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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Catalyst – raising public awareness of science, or promoting big-government science instead?

The global warming segment on the ABC last night marks a new direction for the Catalyst ABC Science-unit. In the past, their method of dealing with skeptics was to pretend they didn’t exist (see the transcript of July 2013), but apparently they’ve realized they are losing the war. Is this the first time they’ve acknowledged that there is a skeptical view, and that there are questions to answer? Could be.  Perhaps it does hurt when they are repeatedly caught putting forward a biased one-sided point of view. They even interviewed Garth Paltridge and Judith Curry, with a moment of Christopher Monckton and Maurice Newman, too. But don’t get too excited. While the shift is a slight win for skeptics, there is no sign that Catalyst are any less biased, better informed or more aware of what the scientific method is. It is just a shift in PR tactics.

Anja Taylor still didn’t ask hard questions or do her research properly. Catalyst viewers would be almost as much in the dark as they were before. It is as if the point of the show was training for the ABC faithful to answer the dreaded skeptics.  Because even though skeptics were no [...]

Fasullo and Trenberth find spurious success, make headlines, but still the models crash

It’s worse than we thought — again….

Fusulo and Trenberth scored headlines around the world recently with a new paper that suggested that a few models got the relative humidity right in some tropical spots, and they also happened to be the models that predicted the hottest global outcomes.

John Christie pointed out that the models with the highest climate sensitivity are also the ones which are the worst at predicting future temperatures.

But there is more to this. It is a likely a case of twenty models predicting 40 parameters, and you can take your pick of the permutations and combinations which give one or two models a “success” here and there on one or two factors. But in the end, as Richard Courtney says, all the models are different so only one model can possibly be The Right One for the whole atmosphere, and quite likely they are all wrong.

In this case, they are still all wrong. The hot spot is still missing, and the region below it with which they scored some success is not that important.

The words hot spot and humidity over the tropics lead many commentators to think this was something to do [...]