Before I go any further let me explain the title. There are a lot of climate hawks who are engineers. There are a lot of intelligent educated engineers out there. However for some reason, climate science denial attracts engineers, which is why I mention in the title that Bob is an engineer. He said so.
You can see the show here. It's quite good for a short segment. It runs for about 18 minutes. There's a transcript as well as a Q&A.
Back to Bob. He complains of hearing problems. Bob shows these screen grabs from the show. Click the image to enlarge it.
This is what Bob writes (his words shriek his ideology, don't they):
The narration elucidated how these bell curves clarified why the weather had become more extreme in the past decade, and, being a tad curious I searched around for the source, but without success. My closest find is contained in a report by our Oz government funded Climate Commission entitled The Angry Summer. (2012/3 DJF) This august body is headed by Prof Tim Flannery and amongst its expert advisors is Prof David Karoly, about whom I guess many overseas readers have heard?
But, engineers like me tend to be suspicious, and one thing I puzzled on was that the change in global average T of 0.80 C took place over a period of ~160 years according to HadCRU, and that the Catalyst show implied that the alleged effects were concentrated into the last decade.
Bob bases an article about the fact that his hearing is deficient, or maybe it's a matter of confirmation bias. I'm thinking Bob's eyesight might be affected too, because the web page he refers readers to has the complete transcript. Bob said that the Catalyst show implied that the alleged effects were concentrated into the last decade. Here are the relevant sections from the transcript. These are the only statements that mention 0.8 degrees.
Global average temperatures have only increased by 0.8 of a degree Celsius. One would think that this would just lead to slightly warmer summers. But, actually, it's greatly increasing the chances of extremely hot weather....
Although an exceptional year, it's not outside the range of what's now considered normal. If you plot temperature records, they fall in a typical bell-curve pattern, with the majority only a small deviation from the average, and the outliers representing extreme hot or cold events. With a 0.8 degree rise in temperature, a much larger portion now sits in the warmer-than-average section, and hot to extremely hot days are far more frequent....
Dr Susan WijffelsSo nope! Not the hint of a suggestion that it warmed 0.8 degrees in only a decade. Any normal person would probably think - ah, since industrialisation it's warmed by 0.8 degrees. Or they might think, since global warming started earth has warmed by 0.8 degrees. Bob's funny.
We're already starting to detect and see big changes in the extreme events. And we've only really warmed the Earth by 0.8 of a degree. If we were to warm the Earth by 3 or 4 degrees, the changes in the hydrological cycle could be near 30 percent. I mean, that's just a huge change, and it's very hard for us to imagine....
He got quite interested in the show and put a number of questions to the Catalyst team. For example as par of one question he writes, referring to a paper on the Russian heat wave:
So, since that was peer reviewed it is not necessary to look any further right?Bob isn't a scientist so we should cut him some slack. If he's ever written a report he probably thinks that's all that needs to be said on the matter and no-one will ever contradict him. That's not how science works though. Science is full of contradictions. That's what makes it fun. Someone will say one thing, another will disagree, more evidence is ferreted out and analysed. People will look at it all different ways and, depending on the level of interest in the topic at hand, eventually with enough evidence and enough thinking on the matter of how to interpret the evidence, a consensus will be reached. The more evidence supporting an explanation the stronger the consensus. Bob seems to think every item of interest only gets picked up once by one person or a team, looked at and then put in a cupboard never to be looked at by anyone else ever again.
Yet, elsewhere, and whilst others also claim that it was within centennial natural variability, apparently there was conflict in other peer reviewed studies based on computer modelling that the likelihood of such events is increasing, (based on one recent event, uh?).
With the Russian heat wave there have been papers that differ in one respect or other. In fact a lot of people have now studied the Russian heat wave of 2010. For example:
- Trenberth and Fasullo (2012) Climate extremes and climate change: The Russian heat wave and other climate extremes of 2010, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D17103, doi:10.1029/2012JD018020
- Coumou and Rahmstorf (2012), A decade of weather extremes, Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate1452
- Otto et al (2012) Reconciling two approaches to attribution of the 2010 Russian heat wave, GRL DOI: 10.1029/2011GL050422
- and more
Getting back to WUWT, Bob decides the bell curves for temperature as shown above are wrong and he's come up with some alternatives, which readers will enjoy. Click for larger version.
What Bob seems to have done is mixed up global temperatures with local temperatures - or something like that. It's really not clear what he is trying to portray. Anyway, it's got pretty colours. It's much prettier than Christopher Monckton's yucky pink charts.
How engineer, Bob Fernley-Jones fails arithmetic
Bob's a bit of a funny one. As well as having deficient hearing and eyesight when it comes to things climate, he's also not crash hot at arithmetic. Which is strange for an engineer. He isn't aware that you can have a summer across an entire continent in the hottest on record without having any state or territory being the hottest on record.
I've covered this before because it turns out that a lot of climate science deniers are very poor at arithmetic, especially the notion of averages. They must have been away that day at primary school and never had to average anything since. The following is part of what I wrote some time ago:
Here's a series of numbers to illustrate. It is sets of numbers grouped by year. In all but the last two years, at least one of A, B, C, D or E has the maximum for all years. Each one has a "record" highlighted. Yet the average for Year 5 is greater than the average in any prior year even though none of A through E has a record in Year 5.
You can read the full article here.
Perhaps Bob has children at school who can give him a remedial lesson on averages.
Bob Fernley-Jones is very organised
Bob has some strengths. He is very organised. He broke his article into "Parts". Here is Part 3.
Part 3:Breaking the mood with something almost amusing:
I’ve also submitted a wider ranging formal complaint to our taxpayer funded ABC, concerning the bias and other stuff in this story, (the ABC is required by statute to serve the public, and breached its own editorial policies). I closed the complaint off with this:
Ms [Anja] Taylor was the declared presenter, producer and researcher for this show. She presented almost entirely extreme views with an apparent lack of investigative journalism. With the exception of Dr Fischer’s input about the warming effect of dry soils, (which is not controversial if we ignore Prof David Karoly), all other topics were either demonstrably false or controversial. Not content with presenting scientific material facts and balance, (the Editorial Policies require impartiality), she adds inappropriate drama and irrelevance including these images:Bob included some screenshots from the video to show what he was referring to. There was "inappropriate drama". Remember, conservative science deniers don't like drama - it makes them scared. They prefer someone to tell them there is no need to be scared.
There's more and you can read the full article without having to go to WUWT by clicking here for an archived version (updated).
From the WUWT comments
Philip Bradley is a pedant. He reckons that extreme should be relative to the present, not the past. What would have been extreme yesterday won't be considered extreme in the future. At least he seems to accept the world is warming, which is unusual for WUWT. He says:
August 28, 2013 at 3:13 am
The narration elucidated how these bell curves clarified why the weather had become more extreme in the past decade
The usual statistical ignorance. If weather/temperature continues a normal distribution with the same SD, which that image shows, then by definition extreme weather stays the same, although of course the average changes.
thingadonta asks about our winters and I imagine he's saying there should be a bigger fuss made of the record warm winters, too. They are not so angrily cold:
August 28, 2013 at 3:32 am
Why doesn’t the Climate Commission report on the lack of angry winters since Australia has gotten warmer…..also supposedly due to human activities.
This is for thingadonta from the Sydney Morning Herald:
David L. thinks nothing is extreme unless a record is broken. (He ought to come here during one of our extreme heat waves.) David says:
August 28, 2013 at 4:03 am
They’ve started the “extreme weather” meme. Here in Philadelphia I can’t watch a news program without being told of some extreme weather going on somewhere in the country. Just yesterday it was the “extreme, near record temperatures in the mid west”. (How can a near record be extreme?). What was the temperature? 92F. I’m sorry, but 92F is not extreme, even if it lasts 3 days and becomes the dreaded “heat wave”. Oh my! Then we ha the extreme dust cloud, the extreme rain, the extreme flooding, and the extreme forest fires all in the same day! Wow ! The end is surely near….except I remember seeing these things every summer going back to the 1960′s.. In 1973 92F was hot weather, in 2013 it’s extreme weather.
But does the average person fall for this propaganda? When you’re told that 92F is extreme, do you really believe it’s extreme? I certainly don’t and I suspect they’re trying to sell me something.
JohnC might volunteer to teach the remedial arithmetic class:
August 28, 2013 at 7:12 am
The Other Phil is (regrettably) incorrect. Of the 3 types of averages, mean is the one fairly described as dividing an area in half.
Mean – Sum of all members divided by how many members (of a set)
Median – Middle number (after sorting in numerical order)
Mode – Most Common Number
For example: of the set 1 1 1 2 2 3 11
Mean 3 [21/7 = 3]
Median 2 [(1 1 1) 2 (2 3 11)]
Mode 1 [(1 1 1) 2 2 3 11]
Leo G is, to put it politely, confused about the 0.8 degrees:
August 28, 2013 at 5:58 am
If the land surface temperature anomaly for the full set of Australian stations shows a 10-year shift of 0.8 degree C- which appears to correspond to 1SD- then there must be a significant systematic error in play (cyclical variation perhaps).
charles nelson is probably under the illusion that by getting rid of the Climate Commission all talk of climate change will stop and he'll have nothing to moan about:
August 28, 2013 at 4:49 am
There will be a new Government in Australia in a few weeks, and they will not forget the ruthless campaign the ABC ran in support of Green/Labor. The Climate Commission too is ‘toast’ as the Aussies say. This is their last squeal.