JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Fifty years of failed renewables predictions

For five decades, experts have been predicting renewable energy would supply 20 – 50% of the US Electricity Grid. Instead it’s taken twice as long to get to one fifth of the original prediction. (And to get to that pitiful 10%, that includes Hydropower).

Renewable Energy is the wordsmiths Great Hopium. The seductive temptation of “free energy” rolls on, never mind about the vast infrastructure and land it takes to capture a low density energy source. The price for “free fuel” is expensive maintenance, costly transmission, extra stability charges, and eye-bleeding storage costs (or an entire national spare grid for “back up?”).

For fifty years people have been overestimating the renewables transition.

The graphs comes from the JPMorgan, Energy Review. Even back in 1970, the need for 24 hour supply and frequency stability were well known.

A search online did not find a copy anywhere of Bent Sorensen’s original 1970-ish prediction, but it did find about 500 articles and nine of his books, showing that if at first you don’t succeed, you can make a career out of it.

Joe Biden is also marching down Failure Boulevard:

What are the odds?

Globally we used to get […]

Mystery solved: Rain means satellite and surface temps are different. Climate models didn’t predict this…

A funny thing happens when you line up satellite and surface temperatures over Australia. A lot of the time they are very close, but some years the surface records from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) are cooler by a full half a degree than the UAH satellite readings. Before anyone yells “adjustments”, this appears to be a real difference of instruments, but solving this mystery turns up a rather major flaw in climate models.

Bill Kininmonth wondered if those cooler-BOM years were also wetter years when more rain fell. So Tom Quirk got the rainfall data and discovered that rainfall in Australia has a large effect on the temperatures recorded by the sensors five feet off the ground. This is what Bill Johnston has shown at individual stations. Damp soil around the Stevenson screens takes more heat to evaporate and keeps maximums lower. In this new work Quirk has looked at the effect right across the country and the years when the satellite estimates diverge from the ground thermometers are indeed the wetter years. Furthermore, it can take up to six months to dry out the ground after a major wet period and for the […]

Tim Flannery in 2007: after a two month crash course in climate change, the man was a prophet

Tim Flannery, 2004, The West Australian.

Flannery will be on Q&A tonight (bet you can’t wait, copy your questions and tweets below please!). Let’s check the exact wording of his original 2004 prediction that Perth would become a ghost town. It tells us something, not just about Flannery and a messiah complex (he really does talk of himself as an old testament prophet), but about journalism. Back then journalists interviewed critics too. Flannery was even called “alarmist” in 2004.

The original story had the calm headline: “Perth Will Die, says Top Scientist”. That article has gone beyond the space time continuum, but thankfully, it was preserved by the Wayback Machine.

Perth will become a ghost city within decades as rising global temperatures turn the Wheatbelt into a desert and drive species to the brink of extinction, a leading Australian scientist warns.

–Carmelo Amalfi, The West Australian

Perth in 2018, is wet, cool and productive and 30% larger:

Dams are at their equal highest level at the end of summer since 2002, and Perth has 67 billion litres more than any year of the last seven. The desert seems to be shrinking, arid regions […]

Climate change creates free real estate in Tuvalu: “climate refugees” can all go home

The Green Blob is going to have to get rid of satellites. Real data is so inconvenient.

For years many people called scientists have assumed, like any smart 5 year old would, that islands are fixed blobs of rock and sand that just sit there and sink as oceans rise. Now satellite images show that three quarters of the islands in Tuvalu are growing rather than shrinking.

Total land area is up 2.9%. Total government funded scientists who predicted reality, down 97%.

Since our emissions helped create nearly a square kilometer of free real estate in Tuvalu, it seems only fair that they return any climate funds, and pay a royalty. 😉

The whole of Tuvalu is 26km2 and about 10,600 people live there. Total GDP is $32 million. It’s a cheap marketing tool. In May last year, despite Tuvalu being used as an advertising posterchild for climate change for years, it had not received funding from the Green Climate Fund. In August 2017 UNDP finally promised $38 million. That’s theoretically an extra income equivalent to 20% of their GDP for the next seven years. No wonder these islanders are keen to talk “climate change”.

Scientists who have […]

Perth plan to become ghost town delayed, with average rain and dams highest in 8 years

South West WA and Perth have been the Australian posterchild for Water-Panic for years.

We were destined to be an abandoned ghost town with worthless property:

Perth is set to become the world’s first ‘Ghost City’ according to a long-term weather forecaster and a news anchor. “I’m reading here that unless drastic action is taken, Perth could become the world’s first ghost city – a modern metropolis abandoned by the 1.7 million people there for lack of water,” she said.

Tim Flannery started the Ghost Town scare in 2004. He felt the best way to fill WA dams was to vote for emissions reductions.

As I write, the remnants of a small cyclone are raining down on us in midsummer, which the ABC earlier warned was a “deluge” dropping “three months of rain”. What they don’t mention is that, even before this “downpour” (of 90 mm or 4 inches so far), Perth Dams already have 35% more water than at the same time last year, and an extra 69 gigalitres of the precious wet stuff. We have more water than we’ve had since 2009, and more is on the way.

WA Water corporation data shows Perth Dams have […]

Massive, unprecedented, 10 out of 10, life threatening storm hits, drops 2 inches on Melbourne

It was all yellow: A warning was in place for the whole of Victoria.

Massive flooding forecast across “whole state”:

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned an “unprecedented” amount of rain is expected to fall in Victoria over a three-day period.

Asked to rate the storms out of 10, senior forecaster Mr Williams said: “I’ll take the punt and say it’s a 10 for Victoria.”

He said the most recent rain in a short period of time in Melbourne was 100-200 millimetres (in 2005 and 2011) and on both occasions: “it paralysed transport routes in the city.”

Get out your sandbags!

Events were cancelled, and the Premier of Victoria told people not to “have a big night on the town” in preparation.

The city was told to bunker down for an “absolutely massive” rainfall event over the weekend …

“Half the inhabitants of Melbourne have never ever seen anything like this,” the Bureau of Meteorology’s senior forecaster Scott Williams said on Thursday.

“It is an event that poses a threat to life.”

Not so much a flood of rain, but there was a flood of text messages:

[…]

Carbon pollution rises and the world gets less windy…

Wind speeds have slowed since the sixties

God is playing a joke on wind investors:

The stilling: global wind speeds slowing since 1960

Known as ‘stilling’, it has only been discovered in the last decade. And while it may sound deceptively calm, it could be a vital, missing piece of the climate change puzzle and a serious threat to our societies.

While 0.5 kilometre per hour might barely seem enough to ruffle any feathers, he warns that prolonged stilling will have serious impacts.

‘There are serious implications of wind changes in areas like agriculture and hydrology, basically because of the influence of wind on evaporation,’ said Dr Azorin-Molina. ‘A declining trend in wind speed can impact long-term power generation, and weaker winds can also mean less dispersion of pollutants in big cities, exacerbating air quality problems and therefore impacting human health.’

Here’s a rare concept in science these days: Dr Azorin-Molina isn’t sure if this is natural or man-made. No doubt, climate modelers will coming up with the answer they didn’t predict, post hoc, any day now…

In idyll speculation, researchers wondered if perhaps humans built too many obstacles (which seems hard to believe […]

Wind disappears in South Australia, costing wind-industry millions, BOM blames climate change even though models predicted faster winds

The wind fizzled out over the South East slab of Australia during June. Predictably, that meant the wind industry lost millions, and wholesale electricity prices went up. When the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) was asked where the wind had gone, Darren Ray, expert climatologist, said it was due to a high pressure system over the bight, which, he explained, was linked to “climate change”. Thus, as the world warms, wind farms will be progressively more useless in South Australia. Perhaps the BOM should have mentioned that before SA became dependent on wind farms? I don’t think he had thought this one through.

Perhaps the BOM is hoping that the masochistic sacrifice of South Australia will stop global warming before global warming stops the wind farms?

You might think that if the global climate models could see this coming they would have suggested that wind farms weren’t a good idea. Or maybe, since climate models predict every equal and opposite outcome in unison, the models are always right post hoc, but not so useful in projections?

Climate models predict climate change causes faster and slower winds over Australia

In 2017, Darren Ray, BOM expert, said the decrease in winds was due […]

Five years after rain returns, climate modelers redo models and “predict” more, less, some, different or same rain

The same modelers were predicting drought and letting their friends nail their reputation to statements about how the dams would never fill, and Perth would be a ghost town. When Australia wasted billions on desal, they said nothing about the “extreme rain” coming. Then the endless drought broke, the rains returned, and now, years later, they’ve rejigged and tweaked their skillless models and put forward ambiguous, vague, yes-no-maybe, scare-scare-scary predictions that could have come from a tarot card reader.

Get ready for the full genius of expert modelling:

“There is no chance that rainfall in Australia will remain the same as the climate warms,” said an author of the paper UNSW Professor Steve Sherwood.

“The only way that this intensification of extreme rainfall falls at the lower end of the scale is if the continent becomes drier overall. The long and the short of it is that with 2°C of global warming Australia is stuck with either more aridity, much heavier extreme rains, or some combination of the two,” said Sherwood, from UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre.

— A hard rain to fall in Australia, Phys org.

Other, less astrological climate […]

In 2009: Warming would stop 2020 Olympics. Now disaster moved to 2084

In 2009: The 2016 Rio Games predicted be the last

Global warming could make 2016 Games ‘the last Olympics in the history of mankind’, says Tokyo governor.

“Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long.

“Scientists have said we have passed the point of no return,” said Ishihara.

August 2016: The 2080 Games predicted to be the last

Move that disaster by 60 years:

“A sobering new study shows that by the 2084 Olympics, rising temperatures will make it practically impossible for most cities to host the summer games.

How will the Olympics cope with a 1.5C rise?

Answer, easily. Assuming the world warms, the IOC could shift games a whole 400km from Rio, where the average max is 28C in August to Sao Paulo where it’s 3 degrees cooler. Or they could shift the timing by all of eight weeks. If Moscow held the Olympics in September instead of July the event could survive an apocalyptic nine degree future rise. (Moscow in July has a 24C average max temperature, by September that has fallen to 15C average.)

The government […]