Thursday, May 21, 2015

Australian blogger Andrew Bolt: All attitude - no research

Sou | 7:20 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment
Andrew Bolt is a conservative ideologue who blogs for a Victorian newspaper, the Herald-Sun. He has a bit of a following in Australia. He mistakes ignorance for independence and thinks because he knows nothing about a subject, he is entitled to spread disinformation about it.

I don't follow his silliness as a rule, but I saw in the HotWhopper stats that somehow a comment with a link to HotWhopper got through. This is unusual. In my experience (with the occasional exception), comments that dispute what Andrew writes are more often than not disallowed.

Andrew Bolt - climate disinformer

Today Andrew shows up his ignorance, writing on his blog about climate change and global warming:
Secondly, that it’s caused by humankind...
False. No serious scientist, even die-hard warmists, would agree that all climate change is caused by humans.

Notice what he's done? His answer is not related to the modern greenhouse warming. He appears to be arguing that because climate change of the past was not caused by humans, then the current warming climate cannot be caused by humans either. This is a logical fallacy. Just because the last time your house burned to the ground it was caused by a lightning strike, doesn't mean that this time it couldn't have been caused by you leaving hot oil on the stove unattended.

Andrew might not have meant that at all. He might be confusing climate change with weather. He might think, for example, that an ENSO event is a change in climate. It's not. ENSO events can be part of the climate. The climate of south-eastern Australia includes dry hot spells that can occur as a result of El Nino, and cooler wet spells that can occur during a La Nina. That's not a change of our climate. It's part of our climate.

All attitude - no research from Andrew Bolt

Andrew also wrote:
Labor’s panic over global warming suggests it has not consulted a single chart on climate and its effects. All attitude, no research.
It's not the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen who has not done research. It's Andrew Bolt. Or if he has he's deliberately misleading his readers. Take the "update" that Andrew has posted as an afterthought, to try to persuade his readers that global warming isn't happening.

2014 was the hottest year on record

He put up a monthly chart of lower tropospheric temperature from RSS. Andrew Bolt might live up in the clouds but the rest of us live on the surface. Below is a chart of global surface temperature together with the lower troposperic temperature (up in the clouds):

Data sources: RSS and GISS, NASA

The chart shows that last year was the hottest on record at the surface. Up in the clouds it wasn't so hot (but still much hotter than it used to be). Or not according to the analysis of satellite sensors, which are not as easy to analyse as thermometers on the ground.

Oceans are accumulating the most heat - very quickly

The oceans are where most of the heat accumulates. Here is a chart of ocean heat content to 700 metres down, since 1955, which Andrew Bolt didn't bother to "research":

Data source: NOAA

It's not just getting warmer, the oceans are accumulating heat at an astonishingly fast rate.

About that sea ice

And there's more that Andrew Bolt didn't bother to research. He put up a chart of global sea ice, and tried to imply that this means global warming has stopped, or isn't happening, or something. Thing is, there are different things happening in the Arctic and Antarctica. Although Antarctic sea ice has been increasing, Arctic sea ice has been declining. I'll show you what is happening when sea ice is at its lowest in both hemispheres. First in the Arctic:

Data source: NSIDC

Next in the southern hemisphere, using the same scale (so you can see how there is so little ice down south compared to up north, in the respective summers):

Data source: NSIDC

And a combined chart - adding the minimum month to show what is happening at the global level:

Data source: NSIDC

So as you can see, there is a coincidence of a year or two of more ice in the Arctic with the small rise in the southern ocean. It cannot be viewed as a sign that global warming isn't happening. Arctic sea ice is unlikely to "rebound" back to what it was in the 1970s any time soon.

Antarctica is melting

What Andrew didn't mention was that arguably the biggest danger from ice is the melting of West Antarctica. As reported by Antarctic expert, Eric Rignot, we've already past the point of no return.

Red herrings

Andrew also put up charts of tropical cyclones as if it somehow negated global warming.  He doesn't say where it came from or whether it includes typhoons and hurricanes. Whatever, this is a favourite red herring of deniers. The jury is still out on whether there will be more cyclones in the future or not.  He also put up a chart of cereal production and stocks (showing a decline in cereal production in the last couple of years). Production can increase from more plantings, greater productivity through improved plant varieties, better pest and disease control etc. It doesn't mean that droughts and floods and heat waves haven't had an impact already and won't have an impact on food production on into the future.

Finally, Andrew put up the shonky chart from Roy Spencer and John Christy. Need I say more?

In my opinion Andrew Bolt would do better if he changed his "attitude" and did some real "research".


  1. Your Aussie pseudo-skeptics are really out-of-control. I saw a post with the title "A global ‘Iriai’ in place of the ecomodernist neologism" over at Climate Etc, and I guessed right that Ellison the Chief Hydrologist was the author. Totally whack.
    As we Americans would say: Where do you find these people? Is the idea of the prankish Larrikin still a cultural icon there?

    1. I do not know who is - are you suggesting he is an Australian?

  2. Is that this guy?


    "...and starting an arts degree at the University of Adelaide. He left university to take up..."

    That is not somebody whose opinion I'd be favouring over every prestigious scientific body on the planet, unless the topic involved colouring in with crayons.

  3. This dude.


    One of the more well known of Rupert Murdoch's down under stable of hard right shock jocks with a newspaper column and a TV show and the ear of our climate science denying Prime Minister.

  4. Our Andrew gets his "science" from WUWT and Jo Nova mostly. I haven't seen him write about Force X and the Notch yet. And he did disown the chap from the Galileo mob when he went ga-ga with a weird anti-Semitic conspiracy theory:


  5. Bolt is a terrible host. He offers the same measly bowl of rotting cherries to his guests, who he either ignores or censors. Has cost his employer quite a lot of money through his aggression and sloppiness. Must be worth it, his wrecking crew is in power partly through his anti-learning crusades.

  6. "Australian blogger Andrew Bolt: All attitude - no research"

    This is not news. It's more like a fundamental law of physics.

  7. I posted this last night on another thread but given the context it is probably more relevant here:


    Lest any Australian here is labouring (boom-tish) under the apprehension that the ABC is an objective broadcaster, let me remove all doubt. It seems that the creeping tendrils of political pressure from the conservative federal government have turned the notion of balanced reporting into a caricature of impartiality, with tonight's episode of "Between the Lines" being a puff piece of airtime made available for Nigel Lawson to lie, misrepresent and libel his way through one of the most spectacular Gish gallops I've heard in a long while.


    The pseudoscience memes came too thick and fast to log whilst I journeyed home, and to add insult to injury the interviewer, Tom Switzer, revealed himself to be a denialist fluffer of almost Boltish proportions.

    Something is seriously wrong in our national broadcaster.

    1. I was thinking something is wrong the other night, when the ABC had what was basically a throw-away fluff piece about the recent Lomberg debacle. Sure, they did give the Climate Council a chance to have a say, but they devoted just as much time to letting Lomberg spin his yarns, and they didn't make any attempt whatsoever to refer to important factors like the inquiries into Lomberg's twisting of science and economics. They really just turned it into a short sequence of he-said-she-said with no other context.

      Now you might think that, since climate science really is an issue of national importance and even national security, that the national broadcaster would make a serious attempt to present a real analysis of the situation. I'm tempted to ask them why they won't. With the Paris conference on the way, I'd expect the ABC to pull their socks up rather than just constantly pandering to the old "false balance" idea.

    2. I missed both of those. Time for some questions of our ABC?

    3. Might well be. I realise the ABC is constrained by its charter to exercise balance in reporting, which is totally fine, but they often seem to fall into the trap of equating real balance, which would include appropriate context and evidence, with simply giving a false impression that unsupported and unsupportable positions were as valid and any others.

      It's as if they think climate science really is just a matter of opinion, and is to be treated like any subjective social issue. They really don't seem to get the difference.

    4. I mean "as any others". Typo. :P

    5. Let's see if it makes it to the ABC Media Watch.

    6. The piece I was thinking of was on "7:30" the other day. Generally a good program, but I felt they were sorta screwing the pooch on this topic.

      They have their own comments and suggestions page: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/contact.htm

    7. Switzer is an IPA stooge....the ABC is being spiked with these professional liars nowadays. Probably a board directive. Need some leakers.

      The Country Hour is another area that calls up bullshitters like Patrick Moore in the name of 'audience demand'...I've had unsatisfactory exchanges with their producers.

    8. I notice Switzer got in the obligatory falsehoods / bullying about Tim Flannery's comments a decade ago: it's a much-fondled icon of the IPA /Newscrap reliquary.

      Boilerplate: models 'grossly exaggerate' / lift the poor out of poverty / no global warming this century / CO2 is plant food [ "biosphere has been improved tremendously" said Lawson !] / climate enthusiasts / green fanatics.....zzzzzz

      The old fool and his lickspittle do not stray from script.

    9. I feel the ABC has been thoroughly got at. IPA stooges popping up everywhere

  8. Don't forget, Maurice Newman, worlds greatest climate scientist and Tony Abbott's business advisor used to be the Chair of the ABC. Abbott made sure the Secretary of PM&C (Prime Minister and cabinet) replaced the more moderate members of the panel responsible for ABC board appointments with idealogues like Janet Albrechtson (Australia's Anne Coulter) and Michael Brown (ex-Deputy leader of the Liberal Party).

    Newman's poisonous legacy. And all in the name of "balance" ...


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