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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Ideology adds heat to the debate on climate change — Jennifer Marohasy

The national conversation is all about “seeming” and “confidence”. Greg Hunt (Environment Minister) boasted that he stopped an investigation into the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), and prevented “due diligence” being a part of a one-day wonder “forum”.

His justification:

“In doing this, it is important to note that public trust in the Bureau’s data and forecasts, particularly as they relate to bushfires and cyclones, is paramount,” [Greg Hunt] said.

It used to be that public trust occurred when organizations were fully investigated, accountable, and found clean. Now “Public Trust” is apparently increased when there are no investigations, or only weak whitewashes. Either the public has got a lot stupider, or the media and ministers have.

Plenty of the self anointed (those who know more than the dumb punters) thought Hunt’s boast was a big achievement. Anthony Sharwood, News Corp journalist (oh for a “reporter”!), wondered if the government was paranoid for wanting to check the BOM. Perhaps next he’ll be calling for global corporates to figure out their own tax bill; who needs professional auditing, right — it’s just “paranoid”?

But the bad news for Hunt and the Bureau (and Sharwood) is that the Truth will out, the [...]

Under pressure, Australian BOM puts up facade of “transparency” — too little, too late

Bottom line: The BOM has added a page listing “Adjustments”. It’s two years late, inadequate and incomplete. Skeptics shouldn’t have had to ask for it in the first place, and we still don’t have the algorithms and codes, or rational answers to most questions.  No one can replicate the mystery black box homogenisation methods of the BOM — and without replication, it isn’t science. There is still no explanation of why an excellent station like Rutherglen should change from cooling to warming, except for vague “statistics”, or why any station should be adjusted without documentary evidence, based on thermometers that might be 300 km away.

Lo and behold, the pressure from The Australian and independent analysts means the BOM has made a weak belated attempt to do what it has implied it always has done. When Michael Brown provided cover for the BOM he said the notion that scientists were hiding data was “pseudoscience”. The BOM, meanwhile, added a page called “Adjustments”, two years after launching “ACORN”, quietly admitting that the skeptics were right. They did not correct Brown’s baseless namecalling. Other apologists for their inexplicable anomalies, major adjustments or errors – like David Karoly — demand the skeptics [...]

BOM

All posts related to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology are at this link.

 Some of the best:

Australian temperature records shoddy, inaccurate, unreliable. Surprise! Threat of ANAO Audit means Australia’s BOM throws out temperature set, starts again, gets same results Australia – was hot and is hot. So what? This is not an unusual heatwave Not the hottest ever summer for most Australians in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Not “extreme” heatwaves either. Mystery black-box method used to make *all new* Australian “hottest” ever records Hottest summer record in Australia? Not so, says UAH satellite data Get Headlines! How to find a heatwave in five easy steps What the CSIRO State of the Climate report forgot to tell you Climate-trivia headlines and the BoM’s unscientific obession with “hottest ever” records Australian BOM “neutral” adjustments increase minima trends up 50% Was the Hottest Day Ever in Australia not in a desert, but in far south Albany?! Wow, look at those BOM adjustments – trends up by two degrees C! The heat is on. Bureau of Meteorology ‘altering climate figures’ — The Australian [...]

Australian conservatives going Labor lite — pandering to the “green vote” or just confused?

What were they thinking?

Tony Abbott has a plan to try to convince China and the US to sign up for the “global climate change deal.” As if the world’s number one and two economies, with a population of 1.6 billion combined, will be waiting for instructions. And as if the global climate needed “a deal”.  Hey but we do have 22 million people. squeak. squeak.

To make matters worse, Greg Hunt — the opposition spokesman for the environment — said a Coalition Government might not wipe out the emissions reductions target but… wait, they might lift the target instead. Thus taking something useless, expensive and ineffective against a problem-that-doesn’t-exist and making it moreso.

It’s a mistake every which way. The Liberal Party could play them at their own green game and beat them, just by applying common sense. Instead its appeasing the politically correct namecallers (who wouldn’t vote for them anyway), and the price they pay is to look weak, irrational and lacking in conviction.

A true environmentalist would stop wasting money on schemes that don’t help the environment. (Why spend a cent cooling Australia by no degrees? There goes the carbon tax…)

If the Liberal Party were [...]

Not the hottest ever summer for most Australians in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Not “extreme” heatwaves either.

Despite the wild hype about records being broken, and how hot this summer has “felt” for most Australians there have been many hotter summers, and for millions of people this summer was not remarkable at all.

The BOM is planting the unscientific suggestion it “felt warm” when thermometers in most major centres tell us it was just summer. The population of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne combined is almost 11 million. Nearly 50% of all Australians experienced an average to above average summer, but none of them experienced an extreme summer or a record hot season.

Since there are 100 different ways of measuring a “record”, could it be the BOM is cherry picking whatever record it can find, but ignoring all the non-records, the average measurements, and the ordinary heat?

Melbourne, hot but not extreme

In Melbourne there have been nine hotter summers, and two of those were more than a century ago. Those summers weren’t just a bit hotter. It was nearly a whole degree hotter (as an average of maximum summer temperatures) in 1898 and 1951.

In Melbourne this summer qualifies as the tenth hottest. It was far hotter in 1898, 1951, 1981, and 2001

 

Much [...]

Australia – was hot and is hot. So what? This is not an unusual heatwave

The media are in overdrive, making out that “the extreme heat is the new normal” in Australia. The Great Australian Heatwave of January 2013 didn’t push the mercury above 50C at any weather station in Australia, yet it’s been 50C (122F) and hotter in many inland towns across Australia over the past century. See how many are in the late 1800′s and early to mid 1900′s. You can’t blame those high records on man made global warming.  [feel free to post some old records of your own and the source reference we can check and we will update the map]

 Did CO2 cause extreme heat in the 1820′s?

In explorer Charles Sturt’s time it was so hot that thermometers exploded. Was this Australia’s hottest day all the way back in 1828? It was 122F or 53.9C! Naturally it is not a BOM-registered-record (the BOM did not exist then). Nonetheless, Charles Sturt was engaged to explore the nation and given careful instructions to take accurate readings of the climate. Yes, inadequate thermometer shading may have exaggerated the maximum by 1C, 2C, maybe even 3C, but at 50.9C it would still have been considerably hotter than anywhere in January 2013.

Even that [...]

NZ Justice shows courts are useless in a science debate

The NZ court case of skeptics versus NIWA has come down against the skeptics.

The National Business Review does tabloid-style sensational namecalling in the headline (does it consider itself to be a proper newspaper?)

“Climate change deniers shot down in NIWA court challenge”

Judge Geoffrey Venning threw out claims by the NZ Climate Science Education Trust that the Crown Research Institute known as NIWA breached its statutory duties, were mistaken in fact, failed to consider mandatory considerations and acted unreasonably in publishing its work.

NIWA will be entitled to costs, which are yet to be set, as a result of the case, Justice Venning’s judgment says.

Why did the skeptics lose? According to the news report, it was not because NIWA provided good answers, or found the missing data, but because the skeptics didn’t have “authority” to question it.

Some evidence in the case was ruled inadmissible, including that of Terry Dunleavy, a former journalist who is a founding member of the trust and secretary of the associated NZ Climate Science Coalition.

Justice Venning says Dunleavy “has no applicable qualifications” and “his interest in the area does not sufficiently qualify him as an expert”.

He also questioned the credentials of Bob [...]

Australian temperature records shoddy, inaccurate, unreliable. Surprise!

The BOM say their temperature records are high quality. An independent audit team has just produced a report showing that as many as 85 -95% of all Australian sites in the pre-Celsius era (before 1972) did not comply with the BOM’s own stipulations. The audit shows 20-30% of all the measurements back then were rounded or possibly truncated. Even modern electronic equipment was at times, so faulty and unmonitored that one station rounded all the readings for nearly 10 years! These sloppy errors may have created an artificial warming trend. The BOM are issuing pronouncements of trends to two decimal places like this one  in the BOM’s Annual Climate Summary 2011 of “0.52 °C above average”  yet relying on patchy data that did not meet its own compliance standards around half the time.  It’s doubtful they can justify one decimal place, let alone two?

We need a professional audit.

 

A team of independent engineers, scientists, statisticians and data analysts (brought together by the joannenova blog) has been going through the Australia Bureau of Meteorology records (BOM). They’ve audited some 8.5 million daily observations across 237 High Quality and other close sites in Australia. Shockingly, while [...]