Scientists Biasing Research

The short history of the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR) raises concerns about the relationship between government policy and climate change research. The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told ABC1’s Insiders the report paints a very disturbing picture about the future of droughts in Australia:

“Exceptional circumstances drought conditions … will occur twice as often and with twice the area of droughted parts of Australia included. Now this is a serious revision of the impact of climate change on drought.”

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong matched the stakes and raised them by misrepresenting the IPCC (below). The actual IPCC claims are also of very curious provenance, if you read the article by Ian Castles.

There is a great deal of scientific advice about the impact of climate change on rainfall, particularly in southern Australia… We know the IPCC said by 2050 that Australia should expect around about a 25 per cent reduction in rainfall in the southern part of … Australia.

Why are these government officials so eager to link droughts and global warming? Could the answer be found in the terms of reference (DECR Appendix 1 pp24), where (reading between the lines) it states that the ministers want to axe the large amounts of financial support given to farmers under EC:

The Commonwealth Government
provides support to farmers and rural communities
under the Exceptional Circumstances (EC)
arrangements and other drought programs. The
state and territory governments also participate in
the NDP and provide support measures of their own.

Australian primary industries ministers have
agreed that current approaches to drought and EC
are no longer the most appropriate in the context of
a changing climate. They agreed that drought policy
must be improved to create an environment of self reliance
and preparedness and encourage the
adoption of appropriate climate change
management practices.

In view of this agreement, the BoM and CSIRO were requested (DECR Appendix 1), on the basis of current knowledge of climate change science, to assess:

2. Likely changes in the nature and frequency of
severe rainfall deficiencies over the next 20-30
years, in comparison to severe rainfall
deficiencies defined by the available instrument
records. Severe rainfall deficiency is defined as
an event in the lowest 5th percentile of
historical records persisting for prolonged
periods and over significantly sized regions.

Based on this assessment, the BoM and CSIRO
are requested to comment on the appropriateness
of the current one in 20-25 year EC event trigger
based on the historic record.

What they found (DECR Summary pp4) constituted the substance of the PM’s sound bite above. The language is eerily reflective. When asked for “likely changes in nature and frequency of severe rainfall deficiencies” the scientists responded with “more declarations would be more likely, and over larger areas”.

If rainfall were the sole trigger for EC declarations, then the mean projections for 2010-2040 indicate that more declarations would be likely, and over larger areas, in the SW, SWWA and Vic&Tas regions, with little detectable change in the other regions. Under the high scenario, EC declarations would likely be triggered about twice as often and over twice the area in all regions. In SWWA the frequency and areas covered would likely be even greater.

But as I have been pointing out, the conclusion that droughts will “be more likely” is not supported by any analysis within the report. My own analysis found no reason to believe the current crop of climate models have ability to predict droughts. In fact, the models show an inverse relationship to drought, predicting increasing droughts when the 30 years moving average of the drought records is actually decreasing.

Where did the certainty that “droughts are more likely” come from? I don’t know. The authors won’t tell me. There is no peer-reviewed published research supporting it. Most studies show global climate modeling is very inaccurate regionally, particularly if what is being modeled is and extreme, infrequent event, like droughts. Nevertheless, the result was very well received by the PM, Penny Wong and the commissioner of the report, DAFF. Consider the definition of scientific bias.

Bias is a term used to describe a tendency or preference towards a particular perspective, ideology or result, especially when the tendency interferes with the ability to be impartial, unprejudiced, or objective.

But now the plot thickens. In early correspondence Kevin Hennessy, the lead author, mentions an earlier report was sent back for rewriting because it was ‘too technical’. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it has started to weigh on my mind. Then last week, an anonymous comment from an insider (Hasbeen) to Ian Castles’ article, “One Hundred Tears of Droughts and Flooding Rains“, seems to indicate some reason for reticence:

“It is still my hope that the authors of the report will defend their work, as good scientists should.”

…and the silence of deafening. I wonder why that might be.?
Posted by bigmal, Friday, 5 September 2008 1:25:44 PM
________________________________________________

Come no bigmal, you know damn well.

Much as most of these people know they have to comply with K RUDD’s instructions for their report, they don’t like actually lying, particularly personally, in public.

The one I know has signed up to do dentistry next year.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 5 September 2008 1:51:08 PM
________________________________________________

Hasbeen: “Much as most of these people know they have to comply with K RUDD’s instructions for their report, they don’t like actually lying, particularly personally, in public. The one I know has signed up to do dentistry next year.”

Sounds like you have more information on this issue Hasbeen. You can contact me via my website at http://landshape.org/enm. In particular, do you know anything about an earlier report that was sent back for rewriting?
Posted by davids, Friday, 5 September 2008 5:54:22 PM
_________________________________________________
Sorry Davids, no can do.

I think the BOM, & CSIRO are gambling a bit on history, with these rainfall predictions.

How many of you know of the barrier reef cores, taken about 35/40 years ago now. They gave information of runoff in the lower reef area, well before AGW was invented. In fact, they go back to the days when our mate Cook, was cruising our waters.

I’m a bit hazy on the figures now, & far too old to “google”, but in the early 1700s there were periods of drought, drier than we have seen, which lasted for 27 years.

Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 5 September 2008 9:46:42 PM
_________________________________________________________

This would also explain the contradictory statements about the skill of the modelling of exceptionally low rainfall from the lead author in a personal interview on CSIROpod:

(1:20m) … there has not been a clear indication of changes in exceptional low rainfall years.
(1:40m) … but in terms of a long term trend its not very clear in terms of exceptional low rainfall years.

Hasbeen’s comments suggest a possible sequence of events:

1. The Government commissions a report hoping to justify axing EC funding by showing that droughts will be more frequent under global warming.
2. The scientists return a report that accurately shows the uncertainties of climate models in appropriately equivocal language.
3. The report is returned saying it is not “in a form that will enable it to be used in future drought policy discussions, including stakeholder consultation”.
4. The new report emerges (possibly after pressure) declaring that “exceptionally low rainfall will be more likely”, stripped of statistical validation or equivocation and mirroring the language of the terms of reference.

In Dec 2007, CSIRO, the Australian Research Council and Cooperative Research Centres were told they have to have their media releases cleared by the PM’s office to make sure they reflect the new Federal Government’s key messages. Back in Feb 2006 three scientists claimed the Australian government censoring climate scientists. Of course, these events were under different governments, but in the latest case there was an actual directive from the Government.

The secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research, Mark Paterson, is the senior bureaucrat who issued the new directive.

Mr Paterson says it is not about controlling the message, it is about consistency.

“It was something that we were asked for from those agencies so that they were certain as to how to deal with media releases,” he said.

“The essence of the message was that the Government wanted to ensure a degree of consistency in message on key messages and therefore wanted to clear key messages through the Prime Minister’s office.”

I don’t have an opinion on drought EC funding. I have no dog in that fight. My concerns have always been with scientific bias. The DECR situation sounds like the thesis put forward in A Climate Crisis a la Gore, by Paul Spite. Could it be that climate scientists are biasing the detrimental effects of manmade global climate change to suit the review of EC funding by the Rudd government?

Advertisements

0 thoughts on “Scientists Biasing Research

  1. Unimpressed – appears you’re just campaigning with your sceptic Aussie mates on a pre-determined agenda it seems. The purity of science angle doesn’t wash.

    “Then last week, an anonymous comment from an insider (Hasbeen) to Ian Castles’ article”

    An “insider” ! hah – why would you say that? From a few years of listening to Hasbeen from miscellaneous blog comments I highly doubt it. So unless you’ve checked Hasbeen’s creds as being other than some dude with an opinion I doubt he is an “insider” – pretty scrappy for a statistician insisting on quality.

    And so now Hasbeen is elevated to “insider” source !

    “I don’t have an opinion on drought EC funding.” – well you should actually as it’s an issue amenable to analysis – and you are now politicking on it and linking to Gore etc. Indeed why even bring Gore into it ?

    You could do an analysis of whether in recent decades the frequency of drought declaration status under EC seems “excessive” for what is expected to be a rare occurrence. That would determine if an a priori case exists for concern.

    But of course that would be useful and not as tantalising as conspiracy.

    Blind freddy could see that billions in drought aid seem to be going out the Treasury door seemingly unending. There are a range of changes in southern hemisphere circulation changes noted by the climatologists – measured not modelled. It’s a very reasonable question to ask about the levels of aid !

    The question is only about 20 years old.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=qbKfC77oCwQC&pg=PR3&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_1&sig=ACfU3U0AuWQECFYFkmLXE2QABd8Xz8Kpsw#PPA53,M1

    You could do well to read the origins of the Australian National Drought Policy 1992 (above) and not assume Kevin Rudd alone invented concerns on this issue.

  2. Unimpressed – appears you’re just campaigning with your sceptic Aussie mates on a pre-determined agenda it seems. The purity of science angle doesn’t wash.

    “Then last week, an anonymous comment from an insider (Hasbeen) to Ian Castles’ article”

    An “insider” ! hah – why would you say that? From a few years of listening to Hasbeen from miscellaneous blog comments I highly doubt it. So unless you’ve checked Hasbeen’s creds as being other than some dude with an opinion I doubt he is an “insider” – pretty scrappy for a statistician insisting on quality.

    And so now Hasbeen is elevated to “insider” source !

    “I don’t have an opinion on drought EC funding.” – well you should actually as it’s an issue amenable to analysis – and you are now politicking on it and linking to Gore etc. Indeed why even bring Gore into it ?

    You could do an analysis of whether in recent decades the frequency of drought declaration status under EC seems “excessive” for what is expected to be a rare occurrence. That would determine if an a priori case exists for concern.

    But of course that would be useful and not as tantalising as conspiracy.

    Blind freddy could see that billions in drought aid seem to be going out the Treasury door seemingly unending. There are a range of changes in southern hemisphere circulation changes noted by the climatologists – measured not modelled. It’s a very reasonable question to ask about the levels of aid !

    The question is only about 20 years old.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=qbKfC77oCwQC&pg=PR3&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_1&sig=ACfU3U0AuWQECFYFkmLXE2QABd8Xz8Kpsw#PPA53,M1

    You could do well to read the origins of the Australian National Drought Policy 1992 (above) and not assume Kevin Rudd alone invented concerns on this issue.

  3. Luke: If you continue the quote “seems to indicate some reason for reticence:” you see I don’t place too much emphasis on it, and the creds of anonymous tips can’t generally be established. He still could be right though.

    “You could do an analysis of whether in recent decades the frequency”: What you suggest sounds a more reasonable approach to the issue. I think we would have quite a lot of common ground.

    “A Climate Crisis a la Gore, by Paul Spite.”: title of a book recently placed on the website about influence of special interests in climate change.

    “assume Kevin Rudd alone “: huh? The point was that Rudd seems prone to use science to reflect the new Federal Government’s key messages.

  4. Luke: If you continue the quote “seems to indicate some reason for reticence:” you see I don’t place too much emphasis on it, and the creds of anonymous tips can’t generally be established. He still could be right though.

    “You could do an analysis of whether in recent decades the frequency”: What you suggest sounds a more reasonable approach to the issue. I think we would have quite a lot of common ground.

    “A Climate Crisis a la Gore, by Paul Spite.”: title of a book recently placed on the website about influence of special interests in climate change.

    “assume Kevin Rudd alone “: huh? The point was that Rudd seems prone to use science to reflect the new Federal Government’s key messages.

  5. Rudd (IMO) is left with the dilemma of how long would it be reasonable to support Australian farmers and graziers with a scheme that notionally should only operate a few times per century.

    If the probability distribution of payout likelihood has changed due to AGW it’s a reasonable request that the odds of that being true as opposed to a random run of bad luck are identified.

    Why – as Cai, Power & Smith, Trimball, Schmidt and Solomon have all published aspects of anthropogenic influence on southern hemisphere and Australian climate.

    Janice Lough’s coral cores indicate a change in variability in the 20th century. AGW?

    The issue becomes – “could these anthropogenic effects have started already”.

    Comments (perhaps from other anons like Hasbeen) that “landholders have now had their next few 100 years of drought relief” paid already have been made. “Come back in 2200”.
    Unkind and unfair? or perceptive?

    So a good science simulation for you might be – time and interest permitting – (1) what frequency of payouts (EC status declaration) would be considered abnormal if percentile 20-25 droughts were random (2) what would have been declared on the existing rainfall records (3) what was actually declared … and any significant differences

    These questions are still most demanding even if you think that CSIRO hasn’t provided a conclusive supporting answer.

    You see just pot shotting CSIRO and walking away leaves a serious real question in the real world left unanswered.

    Shooting from the hip – non- scientific political solutions are possible in any environment of instability.

  6. Rudd (IMO) is left with the dilemma of how long would it be reasonable to support Australian farmers and graziers with a scheme that notionally should only operate a few times per century.

    If the probability distribution of payout likelihood has changed due to AGW it’s a reasonable request that the odds of that being true as opposed to a random run of bad luck are identified.

    Why – as Cai, Power & Smith, Trimball, Schmidt and Solomon have all published aspects of anthropogenic influence on southern hemisphere and Australian climate.

    Janice Lough’s coral cores indicate a change in variability in the 20th century. AGW?

    The issue becomes – “could these anthropogenic effects have started already”.

    Comments (perhaps from other anons like Hasbeen) that “landholders have now had their next few 100 years of drought relief” paid already have been made. “Come back in 2200”.
    Unkind and unfair? or perceptive?

    So a good science simulation for you might be – time and interest permitting – (1) what frequency of payouts (EC status declaration) would be considered abnormal if percentile 20-25 droughts were random (2) what would have been declared on the existing rainfall records (3) what was actually declared … and any significant differences

    These questions are still most demanding even if you think that CSIRO hasn’t provided a conclusive supporting answer.

    You see just pot shotting CSIRO and walking away leaves a serious real question in the real world left unanswered.

    Shooting from the hip – non- scientific political solutions are possible in any environment of instability.

  7. Luke: No ones interests are served by an incorrect diagnosis of drought, as effort on AGW mitigation would have no effect. This all sounds like speculation to me.

  8. Luke

    The Cai and Cowan (2006) paper which infers drying of the MDB as being a consequence of lower SSTs in the tropical seas north (and by inference) northwest of Australia is not necessarily a ‘proof’ of an anthropogenic influence. We return to the old saw of ‘correlation does not imply causation’ .

    While there is evidence of a trend to lower SSTs in tropical SE Asia (as Cai and Cowan noted) it is impossible to find clear cut predictive evidence from orthodox AGW science e.g. from GCMs (or whatever) for why anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 should necessarily lead to lower SSTs there.

    As you well know, I have proposed a mechanism (weakly associated with AGW at most) for why there may be an anthropogenic reason for a trend to lower SSTs in SE Asian waters. This centred around the effects on weather from a major increase in cyanobacterial primary productivity in SE Asian waters due to the far more rapid increase in magnitude (relative to CO2) of anthropogenic discharges of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients into those waters. There is good, direct satellite (SeaWiFS and MODIS) sensing evidence for this (i.e. both the productivity increase AND the SST effect).

    You also know I wrote this finding up in article which I copied to you and submitted to Jennifer Marohasy’s Blog although she chose to reject it, even after requested amendments. Disappointingly, none of her ‘friends’ such as yourself were motivated to ask her to reverse her decision.

    It would therefore be equally logical to say that perhaps more economic assistance to poorer SE Asian nations to improve their sewage treatment facilities would retard the perceived modern tendency to drought in SW and SE Australia! Hence I’d agree with David that no ones interests are served by an incorrect diagnosis of causes of drought. In a nutshell, your views are no less speculative than those I outline above.

  9. Luke

    The Cai and Cowan (2006) paper which infers drying of the MDB as being a consequence of lower SSTs in the tropical seas north (and by inference) northwest of Australia is not necessarily a ‘proof’ of an anthropogenic influence. We return to the old saw of ‘correlation does not imply causation’ .

    While there is evidence of a trend to lower SSTs in tropical SE Asia (as Cai and Cowan noted) it is impossible to find clear cut predictive evidence from orthodox AGW science e.g. from GCMs (or whatever) for why anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 should necessarily lead to lower SSTs there.

    As you well know, I have proposed a mechanism (weakly associated with AGW at most) for why there may be an anthropogenic reason for a trend to lower SSTs in SE Asian waters. This centred around the effects on weather from a major increase in cyanobacterial primary productivity in SE Asian waters due to the far more rapid increase in magnitude (relative to CO2) of anthropogenic discharges of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients into those waters. There is good, direct satellite (SeaWiFS and MODIS) sensing evidence for this (i.e. both the productivity increase AND the SST effect).

    You also know I wrote this finding up in article which I copied to you and submitted to Jennifer Marohasy’s Blog although she chose to reject it, even after requested amendments. Disappointingly, none of her ‘friends’ such as yourself were motivated to ask her to reverse her decision.

    It would therefore be equally logical to say that perhaps more economic assistance to poorer SE Asian nations to improve their sewage treatment facilities would retard the perceived modern tendency to drought in SW and SE Australia! Hence I’d agree with David that no ones interests are served by an incorrect diagnosis of causes of drought. In a nutshell, your views are no less speculative than those I outline above.

  10. David – has little to do with economic efficiency for your consideration. Simply is the observed frequency on climate rules higher than you’d expect.

    Pretty basic stats David that you seem shy of…

    Steve – yes plausible indeed but you’ll also have to knock off SAM changes, a warming Tasman Sea and the slowing Walker circulation. And the modelling does not simply do a correlation–> causation argument – indeed the point of the modelling is to explain the obs.

    And hey – Jen ignores most of my emails so don’t think I have any influence. However I shall this instant lobby her on your behalf.

    But back to the drought – just giving CSIRO a poke in the nose doesn’t help with the decision making process re the billions of dollars.

    If David wants to make Jock very happy he should also also demonstrate that the scheme is working well within the climate bounds of “reasonable exceptionality”. Come on guys – here is a very practical issue – what does science have to offer the poor farmers.

  11. David – has little to do with economic efficiency for your consideration. Simply is the observed frequency on climate rules higher than you’d expect.

    Pretty basic stats David that you seem shy of…

    Steve – yes plausible indeed but you’ll also have to knock off SAM changes, a warming Tasman Sea and the slowing Walker circulation. And the modelling does not simply do a correlation–> causation argument – indeed the point of the modelling is to explain the obs.

    And hey – Jen ignores most of my emails so don’t think I have any influence. However I shall this instant lobby her on your behalf.

    But back to the drought – just giving CSIRO a poke in the nose doesn’t help with the decision making process re the billions of dollars.

    If David wants to make Jock very happy he should also also demonstrate that the scheme is working well within the climate bounds of “reasonable exceptionality”. Come on guys – here is a very practical issue – what does science have to offer the poor farmers.

  12. Luke

    I do a real lot of chemothermodynamic modeling for a living. One of the things that all good modelers should know is that, at the end of the day, if a model is telling us something unexpected, there HAS to be a logical chain of causation, no matter how subtle, involved!

    I noticed you referred to modeling using Tasman Sea. So what about SSTs in the Tasman Sea? The (warming) trends there (and they are not uniform) are essentially contrary to those which one may expect to be consistent with drying of SE Australia! May I quote:

    ‘In light of this analysis, it is hard to explain the decline of rainfall in SEA. Most of this decline has occurred in autumn since 1991 (Murphy and Timbal, 2007). The only climate indices that are closely related to autumn rainfall are local MSLP and SSTs. Although, it is known that MSLP in SEA has increase in the last 20 years thus forcing the rainfall decline. On the contrary, the Tasman Sea SST correlations are independent of MSLP but are positive and since the Tasman Sea has been one of the fastest warming parts of the ocean it is unlikely to explain the rainfall decline in autumn, if anything it has possibly acted to reduce the rainfall decline.’

    Timball and Murphy, 2007.

  13. Luke

    I do a real lot of chemothermodynamic modeling for a living. One of the things that all good modelers should know is that, at the end of the day, if a model is telling us something unexpected, there HAS to be a logical chain of causation, no matter how subtle, involved!

    I noticed you referred to modeling using Tasman Sea. So what about SSTs in the Tasman Sea? The (warming) trends there (and they are not uniform) are essentially contrary to those which one may expect to be consistent with drying of SE Australia! May I quote:

    ‘In light of this analysis, it is hard to explain the decline of rainfall in SEA. Most of this decline has occurred in autumn since 1991 (Murphy and Timbal, 2007). The only climate indices that are closely related to autumn rainfall are local MSLP and SSTs. Although, it is known that MSLP in SEA has increase in the last 20 years thus forcing the rainfall decline. On the contrary, the Tasman Sea SST correlations are independent of MSLP but are positive and since the Tasman Sea has been one of the fastest warming parts of the ocean it is unlikely to explain the rainfall decline in autumn, if anything it has possibly acted to reduce the rainfall decline.’

    Timball and Murphy, 2007.

  14. Luke demands to know what science has to offer Australia’s poor farmers. Well for starters, how about CSIRO showing a bit of backbone and correcting Ministers when they get the science wrong?

    Many farmers were upset and confused when Prime Minister Rudd claimed that CSIRO and BoM said that exceptional or extreme drought would occur ‘between every one and two years’ in the future. Why didn’t CSIRO make clear that these projections were of temperature extremes, not droughts? Instead, its multi-media arm produced an audio in which Kevin Hennessy explained ‘why farmers and the Government have reacted with alarm’ to the report.

    Then Minister For Agriculture Burke weighed in with ‘At every level the news is simple: it’s just getting tougher and likely to continue to get tougher in the years to come’. According to the Minister, ALL of the projections came to the same conclusion that there will be ‘varying levels of increased hardship’, and some of them ‘read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report.’ The Minister’s claims that ‘we now know’ were scare-mongering of the worst kind, and were grossly unfair to farmers who face tough decisions about their future.

    Finally, Minister for Climate Change Wong referred Lateline viewers to the IPCC, claiming that it had said that rainfall in the southern parts of Australia would be reduced by 25% by 2050. Well what the IPCC actually said was that the median projected decline in rainfall in southern Australia was 4% (not 25%) by the end of the century (not 2050). And they reported that more than a quarter of the models projected increases.

    I’ve pointed this out today in a comment on my own article in On Line Opinion (‘One hundred years of drought and flooding rains’), but I wonder why this is left to me. Why can’t some of our Nobel Prize-winning scientists give the nation’s farmers a balanced account of what the IPCC actually said, instead of allowing Ministers to frighten the wits out of them?

  15. Luke demands to know what science has to offer Australia’s poor farmers. Well for starters, how about CSIRO showing a bit of backbone and correcting Ministers when they get the science wrong?

    Many farmers were upset and confused when Prime Minister Rudd claimed that CSIRO and BoM said that exceptional or extreme drought would occur ‘between every one and two years’ in the future. Why didn’t CSIRO make clear that these projections were of temperature extremes, not droughts? Instead, its multi-media arm produced an audio in which Kevin Hennessy explained ‘why farmers and the Government have reacted with alarm’ to the report.

    Then Minister For Agriculture Burke weighed in with ‘At every level the news is simple: it’s just getting tougher and likely to continue to get tougher in the years to come’. According to the Minister, ALL of the projections came to the same conclusion that there will be ‘varying levels of increased hardship’, and some of them ‘read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report.’ The Minister’s claims that ‘we now know’ were scare-mongering of the worst kind, and were grossly unfair to farmers who face tough decisions about their future.

    Finally, Minister for Climate Change Wong referred Lateline viewers to the IPCC, claiming that it had said that rainfall in the southern parts of Australia would be reduced by 25% by 2050. Well what the IPCC actually said was that the median projected decline in rainfall in southern Australia was 4% (not 25%) by the end of the century (not 2050). And they reported that more than a quarter of the models projected increases.

    I’ve pointed this out today in a comment on my own article in On Line Opinion (‘One hundred years of drought and flooding rains’), but I wonder why this is left to me. Why can’t some of our Nobel Prize-winning scientists give the nation’s farmers a balanced account of what the IPCC actually said, instead of allowing Ministers to frighten the wits out of them?

  16. Further:

    Observed variability in the climate of south-eastern Australian and its relation to large-scale features.

    Principal Investigator: Dr. Bertrand Timbal,
    Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC), b.timbal@bom.gov.au,
    Tel: 03-9669-4697, Fax: 03-9669-4660, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne 3001
    Co-Authors: Dr. Bradley Murphy (BMRC)

    Completed: 18 January 2007

    ‘Some interesting regional features emerge (Table 2). The influence of the Indian Ocean in
    winter appears to be largest in NWCB region and non existent in the Victoria region, however no clear differences appears in autumn. The strong influence on ENSO in spring does not reach the NWCB region and in winter it contracts to the Eastern region. The influence of SAM in winter is limited to the Victoria region and change signs further north (in agreement with Hendon et al.,
    2007). The influence of the Tasman Sea is felt mostly in the Eastern and Central regions, it changes signs for the Victoria region in winter and spring.

    Overall, the influence of the various large-scale mode of variability appears to vary from one part of the SEA region to another. However, in autumn where most of the rainfall decline occurred in the last 15 years, no particular influences appear to dominate. In fact, this is often the season where the correlations are often the weakest and least contrasted between the sub-regions.

    There is a hint that the warming of the tropical central Pacific (Niño 4 SST anomalies, no necessarily related to a trend in ENSO but simply the global warming of the ocean) and the rises of MSLP above SEA may have contributed to the autumn rainfall decline. The negative correlation are indicative as well as the spatial patterns with stronger correlation for the NWCB and Victoria regions where the overall rainfall decline is the largest in SEA.

    Based on this analysis alone, it is not possible to clearly and definitely attribute the autumn rainfall decline in SEA on the basis of naturally occurring large-scale modes of variability.’

    Personally, I find it highly telling that in the current political climate, where we are ear-bashed almost daily by our new Federal Government about the rundown in Australia’s infrastructure, and the need for massive restorative expenditure, there is still hardly a word about comprehensively assessing, initiating or reactivating major water storage and pipeline-based distribution schemes.

    Taking a truly cynical view:

    Given that the the various major players involved are all deeply committed, both politically and/or in terms of bureaucratic, scientific careers to an extreme anthropogenic climate change ‘agenda’ is what we are seeing simply a ‘consensual’ attempt to answer the following rather novel question?

    How, at this critical time to our own collective self interests, can we make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse?

  17. Further:

    Observed variability in the climate of south-eastern Australian and its relation to large-scale features.

    Principal Investigator: Dr. Bertrand Timbal,
    Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC), b.timbal@bom.gov.au,
    Tel: 03-9669-4697, Fax: 03-9669-4660, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne 3001
    Co-Authors: Dr. Bradley Murphy (BMRC)

    Completed: 18 January 2007

    ‘Some interesting regional features emerge (Table 2). The influence of the Indian Ocean in
    winter appears to be largest in NWCB region and non existent in the Victoria region, however no clear differences appears in autumn. The strong influence on ENSO in spring does not reach the NWCB region and in winter it contracts to the Eastern region. The influence of SAM in winter is limited to the Victoria region and change signs further north (in agreement with Hendon et al.,
    2007). The influence of the Tasman Sea is felt mostly in the Eastern and Central regions, it changes signs for the Victoria region in winter and spring.

    Overall, the influence of the various large-scale mode of variability appears to vary from one part of the SEA region to another. However, in autumn where most of the rainfall decline occurred in the last 15 years, no particular influences appear to dominate. In fact, this is often the season where the correlations are often the weakest and least contrasted between the sub-regions.

    There is a hint that the warming of the tropical central Pacific (Niño 4 SST anomalies, no necessarily related to a trend in ENSO but simply the global warming of the ocean) and the rises of MSLP above SEA may have contributed to the autumn rainfall decline. The negative correlation are indicative as well as the spatial patterns with stronger correlation for the NWCB and Victoria regions where the overall rainfall decline is the largest in SEA.

    Based on this analysis alone, it is not possible to clearly and definitely attribute the autumn rainfall decline in SEA on the basis of naturally occurring large-scale modes of variability.’

    Personally, I find it highly telling that in the current political climate, where we are ear-bashed almost daily by our new Federal Government about the rundown in Australia’s infrastructure, and the need for massive restorative expenditure, there is still hardly a word about comprehensively assessing, initiating or reactivating major water storage and pipeline-based distribution schemes.

    Taking a truly cynical view:

    Given that the the various major players involved are all deeply committed, both politically and/or in terms of bureaucratic, scientific careers to an extreme anthropogenic climate change ‘agenda’ is what we are seeing simply a ‘consensual’ attempt to answer the following rather novel question?

    How, at this critical time to our own collective self interests, can we make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse?

  18. This reminds me of Miskolczi’s relating of NASA scientists when confronted with his theory. Did you mean sow’s ear out of a silk purse or the other way around?

    “How, at this critical time to our own collective self interests, can we make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse?”

    To me the PhD degree is awarded to people who demonstrate they understand that science is not about promoting the latest fad or fancy, but 90% hard-nosed validation. I know there are plenty of these people about.

  19. This reminds me of Miskolczi’s relating of NASA scientists when confronted with his theory. Did you mean sow’s ear out of a silk purse or the other way around?

    “How, at this critical time to our own collective self interests, can we make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse?”

    To me the PhD degree is awarded to people who demonstrate they understand that science is not about promoting the latest fad or fancy, but 90% hard-nosed validation. I know there are plenty of these people about.

  20. I agree that science is NOT about promoting the latest fad or fancy, but 90% hard-nosed validation. I can honestly say I’ve spent over 30 years in science trying hard to do the latter.

    Yes, I did mean ‘a sow’s ear out of a silk purse’. It seems to me there is an attempt by the spin merchants to re-cast a naturally complex climate for e.g. SE Australia (i.e. a ‘silk purse’), into something simplistically subject to ‘bad anthopogenically driven climate change trend’ (i.e. a ‘sows ear’).

    Sorry if I was being too drily ‘witty’ eh? (;-)

    It intrigues me that the January 2007 Timbal and Murphy study report:

    http://www.mdbc.gov.au/subs/seaci/docs/reports/M111_TR07.pdf

    clearly identifies that there is no effect of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) or Tasman Sea SSTs (i.e. the parameters likely to be most affected by AGW) on the critical autumn Tmax, Tmin, Rainfall and Rainfall Residuals. This shows just how meaningless and scattergun was Luke’s post above.

    Furthermore, the study shows that the regions where there has been significant autumn drying are the North West Cloud Band (i.e. southern South Australia and Western Victoria) and the remainder of Victoria AND that this is simply due to natural El Nino and Mean Sea Level Effects.

    The implication for good agricultural resource management planning is simply that supplementary delivery of autumn irrigation water supplies to those areas should be accorded infrastructural priority.

    Indeed, as Luke says – essentially nothing to do with AGW! So why bother rattling on with jargon about SAM, Tasman Sea, Walker circulation etc?

    In this spin-laden era, I say let’s drop the spin, (including the acronym-dropping), guaranteed to turn the good men on the land right off anyway. The events of the weekend just past provided an excellent comment on what Australians are beginning to think of all these ‘Sultans of Spin’.

  21. I agree that science is NOT about promoting the latest fad or fancy, but 90% hard-nosed validation. I can honestly say I’ve spent over 30 years in science trying hard to do the latter.

    Yes, I did mean ‘a sow’s ear out of a silk purse’. It seems to me there is an attempt by the spin merchants to re-cast a naturally complex climate for e.g. SE Australia (i.e. a ‘silk purse’), into something simplistically subject to ‘bad anthopogenically driven climate change trend’ (i.e. a ‘sows ear’).

    Sorry if I was being too drily ‘witty’ eh? (;-)

    It intrigues me that the January 2007 Timbal and Murphy study report:

    http://www.mdbc.gov.au/subs/seaci/docs/reports/M111_TR07.pdf

    clearly identifies that there is no effect of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) or Tasman Sea SSTs (i.e. the parameters likely to be most affected by AGW) on the critical autumn Tmax, Tmin, Rainfall and Rainfall Residuals. This shows just how meaningless and scattergun was Luke’s post above.

    Furthermore, the study shows that the regions where there has been significant autumn drying are the North West Cloud Band (i.e. southern South Australia and Western Victoria) and the remainder of Victoria AND that this is simply due to natural El Nino and Mean Sea Level Effects.

    The implication for good agricultural resource management planning is simply that supplementary delivery of autumn irrigation water supplies to those areas should be accorded infrastructural priority.

    Indeed, as Luke says – essentially nothing to do with AGW! So why bother rattling on with jargon about SAM, Tasman Sea, Walker circulation etc?

    In this spin-laden era, I say let’s drop the spin, (including the acronym-dropping), guaranteed to turn the good men on the land right off anyway. The events of the weekend just past provided an excellent comment on what Australians are beginning to think of all these ‘Sultans of Spin’.

  22. Naughty, but nice……

    You’ve seen CSI-New York and CSI-Miami where science solves the deepest mystries in a half-hour TV episode.

    How about CSI-RO?

  23. Naughty, but nice……

    You’ve seen CSI-New York and CSI-Miami where science solves the deepest mystries in a half-hour TV episode.

    How about CSI-RO?

  24. Pingback: strona www

  25. Pingback: wypozyczalnia samochodów Gliwice

  26. Pingback: tutaj

  27. Pingback: witryna www

  28. Pingback: strona www

  29. Pingback: zobacz

  30. Pingback: jaki masaz

  31. Pingback: informacje

  32. Pingback: obsluga informatyczna zabrze

  33. Pingback: kliknij

  34. Pingback: oferta

  35. Pingback: witryna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s