensen’s press release about the censorship:

“I approached Minister Ellis, about tabling some of the scientific evidence I was about to use in my speech”, Dr Jensen said. “The Minister refused without reason my simple request for honest and evidence based parliamentary debate.”

“It seems the Labor Party is unwilling to [...]

Giant PR machine swings into gear against the Convoy

It’s important for the big-government-dependent parties to deny the power of the Convoy.

Less than a week ago, there was a rally at Parliament House with around 3,000-5,000 people. And today there was another one, this one with around 600 vehicles according to Matt and Janet Thompson, and this one by people who have gone to extraordinary lengths, driving up to 5,000 kilometers from all corners of the country.

The convoy is a rolling protest that involved thousands of people across the nation. In Sydney, people switched their headlights on in sympathy, and Andrew Bolt records at least one witness suggesting half the cars on the road had their lights on.

Feelings and support for the convoy are widespread and running high. One of the convoy supporters from near Clermont reports: ‘In only 24 hours, we gathered 300 signatures for the petition, local beef producers had organised fuel donations of over $13,000 and the CWA had organised food and drinks for everyone on the convoy.  This support from a town of only 2000 was amazing and a testament to a united effort.’

Dale Stiller’s comment is typical on Just Grounds: The convoy has experienced nothing but support. There have been [...]