I wrote the following two statements down on a scrap of paper when I was an undergraduate at the University of Queensland in the early 1980s. They seemed to resonate more with me as each year passes:
1. Belief in the truth of a theory is inversely proportional to the precision of the science.
2. The creativity of a scientist is directly proportional to how much [s]he knows, and inversely proportional to how much [s]he believes.
For many years this website operated as a weblog, rapidly building a regular readership of several thousand. Since 2007 the entire website has been archived by the National Library of Australia, annually, each February.
I moved to Noosa, in southeastern Queensland, a couple of years ago. When I am not working on temperature reconstructions or a new experimental technique for long-range weather forecasting using artificial intelligence, I enjoy swimming in the ocean, yoga, meditation and the occasional walk in the rain.
For a list of my scientific publications, click here. Over recent years I have been published in: Atmospheric Research, Advances in Atmospheric Research, Wetlands Ecology and Management, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Public Law Review and Environmental Law and Management.
I was published every fortnight for about 10 years by The Land newspaper, Fairfax Media Ltd (April 2004 – November 2014). I resigned as columnist, and also stopped regularly blogging, to concentrate more on my scientific research. This work is focused on historic temperature reconstructions and monthly rainfall forecasting. The two are linked because, with John Abbot, I am developing statistical models based on a machine learning technique to forecast monthly rainfall up to one year in advance. The skill of our forecasts is documented in past, and upcoming, technical papers in terms of root mean square errors (RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE) relative to observed rainfall. This means that our forecasts could be easily compared in a rigorous and quantitative way against the forecasts from general circulation models including the Bureau’s POAMA. However, so far, the Bureau has resisted any comparisons being made, as I detailed in a letter to Simon Birmingham in August last year, which can be downloaded here. The skill of our rainfall forecasts is affected by the quality of the temperature series inputted as part of multidimensional arrays, which is why I have become somewhat vocal about the often ad hoc process of homogenization undertaken to temperature series by the Bureau.
Our research on rainfall forecasting and temperature reconstructions is funded by the philanthropic B. Macfie Family Foundation.
For many years I have advocated the restoration of the Murray River’s estuary, and maintain The Myth and the Murray website.
On Line Opinion, Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate, has published me since 2003. The following opinion articles on a variety of subjects relating to management of the natural environment can be accessed here:
You don’t know the half of it: temperature adjustments and the Bureau of meteorology – 28/09/2015. Cyclonic inflation – 23/02/2015. Slots in dyke walls, won’t fix mulloway fishery – 3/06/2014. When Ngurunderi walked across the Murray’s mouth – 7/02/2014. No increase in warm nights or mild winters at Bathurst – 30/10/2013. No increase in hot days at Bathurst – 28/10/2013. Mulloway, not carp, belong in the Murray River’s estuary – 13/08/2013. FOIA, government-funded climate science and hole-digging – 20/03/2013. Restoring the Murray River’s estuary – 26/03/2012. Great Barrier Reef ‘research’ – A litany of false claims – 10/10/2011. Carbon tax nonsense – 6/05/2011. Snowy Hydro derivatives play submerges farmers – 17/02/2011. Snowy Hydro tops up floods with environmental flow – 1/02/2011. Water Plan will decimate Murrumbidgee frogs – 11/10/2010. Add salt at the mouth to save the Murray – 6/10/2010. The battle for the red gum forests – 1/09/2008. Saving the Coorong by restoring its native state – 14/08/2008. Carbon rationing or freedom – 14/03/2008. John Howard, environmentalist – 24/12/2007. Rachel Carson: too successful for her own legacy – 28/05/2007. Reef may benefit from global warming – 1/02/2007. The campaign to stop mining – 15/11/2006. Windmills are not a solution to this drought – 27/10/2006. Environment lost in rush to build dams – 7/09/2006. Steve Irwin’s legacy to conservation – 5/09/2006. Democracy versus leadership in Poowoomba – 31/07/2006. So rich, we can afford to keep ‘Saving the Murray River’ – 10/05/2006. Fat ducks equals fat cows – 18/04/2006. Costly harvest of ignorant GM campaign – 16/12/2005. Jared Diamond’s gated community of the mind – 4/11/2005. Let’s eat kangaroo – 23/09/2005. Greenpeace anti-GM campaign doomed– 15/08/2005. No science and no respect in Australia’s anti-whaling campaign – 7/07/2005. Save the forests: Support evidence-based environmentalism – 6/06/2005. Drip-fed figures – 31/05/2005. So now Kyoto is a reality, will it get cooler? – 16/02/2005. Beware of doomsday forecasts – 4/01/2005. The ABS’s environmental statistics reporting fails the basic test of rigour – 29/03/2004. Beware: everyone in the environment debate has an interest to protect – 13/02/2004. Received evidence for deterioration in water quality in the River Murray – 20/08/2003.