Three media and ‘scientology’ beatups, so far, in December from the scaremongers around the globe. All blown out of the water after minimal checking and much laughter. The first link of each is mine, other scientists do the real demolition work.
Climate science Grant funding must be on the agenda with all this rubbish coming out this month.
December 25th, 2012 by Warwick Hughes
I first noticed these claims when the ABC Catalyst TV show (IPCC TV) ran “Taking Our Temperature” in November. I enjoyed the calm statements in the “Catalyst” NARRATION such as – “In fact, it was part of the biggest heatwave to hit Australia’s waters ever. It began just north of Ningaloo Reef, hitting it heartbreakingly with the force of a pot of boiling oil.”
Oh OK, only as hot as boiling oil then !! We will leave Catalyst there.
A few days ago the media has been running with – “WA ocean heatwave linked to shark attacks” – but the most scientific article I can find online is this UWA page from last July – “Unprecedented Indian Ocean heatwave creates melting pot”.
They say – “In the summer of 2010/11, the region experienced the highest seawater temperatures in at least 140 years”. Now taking the region off Perth as 30 to 35 South and 114 to 116 East, just the coastal strip and checking out the HadSST1 SST data at KNMI Climate Explorer; we find that the summer (Dec-Jan-Feb) of 1999-2000 was warmer (1.33 deg) than 2010-2011 (1.27 deg). So, claim shot down or at the very least marginal. The Reynolds SST data confirms that summer of 1999-2000 was warmer than 2010-2011 in that coastal strip off Perth.
To get a little perspective we can look at this global map of SST anomalies and ask what is so special about the warm SST anomalies off WA compared to the warm patch off Angola ?
Would the Angola media be running “ocean heatwave” stories ? Is their marine flora & fauna less worthy than ours ? And how about the large warm anomalies in the SE Pacific and South Atlantic ? – are teams of highly paid marine scientists writing papers about the effects of those large areas warmer ocean on the zillions of micro-organisms to be found there ? Or are they less worthy than marine life near the Perth coast.
Note the cold anomalies in north European seas and all around the USA in their winter 2010-11, some of which are relatively colder than the Perth anomalies are warm. Do cold patches of ocean have less significance for affecting marine life than warm patches ?
“Gale Force” cherries coming your way…
Two weeks ago, it was all over the news. The ocean near Perth (where I live) was rising at the terrifying rate of 9-10mm per year since 1993, which was, shockingly, “three times the global average”. (Since Perth is flatter than flat, at this rate, in a few years everything bar Kings Park and a few sky-scrapers would be washed away). The myth started because a government department that knows a lot about our roads, trains, and buses wrote a dot point in a Fact Sheet. That was the State of Australian Cities report, and a pollie (Albanese) raved. Then the West Australian newspaper headlined it, and it all got out of hand.
In contrast, Chris Gillham got the raw data (something you’d think The Department of Infrastructure might have thought of), and shows below why its nonsense on stilts. The rate is not measured from when records began, but from 1993, which (surely it’s just a coincidence) also happens to be the lowest level in local tide gauges since 1941. (See that second last “dip” near the right-end in the graph below?) If they’d started the “rate” from the year 1999, the headlines would tell us the seas were falling…
If that’s not bad enough, the sea level data comes from two spots, 20 km apart (Hillarys and Fremantle), and Gillham points out that the rates are quite different. Apparently parts of Perth are subsiding by as much as 6mm year thanks to groundwater extraction, and one of those parts doing-the-subsiding happens to be around a tide gauge. More than half the scary rise is due to the gauge sinking.
As far as global sea levels go, Fremantle is a rare long record from the Southern Hemisphere, and is based on a very stable continent — shame about that aquifer that’s mucking up the record. Odd how mistakes, like not-correcting-for-the-subsidence make their way past scientists, bureaucrats, department heads, ministers, and then journalists too. Doesn’t anyone check these any more? Are they all incompetent, or in the grip of a mind-numbing religion perhaps?
All credit goes to Chris for doing so much research here. — Jo100 years of tidal records at Fremantle show a fairly steady small rise. Note how high the oceans were in the 1940′s and how low it was in 1993. Given past rises and falls, why are we getting excited about a rise since the dip in 1993? (Data: Bureau of Met.)
Guest post: Chris Gillham
Perth sea level myth swamped by a rising tide of facts
A myth was started in early December that sea levels off the Perth coastline have been rising at 9-10mm per year since 1993, three times the global average. The West Australian newspaper published a page 3 story quoting a State of Australian Cities report that Perth sea levels have been rising far quicker than anywhere else, which Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese described as “disturbing” and “extraordinary”. The foreboding news was quickly propagated by other mainstream media and the sea level myth took hold.
Closer analysis of the claim shows it is based only on a selective comparison of 1993 and 2010 sea levels off Perth that are monitored by tide gauges in Fremantle and Hillarys. The averaged mean sea level at Fremantle in 1993 was the lowest recorded since 1941, which makes it an extraordinary year for comparison since this critical fact is ignored by a Federal Government department, a Federal Cabinet Minister and the media. The mean sea level at Fremantle and Hillarys was higher in 1999 than in 2010, the most recent year of publicly available data, and a comparison of averages in the first and second halves of the 18 years since 1993 shows sea levels have risen about .61mm per year at Fremantle and 2.2mm per year at Hillarys.
Not quite so disturbing or extraordinary, is it?
That sinking feeling
If you’re curious about how sea levels can rise at such different rates, it’s worth noting a university report published by the Journal of the Royal Society of WA in April 2012:
Photo Credit: NC State
From the New York Times:
West Antarctica has warmed much more than scientists had thought over the last half century, new research suggests, an ominous finding given that the huge ice sheet there may be vulnerable to long-term collapse, with potentially drastic effects on sea levels.
A paper released Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience reports that the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. That is roughly twice as much as scientists previously thought and three times the overall rate of global warming, making central West Antarctica one of the fastest-warming regions on earth.
Then for good measure, a Warwick Hughes finale again: Classic IPCC compliant West Antarctica “warming faster” story – destroyed by satellite data
When will they finally learn … that’s it’s just weather.