Cross your heart, hope for pride

Crikey readers talk the provenance of putting one's hand on one's heart and the problem with solar panels.

Correction Crikey writes: Re. "China Trip an all-star affair". Yesterday we stated Jennifer Westacott was the outgoing CEO of the Business Council of Australia. Of course, she’s not going anywhere; it was recently announced Catherine Livingstone would replace Tony Shepherd as president. We’re happy to correct the record. Heartfelt gesture Ian Wright writes: Re. "Hand on heart" (Friday). I remember, back in the late '50s, when hats were worn by most men and the WWI diggers were still marching strongly (most only in their 50s) on Anzac Day, my late father (served in both WWI and WWII) instructing me in this same gesture of civilian respect for military ritual. It's not purely an American custom, it used also to be seen in the UK, and I have read anecdotes of its enforcement by British Military Police in the British Occupied Zone of Germany as regimental colours were paraded through the streets of occupied towns and cities before the establishment of the Federal Republic (West Germany) in (I think) 1953 (or was it '57?). It was during the "Youth Rebellion" of the late '60s and early '70s that the custom, like standing in flm theatres for the British national anthem, fell into disuse. I'm no advocate for its return, but let's get the history and provenance right. Shining a light on impending Solargate Ken Lambert writes: Re. "Risk? What risk? The fossil fuel industry walks both sides of the street" (yesterday). Giles Parkinson totes out the predictable mantra of the green industry. The consensus is a nonsense -- the basics of climate science are not settled as evidenced by the recent discovery of an amazing symmetry of the Earth's hemispheric albedo -- a result not predicted by any climate model, and poised to rewrite the "science" of climate modelling. There is plenty of something else going on in the earth's climate system producing the stasis in surface temperatures despite steadily climbing CO2 emissions, little of which is explained by current models. Climate science robustness is a fiction heavily oversold by the alarmist climateers to frighten the crowds and keep the grants flowing. Solar energy successful -- yes, for the owners with heavy government subsidies paid for by the non-solar panel consumers of inflated electricity costs. Cheap Chinese panels have exploded all over Australia -- with no redeemable warranties because most of the solar spivs have hit the toe or are buried in a maze of trusts and legal entities under the expert supervision of the likes of the Gillard-Rudd government. Will these panels last 10, 15 or 25 years?  What is enough life to justify their real cost? What testing did Rudd-Gillard government do to establish the quality and durability of all the multitude of Chinese panels subsidised in Australia? What happens if they and their cheap inverters start cracking up prematurely?  Will Gillard be able to help -- a pro bono legal case run from Adelaide Uni against the solar spivs perhaps? Will Rudd run a Harvard Business seminar on his experience with batts, boats and solar panels? Tune in for the entirely predictable Solargate fiasco coming soon to a roof near you.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

57 thoughts on “Cross your heart, hope for pride

  1. Tamas Calderwood

    Well said Ken Lambert.

  2. wayne robinson


    Care to elaborate on why the symmetric hemispheric albedo to short wave radiation discovered by Voigt et al is a problem for AGW?

    Anyway. There’s no stasis in surface temperatures (I take it you mean lower atmosphere temperatures, because global temperatures also include the oceans, the cryosphere and the ground).

    The ‘pause’ was manufactured by cherry picking the data, starting with an abnormally warm year in 1998 due to a strong El Niño event and finishing with a cooler year in 2012 due to a moderate La Niña event.

    As an analogy, suppose you have a coin rigged to give ‘heads’ on 60% of tosses. Suppose you toss it 60 times and record the result with each toss. You’d expect around 36 heads. If you divide the 60 tosses into sequential ’10s’, you’d expect 6 heads in each 10, but you wouldn’t be surprised if you got 5 or 7. Perhaps you’d be surprised if you got 4 or 8 heads.

    Suppose you scan the results and note that ‘tails’ came up on the 44th throw. And on the 60th and last throw. And count heads or tails in the intervening 15, which happened to divide 60/40 as expected (9 heads and 6 tails) resulting in 9 heads and 8 tails for the last 17 throws, near enough to an even distribution.

    You wouldn’t argue that the coin is fair based on the last 17 throws would you? Or note that in two of the 10s, you got 5 heads (so the coin’s fair) or 4 heads (indicating that the coins rigged towards tails) would you? Perhaps you would.

    That’s precisely what happens with cherry picking data. Despite cherry picking, global lower atmosphere temperatures still increased by 0.01 degrees Celsius from 1998 to 2012 – statistically insignificant. But statistically insignificant only applies when the data analysed is randomly selected.

  3. extra

    Another Elmer Fudd-style shotgun spray from Ken. His hand-waving in the direction of ‘the symmetric hemispheric albedo …’ sounds like the kind of argument frequently raised by proponents of Intelligent Design- ‘there’s something going on that proves our point, but we don’t know what it is’.

    As Wayne Robinson has already asked, can we have an explanation as to how this is a problem for AGW.

    Some facts to back up your assertions in para 3 would be useful, too.

  4. Ken Lambert

    Wayne Robinson

    Last week’s Economist – a mildly warmist in climate change comment will tell you about the ‘pause’. So will Trenberth et al in a range of quotables over the last couple of years.

    Here are a few new facts. Hansen’s original 0.9W/sq.m global warming energy imbalance from 2005 – assumed and built into many climate science papers has been reduced to 0.6W/sq.m by the man himself and others who have recently supported a similar figure or less. This a one third reduction in global warming over what was assumed until recently.

    There is no coherent explanation for the ‘pause’ in warming evident over the last 15 years despite ever growing CO2 emissions and a theoretical increasing warming imbalance from CO2 and other GHG.

    Asian aerosols, natural variability, funny ENSO cycles strong trade winds (yes it is more windy all over the oceans driving the heat down 2000m) are all being thrown around in current debate – definitely unsettled.

    Last week’s Economist came up with a couple of explanations – at least one too many…..both can’t be right. How silly of climateers to produce too many explanations for the ‘pause’…they don’t realize that one right explanation is enough; and a surfeit of explanations to defeat the skeptics confirms that the science is far from settled.

    Recent satellite data has confirmed that the TSI is indeed reduced by 4.5 W/sq.m originally posed in 2005 – and poo-pooed by leading climate scientists until last year. This recasts all the calculation of actual warming imbalance and particularly the true value of the Earth’s albedo or reflectivity to solar radiation.

    And lastly, the very recent data on the albedo and emissivity of the northern and southern hemispheres which controls the incoming SW and outgoing LW radiation has shown an amazing symmetry within very tight tolerances. This result is not reproducable in current climate models due to the large differences in ocean and land areas and other factors between the hemispheres.

    This fact alone is a non trivial discovery which will probably blow all of the current modelling out of the water.

  5. Ken Lambert

    Onya Tamas.

    Love the Elmer Fudd analogy from ‘extra’ – could be my logo from now on…

  6. wayne robinson


    There’s no pause. Just cherry picking starting with an abnormally warm year and finishing with an abnormally cooler year. One good reason is enough. Having additional reasons makes your case worse not better. Increasing aerosols due to China’s and India’s industrialisation and a ‘quiet’ Sun just make the warming in the lower atmosphere of 0.01 degrees Celsius for your case even more fatal.

    Science progresses. So, climate scientists review their estimates of the radiative forcings of increasing greenhouse gases?

    And anyway. Voigt explained the reason for the symmetrical hemispheric albedos. It’s due to a shift in tropical clouds altering the average albedos in the two hemispheres. Doesn’t alter the effect of greenhouse gases. It just indicates that climate is complex.

  7. form1planet

    Rather hilarious that in the same issue of Crikey where Ken suggests that climate science is “oversold” to “keep the grants flowing”, it’s pointed out that the Federal Government is almost entirely ignoring the issue of climate change in agriculture. Somehow I doubt the federal grant money is flowing freely to climate science these days. If you were the type of scientist to skew your findings to support the most lucrative conclusion (like, well, none of the scientists I know), you’d do better on the other side of the fence.

  8. Ken Lambert

    Wayne Robinson

    “Science progresses. So, climate scientists review their estimates of the radiative forcings of increasing greenhouse gases?”

    Yeah, review their estimates DOWN. Why would their estimates be DOWN when CO2 emissions are going relentlessly UP.

    “It just indicates that climate is complex.”

    Yeah, too complex to be ‘settled’. In other words, we don’t know all that is really going on.

    If you allow that there is stuff going on in the climate which renders predictions wrong and estimates too high , then you must be a Creationist!!

  9. wayne robinson


    We do know the factors that influence climate! We just don’t know with 100% certainty how the various factors interact with the complex system that the Earth is.

    Claiming that because we can’t ever with 100% certainty know what’s going to happen, that we shouldn’t do anything about AGW is just silly.

    Anyway. We know Creationism is bunkum. We know Life on Earth evolved by natural means. We don’t know all the details, and we can’t predict with any certainty or even possibility what is going to evolve. We can with 100% certainty predict that something will evolve on Earth.

    Similarly, we can predict with 100% certainty that the Earth’s climate will change. It has in the past, sometimes due to changes in greenhouse gases, sometimes due to Milankovitch cycles, sometimes due to large volcanic eruptions.

    What is happening today is nothing special. A raise in greenhouse gases due to burning fossil fuels is no different to the ‘burp’ of methane from deep sea deposits of methane clathrate sat the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, in which global temperatures were 7 degrees C higher than today.

    Over the long time there’s no problem. The trouble is – we live in the short time.

  10. Ken Lambert

    Wayne Robinson

    Pretty sensible comment Wayne, we might end up agreeing.

    My thesis is that climate scientists have made claims to 97% (you know – 97% of us agree) certainty which the emerging evidence does not support.

    I conducted an extensive dialog on Realclimate with Gavin Schmidt, which resulted in him agreeing that the TSI from SORCE (4.5W/m2 lower than the accepted number) was in fact correct and that the new number of 1361.5W/m2 would ‘work its way through the scientific literature’.

    It turned out that earlier satellites had an aperture problem which overestimated the TSI. SORCE design fixed this unknown problem and was reading the lower figure since 2005. In 2009 correspondence with Trenberth – he told me that SORCE was rubbish on their attempt at the energy balance which used their 2005 TSI data.

    French satellite data presented at the DEC 2011 AGU meeting confirmed that the SORCE data was right.

    Why is this important? Well when you are trying to find a 0.6W/m2 imbalance in a incoming/outgoing radiation flux of 240W/m2, then small changes in the albedo and TSI can easily smother the putative imbalance. The 100W/m2 reflected by the Earth’s albedo depends a lot on the estimate of that very albedo used in climate models. All climate models to date have used a different NH and SH albedo because of the much different land/ocean area ratio in the southern hemisphere. Hence the significance of the Voight data. No current model uses it.

    In fact we cannot measure the energy imbalance directly with any accuracy – not even if it is positive or negative. The 0.6-0.9 W/m2 imbalance is derived from MODELS, chiefly Hansen from 2005.

    Any then we come to the ‘pause’. Trenberth’s missing heat can only be sequestered deep in the oceans – because it is not measured in the top 700m.

    Explanations; Funny succession of ENSO cycles. But ENSO is supposed to be an internal redistribution of heat – not a cyclical external forcing. ENSO should be heat neutral unless it is a cyclical external forcing which no climate scientist claims.

    Deep ocean warming; This is the fantastical one. Downwelling of warm water on a vast scale against the density profile of deepeningly colder seawater, and in the opposite direction to geothermal heat rising from the ocean bottom at an average 0.1W/m2 across the planet.

    Don’t forget that the equilibrium energy balance of the planet is about -0.1W/m2 at top of atmosphere which is the geothermal heat rising from the bottom of the ocean. If this heat did not exit through the TOA, then the oceans would boil off over thousands of years.

    Downwelling warmer water can only happen where ice is formed close to the Poles and the salinity overwhelms the thermal density profile. Where is the evidence of this in the open ice free oceans?

    Does this rising geothermal heat wave hello to the passing downwelling climate change heat driven by ‘stronger surface trade winds’ at say 2000m below the surface as they pass in the water column in time frames of a few years? Where is the evidence that surface trade winds affect anything but the surface layers?

    Asian aerosols; Trenberth doesn’t believe this reason and Hansen does! Scientific concensus?

    Quiet Sun: Well according to SORCE, the 11 year solar cycle bottomed out in about July 2009, so we have had a full 11 year solar cycle since 1998. The pause is now 15 years – longer than an 11 year solar cycle. We are looking at a solar maximum around the end of 2014-early 2015, so temperatures should have been rising for the last 4-5 years.

    So there are a few good reasons to be skeptical of the ‘settled concensus’.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details