Sunday, February 7, 2010

Climate time line or time lie?


UPDATE 15/2/2010 Response received from ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs SEE Climate time line or time lie a response

To coincide with the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009 ABC commissioned a timeline showing significant events in climate history "A Journey through climate history". This glitzy web based presentation (that must have cost a packet of tax payer funds) was "developed to show key events in the climatic history of the planet, alongside events in human history."

The site was promoted heavily on the ABC news page with a prominent header linking to the site through the Copenhagen Conference special coverage and beyond. As of 6/2/2010 the timeline continues to be promoted prominently on the ABC's website.

The presentation was produced by Sam Doust, Astrid Scott and Amy Nelson. Research was done by: Bernie Hobbs, Sarah Castor Perry, Astrid Scott and Nigel Mallet. Alex San Gupta and the Climate Change Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New South Wales are thanked, but their role remains unstated.

A brief examination of the Timeline suggests that taxpayers did not get what they paid for, and ABC News Watch asks: Is this a Climate Timeline, or a Time-lie?

A Journey through Climate History is riddled with scientific errors and should be removed from the ABC website or subject to substantial corrections. The following is a list of scientific errors and other problems. This is just a small sample. A thorough audit of the content is required.
(The relevant timeline page title is indicated below, along with the error or comment and source references)

1. 2.7BYA Palaeoevent Huronian Ice Age-WRONG date
Correct date 2400-2100mya.
Paleoclimatic control on the composition of the palaeoproterozoic Serpent Formation, Huronian Supergourp, Canada: a greenhouse to icehouse transition. Precambrian Research, v. 86, p. 201- 223,
doi: 10.1016/S0301-9268(97)00049-1

Huronian Ice age 2400 to 2100 million years ago.

2. 2BYA Palaeoevent-First life on earth. WRONG date.
First single celled organisms emerged approx. 3.8 billion years ago.
A 3800 million year isotopic record of life from carbon in sedimentary rocks
Evidence for life on Earth before 3800 million years ago Mojzsis et al. 1996. Nature Vol 384-7/11/1996

3. 850MYA Cryogenian Ice age-date WRONG date. Ice ages occurred in two phases between about 635 Mya and 715 Mya.

eg. A new age constraint on the onset of the Neoproterozoic Yangtze Platform, South China. Zhang et al., The Journal of Geology Vol 116, pp423-429

Re-Os geochronology of postglacial black shales in Australia: Constraints on the timing of ?Sturtian? glaciation. Kendall et al., 2006. Geology Vol 34/9 pp729-732.

4. Ordovician Ice age missing. This ice age occurred during a time of very high concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Why was this ice left off the journey? What it because it represents an inconvenient truth?

5. 354MYA Palaeo event Carboniferous period. MISLEADING.
No Australian coal deposits currently exploited are Carboniferous in age. Most are of Permian age (about 250 million years old), but lower-rank, younger deposits of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous ages also are important. Australian brown coal deposits are Tertiary in age and range from around 15 million to around 50 million years old.

6. MISSING Roman Warm Period. This important period of historical warming is missing from the Journey.

Liu et al., 2006. Alkenone-based reconstruction of late-Holocene surface temperature and salinity changes in Lake Qinghai, China. Geophysical Research Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L09707, doi:10.1029/2006GL026151.
Few proxies can provide quantitative reconstructions of past continental climatic and hydrological changes. Here, we report the first alkenone-based reconstruction of late Holocene temperature and salinity changes in Lake Qinghai, China. The alkenone-temperature proxy (Uk′ 37) indicates up to a 1?C change in mean annual air temperature or a 2?C change in summer lake water temperature during the late Holocene. Oscillating warm and cold periods could be related to the 20th century warm period, the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, the Dark Ages Cold Period, and the Roman Warm Period. The relative importance of C37:4 alkenone to total C37 alkenone production (%C37:4) fluctuated between 15?45%, with higher values during warm periods, suggesting that lake water was also fresher during these periods. The coupled late Holocene surface temperature and salinity changes suggest that Asian monsoons strongly influenced the climate of the Lake Qinghai region.

7. 700 AD Medieval Warm Period not global-WRONG.
Not only is the start date wrong but the accompanying description is erroneous and not backed up by peer reviewed articles. If the IPCC can get away with it over Himalayan Glaciers I guess the ABC can. Text on this page reads:
"The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was a priod of warm climate in the north Atlantic. Although the north was hot, the idea that it was a global phenomenon is now discredited and it is suspected that the average global temperature could have been slightly cooler than in the early 20th century."
What is the basis of your ascertain? Not one peer reviewed article is cited. Instead the ABC provide these three references, none peer reviewed:
Wikipedia Entry - Medieval Warm Period

Here are just two peer reviewed references of many that demonstrate this statement is false.
Wilson, A.T., Hendy, C.H. and Reynolds, C.P. 1979. Short-term climate change and New Zealand temperatures during the last millennium. Nature 279: 315-317. "Temperatures derived from an 18O/16O profile through a stalagmite found in a New Zealand cave (40.67?S, 172.43?E) suggested the Medieval Warm Period to have occurred between AD 1050 and 1400 and to have been 0.75?C warmer than the Current Warm Period."

Broecker WS., 2001 Was the medieval warm period global? Science Vol291 p1497-1499. Borehole records both in polar ice and in wells from all continents suggest the existence of a Medieval Warm Period.

7. 2009 Barcelona Climate change talks

Spelling error "resposnsibility" for responsibility.

8. 2009 Carbon Dioxide level. Measurements misrepresented. Text suggests CO2 levels reported are of air, however actual measurements are of air with water vapour removed ie. Dry air.

9. 2008 Arctic Passages open. Incorrect, misleading.
The text indicates that the North east and North west passages open for the first time in 125,000 years.
Source of the claim appears to be a newspaper report in the Scotland Herald (

No claim is made about the 125,000 year time span at the quoted source (

Both passages have been open SIMULTAINEOUSLY several times in recent history:
Northwest passage FIRST navigated by Roald Amundsen in 1903 Northeast passage has been open for shipping since 1934 and never closed. See

10. 2006 Innovative Idea - An inconvenient truth.
No mention of 9 significant scientific errors found by a British judge.

11. 2009 - Omission. Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) publish Climate Change Reconsidered (see
The scholarship in this book demonstrates overwhelming scientific support for the position that the warming of the twentieth century was moderate and not unprecedented, that its impact on human health and wildlife was positive, and that carbon dioxide probably is not the driving factor behind climate change.
The authors cite thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific research that became available after the IPCCs self-imposed deadline of May 2006.

12. 2001 IPCC third assessment report Omission-no mention of contentious hockey stick graph.

These questions have been put to ABC audience and consumer affairs. An update will appear when a response is received.

5.2 The principles of editorial practice for news and

current affairs content
5.2.1 All news and current affairs content will be accurate, impartial and objective, a

nd thereby avoid bias. Staff working on news and current affairs content are

required to keep in mind the ABC’s key values: honesty, fairness, independence

and respect (see Section 2).

7.4.2 Factual content requires accuracy.
(a) Every reasonable effort must be made to ensure that factual content is

accurate and in context.
(b) The ABC will not hesitate to admit and correct a significant error when it is

established that one has been made. When a correction is necessary, it

will be made in an appropriate manner as soon as reasonably practicable.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work. Thank you for the effort. I have seen a reference to a new complaints policy at the ABC. Complaints to go directly to target. They are perhaps being swamped. This will probably lead to many being ignored. The ABC is desperately ignorant scientifically, and even arithmetic frequently eludes their grasp.
    Keep up the good work.


Please keep to the topic. Abusive comments and bad language are simply not tolerated. Note that your comment may take a little while to appear.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.