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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BOM scandal heats up: Kininmonth, Watts, Nova quoted in The Australian “We audit banks, why not BOM?”

Today, Graham Lloyd, and Jennifer Marohasy turn up the heat even more on the Bureau of Meteorology’s strange practice of “editing” raw data. The Bureau says it works to the “highest possible standards”. Natch. So an independent audit would clear them, silence the critics, and restore their reputation. Strangely, instead they have been apparently avoiding an independent audit for six years now and counting….

The Australian: BoM faces storm over weather data inaccuracies

 It is the biggest public scandal for BoM since furious debate was sparked three years ago over its treatment of historic and contemporary temperature rec­ords to compile its new homogenised national temperature data series known as ACORN-SAT.

For an agency that screams from the rooftops every time the mercury nudges to the slightest record high, losing a half a degree Celsius here and there at the lower extremities is a pretty poor look.

In reply, once again, the BOM promises another do-it-yourself review. The Minister (Josh Frydenberg) has insisted on two external independent experts, but if the BOM gets to approve or appoint them, that box won’t be hard to tick (just ask the NZ NIWA team). Apparently the last public scandal in [...]

Scandal: Australian Bureau of Meteorology caught erasing cold temperatures

Front page scandal today in Australia: BoM opens cold case on temperature data

Jennifer Marohasy, Lance Pidgeon, at the Stevenson screen, Goulburn Airport.

Amazing, the power of the media. Suddenly, the Bureau of Meteorology needs to replace equipment and answer questions and set up an internal inquiry. But they’ve had weeks of warning. Lance Pidgeon and Jennifer Marohasy have been watching the automatic weather stations record very cold temperatures, and then astonished when those same readings either got entered into our national raw database as warmer, or simply disappeared. The BOM apparently has a filter set so that super cold temperatures need to be manually checked. Yet the filter is set so high, in Thredbo’s case, nearly five whole degrees warmer than temperatures already recorded.

Wow. Just wow. What does raw data mean anymore?

The lack of respect for real observations is profoundly unscientific. How much does the BOM even care about understanding our climate if they are so flagrantly uninterested in the data?  As I have said, the Bureau of Meteorology behaves more like PR agency than an institute of science. Based on past practice their internal inquiry will find excuses, not answer the questions, and will not [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Australian BOM under fire – questions about “adjusted” temperatures exploding around the world

A hard hitting article today from Graham Lloyd in The Australian. Finally the scientific debacle of climate records is being hung out like dirty laundry. For people who don’t read skeptic blogs it will be news that there are claims of scandal and corruption about temperature data adjustments around the world, against institutions that are (or were) respected household names.

Lloyd starts with a brilliant analogy from David Stockwell, who asks Would it be OK if we adjusted Don Bradmans batting average down?  It won’t affect the global batting average…. (The Don is the legend of international cricket — those stats are sacred.)

Lloyd goes on to tell the tale of how temperature adjustments that make historic records cooler are commonplace, and suddenly under the spotlight around the world. To his credit, Lloyd realizes this has been coming for a long time — he explains the Australian and UK Met offices were caught discussing ways to make it hard for skeptics. He talks about Christopher Booker’s article on adjustments in Paraguay getting 30,000 comments, and the issue “exploding” internationally with questions about the misleading public declarations about 2014 being the hottest year on record, as well as the issue of Arctic [...]

Australian Academy of Science hides model failures, other rainfall predictions, feedbacks evidence

The Australian Academy of Science (AAAS) updated their “Science of Climate Change” document. It’s more glossy unscientific propaganda.

Garth Paltridge wonders in The Australian  if the Academy will come to regret it. As usual, it’s what they don’t say that matters. They don’t mention how badly the current models have failed, and they hide that climate models give contradictory rainfall projections and just cherry pick one that gives the answer they want. They repeat the meaningless argument that their models don’t “work” without CO2. Perhaps they should let the taxpaying voters know that their models don’t “work” with CO2 either? None of the models can explain what caused the Medieval or Roman warming when CO2 was “ideal”. They conceal that the model forecasts rely on assumptions of feedbacks that the empirical evidence shows are wrong.

“Basically the Academy has fallen into the trap of being no more than a conduit for a massive international political campaign ”

 Climate of cherry-picking Garth Paltridge The Australian

The problem is that, after several decades of refining their story, the international gurus of climate change have become very good at having their cake and eating it [...]

A rare sighting of endangered scientific graph in newsprint

We skeptics get excited about unusual things. The Australian published Michael Asten today in the Op-Ed pages, and took the extremely rare step of publishing a scientific graph (!) with a few error bars and everything. Newspapers publish economic graphs all the time, so it’s nice to see the scientific debate getting a bit more sophisticated than just the usual “deniers are evil, government climate scientists speak the word of God” type of stuff. (In the Enlightenment, data was a greater source of authority than any human; how we pine for those days.) The only thing the story should have added was a note that reminds us that the not only was the “hottest” record not beyond the error bars but that it did not occur in satellite measurements. I’m sure a lot of people mistakenly think that NASA might use satellites, but they prefer highly adjusted ground thermometers next to airport tarmac instead.

The headline on that graph could have been “Climate scientists don’t know what caused most of the big moves on this graph”. Some mystery effect caused the warming from 1910-1940. In ClimateScienceTM it is OK to call that “natural variability” and pretend to be 95% sure [...]

Maurice Newman: conservatives outsmarted — they apologise where they should demand apologies

A wake up call from Maurice Newman. The gravy train of bigger and bigger government is grinding to its inevitable halt, and Greece is the destination the Western Express is headed for. Those who promised that big-government could solve everything have bought votes, while using schools and universities to train a generation to hate free market competition. Young people were raised to blame the system and demand the handout, rather than take responsibility. The soft-west has gone too far left. The weak right has rolled over and tries to be a mini-left, settling for being the team B of “progressivism”. Newman’s best line is that the conservatives apologize where they should demand apologies. So true.

To illustrate dismal standards in science and the media, Newman cites (thanks Maurice), and thousands more Australians find out a small part of the scandalous failure of academia (specifically, Lewandowsky at UWA) and the ABC. The stories he refers too are: “Lewandowsky peer reviewed study includes someone 32,757 years old” and the “ABC got it wrong, BOM not concerned with Australian public being misinformed“. Ken Stewart at Kenskingdom deserves credit for catching out the ABC and BOM. Readers, when you want to throw your shoe [...]

Uninformed climate amateurs ask professionals to explain their data revision

David Karoly knew he had to defend the BOM with regard to the hot questions about adjustments to Amberley, Bourke, and Rutherglen data. What he didn’t have were photos of historic equipment, maps of thermometer sites, or quotes from people who took observations. Instead he wielded the magic wand of “peer review” — whereupon questions asked in English are rendered invalid if they are printed in a newspaper instead of a trade-magazine.

Prof David Karoly, Climate Professional called people who ask for explanations poorly informed amateurs. In response, we Poorly Informed Climate Amateurs wonder what it takes to get Climate Professionals to inform us? Instead of hiding behind ‘peer review’, vague complex methods, and the glow of their academic aura, the professionals could act professional and explain exactly what they did to the data?

We discussed the mysterious transformation of Amberley and Rutherglen — where cooling trends became warming trends due to unrecorded site movements that were detected by thermometers hundreds of kilometers away. I also discussed how skeptical scientists have been asking for details for years but the BOM would not provide them. What we still don’t know is why thermometers in 1941 were recording temperatures nearly 2 degrees [...]

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 [...]

Too funny. Roy Spencer invented satellite temperature analysis, gets called “a blogger”

Careful Cheryl Jones, your groupthink is showing. She’s a science writer who writes today in The Australian about “climate bets”, but without seemingly using The Internet.

Here’s how she describes Roy Spencer:

Although a blogger, Spencer does publish research in the scientific journals. He was not surprised that Newman had invoked his name. “I’ve testified in the United States Congress probably half a dozen times,” he tells The Australian. “My name is out there.”

To put this in perspective, this is Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He’s not just a climate scientist either.  Roy Spencer and John Christy were the first two scientists to develop a method for getting temperatures from satellites, and the pair won NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the American Meteorological Society’s “Special Award.” But Roy does write an excellent blog…

No sure bets in the climate debate

Cheryl Jones, The Australian

LAST summer, Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt challenged Tony Abbott’s chief business adviser Maurice Newman to bet $10,000 that the Earth’s average surface temperature would be lower in 20 years than now.

If Cheryl Jones had gone so far as to type “climate bets” into a [...]

Skeptical view makes Australian front page: climate madness, dishonesty, fraud, deception, lies and exploitation says Maurice Newman

The giant boondoggle is coming undone.

What makes this article remarkable is the strong language coming from a credible source on the front page of a major national daily. We have crossed another line in the decline and fall of the Great Global Warming Scare.  Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council , was Chairman of the ABC, and of the board of the Australian Stock Exchange. He was Chancellor of Macquarie University until 2008. The Op-Ed and news article today sums up the worst of the last five years of climate, and is the first time I can recall seeing a well respected commentator use such unequivocal and damning language and so prominently. There is no hedging here, no pandering. Newman obviously reads skeptical blogs and is very aware of what is going on. Ponder that he was Chairman of their ABC, and if someone of his sensible insight could not clean it up, we need far more drastic action (that’s another topic we will explore soon).

His opinion piece in the Australian (Crowds go cold on climate cost), is discussed on the front page as a news item titled “Climate policies helped kill manufacturing, [...]

Three cheers for Senate Micro’s

We have discussed this issue at length on The Senate-Rage! post. I’ve taken those thoughts a bit further in an Op-Ed in The Australian today. There are no comments allowed there so here is a thread for further thoughts and feedback on our new Senate and whether we need to revamp the system. This is my first purely political op-Ed. I find it surprising that almost no one, on any side of politics, is speaking out for the little guys and the disaffected voter. Bob Brown (former Greens senator) calls it a “scandal” of “legally induced frauding”, that “must” change, so I know I am onto something. He thinks Liberal voters don’t know the difference between “liberals” and “liberal dems” and that “Stop The Greens” might fool Green supporters. How stupid are the voters. Really?  — Jo


Three cheers for micros by: Joanne Nova From: The Australian September 13, 2013 12:00AM

UNLEASH the sanctimony! Practically everyone on all sides of mainstream politics is not pleased with the success of the micro-parties in the Senate election. For goodness’ sake, car-loving, sports-crazy Australians may have elected car-loving, sports-mad senators. Is that so bad?

The not-quite-elected souls [...]

Jo Nova in The Australian: Carbon credits market is neither free nor worth anything

Credit to The Australian for printing both points of view. Published as an Op-Ed today.

Carbon credits market is neither free nor worth anything by: Joanne Nova From: The Australian July 31, 2013 12:00AM

THE paradox du jour: people who like free markets don’t want a carbon market, and the people who don’t trust capitalism want emissions trading. So why are socialists fighting for a carbon market? Because this “market” is a bureaucrat’s wet dream.

A free market is the voluntary exchange of goods and services. “Free” means being free to choose to buy or to not buy the product. At the end of a free trade, both parties have something they prefer.

[Those who know what real free markets are know that an emissions trading scheme is not and never can be a free market. The "Carbon-Market" is a market with no commodity, no demand, and no supply. Who needs a "carbon credit"? The government entirely determines both supply and demand.]

A carbon market is a forced market. There is little intrinsic incentive to buy a certificate for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It says a lot about the voluntary value of a [...]

ClimateGate II: Handy Guide to spot whitewash journalism – The top 10 excuses for scientists behaving badly

Sorting real journalists from sock puppets is not too tricky: real investigators tell you what the story is about; PR writers tell you what to think.

Do they “discuss” ClimateGate emails … without quoting the emails?

Who digs for details, and who hides the evidence?

The PR writers for Big-Government were quick to come up with excuses for ClimateGate II. Which is all very well, but it’s blindingly obvious where their own personal prejudices lie if they won’t print the emails that they are supposedly discussing. It’s not so much cherry-picking, but cherry-denial. “Don’t mention the radioactive cherries, but lets discuss how cherry farmers have been victimized, talk about the history of cherry tree farming, and hear their excuses and assertions that the cherries are an essential part of our diets. Don’t mention the Geiger counter. OK?”

The top 10 excuses for PR writers  who pose as “journalists” to ignore ClimateGate emails

This is standard issue damage control for ClimateGate — protect the cheats and liars, attack the whistleblower, and  use excuses and padding-fillers to cover a story without actually giving the public any information on the [...]