A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



“Surprise” Climate change, 900ppm CO2, acidification is good news for squid

Squid, “surprise” are going to do well with climate change. (If only it was going to happen).

In the new post-CO2 world, corn and soy may become weeds, but squid may take over the oceans:

Squid will survive and may even flourish under even the worst-case ocean acidification scenarios, according to a new study published this week.

Dr Blake Spady, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU), led the study. He said squid live on the edge of their environmental oxygen limitations due to their energy-taxing swimming technique. They were expected to fare badly with more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the water, which makes it more acidic.

No academic could have guessed that squid would have evolved ways to control their own blood pH:

“Their blood is highly sensitive to changes in acidity, so we expected that future ocean acidification would negatively affect their aerobic performance,” said Dr Spady.

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) before the industrial revolution to more than 400 ppm today. Scientists project atmospheric CO2 — and by extension CO2 in […]

Solar cycles to blame for jellyfish plagues (not coal fired plants)

Image Erin Silversmith

Three amazing things in this story. One that solar cycles might influence the oceans to such an extent that jellyfish plagues are cycling in tune with the sun. Second is that the sun might control food for jellyfish on Earth somehow but have no effect on clouds, temperature or our climate (join the dots that expert climate models don’t). Third is that (briefly) there was actual scientific debate published on the ABC (even if only a few Australians were exposed to it). No one called anyone names, and both sides got to speak (albeit on different channels). Put it in your diary.

A couple of weeks ago on the ABC jellyfish were booming and it was because of climate change:

Jellyfish are causing mayhem as pollution, climate change see numbers boom

RN By Hong Jiang and Sasha Fegan for Late Night Live

…the brainless, spineless, eyeless, bloodless creatures are booming in numbers — and causing mayhem around the world.

Some scientists think jellyfish numbers are increasing as the climate changes — the creatures reproduce well in warmer waters.

Last year, Nick Kilvert of the ABC saw it as a […]

Fake science on fake fish from James Cook Uni?

Third World Science with First World Funding

Is James Cook University a grants machine or a research institute?

James Cook University reviews ex-student’s ‘fishy’ findings, by Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Oona Lönnstedt has been prolific, writing alarming papers on microplastics, acidification, and reef degradation. But her work looks like a trainwreck. One paper has been withdrawn, in another it was “found that Lonnstedt did not have time to undertake the research she claimed.” She’s been found guilty of fabricating data on the microplastics study. Now Peter Ridd has pointed out that the photos of 50 Lionfish appear to contain a lot less than 50 fish. Images have been flipped, spun or “manipulated” so the same fish appears more than once.

James Cook has done what any ambitious, money-hungry grant troughing institute would do, a very slow investigation of allegedly corrupt behaviour and a very quick sacking of the honest researcher who threatens to expose them. Any respectable Science Minister would freeze all grants to James Cook until this situation was resolved and reversed.

Send your thoughts to The Hon Karen Andrews. Contact her here: AT There is a crisis in Australian science. Who is going to […]

Far Southern Ocean cools. Kiss Goodbye to polar amplication around Antarctica

A map of the sea surface zone that has cooled since 1979 — from 56S – 72S . It’s a pretty big area. Click to enlarge.

For years the IPCC have said that warming would be amplified at the poles. They warned us things would heat up twice as fast, which would melt sea ice. The oceans surface in turn would switch from being reflective white to a dark absorbing deep blue. Enormous amounts of energy would then flow into the ocean instead of being reflected back out to space. The more it warmed, the more it would warm — unleashing a devastating feedback loop.

As the Arctic warmed, the merchants of doom were keen to tell us how how right they were and this was evidence of man-made warming. But in the Antarctic exactly the opposite trend was taking place.

Mike Jonas has done what the IPCC should have been doing — investigating the trends in the Sea Surface Temperature in the polar latitudes with satellite records. In the latitude band from 56 to 72 degrees south the oceans have cooled, not warmed. The models don’t even have the sign of the trend correct. At the latitudes where […]

Rising seas? Hundreds of Pacific Islands are growing, not shrinking

This should end all the Pacific Island climate claims right here. A new study of over 700 islands for decades shows that even though seas are rising faster than any time in the last million years, somehow no islands with people on are shrinking. This means there are no climate change refugees from any vanishing island. Plus it’s more proof that highly adjusted satellite data is recording sea levels on some other planet.

Over the past decades, atoll islands exhibited no widespread sign of physical destabilization in the face of sea-level rise. A reanalysis of available data, which cover 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, reveals that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted.

Look how closely these researchers are tracking the shores. Below on Tuamoto, French Polynesia, scientists can tell you that islets 12 and 14 (see pic) have disappeared since 1962. So we can track roving blobs of sand about 20 to 30 meters across.



No habitable island, none, got smaller:

The researchers reckon that 10 hectares is about the smallest island you’d want to plonk […]

Climate change causes beaches to grow by 3,660 square kilometers

Since 1984 humans have gushed forth 64% of our entire emissions from fossil fuels. (Fully 282,000 megatons of deplorable carbon “pollution”.)

During this time, satellite images show that 24% of our beaches shrank, while 28% grew. Thus we can say that thanks to the carbon apocalypse there are 3,660 sq kms more global beaches now than there were thirty years ago. Yes. It’s that bad.

The encroachment of beaches would mean there is less ocean for fishes. Thankfully sea levels have risen too, so it looks like it will all work out.

This study also produced a handy map of where the sandiest beaches are. Clearly Africa wins (unless you prefer rocks and cliffs).

h/t GWPF

Sandy beaches (yellow) versus Rocky beaches (black). Percentages indicate the proportion of sandy beaches. Source

Presumbly the paradox of how seas can rise unprecedentedly fast at the same time as beaches are growing will be explained through global currents shifting ominously due to rising CO2 levels. Either that, or the paradox and the study will vanish into a subterranean library — like the deeper Asthenosphere Archive, where they will be converted to magma.

Seriously, though, this study appears to be the first to […]

Giant double whirlpools in the ocean and the DIY ones you can make in your pool

How much don’t we know?

Giant pairs of whirlpools travel across the ocean for months in a bizarre pair.

These large paired whirlpools, hundreds of kilometers across, travel eastward at something like 10-20cm per second. This is one pair crossing from Tasmania to NewZealand. This was there in our satellite data but “invisible” til recently. As David Evans says “I wonder what else we are observing but not seeing?”

The pair of whirlpools called Modon E travelling eastward from Tasmania to NZ.

The ocean becomes connected at two distant points as the Modon-E whirlpool pair travels from Tasmania to NZ in 2010-2011

In the mini-pool version, these rolling whirlpools are connected in a U shape under water.

Wow. PhysicsGirl shows how to make these by pushing a plate through the water, and adding food coloring. Switch on your science nerd, show the kids! (send me your photos :- ))

The two vortexes spin in opposite directions but are connected as a pair underwater. This was created by PhysicsGirl using a plate in a pool and two different food colorings.

Twin giant ocean whirlpools travel for months winding their way across oceans

Peter Dockrill reports on an interview […]

The Kelp coped: ocean gets 5.5 degrees hotter but no effect on giant kelp

After human pumped out 90% of all the CO2 they’ve ever made, the oceans might be a whole fifth of a degree warmer, tops, in the last 60 years. So when water that was a whopping 5.5 degrees warmer rolled over some giant kelp, researchers got excited. (This is like 1,650 years of climate change right?!) But the kelp pretty much did nothing, and you might say that researchers were shocked the kelp coped:

Kelp beats the heat

They expected forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), known to be sensitive to such increases as well as to the resulting low-nutrient conditions, to respond quite rapidly to a rise in water temperature.

However, to the scientists’ surprise, that was not the case. The kelp, they discovered, was all right. Their findings appear in the journal Nature Communications.

“The response that we saw in kelp was really no different than what we’d seen in our temporal record,” explained lead author Daniel Reed, deputy director of UCSB’s Marine Science Institute (MSI). “The values were low but not necessarily lower than what we’d seen during cool-water years.”

A lot of other underwater things were not bothered either:


Fish don’t live in the sky

It’s a case of coal shrinking fish. Another remarkable discovery of modern seance.

There is a six degree variation across the surface of the North Sea but fish are shrinking because the water is warming by 0.05C per year?

Drew Creighton at the Sydney Morning Herald gets excited: Climate Change affects all levels of life. (By crikey, the banality! It would be legendary if a scientist found one form of life on Earth that wasn’t “affected” by temperature, clouds, frost, ice, storms or rain. How low is this bar?)

First a Prof somewhere notices fish are getting smaller:

Professor John Pandolfi of the ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies said while the study encompassed all ecosystems, his particular interest was the sea.

But which fish are shrinking exactly — “commercial fish” — could be a clue?

“We’re seeing decreased yields in fisheries, for example in the North Sea commercial fish have undergone reductions in body size, all of them, simultaneously.”

So how do we know this shrinkage is not due to bigger boats and the increased fish-and-chips factor?

He said the study factored in over-fishing and fisheries induced evolution and separated the […]

New Paper finds ocean circulation drives the climate on the surface

During the last ice age (and others before it) temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere would abruptly swing up and down by a hefty 3 – 6°C every 1,500 years or so. A new study using isotopes on the sea floor rather provocatively suggests that the Atlantic ocean circulation was to blame. Apparently it slowed almost to halt, and before the surface water cooled. It seems that when the Atlantic currents slow too far they stop bringing warmer water north from the equator and Southern Hemisphere, and thus the north ices over. During these super-cold periods the ice sheets spread down and cover much of North America, (and real estate in Australia costs a motza). Massive icebergs break off and drift, but apparently things took a lot longer to get cold in the Southern Hemisphere, and the north and south possibly got a bit out of whack cooling and warming in opposite phases. The researcher used the word “bipolar”.

The $64 trillion dollar question is if ocean currents cause climate change, what causes the ocean currents? The researchers don’t know. (Seems kind of important). Things stabilized out in the last 10,000 warm years. It looks like the wild swings don’t occur […]