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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Greg Hunt orders CSIRO to hire back scientists to study “settled” stuff

 Cut the blob and the blob reforms

Thanks to Prof Peter Ridd for the nice one-liner.

Back in February, the new head of CSIRO, Larry Marshall, agreed that  the “debate was over” and sacked 350 pointless climate researchers who were studying stuff that was already settled. Marshall’s crime was to hire people to solve the climate problem rather than just keep the cheer squad. But the eco-carers were outraged. Seems that a cheer squad is important.

What does this mean? Not much for climate science or skeptics, its only fifteen jobs and $37 million over 10 years. It’s just another line of press releases advertising The Blob. More government waste.

Mr Hunt has announced an extra 15 jobs focusing on climate science, as well as additional support, costing $3.7 million a year. He said it would increase the number of climate researchers from 100 to 115 after the latest round of job cuts is taken into account.

These researchers are being paid to find a crisis, so they will only find the truth if it happens to coincide with a crisis. Imagine the outcry if Hunt had hired 15 full time skeptical scientists for ten years? Imagine what [...]

CSIRO scientist on climate: “We don’t know what the heck is waiting for us”

The hysteria continues. Some public servants might get sacked. It’s unthinkable. But after the fuss, there will still be 5200 odd staff at CSIRO. The big evil here, apparently, is that we are choosing between two different sorts of scientists.

The lame arguments flow (especially in The Guardian). Prof Neville Nicolls says we need $90m-dollars-worth-of-climate-scientists to stop us being minnows at the “big table”.  Maybe baby-climate-scientists have aspired to eat with the science guru’s, but I don’t think the average Australian has the same dream.

Tony Haymet was the Policy Director at CSIRO — and he thinks it’s like shutting down Australian cricket team (not one for exaggeration eh?). David Karoly — Shane Warne, what’s the difference? He also said, it’s a “kick in the guts” to farmers, fishermen and the navy, which it would be if only the climate models could predict things like rain, currents, and sea ice. Haymet barrells on — “We’ve only seen the beginning of climate change. We don’t know what the heck is waiting for us”.

Try to rationalise the statements  “97% of scientists agree” with “we don’t know what the heck…”

If a certain Labor government hadn’t vaporised those scientist’s future salaries on [...]

Australian government finally gets slightly serious with CSIRO board

The Abbott government has at least grown enough backbone to not renew the Labor appointees Chairman to the CSIRO board, who have allowed scientific standards to decay so badly. It’s about time. As long as any director of CSIRO claims that “consensus” has any meaning in science, then the board is an unscientific failure.

UPDATE To clarify: There is no official policy to not reinstate people because they were appointed by Labor. But three directors/panelists say they have heard unofficially there is.  I think board members should be sacked if they don’t serve the public, not because of who appointed them. It would be a silly thing for a Minister to say. But in the case of the CSIRO, the Labor appointee appears to be a political assignment rather than a scientific one, and should have been replaced long ago. See my comment #1.1.1 for names and more details.

UPDATE #2: Bolt calls it an anti-Abbott rumour. “And a spokesman for Tony ­Abbott told The Weekend Australian there were more than 50 government agencies with boards where a person was appointed by Labor and reappointed by the current government… “

Not surprisingly, this has [...]

Historic documents show 30-40%* of Australia’s warming trend is due to “adjustments”

UPDATE: *Chris has been over the entire dataset again, and makes a correction that adjustments account for 30-40% of the rise. A bit less than half. Headline updated. See his site for the newer stats. March 9, 2015

Adjustments that cool historic temperatures have almost doubled Australia’s rate of warming.

CSIR published “Meteorological Data” 1855 – 1931

 There was a time back in 1933 when the CSIRO was called CSIR and meteorologists figured that with 74 years of weather data on Australia, they really ought to publish a serious document collating all the monthly averages at hundreds of weather stations around Australia. Little did they know that years later, despite their best efforts, much of the same data would be forgotten and unused or would be adjusted, decades after the fact, and sometimes by as much as one or two degrees. Twenty years later The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics would publish an Official Year Book of Australia which included the mean temperature readings from 1911 to 1940 at 44 locations.

Chris Gillham has spent months poring over both these historic datasets, as well as the BoM’s Climate Data Online (CDO) which has the recent temperatures at these [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

What the CSIRO State of the Climate report forgot to tell you

The CSIRO decided to leave out some information about the state of our climate in their  State of the Climate Report CSIRO.

CSIRO published these “Fast Facts” in bold. I’m publishing the things they didn’t say, but could have, in points in between.

UPDATE: The CSIRO budget is $1.2 billion a year and the BOM’s is $300 m. Why is it left to unfunded volunteers to provide the full story?

Fast Facts from the CSIRO and BOM “Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.” The CSIRO-BOM team could have said: Scientifically, extreme weather measures are lousy indicators. They’re noisy and not very meaningful. They are however useful for getting newspaper headlines. It depends on what your aim is… Australia’s had extreme hot days for as long as we’ve been measuring the temperature. Charles Sturt recorded 53C in 1828 which seems fairly extreme. Thomas Mitchell did it too in 1845 and are many others (see the map below, check Trove, ask the BOM — no don’t ask the BOM). The records prior to 1910 seem to have gone down the memory hole, [...]

Australia: more skeptics than believers, and few really care about “Climate change”

First up, despite the endless repetition in the media that the science is settled and the evidence is overwhelming, the latest CSIRO survey shows 53% of the Australian population don’t agree that “humans are causing climate change”. When the ABC gives 50% of its climate budget and time to skeptical arguments we will know it is fulfilling its charter. Right now, the ABC serves less than half the population. Secondly, even with 47% of the population agreeing that humans are “largely” causing climate change, many of these people still don’t think climate change will be that bad. The issue “Climate Change” ranks 14 out of 16 general concerns, and among environmental concerns a pathetic 7th out of 8. It seems a large section of the 47% think the warming will be minor, or even beneficial. The CSIRO has done another clumsy survey, the fourth in a series, still not learning that inaccurate survey terms make the results of most questions meaningless. The unmistakable bottom line from this is that only a minority of Australians think that humans are changing the climate in an important way. Most Australians are more concerned about their health, their income, their job, water shortages, or [...]

Brave brave CSIRO climate scientists willing to bet on “any warming above zero”

So how sure are they of their climate model predictions? So sure they demand we pay billions but when it comes to betting their own money, the modelers are all bravado over the chance to bet on any warming “above zero” 20 years from now.

The Guardian:

Some of Australia’s top climate scientists, including those from the CSIRO, have said they will be willing to bet Tony Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman $10,000 that the world will warm over the next 20 years.

These gutsy scientists are offering bets that the climate “might” warm, and which might pay out to a man who will be 95 at their completion. The Guardian takes them seriously?

Here’s an offer to those climate scientists, yes I’m interested in a bet, for sure, but I won’t be offering you a shot at winning in a situation where you predict (and we pay to prevent) far more warming than you are willing to bet on. Hypocrisy what? Your own models are abject failures, and we are forced to pay for policies fueled by your failures and your salary as well.

So show you have the balls and come and talk about a real bet [...]

Australian warming trend adjusted UP by 40%

Ken has been a very busy man. Another soul in the dedicated army of volunteer auditors. He’s been going through the entire Australian High Quality Data Set as supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). He’s been assisted by two readers from this site — Lance and Janama — and we’ll be looking to increase the team (see below).

In the State of the Climate  report, both  the BOM and CSIRO told us that “since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7 °C. The long term trend in temperature is clear… ” but as usual, what they didn’t say was that the raw data since 1910 (not just from 1960) increased only 0.6°C.

The BOM claim their adjustments are random and neutral. Yet when Ken looked at the raw data from Australia’s 100 high quality rural sites, the adjustments increased the trend in the raw data by 40% — from a 0.6°C rise over 100 years, to 0.85°C over 100 years.

In an email to Ken, Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring and Prediction, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, made a clear claim that the adjustments had no [...]