"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prophets of doom picking cherries!

Our famous climate seer Flannerius and his wandering crew of fellow prophets have returned from  the wilderness to proclaim that the pestilence of global warming has struck the evil suburbs of Western Sydney while sparing the rest of Sydney . Unconfirmed speculation is that the vision came to them after finding some strange looking mushrooms.Obviously Western Sydney has offended the Carbon Deity to have such preferential punishment meted out to it. Flannerius was in danger of having his prophet's license revoked and his staff confiscated by Empress Gillardius after the tablet with his permanent drought prediction was washed away in the Great Flood. 

Back in the real world the  Australian sees fundamental problems with the the views of Flannery and the Climate Commission and suggests cherry-picking of data was involved.

A REPORT warning of increasing heatwaves across western Sydney fails to account for wide variations in temperatures recorded in different parts of the city and over time.
The claim of increased temperatures in western Sydney is a central plank of the Climate Commission report, which also links temperature increases to a rise in human deaths and hospital admissions.
The report compared the number of days when temperatures exceeded 35C at two Bureau of Meteorology stations - one at Observatory Hill on Sydney Harbour and the other at Parramatta in the city's west.
It finds: "The gap between coastal and western Sydney temperatures has widened, and the number of extreme hot days has increased in the west."
Analysis by The Australian, however, shows the report fails to mention available data from other bureau sites across the city.
 Our analysis shows that fewer extremely hot days were recorded over the past five years at both Observatory Hill and Parramatta than in the preceding five years of observation - or the five years before that.
The commission supports its argument about increased western Sydney temperatures using a graph indicating an increase in the number of days when the temperature reached more than 35C at Parramatta in the years since 1968, and particularly over the past 20 years. This is compared with data from Observatory Hill, which shows far fewer days hotter than 35C during that time and without the same rate of increase.
The report does not mention another weather station at Bankstown Airport, about 14km south of Parramatta, which recorded far fewer 35C-plus days than Parramatta over the past 20 years. The Bankstown station recorded 186 days where the temperature reached more than 35C during the 20-year period, compared with 239 such days at Parramatta.
Comparisons for the decades before 1992 are complicated by gaps in the available data. The Climate Commission report also makes no mention of another bureau station at Sydney Airport, which, like Observatory Hill, is near water, yet is apparently much hotter than the harbourside site.
According to BOM data, there were 104 days where the temperature reached more than 35C at Sydney Airport in the past 20 years, compared with 67 such days at Observatory Hill.
Based on its analysis of the temperatures recorded at Parramatta and Observatory Hill, the report predicts: "The current trends are very likely to continue as the average temperature across the region increases further in the coming decades."
Analysis of the BOM data behind this claim, however, shows that fewer extremely hot days were recorded over the past five years at both Observatory Hill and Parramatta than in the preceding five years - or the five years before that.
The commission will hold a public forum into the report tonight at Parramatta.
Several scientists have criticised the methodology of the report, which predicts the number of extremely hot days will roughly treble in Sydney over the next 60 years.
Stewart Franks, a University of Newcastle associate professor who specialises in hydroclimatology, said the computer models used to generate such predictions failed to account for the effect of the El Nino and La Nina climate patterns. "The predictions are not based on historical data; they're based on (computer) models," Professor Franks said.
"Their emphasis is on the model, not the data. In science, where there is a mismatch between the model and the data, go with the data."
Dick Whitaker, chief meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said the report's reliance on data from just two urban weather stations was unreliable, as it could be affected by the buildings surrounding them which generate heat and retain the sun's heat for longer. "If you don't select your station carefully, you're not looking at global warming, you're just looking at urban development," he said.
Residents of Bankstown, close to the weather station overlooked in the commission's report, disagreed with the idea that the number of extreme hot days in their part of western Sydney had increased. Having lived in the area for a decade, Youssra Yatim said the weather had got colder, not warmer, in that time. "I think the findings should be treated with caution," she said. "I accept they have the numbers but we're actually living through it."
Don White, director of the independent Weatherwatch Australia, said the apparent fall in the number of extremely hot days in Sydney over the past five years did not take away from the fact the world was getting hotter.
Tim Flannery, who heads the Climate Commission, yesterday acknowledged the report had drawn criticism. "This is a hot political issue in Australia, there's no doubt about that," Professor Flannery said. "I hope people will take a commonsense approach to this and see that this is something we need to do."
Attempts to contact the Climate Commission yesterday to discuss its report were unsuccessful.

1 comment:

  1. Empress Gillardius?? A bit over the top, I'd settle for Queen of Sheba. (She-Baas)?