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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The South Australian black out — A grid on the edge. There were warnings that renewables made it vulnerable

Australians are going to be talking about this for weeks. Indeed, the SA Blackout is the stuff of legend.

The Greens are blaming coal (what else?) for causing bad storms and blackouts. Forget that Queensland gets hit with cyclones all the time and the whole state grid doesn’t break. Some greenies are also raging against “the politicization” of the storms. Yes, Indeedy. Go tell that to Will Steffen.

We are not being told the whole story. We do know that South Australia has the highest emphasis on renewables in the world. It also has a fragile electricity network, and wild price spikes to boot. (Coincidence?) The death of a few transmission towers should not knock out a whole state, nor should it take so long to recover from. The storm struck worst north of Adelaide near Port Augusta but the juicy interconnector from Victoria runs in from the south, and goes right up past Adelaide and most of the population. Why couldn’t the broken parts of the system be isolated?

Digging around I find ominous warnings that while the lightning and winds probably caused the blackout, the state of the South Australian grid appeared to be teetering on the brink, [...]

Entire state of South Australia without electricity as storm hits

South Australia, population 1.7 million, has no electricity

Tweeted by the Country Fire Service @CFSAlerts

A storm hit, possibly the worst for 50 years. Winds of 90km/hr gusting to 140km/hr. Reports are that everyone is being told to use their radio’s and stay off the streets. The blackout struck at 4.30pm AEST. UPDATE: Power is coming back to some, but questions are being asked about the state which has more renewable energy than any other in the world. See updates below. It sure looks like a management disaster. Want to build subs by torchlight?

How long before someone blames climate change?

—————–

UPDATE#1: Bingo. Just 5 hours for Will Steffen to claim it’s “driven by climate change”:

9:55pm “Storms like the one which knocked out the entire South Australian electricity network are occurring in a warmer and wetter atmosphere, the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen said. “These conditions, driven by climate change, are likely increasing the intensity of storms like the one in South Australia,” he said. “Australians are being affected right now by climate change. “The atmosphere is packing much more energy than 70 years ago… This is a prelude to a disturbing future.

Nevermind that [...]

Nature paper pushes wild exaggeration of 7-13C “climate sensitivity”! Even Gavin Schmidt calls them out.

Lordy. Lordy. How did Snyder 2016 get past rigorous peer review and into a supposed “top” journal like Nature?

Carolyn Snyder did a 2 million year temperature reconstruction then assumed that all the warming in the whole record was caused by CO2, she then carried that correlation right through to reach the absurd conclusion that climate sensitivity is not 2 – 4C, but 7 to 13 freaking degrees. (Did she study climate science by watching Al Gore?)

Normally we’d expect a climate expert to know that orbital mechanics drive most of the changes.

Don’t look now, but Gavin Schmidt has done the right thing and pointed out a very silly conclusion that Nature and all their reviewers missed. (If only Nature had asked bloggers to review it …)

This obvious mistake has caught out a lot of the press. It was also missed by The ABC, The Conversation, Andrew Glikson etc etc. The Daily Mail (UK) published a version by Associated Press, and they at least asked Michael Mann who said he “remains skeptical until more research confirms it” (as if!), and Jeremy Shakun, who said it “seems too high”. Though AP buried those weak warnings and still went with [...]

Despite record hottest year even a loaded vague climate survey shows 61% don’t agree with experts

After the hottest ever El Nino year with relentless propaganda on Australian media, even a loaded survey finds that only 39% of Australians agree that humans are the major drivers of the climate. The survey is being painted as a success by obedient “journalists”. But this is not skyrocketing support, it’s more likely last gasp noise. The results will be down again next year (with the weather).

It is yet another meaningless motherhood survey that avoids asking real questions, offers unbalanced answers, and uses the same ambiguous language as most of these pointless surveys do. Would you like apple-pie?

Who doesn’t want nicer weather — and for free?

The questions climate fans are too scared to ask

Obviously The Climate Institute don’t want real answers, which they must know would be devastating. They won’t ask how much people want to pay out their own pocket to fix the climate. They won’t ask people to rank “climate change” against all the other issues they care about. They won’t ask people if Climate Change is a scam, a con, or a scheme to make the green industry rich (a year ago a US poll showed 31% were happy to call climate change [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

How to make climate graphs look scary — a reply to XKCD

This week XKCD (a popular Geek comic site) posted an epic cartoon called “A Timeline Of Earth’s Average Temperature”. It was a cutesy long godzilla hockey-stick — “scary” to the unwary.

It’s easy to make a scary historical-looking temperature graph — so easy that the artist probably didn’t even know how. (Thank Shakun, Marcott, Annan, Hadcrut and the IPCC for doing the tricky part.) First, guesstimate temperatures over last 20,000 years with anything at hand: tree-rings, ice bubbles, coral, fossilized tea leaves, whatever. Blend. Then stop the proxies, tack on thermometer data that was recorded in a different way with different errors and a very different response to faster temperature changes. Finally, launch that line into the future with unvalidated, skillless multivariate models that predict a fingerprint which 28 million weather balloons can’t find. Then take the models that didn’t work for the last twenty years, and run with the errors to the next century… Voila!

I took the 14,000 pixel cartoon and squeezed it to one shot that shows the curve that matters. See the error bars? Me neither.

(But who needs an uncertainty range when you have faith?)

Click to enlarge.

The secret to a good hockey-stick [...]