A rash of stunning turnarounds have vindicated years of effort by climate sceptics. The day after ClimateGate broke I made three predictions:

. Disband the entire Federal Department of Climate Change along with all the individual State Departments of Climate Change.

. Vote down the Emissions Trading Scheme Legislation.

. Cancel Copenhagen.

Australia’s Department of Climate Change has been ‘watered down’ to become the Department of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water. The ETS was voted down, and Copenhagen was such a net negative they are probably sorry they didn’t cancel it.

In another successful prediction, the end of drought in Australia came from a massive upswing in rainfall in 2010. This was done using the EMD algorithm and the assumption of stationarity of rainfall: i.e. long-term oscillations with zero trend, in contrast to a non-stationary drying trend as assumed by CSIRO climate models.

In another stunning vindication of Steve McIntyre, the Met Dept are proposing to take over global temperature data from the CRU. Steve has of course been railing for years about the sloppy, good old boys science in Jones’ department, and clearly the professionals agree with his assessment. Gladly the proposal includes a transparent verification process.

In efforts that are long overdue, Lucia reports that various people are attempting to verify the absence of bias in the CRU surface dataset in various ways. Whatever the result, this can only be a good thing, and I hope it becomes a habit.

Continue reading Vindication


From Nature (see

“The precipitation anomaly of the past few decades in Law Dome is the largest in 750 years, and lies outside the range of variability for the record as a whole, suggesting that the drought in Western Australia may be similarly unusual.”

Climate science has a colorful history of hyperbole: hurricanes, droughts, floods, fires, famines. Old habits die hard and so do true believers. I want to turn attention to the highlighted phrase and what it really means.

Continue reading Hyperbole

Review of Antarctic Snowfall

A recent Nature paper we have been reviewing, claims recent snowfall at Law Dome, Antarctica and the drought in Western Australia “lies outside the range of variability for the record as a whole”. Being about precipitation (often more important to us than temperature), and claims of evidence of AGW causing drought, its interesting.

I finally succeeded in replicating the results but only after resorting to viewing the code, due to omissions in the description of methods. Below I argue (at the end) that the precipitation in LD (and therefore in Western Australia) is not unusual, finding a better than 5% chance of an anomaly that size occurring in a record of that length.

To his credit, Tas van Ommen has been incredibly helpful, open with his code and data, and patient with my WTF moments.

The core presentation of the ice core anomalies is in Fig 3 from the paper, from which the method is described, shown below:

Antarctic snowfall

The focus of attention is on the size of the last anomaly that starts in 1970 (red far right), relative to the others. The supplementary information states:

Continue reading Review of Antarctic Snowfall


I try not to pen editorials. OK here goes. I respect the attention given to this blog, as there are plenty of other great blogs on climate change, politics, finance, etc to read. I try to stay an ‘on message’ advocate for numeracy. Everyone has something to offer from their experiences though. Right at this moment, there is something to say that is important about numeracy, but takes a bit to explain.

I would encourage y’all to read the discussion on New paper on mathematical analysis of GHG in relation to VS, not because I believe in it, or because I believe in balance of probabilities it is right, but because I believe it is the way scientific progress is made. Its what I have tried to do here. Check the numbers.

This is not another ‘me too’ paper inventing there own ‘novel’ approach to affirming the cause du jour in the name of ‘research’. Its about contesting methodology of other experts in the field. Boring? No. It’s what it’s all about. Jargon? No. Its no more complex than ‘regression’. Just unfamiliar. And I am not taking a dig at anyone, as I respect everyone who posts here. Peer reviewed? Uncertain.

When Steve McIntyre started his blog 5 years ago, and I did around the same time, I sent him a email saying to the effect that he would change the way science is done. He called the FOI’s and journal processes of peer review, comments etc ‘quasi-litigation’. I agree, and acknowledge that scientists should use the available processes more. It is a natural extension of the search for truth.

The main failing of the IPCC, IMHO, is in ignoring peer-reviewed papers and comments in favor of confirmatory dreck. What to do about that? The only answer I know is by contesting the logic, models, mathematics, and results using data. Don’t just check your assumptions, check your calculations. Check the stated results are justified.

What point is there in talking about philosophy of science, when the by all accounts, most science is wrong? The overwhelming reason is because:

Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.

Climbing into the stadium and dueling over the technical details is the only way, despite the personal cost.

Lots of Rain

While the US has had record snowfalls, Australia has had its own excesses of precipitation. Below is a 30 day loop of precipitation. The sequence starts with cyclone Olga crossing the coast in the far north east, moving into the Gulf, and tracking south with widespread rain down through the central east and south east.

The rain quickly moves to the east, with heavy rain and storms on the east coast, especially Sydney, but then appears to ‘bounce west’ and collide with a very large trough to bring more widespread rain to inland areas and sweeping to the east again.


Continue reading Lots of Rain

Miskolczi Revisited

Just posted on arXiv: The virial theorem and planetary atmospheres by Viktor T. Toth.

We derive a version of the virial theorem that is applicable to diatomic planetary atmospheres that are in approximate thermal equilibrium at moderate temperatures and pressures and are sufficiently thin such that the gravitational acceleration can be considered constant. We contrast a pedagogically inclined theoretical presentation with the actual measured properties of air.
Continue reading Miskolczi Revisited

Polynomial Cointegration Rebuts AGW

Please discuss the new paper by Michael Beenstock and Yaniv Reingewertz here.

Way back in early 2006 I posted on an exchange with R. Kaufmann, whose cointegration modelling is referenced in the paper, entitled Peer censorship and fraud. He was complaining at RealClimate about the supression of these lines of inquiry by the general circulation modellers. The post gives a number of examples that were topical at the time. ClimateGate bears it out.

Steve McIntyre wrote a long post on the affair here.

[R]ealclimate’s commitment to their stated policy that “serious rebuttals and discussions are welcomed” in the context that they devoted a post to criticize Ross and me and then refused to post serious responses. In this case, they couldn’t get away with censoring Kaufmann, but it’s pretty clear that they didn’t want to have a “serious” discussion online.

Continue reading Polynomial Cointegration Rebuts AGW

Antarctic Snowfall Wrap-up

The claim that “the precipitation anomaly of the past few decades in Law Dome is the largest in 750 years, and lies outside the range of variability for the record as a whole”, is a ‘Hockeystick-like’ claim. Such claims have a considerable literature, and the analysis I have been doing is reminiscent of Rybski on the temperature record.

Koutsoyiannis has a career of work grappling with non-normal statistics in hydrological data, using models with long-term-persistence, and the difficulty of prediction. These more advanced analysis attempt to account for the fact that precipitation has a long-term correlation structure, extreme events happen more frequently than expected, etc, and are well worth the study. That is, there is no need to reinvent the wheel here.

Below is the Law Dome snowfall data illustrating aggregation at the scales of 10, 20, 30 and 40 years where previous posts suggested the divergence of recent snowfall is significant.


Continue reading Antarctic Snowfall Wrap-up

Lognormal Snowfall

Here is the distribution of annual snowfall in Law Dome Antarctica over the last 750 years (blue), compared to a normal (dashed red) and a lognormal (solid red) distribution.


Remember that in the finest Popperian tradition we are trying to disprove that the snowfall in the last few decades at Law Dome has been unusual. To do this, I have used a robust approach of aggregation (splitting the series into equal sized section), estimating the parameters of the lognormal distribution, then plotting the actual mean snowfall in the final aggregate against the calculated confidence limits.

Continue reading Lognormal Snowfall

Normal's Overrated

Yes I watch “House”. I wanted to return to the issue of whether the snowfall in Antarctica is normally distributed, as it has bearing on the claim in van Ommen and Morgan from the abstract:

The precipitation anomaly of the past few decades in Law Dome is the largest in 750 years, and lies outside the range of variability for the record as a whole, suggesting that the drought in Western Australia may be similarly unusual.

Continue reading Normal's Overrated

Linking Antarctic snowfall and SWWA precipitation

Here is the second major claim contained in van Ommen and Morgan from the abstract:

Here we report a significant inverse correlation between the records of precipitation at Law Dome, East Antarctica and southwest Western Australia over the instrumental period, including the most recent decades.

The actual figures quoted for correlation are as follows.

The results show significant negative correlation between seasonal June–August average values of the SWWA regional series and LawDome. The correlation r=−0.16 (P=0.05, effective sample size, Neff=105) increases in strength to r=−0.55 (P=0.05, N5eff=10) for 5-year smoothed data.

With the following regional pattern (of interest to Geoff).

For individual stations, a general pattern emerges with stronger correlations (reaching r=−0.69, N5eff =9, P=0.02, at Boyanup, five-year smoothed) for stations in the west and centre, diminishing to the east and far south.

I think aggregation is a much better approach than smoothing data, as smoothing adds a lot of autocorrelation that you then have to compensate for in your significant test. You can never be sure that you have compensated enough. In aggregation you slice the series into even sized pieces and take the mean. It produces fewer data points for coarser aggregations, but this is what you want to accurately reflect the actual information in the series. Smoothing is good for visualization, bad for estimating correlation.

In the figure below I show the adjusted R2 value (black) and the significance of the slope parameter (red) at a range of aggregations from one to 20.


For the raw data (aggregation=1) the R2 value is 0.016 and the correlation is non-significant at P=0.10. Taking the square root of my R2 value gives 0.1264911, which could be consistent with a Pearson coefficient R=-0.16. The P value is way off though, P is stated as a significant 0.05 while I get a non-significant P=0.10.

There are a number of significant correlations (below P=0.05) at coarser aggregations, particularly from 6 to 11 years. The 10 year aggregation has an R2=0.71 and a significant P=0.0007 corresponding to the stated values of r=−0.55 (P=0.05, N5eff=10) for 5-year smoothed data.

Notably these correlations are more pronounced at some scales, indicating important periodicity in the data that should be teased out. The strength of the correlation is subject to the specific scale the data is tested at.

In summary, there is a puzzling disagreement why I find no correlation between rainfall in SWWA and snowfall at LD on the raw data that should be reconciled.

However I agree within reason on the correlation of the aggregated (climate scale) data, and won’t pursue this avenue further.

Continue reading Linking Antarctic snowfall and SWWA precipitation

Antarctic Snowfall Data Visualisation

An issue in question here is whether the recent snowfall at Law Dome is unusually high relative to the 750 year long record (and therefore, so the argument goes, probably due to AGW).

Below is the snowfall at Law Dome from the ice core. Above is the actual snowfall, and below is the accumulation of the series minus the mean (using the R function cumsum) indicating where snowfall is above or below average.


Continue reading Antarctic Snowfall Data Visualisation

Droughts and Antarctica

After yesterdays post on the gibberish proof of global warming due to increased Antarctic Circulation, Andrew drew attention to Jones, J. M. and M. Widmann, 2004, Early peak in Antarctic oscillation index claiming that the Antarctic Oscillation has changed in the last thirty to forty years, but is only where it was in the late fifties to early sixties.

Tas Van Ommen claims to have found that snowfall has increased in East Antarctica. Looking into his previous publications, one of the first I pulled up was Insignificant Change in Antarctic Snowfall Since the International Geophysical Year Abstract:

There has been no statistically significant change in snowfall since the 1950s, indicating that Antarctic precipitation is not mitigating global sea level rise as expected, despite recent winter warming of the overlying atmosphere.

OK, so if snowfall increases it is proof of global warming, but if snowfall decreases it is not mitigating global sea level rise.

Researching the links between drought in WA and increased snowfall in East Antarctica via a change in the Antarctic Circulation seems worthwhile. But the effects of snow accumulation on sea level would be relatively trivial.

This sort of discourse, and “proof of global warming” talk, sounds fabricated to embiggen the research.

More drought-related 'proof' of AGW

A transcript of an interview with Tas van Ommen on the link between Antarctic excess and West Australian deficits of precipitation displays questionable proof of anthropogenic global warming.

A natural circulation pattern surrounding Antarctica has three lobes because of the three continents and three ocean basins in the Southern Hemisphere. Tas claims in the past 30 to 40 years the strength of that three-lobe pattern has increased, bringing moisture and warmth into Antarctica and dry air back up to Western Australia.

He claims that a natural explanation has a 1:1000 probability.

Well, it is a real smoking gun I guess. It could be that we have just happened to find something that is really one in actual fact, thousands flukey event to get such a large snowfall. The more natural interpretation is that there is something been going on in the last 30 to 40 years and we know what that something is. It is the human impact on the atmosphere.

This was reported as ‘proof of climate change‘. But he admits it is an assumption.

Continue reading More drought-related 'proof' of AGW

Disproving Global Warming II

The latest submission to is entitled Interglacials, Milankovitch Cycles, and Carbon Dioxide by Gerald E. Marsh. Here is a review of the evidence regarding the timing of Termination II, the penultimate interglacial transition 140k years ago, and factors that may have caused it: CO2, Milankovitch induced insolation changes, or changes in solar magnetic flux, altering the Earth’s albedo through cosmic ray flux.

To appreciate the importance of this period, and a clear logical analysis of it, consider the recent lecture tour of Australia by Lord Monckton and Prof. Plimer. Lord Monckton argues strongly that climate sensitivity to CO2 is very low, too low to be of concern, and an increasing number of peer-reviewed papers using independent observational methods — Douglass, Lindzen, Spencer, Schwartz, Pinker, Shaviv — back him up. Prof. Plimer argues that the history of climate has been enormously variable, and not related to CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

This contrast of low sensitivity but high natural variation has prompted criticism on the irony of a tour by sceptics with contradictory viewpoints. As I understand their view, they maintain “the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 cannot be as low as suggested by these results because low sensitivity cannot explain the large glacial-interglacial transitions”. A solar cause for the penultimate transition has been scoffed at because the timing is wrong. It must have been a volcano or something that kicked off the chain of CO2 feedback that resulted in the warm interglacial.

Continue reading Disproving Global Warming II

20th century warming – not?

Until recently, even hardened climate skeptics when asked about the science would say: “Well we think it is warming, but how much is caused by humans is uncertain”. Now a rash of revelations are coming out to challenge even this bedrock claim, e.g.


It seems that when we leave out the great number of weather stations that were introduced in the last 50 years or so, that the tendency is absolutely not a rise in temperature, see Global Warming Vs Clojure!.

Continue reading 20th century warming – not?

Monckton's talk

A few impressions from Monckton’s talk at the Brisbane Irish Club, providing some novel points not seen elsewhere. Some interesting impressions did come out of it.

I found Monckton (and Plimer) a little disappointing in quality of presentation and slides. A fair bit of time was put into boosting the audience, but his essential points on low climate sensitivity were rushed over.

Plimer gave a hand-waving review of geological history, making the point that CO2 has never been responsible for the large temperature changes in the past.

Bob Carter who chaired the meeting in contrast was in control, well dressed and focused. I would go to see his presentations any day.

Monkton singled out a paper by Pinker which I assume is Do satellites detect trends in surface solar radiation? by RT Pinker, B Zhang, EG Dutton – Science, 2005 – (‘global brightening’). I will try to get a hold of it.

The mention of nuclear energy got applause. It seems inconsistent that lack of concern with CO2 should lead to favoring nuclear energy. I think the concern is more that the country is being taken in the wrong direction by the Greens: ETS (increased tax, more government regulation). Rather, the view of the attendees seemed to be that the country should embrace technology, industry, and keep up with the rest of the world. The point that Australia and Canada together could control most of the worlds uranium supply was floated.

Its gratifying to see the IPCC report, and particularly the climate effects parts, finally being viewed as veiled Green advocacy. You have to wonder why the sudden revelation, when the report has not changed. I remember Ross McKitrick’s documented accusation a while back they fabricated data to suppress his UHI results. Lets change the name to the Inter-Galactic Porky Creation Center and leave it at that.