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

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The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper




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

Another toothless review of the BOM?

In last week’s news we find — by golly — that the BOM are going to “rush” to set up an oversight panel that they were told to set up back in 2011 or 2012. Hey, it was going to take three years to set up the panel, but now they’re doing it in two! That’s what I call “action”.

So the BOM knows it’s in trouble, and they shift to Stage 2.  They’ve avoided the skeptical questions, the FOIA’s, and the request for explanations for as long as they possibly could. But now the mainstream media is involved, something has to change — because nothing is worse than playing out the questions and answers in an uncontrolled way in public. To pack away those contentious points, what better method than by appointing a committee, review panel, or some kind of “independent” assessment? The right committee can produce toothless recommendations, vague praise, and a weak slap on the wrist and it can take years to do it.

Thus and verily do Ministers sometimes palm off problems, and responsibility. All decision-making power seemingly goes to the “review” (unless it somehow produces an undesirable result). Should the review churn out the conclusion the [...]

The mysterious sudden jump in Melbourne temperatures in 1996 with an instrument change

Here’s a strange change. After 160 years of fairly constant maximum temperatures, the raw Melbourne records take a sudden step up by 0.7 0C in 1996. Coincidentally (or not) that is the same year that the automatic gauge was installed. The new electronic equipment is much more responsive to short peaks and dips compared to thermometers. Could the step up be due to the better resolution? It’s by no means definitive — these are yearly averages, not monthly, and it may be a real climate shift and not due to the equipment. The obvious question is whether this sort of jump occurs in other stations where AWS (automatic weather stations) were installed. That would have profound implications if it did, but surely it would have been noticed already? Melbourne is known for having “four seasons in one day”, so perhaps there is a small effect in most places, but the switchable peaks of of Melbourne summers make a larger difference. In any case, thanks to Tom Quirk (and Bill Johnston)  we have another puzzle in need of an answer. These AWS’s were installed all over Australia in the late nineties. If there was some effect, then there would [...]

Monckton in Australia (Brisbane on Tuesday)

Christopher Monckton

The wonderful Christopher Monckton is quietly venturing around Australia once again, this time at a more relaxed pace.

Hear Alan Jones interview Lord Monckton recently on 2GB.

As Alan Jones points out, Monckton has been thoroughly demonized, but as the evidence accrues, it’s clear he’s been on the right side the whole time.

Keep track of the Monckton Foundation page for other up and coming events that may occur.

For South East Queenslanders:– Christopher will be in the IRISH CLUB, Brisbane (again) next Tuesday 30th September. Details from Michael Darby; the Event Organiser:– [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Wandering thoughts…

Google — the bird killing green rent seekers

This week the Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, called people who oppose green energy subsidies “liars”.

Mr. Schmidt said: “And the people who oppose it (climate change) are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”

Meanwhile, Google uses mostly non-renewable fuel to power its operations, but has “pledged $1.5billion” to fund renewables. It has invested millions into solar panel plants that are “bird-fryers” — literally roasting birds in the sky. These investments mostly occur in states with renewable-mandates, would not survive without taxpayer funding, qualify for tax credits, and require infrastructure (like transmission lines) that electricity consumers or governments have to fund.

Wall St Journal

Google Kills Birds The mercenary motives behind Eric Schmidt’s appeal to green virtue.

“The real charlatans are businesses like Google that use climate change as a pretext for corporate welfare.”

… nearly all of Google’s solar and wind farms are located in states with renewable-energy mandates, which create opportunities for politically mediated profit-making. For instance, California requires that renewables make up a third of electricity by [...]

The hotter nights in Melbourne and some mysterious adjustments

Tom Quirk takes a close look at the long historic station of Melbourne. As we would expect, things have changed around the sensor since 1855 when records started.  Amazingly he finds the maximum trend in Melbourne was largely flat from 1855 – 1995. The  minimums shows a classic warming from 1945.

To find out how much of the warming in Melbourne may be due to the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) we can compare the minima at the CBD station to one on the outskirts — and Laverton is 20 kilometers away. The site near the CBD is warming at 0.2C per decade faster than the site on the outskirts. It amounts to a whole degree warmer over 50 years, though the rate may be tailing off now. It’s hard to fit in more concrete or more skyscrapers than there already are.

Tom has a close look at the adjustments and finds plenty of questions but few answers. These adjustments are done as step changes, and Tom (and I) wonder why the gradual increase in concrete would warm Melbourne “step-wise” rather than as a slope change. Tom also wonders why the BOM say that one change is due to a [...]

“Mike’s trick” to hide the decline — still shocking

Jean S revisited “Black Tuesday” with a post on Climate Audit. Even though I’ve seen these graphs before. It is still so arresting:

(Click to enlarge) Graphs from a Richard Muller presentation

People can debate the finer details of “splicing” but ultimately the second graph is deceptive. Do tree rings work, or don’t they?

When it comes to “tricks”, this is not like a trick to get the photocopier to work. It’s a trick to hide something (see that famous quote below). We don’t need a committee report to tell us whether it’s OK. It’s not science.

Climate Audit has well written a minute by minute breakdown of the emails at the time. (It was Barry Woods suggestion to add the graphs but they finish up at the end of the post.)


Gullible activists bury their heads in the sand

I guess scientific debate is too hard for some people. While skeptics want to talk about the evidence, some people just want to put their heads in the sand.

This story tritely reminds us that a picture is worth a thousands words. Indeed! The original caption read “Townsville Salutes the Australian government for their achievements in combating climate change”.  But the scientific evidence is clear that there are more accurate captions, so I thought I’d help them — strictly in the spirit of satire of course.

Fully 99% of climate models didn’t predict global warming would slow. Even in hindsight, they still don’t know why it happened.

The organizers want the idea to spread:

 Mr Hirst said he hoped that the concept would take off and that others would set up their own shots.

“People seem to like the idea … I would love to see people do it on Bondi Beach.”

 Go for it, I say. Tweet this!


Click here for the story of the 28 million weather balloons, and how tricky the IPCC can be at ignoring them. There’s more on the missing Hot Spot here.

Perhaps we [...]

Who are the ideologues now? Klein doesn’t care if science is wrong. Kennedy wants to jail dissenters

Remember how skeptics are supposedly the right wing ideologues who deny the science and are driven by their desire for free markets? Projection anyone?

(Click to enlarge)

The Climate March in NY was another outpouring of innumerate frustration. Marc Morano went to the Climate March, despite being listed as the hate figure of the day and found no one was even bothering to hide the real aim, which was pro-socialist and anti-capitalist. Naomi Klein even admitted that the science is irrelevant, and she would be supporting all the same “solutions” even if the science was wrong.

During the panel discussion, Klein was asked: “Even if climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for same structural changes. Klein responded:  ‘Yeah.’

Following the panel, Climate Depot asked Klein if she would support all the same climate “solutions” even if the science was wrong.

“Yes, I would still be for social justice even if there was not climate change. Yes, you caught me Marc,” Klein answered sarcastically as she abruptly ended the interview

Naomi Klein’s new book is titled “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate”. The enemy is “Capitalism” — hence big-coal is a target and big-dependent-renewables are her friends. [...]

Antarctic Sea Ice record high — 600,000km2 more than previous record

Despite all the “missing heat” hiding somewhere in the oceans, the extent of the Antarctic Sea Ice today is at a record high of 16.8 million square kilometers. In the Southern Hemisphere the record is 600,000 square kilometers more than has ever been recorded by satellites which began tracking the sea-ice extent in 1979 when CO2 was 336ppm. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen 20% globally since then and current global sea ice extent is slightly above than the average from 1978 -2008. The previous largest extent was 16.22 million km2 in 2012. This may not be the peak this year. Watch the chart with me this week.

The Antarctic Sea Ice usually reaches its annual peak the week after the Spring Equinox. Though it may peak as late as October 9th, as it did last year.

(Click to see the whole graph)

Source: Cryosphere


Weekend Unthreaded

Meandering off track…

Climate Research Group caught using taxes to lobby and party? NSF ticks it off

It must be some kind of misunderstanding. I’m sure the $25,000 Christmas Party was important to shed light on the impacts of climate change. (I think it’s already telling us something about invasive species.)

How could  fine, infinitely-caring experts do such a thing? (Could it be — character is destiny — the self-serving are serving themselves?)

The Washington Post reports that a climate research group got caught partying and boozing on taxpayer funds in a draft audit, but what’s worse, the National Science Foundation and Defense Department officials are under investigation because they signed off on it. A whistleblower leaked the sordid story, and now two US Senators are investigating. They warn that this may be a widespread practice because NSF documents show the foundation knew what the expenses were but still paid them.

Sens. Paul, Grassley challenge climate group’s spending on lobbying, alcohol and parties

Kimberly Kindy

Two senators are investigating whether the National Science Foundation and Defense Department auditors skirted federal laws by signing off on a nonprofit organization’s use of taxpayer money for “unallowable expenses,” including alcohol, lobbying and extravagant parties.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said the practice came to [...]

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.” –

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 [...]