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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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012



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

Charles Sturt’s time: so hot that thermometers exploded. Was Australia’s hottest day in 1828? 53.9C!

Australia’s hottest day? Not 2010, but 1828 at a blistering 53.9 °C

Back before man-made climate change was frying Australia, when CO2 was around 300ppm, the continent savoured an ideal preindustrial climate, right? (This is the kind of climate we are spending $10bn per annum to get back too?)

We are told today’s climate has more records and more extremes than times gone by, but the few records we have from the early 1800’s are eye-popping.  Things were not just hotter, but so wildly hot it burst thermometers.  The earliest temperature records we have show that Australia was a land of shocking heatwaves and droughts, except for when it was bitterly cold or raging in flood.

In other words, nothing has changed, except possibly things might not be quite so hot now.

Silliggy (Lance Pidgeon) has been researching records from early explorers and from newspapers. What he has uncovered is fascinating. — Jo


Charles Sturt  (1930 postage stamp) Wikimedia

Lance Pidgeon writes:


These Australian headlines from the 1800′s above describe extremes the early colonists faced. At the time the European explorers who were instructed and equipped to [...]

Has North Victoria cooled, and is that the ghost of a solar cycle signal we see?

UPDATED AGAIN #4 — Now with Vukcevics Hale cycle graph of Echuca.  and #3  David Archibalds suggestion of the Hale Cycle at work. #2 with Willis Eschenbach’s graph and my thoughts, (see below)

Ian Bryce sent me a striking graph (or two). Looking at the original raw data from Echuca Victoria shows a dramatic cooling trend of nearly half a degree since 1900, and rather than being a siting anomaly, it’s repeated in two towns about 100km away.

Curiously he also finds peaks in the maximums at Echuca that look for all the world like they match the solar cycle. Is it a fluke, or could it be real?  If it’s real, what conditions make the solar sun-spot cycle so apparent in Echuca — where its maximum temperatures seemingly peak with each second solar cycle. Can anyone find this signal in other places? — Jo


The area is inland Northern Victoria

Has there been Global Warming or Global Cooling in Echuca

Guest post: Ian Bryce

I have spent about 37 years working with processing tomatoes in the Goulburn Valley in Australia, and the last 25 years or so, with research into growing and processing canning tomatoes. Since 1984, our [...]

Threat of ANAO Audit means Australia’s BOM throws out temperature set, starts again, gets same results

Joanne Nova and Ken Stewart

A team of independent auditors, bloggers and scientists went through the the BOM “High Quality” (HQ) dataset and found significant errors, omissions and inexplicable adjustments. The team and Senator Cory Bernardi put in a Parliamentary request to get our Australian National Audit Office to reassess the BOM records. In response, the BOM, clearly afraid of getting audited, and still not providing all the data, code and explanations that were needed, decided to toss out the old so called High Quality (HQ) record, and start again. The old HQ increased the trends by 40% nationally, and 70% in the cities.

So goodbye “HQ”, hello “ACORN”. End result? Much the same.

That meant the ANAO could avoid an audit, since the BOM had changed data-sets, the point of auditing the old set was moot.

For me, this version is so much worse than the previous one. In the HQ data set the errors could have been inadvertent, but now we’ve pointed out the flaws, there can be no excuses for getting it wrong. Instead of fixing the flaws (and thanking the volunteers), it’s almost as if they’ve gone out of their way [...]

Has CO2 warmed the planet at all in the last 50 years? It’s harder to tell than you think.

Joint Post: Jo Nova and Tony Cox

Even most skeptics agree that the world has been warming during the last 50 years, but there is apparently no significant underlying warming trend in 46 out of 47 years of data. Something decidedly unusual happened to the world in 1977 and we don’t know for sure what it was. The world got warmer, and the change “stuck”. But there were no extra emissions of CO2 in that year, so there is no reason to pin this to CO2.

It’s difficult to believe we are not sure – but the last 50 years of warming trend depends on that single stepwise leap in 1977. Look at the graph below. Does it show one strong underlying warming trend, or is it really a trend so insignificant that it wouldn’t exist if there was not a step change that artificially bolstered it?

A series of two flat lines can appear to be a continuous warming trend if a linear trend line is fitted because it ignores the step change.  McKitrick and Voselgang

This step effect was first noted by David Stockwell in 2009

The continuous warming appears to be obvious in the records of [...]

Australian temperature records shoddy, inaccurate, unreliable. Surprise!

The BOM say their temperature records are high quality. An independent audit team has just produced a report showing that as many as 85 -95% of all Australian sites in the pre-Celsius era (before 1972) did not comply with the BOM’s own stipulations. The audit shows 20-30% of all the measurements back then were rounded or possibly truncated. Even modern electronic equipment was at times, so faulty and unmonitored that one station rounded all the readings for nearly 10 years! These sloppy errors may have created an artificial warming trend. The BOM are issuing pronouncements of trends to two decimal places like this one  in the BOM’s Annual Climate Summary 2011 of “0.52 °C above average”  yet relying on patchy data that did not meet its own compliance standards around half the time.  It’s doubtful they can justify one decimal place, let alone two?

We need a professional audit.


A team of independent engineers, scientists, statisticians and data analysts (brought together by the joannenova blog) has been going through the Australia Bureau of Meteorology records (BOM). They’ve audited some 8.5 million daily observations across 237 High Quality and other close sites in Australia. Shockingly, while [...]

Messages from the global raw rural data. Warnings, gotcha’s and tree ring divergence explained!

Have you wondered what the global raw rural data tells us?

What did those thermometers say before the adjustments, smoothing, selection, and averaging?

This just might be the first time anyone has publicly compared the global raw data to published adjusted data sets in this way.

Frank Lansner has been dedicated in the extreme, and has developed a comprehensive Rural Unadjusted Temperature Index, or RUTI. One of the most interesting points to come out of this extensive work is the striking difference between coastal stations and inland stations. Frank kept noticing that the trend of the inland stations was markedly different from coastal stations and island stations.

Fig1. Red-Blue lines mark regions where there was a different coastal to inland trend. In green areas the two trends were similar.

What he finds is perhaps not so unusual: The coastal areas are heavily influenced by the sea surface temperature. Inland stations record larger rises and falls in temperature, which is hardly surprising. But, the implications are potentially large. When records from some stations are smoothed over vast distances (as in 1200 km smoothing), results can be heavily skewed by allowing coastal trends to be smoothed across inland areas. What Lansner [...]

Was 2010 the hottest ever?

Was 2010 “the hottest year ever” as the PR machine repeats ad nauseum? Yes — but only if you ignore three of the four main global datasets and those awkward questions about why nobody thought to put thermometers in better places.

Run your eyes down this page to see how the GISS temperatures pan out compared to all the other compilations. This is James Hansen’s group, and GISS stands for the Goddard Institute of Space Studies — and in the topsy-turvey world of climate change, that’s apt — the space centre and hot bed of rocketry calculates world temperatures by ignoring  … satellites. For GISS, measuring the world temperature, calls for irregularly spaced, unique, non-standardized temperature stations (sometimes near air-conditioning vents and concrete). And no sir, not the satellites that scan the Earth 24 hours a day, over land and sea, and which are usually not too close to exhaust vents, or buildings, or (thank goodness) fermenting vats of sewage either.

So, indeed, the only sane answer to the cherry picking crowd who crow triumphantly about their outlying most favorite result, is that “No” 2010 was not hotter than 1998, not according to the satellites. And even if it had [...]

Announcing a formal request for the Auditor General to audit the Australian BOM

A team of skeptical scientists, citizens, and an Australian Senator have lodged a formal request with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to have the BOM and CSIRO audited.

The BOM claim their adjustments are “neutral” yet Ken Stewart showed that the trend in the raw figures for our whole continent has been adjusted up by 40%. The stakes are high. Australians could have to pay something in the order of $870 million dollars thanks to the Kyoto protocol, and the first four years of the Emissions Trading Scheme was expected to cost Australian industry (and hence Australian shareholders and consumers) nearly $50 billion dollars.

Given the stakes, the Australian people deserve to know they are getting transparent, high quality data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The small cost of the audit is nothing in comparison with the money at stake for all Australians. We need the full explanations of why individual stations have been adjusted repeatedly and non-randomly, and why adjustments were made decades after the measurements were taken. We need an audit of surface stations. (Are Australian stations as badly manipulated and poorly sited as the US stations? Who knows?)

Australian Temperatures in cities adjusted up by 70%!?

Ken Stewart has been hard at work again, this time analyzing the Australian urban records. While he expected that the cities and towns would show a larger rise than records in the country due to the Urban Heat Island Effect, what he found was that the raw records showed only a 0.4 degree rise, less than the rural records which went from a raw 0.6 to an adjusted 0.85 (a rise of 40%). What shocked him about the urban records were the adjustments… making the trend a full 70% warmer.

The largest adjustments to the raw records are cooling ones in the middle of last century. So 50 years after the measurements were recorded, officials realized they were artificially too high? Hopefully someone who knows can explain why so many thermometers were overestimating temperatures in the first half of the 1900′s.

50 years later?

The raw Australian urban temperature records are in blue. The adjusted records in red. Note that temperatures in the middle of last century appear to be adjusted downwards. These are the annual average recordings for all 34 sites.

Remember Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring [...]

The Great Dying of Thermometers

It’s like watching the lights go out over the West. Sinan Unur has mapped the surface stations into a beautiful animation. His is 4 minutes long and spans from 1701-2010. I’ve taken some of his snapshots and strung them into a 10 second animation.

You can see as development spreads across the world that more and more places are reporting temperatures. It’s obvious how well documented temperatures were (once) in the US. The decay of the system in the last 20 years is stark.

For details on just how sinister the vanishing of data records is, see my previous post on Anthony Watts and Joe D’Aleo’s extraordinary summary of Policy Driven Deception.

The Great Dying of Thermometers


Sinan points out that people might not realize that many thermometers haven’t actually disappeared — they are often still collecting data — it’s just that their records are not being included in the “global” compilations. Though, as Watts and D’Aleo point out, sometimes these forgotten thermometers are still used to calculate the baseline averages.

I’m sure one day the chronological spread (and decay) of thermometers will be a useful marker for some socio/economic/historic marker (though it’s [...]

Is there any unmassaged data out there?

This is yet another example of things that don’t add up in the world of GISS temperatures in Australia. Previously, we’ve discussed Gladstone and Darwin.

Ken Stewart has been doing some homework, and you can see all the graphs on his blog. Essentially, the Bureau of Met in Australia provides data for Mt. Isa that shows a warming trend of about 0.5 degrees of warming over a century. GISS takes this, adjusts it carefully to “homogenize urban data with rural data”, and gets an answer of 1.1 degrees. (Ironically among other things, “homogenisation” is supposed to compensate for the Urban Heat Island Effect, which would artificially inflate the trend in urban centers.)

To give you an idea of scale, the nearest station is at Cloncurry, 106km east (where a flat trend of 0.05 or so appears in the graph). But, there are other trends that are warmer in other stations. Averaging the five nearest rural stations gives about 0.6 degrees; averaging the nearest ten stations gives between 0.6 and 0.88 degrees.

Mt Isa and surrounds with temperature trends


Horrifying examples of deliberate tampering

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for the cult of the carbon scare.

Now we need to ask if the world has even warmed? I’ve always said, “global warming is real”, but the recent exposés of shocking corruption in science have made me start to wonder whether even that is true.

Today a study by Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts, was announced by the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

From their media release:

An extensive survey of the literature and data regarding ground and sea surface temperature records uncovers deception through data manipulation, reports the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

Authors veteran meteorologists Joe d’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”.

That is to say, leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it [...]

Smoking guns across Australia: Where’s the warming? Looking at 16 other locations

If there was enough money, fame and power on the table (think seismic proportions, money that moves the economic landscape), would it be possible to take a small unproven scientific theory as an excuse and, with the best PR teams in the world, promote it, support it, and make it appear unquestionable?

If it were cloaked in the most “innocent” of motives, and shrouded in terminology that veils the truth, would it not run unchecked for years, unless some big vested interest opposed it? And if there was no particular big vested interest to oppose it, isn’t it possible that if the only harm it causes is to the giant disorganized mass known as humankind, there would be no committee of humankind to check its momentum.

On Watts Up tonight, we get some insight into just one specific example of how corrupt science can be. It’s yet another day in the history of the climate-scam where people may say years from now… remember that night we got the news about Darwin? Thanks to Willis Eschenbach’s dedicated analysis.

The blue line is the raw unadjusted data from Darwin. There are five stations there and their records [...]