Thursday, August 23, 2012

Graham Lloyd, environment editor for The Australian, a chenius at spinning ...

(Above: once again First Dog is a chenius, though not in way that the Late Show hailed Ivan Reitman as a chenius - Youtube. The pond feels guilty at the cartoon above still being behind the paywall for the moment, so has split the work up. You can get it in its original form here if you're a subscriber. The rest is below, and the only connection to what follows is the sound of a braying donkey blathering about a carbon tax. Crucial research which helps explain it can be found at the 7.30 Report here).

So here's an interesting exercise in spin.

Graham Lloyd for The Australian, reporting on the findings of Robert Mulvaney of the British Antarctic Survey, produced a piece with the header Ice-core warming 'within bounds' (behind the paywall, you're expected to pay to be misinformed, so why not Google?)

Now that's a cracking start. How to maintain the spin, worthy of the surgeon who worked on Shane Warne, on the scientific study's findings?

Easy peasy.

Stress that recent warming might be unusual but "not unprecedented relative to natural variation". Then lead with a blatant distortion of the findings:

The research by Robert Mulvaney of the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, countered assumptions that human factors were responsible for the warming of the Antarctic ice shelf.

Uh huh. Yet The Australian a little later ran with this report by the AFP headed Humans partly to blame for Antarctic ice shelf collapse: study.

The results "are consistent with a more rapid human-induced warming on top of a slower natural warming," Robert Mulvaney, a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), told AFP.

Keep spinning Mr. Lloyd:

Although temperatures have risen by about 1.5C over the past century, the authors note that this increase is within the bounds of natural climate variability over the past 600 years.
The Nature report said the long-term climate history provided by the ice core confirmed a close connection between past temperature and ice-shelf stability.

Strangely the AFP report in the very same rag just didn't get it:

Meteorological stations have shown a rise of 2C in the past 50 years in the Antarctic peninsula, which is roughly triple that of the global temperature rise.
"If the warming continues, then ice shelves further south in the peninsula that are believed to have been stable since the last ice age may also break up in the next few decades," Mr Mulvaney warned.
Ice shelves are floating mats of ice, attached to the Antarctic coast, that are formed by flowing glaciers. In recent years, several major ice shelves have broken away from the peninsula, a result of what scientists say is an upwelling of warmer water from the Southern Ocean.

A result Mulvaney and his team attribute in part to human-induced warming.

Remarkably Mr. Lloyd presents himself as the environment editor of The Australian.

His qualification? Well it would seemingly be an infinite capacity for perversely misrepresenting the findings of a scientific study, published in Nature.

Now if you want to read the story in Nature, you'll have to brush the red back spiders out of your purse to access Recent Antarctic Peninsula warming relative to Holocene climate and ice-shelf history.

But if you want a short form Reuters/Scientific America summary, you can find it here, and you can also head off to the British Antarctic Survey for background, where you'll find a discussion with Mulvaney here, along with this quote from him:

"The most significant thing ice cores have told us is that greenhouse gases are so well-related to climate, and that at no point in the last three-quarters of a million years have carbon dioxide and methane reached anywhere near the levels they are at today."

Is that what within bounds means Mr. Lloyd? Within bounds?! Or are you just another bounder drinking the kool aid that flows freely at The Australian?

If you happen to be a subscriber to Crikey, you can also read Simon Copland's Antarctic melt alarm as scientists find 'very unusual' warming.

Copland took the indecent stop of interviewing an Australian researcher on the team, Dr Nerilie Abram from ANU:

Dr Abram says the warming over the past 100 years has been dramatic. ”The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth at the moment,” Dr Abram said. ”The last century of warming has been unusually rapid with the mean temperature increasing by about one and a half degrees — one of the fastest temperature increases seen in the ice core record.”

A real live actual Australian scientist who's been doing observations in Antarctica.

How supercilious, how pretentious, how reprehensible. That's totally out of bounds.

“The ice shelves along the west coast are showing signs of becoming less stable, but we haven’t seen the big collapses that we’ve seen on the Antarctic Peninsula so far,” she said. “The big concern about that area is that it is where the West Antarctic ice sheet is. The amount of ice being lost there is accelerating and this is contributing to global sea level rise.”
It paints a worrying picture, according to Abram: “The main finding of our research is that warming as fast as this is very unusual. We should be very concerned about that.”

Not if you're Graham Lloyd, used to drinking nicely iced kool aid. No reason to get concerned about things within the natural bounds of simplistic distortions.

No doubt the Bolter will chime in and explain one more time how actual scientists conducting actual observations in the actual Antarctic don't have a clue, especially when put up against an armchair keyboard expert like the Bolter.

Which leads the pond to ask for the umpteenth time: do you get your science from Graham Lloyd, The Australian and the Bolter, and do you realise that as a result, your News is Limited?

* * * *

And now a new segment. Know your Brucers.

Just as the Birthers have mighty dedicated folk burrowing away in the exceptional USA, down under has the Brucers, and the pond has been mightily impressed with the Brucing of Ean Higgins in recent days in relation to matters involving Julia Gillard. After all, it takes exceptional skill to weave a story out of a trek to talk to a person who won't talk ...

Higgins has a tremendous track record, and will be fondly remembered by New Zealanders for the clever questions he asked during the Pike River Coal Mine disaster. Like:

"Why is the local country cop doing it (the rescue operation)?" he said.

The thin-skinned New Zealanders labelled the question disgraceful and offensive (merely because it drew gasps from the assembled throng), and called Higgins a "typewriter interviewer" and "boorish" and an "utter tosspot".

"Australia are so focused on us, their prayers and their best wishes to all involved and they get some utter tosspot like that over here who mars all them.
"We know he's not representative of Australians."
He said the newspaper needed to be named.
"Their editor needs to give some explanation of why they've sent such a boorish fellow to this sensitive situation." ('Boorish' Australian journalist infuriates)

Silly Kiwis. The Australian sends boorish chappies all over the place, much given to reporting sexism and the thoughts of Larry Pickering (about his cartoons no one should say anything).

How dare they defame one of Australia's finest Brucers, and that in a herd of most excellent Brucers stabled at The Australian?

Go Brucers.

Will the Brucers give up? Of course not. Here they are at it again, collectively, a herd, a pack, a howling ravening tribe:

Be careful if you try to snatch away a bone from a Brucer.

There's way more smut and smear to peddle ... and never you mind if in throwing the mud, you might reveal yourselves to be little better than smut merchants, worthy of a job on the Melbourne Truth, and there might be a little muddy blowback coming your way ...

(Below: the pond isn't alleging anything of course, just wondering, just asking how a senior journalist for The Australian could get himself called a boorish utter tosspot? Just a question, only a question of course. We only ever ask questions at the pond, in a fair and balanced way, and you decide).

And now for a rousing finale. Support the Dog! And did we mention the carbon tax?


  1. Prince Harry's bum, the Murdoch family's nightmares, or Larry Pickering? No choice there.
    Best value for the day, even so early, Michael Higgins serving it up.

  2. What a hoot. Wankers whipping up fear! Never get into a verbal joust with the Irish, just kiss the blarney stone. I liked it so well I headed off to the full caged pub fight


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