Cult of Stupidity: Naming Names

Jennifer Marohasy. Remember that name, especially if you’re Australian.

In a recent blog post she decides to name names:

It is not disputed that Blair Trewin under the supervision of David Jones (both working at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology) remodel all the historical temperature data generating trends and statistics that look quite different from the actual measurements.

Yes they do. My opinion: either she doesn’t understand why they do, or she does but she doesn’t care because she wants to slander climate scientists and the data they produce.

She highlights this graph of multiple versions of yearly average temperature at Wagga Wagga, Australia:

It looks kind of like a mess, doesn’t it? Well it should, because they’re all for “Wagga Wagga” but they’re not for the same location. The lines marked “Raw: Wagga Wagga (Kooringal) and “Raw: Wagga Wagga AMO” are yearly averages of thermometer readings taken at different locations about five miles apart. We already know that they won’t give the same readings — there is likely (almost inevitably) a difference between their average readings, they are essentiall on a different scale. But we also know they will show the same trend over time with extremely high precision. This means we can combine them to estimate the trend at Wagga Wagga, but we can’t combine them to get the actual temperature unless we adjust one of them to be on the same scale as the other. Unless, of course, you want to get the wrong answer. My opinion: Jennifer Marohasy doesn’t just want to get the wrong answer, she wants all of Australia to get it wrong.

Neither record covers the time span Australia’s BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) is mainly interested in: from 1910 to the present. Hence the BoM has combined them to make a single record for “Wagga Wagga” covering the whole episode. Therefore they adjust the data before combining it — because they want to get the right answer. They’ll make adjustments for other reasons too, but always with good reasons.

My guess: What Jennifer Marohasy really wants readers to think is that if you use the two sets of data as is, not “remodel” the data, then the trend you get is nothing like the trend claimed for Wagga Wagga by the BoM, so the BoM data must be wrong, maybe they’re perpetrating a hoax.

What Jennifer Marohasy doesn’t do — in spite of the fact that it’s oh, so easy — is show why Australia’s BoM “remodels” things.

Allow me, using the exact example pointed to by Jennifer Marohasy.

The BoM wants to understand Australia’s temperature history back to at least 1910, and one clue is the temperature from Wagga Wagga, Australia, because there’s a weather station there, Wagga Wagga AMO. Unfortunately, the data only go back to 1942.

Fortunately there’s another station nearby — less than 5 miles away — which has prior data, extending from 1871 up to 1950, at Kooringal. It’s not the same location, but we can count on the fact that the weather there will follow the weather at Wagga Wagga AMO quite closely. If it’s hot, or cold, or rainy, or sunny five miles away, it probably is where you are too.

Let’s see for ourselves. I retrieved daily data for high temperature (the “actual measurements,” without any “remodel” adjustments) for both locations, then computed yearly averages from 1910 through 2019 (as above). My graph is quite similar, but (I think) less cluttered and clearer.

Let’s zoom in on the time span from 1942 through 1951:

Obviously, they show the same changes over time. This means that we can use the temperature changes at Kooringal as a good estimate of the temperature changes at Wagga Wagga AMO, for those times from 1910 to 1942 when there isn’t direct information.

Another thing is obvious: that they show the same changes over time but are offset from each other. The yearly average temperature at Kooringal is about 1°C hotter than at Wagga Wagga AMO, consistently and persistently. It’s not always 1°C hotter, they are not the same location! But for climate purposes, they are so nearby that their monthly and yearly averages will track each other precisely, if you adjust the Kooringal data to be at the same “zero point level” as the Wagga Wagga AMO data. Since we can estimate the temperature at Wagga Wagga AMO by subtracting 1°C from the temperature at Wagga Wagga Kooringal, we’ll have an estimate all the way back to 1910!

If you don’t do this — if you deliberately omit this “remodel” adjustment — then you are deliberately misrepresenting the temperature changes at Wagga Wagga. That’s a fact.

If we just glue together the data from both locations to form a combined record for Wagga Wagga with no allowance for the consistent, persistent difference between the data from the two locations, we would know that the early stuff is too hot. You would only do that if you are so amazingly stupid that you don’t get this, or if you are so dishonest you don’t care.

If you do “remodel” the data, by subtracting 1°C from the Kooringal data (0.994°C, to be precise), you get this picture of temperature change at Wagga Wagga since 1910:

Compare that to the 2nd graph in this post (the first one produced by me).

Ms. Marohasy goes on to say:

So, when Michael Mann and David Karoly tell you it’s getting hotter and hotter, this is their interpretation of Blair Trewin’s statistics, not their interpretation of the actual data.

When I say there needs to be more scrutiny of what Blair does to the actual measurements, I’m simply making a request.

My opinion: this is obviously a lie. Tell us, Jennifer Marohasy, do you still beat your kids? Do you still torture animals? When I say there needs to be more scrutiny of what you do to children and animals, I’m simply making a request.

What is not opinion, but a fact, is that the BoM has been transparent about their methods and results, everything is available for public scrutiny, they have offered detailed explanations, in short, they have already answered Jennifer Marohasy’s question.

Jennifer Marohasy is doing everything she can to prevent Australia from dealing with the climate crisis and preparing for the consequences — too many of which have already hit. She is one of the sources of misinformation for those have crippled any attempt to save Australia from the coming (and present) conflagration.

Also my opinion: Australians should remember the name Jennifer Marohasy, and should definitely hold her accountable.

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106 responses to “Cult of Stupidity: Naming Names

  1. Wow. Thx, I like this neatly stitching together very much. Let’s hope, that many Australians read this textbook example of d… (I can’t see the d-word anymore, sorry).

  2. In fact Blair Trewin is one of the best in the world. A great colleague.

    [Response: And, in my opinion, the BoM produce some of the highest-quality national data in the world.]

  3. When do we stop calling this stupidity and instead call it just plain lying? Jennifer Marohasy is not stupid. It’s not as if this is trivial stuff: the future depends, more than ever, on us doing the right thing, and doing it right now.

    • I agree. It’s deliberate prevarication–that is to say, “lying.”

      • I tend to agree with “lying”. She has genuinely gullible followers who really believe that BoM is fraudulently adjusting temperatures. But I can’t believe that she believes that rubbish. The fact that she’s part of the IPA and has been for a long time suggests that she is knowingly seeking to mislead. You can always give her the benefit of the doubt, but you may as well just ask her, “Are you stupid or dishonest?”.

      • Frankly, I’m not sure which she would choose. I say, why make her choose. She is both stupid and lying.

    • No, I believe she is stupid. Or kind of. There are people who can’t wrap their head around a certain fact while being smart and sensible otherwise.

      • “Can’t?” Or “won’t”?

        I’d say that emotional biases can trump cognition. Whether that’s properly labeled “stupidity” is interesting in a theoretical sort of way–and maybe with the modifier “willful” attached to the label “stupidity”. But I’m not sure the theoretical argument points toward a practical guideline for coping–not unless, that is, one can get at the basis for the emotional bias. (Cf., “The lightbulb has to want to change.”)

      • An artist I knew one time said that if there is such a thing as an idiot savant, there must also be a category of genius stupide.

        I also define stupidity differently. I think of stupidity not as lack of intelligence, but rather using what intelligence one possesses to fool oneself. By this definition, the intelligent can be stupider than the morons.

  4. Interesting that she also doesn’t mention that the raw data for “Wagga Wagga AMO” has by far the largest warming trend of anything on the chart… which means that the BMO team arrived at a less ‘alarming’ result than they could have, had they simply decided to suppress the Kooringal data.

    Why am I not surprised that she doesn’t recognize integrity when it’s presented to her?

  5. Very nice Tamino. Mahorasy is actually too lazy to explicitly lay out what she thinks the data should be. I commented on her blog post. It will be interesting to see if my comment gets past moderation.

    I’m taking a new tack on hard core deniers. I’m pointing out that global warming is a practical problem not an ideological problem. They try very very hard to paint it as ideological (because it is for them).

    • Susan Anderson

      Always a puzzle why they don’t get out more. Sealed in a temperature controlled room with no windows? Weird! [Of course, if they ignore weather news outside their backyard, that might work for a little while, but no forever.]

  6. BOM should sue for libel. It is not like people havent tried to explain this to Marohassy before. She knows she is misrepresenting them.

  7. This is a common problem among the quantitatively naive, including my recent ex-bosses. (I’m not saying Ms Marohasy is naive, but I’m simply following the dictum “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” of Hanlon’s Razor.) I wrote two blog posts about this, the first more pertinent than the second.

    * (That’s actually an annotated link to

    • ““Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” of Hanlon’s Razor”

      It’s a phrase, not a hypothesis proven. Malice seems to be at least as prevalent as stupidity. Smart as well as not-so-smart people practice it all the time, and only half the people qualify as being (relatively) stupid.

      People connive and have bias all the time, millions of times each day around the world. Every business meeting is a conspiracy on a small scale.

      My vote is for malice.

    • Lawrence McLean

      Dictums are foolish ,I call them mini religions. The dictum “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”, is actually dangerous. You should make judgements of people based on their history and other evidence, not dictums. The reality is many people are cruel and get great pleasure in inflicting pain and misery on others (that includes animals). Failure to do this may very well result in further harm, if the persons actions were assumed to be just random stupidity without any malice.

      • The reason for embracing Hanlon’s Razor is not altruism. Rather, one is saying that the opponent is so insignificant that one can afford to assume the best of them and still demolish them. It’s like the Southern saying, “Bless his heart,…”–a phrase that is properly followed by a devastating insult.

      • It’s like the Southern saying, “Bless his heart,…”–a phrase that is properly followed by a devastating insult.

        Best practice–per my ~30 years of observing it in its native habitat, anyway–is to precede the saying with an indirect but pointed zinger.

        E.g.–and I’m sure this could be done much better, but I can’t claim to be a master of the idiom:

        That poor li’l Jennifer! When it comes to stats, she can’t hardly Wagga her tail-feathers–bless her heart!

      • Lawrence McLean

        snarkrates: I cannot reply directly to you, my reply to your comment is that it is ridiculous. For example, sadly, Mahorasy has more influence than just about any Climate Scientist, so she is not insignificant. As well, it is unlikely she is even aware of this web page dealing with her.

        Julian Assange is hated because he presented evidence that so called “Collateral damage” is not just an accident, it is often actively pursued and enjoyed by those who commit it. In many cases Hanlon’s Razor is used by people in authority to protect their lie that they and their functionaries are decent human beings.

        Hanlon’s Razor is dangerous as it serves to dissuade valid suspicion of some ones motives.

      • Lawrence McLean, So, help me out Lawrence. If Marahosy is not even aware of this webpage, how does it matter a tinker’s damn whether we attribute her clueless post to malice or to stupidity?
        As to her influence, it is only over idiots who have already rejected science and objective reality, so again, we are unlikely to influence them with either reasoned argument or invective. No serious person takes Marahosy seriously. The fact that we seem to have chosen the chucklefucks to run the country doesn’t change that fact.

      • Oh yeah. Sorry. Bless your heart.

      • Lawrence McLean

        snarkrates: Another aspect of your reply that to me is wrong is the implication arising from the term: “the opponent is so insignificant”. The status of a person does not necessarily have anything to do with the validity of either their views or observations.

        An example was in the 1940’s when the drug Curare was first being used, it was deemed to be a safer anaesthetic for children. The Trauma the children expressed after the operations was dismissed by the senior Scientist as Childish hysteria. This opinion was the official opinion until the senior Scientist had an operation in which he elected that Curare be used as the anaesthetic. We now know Curare is not an Anaesthetic, it is simply a muscle relaxant! Effectively the “observations” of the children was deemed to be invalid compared with the assertions of the high status senior Scientist.

      • Lawrence McLean

        Snarkrates: What does “Serious Person” mean? Irrespective of what any ones opinion is, the Prime Minister of Australia and many of his colleagues are not insignificant persons The concept that there are “Serious People” and obviously “unserious people”, to me, is a silly elitist concept.

        With regards to Marohasy, what matters is the correct understanding of her motives. This is because that correct understanding affects how to most effectively deal with her. For example, if a bully comes up to you and says: “hey snarky, there are pink Elephants flying in the sky”; you do not look up; you kick him in the balls straight away. However, if some one is genuinely mentally ill, then that response would be inappropriate.

        Your last response to me” “Bless your heart”, I have already dealt with in another reply dealing with the perceived status of a person not necessarily having anything to do with the validity of either their views or observations.

        Sadly it is a common trait for people to believe what they want to believe. It is important to understand why people want to believe false ideas, because as I said previously, in order to most effectively minimise the effect of those false ideas.

      • I HIGHLY doubt the curare story. One tiny problem with it is that curare stops breathing. Perhaps you can provide a solid reference your tale (this isn’t Breitbart or even Facebook)?

        It is true that some early work on adults led to such trauma. But the clinical reports were quickly spread.

      • But Marohasy’s actions are not adequately explained by stupidity. Malice fits better. She has the training to be able to understand the adjustments but shows no sign of having tried to. She has merely denounced. This is malicious behaviour.

      • Lawrence McLean

        Jgnfld: In Australia, the National Broadcaster, the ABC, has a weekly radio program called the “Science Show” presented by Robyn Williams, it would have been about 25 years ago that I heard the story that you doubt on that show. The Interviewee had worked in the London Hospital where this happened. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the story as Robyn Williams is very professional and trustworthy and why would someone make up such a story? It is very likely that records associated with the event have never been made public, especially considering that it was somewhat embarrassing to the senior Scientist or surgeon involved.

      • In the particular case of Marahosy, her bad faith (albeit, not necessarily malice) is well established. Almost certainly, she does not view her motivation as malicious–or if she does, she doesn’t care. But even if she is malicious, she certainly does not want to be dismissed as stupid. Her readers do not want to be dismissed as stupid. Certainly, the politicians who run the Aussie gummint do not want the voters to discover that they are stupid.

        Serious people accept science. That should be an absolute maxim, and accepting science should become a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite for being taken seriously. The only way I know to get there is to quit taking science deniers seriously.

      • “Oh yeah. Sorry. Bless your heart.”

        Now that was a pitch-perfect example! LOL

      • The real problem with the curare story isn’t that it may or may not be accurate. it’s that it makes Snark’s point, not Lawrence’s: it wasn’t enough that the reports of pain be true, they also had to come from a source perceived to be credible.

        It’s all kind of moot, though, in that Marohasy’s crap is neither.

        BTW, for those curious about curare in anasthesia, here’s a couple of random links I Googled up:

        Nothing about its use with kids, though.

      • Lawrence, pretty sure Snark wasn’t saying “Bless your heart” to you, but to me. I had, after all, just butted in to your conversation with a slightly precious irrelevancy to lecture him on the “best practice” in the use of the term. (Fascination with slightly precious irrelevancies is a failing of mine, as is lecturing without intending to lecture.)

        And while my punning example of the ‘bless your heart’ idiom was, I hope, amusing in a slightly over-Baroque sort of way, his rejoinder was absolutely spot-on. IOW, I got schooled.

        Hilarious!–to me, at least.

      • Lawrence McLean

        Jgnfld: I guess it is reasonable to doubt the veracity of my “Tale” as you disparagingly call it, due to its anecdotal nature, I have searched a few times over the years trying to get the details, but come up with nothing. However, I cannot see how the fact that stopping the heart as it obviously would when the dose is high enough, is reason to doubt the “Tale”. Many anaesthetics and pain killers stop the heart when the dose is high enough. You seem to be using a scatter gun approach in order to discredit what I am saying, you are behaving more like a Lawyer that a Scientist!

      • Doc Snow: I suspect, and hope, that your reply to me regarding the Curare point supporting snark rather than myself, is sarcasm. Your point that it wasn’t enough reports where true, they also had to come from a source perceived to be credible; highlights the harm that can result when the criteria for determining what is valid or invalid is simply the perceived status of the person. It is coupled very closely with the common human trait of believing what they want to.

        Determining if something is valid or invalid can at times be quite complex, which is why I object to the dictum (Hanlons Razor). Motivations can be very crucial when making judgements about an issue.

        Over the years I have tried to find information regarding the Curare story that I repeat, sadly however, I have also failed to find it. This conversation has tempted me to contact Robyn Williams, he may remember more details than me.

      • Lawrence McLean

        Doc Snow: I have realised a far better example than the Curare story in order to illustrate what I am trying to communicate regarding the use status in determining validity, is the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the massive report is even on-line and easy to find. An Engineer at Morton Thiokol, who made the solid boosters, actually said that if the launch go ahead that everyone will be killed. His perceived status meant that his view was ignored in place of more Senior People who supported the desire to go ahead with the Launch. That Engineer was subsequently sacked!

      • Thank you for the lecture on how science works, bless your heart. Now I know that your remaining memories of some item you heard on the radio 25 years ago and have never been able to verify are acceptable scientific data and should be accepted without question.

        Now I’ll lecture: Your law and engineering examples are fine for law and engineering. They have nothing to do with how scientific facts and theories are established. That you conflate science with law and engineering means you simply do not understand the scientific process.

        Oh…and curare does not stop the heart. It stops breathing.

      • Look, the problem with Marahosy and anyone foolish enough to listen to her is that they are simply to idiotic to realize they are wrong. So, why try? Dismiss them with a–preferably pithy–putdown and try to help people who actually want to understand the phenomena. I take the same attitude toward climate deniers that I do toward creationists, flat-earthers, hollow-earthers, anti-vaxers…

        Life’s too short to concern ourselves with idiots.

      • Oh, and on Challenger, it’s actually a bit more complicated and interesting. The loss of O-ring flexibility at cold temperatures was a known failure mode for the SRBs. No previous launch had taken place at temperatures below 52 degrees F, and Challenger launched into 36 F temperatures. There was a rule of thumb, not to launch when temperature was below 51 degrees F.

        The entire night prior to the scheduled launch, calls had gone back and forth between Marshall Space Flight Center and Morton-Thiokol, with Marshall engineers pressuring M-T engineers to OK a launch.
        The reason for this pressure was that President Reagan wanted to mention Christa McCauliffe in his state of the union speech. None of the M-T engineers would sign off on the decision to launch. Finally, the chief engineer was directed by management to “take off your engineering hat and put on your manager hat.” He signed, and the rest is known–at least mostly. I knew one of those engineers–Roger Boisjoly–who spent the remainder of his life (he died in 2012) making sure the story was not forgotten.
        The proximate cause of the disaster was never in doubt. Feynman was essentially fed the answer during the initial interviews for the investigation.

        So, in reality, it wasn’t that people didn’t believe the engineers. Rather, they were under immense political pressure and caved, hoping they could get by with it, just this once.
        The same is more or less true of the Columbia accident. Again, a known issue, but they’d gotten away with it before, so it must not be real, right. Just like the guy who fell off the 100-story skyscraper and was heard to say, as he passed the 50th floor, “So far, so good!”

    • Malice makes her stupid. She wants to believe that others are dishonest. That is malicious behaviour.

  8. She’s part of the IPA: the Institute of Public Affairs.
    It’s Australia’s “leading” right-wing think tank.
    She’s paid to produce talking points for politicians and shock-jocks (right wing talk back show hosts)

    She wouldn’t care if it’s true or not…

  9. Nice takedown..
    Another detail, if we look at the Wagga Wagga AMO station alone, it looks like the raw data (blue) has the highest trend 1942-now, which means that the ACORN adjustments cool the trend.
    Hence, a conspiracy nutter should suspect that Big Coal has infiltrated BoM and tries to hide the warming. However, no such assertions are ever heard, probably because those who believe in science are sensible people.

  10. Jennifer Marohasy works for a right wing Spin Factory (although they like to call themselves a Think Tank) much beloved by our conservative government. They managed to persuade Tony Abbot during his turn at being Prime Minister that he should set up a committee to investigate the way BOM homogenised the data.

    Fortunately the government chose some of Australias best statisticians (It would not have surprised me if they had instead appointed idealogues).They listened to Morohassy and Co, looked carefully at BOM’s procedures and concluded that BOM was doing the right thing.

    Of course they also made some suggestions about how BOM could make some minor improvements, particularly in explaining their methods to the public and of course the Murdoch press turned these suggestions into criticisms of BOM. Marohasy and Co choose to ignore the committee’s findings.

    • I know several of those statisticians and spoke to one of them about that committee. He was aware that mothing would convince those making claims against the BOM that global warming was real.

  11. Speaking of stupidity, I have seen the following doing the rounds, (apologies for the off topic), but someone thinks they have proved that Global Warming is not possible. Can anyone point me to a refutation of this? My Physics is not strong enough to point to the flaw in reasoning.

    [Response: That’s what deniers count on: that your physics (math, etc.) aren’t strong enough to see through their lies. They couch their nonsense in scientific jargon and graphs, not to convince those who understand, but to inflame those who can’t but will believe it anyway, i.e. the stupid. Hence the “cult of stupidity.”

    I leave it to others to point out refutations of this nonsense. But it’s so easy to show …]

    • I am no physicist, but this seems pretty easy to refute. No one says that the heat stays in the CO2 molecule. Outbound LWIR is absorbed by a CO2 molecule and then re-emitted in a random direction, including back down to the surface. The heat is “trapped” _on Earth_, not in the molecule. The length of time it remains in the molecule is completely irrelevant.

      [Response: That wasn’t difficult, was it?]

      • I’d like to add two details:
        (1) – the same is valid especially for water vapor (until it begins to precipitate – somewhere around the tropopause if I well remember);
        (2) – we should not wonder so much about ‘skeptic’s ranting on ‘CO2 being unable to make Earth warmer’, when we remind that on lots of NASA web pages, you still can see things like:

        Carbon dioxide plays a significant role in trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere.

        what has been of course intentionally misinterpreted all over the climate (pseudo)skeptic blogger sphere.

        J.-P. D.

    • Oh, yes, my old friend Nasif Nahle, who has strange ideas about peer review (he does his own), and even basic arithmetic. He also uses the name biocab, and a search on that will lead you to wondrous things.

      • Yeah, I ‘ve had a few run ins with Nasif on the Intertubes. He’s…hmmm…not very bright.
        One other thing his “analysis” ignores is that during that 10^-4 seconds, the CO2 molecule will have lots of collisions with other molecules (mostly N2 and O2), and that it can transfer it’s vibrational energy to the kinetic energy of those molecules. Such collisional relaxation is more common than radiative relaxation, especially at low altitudes.

        Typical Nasif, seize on one fact while ignoring the actual physics.

    • FWIW an Electroverse article by the same Cap Allon claimed that –

      “Based on the increase of solar activity during the twentieth century, it should account for between half to two-thirds of all climate change”

      A claim refuted here –

  12. Thanks / Merci Tamino

    Some years ago I debunked at home a lot of claims made by Heller aka Goddard, concerning his ill-born comparisons of the ‘adjusted’ vs. ‘unadjusted’ variants of NOAA’s GHCN V3.

    Every time he found a station with an ‘adjusted’ trend being higher than the ‘unadjusted’ one, he complained about NOAA ‘making the past cooler to get the present warmer’, what then was repeated ad nauseam on all these pseudoskeptic blogs.

    I guess he did that so routinely that he didn’t even look for the adjustment’s reason.

    Wie dummdreist darf man eigentlich ungestraft sein?

    I love these strange German idioms my native tongue is absolutely unable to reproduce!

    { helps if necessary :-) }

    Best regards
    J.-P. Dehottay

  13. I think we may be seeing a new trend lately: The lies from the more directly politically-connected climate change denialists, at least, are getting what seem to me, at least, more and more desperate. Don’t know an objective proxy to provide evidence, but that seems to be the case to me. If so, that is at least a bit of a hopeful sign.

    Or maybe I am trying to spin things for myself.

    • Interesting observation. Do you have a specific example or two that you can point to?

      • It’s hard to quantify a mood. But the stridency of the outright lies just seems to be increasing. This one here seems another example.

        This reminds me of how a cheating husband acts as more and more evidence piles up he is a lying bastard: Upping the stridency to shut up any deeper examination or real communication (since real communication is precisely what neither deniers nor cheating husbands want).

        What gives me some small hope is this sort of thing in other areas of life happens just before the dam breaks and and the whole denial system shatters.

        Or maybe I’m just pumping sunshine. Hope not, though.

  14. Wasn’t the purpose of the BEST project to resolve this question? Their analysis does not adjust the data. For global coverage the results are the same. If BEST is the same for Australia that proves the adjustments are correct.

    [Response: Did you notice that before the BEST project released their results, climate deniers loved Richard Muller. Anthony Watts actually said he would accept the results whatever they were.

    Then the results were announce. Deniers in general, turned on Muller like a pack of wolves. Anthony Watts’ promise turned out to be about as good as his “science”, i.e. no good at all.]

    • Curious that you claim BEST “does not adjust the data”. What do you consider kriging to be?

      • ecoquant

        ” What do you consider kriging to be?”

        That is a matter of definition.

        Under ‘adjustment’, one mostly understands modification(s) applied to single stations (e.g., by modifiying their record when lots of nearby stations show the same difference to them).

        You may view kriging or grid averaging as adjustments, but it is then giving the same name to considerably different procedures.

      • @Bindidon,

        I’m not sure I understand your reply, but if I krige a number of point measurements of ocean temperatures taken by ships or ARGO, I get a field of temperatures. This field has residuals, meaning that there is a difference between the contributing point measurements and the value of the field estimated at the same place. Accordingly, it is not the same as the point measurements.

        Yet, what’s passed on is the field, not the point measurements, and the field is what’s used as the summary of the measurements. How is that not an “adjustment”?

      • ecoquant

        To be quite clear, let me add that continuing that way, someone might suddenly decide that for example, any computation of departures from the mean of a reference period is an adjustment, especially when the time series is deseasonalised!

      • Well, as the Wikipedia link points out, kriging is a method of interpolation. I’m in agreement with the view that adjustments affect single data points, whereas kriging is a method of analyzing multiple data points. Kriging, regression, averaging, etc. are not “adjustments’, since the original data point still exists and can be expressed as a residual.

        Of course, in weapons-grade denialists, even averaging is considered meaningless. To them, it’s all devious manipulation.

      • Yes, even the use of anomalies instead of absolute temperatures is suspect at best, according to quite a few of them whom I’ve interacted with.

      • Bob there is a difference between analysing and adjusting and not just for single points.
        If, if ktiging results in a new data set it is an adjustment.
        Accept it, try a different argument

      • @Angech,

        I gave a link reference to kriging in my original comment.

        While kriging is understood, works well for many applications, and is popular among those who understand it, it isn’t necessarily the best estimation method, even if the space of estimators is limited to the Frequentist ones. In particular, it is a minimum variance unbiased estimator (MVUB), and we’ve long known that some estimators which admit a bit of bias can have much better variance properties. (See variance-bias tradeoff.) That means the means-squared-error of a bit can be better. What’s more important? No bias? Or a better m.s.e.?

        LASSO is a method which takes advantage of these.

        That said, most of the time this is important only in a multivariate d \ge 3) context. Still, even if principle interest is something like mean temperature at a point, that temperature might be calculated as a function of other quantities which are themselves estimated.

      • “Yes, even the use of anomalies instead of absolute temperatures is suspect at best, according to quite a few of them whom I’ve interacted with.”

        Yeah…that’s why they think they have a fever when they do not when they see the “raw data” from an oral or rectal thermometer stuck into their appropriate part!

      • When Richard Muller was a skeptic, he thought that the climate scientists had adjusted the data, possibly wrongly. BEST was supposed to be entirely automated so that while the data may have been adjusted, it was “untouched by human hands”. Hence the faith placed in it by Watts. But unsurprisingly the end results are much the same…

      • Angech said: “…results in a new data set it is an adjustment.”

        By that measure, pretty much every single aspect of science is an “adjustment”. Which make your definition pretty much worthless.

        “Accept it, try a different argument”

        I have seen enough of your postings to be able to accept that much of what you say is pretty much worthless.

    • Tamino,

      Yes, indeed. One of the many examples that tells us that Watts and the rest are the least sceptical, most closed-minded people out there.

  15. dikranmarsupial

    If only someone would write a nice accessible review of the reasons for these homogenisation steps…

    Click to access Trewin.pdf

  16. Susan Anderson

    Here’s a reality check! Inside Australia’s climate emergency: the new fire zone This fire season, areas of Australia have burnt that used to be too wet to burn –

    The kind of conditions that have delivered devastating and deadly major bushfires in the recent past are going to increase, according to Dr Richard Thornton, the chief executive of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.

    “People tend to base their risk perception on what they’ve experienced before – a bushfire every 50 or 100 years,” Thornton says. “Their risk perception is based on history. But history is not a good predictor of the future.

    “Those days will become more regular and the time between them will become less. But it’s the extremes that cause the damage. Climate change makes the extremes worse.”

    Tony and Lisa have travelled the world. They run a tour company, giving guided walks across glaciers that are now receding and in national parks with increasingly unpredictable seasons.

    “I’ve been watching it happen all my life,” Tony says. “I thought climate change was happening to the world but not to me.”

  17. I do not believe that Marohasy is lying so much as engaging in scotosis. Scotosis is defined as intellectual blindness or the rejection of unwanted wisdom. She cannot bear the thought that global warming might be real and that policies that she wants to support will have to be abandoned. So she closes her eyes and ears and rationalizes so she can support what she wants to support.
    I do not know whether she has read anything about the adjustment mechanisms. She shows no evidence of having done that. Until I see her write a paraphrase of the adjustment mechanisms I have to presume she has not. And if she has not then why not? There is no good excuse for not doing so.

    • I think a lot of people are like that. Difficult to justify that new car, vacation abroad etc. if you know that the consumerism that you have chosen will contribute to Global Warming.
      In general I think people like to have views consistent with their actions but a lot of stuff we do on a day by day basis is inconsistent with AGW. Therefore people choose to believe the denialists.

  18. So I read her blog. It seems so very fifteen years ago. Is Marohasy arguing that all the temperature books are cooked and it’s not really warming? Because that’s a hard boat to paddle given all the other lines of evidence aside from the surface thermometers. She leaves that in the subtext I suppose, so her avid fans can draw that conclusion for themselves and feel comforted.

  19. I do not believe that Marohasy is lying so much as engaging in scotosis.

    You’re being very generous Lloyd, she has been putting out this kind of disinformation for decades, shows she has an amoral histoy of shilling for the highest bidder.

    • I consider lying little worse than her sort of rationalization. And the rationalization serves maliciousness. Most denialists like her are malicious.

  20. There looks to be something wrong with the V1/v2 trend lines in the top plot. The differences between V1 and V2 look to be minimal apart from a couple of years in the mid 20s but there’s a 0.3C/100yr difference in the trend which seems large. Also the orange dotted line ends a year or 2 before the red dotted line indicating that the most recent data is only included in V2, thus incresing the trend. If you’ve got the data on hand it might be worth having a quick look.

    • The observations where there is a noticeable difference are ones with a high leverage. Also V2 covers seven more years, ones with high leverage. This looks like it should be enough to explain the difference.

  21. There is little difference between the three AMO sets of observations. They all show an increase in temperature with time. So what would be the point of falsification?

  22. Tamino

    This is off topic, but the right place to put it in no longer is accessible, as comments there are closed since longer time.

    It’s about sea level again.

    You will probably have noticed that the ‘skeptic’s have raised their bar a little, by now only accepting those tide gauge evaluations where the vertical land movement adjustment (VLMA) is measured by an on-board GPS device.

    I had the idea of looking at the SONEL site for such gauges, to generate two time series out of them:
    – one with the on-board VLMA;
    – one with using the VLMA averaged out of the GPS stations around the gauge instead,
    and to compare the global averages of the anomaly-based results.

    Thus my question to you before start: were the VLM adjustments you used in your recent PMSL evaluation, restricted to such gauges equipped with an on-board GPS device?

    That would be pretty good: my little job funnily would be de facto superfluous.

    This comment doesn’t need to appear on this thread, of course.

    Thanks in advance
    J.-P. Dehottay

  23. How valid is it to produce a trend for the whole period ?
    As befits local data it shows a large range, but does break-point analysis support the eyeball impression of slight cooling from 1916 to ~1970 and a warming trend after that ?

  24. John Nielsen-Gammon

    Agreed: it’s intellectually dishonest to criticize the results of the homogenization without identifying the (alleged) flaw in the (published, peer-reviewed) technique.

    However: the subject of Dr. Marohasy’s post is not the stitching together of the two Wagga Wagga records.* Dr. Marohasy is flagging the change from stitched Version 1 to stitched Version 2.

    Comparing the two traces by eye, it appears Version 2 is 0.1C cooler (for the most part) from 1910-1965, 0.25C warmer from 1965-2000, and identical from 2000-present. This accounts for most of the 0.28 C/century increase in trend from V1 to V2.

    Typically such changes are the result of a different method of discontinuity detection and magnitude estimate. Here, the improved homogenization algorithm has detected an apparent discontinuity (relative to surrounding stations) in the year 2000 that V1 missed. Inference: artificial increase of temperature in 2000 of 0.25C. Effect of raising past temperatures to align with current observing conditions: reducing the best estimate of the true temperature trend.

    The algorithm has also concluded that a previously identified (in V1) apparent upward jump in 1965 is probably not artificial. Effect of no longer adjusting for this discredited jump: increasing the best estimate of the true temperature trend.

    Neither of these have anything to do with the change in station location.

    Since such algorithms are based on statistical probabilities of discontinuities, any individual station’s adjustments can be wrong, in either direction. The onus on the critiquers is to show what’s wrong with the objective technique, if indeed there’s anything at all wrong with it.

    *Does that make the combined station record Wagga Wagga Wagga Wagga?

  25. Lloyd Flack “There is little difference between the three AMO sets of observations. They all show an increase in temperature with time.
    “ either she doesn’t understand why they do, or she does but she doesn’t care because she wants to slander climate scientists and the data they produce.”

    Always so binary.
    Other options Eg she does care and she wants explanations and clarity on the adjustments that are done.
    is that so hard?
    Now no one is calling anyone else names and we can discuss the practicalities without vitriol.

    What happens if we add the new readings adjusted to the old readings?
    We would get a much higher temperature at the old site which, given it is only 5 k away would seem unrealistic.
    What if we agreed to a compromise ?
    Use forever a combined version with the olds data half up and the new half down.
    What would that look like?
    Probably a quarter as scary.

    • How about she wants to support her ideology and to engage in an ego trip as one who has uncovered wrong doing. And she does not try to understand any facts which get in the way of those goals. Unless she accurately paraphrases what the BOM say they are doing when they make adjustments there is no reason to believe in her good faith.

    • “Use forever a combined version with the olds data half up and the new half down.
      “What would that look like?
      “Probably a quarter as scary.”

      No, not if I’ve understood you correctly. If you ‘split the difference’ to align old and new data, the resulting trend will be precisely the same as if you a) lowered the ‘old’ data, or b) raised the ‘new.’ All you’ll have done in any of the three cases is change the composite record relative to the baseline value. The trend will be precisely the same.

      And that means that all three version will be precisely as ‘scary.’

    • [i]Always so binary.
      Other options Eg she does care and she wants explanations and clarity on the adjustments that are done.
      is that so hard?[/i]
      Really? How much of her stuff have you read? She’s educated enough to understand how and why adjustments are done, but chooses instead to accuse the BoM of fraud because she’s not just a climate science denier, but also a climate change denier. Sometimes the simple answer really is the right answer.

  26. Zeke said we can either adjust the old data down or the new data up.
    One would show a completely unrealistic current adjusted temp so we “have to do it” the other way.
    Either way one set of records is falsified.
    If we use adjustments the whole comparison thing has to weigh them as of equal validity for the time they were taken.

    • If we adjust the Kooringal data down then we are using it as a proxy for the AMO data for times when we have no AMO data. If we adjust the AMO data up then we are using it as a proxy for the Kooringal data. Neither is falsification. Either is estimation of missing data. Calling either falsification is either foolish or dishonest.

    • So, are you really this stupid? Whether we adjust past records or current records merely changes where we put the baseline. How can you not comprehend this?

      • Uni education,
        Able to read, write, comprehend and most important think.
        Adjustments can work a lot more magic than just a baseline.
        Not paid by oil.
        “How can you not comprehend this?“
        While you insist on only one answer to a conundrum there can be no answer.

      • Ah, so “stupidity sent to college”?
        Dude, your objections require that you utterly ignore:
        1) What we’re interested in knowing here (e.g. how drivers of temperature are changing)
        2) The physics of the phenomenon (e.g. that nearby locations will experience similar conditions and especially similar changes in conditions)
        3) Basic math and stats.

        Other than that, well done, you!

    • “Either way one set of records is falsified.”

      No, it’s not “falsified.” The temperature trajectory during the period of record is preserved.

      What is at issue is not prioritizing one set over another, but rather how best to align them to reveal what was happening during a larger span of time.

      • It is not the historical temperature at the current site. That did not exist. It is not the temperature at the original site. That does not exist now.
        It shows a trend with a small overlap of two different sites merged into a prioritised one, the present.
        Useful? Yes
        Misleading yes. Falsified?
        Read Zeke on adjustments

      • The temperature that would have been observed if all observations had been taken at the current site using current methods is a latent, that is unobserved, variable. What the adjustments do is calculate an estimate of that variable.

      • It is not the historical temperature at the current site. That did not exist. It is not the temperature at the original site. That does not exist now.
        It shows a trend with a small overlap of two different sites merged into a prioritised one, the present.

        Broadly correct. And it’s justified, 1) because empirically it has been shown that nearby sites reliably have similar anomaly histories, even though the absolute temperatures may be considerably different, and 2) because there is a need to understand the temperature trends over a longer time span.

        Useful? Yes


        Misleading yes.

        Not at all. The trend is real, and the procedures are knowable for anyone who cares to know them. The proof of that latter is that you and I are discussing them here in a public forum.


        Clearly not. That’s an unjustified, unfounded smear, lacking even the guts to claim straight up what it wishes to imply.

      • Angech: you really have no clue, do you? The BoM analysis isn’t about finding the “correct” temperature – that varies locally due to microclimate effects. The BoM analysis is about finding how temperatures are changing, and the methodology is appropriate. There is nothing misleading about it. It is only misleading to people that are determined to not understand how anomalies work and why anomalies do not have the problems you so dearly want to see in the science.

      • It is not the historical temperature at the current site. That did not exist. It is not the temperature at the original site. That does not exist now.

        The temperature at the Kooringal site can be quite reliably reconstructed by taking a handful of calibrated Thermochon iButtons and running a few at each site for a year or two. Both Kooringal and the AMO site are largely the same as they were last century: the only real issue is some modest suburbanisation beyond the Kooringal reserve, and given that Kooringal is cooler than the AMO site the development would likely lead to a (very) minor urban heat island effect that would only serve to diminish the extent of calculated warming in Wagga over the last century, compared to the actual change.

        Calibrated proxies can be vey useful. Heck, even the mercury in a thermomenter is a proxy…

    • “Either way one set of records is falsified.”

      Nope (as others note). The data simply need aligning.

      Let’s say one set was metric and the other US. They need to be aligned as well. This in no way “falsifies” any value.

  27. David B. Benson

    My climate change badge arrived from Zazzle. It certainly looks sharp ponied to the right pocket flap of my coat. On the right because that’s where a senator pinned his.

  28. One important thing to take away from this kind of thing is that you can’t cherry pick by accident. You can’t be deliberately obtuse by accident. Both behaviors are lying.

    • No you can’t. I just see it as abject intellectual cowardice. She can’t bear the thought that those that she labels as enemies might be right and that there might be things wrong with her ideology. And she is completely unwilling to admit to herself that she might be doing something shameful, namely smearing honest people. And so the moment she runs into an uncomfortable fact she tries to rationalize it away.

  29. Marohasy is no stranger to those of us who’ve been on the Australian blog scene for the last decade and a half. That she’s still peddling in this antiscientific bilge is an indictment on the refractoriness of the Denialati to learning.

    On the location of the Wagga stations… First, it’s important to note that Wagga has a very complex topography – there’s a very meandering river going through it, and there are several small ranges emerging from a flat flood plain and pointing in different directions, leading to a cluster of various-sized valleys before plain open up further away. There are microclimates everywhere. Kooringal is in the centre of the town, on the central hill, near a small reserve and surrounded by suburbia. There’s a fair bit of tarred road nearby, so heat islanding needs to be considered… The AMO is about 10-12 km to the east from my recollection – I’ve not been there for five years, but I can assure interested parties that it’s just above the flood plain level in a very open and rural area.

    Anyone who thinks that the stations are alike is completely bonkers. That Marohasy confabulated them doesn’t surprise me though, in the least. But the irony in the face of Watts’ old surface stations project – now that burns…

    And a bit of trivia – for a rural country town, Wagga is quite pretty. Very conservative though, and the road surfaces suck. And “Wagga Wagga” means lots of Waggas…

  30. David B. Benson

    Off-topic, but here is an ANN which estimates better than MaxEnt in the presence of considerable noise:

    I am amazed.

  31. Back in 2012, Roger Pielke Sr. made the following claim about projections of northern hemisphere sea ice extend from a 1999 paper:

    “Moreover, this data provides a valuable climate metric to assess whether the multi-decadal global models do have predictive skill as concluded in the Vinnikov et al 2009 paper.”

    This is the 1999 Vinnikov et al. paper:
    “Global warming and Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent”

    Pielke said the model-based projections over-estimated the sea ice decrease. But even back in 2012, Tamino and others pointed out that Pielke was wrong, since Pielke engaged in endpoint bias with cherry-picking of short-term fluctuations, he didn’t take the annual average of the data in the way the model-based projections did, etc. If anything, the model-based projections actually under-estimated the observed decrease in sea ice extent:

    But that was 2012. In 2020, we now have 30+ years of data from after Vinnikov et al. 1999 was published. And the decrease in sea ice extent is still tracking beneath the projection average:

    So I wonder if Pielke Sr. will admit the projections were skillful, or say that climate change’s effects were worse than the models projected. I doubt it, since admitting that would get in the way of his contrarianism:

  32. Whoops. Meant to say we have 20+ years of data following Vinnikov et al. 2019, not 30+ years of data. My mistake.

  33. As has been pretty good underlined above in a comment by ‚therealbernardj‘, the two station locations in Wagga Wagga can’t be compared, so different are their immediate surroundings.

    Oh yes: one could argue against Kooringal‘s UHI character during the station‘s activity (12000 people in 1920). But this would ignore the fact that at WUWT for example, UHI is a major factor even near such localities.

    What in my humble opinion (as a layman) is dishonest from ‘skeptic’s like Mrs. Marohasy (and numerous other similarly thinking persons):
    – on the one hand, to claim all the time about UHI-infested stations all around the world, and requesting for correction of their data,
    – on the other hand, to disagree about performed UHI corrections at such stations, as soon as the result of these corrections is that the past suddenly becomes cooler than it was before the correction (they maliciously add: ‘in order to make the present warmer’).

    Let me add a bit of irony concerning Anthony Watts‘ site.

    NOAA published in 2012 the list of those 71 USHCN stations rated as ‘well sited’ by Watts’ volunteers:

    Luckily, I had evaluated a lot of data stored in NOAA’s GHCN daily:

    and, luckily again, the data of all USHCN stations is stored in raw, daily form in NOAA’s daily data set, thus allowing for an apple-to-apple comparison based on the same kind of apples, through use of both the same data set and the same data processing software:

    It was really amazing to see that the data collected out of these 71 ‚well-sited‘ stations in fact has shown a higher trend than that for all stations available for CONUS (over 5000 during the last 30 years, over 8000 between 2003 and 2014).

    Good grief, Mrs Mahorasy!

    Best regards
    J.-P. Dehottay

  34. A last bit of GHCN daily: the WAGGA WAGGA stations

    ASN00072150 -35.1583 147.4573 212.0 WAGGA WAGGA AMO GSN 94910
    ASN00072151 -35.1333 147.3667 240.0 WAGGA WAGGA (KOORINGAL)
    ASN00073127 -35.0517 147.3493 219.2 WAGGA WAGGA AGRICULTURAL INSTI
    ASN00074114 -35.1311 147.3091 222.0 WAGGA WAGGA RESEARCH CENTRE

    Here is a comparison of the yearly averages of the absolute TAVG temperatures from AMO, Kooringal and Research (the data of the AGRI station is full of holes):