Archive for September, 2015

More on the absurd ACORN adjustment process

September 29, 2015

This is a Letter to the Editor of The Australian I sent recently, but not published.


Dr Jennifer Marohasy (Ideology adds heat to the debate on climate change, 29/9)  claims that sites prone to Urban Heat Island effect, such as Melbourne, have been used to adjust the temperature records at sites such as Cape Otway.

This is indeed absurd, but true.  Of the 104 sites used for climate analysis, 22 have been adjusted at least in part by comparison with sites whose artificially raised temperatures make them unsuitable for use in that same climate analysis.

The Bureau of Meteorology lists eight sites which are not used in climate analysis because their records exhibit Urban Heat Island effects: Townsville, Rockhampton, Sydney, Richmond (NSW), Melbourne, Laverton RAAF, Adelaide, and Hobart.

According to the Bureau’s “ACORN-SAT Station adjustment summary”, seven of these sites are still used as comparison sites when adjusting raw temperatures at other locations.  Adelaide is used at Snowtown and Port Lincoln; Townsville at Cairns, Mackay and Charters Towers; Rockhampton at Townsville, Mackay, Bundaberg and Gayndah; Sydney at Williamtown, Bathurst, Richmond, Nowra, and Moruya Heads; Laverton at Orbost, Sale, Wilson’s Promontory, Melbourne and Cape Otway; Melbourne at Orbost, Sale, Wilson’s Promontory, Laverton, Kerang, and Cape Otway; and Hobart at Launceston, Eddystone Point, Cape Bruny, Grove, and Butlers Gorge.

Richmond (NSW) is apparently the only site not used in the adjustment process.

Greg Hunt’s faith in the credibility of the Bureau of Meteorology is touching, but just as absurd.


Pause Update September 2015

September 11, 2015

UAH v6.0 data for August were released on Wednesday.  Here are updated graphs for various regions showing the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than +0.01C/ 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures.  The strongest El Nino since 1997-98 is affecting some regions more than others.


global aug

Due to the strong El Nino, global temperatures are expected to continue to increase until May or June of 2016 (at least until February).  This will shorten the Pause.

Northern Hemisphere:


Southern Hemisphere:

S hemis aug

Tropics (20N – 20S):

tropics aug

Tropical Oceans:

tropic oceans aug

The bulk of solar heating of the Earth occurs in the tropics, which is  mostly ocean, and ENSO events occur here.  Since October 1992, very much before the 1997-98 Super El Nino, there has been no warming at all.

North Polar:

N Pole aug

South Polar:

S Pole aug

Oops!  For the whole of the satellite record, there has been NO warming in the atmosphere above Antarctica.  Remember, one of the “fingerprints” of global warming due to the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect is greater warming towards the Poles.

USA 49 States:

USA aug


aust aug

There has been no warming in the atmosphere above Australia for almost the whole lives of the current cohort of 1st Year Uni students. Just for comparison, the Australian ACORN-SAT surface data show a pause since February 2002- since they were in Preschool.

aust acorn

The Pause continues.

The Carbon Tax We Still Pay

September 7, 2015

Under Prime Minister Julia Gillard a Carbon Tax was introduced into Australia, set at $23 per tonne of CO2 equivalent, with numerous exclusions and a compensation package.  Apparently fulfilling his promise to get rid of the Carbon Tax, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s coalition government succeeded in repealing it on 17 July 2014.

Unfortunately we still have a myriad of green schemes, solar bonus schemes, and of course our Renewable Energy Target.  How much does this cost us?  The following is based on regional Queensland, but applies Australia wide.

Ergon Energy provides electricity to all of Queensland outside the south-east corner.  With my last bill was included Ergon’s latest pamphlet for residential consumers, Issue #5 of “The Bright Side”.  Half of this issue was devoted to changes to electricity pricing and how it will affect consumers.  Ergon, and the Queensland government, have been claiming that after a couple of years of steep rises, 2015-16 will actually see a small drop in prices.  I read the information with interest, and as well checked with the Queensland Competition Authority (which sets prices).

Ergon summarises the changes to the typical Tariff 11 bill over a full year with this supposedly helpful graphic:

Ergon price changes

You will note that the cost to the average consumer of the solar bonus scheme and the Renewable Energy Target will rise by $23.  So what, you say, the average bill will reduce by $7.  Actually, it’s not so simple.   Ergon gives five scenarios of how it will affect consumers.  The QCA provides more detailed information, with percentages of the total cost.

qca elect prices

This is based on an annual Tariff 11 consumption of 4,053 kWh, which is the average for residential customers. From this, it is possible to calculate exactly the changes and how much of this goes towards solar and RET schemes.  As well, using an estimate of 0.86 Tonnes of CO2 per Megawatt-hour (0.84 – 0.88) for black coal power stations, it is possible to estimate how much CO2 the average consumer is directly responsible for.  Of course, the 0.86 is for the generation of electricity, not consumption, and consumption is about 83% of electricity generated.  This has been incorporated in my estimates.

In 2014-15, the direct additional cost to the average consumer of the solar and RET schemes was $146.63, rising in 2015-16 to $169.63.

This represents a direct additional cost to the consumer of approximately $34.90 per Tonne of CO2 emitted, rising to $40.40.

A direct additional cost imposed through government policy is a tax.  Applied to residential consumers it is a nasty regressive tax, as it applies to all regardless of income or capacity to pay.  The Solar Bonus Scheme portion is particularly cruel, as low income consumers are subsidising those who could afford and took advantage of this scheme, which will keep paying 44c a kWh feed in tariff for original systems until 2028, now reduced to 6.348c for new systems.  This cost the average consumer $106.64 last year, and the $20 extra is an increase of 18.75%.

Not only that, the Joe Hockey argument does not apply.  Poor people who do use less than 3,800 kWh will see an increase in their bill, while those who use more than 3,800 kWh will see a decrease, and proportionately less the more they consume.

This is robbing the poor to pay the rich.  It is set to continue with the proposed increases in the RET, so the poor will be subsidising inefficient green projects well into the future.  A scheme too good to be true certainly is.  Years ago I knew the Solar Bonus Scheme was an unsustainable scam and immoral.  Now, more than ever, both the Solar Bonus Scheme and Renewable Energy Targets should be completely abolished, with compensation for Solar Bonus users limited to initial cost of installation less subsequent feed in revenue.  Poor people have better things to spend their money on.