Monthly Archives: November 2012

Denier Comment of the Day, November 30, 2012

I have to hand it to Eric Worrall, my new favourite denier, for demonstrating the ability to make idiotic comments that demonstrate not only his silliness but also his laziness. Yesterday, Watching the Deniers posted a short piece reporting on a new heat record for Victoria that saw Mildura and Hopetoun both crack 45 degrees C to eclipse the November record for the state. Eric, true to form raised the spectre,not of the urban heat island but jetwash. Here is his comment.


Well, let’s just take a look at a few things. First, let’s just check out Mildura Airport. Here is a picture courtesy google maps.


As you can clearly see, Mildura is a small airport with two runways. One runs north/south and the other pretty much east/west. The first thing to notice about these runways is that they are different lengths. The shorter runway which runs north/south is 1139m long. The main runway running east/west has recently been lengthened from 1830m to 2100m. Now, the majority of planes that utilise Mildura airport are propeller driven planes like the Saab 340B, Q300, Q400 and the Bombardier Dash 8. These planes pose very little risk of jet wash. Jet driven planes that utilise Mildura airport are Boeing 737’s and Embraer 170 and Embraer 190. All of these planes need more than 1500m of runway for take-off with the  E190 needing 2056m at maximum weight.

So, where does that leave us? ALL jet aircraft utilising Mildura airport are using the main runway which runs from east to west. So, where is the weather station in relation to the runways and the airport in general?

Mildura airport weather station which is located approximately 250 metres, SSE of the short runway.

Hmmm. Not only is the weather station 250m away from the short runway, but it also more than 750m away from one end of the runway that jet aircraft use. Does jet wash travel that far? How much wind would be required to push jet wash that distance? hat direction and speed was the wind travelling when the high temperature was recorded? Well the answer is a WNWer at about 9 knots.

I wonder if Eric bothered to do a little bit of research or if his natural tendency to disagree with everything that points to AGW just takes over? Whatever, keep them coming Eric. You have given me the opportunity to learn a few things about aircraft that I didn’t know. You should try researching things yourself, Eric. You never know, you might come to realise that your inane ideology is incompatible with reality… or is that what you are afraid of?


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In checking out a new commentator here, I can see that Jules Bollocks has an excellent and relaxed writing style conducive to easy understanding by anyone. I really enjoyed this post and am likely to reblog a number of her pieces in the future now that I am following her but I urge you to check her site out yourself.

Originally posted on bollocks2012:

which is somewhat  alike to finding out they are fundamentalist Christians who believe in creation.

‘Well’ they say ‘its all a scam’, ‘What’ I say ‘how about the science?’ to which the reply becomes vague and unspecific. It is all about making money or some government conspiracy but when pressed the answers dry up. It’s an awkward feeling, and rather like a close friend revealing that they collect Nazis war memorabilia. Despite the number of friends with doubts only one is an ardent sceptic and they are also vocal about the truth of 9/11.  Hit the internet and sceptics abound with the free press slowly catching up.

The Mail and the Telegraph get into a whirl of misinformation about Climate Change along with Europe, Health and Safety and of course moral decline, they bang the cage and the monkeys go bonkers, I enjoy the blogs, I wouldn’t form opinions based…

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Spread Truth. Destroy Myths

This appeared in my YouTube list. It’s along the same lines as SKS. The link to the website is here.

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Bob Tisdale – making comments disappear

Well, I shouldn’t be surprised but Bob Tisdale has personally demonstrated to me that he is arrogant but also insecure. It’s a complicated combination I know. I probably should have phrased that Bob masks his insecurities with arrogance. I highlighted a bit of Bob here before as a DCOD but this time he gets a special little mention due to his over the top censorship. I’ve mentioned censorship before with other deniers at their dens like Anthony Watts, Climate Audit, Jo Nova and Bishop Hill. This kind of behaviour can only come from insecurity and a fear of being publicly scrutinised and questioned.

About a month ago I came across a Bob Tisdale video on Youtube called “We Now Control Weather — Extreme Heat Events, Dirty Weather, Climate Disasters” The title of course is designed to attract attention but the video is basically more of Bob crapping on with his ocean heat nonsense. Well, I put my head gear on (thankfully) and watched all 15 minutes of the video and put to Bob, in the comments section, this…

Well, I wasn’t really expecting a response so wasn’t surprised when I didn’t receive one. To be honest, I actually forgot all about it. I’m a bit of YouTube tragic in my spare time and make many comments on all sorts of videos. Anyway, today, someone else replied to my comment. When I went to check it out I also saw this…

The first thing to note here is that Bob has responded by typing out my pseudonym. For those who are unfamiliar with YouTube comments, when you wish to reply to a comment, there is a reply button, just like most blogs. Hitting that reply button ensures that when you post the reply, the person you are replying to is notified. Bob, by ignoring that common courtesy, ensures that whomever he is replying to isn’t notified that there is a response. It’s a way of getting the last word in without any scrutiny. I have come across this tactic many times before from another group whose scientific credentials are questionable and don’t like tough questions…young Earth creationists.

So, I decided to make a reply and point out to Bob that replying that way is actually quite rude and questionable. I can’t quite recall exactly what I said, but Bob’s response to it was this…

This sort of arrogance really pisses me off but deep down I knew it was a mask for his own insecurites but I figured I should reply again, and lo and behold…

Blocked. Way to go Bob. Nothing like running and hiding behind the ‘block sender’ button. One can only wonder what he’s afraid of? Scrutiny perhaps? Questions about his methods? Censorship like this is akin to the wilful ignorance displayed by children when they don’t like what they hear. Well, Bob…swallow some concrete and harden up Princess! Anyway, I decided to see what it was that I had written that was so bad that it required my being blocked so I clicked on the display comment button and…


my comment has been removed. So there you have it. This is the kind of crap we are up against. These idiots know they can’t win a science discussion so they stifle legitimate criticism of their shonky assertions. The echo chambers live on.



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Anthony Watts….lazy, hypocritical and wrong…again.

In Anthony crybaby Watts’ latest post, it would appear he has an issue with a press release from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville that discusses a recent paper from PNAS that has identified genes responsible in soil biota that deal with converting N2O into N2. Here is his post.

Let’s deal with the last bit first. Anthony has a real bee in his bonnet about people not providing accurate citations. He really wants to know the name of the paper and the DOI. Well, I took about 5 seconds and did this…

It then took me 2 seconds of scrolling to find this…

Hey Presto! There it is. 7 seconds tops. It really isn’t difficult to track down a paper, especially when you have an author and a journal and a year. You cannot go through life expecting everyone to lay everything out on the table for you. Sometimes you actually have to do a little bit of work yourself. It is this kind of laziness from deniers that sees them failing to read papers properly and subsequently misrepresenting them or not fully understanding them. What is ironic (hypocritical?) here is that with the press release that Anthony has reproduced in his post, we are expected to either take it on face value that he has put the complete release up or go and track it down as he doesn’t provide either a reference or a link to it. The nearest he comes is in the provision of a link to the University of Tennessee home page. I took the liberty of tracking down the press release and reading it and can now verify that Anthony has reproduced the whole thing. It can be found here.   

Now, as for the rest, let’s deal with a bit of basic chemistry. Now, I’m no chemist but I thought laughing gas was N2O? To be fair, it’s probably just a typo (NO2) from Anthony, we all do them. I certainly have my fair share so I’ll cut him a bit of slack there especially since the release and the paper is all about nitrous oxide. everyone is entitled to some sloppiness. But let’s get to a few points.

It is another example of Nature’s adaptation.

Nature’s adaptation? I mean to be picky here because when you are discussing aspects of biology it is important to use the correct words to remove ambiguity. Adaptation in biology generally refers to individual organisms and not sweeping generalisations like “Nature”.  For example, Dodzhansky’s definition of adaptation is :  the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat or habitats. Perhaps you mean something like “It is another example how evolutionary processes have allowed species to fill particular niches over time.”?

But I have to wonder though why they think this is “unexpected”, because dentrification (sic) (bacterial conversion to N2) has been well known to science and agriculture for decades.

Here,  Anthony is repeating what is already stated in the press release but is delivering it in a tone that suggests he is trying to educate or correct not only the author of the press release but also the paper. I can only wonder if Anthony actually read the press release correctly? Perhaps he is trying to appear knowledgable for his readers? It actually states in the press release…

Scientists have long known about naturally occurring microorganisms called denitrifiers, which fight nitrous oxide by transforming it into harmless nitrogen gas.

…so thanks for that Anthony. Thanks to you, the press release you are critiquing, and many scientists, I now know that scientists have known about denitrification for a long time. But let’s get to the issue of it being “unexpected”. There is one of two things happening here. Anthony either didn’t bother to track down the paper and read it, or he did and didn’t understand it. Whichever it is would not surprise me. The authors of the paper, which can be found here, state…

To date, N2O-to-N2 reduction in the environment has been attributed exclusively to denitrifying microorganisms expressing the typical Z-type NosZ (29, 30). Typical nosZ genes  (77 sequences) were found on 75 genomes belonging to the Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria harboring complete sets of denitrification genes. Ten genomes harboring a typical nosZ lacked nirS or nirK homologs, corroborating previous observations that some microorganisms with a typical nosZ may not denitrify (21, 30). Interestingly, bioinformatic sequence analyses identified bacteria with phylogenetically distinct, atypical nosZ genes in diverse microbial taxa abundant in terrestrial and marine environments…

…N2O is a potent greenhouse gas that destroys the ozone layer and therefore affects global warming and climate change. Obviously, the processes that affect (i.e., control) N2O flux must be understood, and substantial efforts have elucidated N2O sources to generate refined N2O emission models (4, 54,55). To date, complete denitrifiers have been considered the key functional guild that controls N2O emissions from soil and sediments to the atmosphere (28, 56-58). Our results imply that the analysis of the typical denitrifier nosZ provides an incomplete picture and is insufficient to account for or accurately predict N2O flux. The discovery of functional, atypical nosZ genes from Bacteria and Archaea from a variety of habitats, including agricultural soils, indicates that a much broader group of microbes contributes to N2O turnover. This heretofore unrecognized diversity broadens our understanding of the ecological controls of N2O consumption, and the contributions of microbes with atypical nosZ genes should be considered in monitoring regimes and future greenhouse gas flux models.

To put this in layman’s terms…

  • Scientists have known for a long time that soil microbes break down N2O to N2
  • They attributed this to a large guild of bacteria and archaea with a particular genetic make-up
  • These genes produce nosZ which is an enzyme that breaks down N2O
  • These authors have discovered different genes in other microbes that also code for nosZ
  • This was unexpected and now means N2O flux models need to incorporate these microbes

So, Anthony Watts’ assertion that they should expect to find denitrification is occurring is correct, however that is not what the “unexpected” result was. The unexpected component was that there was atypical production of the enzyme that performs that task. The devil is always in the detail and the accurate interpretation of information. Unfortunately, deniers like Anthony Watts are not interested in accuracy. They run around spouting half-baked idiotic assertions based on their inability to either find accurate information or understand it when they do. But of course, Anthony can’t let the truth get in the way of a good bit of bullshit. His sycophantic followers would be lost without his echo chamber.

Finally, Anthony’s assertion that…

This PR looks like code for “more studies are needed, please send money”.

I didn’t pick up that vibe from the press release but even so, science is a process of ongoing discovery. The very nature of science and its conventions dictates that there are no absolute truths. It is this that allows science to progress. One can only wonder if Anthony thinks scientific exploration should stop completely? How the hell does he think anything will be done without funding? Should we stop funding cancer research? How about materials science? Should we abandon research into how the brain works or probe the universe to try to answer the questions about our origins? Should we stop research into agricultural diseases? Perhaps Anthony is just upset about funding of climate science simply because he has taken his ideological position but knows deep down that he not only lacks the capacity to understand the science but also that he is wrong? But here is the ultimate irony. What we have here is a paper that highlights a way in which climate models can be fine tuned, improved, made more accurate and Anthony is opposed to funding that kind of research. Why is it ironic?

It is ironic because he complains so much about models being wrong, I would have thought he would be pleased to see work go into improving the flaws he alleges they have. Just sayin…


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The Exponential Function and Growth

Something a little different today. If you’ve got an hour to spare, I urge you to watch this video. Its fairly old and crappy quality but it’s still extremely relevant. Dr Andrew Bartlett presents a lecture on the exponential function and how it applies to sustainability, growth and resources. Deniers who think we can just go on the way we are more than likely have no idea of basic arithmetic. Sit back, relax, take notes. It’ll be worth it.




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A good place to start.

For those genuinely interested in learning a few facts about climate change, a new report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, is a good place to start. It’s a lengthy report that examines implications of future warming on not just environmental systems but societal systems as well. It is an excellent synthesis of up to date peer reviewed science and has some well modelled most likely future scenarios as well. The most impressive thing about this report is that it is written so non scientific people can grasp the information. I have put a link to the report in my climate change section and a more direct link is here. Please take the time to download this report and read it….or if you score highly on the Worrall scale, write it off as “watermelon” nonsense without bothering to read it but be sure to comment on it.


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Where there’s smoke there’s fire..or where there’s fracking, there’s leakage.

Gas Industry Attacks Scientists After Research Finds Triple The Normal Levels Of Methane At Australian Gas Fields

Graham Readfern- Reblogged from Desmogblog

LEVELS of the potent greenhouse gas methane have been recorded at more than three times their normal background levels at coal seam gas fields in Australia, raising questions about the true climate change impact of the booming industry.

The findings, which have been submitted both for peer review and to the Federal Department of Climate Change, also raise doubts about how much the export-driven coal seam gas (CSG) industry should pay under the country’s carbon price laws.

Southern Cross University (SCU) researchers Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher used a hi-tech measuring device attached to a vehicle to compare levels of methane in the air at different locations in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The gas industry was quick to attack their findings and the scientists themselves.

The Queensland government has already approved several major multi-billion dollar CSG projects worth more than $60 billion, all of which are focussed on converting the gas to export-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG).

More than 30,000 gas wells will be drilled in the state in the coming decades and the industry has estimated between 10 per cent and 40 per cent of the wells will undergo hydraulic fracturing.

The industry and state and federal ministers have claimed that electricity derived from coal seam gas will help slow growth in carbon emissions but, so far, no comprehensive independent lifecycle assessment of emissions has been carried out.

Last August, a Right to Information request submitted by me and reported in the Brisbane Times revealed that the state’s government was prepared to rely on industry-funded research when it came to understanding the industry’s carbon footprint.

A later report from the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, which looked at emissions from CSG when burned for electricity in China, was produced by Worley Parsons, a company which had won a $580 million contract to work on a major CSG-to-LNG project in the state.

The Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has also waved away suggestions that the government should commission its own independent research into CSG emissions, and was reported as saying such a study was “unnecessary”.

The work at Southern Cross University is arguably the first attempt to independently measure levels of methane coming from gasfield areas.

Dr Santos said in a university release: “The current discussions on CSG are often based on anecdotal evidence, old observations not designed to assess CSG or data obtained overseas. We believe universities are independent institutions that should provide hard data to inform this discussion. The lack of site-specific baseline data is staggering.”

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dr Maher said while it was not possible yet to say “definitively” that the raised levels of methane were due to leaks from the CSG facilities, “we have multiple lines of evidence to suggest that that is what is causing it”. He said the initial findings pointed to the CSG operations as a likely source of the raised methane levels – in particular, from “fugitive emissions.

Essentially these are leaks. It is where CSG that was in the coal seam leaks into the atmosphere. That can leak through the infrastructure – the well head, through pipes – and the industry knows about these leaks and they are relatively easy to deal with. What we are looking at is the potential for that methane to migrate through the soil structure.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, which represents the CSG industry, said in a press release the research was premature and appeared to deliberately target the CSG industry.

Spokesman Rick Wilkinson personally attacked the scientists, saying their findings “diminishes the good work by many other scientists”.

But the response from the association’s spokesman Rick Wilkinson contained several misrepresentations. Wilkinson claimed the research was “notable through omission rather than content” because, he said, it seemed “squarely aimed at natural gas production rather than all sources of actual and potential greenhouse gas emissions”.

Yet when the researchers presented their ongoing findings to a public lecture, it was clear that the two academics had gone out of their way – quite literally – to record levels of methane in other areas.

They took their cavity ring-down spectrometer to other obvious sources of methane, including a sewage works, drove alongside fields of high-density cattle and visited wetlands. While methane levels in those areas did not get above 2.1 parts per million, in the CSG gasfield area the highest reading was 6.89 ppm. Methane is about 23 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The researchers took in gasfields in Tara, the birthplace of the widespread Lock the Gate anti-CSG movement.

At the public forum, uploaded to YouTube, Dr Maher said: “The concentration of methane in the atmosphere [at the gasfields] is consistently higher than what we saw at the highest value in the local area. The highest concentrations were over three times the atmosphere’s background values.”

In the submission to the Federal Government’s Department of Climate Change, the researchers wrote: “Our results demonstrate the need for baseline studies before the development of gas fields. We suspect that depressurisation (fracking, groundwater pumping) of the coal seams during gas extraction changes the soil structure (i.e., cracks, fissures) that enhance the release of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide.”

Speaking to DeSmogBlog, the researchers explained the spectrometer is also able to identify the chemical fingerprints in the methane gas that can distinguish between methane from sources such as cows and wetlands, and methane from ancient fossil fuel hydrocarbons, such as coal seam gas. The researchers dismissed Wilkinson’s claim that their submission was a plea for funding. Dr Santos said: “We are just simply sharing our data. It is clearly preliminary research.”

In the APPEA press release, Wilkinson also claimed that a “similar” US study using a “drive-by measurement technology” had been criticised “by a respected Cornell University scientist for its lack of rigour”.

But the criticism which Wilkinson cited in the press release referred not to “drive-by measurement technology” or to the gas industry, but rather to criticisms of measurements taken at a stationary observation tower close to oil wells.

In a follow-up press release from SCU, Dr Maher added

Typically in Australia we assume a figure of 0.12 per cent leakage at the wellhead of total gas production but we don’t have any data backing up that assumption. Some studies overseas indicate that lifecycle fugitive emissions may be up to eight per cent. While the figure of eight per cent has come under fire by some academics and the CSG industry, the lack of baseline data makes it extremely difficult to put an exact number on mining-specific emissions after mining has commenced. We don’t know what fugitive emissions are coming from Australian CSG mining. We need to do site specific experiments to quantify those emissions for every gas field.

In a Sydney Morning Herald report, Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said

The gas industry has been hiding behind its claim to be better for the climate than coal for years, and the government has just accepted those claims despite the Greens, farmers and scientists providing evidence that they are deceptive

Dr Gavin Mudd, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University, said he had been impressed with the research after a recent visit to SCU.

He said,

I believe this is crucial research which should have been part of the environmental assessment process and ongoing monitoring. The fact that there is no pre-CSG data on methane levels in air means these researchers have had to do some cross-checking of possible explanations, such as methane from cows or wetlands, and it seems to me they have been very careful in ensuring that the only realistic explanation for the considerable methane levels they measured is CSG field leakage. At present, there is considerable more work to do to understand the processes causing this degree of leakage – it could be caused by leaking bores or pipelines, or just be diffuse leakage from the geology due to lower groundwater pressures – and especially to quantify diffuse emissions on a life cycle basis for CSG production, but I certainly view this research as a great breakthrough in documenting the real processes occurring in CSG fields.

Professor Mark Tingay, a Senior Lecturer at the Australian School of Petroleum Science at the University of Adelaide, said natural seeps of gas at production areas were common and this made it “very hard to conclusively demonstrate increased fugitive ground emissions caused by hydrocarbon production”. But he said the research highlighted the need for industry baseline readings of ground water and air quality before production. “Without baseline readings,” he said, “it is very difficult to distinguish natural emissions from human-triggered emissions.”

Pic: Coal seam gas well near Tara. Credit: Flickr/Jeremy Buckingham MLC

Desmogblog (


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Denier comment of the Day November 15, 2012

Well it’s been awhile coming but I’ve  finally decided to feature Eric Worrall. He’s been hanging out recently at Watching the Deniers and is a great source of entertainment. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, if it has even the slightest hint of reality about it, he automatically rejects it. It’s actually quite fascinating to watch. He takes denial to a whole new level. I’ve been lamenting recently that I don’t have a special word for this kind of person. Anyway, here is a classic example where a link to an ABC show called catalyst is suggested. The show is 1/2 an hour long. Take note of the times.

So, in just four minutes, Eric viewed the post from rubber taster, clicked on the link and came back with his assessment of a 1/2 show, without bothering to watch it. Essentially he has given an uninformed opinion based on wilful ignorance. What’s wrong Eric? Afraid you might learn something? Afraid of the truth about loss of snow cover, early spring, 330 consecutive months of above average temperatures? Perhaps it was wineries moving to cooler climes? Oh that’s right, you didn’t watch it. You saw it was a real science show and beat a hasty retreat to the comfortable world of wilful ignorance where you don’t ever have to admit that you are wrong. Anyway, well done Eric. It’s yet another confirmation of sorts that your idealogy comes before facts.


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Denier Comment of the Day, November 13, 2012

Well, on the internet you can be anything. I could claim to be a brain surgeon or part of the royal family for example. I could also claim to have climbed Mt Everest or wrestled a shark. None of those things are true of course but I could potentially get away with inventing a persona like that as long as I didn’t write something that made it obvious I wasn’t telling the truth. Introducing Bob, whose comment at WTFIWWAW does just that.

Bob and his qualifications

Oh Bob, even first year undergraduates that I teach know about carbon isotopes. Surely someone with research experience in all of those things knows about carbon isotopes? Surely someone with such a background in scientific research knows how to find some basic information on the internet?

Bob, I don’t think you worked in those fields unless it was 50 years ago and you’ve spent the rest of your life since then living under a rock. So congratulations Bob, for outing yourself. Well done.


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