Monday, November 26, 2012

Recommended Reading: Our Biased broadcaster

ACM has some thoughts on our ABC under the banner ABC: institutionalised bias.
Recommended reading!

From ABC's Editorial Policy...

"The ABC has a statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism." page 6

Of course when you hire activists for reporters those standards of objective journalism don't seem to matter that much.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Missing News 1 and 2

Missing News 1: The Australian notes some gaps in ABC's reporting: Story is everywhere, but Aunty keeps mum

Missing News 2: The Australian's Graham Lloyd reports "Climate claims on drought debunked". According to a paper published in Nature it seems that "DROUGHTS have not changed over the past 60 years and predictions that climate change will make them worse are exaggerated"
"Researchers from the US and Australia found models that had been developed to assess regional drought assistance were too simplistic to be used to predict the impact of climate change on drought."

Seems this news is too much for ABC's fragile audience to bear.
(Update...ABC play catch up.... Drought 'overestimated by faulty index'). Includes the classic line "But, as ever in climate change science, he acknowledges there are "huge question marks" over all of this." 
And I thought it was all settled! As ever if you want Yesterday's news tomorrow you can turn to the ABC.

While on Climate models, here's another report missing from ABC. Seems along with droughts, they also don't do so well in simulating cloud cover:

Key Points
  • To evaluate the cloud vertical structure of models using CALIPSO satellite
  • Five GCMs underestimate the total cloud cover at all latitudes except in Arctic
  • Discrepancies are more pronounced in tropics and poles, and over continents
G. Cesana
Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD/IPSL), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
H. Chepfer
Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD/IPSL), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite provides robust and global direct measurements of the cloud vertical structure. The GCM-Oriented CALIPSO Cloud Product is used to evaluate the simulated clouds in five climate models using a lidar simulator.The total cloud cover is underestimated in all models (51% to 62% vs. 64% in observations) except in the Arctic. Continental cloud covers (at low, mid, high altitudes) are highly variable depending on the model. In the tropics, the top of deep convective clouds varies between 14 and 18 km in the models versus 16 km in the observations, and all models underestimate the low cloud amount (16% to 25%) compared to observations (29%). In the Arctic, the modeled low cloud amounts (37% to 57%) are slightly biased compared to observations (44%), and the models do not reproduce the observed seasonal variation.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mildura Fire Risk - Not Hot off the press, not hotter, not drier

Updated below with a comparison of Mean days above 40 degrees for Mildura. Guess which era is higher?

Must be a slow news day. ABC report today under the somewhat startling headline "Study reveals 'increasing' Mildura fire risk" news of a study that was apparently first published online in April this year (see below). It seems this news is only half a year late, but as it's a "scary" climate change story I guess it's always worthwhile for ABC's activist reporters to get that scary catastrophist climate climate message out; no matter how old! I say apparently because thanks to ABC's extraordinarily "high" reporting standards no where in its brief report does the ABC name the study's title or apparently its authors. It does however have a scary quote from climate alarmist David Karoly. This appears to take the results of the study out of context, for the last line of the abstract of the study reads: "Although these trends are consistent with projected impacts of climate change on FFDI, this study cannot separate the influence of climate change, if any, with that of natural variability. "

In the article Karoly is reported saying: "It gets more extreme in Mildura, and I mean most people in Mildura know that yes it's been getting hotter, it's also been getting drier," he said.
This is used to suggest that there is an increase in risk. And that might be the case if you only look at recent data. If you take a longer view and the data is there for all to see. It seems a different story emerges.
So Hotter and Drier???

Hotter? Here's a compilation of Max temp data from the BOM website based on stations 76077 and 76031 extending from 1910 to 2010, they are combined at the same scale (there does not appear to be a continuously monitored site). 76077 is the post office,  76031 is at the airport about 15 km away). Note that the Max temperature for the period 1910-1940 (red) is higher than 1950-2010. So David, no it's actually not hotter over the long term! It seems that it was hotter overall, earlier last century.

Drier? The figure below is a compilation of rainfall from the same stations. Not that hard to spot the gap between the two, but if you look closely (you might have to click on the figure to enlarge) the mean over the period 1910-1940 (red line -266.6mm) is well below the mean over the period 1950-2010-293.1mm), so no David, not actually drier either, in fact overall, things were drier earlier last century.

The actual figures?: (updated to show figures from 1910)

Drier? From BOM: 
Mean Rainfall station 76077 1889-1949: 266.6mm
Mean Rainfall station 76031 1946-2011: 293.1mm

Hotter? From BOM 
Mean Max temp station 76077 1889-1949: 24.6 degrees C
(Note Mean Max Temp 1910-1949: 24.1 degrees C)
Mean Max temp station 76031 1946-2011: 23.8 degrees C

Mean Min temp station 76077 1889-1949: 10.4 degrees C
(Note Mean Max Temp 1910-1949: 10.5 degrees C)
Mean Min temp station 76031 1946-2011: 10.3 degrees C

Why 1910? according to BOM "Temperature data prior to 1910 should be used with extreme caution as many stations prior to that date used non-standard shelters." That is many sttaions were not yet equiped with the Stevenson Screens that would become standard. Reports from the Adelaide Register in the NLA's newspaper archive suggests a Stevenson Screen was at the Mildura PO in at least 17 January 1907

So given the climate was hotter and drier earlier last century I guess with respect to bushfires it was also riskier! So the elevator report actually is: Risk of bushfires in Mildura may return to levels last seen early last century!
Update: Here's a comparison thanks to BOM of days over 40 degrees between the Post Office site (76077-1889-1949) and the airport (76031-1946-2011). Once again when looking at long term trends the earlier data shows considerably more extreme weather:

When you mistakenly employ activists for reporters I guess it's fair to expect propaganda for news. 

Thanks to ABC's poor reporting we assume (and prepare to wear egg on our face) that this is the paper in question, not that it changes the issues with Karoly's alarmist take on the weather:

  1. Hamish Clarke1,2,*
  2. Christopher Lucas3,
  3. Peter Smith1
Article first published online: 11 APR 2012
DOI: 10.1002/joc.3480

Unfortunately access to more than the abstract requires a subscription, but here's the abstract:


A data set of observed fire weather in Australia from 1973–2010 is analysed for trends using the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI). Annual cumulative FFDI, which integrates daily fire weather across the year, increased significantly at 16 of 38 stations. Annual 90th percentile FFDI increased significantly at 24 stations over the same period. None of the stations examined recorded a significant decrease in FFDI. There is an overall bias in the number of significant increases towards the southeast of the continent, while the largest trends occur in the interior of the continent and the smallest occur near the coast. The largest increases in seasonal FFDI occurred during spring and autumn, although with different spatial patterns, while summer recorded the fewest significant trends. These trends suggest increased fire weather conditions at many locations across Australia, due to both increased magnitude of FFDI and a lengthened fire season. Although these trends are consistent with projected impacts of climate change on FFDI, this study cannot separate the influence of climate change, if any, with that of natural variability. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lies of the Climate Commission: Part 13

A quick note to add to the growing list of the Climate Commission's misrepresentations of climate science.

The Climate Commission's Will Steffen tells ABC's AM audience "Climate change was a factor in several aspects of Sandy."

Meanwhile The Australian's Graham Lloyd reports: "AUSTRALIA'S Climate Commission has misrepresented data from the leading US meteorological bureau to highlight a link between climate change and the severity of Superstorm Sandy which this week crippled New York."

Definition of MISREPRESENT

: to give a false or misleading representation of usually with an intent to deceive or be unfair <misrepresented the facts>

More from that article...

...Dr Hoerling told US public radio in the aftermath of Sandy that ocean temperatures adjacent to the US eastern seaboard had been running several degrees higher than normal.
But he said the unusually warm waters were in areas where the background temperature was relatively cool. "So adding a few degrees Fahrenheit at that cool water temperature doesn't matter too much for the intensity of a hurricane," Dr Hoerling said.
Dr Hoerling is a research meteorologist, specialising in climate dynamics, in NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory located in Boulder, Colorado.
He is chairman of the US CLIVAR (Climate Variability) research program, has served as editor of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, and has published more than 50 scientific papers dealing with climate variability and change.
Late yesterday, Professor England conceded the sea-surface temperature highlighted in the Climate Commission document was not significant.
Sadly incompetence from the government's climate commissioners is something we are becoming all to familiar with.