JoNova

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


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Mann with no friends

In the case of the century Mark Steyn notes that not one climate scientist filed an amicus brief for Michael Mann, who has been lauded by some as “taking a stand for science”.

Mark Steyn: “Gotcha. Michael Mann is not doing this for Michael Mann, or even for Michael Mann’s science, or even for climate science. He’s doing it for science. Mann is science and science is Mann.

Well, yesterday was the deadline, and not a single amicus brief was filed on behalf of Mann. Not one. So Michael Mann is taking a stand for science. But evidently science is disinclined to take a stand for Michael Mann.”

Today Michael Mann invited the world to do a Q & A on Twitter. How unfortunate. The twitter hashtag #AskDrMann is being referred to as a Mock-a-lanche.

Credit Scottie Mhic Leòid @variouspenguins  ·  15h

By TwitchyTeam @TwitchyTeam

#AskDrMann Isn’t it funny that ‘The PAUSE’ began right about the time the IPCC began to hype your hockey schtick? — ClimateOtter (@ClimateOtter) September 17, 2014

[...]

Low Carbon building at Nottingham University destroyed in High Carbon Fire

As the wonderful Delingpole puts it, timber framed buildings have been banned in the UK since the Great Fire of London in 1666. But in 1999 environmental experts decided it was alright again, and the rules were changed. Nottingham University used all their intellectual prowess and rigorous training, and decided to make their new science labs “Carbon Neutral” in the hope that they might be able to change global weather. The labs were designed to meet the most rigorous bureaucratic rules, but burnt down before they were finished.

Late last week the £20 million GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry was razed.

More than 60 firefighters dealt with the fire at its peak, after the first 999 call at 8.36pm on Friday.

Notts Fire and Rescue Service received more than 150 calls from concerned members of the public as flames and plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around. Social media was filled with photos and messages of shock and support.

It must be comforting to know it was built to the most stringent bureaucratic standards and designed by teams of top research academics.

[...]

What happened at Nobby’s Signal Station near Newcastle? Record heat in 1878 goes unseen.

Questions about the BOM spread: “Adjusted Temperatures Need Explaining” by Tony Cox in the Newcastle Herald. Jennifer Marohasy  picks it up and draws attention to the situation of Newcastle temperatures, which were recorded at Nobbys Signal Station, near the Lighthouse at Nobby’s Head.

Old Trove archive records show that in the 1939 heatwave there were protests that Nobby’s Head temperatures were too cool to represent the real heat going on in Newcastle because it is exposed to good sea-breezes. (h/t to Siliggy)

The BOM page for Nobby’s links to this graph of the raw data.

The raw data from Nobby’s shows a hot period in the late 1880s. This is Climate Data Online or CDO.

Jen Marohasy points out that the BOM ignore this long record and use Williamston RAAF near Newcastle instead as one of the 112 stations to calculate national trends.

Note the trends…. adjusted of course.

 

Marohasy argues that the BOM ignore the better long record and use the shorter airport instead:

[...]

Antarctica – where more ice and less ice is proof of climate change

The sea ice around Antarctica is at a record high since satellites started recording, and snowfall is thumping down on the northern Antarctic Peninsula*, but alas — some glaciers on the same peninsula are continuing to melt, just like they have done for 300 years. Hence, a team of researchers-with-models conclude that this means these glaciers are especially, very, super-sensitive to air temperature changes and will “likely” melt fast, raise sea-levels, and disappear in 200 years time.

Glaciers in northern Antarctic Peninsula melting faster than ever despite increased snowfall

Increased snowfall will not prevent the continued melting of glaciers in the northern Antarctic Peninsula, according to new research. Scientists have discovered that small glaciers that end on land around the Antarctic Peninsula are highly vulnerable to slight changes in air temperature and may be at risk of disappearing within 200 years. – Science Daily

“Faster than ever!”  Blame Climate Change TM:

[Prof Glasser]: “This unprecedented glacier recession, in response to climate change, will result in significant contributions to sea level rise from this and similar Antarctic Peninsula mountain glaciers and ice caps.” –Wales.co

Hmm. I note that other warming parts of Antarctica are near a string of volcanoes and (surprize) [...]

Ebola — time for action

I trained in microbiology so I’ve watched the Ebola situation unfold with quiet dread.  When my favourite lecturer was asked what was worst of the worst infectious epidemics he could imagine, he responded that the sum of all fears would be a cross between Ebola and Newcastle’s disease. It would be a highly fatal hemorrhagic disease, combined with a highly contagious virus spread by birds. It’s time to talk of the dark dark possibility that one mutation could bring — the aerosolization of Ebola.

As long as this Filovirus stays in its current form, spread only through direct contact with an infected and obviously ill person, we have a chance to limit the spread. Quarantine is effective. If it goes airborne, the task becomes like preventing the flu, but without clinically tested vaccines, in a totally unprotected population, and with a 60% fatality rate. This is the nuclear option.

The Ebola virus has several different forms, and at least in animal studies, it has “gone airborne” before. Theoretically, it’s an odds game. The more times the virus is copied — the better the odds are that the right mutation will occur. To be brutally blunt, every infected person is another [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

For roving ideas…

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 [...]

The lost climate knowledge of Deacon 1952: hot dry summers from 1880-1910

Once upon a time, Australian climate scientists discussed and published climate trends of the late 1800s. And lo, the long lost hot weather decades were apparent in many places in inland South Eastern Australia. While skeptics are accused of cherry picking data from Bourke, Rutherglen and Deniliquin, there are plenty of other examples. In the last post, the 1953 Argus story described hotter drier summers in Omeo, Bendigo, Hay, Bourke, Alice Springs, Echuca, Albury, and Cooma. Here is a Deacon et al peer reviewed graph of the long term trends at Hay, Narrabri, Bourke and Alice Springs.

Thanks to Chris Gillham for finding the Deacon paper of 1952. [On another point, I'll have a response up to the new BOM "adjustments" page later. In short, their data still has many inexplicable errors like where maxima are lower than minima, and they are still not providing all the details we need to replicate their data and homogenization methods. - Jo]

But just have a look at this graph. Degrees Fahrenheit of course. State of the art, 1952.

….

These  cooling trends cover “only” a couple of million square kilometers of Australia:

The location of Alice Springs, Bourke, Narrabri, and [...]

1953 Headline: Melbourne’s weather is changing! Summers getting colder and wetter

The average maximum temperatures [of SE Australia] during the last 35 years were between two and four degrees (F) lower than the average for the previous 35 years. — CSIRO 1953

Once upon a time — before the Great Politicization of Climate Science — CSIRO was able to analyze trends from 1880 to 1910. In 1953 CSIRO scientists were making a case that large parts of Australia had been hotter in the 1880s and around the turn of last century. They are referring specifically to summer maximums, and presumably the increase in rainfall over the same period played a large role in preventing hot days from becoming hotter. Minimum and mean trends may have been quite different, but these older maximum records are surely relevant when news headlines are drafted today about hot summers and heatwaves.

So what happened to the widespread lost hot decades?

I have a lot more to say on the warm and the work of these scientists. For the moment, the full archived news story is entertaining in its own right. Thanks to Chris Gillham for this link and to Jennifer Marohasy. Graphs tomorrow : – )

– Jo

 

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) Wednesday 18 March [...]

Scientists invent time-travelling models that “might have worked”

You won’t believe… Research shows surprise global warming ‘hiatus’ could have been forecast

[The Guardian]  Australian and US climate experts say with new ocean-based modelling tools, the early 2000s warming slowdown was foreseeable. Australian and US researchers have shown that the slowdown in the rate of global warming in the early 2000s, known as a so-called “global warming hiatus”, could have been predicted if today’s tools for decade-by-decade climate forecasting had been available in the 1990s.

And I’ve got a model that would have predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the GFC, and the winner of the Melbourne Cup. What I would not have predicted is that lame excuses this transparent, would be made by people calling themselves scientists, Gerald Meehl, and repeated by people calling themselves journalists. (That’s you, Melissa Davey). Though I’m not surprised that research this weak had to be published by Nature. (Where else?)

Although global temperatures remain close to record highs, they have shown little warming trend over the past 15 years, a slowdown that earlier climate models had been largely unable to predict.

This has been used by climate change sceptics as evidence that climate change prediction models are flawed.

Imagine that, the stupid [...]

Egypt went from wetter to drier three times in Predynastic times with perfect CO2 levels

Back when CO2 levels were ideal, and there were 1 billion less cars than today, monsoons always happened in the same place, the rain was the same year after year, and there were no local extinctions of animals.

If we could only return to renewable slave power:

[ScienceDaily] The researchers identified five episodes over the past 6,000 years when dramatic changes occurred in Egypt’s mammalian community, three of which coincided with extreme environmental changes as the climate shifted to more arid conditions. These drying periods also coincided with upheaval in human societies, such as the collapse of the Old Kingdom around 4,000 years ago and the fall of the New Kingdom about 3,000 years ago.

“There were three large pulses of aridification as Egypt went from a wetter to a drier climate, starting with the end of the African Humid Period 5,500 years ago when the monsoons shifted to the south,” Yeakel said. “At the same time, human population densities were increasing, and competition for space along the Nile Valley would have had a large impact on animal populations.”

No climate models were harmed in the production of this paper.

[...]

“Democracy hurting our climate response” — closet totalitarians at the ABC again

The ABC Drum Pater Burdon asks:   Is democracy hurting our climate change response?

Indeed! Burdon is impressed with Naomi Orsekes’ speculation that China will “weather” the climate change storm because it is an undemocratic (and glorious communist) state.  This same country builds the equivalent of a new coal powered plant every 10 days, and suffers from smogifying pollution so crippling that up to 250,000 people may be dying of it. Let’s try that “centralized” government where peaceful activists and people who complain about corruption get jailed or risk torture. And who could forget the “success” of big-government in China last century — no other style of government has successfully killed as many people, ever.

Burdon

Is it democracy that is blocking progress on climate change or the current limited version of it that pervades Western society? Peter D Burdon writes.

The third possibility is that democracy is working just fine, and the masses of “dumb” voters have it right. What if believers can’t convince the voters that their alarming-tax-plan can stop the storms because the case for a carbon-crisis is pathetically weak? Could it be that people don’t need a degree in the history of feminist art to see that [...]

Get the t-shirt

Order today

Buy a T-Shirt to help get Patrick Moore to Australia.

Wear it to BBQ’s to spark some fun.

LAST CHANCE TO ORDER – $30.00 (includes postage) Details here: http://ow.ly/AVgun They need 30 more orders to reach the amount for cheaper printing

……..

———–

UPDATE: Responding to comments.  Messages on t-shirts do not have to be logical, grammatically correct, nor literally accurate. The more people who wear this the better.

[...]

46% of 70,000 Australians say they don’t believe humans cause global warming

Ninemsn (major network news in Australia) held a small poll on it’s home page on Friday, asking Do you believe global warming is man-made?

The ratio stayed roughly the same from start to finish. (Here, early on, it was 44% skeptical).

Matty  in Perth kept track of the tally, and while the poll seems to have disappeared off the home page (can anyone find an archive?) at last count it was 39,899 yes and 33,960 no which was 46% skeptic of a total of 73,859 votes.

Of course, these are unrepresentative, self selecting polls. It underestimates the number of skeptics. The latest CSIRO survey shows 53% of the Australian population don’t agree that “humans are causing climate change”. Nonetheless, we trust Nine news notices the large response of its own audience. There will be some major ratings wins out there for whichever commercial news service notices that almost everything they broadcast on climate change is a bore and a turn-off for half their audience.

And as far as the ABC goes, as I’ve said before, when it gives 50% of its climate budget and time to skeptical arguments we will know it is fulfilling its charter.

Image thanks to [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

For otherwise homeless thoughts…

Sir Paul Nurse, once a respected scientist, is reduced to mud-wrestling

He’s the new President of the British Science Association (I bet they are loving this media coverage) and has decided to move on from the old technique of debating scientific points on their merits. It’s too slow (especially if you don’t have… evidence). Instead he’s going with retro-science — Do you believe, sinner? It’s so retro, it’s retro-the-renaissance.

The Daily Mail UK

Politicians who do not believe in climate change should be ‘crushed and buried’, according to the new president of the British Science Association.

How much belief is enough, I wonder, to avoid the crushing? If a politician believed in the greenhouse theory but not the catastrophe, is that half crushed, or do we skip the squishing and go straight for the burying?

Sir Paul Nurse, who starts his presidency next week, pledged to ‘take on’ the ‘serial offenders’ who he accused of cherry picking scientific facts to suit their arguments.

In an extraordinary outburst, Sir Paul accused those who refuse to accept scientific orthodoxy on global warming of ‘distorting’ the facts.

Sir Paul singled out GWPF — as “pretending to talk about science” — and he whipped [...]

We are 99.99999% sure that broken models produce stupid climate statistics

Amazing what they can discover with data from just the last 130 years. Hey but it must be right. It’s bootstrapped!

Finally, the study you’ve been waiting for. Now we can be absolutely certain — it’s practically proven beyond all doubt –  your SUV changes the climate.

We just need to assume the climate models understand the climate and that there are no longer natural cycles at work AND that there are no effects from the sun from the solar wind, solar magnetic fields, or spectral changes. Easy. (Don’t look at the evidence,  the pause or all the model failures.)

The new headline:

99.999% certainty humans are driving global warming: new study

It’s at The Conversation – -the government funded site where government funded scientists discuss their bestest ideas.

WARNING – Modern global temperatures (red) were homogenized with imaginary Vostok data for entertainment purposes only. See footnote*

Obviously being 95% certain is not enough. Desperate believers are upping the ante. I guess all those people who were not convinced by 95% certainty will now switch over, blown away by the last 4.999% certainty that was missing before. It’s the third decimal place that does it.

PS: There’s a [...]

BOM homogenisation in Deniliquin creates discontinuities and changes trends

The list goes on, and there is more to come.

In Deniliquin NSW, the homogenisation has lifted both the maxima and minima trends — again converting cooling to warming.

Graham Lloyd continues to increase the pressure on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. In answers to Lloyd the BOM could only defend their work with the extraordinary statement that while some trends at individual stations look anomalous, overall the results “showed a similar warming trend to that of other inter­national climate ­organisations. ”

So they inadvertently admit that they expect Australian trends to look like trends in other parts of the world. Despite the fact that Australia is drier, flatter and surrounded on every edge by oceans, the Bureau would consider it a fail if our trends were different to others? We’re in the opposite hemisphere to many international climate organizations, which may or may not matter, but we’ll never find out if we are trying to fit our data to theirs. And El Nino’s and La Nina’s mean very different things to countries on opposite sides of the Pacific. We’re blurring the resolution from thousands of data-points. The raw data is blended not just on regional scales but thanks to [...]

Up to 4 million die from indoor air pollution annually (they need cheap coal-fired electricity!)

People who have no cheap electricity burn wood or coal inside their homes to make dinner and stay warm. The smoke produces real pollution (as opposed to the fake kind which feeds plants). In India, some homes have pollution levels “three times higher than a typical London street”. Not surprisingly, living in smoke does not work out well for lungs and hearts. “Estimates suggest that household air pollution killed 3·5 to 4 million people in 2010. “

We can argue about the numbers and whether they are exaggerated, but there’s no doubt that millions of people would lead better lives if they had access to cheap electricity, which in practical terms means coal-fired power. In Niger, Africa, 17 million people use less electricity than Dubbo, NSW, a town of 40,000.

Where are the Greens? Children in poverty are suffering from lung damage now. The Greens priority is to spend billions to stop them dying in 2100 from seas rising at 1mm a year. How many people does expensive electricity kill? — Jo

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Household air pollution puts more than one in three people worldwide at risk of ill health, early death [...]

The mysterious lost hot Sunday in Bourke, did it really happen?

 Was January 3rd 1909 in Bourke one of Australia’s hottest days ever?

The historic records say “125F” — or 51.7C. The BOM say it was an observer error.

Bourke and neighboring stations in NSW and QLD Australia

Blair Trewin wrote a paper looking at the extreme highs in 1997. The Bourke record was made on a Sunday and in that particular year there are no records on other Sundays. On the other hand, I wonder what station observer would not notice a day that was 125F and head in to work to see exactly how high it was. The number 125F was handwritten in and underlined. You’d think observers would know it was a special figure, and pay attention.

The town of Bourke got a Stephenson Screen only a few months beforehand in August 1908, so it had good modern equipment. But Trewin thinks the record is an observer error, and points out that it was a lot warmer in Bourke than in other surrounding towns like Thargomindah, Walgett, and Coonable, and by about 6.9C degrees, which is an unusual gap. During the rest of the month Bourke was “not exceptionally hot compared to other stations”. Fair point. [...]