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Hotter, more erratic weather and higher sea levels: CSIRO

Australia’s getting hotter — particularly at night, rainfall is erratic, carbon emissions are up and our sea levels are increasing at two to three times the global average. That’s the latest data to emerge from the State of the Climate 2012 report, which observes Australia’s climate and analyses the factors that influence it.

Scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO worked together to produce the report, the second since the first State of the Climate report in 2010.

The data on global warming shows that annual-average daily maximum temperatures in Australia have increased by 0.75 degrees since 1910, with the majority of the increase occurring since 1970. Average Australian temperatures are expected to keep increasing, with a rise of 0.6 degrees (taking it to a total of 1.5 degrees since the 1980-1999 period) projected by 2030.

Nights are getting even warmer, with annual-average nightly minimum temperatures increasing by 1.1 degrees since 1910. Of that 1.1 degrees warming, 0.8 of it has occured since 1960. Each decade since the 1950s has been warmer than the last.

The frequency of record hot days has been more than double the frequency of record cold days in the last decade.

But there are obviously ebbs and flows in this heat increase. The years 2010 and 2011 were the coolest on record in Australia since 2001 due to La Niña. La Niña is the phenomenon of cooler ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific — and warmer ocean temperatures near Australia — and often brings a strong increase in rain. Wet years are expected to become less frequent, with droughts expected to become more frequent in southern Australia (although heavy rainfall is also likely).

Despite the cooler last two years, a longer trend of warming is still present across the decade, and “warming trends observed around Australia are consistent with global-scale warming that has been measured during recent decades”, says the report.

“The warming trend has occurred against a backdrop of natural, year-to-year climate variability,” it says. “Most notably, El Niño and La Niña events during the past century have continued to produce the hot droughts and cooler wet periods for which Australia is well known.”

Last year was the world’s 11th warmest year on record. The earth’s average surface temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees in the past century, while Australia warmed by 0.9 degrees.

The rate of warming differs across the land. This graph from BoM shows the increase in annual-average daily temperatures from 1960-2011:

Australia’s rainfall remains highly variable, with “many rainfall records” broken during the last two years of La Niña, says the report. Yet south-west Western Australia experienced its lowest level of rainfall on record in 2010 and only average rainfall in 2011.

The report highlighted “a general trend towards increased spring and summer monsoonal rainfall across Australia’s north during recent decades, and decreased late autumn and winter rainfall across southern Australia”.

This map of Australian autumn and winter (April to September) rainfall deciles from 1997 to 2011 shows whether the rainfall is above average, average or below average for the most recent 15-year period, compared to the entire rainfall record from 1900.

Regarding sea levels, 2011′s global-average mean sea level was 210mm (±30mm) higher than 1880 levels (the earliest year on record).

However, Australian records are even more concerning. Sea levels rose seven to eleven millimetres per year since 1993 in the north and north-west of Australia, which is two to three times the global average. Rates across the central east and southern coasts have been mostly aligned with the global average.

Sea-surface temperatures around Australia increased faster than the global average, reaching a record high in 2010 and nine months of 2011 featuring in the hottest 10 months on record. Again, this was largely due to La Niña, although the 2010-11 temperatures were higher than previous La Niña events.

Australia contributes about 1.3% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and in 2011 the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached an 800,000-year high with 390 parts per million. Half of all carbon emissions stay in the atmosphere, while the rest are absorbed into oceans and land vegetation. The increase of CO2 in oceans accounts for a 30% increase in ocean acidity since pre-industrial times.

There are several acknowledgements of the human impact on carbon emissions and global warming including: “The main cause of the observed increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is the combustion of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution” and “It is very likely that most of the surface global warming observed since the mid 20th century is due to anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases.”

The State of the Climate report also discusses how recent extreme weather events can sometimes be explained in part by human influences on the climate, but not always. It notes that humans have had medium impact on the increasing frequency of heavy rainfall events, but notes that recent flooding in Australia is largely explained by the powerful La Niña episode. Cyclones are expected to be less regular but more intense.

The ABC’s Sara Phillips is sick of the constant reporting of the same message, since although the basic science — temperatures increasing, sea levels rising, weather unpredictability increasing — hasn’t changed for years, many people still don’t “believe” in climate change. Time to change the message up, writes Phillips:

“For the message about climate change to be received and understood it needs to arrive in as many different forms as possible. Science, yes. But also climate change as a technological advance; a business opportunity; an economic reformation. Artists need to be recruited to paint climate change; writers need to write about climate change; it needs to be shown through interpretative dance. The message needs to come from different voices from all aspects of our diverse society: sports stars; comedians; accountants; ethnic leaders; church leaders; doctors; lawyers; professional associations.

“These messengers, like the scientists at the BoM and CSIRO, need to communicate on repeat. The same message, slightly new format, over and over.”

It seems CSIRO and BoM still feel the need to point out the obvious in the final page of their report: “CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology observations provide further evidence that climate change is real.”

It does. The State of the Climate report also provides compelling evidence-based data that increasing greenhouse gas emissions will result in further global warming.

46

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  • 1
    Scott
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was interesting that they changed some of the predictions between the last report in 2010 and this one.
    In 2010, prediction was the same for 2030, but for 2070, the temperature increase was 2.2-5 degrees. In this one, it is 1-5 degrees.
    Also attributing global warming to greenhouse gases, both state that there is a greater than 90 percent probability that warming is caused by greenhouse gases, but in this report they added, “from human activities”. In the previous report, it was just greenhouse gases, which matches the ipcc 2007 report.

  • 2
    Scott
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    In the ipcc report, the closest they can come is “likely” to the question of anthropological effects of greenhouse gases on temperature. This corresponds to a greater than 66 percent probability, not the 90 percent stated in the Csiro report.

  • 3
    kd
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    They’re not formal inferrential probabilities. They’re expert derived estimates with a good bit of handwaving and political interference. And the 90% covers the lower bound better. And it’s 5 years since the 2007 IPCC report as well. Let’s just wait and see how terrible the next El Niño is before we go jumping to conclusions.

  • 4
    Microseris
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Scott, I found it more interesting that from over 1,000 words in this article, you make no commentary on the reaffirmation of the general conclusions but rather grasp desperately to the few predictions which you think have been changed.

    Therein lies the essence of the climate change denier. The ability to ignore the thrust of a report but cherry pick a phrase or sentence which they consider may support their preconceived conclusion and repeat ad nauseum.

  • 5
    Scott
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    It’s an official report from Australia’s leading scientific agency. People make policy on this sort of stuff. Surely it should be as accurate as can be. I’m pointing out the inaccuracies.
    I’m not saying the report is rubbish, just that there are some flaws. By including the statement “from human activities” into their 90% probability (or “extremely likely” to use IPCC terminology), they have gone beyond the science and into opinion (which serves no ones interests).
    Its basic overreach, again, from climate science, which is the main reason why skeptism exists.

  • 6
    kd
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    they have gone beyond the science and into opinion

    … A statement that requires a denial of the physics of chemical bonds. That’s the same physics that makes your microwave oven work, so it’s not exactly speculative.

  • 7
    Scott
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m not talking about the thermodynamics or carbon science. I’m talking about the statement that links anthropological greenhouse gas forcing to increasing temperature change to a 90 percent confidence level. If they just said green house gas forcing, i would agree the statement is correct. However when the most recent ipcc report states 66 percent confidence level for anthropological effects, a statement by the Csiro that ups this confidence level based on no scientific evidence that i can see, is an opinion, not a scientific conclusion.

  • 8
    kd
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Possibly you should define what you mean by “scientific conclusion” – it seems to me that you are misusing it in the way that fake sceptics like to. The “from human activities” is pretty incontravertible with respect to greenhouse gasses. Your argument is smelling of cheap denier tricks, lipstick wearing pigs and bad perfume.

    You are insinuating tha that the IPCC liklieihoods are probabilities based on original research. They”re not. Your 66% (actually >=66%) is a quantitative definition of the qualitiative term “very likely”. 90% on the same framework corresponds to “Very likely”. Given the CSIRO’s wider margin of error on the lower bound of temperature change based on the observations since 2007 (or whenever the last IPCC report was prepared) this seems fair.

  • 9
    Scott
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Wrong kd. The probabilities are based on significance from statistical analysis of the data in the ipcc reports. 95 percent is industry benchmark in both economics and science, which corresponds to the ipcc definition of “extremely likely”. “very likely”is greater than 90 percent. “Likely” is greater than 66 percent. And the percentages came first, not the terms. The ipcc added the terms to make it easier for non statisticians to understand the significances.

  • 10
    Scott
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    As for your statement about all greenhouse gases causing temperature increases, coming from human sources, well that is an opinion as well, not supported by the data. Lots of things not understood about natural vs anthropological sourcing which is why the statistical significance is not that high.

  • 11
    kd
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Well, you know, opinions are like arseholes, you’re entitled to one. But my “statement about all greenhouse gases causing temperature increases” is clearly based on a poor understanding of the scientific basis of radiative forcing, and your statement that “The probabilities are based on significance from statistical analysis of the data in the ipcc reports” is an indication that you don’t understand what the IPCC does (they neither do a meta-analysis which is what you seem to be implying, or perform original research).

    “95 percent is industry benchmark in both economics and science, which corresponds to the ipcc definition of “extremely likely”” is yet another indication that you don’t understand the conventions used in inferrential statistics very well either (that’s ok, few people do).

  • 12
    Scott
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Ipcc is a clearing house for climate research. I know that they don’t do their own research, but they collate and interpret the research that is out there to produce their reports. And the lead authors and collaborators of the reports do their own research. I also know that the ipcc use non peer reviewed research in their reports which is a bit interesting.
    As for my knowledge of statistics, well I have studied econometric courses at uni which included regression analysis and time series analysis so I would say I know stats better than most.

  • 13
    kd
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Scott:

    You may know better than most, but you seem to have two misconceptions:

    1. That the IPCC use p values in their interpretatoin of research (a la meta analysis).

    And 2. That a p value in inferrentioal statistics is a useful measure of the probability of an event occuring (it’s not it’s about the probability with which a proposition is false). This is a very common misconception.

  • 14
    Scott
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Well in some of the explanation notes about uncertainties in the 3 and 4th IPCC reports, Working Group 1 mention building normal probability distributions with monte carlo simulations for uncertainty analysis, so I believe they were using some form of t-test. Otherwise, why build the distributions?

    The probabilities listed in the IPCC report for uncertainty are not p-values. If anything, they are 1 – p values.
    I know that a p-value is used in evaluting whether the null hypothesis is valid. i.e If the theory is that “Temperature change is caused by anthropological carbon forcing”, they would create a null hypothesis that the co-efficient of the independent variable “anthropological carbon forcing” in a regression with the dependent variable temperature is equal to 0. (i.e that anthropological carbon forcing has no effect on temperature…I am heavily simplifying here)
    A p-value is then calculated. If the p-value less than 0.05 (for 95% significance), it means that the confidence interval created for anthropological carbon forcing co-efficent (mean+-critical value*Error) does not include 0 so you can reject the null hypothesis that anthropological carbon forcing has no effect on temperature. The critical value depends on the degrees of freedom and statistical significance you are shooting for, but for infinity degrees of freedom is and 95% confidence levels, it is 1.96.
    If you lower the significance to 66%, the critical value is smaller (<1.96), meaning the confidence interval is less likely to include 0. i.e You are more likely to reject the null.

    Statistical significance is extremely important in regression analysis. When you list the confidence levels (which is what the IPC has done), you are "effectively" stating the strength of the relationship from the data, or how confident you are are that the theory is correct from your quantitative analysis.

    In my opinion, anything over 80% should be the requirement before policy is changed. Anything less than this, the data just isn't there yet and more analysis should be undertaken.

  • 15
    kd
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    The probabilities listed in the IPCC report for uncertainty are not p-values. If anything, they are 1 – p values

    No they’re not. They’re actually a bit hand-wavey. That’s because of the complexity of the topic at hand.

  • 16
    pete50
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    CSIRO and BoM seem very confident about their status report. However, not all the experts share that confidence.

    The audit of the BoM temperature data base is now complete – and the results are not pretty.

    Th bottom line of the report reads: 


    1. The BOM records need a thorough independent audit. 

    2. It’s possible that a significant part of the 20th Century Australian warming trend may have come from something as banal as sloppy observers truncating records in Fahrenheit prior to 1972. 

    3. Many High Quality sites are not high quality and ought to be deleted from the trends. 
4. Even current electronic equipment is faulty, and the BOM is not checking its own records. 

    5. Even climate scientists admit that truncation of Fahrenheit temperatures would cause an artificial warming effect.

    See here for details: 
http://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/near-enough-for-a-sheep-station/

  • 17
    kd
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Odd how the instrumental record doesn’t disagree significantly from the sattelite record. You’d almost think there were climate change deniers grasping at straws.

  • 18
    pete50
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    The BoM records that were examined go right back to the early 20th century. And these people are not climate change deniers and there is no straw-grasping going on there.

    Its interesting that this 2012 update is in complete contrast to the HADCRUT3 unadjusted SH mean temperature that has trended DOWN by 0.074˚C since 2001, and shows no southern hemisphere warming in the last 15 years.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3sh/from:2001/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2001/trend

    I don’t expect that CSIRO or BoM would try to explain why their records don’t warrant comment other than ‘warming as usual’.

  • 19
    kd
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh, pete50 is back with a bit of drive by denialism. 2011, hottest la nina year on record. 2000s, hotest decade on record despite the biggest solar minimum in some time. Yawn. Hope your cheque from the Heartland Institute gets you enough for a few full tanks of petrol for your suburban adventure vehicle.

  • 20
    pete50
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    kd, the facts speak for themselves. Of the years during the temperature down-trending since 2001, some were hotter than others. That’s neither a surprise nor a contradiction of the facts.

    Of course we need to remember that published global temperatures (facts) are adjusted by climate scientists. And those adjustments, for the period since 2001, are all increases.
    See here:http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/19/crus-new-hadcrut4-hiding-the-decline-yet-again-2/#more-59625

  • 21
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    It is a pity that the majority of discussion generated by this article is just more of the endless back and forth between the climate change deniers and those who accept the science.

    Ignoring the deniers (has any denier on Crikey ever changed their mind when presented with the facts?), I think the elephant in the room is the mismatch between what Australia (and the rest of the world) is doing so far, and what action is actually needed to prevent significant global warming.

    The Australian carbon tax is a small first step. Yet there is no serious discussion about taking further steps and the need to take them soon. Instead Labor (and its supporters) act as if they have now taken action, that future generations will thank us for it, and we can now go back to business as usual.

  • 22
    kd
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    mwh: well said!

    pete50: your delusions do indeed speak for themselves. Happy wiggle watching.

  • 23
    Post hoc
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I know one should not feed the trolls but the stupid it burns.

    Pete50

    and I quote

    “Its interesting that this 2012 update is in complete contrast to the HADCRUT3 unadjusted SH mean temperature that has trended DOWN by 0.074˚C since 2001, and shows no southern hemisphere warming in the last 15 years.”

    You then paste a link of a wood for trees graph from 2001, now does anyone else spot the obvious (besides any of my typo’s) yep 2001 is not 15 years ago, in fact a kid born in 2001 would be………?

    As I said the stupid it burns, btw why did you pick 2001? Sorry if this is harsh but pete you are an idiot.

  • 24
    Post hoc
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Pete50

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3sh/from:1996/to:2011/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1996/to:2011/trend

  • 25
    pete50
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Post hoc, we could all just about agree with you that: “yep 2001 is not 15 years ago”. And guess what – I wrote nothing to suggest that it was.

    The CSIRO and BoM 2012 summary is at odds with not one, but TWO facts as revealed by the HADCRUT3 unadjusted SH mean temperature that has (ONE) trended DOWN by 0.074˚C since 2001, AND (TWO) shows no southern hemisphere warming in the last 15 years.

    It doesn’t take long to read a statement of fact of about three dozen words – take another look.

  • 26
    Abbott Colin Hugh
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    If we don’t do something very soon about this global warming … all our chickens are gonna come home to roast.

  • 27
    Abbott Colin Hugh
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    We don’t have to WIN the human race … just SAVE it …

  • 28
    Abbott Colin Hugh
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The future is black … unless we turn green.

  • 29
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    pete50 (and any other denier),

    There is a consistent and rational world view which supports the premise that climate change is caused by humans and that the effects will be very bad and that we can and should do something about it.

    It is possible (albeit very unlikely) that this world view is wrong – but at least it is consistent and sensible.

    Can you (or any other denier) present an alternative consistent and rational world view? Not only a clear picture of which bits of the science and economics you think are wrong (and why), but how any conspiracies that have been needed to promote this wrong view have been organised.

    Throwing stones at the science, as you have done above, cannot achieve anything unless you provide an alternative world view.

    A skeptic is someone who weighs up the evidence between two or more rational and sensible alternatives. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comment on Crikey written by a climate change skeptic because I’ve not yet heard of any sensible and rational alternative world view.

    It would be fun if someone did provide an alternative world view :)

  • 30
    pete50
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    MWH, I’m not sure what you mean by a consistent and rational world view, or what its got to do with this thread, but if its got something to do with the CAGW doctrine, take a look at what the IPCC has been projecting since 1990:
    http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/wsj-16-scientist-response-graph.jpg

    Your comment is not quite right: “Throwing stones at the science, as you have done above . . .” I’m not throwing stones at anything, I am simply showing the contrast between Amber’s opening sentence, above, and the HADCRUT3 unadjusted SH mean temperatures.

    The official line doesn’t fit the data.

  • 31
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    pete50 – The topic here is a new report further confirming climate change as a real threat which requires action.

    By your world view I mean do you accept or deny that the climate is warming?

    If not how do you explain the overwhelming scientific consensus (even shared by many so called skeptics) that the world is warming? If it is a scientific conspiracy please tell us more.

  • 32
    pete50
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    MWH, the world has been warming since the last ice age, and the temperature of the atmosphere has increased by about 0.8˚C during the last 150 years.

    You and the IPCC claim that its down to AGW, I and the rationalists say that such a claim is premature.

    All the signs are that a combination of warming following the last ice age, combined with natural variability of climate are the causes.

    The consequences of a 1˚C rise by 2100 is likely to have a very small and harmless effect generally and it would be far and away more cost effective to deal with the effects as they occur.

    Just imagine if you moved house to somewhere where the temperature was 1, 2 or 3˚C warmer than where you live now . . .

  • 33
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    @pete50 – ARE YOU SERIOUS?

    What would the other side say in response? If you don’t know then you are totally uninformed and your views should be ignored.

    But picking up in the biggest hole in your views, how do you explain the consensus over the last two or more decades of the scientists in every country under different leaders? Climate change research made great progress in Australia under Howard and in the USA under Bush. And can you name one country where their academy of science, or any similar body, has come out in support of your views?

    Thank for proving that you are as relevant as someone who believes that Elvis still lives.

  • 34
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Further pete50, what evidence would convince you that the threat from climate change was real enough for it to be sensible for society to take significant preventative action?

    And if climate change were true, would this evidence be available early enough for us to be able to take action?

    I would argue that the evidence to hand is about the best we can reasonable expect, and is clearly good enough to take the preventative action. What more do you want?

  • 35
    pete50
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    MWH, climate change is true – the climate system has always changed – warmer, drier, cooler, wetter etc.

    It is premature to claim that the threat from a few˚C warming is as serious as the CAGW folk claim. Surely you know of people who live in warmer areas than where we all live. They don’t experience the projected shock and horror that the IPCC claims is awaiting us all.

    Deal with the problems as they arise – don’t insult the capacity of our grand children to solve their problems when and if they arise.

  • 36
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    pete50 – The one person on Crikey who has been against action on climate change whom I have any respect for is the person who said “I don’t see why I should do anything just to prevent future problems.” No pretence that the science was wrong, just a value system totally different from mine. At least he was honest.

    Why don’t you stop insulting the intelligence of us all and just admit that you don’t care about anyone else than yourself.

  • 37
    Scott
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    @meh
    There are lots of reasons why we shouldn’t do anything about climate change (at this particular time)
    1. Data isn’t there yet to support a statistically significant relationship between anthropological produced greenhouse gases and increases in temperature.
    2. Southern hemisphere warming is not as bad as northern hemisphere
    3. Australia has a large supply of coal and cheap power should by our competitive advantage against the rest of the world.
    4. Studies suggest that mild warming will actually have a positive effect on crop production and health in Australia. Indeed more people in Australia die from the cold than heat.
    5. Current economic and financial theory puts more value in current wealth than future wealth. There is an argument to suggest that it is better to increase living standards to ensure country is wealthy enough to mitigate effects of climate change.
    6. Strong correlation between GDP per capita and positive environmental outcomes. Increasing growth might actually produce better outcomes than slowing growth by reducing emissions.
    7. In my opinion, poverty is a greater danger than climate change. It should be the focus, rather than spending money on a threat that is still only a vague outline in the distance.

  • 38
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    @Scott,

    I would love to know your world view. How do you explain how the scientists have, in your opinion, got it so wrong.

    As with all deniers you ignore the facts to come up with some very strange views.
    1 – yes the data is in
    2 – the models predict that Australia will suffer worse consequences than most other OECD countries.
    3 – thanks for proving that for you it is all about money
    4 – studies such as reported by Garnaut show that the consequences of climate change will overall be very bad
    5 – studies such as Stern and Garnaut show that it makes economic sense to take action
    6 – as Germany and California have shown, taking action on environmental issues can be good for the economy. Pity that most of Australia’s development is now bad for the environment
    7 – the third world will suffer major negative effects due to climate change and this will increase poverty.

    If you are a genius and Garnaut, Stern, the CSIRO and the rest of the world’s scientist are fools, prey provide some evidence that you are right, and prey tell how they have all got it so wrong.

  • 39
    Scott
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe they have gotten it “so wrong” as you pertain.

    They, and others, have just fallen into the trap of believing that humanity is responsible for everything, and can change everything. They aren’t fools, just anthropocentric (same as you and me). I have an extremely healthy view of science (since I studied university level maths, chemistry and physics myself). But I also know it’s limitations.

    I don’t think there is any doubt that there is a long term trend in warming. There is some compelling science that greenhouse gases have a role to play. But the statistical analysis of the data has been dead ordinary for a long time (only starting to get better in the last 3 years or so as econometricians get into the frame).
    Most scientists, for a long time, have been using OLS regression analysis on time series temperature data instead of autocorrelation (using lags), meaning that the relationships between forcing and temperature changes have been heavily biased on the up side (as temperature changes in prevous months are heavily correlated with temperature changes today).

    Then there is the fact that even the IPCC can only give a >66% confidence level (or “hand waving thingy” according to kd) that there is a relationship between anthropological greenhouse gas emissions and temperature increases (so not quite “the data is in” as you say). This is not quite high enough for mine to change policy that will reduce GDP and real incomes.

    The fact that the models assume relative humidity is constant (when there is no doubt there have been changes in water vapor concentrations in areas of the atmosphere). The fact that the nature on the non-linear systems involved, the models can only give you accurate predictions for up to 10 years (maybe), yet we have predictions for 50 years into the future and are basing policy on it.

    The fact that the predictions are for exponential increases in temperature, when most predictive modelling use a logarithmic model (the further you advance in the future, the less the deviation from the mean). There is a reason why the godfather of modern statistical forecasting (Scott Armstrong) is a prominant skeptic.

    But I’m not hoping to change your mind. I am just saying that there are intelligent people out there who have studied this stuff (not just the freaks), who believe that climate change (while potentially a threat) has been overstated. Why do you think nothing has come out of the various UN meetings? It’s because policy makers realise that fact and prefer a wait and see approach. It’s the smart move.

  • 40
    pete50
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    MWH, you have seemingly latched onto this thing called ‘scientific consensus’.

    Science does not progress by or from consensus. Your mobile phone, penicillin and radar at the airport came from scientific novelty – not consensus.

    Climate science, as currently practiced, is different – its not the kind of science that can predict an eclipse of the moon. Climate science is all about models, and climate models don’t predict, they project.

  • 41
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it is worth carrying on the conversation with pete50 or Scott. Nothing will change their minds.

    Neither has presented a world view which explains why the majority of scientists in every country have confidence in the big picture of climate change when, in their view, this is wrong.

    And both have said enough to show that this is not really a scientific discussion – both don’t want climate change to be true, and so they both just grasp at straws to rationalise their lack of rationality.

  • 42
    Post hoc
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    MWH

    You are of course 100% correct, it is pointless, I am still trying to work out what Pete50 means when he says HadCrut shows no warming over 15 years then gives a 10 year graph. Then tries to claim I cant read a statement of fact.

    I maintain my point Pete50 your an idiot.

  • 43
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    @Post hoc,

    The reason I tried to draw out the big-picture world views of pete50 and Scott is to show that there is no point in discussing the details with them when their big-picture view shows that they will deny climate change no matter what.

    Neither have presented a rational reason for the majority of scientists in every country making it clear that climate change requires urgent action when, in their view, they are wrong.

    Is Scott an irrational fool who has done no research? Or is he evil and writing his posts to muddy the waters of this debate?

    As an exercise, have a look at Scott’s last post and count how many distortions and confusions he manages to introduce. Now think of how long a full rebuttal to his rubbish would be. Yet this would all be pointless because from other posts it is clear that nothing will change his mind.

    The average punter who has been influenced by the deniers spin is not evil – they are just ignorant. People like Steve and pete50 are evil because they are trying to influence public opinion.

  • 44
    pete50
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    No, no, no, MWH, “they will deny climate change no matter what.” I don’t deny climate change – I’ve never said any such thing. What I said to you, above is: “MWH, climate change is true – the climate system has always changed”

    To be charitable about your comment, I can only assume that you read what I wrote, but you had forgotten it.

    Your throwaway line: “People like Steve and pete50 are evil because they are trying to influence public opinion.”

    What we are trying to do is simply point out, to the several hundred readers of this thread, that your view and that of the authors is not the only one around town.

    I don’t know how you feel about free speech and public opinion, but until the tenor of your throwaway line becomes law people should be free to make up their own mind after listening to all sides of the question.

  • 45
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear pete,

    What do you think that I, and most people, mean by climate change? Either you are totally ignorant, or, more likely, you are just playing silly word games.

    I respect your right to free speech, but just as if you were claiming that Elvis still lives, I have the right to point out that your view is irrational.

    And I think you are evil because you are trying to influence public opinion in a way which
    will result in a great crime against humanity.

    And if you want to be taken seriously, please let us know what more is needed to convince you that we need to take urgent action to cut carbon emissions? And prey tell how it is that you can explain why the vast majority of scientists in every country think that you are wrong?

  • 46
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    In the shower tonight I thought of another reason why all of Crikey’s climate change deniers are not deserving of any respect.

    If you take a contentious issue, such a court case, if you waved a magic wand and suddenly the lead prosecutor had to write and deliver the closing address for the defence, and visa versa, I’m sure that both lawyers would do a very good job.

    If you take something that has a huge spin component, and waved a magic wand so that the Liberal person on Q&A had to represent Labor, and visa-versa, I’m sure that both politicians would do a pretty good job.

    In both these cases the people may not agree with the other sides view, but they are knowledgable and informed about the views of the other side.

    Yet pete50 seems almost proud to not know what I mean by climate change. And can either Scott or pete50 say why I and others might say that there are good reasons for
    fearing that climate change may be worse than the IPCC reports suggest?

    I feel justified in calling people who post rubbish on climate change deniers because these people have not even done a quick internet search to find out how the other side would debunk what they say.

    Now back to some TV watching.

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