The Bureau of Meteorology fights back

Graham Readfern explains how a thorough demolition of Ian Plimer is now in Hansard:

Back in October last year, the Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee agreed to table a letter from Cardinal Pell which quoted heavily from Heaven and Earth to claim there were “good reasons for doubting that carbon dioxide causes warmer temperatures”.

After an early battle with Senator Ian McDonald, who didn’t want to give Dr Ayers time to respond, the bureau’s director finally managed to get his frustrations off his chest and onto the Hansard record. Dr Ayers’ explained how Cardinal Pell’s views on climate change were not only unsupported by the science but in some cases directly contradicted some of its core understandings. For example, he pointed out that Cardinal Pell had miraculously given nitrogen a new physical property:

At one stage [Cardinal Pell] lists greenhouse gases. Included in the list is the gas nitrogen. That is not a greenhouse gas; it is 78 per cent of the atmosphere. You cannot have people out there telling the public that nitrogen is a greenhouse gas, because it is not.

In his letter Pell even claimed that “the Bureau
has acknowledged the veracity of most of the factual statements set
out in my article”, so you can imagine how keen Ayers was to set the record straight.

Below I include Pell’s letter and Ayers’ response.

Cardinal Pell’s letter, from Hansard, Monday, 18 October 2010

Dear Senator Macdonald,

Thank you for your, letter received here on 16 April 2010, concerning
the questions you put to the Bureau of Meteorology at a Senate
Estimates committee hearing in February about an article I wrote on
climate change and published in the Sunday Telegraph on 7 February.

Please accept my apologies for the long delay in responding to your
interesting and encouraging letter. I am not surprised that the Bureau
has acknowledged the veracity of most of the factual statements set
out in my article, but I am pleased that it has done so.

I note however that the Bureau takes issue with my claims that
temperatures were higher in Roman times and the Middle Ages; and that
carbon dioxide levels were higher in most of history than they are
today and follow temperature rises rather than cause them. I
appreciate your offer to incorporate my response to the Bureau’s
comments into Hansard and offer these few lines for that purpose.

1) Temperatures (cf. Answer 7):

Professor Ian Plimer, in his book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the
Missing Science (Connorcourt, 2009) summarises and cites the
scientific evidence from pollen studies, drill cores and lake
sediments to show that temperatures were 2 to 6°C warmer around the
world in the period from 250BC to 450AD (the Roman Warming). Records
left by those who lived at the time report citrus trees and grapes
being grown in England as far north as Hadrian’s Wall, and olive
groves on the Rhine. It was wetter and warmer, but sea levels were
also lower. Areas which are now either forests (because it is cooler)
or deserts (because it is drier –for example, the Roman provinces of
North Africa) were growing crops (pp. 59-60).

Professor Plimer (at pp. 63-72) also summarises and cites scientific
evidence which contradicts the Bureau’s claim that temperatures in
“recent decades have been warmer than those of the Middle Ages”. Tree
rings, boreholes, sediment cores from oceans and flood plains, pollen
studies, peat bogs, ice cores, fossils and carbon chemistry show that
temperatures were warmer throughout the world during the period
900-1300AD than they are now, by 1-2.5°C in different places. The
amount of land used for agriculture increased and extended to areas
which today are too cold to support farming. In Greenland, cattle and
sheep were run and crops like barley were grown. Grapevines were grown
in Newfoundland, and vineyards in Germany were grown up to 780 metres
above sea level, 220 metres higher than the maximum altitude for
growing grapes today. Tree lines in the mountains were higher, with
roots and stumps in the Polar Urals suggesting the tree line there was
30 metres higher in 1000AD than it is today. The North Atlantic was
free of ice, allowing the Vikings to travel to North America, and the
Baltic Sea supported tropical and sub-tropical marine plankton. Far
from leading to the disasters regularly predicted by some today,
warmer temperatures and higher rainfall during the Medieval Warming
enabled societies and economic life to flourish. In Europe it saw the
growth of cities, the establishment of universities, and a boom in
cathedral building. It was during this period that the temples of
Angkor Wat were built. China’s population doubled in the course of a
century and records from China and Japan also indicate that they
experienced warmer temperatures during this period. The Medieval
Warming was also good for the environment, with higher levels of water
in lakes and rivers and greater diversity in forests. The forests of
Ontario are still not as diverse and productive today as they were
during the Medieval Warming, because of the effects of the Little Ice
Age (1280-1850).

I have read of a meta-analysis of scientific articles on the Medieval
Warming Period which found the majority supporting the conclusion that
the Medieval Warming was a widespread phenomenon and produced
temperatures which were higher than today. However, at the time of
writing, I have not been able to source this meta-analysis.

2) Carbon dioxide (Cf. Answers 5, 6, 8 81.9)

In its answers on carbon dioxide, the Bureau claims that levels of CO2
are higher today than at any point in the last 800,000 years (although
it concedes that levels were 10 to 20 times higher up to 350 millions
years ago – Answer 8), that the increase in carbon dioxide has been
caused by “the burning of fossil fuels and land use change”, and that
the increase in CO2 levels “is responsible for most of the warming
observed since the mid 20th century” (Answer 6).

The Bureau refers to the data used by the IPPC, based on ice cores,
which shows that carbon dioxide levels have risen by 38 per cent since
1750. But this ice core data reflects hardly any of the irregular
variation of data on carbon dioxide in the air. Ernst-Georg Beck (In
“180 Years of Atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods”,
Energy and Environment 18:2 2007, pp. 259-82) has summarised “more
than 90,000 accurate chemical analyses” of carbon dioxide in the air
since 1812. He argues that the chemical data shows much greater
fluctuations of CO2 levels, with high levels occurring in 1825, 1857
and 1942, when carbon dioxide levels were more than 400ppm (compared
to 386ppm in 2009). The fluctuations of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere demonstrated by chemical analyses cast strong doubt on the
IPPC’s assumption that the level of CO2 in 1750 (less than 280ppm)
represents a preindustrial equilibrium which modern society has
destroyed. This is a questionable assumption. Nature is not static but
dynamic, non-linear and chaotic (as Professor Plimer has
observed). Beck also takes issue, as many others have, with the rigour
of the IPPC’s work, pointing out that on atmospheric CO2 it “only
examined about 10 per cent of the available literature” and claimed
“that only 1 per cent of all previous data could be viewed as
accurate”.

The Bureau highlights the role of climate model simulations in
establishing “the link between CO2 increase and warming”. Climate
modelling has become a very slender reed to rely on. Emeritus
Professor Garth Paltridge, an atmospheric physicist, a member of the
Australian Academy of Science, and former Chief Research Scientist
with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, has pointed out that
“climate modelling cannot really be described as robust” because it
takes very little “fiddling with the individual feedback
representations to give temperature rises covering the whole range
from much less than 1 degree Celsius to infinity and beyond”. This is
one major reason why it is not possible to claim “that the science is
settled” (The Climate Caper, Connorcourt 2009, p. 28).

There are other good reasons for doubting that carbon dioxide causes
warmer temperatures. The main greenhouse gas is water vapour, which
accounts for 98 per cent of the greenhouse effect (I note in passing
that in the Bureau’s remarks on carbon dioxide and temperature
feedback in Answer 9, the role of water vapour is omitted). In
contrast, carbon dioxide derived from human activities such as burning
fossil fuels accounts for a mere 0.1 per cent of the greenhouse
effect. While there is a deal that remains unknown about the
quantities of carbon dioxide which are released naturally from the
earth (for example, from submarine volcanoes), CO2 from all sources,
together with nitrogen, methane and other gases contribute only 2 per
cent of the greenhouse effect. While there is a correlation between
increases in CO2 and rising temperatures between 1976 and 1998, there
was often no correlation at other times in the twentieth century. For
example, temperatures fell during the increased industrial activity of
the post World War II boom despite increased emissions of carbon
dioxide from burnt fossil fuel, and temperature rises from 1850 owe
more to the end of the Little Ice Age than to fossil fuels (Plimer p.
423-25 & 448).

Finally, I am happy to stand by my claim that increases in carbon
dioxide tend to follow rises in temperature, not cause them. Work on
ice cores from Antarctica has shown that rises in CO2 levels follow
rises in temperature, sometimes by as much as 200 to 800 years
later. This makes sense, since warmer weather accelerates the release
of carbon dioxide through increased weathering and the melting of ice
(Plimer pp. 226-28, 424-25 & 448). Thank you again for the
opportunity to respond to the Bureau of Meteorology’s responses to
your questions about my article. I would be happy to continue the
discussion and to answer any further queries you might have.

With every good wish,

Yours sincerely,

ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY

The response from Greg Ayers:

CHAIR–Dr Ayers, we are all waiting with great anticipation to hear
your statement in relation to Cardinal Pell. Would you like to make
that statement now?

Dr Ayers–The issue from my point of view and why I sought leave to
respond is that the cardinal has, in terms of the letter we
incorporated in Hansard, made a number of propositions about aspects
of climate science that I have feel should not remain unanswered on
the public record in this place. I would have been happy to have
responded directly to the cardinal but he has not approached me and I
am not aware that he has spoken with any others in the climate science
community. I thought it was important to respond.

The difficulty with the assertions made in the cardinal’s letter is
that they are based not upon contention in the climate science field
but on a book written by Professor Plimer entitled Heaven and
Earth–Global Warming: The Missing Science. The contents of the book
are simply not scientific. I am concerned that the cardinal has been
misled by the contents of this book and I do not think it should stand
on the public record for that reason.

Why would I say this book is not science? It is not me who says it so
much, although I have read it myself; it has been widely reviewed by
people in the scientific arena and it has been very heavily criticised
for not presenting science but presenting a polemic from one
individual. It has not been scientifically peer reviewed. I would like
to step you through each of the assertions in Cardinal Pell’s
letter. The cardinal I do not anticipate would be an expert in these
fields of science, so he has quoted very heavily from this book and
the book is, frankly, misleading to all Australians in terms of what
it represents. I will read you once scientific review to give you a
sense of what one scientist from the University of New South Wales
said about the book. He said:

Plimer has done an enormous disservice to science, and the dedicated
scientists who are trying to understand climate and the influence of
humans, by publishing this book. It is not “merely” atmospheric
scientists that would have to be wrong for Plimer to be right. It
would require a rewriting of biology, geology, physics, oceanography,
astronomy and statistics. Plimer’s book deserves to languish on the
shelves along with similar pseudo-science such as the writings of
Immanuel Velikovsky and Erich von Daniken.

That is from Professor Michael Ashley from the University of New South
Wales. That is very strong, I am sure you will agree. I have read the
book myself and it contains phrases that had nothing to do with
science. There is a somewhat gratuitous attack on Chancellor Angela
Merkel on page 441, the same page essentially that contains a
gratuitous attack on Minister Wong. Page 470–

Senator IAN MACDONALD–That does not make the book–

Dr Ayers–No, the point is, Senator, that it is not science. The book
says that it is Global Warming: The Missing Science. Were it science,
that would be fine. To quote Professor Ashley again:

The book is largely a collection of contrarian ideas and conspiracy
theories that are rife in the blogosphere. The writing is rambling and
repetitive; the arguments flawed and illogical.

Senator IAN MACDONALD–But Dr Ayers–

CHAIR–Senator Macdonald, Dr Ayers is making a statement. You can ask
questions after he makes the statement.

Senator IAN MACDONALD–We are on limited time. It is additional
estimates. In Cardinal Pell’s case, he did a written response, which
we tabled. I wonder whether it might not be more appropriate for Dr
Ayers to do a written response which can be tabled. I can assure Dr
Ayers that I will be making sure his comments are passed on not only
to Cardinal Pell, but also to Professor Plimer who says these same
sorts of things about the people you are quoting.

CHAIR–Senator Macdonald, I do not want you to enter into the
argument. I know where you are coming from. My position–and our
rule–is that Dr Ayers can put his statement on Hansard. He does not
need to write it; he is prepared to put it on Hansard now, and it is
on Hansard.

Senator IAN MACDONALD–You said that we have a limited time. How long
is the statement likely to be?

CHAIR–I am prepared to have it put on–

Senator IAN MACDONALD–The rest of us want to ask questions.

CHAIR–Senator Macdonald, you have had plenty of time to ask
questions. You are the one wasting my time now. I think that you
should let Dr Ayers go on. Dr Ayers, how long do you think the
statement might take?

Senator BOSWELL–Mr Chairman, I am very happy for Professor Ayers to
make the statement, but I do think we should give the same opportunity
to Dr Plimer. You have got every right to criticise him, but I think
he has a right to defend himself in the same forum. So if you are
going to–

CHAIR–I do not know whether it is appropriate for Dr Plimer to be
before estimates.

Senator BOSWELL–It is just as appropriate–

CHAIR–Dr Ayers, how long do you think it will take?

Dr Ayers–It would probably take between five and 10 minutes.

CHAIR–I think that we should continue.

Senator IAN MACDONALD–Being aware that I will send it to Dr Plimer and
ask him to write a written response to incorporate.

CHAIR–Very good.

Dr Ayers–Just responding to Senator Macdonald, I will be making
contact directly with the cardinal after these estimates. As I said at
the outset, from my point of view I am disappointed that I was not
having this discussion with him directly. I am very happy to do that.

Senator IAN MACDONALD–His letter is dated July–that was seven months ago.

CHAIR–Dr Ayers, I would ask you not to engage directly with Senator
Macdonald. That will lead us down a blind alley, I can assure you. I
am saying that you should make your statement and then Senator
Macdonald can ask you questions.

Dr Ayers–Chair, my proposition here is that there are about half a
dozen assertions in the letter and I would like to respond to each
one, if I may. First of all, I should just say that a critique of
Professor Plimer’s book is available. There is another university
professor, named Ian Enting, at the University of Melbourne and if you
put ‘Enting’ and ‘Plimer’ into a search engine you will come up with a
55-page document detailing mistakes, misunderstandings and
misrepresentations. That is available and I will be sending that to
the cardinal. Everybody who wants to dig into an analysis of the book
can do that.

On the first thing, the Roman warming, Professor Plimer asserts that
the temperatures during that period were two degrees to six degrees
warmer than today. If you go through the book, there is not a single
scientific reference in the book that makes that statement. It is an
assertion without any scientific evidence. The example of a book by
Lamb, published in 2007, is about as close as you get. The strongest
statement in that says:

By late Roman times, particularly the fourth century AD, it may well have been warmer than now–

Now being the mid-1970s when the book was written. In fact, we know
the earth was a little warmer. So there is no cogent evidence being
provided at all for that statement. I have no idea–

Senator IAN MACDONALD–East Anglia University–

Dr Ayers–I have no idea where the two degrees to six degrees comes
from. I will heed the chair’s advice. What is interesting about that
is that there were things like assertions that grapes were grown in
England and that the two degrees to six degrees would support
that. Grapes are grown in England today. There are more than 400
vineyards. That sort of level evidence is not science; it is anecdote.

If Professor Plimer has time he should publish it in a scientific
journal and then we can have it level. That is that: there just is not
any evidence in the book.

If we move on to the medieval warm period, he references a study of
6,000 bore holes. These are holes in rock where the temperature
diffuses down and with a mathematical technique called inversion you
can reconstruct what the past temperatures would have been based on
thermal diffusion. The reference appears to come from an article by
Professor Wally Broecker, a renowned oceanographer, written in
2001. Professor Plimer does not quote Professor Broecker’s conclusion,
which is:

The case for a global medieval warming period admittedly remains inconclusive.

So that does not support it. What Professor Plimer then does is take
one of the references from this book and refers to a 1997 paper by an
author list led by someone named Wang. What is interesting about that
is that the same authors in 2008 published a subsequent paper which
says, in fact, that you cannot use their first paper for the
purpose. They say:

The results of our earlier paper cannot be used for comparing the medieval warm period to warmth in the 20th century.

Which is exactly what Professor Plimer does. This paper was available
in 2008, a year before he published his book. He has used a paper that
the authors themselves say cannot be used in a particular way. That is
not science.

A second thing to do with the medieval warm period is on page 66, where he says:

Bore holes give accurate temperature histories for a thousand years
into the past … Northern Hemisphere bore hole data shows the
medieval warm period and the cooling of 2 degrees from the end of the
Little Ice Age.

When you go and look at the scientific paper–which you assume is about
bore holes, Northern Hemisphere, medieval warm period–you discover the
paper is actually not about bore holes but about an ice core; it is
not taken in the Northern Hemisphere, it is from the Antarctic; and it
is for the period 10,000 years to 20,000 years ago, not the Roman warm
period. That level of getting references wrong is not science. So the
book does not provide evidence about the medieval warm period or the
Roman warm period.

The cardinal in his letter says that he has metadata analysis–that is,
an analysis that sits above all the papers that are random reviews–but
he just cannot find it. That’s okay. If he can find it I would be
happy to look at it. I know of three metadata analyses, though. One of
them is in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group
I report from the Fourth Assessment Report. It answers all these
questions. However, there are those who feel that the IPCC is somehow
biased, so they would not use it.

At the time it was being written in 2006, the US National Academy of
Science carried out an independent review and wrote a report entitled,
Surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years, because
there were those who said the IPCC process was not robust. So we have
an independent report from the National Academy of Science. Their
conclusion is:

It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean
surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th
century than during any comparable period during the preceding four
centuries.

They go on to say:

Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600.

The medieval warm period is in there.

Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at
many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25
years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900.

The Roman warm period was 250 BC to 450 AD. So they do not support
it. That is two metadata analyses. They were both available to
Professor Plimer. They are not mentioned in the book. So it is not a
fair review of the scientific literature. The final point I will make
is that the US EPA, in December 2009, published the administrator’s
results on the ‘endangerment’ and ’cause or contribute’ findings for
greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. This was a
process in which the Administrator of the EPA made a finding that the
current and projected concentrations of six well-mixed greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere threatened the public health and welfare of
current and future generations. I will not go into the ’cause or
contribute’ finding, but the point was that there was a profoundly
careful review. They had a 60-day consultation period for public
comment, and 380,000 public comments were taken in. They all included
the statements made in Professor Plimer’s book that have unfortunately
misled Cardinal Pell. Not one of them was supported. So there are
three metadata reviews–from the IPCC, from the National Academy of
Sciences and from the US EPA– that do not support the propositions
that are being put.

I will move on to carbon dioxide, where Professor Plimer has brought
to the attention of anybody who reads the book–and Cardinal Pell has
picked it up–that 90,000 measurements of CO2 were done over the last
150 years by a particular method. He contrasted those with the carbon
dioxide record from Mauna Loa in Hawaii, which from the fifties has
documented the increase in human activities. It looks as though that
is a fair comparison, but it is not. It is actually verging on
disingenuous. The fact is there are 150 stations measuring CO2
worldwide, 110 of which meet the standards such that the annual
analysis done by the World Meteorological Organisation’s World Data
Centre for Greenhouse Gases uses those to describe CO2 everywhere. You
simply cannot, if you pay attention to all the data available, reach
the conclusion that CO2 levels were higher in any other period in
time.

Professor Plimer does not mention that in 1986 all the old data that
were collected over the last 150 years were reviewed in a paper by
Fraser et al. I can give you the citation if you like. The issue here
is that, in Australia, we have, at Cape Grim in Tasmania, one of those
110 high-quality baseline stations measuring CO2. If you look at that
and if you look at the work done in the Antarctic Division on ice
cores and firn, which is the loose layers of snow that compact down at
about 80 metres–air has been extracted all the way down from the
present down into the past, through the firn layer and into the ice
cores, back 2,000 years–there is absolutely no possibility that the
global CO2 levels were 400 parts per million last century. It is just
implausible. Yet, on the basis of 90,000 measurements from a paper by
a fellow named Beck, that is the conclusion put in the book and that
is the conclusion picked up by Cardinal Pell.

Professor Plimer also did not cite the fact that, during the year
after the Beck paper came out, there were two rebuttals published in
the same journal pointing out the errors in it. They were not referred
to. So there is very selective use of data the whole way along. The
Australian scientists who have worked on the carbon cycle include
those working in Canberra at one of the two international offices of
the Global Carbon Project, where on an annual basis CO2 levels are
reviewed, the carbon cycle is reviewed and the budget of carbon going
into the atmosphere, the oceans and the land surface is all reviewed
and published. It is not in this book because, if it were in the book,
the conclusions that are in the book could not be reached.

So what I am going to suggest to Cardinal Pell in due course is that
he comes with me and visits a range of climate change science
establishments in Australia and has a look at the science directly,
not through this book but through the lens of what men and women in
Australia are doing in scientific institutions that is valid, that is
published and that has real credibility. My contention is that
Cardinal Pell may well become an ambassador for the quality of climate
change science if he is exposed to the quality of the science that is
done. That is my aspiration. He can make his own decision about
whether the science says what Professor Plimer says, but I think he
will become an ambassador for the quality of the science we do in this
country. It is absolutely not honoured by this book.

I know these are strong statements but I am the head of a national
agency and the information that is out there is not adequate based on
what I know. So I am taking my job seriously and making a strong
statement. There are some other things in Cardinal Pell’s letter that
I will not go into because I can see people’s eyes will start to glaze
over. I will just make two other comments. At one stage he lists
greenhouse gases. Included in the list is the gas nitrogen. That is
not a greenhouse gas; it is 78 per cent of the atmosphere. You cannot
have people out there telling the public that nitrogen is a greenhouse
gas, because it is not.

The final point I will make is on the statement from Professor Plimer
that CO2 from fossil fuels accounts for 0.1 per cent of the greenhouse
effect. There is a parameter called climate sensitivity. It is the
temperature increase you would get if you doubled CO2. The
conventional view, which is very well attested to in scientific
literature, is that it is about two or three degrees. That is roughly
it. At equilibrium, when everything comes into balance, that is what
the temperature of the Earth would go up by. Professor Plimer says
that is not right; he says it is only half a degree. At least, he says
that in one part of his book. In another part he says that it is 1½
degrees. So he is not consistent with himself. You can do a very
simple calculation. Professor Enting–the guy who has done the 55 pages
collecting problems with Professor Plimer’s book–shows you how to do
the calculation. You can compute the change from 280 parts per million
pre the industrial age to 385 now. Using Professor Plimer’s climate
sensitivity, it would increase temperature by 0.23 degrees. We have
seen about 0.7, but he has put his sensitivity below that. If 0.23
degrees is only 1.1 per cent or one thousandth of the greenhouse
effect, it implies that the greenhouse effect is 223 degrees and
without it our planet would be as cold as the outer planets. So the
calculations in this book are just erroneous. I will give up at this
stage. There is plenty more I could go on with, but I will not.

CHAIR–Dr Ayers, thanks for taking the time to take us through those
issues. So you are going to convert the cardinal and make him a
missionary for climate change?

Dr Ayers–No. In fact, I think that–

Senator Ian Macdonald–Who suggested to you that you might read this out tonight, Dr Ayers?

Dr Ayers–Nobody. As I said, I felt that it needed to be in the Hansard.

Senator Ian Macdonald–Yes, I am quite sure it should have been, but a
written response would have been equally as good because unfortunately
Professor Plimer, should he choose to respond, can only put in a
written response. He cannot make the commentary that you have made.

Dr Ayers–I am happy for Professor Plimer to write to me.

Senator Ian Macdonald–No, it needs to be done here. This is the
trouble. The chair has allowed this to happen. This is going to go on
forever now.

Senator SIEWERT–You were allowed table that letter last time.

Senator Ian Macdonald–But that is tabling. I agree with that. He
should have been able to table a reply. I agree with that. Professor
Plimer will not be able to come and talk to the committee.

Senator LUDLAM–He can publish another work of science fiction

CHAIR–Order! I am not going to have a debate taking place across the
chair. If you want to ask any questions of Dr Ayers on what he has
just said, I think it is perfectly appropriate to ask them
now. Senator Macdonald, I invite you to ask any questions you have of
Dr Ayers on what he has just put.

Senator Ian Macdonald–It is now 10 to nine. We have two hours left to
do the whole of the rest of the program. I would not impose upon my
colleagues by asking any more. I have had my fair share. I just think
that it was an inappropriate decision of the committee to allow 20
minutes to be taken up by what is clearly an interscientific argument.

CHAIR–It is about the best 20 minutes I have heard at estimates for a
long time. Congratulations, Dr Ayers.

Senator IAN MACDONALD–You should go and listen to Professor Carter some day.

CHAIR–Before we move on, I take it then, Dr Ayers, that you do not
agree with the second paragraph of the letter from the Cardinal to
Senator Macdonald that says:

I am not surprised that the Bureau has acknowledged the veracity of
most of the factual statements set out in my article, but I am pleased
that it has done so.

You do not agree with that, obviously.

Dr Ayers–No.

Comments

  1. #1 John
    February 25, 2011

    >Senator LUDLAM—He can publish another work of science fiction.

    True class.

  2. #2 Warm
    February 25, 2011

    “vineyards in Germany were grown up to 780 metres above sea level, 220 metres higher than the maximum altitude for growing grapes today”

    [Sorry, I don't speak very well English !]

    It is totally non-sense !

    In Europa, there are many regions where you can find vineyards higher than 800m. The record is 1110m in Switzerland !

    http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/destinations/holiday-destinations-in-switzerland/visperterminen.html

  3. #3 Steve
    February 25, 2011

    Good call from Ludlam, nice chairing from Cameron, annoying behaviour from MacDonald.

    MacDonald seems to be firmly in the deniers camp, and of the opinion that a cardinal’s “opinions” has the same weight as that of the director of BOM, and that it is somehow there is an actual ‘interscientific’ argument. One can’t help but wonder if he thinks there is an actual ‘controversy’ over evolution vs intelligent design.

    Behaviours inline with their respective political parties – happy I voted the way I did last federal election.

  4. #4 Wow
    February 25, 2011

    I wonder if Senator MacDonald goes to Dawkins for the alternative view on religion?

    And does he ask any satanists to talk about the other point of view of God’s PR puff piece, “The Bible”?

  5. #5 Philip S
    February 25, 2011

    Excellent post. And well done to Dr Ayers. That Plimer is taken seriously by anyone in a position of responsibility is almost beyond belief.
    I look forward to the hearings on alien abduction.

  6. #6 mistermuz
    February 25, 2011

    “CHAIR–Dr Ayers, I would ask you not to engage directly with Senator Macdonald. That will lead us down a blind alley, I can assure you.”

    Hah!
    Anyway, I suppose the committee can table whatever it likes according to the whims of who is sitting on it. But A letter from Cardinal George Pell on climate change, of all things, heavily quoting Plimer? It beggars belief! This is what our elected representatives get up to?

  7. #7 Sou
    February 25, 2011

    Wonder what got into Pell to get him to act the buffoon and permanently enshrine it on the public record.

    To some people Pell is an anachronism, accepted in the way traditional religious figureheads of any denomination are accepted. Now he’s made himself out to be a ridiculous anachronism, looking totally foolish.

  8. #8 Bernard J.
    February 25, 2011

    Ian MacDonald needs a serious scientific education.

    If he thinks that Plimer and Carter are credible respondents for the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee he is obviously incompetent to sit on it as a member.

    Perhaps it is time that there was a formal move by the seniority in Australian science to actively look for and address scientific misapprehension in government, as exemplified by MacDonald’s and Bernardi’s idiocies. It would be especially gratifying if such response could take a leaf from Ayers’ book and occur at a senior executive level, or perhaps even at an institutional level.

    There’s probably also a need for a detailed web log review (if there isn’t one already in the blogiverse) of the general scientific ineptness of Australian government. It’d be nice to see a redressing of canards that make it to Hansard, and I’d love to see a compiling of statistics, for example, by party alignment. And who knows… if the standard was sufficiently high, such a blog might even become the first port of call for members who wish to straighten out the record.

    I daren’t suggest Deltoid, because Tim already has his hands full, but I imagine that the series “The Body-Politic’s War on Science” would soon run into scores of threads…

  9. #9 Dikran Marsupial
    February 25, 2011

    Thanks to all involved, that was one of the funniest things I have read in ages:

    CHAIR–Dr Ayers, I would ask you not to engage directly with Senator Macdonald. That will lead us down a blind alley, I can assure you.

    LOL, now that is what I call chairing a meeting!

    CHAIR – …Senator Macdonald, I invite you to ask any questions you have of Dr Ayers on what he has just put.

    Senator Ian Macdonald–It is now 10 to nine. We have two hours left to do the whole of the rest of the program. I would not impose upon my colleagues by asking any more. I have had my fair share.

    Translation ["run away, run away!"](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StHwAffUNxo) (with CHAIR being represented by Tim the enchanter)

  10. #10 JohnL
    February 25, 2011

    Apparently the Cardinal is not aware of Catholic teaching on AGW:

    “God created our world with wisdom and love and when he had finished his great work of creation, God saw that it was good.”

    “Today however the world is confronted with a serious ecological crisis. The earth is suffering from global warming as a result of our excessive consumption of energy.”

    “We cannot deny that human beings bear a heavy responsibility for environmental destruction. Their unbridled greed casts the shadow of death on the whole of creation.”

    “Together Christians must do their utmost to save creation. Before the immensity of this task, they must unite their efforts. It is only together that they can protect the work of the creator.”

    I wonder if it’s a sin for a Cardinal to lie?

    [Link](http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/weeks-prayer-doc/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20080630_week-prayer-2009_en.html) is:

  11. #11 J Bowers
    February 25, 2011

    Thanks for that, Tim.

    Senator LUDLAM–He can publish another work of science fiction

    Priceless.

  12. #12 hinschelwood
    February 25, 2011

    Senator Ian Macdonald–Who suggested to you that you might read this out tonight, Dr Ayers?

    Dr Ayers–Nobody. As I said, I felt that it needed to be in the Hansard.

    What does he mean, “who suggested to you”?

    Clearly, Dr Ayers is in a position of expertise at a public institution and he sees it as his duty to set the record straight, as he sees fit. That seems to me to be the correct thing to do. Why should other people need to tell him what to do?

    Does Sen. Macdonald only take his position because somebody tells him to? Or does he think that anybody who takes the AGW position is responding to the demands of a hidden conspiracy?

    Questions like this are paranoid. That’s not to mention the aggressive anti-science of the rest of his performance.

  13. #13 JennieL
    February 25, 2011

    That’s some bad behaviour from Sen. Macdonald (and Boswell). How childish, trying to cut Ayers off on the grounds that he wanted to ask questions, then at the end, when invited to ask his questions, huffily declining.

    One might almost conclude that he had no questions to ask, but was merely using that as a pretext to stop Ayers from speaking. . . . But nah. Our elected representatives would never behave in a way so unfitting to their position, would they?

  14. #14 jakerman
    February 25, 2011

    >*I suppose the committee can table whatever it likes according to the whims of who is sitting on it. But A letter from Cardinal George Pell on climate change, of all things, heavily quoting Plimer? It beggars belief! This is what our elected representatives get up to?*

    It says a lot about the strength of their arguments.

  15. #15 jakerman
    February 25, 2011

    >*CHAIR–It is about the best 20 minutes I have heard at estimates for a long time. Congratulations, Dr Ayers.*

    >*Senator IAN MACDONALD–You should go and listen to Professor Carter some day.*

    So Pell was the deniers spokesperson, and he picked the wrong source? Shame on you Pell you let Senator Macdonald down.

  16. #16 MapleLeaf
    February 25, 2011

    Congrats to Dr. Ayers! Pity Plimer was not there, it would have been even more devastating take down had he been.

    Sorry, OT, but kinda relevant given the theme of misleading. Feel free to add more examples. Wear your shark-proof suites though, there is an awful lot of chumming going on there.

    “I’ve posted some examples for JC about dodgy graphics on her IV thread.
    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/25/hiding-the-decline-part-iv-beautiful-evidence/#comment-48677

    I’m sure that, like dhogaza, I’ll get a warm reception. Please feel free to add more examples. Their excuse so far for the examples given to them by dhogaza? But, but those were not seen by policy makers reading the IPCC reports. Well neither was the WMO graphic.”

  17. #17 Mike
    February 25, 2011

    Nitrogen a greenhouse gas?

    It must be quite embarrassing to be an AGW sceptic sometimes, when you have to read this sort of stuff.

  18. #18 MikeH
    February 25, 2011

    I have to give Cardinal Pell a few marks for idealogical consistency – if nitrogen was a greenhouse gas the concept of “burning in hell” would take on real meaning.

    Unfortunately I have to take them away again because he forgot the ninth commandment “Thou shall not bear false witness …”

  19. #19 Ken Fabos
    February 25, 2011

    Strange bedfellows – Cardinal Pell and the Author of ‘Telling Lies for God’. I suspect Plimer took away a couple of important lessons from researching that book about the religious – the gullible will part with good money to have their pre-existing biases confirmed and controversy is good for book sales. I note that the committee agreed to allow Plimer to have a response tabled; all that attention has to be good for a reprint.

    It’s deeply dismaying to know we have elected representatives who not only embrace ignorance, they want to supplant knowledge that is vital to our future with misinformation. Is it possible we too will see legislation that declares the nonexistence of the greenhouse effect?

    Not that I expect we’ll see adequate action from any Australian Government; the current efforts seem to be about promoting gas over coal, ie entrenching the use of another form of fossil fuels that, whilst lower in emissions than coal, will not be able to produce the reductions in emissions that are needed. It’s difficult to muster any optimism, even as a carbon tax is put back on the agenda.

  20. #20 adelady
    February 25, 2011

    JohnL @10. That’s the thing that gets me about Pell in all of this. Normally he’s very, very narrow in applying the Vatican’s pronouncements about all manner of things.

    The Vatican’s words invoke the very serious sins of greed, gluttony and pride. There’s also an implication within the advice to Christians that they should act in concert to “protect the works of the creator” that failure to act appropriately might be slothful. As well as blasphemous – defiling God’s creation.

    If he can’t bring himself to act publicly and forcefully to bring Christians together to act as the Vatican so strongly advises …… then he should just keep quiet.

  21. #21 Mike Pope
    February 25, 2011

    In matters of AGW and its effects, truth has long been a stranger to Sen. Macdonald and Tony Abbott. It is a shame that Cardinal Pell should wish to exhibit similar stupidity by believing Ian Plimer of all people.

    I do not choose to criticize the Cardinal for his beliefs in the collection of superstitions which constitute his religion because I do not know enough about the latter. The very least one would expect of Cardinal Pell is that he not lend the weight and authority of his position to the science fiction and drivel espoused by Plimer.

  22. #22 Rob OC
    February 25, 2011

    Sou wrote:
    > Wonder what got into Pell to get him to act the buffoon and
    > permanently enshrine it on the public record.

    Connor Court Press is best known for Catholic apologetics.
    Pell’s position isn’t consistent with doctrine- it’s politics all the way to the bottom.

    MacDonald appears to be quite the flat earther.

  23. #23 FrankD
    February 25, 2011

    Superb. But there’s only so much take down you can do in a few thousand words, and Dr Ayers skimmed over one of my faves – “…grapes being grown in England as far north as Hadrian’s Wall.”

    The furthest north that grapevines were grown in this period in Britain (that we know with certainty) was in Middlesex, near London. Wine from produced from grapes in Lincoln, but there is insuffucient evidence to conclude that those grapes were grown locally. There is no sure evidence of vine cultivation or wine production north of that – the only evidence as far north as Hadrians Wall is that wine was stored and drunk there.

    But now? In 2005, South African chef Pete Gottgens planted riesling vines on the banks of Loch Tay in Scotland, and harvested a vintage in 2009. That wine is unlikely to reach the market, but that is because Gottgens business folded under massive debt, not for any scientific or oenological reason. Loch Tay is 400 kms north of Lincoln, and 600 kms north of London.

    The tired old meme is wrong, and the modern truth, which outdoes even the truthiness of the meme, is ignored.

    Pell also mentions grapevines being grown in Newfoundland. I presume he deduces that from the name “Vinland” in which case I LOL in his general direction. Those weren’t grapevines, Your Unscientificness.

  24. #24 MikeH
    February 25, 2011

    Clears up any lingering doubts about who Tony Abbott gets his scientific advice from.

    Must be a real timesaver – Tony can go to [confession](http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1210843.htm) and get his climate change policy “climate change is crap” at the same time.

  25. #25 Sou T
    February 25, 2011

    Pell is in conflict with the Pope on this one and has probably been in conflict with the Vatican for twenty years or more, on human welfare and environmental matters generally. Here is an excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI World Peace Day address last year (which refers also to concerns in 1990 expressed by Pope John Paul II):

    4. Without entering into the merit of specific technical solutions, the Church is nonetheless concerned, as an “expert in humanity”, to call attention to the relationship between the Creator, human beings and the created order. In 1990 John Paul II had spoken of an “ecological crisis” and, in highlighting its primarily ethical character, pointed to the “urgent moral need for a new solidarity”.[7] His appeal is all the more pressing today, in the face of signs of a growing crisis which it would be irresponsible not to take seriously. Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees”, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development.

    Click for the Pope’s World Day of Peace message – 1 January 2010

  26. #26 Sou
    February 25, 2011

    That last post signed Sou T was mine. (Got into Typekey that messed up my identity.)

  27. #27 quokka
    February 25, 2011

    There is, I think, a lesson here for the Labor Party. It really must put it’s thinking cap on and come up with with ways of providing opportunities for leading scientists to speak out publicly. It would be very much is the Governments self interest to do this. Abbot and his “peoples revolt” could be quite dangerous and every attempt should be made to short circuit it starting right now.

  28. #28 Sou
    February 25, 2011

    Pell is also at odds with his fellow Bishops in the USA. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is as strong or stronger on the issue than the Pope and the Vatican, and writes:

    The U.S. Catholic bishops have declared, “At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both ‘the human environment’ and the natural environment.” (Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2001, p.1).
    In parishes, dioceses and other Catholic organizations, we encourage efforts to bring about a discussion on climate change that is civil and constructive, that invokes the virtue of prudence in seeking solutions, and that is more responsive to the needs of the poor, both here in the United States and abroad. As Catholics, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in addressing the potential impacts of global climate change, particularly on those least able to bear its burdens.

    The USCCB urges specific action at the personal, state, national and global level; including at the national level:

    The U.S. Catholic bishops are urging that any legislative action on climate change include provisions that: (1) ease the burden on poor people; (2) offer some relief for workers who may be displaced because of climate change policies; and (3) promote the development and use of alternate renewable and clean-energy resources, including the transfer of such technologies and technical assistance that may be appropriate and helpful to developing countries in meeting the challenges of global climate change.

    Write to your Senators and Representatives in Congress and let them know that you care about climate change and support action on a national level that includes the three key priorities above. For background information on the issue, go to http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/ejp/climate.

    Keep up to date on new science and technology relating to climate change by checking the websites of the National Academies of Sciences (http://www.nasonline.org) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (http://www.ipcc.ch/).

  29. #29 MikeH
    February 25, 2011

    I am surprised that the Murdoch press is not already all over this story. One of their experienced science reporters could give this the right amount of spin. I am thinking a headline along the lines of

    “Cardinal Pell discovers new greenhouse gas – calls it Nitrogen. Warns of hell on earth if carbon tax introduced or NBN built.”

  30. #30 Sou
    February 25, 2011

    Pell has been penning this nonsense for a long time. It’s only now he’s decided to immortalise it in Hansard.

    I think it’s important for Catholics to know that he’s out of step with the Church hierarchy in the Vatican and elsewhere, not merely out of step with the science.

  31. #31 Bernard J.
    February 26, 2011

    I note that there is no mention of Enting’s refutation of Plimer being formally tabled.

    Is there any way that this document can be formally presented to the Committee, so that it can be recorded in Hansard as a refutation both to Pell, and to anything that Plimer might be invited to table?

  32. #32 Flying Binghi
    February 26, 2011

    .

    .

    Hmmm,…no matter what yer think of Heaven and Earth the Cardinal Pell letter weren’t a book review.

    .

    Looking at the central issue of the Pell letter -

    “…I note however that the Bureau takes issue with my claims that temperatures were higher in Roman times and the Middle Ages…”

    Heh, well Cardinal Pell is right. Here’s me thinkin about the highly discredited IPCC hockey stick graph, climate-gate, and even cyclones amongst other things…

    .

    “…and that carbon dioxide levels were higher in most of history than they are today and follow temperature rises rather than cause them…”

    Didn’t poor old Al Gore say that CO2 increases preceded temperature raises ? , ah wonder where Gore got that idea from….

    .

    .

    .

  33. #33 John
    February 26, 2011

    >Heh, well Cardinal Pell is right. Here’s me thinkin about the highly discredited IPCC hockey stick graph, climate-gate, and even cyclones amongst other things…

    Did you even read the reply, or are you too scared of reading something factually correct?

    Or are your beliefs so rattled by Dr. Ayers devastating testimony you think you can derail the thread by spouting disproven memes and get yourself onto safer ground?

    (and on the subject of Climatgate…)

  34. #34 John Brookes
    February 26, 2011

    Thanks for this. Most entertaining. I expect Jo Nova to have a post soon denouncing the pro-AGW crowd for trying to intimidate the church….

  35. #35 rhwombat
    February 26, 2011

    Flying Binghi:..so you donated the left hemisphere of your brain to Kerry Packer as well as the kidney? Figures!

  36. #36 Flying Binghi
    February 26, 2011

    .

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    via John #33, “…Dr. Ayers devastating testimony…”

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    .

    Dum-de-dum-de-dum…

    Heh, lets have a closer look-see.

    Via Dr Ayers; “…The difficulty with the assertions made in the cardinal’s letter is that they are based not upon contention in the climate science field but on a book written by Professor Plimer entitled Heaven and Earth…”

    Via the Cardinal Pell letter; “…I have read of a meta-analysis of scientific articles on the Medieval Warming Period which found the majority supporting the conclusion that the Medieval Warming was a widespread phenomenon and produced temperatures which were higher than today. However, at the time of writing, I have not been able to source this meta-analysis…”

    .

    .

    .

  37. #37 Donald Oats
    February 26, 2011

    It is excellent. And thanks to FrankD for providing the name of a modern (if defunct) Scottish vineyard. Puts the sword to the lie.

    As for Pell [...]; heck I’m an atheist, but if I wasn’t one, clowns like that would make me one.

  38. #38 jakerman
    February 26, 2011

    >Dum-de-dum-de-dum… Heh, lets have a closer look-see.

    Yes lets, Pell said he read a meta study, but could not produce it to support his claim.

    The mysterious meta study that is key to deniailist claims, if only they could find it.

  39. #39 jakerman
    February 26, 2011

    >*Pity Plimer was not there, it would have been even more devastating take down had he been*

    Plimar just would have called him a socialist and [carried on his Gish](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPenmY5kYcc).

  40. #40 jakerman
    February 26, 2011

    >*Pity Plimer was not there, it would have been even more devastating take down had he been*

    Plimar just would have called him a socialist and [carried on his Gish](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPenmY5kYcc).

  41. #41 Bud
    February 26, 2011

    Binghi – also “via the Cardinal Pell letter”:

    Professor Ian Plimer, in his book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science (Connorcourt, 2009) summarises and cites the scientific evidence from pollen studies, drill cores and lake sediments to show that temperatures were 2 to 6°C warmer around the world in the period from 250BC to 450AD…

    Professor Plimer (at pp. 63-72) also summarises and cites scientific evidence which contradicts the Bureau’s claim…

    Nature is not static but dynamic, non-linear and chaotic (as Professor Plimer has observed)

    temperature rises from 1850 owe more to the end of the Little Ice Age than to fossil fuels (Plimer p. 423-25 & 448).

    I am happy to stand by my claim that increases in carbon dioxide tend to follow rises in temperature, not cause them. Work on ice cores from Antarctica has shown that rises in CO2 levels follow rises in temperature, sometimes by as much as 200 to 800 years later. This makes sense, since warmer weather accelerates the release of carbon dioxide through increased weathering and the melting of ice (Plimer pp. 226-28, 424-25 & 448).

    One would be forgiven for thinking that Cardinal Pell has based his views entirely on Plimer’s.

  42. #42 John
    February 26, 2011

    So yes, Dr. Ayers devastating testimony. Did you bother reading it? What’s your rebuttal?

  43. #43 Stu N
    February 26, 2011

    >CHAIR–It is about the best 20 minutes I have heard at estimates for a long time. Congratulations, Dr Ayers.

    >Senator IAN MACDONALD–You should go and listen to Professor Carter some day.

    Oh, good grief!

  44. #44 John Mashey
    February 26, 2011

    As for vineyards, one of the best references is the Winelands of Britain.

    Richard Selley is a geologist whose lifelong hooby is oenology. Look at the two maps under the two tabs.

  45. #45 joni
    February 26, 2011

    And to think that I admired Plimer when I studies Geology at the Uni of Newcastle. Makes me ashamed.

  46. #46 Chris Nedin
    February 26, 2011

    Pell:

    I am not surprised that the Bureau has acknowledged the veracity of most of the factual statements set out in my article, but I am pleased that it has done so.

    Of course the Bureau has acknowledged the veracity of most of the FACTUAL statements in the article . . . it’s just that there aren’t very many of them.

    Plimer DID write a book, Pell IS a Cardinal . . . that’s about it.

  47. #47 Donald Oats
    February 26, 2011

    From pages 25 and 26, Ch 1, Introduction of [Ian Plimer, "Heaven and Earth - The Missing Science", Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd (2009)]:

    There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998. The last two years of global cooling have erased nearly thirty years of temperature increase. The year of 2008 was an exceptionally cold year^fn25…< \p>

    The footnote fn25 is Plimer’s footnote 25, a Commentary, not a scientific article in the peer-reviewed literature, in the Washington Times (2008-12-10). I’ve taken the liberty of correcting Plimer’s broken link, which for the record – doubting Thomases are everywhere – he has cited as “http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/10/global-warming/freeze/”; but no matter, the proof editing was probably not as important as releasing the book in time to batter the (new) Labor Government with, being a “scientific” book LoL. Anyway, back to the issue at hand:

    Having already disparaged the IPCC for confusing (global) climate with (global) weather, Plimer then chooses to conflate the two by stating that “the last two years have erased nearly thirty years of temperature increase.” Two years of weather cannot “erase” a trend in climate (typically a long term average of annual conditions for twenty, thirty, or even 100 years).

    Plimer performs this stunt, of trying to have his cake and eat it, an almost countless number of times in his book. No one statement can be assigned the notion of deception or intent to deceive, but once enough similar tricks are applied in a single text by a single author, the conclusion to draw is both obvious and defensible (in court).

    If a house is built using a stack of mud-bricks then it is a “mud-brick house”. Plimer has built a mud-brick castle, a castle in the air. It should have already come to Earth with a dull thud but delusions are inordinately persistent among humanity’s children, it would seem.

    I’m glad to see that the BoM chief has the bottle to stand up to this sort of malarkey in the house of Australian Government.

  48. #48 Mike Pope
    February 27, 2011

    Bud @ 40 writes: “increases in carbon dioxide tend to follow rises in temperature, not cause them”

    That has been true in the past where solar activity and orbital changes have been responsible for initiating global warming and CO2 has acted as a thermostat.

    But stop and ask yourself … what is causing present-day global warming? The sun is in a quiescent state and has been for decades. There has been no significant change in the earths orbit for millennia. You may of course have evidence to the contrary and, if peer-reviewed and found not wanting, would earn you a Nobel Prize.

    On the other hand the very significant increase in CO2 is unprecedented in the last 800,000 years. Its source (human activity) is well documented and its greenhouse effect (understood for over a century) is equally well understood and consistent with the global warming observed to date.

    So, what other cause do you believe responsible for present global warming ?

  49. #49 rhwombat
    February 27, 2011

    Err, Mike Pope (…!), I think that Bud was quoting Pell’s letter, not claiming authorship of that shibboleth. Slainte

  50. #50 Stu N
    February 27, 2011

    Mike, Bud @ 40 was quoting Cardinal Pell.

    Just making sure you’re aware you’re asking questions not of Bud but of Pell, who isn’t here to respond.

  51. #51 Mike
    February 27, 2011

    @36. Oh Binghi. You had a bit of a go at me for not quoting sources on a recent thread (actually I was tiring of it, and others had already given you some of the same sources anyway).

    Apparently it’s OK if Cardinal Pell cannot quote his sources though, but just assures us he read something by someone once upon a time?

    I just want to make sure I understand the “evidence” rule differences between pro-science and pro-sceptic here.

  52. #52 Martin Vermeer
    February 27, 2011

    …and #45 Chris Nedin, don’t forget the page numbers…

  53. #53 Bud
    February 27, 2011

    @Mike Pope

    You may of course have evidence to the contrary and, if peer-reviewed and found not wanting, would earn you a Nobel Prize.

    I have absolutely irrefutable and devastating evidence to the contrary, I just…er…can’t appear to source it at this moment in time. ;-)

    But yeah, as others have pointed out, I was quoting from Pell’s letter to demonstrate the veracity of Dr Ayers’ statement that Pell’s letter was based on Plimer’s book, something that Binghi was apparently questioning. Pell’s views in no way represent my own.

  54. #54 FrankD
    February 27, 2011

    John Mashey@43

    Big fan of your work, John, but I believe your source is incorrect in this case. Referring to the maps under the Lectures and Workshops tab:

    Firstly, his line for Roman Warm Period viticulture is too far north, IMO. At the northeastern end it runs through Lincoln and as I observed earlier, while wine was manufactured there, it is far from certain that grapes were cultivated locally. Lincoln was a large combined military/civilian settlement, and they may have found it convenient to transport grapes / juice up the road from the SE of England for vinting on site. That’s a bit of a grey area.

    But the other error is plain – his map shows modern viticulture being no further north than Birmingham. But there are already many vinyards in Lancashire and Yorkshire, a fact which he mentions elsewhere in the text. In fact his “Industrial Warm Phase” line should be just a little to the south of his 2100 line (even ignoring the Scottish outlier), and his 2050 and 2100 lines should be further north again, though you would be far better placed to estimate exactly how far north than I would.

    Selley’s general thrust is correct, but he misses the point I was making: Pell’s meme – the “Romans grew grapes as far north as Hadrians Wall so no change there” – is wrong in both directions. The Romans didn’t (maybe Lincoln, but more likely Middlesex), and we have gone further north anyway. Double denier-fail.

  55. #55 Stu N
    February 27, 2011

    Frank,

    The site that John uses as his reference is not as comprehensive as it could be. Do the lines refer to widespread commercial viniculture? Or commericially viable vs. ‘hobby’ viniculture? Does one vineyard further north, even if it’s struggling and produces poor wine, drag the whole line northward? I don’t think there’s enough info (that’s gentle criticsm of John too).

    Anyway, the point you make in your final paragraph remains perfectly valid.

  56. #56 Flying Binghi
    February 27, 2011

    .

    Hmmm, seems they just want to run away from that inconvenient warmer then today medieval warm period. Not much of a climate history fer Oz to tell us about that medieval warm period ….though there are a few hints around…

    .

    The recent cyclone Yasi were claimed by Garnaut and others as a possible indicator of a climate warming in Oz. Keeping it simple, if it is as claimed that ocean warming around Oz caused a bigger cyclone Yasi then we could say previous large cyclones would indicate warmer oceans.

    via an ABC interview with Jonathan Nott; “…By measuring shingle ridges Jon’s been able to build up a 6,000 year history of cyclones in North Queensland. He’s found dozens of super cyclones – enormous storms the likes of which have not been seen within historic times…”

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s382613.htm

    .

    So, far bigger then recent cyclones around Oz in the last 6000 odd years…. which leads to we musta had warmer then today oceans around Oz… medieval warming perhaps…

    …Oh, and why do the cyclone record only go back 6000 odd years ? 150 metre sea level raise perhaps…

    .

    .

    .

    .

  57. #57 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    February 27, 2011

    Shorter Flying Binghi:

    Ooh, here’s a climate scientist saying something about climate science! Unfortunately his words as they stand don’t really conflict wigth the theory of anthropogenic global warming, but…

    …aha! I know! I’ll just add 4 paragraphs of fact-free speculation to give the impression that he disputes the AGW theory!

    Victory! Al Gore is Fat! Freedom!

  58. #58 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    February 27, 2011

    By the way, isn’t that the same tactic used by the self-styled “Cut and Paste” team (more properly called “Cut, Paste, and Write Two or More Paragraphs of Spin”) at The Australian?

    Or perhaps Flying Binghi is the “Cut and Paste” team. It’ll be irresponsible not to speculate, eh…

  59. #59 Chris O'Neill
    February 27, 2011

    Dingbat:

    Keeping it simple, if it is as claimed that ocean warming around Oz caused a bigger cyclone Yasi then we could say previous large cyclones would indicate warmer oceans.

    No, if A causes B, it doesn’t mean that nothing else can cause B. What is it with these denialists and logic?

  60. #60 adelady
    February 27, 2011

    And we might just note, apart from all the faffing about on Yasi being unusual or not, some interesting stuff about more pedestrian cyclones.

    Darwin is no stranger to cyclones but a meteorologically unexciting Carlos managed to break all previous rainfall records.
    http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2011/02/16/213041_ntnews.html

    Anyone want to speculate about hotter atmosphere holding more water vapour responding to hotter sea surface temperatures?

  61. #61 John Mashey
    February 27, 2011

    re: 54, 55, FrankD and Stu N
    Oh ye of little faith :-)

    I offer 2 hypotheses, you might guess which one fits, knowing that “The Winelands of Britain” is both a book and a website named after it.

    1) I did a quick look at the website and that was the “reference.”

    OR
    2) The “reference” was the *book*, especially the 2nd edition (2008), and the book‘s table of contents hints that substantial nuanced discussions exist, summarized by a rough map.

    ===
    A) As it happens, my wife is from Yorkshire, did her PhD @ Imperial where Selley was, and still has a bank account in England, which eases purchase of these books, since they’re not on Amazon. I’ve owned copies of both books shortly after they appeared, have driven past some fo the Yorkshire wineries, and exchanged a few emails with Selley over the years.

    B) The book (2nd edition) has a chapter each on Roman, MWP, LIA and Modern, with maps and tables showing locations and the evidence at each one, including a note saying “these include hypertentative sites based on a single grape pip, as well as extensively excavated vineyards.” These are found on pp.13-14, 23-25, 30-31, 62-65.

    B) There are 2 kinds of problems in making a simple map, both of which Selley understands.

    First, for the older ones, especially Roman, evidence ranges from very solid to spotty (a single pip or some pruning hooks) and there is usually an outlier or two. Hence, it is a judgment call as to where to draw a simple line. I much prefer the detailed plots, but when you combine those on 1 map (p.80), the graphic is inherently confusing. The discussion of Roman era (pp.13-14) has 2 outliers: Shropshire Wroxeter (labeled “evidence elusive”) and Linchiolnshire – North Thoresby (labeled “Extensive Excavations”). p.15 has 2 paragraphs of discussion on North Thoresby (for which the evidence is strong) and its seeming “migration by “oral tradition” to Lincoln. (This is the Northernmost tip of the Roman line on his map).

    So, when he drew the line for Roman times, he omitted the Wroxeter outlier, but he included North Thoresby, since the evidence is strong. Otherwise, everything was Cambridgeshire or South. Selley offers serious discussions of the role of geology in viticulture, which means that the temperature in an area may be OK, but not the geology. I haven’t studied this to be sure, but the area between Peterborough and North Thoresby has not looked like great wine country to me when I’ve been through there.

    C) Second, in modern times, when vineyards are moving North quite rapidly, there is not only a similar outlier problem but the problem of calibration. Selley is a serious wine guy, although the last figure, pp.98 has a picture of him, labeled “Surrey peasant enjoying a glass of local wine accompanied by a dish of olives from his adjacent olive grovelet.”

    How big does something have to be to be called vineyard? *When* do you count it as a vineyard? When they are planted? When first wine is made? When commercial wine is made? When it’s drinkable? when it’s actually good? In next few years, on some trip to Yorkshire, we’ll go around and taste. Combine this with the geology and microclimate issues and I much prefer the specific vineyard plots, with backup tables of establishment dates.

    But in any case, there is simply zero doubt that credible winemaking is already further North in UK than it ever was before and heading North fast. Selley’s main worry now is that it will get too hot in S. England… even if he has good hope for a future Loch Ness winery.

    D) There are vineyards around the hills where I live, and of course Napa/Sonoma are a few hours away. But the clearest illustration of using viticulture as an indicator of (recent) climate change isn’t in UK, but in the Lake Okanagan area of British Columbia, near which we own ski condos.

    Having lived in California since 1983, when I first heard the phrase “Canadian wine” I thought “right, ice wine, ho ho.” But we own ski condos near Lake Okanagan, and we sample local wines every year, and they’re really getting OK. The Lake is 135km North/South, with many fruit orchards and lower population density, so as the climate has warmed enough, the grapes have marched North over the last 30 years, and these are definitely serious vineyards.

    By odd coincidence, one Loch Ness/Lake Okanagan parallel is that Okanagan “has” its own equivalent of Nessie, called Ogopogo. Regardless, Plimer (and Pell) were fantasizing even more when talking about Roman or MWP winemaking, a topic of which they seemed clueless, especially in comparison with Selley’s books.

  62. #62 Flying Binghi
    February 28, 2011

    .

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    via John Mashey #61; “…a topic of which they seemed clueless…”

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    John Mashey, the tomatoes you buy from the fruit shop, do you think they look exactly the same as tomatoes you could have bought 2000 years ago..?

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  63. #63 Vince whirlwind
    February 28, 2011

    Congratulations, Binghi, you have just won a “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated that that” T-shirt.

    Now, if only Plimer et al would come to a similar realisation, we may see an end to the facile assertions about vine-growing as a proxy for temperature.

  64. #64 John Mashey
    February 28, 2011

    Thank goodness Greasemonkey+killfile work here.

    In any case, although it is nontrivial to purchase Selley’s book, I heartily recommend it. It is not only informative on the complex variety of factors that go into viticulture, but it often has wry humor, including this indirect connection with Australia, p.13.

    He discusses the archaeological evidence of terraces (pro and con), or as geomorphologists call them “terracettes.”

    “Hikers may believe that terracettes were produced by contour-hugging sheep, until they note them extending to the feet of dry stone walls and continuing uninterrupted on the other side. Had sheep the athletic ability of kangaroos, they might produce terracettes, but as they do not, they cannot.”

    Having tramped through such areas around Yorkshire, it is good to know this.

  65. #65 Mike
    February 28, 2011

    Binghi, I’m exasperated.

    You’ve already had it pointed out that Jonathon Nott does not study historical ocean temperatures, or even climate change as such. He looks at extreme weather events and risk assessment, and finds that over 6000 years super-cyclones are on average a 1 per 200-300 year event.

    You are leaping to conclusions about ocean temperatures and historical climate and medieval warm periods which have N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with Nott’s research.

    Furthermore, whether there was or wasn’t a medieval warm period, and how warm it was, has N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with whether or not CO2 is being released into the atmosphere in increasing quantities by human activity and is causing an enhanced greenhouse effect.

    Nor does how green it was in Greenland or how many freaking grapes or goddamn tomatoes were grown during any such period (if it truly existed) have A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G to do with how an ever-increasing greenhouse warming phenomenon is going to affect any number of aspects of modern-day 21st century civilisation.

  66. #66 rhwombat
    February 28, 2011

    People: Binghi is a Trollbot. Kill it.

  67. #67 SJ
    February 28, 2011

    I think it’s important for Catholics to know that he’s out of step with the Church hierarchy in the Vatican and elsewhere, not merely out of step with the science.

    This is a fundamental misunderstanding of Pell’s position. He’s a right-wing shitbag(fn1) who fully intends to become the “Church heirarchy”, i.e. the Pope. Reformed Nazi Ratburger became Pope with Pell’s help, and Pell’s current concern is to overturn Vatican II.

    He’s quite prepared to destroy the church altogether, so that he can have the privelige of being its boss for a short time.

    Fn1: As a Catholic, I feel I have both the right and the duty to say this.

  68. #68 Robin Levett
    February 28, 2011

    @John etc re viticulture as a proxy for temeprature:

    One point that seems to be missed generally is that commercial vineyards only arise when they are economically viable, and shut when they are not; so the importation of a wine-drinking aristocracy in 1066, the acquisition of the Aquitaine in 1154, the loss of a large chunk of the rural labour force to the Black Death in the 14th century, and the loss of the English possessions in France in the Hundred Years War by 1453 are all just as relevant factors as climate in determining whether and where there were vineyards in England during this period.

  69. #69 Wow
    February 28, 2011

    Also the lack of safe potable water (alcohol being a good way of making it safer, cf “Grog”) and a greater demand for wine for non-optional use (Roman Catholic communion wine, when the observance is much less widespread), where the quality is of secondary importance to the cost.

  70. #70 Flying Binghi
    February 28, 2011

    .

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    via Mike #65; “…You’ve already had it pointed out that Jonathon Nott does not study historical ocean temperatures, or even climate change as such. He looks at extreme weather events and risk assessment…”

    ooooooooooooooooooo

    Mike, perhaps you need to reread my posts and then you will see that i’ve not claimed anything about Jonathan Nott, i have merely quoted his interviews/comments – the interpretations i’ve made of the Nott quotes are plainly my interpretations.

    Jonathan Nott ten years ago mentioning that mega cyclones will be coming back in the near future: “…These events occur every two to three hundred years ….we know that one will definitely occur in the relatively near future…”

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s382613.htm

    .

    .

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    via Mike #65; “…Nor does how green it was in Greenland or how many freaking grapes or goddamn tomatoes were grown during any such period (if it truly existed) have A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G to do with how an ever-increasing greenhouse warming phenomenon is going to affect any number of aspects of modern-day 21st century civilisation…”

    ooooooooooooooooo

    Mike, may i remind you that the famous IPCC hockey stick temperature graph (that’s the corrupt graph that removed the medieval warm period from the IPCC record) is a core ‘proof’ of the Anthropogenic global warming claims.

    Roughly, the fact is we had a warmer then today Roman warm period followed by a mini ice age, which were then followed by the warmer then today medieval warm period, which were then followed by a mini ice age, which we came out of in the 1800′s.

    Since we came out of the mini ice age about a hundred and fifty years ago the temperature has been raising in fits and starts to our current temps. This fact is of great inconvenience to the doomsday climate hysteric types who need to remove the warm/cold periods from history so they can make out our current temperatures are unusual. Hence the hysterical attacks on anyone who points out the reality of the past temperatures.

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  71. #71 Flying Binghi
    February 28, 2011

    .

    rhwombat #66, i’m a climate realist, a voter and a tax payer. I tend to disagree with hysterical climate claims that with a little research i find to be outright lies, wrong or unbelievable.

    A big prod that gets me commenting on the climate nonsense i see is that there’s some climate hysteric types out there that expect this taxpayer me to fund their climate hysteria. I intend to just quietly keep working away pointing out the past climate reality and attempt to instill some common sense where i can.

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  72. #72 Vince Whirlwind
    February 28, 2011

    @Binghi, you’re not any sort of “realist”, you’re just delusional. You believe any nonsense without evidence if it suits your preconceived ideas.
    You’re not analysing the available evidence to achieve understanding, you’re sifting through the available evidence to pick out whatever little bits support your ignorant notions.

    Hysterical attacks on genuine scientists who point out the reality of past temperatures are your stock in trade.

  73. #73 Richard Simons
    February 28, 2011

    FB @70

    Roughly, the fact is we had a warmer then today Roman warm period followed by a mini ice age, which were then followed by the warmer then today medieval warm period,

    Where did you drag this up from? Other people would seem to disagree with you, even for the extra-tropical northern hemisphere.

  74. #74 John Mashey
    February 28, 2011

    re: 68,69
    Sadly, some Wikipedia talk pages get archived quickly.
    See section “English wine again, updates proposed” in Wikipedia talk from ~2 years ago. (I was the author, forgot to sign it).

    I quote:
    “As is well-covered by Robinson, Selley, or Gavin Schmidt references, vineyard location is an imprecise proxy. Hence, if one is going to mention English wine at all, I’d suggest something like:

    Viniculture has been practiced in England from Roman times. The location and extent of vineyards support an English temperature pattern of warm (Roman), cool (Dark Ages), warm (Medieval), cool (Little Ice Age), warm (current). Vineyard location alone are not necessarily good proxies of average English temperatures, given the many confounding factors. Vineyards are rapidly moving North, already as far as North Yorkshire (Bolton Castle, for eaxmple). These locations may not prove that current temperature exceeds that of Medieval times, but they support the reverse even less. [references as discussed above]”

    The various confounding factors, certainly covered in Selley, are among the reasons that I said Lake Okanagan was a better modern proxy, since most of those factors are absent.

    But again: people who say “grapes in Britain, therefore warmer in MWP” are claiming location as a) a good proxy, and b) claiming that it favors their belief.

    They are demonstrably clueless about the complexities of a) (especially in UK) and the detailed studies that in fact show that to the extent that general location is a proxy, it shows exactly the reverse of b).

    Anyway, READ SELLEY’S BOOK.

  75. #75 Ian Forrester
    February 28, 2011

    The reason that vineyards peter out as you go north in the British Isles is not because of climate it is because those various groups of people making the migration got into barley country. As any good Scotsman will tell you barley makes far better drinks than do grapes. Once they tasted Scottish beer and usquebaugh (water of life) they forgot all about grapes and wines. There is never a good or bad year for beer or a nice single malt, they are always good.

  76. #76 P. Lewis
    February 28, 2011

    In a warming, more humid and moister UK, it may not necessarily be true in the future that “there is never a good or bad year for beer or a nice single malt”, not without control of possible increased incidences of fungal infections in barley and hops anyway. :-(

  77. #77 John
    February 28, 2011

    >rhwombat #66, i’m a climate realist, a voter and a tax payer. I tend to disagree with hysterical climate claims that with a little research i find to be outright lies, wrong or unbelievable.

    FB, I had a glance over your posts at a forum last night. You’re the same type of denier we’ve seen so many times here. You don’t know what the science says, you only know what skeptics say about the science. You support everything from David Evan’s comical “hotspot”, to undersea volcanoes that can’t be found, to the Great Global Warming Swindle.

    In other words, just another denier with political motives, an obsession with Al Gore and no real skepticism about anything he reads as long as it confirms his point of view. When you’ve been proved wrong, you ignore it and move on to the next meme.

    After all, once you know it’s “scam” and a “hoax” the science doesn’t matter.

  78. #78 Chris O'Neill
    February 28, 2011

    Lying dingbat:

    the fact is we had a warmer then today Roman warm period

    It might have been warmer globally than today during the Roman warm period but no-one has been able to prove or dis-prove this. Asserting that it’s a fact it was warmer is just lying.

    may i remind you that the famous IPCC hockey stick temperature graph

    The IPCC did not create any hockey stick graph. They just cited lots of them.

    is a core ‘proof’ of the Anthropogenic global warming claims

    The temperature record of the past is not needed to prove that CO2 absorbs infra-red radiation.

    i’m a climate realist, a voter and a tax payer.

    You’re not a climate realist. You just regurgitate lies.

  79. #79 John Mashey
    February 28, 2011

    One more time: Firefox+Greasemonkey+killfile works here.

  80. #80 Flying Binghi
    March 1, 2011

    .

    Hmmm, lets just sort through the insulting hysteria and try to find out what point Vince Whirlwind is trying to make…

    .

    Vince Whirlwind @72, “…You’re not analysing the available evidence to achieve understanding…”

    Vince Whirlwind, i’ve been involved in the blog/forum climate debate for several years now. A google of my call sign will show as much.

    .

    Vince Whirlwind @72 “…Hysterical attacks on genuine scientists who point out the reality of past temperatures are your stock in trade…”

    Vince Whirlwind, to refresh my memory, perhaps a link to one of my “hysterical attacks on genuine scientists” would be handy here.

    .

    One debate i had with an apparently ‘genuine scientist’ were over at the wxzone forums with a Blair Trewin. The thread were about the big Victorian fire of 2009 and some claiming that it were the worst ever with the highest ever Melbourne temperatures.

    Being brief, basically Trewin were arguing that the Melbourne temperatures of the big 1851 fire could not compare to the 2009 figures as the thermometers back in 1851 were out under hot tin roofs… hot tin roofs in 1851 …Hmmm – A brief google by me showed this to be ‘fanciful’.

    There were further debate about the integrity of the 1851 temperature readings when i pointed out that in 1800′s Melbourne actually had a met man employed and housed in a met building – this were apparently new knowledge to Trewin.

    Further debate covered things like wind direction during the day affecting temperatures and even touched on the fact that Melbourne had a thick pall of smoke over it during the 1851 fire. Being personally involved in annual burn-offs for over 40 years gave me an idea that further research would give me the scientific research that i found that air temperatures under heavy smoke down wind of fires will give a temperature drop of any where up to 10 degree’s or so.
    All in all, an interesting debate that i don’t remember as getting hysterical from any person.

    As an aside, if it weren’t for the massive fire break around 1851 Melbourne, methinks most of the city would have been burnt to a cinder…

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  81. #81 Flying Binghi
    March 1, 2011

    .

    via John Mashey @74; “…people who say “grapes in Britain, therefore warmer in MWP” are claiming location as a) a good proxy, and b) claiming that it favors their belief. They are demonstrably clueless about the complexities…”

    .

    John Mashey, the Ian Plimer book does not just talk about English wines in isolation. Plimer also notes the accounts of the Romans themselves of the varying climate and the effects on other food crops. I don’t know why Cardinal Pell picked wine to focus on, perhaps he likes a tipple, though it is only part of the Plimer evidence that should not be taken in isolation.

    .

    Whilst i don’t agree with parts of Heaven and Earth i still think it is a good read for the AGW novice to get ideas for further research on the issue. Another book i found interesting were The Climate Caper by Garth Paltridge.

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  82. #82 Vince Whirlwind
    March 1, 2011

    “Heaven and Earth is a good read”???

    What nonsense is this? That’s like saying “Hansel and Gretel” is a good read for potential foster-parents.

    Why would you recommend anybody read a book whose errata run to 55 pages? And they aren’t typos, either – we’re talking basic scientific facts which Plimer gets completely wrong.

    Actually, don’t bother answering that – it’s obvious you’re dishonest.

  83. #83 Chris W
    March 1, 2011

    I take John M’s (and others’) point about vinyard location being a poor proxy for climate but thought this was interesting anyway http://www.eventyrvin.no/english.

    As you can see Flying Boofhead, these days grapes are growing in Norway … and at higher lattitudes than Scotland too !!

  84. #84 Flying Binghi
    March 1, 2011

    .

    Chris W @83; “…these days grapes are growing in Norway … and at higher lattitudes than Scotland too…”

    .

    Heh …Chris W, perhaps yer need Vince whirlwind to tell yer why many crop plants of today are different to crop plants of 2000 years ago…

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  85. #85 Chris O'Neill
    March 1, 2011

    Lying dingbat:

    basically Trewin were arguing that the Melbourne temperatures of the big 1851 fire could not compare to the 2009 figures as the thermometers back in 1851 were out under hot tin roofs.

    I’d say his concerns (being a skeptical person unlike yourself) were that the thermometers were not under any standard form of radiation screening. It may well have been hotter in 1851. We just can’t be certain from the thermometers.

  86. #86 Flying Binghi
    March 1, 2011

    .

    via Chris O’Neill @85; “…the thermometers were not under any standard form of radiation screening…”

    From memory that point were bought up by Trewin. Apparently, not being all that confident about the screening detail He also pushed the hot tin roof concept.

    .

    via Chris O’Neill @85; “…It may well have been hotter in 1851…”

    Chris O’Neill, at the time we had hundreds of news reports and even Minister Penny Wong claiming that the 2009 Victorian bush fires were the biggest and hottest ever and caused by AGW. Reality were an entirely different thing…

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  87. #87 John
    March 1, 2011

    Flying Binghi, I’m a skeptic. To demonstrate this I will now be skeptical of you.

    >even Minister Penny Wong claiming that the 2009 Victorian bush fires were the biggest and hottest ever and caused by AGW.

    1. Where did Penny Wong say global warming “caused” the 2009 Victorian bushfires?

    2. If there indeed was a worse bushfire or hotter day in 1851, how does that disprove radiative forcing and the long term upward trend in global temperatures since the 1880s?

  88. #88 J Bowers
    March 1, 2011

    Re 78 Chris O’Neill

    Late 1st C. AD:

    “10. The geography and inhabitants of Britain, already described by many writers, I will speak of, not that my research and ability may be compared with theirs, but because the country was then for the first time thoroughly subdued. And so matters, which as being still not accurately known my predecessors embellished with their eloquence, shall now be related on the evidence of facts.

    [...]

    With the exception of the olive and vine, and plants which usually grow in warmer climates, the soil will yield, and even abundantly, all ordinary produce.“

  89. #89 J Bowers
    March 1, 2011

    That was – Tacitus: Agricola Book 1 [10]

  90. #90 Deep Climate
    March 1, 2011

    I suppose from the post title it is fairly clear that Greg Ayers is head of Bureau of Meteorology (or at least very high up). But it would have been good to mention that in the head post for the benefit of non-Australian readers.

    In Canada, we have our share of climate contrarian sympathizers in parliament – and they are almost all on the government side unfortunately.

    But at least no one has dared introduce this sort of nonsense into Hansard – at least not since the appearance of Friends of Science in committee in 2005.

  91. #91 Chris O'Neill
    March 1, 2011

    Lying Dingbat:

    “…the thermometers were not under any standard form of radiation screening…”
    From memory that point were bought up by Trewin. Apparently, not being all that confident about the screening detail

    Yes, it’s called skepticism, a concept that gullible fools like yourself are not familiar with, even though you lie and pretend you are.

  92. #92 Flying Binghi
    March 1, 2011

    .

    via John @87; “…Where did Penny Wong say global warming “caused” the 2009 Victorian bushfires?…”

    Dunno, memory grows dim, mighta been Bob Brown, He’s always good fer a laugh. …suppose ah will have to have a google look-see…

    .

    via John @87; “…If there indeed was a worse bushfire or hotter day in 1851, how does that disprove radiative forcing and the long term upward trend in global temperatures since the 1880s?…”

    John, my understanding is that average world temperatures have been raising since we came out of the last mini ice age. It is currently near a high point of the latest temperature raise. Could the temperatures get higher still… who knows, the medieval and Roman warm periods were warmer so i don’t see why it caint get warmer yet.

    As to the human released CO2 input into current temperatures… a while back there were well known AGW pushing climate scientists reading their tea-leave models claiming that in England school children would not know what snow looked like…

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  93. #93 John
    March 2, 2011

    >Dunno, memory grows dim, mighta been Bob Brown, He’s always good fer a laugh. …suppose ah will have to have a google look-see…

    So you lied. Where did Bob Brown say the bushfires were caused by global warming then?

    >John, my understanding is that average world temperatures have been raising since we came out of the last mini ice age.

    Evidence?

    >It is currently near a high point of the latest temperature raise.

    Evidence?

    >who knows, the medieval and Roman warm periods were warmer

    Evidence?

    >so i don’t see why it caint (sic) get warmer yet.

    Sounds like a cop out to me, because you know it’s going to get warmer but your politics won’t allow you to admit it’s Co2.

    >As to the human released CO2 input into current temperatures… a while back there were well known AGW pushing climate scientists reading their tea-leave models claiming that in England school children would not know what snow looked like…

    You can’t prove me wrong so you resort to diversion tactics. Sad.

    Let me rephrase that: If we are coming out of a “mini ice age”, how does that disprove radiative forcing and the long term upward trend in global temperatures since the 1880s?

    Or at what point are you going to admit your views are based on political beliefs and not scientific evidence?

  94. #94 Chris O'Neill
    March 2, 2011

    Lying dingbat:

    who knows, the medieval and Roman warm periods were warmer

    At least we know dingbat is a liar.

    so i don’t see why it caint get warmer yet.

    And how would that be considering that the astronomical forcing at 65 degrees N in Summer is weaker now than it was in the middle ages AFAIR and no significant increase in this forcing is expected for a long time (thousands of years)?

  95. #95 zoot
    March 2, 2011

    John @93:

    Or at what point are you going to admit your views are based on political beliefs and not scientific evidence?

    Short answer – never.

    I appreciate your efforts John, and anyone with a brain can see you have comprehensively demolished FB’s position. But he’s never going to admit he’s wrong. It’s not in his nature. If the penny ever drops he will just quietly stop trolling here.

    If you’re using Firefox, might I suggest Grease Monkey and Killfile. Guaranteed blessed relief from annoying trolls.

  96. #96 Flying Binghi
    March 2, 2011

    .

    Ah yes, the never ending panicky nonsense continues…

    via zoot @95; “… your efforts John, anyone with a brain can see you have comprehensively demolished FB’s position…”

    .

    zoot, i’ve just been given a list of questions from John which i’m yet to attend to. How is it that my as yet to be done reply has been “comprehensively demolished” ….Hmmm

    .

    Heh, around here i feel like horse the cat in a pigeon coop – eating well, though covered in poop…

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  97. #97 Vince Whirlwind
    March 2, 2011

    It’s your *lack of reply* which demolishes your position.

    Actually, your position pretty much demolishes your position, too.

  98. #98 Bernard J.
    March 2, 2011

    [Flapping bikini said](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/the_bureau_of_meteorology_figh.php#comment-3405189):

    John, my understanding is that average world temperatures have been raising since we came out of the last mini ice age. It is currently near a high point of the latest temperature raise. Could the temperatures get higher still… who knows, the medieval and Roman warm periods were warmer so i don’t see why it caint get warmer yet.

    [Your understanding is incorrect](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png).

    Unsurprisingly.

    The [Holocene Climate Optimum](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_climatic_optimum) peaked about 8 000 years ago, and has been slowly tracking downward ever since. That is, until humans started putting extra CO2 into the atmosphere and thereby forced the temperature upward again, to the highest point since the last glacial maximum, and for some considerable time before that event.

    And note – technically, we are still in an [ice age](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age), and would probably remain so for tens of thousands of years yet, if it were not for our current emissions. These have the potential to push the planet completely out of the present ice age in a matter of centuries, and to remove for thousands of years the chance of a technical ice age occurring again.

    Dennis (may I call you [Dennis, or do you prefer "Professor" Denuto](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3402907)?), it must be so, um, liberating to make proclamations that are completely devoid of fact. In the same way that walking naked in public is liberating…

  99. #99 Chris O'Neill
    March 2, 2011

    Lying Dingbat:

    eating well, though covered in poop

    Rather ironic considering your sole objective is to spread poop.

  100. #100 Lotharsson
    March 3, 2011

    > …the famous IPCC hockey stick temperature graph (that’s the corrupt graph that removed the medieval warm period from the IPCC record) is a core ‘proof’ of the Anthropogenic global warming claims.

    At the risk of further feeding a troll, with the possible payoff that other readers might be less confused by said troll’s dissemblance:

    Er, no, it bloody well is not.

    Even if the graph in question were actually as discredited and corrupt as you seem to think it is, the case for AGW would stand just as strong as it does now. For precisely the same reasons, which do not depend on that particular hockey stick graph.

    The fact that you don’t – or won’t – understand this means you’re pontificating out of your nether orifice.