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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Innovative work: Predicting rainfall with neural nets – Jennifer Marohasy

Predicting seasonal rainfall months ahead has surely got to be the Holy Grail of weather forecasting. Imagine the billions of dollars, the man-hours, and the anguish-prevented if we can do it. What if neural nets can be trained, validated, and used to help farmers, investors, and “Oi” — even Dam Managers?

Jennifer Marohasy and John Abbott were inspired to try a whole new approach to rainfall predictions after John’s car met a sad end in the infamous Brisbane flood. After five years work they’re keen to share the results, and their predictions. Check out those graphs below. The last one has a 3000 year range.

Read about how difficult it was for them to get useful data from the BOM, and how the BOM does not do proper benchmarking of their success rates. How serious are they? As usual, it’s those outside the stagnant pond of government approved science that are testing new ground. The government talks about innovation. Independent researchers do it.

***Jennifer Marohasy is speaking in Deniliquin NSW on Friday (tomorrow 6pm — details at the bottom)***.

 

She will be sharing the results of their research on using neural nets. How about this graph? That [...]

Rent-seekers reveal awful truth: Abbott wanted to investigate BOM data, Hunt opposed “due diligence”

Imagine the crime of trying to audit the BOM?

Last year, Graham Lloyd wrote in The Australian about how the BOM had made whopping two degree adjustments to data which turned cooling trends to warming trends and instead of improving the data, it created discontinuities. The BOM’s eventual explanation lamely exclaimed that the stations “might” have moved. (And they might not, too. Who knows, but remember this is what 95% certainty looks like.) Lloyd wrote about how historical records of extreme heat at Bourke had effectively been thrown in the trash. Who cares about historical records?

In response to the embarrassment and revealing questions, Tony Abbott wanted an investigation.  But Greg Hunt, and The Dept of Environment opposed the investigation and opposed doing “due diligence”. What are they afraid of? Instead, Hunt helped the BOM set up a one-day-wonder investigation with hand-picked statisticians that wasted another nine months before admitting that the BOM methods would never be publicly available or able to be replicated.  If it can’t be replicated, it isn’t science.

The BOM’s defense is always that their mystery method is considered “best practice” by other agencies around the world — who share the same incentives to exaggerate warming, [...]

The BOM: Homogenizing the heck out of Australian temperature records

There are adjustments on top of adjustments. Homogenised records are being used to correct raw records. Some man-made adjustments can infect data for miles around…

Rutherglen is a long running station in central Victoria. There are no documented site moves, but the long raw trend of slow cooling was adjusted up to a warming trend. What was cooling of 0.35C per century became a 1.7C warming trend.

Jennifer Marohasy, and others, have spent months trying to get answers from the BOM explaining why these massive adjustments were made. Excuses flowed. In the latest round, the BOM claim the changes are necessary to make the Rutherglen record match the trends in the neighboring stations. What the BOM doesn’t say is that there was no warming in the neighbours either,  not until after they were homogenized. The order in which stations are homogenized matters, which rather says something important about the arbitrary nature of the adjustments. Anomalous trends from far distant and poor locations can spread through waves of homogenization until better, longer stations succumb to political correctness and show the “correct” result. Small choices about which stations to to use first in the process can make a huge difference to the [...]

BoM Forum Panel: one-day-wonder. Rigorous as Annual Cakes and Tea Jamboree

Last August the BoM were feeling the heat — Graham Lloyd at The Australian and skeptics, particularly Jennifer Marohasy, were asking why cooling trends were being revised to warming trends at stations with no recorded moves. People were raising eyebrows at embarrassing questions about why the Bureau thought climate change was all-critical, yet they were tossing out historic Stevenson-screen data. The BoM felt so squeezed they finally answered some basic questions they’d been ignoring for years (like details on Rutherglen).

But the pressure kept growing because nobody needs a degree in Meteorology to know that there ought to be a reason for fiddling with historic thermometer data. The dumb punters were not impressed with the excuse that stations “might” have moved because tricky statistics on other stations 300km away detected an “unrecorded shift”. So the BoM and their apologist friends in The Dept of Environment dusted off a 3 year old idea called a Technical Advisory Forum, pulled out some names of respectable sounding statisticians and “voila” — created a one day wonder. The “technical forum” will spend more time releasing press releases than analyzing data.

On Jan 19th we were promised so much. The full gloss press release ticks [...]

The mysterious BOM disinterest in hot historic Australian Stevenson screen temperatures

When it comes to our rare high-quality historic records, and the real long term trends of Australian weather, the silence is striking. There are some excellent historical records of long term temperature data from the late 1800s in Australia, which lie underused and largely ignored by the BOM.

For the BOM, history almost appears to start in 1910, yet the modern type of Stevenson screen thermometer was installed across Australia starting as early as 1884 in Adelaide. Most stations in Queensland were converted as long ago as 1889 and in South Australia by 1892. Though states like NSW and Victoria were delayed until 1908.

Here’s a photo of the ones in Brisbane in 1890.

Brisbane was recording temperatures with modern Stevenson screens in 1890, as were some other stations, but the BOM often ignores these long records.

The BOM don’t often mention all their older temperature data. They argue that all the recordings then were not taken with standardized equipment. The BOM prefers to start long term graphs and trends from 1910 (except when they start in 1950 or 1970, or 1993).

The BOM was set up in 1908.  Before that there were Stevenson screens going in [...]

Big adjustments? BOM says Rutherglen site shifted, former workers there say “No”

The hot questions for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) mount up. Rutherglen was one of the temperature recording stations that was subject to large somewhat mysterious adjustments which turned a slight cooling trend into a strongly warming one. Yet the official notes showed that the site did not move and was a continuous record. On paper, Rutherglen appeared to be ideal — a rare long rural temperature record where measurements had come from the same place since 1913.

The original cooling trend of  – 0.35C was transformed into a +1.73C warming after “homogenisation” by the BOM. To justify that the BOM claims that there may have been an unrecorded shift, and it was “consistent” with the old station starting  further up the slope before it moved down to the hollow.

Today retired scientist Bill Johnston got in touch with Jennifer Marohasy, with me and with Graham Lloyd of The Australian to say that he worked at times at Rutherglen and the official thermometer had not moved. It was always placed where it is now at the bottom of the hollow. That information has already made it into print in The Australian.

The original thermometer records suggest a [...]

BOM finally explains! Cooling changed to warming trends because stations “might” have moved!

It’s the news you’ve been waiting years to hear! Finally we find out the exact details of why the BOM changed two of their best long term sites from cooling trends to warming trends. The massive inexplicable adjustments like these have been discussed on blogs for years. But it was only when Graham Lloyd advised the BOM he would be reporting on this that they finally found time to write three paragraphs on specific stations.

Who knew it would be so hard to get answers. We put in a Senate request for an audit of the BOM datasets in 2011. Ken Stewart, Geoff Sherrington, Des Moore, Bill Johnston, and Jennifer Marohasy have also separately been asking the BOM for details about adjustments on specific BOM sites. (I bet Warwick Hughes has too). The BOM has ignored or circumvented all these, refusing to explain why individual stations were adjusted in detail.

The two provocative articles Lloyd put together last week were  Heat is on over weather bureau  and  Bureau of Meteorology ‘altering climate figures, which I covered here. This is the power of the press at its best. The absence of articles like these, is why I have said the media [...]

The heat is on. Bureau of Meteorology ‘altering climate figures’ — The Australian

Congratulations to The Australian again for taking the hard road and reporting controversial, hot, documented problems, that few in the Australian media dare to investigate.

How accurate are our national climate datasets when some adjustments turn entire long stable records from cooling trends to warming ones (or visa versa)? Do the headlines of “hottest ever record” (reported to a tenth of a degree) mean much if thermometer data sometimes needs to be dramatically changed 60 years after being recorded?

One of the most extreme examples is a thermometer station in Amberley, Queensland where a cooling trend in minima of 1C per century has been homogenized and become a warming trend of 2.5C per century. This is a station at an airforce base that has no recorded move since 1941, nor had a change in instrumentation. It is a well-maintained site near a perimeter fence, yet the homogenisation process produces a remarkable transformation of the original records, and rather begs the question of how accurately we know Australian trends at all when the thermometers are seemingly so bad at recording the real temperature of an area. Ken Stewart was the first to notice this anomaly and many others when he compared the raw data to [...]

Once in a life time opportunity to be an honest climate modeller — research scholarships!

This is a first! Announcing three scholarships for research-based higher degrees in Australia. Seeking Australian or New Zealand candidates who are science and engineering grads and interested in using neural nets to build climate models that work. This really is something new. Skeptical minds encouraged to apply. Please pass this on to people you think might be interested… – Jo

Once in a Life Time Opportunity to be an Honest Climate Modeller From Jennifer Marohasy

Most critics of anthropogenic global warming, and there are many, never get the opportunity to actually have a go at contributing to climate science in a practical or tangible and constructive way.  That is, they never get to pull a lever, press a button, build a model or make a forecast.  At best they might throw rotten tomatoes by way of blog posts and comments. This is because the tools of modern climate science are very complex and generally run on super computers with restricted access.

But what if it was possible to build your own climate model on a gaming computer, with some help from artificial neural network (ANN) technology?

Artificial neural networks are a form of artificial intelligence and machine learning, that can [...]

Don’t miss Jennifer Marohasy speaking in Sydney Wednesday

Jennifer Marohasy has been very involved in looking at Australian temperature data this year. She is speaking in Sydney on Wednesday about what she’s found. She’s talking about the new temperature dataset the BOM uses called ACORN, which they built after we asked them for an independent audit of their High Quality set.

Modelling Global Temperatures – What’s Wrong. Bourke & Amberley – as Case Studies

From Jennifer’s site: “The most extreme example that Ken found of data corruption was at Amberley, near Brisbane, Queensland, where a cooling minima trend was effectively reversed, Figure 1.” Jennifer has also raised her concerns (repeatedly) with Minister Greg Hunt.

Venue: The Gallipoli Club, 12 Loftus Street (between Bridge Street & Alfred Street), Sydney Time: 5.30 for 6pm

Additional Information: **Bookings from 11 June only **    BAR OPENS AT 5 PM – LIGHT REFRESHMENTS

Click here for info on how to book

The ultimate climate book — Steyn, Delingpole, Bolt, Watts, Lindzen, Carter, and Jo Nova

There has never been a book quite like this. Please join us and make this happen.

The IPA is raising funds to make the ultimate climate book. I’m delighted to be involved, and I’m humbled and honored to be part of this extraordinary line up. Now Ross McKitrick joins us too. It’s a who’s who of the climate world, and as well as the names in the header, it also includes Donna LaFramboise, Jennifer Marohasy, Bill Kinninmonth, Ian Plimer, Alan Moran, Nigel Lawson, Pat Michaels, John Roskam, Rupert Darwall, Stewart Franks, John Abbot and Bernard Lewin.

If you only buy one book on the climate this would have to be it. It will have something for everyone.

Donations are tax deductible. This book will make waves.

(Click the book to be a part of it)

I’ve got some great news for you. Already 512 IPA members and supporters have donated a total of $144,544 to support the publication of a new book – Climate Change: The Facts 2014. Confirmed contributors include Mark Steyn, Andrew Bolt, Richard Lindzen, Jo Nova, Anthony Watts, James Delingpole, Bob Carter, and Ian Plimer.

[...]

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 [...]

Crazy economics: Spend $10 billion and rescue the Murray river carp fisheries?

It just shows how dry Australia is and how pathetic we are with water. Australia’s largest river ends in an artificial dam full of feral European Carp. Lobbyists are campaigning hard (and successfully) to take water from upstream farmers to restore the flow. According to Jennifer Marohasy, one of the main outcomes will be to increase a massive artificial freshwater estuary that only exists because several kilometers of man-made barrages were built across the end of the river in the 1930′s. She makes a case that we’d be better off using the $10 billion dollars and the water to restore natural wetlands or to produce food. As she says “Taking one-third of upstream Murray water from farmers to feed a downstream carp fishery makes no economic, environmental or agricultural sense.“

I spoke to Marohasy on the phone today and she makes the point that the Murray River was in strife in the 1980′s, and it did need extra water-flow, but a lot of action had already been taken, and river health improved before this latest $10 billion dollar plan was pledged in April 2007. (For example, in October 2005 the “world’s largest delivery of environmental water“, [...]

FOIA, Government-Funded Climate Science and Hole-Digging

Here’s  a benefit FOIA probably didn’t imagine. Skeptical networks. For anyone who doesn’t know, Jennifer Marohasy has published one of the longest-running skeptical blogs in the world, and she’s one of the few other women on the front lines. I don’t know why we hadn’t spent a long time on the phone before. I’m delighted that we are in much better contact…

– Jo

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Guest Post By Jennifer Marohasy

FOIA is a recognised shorthand for Freedom of Information Act.  Legislation by this name has existed in the USA since 1966, Australia since 1982 and the UK legislation was introduced in 2000.  It was climate scientists at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, conspiring to evade the UK FOIA that probably inspired Climategate, with Mr FOIA, as the “hacker” calls himself, releasing over 220,000 documents and emails beginning in November 2009.  In a recent email he explained: “The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen.  Later on it could be too late.”

By providing public access to emails and documents from leading climate scientists, Mr FOIA exposed how tricks, adjustments, and corrections, were routinely applied to climate data to [...]

Media Watch witch hunt

“In the old days they would have just bound her, thrown her into the lake, and waited to see if she floated.

Though a primitive method of witch-hunting, it would surely be far more effective than Jonathan’s, and would require much less in taxpayer funding.” 

[MediaWatch comment by Preacher]

Jennifer Marohasy belongs to the “wrong” tribe, according to the ABC’s Media Watch program.

Media Watch is panting with excitement because — stop me if you’ve heard this before — she’s a scientist who earns money. My favorite part of the inadvertent expose-of-ABC-bias was the sneering voice-over, meant to be Marohasy or any supporter of her: petulant, petty and childish.  The full ABC-festival-of-smug is right on display, thanks, as always, to the Taxpayers of Australia.

It’s so bad, it’s satirical:

MW:   But many real journalists struggle when reporting science.

“Struggle?” Mr Holmes? You mean they are so confused about the real world, they think if a US group funds a group who write about a distantly connected topic, that therefore, ergo, and quid pro quo — that tiny funding demonstrates that Lake Alexandrina was always [...]