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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Five years after rain returns, climate modelers redo models and “predict” more, less, some, different or same rain

The same modelers were predicting drought and letting their friends nail their reputation to statements about how the dams would never fill, and Perth would be a ghost town. When Australia wasted billions on desal, they said nothing about the “extreme rain” coming. Then the endless drought broke, the rains returned, and now, years later, they’ve rejigged and tweaked their skillless models and put forward ambiguous, vague, yes-no-maybe, scare-scare-scary predictions that could have come from a tarot card reader.

Get ready for the full genius of expert modelling:

“There is no chance that rainfall in Australia will remain the same as the climate warms,” said an author of the paper UNSW Professor Steve Sherwood.

“The only way that this intensification of extreme rainfall falls at the lower end of the scale is if the continent becomes drier overall. The long and the short of it is that with 2°C of global warming Australia is stuck with either more aridity, much heavier extreme rains, or some combination of the two,” said Sherwood, from UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre.

 – A hard rain to fall in Australia, Phys org.

Other, less astrological climate researchers have found [...]

Low solar activity means more Central European floods

Yet another paper showing the spooky non-relationship with the local thermonuclear reactor. Thanks to climate models we all know that jiggles in solar radiation mean nothing much to Earth, otherwise we might wonder if the pattern of lows in sunlight and highs in floods meant something…

The River Ammer is in Southern Germany, and Markus Czymzik and others dug through the sediments nearby and graphed the flood layers alongside the small changes in solar radiation (TSI). They noticed that a less active sun correlates with more floods. At the low point of every solar cycle there appears to be more rain. (Don’t buy a house on a floodplain in southern Germany in the next few years.)

There is a pretty neat correlation there in the last 90 years, and then in the second graph they take that correlation back to 3,500BC, back when the Funnelbeaker culture was making nice pots in the same area. This same odd coincidence of the sun and rainfall patterns was also found by  researchers in Chile, China and Australian and Indonesia.  Low solar activity tends to occur at the same time as the winter jet stream in the North Atlantic gets blocked. And solar activity [...]

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 [...]

Megadroughts in past 2000 years worse, longer, than current droughts

What hockeystick eh?

A new atlas shows droughts of the past were worse than those today — and they cannot have been caused by man-made CO2. Despite the claims of “unprecedented” droughts, the worst droughts in Europe and the US were a thousand years ago. Cook et al 2015[1] put together an old world drought atlas from tree rings data as a proxy for summer wetness and dryness across Europe. They compare the severity and timing of European droughts with the North American Drought Atlas (NADA) released in 2004. Yes, it’s a tree ring study with all the caveats about how trees are responding to several factors at once etc etc. But at least the modern era is measured with the same proxy as used in the old eras.

Something else is causing droughts, something modern models don’t include:

“megadroughts reconstructed over north-central Europe in the 11th and mid-15th centuries reinforce other evidence from North America and Asia that droughts were more severe, extensive, and prolonged over Northern Hemisphere land areas before the 20th century, with an inadequate understanding of their causes.”

The worst megadrought in the California and Nevada regions was from 832 to 1074 CE (golly, [...]

Sun controls half of the groundwater recharge rate in China for last 700 years

Could this be why climate models do rainfall with all the competence of tea-leaf-reading? Tiwari et al report that as much as 47% of the recharge rates of ground water in China are controlled by the sun. Apparently climate models miss the minor factor of the major cycles.

Try this radical idea on: imagine a world where climate models worked. Not only could the BoM warn people that there would be a drought coming, they could name the region, and the years.

Tiwari et al:

Here for the purpose of comparison of long term ground water recharge rates with long term solar activity, we used the 10-year average sunspot time series, for the period 1300 to 1905 AD, published by Solanki et al., [2004]. Also the additional average annual sunspot number time series (1700 to 2000 AD) is used from data source Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre. In addition to decadal data annual sunspot number data from 1700 to 2000 AD downloaded from Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre is used in the present study. The cross-correlation coefficient (+0.63) between the groundwater recharge rate time series and decadal sunspot number [Solanki et al., 2004] shows that there is statistically significant solar [...]

Bushfire predictions in 2070 are nonsense on stilts. Models can’t predict rainfall

Showing that academics can cost the country more than they return, ANU’s Geoff Cary posits that there is an 80% consensus (an unmeasured, meaningless statistic) that there will be more fires in Australia 60 years from now.

This is an opinion about opinions of experts who use models that we know can’t predict temperatures. Not only is this “fact” already piled three layers of nonsense deep, the most abjectly stupid point is the fourth layer, the pretense that these models might, in their wildest dreams, be able to predict rainfall — which is an order of magnitude harder than just predicting global temperature. Predicting bushfires is dependent on knowing not just total rainfall in one region, but how that rainfall is spread throughout the year. Not to mention that bushfires depend on wind speed, wind direction, land-use (fuel load), and humidity.

Everyone knows that different climate models predict both higher and lower rainfall in the same areas at the same time, and the type of phrases used to describe the ability of climate models are: “low confidence”  (National Centre for Atmospheric Research),  “irrelevant with reality” (Koutsoyiannis ), or an “absence” of skill (Kiktev). Compare the different projections of climate models [...]

Solar effects seem to shift wind and rainfall patterns over last 3000 years in Chile

A team of researchers looked at the solar influence on Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SWW). These winds influence rainfall patterns and ocean currents in the Southern Hemisphere. Varma et al infer rainfall patterns by looking at iron deposits in marine sediments near Chile, which are apparently higher during drier conditions and lower during wetter times. They compared these to both Beryllium (10Be) and Carbon-14 (14C) which they use to estimate solar activity.

The end result is they find that the westerly winds shift northwards towards the equator during lower solar activity, and conversely move southwards towards the poles during higher solar activity. The shifting wind patterns move the rainfall. An effect is apparent in records for the last 3,000 years.

In graph a below, 10Be (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) have a decent correlation coefficient (r) of 0.45, while the 14C  (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) correlation in b has a lower correlation (r) of 0.21. Varma et al say:

“the large correlation coefficient for 10Be would suggest that ca. 20% (i.e., r2) of late Holocene rainfall and hence SWW variability could be attributable to solar forcing.”

They conclude that the current models don’t give the sun a large [...]