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More angry, more often: March heatwave signals a new normal

Daylight hours are dwindling and our first month of autumn is ending. But in many places, March felt a lot like summer. Get used to it: looking ahead, all indications are that future summers could be just…

Even in Tasmania, it’s been hotter than it should be. James975/Flickr

Daylight hours are dwindling and our first month of autumn is ending. But in many places, March felt a lot like summer. Get used to it: looking ahead, all indications are that future summers could be just like this one, or more extreme.

Southeast Australia welcomed autumn with a persistent heat wave. For the first 12 days of autumn, temperatures were 6.9 degrees above normal across Tasmania and 6.8 degrees above normal in Victoria.

Melbourne’s March record-breaking weather included nine days of temperatures of 32 degrees or above and its hottest overnight March temperature in 110 years of record keeping. Adelaide experienced ten such hot days.

The unusually warm autumn weather was part of a much larger and much longer warm spell. The last six months have been characterised by sequences of heat waves and record temperatures across the entire Australian region.

Summer was the hottest on record across all of Australia. In January, Australia had its hottest month on record. The hottest day ever recorded for the entire continent occurred on January 7.

The surrounding oceans, from the Great Australian Bight through Bass Strait, also broke previous extreme temperature records. These waters exhibited the hottest sea surface temperatures on record in February.

Our exceptionally hot summer cannot be discussed simply as a catalogue of interesting record-breaking events. This summer was not normal. And we can’t talk about the exceptionally hot summer and early autumn without talking about climate change.

Australian average temperatures have increased faster than the global average increase (0.8°C) and are now 0.9 degrees warmer than a century ago.

It may not sound like much, but research shows that changes in average temperatures (even less than 1°C) can lead to huge changes in the frequency and severity of extreme climate events.

This is exactly what Australia just experienced with this sequence of heat waves, extending from November 2012 to March 2013.

Our recent research in the internationally peer-reviewed Journal of Climate shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of heat wave days for most of the country from 1951-2008. The paper describes heat waves as a period of three or more days where temperatures are excessively hot – in the top five to 10% of temperatures recorded.

This trend is greatest in eastern Australia, where both the number of heat waves and their duration has increased.

Recently, we extended the time period of the analyses to include the period from 1911 to 2011. Not surprisingly, our initial results suggest that heat waves are now occurring earlier than 100 years ago. In some places, the first heat wave of the season is occurring almost a month earlier.

Recent studies from other parts of the world have shown that many, if not most, of the recent record-breaking heat waves and extremely warm summers would have been unlikely to occur without human influence on climate change.

Although we can never say categorically whether an individual climate event, such as a heat wave, would have occurred without human-related greenhouse gas emissions, it is possible to assess how global warming has changed the likelihood of extreme events occurring.

Working with other climate scientists we investigated the probability of extreme summer heat occurring across Australia using a suite of climate model simulations representing current climate conditions. We then used a parallel suite of control experiments, in which greenhouse gases from human activities were entirely absent.

Previous studies using similar methods have found strong human contributions to the severity of extreme summer temperatures. James Hansen and other NASA scientists found a 10-fold increase in areas experiencing extremely hot summers due to global warming. Similarly, climate scientist Gareth Jones and his colleagues at the UK Met Office Hadley Centre found a dominant human influence on rapidly increasing hot summers in the Northern Hemisphere.

When we ran our hot, angry summer through a large group of the latest generation of climate models it became clear that there was likely to have been a substantial human influence on our recent extreme summer heat. Our early results indicate that anthropogenic climate change more than tripled the risk of Australia’s extremely hot summer occurring.

As for the future, it is now virtually certain that the frequency and severity of hot days will increase. Extremely hot seasons will worsen, with the biggest impacts of climate change being felt by Australians in summer. Spring weather will come earlier, and autumn later.

Additional global warming over the next 50 years, under a business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions scenario, is expected to see global average temperatures increase by at least 1°C. Such a change means that our recent summer on steroids will become the norm and far worse summers will occur with greater frequency.

We already know what is causing the changes we see now. Clearly, it is time to stop talking about record-breaking heat as isolated incidents and recognise them in the context of climate change.

It’s time to start preparing for more angry summers, more frequently.

Join the conversation

394 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    What does, ' virtually certain' mean in scientific terms? Does it mean the the authors are certain or uncertain.

    Gerard Dean

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    1. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      "There is no such thing as absolute certainty, but there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life" (John Stuart Mill).

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    2. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      The real climate news this week is that in the UK and parts of Europe they are having the coldest March on record which I suppose the BOM would describe as an "angry winter" if they bothered commenting on it with their fixation on heat waves. In the UK it is the coldest in over a century according to the CET record killing 2500 people with dead puffins being washed up on beaches. After the warmist salivation over the recent Moscow heat wave there has been a deadly silence from them over the recent…

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    3. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Citizen SG

      So, going by Mr Gardiner's point, the term 'Virtual Certainty' is an impossibility in science.

      Just as I suspected.

      Gerard Dean

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    4. takver takvera

      Journalist and Editor at Indymedia

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      No, the importance of this article was that they have modelled the extended hot conditions to find "anthropogenic climate change more than tripled the risk of Australia’s extremely hot summer occurring". Risk attribution. And the trend is for more of these extended summers in the future due to anthropogenic global warming.

      And yes, the extreme cold conditions in the UK and Europe are consistent with global warming and the heating in the Arctic 3 times the global average, causing a drastic reduction…

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    5. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Sigh. It's called Climate Change Neil, it cuts both ways. Surely you're denialist arguments are running out of puff?

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard

      Your post about certainty in science speaks volumes about your credibility on issues such as this.

      Anyone who has ever studied any science knows exactly what such statements mean, and the fact that you do not demonstrates with 'virtual certainty' that you know nothing about science and your views on issues like this should be disregarded. But then, I guess we knew that already based on your denial of science.

      It also shows that you are not here to discuss issues like this from a…

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    7. Mike Stasse

      retired energy consultant

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      What the models predict is more and more extreme weather. The planet holds a certain amount of energy (as heat) and this energy moves around. That's waht we call weather. Trouble is, as the atmosphere becomes more and more energised, more and more of this energy moves around. Sometimes it's withdrawn causing devere cold, and the energy has moved elsewhere (here?) causing heat waves.

      I'm prepared to bet the Northern hemisphere will experience heat waves this (Nthn) summer...... And it will be interesting to see if Tasmania and the Aussie alpine areas experience blizzard type conditions this winter....

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      "the recent winter record freeze in Russia"

      i.e. a 75 year record as opposed to the heat records which are the hottest on record.

      Yes I detect bias, hypocrisy too. But you wouldn't be in denial if you weren't a hypocrite.

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    9. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil,

      More frequent xtremes of weather were predicted as a consequence of our CO2 emissions.

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    10. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    11. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      No Gerard - do try actually reading what is written and thinking before you bleat - what is not possible in science is ABSOLUTE certainty. Virtual certainty is about as certain as things get.

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    12. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      It means they can't predict the future with absolute certainty.

      It's really not that hard to understand.

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    13. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil

      I would like to direct your attention to this news article published in the LA Times on 13 September 2012. I will say that again – 13 SEPTEMBER LAST YEAR!!!!

      http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/13/science/la-sci-sn-arctic-ice-melt-20120912

      “Arctic sea ice is shrinking at a rate much faster than scientists ever predicted, and its collapse, due to global warming, may well cause extreme weather this winter in North America and Europe, according to climate scientists.”

      So what was your point about extreme weather and cold in Europe again?

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    14. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      As certain as we think evolution is true and the universe began with a "big bang" Gerard. I think you'd be familiar with the concept of probability.

      For example, the probability that the entire scientific community is wrong about a) the radiative forcing of CO2 b) the paleoclimate record which shows the relationship between GHG and climate c) the unprecedented rise in land surface temperature and increase in ocean heat content over the last 150+ years

      You're setting up an impossible standard…

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    15. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      I thought I'd help Neil with the following peer-reviewed research:

      Extreme Cold Winter Temperatures in Europe under the Influence of North Atlantic Atmospheric Blocking

      Link: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2011JCLI4075.1

      "North Atlantic atmospheric blocking conditions explain part of the winter climate variability in Europe, being associated with anomalous cold winter temperatures. In this study, the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution is fitted to monthly minima…

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    16. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      The weather patterns in the northern hemisphere are changing in ways consistent with the expectations under anthropogenic climate change.

      https://theconversation.com/poleward-shifting-climate-zones-where-are-they-headed-and-why-7218

      The observation that patterns of high and low pressure systems have been increasingly obserevd to set in and become virtually stationary (rather than as in the past sweeping through from west to east) explains both heat waves and cold spells in the Northern Hemisphere. These observations are consistent with expectations of climate change under GHG forcing.

      http://www.sciencepoles.org/news/news_detail/trapping_of_giant_waves_in_atmosphere_behind_extreme_weather_events

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    17. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    18. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    19. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      This represents the difference between scientific theory and a witch doctor casting bones. Under scientific theory the calculable variables are considered based upon repeatable theory and the forecast made.
      The witch doctor casting bones, is trying to guess the future.
      So things not taken into account which could alter the outcome, massive solar disturbance, major meteor impact, very large coincidental seismic events, hence virtual certainty rather than certainty.
      Now if you would care to define when those others events will occur, as it is certain they will, just not when, we can have certainty in the current man made event of climate change, OK.

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    20. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil,

      We have had a warm March in my home town but the end of autumn and the start of summer were cooler than average. Sometimes seasons are later than usual.

      As for peak temps in my home town, we only had a couple of stinkers this year. Nothing like the drought a few years back.

      Not denying overall non linear warming trends, just stating the recent facts experienced in my local area as it has not been reflective of many articles posted on here lately.

      The absence of articles surrounding the cold weather in the NH on here is cause for partiality concern. If the cold temp isn't unusual for the NH then these same article writers should at least get on here and explain why?

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    21. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Personally I would refrain from "virtual certainty" type of remarks but that does not mean the prediction of an increase in statistically significant number of extreme weather events is wrong.

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    22. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    23. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    24. Jason Only

      Interested Bystander

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      This is the type of argument that is repeated ad nauseum. Individual events cannot be attributed to supporting or denying global warming. It is about more energy in the system measured as an average increase temperature which results in more extreme conditions in general and the recent northern hemisphere events my support that.

      Interestingly there was a recent study indicating peoples belief in global warming changed with the weather. People were more likely to believe it on a hot days rather than cold days.

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    25. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    26. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Some more: http://news.discovery.com/earth/cold-winter-snow-weather-global-warming-101222.htm

      "Rising Arctic temperatures have reduced floating ice cover by 20 percent over the last three decades.

      The sun's rays are now absorbed by dark-blue sea rather than bounced back into space by reflective ice and snow.

      This heat creates a strong high-pressure system that brings cold polar air into Europe.

      Counterintuitive but true, say scientists: a string of freezing European winters scattered…

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    27. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      "Conveniently no one mentioned it in all the time prior to the extreme NH winters."

      Shorter Gibson.
      I never read anything about it at Anthony Watts blog.

      Here is some science from January 2012. The author Francis has given numerous talks in 2011 and earlier.
      http://www.homerdixon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Evidence-linking-Arctic-amplification-to-extreme-weather-in-mid-latitudes.pdf

      "Francis linked the Arctic temperature rises to extreme weather in mid latitudes last year and warned…

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    28. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil, your first reference states the fact that it was cold in Russia, the sources you then reference are discredited blogs.
      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110309123406AA1ne91
      http://www.desmogblog.com/steven-goddard
      http://www.desmogblog.com/joanne-nova
      I prefer
      ww.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/cold-snow-climate-change.html
      However, if you can show me a credible reference for peer reviewed science which explains the instability of the polar vortex, which has been causing these cold periods, due to the diminishing arctic ice cap, go ahead.

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    29. Michael Fabiankovits

      Teacher

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil, this has not been ignored and has been in the news many times and has also been researched by peer review science. Basically the Arctic warming faster than the rest of the planet by a factor of 2 to 3 is destabilising the jetstream which relies on the difference in temperatures from the Arctic side to the Northern Hemisphere side.

      This is causing the chaos in weather in the NH and despite this there temperatures are also still rising on average. The extra moisture in the atmosphere has always…

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    30. Michael Fabiankovits

      Teacher

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      I refer to my reply above to your continued misrepresentations of AGW and its effect on weather patterns globally.

      "While the Arctic region has been warming strongly in recent decades, anomalously large snowfall in recent winters has affected large parts of North America, Europe, and east Asia. Here we demonstrate that the decrease in autumn Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation that have some resemblance to the negative phase of the…

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    31. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil,

      It might be actually worth your time to read the recent paper by Dr Sarah Perkins and another by Dr Lisa Alexander and Dr Markus Donat (https://www.climatescience.org.au/content/146-extreme-hot-temperatures-increase-40-world-heats).

      One of the interesting aspects of this research, which is based entirely on observational data, is that while heatwaves have been increasing in number and intensity, winter temperatures globally have been getting warmer even faster than summer temperatures…

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    32. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    33. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Henry,
      Reference please to the raw assertion that there has been an increase in the statistically significant number of extreme weather events. I mean those specifically proven to be related to alleged man-made warming and cooling.

      It's a strange phenomenon, but many climate factors that have been relatively steady in past papers start to gain higher variability when they are mentioned as consequences of climate change. As a rider, it's fair amazing how many new phenomena intensify about the time the author wrote the paper.

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    34. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    35. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    36. Rod Holesgrove

      Policy Adviser

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Suggest you keep up with the latest research and reports including the ABC and The Guardian of 26 April which report on work done by the Snow and Ice Centre, Boulder, Colorado. These reports suggest that the very cold weather occurring in the mid northern latitudes is a result of rapid warming at high latitudes ( this summer's arctic ice cover is lowest on record). The result of the high latitude warming is that the cold air jet stream is pushed further south bringing higher than normal cold to the UK and Europs.

      So it really is the Angry March in both hemispheres - one has to look at the whole earth system

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    37. In reply to John Newton

      Comment removed by moderator.

    38. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to takver takvera

      Takver,
      Was the alleged hot Autumn start to 2013 modelled and forecast beforehand? Reference?

      If it was not, how can such events in future years be forecast, as you assert?

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    39. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    40. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

    41. In reply to Mike Stasse

      Comment removed by moderator.

    42. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    43. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    44. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

    45. Craig Somerton

      IT Professional

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      The only absolutely certainty is that Gerard is going to jump in as early as possible with his usual denier trolling that adds zero the discussion.

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    46. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

    47. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    48. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    49. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    50. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    51. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, you know damned well you're being, to put it politely, disingenuous, in your first paragraph which is the intellectual equivalent of a set-up.

      As everybody, including the present authors, is well aware, it's all but impossible to conclusively prove that any single event is directly caused by climate change. But that's a meaningless issue, as trying to do so is merely confusing weather with climate. Climate is the cumulative pattern of weather and that is what is being measured here and weighed against the impacts of anthropogenic emissions.

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    52. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    53. In reply to Neil Gibson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    54. In reply to Alvin Stone

      Comment removed by moderator.

    55. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard, even High School science kids know what 'Virtual certainty' means. 'Absolute certainty' doesn't exist in Science. Perhaps you are just blah-blahing for attention? Hmmmm.

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    56. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix MacNeill,
      Since you have established that you are arm waving rather than being scientific on the very first question, I'd like to invent and name a new normal.
      The Sherrington new normal Part 1 is that we will see an increase in the frequency of events over time wherein extreme events are reported.
      The new normal Part 2 is that we will also se an increase in the frequency of extreme events in which absolutely nothing worth reporting happens.

      I'm not interested in your clumsy definitions of climate and weather. Just give me the evidence. It's numbers we need, not philosophic musings.

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    57. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      Would you please list the criteria by which you name a blog as 'descredited'. We expect something more profound than 'I don't like its views,' because that would be a very unscientific response.
      There are usually points of interest on any blog if you keep an open mind.

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    58. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred,
      So what's happening the the Southern hemisphere? Not enough data density to make a call? That's sad if that is the case, because comparisons of NH and SH have possible keys to unlock outstanding problems.

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    59. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      There is no official Australian definition of heat wave, so I composed one that seems reasonable.
      At a given weather station site including small instrument moves, a heat wave is the average of the maximum temperatures of 5 consecutive days, including the 15 hottest averages over the period of record keeping. Here are graphs for Sydney Observatory # 66062 and Melbourne BoM HQ #86071, for the months of January and February for over 100 years.
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/Heat%20Waves%20by%204.jpg

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    60. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Owens

      Chris Owens,
      No, it's the wisdom that accumulates with experience.

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    61. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Not sure I get what point you are trying to make with your comment.

      My understanding is that the influences perturbing the weather patterns and leading to blocking highs in the southern hemisphere are somewhat different from the northern hemisphere because of the asymmetries in continental distribution and oceanic circulations. Antarctica ice is harder to melt than arctic ice because of several factors including volume, substrate and elevation and this is likely to buffer antarctic and sub-antarctic climate from the rate of change being seen in the arctic and sub-arctic. Nevertheless, my recollection is that climate scientists have predicted a southerly movement of our weather patterns and an increase in the frequency of stationary highs over Australia and blocking highs off South Eastern Australia and this may also lead to increased occurrence of weather extremes.

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    62. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hi Geoffrey,

      I do have a few issues with the way you have framed it - assuming I have understood you correctly.

      1. You have selected just the 15 hottest five-day heatwaves over 160 years. This means you have no indicator of how many heatwaves have occurred over the summer season of each year or how long those heatwaves lasted. So there is no possibility of detecting a reliable trend of any kind.

      2. You have selected just one station, so there is absolutely no sense of how far the heatwaves…

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    63. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix - reference sought

      You have changed my words, substituted yours, then accused me of being disingenuous.
      I wrote : "related to alleged man-made warming and cooling."
      You re-wrote" any single event is directly caused by climate change"

      My "related to" is a far weaker test than your "directly caused by."

      Your barrier is much higher than mine. You use blatant intellectual dishonesty in an attempt to paint me as asking for impossible proofs. Stop altering my words and meanings.

      In…

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    64. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin Stone, Heat wave graphs
      Correcting your mistakes, adding some extra observations -
      1. The only time in the graphed data that had two heat waves so defined was Melbourne 1989, February.
      2. By definition, the heat waves lasted 5 consecutive days. Very few were longer. If you enter into more complex definitions, you can quickly get into calculations of monthly average temperatures and how anomalous the heat wave was in another term like energy. The Conversation has too short a space to develop…

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    65. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      No Geoffrey, the thought doesn't bother me at all. The simple fact is you cannot measure a trend over even a small area in the manner you propose.

      By selecting only the hottest days ever, you allow outliers in that distort the results. It is quite possible that you can have a summer with multiple heatwave events that don't make your top 15 while another summer could have just one top 15 result that does. There are no trends that can be discerned here that would hold up to scrutiny, even if they…

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    66. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Mike Stasse

      Extreme events - the last resort of the failed Co2 catastrophic warming hypothesis. The models say it therefore it must be true. Check with Geoff Sherrington's post on this subject and give us one "extreme event " caused by global warming.

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    67. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      AFTER four horrific winters scientists have come up with this theory that global warming causes extreme cold. These winters were not consistent with Agw theory and this new theory was invented for the gullible. Luckily the BS meter of the average person sees it for what it is.

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    68. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice why don't you google it for yourself if you do not want to be contaminated by reading the same info from one of Satan's sites unless you don't believe it was cold in Russia if the news was not peer-reviewed. Incidentally what peer reviewed newspapers do you read?

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    69. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Chris Owens

      Thanks for the ageist comment. The reason so many retired are vocal skeptics is because in many organizations being a skeptic is not a good career move. A skeptic could never work for the Conversation no matter how many letters were after his name because he would not follow the sheep.

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    70. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Stasse

      Mike Stasse,
      When my wife wants to agitate a volume of fluid, she uses a mixmaster that puts electricity into use to move the mass.
      If the global atmosphere is becoming more agitated, then more energy is going into it. What are the chances that this results in a cooling of the atmosphere, given the assumption of a constant total solar intensity might be correct?
      You have to take heat from the surroundings to stir this pot, do you not?

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    71. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Jason Only

      Jason Only,
      What is the origin of your "More energy in the system"? Most people assume from measurements that the total solar intensity is almost constant, the radioactive decay of the earth is a constant heat source, so the extra energy logically must come from either a redistribution of existing energy patterns (like ocean overturning), or something strange like bringing additional large masses of hot lava into contact with the sea floor.
      So what gets us more energy if you agree with the above?

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    72. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael Fabiankovits

      Michael Fabiankovits
      (I know fabian, but what is kovits?)
      In the SH. the observations show that the Antarctic Peninsula is warming faster than its surroundings. Have you any thoughts yo share on the selective mechanism that might be causing this? I've tried to imagine mechanisms and come up with no ideas.

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    73. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Owens

      Chris Owens,
      You are very close to getting a ticket with remarks like that. I've had my 70 year old wife in hospital for 24 of the days of this month and I don't find yours a smart comment. If she does not make 71, will you feel your comment vindicated on a science blog about global climate?
      We have grandchildren whose futures very much concern us; but the shambolic way this climate change matter has been handled just makes me determined that they get a better education than some of the writers…

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    74. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Roughly half of the wavelengths of radiation hitting the sea, notably the IR from about 10 microns out, does not penetrate the sea. Some speculate that it does not even heat the sea, because it is absorbed by the sea spray that later evaporates and cools. Was this effect incorporated into the findings you report?
      Second, almost everyone must be aware that climate has regional variations, but equally many realise that explanations for this are still under investigation. If you count me as a sceptic…

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    75. Peter Yard

      Software Developer / Technnical Writer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      More CO2 traps more IR, which warms up the atmosphere. Which warms up the oceans, which releases more water vapour, which traps more IR. And so forth. Overall there is an addition to the amount of heat (energy) in the system. Seems reasonable.

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    76. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "I suspect my questions are too hard."

      I suspect my question following (which I keep asking in similar form) is too hard for you.

      Why do you keep saying "the temperature has been FLAT for 16 years" when it is just as likely to have been warming at the rate of 0.17 deg C/decade over those 16 years? Refer to http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php for details.

      Somewhat ironic that you're ashamed by "the poor standard of science on this blog" considering some of the things you've said.

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    77. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      "Your graphs were a nice exercise but they don't give us any scientifically useful data that shows us heatwave trends over time".

      Sorry, but that is precisely what they do show. I've been much, much deeper into the figures than the graphs show. If you try to get too deep, you soon meet the problem of noise and adjustments. If you try to do more sites, there are few with long, reliable records. There is a rather severe misunderstanding of how wide the confidence limits on historic temperature data…

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    78. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "just as likely to have been warming at the rate of 0.17 deg C/decade over those 16 years?"

      Or just as likely to be cooling at the rate of 0.05 degC/decade over those 16 years.

      n'est-ce pas.

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    79. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Nicely done Alvin, and yes, you're most probably correct in that the climate will start to wobble :) Giving us both colder local temperatures as well as in other countries, hotter.

      It may be needed to point out that this doesn't mean that global warming disappear globally though. Earth's atmosphere, and seas, is getting warmer. And at some point everyone will have to admit to it.

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    80. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      More energy 'in the system' refers to CO2 primary. But Earth is a open ended system, not a perfect enclosed box. We're open to space. When you bind heat in molecules they will redistribute it to other molecules.

      ---Quote—Lisa Moore, Ph.D., scientist in the Climate and Air program at Environmental Defense.--

      Here's a table showing a selection of greenhouse gases, their global warming potential (GWP), and their lifetimes:

      Greenhouse Gas . . . . . . . . .Lifetime years . . (100-Year GWP…

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    81. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, it is elegantly simple. There are two mechanisms. The first has been caused by the hole in the ozone layer, which is causing stronger winds direct from the south pole to blow across eastern Antarctica, away from the West.
      The second is that the Antarctic Peninsula is right on the edge of the Circumpolar current and so it actually gets warmer ocean water than the rest of the continent.
      Between the winds and the ocean currents, that section of the Antarctic is warming as quickly as the Arctic.

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    82. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, many of your questions have been repeatedly answered. If you are, as you say, a graduate chemist, I would expect you to have a better general understanding of the way science works and be able to access genuine climate scientists to get your information. However, being a graduate chemist does not mean you have continued a career in research, so I can't make this call.

      What I do know, working with many climate researchers is that they repeatedly despair at the way the science has been…

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    83. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hi Geoffrey,

      It would be good to have those five sources clearly named.

      Once again, a single area. Once again, this creates all of the problems I have mentioned repeatedly. A larger number of areas, will actually help average out the noise and clearly identify unusual outliers.

      This kind of thing is done regularly by scientists of many stripes, usually with the aid of statisticians. Single area observations for a global phenomena are almost useless. They may produce a general trend in line with global observations but you can never know until you make those comparisons with multiple other sites - the more, the better.

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    84. Peter Yard

      Software Developer / Technnical Writer

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      The real news this week is that the Arctic ice has started breaking up 51 days earlier than last year. Remember last year the early low sea ice was also associated with very high temperatures in the Arctic and very low temperatures in the northern temperate zones due to changes in the jet stream. However, this then led on to a murderous summer. Looks like we are in for a repeat.

      It is quite amazing that we are already seeing such extreme changes with such small changes to the global temperature. Since we are already locked into a 2C rise then things will only get much more "interesting".

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YWX7ChjtxY

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    85. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin Stone.
      Simon Torok's Ph.D. thesis was much about removing outliers from this data set.
      As a general principle, I start with a simple approach to an hypothesis and take it only so far as is needed to illustrate the principles. There's not much point in doing more detailed analysis on this topic until you can explain the results so far, which are that there does not seem to have been an increase in the frequency of 5-day heat waves at the Sydney and Melbourne sites in January or February over the last 100 years. What is more, the heat waves as defined do not seem to be getting any hotter.
      I can't see how refinement of analysis would make these findings disappear. Perhaps you might like to pull up some numbers, instead of just words, and do some work to demonstrate a better way. I tae it that you know where to find the data.

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    86. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin Stone

      Thank you for explaining the bleeding obvious, that multiple sites are better than one. I have more, they show similar results.
      The time series on the Alice Springs graphs decoded are:
      wsh - purchased by Warwick Hughes from the BoM about 1992
      online - from the BoM Web page of historical data as of about year 2008.
      cd - from a BoM CD ending in March 2007
      giss - Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA. Homogenised option used.
      knmi - a Dutch data depository

      It takes a reasonable…

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    87. Rubens Camejo

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil

      You need to do a bit more research before you comment trying to negate someone else's comments on this issue.

      The general tenet of climate change science is that global warming will cause more extreme and more often weather events. As some would have it, that is already happening but that we have seen nothing yet.

      Extreme weather events include higher rated hurricanes, more often and tornadoes that are more frequent, both occurring at higher latitudes. As this article also indicates…

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    88. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey,

      Why would I repeat something that has been done very successfully by Dr Sarah Perkins. You can read about it and the methodology in her paper, The Measurement of Heatwaves.

      I have thoroughly explained why your single location measurements are not valid. To put it simply, you cannot perform an analysis of just one location and expect that analysis to reveal a broader regional trend and certainly not an Australia wide trend.

      The analysis you have put forward doesn't actually show…

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    89. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      If it so bleeding obvious then you shouldn't wonder why I question your analysis of single origin locations. Of course it is hard to do a proper analysis, which is why climate scientists spend every hour of their working days getting it right. It's why they use supercomputers, specialist coders and refer to statisticians.

      They also spend a lot of time getting the most reliable data sets.

      A few tenths of a degree, over a three day period, over 60 years helps remove the noise. There is more…

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    90. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin Stone - publicity versus science

      The paper by Perkins et al is described as in press and is paywalled. I don't read paywalled papers when public monies have already paid for their production. The abstract and your press release make it clear in any case that Perkins et al is not a paper that is directly comparable with the material that I posted, as it cover whole years. As Perkins et al write "This result highlights the importance of employing the most appropriate index when assessing the…

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    91. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred, Over the years I have read so many "final" explanations for the causes of weather patterns that my head reels. This is but another. If you get comfort from it, then be relaxed. But please don't promote it as the final word.

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    92. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey,

      There are so many things to address in your reply, so here goes:

      1 .You are right, Dr Perkins' result and yours are not directly comparable because one takes in observations Australia wide and one takes in observations at a single location. The first is statistically valid while the second can never be.

      2. The temperature index which takes in cooler months that you mention is from a paper published earlier. This paper is global in nature. The Measurement of Heatwaves paper actually…

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    93. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin.
      1. Ozone hole. If you wish to invoke it as a mechanism, you have to characterise it. You have to go beyond the observation that there has been a hole that gets bigger and smaller over the years, but has been there since observations started. Next, you have to determine what causes not just the hole, but also its height range and lateral dimensions. Then you have to see if we have measurements of ant global properties that correlate with the properties of the hole. Then you have to go from…

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    94. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "Over the years I have read so many "final" explanations for the causes of weather patterns that my head reels."

      Please spare us the strawman arguments.

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    95. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin,
      What is a climate science degree?
      Does it exclude other degrees? Does it dominate them in rank. like a general over a private?
      Like, does a climate science degree arm you with enough statistics to challenge a statistician? Dr Wegman, an eminent statistician, testified to US Congress that climate scientists should use more professional statistical consultancy. e.g. http://climateaudit.org/2006/10/09/curry-on-the-wegman-reports/
      Does it produce chemistry knowledge that outranks chemistry…

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    96. takver takvera

      Journalist and Editor at Indymedia

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, The major driver of warming in Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, from my reading, is the warming ocurring in the Southern Ocean and currents directly impacting ice shelves. This is particularly so for the Peninsula. See Nicholas R. Golledge et al, (2012), PNAS, Dynamics of the last glacial maximum Antarctic ice-sheet and its response to ocean forcing http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/10/1205385109.abstract Read the media release: http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/warming-ocean-could-start-big-shift-antarctic-ice

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    97. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Well done Anthony,

      1st paper from the British Antarctic Survey - as they say in this press release associated with that paper, the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated as a result of the unexpected dramatic heating of the past 100 years. - http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=1892. Also in this article the researchers state that the sudden increase in heat since 1920 is unexpected - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19348427

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    98. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      1 I'm not interested in what the press release says; the paper says:

      "Although warming of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula began around 600 years ago, the high rate of warming over the past century is unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia."

      That gives no support to AGW as the agent of any Antarctica ice reduction.

      2 Shevenell does not contradict Hall; Hall shows that ice levels were less than today; Shevenell shows that…

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    99. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony,

      Thanks for putting forward these papers and your response. It has made me do a bit more research and I have to say, the Antarctic is certainly an interesting beast in all this. I always knew it was but there seem to be more contradictions than I initially realised.

      My impression is that you are right, in that there has been similar melting in the past. However, this latest acceleration is unusual, although I will admit it is not entirely out of the realms of possibility that it could…

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  2. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    The authors make the call, 'Additional global warming over the next 50 years, under a business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions scenario, is expected to see global average temperatures increase by at least 1°C.'

    My question for the authors is, now that you have stated that a business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions scenario is causing the warming, what do you want us to do about it.

    Do you, for instance, suggest everyone stops burning JetA1 fossil fuel to fly for personal pleasure. After all…

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Absolutely Gerard.

      We have the technology to phase out air travel where possible with fast trains.
      We have the technology to phase out fossil fuel cars with trains and electric vehicles.
      We should start immediately.

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Here's my quick spreadsheet calculation.

      At 0.6 W/m^-2 (current best estimate of top of atmosphere radiative imbalance), it would take ~6 months to increase temperature of the atmosphere by an average of 1 deg C - provided all the energy was retained in the atmosphere, none of it wound up in the oceans or ice-caps.

      If all the heat was retained in the oceans, it would take ~570 years to increase ocean temperatures by an average 1 deg C.

      If all the heat for the next 50 years went into melting terrestrial icecaps, then the meltwater would raise sea levels by an average 0.3 m. This is in addition to sea level rise from sea water thermal expansion.

      50 years is 100 times as long as 6 months, which means that surface air temperature rise of 1 deg C requires only 1% of present radiative imbalance to remain in the atmosphere. The other 99% is partitioned between melting ice and warming oceans.

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    3. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Yes, let's build a rail track across the Pacific and the Atlantic right away. You're joking yes?

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      @Mark Pollock
      Given that my comment was "phase out air travel where possible with fast trains", I can only conclude that you either have a reading comprehension problem or you are simply eager to make a fool of yourself.

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    1. In reply to Gerard Dean

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  4. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    Extreme heat in some places, extreme cold snaps in others, extreme is the word. This year the stats have come in hard and we can't ignore them any more.

    Gerard Dean is right to question our most carbon intensive activity – with the exception of copulating – flying in jet aircraft, and that we should be very judicious about taking unnecessary air travel, even for questionable work purposes.

    I wouldn't advocate complacency on this front, but I think it is also true that when it comes to restoring…

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    1. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Mr Harries

      Whilst you may not agree with the thrust of my point about JetA1 fossil fuel, I think your's is the most civil comment I have ever had on the matter.

      It makes a change from the usual venom and spittle.

      Thank you

      Gerard Dean

      (Don't worry, when the climate changers eventually get out of bed and hit the icon on their IPad that is made from plastic and metal and rare earth and read my comment, they will come out spitting. My only wish is that one of them actually provides an ethical basis for their belief in climate change and their actions of flying for pleasure. )

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    2. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      While taking your point about aviation fuel, Gerard, remember this: The IPCC has estimated that aviation is responsible for around 3.5% of anthropogenic climate change, a figure which includes both CO2 and non-CO2 induced effects.

      Now, that leaves 96.5% elsewhere. Let's tackle the elsewhere first .

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    3. takver takvera

      Journalist and Editor at Indymedia

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      LOL...here I am working away on a 6 year old desktop PC, which I nurse along. I agree with you that reducing unnecessary air travel and Aircraft emissions are one area where we could have an impact, yet the real work is reducing emissions from the industrial and economic processes in energy production, transport and agriculture, and changing consumption behaviours.

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Chris Harries

      " our most carbon intensive activity – flying in jet aircraft"

      No, it's not, not by consumption per person per kilometre travelled. That would be travelling by ourselves in a car.

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    5. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Perhaps I should have added that whereas many sectors of personal energy consumption have plateaued or are in decline, aviation energy is the one stand-out sector that is explosively increasing. And it is the one area that can't easily be resolved – electric or nuclear or solar powered jet planes are not on. Using bio-fuels to fuel jets may be feasible but there's a huge price to pay going down that route, and not just the cost of producing it.

      As said, we need to be comprehensive in our responses and look to the big ticket items first. Aviation is one of those.

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    6. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Yes, agreed Chris, but it's the numbers of kilometres travelled that makes the difference. Would you drive to Canberra and back from the other side of Australia to attend a meeting?

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard, what do you expect when accuse people of hypocrisy eg air travel when it is far from the biggest emitter. OK, it is a growing one and needs to be tackled but people's use of air travel does not invalidate the peer-reviewed science that AGW is a reality, despite your cherry-picking.

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    8. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris. Air travel represents about 2% of total emissions. The only reason Dean makes a song and dance about it is because he knows (as you say) that there is no ready substitute for aviation fuel. If there was he would shut up. You never hear the hyprocrite say a word about CO2 emissions from power plants.

      You say
      "As said, we need to be comprehensive in our responses and look to the big ticket items first. Aviation is one of those."

      Coal is the big ticket item by a long way. The transformation of society is going to take a lot of political capital - the science deniers like Dean are not going anywhere. We have the technology and the support to replace power generation with non carbon sources. Public transport also has huge support. Why would we exhaust political capital on a fight over aviation while leaving coal untouched? Do not get sucked in to the bait and switch arguments from the Boltoids.

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    9. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Yep, Mike,

      I am not sucked in by Gerard, but I am interested in how we respond. Our questioning of climate needs to be science based. Our questioning about what to do about it also needs to be science based. I find that some people who accept the science that underpins climate change tend to believe in magic when it comes to solutions. We desperately want to hold onto what we have. Some do that by denying the reality of climate change. Others do it by thinking that the solutions can come without pain or inconvenience.

      As citizens who are challenged by the urgency of climate change we also have to challenge ourselves.

      But, yes, that's the subject of another debate.

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    10. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris harries,
      Remember addition and the Mile High Club, copulation plus flight. Must be more carbon intensive than each alone. Is quite questionable when done for work purposes. In which country do you file your tax return for income from prostitution over international waters? Conventional type prostitution, not the scientific type that is cured by a junket tablet..

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    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Or putting a man on the moon? Try to keep the conversation in reasonable territory, huh?

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    12. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Newton

      John Newton
      Why? Who is the judge who cherry picks what will be hit first and who appointed the judge? If you see wasteful carbon consumption of 3.5 % as akin to a crime, then do something about it. Don't just talk about it, do something tangible that changes it.

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Chris Harries

      "Would you drive to Canberra and back from the other side of Australia to attend a meeting?"

      No but I wouldn't do it every working day by any means either.

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    14. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris Harries

      For the record, the driving of cars is definitely a big ticket item, and for most people, as big as flying. The main difference is that in just two days of flying we can create the same climate impact as we can via a whole year of typical car driving, and that is what makes that a big ticket item.

      Now.... the avaiation issue arose in the context of Gerard's thought process: "How can it be that people who profess that catastrophic climate chage is upon us can then go out and fippantly take a recreational…

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    15. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Chris Harries

      "We need to get away from the notion that across the cimate debating spectrum there are good, morally upstanding folk (us) versus a set of baddies (them)"

      The word "baddies" is chosen for comic effect. A more accurate description might be politically-motivated jerks. I'm not denying that burning carbon is thoroughly entrenched into modern economies but this does not mean that reducing it to a low enough level challenges the foundation of our entire culture. It can mean it will cost a lot of money to fix but that's not the same thing as challenging the foundation of our entire culture.

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    16. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "but that's not the same thing as challenging the foundation of our entire culture."

      Missed that one, didn't you.

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    17. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Well, it depends on how you want your world to look. I prefer a slower world, giving me time to think :) The 'market' on the other hand is profit driven, fast and furious, of little green interest more than lip-mouthing the formula as they want to sell :) And in there we're all either consumers or competitors. 'And only the fittest survive' ( Said in a most serious voice with a most pompous background music floundering into the listeners ears :)

      So much bs :)

      In a slower world I'm sure we will find alternatives, as Zeppelin's, always are a pleasure to see. It's more a question how we want society to become, than what it is. Australia is said to be laid back? Sounds good to me :)

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  5. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    "It’s time to start preparing for more angry summers, more frequently."
    Well I'm prepared.

    BTW,are the authors familiar with the concept of the Gaussian distribution?

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    1. In reply to Sean Lamb

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean,

      To answer your question about statistics, I am virtually certain that the authors, having studied science, would understand basic concepts such as that.

      The real questions are: Do you? And in what way is it relevant to this discussion?

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    3. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      " I am virtually certain that the authors, having studied science, would understand basic concepts such as that."
      I wish I had your confidence.
      Anyway I was hoping that they would be able to provide the SD of the distribution of these observations:"For the first 12 days of autumn, temperatures were 6.9 degrees above normal across Tasmania and 6.8 degrees above normal in Victoria."
      Although they are very specific in terms of their claims and we might have to consider the number of tests that were being performed to identify these two extremes.

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    4. In reply to Sean Lamb

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. Sarah Perkins

      Research Fellow at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Hi Sean,

      Any statistical information you may require about these events are available through the Bureau of Meteorology.

      The Gaussian distribution is something we are very familiar with, having studied it in depth at the beginning of our Bachelor's degrees. However extremes do not follow a Gaussian distribution so assuming this statistical model, and providing the respective statistical data may not be accurate. None of the work presented here has fitted a Gaussian distribution to extremes. It is actually something I would highly recommend not doing.

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    7. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      Extremes are certainly part of a Gaussian distribution. They are in the two tails. Extremes are outliers and are variously defined as greater than 2 or 3 SD above or below the mean. Perhaps that explains Mr Lamb's enquiry about SDs.

      Extremes are also contained in left or right skewed distributions. In these cases they are defined as any data value above the third quartile plus 1.5 times the interquartile range or below the first quartile less 1.5 times the interquartile range.

      But I'm sure you know this. So were the March temperatures outliers or not? This should be easy to calculate and I'd have a stab at it over the weekend except I've got a boozy golf trip to go on.

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    8. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      However unless you have some idea of the distribution and the variance it is impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions from saying the first 12 days of autumn were 6.9 degrees above average across Tasmania. It might be terrifying, it might be of limited interest. What about the next 12 days.

      I went to BOM and picked out a weather station from Tasmania at random - Ellerslie Road - it is not tracking to be the hottest March on record - if we assume the 5 day forecast is accurate it will miss out by 0.5 degree. Now there are lots of weather stations in Tasmania - I am sure you can find one where it might be the hottest March on record. But then you are just multiplying your tests to obtain a spurious significance.

      Suppose we could divide Australia into 10 unique weather zones - on average every 10 years one of those weather zones ought to show the hottest first 12 days in autumn in a 100 years. But the significance of this is zero.

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    9. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean.

      To avoid destroying any more strawmen, you could try reading the article which is about trends in heat wave days.

      "Our recent research in the internationally peer-reviewed Journal of Climate shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of heat wave days for most of the country from 1951-2008. The paper describes heat waves as a period of three or more days where temperatures are excessively hot – in the top five to 10% of temperatures recorded."

      and

      "Although we can never say categorically whether an individual climate event, such as a heat wave, would have occurred without human-related greenhouse gas emissions, it is possible to assess how global warming has changed the likelihood of extreme events occurring

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    10. Sarah Perkins

      Research Fellow at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      extremes do occur, of course, in a Gaussian distribution. But once these extremes are isolated (by, for example, the ways you described) they do not generally follow Gaussian behaviour. Furthermore, using the statistics from the parent Gaussian distribution to describe the behaviour of the extremes is not appropriate - those statistics are appropriate for the entire parent distribution (e.g. for defining extremes in the first place) but not for when data, such as extremes are extracted. There are other statistical models used to describe extremes, if a statistical model is required or necessary. See :
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalized_extreme_value_distribution

      Also, the below website allows you to view percentiles for march for maximum (day time), minimum (night time) and average temperature. Days that are 6.9 and 6.8 degrees warmer than normal (which is the 50th percentile in the Gaussian distribution) are certainly extreme.

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    11. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      "Days that are 6.9 and 6.8 degrees warmer than normal (which is the 50th percentile in the Gaussian distribution) are certainly extreme."

      Possibly they are, but in order for you to demonstrate this you need to give some measure of the variance of 12 day periods. For some reason BOM has neglected to compile their data in tidy 12 day periods, preferring to use calender months - the imbeciles

      When you have worked out the SD for 12 day averages then we will get some idea what kind of an extreme value we are dealing with.

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    12. Sarah Perkins

      Research Fellow at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Instead of pulling out a station at random you can look at regional maps - e.g. this one of the deciles for Tasmania for February where the whole state is between the 80th to 100th percentiles.

      http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/temp/index.jsp?colour=colour&time=latest&step=0&map=maxdecile&period=month&area=ta

      That is why we do not analyze climate data in that way. When something is described as "hottest on record" or "average" etc it is respective to the area being studied.

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    13. Garry Claridge

      Systems Analyst

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      I would be using a exponential distribution (Poisson process) for extreme event modelling.

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    14. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      I had a quick look at the 1855 to 2013 March average maximum temperature data for Melbourne station 086071. The distribution is Normal (checked with SAS JMP) and the mean is 23.8 deg. There are 3 outliers at 2SD; 27.7, 27.8 and 28.9. 27.7 is the 2013 average maximum (I have taken the BOM forecast for the next 4 days) so it is certainly an outlier (they start at 27.2) at 2SD. It isn't at 3 SD.

      The two other outliers are -
      27.8 in 1934
      28.9 in 1940
      It is interesting to speculate what caused those results almost 80 years ago.

      This was for one station only of course. Presumably someone has done this (with the data if available) for many more stations in the rest of Australia. I am aware of extreme value distributions ( eg Weibull) but wasn't aware that you have used them in your analysis. Do you have a paper on this, preferably not paywalled?

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    15. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Actually the 1855 value is 12.7 deg which is clearly wrong. Excluding this will raise the mean but decrease the SD. Not sure of the effect on outliers but the mean will be closer to the 2013 value. Out of interest I might have a look at Hobart as well.

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    16. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean
      You have phrased your question in a way that seems like you prefer the Gaussian distribution. Is it not a routine, essential part of any statistical analysis to derive the distribution and the degrees of freedom and then chose the analytical methods designed for the actual distribution? Too often I fail to see this step described in climate papers.
      Just for interest, here's a graphed distribution of a subset of climate figures that shows a rather platykurtic shape. In explanation, it could be good evidence for a negative feedback that limits tropical surface sea temperatures from going too high. Yes, distributions are important.
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/Willis%20flat%20SST.PNG

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    17. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      I'd strongly contest you statements above, "Summer was the hottest on record across all of Australia. In January, Australia had its hottest month on record" and "Days that are 6.9 and 6.8 degrees warmer than normal "

      You should be aware that the number and placement of weather stations has varied continuously over the decades. One cannot take a simple average of the 20 or so Australian stations from 1888 and compare it with the 1,000 or more stations of 2013. If I wanted to be really picky, i's…

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    18. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Thanks for that input Dr Burfield. Can I just say that with 160 years of data for this station you would expect about 4 values to be above the 2 SD mark if the distribution is normal (ie 2.5%).

      You identified 3, these outliers don't need special explanations.

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    19. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike Hansen
      I have shown this to be questionable at some location (Sydney Observatory and Melbourne BoM HQ). See blog above.
      I find no relation between heat waves at these locations for the last 100 years and anything to do with global warming. The intensity of heat waves is fairly steady (flat trend) over that 100 years in Jan & Feb. This is despite the like heating effect of UHI, which I have not taken into account. There is no uptick ion the 100 year heat wave graphs at any point than fingers…

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    20. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      Sarah Perkins - "However extremes do not follow a Gaussian distribution"

      Oh come off it, that is plainly wrong. Not all extremes follow a Gaussian distribution. Some will, for practical purposes. Extremes can be found found lurking in the tails of distributions and Gaussian distributions have tails. Extremes are NOT excluded just because they are in a Gaussian distribution in the defined sense. The highest and lowest values in a distribution, be it Gaussian or otherwise, are by definition extreme.

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    21. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sarah Perkins

      Sarah,
      Do you know that some of the cells that are used to make those maps might have no actual values in them, just values interpolated from surrounding cells? Yet these do not escape the label of the hottest on record. Don't you think that it is strange that invented numbers can be the hottest on record?

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  6. John Newlands

    tree changer

    I think the weather patterns may be changing on a long term basis which will affect CO2 uptake by forests, A hill behind my place in SW Tas that normally gets snow cover several times a year now has dead trees, evidently from heat and lack of rain. Yesterday's 33C seems odd given the shorter daylight hours. I may get another rainwater tank despite the area's normal 1200mm of precipitation.

    I note also the big snow dumps in the northern hemisphere seem to melt quickly. All of this at a time when there is no clear El Nino. Of course these misgivings could disappear if the weather reverts to historic patterns. As a precautionary measure I think we shouldn't rely on it.

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Newlands

      "Yesterday's 33C seems odd given the shorter daylight hours."

      Melbourne had its hottest 27th March on record yesterday. Still, that seemed mild compared with nine days in a row above 32 deg C a couple of weeks ago.

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    2. In reply to Sean Lamb

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

  7. John Campbell

    farmer

    Well it seems you get the same deluded lot here as well!

    Let me spell it out...

    Only a scientist is likely to notice a change in climate of a few parts of a degree, but when heat and water vapour is being added to the atmosphere we are all likely to notice more extreme weather events both hot and cold as well as shifting climatic changes away from the norm.

    In Europe for example more snow and cold weather is to be expected, because for one there is more water vapour in the air and secondly…

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    1. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to John Campbell

      So it's worse when the planet is colder AND worse when the planet is warmer, eh?

      So the planet happens to but at the optimal temperature when we are here, eh?

      Sounds a bit like the belief Earth is the centre of the universe. And man is the most important being in the universe, too.

      Get real. Get a grip.

      Take a look at Figure 1 on James Hansen's paper here and tell the readers when the Earths temp is more stable and when it is more volatile http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf

      {And yes, I am ready and waiting for the usual response].

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    2. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to John Campbell

      I agree, and would like to add that plant behaviour is altered seasonally by temperature. For some seeds, germination is triggered by temperature, so farmers are noticing these small changes which means in some parts of Australia, they're sowing crops earlier. It becomes a bit tricky also when trees come into bloom a few weeks earlier than usual, then a frost kills the immature fruit.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Apropos of your first sentence, what is worse is when we experience any extreme - whether heat or cold, rain or drought. That is precisely what this article is pointing out. If you are unable, or unwillling, to comprehend this very simple, rational point, try thinking of it this way: if we can show situations where people have died of heat exposure, does that mean it is impossible for people to die of hypothermia? Yes, that was a silly question, wasn't it? Almost as silly as your comment.

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to John Campbell

      I do not dispute what you say John and yes I have seen documentaries about the curtailment of the Gulf Stream changing the weather for the UK and Europe, it only to be expected if you have a great mass of warmer water not travelling as far north and that has been related to the melting of the Artic Ice Cap and with more Ice Bergs travelling further south, the added fresh water apparently alters the density of the ocean water to such an extent that the Gulf Stream which is considered by some to be…

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    5. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, no-one is claiming the Earth is not at the centre of the universe. It just so happens it is the only planet we can inhabit in the solar system.

      Venus I believe is a bit too warm; Mars, a little chillier. It may be hard to put 7 billion people onto a space ark. Personally, I prefer a stable climate and the planet we're living on.

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    6. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Peter Lang

      I’m confused here. Mr. Lang asks us to “get real and get a grip” implying that concern about climate change is overstated. Elsewhere he wrote “alarmist”. Yet the abstract of the paper he invites us to read has: “Earth in the warmest interglacial periods was less than 1 degree warmer than in the Holocene (now) and that goals of limiting human-made warming to 2 degrees and CO2 to 450ppm are prescriptions for disaster.” The paper goes on to explain that with evidence and reasoning that includes the…

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    7. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,

      I think you have forgotten about the acidification of the oceans as we pour more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I can't see any way that this can be a positive thing.

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    8. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Peter Lang

      And I looked at figure 1 as well as reading the abstract of the article. Surely quoting from the abstract is a reasonable place to get a summary of the interpretations made by the article's authors and is not cherry-picking!
      A key point of the article is that other interglacial periods have not exceeded the present one by more than 1 degree so going to 2 degrees warmer is venturing into territory that has not been visited for a very long time. Figure 1 shows that. I assumed you had no argument with the data shown in Fig. 1 since you referred readers to it.

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    9. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Acidification of the oceans is something I am not too up with on the detail of Alvin other than to understand that it is happening to some extent and like all pollution such as run off from land farming chemicals and whatever else people chuck into the water, even rivers etc. to find its way to the seas/oceans, no doubt there are some undesirable effects whilst like with all environments changing some things will adapt better than others, that being why we have had various extinctions over the many centuries of life on this planet.

      But yeah, even if we induce a climate change that has some good in curtailing the magnitude of the next Ice Age, more acidic oceans will likewise become seen as totally undesirable or something that we can live with.
      Perhaps the oceans will have a limit to what can be absorbed and anything past that will either just be rejected as a gas to float on the surface or in particle form may just form part of a sedimentary layer on the ocean floor.

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    10. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, "Acidification of the oceans is something I am not too up with on the detail of ..."
      If you search this site with the word 'acidification' the first 5 articles address and explain this specifically. There are very good reasons (according to the authors of these articles who give references to their academic literature) to think there would be serious consequences from acidification caused be much of the CO2 added to the atmosphere becoming dissolved in the oceans where it decreases the pH with consequences for organisms that have calcium shells and food webs that depend on them.

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    11. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Greg North

      In geological terms, being 'close' to an ice age could be many thousands of years still but we are talking of big changes in a few generations-very uncomfortable! Peter Lang, below, cites fig. 1 of this:http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf
      which shows why, all else being equal (which it isn't), we would be 'due' for an ice age sometime geologically 'soon' (which could be thousands of years). However, pushing the temperature up more than 1 degree gets us into uncharted territory, at least not known since a very long time ago before the present ice age with periodic warmer interglacials pattern started.

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    12. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin Stone acidification of oceans
      I can't see where this is an observed thing. There's a marked reluctance of authors to publish a quality paper that asserts that a pH change has happened to the oceans of the world.

      There's an abundance of chemists' diagrams like this
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/equil.jpg

      from which some authors measure the relevant other factors and infer pH. These phase diagrams are very sensitive to the coefficients used in them and some older papers might have used…

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      How do you isolate the effects of mixing with deeper waters when you state that shallow water pH has changed. here's some pH work from deeper water. Deeper = more acid. Have you ever worked out why?
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/OceanpH.jpg

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    14. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey,

      Which might explain the complete destruction of deep water coral that was found off Australia.

      I totally understand how the different water pressures affect pH. The issue is that in shallow waters there is enormous fluctuation in pH because of the tides, and the photosynthesis of coral biota.

      This paper has a nice explantion - https://www.climatescience.org.au/content/225-global-warming-could-corrode-shallow-reefs-sooner-previously-forecast

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  8. Shaun King

    Designer

    With no disrespect towards the authors, Sophie and Sarah, this entire global warming debate is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to deflect the real damage being done to our environment.

    The environmental movement, which started all this, originally focussed on the toxic poisoning of our water-ways, the destruction of our forests and the rape and pillage of our resources by a greedy few.

    CO2 emissions were a minor part of the major problem. Rape, pillage and destruction for economic purposes…

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    1. In reply to Shaun King

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

  9. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Peter Lang

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Peter Lang

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Peter Lang

      Comment removed by moderator.

  10. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Mike Puleston

    Citizen

    "The usual venom and spittle", Gerard Dean? Since joining the Conversation, I have been struck by how civilised the discussions are. Are you sure you're not projecting?

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  12. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    110 years is not so long, especially when you compare it with the life of the planet or just what happened with the Sahara over about 20,000 years.
    " A timeline of Sahara occupation
    22,000 to 10,500 years ago: The Sahara was devoid of any human occupation outside the Nile Valley and extended 250 miles further south than it does today.
    10,500 to 9,000 years ago: Monsoon rains begin sweeping into the Sahara, transforming the region into a habitable area swiftly settled by Nile Valley dwellers…

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Greg North

      "110 years is not so long .."

      Exactly. Which is why it is a problem. We are rapidly changing the climate of the earth.

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  13. Christopher Seymour

    Business owner at Location

    I am not a climate skeptic and I do believe humans are warming the planet. But articles like this one are counter productive because, like the forecast a few years ago that Brisbane dams would never fill again, they are not credible with ordinary people. The picture suggests Tasmania is having a hot month. In fact the hottest March day on record in Hobart was way back on 13th March 1940 when it reached 37.3 degrees. The hottest March on record was even further back - in 1891 when the average maximum temperature was 22.9 degrees.
    Climate scientists bemoan the fact that people are not listening and that skeptics are not scientific. This kind of article is exactly the reason for the skepticism.

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    1. Sophie Lewis

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Tasmania is having a hot month. Parts of Tasmania may still break the record for the hottest March.

      Studies such as the one we conducted are designed to extricate the different climatic influences on a particular climatic event. In this case, we looked at the influence of anthropogenic changes on the recent extreme summer heat for the whole of Australia. The extreme temperatures during this time were both persistent and spatially extensive, well beyond Tasmania on any one particular day…

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    2. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Chris - I would beg to differ. What is counter-productive is the cherry picking of facts by those wanting to mislead the public.

      Have a look at how the Murdoch/News Ltd press literally cherry pick the words of scientists this week:

      https://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/cut-and-cherry-paste-the-australian-shamelessly-cherry-picking-the-words-of-scientists/

      Four quotes by scientists completely misrepresented by the "Cut and Paste" of The Australian. The Oz implied each scientist stated there had been a "pause in warming".

      When you track down the actual interviews and statements they've actually said the very opposite. Quite shameless really.

      The problem is not the statements made by scientists or academics: it is the intentional, orchestrated and malevolent misrepresentation of science that is the problem.

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    3. Christopher Seymour

      Business owner at Location

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      It does appear that Hobart at least is headed for a record March.The average for the first 27 days was 23.4 degrees.

      I am not a climate skeptic. In fact I think that Global Warming ranks alongside overpopulation as the most serious threat to humanity. My issue is that climate scientists are losing the plot when it comes to informing the rest of us. and getting consensus about required future action. We live in a democracy. Its not a dictatorship and it certainly isn't a meritocracy of scientists…

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Christopher, the record cold weather in Europe and North America is NOT contrary evidence - this has been explained so many times (including above) that it's embarrassing to have to repeat it.

      Would you like to try telling us how climate scientists should communicate the evidence? There is no way to reduce it to simple, linear, either/or statements because reality is more complex. It's not beyond the average person's capacity to understand the basic principles that more energy in the system means…

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    5. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Thanks for the exposition of your views, Mr Seymour.

      "My issue is that climate scientists are losing the plot when it comes to informing the rest of us. and getting consensus about required future action."
      That's ridiculous; don't blame the popular refusal to take any sort of responsibility for our actions on the people who are already providing clear analyses of the problems.

      "We live in a democracy." Its not a dictatorship and it certainly isn't a meritocracy of scientists. This means…

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    6. Christopher Seymour

      Business owner at Location

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I am obviously missing something. I have seen no arguments as to how a very cold winter is evidence of global warming. It sounds like a hard sell. Mostly all I see are assertions that cold winters either don't support global warming or don't disprove it.

      As for the met office, their graph at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/long-range/decadal-fc looks like a pause to me. Again I think you have hard sell convincing people that 1998 to 2017 is not a pause.

      The Australian in particular often runs articles at odds to its editorials. Sensible well written articles that discuss the facts fairly and don't go into hyperbole would carry a lot of weight.

      Arguments on The Conversation are all very well, but the real contest is in September and the likely result is the reversal of the carbon tax.

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    7. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      The election is a sideshow (sound and fury) - in 100 years it well be irrelevant. However, in 100 years our decedents will be both scratching their heads and shaking their fists at us for the mess we left them.

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    8. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      The pause argument (yawn). And then there is that pause at 1978-1985 and that other one at 1965-1975 and don't forget that one back in the 30s-40s.

      Been there, done that, but the trend is still upwards. And right now, we are only seeing a flattening at a time when solar activity is in decline and a few other influences aren't helping either. The scary thing is, when we take these natural variations into account, warming shouldn't have slowed it should have gone backwards. God help us when things return to normal.

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    9. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Christopher,

      The current extreme weather in Europe was predicted by climate change scientists. They have already shown it to be a consequence of the collapse in the Arctic ice sheet. Here is a newspaper article from last year which shows they predicted EXACTLY what was going to happen.

      http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/13/science/la-sci-sn-arctic-ice-melt-20120912

      The UK Met Office report was NOT about a pause in warming. The reporting in the Daily Mail was wrong - a lie written by…

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    10. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Sophie Lewis

      " In this case, we looked at the influence of anthropogenic changes on the recent extreme summer heat for the whole of Australia. "

      Really? So what was your methodology for separating anthropogenic changes from natural variation?

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    11. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Christopher, there's this little thing called 'science' and this quaint group of folk, such as the authors of the article, called 'scientists'. They do verifiable research. they critique each other's work. They publish in reputable peer-reviewed journals.

      That's the bit you're missing.

      The quality of debate, either here or at The Strain, is, while interesting, not quite how scientific conclusions get made.

      And your final comment is simply the same ill-tempered 'might makes right' pseudo-argument that is beloved of reactionaries the world over.

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    12. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Here's some of what you're missing to explain how intense Arctic summer warming is driving severity of European winters.

      Jaiser et al, "Impact of sea ice cover changes on the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric winter circulation", Tellus A 2012, 64, 11595, DOI: 10.3402/tellusa.v64i0.11595, http://www.tellusa.net/index.php/tellusa/article/view/11595

      Petoukhov et al, "Quasiresonant amplification of planetary waves and recent Northern Hemisphere weather extremes", PNAS, http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1222000110

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Michael Marriott

      Here is a compilation of the official land + sea or satellite temperature data for the last couple of decades, taken without adjustment except for graph offsets for clarity. You can argue all day long about what the start date should be, what the end date should be, how to treat the end date smoothing problem, whether to smooth outliers, etc etc.

      http://www.geoffstuff.com/plateau_global.jpg

      In the end, a reasonable scientist would bypass the often inaccurate, non-specialist…

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    14. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sophie Lewis

      Sophie,
      If you can make any sense out of the historic temperature reconstruction of Tasmania, you a better scientist than I am. Some places like Launceston have such a variable site history with so much internal inconsistency that one has to make subjective judgements as to which data to keep and which to reject. Here is a selection of sites:
      91049 Pumping Station
      91104 Launceston Airport comparison
      91123 Mt Pleasant
      91179 Radio Station 7EX
      91218 Elphin
      91237 Ti Tree bend
      91311 Airport
      91306…

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    15. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin,
      Do you know that solar activity affects global temperature? I've not seen this confirmed in any credible way. Reference?

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "the temperature has been FLAT for 16 years"

      You're not telling the truth again Geoffery:

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1997/trend

      The trend has a confidence interval of 0.08±0.13 deg C/decade from GISS and 0.05±0.12 deg C/decade from HadCrut4: http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

      So there is no certainty that the trend caused by GHGs is "flat".

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    17. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "If you can make any sense out of the historic temperature reconstruction of Tasmania, you a better scientist than I am."

      Which as all of us know, isn't saying much, if anything. It's good of you to supply examples that demonstrate this such as:

      "Take a look at the variation in temperature from one location to another on a given day. Try to devise a method to extract a single, confident series"

      and

      "It is impossible to discern in hindsight if an adjustment or its magnitude is justified."

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    18. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Mr O'Neill, I presume a "flat" trend implies that the warming trend from 1997 is 0, zero, zip, niente. This I would take to be the null hypothesis.

      As you say the anomoly for hadcrut is +0.08 deg C per decade and for GISS +0.05 deg C per decade. Definitely a modest increase of less than one degree per century. Fortunately you have also given the 95% confidence intervals of +/-0.13 and +/-0.12 per decade respectively. Does 0 deg C fall within these confidence intervals? My rough calculation says it does. Do you think this negates the null hypothesis and if so what does it imply for the statement -

      " there has been no statistically significant warming since 1997"

      Interested in your follow up thoughts on your own analysis.

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    19. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "I presume a "flat" trend implies that the warming trend from 1997 is 0, zero, zip, niente. This I would take to be the null hypothesis."

      You can at least equally take, say, 0.17 deg C/decade (the warming trend for a much longer time than 16 years) as the null hypothesis.

      "Fortunately you have also given the 95% confidence intervals of +/-0.13 and +/-0.12 per decade respectively. Does 0 deg C fall within these confidence intervals?"

      The 2 sigma confidence intervals simply mean they do not reject any null hypothesis within the confidence intervals. However, absence of disproof is not the same thing as proof.

      You can equally logically say that, say, 2 years of data do not reject the hypothesis of "flat" trend but that's obviously not proof that the trend is flat. The only difference with 16 years of data is that it's not as obviously not proof. Of course, lots of people get taken in when something is not obvious.

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    20. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      And what does one say of a result where the error is larger than the effect?

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    21. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "http://www.geoffstuff.com/plateau_global.jpg";

      What a beautiful bunch of cherries you have picked there. Must have taked some time fiddling with start years to get them all so nice and flat. Well done!

      Here's a challenge:
      - try starting them all at the same year.
      - try a year that ISN'T an obvious El Nino anomaly - 1997-8

      Let us know how you go. ;)

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "And what does one say of a result where the error is larger than the effect?"

      That you've ignored data that you don't like.

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    23. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "...0, zero, zip, niente. This I would take to be the null hypothesis."

      And THAT is where you are wrong. If the objective of the exercise is to demonstrate that the warming trend has stopped - then your null should be the EXISTING WARMING TREND. If the current warming pattern is still within 2 sigma then what you are looking at is noise.

      If both criteria are met ie - " there has been no statistically significant warming since 1997" AND "The trend has not statistically stopped" then you obviously are looking at too short a time frame. There is not enough data to demonstrate either. That is what has been repeated ad nauseum by climate bodies and systematically ignored by the "16 years crowd".

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    24. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      Good grief! Talk about getting things upside down. Researchers collect data on a new fertiliser. The manufacters claim it will increase yields more than another product. By your reasoning the null hypothesis is
      H0: it does, and the alternative is
      HA: it doesn't

      Wrong! A statistician who presented that to a client would be told to trot off and try again. The clue, should you be interested, is the word null: adj. void, non-existent. The null is that nothing has happened, eg no increase in crop yield, no benefit from a new medication, no increase in temperature anomoly since 1997.

      I'm sorry, but you haven't got a clue.

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    25. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "By your reasoning the null hypothesis is
      H0: it does, and the alternative is
      HA: it doesn't"

      Where does his reasoning say that?

      " the word null: no increase in temperature anomoly since 1997"

      You're being too literal with the word "null". In "null hypothesis" it doesn't mean a null of any specific variable like temperature trend. The null hypothesis for two different types of fertiliser is that their effects are the same, not zero.

      Try to remember that the null hypothesis is still a hypothesis after a test. The test doesn't prove it is true. The best a test can do is disprove the null hypothesis.

      "you haven't got a clue."

      Rather an ironic claim.

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    26. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      For a 2-sided test
      H0: crop yield fertiliser1 - crop yield fertiliser2 = 0
      Zero, no change. Capito?

      I'm perfectly aware that a non-refutation of the null hypothesis doesn't imply that the null is true. Is merely states that we haven't affirmed the alternative at a given confidence level (usually 0.05). What does that mean for your woodfortrees analysis?

      As for your "it's not as obviously not proof", words fail me. I think I'll have beer.

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    27. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "I'm perfectly aware that a non-refutation of the null hypothesis doesn't imply that the null is true."

      So why, pray tell, do you persist with such an interest in zero trend for which there is no proof?

      "Is merely states that we haven't affirmed the alternative at a given confidence level (usually 0.05)" with that data.

      Well so what?

      "What does that mean for your woodfortrees analysis?"

      I don't know what "analysis" you're talking about but the trends simply show that anyone who claims there is a flat trend has no idea what they are talking about.

      "As for your "it's not as obviously not proof"," your comprehension "fail"s you.

      Happy to correct your errors.

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    28. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      By the way, since this appears to be the only way you can understand:

      H0: temperature trend - 0.17 deg C/decade = 0

      Capito?

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    29. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      You stated that 'there is no certainty that the trend caused by GHG is "flat"'. Correct. You then informed us that the slope confidence intervals from 1997 were (-0.05,0.21) and (-0.07,0.17) for GISS and HadCrut4 respectively. These both contain the null hypothesis zero slope trend which most definitely means the null hypothesis (in words rather than an equation) "there has been no statistically significant warming since 1997" cannot be refuted. I found it rather amusing that the confidence intervals…

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    30. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "which most definitely means the null hypothesis (in words rather than an equation) "there has been no statistically significant warming since 1997" cannot be refuted""

      it means the zero trend hypothesis is not refuted by that data.

      Also "there has been no statistically significant warming since 1997" is not a hypothesis as used in a test of a hypothesis. It is just a statement with a particular meaning.

      "I found it rather amusing that the confidence intervals you provided indicated something…

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    31. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "it means the zero trend hypothesis is not refuted by that data". Yep but that's not the hypothesis I'm talking about. A hypothesis of +/- 0.00001 or +/- 0.05 trend is not of much interest either. The press and Dr Pachauri amongst others are talking about "no statistically significant warming since 1997". That is the null hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis is that there is "statistically significant warming since 1997". The way to test it is to set the increase to zero in the null. This DOES…

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    32. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      Andrew Vincent,
      Other people made the graph. I just showed it verbatim. I did no cherry picking at all. The essay was to inquire into which year the particular institutions showed the plateau had begun. Which answers all of your objections.
      Sorry - I don't take any notice of work in progress on matters like El Nino years. When people understand them I might become interested.

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    33. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris O'Neill,
      You can wriggle all you like, but a reasonable scientist would call the trends flat.
      There is nothing magical about one or two sigma levels. They are just crutches to help people keep a ready reckoner in the mind. Nothing exciting happens to the weather when it slips outside a human-specified confidence level.

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    34. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      So what happens if you use daily data instead of annual? Plenty of days in 16 years, about 5,844.

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    35. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin Stone - little ice age and maunder minimum.

      And the mechanism is?

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    36. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Likewise, you would be lined up for a Nobel prize if your hypothesis held any water.

      Now Grant, it is nice of you to select 1997 - an outlier year - for your starting point. But what about if we choose 1994 (just a random selection, I haven't looked at any figures) or 2000?

      As noted before, there have been at least three periods in the 20th Century where the global averages have seemingly paused. It is neither unusual or unexpected because there is natural and man-made variation which creates…

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    37. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      With all due respect Geoffrey, Marcott et.al has NOT been "torn to shreds" - except by the paper tigers of the denial movement. I've actually been tracking the commentary and discussion on the paper across the various blogs (pro-science and anti-science sceptics) and web sites.

      The flat temperature myth has been debunked that many times it is not funny...

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    38. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      You don't have to be an scientist to see that the temperature record is flat for all practical purposes regardless of the nitpickers here. Even if you believed the chief nitpicker's maximum possible increase it amounts to .01 Deg C per annum or a staggering .07% per annum worst case. The reason temperatures are always shown as vastly magnified "anomalies" is that warmists would be laughed at showing temperature vs time on a linear graph as it would appear flat and there is no scare story or research grants in that.

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    39. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      I don't have a clue? Personal insults are unhelpful.

      Your fertiliser analogy is a great example and demonstrates my point: The null in this case is standard plant growth NOT zero growth. The fertiliser must demonstrate growth ABOVE growth that is normal. In this case ZERO is an arbitrary number. NULL is the standard growth of an unfertilised plant.

      With global temps we have many bumps and wiggles but a well established trend lasting from (at least) the middle of last century. If you are saying…

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    40. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "You can wriggle all you like"

      What a hypocrite. You're the one doing the wriggling.

      "There is nothing magical about one or two sigma levels."

      So why, pray tell, do people like you make a big song and dance about no "statistically significant" warming which relies on a two sigma level?

      Your problem is that you don't realise that global average temperature has a lot of autocorrelated noise in it which means the noise can obscure the trend for very long period, e.g. 17 years.

      Your problem is you don't want to see the signal so you use the noise as an excuse.

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    41. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "So what happens if you use daily data instead of annual? Plenty of days in 16 years, about 5,844."

      Geoffrey, Geoffrey, Geoffrey. It's plain as day that statistical analysis of autocorrelated data was not included in your degree. An introduction to this and its application to global average temperature is given here: http://web.archive.org/web/20080427124503/tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/22/autocorrelation/

      A more advanced analysis is used to calculate the confidence intervals in this calculator: http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

      Try to give yourself some relevant education.

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    42. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      You seem comfortable with the notion that the planet had a massive global energy imbalance for 17 years.... then suddenly and mysteriously stops.

      Either that or you're doing the math wrong.

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    43. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      http://online.stat.psu.edu/online/development/stat501/10slopetest/03slopetest_gentest.html

      From the above-

      "For simple linear regression, a common null hypothesis is H0 : β1 = 0. "
      Comment: β1 is the slope of the regression (trend) line. See the graphs.
      Further down,

      "Therefore, the appropriate null and alternative hypotheses are specified either as:

      H0: yi = β0 + εi
      HA: yi = β0 + β1xi + εi
      or as:

      H0: β1 = 0
      HA: β1 ≠ 0 "

      Comment: The null hypothesis is that the trend line is zero. The alternative is that it isn't.

      If you you earnestly believe that the null hypothesis is not as stated above and is something else, then fill ya boots.

      I'm not going any further with this. It's a waste of time.

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    44. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      ""no statistically significant warming since 1997". That is the null hypothesis."

      No, that's not the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis implied by "no statistically significant warming since 1997" is that the hypothesis of zero trend since 1997 is not refuted by the data. Try to get the semantics right.

      "we are not testing whether there is zero warming since 1997 but whether there is no statistically significant warming since 1997."

      And what, pray tell, does "no statistically significant…

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    45. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      That last comment should read "Comment: The null hypothesis is that the slope of the trend line is zero. The alternative is that it isn't."

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    46. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      The text uses an example where a zero slope is the null hypothesis. Read it carefully:

      " For simple linear regression, a COMMON null hypothesis is H0 : β1 = 0. IN THIS CASE, the reduced model is obtained by "zeroing-out" the slope β1 that appears in the full model. That is, the reduced model is:"

      It's an EXAMPLE.

      Obviously not every application in the world uses 0 as a null hypothesis. If I had money in the bank earning 5% interest, a gradient of 1.05 would be normal.

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    47. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      ""what happened to the data before 16 years ago". It's there and a test with the same null hypothesis as above extended to 17+ years would negate the null."

      You ignored all the following questions BTW:

      Why did they choose to ignore that (data older than 17 years)? Who do you think came up with the null hypothesis of "zero warming for 16 years" and why did they come up with it? Do you think they came up with it before or after they analysed the data?

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    48. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The graph is just cherry picking - doesn't matter who made it. It even SAYS it is cherry picking. Start with the result - a flat trend - and see how far back you can draw it. Of course it's going to show you a flat trend!

      - You don't think ENSO oscillations effect global temperatures??!

      Oh dear.

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    49. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      The text uses an example where H:0=0 is appropriate and you seem to have taken that to mean that that it's a general rule of statistics.

      Let's say I have a theory that Australian population growth has slowed since 1990. For me to demonstrate my theory I need to prove that the growth trend pre 1990 (A) is greater than Post 1990 (B). And I need to do it so that the difference is greater than just statistical noise. In THIS case my null is growth rate A. Having a null trend of 0 is mathematically useless to me.

      Surely this is obvious.

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    50. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "But this smacks ever so slightly of saying nothing about your hypotheses before you analyse the data and then coming up with your hypotheses after you have done so. Generally considered a no-no in hypothesis testing."

      I didn't point this out before but this statement is rather ironic considering that the people who came up with the "no statistically significant warming for 16 years" statement have done exactly that, i.e. they came up with their hypothesis after they analysed the data.

      No doubt Dr Grant will be telling everyone that this was a big no-no. Har, har, just kidding.

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    51. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "a reasonable scientist would"

      Also known as the "no true Scotsman" argument.

      By the way Geoffrey, have you learned anything about autocorrelation yet or are you still just clowning around?

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  14. Ian Alexander

    Reader

    Sophie and Sarah

    Thanks for a really good summary of the issue and your reserach in this area.

    The kneejerk responses here from from the usual gaggle of (old, white, male) deniers shows that there is a lot of work needed to be done to communicate this issue more clearly. Articles like yours can only help.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ian Alexander

      Ian,
      It has nothing to do with the communication of science. It is all to do with the validity of science.
      Here's a strange thing. I've asked about a dozen moderately tough questions on this page. Not one person has ventured an answer unless it was since I last looked.

      The Conversation is more about style than substance. There's very little content of modern, hard, validated science. Ask a simple question, get either silence or a personal slur. What a way to go!

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    2. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, from what I can see your questions are not 'moderately tough'. They are classic climate denier rhetoric. My guess is that people haven't answered them because they have all been answered before, in great detail and after a while, you just get sick of countering the same old tired rubbish. You might truly be seeking more information or you might be a denialist concern troll - if the former, my apologies but stop being lazy - the science is freely available for review; if the latter, I hope I have given you the ego strokes needed to take you back to WUWT or Jo Nova or Andrew Bolt with a good feeling about yourself.

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    3. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Ian Alexander

      Great response Mr Alexander. It's clear you you have all the answers to Mr Sherrington's points but are too exasperated to bother with denialist trolls. Awesome. You da man.

      Have a cigar.

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  15. Guy Hibbins

    Medical Officer

    Readers might wish to look at what Australian Academy of Sciences which represents our 420 leading scientists from across all disciplines, elected on the basis of their actual scientific contributions, has to say about climate change.
    See devices like the ones on Device Watch or medicines like the ones on Quack Watch, which is really what the proposed amendments are about.

    See www.devicewatch.org and www.quackwatch.com

    It seems that the quality of online debate about climate change operates…

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    1. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Jane Rawson

      Thanks Jane, very useful references - I think we're at the point that any TC climate related articles need template appendix/addendum to counter the three most commonly pushed sceptic myths that flood these discussions:

      - pause in warming for 17 years
      - NH winter disproves global warming
      - the climate has always changed

      It might save readers and authors having to debunk the same tired old sceptic memes every time.

      The real issue, and what we should be debating is adaptation: how best…

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  16. Catherine Ayres

    Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at Australian National University

    Thanks to the authors for this clear and informative piece. Although some of the comments here seem to be jerking their knees right off, I thought this was a balanced and nuanced argument that also communicated the severity of what we might expect if anthropogenic climate change continues on its current trajectory. A really great piece of science communication for those of us less scientifically inclined! Thank you!

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    1. Roger Simpson

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Catherine Ayres

      Hi Catherine. Most people concerned with this issue have accepted the science long ago or have faith in the authority of the climate scientists. I find the discussion around this debate to be the real area of interest, it is a gold mine for sociologists and social psychologists such as yourself. Cheers

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    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Catherine Ayres

      Catherine, never mind anthropogenic climate change. Take first the simpler case of climate change. What climate change? There's a reasonable view that temperature increase has reached a plateau despite the hand of man.
      The trajectories given by past models, such those given in early IPCC reports, have been shown to be well off course, so far as to be useless except to provide guides to get newer models closer to reality. That's assuming people have the skill to model to the required accuracy. More and more it seems that the system is too complex to model, with too many variables interacting in ways that are not understood.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "There's a reasonable view"

      You would say that, wouldn't you?

      "The trajectories given by past models, such those given in early IPCC reports, have been shown to be well off course"

      Maybe the very first report but reports since then produced confidence intervals encompassing observations, except for Arctic sea ice which is melting faster than forecast confidence intervals.

      "it seems that the system is too complex to model, with too many variables interacting in ways that are not understood."

      It's bizarre that people use lack of understanding as an excuse for taking risks.

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  17. Mike Puleston

    Citizen

    Anyone who doesn't believe that the application of heat can result in cold - to the point of freezing - should take a look at a gas refrigerator.

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  18. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    I am familiar with the rigour and evidence required to establish some serious contention as beyond reasonable doubt within my area of expertise. Serious claims about climate change are made by other scientists outside my area of expertise. While I can not critique the detail that requires expertise, I can recognise the style of presentation that goes with respectable quality work-peer review, reputable journals, studies that cross-check for consistency between different systems ('If you are right…

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Recently Anthony Watts who runs the climate science denialist blog that most of the cranks get their disinformation from, criticised climate scientist Michael Mann for refusing to debate creationist and climate science denier Roy Spencer.

      He had to close the discussion when it became very obvious that a large proportion of his climate science denying supporters were also creationists.

      http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/03/watt-whopper-of-religious-fervour.html

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    2. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      By that logic you could refute F equalling MA on the grounds that it was formulated by a creationist.

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  19. Anthony Cox

    logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

    The Angry Summer is a product of some problematic, or at least contradictory data intepretation; for instance, UAH, the hottest of the satellites, has this record for Australian Summer temperature anomalies:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/03/hottest-summer-record-in-australia-not-even-close-says-uah-satellite-data/#comments

    UAH doesn't include Tasmania so perhaps that explains it.

    However BOM's own records also show the hyperbole of the term "angry":

    http://www.waclimate.net/1908.html

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Even if it was the hottest summer, it wouldn't make any difference.

      Climate scientists know their models are hopelessly flawed and their projections are failing miserably. They even carefully document their failure in the recent draft IPCC report - albeit buried deep within.

      This is why the tactic has switched away from science towards cherry picking, marketing strategies and branding - of which The Angry Summer is an excellent example.

      BTW, did you know that this year the Kimberley is suffering the wettest drought since records began? More evidence that deniers will shrilly refuse to admit

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    2. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Not really surprising about the Kimberley. Climate models have long forecast increased precipitation for that region. It's the South East we should be worried about as far as drying is concerned.

      I guess you just picked a cherry that was rotten, Sean.

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    3. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin, I have to confess I made that statistic up. Shamelessly plagiarised from David Stevens of Poole, Dorset

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    4. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony Cox bringing up the much debunked weather station "errors" topic, gee I wonder if his political affiliations have anything to do with this tired trope?

      And UAH satellite measures have been shown to be inaccurate and unreliable, so quoting their data is pointless: http://www.quikscat.com/papers/msu/A_Reanalysis_of_the_MSU_Channel_2_Tropospheric_Temperature_Record.pdf
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/309/5740/1548.abstract

      Also, good to see some cherry picking, haven't seen enough of that in the responses here.

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    5. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean

      "....Alvin, I have to confess I made that statistic up. Shamelessly plagiarised....:"

      So just things as usual then? At least you admited it Sean - your other climate change denier mates don't share your honesty.

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    6. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Ok, you don't like UAH; then try RSS, the other satellite temperature record. Do you think it will be the same as UAH, cooler than UAH or warmer?

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    7. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Like?? Nothing to do with it. Flawed data is the problem.

      Let's see what NASA has to say: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

      I also like that you try to imply that there are only two satellite temperature records..... that's some good cherry picking.

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    8. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      From what I have read, precipitation in the south west of Australia has fallen over the last few decades but is increasing in the south east?

      Wouldn't this mean we should worry about the south west if anywhere?

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    9. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      I stand slightly corrected sorry Alvin. The south west has seen a greater and longer decreasing trend than the south east but outside of La Nina flood events the south east has recently seen some rainfall decline as well.

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    10. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Your link is irrelevant.

      There are many satellites but the 2 temperature reporting systems based on satellite data are RSS and UAH.

      What others are you aware of?

      I repeat what is RSS's temperature record of Australian temperature anomalies since 1979?

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    11. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Hi Wade,

      Precipitation is declining in both south west and south east Australia. Those areas which are loosely termed Mediterranean climates generally seem to be suffering the worse declines worldwide, not just in Australia.

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    12. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Oh dear, Anthony. Did you not understand that the link I gave was the front page to many pages of evidence? Well, don't worry, I can explain. The NASA page has a large amount of information contained under a number of headings, so I linked to the evidence page. This page contains more headings again (on the side), so that you can explore various aspects of the data. In this way you can access the surface temperature data and the GRACE satellite data.

      Don't worry, I'm sure you'll eventually get…

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    13. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Your graph says 'adjusted' on the side; and I was asking about an Australian temperature record not a global one. But since the UAH matches the RSS trend globally you would expect it to match the RSS trend in Australia.

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    14. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      You missed the part about that being cherry picking, Anthony. I suggest you read a little bit about how all this climate stuff works, because you seem to not understand it very well.

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    15. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      http://www.pnas.org/content/110/12/4435.full

      "Today’s climate models will likely prove of little interest in 100 years. But adequately sampled, carefully calibrated, quality controlled, and archived data for key elements of the climate system will be useful indefinitely."

      That's how climate stuff works.

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    16. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      And another example of cherry picking. I believe it is also you shifting the goalposts after having been shown to not understand what you are talking about. This current cherry pick again shows you have no idea of what you are talking about, unless you are deliberately trying to confuse people, but you wouldn't be that dishonest, would you Anthony?

      Models have and will always be limited. Yet we rely on models daily. Why? Because they are fantastic at taking real information and helping us understand…

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    17. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "another example of cherry picking."

      Yes it's amazing how these denialists can spend endless hours trawling through scientific papers for quotations out of context that they can misinterpret and yet they can't even find the weather bureau's summer climate statement. What is the name for this psychological disorder?

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    18. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "What is the name for this psychological disorder?"

      I don't know but if Gillard wins the next election it'll probably be a criminal offence.

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    19. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Conspiracy theorist?

      You only have to see Anthony's response to your post to see one.

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    20. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      "What is the name for this psychological disorder?"

      It's called Recursive Fury which admittedly is a bit obtuse. The average bloke-in-the-pub is more comfortable with Conspiracy Ideation which after football and sex is all we ever talk about. And no wonder. The blue sky, cutting edge research into Conspiracy Ideation is the future of Climate Change and long overdue.

      The scientists engaged in this research will be remembered long after the likes of Laplace, Arrhenius and Lamb are forgotten. Mr Cox - It would be a tragedy, a veritable tragedy if funding for this line of research was cut by a change of government.

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    21. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Ah yes, of course, "Recursive Fury"; Lewandowsky's contribution to the English vocabulary; it's up there with Shakespeare's Sonnets.

      And I'm furious Lewandowsky doesn't receive even more government funding.

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  20. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

    WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

    This simple question is key to preventing or at least minimising climate change. Future generations will ask why we didn't take effective action when we knew what would happen.

    This discussion would form a great exhibit. I believe that this discussion shows that everyone involved in this discussion is to blame.

    As at 11:47 am on Thursday there were 102 comments.
    21 are from the usual climate change deniers with 4, to me, new deniers.
    72 comments…

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    1. Suzy Gneist
      Suzy Gneist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Multi-tasker at Graphic Design & Montville Coffee

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Hi Michael, I hear your frustration (if I may call it that) and agree.
      I believe that agency to act (for CC or sustainability/reverse or no-growth economies) will not be found either in acadaemia nor in politics or bureaucracies because all of these are too situated in historical and hierarchical contexts of the status quo/business as usual to be able to change at the speed required to turn around human impacts (lag).
      Agency has to be flexible, contain multiple approaches and multiple solutions and touch every level of existence. To me this means that only grassroots action and agency originating from individuals in concerted action can make a difference. This is already happening, yet to motivate the mainstream, I fear CC effects (extremes) have to get much worse before real actions are initiated widely - I do hope this won't be too late for many people already heavily impacted.

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Good points Mike. Trolls be trolling and getting their desired reaction: inaction.

      I think a good start would be for more renewables and to stop coal mining in Australia.

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    3. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael goes to the hear of the matter: what is to be done? A great question:

      We are no closer to implementing solutions to reduce the scale and impact of climate change than we were 30 years ago when the issue burst into the mainstream.

      If current trends are anything to go by an increase of average temperatures by 3-4 degrees by 2100 end is more than a possibility: it is highly probable.

      One need only look at the recent Marcott et.al paper tracking temperature trends over the last 11,000…

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Hi Suzy - Yes, it is definitely frustration combined with a large dose of depression.

      At the moment the best we can expect from government is that before 2020 we have an ETS that by 2020 reduces our emissions by 0.5% on 1990 levels.

      If this comes about then we know what our emissions will be in 2020.

      All that some individual, business, council, state or federal government does other than the ETS will make ZERO difference to our emissions. The only thing that would make a difference is for…

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    5. Suzy Gneist
      Suzy Gneist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Multi-tasker at Graphic Design & Montville Coffee

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      David Hicks describes this stage as the 'Effective stage' (frustration/despair), following Cognitive (awareness of scope of issues) and being followed by Existential Stage (redefinement or escapism/denial), Empowerment (agency) and Action (change praxis).
      Many comments can be placed along this scale somewhere :)
      It's the last 3 that will make a difference and are worth pursuing and exploring in as many ways as humanly possible - of course there will always be those who chose escapism or denial for their own personal comfort/reason.
      The best way I found to combat the frustration stage is to get involved - in research, in action and in grassroots diversity. I also don't think we can look to our current political leaders for leadership on these issues - but there is always the chance to change the system, after all change is the only certainty and even political or democratic systems evolve.

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    6. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Excellent Michael (and Michael M),

      Should we be surprised? After all, when confronted by climate change we are being confronted by the fact that almost everything we were educated to believe in from the day we were born is faulty...

      That happiness comes from material consumption. That our great human civilisation was gradually evolving to betterment of everyone. That economic growth could be continued ad infinitum. That capitalist economics would provide prosperity and equality for all. That…

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    7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      An interesting post Michael Marriott.

      You are right that minimising climate change requires significant global partnership. Unfortunately the effects of climate change are aslo likely to lead to wars and mass migration.

      I think the only way things will change significantly is if some countries team up together to move rapidly to zero emissions and these countries have carbon taxes for all imports. Hopefully the laggards (USA, Australia, etc) will eventually feel morally (if not economically…

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    8. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Suzy - In 2007 I had reached the ACTION stage enough to become the Greens candidate for Higgins in the federal election. Climate change was my main issue.

      I suspect that 2007 was also probably the high point for public acceptance of the need to act on climate change.

      My frustration and depression comes from what has happened since.

      History proves that sometimes amazing turn-arounds can happen when committed people fight for change. So I'm not advocating giving up. In fact my post today…

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    9. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael - your points are very correct. The disruptive effects of climate change are what many militaries and security experts are looking at. Start with Gwynne Dyer's "Climate Wars" for a useful introduction from a writer expert in the field:

      http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/climate-wars/

      It is certain governments will take an increasingly active role over the coming decades, and that their response will be driven by several factors:

      • resource scarcity
      • economic disruption
      • political upheaval
      • intra and interstate conflict
      • demands by their citizens to respond to the above

      Afterall, what is the purpose of the state?

      To ensure the security and welfare of its citizens, foster conditions that allow economic activity and the preservation of its borders. The state of the future will be the security state: one that is focussed on responding to upcoming disruptions.

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    10. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      You sound so very confident about this one or two degree change. What would you say if you were living in Europe where they are still freezing and it's nearly April? No doubt someone can give me a link to some article by some pundit who will explain how global warming causes very cold weather but it sounds a bit counter-intuitive doesn't it?

      Maybe it's just nature and you shouldn't be so depressed.

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    11. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim, I'm new here. What exactly is a "troll"?

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    12. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

      Simple. Understand it, then adapt.

      For a practical start, identify the individuals who have illegally churned the concept for their person gain, strip them of their proceeds of crime, lock them up for a while. It's rather similar to manipulating on the Stock exchange, or making false reports about beat new mines. There are laws that jail you for those offences. I wonder if you think this climate change movement has NO people creaming a huge quid out of it.

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Michael,
      The Marcott paper has been torn to shreds. No moderate scientist would find it tasteful. Do you keep current with events like the errors in the statistics, the wrong dating, the wrong just about everything?
      Try http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/19/bent-their-core-tops-in/
      and the half-dozen rebuttals that precede it.

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    14. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Suzy,

      Show me the scientific data. Until it is sorted out there's no need to be frightened by scary scenarios.
      If you are interested in the workings of the mind, I'm sure there will be many people coming back from Afghanistan before Christmas who will need your professional skills more than climate change activists do.

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    15. Suzy Gneist
      Suzy Gneist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Multi-tasker at Graphic Design & Montville Coffee

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      What ARE you talking about? Which scientific data? Hick's work? What frightening scenarios?
      What has any of this to do with Afghanistan?
      Re: workings of the mind, everything is to do with the workings of the mind, I'm not sure how yours works though to come into a conversation and make some completely unrelated comments...

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "For a practical start, identify the individuals who have illegally churned the concept"

      that CO2 emissions are not a problem

      "for their person gain, strip them of their proceeds of crime, lock them up for a while."

      Fixed your little omission for you Geoffrey.

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    17. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Adaption doesn't work for long term problems. Tipping points or switchover points come too late to allow development of solutions.

      CSIRO had a study on this that compared adaptation to combatting to (something else I can't remember) and adaptation just didn't work.

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    18. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Trolls are an interesting breed of internet dwellers whose sole purpose seems to be to be disagreeable and antagonistic. They don't seek to learn nor enlighten, only drag the conversation down.

      So in this instance, I was referring to the proclivity of certain individuals here to continue to argue against scientific reality, despite being presented repeatedly with solid evidence that debunks their points.

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    19. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "and adaptation just didn't work"

      So much for evolution then.

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    20. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Bloody Harry Potter has given trolls a really bad PR issue Tim - besmirched the brand badly.

      The rabbits who devote themselves to spreading re-assuring messages attacking science regarding global warming are not really trolls.

      They are invariably - old, deeply conservative, believers in a rather mechanical cast iron certainty and fixed laws of science. Society and social relationships should work the same way too. They have usually focused exclusive in a single discipline and only in retirement…

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    21. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Non-sequiteur, Anthony. Remind me how long a breeding company needs to develop a new variety? Decade? How about introducing a completely new trait? 20-30 years? And that is with intensive selection.

      The proposal of adaptation ignores the long tail required to be ready. This is often explained by the exponential resource usage argument. If a pond grows lillies in it and each year the number of lillies covering the surface of the pond doubles, how much of the pond will be covered when you only have one year left?

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    22. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "Remind me how long a breeding company needs to develop a new variety? "

      Depends whether you use GM technology or not.

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    23. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      No. GM for single trait transfer still takes a long time (just slightly faster in comparison). Let alone multi-trait stuff they are working on now that is due out some time next decade for drought tolerance.

      If you are trying for the "technology will save us" argument, Anthony, you would do well to understand the technologies.

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    24. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "trying for the "technology will save us" argument"

      No. I'm pinning my hopes on the September the 14th argument.

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    25. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Oh, so you have belief that you'll be able to ignore science by changing governments? Now we see your real argument: you aren't rational nor science based, you are politically motivated.

      The great thing about science is that it is true whether you believe it or not. It is time you realised that and stopped denying the reality of climate change and the need to stop emitting greenhouse gases.

      Playing politics with our future is the realm of lunacy and tyrants.

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    26. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "The great thing about science is that it is true whether you believe it or not."

      And vice-versa.

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    27. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      That explains why I feel right at home here.

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    28. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      No, don't think so, but I'm sure those sitting in office thinks it :) At least some of them. Isn't it funny how you can dress up a man, give him a office and papers to shift, and watch his ego grow? Or a gun.

      But Earth consists of us all, not only gun carriers and paper shifters. And we will all react when the warming gets worse. Maybe we can predict what will happen globally, but regionally I think we will see a lot of surprises. Hopefully we still will have open democracies at that time.

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  21. Neil Gibson

    Retired Electronics Design Engineer

    All my comments have been removed while 14 people bagging me have remained. I guess it is one way to keep the Conversation pure but is hardly seems fair or reasonable or anything like free speech. My comments were to the point or replying to others. I never indulged in ad hominem attacks while undrgoing the same , and I am at a loss other to think that the Conversation wants only believers as an audience.

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  22. Michael Ekin Smyth

    Investor

    I'm in the Northern Hemisphere and March has been unusually cold. Warm South, cold North. What, if anything, does this tell us about the changing climate?

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      The UK's nuttiest climate science denier would have to be Piers Corbyn.

      But he does have a good graphic (see top left) of the position of the jet stream over the UK and Europe to accompany his prediction of the coming Ice Age.

      http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/17985562/995847483/name/WANews13No5%20The%20new%20Mini%20Ice%20Age%20is%20upon%20us%20IdesMarch

      One theory from Jennifer Francis, research professor with the Rutgers Institute of Coastal and Marine Science.is that the dramatic loss of…

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  23. Michael Brown

    Professional & academic

    "We already know what is causing the changes we see now" seems to be tending a little toward the dogmatic. We are coming out of an ice age and even Wikipedia says "The causes of ice ages are not fully understood for both the large-scale ice age periods and the smaller ebb and flow of glacial–interglacial periods within an ice age". They list some known contributing factors: atmospheric composition, Milankovitch cycles, the motion of tectonic plates, variations in solar output, the orbital dynamics of the Earth-Moon system, the impact of relatively large meteorites, and volcanism.

    Until these factors are clearly understood qualitatively and quantitatively, I think your conclusion is somewhat premature.

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Michael Brown

      Perhaps you would like to explain how pumping 34 billion tonnes of CO2 annually into the atmosphere is NOT affecting our climate.

      We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know 50% stays in the atmosphere and 24% goes into the oceans.
      http://co2now.org/Current-CO2/CO2-Now/global-carbon-emissions.html

      Even the leading climate cranks concede the Greenhouse Gas Effect.
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/The_Greenhouse_Gas_Effect_All-Star_Fan_Club.html

      You do not even mention CO2. So what do you know that they do not? I see you are an "academic". You should be able to produce any number of peer reviewed papers proving how CO2 is not a GHG. /sarc

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    2. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      It isn't a question of whether or not CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I don't think there is any argument about that. The real question is how much effect does CO2 have on global temperatures. Given that its concentration in the atmosphere is increasing quite rapidly, and the global temperature isn't increasing much, if at all, then it's safe to conclude that CO2 only has a very minor effect.

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    3. John Canning

      Professor at University of Sydney

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I understood we are long overdue for the next ice age....they cycle around very 10 000 years or so?
      IF CO2 does indeed lead to rapid T rises that can upset the northern hemisphere water currents and lead to early onset of the ice age up north. then perhaps we ought to pump in MORE CO2 to help bring back Hermaphrodite Nature's cycle?
      So lets go for it!!!
      ;^]

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark - I see that you provide no science references to support your claim.

      If you got your science from scientists, you would learn that

      "Completely contrary to the popular contrarian myth, global warming has accelerated, with more overall global warming in the past 15 years than the prior 15 years. This is because about 90% of overall global warming goes into heating the oceans, and the oceans have been warming dramatically."

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50382/abstract
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/new-research-confirms-global-warming-has-accelerated.html

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Canning

      John. I think that you are confusing Jennifer Francis's theory on the loss of Arctic Ice and its effect on the Jet Stream with the movie The Day After Tomorrow which was fictional.

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    6. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Oh Dear, aren't we so very clever at semantics. Certainties that are virtual and not absolute, discussions on what somebody has written or said.
      But not a word about the considerations of solutions.!!
      The globe is warming, we do NOT need to lay blame; we do NOT need to either lead the world or trail behind: we need to recognise that if we do not do something to improve the situation in our particular continent, then we will most certainly be accused of procrastination by future generations.
      So: why can we not use the intelligence we were born with and solve the problem. The world is warming, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that the climate of Australia is changing and we should make plans to adapt our way of life to cope with that fact.
      Please - some intelligence, some options, something positive !!!

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Michael Hay

      "But not a word about the considerations of solutions.!!"

      If you don't know the real cause then you can't make a real solution.

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    8. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Michael Hay

      OK, examples of positive things you can do…
      Among the gloom it is good know some worthwhile things can be done, personally, locally or politically.
      Here are things I have done:
      -Don't vote for any party that installed a leader that described climate change as 'crap'.
      -Gradually improved the insulation of our townhouse starting with things that cost almost nothing when we had little money such as caulking gaps with bits of old foam and DIY double glazing, later more expensive commercial double…

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    9. Christopher Seymour

      Business owner at Location

      In reply to Michael Hay

      In England, they used to say about the weather: "everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it" . The same is true of global warming. Despite all the talks, international conferences and billions spent on wind farms, al actions have been totally ineffectual. I think part of the reason is basic logic.
      According to the IPCC's now out of date chart, the carbon cycle involves about 121 Gt of carbon absorbed by terrestrial plants and about 50 Gt of carbon absorbed each year by marine biota…

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    10. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      None of the major global temperature products report and significant warming over the last 15 years. That's GISS, UAH, UEA, etc. I assumed you would know. Silly me.

      You seem to refer to the idea that for some unexplained reason the heat absorbed by that nasty CO2 has decided to transfer itself from the troposphere to the sub surface ocean without warming any of the intervening media. I am not too sure why this process suddenly started or indeed, how it works. Perhaps you could explain.

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    11. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      If you asked the BOM to list the benifits of the increase in CO2 , they would probably not comply. I asked the BOM to graph the air temperatures at the 14 tidal stations for the 20 years they have been operating. They refused for two reasons----that the equipment was not up to standard and the period of 20 years was too short a period to estimate climatic trends. The WACLIMATE site did the graphs and it has shown no increase in the mean trend. The asumption that the "angry summer" be used as the…

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    12. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Yes Mark, this worries me too.

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    13. takver takvera

      Journalist and Editor at Indymedia

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark, an interesting study just published this week on how well a climate modelling forecast from 1999 on the decadal rise in temperature holds up to the observational data of the decade ending December 2012. Test of a decadal climate forecast (Myles R. Allen, John F. B. Mitchell & Peter A. Stott) - a pity the research is locked behind a paywall. http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n4/full/ngeo1788.html
      But the Guardian has a review of this work well worth reading ww.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/27/climate-change-model-global-warming…

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  24. Mark Pollock

    Analyst

    The author claims that the previous summer was the "hottest on record" that sounds pretty scary an d no doubt we should all be quaking in our boots.

    It would have been nice, and dare I say it, more scientific, for a scientist she seems to be, if she had mentioned:

    How much hotter was it?

    When was the previous record?

    How was this record temperature calculated?

    It appears that these details, which some might consider pertinent, are of no interest.

    Perhaps some of the other posters might enlighten us.

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    1. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Oh dear Mark.

      Please look up the January Conversation article by Blair Trewin and Karl Braganza. All your questions will be answered.

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    2. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Yes, and conversation is also an art that can be mastered.

      The point remains. Much has been made about how the previous summer was the hottest on record but here we remain. Not one true believer has said how much hotter it was. No one has said when the previous record occurred. Lastly, and your link doesn't present this information either, we still don't know how the record was calculated.

      I find this somewhat strange.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      It's amazing. These denialists are completely incapable of finding even the easiest to find information and yet they can come up with papers from the most obscure scientific journals imaginable on their useless blogs.

      I'll give you a hint Mark, try searching for "summer" on the weather bureau's site. Hopefully that's not beyond you.

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    4. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Sneers and snark are easy. Still no one seems to want to mention how much hotter the summer was. Come on chaps! Just how angry did the summer get?

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Statements of fact are easy too. I have no interest in doing your homework for you.

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    6. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      My guess is that the difference between the hottest on record and the previous hottest summer is laughably small. I suspect that is the reason why nobody is willing to quote the actual number. It might make the angry summer seem like the slightly irked, in a good-natured sort of way summer.

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    7. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      From the link supplied by the authors. This is the third time it has been provided to you. I have even found the relevant paragraph. Sorry Mark - you are on your own from now on. Sure you can manage?

      "Average summer temperatures across Australia were 1.1°C above the 1961-1990 average, surpassing the previous record, set in 1997-98, by more than 0.1°C. Daytime maximum temperatures also set a record; they were 1.4°C above normal, and 0.2°C above the 1982-83 record."

      https://theconversation.com/hot-summer-yes-the-hottest-12505

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    8. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Thanks for that. Very informative. A whole 0.1 percent warmer than it was 14 years ago! We'll all be rooned! The sky is falling in! Woe is me! At this rate we will be looking at an earth frying global warming of 0.7 degrees by 2100. Calamity!

      And of course, there is no margin of error so it might be 0.1 plus or minus 0.05 degrees giving us 0.35 by the end of the century.

      It's a bit off the 4 degrees that is needed to keep the AGW myth going don't you think?

      But thank you just the same. One last favour, and this has not been supplied by any of the links so thoughtfully provided, just how was this figure calculated? I understand its a closely guarded secret, kept hidden to avoid confusing the hoi polloi. Are you privy to this special knowledge?

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Yep - dead right Mark ... the whole thing's a furphy. All these stupid - nay sinister - scientists have been conning us for their own evil ends. Thank god we have brilliant analysts like yourself to expose this insidious conspiracy. I can sleep well tonight. Many thanks for your invaluable service to humanity.

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  25. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    I am wondering when the next non linear venting from our oceans is going to occur if this hypothesis is accurate?

    The last four March months off SA have shown warmer water temps especially in the two SA gulfs. Over the last few days many of our local fish species have been lining our beaches dead. Although a desalination plant has also began operating at the same time nearby and some claim this is the cause of the fish kills?

    March 2010
    oceancurrent.imos.org.au/Adelaide/2010/2010032020.html
    March 2011
    oceancurrent.imos.org.au/Adelaide/2011/2011032010.html
    March 2012
    oceancurrent.imos.org.au/Adelaide/2012/2012032015.html
    March 2013
    oceancurrent.imos.org.au/Adelaide/2013032007.html

    When focusing on the two gulfs of SA its clear each year the water is warmer. However, this happened before and I still remember the fish species (not normally found in our waters) entering the Port River when I was a youngster.

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    1. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You'll get all the gore you can handle on the 14th September.

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    2. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      When the man who is so destructive and unprincipled that he politicised climate change becomes our PM? Careful what you wish for.

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    3. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Ok. We had better suspend democracy then, as a prominent Greens candiate suggested.

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  26. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    Enough straw men! The article refers to the authors published work that has passed peer-review scrutiny. Have any of the voluble deniers read that particular article and found any serious flaw overlooked by the journal's editor or reviewers?

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    1. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      I've read the abstract but I haven't paid the $25 to download the pdf. I presume you have. Good for you but some of us who are no longer at University have budgets.

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    2. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      So with just the abstract as your source, you are challenging the entire paper. That's impressive.

      That said, I think many would agree here that academic papers should be available to everyone. Hopefully we will see some further movement in that direction over the next few years but that is a discussion for another day and another article.

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    3. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Ms Gneist, I can use their library services in situ, but it's a long way to London. Why the (?). Don't tell me you're a <gasp> sceptic </gasp>.

      Mr Stone, I asked a question about outliers in the tails of a guassian. It was not a criticism. One of the authors gave a polite and perfectly reasonable reply. Nowhere in this thread have I criticised the outputs of the paper, namely short term heatwaves. Please check.

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    4. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      I agree; out with the straw chaps!

      1908 summer had the hottest day, hotter than the hottest 2013 day based on a comparison between the 85 temperature sites which existed in 1908 and still exist today:

      http://www.waclimate.net/1908.html

      Then there is the summer of 1896 which had a very similar heating pattern to the 2013 heatwave:

      http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/davids-disinformation.html

      Summer 2013 was not the hottest summer in Australia according to UAH…

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  27. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    This one makes me slightly uncomfortable. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/01/the-greenland-melt/

    It's the implications of it that makes me wonder. How fast can a warming accelerate? And do we have any 'chaotic modeling' (non linear models) for such? Well, at least we're all participating in this 'reality show', instant stardom for us all, if I may :)

    And this one made me smile. http://grist.org/news/how-to-respond-to-people-who-say-the-cold-weather-disproves-global-warming/

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