Tony Windsor Willfully Ignores the Evidence

THE ability to perceive anomaly – something that deviates from what is considered standard – is important for the progress of science and also good public policy.

Until the recent widespread flooding in Australia, water planning in the Murray Darling Basin was based on the assumption that the region would experience continuing drought because of climate change.  The underlying science was considered the best available because it was endorsed by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology and it confidently predicted a major decline in rainfall for decades.

This assumption has since proven wrong.  Indeed during 2010 rainfall was 163 percent of the long term average. 

The latest flooding was predicted by Stewart Franks, a hydrologist at the University of Newcastle.   Professor Franks, in a series of papers published in peer-reviewed journals since 2003, has confirmed and provided explanation, for what many farmers have known intuitively that the Murray Darling Basin generally exists in one of two states – flood or drought.

While recent flooding, and the rainfall totals for the Murray Darling for 2010, dramatically demonstrate the anomaly between government water policy and reality, Tony Windsor, the independent for New England who holds the balance of power in the federal parliament, remains in denial.  Indeed despite the flooding he claims there is no need to rethink reform within the Murray Darling Basin.

In an article published by The Australian yesterday Mr Windsor went as far as to suggest that the Murray River is still dying.

So the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Australian Greens and now even the Independent member for the rural seat of New England are willfully ignoring evidence that contradicts their beliefs.  This is a bad omen for public policy in Australia.



81 Responses to Tony Windsor Willfully Ignores the Evidence

  1. hunter January 19, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Who are you going to believe?
    Those bureaucrats, climate scientists, enviro extremists and political opportunists or your lying eyes?

  2. val majkus January 19, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    I don’t think Mr Windsor has the ability to perceive anomaly and it’s a shame that the reporter didn’t ask him upon what evidence he based the statement that ‘the river is still dying.’
    I know he has to justify his political life but personally I’d rather pay him to stay at home and do nothing
    at least that way he would be fulfilling the first rule of political incumbency in Tony Abbott’s words ‘do no harm’
    Now that I’ve thought about it there’s a lot of the current mob for which staying at home would be better for Australia’s future

  3. Dave Shorter January 19, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    We should not be suprised.Mr Windsor is the only farmer in Australia to have knowingly voted for the ALP Green alliance.The rest of us would like to tar and feather him .

  4. Luke January 19, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Well Hunter you’re not going to believe climate sceptics for a start.

    Where’s the evidence that Franks predicted this event ahead of time any more than anyone else? Did he predict the extent of the drought in years? General advice on well known decadal phenomena isn’t much use unless you nail which exact season things are going to change.

    And does anyone have a super La Nina or super El Nino prediction more than a few months out?

    Did anyone predict exactly which river systems would be in extreme flood?

    Does anyone have a supercell storm prediction? If so – where’s the next one going to occur and when so El Gordo and I can write it on our fridge.

  5. kuhnkat January 19, 2011 at 8:27 am #


    You agree then that the current models are useless for regional predictions at short to midterm?

  6. Ian Thomson January 19, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    With people, like astrophysicist Piers Corbyn ,becoming more and more accurate at predicting supercell storms and history to refer to ,we can certainly predict which river systems are at RISK of major flood.

    Mr Corbyn admits his mistakes and works to rectify them , unlike many “climate scientists”
    That’s probably because he is a real scientist working at cutting edge science, not a computer modeler.

    As to the cyclical nature of the M/D system any one who has worked and lived along it extensively knows that the rivers thrive on dry spells, blooming to life after them .
    Only European Carp suffer , because they have not learned to follow the falling waters to deeper parts and die in thousands. – Don’t tell the NSW State Govt, but water birds can fly and they fly to wetter places.
    – If they knew that they wouldn’t have bought Booligal Station ( for a National Park ) to preserve the Ibis rookery they thought was on it .. Oops its on the farm next door.

    Interesting that the Menindee Lakes are all that MAY save South Australia from serious floods -as they kept Adelaide alive at times during the drought. Yet the MDBC did not visit them nor did they even mention them in the half baked report.

  7. Robert January 19, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    In Green Zombiedom, predictions, models and extrapolations are present reality. That’s because zombies cannot think, regardless of their potential intelligence. If a non-zombie makes a prediction, the zombie will demand an impossibly high standard of accuracy. Even if you get them to grasp notions of history and cycles, they will see all climatic conditions as either confirmatory or “masking” factors. It’s best to predict nothing, prepare for everything by building dams and digging coal…and hope that observation, experience and common sense will prevail. Human maturity and minor climate cycles all take time.

  8. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Tony Windsor must be a prime example of too many dumb-wealthy people in the country.

    Particularly in his electorate which is a traditionally stong country electorate.

    I can’t believe how the average farmers in his electorate haven’t taken him aside and explained a few fundamentals to him. I know I’ve tried to do it by email but I don’t even get a response, unlike most pollies.

    There is obviously a lot of hate and “get square” on his adjenda for some reason.

    Have you noticed the far-away look he gets in his eye when anyone mentions good of the people and the country in relation to the MDB?

  9. Jennifer Marohasy January 19, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    According to Thomas Kuhn: There are three characteristics common to all discoveries that progress science: 1. the awareness of anomaly, 2. the gradual and simultaneous emergence of both observational and conceptual recognition, 3. change in paradigm categories and procedures often accompanied by resistance.

  10. Ann January 19, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    If they had built that dam in Queensland (it would not have been completed for this flood) but it would have become full and provided water for a decade.

  11. el gordo January 19, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Too few scientists and politicians read history, otherwise they would know floods come hard on the heels of drought.

    Luke, we are in a very strong La Nina, they don’t get any stronger. Back to back, almost a certainty, so prepare for a lot more flooding this time next year.

  12. Luke January 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Meanwhile back in the real world

    And CSIRO have already done some good work with Gold Coast City Council on this.

    Haven’t seen any sceptic proposals though….. Plan B’s or Plan C’s …. nairy an exceedance probability to be seen ….

    Ann – thank Barnaby

  13. el gordo January 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Slightly off topic: Dr David Hathaway, solar physicist at NASA, predicted in in 2006 the solar max for cycle 24 would be ferocious. We all know now that he was wrong and I suspect this will have a detrimental effect on global warming.

  14. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm #


    Some facts: the GC and Brisbane CCs have obviously been corrupt since 1974 in allowing new homes to be built in flood areas.

    From what I see of CSIRO, they wish to prevent development of highly dubious, computer predicted, SLR affected property but don’t speak up about known historical flooding.

  15. spangled drongo January 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    The real world is that when you have bureaucrats and/or politicians that corrupt the system, the Plan B that was in place after the ’74 floods won’t do much good.

  16. cinders January 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Despite the leader of the greens labelling the coal barons as the culprits for the floods, its seems the floods were not predicted in this document on the impacts of climate change.

  17. el gordo January 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Hayden Walker is predicting a cyclone may hit northern NSW within a month.

    Any politician worth his salt would begin Plan B strategy now, just in case.

  18. debbie January 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Great article Jennifer.
    Those of us who live and work in the real, physical MDB environment (as opposed to the cerebral, imagined one that everyone else seems to argue about) are “the intuitive ones” you mentioned.
    Most of us also run businesses.
    We battle the climate and the vagaries of our river systems every season, through droughts and floods and everything in between. We are intuitive because we live with it and work with it and many of us also possess generational knowledge about our basin.
    The whole debate over water has become negative and it is causing people to lose hope.
    This is unforgivable.
    In our part of the system we are horrified at the death and destruction caused by the flash flooding and the floods in general in the northern reaches of the eastern seaboard and the northern parts of the MDB.
    There have been floods on the southern side as well, with much destruction but thankfully no deaths.
    But do you know what?
    The Murray Darling Basin Plan and the Water Act 2007 that birthed the plan has caused 1,000’s of people to lose hope and way too many of them are opting out in the worst possible way. Just in our small area there were six suicides before just before Christmas. Why isn’t anyone noticing this? I would be willing to bet that the deaths from suicides in the MDB are higher than the deaths from the floods.
    The Water Act 2007 is a negative document with negative assumptions and it has birthed an ugly negative monster.
    It assumes that we must take away and shut down productive generational businesses. It is based on flawed methology and flawed theories. It completely ignores our highly unpredictable climate and the fact that our rivers can transform from swampy, stagnant puddles to raging destructive deluges and they can do that almost overnight.
    If it ignores the truth, starts with a negative assumption and causes whole communities to either rebel or lose hope, why on earth would anyone want to keep defending it?
    That is just plain wrong.
    The system is far from perfect and nearly everyone who lives in the basin would admit that. We have all made mistakes and they need to be fixed.
    However, we need to start with a positive mind set that the problems and mistakes can be fixed.
    We are not going to fix anything if we start from a negative place and move in a negative direction.
    It has never been a good idea, anywhere in the world, to confiscate valuable resources from productive and vibrant communities. Just ask the Chinese! Just ask the Russians!
    They tried it.
    If nothing else, our “environment” has just taught us that it doesn’t give a flying rip about any of us, including our climate scientists and our environmentalists. We need to understand that we are also part of this environment and we need to work with what is really happening in the physical environment not the political environment or the imaginary environment that far too many people romantacise about.
    If we want progress and safe environments then we have to face the truth about our land of drought and flooding rains.
    We have to realise that the drought was not permanent. It was horrible but it was always going to break. If the climate is changing then we need to work out how to deal with that too. We are not going to solve anything by being negative and preaching doom and gloom.
    If nothing else, humans are able to solve problems and challenges if they’re given the ability to do so.
    A good place to start would be a Water Act that allows us to tackle our issues with a positive mindset and some positive goals.

  19. val majkus January 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Debbie, that is a great comment and I and I am sure many other commenters applaud you for making it and for taking the time out of what I’m sure is a very busy day to do so
    Unfortunately I don’t think anyone in the current Govt would listen but what I would suggest is this:
    a) could you expand on your comment a bit and perhaps Jennifer would make it a post and that way it could be spread around a bit more (I would be happy to link it to blogs I visit)
    b) send it to Malcolm Turnbull who is the apparent architect of the Water Act – he does answer letters in my experience and possibly to others in the Coalition who would be sympathetic (I’m thinking Abbott and Joyce)

    If you need any help with drafting I would be happy to assist; I’m an urbanite but I have country experience (grew up in the outback) so I’m very sympathetic to the plight of the irrigators – in fact my response to the MDB Plan to the Govt was ‘get off the back of the irrigators and let them do their job’; I don’t think many urbanites realise during drought years irrigators have no water allocation notwithstanding they have a licence

    and Jennifer how about a future post from Debbie – one of the ones in the firing line of the MDBplan; I know you’re a scientist but you have views about the Murray and science has practical implications for Debbie and the others in the MDB so in my view it wouldn’t be inconsistent for your blog to host a post from her who could speak for all the affected ones

  20. el gordo January 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Plan B: Preparedness. The ability to perceive anomaly.

    The 1998 La Nina did not decay as expected and went into 2000 because of the ‘warmer than normal’ SST in the west tropical Pacific. The Walker Circulation was also stronger.

  21. debbie January 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Thanks Val,
    If you ask Jen for my email address or ask her to send me yours we can talk.
    I think the people who are in the firing line do need to speak up.
    There is some very ordinary stuff happening that no one is noticing.
    It is most definitely being caused by a negative environment and a lack of hope.
    If you know how to put a good piece together, I am very willing to help and offer some good contacts and some heart wrenching stories.
    We desperately need a Water Act that allows positive, progressive inputs and therefore positive and progressive outcomes.
    I think it is the only way to stop the rot.
    At the moment we have a negative and destructive monster!

  22. val majkus January 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Debbie – Warwick Hughes (an earth scientist) entirely agrees with you
    MDB water-buy-back scheme redundant after rains
    you’re not alone

    I’ll send Jen an e mail asking her to give me your e mail address
    and you’ll have to authorise that by sending her an e mail as well

  23. Rae January 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Why is anyone surprised that Tony Windsor has taken this path? He is only here for another term if that if the government survives. Why would he care what happens.

  24. Rae January 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Spare us all from ‘dumb’ self agrandising Australian politicans.

  25. Another Ian January 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Time for a plug for what seems to me to be eligible for the themesong of the early 21st century.

    Check out John Prine’s album “Commom Sense” (Atlantic Records) and the second track “Common Sense” with the refrain of “It don’t make no sense that common sense don’t make no sense no more”

    And for prediction value written about 1975.

  26. Sid Reynolds January 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Good on you Debbie. It defies logic and shows just how far green fundamentalism has penetrated most areas of Government; the Public Service and Academia that in the MDB basin plan, the issue of building more dams was not even canvessed! True to the old negative socialist agenda, they were more interested in how to ‘divide up the cake’, rather than ‘baking more cake’. In fact, it could be seen as a crime against the Australian nation and people, that during the recent prolonged drought, the federal Government didn’t institute a new major water conservation and flood mitigation project of a scale similar to or larger than the Snowy mountains Scheme.

    As for funding it, some of the wasted billions spent on the ‘Pink bats’; the BER and billions allocated to the ridiculous NBN could have been allocated to such a worthy project and to other much needed infrastructure projects such as new base load power stations fuelled by our cheapest and most plentiful energy source, coal, to power the nation.

    If it was not so serious it would be funny that both the BoM and CSIRO forecasts, based on their “global warming” models stated that the drought could no longer be called drought, but was now a permanent reality of the new hotter dryer climate. (Look at the ridiculous statements of the Bureau’s Dr. David Jones, one of the country’s chief warmaholics, over the past two years). Yet the MDBA readily used such flawed data and forecasts without putting the same up for public scrutiny, or testing it against historical records.

    Such records show that the MD river system is not dying, but a healthy living system going through the cyclical norm from dry to wet and has been enhanced by water conservation and flood mitigation structures built in the past and would be further enhanced by a new dam building programme.

  27. Luke January 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    El Gordo and what’s Plan B ?

    BTW don’t you reckon you could have made Hayden’s prediction too. Hope it’s on your fridge !

  28. Another Ian January 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    “Global warming is dead, let’s move on

    WE did it. For once, we acted collectively, as humans, huddled together on a fragile planet, rather than as selfish individuals. And we did it: we beat global warming.
    So now let’s move on.

    According to the Bureau of Meteorology, 2010 was Australia’s coldest year since 2001. Since logic tells us the planet can’t be getting hotter and colder at the same time, we can confidently pronounce global warming dead, buried and comprehensively beaten.”

    More at

  29. hunter January 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    It is interesting that the idiocrats running the bureaucracy are now saying no one said anything about the dams or the rains.
    It is interesting only because it confirms the that CYA tango is in full progress.
    They are now admitting that their predictions and models are crap for anything to do with reality, but it is still the sceptics fault.
    It is hard to tango when is danced into a tight corner.

    Another Ian,
    Do not simply move on: root out those AGW parasites who have compromised the ability of government to do its job of serving people. Remember those who were burned to death in the brush fires and those who drowned in the floods. Justice for them means dismantling the enviro-political power complex.
    Prevention of similar fates in the future means keeping that complex away from the levers of power.

  30. rayvic January 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    With regard to Val’s reference to Malcolm Turnbull as the apparent architect of the Water Act, it should be remembered that Malcolm’s input was influenced by his unwavering faith in anthropogenic global warming (AGW), which he maintains to this day. (It is ironical that, as an ex-lawyer, he maintains such belief when there is no hard scientific evidence to support the AGW case.)

    The Howard Govt was conned into believing in AGW. Besides implementing the flawed Water Act, the Howard Government voted for (but did not ratify) the Kyoto Protocol and supported the adoption of the 20% renewable energy target by 2020. Sadly, although the Coalition now is influenced by more rational operators such as Abbott and Joyce, we are going to be paying dearly for such Howard Govt dysfunctional behaviour.

  31. Luke January 20, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    “The Howard Govt was conned into believing in AGW”

    ” root out those AGW parasites who have compromised the ability of government to do its job of serving people.” blah blah blah “remember those people who drowned in the foods” – wow

    “more rational operators such as Abbott and Joyce’ – that’s “more rational” folks !!

    Hey Cohers – your mates eh? How do you stand it – hope you’ve had your rabies shot.

  32. Don B January 20, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. at the University of Colorado summarized the decision making which led to the Brisbane flooding. By ignoring ENSO and the strong La Nina and the heavy rains, the dam manager did not make decisions under uncertainty, the decisions were made under willful ignorance.

  33. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 5:57 am #

    Excellent catch, Don B, especially these two pars.

    ‘In the days before the flood, the BOM warned of an upper level low pressure system dumping a large amount of rain over southeast Queensland. The warning came late in the first week of January and was visible on the BOM interactive weather and wave forecast maps. Ironically, the system slowed off the coast for a few days, giving operators plenty of time to make any adjustments to capacity levels. But the gates remained shut on the 100 per cent capacity.’

    ‘Anna Bligh admitted that the operators nearly lost control, with water only 90cm from spillway fuse plugs. If triggered, the plugs would have released a torrent of water to the system. The results could have been catastrophic.’

  34. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Plan B is preparedness, Luke.

    BoM illustrates the impact of a cyclone on northern NSW over half a century ago, but Byron Bay is no longer a sleepy village so an exit strategy should be in place.

    ‘February 1954 Severe tropical cyclone crossed the coast at Coolangatta/Tweed Heads with a reading in the eye of 973 hPa. Worst damage in that area around the Cudgen in NSW where some houses were blown apart and trees more than 1 metre in diameter were twisted out of the ground. The floods and cyclone hit the Lismore district with gales whipping up large waves on the then 11.3 km wide Richmond River. 30 people tragically died from these unprecedented effects. The outer section of the jetty was swept away at Byron Bay taking with it all 22 vessels comprising the fishing fleet. The sea broke through and flooded parts of the town in Byron Bay.’

  35. Luke January 20, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    What ignorance on the part of armchair critics. Do they actually think that the dam management engineers weren’t plugged in 24×7 on the issue? I’m surprised at the ratio of deduction to investigation.

    El Gordo – all easy stuff to say on Plan B … but so what? We all can find out the history? Doesn’t tell you what to do, where, and what’s next….

  36. debbie January 20, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Careful Luke,
    You are missing the whole point of the plan B argument.
    Plan B is about accepting that we don’t know what will get thrown at us next, but using history to teach us ways to handle the dangerous extremes.
    If we keep arguing that we can’t do anything about planning because it’s always going to be dry we won’t be able to learn the lessons that history and mother nature has taught us.
    We will end up being hopeless victims and doing nothing.
    That’s not a good place to live!
    I have said it before, there will be no one happier than all of us when the climate puzzle finally gets solved. We haven’t got there yet and we need to keep trying.
    Jennifer is right, we need to stay scientific about it and stop ignoring anomolies when they don’t match the theories and don’t fit into the models.
    The large number of anomolies are proving that the theories and models are inconclusive.
    What we do know from history and generational knowledge is our climate has severe extremes and we need to have good plans to deal with them.
    Your contempt for plan B is as bad as your own criticism of “arm chair critics”.
    Remember that plan B is about learning more about what to do when the “where and what’s next” happens. It is about being pro active and better prepared. It does not involve predictions because we obviously haven’t worked out how to do that accurately enough yet.
    Please keep trying though. It’s important. Just don’t pretend that you have all the answers when you so obviously don’t. I don’t think you personally believe that, but far too often you defend those who do say they have all the answers.

  37. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Debbie in regard to the MDB I’m sure you’ve seen this (it featured on Jen’s blog in early Jan)
    but just in case …

  38. cohenite January 20, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I see Steffan will be conducting the enquiry into the QLD floods; we know he is a devout believer in AGW and he is already agreeing with Brown’s atrocious comments about coal and the floods:

    There is no proof for AGW which is why the move is now on for complete obfuscation and lies about any AGW related issue.

  39. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Luke, when the IPO is cool we can expect more La Nina and more cyclone activity. It stands to reason that we should have plans to evacuate people from the danger area if a cyclone threatens. Just because it hasn’t happened for a long time doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future.

    Wasn’t 1954 a back to back Nina?

  40. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    very depressing cohenite; no opportunity is lost or wasted

  41. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    So they aim to make it a whitewash…why am I not surprised?

    Meanwhile, floods postpone basin meeting at Swan Hill because of the Victorian floods.

  42. Luke January 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    El Gordo – well there are plans for cyclones – so NEXT !

    Debbie – I’m cynical that sceptics have any plans of substance. What Plan B? And that the establishment has done more than people think.

  43. cohenite January 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    “the establishment has done more than people think.” The establishment is in a green thrall; the next year will see a misanthropic, parasitic ideology set in place policies which will damage Australia for years to come.

  44. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    a nice impartial report
    Water has peaked at almost three feet below the level of deadly 1974 floods in Brisbane, giving the city some respite from the disastrous floods. However, this has not stopped the state premier’s favourite warmist launching a pre-emptive strike claiming the floods for his own.

    This is professor Will Steffen, the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, who is forced to concede that there is “no direct link” between global warming and the flash flooding in Toowoomba, but he claims that climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain.

    Never mind that the prevailing warmist orthodoxy has been for prolonged droughts – which is why, of course, the Australians have spent over $13 billion on desalination plants. Now, Steffen says that, “As the climate warms, there is more water vapour in the atmosphere … This means that there is a probability that there will more intense rainfall events around the world”.

    Pity they forgot to tell us poor misguided fools before we spent all that money on desalination plants

    Professor Neville Nicholls, an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at Monash University, is another one getting his oar in, saying that scientists would look at possible links between flash floods over the past 24 hours and global warming.

    How quick the warmists are to take advantage of every opportunity
    here’s what Roger Pielke Jr has to say

    I’m sure Luke will approve (well lmaybe not with Roger Pielke) but the following is something which meets more with my approval:

    The theory linking man-made CO2 with dangerous global warming is dead. It has been falsified. It has run smack bang into a “null hypothesis.” It has met its Waterloo. It has bought the farm. It has gone for a Burton. It has cashed in its chips, fallen off its perch, gone south, gone west, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the Choir Invisible. Man-made Global Warming has ceased to exist.

  45. Luke January 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Cohenite – while you make nice little speeches like that and Val goes on – the reality is that sceptics have contributed nothing.

    It is the establishment that has undertaken the flood studies of the Brisbane River and Gold Coast. The raising of dam walls – the additional spillway capacity for extreme events. The real Plan B – whereas sceptics have contributed nothing. You’ve just hand waving.

  46. Luke January 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Val if you knew anything – Prof Neville Nicholls is an accomplished ENSO scientist and is also most conservative in his view. You over-interpret every press reported nuance.

    Try reading more widely

  47. TonyfromOz January 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I joined the Air Force for 25 years straight from High School in 1967.
    Most of my trade training was at Forest Hill, near Wagga Wagga.

    All they had in those days was AM radio.
    Early AM, up at sparrers to clean clean clean as young trainees had to do, with the radio on, all we would get every morning was the farm report from Elder Smith Goldsborough Mort. Part of that daily report was a segment every second day from Lennox Walker, father of Hayden Walker, and his long range weather forecasts.
    Farmers lived and died by those reports, sewed crops, purchased farm machinery etc. He had an accuracy rate greater than 90%.
    He was also third generation of doing this, having before him all the records from Inigo Jones, and Clem Wragge, the most comprehensively detailed reports going back to the the 1830’s for virtually all of Eastern Oz, and in fact Clem Wragge was one of the first weather forecasters of any sort in Australia, and the guy who started the thing of giving Cyclones names.

    Those guys were all long range weather forecasters.
    Hayden continues the tradition now almost 170 years of it, nearly always correct.
    I’d trust him more than any others when it came to weather forecasting, both in the near, and the long term.

    He gets very little credence because people think of it more in the terms of mumbo jumbo, which is so far from the truth.

    Below is the link to Hayden Walker’s Page of links, and you can navigate backwards from this page or visit the huge number of links. Those live Earth cams are great.


  48. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Luke how do you know sceptics have contributed nothing; do you think we’re all on unemployment benefits or sitting in nursing homes? Your language is weird. And what do you mean by ‘the establishment’? Do you mean the Govt with taxpayer funds or do you mean all you warmists are out there sweating and pouring concrete
    Try being a little more precise with your insults please

  49. spangled drongo January 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm #


    Are you gonna sit there with your face hanging out and tell us that the “establishment” contains no sceptics?

    If you were more than only half aware you would know that the “establishment”, particularly the older, more “established” establishment wrote any existing Plan B, chapter and verse.

  50. Malcolm Hill January 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Give it a break Walker.

    Your incessant monologues about the sceptics, as you bracket them, as not having a plan B or an alternative view,or whatever, to the so called embedded and publically funded climate scientists, conveniently overlooks several facts:

    1.That the sceptics are an identifiable group equivalent to those taking the public shilling to do their climate research. They are not

    2. That they have equal access to funds.They dont

    3. That research that shows evidence of problems with increases in Co2 as being overstated efor example, gets appropriate access to funds,publication and public airing. It doesnt.

    4. That the peer review process works in a competent way without bias, incompetence and fraud. It doesnt

    5. That the huge sums of money already spent on Climate research has been well directed audited and managed.It hasnt.

    6.That the leading climate research cabal have acted at all times with the highest professional standards.They havnt.

    But the real irony is that even Aynesley Kellow has had cause to give you a bollocking over your ad hominem abuse of Joanna Nova for eg, by saying she may well be the ” devil incarnate but that has no bearing on her point”

    ….all of which stands in sharp contrast to your repeated and ignorant dismissals over a long period of any material that may appear in any journal thats not of your choosing, irrespective of the merits of whats being said.

    I dont expect you to take any advice from me but one thing is clear you are not doing your cause any favours.

    Then again you may just be an example of the norm in the climate science domain in this country.

  51. cohenite January 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    “Prof Neville Nicholls is an accomplished ENSO scientist and is also most conservative in his view.”


    Some salient comments from our accomplised Professor Nicholls:

    “Temperatures in this region are usually lower than normal during a La Niña episode”

    They are on land but not SST’s; from:

    “Positive values of the SOI are associated with stronger Pacific trade winds and warmer sea temperatures to the north of Australia, popularly known as a La Niña episode. Waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean become cooler during this time. Together these give an increased probability that eastern and northern Australia will be wetter than normal.”

    In his next paragraph Nicholls says this:

    “Secondly, the general ocean warming we have seen over the past 50 or so years, due to anthropogenic enhancement of atmospheric greenhouse gases, confounds the use of these temperatures to compare a recent episode of cool temperatures with cool temperatures earlier in the record – the global warming may have offset some cooling associated with the strong, recent La Niña. This would bias any comparison between the 2010 event and earlier events, prior to the strong global warming of the second half of the 20th century.”

    This is nothing more than a statement of AGW and typically it is, obviously unknown to Nicholls, manifestly stupid. If we accept Nicholl’s assertion that the seas have been warming due to AGW, which is impossible since only the higher frequency radiation from the sun can warm the oceans, then AGW is not producing worst climate conditions but mitigating them; this is the only logical conclusion one can make if one looks at the 1974 flood, which was bigger than this one, and the even bigger floods before that; the reason is those bigger, more destructive floods occurred with less AGW and cooler seas; so if natural variation has produced this flood, but that natural variation is affected by AGW, then the lessor destructiveness of this AGW flood, compared to the earlier ones is surely a small blessing amidst the destruction.

    As for that destruction, if proper attention had been given to natural variability and the increased chance of a flood rather than the predicted more frequent droughts, then adequate preparation for this flood could have occurred; despite luke’s bluster, it is obvious that preparation for this flood was late and grossly inadequate because green ideology and AGW have infested the predictive sections of the official science bureaus like BoM.

    Nicholls is neither accomplished or conservative.

  52. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    ‘We all can find out the history? Doesn’t tell you what to do, where, and what’s next….’

    Ahh…now I see what you’re saying Luke, only the warministas know what’s coming. Sorry, you don’t have the monopoly on that.

  53. Luke January 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    What utter drivel from a pretentious little faux sceptic like Cohenite. Now so immersed in fifth columnist filth with his denialist taliban that he can’t even himself tell when he talking rot.

    “then adequate preparation for this flood could have occurred” ROFL !! and LMAO

    The Lord Mayor of Brisbane has been banging on about heavy wet season for months as has the local Bureau. Have we seen a denialist Plan B manifesto saying that a 1 in 5000 supercells would occur on which dates, which regions and suburbs should be evacuated. Perhaps a 3 month forecast which suburbs should pack up the goods and chattels by when. No !

    If Brisbane gets an exceptional flood – the “flood plain” will be inundated. Have we had a list of exactly what river systems would be impacted and when from the denialist glitterati . No!

    Have the denialists done the coastal flood mapping projects, reviewed dam heights, got spillways modified. No – they just sit there like the leering vultures they are, opining on what they would have done – but really doing nothing.

    And so some unpublished dweeb like Cohenite wants to cast aspersions on the ability of the modern father of Australian ENSO research. Holey doley. Nicholls who has actually been so conservative that he has become convinced of AGW influences by the observations from a position of scepticism. And so Cohenite summarily dismisses a warming signal sunk to depth in all the world’s oceans. Tries to invoke a solar driver when there is none. Dismisses record SSTs around Australia.

    Bigger floods = direct hit cyclones !

    We’re sorry it’s a super La Nina record breaker Cohers. The cognitive dissonance must be crippling by now.

    And woo hoo – the paper boy brings more –

    “According to satellite data obtained from NASA, the ocean off the northwest of WA – that is, the start of the Leeuwin Current – is more than three degrees warmer compared to last year.
    “The water temperatures are higher than 31 degrees, which I have not seen before in more than 20 years of researching WA’s coastal waters,” Prof Pattiaratchi said.”

    El Gordo – just because you know some historical anecdotes – doesn’t mean that that translates into direct knowledge with high regional precision for the next event. Everyone I know has been saying it’s going to be a big wet. So? That’s not a supercell prediction is it?

  54. cohenite January 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    ““The water temperatures are higher than 31 degrees, which I have not seen before in more than 20 years of researching WA’s coastal waters,” ”

    Fancy that, 20 years; and the standard is what he has not seen before; the narcissicism of the AGWer’s.

  55. Johnathan Wilkes January 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    “Have the denialists done?”

    Aren’t you a bit disingenuous here?
    It’s like the MSM always having a go at the opposition when in fact they are not in government.

    Name just one, even the smallest government entity where the “sceptics-denialists” are in power!

    Be fair!

  56. Luke January 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Sceptics haven’t got a clue. There is no Plan B. They hypocritically approve of all the work done on natural variability by the same scientists working on AGW.

    In terms of extreme events. It’s all 20:20 hindsight. No alternative manifesto despite having large university resources available to them.

    The sceptic-denialists won’t get into power – unsaleable proposition.

  57. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Luke; I suggest you attend writing and science classes (maybe get a degree – you can do it part time) so that you can get a bit more logic in your answers
    At this stage there is no logic in your answers; only bad names and bullying and that’s not a good look
    I don’t blame you for that (you can’t help your education) but there is something you can do about that
    and I suggest you do it
    Okay you don’t want to; if you do work and I don’t know if you do or not but if you do then you feel surrounded by ‘group think’; if you don’t work or maybe even if you do well it’s an entertainment
    But if you don’t open your mind you will be a lesser person
    Have you ever read philosophy; if so you will know what I mean

  58. Luke January 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    In his frantic rush to leave the room Cohenite trips over the obvious.

    We’ll just add Pattiaratchi’s observation toe that of the formalism of Lough 2008 and put that warming trend in NW and NE Australia back since 1950.

    Shifting climate zones for Australia’s tropical marine ecosystems
    J. M. Lough
    Received 8 May 2008; revised 16 June 2008; accepted 26 June 2008; published 29 July 2008.
    [1] Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are significantly
    warming along the northwest (NW) and northeast (NE)
    coasts of Australia – regions containing well-protected and
    internationally significant tropical marine ecosystems. The
    magnitude and spatial distribution of observed warming of
    annual, maximum and minimum SSTs is examined, 1950 –
    2007. Observed warming is comparable along the NE and
    NW coasts although greater along the NE coast south
    15S, greater at higher than lower latitudes, and greater
    for annual minimum than annual maximum SSTs. Average
    climate zones have also shifted >200 km south along the NE
    coast and about half that distance along the NW coast. If
    current trends continue, annual average SSTs in northern
    parts could be 0.5C warmer and those of more southern
    parts 2.0C warmer within the next 100 years. These rapid
    changes in oceanic climate are already causing responses in
    Australia’s tropical marine ecosystems and these responses,
    if present rates of warming continue, can only intensify.
    Citation: Lough, J. M. (2008), Shifting climate zones for
    Australia’s tropical marine ecosystems, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35,
    L14708, doi:10.1029/2008GL034634.

    And speaking of Lough – more disturbing trends which this event will cap off.

    Lough JM (2007) Tropical river flow and rainfall reconstructions from coral luminescence: Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Paleoceanography 22: PA2218. doi: 10.1029/2006PA001377.

    A trend in the 20th century now ongoing for wetter wets and drier dries. SINCE 1630 for Cohers edification.

    PALEOCEANOGRAPHY, VOL. 22, PA2218, 16 PP., 2007

    Tropical river flow and rainfall reconstructions from coral luminescence: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Janice M. Lough
    Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

    Rainfall and river flow in northeast Queensland, Australia, are highly seasonal and show high interannual and decadal variability that is modulated by El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Reconstructions of October–September freshwater input to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and October–September Queensland rainfall are developed from visual assessment of the occurrence and intensity of luminescent lines in massive Porites from up to 25 coral cores from 15 nearshore reefs regularly influenced by river flood plumes. Separate reconstructions are developed for four rivers (Herbert, Burdekin, Pioneer, and Fitzroy), and these are used to reconstruct total annual freshwater flow into the Great Barrier Reef (69–74% variance calibrated) and an index of Queensland rainfall (53–57% variance calibrated). The reconstructions extend back to 1631 but are most reliable from 1661 and capture significant decadal variability. The reconstructions provide insights into long-term tropical rainfall and river flow variability and the behavior of ENSO and the PDO over several centuries. Significant, though weak, relationships are found between these reconstructions and an independent reconstruction of ENSO. The reconstructions highlight that observations from the instrumental records of high interannual and decadal rainfall and river flow variability in northeast Australia also characterize the past few centuries.

    Although there appears to be no overall trend toward wetter or drier conditions, the reconstructions suggest that the variability of rainfall and river flow has increased during the twentieth century with more very wet and very dry extremes than in earlier centuries, as projected for the region as a consequence of global warming.

    And again someone else who also knows about PDO and ENSO interaction !

    And we might just add the curiosity of IMOS data already showing the Tasman Sea is warming much faster than other places in the world.

  59. Luke January 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Rubbish Val – read Cohers libel on Prof Nicholls. It’s utter rot. Wake up.

  60. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    sorry Luke you’ve got no credibility with me – you wake up

  61. TonyfromOz January 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Well that’s it for me, thanks Luke.

    After three years of blogging, I finally realise why it is that reasonable minded people give up commenting, or don’t even comment in the first place.
    I have never seen anybody as virulent as you are.
    Everything you say is right, and anything said by anybody else is totally and utterly wrong, and also open slather for epithetic tags, personal abuse, and outright nastiness.

    I’ll stick with what I know best.
    Telling people what the end result of your ‘point of view’ will be.
    No electrical power.
    Sorry Jennifer, but this has got right up my goat.


  62. Luke January 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    comment deleted

  63. Luke January 20, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Hypocrisy at its best Tony

    (1) you simply overlook all nastiness put out by sceptics on an ongoing basis
    (2) didn’t see you complaining about Hunter?
    (3) no electrical power – you are joking ! what utter rot

  64. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    this is a bit concerning

    and Luke try what I said – wake up and try some logic not just bully words, doesn’t work with me

  65. TonyfromOz January 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Point 3 No electrical power.
    Careful there Luke, you’re entering my home ground there.
    Obviously you read only what you want to see.


  66. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Tony I’d be sorry if we commentators lost you and I’m not the only one I’m sure
    Take no notice of Luke
    the rest of us here are open to intelligent discussion and you can provide plenty of that
    and I want to see one of your engergy posts when the current crises is over
    how’s the clean up going in Rocky
    Toowoomba business district is reopened and looking for business

  67. Another Ian January 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm #


    Don’t quit.

    Back in Luke’s “Phil Done” days I was told by a confederate of his that he was like Mulligan’s pup – could give it but couldn’t take it

  68. Luke January 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Tony honestly “Telling people what the end result of your ‘point of view’ will be.
    No electrical power.”

    So have I advocated a carbon tax? So is your logic – that if solutions may be difficult, the problem doesn’t exist.

    So speaking of reading what you want to see. In fact I’m pretty interested in new nuclear.

    In any case we have drifted well of the thread topic. So I am sorry. Cohenite really got my goat.

    But it really does behove critics espousing a Plan B or “we know better” to put it up.

    Coming along after a big flood remarking “tsk tsk – and we’ve have done better is pretty hollow”.

    Wet season not over so what next guys?

  69. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Plan B is operational now: prevention through mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The only thing missing is the inability to see weather anomaly, because the models say over the next 100 years in Australia we can expect to see rainfall decline.

    Luke desires direct knowledge with high regional precision for the next event? How about something out of the box, with odds of 100/1, a direct hit of Norfolk Island.

    Cyclones rarely hit the island, although they occasionally come near. Taking the historical angle, I think the emergency management plan may not cope.

    In February 1789, in the middle of a fairly strong La Nina, Philip Gidley King reports that from ‘four in the morning until noon the wind increased to a very severe hurricane, with the heaviest rain I ever saw or heard of.

    ‘Pines and oak trees of the largest size, were blown down every instant; the roots were torn up, together with rocks that surrounded them, frequently leaving pits at least ten feet deep.’

    In the absence of AGW we know this will happen again at some time during a strong La Nina. BoM has no direct knowledge of this event, so I will try and provide some regional precision on the possibilities.

  70. Luke January 20, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    In the interests of trying to restart the discussion I apologise to Val and Tony for excessive vigor.

    Just watching 7:30 report – Toowoomba’s mayor, engineer and independent geomorphologist. Plan B was there in terms of storage basins. But 1 in 500 storm, direct hit, and much impervious surface, historic buildings = how much more could be done?

    El Gordo – fair point on Norfolk.

  71. val majkus January 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Luke I wouldn’t call it excessive vigor I’d call it rudeness
    apologise for that and may be we can restart

  72. cohenite January 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Ah, Janice Lough, no 10 in my 2nd hit parade:

    Luke has recycled Ms Lough’s papers before; in respect of the 2nd one this was a standout:

    “Although there appears to be no overall trend toward wetter or drier conditions, ”

    This doesn’t stop the indefatigable Ms Lough from making the usual dire predictions”

    “the reconstructions suggest that the variability of rainfall and river flow has increased during the twentieth century with more very wet and very dry extremes than in earlier centuries, as projected for the region as a consequence of global warming.”

    This can be checked with reference to the usual BoM graphs:

  73. jennifer January 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Val, Tony,

    Luke sometimes makes useful and valid points.

    He can also sometimes completely ignore the evidence immediately presented, and repeat a point with increasing rudeness. Then it is best to ignore him.

    If a thread is becoming unnecessarily distressing, the best thing I can do is close it down. I can stop all comments. I did this not so long ago when someone kept demanding I answer his questions regarding Snowy Hydro and releases from Lake Eucumbene. He had made some valid points, including valid criticism of me, but then he went on and on.

    You both have my mobile phone number. For others it is 041 887 32 22. I don’t always monitor threads but usually can get to a computer soon enough to stop a thread and/or delete defamatory comment.

  74. el gordo January 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    This La Nina is different, compared with 2007 and 1998.

  75. val majkus January 21, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Hi Jen, thanks for that comment, Luke’s entitled to his opinion of course as is each one of us but he’s not entitled to behave like the bully child in the playground; he’d be better off trying to express his points rather than ranting which is simply a waste of time and computer space
    and Luke this is written to you so I hope you read it

  76. el gordo January 21, 2011 at 6:51 am #


    Luke is just a grumpy old man, and he doesn’t offend the regulars here. He offers a counterpoint, which is useful knowledge if we are to defeat ignorance.

    Let the troll remain, vigorous and robust, because with each passing day we get closer to the truth of the matter. Global cooling is not something to laugh about, but I can’t help myself LOL.

  77. val majkus January 21, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    thanks el gordo for that comment, had to laugh at the image of Luke as a ‘grumpy old man’; I’ve had a look at a warmist site and I must say the language is pretty heated there; must be global warming; maybe that’s where the misssing hot spot is

  78. TonyfromOz January 21, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    That didn’t last too long.
    Gee Luke, your comment at 7.30PM yesterday.

    …..carbon tax…..

    See, there’s the problem with those from your side of the argument. You even get the terminology wrong.

    It’s a tax on Carbon Dioxide, Luke, not Carbon.
    For one so strong on getting things right, and always being correct, I wouldn’t have thought you’d have fallen into that trap.

    I feel sure half the world’s population would be concerned if they introduced a carbon tax. All those lovely diamonds would become that much more expensive.

    CO2 is not Carbon.


  79. el gordo January 21, 2011 at 11:45 am #


    The other day Luke suggested ‘you should get out more’ and offered Deltoid as a place to go. Lambert’s space started out as a science blog, but has since decayed after he debated Monckton he abruptly dropped the science and now only attacks ‘contrarian’ views in the msm. Shooting the messenger has become their favorite past-time.

    It is still a worthwhile place to visit if you can handle sitting in a medium size shed with a bunch of zealots. Best keep a vomit bag handy.

  80. el gordo January 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I dropped over to test the water at Deltoid and it’s still icy. Sorry for the off topic, it’s important that we know our enemy if we are to defeat them in real time.

    I’ve used “denialist” pretty often as a way to slightly soften the term “denier”, though lately in arguments I lose patience and just call them “deniers” or “lying deniers”. Another good one is “deniosaur” which brings in images of the dinosaurs going extinct. I forget who coined that one.
    Posted by: Holly Stick | January 20, 2011 7:24 PM

    Denialati is my preferred option.
    Posted by: el Gordo | January 20, 2011 7:37 PM

    Shut up.
    Posted by: John | January 20, 2011 8:40 PM

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