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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Another La Nina? Climate models just flummoxed. This is not supposed to happen!

We can hear the angst and confusion — Another “nasty La Nina?”, “Something weird is going on”, “They (La Ninas) don’t know when to leave”. Oh no!

These are not the words we’d expect to hear from experts who can 97% predict the climate a century from now. The bad news for the modelers is that the climate on Earth seems to be controlled more by the Pacific Oscillation than anything else and they have no idea what drives that pattern, so they can’t predict it more than a few months ahead, and sometimes not even then. And if they can’t predict the Pacific — they can’t predict anything. The hottest of hot years are El Nino, and the coldest years are La Nina and the greatest modelers the world-has-ever-known still get their barbecue summers wrong. The droughts, the floods and the bushfires follow the swinging surface water of the worlds largest ocean. Whenever they happen, the models say “climate change” but the models never tell us which will hit us this time next year.

So here we are with hints that there might be another La Nina, a third in a row, and Oh-the-disappointment! The modelers thought there […]

Do winds control the climate or does the ocean control the wind? Kininmonth on England 2014.

William Kininmonth essentially says that it’s possible that the trade winds have changed the climate, but asks why the winds themselves changed. Kininmonth explains that the ocean is much larger and holds much more heat than the atmosphere, and that the ocean drives the winds rather than the other way around. He points out again (as he did before here so eloquently in more detail) that what the paper describes is what we’ve known for a long time about the ENSO patterns and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO): when an El Nino Strikes, trade winds fall, ocean surface doesn’t turn over as much, the ocean surface is warmer, and the air stays hot above. When La Nina’s occur, trade winds speed up, the ocean stirs, and the cold deep water takes the heat out of the surface of the ocean and the air above.

His points are:

“Natural variability” is hardly a credible, useful scientific explanation. The IPCC said natural variability was small, so if it is larger now, then it was also larger during the rest of the 20th Century? This reduces the effect CO2 had earlier (and the effect it will have in future).


Guest […]

William Kininmonth: Is it Extreme Weather or Climate Change?

Following in the heatwave theme… William Kinninmonth points out that the long term data on the red hot centre of Australia shows that this January is not unusual. – Jo.

__________________________________ Letter to the Editor of The Australian

A pattern of extreme weather should not be confused with climate change.

The recent heat wave across much of Central Australia and its occasional extension east and south is a pattern of extreme weather. Climate is the recurring patterns of weather that inure us to such extremes. The climate of Alice Springs is exemplified by 1887, the previously hottest January with an average maximum of 40.7oC. The extreme, nearly 5oC above the long term January average, was made possible by a spell of 11 days over 40oC, a brief respite then another 10 days over 40oC.

Climate change, of course, is a persisting significant departure from the experienced pattern of weather. The current pattern of extreme weather is not outside the envelope of experience that describes Central Australian climate.

William Kininmonth

William Kininmonth headed Australia‘s National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology from 1986 to 1998.

PS: You may […]

Climate Commission Report Debunked

Scientific audit of the Climate Commission Report “The Critical Decade – Climate science, risks and responses”

May, 2011

Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks, William Kininmonth


For PART II – SCIENCE AUDIT see the Full PDF file of Part I & II

Also posted at Quadrant Online, May 30, 2011


The Key Messages[1] summary of The Critical Decade[2] opens with a ringing statement of hyperbole:

Over many decades thousands of scientists have painted an unambiguous picture: the global climate is changing and humanity is almost surely the primary cause. The risks have never been clearer and the case for action has never been more urgent.

This declaration establishes two things. The first sentence signals that the report is committed to repeating the conclusions of the 4th Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC)[3], conclusions that are essentially reliant on computer modelling and lack empirical support. And the second signals that the report is long on opinionated analysis and political advocacy but devoid of objective risk analysis.

These same characteristics apply to the scientific […]

The deep oceans drive the atmosphere

Ever wondered how the whole planet could suddenly “get warmer” during an El Nino, and then suddenly cool again? William Kininmonth has the answer. As I read his words I’m picturing a major pool of stored “coldness” (bear with me, I know cold is just a lack of heat) which is periodically unleashed on the surface temperatures. The vast deep ocean abyss is filled with salty and near freezing water. In years where this colder pool is kept in place we have El Ninos, and on years when the colder water rises and mixes up near the surface we have La Ninas. The satellites recording temperatures at the surface of the ocean are picking up the warmth (or lack of) on this top-most layer. That’s why it can be bitterly cold for land thermometers but at the same time the satellites are recording a higher world average temperature, due to the massive area of the Pacific.

In other words, just as you’d expect, the actual temperature of the whole planetary mass is not rising and falling within months, instead, at times the oceans swallow the heat on the surface and give up some “coldness”. At other times, the cold […]