I knew I’d seen that Red Deer Cave guy before…

Thanks to years of English Studies I can now reveal just who the newly discovered cousins are.


Red Deer Cave person


Matthew Arnold, 19th century English poet and critic.

The cooling and greening of Wollongong (and Eastern Australia)

Rain, rain, rain. We are all La Nina-ed out here in The Gong! But the green things love it.



It’s hard to imagine global warming at the moment…

Maximum temperatures averaged across Australia were 0.55°C below normal, 11th coolest in 62 years of record. Most of the country was close to normal, with parts of the west and east significantly cooler than normal. NSW had a particularly cool summer, with an anomaly of −1.71°C, the 2nd coolest on record. Conversely, Tasmania had a particularly warm summer, measuring its 3rd warmest summer.

Temperatures more than 1°C cooler than normal were recorded over the WA interior extending into northwest SA, as well as southern Queensland and the northeastern half of NSW. Anomalies of −3 to −4°C were recorded in an area from Charleville in Queensland, south to Dubbo in NSW. Large parts of these regions were in the bottom decile of maximum temperature records, with a large area of decile 1 in the WA interior, and also covering much of southern Queensland and northeast NSW. A large part of northeast NSW recorded its coolest summer on record (29% of the NSW area). Heavy rainfall during summer was a major contributor to these low maximum temperatures…


Or, to visualise:


Of course those of us very long in the tooth have been here before, as I recalled in December 2010: Thursday poetry video: Dorothea Mackellar plus weather. And I wouldn’t let the weather in our spot on the globe trick you into assumptions about climate either. There are other spots, and a bigger picture, as again can be visualised.


See State of the Climate Global Analysis January 2012.

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January 2012 was the 19th warmest on record at 12.35°C (54.23°F), which is 0.35°C (0.63°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F). The margin of error associated with this temperature is +/- 0.08°C (0.14°F). This January is the coolest of all months on record since February 2008. However, it also marks the 26th January and 323rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below average temperatures was February 1985.

However, that doesn’t affect the fact we here in The Gong have had a dog a a summer, in some ways. Mind you I don’t really miss runs of 40C days!

The Illawarra Mercury has a nice slide show for this grey season just past.

If I hadn’t seen the video I wouldn’t have believed they could be so stupid…

Mining executives, that is.  Or should that be so contemptuous of us and the truth?

This week mining billionaire Gina Rinehart became the largest shareholder in Fairfax, having already bought a stake in Channel Ten. But this new video reveals this move is bigger than one woman’s ambition — it’s part of a coordinated and very deliberate strategy, with climate skeptic ‘Lord’ Monkton seen here advising a room full of mining executives on how the industry must gain control of Australia’s media. – GetUp.


Skull Murphy: a Monckton fan

See also my post How to pick a climate site that’s not worth reading.

1. It thinks global warming is all about Al Gore.

2. It thinks every scientific organisation in the world from the Royal Society down is in a massive conspiracy to destroy capitalism.

3. It takes Lord Monckton seriously.

4. It touts some pipsqueak or other simply because they cherry-pick “proofs” climate change is not happening.

5. It thinks all the measurements from NASA or elsewhere are somehow rigged.

6. It sees climate science as a racket whose sole aim is garnering research grants.

7. Checking the site’s fine print shows it is a front for powerful energy interests or right-wing US think tanks.

8. It believes the “Oregon Petition” is genuine.

9. It displays the most egregious ignorance of the well-established physics behind climate theory.

10. It has no idea about the concept of “certainty” and the scientific method.

Monckton? OMG! See also Monckton: this has to be a joke…

No, the ones who would be stupid would be us punters – if we were to believe one self-interested word this mining mob comes up with. Now we have seen how desperate they are. Scientific objectivity? Concern about the environment? Concern about the well-being of the country and the planet? Pigs arse!

Compare So What’s A Teacher to Do?

Imagine you’re a middle-school science teacher, and you get to the section of the course where you’re to talk about climate change. You mention the “C” words, and two students walk out of the class.

Or you mention global warming and a hand shoots up.

“Mrs. Brown! My dad says global warming is a hoax!”

Or you come to school one morning and the principal wants to see you because a parent of one of your students has accused you of political bias because you taught what scientists agree about: that the Earth is getting warmer, and human actions have had an important role in this warming.

Or you pick up the newspaper and see that your state legislature is considering a bill that declares that accepted sciences like global warming (and evolution, of course) are “controversial issues” that require “alternatives” to be taught.

Incidents like these have happened in one or more states, and they are likely to continue to happen. Teachers are encountering pushback from many directions as they try to teach global warming and other climate science topics.

The importance of climate change education is, to the RealClimate community, a no-brainer. Numerous professional science organizations, from the American Chemical Society to the American Geophysical Union to the Geological Society of America have stressed the imperative of climate science being an integral part of science education.

So What’s a Teacher to Do?

Long a defender of the teaching of evolution, the National Center for Science Education has recently launched an initiative to support and defend the teaching of climate change science…

There’s always the weather to talk about…

Used to be a nice safe topic once, but not so much any more. Well the weather probably still is,but the amount of crap flying around about the climate is truly mind-blowing. I know it is hard to credit but there are still people who think that because it was very cold and damp in Wollongong yesterday then it follows that climate change, specifically global warming, isn’t happening.

Five seconds thought should nail that but it never seems to, does it?

Yes to yesterday in Wollongong:



No to this having any great relevance to the question of climate change. See my former colleague at SBHS geographer Maximos62: #SMH not telling the full story on the #weather and #climate. And see my comment there.

Aside from the obvious but often ignored difference between weather (highly variable and day-to-day) and climate (30 year trends and averages, essentially) people also forget that even if by some freak we had a week of subzero temps in Sydney in December or even a white Christmas, we would do well to see what’s happening in other parts of the globe. In La Nina times watch them bake and suffer on the other side of the Pacific! Check out what’s happening in the Arctic,

Climate change can’t be assessed by looking at a week or two of weather in one spot on the globe or by sticking your head out the window.

And if you think the Herald is bad, try The Australian. But I know you have more sense…

Well word is coming in about the global picture. For example: Provisional Statement on the Status of the Global Climate from the World Meteorological Organization.

2011: world’s 10th warmest year, warmest year with La Niña on record, second-lowest Arctic sea ice extent

Global temperatures in 2011 have not been as warm as the record-setting values seen in 2010 but have likely been warmer than any previous strong La Niña year, based on preliminary data from data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2011 (January–October) is currently estimated at 0.41°C ± 0.111°C (0.74°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. At present, 2011’s nominal value ranks as the equal 10th highest on record, and the 13 warmest years have all occurred in the 15 years between 1997 and 2011. Model reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) are also consistent with this ranking. The 10-year average for the period 2002-11, at 0.46°C above the long-term average, equals 2001-10 as the warmest 10-year period on record. Final annual figures for 2011 will be available once November and December data are available in early 2012.

Global climate in 2011 was heavily influenced by the strong La Niña event which developed in the tropical Pacific in the second half of 2010 and continued until May 2011. This event, which on most measures was one of the strongest of at least the last 60 years, was closely associated with many of the year’s notable regional climate events, including drought in east Africa, the central equatorial Pacific and the southern United States, and flooding in southern Africa, eastern Australia and southern Asia. Strong La Niña years2 are typically 0.10 to 0.15°C cooler than the years preceding and following them. 2011’s global temperatures followed this pattern, being lower than those of 2010, but were still warmer than the most recent moderate to strong La Niña years, 2008 (+0.36°C), 2000 (+0.27°C) and 1989 (+0.12°C). La Niña conditions have redeveloped in recent weeks but are not expected to approach the intensity seen in late 2010 and early 2011…

See also Denial Of Facts Is No Way To Understand Science.

Green idiots are no better than climate change denialists…

How’s that for a heading aimed at getting up the maximum number of noses? But it is what I feel.

I have lately noted Mark Lynas with interest, adding him to my Google Reader collection. I was drawn by this review which appears this week in the print version of Guardian Weekly.

The political and environmental profile of climate change has been dramatically reconfigured in the past two years. A wave of activism has dissipated and a broad consensus on the necessary measures broken thanks to the failed Copenhagen summit and the anti-global-warming lobby’s apparent triumph in the Climategate emails affair. Mark Lynas is one of a growing band of influential figures, along with James Lovelock, Stewart Brand and George Monbiot, who now argue that the approach of most Greens to climate change needs to change.

Lynas puts it briskly in this new book. "Global warming is not about overconsumption, morality, ideology or capitalism. It is largely the result of human beings generating energy by burning hydrocarbons and coal." Inevitably, the beliefs of most environmentalists involve a cluster of other goals and ideological imperatives but if some of these are inimical to the need to reduce carbon emissions then, Lynas believes, a decoupling is necessary.

Environmentalists, of course, do want to address global warming: Lynas’s other target is the rather large constituency who feel the need to deny it altogether. I’m sure he’s right when he divines a reason for the deniers’ PR successes: "They tap into a powerful cultural undercurrent that insists we are small and the planet is big, ergo nothing we do – not even in our collective billions – can have a planet-scale impact." Later in the book he gives an excellent refutation of this in the example of Thomas Midgley, who single-handedly almost roasted the entire human race and rendered them brain-damaged. Midgley invented the refrigerants and aerosol propellants (CFCs) that began to eat the ozone layer and was also (this isn’t mentioned in The God Species) a key developer of the lead tetraethyl additive for petrol. Lynas goes on to commend the 1987 Montreal Protocol on CFCs as an exemplar of the kind of international action we need on climate change.

He is level-headed about issues that have become intensely emotive, and recognises that the debate around climate change has become polarised on political grounds: libertarians with little understanding of science don’t want to acknowledge that there are natural limits to human activity…

So I will be keeping an eye out for his latest book The God Species.

On a similar wavelength is Wilson da Silva in Cosmos.

GREENPEACE WAS ONCE a friend of science, helping bring attention to important but ignored environmental research. These days, it’s a ratbag rabble of intellectual cowards intent on peddling an agenda, whatever the scientific evidence.

It was once the most active, independent and inspiring civilian group for the environment. Whether riding zodiacs alongside boats carrying barrels of toxic waste to be dumped in the open sea, or campaigning against CFCs and HFCs that were depleting the ozone layer, Greenpeace did admirable work.

But in the last decade or so, Greenpeace abandoned the rigour of science. When the science has been inconvenient, Greenpeace chooses dogma. Which is why it has a zero-tolerance policy on nuclear energy, no matter how imperative the need to remove coal and gas from electricity production. Or why it is adamant organic farming is the only way forward for agriculture, when organic could not feed the world’s population today…

Greenpeace has lost its way. Its former glory rested on the righteousness of its actions in support of real evidence of how humanity was failing to care for the environment. Now it is a sad, dogmatic, reactionary phalanx of anti-science zealots who care not for evidence, but for publicity.

I am definitely no hippy nor am I in any way an anarchist. I am as suspicious of deep greenies as I am of Alan Jones, and for similar reasons – the triumph of ideological fetishes over what really is happening and what needs to be done.

That said, suck on these latest from NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for July 2011.



Watch this, folks! James Delingpole is hilarious!

Back in June I posted Not seen — yet? — in Australia: ABC please note. SBS has taken it on, I am happy to say.

Climate science has become a battleground since leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit reverberated across the world. Activists vandalise genetically modified food crops. Parents refuse to vaccinate their children from potentially fatal diseases because of one discredited piece of research.

Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel laureate cell biologist and the President of the Royal Society, wants to find out why science is suddenly under attack and how scientists have responded.

As part of this quest he meets some of the key protagonists; from the Professor at the heart of Climategate, to an HIV sufferer who denies that HIV causes AIDS and refuses to take any medication.

He spends a day as a science journalist on a national newspaper – and he visits the most secure and highly protected potato field in the UK.

He examines the science of climate change to ask why it is that public support for the concept of human induced climate change is falling. As he travels across the US and the UK he learns that the core problem is uncertainty – new discoveries often seem to complicate rather than simplify the science. And where there is uncertainty, in the public’s mind, there is room for doubt.

In the 21st century there is no automatic acceptance of a scientist’s word. They have to earn that trust. Paul wants to find out what scientists need to do to earn, and keep, the public’s trust.

It’s on tomorrow night at 8.30.

The loquacious Anthony Watts, radio weatherman in the USA and serial cherry picker, cites Christopher Booker’s review of the program.

Horizon’s “Science Under Attack” turned out to be yet another laborious bid by the BBC to defend the global warming orthodoxy…… Hours of film of climate-change “deniers” are cherrypicked for soundbites that can be shown, out of context, to make them look ridiculous…… Although Sir Paul presented himself as the champion of objective science, he frequently showed that, for all his expertise in cell biology, he knows little about climate…

The deniers looked ridiculous because they really were ridiculous. James Delingpole is a tosser! You don’t believe me? Watch the program.


James Delingpole – can be amusing…. But…

“James Delingpole is a libertarian conservative who writes brilliant books and brilliant articles, and is really great on TV, radio and the internet too.”

He says so himself.

Christopher Booker knows rather less about climate than Sir Paul Nurse, and not much more than I or the average guy in the pub…

To highlight the level of inaccuracy and falsehood in skeptical journalism the Guardian launched a prize in 2009 to be "presented to whoever crams as many misrepresentations, distortions and falsehoods into a single article, statement, lecture, film or interview about climate change". This was called the "Christopher Booker prize."  The first nomination was inevitably Christopher Booker for an article about arctic sea ice with six errors in 900 words.

Not that the True Believers care a toss about that. Witness the continuing devotion by the likes of Alan Jones for the egregious and error-prone non-scientist Lord Monckton. (My June post also deals with him.)

So do watch. Be informed for a change. Too much of what you see and hear in the media is disinformation. This is not.

See The Independent’s review.

End of month time-warp post–30-31 July, [add year here]


This morning at Cafe Yum Yum, West Wollongong. I was reading about these two:


BRITAIN’S Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, has personally congratulated Julia Gillard on her carbon tax policy in a letter penned from the desk of 10 Downing Street.

In a clear embarrassment to the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and his Coalition – who have vehemently opposed any price on carbon – Mr Cameron described the federal Labor government’s move on climate change as "bold" and "ambitious".

Mr Cameron said he was convinced climate change was one of the "most pressing threats to [a nation’s] prosperity and security".

"I have always been clear that in order to tackle it [climate change] effectively, all major economies will need to take robust action to curb their emissions and put their economies on a more sustainable, low-carbon footing," he said.

The Tory Prime Minister – who, like Ms Gillard, leads a minority government cobbled-together in a coalition of unlikely and ideologically contrasted political allies – reiterated his stance that the world’s largest economies had a responsibility to address climate change.

"Your announcement sends a strong and clear signal that Australia is determined to make its contribution to addressing this challenge," he said. "It will add momentum to those, in both the developed and developing world, who are serious about dealing with this urgent threat."…

It so happens that one year ago I posted this:

2010 Oz letter editor: disingenuous gatekeeper

Take today’s two on climate change. Such undistinguished and pathetic contributions to a pseudo-debate!

THE worldwide average temperature for 2009 was the warmest on record and 0.68C above the 20th century average ("Warming unmistakable — and worse here", 30/7).

But a more detailed reading of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate Report shows that the northern hemisphere made a significantly greater contribution to this figure.

The report also includes a section on greenhouse gases that acknowledges CO2 makes a contribution to the greenhouse effect, without qualifying the extent.

We should conclude that even though the world is warmer than the 20th century average, the rise is unlikely to be outside the normal range of variation over the long term.

It would be premature to attempt to reduce CO2 until a much clearer understanding of the other climate contributors are determined.

Peter Clark, Mount Gambier, SA

AS London diarist John Evelyn wrote during the winter of 1683-84 at the depth of the Little Ice Age: "Conditions were terrible with men and cattle perishing and the seas locked with ice such that no vessels could stir out or come in. The fowls fish and birds and exotic plants and greens were universally perishing. Food and fuel were exceptionally dear and coal smoke hung so thickly that one could scarcely see across the street and one could scarcely breathe".

Who in their right mind is decrying the progressive warming since the 17th century?

William Kininmonth, Kew, Vic

Take Bill first. Of course no-one is decrying the progressive warming since the 17th century. That is the strawest of straw men! I find it hard to believe such guff is worth printing. But I guess any crap he cares to write passes muster inThe Oz, given his distinct lack of objectivity on the subject….


2010 on the photoblog


2009: More on Indonesian terrorist bombing

See also Not again!

1. From Tikno in Kalimantan: Fatwa against terrorist

Dear readers, I create this post because I heard many terrorism issues that tend to be associated with Islam as religion. But through this post I want to say that it is NOT TRUE. If you say that it is personal responsibility, then I’ll say yes. I know some of you may be asking within the heart "Why you say that?"

Well, here is my explanation:

1) I’m strongly believe that there are still a lot of good Muslim, even far more than you imagine. I live in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, and I have many Muslim friends here. They (my Muslim friends) are also condemns terrorism action…

And on the photoblog:

shills220709 010

Go back in time over the fold:

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