Optical Depth of CO2 Explained

Here is a treat for those following the discussion of Miskolczi’s new theory of greenhouse warming. Noor van Andel has sent a simplified explanation of Miskolczi’s theory, put on Wikichecks here. Noor is actually in the greenhouse business!

Noor’s letter below refers to a history of the debate between Noor and another prominent scientist in the Netherlands Dr. Rob van Dorland. Rob has also graciously responded with explanations of the Cabauw data he collected, and a link to his thesis, in the previous post in this series.

I would like to remind people to remain calm in your discussions of this and other topics here.

Dear David,

My excuses; I was some weeks out of the running because the government of Curaçao had invited me & other experts into their Island to advise them on the possibilities to convert to sustainable energy.

In the attachment, that you are free to put on your web site [blog], you find the measurements you asked for. Please note that the measurements up to 200 m height, made from the radio transmitter tower at Lopik [Cabauw] in the Netherlands, are measurements made by Dr. Rob van Dorland, published in his PhD thesis. Rob is the major atmospheric IR radiation expert in the Royal Institute of Meteorology in the Netherlands, and a fervent and active supporter of the IPCC hypothesis of man-made global warming through CO2 emission.

I tried to maintain an e-mail discussion with him about Miskolczi’s radically different theory, but did not succeed. His emotional revulsion was so strong, that he was not able to think rationally about FM’s theory.

Now, I must confess that I cannot follow FM in his terms “radiation pressure”, his “Virial theorem” or his “Kirchhoff law”. But he is, in my opinion, right in his Hartcode results that all along the atmospheric height, there is Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium in that the absorbed part of the upward IR radiation is always equal to the downward IR radiation. This follows from the fact that the mean free path of the photons that interact with atmospheric components is so short that there are no appreciable temperature differences along this path [order of meters]. Not even higher up in the stratosphere. So almost all heat transfer [save direct IR radiation through the atmospheric window] from surface upwards is by vertical convection, with or without water condensation. This means a very efficient negative feedback of water vapor on surface temperature. When it is warm and therefor humid, the adiabatic temperature lapse is 5 K/km; when it is cold or dry, it is 10 K/km. So, over those parts of the Earth surface that are wet, sea or plant canopy, there is a factor of two increase in heat transfer upwards when you go from say 10 °C to 25°C. It is this thermostatic effect on our watery planet, that regulates its surface temperature. Low clouds amplify this effect even more by reflecting visible light. There is no effect of CO2 concentration in the troposphere. And the effective height from which the OLR radiates, lies well under the tropopause.

CO2 plays a role in the stratosphere, where water vapor is very low. And there, we see in radiosonde stratospheric humidity measurements that indeed, as CO2 rises, that water vapor decreases, just keeping the OLR at its maximum, as follows from FM’s solution of Eddington’s radiation equation in a bounded, semi-transparant atmosphere.


dr. ir. E. van Andel, Fiwihex BV, Wierdensestraat 74, NL 7604 BK Almelo, tel. +31 [0]546491106, fax +31[0]546491107, gsm +31[0]653286574,

Regression Conclusion

Is Kirchhoff’s rule in atmosphere proven by the Cabauw measurements, or not? I had earlier received a note on calculations by Noor van Andel claiming, yes, Kirchoff’s relationship as used in Miskolczi’s theory was confirmed by the linear regression of Ed (longwave down radiation) and Su(1-Ta) (longwave surface up, without transmitted longwave). Miskolczi also confirmed this result, using older results in a the previous post in this series.

However, I just received an email from Rob van Dorland who took the actual measurements claiming this is not the case. In Rob’s opinion:

The calculations show “Kirchhoff’s rule” cannot be obtained using my measurements. These measurements consist of downward radiation at the surface and the mixing ratio’s of water vapor at the surface (that is what I sent to Noor van Andel). From this you cannot compute the atmospheric LW transparency (Ta), like Noor van Andel did, because you need information on profiles of temperature, water vapor and of other greenhouse gases. Of course, I used this profile information to compute the downward radiation at the surface and compare these computed values with the observed ones (see attachment).

From Thesis Rob van Dorland, 1999.

I think the computation of Kirchhoff’s rule by Noor illustrates very well that assumptions (which are not a standard part of radiative transfer calculations) are put into the model of Noor (and probably also in Ferenc’s model). In turn these assumptions result to my opinion in wrong conclusions such as the optimum optical depth for the present Earth’s atmosphere and the very low sensitivity to CO2 changes, stated in Ferenc paper.

Rob mentions for background information you can download the pdf of chapter 3 of his thesis. Click on “deel 2″ at the end of this page after the reference to the thesis.

I must admit I thought Noor’s results were based on profile measurements at the 200m high Cabauw tower, near Lopik, the Netherlands. Unfortunately I have been unable to contact Noor to gain his approval to publish the findings on the web.

Update: Rob has sent details of the data and the data itself he sent to Noor. I think it clears up the profile issue, as I (mis)understood Noor’s note to read that he calculated the profiles. The data sent by Rob is here, and email below.

Dear David
See my brief response below

David Stockwell wrote:

>Dear Rob,

>Thanks very much. It takes a disagreement to provoke discussion on the web, you are right!
>Still I think we learn more in an interesting way when that happens.
>I am interested in your statement that you did not send Noor temperature and water
>vapor profile information, as he says clearly in his note that the calculations of
>Ta are based on profile information sent by you. I am just a bit confused.

Noor only got the surface values. please ask him. I send you the same file as I did in May to Noor.
column 3: 2m temperature
column 4: 2m humidity
column 5: Longwave downward measured at the surface
column 6: Longwave downward calculated at the surface


>”The 200 m high radio broadcast transmitter in Cabauw, near Lopik, the Netherlands,
>can be used, like a weather balloon, to measure atmosphere profiles,
>albeit only until 200 m high. Rob van Dorland has measured these profiles. ”

I actually combined the 200 m tower measurements with the balloon measurements. So I got profiles of temperature and humidity up til a height of 25 to 30 km. Further details of my comparison can be read in paragraph 3.5 of my thesis.

Submission 1: Australian Meteorological Magazine (AMM)

The venue for more formal debate on controversial topics is the scientific journals. As part of my trek into the desert of drought predictions in Australia, I submitted a review of the Drought Exceptional Circumstances report (abstract below) two days ago to the Australian Meteorological Magazine. To date I have not received an acknowledgement of its receipt.

The reasons I selected the AMM: it publishes all its papers on the web, has emphasis on the meteorology of the Australian region and the southern hemisphere, and would have a readership familiar with the DECR.

I am hoping at some point to engage climate scientists in the issues that have been raised about the interpretation of drought data in the DECR report. For example, Ferenc Miskolczi has very graciously engaged a number of people here who were interested in understanding his theory of semi-transparent atmosphere in more detail.

I would like to know what validation was used to justify the use of climate models for modelling drought, and how the conclusion that droughts are likely to increase in frequency and severity can be reconciled with the data, which shows drought frequency and severity declining, can be justified.

So far, no luck. I submitted a manuscript with the following abstract to the AMM two days ago. So far I have not even received acknowledgement of its receipt.

Review of projections of frequency and severity of exceptionally low rainfall in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report
David R.B. Stockwell
September 20, 2008


The 2008 Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR) makes a number of bold claims in its assessment of likely changes in the frequency and severity of severe rainfall deficiencies over the next 20-30 years. This review presents an analysis which brings into question whether these claims can be sustained by the data. Taking into account the poor performance of climate models, as evidenced by simulations of area of exceptionally low rainfall trending in the opposite direction to observations, a more valid interpretation of the results would be for drought frequency and severity in Australia to remain largely unchanged in the future, with no expectation of a change in the climatological basis for
EC declarations.

Experimental Verification of Kirchhoff Law in Atmosphere

While contributors Barton, Jan, Neal and Nick have been grilling Ferenc Miskolczi on another thread, and been doing a fantastic job of clarifying for average readers the use of the Virial Theorem in Miskolczi’s paper, Ferenc has sent some results pertaining to the use of Kirchhoff’s Law, which was another source of contention.

I don’t have a lot of time to go through this right away, so I will just post the links for now. It includes a scan of a paper from 1992 dealing with estimation of long wave down radiation, E_D in Miskolczi’s paper.

KL checked for isothermal atmosphere, where it should hold in any case.

An earlier article in the JAOT with real radiosonde observations and real Ed measurements with pyrgeometers

A JQSRT article where similar isothermal LBL computations were done.

Simple Statistical Model Using Recent Droughts

Changes in the exceptionally dry years (droughts) have been estimated in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR) in two ways: (a) a statistical modification of the observed rainfall data (Box 3); and (b) analysis of simulations from 13 climate models. Up until now I have been looking at the modeling in approach (b). Today I started to look at approach (a). As mean rainfall declines the probability of exceptionally low rainfall increases. This is graphed in Box 3 (see also Table 6).

The parameters used in this simple extrapolation exercise have curious inconsistencies with their source. The DECR report says:

Continue reading Simple Statistical Model Using Recent Droughts

Trade Practices Act

Any claims or representations made by a business must be accurate and truthful. If a business has been dishonest, exaggerated the truth, or created a misleading impression, then there is a very broad provision in the Trade Practices Act to prohibit such conduct by a corporation.

For example, the ACCC webpage on misleading and deceptive conduct gives an example of a business predicting the health benefits of a therapeutic device or health product but having no proof that such benefits can be attained. Note that there is no need to show that the product has no benefit in fact, rather it is misleading to make a claim when there is no proof. In general:

Continue reading Trade Practices Act

Recent Article on Controversial Topic – Drought and AGW

Stewart Franks, a hydroclimatologist at the University of Newcastle School of Engineering has spoken out, that the Murray Darling Basin drought was caused by an entirely natural phenomenon, the 2002 El Nino event, and there is no evidence that CO2 has had any significant role. He goes on:

Numerous politicians, environmentalists and especially scientists have made spectacular leaps of faith in their adherence to the doctrine of climate change over recent years, too many to document here.

And in a clear reference to the recent Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR), the subject of two critical articles by Ian Castles, former Australian Statistician, and a report that I have reviewed, written letters about, and now possibly starting an FOI request he says:

However, the most literally fantastic claim on climate change must go to Kevin Rudd, who has guaranteed that rainfall will decline over coming decades; one can only assume he’s based his view on deficient climate models and bad advice.

Continue reading Recent Article on Controversial Topic – Drought and AGW

Getting Advantage for Analysts from Policy

Below my reply to the letter here from Andrew Ash, Director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship. Concerning the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR) there was an earlier more technical draft that could have contained validation information, but was returned by the client (DAFF) because it was unsuitable for stakeholder policy work. What does that mean? The earlier report should show what/if validation was performed to determine if the models had skill at predicting drought, and what changes were made to the report to make it palatable for the policy wonks, that is, sounding more like a disaster movie.

10 Sep. 08

Andrew Ash (Director, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship)
Gary Foley (Acting Director, Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

Dear Sirs,

Re: Request a copy of first draft of DECR

Thank you for your prompt consideration of my letter of 3 Sep. expressing my concern with the validity of key claims in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR).

I strongly share your sentiment “as you know we value constructive criticism as it often helps to tighten up that science, which is vital in issues which matter so much to the future of our planet.” This leads me to believe you would be amenable to providing a copy of the first (more technical) draft of the report, in order to provide constructive criticism of the validation performed on the models used in the DECR.

We also seem to be in substantial agreement on the difficulty of modelling exceptionally low rainfall years – the substance of my critique:

1. Kevin Hennessy stated as much in the CSIROpod interview of 15 Jul.

(1.20m) There’s not been a clear indication of changes in exceptionally low rainfall years, and that’s because there’s lots of variability between decades …
(1.40m)But in terms of a long term trend its not very clear in terms of exceptional low rainfall years.

2. This is the basis of my claim in the previously supplied “Tests of Regional Climate Model Validity in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report”.

3. You do not dispute this point in your letter of 9 Sep.

However, I respectfully submit it is not the case that my critique concerns only a narrow component of the report:

1. Under the terms of reference the BoM and CSIRO were requested (DECR Appendix 1), on the basis of current knowledge of climate change science, to assess: (points 2 and 4 of 4 points):

2. Likely changes in the nature and frequency of severe rainfall deficiencies over the next 20-30 years, in comparison to severe rainfall deficiencies defined by the available instrument records. Severe rainfall deficiency is defined as an event in the lowest 5th percentile of historical records persisting for prolonged periods and over significantly sized regions.

4. The place of past exceptional climatic events in the context of the likely frequency and severity of future climatic events.

2. Projections of exceptionally low rainfall using models constitute roughly one third of the substance of the report, along with temperature and soil moisture.

3. The dictionary definition of drought is: a shortage of rainfall. If my concerns are as narrow as to not affect the overall report, then I would respectfully suggest the report is misnamed, the word “Drought” should be dropped and replaced with “Temperature Extreme Circumstances”, or something similar. This would be consistent with the summary of the findings at the CSIROpod interview site, which only mentions exceptionally hot years, and omits claims of exceptionally low rainfall.

4. The claims at issue were quoted by the Prime Minister, the client DAFF, and in the media.

I submit that in a report whose terms of reference were to determine “likely changes in the nature and frequency of severe rainfall deficiencies over the next 20-30 years”, my critique of a major part of the summary regarding the likelihood of exceptionally low rainfall does address the main thrust of the report.

Kevin Hennessy in an email of 11 Jul. (excerpt below) mentioned the existence of a draft of their report with a great deal more technical information.

Thirdly, the Terms of Reference (Appendix 1) state that “it will be presented in a form that will enable it to be used in future drought policy discussions, including stakeholder consultation”. Our first draft of the report was considered too technical by the client (DAFF), since the target audience is for lay-people, so we had to spend considerable time simplifying the language, diagrams and tables. Therefore, statistical tests and results from individual climate models were not presented.

Kevin indicated in an email of 25 Sep. that:

… we are satisfied with the model evaluation done prior to publication.

I request a copy of the first draft of the DECR, commercial-in-confidence if necessary.


David R.B. Stockwell PhD

10 September 2008

Modelization Prediction

Below is the reply received from Andrew Ash, Director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship, to my letter to CSIRO here, concerning the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR). There are a number of unsubstantiated statements here (as in the DECR), to which I reply in another letter. Is the reliance on climate models with no predictive value in the DECR so narrow as not to affect the conclusions? Note also the desire to ‘move on’.

Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 1:32 PM
subject Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report
mailed-by csiro.au
signed-by csiro.au

Dear Dr Stockwell,

Your letter regarding the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report to Dr Greg Ayers and Geoff Love has been passed to us.

We will not be withdrawing this report; your critique concerns only a narrow component of the report, and the overall conclusions of the report to our client flow from many lines of evidence.

Furthermore, our initial analysis of your critique suggests it suffers deficiencies even with regard to this narrow component. Our understanding is that your report on this is still in draft form on your website, but once we have a final version (perhaps the attached dated September 3?) we will of course check this assessment.

Meanwhile, thanks for your continued attention to our work; as you know we value constructive criticism as it often helps to tighten up that science, which is vital in issues which matter so much to the future of our planet. Your analysis has helped show that the science is robust and improving, which strengthens the case for acting on climate change. The authors are submitting a more technical version of the report to a scientific journal, which will include more detail on model evaluation.

Kind regards,

Andrew Ash (Director, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship)
Gary Foley (Acting Director, Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

Prediction of Effects of Global Warming (not!)

Here is an email from Hennessy about the CSIRO/BoM Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report. He raises some classic chestnuts that are easily dispatched:

date Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 9:26 AM
subject RE: climate model evaluation
mailed-by csiro.au
signed-by csiro.au

Thanks David.

We are not withdrawing the DEC report because we are satisfied with the model evaluation done prior to publication.
Continue reading Prediction of Effects of Global Warming (not!)

Global Warming Effects Letters

In my quest to verify that an increase in droughts is likely, as claimed in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report, I have spent a few weeks corresponding with Kevin Hennessy the lead author. Despite more than one request, he has not provided technical information, reports, or any evidence to support the claims made in the report.

Providing evidence in support of claims is fundamental to science, which is why I am so amazed that CSIRO has not responded abundantly with proof of their confident assertions that droughts are going to be more likely. As the key claims of the report can’t be validated, the only responsible course is to retract the report until such time as the claims can be demonstrated to be true, or amend the report. I therefore sent the following letter to the heads of two institutions responsible for the DECR. (Actually I have received a reply, and will report back in a few days.)

Continue reading Global Warming Effects Letters

What is environmental modeling?

How many narcissists does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one — but he has to wait for the whole world to revolve around him.

Blog watchers would have noticed a post at ClimateAudit where Steve has reprinted a comment by Ian Jolliffe on the form of PCA (decentered) used way back in 1998 by Mann et al. in the original hockey stick papers. (If you don’t understand all that you have some background reading at CA for homework.)

In a numerate science, statistical methods are standard, commonly applied and understood. Instead, Mann and cohorts represent at trend in environmental modeling that believes environmental science consists of creating and promoting the most obtuse methods to further their theories. Hence the joke above.

Apologies if this is not the correct place to make these comments. I am a complete newcomer to this largely anonymous mode of communication. I’d be grateful if my comments could be displayed wherever it is appropriate for them to appear.

It has recently come to my notice that on the following website, tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/pca-part-4-non-centered-hockey-sticks/ .. , my views have been misrepresented, and I would therefore like to correct any wrong impression that has been given.

An apology from the person who wrote the page would be nice.

In reacting to Wegman’s criticism of ‘decentred’ PCA, the author says that Wegman is ‘just plain wrong’ and goes on to say ‘You shouldn’t just take my word for it, but you *should* take the word of Ian Jolliffe, one of the world’s foremost experts on PCA, author of a seminal book on the subject. He takes an interesting look at the centering issue in this presentation.’ It is flattering to be recognised as a world expert, and I’d like to think that the final sentence is true, though only ‘toy’ examples were given. However there is a strong implication that I have endorsed ‘decentred PCA’. This is ‘just plain wrong’.

The link to the presentation fails, as I changed my affiliation 18 months ago, and the website where the talk lived was closed down. The talk, although no longer very recent – it was given at 9IMSC in 2004 – is still accessible as talk 6 at www.secamlocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/itj201/RecentTalks.html
It certainly does not endorse decentred PCA. Indeed I had not understood what MBH had done until a few months ago. Furthermore, the talk is distinctly cool about anything other than the usual column-centred version of PCA. It gives situations where uncentred or doubly-centred versions might conceivably be of use, but especially for uncentred analyses, these are fairly restricted special cases. It is said that for all these different centrings ‘it’s less clear what we are optimising and how to interpret the results’.

I can’t claim to have read more than a tiny fraction of the vast amount written on the controversy surrounding decentred PCA (life is too short), but from what I’ve seen, this quote is entirely appropriate for that technique. There are an awful lot of red herrings, and a fair amount of bluster, out there in the discussion I’ve seen, but my main concern is that I don’t know how to interpret the results when such a strange centring is used? Does anyone? What are you optimising? A peculiar mixture of means and variances? An argument I’ve seen is that the standard PCA and decentred PCA are simply different ways of describing/decomposing the data, so decentring is OK. But equally, if both are OK, why be perverse and choose the technique whose results are hard to interpret? Of course, given that the data appear to be non-stationary, it’s arguable whether you should be using any type of PCA.

I am by no means a climate change denier. My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics. Misrepresenting the views of an independent scientist does little for their case either. It gives ammunition to those who wish to discredit climate change research more generally. It is possible that there are good reasons for decentred PCA to be the technique of choice for some types of analyses and that it has some virtues that I have so far failed to grasp, but I remain sceptical.

Ian Jolliffe

Steve continues:

As an editorial comment, the validity of Mannian PCA is only one layer of the various issues.

For example, Wahl and Ammann approach the salvaging of Mann overboard from a slightly different perspective than Tamino. Their approach was to argue that Mannian PCA was vindicated by the fact that it yielded a high RE statistic and thus, regardless of how the reconstruction was obtained, it was therefore "validated". I don't see how this particular approach circumvents Wegman's: "Method Wrong + Answer 'Right' = Incorrect Science", but that's a different argument and issue. Also if you read the fine print of Wahl and Ammann, the RE of reconstructions with centered PCA are much lower than the RE using incorrect Mannian PCA, but, again, that is an issue for another day.

It would be nice if Jolliffe's intervention were sufficient to end the conceit that Mann used an "alternate" centering convention and to finally take this issue off the table.

Scientists Biasing Research

The short history of the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR) raises concerns about the relationship between government policy and climate change research. The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told ABC1’s Insiders the report paints a very disturbing picture about the future of droughts in Australia:

“Exceptional circumstances drought conditions … will occur twice as often and with twice the area of droughted parts of Australia included. Now this is a serious revision of the impact of climate change on drought.”

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong matched the stakes and raised them by misrepresenting the IPCC (below). The actual IPCC claims are also of very curious provenance, if you read the article by Ian Castles.

There is a great deal of scientific advice about the impact of climate change on rainfall, particularly in southern Australia… We know the IPCC said by 2050 that Australia should expect around about a 25 per cent reduction in rainfall in the southern part of … Australia.

Why are these government officials so eager to link droughts and global warming? Could the answer be found in the terms of reference (DECR Appendix 1 pp24), where (reading between the lines) it states that the ministers want to axe the large amounts of financial support given to farmers under EC:

The Commonwealth Government
provides support to farmers and rural communities
under the Exceptional Circumstances (EC)
arrangements and other drought programs. The
state and territory governments also participate in
the NDP and provide support measures of their own.

Australian primary industries ministers have
agreed that current approaches to drought and EC
are no longer the most appropriate in the context of
a changing climate. They agreed that drought policy
must be improved to create an environment of self reliance
and preparedness and encourage the
adoption of appropriate climate change
management practices.

In view of this agreement, the BoM and CSIRO were requested (DECR Appendix 1), on the basis of current knowledge of climate change science, to assess:

2. Likely changes in the nature and frequency of
severe rainfall deficiencies over the next 20-30
years, in comparison to severe rainfall
deficiencies defined by the available instrument
records. Severe rainfall deficiency is defined as
an event in the lowest 5th percentile of
historical records persisting for prolonged
periods and over significantly sized regions.

Based on this assessment, the BoM and CSIRO
are requested to comment on the appropriateness
of the current one in 20-25 year EC event trigger
based on the historic record.

What they found (DECR Summary pp4) constituted the substance of the PM’s sound bite above. The language is eerily reflective. When asked for “likely changes in nature and frequency of severe rainfall deficiencies” the scientists responded with “more declarations would be more likely, and over larger areas”.

If rainfall were the sole trigger for EC declarations, then the mean projections for 2010-2040 indicate that more declarations would be likely, and over larger areas, in the SW, SWWA and Vic&Tas regions, with little detectable change in the other regions. Under the high scenario, EC declarations would likely be triggered about twice as often and over twice the area in all regions. In SWWA the frequency and areas covered would likely be even greater.

But as I have been pointing out, the conclusion that droughts will “be more likely” is not supported by any analysis within the report. My own analysis found no reason to believe the current crop of climate models have ability to predict droughts. In fact, the models show an inverse relationship to drought, predicting increasing droughts when the 30 years moving average of the drought records is actually decreasing.

Where did the certainty that “droughts are more likely” come from? I don’t know. The authors won’t tell me. There is no peer-reviewed published research supporting it. Most studies show global climate modeling is very inaccurate regionally, particularly if what is being modeled is and extreme, infrequent event, like droughts. Nevertheless, the result was very well received by the PM, Penny Wong and the commissioner of the report, DAFF. Consider the definition of scientific bias.

Bias is a term used to describe a tendency or preference towards a particular perspective, ideology or result, especially when the tendency interferes with the ability to be impartial, unprejudiced, or objective.

But now the plot thickens. In early correspondence Kevin Hennessy, the lead author, mentions an earlier report was sent back for rewriting because it was ‘too technical’. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it has started to weigh on my mind. Then last week, an anonymous comment from an insider (Hasbeen) to Ian Castles’ article, “One Hundred Tears of Droughts and Flooding Rains“, seems to indicate some reason for reticence:

“It is still my hope that the authors of the report will defend their work, as good scientists should.”

…and the silence of deafening. I wonder why that might be.?
Posted by bigmal, Friday, 5 September 2008 1:25:44 PM

Come no bigmal, you know damn well.

Much as most of these people know they have to comply with K RUDD’s instructions for their report, they don’t like actually lying, particularly personally, in public.

The one I know has signed up to do dentistry next year.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 5 September 2008 1:51:08 PM

Hasbeen: “Much as most of these people know they have to comply with K RUDD’s instructions for their report, they don’t like actually lying, particularly personally, in public. The one I know has signed up to do dentistry next year.”

Sounds like you have more information on this issue Hasbeen. You can contact me via my website at http://landshape.org/enm. In particular, do you know anything about an earlier report that was sent back for rewriting?
Posted by davids, Friday, 5 September 2008 5:54:22 PM
Sorry Davids, no can do.

I think the BOM, & CSIRO are gambling a bit on history, with these rainfall predictions.

How many of you know of the barrier reef cores, taken about 35/40 years ago now. They gave information of runoff in the lower reef area, well before AGW was invented. In fact, they go back to the days when our mate Cook, was cruising our waters.

I’m a bit hazy on the figures now, & far too old to “google”, but in the early 1700s there were periods of drought, drier than we have seen, which lasted for 27 years.

Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 5 September 2008 9:46:42 PM

This would also explain the contradictory statements about the skill of the modelling of exceptionally low rainfall from the lead author in a personal interview on CSIROpod:

(1:20m) … there has not been a clear indication of changes in exceptional low rainfall years.
(1:40m) … but in terms of a long term trend its not very clear in terms of exceptional low rainfall years.

Hasbeen’s comments suggest a possible sequence of events:

1. The Government commissions a report hoping to justify axing EC funding by showing that droughts will be more frequent under global warming.
2. The scientists return a report that accurately shows the uncertainties of climate models in appropriately equivocal language.
3. The report is returned saying it is not “in a form that will enable it to be used in future drought policy discussions, including stakeholder consultation”.
4. The new report emerges (possibly after pressure) declaring that “exceptionally low rainfall will be more likely”, stripped of statistical validation or equivocation and mirroring the language of the terms of reference.

In Dec 2007, CSIRO, the Australian Research Council and Cooperative Research Centres were told they have to have their media releases cleared by the PM’s office to make sure they reflect the new Federal Government’s key messages. Back in Feb 2006 three scientists claimed the Australian government censoring climate scientists. Of course, these events were under different governments, but in the latest case there was an actual directive from the Government.

The secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research, Mark Paterson, is the senior bureaucrat who issued the new directive.

Mr Paterson says it is not about controlling the message, it is about consistency.

“It was something that we were asked for from those agencies so that they were certain as to how to deal with media releases,” he said.

“The essence of the message was that the Government wanted to ensure a degree of consistency in message on key messages and therefore wanted to clear key messages through the Prime Minister’s office.”

I don’t have an opinion on drought EC funding. I have no dog in that fight. My concerns have always been with scientific bias. The DECR situation sounds like the thesis put forward in A Climate Crisis a la Gore, by Paul Spite. Could it be that climate scientists are biasing the detrimental effects of manmade global climate change to suit the review of EC funding by the Rudd government?

The home work quiz

OK, here are the solutions I received to the home work quiz. Thanks to Alan D. McIntire, Peter Gallagher, Jan Pompe, BobD and Josh for contributions.

1*1*1 = 6^0
1 x 1 x 1 = ∞√6
11|4 + 1 = 6 where the 4 is a subscript indicating “base 4″
1×1+1 = φ(6)
(2*2) – 2 = 6
2 + 2 + 2 = 6
(3*3) – 3 = 6
φ(3+3+3) =6
4^(1/2) + 4^(1/2) + 4^(1/2) = 6
4 + 4 – 4^(1/2) = 6
(5/5) + 5 = 6
5 + 5 / 5 = 6
6 – 6 + 6 = 6
φ(6+6+6) =6
7 – (7/7) = 6
8-8^0-8^0 = 6
8^(1/3) + 8^(1/3) + 8^(1/3) = 6
8 – (8+8)^.25 = 6
Γ(8 -8/8) = 6!
(9 + 9) / 9^ (1/2) = 6
9^(1/2) x 9^(1/2) – 9^(1/2) = 6
9 – (9 / 9^.5) = 6

φ is Euler’s Totient Function.
Γ is the Gamma function.

And my solution where n is any number:
(n^0 + n^0 + n^0)! = 6