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Droughts might not be due to carbon-dioxide, says CSIRO

Still in the theme of Shock!-The-Media-IS-Reporting-The-News: The Canberra Times announced on it’s front page that CSIRO is not so sure that droughts are due to increased carbon dioxide. Only a few months ago, they announced the exact opposite.

September 2009: A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed what many scientists long suspected: that the 13-year drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change.

Jan 2010: One of the report’s co-authors, hydrologist David Post, told The Canberra Times there was ”no evidence” linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin.

Back in September, this long study was based on the old trick of using climate models and “subtracting” the natural causes to see what’s left. It’s also known as “Argument from Ignorance”. Since we can’t predict the climate five years in advance, obviously there are factors or weightings in those climate models that aren’t right. Ruling out “what we know” doesn’t prove anything at all, except that there is a lot we don’t know.

When David Stockwell analysed climate models and Australian droughts, he found that random numbers were more likely to predict droughts successfully. The models failed validation tests. In the end, instead of using climate models, we’re better off with last week’s Lotto numbers. It’s cheaper too.

…instead of using climate models, we’re better off with last week’s Lotto numbers. It’s cheaper too.

Despite the welcome advance in climate-journalism from The Canberra Times, things are far from perfect. Modern journalism doesn’t miss the chance to put in a meaningless interview with a person who isn’t an expert and can’t put a logical construct together.

Watch Bob Brown (leader of the Australian Greens) at work. He takes the opportunity to pump the myth that the “pressure” is against the climate-scare-campaign (instead of against the skeptics). This time it’s an opportunity that isn’t even there, but he runs with it anyway:

Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown has accused CSIRO of ”caving in to political pressure” to soften its stance on climate change in the lead-up to this year’s federal election.

”We should ask why CSIRO is prepared to turn an unaccountable blind eye to recent climate trends in Tasmania. This undercurrent of scepticism would seem to suggest the report has been politicised,” Senator Brown said.

What political pressure is he referring too? The pressure from the ruling ALP to downplay the need for the Emissions Trading Scheme that they have bet their political lives on? This makes so little sense, it’s not even wrong.

The real political pressure works in the opposite direction. Just ask Clive Spash who merely tried to do his job and discuss the merits of an ETS when he was heavied, censored and eventually resigned under the onslaught. That’s what pressure looks like.

The CSIRO site is strangely hard to search for this announcement. The Canberra Times doesn’t give us a link, or mention a journal, or name this report, and the CSIRO site doesn’t find this news when searching with “drought” and “climate change”. It’s almost like they hope no one notices. In past days with a sleeping media, possibly no one would have.

4BC radio in Brisbane also covered this.

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