It’s all a devilish plot…

Did you know that the republicans (nothing to do with DT-rump, but rather those wanting to de-Queen Oz) have seized control of the Mint? Witness what I found in my change yesterday:

50c The incredible shrinking Queen, outdone by a Merino ram! Surely disrespectful, if not treasonous! But of course what it really represents is the 50th anniversary of our decimal currency. Not one of their better designs, though, in my opinion, but probably not an unsubtle symbolic dethroning of Elizabeth II.

Related: Australia’s 50 cent coin ‘likely to undergo redesign’.

Here’s another fertile field of devilish plots, for some anyway. Climate change! Comedian Ben McLeay writes – but the first part is quite straight:

With a level of willful ignorance so powerful that you could almost respect it, the NSW Liberals yesterday formally requested that the federal government conduct a series of debates around the science of climate change, indicating that they either want to get publicly embarrassed, or that they haven’t been doing a lot of reading lately.

It’s hard to imagine that there’s a vast global conspiracy being acted out by the overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists (97% agree it’s getting hot and by jove, the humans did it) and what their aims could possibly be other than maybe trying to stop us all from dying of Fucked Up Planet Disease, but as Green Day once famously said in their hit song Warning: question everything.

Just because the body of evidence suggests something to be the case doesn’t make it so. Let’s examine some things that we’ve been foolishly taking for granted only because there has been no reason to suggest that we shouldn’t….

A starting point for those NSW Libs might be the Eureka Award winning Skeptical Science.

Skeptical Science is based on the notion that science by its very nature is skeptical. Genuine skepticism means you don’t take someone’s word for it but investigate for yourself. You look at all the facts before coming to a conclusion. In the case of climate science, our understanding of climate  comes from considering the full body of evidence.

In contrast, climate skepticism looks at small pieces of the puzzle while neglecting the full picture. Climate skeptics vigorously attack any evidence for man-made global warming yet uncritically embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that refutes global warming. If you began with a position of climate skepticism then cherrypick the data that supports your view while fighting tooth and nail against any evidence that contradicts that position, I’m sorry but that’s not genuine scientific skepticism.

So the approach of Skeptical Science is as follows. It looks at the many climate skeptic arguments, exposes how they focus on small pieces of the puzzle and then puts them in their proper context by presenting the full picture. The skeptic arguments are listed by popularity (eg – how often each argument appears in online articles). For the more organised mind, they’re also sorted into taxonomic categories.

Lately of course we here in The Gong (and S-E Australia more generally) have been sweating like pigs for far too long. Had I wished to live in the tropics I would not have chosen Wollongong or Sydney. See Monday’s news: NSW in the grips of an endless summer as the mercury refuses to drop.  And even News Limited is onto it: Antarctic oscillation brings a record breaking run of hot weather as capitals break 30C. That item links to The Conversation: Sydney, so hot right now: what’s behind the city’s record run of warm weather? by climatologists Agata Imielska  and Blair Trewin:

The city has had a record 31 straight days above 26℃ (and counting), smashing the previous record of 19 days in a row set in 2014. Nights have also been unusually warm, with only two nights in February dropping below 19℃ (equalling the record set in 2003 and 1983).

Only one day last month dipped below the average February maximum temperature for Sydney (25.8℃). The previous record for February was five below-average days, which happened in 2000, 1983 and 1978.

March has continued this pattern, with every day so far (including the forecast period) expected to be above average.

So what’s going on here? Is it climate change? Is it the super El Niño? Is it urban heating, or some other factor? Or is it just natural variation in the weather?…

If we don’t consider Sydney’s recent weather in isolation, then it is clear that climate change is playing its role here as well. Both land and ocean temperatures have warmed. And those warmer offshore sea surface temperatures keep our nights warmer, particularly in coastal cities.

Warm, hot conditions are becoming more likely, while cool outbreaks are becoming less so. The whole of southeastern Australia has experienced fewer cold outbreaks in recent years (although they do still happen).

One small point. On most TV weather reports the Wollongong maximum is always several degrees lower than it really is here in West Wollongong. Yesterday for example we reached 30, but the reports all said 25 or 28. Right now the relative humidity is 87%.

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