The Australian‘s War on Science 30

Congratulations to The Australian for winning the 2008 award for Most consistently wrong media outlet, coming in ahead of Drudge favourite the London Daily Telegraph.

Well, they’re not resting on their laurels in 2009. John Stapleton has a new article out before most of the world even started 2009

WHILE the official figures are not yet in, 2008 is widely tipped to be declared the coolest year of the century.

Only if you don’t count 2000, the previous La Niña year. 2008 was the warmest La Niña year ever recorded. There is no mention of La Niña in Stapleton’s article.

Whether this is a serious blow to global warming alarmists depends entirely on who you talk to.

Even the skeptics that Stapleton talks to don’t say this. For example:


Another well-known sceptic, geologist Bob Carter, said critics were jumping on the cold northern hemisphere winter to dismiss global warming, but climate was a long-term phenomenon and there was nothing particularly unusual about present circumstances.

Among the jumping critics is one John Stapleton.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph telegraphs that the competition for the 2009 title will be fierce with their own article on how cold weather disproves global warming, ably taken to pieces by Greenfyre.

Update: Harry Clark

I am astonished at the The Australian newspaper for suggesting that cool temperatures in 2008 might provide a ‘serious blow to global warming alarmists’. It is my bolding on the word ‘alarmists’ – an unusual turn of phrase since it includes almost all figures in climate science and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Comments

  1. #1 hc
    January 1, 2009

    Of course The Australian’s argument is false because they are defining climate inappropriately as annual temperature.

    But are you comparing 2008 with previous La Niña events?

    Did we have a La Niña event in 2008 or is that what the BOM are forecasting might happen? I thought the 2008 situation was ‘neutral’. Quote from the December ENSO report:

    “The equatorial Pacific has continued to cool during the past fortnight, with large areas in the east and centre of the basin between 0.5°C and 1.5°C cooler than normal. This raises the possibility of indicators reaching La Niña levels, even if only briefly, if the cooling persists”. (my bold)

  2. #2 Chris O'Neill
    January 1, 2009

    hc:

    Did we have a La Niña event in 2008 or is that what the BOM are forecasting might happen? I thought the 2008 situation was ‘neutral’. Quote from the December ENSO report…

    Shouldn’t you check other months beside December?

  3. #3 Chris O'Neill
    January 1, 2009

    Shouldn’t you check other months beside December?

    I should probably have said: shouldn’t you check other months in addition to December?

  4. #4 Tim Lambert
    January 1, 2009

    La Niña conditions [prevailed for the first half of 2008](http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_disc_jul2008/ensodisc.html).

  5. #5 Grendel
    January 1, 2009

    Stapleton seems to live to mislead – the rainfall figures he gave are quite possibly correct, in the broadest sense, but no rational person talking about water in the context of climate change would ignore the major population centres as a point around which to examine whether or not rainfall is above or below average.

    In Perth, 2008 was below, not above average rainfall. Importantly, the wet season for Perth (winter) was significantly below average with a shift to autumn and spring rainfall.

    Source: http://www.watercorporation.com.au/R/rainfall.cfm
    (they just present the BOM data in pretty graphs)

    The BOM 12-month rainfall anomaly chart for Australia is pretty instructive also: http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/rain_maps.cgi?map=contours&variable=anomaly&area=aus&period=12month&region=aus&time=latest

    Not too much rain in the capital city catchments above average I think.

  6. #6 paul
    January 1, 2009

    Grendel:
    >”Stapleton seems to live to mislead”

    They all do. Their issue is pure politics and disinformation.
    The more confusion the better. They play to the popular majority audience who want ‘rational’ and local explanations that result in little change to their life.

  7. #7 Dan Riley
    January 1, 2009

    A pedant would say that, in the Gregorian calendar, 2000 was the last year of the previous century, 2001 was the first year of the current century. This isn’t, of course, what most people think (or celebrated), and it leads to the odd situation that 2008 could be the coldest year of the century but not of the decade.

  8. #8 bugs
    January 1, 2009

    Have those writers at the Australian no imagination? It’s the coolest year of the millenium!

  9. #9 Jivlain
    January 1, 2009

    Well, as 2000 is part of last century, it’s *technically* true. I read that article yesterday and knew I’d be reading about it here soon ;)

  10. #10 JACK STACK
    January 1, 2009

    The game’s up, the fraud’s being exposed. Now the true believers are fighting a rearguard action to save their reputations, their grant money and their lucrative money making spin on the lecture circuits and in the media. What’s worse for disciples is that the is that majority of people are awaking up the fact it’s a load of codswallop. As Abe Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. Wise man, old Abe. certainly a wiser man than most of the vote grabbing political nitwits who are now wiping egg from their miserable faces.

  11. #11 Tim Lambert
    January 1, 2009

    **Update:** [Harry Clark](http://kalimna.blogspot.com/2009/01/denialist-stupidity.html)

    >I am astonished at the The Australian newspaper for suggesting that cool temperatures in 2008 might provide a ‘serious blow to global warming alarmists’. It is my bolding on the word ‘alarmists’ – an unusual turn of phrase since it includes almost all figures in climate science and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

  12. #12 bi -- IJI
    January 1, 2009

    JACK STACK says,

    > majority of people

    You mean the majority of imaginary people.

  13. #13 David Allen
    January 1, 2009

    Tim,
    I appreciate your dispatching these war on science articles. Thirty articles shows that these people are very persistent. I forget when number one was. Over what time period are these 30 and did you keep a score of the articles that were on the other side of the ledger? Surely it’s not 30-0.

  14. #14 Tim Lambert
    January 2, 2009

    Number one [was in 2006](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/07/the_australians_war_on_science.php). I haven’t kept track of the pro-science opinion pieces there, but they are are in a minority (though more than what Quadrant will print).

  15. #15 Don Smith
    January 2, 2009

    If 2008 turns out to be the coolest year of the century, how would that counter AGW? ;-)

  16. #16 bi -- IJI
    January 2, 2009

    Don Smith says,

    > If

  17. #17 Hot & Bothered
    January 2, 2009

    JACK STACK perhaps you might name those fraudster individually. I’m sure they would like their day in court.

    BTW I’m guessing you are male, middle to late aged, conservative, never done any climate science in your life, and drawn to climate “scepticism” because it gives you meaning.

  18. #18 Hot & Bothered
    January 2, 2009

    JACK STACK perhaps you might name those fraudster individually. I’m sure they would like their day in court.

    BTW I’m guessing you are male, middle to late aged, conservative, never done any climate science in your life, and drawn to climate “scepticism” because it gives you meaning.

  19. #19 Hot & Bothered
    January 2, 2009

    JACK STACK perhaps you might name those fraudster individually. I’m sure they would like their day in court.

    BTW I’m guessing you are male, middle to late aged, conservative, never done any climate science in your life, and drawn to climate “scepticism” because it gives you meaning.

  20. #20 Hot & Bothered
    January 2, 2009

    JACK STACK perhaps you might name those fraudster individually. I’m sure they would like their day in court.

    BTW I’m guessing you are male, middle to late aged, conservative, never done any climate science in your life, and drawn to climate “scepticism” because it gives you meaning.

  21. #21 bi -- IJI
    January 3, 2009

    Hot & Bothered:

    > I’m sure they would like their day in court.

    Inactivists: We’re going to sue Algore!

    Us: Then sue him already.

    Inactivists: GLOBUL WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN SCAYM WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN SCAYM GLOBUL SCAYM GLOBUL GLOBUL GLOBUL WARMIN GLOBUL GLOBUL SCAYM WARMIN SCAYM SCAYM GLOBUL WARMIN GLOBUL GLOBUL WARMIN GLOBUL WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN GLOBUL SCAYM SCAYM GLOBUL GLOBUL SCAYM!

    Us: So when are you going to sue Al Gore?

    Inactivists: GLOBUL WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN SCAYM WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN SCAYM GLOBUL SCAYM GLOBUL GLOBUL GLOBUL WARMIN GLOBUL GLOBUL SCAYM WARMIN SCAYM SCAYM GLOBUL WARMIN GLOBUL GLOBUL WARMIN GLOBUL WARMIN WARMIN WARMIN GLOBUL SCAYM SCAYM GLOBUL GLOBUL SCAYM!

  22. #22 Steve Reuland
    January 4, 2009

    WHILE the official figures are not yet in, 2008 is widely tipped to be declared the coolest year of the century.

    It would be just a little less misleading to say that it’s the coolest of the last 7 years. When people hear “century”, they’re thinking the last 100 years, not the very short time period since 2001.

    This is a major potential source of confusion that I don’t doubt is deliberate. Over the last 100 years, 2008 would rank as the 90th or 91st coolest; not exactly evidence that things are getting colder. But “coldest year this century!!!11″ completely obscures that.

  23. #23 z
    January 4, 2009

    “and their lucrative money making spin on the lecture circuits and in the media”

    does this protend the bankruptcy of the vast lambert fortune? stay tuned!

  24. #24 z
    January 4, 2009

    ironically, the last week of december set not one but two daily all time high temp records here in this neck of the woods. that trumps the coldest year of the century, particularly using the 7 year century.

  25. #25 climatepatrol
    January 5, 2009

    There is no mention of La Niña in Stapleton’s article.

    True enough. On the other hand, In the above article of the Australian, Stapleton did not claim that the warmest year of the new century (according to the Gregorian calendar) debunks the global warming theory. Only this could possibly qualify for “laurels” of “most consistently wrong media outlet” from a scientific point of view.

    Even the skeptics that Stapleton talks to don’t say this.

    Except for William Kininmonth. Bottom line, after reading the entire article or your above post, I wonder where Kininmonth actually misquoted anybody or made any anti-science comment at all.

  26. #26 climatepatrol
    January 5, 2009

    Stapleton did not claim that the warmest year of the new century (according to the Gregorian calendar) debunks the global warming theory.

    Oups. This should of course read “that the coolest year of the new century…”. Apologies.

  27. #27 Bernard J.
    January 5, 2009

    Over the last 100 years, 2008 would rank as the 90th or 91st coolest;

    Steve, I think you intended “Over the last 100 years, 2008 would rank as the 90th or 91st warmest”.

    Just in case any mendacious 3rd parties feel the need to misrepresent you!

  28. #28 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 5, 2009

    Bernard,

    I think Steve is right. The “90th or 91st coolest” out of 100 years would be the 9th or 10th warmest, which is what I think Steve meant, i.e. that 2008 was awfully warm!

  29. #29 Bernard J.
    January 5, 2009

    Oo, of course.

    I have my midnight fatigue hat on.

    Doh!

  30. #30 bi -- IJI
    January 5, 2009

    > Bottom line,

    Pay no attention to the working. Just look at the bottom line.

  31. #31 David Irving (no relation)
    January 5, 2009

    They’re at it again today, with someone called Jon Jenkins.

  32. #32 Dano
    January 5, 2009

    ‘warmaholics’. Noooiiiice, mate!

    Golden tones of wingnuttia (warning – quote from wingnuttia! Shield the eyes of small children):

    prior to the 1970s, surface-based temperatures from a few indiscriminate, mostly backyard locations in Europe and the US are fatally corrupted and not in any sense a real record.

    They are then further doctored by a secret algorithm to account for heat-island effects. Reconstructions such as the infamously fraudulent “hockey stick” are similarly unreliable.

    So few words, so much paranoia.

    With that in mind, Michael Tobis has found a true gem:

    How sad that the poor little fossil-fuel companies have no funds to get the good news out! Gore and his shady conspiracy of university and government climate researchers, small time farmers, photovoltaics manufacturers, multitudes of third-world peoples living at or near sea level, and other nefarious types have used their vast wealth and power to utterly silence all naysayers!

    Best,

    D

  33. #33 P. Lewis
    January 5, 2009

    Science is only about certainty and facts.

    Nice one! Tell that to Werner Heisenberg.

  34. #34 Dano
    January 5, 2009

    I’m certain about science having different facts than those found in Simpletonia or Wingnuttia.

    Best,

    D

  35. #35 Barry Brook
    January 5, 2009

    Re: the new Oz piece linked in #28 – why do they refer to those who are concerned about global warming as ‘warmaholics’? Surely that label should go to the denialists, since they’re the ones who seem to want more warming.

  36. #36 Gaz
    January 5, 2009

    Re: the Jenkins piece in the Oz.
    I pointed out in the comments on their site, but it’s worth pointing out here, that the graph in the hard copy version of the newspaper seems to be cut off at August or maybe even July last year.
    The latest UAH data at http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2 show values updated to November.
    No surprise, those values increase steadily with the fading of La Nina to an anomaly of +0.254 at last count.
    By my (or rather Excel’s) calculation that is almost exactly dead on the linear trend line over the Dec ’78/Nov ’08 interval.
    Given the denialists’ tendency to take the latest monthly value as representative of the trend, I confidently expect repentant deniers to flock to this blog with claims that global warming has resumed and that they have now become alarmists.
    Just stand back so you don’t get trampled in the rush.

  37. #37 P. Lewis
    January 6, 2009

    O my gawd! Why did I go back to look at the comments. Oz seems to be infested with nincompoops (apologies to the erudite ones who visit here, and there, of course). Still, might also be said of Blighty and Telegraph commenters!

    One Antipodean (from a town whose name might possibly originate from ol’ Hampshire), has this to say:

    Relying on climatologists for information about possible manmade warming is like asking Labor party members who the greatest prime minister was. In both cases the vested interests – having an income and political beliefs – will probably influence the answer.

    It would be great if the next time people like this require a doctor’s advice and help on a medical matter that they consult the local plumber, etc.; indeed, anyone except someone remotely qualified to express a learned opinion.

    But he goes on, and on, …

    It’s also a fallacy when we look at the amount of processing of this data and the assumptions that go on.

    Now, what assumptions and data processing do satellite “temperature” data go through?

    But he goes on, and on, …

    The long-term averages are usually – but not always – from 1961 to 1990. Does anyone seriously believe that conditions at observation stations are unchanged or that when other periods are used the averages will be credible? This subject of climate is unfortunately a great demonstration of the saying “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

    One despairs of the human race at times: so much ignorance and ineducability.

  38. #38 P. Lewis
    January 6, 2009

    I realise, after the fact, that the nincompoop referred to above may or may not concur with the article statement that

    The only precise and reliable temperature recording started with satellite measurements in the 1970s.

    He seems to have, but this is not necessarily so. Shall I give him the benefit of the doubt re my

    Now, what assumptions and data processing do satellite “temperature” data go through?

    statement?

    You’re quite right! No!

  39. #39 Ian Musgrave
    January 7, 2009

    Gaz wrote:

    Re: the Jenkins piece in the Oz. I pointed out in the comments on their site, but it’s worth pointing out here, that the graph in the hard copy version of the newspaper seems to be cut off at August or maybe even July last year.

    It’s cut off incorrectly at July as it is a munged copy of an illustration in a US newspaper with the attributions left off. I’ve graphed the full data set over at my blog. Suffice to say this data set (with the right trend lines, not polynomial fits), shows warming still rolling along.

  40. #40 Dano
    January 7, 2009

    I recommend following Ian’s link immediately above. Good example of cherry-picking that everyone can understand.

    Best,

    D (another amateur astronomer)