Wednesday, 25 July 2012



by Vincent Gray

JULY 24th 2012


Teaching of science and mathematics is now in rapid decline in our schools. Science has been replaced by the pseudo subject "the environment" and you are lucky if you can get a school leaver or even a graduate  who can give exact change, let alone complete an income tax form.

As a chemist I deplore the current ignorance of basic chemistry.. All chemicals are "toxic". The whole universe, including all living things and all food substances, is  made out of  chemicals and toxicity is a matter of entirely dependent on concentration and degree of supposed harm   So for that matter, is radioactivity.

When I worked for the Forensic Division of the DSIR the police were always bringing in  unknown white powders for identification . If they were crystalline a quick look under the microscope would find common salt (cubic) and sugar (anorthic). A flame would tell you flour, chalk (red colour) and soap powder (yellow flame). A pH test would give citric acid. I do not recall any other. Yet today it takes weeks with sophisticated computerised machines to identify these. If they are spilled on the road it is a national emergency and a media event. You even have to put on goggles and protective gear to deal with ordinary salt.

Statistical mathematics has basic assumptions which render its use invalid if they are not met.

In order to obtain any sort of average there are several essential conditions before the result  should be believed.

The sample must be random. and representative. This requirement is built in to all industrial quality specifications.

I remember an occasion when I worked for the Coal Research Association when a shipment of coal from Lyttleton to Japan was rejected because the  Japanese got a different value for its analysis than we did, so it had to return. Getting a random, representative sample before analysing it was quite an exercise.

People doing public opinion surveys and medical experiments often fail to get a truly representative sample, so their predictions must always be questioned. TV polls are useless and I often wonder whether the few set-top boxes which enable the TV people to decide how many people view ads really work.

It is quite impossible to measure the average temperature of the earth's surface as we cannot put measuring devices in a random representative manner over the entire surface. 71% is ocean and there are large regions of desert, forest,, mountain and ice. the temperature is also strongly dependent on time and altitude so it would have to  be instantaneous. Since this is impossible, it is also impossible to claim that the average is increasing or decreasing. There is therefore no logical or scientific basis for the claim that there is "global warming", a steady increase in the average temperature of the earth's surface..

Temperature measurements at weather stations are a valuable guide to local weather. Efforts are made to reduce variability by the use of standard measuring equipment and screens, but these have changed over the years. but  no weather forecaster would ever claim figures more accurate than the nearest degree Celsius. They never use decimals of a degree.

Efforts to make use of these measurements to provide a very poor substitute for a global average are  not only defeated by the lack of representivity. No weather station ever measures a daily average temperature. Even the most modern automatic weather stations, which are capable of providing a daily average, have never done so

Instead , until recently, only the maximum and minimum are measured. The average of these two does not give a mathematically acceptable average.                                                                      

Then, the observations when plotted against value,  must be symmetrical; otherwise there is no recognisable average. Gary Kerkin recently plotted distribution curves for two sets of maximum and minimum measurements from New Zealand weather stations and found they were bimodal, that is to say there were two maxima. The arithmetic average therefore is not the most probable figure.

Even if they were symmetrical they have to mimic the Gaussian bell curve upon which the mathematics depend. Without that you cannot calculate the variability. It has become conventional to calculate the "standard deviation" or "standard error" which is performed readily from a "scientific" calculator. or a computer spreadsheet. It is common practice to regard two standard deviations from the mean as representing 95% of the observations; in other words  there is one chance in 20 that any individual measurement will fall outside it. This figure tends to be adopted even when the chance of falling outside this range is unacceptable, such as adverse reactions from a new drug..

The processing of individual maximum and minimum temperatures into what is termed the "annual global temperature anomaly" consists of the averaging  of a whole year of individual figures. subtracting the average minimum from the average maximum., carrying out this procedure for every weather station in a 5ºx5º box on a map,  averaging all the boxes, and then subtracting them from the average of all the boxes for a reference period. Each of these procedures incurs large inaccuracies for each average, which when added up must surely amount to several degrees, yet the figures obtained are regarded as constants without any inaccuracy for each year in a time series. These unexpected constants are called "data" and many people seem to think that they are accurate representations of global temperature. A nominal inaccuracy is sometimes claimed, but is far below what it should be.

 This sequence is then subjected to a statistical procedure called "linear regression", again, a calculation available  on every "scientific" calculator and every computer spreadsheet. The objective is to seek to determine a "trend" which can be of value in future temperature prediction..

However the mathematics behind the theory of linear regression mean that it can only be used if all the samples are obtained in identical circumstances, with only one  variable as the argument. It should only be used for short period time series where identical samples can be guaranteed. It is quite unsuitable for annual climate time series since conditions always change over time, and any "trend" exaggerates the importance of the least known and least reliable earliest measurements. Its use for "trends" of "Global temperature anomalies" is quite illegitimate, as it  tends to identify past bias but not trends of the temperature variable. It is also unsuitable for long-term sea level trends, since earlier sea level measurements are prone to downward bias from the action of storms, local ground subsidence and dredging of harbours. ""Trends" should be based on recent, most reliable measurements in both cases.

 Not only are weather stations  not representative, the extent that this is  so changes  every second as stations are removed, added, or altered somewhere in the world. A genuine "temperature anomaly" is impossible.

This is so obvious that even  the scientists who have the effrontery to claim validity for this system consider that it needs to be "corrected" for "uncertainties. The process by which they do this is called "HOMOGENIZATION". At last I have got round to the title of this Newsletter..

The procedures used for "homogenization" are difficult to discover and seem to be largely intended to cause the "trend" in the "temperature anomaly" to rise. The success in this objective is modest, less than one degree per century and even this has petered out during the past ten years. These "corrections" can only concern a very few of the differences between the many non standardized weather station observations.

There have been very few attempts to check whether their assumptions  can be justified. Anthony Watts found that such a simple matter as changing the screen treatment from whitewash to latex paint made a difference of about half a degree, but this correction is never done. There are many studies which show that weather stations are affected by increases in local buildings, the use of concrete or local traffic, but no "correction" is applied. Since glass is a cooled liquid, liquid in glass thermometers read high if not regularly calibrated, but calibration certificates do not seem to be part of the archives,. No study has ever been done to find out whether changing the location of a site makes a difference by parallel studies with both sites. Gaps in the record are "guessed" by taking the average of "neighbouring" sites, which are sometimes far away. Recently it was found that when Bolivia failed to supply measurements for two years in a row, they took the average of the nearest sites, on the warmer coast of South America, and compounded the  error by adding an amount to compensate for the high elevation of the country of Bolivia. This made Bolivia the warmest place in the world for two years.

The most recent scandal has arisen because two Greek scientists Steirou and Kotsoyannis  (attached) have uncovered another error in "homogenization" which should be obvious.

It is assumed, not only that all the "mean daily" temperatures were obtained under identical circumstances, but that they are independent of one another. Well, all of us know that this is not true. The temperature one day not independent of the next day or the one before. They found that if you assume wrongly that they are independent and put it into the "homogenization" it automatically reduces the older figures and increases the more recent figure. so you get an increased "trend" which helps you "prove" global warming.

Another "homogenization" procedure that is dubious is that it is assumed that "Outliers" of more than three times the standard deviation should be eliminated. Now it happens to be true that the Gaussian Bell curve is often useful near the average, but rarely so at the outliers, which usually occur much more frequently than the maths assume. This why we are always getting "hundred year" extreme events such as floods or heat waves that occur more frequently. To eliminate outliers altogether seriously damages the result.

S and K found that important changes in thermometers and screens were not allowed for.

Weather stations have recently changed to automatic measurement, but there has been no comparison on the same site, between the automatic equipment and the previous system to see whether it makes a difference. Automatic measurement means that there there is not even an observer at the site at all so anything that goes wrong may not be known.

This half-baked unscientific system is helping to justify stopping the building power stations, running cars or prospecting for oil and gas.


Vincent Gray
Wellington 6035

"It's not what you don't know that fools you. It's what you do know that ain't so."  ~ Josh Billings

Sustainability is impossible. There are only two directions; forward and backward.

Finkelstein and Dick Smith.

Finkelstein and Dick Smith.

by NCTCS Secretary Anthony Cox.

Dick has recently written a scathing letter to the CEO of the Murdoch press in Australia. It is a terrible letter; arrogant, aggressive and elitist; and ironic and hypocritical given his referral to the “occupy” movement and the usual default position for rich moralists, the perils of “growth” and the virtues of sustainability.

 Dick is an avid supporter of AGW and, like the recent Finkelstein report, makes the connection between perceived defects in the media presentation of the news and how AGW is described to the general public by the media. Dick says this:
When friends ask me why your organisation runs such opposing views on climate change - on Fox News’ claims that it’s all bunkum to The Australian newspaper occasionally claiming it’s accepted science – I am able to say,“it’s simple. It’s all about making more money.

This is wrong at so many levels. Firstly, the real money is and has always been in supporting AGW. The amount of money supporting AGW is vastly greater compared with the money which is supporting sceptics.

Secondly, big business has overwhelmingly been financially supportive of AGW. Big business includes oil and fossil fuel companies, the usual villains of the AGW scam narrative.

However, by far the main source of funding of the AGW scam has come from government. This Green/ALP government is already spending and will eventually spend $13.2 billion on Green energy schemes in the next few years.

This is despite the fact that Green energy does not work, and therefore any money spent on it will be wasted. But the fact that it is government money which is being splashed around means that there will always be spivs and conmen around with their snouts in the trough.

How does Murdoch benefit from this? Does Dick offer any evidence for his claim that Murdoch will benefit from his papers’ alleged opposition to the scam of AGW? No, he doesn’t; he just makes a typical accusation of the sort which the alarmists use as their stock in trade, which incidentally makes no sense; Dick simply says Murdoch will get money by taking a contrary view about AGW.

I can personally assure Dick that this approach does not make money.

Is Dick a supporter of the Finkelstein report which advocates greater control of the media, particularly the Murdoch media? It looks like it; he calls opposition to Finkelstein “claptrap” and goes all sanctimonious by wishing Finkelstein regulations were not necessary but he “can see why they are being proposed”. With his superior insight, then like Finkelstein, Dick will also think the average person will be tricked by the Murdoch press’s opposition to AGW. That is, Dick thinks the average reader is irrational and likely to be stirred up by false news.

Dick even resorts to the old chestnut that the Murdoch media is 70% of the total media. Dick says to Murdoch:
As you control 70% of the print media is Australia

This is claptrap. According to Parliamentary Library figures Murdoch publishes 32% of Australia’s print media but has over 70% of the readership. Murdoch is indeed the preferred source of news by the Australian average reader. Opposition to Murdoch is therefore a minority position.

It is also an arrogant and elitist position. Dick likes to pretend he is just an average punter but he is not. He shares the same elite position about AGW which informs the Finkelstein report. Dick also shares the tendency towards misanthropy which motivates the Green ideology. Dick thinks there are too many people in Australia and the world. He wants a negative population growth for Australia. Obviously Dick is offended by the numbers of people spoiling his right to enjoy nature untrammelled.

This sort of misanthropy is dangerously hostile to humanity because its logical end is that humanity is a blight and threat to nature. Is that what Dick wants? No people? If no people then how many; is the Chinese ‘solution’ to population something he would endorse? If not, what methods would he use to enforce his demands for a negative population?

Has Dick even considered the growing evidence against AGW? He may be surprised to know that a court case has just concluded in New Zealand. In New Zealand the temperature record is prepared by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research LTD [NIWA], which is their equivalent of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology [BOM].The New Zealand temperature record was challenged for being misleading and showing a temperature trend of 0.91C per century when the raw data showed a small trend of 0.23C; and even when the NIWA’s own criteria for adjusting raw data was used only a trend of 0.34C was found. NIWA had exaggerated the true trend by nearly 300%.

The Defence which NIWA filed was remarkable. Basically NIWA disowned the temperature record and said compiling an accurate record was not part of their duty.

During the court proceedings it became apparent why NIWA had chosen such a Defence. As part of the Defence it was argued that NIWA did not have a duty to pursue a standard of excellence in its activities; Counsel on their behalf argued that what NIWA aspired to was:

This is in contradiction to the pronouncements of certainty and public declarations of “the science is settled” which have framed the context of the NZ temperature record and its employment as justification for policy.

It also contradicts the essence of government service to the community which funds the government’s various agencies and rightfully expects those agencies should work for the public’s benefit.

It is a desperate Defence which can only be explained as a muddying of the waters and an attempt to obfuscate a plain interpretation of the role of government instrumentalities and their attendant duties.

It is also a clever Defence because if NIWA succeeds in having its functions not classified as duties then no breach of duty can be levied against it.

The ramifications for the BOM Australian temperature record are profound because that temperature record is compiled in a similar fashion to the New Zealand one. It would seem that a similar court action would be feasible against BOM.

Is the Defence by NIWA the sort of evidence which Dick relies on? And does he support such legal action against agencies like NIWA because the media exposure of the defects of the AGW evidence is censored in a way recommended by Finkelstein and there is no other option?

Dick is no doubt comforted by the fact that both of the major political parties in Australia, not only subscribe to the evidence for AGW, but seem to approve of Finkelstein’s approach to bringing the media’s misreporting [sic] of this evidence to an end.

AGW is a highly controversial concept, but freedom of the press is not. The evidence against AGW is growing. For Dick to base his support of Finkelstein and less media freedom on the truth of AGW is not only controversial but wrong.

Roman Warming and Medieval Warming warmer than current warm period

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso at CO2 Science report:

Northern Scandinavian Temperatures: It's a Whole New Ball Game
Volume 15, Number 30: 25 July 2012

Figure 1. The summer (June-July-August) temperature
Esper et al. (2012), adapted from their paper.

In a game-changing paper published in the online version of Nature Climate Change, Esper et al. (8 July 2012) provide j45iconvincing evidence that both the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods of 1000 and 2000 years ago, respectively, were warmer than the Current Warm Period has been to date, in spite of the fact that today's atmospheric CO2 concentration is some 40% greater than it was during those two earlier periods. In setting the stage for their paradigm-altering work, the twelve researchers - hailing from Finland, Germany, Scotland and Switzerland - write that "solar insolation changes, resulting from long-term oscillations of orbital configurations (Milankovitch, 1941), are an important driver of Holocene climate," referencing the studies of Mayewski et al. (2004) and Wanner et al. (2008). In addition, they state that this forcing has been "substantial over the past 2000 years, up to four times as large as the 1.6 W/m2 net anthropogenic forcing since 1750," as suggested by the work of Berger and Loutre (1991). And on the basis of "numerous high-latitude proxy records," as they describe it, they note that "slow orbital changes have recently been shown to gradually force boreal summer temperature cooling over the common era," citing Kaufman et al. (2009).

Read more at CO2 Science

And so it is that the question for our day ought to be: Why was much of the CO2-starved world of Medieval and Roman times decidedly warmer (by about 0.3 and 0.5°C, respectively) than it was during the peak warmth of the 20th century? Clearly, the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 - if it has not been grossly over-estimated - must currently be being significantly tempered by some unappreciated CO2- and/or warming-induced negative-feedback phenomenon (possibly of biological origin) to the degree that the basic greenhouse effect of earth's rising atmospheric CO2 concentration cannot fully compensate for the decrease in solar insolation experienced over the past two millennia as a result of the "long-term oscillations of orbital configurations" cited by Esper et al. (2012).