Thursday, January 13, 2011

Karoly-no expert

Reposted from Andrew Bolts Blog...
Associate Professor Stewart Franks of Newcastle University writes to the ABC to protest its repeated use of an alarmist who may say what it wants to hear, but is not actually an expert:
Dear Mr Uhlmann

I would like to protest the repeated interviews with Prof David Karoly with regard to the Queensland floods.
Since 2003, I have published a number of papers in the top-ranked international peer-reviewed literature regarding the role of La Nina in dictating Eastern Australian floods.

There has been no evidence of CO2 in affecting these entirely natural processes, irrespective of their devastating nature.
Why is it then, that someone without any publication nor insight in this key area of concern for Australia is repeatedly called upon to offer his personal speculation on this topic?
This is not a new problem with Prof. Karoly.
In 2003, he published, under the auspices of the WWF, a report that claimed that elevated air tempertatures, due to CO2, exacerbated the MDB drought. To quote…
‘...the higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates, which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed...’
The problem with this is that Prof Karoly had confused cause and effect.
During a drought, moisture is limited. The sun shines on the land surface, and as moisture is limited, evaporation is constrained, and consequently the bulk of the sun’s energy goes into surface heating which itself leads to higher air temperatures.  This effect can be as much as 8-10 degrees celsius.
This is a common confusion made by those who have not studied the interaction of the land surface hydrology and atmosphere, as Prof. Karoly has not.
Undoubtably Prof Karoly has expertise but not in the area of hydrology or indeed in many other areas on which the ABC repeatedly calls on him for ‘expert’ comment.
Could I please ask that you cast your net a little wider in seeking expertise?  These issues are too important for the media commont to be the sole domain of commited environmental advocates.  Surely objective journalism also requires objective science?
Sincere best wishes,

A/Prof Stewart W. Franks
Dean of Students
And to Karoly himself, this email: 

Your comments on the role of CO2 in the Qld floods are speculative at best, immensely damaging at worst.
When will you accept that CO2 is not the answer to everything?  When will you decline an interview for the lack of your insight?
Have you not learnt from your physically incorrect speculation about temperature and evaporation during the MDB drought? Do you have no shame to have confused cause and effect in such a brazen and public manner?
Is it enough for you that your pronouncements sound correct, irrespective of science?  Have you learnt nothing?
You are arguably the best example of the corruption of the IPCC process, and the bullshit that academia has sunk to.
Shame on you

Franks was interviewed by the ABC’s PM program, as was Karoly, on the alleged affect of man-made warming on the floods.  The alarmist’s opinion was broadcast, and the expert’s was not.
See Andrew Bolts blog for more
This letter in today's Sydney Morning Herald is also of relevance:
Kevin Orr (Letters, January 12) attempts to link the floods with global warming, however an overview of historical floods in the Brisbane basin compiled by the Bureau of Meteorology indicates these extreme events, due to a combination of an intense La Nina and the cool phase of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation, have happened before and will happen again.
The increased likelihood of major flooding occurring during the coincidence of these weather events was predicted by Stewart Franks, Anthony Kiem and Danielle Verdon in their paper Climate Variability in the Land of Fire and Flooding Rain.
As these climatic events can be detected several months before their peak, Franks et al showed the opportunity exists to use climate variability insights to more accurately predict the chance of climate related emergencies in the coming season or year.
If governments had listened to their practical advice rather than its alarmist climate advisers we would have been better prepared for this latest crisis.
Marc Hendrickx
See also

Is a Meteorologist a Drought Expert?


  1. I am indeed pleased to see Associate Professor Stewart Franks speaking out.

  2. Stewart Franks quoted in todays Australian...see

    La Nina 'here for decades'

  3. sad to see you have a bunch of nutters there in Australia, too...


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.