Thursday, October 09, 2008

If it doesn't fit the bill, just pretend it never happened

Seems to be the case of recent with many pro global warming websites. One in particular is Open Mind which proved this week to be anything but.

They start the first paragraph saying how terrible my website is for claiming that Australia has seen an increase of rainfall since records began:

It even suggested that over the long term, Australia is getting increased rainfall, and refers to a post on a website titled gustofhotair as supporting evidence. The website claims to present the author’s “statistical analysis of Australian Weather,” but I don’t see evidence of very much statistical analysis on the site. The author claims to be expert in statistics, but I don’t see any evidence of that at all.

Its quite obvious that the author failed to even have a look at my website, but was still very hasty to make comments about it.

None the less, only two paragraphs later "Open Mind" stated that:

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology provides climate data for Australia throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, from which we can see some of the changes in rainfall over the last 100 years. Overall, Australia has increased rainfall over the last century

So he ridicules my website, but then two paragraphs later, confirms that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has provided the same conclusion. Interesting.

The remainder of his article talks about rainfall in the murray darling basin as well as pan evaporation and temperature. For those who want to be informed, here is the data for temperature in the MDB, rainfall here and pan evaporation here.

The report goes onto show that since pan evaporation records started in the area (1975) whenever temperature is high for a certain year, so is pan evaporation, and draws the conclusion that higher temperatures equals higher evaporation.

He says earlier in the report that "the drought currently plaguing the Murray-Darling basin is the worst in Australia’s history"

This is where I stepped in and decided to reply to his comments:

Lol, look harder, and please try not to contradict yourself within a couple of paragraphs, it doesn’t look good for your argument.

Ohh and the Murray Darling Basin you say is “is the worst [drought] in Australia’s history”

Take a look here at the data here:®ion=mdb&season=0112

and tell me if you think its the worst in history. There is no statistical evidence that the murray darling basin is significantly decreasing in rainfall.

Oh also, your graphs are fantastic, and I like the way you have used a smoother to show that the current rainfall in the Murray Darling Basin is bad, almost as bad as 1900.

However, lets look at the actual data and find out when the worst the Murray Darling actually was.

And the answer is between 1944 to 1946 the rainfall of the Murray Darling was in fact less than currently.

In fact if we take the last 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 years average annual rainfall and compare that to 1946 and the 4 to 10 years before that, we see that in every single instance rainfall was a lot less than it is now as shown below:

Av.Prev.Years to 2007 to 1946 Difference
4 423.5 361.1 62.4
5 429.0 391.9 37.1
6 405.6 402.1 3.6
7 407.0 386.6 20.4
8 428.9 406.5 22.4
9 447.0 399.6 47.4
10 460.9 397.5 63.4

So rainfall back around that time was around 30-40mm less rainfall than currently. I’m not saying that rainfall isn’t low now, but it’s not the worst in history and there is also no statistically significant decreasing trend like suggested.

"Open Mind@ replied

[Response: Drought depends on more than just rainfall. Not clear enough for you?]

My reply was obvious, however it was edited. IT is a shame that I didn't keep a copy of exactly what I wrote, but I learnt for the next time that this website picks and chooses what you reply with:

after my long 2 comments which show that the Murray Darling Basin is not in its worst drought in Australia’s history based on rainfall information, comments about how you criticise my website for saying that rainfall is increasing and then two paragraphs later confirm that the ABM say the same thing I get a simple reply like that?

What about the other comments? Also you should delete the “smoother” that you added to the Murray Darling rainfall graph. A smoother is meant to highlight the trends of a graph which might otherwise be harder to see. Your smoother is so ridicules that the nature of it alone will exaggerate the start and the ends of your data. Clearly a better smoother is the one on the ABM website as shown here®ion=mdb&season=0112

which shows no significant trends since 1900. My conclusions of this is that either you are incapable of accurate statistical analysis by using such a smoother, or that you used it on purpose to alarm and exaggerate your point. Lets hope its the former.

And in reply to your comment about drought is more than just rainfall. I completely agree, however I was merely informing you of the fact that the Murray Darling Basin has had less rainfall in the past.

Your correlation of pan evaporation and maximum temperature is interesting, but somewhat simple. Pan evaporation is also highly correlated with rainfall. Greater rainfall years = less pan evaporation years. Sounds strange? That’s because maximum annual temperatures are also highly correlated with rainfall. Years of high temperature also have years of lower rainfall. It makes sense. If we have greater cloud cover one year, most likely we’ll have greater rainfall, lower maximum temperatures and hence less pan evaporation. If we have less cloud cover in a certain year, most likely we will have less rainfall, higher temperatures and greater pan evaporation.

All these variables, and more, are intercorrelation, and have to be looked at in whole. Pan evaporation quite clearly according to the graph®ion=mdb&season=0112

has not increased or decreased in the last 32 years. And even though you say, that 32 years is not enough to find a trend, perhaps this is only because the data do not suit your argument.

I continued to him discussion various aspects of climate, and links to my website showing the statistical analysis that he said did not exist, but these were hastily deleted by the author, presumably, so that he would not be wearing egg on his face.

he replied:

[Response: This is why it's just about impossible to get through to you. Has pan evaporation really neither increased nor decreased in the last 32 years? Has it done both? What analysis did you apply? Are you even aware that "trend" doesn't mean the same thing as "linear trend"?

You repeatedly say "look at this graph" then pronounce that there's "no change" without even mentioning any analysis performed or any possibilities considered. You take a real correlation (between evaporation and temperature) with a clear physical causative link and hand-wave it away, expecting us to buy that "related to other variables" bullshit. You take a clear and statistically sound decrease in recent long-term rainfall and attribute it to the choice of smoothing, mainly because you can't wrap your mind around the concept that trends don't have to be linear.

No previous historical records for the Murray-Darling Basin indicate the combination of reduced rainfall and increased temperature observed today.]

My next reply was in depth and was as follows:

Hi and thanks for the reply.
Firstly I was wondering why my comment was edited? Not all of it was shown by yourself. And also you failed to comment on my comments about how you criticized gustofhotair for claiming that Australia’s rainfall has increased and then quoted the ABM a few paragraphs later who said that Australia’s rainfall had increased. I am still waiting for that one.

As for the statistical analysis, I could do it on the data but it is quite clear with the naked eye that there is no significant trend, linear or otherwise has occurred in the last 32 years of pan evaporation. But hey, I did it anyway. As shown by the links just below, there is quite clearly a seasonal but no significant increasing or decreasing trend. To say otherwise is to be blind.

This is where Mr. Fix it came in. Check out the posts below. All of this was included in the same comment and was deleted by the author. He explains why in his reply late, but such deletion of comments is highly unsatisfactory.

As far as the ‘"related to other variables" bullshit’ goes, perhaps you should look into it. Just to mention a few Murray Darling Basin weather stations. Are you aware that Mildura, for example, has increased its sunshine duration hours from approximately 8 sunshine hours per day 18 years ago to over 9 sunshine hours now as shown here.

The data for sunshine duration in Mildura is limited, but the increasing trend is obvious. However also at the heat of the day at 3pm, cloud cover has decreased in Mildura by as much as 8% from 4.25 eighths down to 3.9 eights since 1947. Incredible.

“You take a real correlation (between evaporation and temperature) with a clear physical causative link and hand-wave it away” So similarly, I have previously (you obviously failed to look at my website despite saying “I don’t see evidence of very much statistical analysis on the site. The author claims to be expert in statistics, but I don’t see any evidence of that at all.”) analysed this in similar pattern to yourself and concluded that sunshine duration accounts for 91% of all warming of Australia since 1951.

Find the full details here:

If you think that cloud variation is simply a rubbish variable, then it would help if you stop making ill informed comments about Australian weather statistics and trends. Normally I wouldn’t write with just aggressive tone, I apologise, however it seemed that you openly criticized my website without jurisdiction and even without any effort to analyse lead alone read any of the statistics on the webpage.

I look forward to your reply.

SO there we have it. More links to proven statistical analysis. The kind of stuff he has said all along doesn't even exist on my website.

So what does the author of "Open Mind" do now? He deletes all those comments, because

1. he has no argument against my analysis.
2. He has said all along that I have no idea about statistics and that my website has no statistics in it, when quite clearly the above proves that I do.

He is stuck in a conundrum. Keeping my comments means that I have provided all the statistics that he cant argue against and he will end up with egg on his face. Deleting them will go against any bloggers claim to freedom of speech. After all that's half the reason why blogs are around.

So what does he do? He deletes my comments, hopes that I didn't keep them, hopes even more that I wont report this on my website, and makes a reply that should make you feel sick:

[Response: This is why it's impossible to get through to you. You haven't done any analysis at all.

You just plotted graphs, and frankly, you've done a lousy job of that. Then you draw a conclusion based on "it is quite clear with the naked eye ..." What's "quite clear" is that when it comes to data analysis, you don't know what you're doing.

Here is a graph of monthly pan evaporation anomaly (departure from the seasonal pattern) for the MDB from 1975 to the present, plotted on a scale big enough that people can actually SEE something.

Here is a 4th-degree polynomial fit to that data, showing that pan evaporation was higher in 1980 and 2005 than it was in the early 1990s. The difference is statistically significant, as is the 4th-degree polynomial fit is as well. Goodbye to your ridiculous "no significant increasing or decreasing trend" -- there's both.

And since you seem to like moving averages so much, here are 11-year moving averages showing the same pattern, with error bars illustrating the statistical significance of the changes. Here is the same thing, with 5-yr moving averages.

This seems to be your modus operandi -- produce a few graphs, draw a sweeping conclusion based on the "naked eye" and then make pronouncements about your in-depth statistical analysis when in reality there isn't any.

As for deleting the rest of your comment, and not answering all of your objections, I prefer to spend my time on those who have something intelligent to say and some real analysis to back it up.]

Draw some graphs, make some comments? Isn't that exactly what he just did. This is worst of any kind of blogger. I provided statistical analysis, plenty of graphs with statistical significance included, in depth statistical analysis, and then to back up his argument, he deletes the comments that I made and then claims that I do not provide any form of statistical analysis.

It seems, that if the bill doesn't fit, just pretend that it never happened. Shame on you "Open Mind"

My reply, which I am sure will not get posted is as follows:

I would put it to you that the reason that you edited my post is because by including it made you look stupid. It included links to accurate and thoroughly research statistical analysis, which showed that almost all of Australia’s recent warming has been caused by an increase of sunshine hours and a decrease of cloud cover. MY theory is that if you had not edited such a comment, you wouldn’t be able to make comments such as “when it comes to data analysis, you don’t know what you’re doing.” And “make pronouncements about your in-depth statistical analysis when in reality there isn’t any.”

This is a terrible case against freedom of speech. I provide you with complete statistical analysis of the weather data, arguments about pan evaporation, cloud cover, sunshine hours, rainfall and temperature in Australia and the murray darling basin, and then you decide for yourself to edit it out and claim that I did on such thing.

Is it worth me even replying to your highly edited, no debate, no group discussion, unintelligent, lack of freedom of speech website when this is how you treat a logical reply? I think not. Instead, I will include the full comments that I and yourself made on my website, and let people decide for themselves the whole debate; which is of course impossible to be had on your website.

It seems that there is a growing trend with pro global warming crew, not to wager in debate. AL Gore does this, and my only conclusion why this is so is either

- because they are afraid that they know less than their opposition
- they want to silence their critics (so did various evil dictators of the past)
- they realise that if there is any form of doubt on the science, then their jobs, and government funded money will be up the clacker.

"Open Mind" at least allows some form of debate in his comments. That's what a blog is for. But if he continually deletes part of your comments and then claims that you never made the comments that you did, this is pure propoganda.

"Open Mind" is anything but


Anonymous said...

+1 for putting a nutcase in his place.
-1 for reading and posting an argumentative comment on a blog. You should know that there is now way to come out on top with comments.

Jonathan Lowe said...

yes very true, i had the feeling i shouldn't have posted this a few days afterwards, but I wanted to put him in his place...oh well.

Gaudenz said...

This is exactly the reason I stopped reading "Closed" Mind. What Tamino (alias Foster Grant) says is always true. And you know, Tamino is the hero of Mozart's Magic Flute, who by his noble mind, saves Pamina.
So the name says it all: he will "safe" the world.
Ha ha ha.
Open Mind has become a real waste of time

John Nicklin said...

Tamino is an example of blind faith in the fervent belief in AGW. He bends over backwards to dismiss any and all alternative or sceptical arguements with his very own version of selective statistics and polynomial curves tuned to prove his point.

I wouldn't make too much of it, he does the same with anyone who voices a sceptical opinion. Frankly, I'd take your word for the conditions on the ground in Australia over Tamino's tortured data.

Chris M said...

Ha ha, how can you try to reason with these crazy warm-mongers? It's like beating your head against a brick wall....