Time to Reject AGW – And Bob Brown

EVER the opportunist, Bob Brown, Leader of the Australian Greens, yesterday blamed the Brisbane floods on the coal industry for causing global warming. 

But there is no correlation between atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and rainfall or flooding, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, anywhere in Australia. 

There is, however, a correlation between patterns in the major atmospheric-oceanic oscillations and flood events. 

Stewart Franks, a hydrologist at the University of Newcastle, has shown that the usefulness of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as a predictor of flooding depends on whether or not a more complex phenomenon also measured by sea surface temperatures known as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) is in a positive or negative phase. 

In a series of peer-reviewed papers published in the best international journals since 2003, Professor Franks has shown that when the IPO is negative, as it was from 1946 to 1977, then there is a much greater chance that there will be flooding rains if a La Nina forms. 

The IPO started to go negative in 1999, but an El Nino formed in 2001, and seven years of mostly drought followed – sustained by the El Nino conditions.  

In February 2009, Professor Franks commented at this weblog that the Australian climate showed signs of entering another wet phase and warned that governments should prepare for a return to a 20-40 year period where La Nina dominates.

Just over a year later, in April 2010, the negative IPO now entrenched, a strong La Nina began to form and flooding rains followed.

Indeed the explanation for the recent devastating flooding is not carbon dioxide, but inadequate infrastructure and warning systems in the face of a combination of La Nina conditions during a negative IPO, a monsoon trough and already saturated catchments.


Better Planning for Extreme Floods Possible: A Note from Stewart Franks
February 27th, 2009

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72 Responses to Time to Reject AGW – And Bob Brown

  1. hunter January 17, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    Did Mr. Brown wipe the blood off his hands before he started waving them?

  2. bill-tb January 17, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Just lies now — Too much money involved, when the guilt trip fails, what else can you do?

  3. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    All good stuff, spot on. And of course the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is positive, which increases the torrent.

  4. david elder January 17, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Hi Jen, didn’t realise you were back on the blog till now.

    I am very interested in your post on the IPO. Is it the same thing as the PDO? Or related to it? They sound similar. The PDO could be important in global temperature including the 1977-1998 warming – it seems there was no marked solar change to explain this, but the PDO interacting with El Nino might.

  5. Jennifer Marohasy January 17, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Hi David, The ipo is generally used by hydrologists for australia, while the pdo for north america, they both related to sea surface temperature patterns in the pacific and follow, i think, 20-30 years cycles. i am more familiar with the ipo as this is the index stewart franks uses and i have been following his work over recent years…

  6. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Bob Green is opportunistically keeping a carbon tax on the agenda;
    I read on Tim Blair’s blog that So far, of the mining companies, Xstrata has donated $1 million and Rio Tinto $700,000 to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal while BHP has pledged $1 million
    here’s the link http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/no-time-for-finger-pointing-over-floods-greens-warned/story-e6frf7kf-1225988908215
    I wonder what the Greens have donated
    here’s the link to Tim Blair’s blog article ‘Money Forked’ http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/

    and doesn’t Sen Brown realise that these are the people who keep the lights on?

    I totally agree time to put this AGW scam to bed but with this Green driven Govt doubt it’s going to happen any time soon

  7. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Luke, what have you got to say about Brown’s comments? Distance yourself, or we’ll assume you are just as daffy, ignorant and dangerous.

  8. spangled drongo January 17, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    The mayor Campbell Newman was being asked this morning if Brisbane should consider building levee banks and he said some old paleo records showed the Brisbane area getting floods at the 12m level [recent floods 4.5m].

    But people like Bob Brown, being the opportunistic politicians they are, are never gonna let any facts get in the way pushing their green adjenda.

    From past history, these weather patterns always produce the big wet over wide areas.

  9. Neville January 17, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    The Bolter has a good column on Brown today, this green nut is really, seriously troppo.
    Who votes for these delusional ratbags.

    Only a short time ago he even considered that the drought may never break ( funny still the same coal mines).

    Luke, Gav and Poly are certainly in good company, just a pity ( for these delusional fools ) that this is probably the strongest La nina since 1917 combined with a negative IPO.
    The rains and floods have never been more easily explained, including good rains over SE Aust helped by the negative IOD.

  10. Luke January 17, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    What a hoot – Franks doesn’t have a monopoly on IPO.

    Who has done the work on phenomeon.

    BoM and Hadley – hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha

    You people have seriously no idea about climate research.

    El Gordo – BTW Bob Brown is talking crap. But so are you lot.

  11. Luke January 17, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Isn’t this fascinating really – Neville distrusts all mainstream met agencies – BoM, CSIRO, Hadley etc – yet is he unquestioningly prepared to accept all their basic underpinning work on ENSO, IPO and IOD. Often the same staff doing AGW research.

    I suppose Neville you’d have an opinion on whether the IPO actually exists or is a statistical anomaly?

  12. Jennifer Marohasy January 17, 2011 at 8:54 am #


    Stewart Franks doesn’t have a monopology: indeed Queensland government scientists have done some good work in the area.

    However, Stewart Franks seems to be the one who has published most stressing the importance of the La Nina overlay with the IPO. Also it is Stewart Franks who made the call two years ago to expect a return to the wet cycle. The government scientists of a similar opinion were perhaps gagged?

    Anyway, which is your favorite IPO paper? Who’s work on this phenomenon would you suggest we read?

  13. Graeme M January 17, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Luke, you agree that Brown is talking rubbish. But do you think there is an AGW signal in the current weather trends? For example, if the larger systems being mentioned here are combining to produce a perhaps cooler and wetter period of weather for the next X number of years (which I’d assume means a minor shift in ‘climate’ as experienced for that period), is that trend being affected at all by AGW?

    If so, to what extent and how can you measure that (and if you can’t measure it, is it happening?). How do you measure it?

    If not, then surely we would extrapolate that the larger systems at play in terms of weather events overlay any AGW signal, which means in effect the AGW signal is negligible, especially in terms of evaluating future policy?

    By that, I mean that if the systems mentioned here can combine to cause hot dry conditions (El Nino dominated conditions) or cool wet conditions (La Nina dominated), then really those are the things government should be focusing on in terms of developing policy, not the AGW signal which is apparently swamped by those systems.

    Your view?

  14. Bruce of Newcastle January 17, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Joe D’Aleo likewise points to La Nina being more common in the cold phase of the PDO/IPO cycle. In short, get used to it as the PDO won’t change back to the warm phase for another 25-30 years.

    He also notes (back in April, well before this very cold NH winter!) the strong cooling indicated by the long duration of Solar Cycle 23 and weak SC24.


  15. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    The floods have flushed out the ratbags.


  16. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Thanx Bruce, good catch.

    Joe is a climate forecaster: ‘a moderate to strong La Nina is next in the cards this year and next.’

  17. TonyfromOz January 17, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    This is from the Australian Government’s own Bureau of Meteorology site.


    Those first three paragraphs are of interest.

    The tropical Pacific Ocean remains much cooler than average for this time of year, with temperatures below the surface up to 4 °C below normal in central and eastern parts (comparable to the La Niña event of 1988).

    Australia’s third wettest December on record, and Queensland’s wettest on record.


  18. Luke January 17, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Graeme M – the main game is year to year variation. Not AGW. But same scientists involved in both. And climate change drift can mess up your forecasting algorithms e.g. Indian Ocean temp trends

    There is some evidence that AGW may add to droughts and flood events. But natural variation itself is massive. Indeed seasonal forecasters had often been critical of excessive focus on AGW at the expense of ENSO research.

    Jen – will do – Hadley’s Chris Folland had done a lot of work on IPO http://www.iges.org/c20c/IPO_v2.doc

    As has Scott Power at BoM

    There had been some concern as to whether the phenomenon even really existed – i.e. was it a statistical artifact.

    The cyclone research community know about decadal influences on tropical cyclones and beach erosion. The grazing systems people know that La Nina and a cool phase IPO is VERY wet. And you can get significant droughts in cool phase IPO too.

    Jen – hindsight is a wonderful thing – but who forecast a super La Nina (if not record breaker) and when?
    General comments to that effect not much use as we could all have done that on general knowledge.

    Who forecast a super La Nina first ! (telling us in December not much use). And maybe even telling us in March 2010 no use anyway as who believes seasonal forecasters?

    You could get a subscription to experimental SPOTA system and see how it went !
    http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/about-spota1/about.html It’s been running for some years and has ENSO and IPO

  19. Luke January 17, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Early papers on IPO by Folland

    Early papers on IPO, ENSO and stream flow by Chiew – 2003 !!!!


  20. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Tony I hope some time soon we are going to have some great energy posts from you
    Perhaps you could do another one when you’ve got a bit of time and send Jen links to your previous PA Pundits energy posts

    AND REMEMBER don’t scratch!

  21. Jennifer Marohasy January 17, 2011 at 11:12 am #


    you couldn’t get more of a contrast between the advice to government from Stewart Franks versus the advice to government from David Jones (BOM) …. specifically in February 2009 when both made public comment to the ABC on this issue

    the general comment from the AGW alarmists was that there would be continuing drought and governments should prepare for drought – see David Jones February 2009 – drought will continue this is now the norm, plan for more dry…

    the general comment from sceptics was that the wet years will return eg. see my speech to Herron Todd White in Sydney early last year, i said the drought would be replaced by flooding – not verbatim but along those lines.

    the general comment from Stewart Franks was governments should prepare for a very wet cycle with significant flooding, particularly in southern Queensland and NSW, as the IPO entrenches itself and when the La Nina lines up

  22. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Here’s an interesting site http://www.holtonweather.com/WHAT%20IS%20THE%20MAIN%20FACTOR%20CONTROLLING%20THE%20MURRAY%20DARLING%20BASIN%20SYSTEM%20RAINFALL.pdf
    Ian Holton, Holton Weather Forecasting Pty Ltd: Friday 5th March 2010

    Hence on looking at the forecast of the Sinusoidal Solar-Lunar Model +below, we can confidently predict that the current dry-drought long period in the large Murray Darling Basin Area of South QLD-NSW-VIC and SA is about to be replaced by a wetter approximately 7 year period ahead (As has been forecast by Holton Weather in various web *articles on this site for several years now)

    I picked up the link from http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2010/12/cooling-forecast-comes-true/

  23. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    ‘And maybe even telling us in March 2010 no use anyway as who believes seasonal forecasters?’ If they are with the UK Met, probably nobody takes them too seriously.

    There is still some hope for BOM, yet it’s the mavericks like D’Aleo and Bastardi et al. who will gain respect as time goes on.

  24. Luke January 17, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Did Franks forecast a super La Nina ? Did he predict a super-cell storm over Toowoomba and Murphy’s Ck. Remember – Logan-Albert OK relatively OK.

    How useful really is this generalist advice? As I said above

    An ill considered and exasperated quip to a journo by David Jones in the depths of a 16 year Murray region mega-drought is hardly a considered report to govt. Which is why more and more scientists won’t talk ever to the press. You’ll only be attacked.

    So much comment from arm-chair critics.

    Jen everyone is prone to the hydro-illogical cycle. We’re all prone to it. Lessons are forgotten. And it’s many years between these events.

    Where’s the specific press release from the sceptics giving precise advice on the event 12 months before. Where were the warnings on Toowoomba and Murphy’s Creek?

  25. Luke January 17, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Jen – have a look at the graphics I forwarded to you for El Gordo the other day. You will note that El Nino drought events also occur in cool IPO phases.

    Let’s see what specific forecast advice sceptics now have on the next drought. You guys are pretty good. So let’s have the forecast now ! Like El Gordo I can put in on my fridge.

    Actually where on the web can I find Bob’s Plan B?

  26. Neville January 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Luke I’ve always acknowleged Enso, Ipo/Pdo, ocean oscillations,Iod etc and so do all the sceptical scientists.
    Tell me one prominent sceptic who doesn’t, because they all do.

    If you believe half the garbage you write then you are seriously delusional. In fact I think we’ll have to write a sceptics for dummies just for people like you.

    But I’ll tell you what I don’t believe. Like Willis I don’t believe there is a clear co2 signal to be found in CC in the last 50 years. In fact I’m sure there isn’t and I’m doubly sure that you can’t prove it either.

    The small warming of 0.7c over the last 100+ years can be easily explained by some of the above plus normal climate and rainfall variation.
    The sun probably puts a base line under much of the above, but I’m not convinced that it’s caused by an increase of 0.01% of co2 in our atmosphere.

    If you believe that there is or could be a signal from that one hundredth of 1% increase in our atmosphere of co2 then you’re free to do so, but don’t get upset when other top climate scientists don’t.

    I’m just a layman but I’ve followed this debate for years and when you hear a loon like Brown babble on it hurts me to think of the embarrassment that must be carried by our nation when other loons elect these greens in the first place.

    To finish the other thing I believe of course is the stupidity of wasting billions $ trying to fix our climate problem ? because I’m sure it shouldn’t be attempted at all.
    If we must spend funds then spend it on adaptation and research and maybe we’ll reduce co2 emissions faster because of new inventions and new technology. Who knows.

    BTW for others here is ENSO year classification back to 1890 from long paddock.


  27. Arno Arrak January 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I can’t find a reference to IPO. I downloaded the NOAA climate index list – all 41 of them – and IPO is not there. I have no doubt that the expression of both El Nino and La Nina phases of ENSO can be influenced by other things going on in the Pacific but it is very hard to put your finger on it. This is one important area where the millions spent o “climate research” today should be directed instead of constantly drumming the existence of the alleged greenhouse warming. Enso is a physical oscillation of ocean water from shore to shore that takes about five years to complete. Trade winds pile up water near the Philippines and New Guinea that block the entrance of the equatorial currents into the Indian Ocean. Some of it leaks through between the islands but the bulk returns as an El Nino wave via the equatorial countercurrent. The period of these waves is determined by the resonant frequency of the Pacific basin. These El Nino waves have been physically observed many times as a “Kelvin waves” by satellites. Empirically Nino3.4 has been found to be a good predictor of coming El Nino phenomena. Its predictions are a little ahead of the actual El Nino, and small wonder, because it sits right smack in the middle of the equatorial countercurrent and watches the El Nino waves go by. But the path is long and things can happen to turn the El Nino wave off its course. If something like a storm surge should get in its way its mass of warm water will spread out in the middle of the Pacific and an El Nino Modoki follows. But normally an El Nino wave runs ashore in South America and its warm water spreads out on surface north and south of the equator. This warms the air and the warm air rises and interferes with trade winds. You were probably told that when trade winds fail an El Nino follows but this is completely wrong – they have it backwards. That air then mixes with global circulation, global temperature goes up by half a degree, and an El Nino has peaked. But every wave that runs ashore must also pull back. When the El Nino wave retreats the water level behind it drops by half a meter or more, cold water from below wells up to fill the space, and a La Nina has started. As much as the El Nino raised the global temperature the La Nina that follows will lower it again. This temperature reversal is very precise as the record of the eighties and nineties shows. The La Nina wave returns in a broad front, not like the El Nino that was focused on the equator, and will eventually join the equatorial currents pushed by trade winds. Its driving force is the kinetic energy that brought the El Nino wave east. This was converted to gravitational potential energy of raised sea level and as the wave started to recede that potential energy became the kinetic energy of the return wave. But again, outside influences can change many of the details as the super El Nino of 1998 did. Its origin is not clear but we do know that the mass of water it carried did not belong to the ENSO system. It delivered so much warm water to South America that the next La Nina which should have appeared in 2004 was suppressed and a six year warm period I call the twenty-first century high was produced. Oscillating climate has returned by now but I am not sure how the new mean temperature will stabilize. One interesting aspect of the ENSO oscillations is their effect upon the angular momentum of the earth and the length of day (LOD) that depends upon it. El Nino waves involve a huge mass of water in motion and if that mass of water impinges directly upon the South American continent it gives up its considerable momentum to the continent. Angular momentum of the earth is most commonly measured by high-altitude winds which are considered free of atmospheric drag and essentially in orbit around the earth. Some El Ninos, like those in 1983 and 1998, were determined to have a strong associated angular momentum signal. The El Nino of 1983, for example, was associated with an angular momentum spike centered on January 25th, 1983 (Rosen et al., Science 255:411-414). The authors conclude that “…this oceanic event even had a detectable influence on the motion of the solid earth.”

  28. Luke January 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Neville – and acknowledge that most of the work on ENSO, IOD and IPO has been done by AGW scientists. So why are you so selective. You should disbelieve the lot.

    You don’t have a solar driver to explain the temperature rise. And it ain’t ENSO or IPO.

    An appeal to CO2 being teensy weensy is simply rhetorical. It’s not a physics calculation.

    For interest on more arm chair viewpoints – http://www.theage.com.au/national/disaster-expert-urges-a-retreat-from-the-coast-20110114-19rcg.html

  29. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    To answer Luke’s question on when the next drought will kick-in.

    Between long bouts of drought, followed by floods, there are intervals of ordinary settled weather, with moderate precipitation. So after a few years of excessive rain, the farmers and graziers will enjoy some good years up until 2017 to 2019 when another serious drought will be upon us.

    Shayne Norton, a amateur from Victoria, came up with the prediction from Inigo Jones methodology of planetary orbit, solar magnetism and solar energy cycles.

    It sounds like angular momentum plays a big part and I wonder if this is the methodology used by Piers Corbyn?

  30. Neville January 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Luke just a small variation in cloud cover could be the reason the planet warms or cools slightly as well, who knows. But climate changes slightly all the time.

    What lead to the slight cooling from 1946 to 1976 that then caused the ice age scare in the 1970’s? I’ve referred here before to the 1970’s scary video showing a young Steven Schneider who later became one of the top warmist scientists until his death last year.

    Anyhow I’ve tried but apparently I’m not getting through.
    Call me eccentric but I often don’t believe all of the things my friends tell me or even some things my parents told me not 100% all of the time. I’ve always been selective and I hope I always will be.

    BTW that Age report is as loopy as Brown’s effort, but trouble is gullible pollies will listen to the siren call of this twit and before we can blink more billions will be wasted on more useless, stupid ideas.

  31. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Brown is under attack from all quarters:
    I like what Barnaby Joyce said (end of article)
    Coalition regional development spokesman Barnaby Joyce said it was absurd for Senator Brown to blame the coal industry for floods, which had been a reality in Queensland throughout its history.

    “In 1893, the flood gauge on the Brisbane River reached 8.35m, so was the coal industry responsible for that as well?” he asked.

  32. Luke January 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    El Gordo – tell me something I don’t know. That “forecast” could simply be done on averages (climatology). i.e. expect cold spells next winter ………. 2017 to 2019 indeed !!

  33. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    So you are saying long range weather forecasting is not climate?

  34. Neville January 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Arno a simple graphic showing both IPO and ENSO is at the bottom of the long paddock rainfall chart.
    Enso are spiked and Ipo are smoothed curves. It covers from 1890 to 2004 and note the heavier rainfall years in the MDB coincided with negative years of the IPO with lower temps recorded worldwide during this period 1946 to 1976 as well.

    Generally negative IPO has more la ninas and positive IPOs more el ninos. Probably some part in the trend of the world’s temp could be partly due to a long positive or long negative Ipo/ Pdo. But I’m just repeating what some scientists say e.g Roy Spencer and John Christy.


  35. cohenite January 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Somewhere amidst the torrent of verbiage luke has recommended Smith and Power, CSIRO luminaries, for doing good work on climate; these would be the same Smith and Power who authored this paper concluding that SOI had probably shifted to a permanently lower level, and therefore more droughts and less rainfall would occur:


  36. Graeme M January 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    This recent post on the Judith Curry site seems relevant in terms of my earlier questions.

    In trying to evaluate likely future states of the climate in order to make reasonable plans/policies, how much can the AGW component be attributed to the changes in climate, or more precisely, to the likely weather arising therefrom?

    Part of the issue it seems to me, as simply a lay observer, is that some quite extraordinary claims have been made about likely future climate states as a result of warming caused by AGW. Going back a little while and the implication seemed to be a very dry Australia. Now that may be just speculation, but how much of this advice has Government acted upon? Certainly desalination plants that are not now needed could be seen as an example of such action?

    My question is simply that if the larger climatological cycles and systems are such that they can largely remove any AGW signal, to what extent should Government be responding to that signal and to what extent should it be responding to known drivers of climate? And clearly organisations such as BOM have a lot of historical data on which to base future policy advice…

  37. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    ‘BOM have a lot of historical data on which to base future policy advice.’ Yes, but they are reluctant to believe anything that happened before the 20th century, regarding the data as unreliable.

    Just found a paper by Neville Nicholls (BOM), discussing William Stanley Jevons, where he said ‘the mean annual temperature at Sydney ranged from 16.6 C degrees to 17.9 between 1859 and 1900.’

    A quick look at the average these days at Observatory Hill and we get 13.8 and 21.7 degrees.

    Is that a warming bias I see, or is this what we would expect coming out of the LIA? Have the figures been adjusted for UHI?

  38. Jennifer Marohasy January 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Cohenite, it is often worth posting just to later gather any gems you may drop – that Power and Smith paper is precious! Jen xo

  39. TonyfromOz January 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    It seems Bob has been stung to reply to the almost widespread criticism.
    To that end, he has released a further Press Release now less than one hour back, at this link, and Jen, sorry to add political links like this, but this is just classic.


    Does he apologise for such an outrageous statement yesterday?
    Not on your life.
    He just goes in harder on the coal companies in that last paragraph.

    Please, someone help me to understand this Ocean current thing.
    I looked at the BOM at this Link:


    It says there:

    “All climate indicators of ENSO remain beyond La Niña thresholds. The tropical Pacific Ocean remains much cooler than average for this time of year, with temperatures below the surface up to 4 °C below normal in central and eastern parts.”

    If that is the case why is Bob telling as per his Presser that the seas are warmer than ever.
    What is it that I’m missing, and it’s not rhetorical.
    One says cool and another says hot.

    Also if as Bob tells us these disasters are so predictable, where was Bob (the boy who cried wolf with hindsight) in December to spread the dire warning of what was coming, or did we just get complacent, believing his mantra of droughts forever.


  40. Luke January 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Of course Jen – one needs to actually read the paper ! 🙂

    Not read into the paper.

  41. Luke January 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Time of writing May 2007. Not Jan 2011

    “This simple interpretation
    gives a result that is consistent with modelling results:
    global warming weakens the Walker Circulation and warms
    the tropical Pacific Ocean, but has little impact on tropical
    ENSO-driven variability about the new mean-state [Meehl
    et al., 2007].

    While plausible, further research is needed to
    help quantify the extent to which global warming has in fact
    driven the unprecedented recent decline in the 30-year
    average value of the SOI.”

  42. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Tony, they are trying to convince us that all the warm water has been pushed to the north of Australia and around the Coral Sea. It doesn’t show up very well on UNISYS SST anomalies and I’m unconvinced.


  43. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Hmmm…I see Luke is on the modelling trail again which reminds me of something I thought when I read an earlier comment of Luke’s today
    First I do give Luke credit – he hasn’t mentioned nursing homes or morons for the past 2 days (might be more) so I congratulate him on the improvement in his manners
    But Luke mentioned earlier today ‘airchair critics’ and I think it was Gavin who mentioned that phrase yesterday, what Luke said from my recollection is ‘so many armchair critics’
    That started me thinking, the first time I read that phrase is in Tolstoy’s War and Peace in relation to Sholokov’s defence of Russia during Napoelon’s onslaught on Russia
    Doesn’t matter where I learned about that phrase but the point of it is that if you are not in the same position then you can’t criticise because you are not in the same situation so for example you can be criticised by anybody as being an armchair critic if you’re not in Sholokov’s position

    None of us can stand in another’s shoes; I can’t stand in Luke’s shoes and he can’t stand in mine. If each of accept that then I can’t criticise Luke for calling me an armchair critic and he can’t criticise me or anyone else by calling us that

    What I’m saying to Luke is think about what you are saying.

    As Einstein says “if I’m wrong then only one person needs to prove it” and this is a democracy after all and each of us even Luke and I are entitled to express an opinion

  44. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    I see there’s another great post by Ira Glickstein on WUWT
    iT’S about data bias
    This posting is about how the official climate Team has (mis)adjusted past temperature data to exaggerate warming, and how the low quality of measurement stations and their encroachment by urban heat island (UHI) developments have distorted the historical record.
    Ira Glickstein is the expert who had a previous post on WUWT on the race between 1934 and 1998 to be the highest temperature; I recall she had a ski slide for 1934 and a ski lift for 1998 and itemised the adjustments made to the two temperatures with the result that 1934 lost the race; in her words ‘bad luck to the old timer’
    It seems to me that my estimate of 0.3ºC for Data Bias and Station Quality is fully justified, but I am open to hearing the opinions of WUWT readers who may think I have over- (or under-) estimated this component of the supposed 0.8ºC rise in global temperatures since 1880.

    How much temperature rise are we actually arguing about? Are we crazy – is AGW the biggest pseudo scientific fraud we have ever seen; with all this attention and money going to it; I don’t know but possibly

  45. el gordo January 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Just to prove how wrong BOM was with their Spring prediction.


    They are no better at seasonal forecasting than the UK Met. Give it up lads, or you’ll go blind.

  46. val majkus January 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Here’s the other Ira Glickstein post
    selective quote
    OOPS, the hot race continued after the FOIA email! I checked the tabular data at GISS Contiguous 48 U.S. Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (C) today and, guess what? Since the Sato FOIA email discussed above, GISS has continued their taxpayer-funded work on both 1998 and 1934. The Annual Mean for 1998 has increased to 1.32ºC, a gain of a bit over an 11th of a degree (+0.094ºC), while poor old 1934 has been beaten down to 1.2ºC., a loss of about a 20th of a degree (-0.049ºC). So, sad to say, 1934 has lost the hot race by about an eighth of a degree (0.12ºC). Tough loss for the old-timer.

  47. Luke January 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Holy cow Val – look a story on global cooling


  48. cohenite January 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    There are many other, more comprehensive efforts in removing ENSO to reveal the underlying ‘trend’, presumably due to AGW:



    It would be remiss not to refer to McLean, Foster and De Freitas and Foster, aka Tamino’s petulant reply:


    And for luke, a detailed paper on the the removal of ENSO effect through the removal of unit root characteristics of the temperature data:


    Tamino, ho hum.

  49. tony January 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    The Drum tonight brought on an ‘expert’ to discuss dams. Not a hydrologist, not a professional with working experience, but a PhD scholar from ANU school of environment and society, Jamie Pittock.

    He said with a straight face that the floods were the types of event predicted by AGW.

    Last year he was publishing about an era of water scarcity!!
    Pittock, J. and B. A. Lankford (2010). “Environmental water requirements: demand management in an era of water scarcity.” Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, 7, 75 – 93.

  50. Luke January 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    With all this ENSO-ing going on building heat from nowhere, Cohers has invented Jack’s beanstalk. We should be at 1,000C by now.

  51. david elder January 18, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    To Jen re her post at 7.31 am: thanks very much for the background on the IPO = PDO. It seems to give 20-30 years of global warming then 20-30 years of cooling, making about a 60 year cycle in all. Stewart Franks seems to be one of the few who is giving this the attention it seems to merit. As I mentioned it seems to explain quite a lot about 20th century climate, especially the key 1977-1998 warming which solar variation didn’t explain (though the sun is important in other contexts).

    Luke, ENSO doesn’t build heat from nowhere. But La Nina locks up heat in the tropical east-west-and-back Walker circulation (and causes cool upwelling behind it) – global temperatures drop; while El Nino with weakened Walker cycle allows heat to get out of the tropics and head north and south – global temperatures rise.

  52. el gordo January 18, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    ‘While La Niña conditions are indeed guaranteed well into 2011, it remains to be seen whether it can rally once more to cross the -2 sigma barrier, and/or whether it will indeed last into 2012, as discussed five months ago on this page. I believe the odds for a two-year event remain well above 50%.’

    From the MEI Index, looking like a double dip. Wonder what BOM has to say on all this?

  53. el gordo January 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    BoM predict ‘La Niña conditions will persist during the first quarter of 2011, but will gradually weaken with time as the central Pacific warms.’

    Hmmm….this will be an interesting test on the validity of those models, especially if they have failed to consider the importance of solar variability.

  54. John Sayers January 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    A fine article from Ms Greer in the Guardian.


    one paragraph I particularly liked is this:

    The colour of the water reveals a terrible truth. What is being washed downstream is topsoil. The water moves so rapidly because so much of the land has been cleared. Any wooded land will be, like mine, high in the catchment. As long ago as 1923, Sydney Skertchly, an Englishman who had been working for the Queensland government as a geologist before he retired to what is now the Gold Coast suburb of Molendinar, pointed out that rain that fell in the upper part of the Nerang river catchment that used to take five days to reach him on the coastal plain at Molendinar, now reached him in five hours. When the settlers first arrived on the coast of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, the rivers were navigable. As the “scrubs” (the settlers’ way of referring to rainforest) were ripped out, the seasonal rains carried the topsoil into the rivers, which silted up and then began to flood.

    Ms Greer has land in the Mt Warning region of NSW near Tomewin.

  55. spangled drongo January 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm #


    As usual our Germaine is full of it.

    I had a farm next door to where she now has a property [actually Natural Bridge] and the Numinbar Valley in the 1920s was dairy farming and forestry and well cleared.

    Since the early ’70s it has become the Hinze Dam catchment and it is now the site of wealthy farmers [it cannot be subdivided] and has more vegetation on it than it ever had then. The river runs like they do down your way [very clear] and SEQwater test it regularly and monitor it for erosion and nutrient problems and involve some of the local landholders who take great pride in proving to SEQwater how well they care for their river.

  56. spangled drongo January 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Anyway the Numinbah valley where the Nerang River runs didn’t even flood let alone get dirty.

  57. Louis Hissink January 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Germaine Greer is correct with her observation about the topsoil anectdote – since similar events occurred around Port Jackson and north of Sydney.

    In addition I learnt from a geomorphologist that shortly after the introduction of sheep, especially in the more arid regions of Australia, that a once only erosional event occurred that caused a massive movement of the residual soils downslope, exposing vast extents of bedrock on the undulating uplands.

    The TV raconteur Jack Absalom also mentioned in one of his shows that the myriad of evaporative pans dotting the Australian landscape appeared after the introduction of the sheep etc into Australia, according to the Aboriginals.

    Pilbara Aboriginals recount a time when the land was soft underfoot, and this might be interpreted as a period not so far distant in the past, when much of the Pilbara was covered in topsoil and vegetation.

    Which leads me to another muse that I’ll post on my own blog – as I just realised why it might be so hot in the Pilbara during the summer, and nothing really to do with solar radiance or there is a connection.

  58. spangled drongo January 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm #


    As a very general statement maybe. But she is referring to a valley that doesn’t have this problem in the least because it has very little livestock these days and has a huge unstocked dam catchment and wall that wont allow that to happen.

    If you’re referring to claypans, they were always between sandhills where, until white man arrived with a boring bar, no livestock [including kangaroos] could exist. In parts of the Great Sandy Desert that have never had livestock there are huge claypans. They are essentially dry lakes.

    In western creek and river valleys which were often overstocked, the water holes silted up from erosion. Cattle did much more damage than sheep.

  59. John Sayers January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    So that’s where she is SD. I came across her once in the IGA in Murwillumbah and locals said she was from Tomewin.

    I once read that the Clarence and Richmond rivers had clear white sandy bottoms when the settlers first arrived which agrees with her remarks.

  60. Cam January 19, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Nothing terribly new here Jennifer, and anyway who cares!? Nobody ever listens. Dangerous men like Bob Brown are the ones that grab the headlines, not some unheard of scientist who heaven forbid might actually bring science and observational evidence to the table.

    We are indeed due for more flooding events in the years ahead. A cool PDO (Im assuming what Prof Franks is refering to as a -ve IPO) means more prevalent La Ninas and stronger ones as well. Combine this with a low solar activity (as was the case in the 1970s – when there were many floods) and we’ll have more events like the ones in Vic and Qld recently. Lower solar activity typically means a general slowing of jetstream activity and a slowing of weather systems. As rain-bearing weather systems move slower, these systems will drop more rain over a concentrated area, rather than spread their rain over a larger area.

    The “30 year cycle” has been known by farmers, earth scientists and climatologists for some time – but the broader education of the fact to the public would be an act of heresy to the Church of Carbonology.

  61. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 9:13 am #


    I feel Germaine builds her rep on a lot of [sometimes well deserved] crit of Aust in London for which she gets a ready reception.
    The trouble is she often does it by selling us drongo-class of ex-convicts short by belittling our historical efforts in the face of adversity.

    But about coastal rivers and yes there have been some horror stories but these days we have improved a lot.
    Rivers with long tidal flood-plains were never very sandy banked in the lower parts when they got regular floods but dredging for navigation and bar stabilisation didn’t help either.

    Above the tide limit I often find platypus close to cultivation.

  62. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 9:49 am #


    This is a bit I wrote in the woodenboat log a couple of years back. It gives a bit of an insight in to what was going on with our rivers:

    “Coolangatta”— the schooner and the two districts

    Whilst cleaning out my shed the other day after building “Gert by Sea” I came across a lump of old weather beaten timber which I recognised as belonging to the schooner “Coolangatta” wrecked at Coolangatta Creek in 1846. It occurred to me that if the museum were interested they should have it.
    You all probably know the story of “Coolangatta” but for those who don’t it’s worth repeating.
    She was an 83 foot topsail schooner of 88 tons built for Alexander Berry by James Blinkcell in 1843.
    Berry had started the “Coolangatta Estate” on the Shoalhaven River in N.S.W. in 1822. The town nearby is named after him. It was worked by tenant farmers and convicts and was self supporting and very diversified. “Coolangatta” is aboriginal for good lookout.
    Their most profitable industry was cedar getting and the schooner set sail from Brisbane on the 6th of July 1846 under Captain Steele together with crew and convicts, for the Tweed River to load 70,000 ft. of cedar bound for Sydney but upon arrival found the river bar to be uncrossable so they did the next best thing [they thought] and anchored up in Kirra Bay. They then proceeded to bring the cedar overland from Terranora and load it off the beach.
    They found, also, that there were 5 other sailing ships bar bound inside the river which made them think it was the right move.
    After 6 weeks of hard yakka the ship was not half loaded when a southerly buster arrived and drove the “Coolangatta” ashore near the mouth of Coolangatta Creek. That’s about where George Giltrap had his auto museum [not at that time though].
    Captain Steele was ashore and he damaged his boat trying to get through the surf and he could only watch in despair as his ship was wrecked.
    The crew and convicts got ashore safely and all walked the 70 miles in 6 days to Amity Point being fed along the way by friendly aborigines and finally boarded the “Tamar” for Brisbane.
    Whilst surveying the township in 1883, government surveyor Henry Schneider named it Coolangatta prior to auction in 1884.
    After the 1974 floods the wreck was exposed and a couple of friends of mine who were both keen historians and wooden boaties collected some of the timbers.
    If the museum is interested they are welcome to this relic.

  63. John Sayers January 19, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    SD – I’ve spoken to old fishermen and farmers who remember when the Tweed River estuary below Terranora had a clear white sandy bottom.

  64. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 10:36 am #


    Yes, there was sand everywhere. But it still has. Not like it was before the whole of Tweed Heads city was built on Greenbank Is which was part of the sandy floodplain until it was dredged up and the rock wall built about 1960. I’m pretty sure it was sand-mined before that too.
    That little sandy inlet behind the services club is one of the few pockets left but back in those days and before, the bar was a high risk entrance and the NSW govt had a good policy of improving the Northern Rivers’ ports.
    This policy was to cause great anguish to the Gold Coast in later years as it changed the flow of sand but it was finally rectified with the Tweed sand by-pass.

    I think much of those expanses of brilliant white sand of that era are all still there but are either paved, built on or vegetated over.

  65. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 10:48 am #


    I don’t need to tell ya I know, but the Gold Coast beaches, Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie and Fraser Islands all came out of the mouths of the Northern Rivers of NSW and still are.

    I often wonder how long did it take for the sand at the top of Mt Tempest to get there from the top of the NSW great divide?

  66. John Sayers January 19, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    SD – as I understand it the sand for Stradbroke, Fraser Island etc has all come from the sandstone cliffs of Sydney. It moves up the coast driven by ocean currents that take the sand out to the continental shelf, then brings it back in further north in a zig zag pattern – over the millions of years it’s final output is Fraser Island where it suddenly drops to the deeper water at the edge of the continental shelf and the process stops.

    I’ve watched the process when I lived at South Golden Beach through the 90s. After a storm you’d find that all the sand dunes had been eroded and there was a 3m drop to the beach yet 6 months later it was all back again.


  67. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 11:38 am #


    If Qld relied on Sydney for sand we would be in trouble. When the last extension was done on the the Tweed training walls in the 60s, the Kirra “point break” that Rabbit Bartholomew keeps rabbiting on about as the surfies heaven, actually developed because Kirra ran out of sand almost overnight. Prior to that it was like it is now.
    Also as a result of that extention, the spit at Fingal increased enormously from sand coming from further south [which also would have normally put some sand on the GC but the Tweed River sand was deposited just offshore from Kirra in water just too deep to cause it to be washed ashore so the GCCC had to employ the “Kaptan Nielsen” to pump it ashore.
    This all happened when the Gold Coast had been “cyclone proofed” with a boulder wall and the lack of sand combined with the exposed boulders was denuding the beach even further.
    The dredging was very successful but really a stop-gap measure for decades until solved with the by-pass.
    The by-pass system had been tried and tested with the Southport Seaway by-pass in ’88 which indicated pretty plainly how the sand transports along the coast.

  68. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 11:45 am #


    The whole of the Tweed Caldera which was possibly as big as Everest 20m y ago [with Mt Warning the core plug and all that remains] is just a tiny fraction of the spoil that has marched north.

  69. John Sayers January 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Yeah – you are probably right Jim – I’m aware of the Caldera – I lived high on the core for almost 7 years – Originally it was 2 km high and Tambourine Mountain is it’s furthest point north.

  70. Allyson Smith June 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Just read blog from ‘spangled drongo’ 19 Jan 2011 re relics of schooner Coolangatta. My ancestor was JohnBlinksell the builder
    Of that vessel. He was there for the attempt to refloat and was a witness in the Supreme Court case resulting from the vessel’s loss. Whatever happened to those bits of the boat you found?


  1. Jennifer Marohasy » National Broadcaster Willfully Ignores the Evidence - January 20, 2011

    […] I’ve given some background to Professor Frank’s work here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/01/time-to-reject-agw-%e2%80%93-and-bob-brown/ […]

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