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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Two high school students take on teacher over climate and win standing ovation

A reader Russell writes in to tell me his Year 9 son Jordan and his friend, Tom, took on their teacher’s sacred belief in man-made global warming. Given no warning, and called insulting names in front of the class, they took up the challenge with gusto and stayed up til 1am that night to put the presentation together. Not surprisingly the teacher tried to pull out the next day, but the class would not let her.

One of the slides quotes Al Gore mocking “the tiny minority”, like the ones “who still believe that the moon landing was faked…”. Then it shows and quotes four Apollo Astronauts and Burt Rutan (the first private astronaut).

One of the ten slides

From reader Russell:

The other week at school my eldest son (15) was challenged by his teacher to present to the class why he is a ”climate change denier”. He had to do this presentation the next day.

At the start of his class the next day he advised the teacher he was ready.  She told him she wasn’t interested now, maybe another day. His classmates started heckling her saying ”You Chicken Miss”. She eventually agreed [...]

Storm trends in Australia and New Zealand? No evidence that CO2 increases extreme weather

Get ready — for all the fears of extreme weather coming our way — studies of Queensland, Victoria, the whole of SE Australia, New Zealand, and Perth show that either nothing is changing (there have always been bad storms) or possibly, the weather is better now than it used to be. Where is the evidence to support the claims by alarmists that increasing CO2 will make “extreme weather” more common? It’s less windy now across South East Australia than it was in the 1920′s. It’s less stormy on the southern coast of Victoria, and records that go back 7000 years in New Zealand and 5000 years in Queensland show repeated examples of monster storms that — should they hit today, would be described as being “likely” due to coal fired power stations and excessive use of SUV’s.

The Science and Public Policy Institute published  Historical storm trends in Australia and New Zealand in June. This post builds on that publication.

It’s less windy across South East Australia

Alexander et al 2011 looked at locations from Port Lincoln (SA) to Goondiwindi (QLD), to Hobart (Tas) which pretty much covers everything anyone could call South East Australia. They used wind [...]

The chemistry of ocean pH and “acidification”

The ocean acidification threat is a big can of worms. I asked Professor Brice Bosnich to help create a quick reference page on the chemistry and was pleased he could find the time to help. Here’s everything you wanted to know about the basics…

He explains what pH means, and points out that:

Ocean pH varies by 0.3 naturally. Claims of acidification since 1750 are based on dubious models and few observations.

There are reasons to assume that marine life will not be overly affected by an increase in ocean acidity due to atmospheric carbon dioxide:

Ocean life evolved and survived far higher levels of CO2 for millions of years in the past. Marine organisms actively create carbonate shells (using energy) which means crustacea, corals and molluscs aren’t automatically prey to pH changes in the same way that say a limestone rock would be. The world’s oceans may have warmed a mere 0.17C since 1955, hardly a significant threat to marine life.

We also find out that acidic water is added to the ocean from rainfall and floods (and he explains why raindrops will always be acidic).

There are more pressing threats. — Jo

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Guest Post by Professor [...]

Do Tropical Storms correlate with CO2? In a word — No

Catastrophic killer storms are coming!

‘The Australian Greens say Tropical Cyclone Yasi is a “tragedy of climate change”.’

“DESTRUCTIVE hurricanes such as Katrina and Rita are likely to be more common … Tim Flannery warns.” “These hurricanes have been a catastrophe just waiting to happen.”

The IPCC concludes:

“Studies showed … future tropical cyclones would likely become more severe with greater wind speeds and more intense precipitation.” AR4 10.3.6.3 Tropical Cyclones (Hurricanes) pp786

Wow, that’s scary! Let’s look at the studies:

“These studies fall into two categories: those with model grid resolutions that only roughly represent some aspects of individual tropical cyclones, and those with model grids of sufficient resolution to reasonably simulate individual tropical cyclones.”

Oh? That’s models, or er… other models?

But where are the observations?

CO2 levels have risen to the highest level in a million years, presumably Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Cyclones are at all time highs, stronger and nastier than [...]

Why greenhouse gas warming doesn’t break the second law of thermodynamics

This is generating many comments, see below for an update!

Behind the scenes some skeptics are suggesting that CO2 can’t warm us because the atmosphere is colder than the planet, and  it would break the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (see Postma*, for example, p 6 – 7). I disagree. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics applies to net flows of heat, not to each individual photon, and it does not prevent some heat flowing from a cooler body to a warm one.

Imagine three blocks of metal side by side. They are 11°C, 10°C, and 9°C. Think about what happens to the photons coming off the atoms in the middle of the medium temperature block between the other two. If heat never flows from cooler blocks to warmer blocks, all those photons have to go “right“, and not ever go “left”, because they “know” that way is towards a cooler block? (How would they?!)

The photons go both ways (actually every way, in 3D). There are more coming from the 11°C block to the 10°C block, sure, but the the 10°C block is sending ‘em back to the 11°C block too. So heat is flowing from cold to hot. It happens [...]