CSIRO’s Dr David Post huge climate flip-flop

This weekend the nations press and media is full of this BoM/CSIRO story predicting the big “big dry” drought will return despite the useful post Autumn rains.

Now I do not know anybody who does not accept that Australia’s climate history is dominated by a series of droughts – so predicting future droughts is a bit of a non event. However what the BoM/CSIRO are saying I think is that the “worst drought ever” of the last decade will reappear and continue worsening – I think that is the doomster message.

Anyway – because the CSIRO’s Dr David Post is widely quoted this weekend as being connected with the source report for this weekend media blitz – “South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative” which interestingly came out in May 2010 just before record winter and September rains – I thought it worthwhile looking a bit closer at what Dr Post says.

I came across this fascinating article from January this year headed “No Link – Drought and Climate Change – CSIRO” – where he says –

Dr Post said in January there is “no evidence” linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin.

“At this stage, we’d prefer to say we’re talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it’s climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that.”

The Canberra Times carried a similar article.

So in a few short months Dr Post seems to have changed his opinion 180 degrees on the influence of “climate change” on drought.

In case this article vanishes

No Link – Drought and Climate Change – CSIRO
Posted by: Michael Smith | 19 January, 2010 – 2:02 PM

The mood is shifting quickly on climate change.

Mr Rudd and Penny Wong regularly talk about the water problems in the Murray Darling Basin being a direct result of climate change. Now a prominent scientist acting with the authority of the CSIRO has directly contradicted the PM and his Minister, saying is “no evidence” to link drought in eastern Australia to climate change. – Link

The CSIRO has just released a report on drought in Tasmania, leading to an interview with Dr David Post with the Canberra Times newspaper.

For the first time a prominent CSIRO scientist, the hydrologist David Post has refused to link the issue of drought with climate change.

Dr Post says there is “no evidence” linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin.

“At this stage, we’d prefer to say we’re talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it’s climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that.”

Dr Post has impressive academic credentials – Link

For his part Dr Bob Brown of The Greens says the CSIRO is caving in to political pressure to soften its stance on climate change in the lead-up to this year’s election.

One thing is clear – any suggestion that “the science is settled” is patently false and misleading.

23 thoughts on “CSIRO’s Dr David Post huge climate flip-flop”

  1. Warwick referring to comments in your previous post I’ve been searching and the only report I can find is the May 2010 report
    but the website www.seaci.org/news.html describes it as having been released on 21 October

  2. Dr Post is not on the list of contributors. Maybe, he has had his arm twisted to say a few words.
    I post at Jennifer Marohasy’s site jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2010/10/new-csiro-climate-forecast-for-se-australia-unbelievable/ that the CSIRO contributors had not bothered to read or reference the IEAust publication “Australian Rainfall and Runoff” nor cross reference any of the hundreds of references by scientists and engineers in that publication which includes actual data of rainfall, streamflows and inflows to storages in various catchments.
    The SEACI report shows incompetence on the part of the CSIRO project leaders and the management team including the CEO.

  3. March I completely agree; of concern to me in the CSIRO BOM report is the reliance upon modelling particularly for past run off and for future weather and past present and future run off predictions
    Niche Modelling has a nice article upon the deficiancies of computer modelling landshape.org/enm/climate-model-abuse/
    referring to the review by Roger Pielke Sr of a paper showing the abuse of models
    (quoting from the article which has a link to the paper)
    In the opinion of the editor Kundzewicz (who has served prominently on the IPCC), climate models were only designed to provide a broad assessment of the response of the global climate system to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcings, and to serve as the basis for devising a set of GHG emissions policies. They were not designed for regional adaptation studies.

    To expect more from these models is simply unrealistic, at least for direct application to regional water management problems. The Anagnostopoulos et al conclusions negate the value of spending so much money on regional climate predictions decades into the future, for example on the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative and the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence. ”

  4. Ken do you have any comment on this comment at jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2010/10/new-csiro-climate-forecast-for-se-australia-unbelievable/

    Comment from: cementafriend October 23rd, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Jennifer, Are you aware of The Institution of Engineers Australia (IEAust) publication “Australian Rainfall and Runoff” 1998 IEAust 11 National Circuit Barton ACT? I have volume one “A guide to flood estimation” but have lost Volume two which has all the rainfall data and runoff measurements (such as dam inflows, peak hourly rainfall across the country etc). I have used the publication for stormwater calculations (book 8 of volume 1)
    It is very clear that rainfall and runoff are engineering data as described in the Qld Professional Engineers Act (PE Act), Also, assessment of the data or calculation with the data for flooding, dam inflows etc would be an engineering service. The PE Act requires that anyone who provides an engineering service in Qld must be registered. A breach is a criminal offense. The act applies to the State (ie all people working in, with or for government or government organisations) and would apply to people working at CSIRO. Has anyone looked at the qualifications of the authors of the CSIRO report or who sined off on the report? Are they registered professional engineers? If the person, who signed off on it, is a registered PE he could be reported for a breach of the code of ethics and/or incompetence. It is time that someone took these climate alarmist and green clowns to court!
    I would think the mere mention of court action will see them retreat very fast.
    Keep well and thanks for your efforts.

  5. I have been beating the drum on the SEACI for some time on Andrew Bolt’s Blog. What they are doing is applying Downscaling techniques to the Global Climate Models produced by the IPCC to produce Regional Climate Models. In other words, computer projections are used to create more computer projections!!!
    What is of concern is that it is not obvious from the statements by Post et al, what the nature of this “research” is ie that they are projections based on other projections. As Pielke says in another paper:

    Funding of multi-decadal regional climate predictions (eg SEACI) which cannot be verified in terms of accuracy is not only a poor use of tax payer funds, but is misleading policymakers and others on the actual skill that exists in predicting changes in the frequency of drought in the future.

    There is no doubt that the SEACI results are being used by the Vic Govt in its decision not to build new dams. I also suspect the Murray Darling Authority is also influenced by their “predictions”. As Pielke says, they are being mislead.

  6. This statement in the quoted Australian article caught my attention, as it was an attempt to explain/validate their predictions of increasing drought severity. No mention of the fact these predictions were based on computer projections of computer projections! As Pielke observes above, misleadingly so.

    Program director David Post said these changes were linked to large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns. They indicated a shift in the overall climate of southeastern Australia, similar to what has been experienced in southwest Western Australia since the 1970s, Dr Post said.

    Unfortunately, as pointed out on this blog back in June 2010,

    The work in progress indicates that southwest Western Australia experienced periods of higher mean winter rainfall, with high interdecadal variability during 1300 to 1600 AD, followed by lower mean but less variable winter rainfall from 1600 to 1900 AD, which is similar to the past 50 years (Goodwin, in prep.)…

    So the change in rainfall pattern in SW Australia is part of a long term cyclical pattern going back 700 years, well beyond any influence of AGW. Maybe SE Australia’s climate is similarly influenced and beyond our control.

  7. Perhaps the same forces that lowered the published rainfall records ( just like homogenizing the temp data) have influence here.

  8. In regard to temperatures In regard to the Australian temperature record Ken Stewart has done some great work; what he believes is the first ever independent check on the official climate record of Australia. It is also the first ever independent check on the official record of an entire continent.
    check out
    kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/the-australian-temperature-re cord-part-9-an-urban-myth/
    and check out the link to part 8,
    his conclusion:
    One thing we do know:- the High Quality data does NOT give an accurate record of urban Australian temperatures over the last 100 years. BOM’s reconstruction of the temperature record is at best a guess. High Quality is an urban myth.

    This study shows a number of problems with the Australian High Quality Temperature Sites network, on which the official temperature analyses are based. Problems with the High Quality data include:

    » It has been subjectively and manually adjusted.
    » The methodology used is not uniformly followed, or else is not as described.
    » Urban sites, sites with poor comparative data, and sites with short records have been included.
    » Large quantities of data are not available, and have been filled in with estimates.
    » The adjustments are not equally positive and negative, and have produced a major impact on the Australian temperature record.
    » The adjustments produce a trend in mean temperatures that is roughly a quarter of a degree Celsius greater than the raw data does.
    » The warming bias in the temperature trend is over 40%, and in the anomaly trend is 50%.
    » The trend published by BOM is 66.67% greater than that of the raw data.

  9. The Qld Govt has tabled this report today:
    It’s 100 pages but for scientists like Warwick and some of his readers it would make interesting reading
    this from page 8:
    Climate Change 2009 (Steffen 2009) reviewed the
    science of climate change since the publication of
    the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s
    (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change
    2007 (AR4) (IPCC 2007a–c). Steffen suggests that
    the AR4 was conservative in its range of projections
    and that many aspects of the climate system are
    changing at the upper level of the IPCC range
    of projections—towards more rapid and severe
    climate change with dangerous impacts.
    The Science of Climate Change: Questions
    and Answers published in August 2010 by the
    Australian Academy of Sciences outlines changes
    in Australian climate including:
    • an increase of about 0.7 °C in average surface
    temperature since 1960, with some areas having
    warmed faster and others showing little evidence
    of warming
    • an increase in the frequency of extremely
    hot days
    • a decrease in the frequency of cold days
    • significant increase in rainfall over
    north-western Australia
    • decrease in rainfall over south-eastern Australia
    • sea level rise of about 1.2 millimetres per year
    since 1920.
    Figure 7 (a) at page 17 looks very much like the hockey stick and this is what the report says about it:

    Figure 7(a) shows the strong warming trend in the
    global temperature record since the early 20th
    century. Figure 7(b) shows the individual years
    in the record ranked according to their average
    temperature, the year ranked as number one
    (1998) being the warmest year on record. This
    figure highlights the increasing trend in global
    temperatures, with recent decades dominating
    as the warmest years.

    Sea level of course is rising and rainfall is diminishing (no mention of glaciers in this report) but lots to say about tipping points and future challenges and plenty of attribution to the IPCC

  10. As a Kiwi I am fascinated by the Australian climate. From over here I see the norm in Australia being a lack of rain. The exception seems to be widespread rain. So in comparison with my place drought in Australia seems to be the norm. If drought is the norm then when I hear on the news that there is yet another drought in Australia why would I be thinking this is in any way unusual? News of another Australian drought has become rather ho-hum. Why is dry weather in Australia even considered to be “drought”? Surely it can only be a real drought if the lack of rain is even more extreme than normal.

    Over here at my place we get about 2.5 to 3 metres of rain per year near the coast. In the hills about 10 to 20 km inland the annual rainfall is from 4 to 10 metres. If you would like to send some big tankers over I am sure we could sell you some water. Would this be cheaper than desalinisation?

  11. Ken Stewart’s latest post (about sea rises) since the BOM/CSIRO report
    By the way, in today’s Weekend Australian, there are quotes from the official briefing from the Department of Climate Change and Energy. One of the quotes is: “The rate of global warming over the past 50 years of approximately 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade is about 100 times faster than the warming after an ice age.” Have a look at the graph above and compare the rates of warming. 1960 -2010: 0.13 C per decade or 0.65 C over 50 years (as you can see it’s actually less- 0.6 C over 60 years!); 1860-1875: about 0.2 C over 15 years- much faster! Again, 1910 – 1940: about 0.4 C over 30 years is the same as the rate claimed for the last 50 years. There have been two additional phases of global warming equal or greater than the recent phase. It seems you can’t trust anyone these days.

    Then on page 18 the Queensland report links this to sea level rise: “Sea level rise is caused by increases in ocean thermal expansion and ocean mass due to increasing global temperatures. Water expands when it heats up, increasing the level of the ocean.”

    So let’s compare the “official” temperature record with some Australian sea level data.

    First, Townsville. This is the official chart of sea level rise from NOAA.

    So, if my grandchildren are going to see this 0.8m rise in sea level along the Queensland coast, there will have to be a very rapid increase very soon. If there isn’t, the Australian Academy of Sciences, CSIRO, and the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence will have considerable explaining to do for their scare mongering.

    But they’ll be long forgotten.

    Please visit Ken’s site and leave a comment

  12. You really do have to wonder about the honesty, integrity and credibility of Dr Post.

    Dr Post would be well aware of the January comment: “At this stage, we’d prefer to say we’re talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it’s climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that.”

    To then do a flip flop demonstrates that Dr Post is confused, lacks understanding of the topic, or is knowingly just being down right dishonest!

  13. As for NW Australia receiving higher rainfall than normal, Broome, which has no water storage, rivers or dams, is shipping borewater to Barrow Island for the LNG industry, due to the shortfall of rain in the Pilbara. I doubt this can be sustainable for long, the 2009/10 wet season here was below average, though some useful rain was received in the winter. Our temperatures have been above the mean for most of the last year.
    It is well known that we have large swings in rainfall activity as we are influenced strongly from sea surface temperatures, depending on the Indian Ocean currents. Broome itself is situated on a small peninsular, so min/max temperatures vary little compared to just a few kilometres inland, yet rainfall can vary a lot.

  14. Don’t know if I’m going a bit tin-hat, but something occurred a few weeks ago that has made me a little suspicious of BOM.

    My area’s minimum for Sunday 17th of this month was first recorded as 3.0. It had been a fantastically cold morning for the time of year, so I’d made a point of checking at the Elders website. The only colder recorded temp for Kempsey had been for the very start of the month, so this was in effect more dramatic than any technical record.

    When I checked a bit later, the minimum temp for Sunday 17th was 3.5. And thus it remains.

    I’ve mentioned this on Jo Nova and elsewhere, and was considering asking BOM about it. But something tells me that would be a less than fruitful exercise.

  15. Amazon is tidal river (5m tides)
    once were huge tidal rivers on northwest Australia.

    BETTER CLIMATE more energy, food, land and water.
    Use mighty power of nature. In the northwestern Australia, we have huge tides,
    huge evaporation and huge dry rivers and lakes.
    Tides are up to 12m. Evaporation is up to 4m per year and can be increased.
    Huge 12m tidal erosion can revive old dry paleo dormant once mighty rivers, creeks and lakes,
    desalinate the country and change deserts to rain forests to provide more rain across Australia.
    World population is growing rapidly and we need more energy, food, land and water.

  16. Warwick; I’ve tried to e mail you with a question; not related to this article

    I and a co author would like to write an article about your BOM/GISS articles

    You have my e mail; could you please e mail me with your current e mail address please so I can send that proposal to you

  17. A link to an article by John O’Sullivan and myself
    New Retreat from Global Warming Data by Australian Gov Bureau
    Global warmers in full retreat as Aussie experts admit growing doubts about their own methods as new study shows one third of temperatures not reliable.
    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) admits it was wrong about urban heating effects as a professional statistical analysis by Andrew Barnham exposes a BOM claim that “since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7 °C”; the BOM assertion has no empirical scientific basis.
    The article features the excellent work of Ken Stewart and Andrew Barnham

  18. Hello all…

    Can anyone on this well informed blog point to the original expression of this “900mm sea rise in 100 years” claim?

    What I am looking for is the lower value that would have been expressed at that time.

    Have read from several non-metric places that the figures are 8″ to 30″ over 100 years.

    If this is correct, then there is a real issue for those expressing _only_ the higher more sensational value.

    Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Replies via this blog or via the moderator are welcomed.

    Harry of WFF

  19. Sea level rise is per year by nature about 1.8 mm
    100 year x 1.8 mm = 180 mm = 18 cm = 0.18 meters per 100 year
    for 1000 years = 1.8 meters just by nature,
    so floods in future will be bigger
    rise of sea level will probably continue for another 6000 years and than starts falling
    somebody who knows astrological computation
    perhaps can give precise date when sea levels will start falling

    Why sea levels are falling an rising is because earth ellipse around the sun is
    is now getting shorter – and polar ice melts more since sun is closer
    and winters are getting shorter
    melting polar caps = sea rise
    For more see Milankovic Cyrcles on internet.

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