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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crank magnetism with Tim Ball at WUWT

Sou | 10:57 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

This is a beauty. Tim Ball has taken a diversion from his normal paranoid conspiracy theories and shifted to crank pseudo-science. He's decided to embark on an "it's magnetism" kick (archived here, latest update here). He is all over the place. I don't have time to do a thorough dressing down. Here are some snippets for your enjoyment or despair, depending on your mood:

First the headline and gobbledegook in the opening sentence:

Magnetism and Weather: Interconnections? 
Way back in the last century, I suggested that in this 21st century the dominant issue in science would be magnetism and in resources water. 
Not an auspicious start and it goes downhill from there.

Denier weirdness: Jumping sharks? Deniers are inert today!

Sou | 1:35 AM Go to the first of 92 comments. Add a comment

What a lot of fuss. Over nothing. All so WUWT can do some EPA-bashing. Over a de-regulation would you believe!

Anthony Watts is running out of climate things to write about so he's decided to jump some sharks. He's claiming that the EPA is banning the use of argon in pesticides. It's not.

Anthony didn't bother reading the documents to which he linked. He just took science denier Eric Worrall at his word (archived here). Eric Worrall took science denier "IceAgeNow" at his word. None of them bothered to read the EPA material.

In fact, the notice states (my emphasis):

EPA is proposing to remove certain chemical substances from the current listing of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products because the inert ingredients are no longer used in any registered pesticide product.

Yep. That's right. They were on a list of inert ingredients approved for use, but now they aren't used any more. They aren't banned. They aren't needed, so why keep them on the list. In common parlance you could call it tidying up regulations. Doing a bit of housekeeping.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A reality check of temperature for Wondering Willis Eschenbach

Sou | 10:21 PM Go to the first of 92 comments. Add a comment

Update 2 - see below for another Reality Check with GISTemp

Update - see below for Reality Check 5

Addendum - see below for Reality Checks 3 and 4

Wondering Willis Eschenbach has an article at WUWT today (archived here, latest here). It's a lazy article. One of those silly articles claiming that the global surface temperature datasets aren't as reliable as the tropospheric temperature sets. Willis thanks the UAH duo for providing a reality check. He finished his article with this acknowledgement:
Finally, acknowledgement is due to the originators of the method of satellite temperature measurements, Drs. Roy Spencer and John Christie. It is thanks to them that we have a satellite-based atmospheric temperature record to act as a reality check for the oft-adjusted surface temperature record. Very well done, gentlemen.

This article is to provide Willis with not one but two reality checks.

Willis penned his article to feed Anthony Watts' readers some much needed doubt. The reason they need that doubt muchly at the moment is because this year is shaping up to be another hot one. Whether it'll turn out to be the hottest on record so far or not remains to be seen.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sea level discussion

Sou | 12:14 PM Go to the first of 92 comments. Add a comment

Graeme M (who also comments as Billy Bob) has asked if he could continue the discussion on sea level that began under the article about the new paper from Kurt Lambeck et al (2014). He wrote: "I'd really like to get to the bottom of why I am wrong in this one".

The discussion had shifted to the fact that the oceans are not flat, which is what Graeme M seems to be disputing. I'll start the ball rolling with some of my thoughts together with some of the basic science and observations (measurements).

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Sou | 9:34 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

Someone complained about Captcha changing and becoming more difficult to read. The reason I use it is to save work. I recently disabled it for a short time and got a huge amount of spam, more than I can cope with. And that was in only about four hours or so.

Thing is, I don't have any control over it. (I don't even see it.) Just the same, I'd be glad for some feedback. Let me know if it's worse than normal and I'll send a message to Google on the slight chance they'll read it and do something about the situation.

(If you're on the main page, click "read more" to send feedback.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On Antarctic ice: The ongoing ignorance of deniers at WUWT

Sou | 4:55 PM Go to the first of 36 comments. Add a comment

Some people will put down the disinformation spread by Anthony Watts to him being plain dumb and ignorant. Others will say that he's not really as dumb as he looks and sounds, he's just deceitful and has made a business out of conning the ignorant.

I don't know where on the idiot-liar scale Anthony Watts lies.

These past couple of days Anthony Watts has:

Now he's claiming (archived here) that John Cook at said that Antarctic sea ice is the result of the Southern Ocean getting warmer. He even linked to the web page where John Cook gave the following reasons for the increase in Antarctic sea ice:
  1. the drop in ozone levels over Antarctica, resulting in stronger winds, which creates polynas, which freeze up and add to sea ice.
  2. a change in ocean circulation with top layer of the ocean being colder and fresher, which freezes more easily than more saline water at the same temperature. It's colder at the top because of more snow and rain as a result of warmer air temperatures.

Another blooper by Anthony Watts, on his supposed specialty - surface temperatures

Sou | 2:24 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts is throwing caution to the wind. He is so over that little dinner he had with scientists the other week. That's done and dusted. Today he's forgotten it even took place. He's put firmly behind him any notion of presenting science, let alone "presenting science together".

Anthony's just failed ocean chemistry, now he's failed surface temperature 101 (archived here). Anthony took a shot at Andrew Freedman for this tweet:

Anthony claims:
Gosh, “giant conspiracy”.
Um, Andrew, they all use the same base surface data. The Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN) from NOAA’s NCDC. 

Except they don't all use exactly the same data. And what data they do share, they process independently.

Anthony Watts (and others) fail ocean chemistry - woefully!

Sou | 12:59 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

I noticed Anthony Watts retweeted something the other day and wondered if he'd be dumb enough to copy and paste it at WUWT.

He is and he did.

Anthony loudly proclaims his ignorance of basic physics and chemistry, with the headline:

New paper debunks ‘ocean acidification’ scare, finds warming increases pH

He copied his article (archived here) from another denier blog that often makes scientific bloopers, the Hockeyschtick.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Denier Weirdness: "Why don't reporters get their science from the flat earth society?" wails WUWT!

Sou | 4:23 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

The denialists at WUWT are up in arms that no serious environmental news reporter will go to science deniers and the flat earth society for their science stories (archived here). The WUWT commenters agree: "it's a conspiracy" they all cry out as one paranoid voice.

Anthony Watts posted this video Q&A with two science journalists and a documentary producer.

The panel of three was (left to right) Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press, Craig Welch of the Seattle Times, and documentary producer Steve Sapienza.

Anthony Watts highlighted a snippet at 45:35, where he misquoted Craig Welch, who actually said:
"Nobody in my newsroom quotes people who don't believe climate change is real, that I know of.  And if I find out about it, I will go talk to them myself. But I also work in a newsroom where my managing editor used to be an environmental reporter, so there's never been ... I mean he understands what we're doing so..."

Anthony added the word "who" between "newsroom" and "quotes", which messed up the meaning a bit and confused his readers, not one of whom was capable of listening to the spoken words (at the time of writing this).

Monday, October 20, 2014

How WUWT missed the memo about the IPCC WG2 report

Sou | 2:10 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment

I suppose it's because deniers don't like the UK Guardian and don't follow the right people on Twitter. Whatever the reason, Anthony Watts at WUWT missed the memo.

Today he's got an article (archived here) about how the Final Report of the IPCC AR5 WG2 is now out. Someone noticed how some changes, which were inserted into the Final Draft without advising expert reviewers, have been dropped.

Bob Ward wrote about this at the Guardian the other day. By his account, it was Richard Tol's chapter where some words were added into the Final Draft after the last but final went to reviewers. So nobody saw them until the Final Draft was released. The changes that were made were reverted, once it was acknowledged by all that they were in error.

If you are still confused, go and read what Bob Ward has to say about it. It's been discussed publicly ever since the final draft came out. I'm surprised that WUWT didn't know about this.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The insanity of denialists at WUWT: On the impact of natural gas on global warming

Sou | 6:57 PM Go to the first of 25 comments. Add a comment

I couldn't pass up some gems of denialist thinking I came across today. It was in response to a new WUWT article, about a paper in Nature. The paranoia runs deep at WUWT.

The paper itself is the result of a study looking to see if abundant natural gas substituting for coal would help mitigate CO2 emissions. The answer was "probably not". Another article in Nature News and Views, which was describing the research, gave three main reasons. From

  • Replacing low-carbon sources: Natural gas replacing coal would reduce carbon emissions. But due to its lower cost, natural gas would also replace some low-carbon energy, such as renewable or nuclear energy. Overall changes result in a smaller reduction than expected due to natural gas replacing these other, low-carbon sources. In a sense, natural gas would become a larger slice of the energy pie.
  • More total energy used: Abundant, less expensive natural gas would lower energy prices across the board, leading people to use more energy overall. In addition, inexpensive energy stimulates the economy, which also increases overall energy use. Consequently, the entire energy pie gets bigger.
  • Methane escape from production and distribution: The main component of natural gas, methane, is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. During production and distribution, some methane inevitably escapes into the atmosphere. The researchers considered both high and low estimates for this so-called fugitive methane. Even at the lower end, fugitive methane adds to climate change.

Speaking of "natural", naturally, the WUWT article only provided one of the three reasons - that of the lower energy prices leading to more energy being used overall (archived here). Once again, the article was by Eric Worrall - about the only person left (I mean, remaining) who is providing denialist fodder for Anthony Watts' blog these days.

The Red Cross World Disasters Report that you won't find at WUWT

Sou | 4:14 PM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

The Red Cross has released this year's edition of its annual publication, The World Disasters Report 2014. This year the focus is on culture and risk.

Table 10 of the report shows that in the past ten years, almost two million people have been affected by all disasters (technological and natural), with more than 95% of these people being affected by "climato-, hydro- and meteorological disasters". Of the people reported killed in disasters in the past decade (Table 6):

  • 329,000 (31%) died as a result of climato-, hydro- and meteorological disasters
  • 651,000 (61%) died as a result of earthquakes and tsunamis
  • 80,000 (8%) died as a result of technological disasters (eg industrial and transport accidents).

The "feeble intellect" of Anthony Watts and Eric Worrall at WUWT

Sou | 3:59 AM Go to the first of 46 comments. Add a comment

WUWT gets it woefully wrong again. Back to front. Deniers deal in black and white, they do not "get" subtle. They are extremists and only understand extreme language. Overstatement might register. The understatement for which the UK (and Australia) is known, doesn't register at WUWT. If you want to make a point with a science denier, do not expect them to understand you if you speak normally. As we've seen here on many occasions, deniers will ignore what is actually said and substitute their own weird narrative.

Today Anthony Watts gets several things back to front (archived here). He post another silly article by ignorant Eric "eugenics" Worrall. (Anthony Watts has been really struggling to find anyone half decent to write for his blog these past few weeks.) Anthony wrote:

Eric Worrall writes about “The Conversation” Austalia’s favorite hangout of climate doomers:

Except this article was in the UK edition of the Conversation. It was about one of Owen Paterson's recent gaffes. Owen Paterson is the Conservative MP for North Shropshire who's been in the headlines in the UK lately. He was sacked as Environment Secretary back in July this year. The article was about how Owen Paterson was exaggerating. The headline of the article reads:
Climate change: it’s only human to exaggerate, but science itself does not

Notice the last part - science itself does not exaggerate.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"It's not the sun". Another look at what would happen if there were a Maunder Minimum this century.

Sou | 2:54 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

Today WUWT-ers are in a dilemma. They are being asked to look at a climate discussion about the role of the sun in climate change. (The WUWT article is archived here.) Marcel Crok has posed a question for discussion at Climate Dialogue, namely:

What will happen during a new Maunder Minimum?

This question has been discussed at HotWhopper in the past, for example, here and here. And here is a link to a scientific paper on the subject, and one to a article. Even a grand solar minimum would only have a small temporary impact on global temperatures compared to the impact of rising greenhouse gases.

If you want to read the discussion by scientists, go to Climate Dialogue. The scientists who have presented their various scientific findings are:
  • Mike Lockwood from the University of Reading
  • Nicola Scafetta from Duke University
  • Jan-Erik Solheim from the University of Oslo
  • Ilya Usoskin from the University of Oulu
  • José Vaquero from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

The only public comment that appears so far is by Jos Hagelaars.

Friday, October 17, 2014

US Department of Defense: Climate Change will intensify the challenges of global instability...

Sou | 6:13 PM Go to the first of 23 comments. Add a comment

"Climate change will affect the Department of Defense's ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security."

US Department of Defense, October 2014.

In a case of denialists linking to denialists linking to denialists linking to denialists... A retweet by Anthony Watts alerted me to an article at Climate Depot, which was a repost of an article by the HockeySchtick, which was a repost of an irrational and scatty article at the Wall Street Journal.

From there I went to Google, which took me to a climate website,, which linked to a climate change plan from the US Department of Defense.

2014 Climate Adaptation Roadmap

The US Department of Defense has released its 2014 Climate Adaptation Roadmap. It lists three goals:
  • Goal 1: Identify and assess the effects of climate change on the Department. 
  • Goal 2: Integrate climate change considerations across the Department and manage associated risks. 
  • Goal 3: Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders on climate change challenges. 

Denier weirdness: (Computer) model output should never be used as the basis for anything ...

Sou | 4:29 PM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

Tim Ball has a reputation as a greenhouse effect denier, a paranoid conspiracy theorist and alleged libeller of climate scientists. He is much favoured by Anthony Watts of WUWT, who is very discerning of which articles he will post on his blog. From what I've seen over the past year or so, to be accepted at WUWT, guest articles usually have to meet one or more criteria:

Anthony Watts will also post press releases about new scientific papers, with the headline typically prefaced with the word "claim", meaning that his readers are not to believe the science.

Today he's posted another article by Tim Ball, explaining why he is against the use of these new-fangled thingummys aka computers (archived here). Tim must be yearning for the good old days of notepads, slide rules, log tables and art books. Computer model outputs "should never be used as the basis for anything...", according to Tim.

It snowed in Hawaii what you didn't read at WUWT

Sou | 12:49 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

It's quiet on the denier front. There hasn't been much at WUWT lately. Today we see that there is snow on a mountain top in Hawaii.  I suppose that's news.

There was a lot happening to the weather that wasn't at WUWT this week.

Cyclone HudHud - which devastated parts of the eastern seaboard in India, killing 24 people as it hit the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The death toll was lower because tens to hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated. The recovery is underway, but will take months for some operations to get back to normal. The effects were felt way up in Nepal, where 27 or more people died and up to 100 went missing after almost a metre of snow fell, accompanied by avalanches. It's reported that the bird the cyclone was named after after suffered a lot at its hand.

HudHud Credit: NASA

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sea levels and global ice volumes over the past 35,000 years

Sou | 5:06 PM Go to the first of 86 comments. Add a comment

Comments on this topic are closed. There is a new article on sea level where comments are welcome.

Sou 24 October 2014

Anthony Watts has seen fit to post a rather silly comment from Eric Worrall about a new PNAS paper on sea level and ice. Anthony also adds his tuppence-worth. (Archived here.)

The paper is from a team led by Professor Kurt Lambeck of The Australian National University (ANU).

A fascinating journey up and down the seas

What the Kurt Lambeck and his co-authors have done is paint a wonderfully vivid 35,000 year history of changes in sea level and major ice sheets.

It's taken me a while to read the paper. In part because the subject matter is provided in rich detail, and in part because I found it so fascinating. It's extraordinarily well written. The authors have managed to cram a huge amount of information into the few words allowed by PNAS, while writing in a manner that a lay person like myself could understand.

Cabot Institute talks: Michael Mann - The Hockey Stick and the climate wars and John Cook

Sou | 6:32 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

I promised to let people know when Michael Mann's video was published, and here it is. Thanks to Katy D and Jammy Dodger for the alert.

Click in the bottom right hand corner to view full screen or on YouTube.

John Cook at Bristol

You can see John Cook's lecture here on YouTube. (It doesn't permit embedding here).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anthony Watts has found another insignificant paper on climate sensitivity

Sou | 2:05 PM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has found an insignificant and wrong paper on climate sensitivity. He thinks it's significant because it claims that climate sensitivity is only 0.43°C. But what would he know?

It wasn't really Anthony Watts who found the paper. It was one of Anthony's blogging denier mates, "hockeyschtick", who he turns to when he needs to fill a space at WUWT. (WUWT article is archived here.)

This insignificant and wrong paper is in some new (insignificant?) journal that calls itself "Open Journal of Atmospheric and Climate Change" and so far (since May 2014) has published two issues with a total of eleven papers. It has one "paper in press", which is the one that Anthony Watts likes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Reducing uncertainty and Jasper Kirkby of CERN's CLOUD

Sou | 6:24 PM Go to the first of 126 comments. Add a comment

At WUWT, I saw that there is a new TED-Ed video by a particle physicist at CERN. As you probably know, a team at CERN is investigating the details of how clouds form, as part of a project called "CLOUD".

A fair bit of the video is just basic climate science. I have to say, though, that Jasper Kirkby seems prone to self-aggrandisement, big-noting his research and implying that his experiment is going to pin down a precise number for climate sensitivity.

Viv Forbes gets a response to his silly letter to some editor at WUWT

Sou | 2:31 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

Today Anthony Watts posted a silly substance-free "letter to the Editor" by director of Stanmore Coal Viv Forbes. I've archived here the WUWT article. I couldn't see that any editor, other than the WUWT editor, received or posted the letter. (Though some editors are not at all discerning when it comes to publishing letters.)

Anyway, the editor at WUWT saw fit to post it. And it drew a response from James Abbott, which the WUWT mods allowed through the WUWT firewall. (The WUWT firewall is intended to filter out any comments from people who accept science. Every now and then a normal person will slip through the cracks.)

Below is Viv's letter and I've interspersed the response from James Abbott, and added a few of my own. Viv's nonsense is in blue italics, James responses are in black bold.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Well, what do you know.. Tallbloke and his group of cyclists are back in the fold at WUWT

Sou | 2:38 PM Go to the first of 92 comments. Add a comment

Earlier today I remarked that Anthony Watts had an article promoting some of Tallbloke's silly notions. Tallbloke (Roger Tattersall) fell out of favour with Anthony Watts somewhere along the way. In part, I think, because of his ideas about patterns.

Well, in a sign that WUWT has moved to the wackier end of denialism (and maybe a sign that Anthony Watts reads HW), Anthony has today re-elevated Tallbloke's blog.

As of yesterday - still listed (under the buxom women) as Transcendent Rant and way out there theory.

Today it's been shifted back to "Skeptical views", (under "celebrity" gossip)

A strong sign that WUWT has accepted it's target audience is the utter nutter end of denialism. That WUWT is nothing more than "transcendent rant and way out there theory". And probably that Anthony Watts has kissed and made up with "Tallbloke and his group of cyclists".

Poor old Anthony Watts needs whatever allies he can muster these days.

WUWT indulges in malfeasance

Sou | 1:40 PM Feel free to comment!

I don't know what Anthony Watts and Tim Ball think they are up to. Perhaps Anthony Watts is wanting to be added to one or other of the defamation suits against Tim Ball.

Today Tim Ball writes an article headlined: "Climate Science: Separating Mistakes From Malfeasance" in which he writes one lie after another in quick succession. It is a testament of the malfeasance of Tim Ball and those who publish his lies, like Anthony Watts has done. It's a gish gallop of old disproven falsehoods and innuendo and smear, all aimed at attacking climate science and climate scientists.

I know that nobody in their right mind would take anything that Tim Ball writes as being truthful. The default position is that if Tim Ball says it, it won't be true. Still, I do hope he gets his comeuppance sooner rather than later. And it would be great if the bloggers who promote his smears and falsehoods were made to pay as well.

No. I won't link to the WUWT article itself. The ugly little man is trying to rewrite history about McIntyre and McKitrick and Ben Santer and the Oxburgh Review of CRU and the IPCC, among other things. This is just to comment on the immoral and unethical behaviour of Anthony Watts in promoting the lies and smears that ooze out of the keyboard of Tim Ball.

Tim Ball is not even fit to be put on par with scum of the earth, like slime. Slime has a useful role to play, after all.

(I'm not inviting any comments. Click the links above if you want to see the real story, rather than what Tim's been lying about this time.)

Bob Irvine at WUWT rejects ocean warming because - foil and clingwrap!

Sou | 4:02 AM Go to the first of 32 comments. Add a comment

Update: As reported by Kevin O'Neill in the comments, As a result of a "peer evaluation carried out urgently yesterday", WIT Press has removed Bob Irvine's article from it's elibrary (see here, archived here).

Sou 12:53 am 16 October 2014.

Update 2: Now at Retraction Watch. (Sou 22 October 2014)

WUWT is getting worse by the day. Today there's an article by someone called Bob Irvine (archived here). It's Anthony Watts throwing a bone to the greenhouse effect deniers. Or perhaps it's just Wondering Willis' opinion being demonstrated - if Anthony had a year to read the article, he wouldn't be able to tell if it would stand the harsh light of public exposure.

Bob Irvine has written a "guest article" about an article he wrote for some obscure engineering publication. The article is listed as "open access" but you have to register to read it. (Let's hope it's as easy to unregister.)

The weird thing is that usually when Anthony Watts posts utter nutter articles like this one, a lot of his regulars with half a brain complain how dumb it is. It doesn't seem to have happened this time, suggesting that WUWT is sloughing off all but the nuttier fruitcakes.

Bob Irvine is explaining why he thinks that climate sensitivity to greenhouse warming is less than climate sensitivity to changes in solar radiation. He invokes an "experiment" by what looks to be a sky dragon slayer and regular commenter at WUWT, who goes by the name of Konrad. You may recall Konrad whose comments have featured here from time to time. Bob also acknowledges the work of Roger Tattersal, who blogs as "Tallboke". I guess that Anthony Watts is now rethinking his decision to label Tallbloke's blog as "Transcendent Rant and way out there theory".

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tree ring growth vs latewood density: Pat'n Chip get lost in the forest at WUWT

Sou | 3:29 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has a "guest essay" by Pat'n Chip (archived here, latest update here), the duo from the CATO Institute. (Part of their job seems to be to spread disinformation about climate science. It's a good lark. Money for jam. They don't have to do much except spend a few minutes every now and then writing stuff and nonsense.)

Today's serving has a woody flavour. They are claiming that a new paper in GRL, by Martin Tingley and colleagues, contradicts a paper by Michael Mann. Michael Mann says, no. That's wrong.

To summarise

As suggested by Steve Bloom in the comments, here are the main points as I see them:
  • Tree ring growth reconstructions do not register the sudden (short-lived) drop in temperature following very large volcanic eruptions of the past millennia. This has implications for estimates of climate sensitivity based on paleoclimatology. (Mann12)
  • Latewood density measures exaggerate the drop in temperature following large-ish recent volcanic eruptions, Krakatau and Novarupta. (Tingley14)
  • The new paper by Martin Tingley et al complements, rather than contradicts, the 2012 paper by Mann et al. 
  • In dendrochronology, density is not the same as tree ring growth and one does not necessarily follow the same pattern as the other.

Initial impressions

Before I discovered Michael Mann's Huff Post article, I looked at the Mann paper and the abstract of the Tingley paper and at first glance it looked to me as if the papers were about different things. Or at least about different volcanic eruptions. I had some questions, though, because both papers were looking at how the sign of a temperature drop after large volcanic eruptions are manifested in tree rings.

So I went to the Tingley paper itself. It's not open access, so unless you can get hold of a copy, you'll have to take what I write at face value. Or you can read what Michael Mann has written about this at Huffington Post.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Australia's Environment Minister, Greg "I am the egg man" Hunt - how embarrassing

Sou | 2:04 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

In Australia, about the closest we have to a Science Minister these days is Greg Hunt, the Minister for Envirnoment.

Talking about a 20-year Antarctic Strategic Plan, released today, Australia's Environment Minister , Greg Hunt said:

"Whether it's in relation to the walrus population, whether it's in relation to penguins, you can have iconic species which can attract community interest,"

The ABC website commented dryly:
Although no walruses live in Antarctica, the Minister's commitment to preserve Antarctic biodiversity was welcomed by Antarctic researchers.


Friday, October 10, 2014

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Australia - plus more

Sou | 10:43 PM Go to the first of 68 comments. Add a comment

Here is the article about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, with particular reference to Australia. I'll warn you in advance - it's long, a bit meandering, probably could do with more illustrations, and not a complete guide to everything. That's my excuses out of the way. I figure I've spent enough time on it so here it is. Feel free to add what you know and correct what I don't :)

In the previous article, I referred to some comments by a contributor, trying to argue that Australia's record heat of the 2012-13 summer was caused by a (non-existent) spike in the PDO index, or was an advance reaction to a spike that had not yet appeared. His comments were not easy to follow. Thing is, the PDO index wasn't positive during the Australian summer of 2012-13. In fact it did not register as positive until January 2014. There's more to it than that, in any case.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Heat, Heat Waves and Angry Australian Summers (and Years)

Sou | 4:34 PM Go to the first of 38 comments. Add a comment

I recently wrote a short article about the summer of 2012-13 in Australia. It got some reaction from one person in particular who was claiming the record heat couldn't be attributed to global warming, he postulated that it was caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (eventually having some comments moved).

Rum Runner's challenge

He also posed a challenge. Rum Runner wrote: (October 9, 2014 at 2:26 AM)
@Lou "Why do you think I run this blog?"
A sense of empowerment I suppose. On other people's blogs you'd have your ass handed to you on a plate in an open debate. But here you can just *pop* delete any responses that are a bit too challenging for you.

I assume that by Lou he meant Sou. Here are the comments Rum Runner would have been talking about.

Now since Rum Runner regards the prestigious Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as "political advocacy", and says that therefore doesn't take his information from there; and since he doesn't seem to have recognised as Australians, the scientists who wrote the papers I referred him to, I'll admit it's not much of a challenge.

Still, I thought it worthwhile doing two things. First, reporting some of the latest scientific findings about the weather Australia experienced in 2012 and 2013. And secondly, briefly touching on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) - what it is and what is known about it and its effects on weather - in Australia and elsewhere. (I've written about the PDO a couple of times - here and here.) This article is about the former. I'll be writing a separate article on the PDO in the near future.

Australia looks forward to still hotter from the extra CO2

There are four papers in the BAMS supplement relating to the years 2012 and 2013.

The first one is: "The role of anthropogenic forcing in the record 2013 Australia-wide annual and spring temperatures" by Sophie C Lewis and David J Karoly.

What they did was investigate the roles of anthropogenic climate change and natural variability in regard to the record-breaking heat of 2013.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Robert Balic at WUWT tries to downplay Australia's Angry Summer - but who's fooling who?

Sou | 4:49 AM Go to the first of 99 comments. Add a comment

I'll only comment on this protest at WUWT because it's about Australia. Anthony Watts has posted a "guest essay" by someone called Robert Balic (archived here).

Robert is writing about Australia's Angry Summer of 2012-13. I've written about that myself, for example here.

It was a doozy. Here again is the animated graphic showing twelve days of the extraordinary coverage of the heat wave that hung about. Look closely (you can click on the image to enlarge it). See what temperatures the dark red, light brown and dark brown are. Australia can get hot, but it's never been that hot everywhere before.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

A lot more heat is found in the ocean

Sou | 2:34 AM Go to the first of 32 comments. Add a comment

In the last day or so there have been two new papers on ocean heat, which have had some publicity. Both have just been published in Nature Climate Change. The studies are not in conflict with one another, despite what you might read around the traps. They are complementary. In fact, one scientist, Felix W. Landerer, is an author of both papers.

One paper is about how there has been very little extra heat going into the deep ocean, below 1,995 metres, over the past decade. The other is about how the ocean in the southern hemisphere has been warming more than previously thought.

Monday, October 6, 2014

More conspiracy theories at WUWT, this time it's HadCRUT4

Sou | 3:29 PM Go to the first of 134 comments. Add a comment

I don't have time for a long post right now, so I'll just comment on one of today's recycled conspiracy theories at WUWT (archived here). It relates to the newest version of HadCRUT4.

The trio of WUWT record-keepers, Werner Brozek, Walter Dnes and Just The Facts, are musing nefarious intent is behind the release of HadCRUT, which replaces version

Why are they changing things so quickly? Do they want to take some of the heat off GISS? Are they embarrassed that Dr. McKitrick has found no statistically significant warming for 19 years and before the ink is barely dry on his report, they want to prove him wrong? Are they determined that by hook or by crook that 2014 will set a new record?

It's a strange question - to complain that improvements are made too quickly. Would they prefer that the scientists sat on the information for a few years? That they kept it hidden?

Their "nefarious intent" musing is one of the classic signs of conspiracy ideation. What this trio are implying that the Met Office Hadley Centre scientists are making up stuff, which is ridiculous. Their tossing in McKitrick's analysis is a distraction. They want to fool people into thinking global warming has stopped. It hasn't. That's probably why this trio are a bit concerned that 2014 might rival the previous hottest years on record - 2010 and 2005. Even without an El Nino (which might still emerge before the end of this year.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

WUWT is going through a dry patch, plus some denier and scientist weirdness

Sou | 7:21 PM Go to the first of 148 comments. Add a comment

Hitting a dry patch

I've noticed over the past two or three weeks that WUWT has been going through a dry patch. There have been a disproportionate number of rather silly "guest essays" by the non-entity Eric Worrall and very few by former prolific contributors such as Willis Eschenbach (who may still be unwell, I don't know), Christopher Monckton (who I heard was travelling in my part of the world), and only a couple by Bob Tisdale (who's busy in paid employment, I believe). Anthony has even had to write quite a few articles all by himself, which is most unusual. He hasn't been increasing the number of press releases about science, from what I can see - though I haven't done a count.

Today he's taken the almost unprecedented step of calling for essays. He's also flagged a complete about face in his editorial policy, which I'll believe only when I see it. This time he says:
Anyone who wants to submit a guest post will be welcomed, provided it is factual and on topic. 
So if you've got a guest or an essay or a post that you want to get published at "the world's most viewed" anti-science blog, here's your chance. Anthony is even promising to publish "factual" articles for a change.

When Anthony says it must be on topic, he doesn't indicate what the topic should be. Probably anything relating to climate change and global warming would be okay. Here's an archive of recent topics which could be used as a guide.

Making it onto the social pages

In other news, I read at the Guardian about a private dinner put on by some retired UK financier for a few fake sceptics and disinformers and their hangers-on. No, it wasn't actually in the social pages it was, for some weird reason, in the Environment section.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Human influence on the Californian drought

Sou | 2:42 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

A much more acute situation

Daniel Swain and Noah Diffenbaugh and colleagues have been looking at the current drought in California to see if global warming has played a part. Earlier this year, their work was reported by Stanford:
The current drought is different from many of California's previous droughts. For example, the state's last major dry spell occurred in the early 1990s and was characterized by below-average amounts of rain and snowfall for several years.
"That's what we typically think of when we think of drought – a few years when precipitation is below normal. We don't conceptualize that the precipitation would just shut off," Swain said. "That's what's so remarkable about this drought. It's not a multi-year drought that's getting progressively worse as the years go by. It's that it has barely rained at all this year. That's a much more acute situation in a lot of ways."
Source: US Drought Monitor
(Click image to enlarge it.)

Three times more likely now than before industrialisation

Daniel Swain coined the term "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" or Triple R, to describe the large region of high atmospheric pressure that's preventing rains from getting to California and is causing the current drought. Results from their work have recently been published in a special supplement to this month's issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). It turns out that the conditions causing the current drought are three times more likely to occur with global warming than without.

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's (not) volcanoes: WUWT ponders the implications of newly discovered old seamounts

Sou | 5:07 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

Gravity gradient model, Mid-Atlantic Ridge; green dots are earthquakes of at least magnitude 5.5
CreditDavid Sandwell, SIO

There is a new paper in Science this week about the latest ocean topographic mapping effort. A team of researchers led by David T. Sandwell "combined new radar altimeter measurements from satellites CryoSat-2 and Jason-1 with existing data to construct a global marine gravity model that is two times more accurate than previous models." As the editor's summary stated:
Detailed topographic maps are available for only a small fraction of the ocean floor, severely limited by the number of ship crossings. Global maps constructed using satellite-derived gravity data, in contrast, are limited in the size of features they can resolve. Sandwell et al. present a new marine gravity model that greatly improves this resolution (see the Perspective by Hwang and Chang). They identify several previously unknown tectonic features, including extinct spreading ridges in the Gulf of Mexico and numerous uncharted seamounts.  

North Atlantic Ocean gravity gradient model showing plate tectonic history of rifting continents.
Credit: David Sandwell, SIO

The paper indicated that this research will help improve the estimates of sea-floor depth in the 80% of the oceans having no depth soundings, and will greatly help scientists add to knowledge of ocean tectonic processes.

Brittle stars and deep-sea corals cover
a known seamount in the western Pacific Ocean.
Credit: NOAA
If you are interested in the subject, you can learn more about the work at the NSF website and read the paper at Science (subs required).

The press release was also published at

The Hwang and Chang perspective mentioned in the editor's summary can be read here, though you might need a subscription to Science.

It's (not) undersea volcanoes

Whenever the topic of volcanoes under the ocean comes up, you're bound to get deniers claiming global warming is caused by undersea volcanoes. Or something along those lines. (The under-sea volcanoes notion isn't that uncommon, but it is pretty silly. It doesn't make the top 176 denier memes at

A moment's reflection would stop this denier meme in its tracks. Deniers are not good at reflection.

Broken promise: And how Anthony Watts is rattled

Sou | 2:31 AM Go to the first of 51 comments. Add a comment

Update - see below. Anthony doesn't have the support he probably hoped for.

The science and other stuff posted at HotWhopper and from Eli Rabett of Rabett Run are really getting to Anthony Watts. For the third time in as many days, he's expressed some concern (a bit of an understatement :D) at HotWhopper pointing out the ridiculous at WUWT.  This time he's decided to complain in an article about internet trolling (archived here).

What Anthony Watts has always believed

With no hint that he sees the irony, under a cartoon taunting ATTP by anonymous cartooner, "Josh", Anthony Watts shows his vast command of vocabulary:
I've always believed that people who taunt others while hiding behind fake names aren't really contributing anything except their own bile and hatred. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Not so fast, WUWT! Antarctica could melt quite quickly.

Sou | 9:54 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

In another "it won't happen to me" article at WUWT, Anthony Watts decides that all the science is wrong again. Not that he'd be able to tell, even if he had a year to try to figure it out according to his close friend and ally, Willis Eschenbach.

There is a new paper out in Nature Communications about meltwater pulses and accelerated ice loss from Antarctica. It describes model simulations of Antarctic ice sheet evolution over the last 25,000 years. What was found was "several episodes of accelerated ice-sheet recession, the largest being coincident with meltwater pulse 1A." The abstract continues: "This resulted from reduced Southern Ocean overturning following Heinrich Event 1, when warmer subsurface water thermally eroded grounded marine-based ice and instigated a positive feedback that further accelerated ice-sheet retreat."

Below is a clever animation from the Nature Communications article, demonstrating how the warmer sub-surface of the ocean can melt Antarctica.

Don't ditch the 2°C target

Sou | 2:15 PM Go to the first of 27 comments. Add a comment

Today at WUWT (archived here) Anthony Watts is delighted to read a comment at Nature from David G. Victor & Charles F. Kennel, who are arguing that the 2°C target be replaced with different and a more complicated set of indicators. I don't agree.

Ditching a target because it seems difficult is a no-no in planning unless the target is clearly wrong. This one isn't. The problem with ditching an agreed target is that it gives people an excuse to water it down. Rather than ditch the target, there should be a greater urgency applied to achieving it. If we fail, then we will need to know by how much we've failed and the consequences of that failure.

I don't mind adding another target, like the one that was described in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report - a cumulative carbon emission budget. However I think the Nature article is muddled and its suggestions are not all that useful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shock, horror at the title of a play

Sou | 3:29 PM Go to the first of 31 comments. Add a comment

Some of the denialati are pretending to be up in arms about the provocative title of a play: "Kill Climate Deniers" (archived here). According to the Canberra Times, the play, by Aspen Island Theatre Company, is "about a group of heavily armed eco-activists who break into a major Australian institution and hold the occupants hostage".

Talk about theatre. Without bothering to find out what the play is about and based solely on the play's title Anthony Watts exclaims: "Why would government fund what amounts to a sanctioned hate crime disguised as “art”? This is just bizarre."

He quotes Australia's right wing blogger Andrew Bolt: "The Left is the natural home of the modern totalitarian – and of all those who feel entitled by their superior morality to act as savages."

Remember, this protest is from a bunch of people who accuse climate scientists of fraud and worse, and who staunchly defend a person's "right" to compare a scientist to paedophiles under the guise of "free speech".

Andrew Bolt and WUWT's next protest will be staged against Bill O'Reilly for his book about Killing Jesus. Then they'll attack John Grisham for writing "A Time to Kill". After which they'll go all out animal lib and attack Harper Lee.

From the WUWT comments

Most of the denialati are outraged, for a change accepting the "denier" label. Not all of them though.

Pat Frank
September 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm
The Aspen Island site doesn’t have a synopsis of their plot. Maybe the play is a biting satire about frenzied greens and rhetorical excesses. I know it’s a low-probability option, but we wouldn’t want a no-information rush to judgment.

September 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Agree with Pat. We don’t know what it’s about yet. They describe the island as “mounted by an imperial organ”. It might turn out to be a wry exposition of crowd mentality and populist dogma 

Gary Pearse  
September 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm
In Australia? No its real. 

And from someone who calls himself Genghis!
September 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm
This is Hate Speech pure and simple. They should be arrested, tried and put away for good.