Data for study based on TWO fish sample size: challenges to Australia’s Climate Comission go unanswered

One fish, representing 50% sample size. Lateral view of a Banded Morwong. Photographer: Erik Schlögl via The Australian Museum

Submitted by Marc Hendrix – correspondence with Steve Woodman, reproduced with permission:

For your reference, today I sent this challenge to the Climate Commission regarding a recent University of Tasmania study on growth rates in the banded morwong and the alarmist promotion of its suspect findings.

In a recent ABC story on the study, much was made of the threat of fish dying from hot ocean water when in fact the sample size of the component of the study which looked at the physiological stress on fish consisted of only TWO fish.

The authors admitted: “This result may reflect the small sample size of our experiments, and further work is needed to determine the effect of increasing temperature on swimming activity in banded morwong.”

(See abstract and full text of study here in Nature Climate Change)

Unfortunately Dr Thresher of the University did not inform the listeners to the ABC of this significant limitation to the study and its findings.

I present three other peer reviewed studies that show that marine ecosystems adapt well to warmer water and that there is no cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.

Marc, over the last three months I’ve sent over twenty challenges to the Commission regarding peer reviewed papers that do not toe the party line, apart from the usual automatic acknowledgement of receipt they have not yet responded to me.

Steve Woodman BSc (Hons) Psych

P.S I am a private citizen without any political affiliations or vested interests in coal, nuclear or any other industries or business concerns.

120 thoughts on “Data for study based on TWO fish sample size: challenges to Australia’s Climate Comission go unanswered

  1. Edit note: “toe the party line”, not “tow”, notwithstanding widespread insistent illiterate error-mongering on this point.

  2. Dear Moderator,
    Not absolutely on subject but ABC (aus) Radio News just ran a story about a Climate Scientist at Melbourne Uni who has received death threats, for tirelessly speaking the truth about Climate change. Apparently University authorities have taken steps to upgrade his security. Corollis or something like that was his name…
    This smells mighty fishy to me…why should this story arise now. Of course I have a theory.
    In the media spin business timing is everything and as the Warmists watch their support dwindle away with every brimming lake, every desert bloom, every fresh fall of snowin the mountains and every extra layer of clothing the Australian population is putting on to contend with the coldest weather in 40 years…is it possible that some clever green media rascal has decided that if you can’t win the argument about the ‘Science’ then why not try to paint ‘Deniers’ as murderous fanatics?
    Kind of like the exploding children idea but turned round 180 degrees.
    Smacks of desperation. GRrrreat!

  3. Yes, but that’s two fish and four polar bears.
    You never know where this will all end up . . . .

  4. water melon head science .what will happen to them all after the biggest FRAUD in our history is dead and cremated . cannot wait for the day

  5. Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri could feed the multitudes with two fish and four polar bears.

  6. Crikey. When I read the headline I thought it was typically laughable that they’d reach a conclusion from only studying two species of fish.

    It seems they studied two individual fish. Jesus wept.

    Just a wild thought; is it possible that the only fish they could catch were the two sick ones?

  7. Hmmm, Cheilodactylus, I think this is in a group of perciform families that have members that live for close to a century. People always underestimate how long some fishes live. Its late, I’ll research tomorrow. BTW, I have a lot experience keeping many species of fish well outside their comfort zone. Comes from maintaining fish in Phoenix Arizona, easier to heat an aquarium then it is to cool it. The main problem is susceptibility to protozoan and secondary fungal infections, and that does not start until temps are like 5C too high. I want to post more but I need to get to bed.

  8. Charles Nelson I copied your comment to Jennifer Marohasy’s blog

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/05/the-carbon-tax-all-style-no-substance/?cp=4#comment-483413

    My comment relates to a comment by Gavin about the Canberra Times article in now up on the web

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/climate-of-fear-scientists-face-death-threats/2185089.aspx

    subject is clear in the headline
    my comment to Gavin is this:
    thanks for that gavin, just for interest I had googled ‘death threats to climate scientists’ and if you do the same you’ll see there’s even been a doc on it by Clive Hamilton and then there’s this article http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/08/hacked-climate-emails-death-threats
    here’s more about the 5 part series by Clive Hamilton

    http://www.ecoshock.org/labels/Australia.html

    a para from that article:
    Clive Hamilton is a Professor of Public Ethics, supported by Australian National University and the University of Melbourne. Previously, he founded and ran a progressive think tank called the Australia Institute.
    I don’t recall anything coming out of what seems to be numerous allegations
    so … a mystery

    As I say … don’t remember anything coming out of what appears to be (starting around Climategate) numerous allegations by climate scientists

    So … a mystery,

  9. To my dear fellow Aussies: Hell has more chance of Freezing over for Eternity than the Labor/Greens Party’s, Climate Commission, and BOM has of announcing that Climate Change is a Fraud. We should keep fighting and push the Truth, but these groups are Hell-bent on destroying our wonderful beautiful country.

  10. jcrabb says:
    They looked at five different sites, so how can they only have looked at two fish?

    Well, first you catch a slow weak fish, then you follow it to the second site, then the third…

  11. “…there is no cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.”

    @ Steve: There is always cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.

  12. I’ve got tears running down my face (in laughter) reading the comments.

    However the same behaviour in research is used in human research.

  13. oops try again with video
    One Fish, Too Fish, red Fish, Blue Fish Dr Seuss read in Jamaican Patois

  14. Stunning!

    “This result may reflect the small sample size of our experiments, and further work is needed to determine the effect of increasing temperature on swimming activity in banded morwong.”

    Or in other words….

    “Dear stupid Aussie taxpayers there is no need to laugh, this is serious science and we have more serious science to do so we will constinue to take your taxes. Thankyou!”

    I bet they really prefered a sample size of just 1 fish, like Kieth “One Tree” Briffa and YAD061, would have made their job half as easy. Australia used to be called the “lucky” country. Seems Australia has entered a death spiral into the age of stupid.

  15. Two . what a joke , but is it really a surprise that fact did not get out on the news given the point wasn’t to review the science but to up the scare factor .

  16. Sorry, Briffa used ONE tree for his ‘study’. He is not called ‘One Tree Briffa’ for nothing.

    One wonders about the education standards of these people. Studies ‘Proving’ that heat stress is likely to cause problems, possibly leading to ‘species failure’ takes no account of previous warm periods that were warmer than today. The MWP was about 2C warmer than today, the RWP even warmer so how did these species survive if heat was a problem?

  17. CRIKEY!!! One can just imagine Dr Thresher sharking around for more fame and funds.
    regards

  18. They get Grants for this abysmally small sample which is then promoted as “Gospel”?

  19. charles nelson,

    He is Professor Karoly, an ardent and long time alarmist who was responsible for a flawed rewrite of AR4 and passed it to PM Dullard as the driver for the new “carbon” tax. He has sea level rise and temp rise that don’t seem to gel with current real world data. Sea level would have to rise by 10mm per annum for the rest of the century. he ignored real data in order to reach his conclusions which strangely enough mirrored the requirements of the government. He too is “independent” as are all the climate commissioners.

    Karoly was given a severe grilling by a few radio shock jocks who dared to question his findings. Karoly and his peers are not used to being questioned and obviously confuse questioning with physical threats. His saving grace is that his report is far less scary than his pronouncements of bygone years. After the pizzling his mate,Tim Flannery, got from all his false predictions (any one of which would see him lose his job in the commercial world) he may have become more circumspect.

    The BoM are correctly attributing the coolest and wettest autumn to La Nina. However the drought and heatwaves of several years ago were signs of ACC.

    I was once proud that Australians were smart and not easily fooled. I am quite embarrassed that our government is such a laughing stock and it’s pursuit of a “carbon” tax is so ridiculous. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

  20. charles nelson says: June 4, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Suggest read War on Words published by <The Australian and this story on the streets very early this morning.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/weekend-australian-mag

    Charles, Not sure of the Melbourne University (Australia) news.? Maybe Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia as reported late today.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/australian-national-university-scientists-moved-to-safe-location-after-threats/story-e6frg6nf-1226069184389

    In any case, despicable behaviour.

    There has been a freedom of speech/anti-discrimination case going on in Australia. I do not know the full details or outcome, but Janet Albrechtson provides a synopisis of this case It’s a Serious Debate about Free Speech

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/commentary/its-a-serious-debate-about-free-speech/story-e6frgd0x-1226066756030

    The woman that was the subject of an abusive ‘twitter’ is Bess Price. Bess had previously spoken out clearly against violence among her people and her speeches can be searched on google.

    The above may also assist Willis E in his survey on WUWT bloggers and identity. And the responses and response rates.

  21. charles nelson says:
    June 4, 2011 at 12:30 am
    Dear Moderator,
    Not absolutely on subject but ABC (aus) Radio News just ran a story about a Climate Scientist at Melbourne Uni who has received death threats, for tirelessly speaking the truth about Climate change.
    Charles MORE DETAILS

  22. Eh eh. I had the privilege of reading a doctorate (Ph D) thesis that took several important conclusions by analysing a sample of two lab mice — 50% obese, 50% normal. Passed with flying colors. It all depends on who you are.

  23. “OzCynic says:
    June 4, 2011 at 2:21 am”

    Dr Karoli is VERY pro AGW, and in debates, will talk over everyone and anyone.

  24. We are wasting our time trying to explain facts and science to these people because they have no interest in facts or science.

    These are crooks, liers and frauds, and like all crooks, liers and frauds, when you try to expose their lies, they will either ignore you or keep lying to cover their lies. What you will never get, is an admission of their fraud – until they face punishment for it.

    I no longer believe the AGW hoax can be solved by presenting the science to these people. It can only be solved when there is a political party brave enough to propose criminal charges for fraud against the scientists, and appropriate charges against those the in the media deliberately and knowing perpetrating this fraud (treason or sedition would be appropriate when you consider the cost to our society, economy and children)

    We are not dealing with a scientific issue, but with a criminal issue, and the sooner we reaslise that and start treating it as such, the sooner we may get results. If we just keep going down the path of trying to prove the science, all that will happend is that they will ingore it, and keep lying.

  25. I used to spear these fish in pot holes at the base of cliffs at the western end of roaring beach Nubeena, Tasmania. If they really lived at a depth of ten metres I wouldn’t have been able to spear them. I’m a cardiovascular casualty and a respiratory cripple. I struggle to dive deeper than five metres. I’ve given up spearing them because of the size restriction – greater than 360 mm but less than 460 mm. It’s hard to measure a moving fish. These fish feed in water as shallow as three metres, where there is a substantial temperature difference from winter to summer. I haven’t noticed that they feed in deeper water in summer. (I must admit that the really huge specimens stay deeper down.) I was very skeptical when I heard the story. So what if the SST warms up? The fish could go deeper if they really had to. Below three metres, the water around here is bone-numbingly and genital-shrinkingly cold all the time. I would be delighted if the SST improved around here. We have the same latitude as Barcelona. The price we pay for the absence of winter is the absence of summer. Warmer water would bring more fish to southern Tasmania, snapper for example, and like I said the poor old morwong could retreat to the deeper part of their habitat, a place the mainland fish would shun. I know that co2-induced global warming is a load of old cobblers, but if it ever happens Tasmania would be the world’s greatest beneficiary of it!!!!

  26. As the ABC report ends with-
    “The Australian Federal Police says it is aware of the issue, but there is no investigation underway.”

    Basically that means nothing to see here folks so roll over and go back to sleep and we’ll let you know if there’s any real terrorist threat about, as distinct from the usual teenage digital antics and cyber-bullying going on nowadays.

  27. Can’t get to the body of the paper as it’s behind a pay wall but can reference 3 figures “at a glance”.

    Figures 1 and 2 which seem to use large samples but Figure 3 explicitly says = 2.

    To determine growth rates they analysed the fishes’ otoliths, bony structures that fish use for orientation and detection of movement. Just like tree rings, the bony structures show incremental changes in fish growth over long periods of time.

    (the fish live a long time, 90 years)

    Figure 3: Preliminary estimates of temperature effects on swimming activity in banded morwong.
    a, Temperature effects on oxygen consumption at 0.9 m s−1 (mean ± standard error, based on n=2 fish and >12 trials).
    b, The swimming speeds (mean ± standard error, based on n=2 fish and >12 trials) causing anaerobic stress at different temperatures.…

    I can imagine why they only used 2 fish in their live experiments – ever tried to put a breathing mask on a fish?

  28. Brian H says: (June 4, 2011 at 12:22 am)
    Edit note: “toe the party line”, not “tow”, notwithstanding widespread insistent illiterate error-mongering on this point.

    Ah, Brian, such a touching cry from the past. These days they have to tow the party line all over the place to try and keep ahead…

  29. {{I present three other peer reviewed studies that show that marine ecosystems adapt well to warmer water and that there is no cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.}}

    Is there a link/reference to the three studies – I would like to read them.

  30. Well on the news tonight it said that the Australian Federal Police were monitoring the situation but not taking any action. This usually means they do not take the threats as credible or real. There seems to be a fashion in Australia lately by Politicians and now Scientists that when they get a bit of a grilling suddenly there are death threats ( or claimed death threats)With Tony Windsor (politician) the death threat turned out to be “I hope you drop dead you b@st@rd” now while not nice , hardly a threat to life ( b@st@rd almost being a term of affection in Austalia). Now I personally condemn anyone who makes threats or harrasses people for what they say or believe but I do agree with an earlier poster that this smells fishy, especially when the AFP are not taking action

  31. There is something fishy going on with this death threat story, definately more fishy than this study which was fish-less.

    http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201106/3235680.htm?desktop

    “Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Young says high profile academics have received large numbers of threatening emails and abusive phone calls over the last six months, but the situation has worsened significantly in recent weeks.”
    Sunday papers anyone.

  32. well this fishy tale is just like the Bom funny figures after they adjusted em…
    and Karoli is a dipsh*t.
    I seriously doubt the threats- and if there were? I just bet its an Inside job to further try and shut sceptical comments down across aus.
    yesterdays farce of the day was a survey..that said 76% believed in warming.
    yeah? really? a few hundred in a long gone survey, NO figures or what the Q asked were either..
    lies damned lies and statistics
    the get up greenpeace mob seem to number 3 mil according to g peace anyway..(a LOT of room for doubt there)
    so from 22+ mil total 3 is NOT a majority of the people, rather they are a MINORITY view.cant say I would cry or be ,moved if the whole damn lot of the govvy paid AGW goons did take a long walk off a short pier though, JuLIAR and bob could lead the way:-)

  33. On the first day of warming my alarmist gave to me,
    One Yamal Tree.
    On the second day of warming my alarmist gave to me,
    Two Morwong fish.
    On the third day of warming, my alarmist gave to me,
    Three Al-Gore-Rhythms
    On the fourth day of warming my alarmist gave to me,
    Four Polar bears.

  34. Look at the bright side. If they used only one fish, the standard deviation on any variable would have been infinity.

    So much for science. The Paul Ehrlich et al anti-human socialists have perverted science into wizardry.

  35. jcrabb says:
    June 4, 2011 at 12:22 am

    They looked at five different sites, so how can they only have looked at two fish?

    The other three fish didn’t give them the trend they were looking for.

  36. If they were true climate “scientists”, they would have disregarded the fish and gone straight for computer modelling. Empirical evidence is just not reliable.

  37. From the ABC story:
    In the last 60 years, surface water temperatures in the Tasman Sea have risen more than 2°C. This temperature rise is caused by globally increasing sea surface temperatures and the movement of the warm East Australian Current further south”

    Is that for real?

  38. Here is a recent study that showed two species of fish can tolerate water temperatures up to 45C.

    http://www.opwall.com/Library/Opwall%20library%20pdfs/Journal%20publications/Eme%20et%20al%202011-JEMBE.pdf

    To put 45C into perspective, that is probably the warmest the ocean surface has ever gotten to in Earth’s history – in one particularly enclosed ocean basin at the equator 260 Mya. For most of the Earth’s history, the warmest surface water at the equator would have been about 35C while the warmest ocean surface yesterday was 32.8C off the coast of India.

    Most species of fish have a preferred water temperature and will move up and down the water column (assuming food is available) to sustain that water temperature. It is no surprise at all that some are cold adapted and some are warm adapted and won’t survive if the water temperature in their accessible environment goes outside that range. So there is nothing special about this particular study that merits it being published in “Nature Climate Change”. Fish are not going extinct because of a tiny 0.5C increase in local ocean temperatures. It is 0.5C colder just a few metres down.

    The ocean is stratified from ice on top, the warmest water next and then colder water at the bottom. The ocean is always going to be colder as you go a little deeper. It is not going to exceed fish tolerance limits until the polar regions are no longer cold in the winter. If the poles warm up to 45C in the winter, then so will the deep ocean. But that won’t happen for a few billion years yet so fish are probably safe until then.

  39. So they’ve doubled their sample size. Maybe all this auditing is having an effect.

  40. They caught TWO fish in Australia? Must have been close to NZ territorial waters. Man, you Aussies have shagged your fisheries over there. Hauraki Gulf, hardly out from Auckland, just gets better and better. I go over and fish with mates in NSW – lucky to catch a mackerel. These are real environmental, ecological outcomes. So what’s the story?

  41. So, essentially, if they’d gotten bigger grants, like I know they think they properly deserve, they could have bought, say, three fish’?

  42. “They looked at five different sites, so how can they only have looked at two fish?”

    Probably had to exhaustively search five sites to find two specimens in bad enough shape to fit their study conclusions.

  43. I’m sure if you rase the temperture of the water in a tank by one degree for a week. Take the fish out the water to prepare it for study. Allow it to dry a week. Soak it in acid, then run it through a blender to prepare it. And study the cells under a microscope. You’ll see cell damage.

    Proof of the harm just one degree will cause.

  44. Roger Carr says:
    June 4, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Brian H says: (June 4, 2011 at 12:22 am)
    Edit note: “toe the party line”, not “tow”, notwithstanding widespread insistent illiterate error-mongering on this point.

    Ah, Brian, such a touching cry from the past. These days they have to tow the party line all over the place to try and keep ahead…

    Yeah, but it’s still easier than moving the goalposts!

  45. tango water melon head science .what will happen to them all after the biggest FRAUD in our history is dead and cremated . cannot wait for the day

    They’ll move on to something else. I remember the trendy tranzy of the 1980s drooling over the Brundtland Report, as it gave them the excuse to continue their attempt at totalitarian rule of the world after communism had patently failed.

  46. Alex,
    You raise an interesting question, did Noah have fish in the Ark? I figure not, being as it would have been unecessary.

  47. Maybe I’m stupid but I clicked on all the links and saw no mention of any two fish study. I must be stupid.

  48. Reading through the ABC article I was struck by this little gem:

    “To determine growth rates they analysed the fishes’ otoliths, bony structures that fish use for orientation and detection of movement. Just like tree rings, the bony structures show incremental changes in fish growth over long periods of time.”

    Here we go again …

  49. Please read the document!!!

    The 2 fishe were used for swimming speed tests – plenty of statements ensuring the reader understands that this is not enough in the report. It research on otolith sizes the swimming is a small part of the document.

  50. This has to be a post-normal fish story.
    Usually, its all about bragging over the one that got away.

  51. I couldn’t get access to the full paper, but where does the two fish come into the analysis?
    Look at http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n2/extref/nclimate1084-s1.pdf
    which contains supplementary data.
    The second page talks about five banded morwong populations (which I assume would contain more than two fish in total?)
    Page 8 contains this table listing locations and populations;

    Location Sample Size

    North island, N.Z. (NZ) 49
    Victoria, Aus 283
    Northeast coast, Tasmania, Aus. 122
    East coast, Tasmania, Aus. 474
    Southeast coast, Tasmania, Aus. 310

    There may have been some doubling up as there is a column also called “# of year classes represented”, but I think it is more than two.

    So is the two fish you talk about one small part of this study?

    Thanks

  52. Frosty wrote: “Amateurs, any decent propagandist would only need one fish.”

    Why did they bother with fish? Why was computer modelling invented?

    IanM

  53. Alex you got me laughing so much
    All Noah needed were two fish, I don’t see the problem.

  54. Post modern science = Any science conducted and reported without input from an independent statistician.

    So here are my comments re: study design 101: Two fish makes for a case study, not a random sample. There is nothing wrong with case studies, and no you don’t need a statistician on board for that. I find case studies to be intriguing. But to extrapolate what might happen to the general population goes way beyond the limits of case studies.

    Since we seem to be getting a lot of these kinds of studies, I am left to wonder about the description for the required master’s level “Research Design” course all graduates heading for careers in research are required to take. I’ve taken two (I have two master’s degrees). Looking through my course material, a two-fish study would not qualify as a random sample design.

    Case closed. Reprimand the researchers and remove their funding for any further endeavors regarding fish.

  55. I have a fish tank. In it are 5 fish. The temperature of the water in this 40 gallon tank is all over the place, because I don’t really care. The fish are 5 years old and doing fine.

    Some scientist wants to convince me that there’s a global catastrophe looming because the sea has changed temperature by .08degC per decade and the fish are in peril??

    My tank changes temperature by that much in an hour as the ambient temp in my house changes from 60 to 85 degF during the day. (never mind the chemistry….)

  56. Karoly will always stand out in my mind for the way he leveraged the 156 deaths in the Victorian bushfires while Marysville was still smouldering.

    http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2009/3/4/7438/09041

    For what it’s worth (okay not much) he is also in the Climate Science Hall of Shame.

    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/hall_of_shame.htm#List_of_institutions

    It’s easy for this guy to p155 you off, but remember to win over the idle public we need to fight a good clean fight, all evidence, no insults.

    Bury your feelings, skeptics. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the Emperor.

  57. “On the first day of warming my alarmist gave to me..”

    Seeing as you’re waxing a bit lyrical there Oscar, it’s about time the young digital generation took a leaf out of we oldies book and Come Out from behind their anonymous keyboards, cyber-bullying their climatology profs and Getup them openly on the campuses. Get Out them gitars and Ipods and start a singing and a chantin some of them old time favourites-

    Whadda we want? Scientific proof! Whenda we wannit? NOW!

    and-

    Come gather ’round drones
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the taxes
    Around you have groan
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be skinned to the bone
    If overtime to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start objectin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the climes they’re always changin’.

    Come blogger and critics
    Who analyse like wise men
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And speak up real soon
    For the windmills in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s harmin’
    For the losers now
    Will be later to win
    For the climes they’re always changin’.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Best heed our call
    Don’t stand in the freeway
    Don’t block up the coal
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be those you have tramelled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it’s worth wagin’
    It’ll soon shake your windmills
    And shatter your panels
    For the climes they’re always changin’.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And best criticize
    What only you understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are being given commands
    Your wise road is
    Rapidly cravin’
    Please stand up to the new order
    If you can’t bend your hand
    For the climes they’re always changin’.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slick ones now
    Will be gone fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    Their new order is
    Rapidly cavin’
    And the first ones now
    Will later be last
    For the climes they’re always changin’

  58. If you read at the study, or supplementary materials , the main part of the paper uses over 1000 fish in it’s sample size, the absract and conclusions are based off this evidence. The study also includes a related ‘preliminary study’ within it which uses 2 fish as a initial test. The paper doesn’t draw any concrete conclusions from the preliminary study but notes it as an area for future research.

    While the headline of ‘2 fish used in study’ is a catchy and funny title, it is disingenuous and misleading to say that the results are based on only on those 2. Lost a little respect for this site because of this.

    Link for the supp materials

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n2/extref/nclimate1084-s1.pdf

  59. Frankly, I do not see a problem here. The rules of statistical significance have absolutely no place in a genuine pseudoscience.

  60. Brian H says on June 4, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Edit note: “toe the party line”, not “tow”, notwithstanding widespread insistent illiterate error-mongering on this point.

    I concur. Think of: Step up to the party line. Not to get out of line! Not to get out of step.

    It is toe the party line, damn it!

  61. To get two fish I believe you would tow the line, behind the boet… bowt… no, boat.

  62. There is a simple answer to all this nonsense. Surface tension. Physical heat can not pass from the atmosphere to the ocean, it will only accept suns radiation. Don’t believe me, try heating a bucket with a heat gun.

  63. Pretty well what we are coming to expect from the alarmist camp in Australia, they have an open go in the majority of the Media and invariably get no questioning even when they make extreme claims that are not supported by the science.

    To me its hardly surprising that the free go, and suppression of any sceptic side to the issues, is just building frustration as there is no real political voice for sceptics, no wonder that some (certainly not all!!) who object to the spin and lies, resort to abuse.

    In Karoli’s case he has been responsible for some extremely bad comments, he just cannot help himself. I must say that like Flannery he has toned down some of his extreme and offensive claims and now liberally sprinkles mights and possibly where he knows there is uncertainty, but after doing that, he ignores all those uncertainties and reverts the we know that catastrophe is certain after saying the opposite, so the public is left with the lies (dogma) as the last word.

    A sad individual who is certainly not honest in his approach to science or the scientific method or even interested in truth.

    Clive Hamilton was the same, an ardent spouter of lies, suppresses any suggestion of uncertainty in “their science” and really just an argument from authority or repeats of the worn out claim of consensus of climate “experts” and then they wonder why ordinary people get heated in their response to their more outrageous claims.

    I’d rather that guys like Cook, Karoli, Hamilton should engage in searching and open debate with sceptical scientists, instead of the rubbish they keep coming out with. As jobs go down the drain, I fear that frustration (at not having any voice, representation or ability to vote on the issue) will build enormously in Australia.

    We see certain groups who seem to think its all right to threaten to sabotage generating plants, attack logging operations, treatment of caged birds, use of furs, and any other number of environmental issues, graffiti buildings as a right of passage among the young hotheads and I fear the same lawbreaking might be the end result.

    Of course there are certain fringe anarchist style groups very active in fomenting trouble as well, so quite capable of carrying out that type of campaign to polarize and leverage issues. Not hard to inject venom into a debate and attack both sides.

    Australia, like other parts of the world has had incidents in the past from dissident groups recruiting to exploit.

    I’m rather sad that otherwise intelligent people can’t see the potential issues that can arise from one sided bias and denial of voice to the other.

    The level of invective directed against sceptics by a rabid element, including veiled threats that they will be silenced is similarly concerning. The worse the warmist science performs the more offensive and threatening those words become.

  64. Re Death Threats

    According to the ABC “Media Watch” TV Show, Dr Karoli recently tried to debate Radio shock jock Alan Jones, and got something of a hiding. For those outside of Sydney, Mr Jones takes no prisoners in debate. He makes Rush Limbough look like a compete wimp. I could imagine that some of Mr Jones’s more “red neck” listeners could be to blame for threats against Dr Karoli. But that is just speculation, I don’t have any actual information.

  65. Ah. Looked at the supplemental information. Oscillation of iron fertilization and plankton bloom, along with temperature change, have great affects on Salmon growth, population, and migration patterns. That has been going on for 100’s of years and is documented in fishing fleet ship logs before there were scientists worried about CO2.

    I also noticed that temperature changes in the seas in the present study were identified as secondary to ENSO conditions.

    I hardly think this study leads to any conclusion other than what is already known about fish, especially commercial fish. Their numbers and size change with the NATURAL oceanic and atmospheric oscillations, in particular the decadal ones, and that overfishing during less favorable oscillations can devastate a fishing industry. CO2 is not even a speck of dust in that frame of reference.

  66. …AND regarding the case study of two fish. Great way to introduce bias into a larger random? sample study. If you want to see the evidence you are sure will be there, you will see it. And because correlation cannot prove causation, the door is open to the suggestion of anthropogenic warming of the waters along with saying that ENSO parameters were also correlated to this warming. The unspoken but ubiquitous talking point is to subliminally suggest that ENSO is whut dunnit in the past, but AGW is the perp now.

    I’ve heard it. Got anything new?

  67. In a normal population, a sample size equal to the square root of the population is typically representative of the population.

    So, in a study using 2 fish as a sample, it would be representative if the total population of fish was 4. If however the fish population was more likely in the millions, then you would need a sample measured in the thousands to draw any meaningful conclusion.

    As has been mentioned in more than a few expert reviews of climate science, the findings are largely based on faulty use of statistics. Climate science has by and large ignored disciplines outside of climate science in drawing its conclusions. As a result, they have been mislead as to the statistical significance of their findings.

    If you have one foot in the freezer and another in the oven you are statistically comfortable according to climate science. Global average temperature is calculated in this fashion. Then if the freezer is turned off, while the oven is left on, you will experience a net increase in average temperature – global warming. Only then will you be uncomfortable.

    As can be seen from this simple example, the increase in average temperature has nothing to do with how comfortable you are, or how suitable the overall temperatures are for living creatures. Comfort has to do with the range of extremes, which is hidden when you average the temperature data.

    As such, the underlying premise of AGW, that average temperature is statistically significant is what gives rise to the misleading conclusions. You are measuring something that can be shown to be statistically of no significance, and then trying to draw meaningful conclusions.

    You might as well be reading tea leaves. Predicting future climate based on historical average temperatures is no different that predicting future stock prices based on the past Dow Jones averages. It will have the same skill level. Exactly the same skill level as throwing dice or tossing a coin.

    Like a stopped clock, sooner of later the time will be right. If you are accidentally at the right time when you make your prediction, you will become famous (Hansen 88). If you are accidentally at the wrong side you will become infamous (Gore 08).

    The difference is that every 30 years the climate switches from warming to cooling. Gore wasn’t wrong about global warming happening, only about when it would happen. But in the end it didn’t matter, he rode the Katrina disaster to fame and fortune, ignoring the human causes of the disaster.

    New Orleans flooded because the levies were not maintained. Al Gore was in a position to influnce this during his time in office from 1977-2001. Coincidence? Or a politician having helped create the problem, then wanting to take credit for solving the problem?

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  68. “… for tirelessly speaking the truth about Climate change.”

    So, it is not about science any more. It has truly become a religion.

  69. Since my favorite past time is shooting and fishing, I have to ask. How big do they get? What bait should I use? And…does anyone have a good recipe?

  70. In my observation, when it gets hot the fish will swim to deeper, cooler water. When it cools off, they come back to the shallow water. Could it be that fish are smarter than some scientists?

  71. “Pamela Gray says:
    June 4, 2011 at 10:55 am
    Since my favorite past time is shooting and fishing, I have to ask. How big do they get? What bait should I use? And…does anyone have a good recipe?”

    In NZ they we call them Red Moki. They eat seaweed, hard to catch with a hook. They are reef dwellers and swim very slowly. Only beginner spearfishingpersons shoot them. They are just too easy and allegedly slow growing and long lived. Good eating though.

  72. Actually, I think they can swim quickly when they want to, but because few people hunt them, they do not flee from humans. If people started hunting them more, I suspect they would flee more, making them harder to catch.

    Adaptation.

    Something that humans can also do when circumstances change.

  73. It seems they caught some 1200 specimens of the fish at five locations,
    made otolith age determinations on at least 130, maybe 200 specimens
    (partly missing text below figure 2). Based on this, statistical tests were
    made and a solid conclusion drawn, sufficient for a decent article:

    “Increasing temperatures coincide with increased growth for populations
    in the middle of the species range, but with reduced growth for those at the
    warm northern edge of the species’ distribution, indicating that temperatures
    may have already reached levels associated with increased metabolic costs.”

    IN ADDITION, they made a physiological test to elucidate the mechanism
    by measuring oxygen consumption and swimming activity on two fish
    individuals in a tank. A useful supporting component.

    THEN the so called science blog WUT steps in and runs it backward:
    a sample of two fish only!! Who needs this kind of distortion and manipulation?

  74. There is a simple answer to all this nonsense. Surface tension. Physical heat can not pass from the atmosphere to the ocean, it will only accept suns radiation. Don’t believe me, try heating a bucket with a heat gun.

    How does my fridge cool water down?

  75. Geoffrax
    June 4, 2011 at 7:49 am

    bzzzt, wrong answer.

    The portion of the study that will be used to generate the salacious “we’re all doomed” headlines is that portion that uses the two fish sample. It does not matter that the paper cautions against reading to much into the results. Propagandists don’t care. Without this portion, there really is no smoking gun evidence of CAGW caused stress. So all of the hand wringing new reports really are based on a study of two fish.

    Its science by press release.

  76. quote”the sample size of the component of the study which looked at the physiological stress on fish consisted of only TWO fish.”

    Correct..but that is at the end of the article and is not the thrust of the main article

    Herald quote “To test what they were seeing in the wild, the researchers conducted an additional study to identify the effect of increased water temperatures on spawning behaviour.”
    Hendrix/woodman…for some odd reason..appear to be accidently implying that the article/paper is talking about two fish.
    I wrote to A.B.Neuheimer who was one of the authors.
    In the reply I was told that the article is talking about TWO studies.
    One published and one preliminary.
    The published link is 1238 fish at 5 sites.
    The preliminary is 2 fish.
    So, its disingenuous to suggest the authors are talking about 2 fish in their study.
    When quite clearly the published paper is not.
    I am amazed this post got through fact checking. :)

  77. Civil Disobedience and Passive Resistance not violence and death threats.Its worked before and will work again.”So long and thanks for the FISH”

  78. John in NZ, what do the experienced guys do, talk them into the point of their spear?
    ; >)) Reef netting would be fun to watch, kind of like when my fishing net gets caught in the barbed wire fences I have to crawl through on my way down the river bank. I never notice the hole till I try to scoop up a fish.

  79. I have a bad feeling this story is a jumped shark harming WUWT.

    Too late to simply pull it, Anthony; but something akin to an apology is very necessary for the sake of group integrity.

  80. Hi Pamela :<) Experienced people watch the moki and shoot other species. eg Kingfish, snapper or tarakihi. Better meat and more of a challenge. The Moki can be very tame. It is very easy to get so close. If you try to touch them they will dart away.
    They are normally about two feet long so you get a lot of meat off them, but it isn't very firm. It doesn't keep very well. When I was about ten or twelve years old I shot a few of them but nowadays I'm feeling guilty that I did. I just like to watch them now. Not that I get to go diving these days.
    For more on Red Moki see http://www.wildblue.co.nz/fish/nontarget/redmoki/
    Note they are regarded as "nontarget".

  81. Mike Williams is almost right, but this is clearly a study of one fish. Red morwong, or red moki (Cheilodactylus spectabilis).

  82. It’s a bogus study but not for the reasons stated. Fish survive all over the world in all sorts of conditions. Geographic variation, seasonal variation, depth variation, salt content etc. Fish can and do seek cooler water just by swimming lower, or warmer water by swimming higher. The premise that a small variation in average temperature over a long duration will somehow adversely affect the world’s fish populations is quite absurd. Fish that like cooler waters might gradually move towards the poles, and some will be able to move towards the centre due to those conditions becoming better suited to them.

  83. Aren’t we a bit surprised that they used any fish at all and did not simply make a computer model?
    Why waste all of the resources of keeping the fish alive when you can fantasize the results? It takes much less time and all you need is a laptop and a programmer.

  84. DesertYote says:
    June 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    The portion of the study that will be used to generate the salacious “we’re all doomed” headlines is that portion that uses the two fish sample. It does not matter that the paper cautions against reading to much into the results. Propagandists don’t care. Without this portion, there really is no smoking gun evidence of CAGW caused stress. So all of the hand wringing new reports really are based on a study of two fish.

    —-
    You are wrong. The smoking gun evidence is there: fish growth rates have decreased
    at the Northern edge of the distribution area during the same period that water
    temperature has risen. The result based on otolith rings in a larger sample (N =
    134) is statistically significant.

    That there is more physiological stress, affecting growth rates, at the edges of a species distribution area is not news. But this study shows a correlation between increasing water temperature and fish growth rates, indicating increasing AGW induced stress.

    The scientists have done their job and the disinformants at WUT are trying to
    do theirs. But, you could do better. This post is just embarrassing.

  85. To Anthony Watts, Marc Hendrix, AND Steve Woodman,

    What part of “n=82 fish” do you all not understand?

    Woodman, the claim of reduced growth due to warming waters is NOT based on sampling two individuals, it is based on data from at least 82 fish in one of the diagrams THAT YOU LINKED TO IN YOUR ARTICLE.

    Watts and Hendrix, what is your excuse for accepting rumours uncritically? Jumping at a chance for some mudslinging at perceived warmists, no doubt.

    I don’t care if it is true if these scientists had preliminary findings from only two fish on a related study, that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU all claimed these scientists had published warnings of a species threat based ONLY on a sample size of two, and that is FALSE. They observed hundreds of fish of different ages and locations to show the real temperature and real growth rates roughly fits an inverted parabola, just as would be expected of any homoeostatic variable in any species. This says nothing about the species being threatened with a hot death.

    Figure 2. Otolith radius increases with fish size for a, fish aged seven years (linear regression, otolith radius=5.3·fish length+505 μm; n=82 fish; r2=0.083; P=0.0088) and c, nine years (linear regression, otolith radius=4.7·fish length+583 μm; n=52 fish; r2=0.090; P=0.031).

    The ABC headline “Warm waters push fish’s comfort zone” and the Reuters headline are entirely justified by this research on 1200 fish, even if it isn’t surprising nor alarmist. I would disagree that the 10% of the ABC article relating to fatal stress justifies the claim “much was made of the threat of fish dying from hot ocean water”. The bulk of the ABC and Reuters articles reported accurately that fish growth is stunted by water warming beyond a threshold, which is backed up by hundreds of observations.
    In any event you can’t hold the scientists responsible for journos and the public jumping to conclusions by reading too much into statements that are literally true.

    The correlation between the temperature over time and the fish growth over time is certainly in need of a controlled study to eliminate confounding factors and to more firmly establish causation of temperature to growth. But when these scientists do the right thing by initiating a controlled experiment you respond by chastising them for not putting enough fish through the stress test!

    “We won’t see fish die because of water temperatures,” he says, “but the population in those areas will become less productive and really very dependent upon young fish moving into those areas and replacing them.
    “If that’s not occurring then what we might see is a contraction in the range of the fish at the warm end [of the distribution].”

    If this scientist is trying to be alarmist, they just flunked. If the journalist is trying to be alarmist, they flunked by reporting this reassurance.

    None of you are doing anybody any good, warmists or skeptics, by libelling the scientists of this study. I would recommend this article be scrubbed from WUWT and you post a new story co-authored by all three of you jointly apologising for your combined negligence in fact-checking.

  86. Mikael Pihlström says:
    June 5, 2011 at 1:29 am

    But this study shows a correlation between increasing water temperature and fish growth rates, indicating increasing AGW induced stress.

    No comments on the fish study itself but I don’t think you really can link changes in sea temperatures to AGW. Why? Simply because the latter doesn’t exists. Short and long term changes in sea temperature are most likely due to PDO, ENSO, variations in cloud albedo and activity of the Sun.

    At the moment global SST is below 30-year average and sst anomalies north of Australia have been negative for months because of strong La Nina.

  87. Other than going extinct, the Morwong may choose to swimm like 15 cm. deeper under the surface or move a block or two to a better neighborhood.

  88. Mikael Pihlström
    June 5, 2011 at 1:29 am
    ###

    “But this study shows a correlation between increasing water temperature and fish growth rates, indicating increasing AGW induced stress.”

    ###

    Sorry, but the attempt to show causation failed. Funny that all other studies of otolith growth rates relative to temperature, have found little correlation. As I said before, it does not mater if the study has some valid parts, the conclusion is flawed and the reporting is worse. The whole point is to keep a narrative going that mankind is killing the planet and we need to do something now. And THAT is called PROPAGANDA, and it is that propaganda that many here are ridiculing.

  89. oz juggler…get some reading glasses. Here’s the relevant part of the study. Your cherry picked selection only covering a small part of it, and one not relevant to the alarmist headlines.

    “This thermal limit is also suggested by results from preliminary (n=2 fish) activity experiments for fish from the southernmost (coldest) population where we observed fish performance at the species’ typical spawning swimming speed (~1 m s−1; period of highest activity) and temperatures ranging from 11 to 18 °C (thermal range at sampling site, see Methods).”

    “Spawning swimming speeds were determined in the field, off the southeast coast of Tasmania (seeSupplementary Fig. S1), using fish fitted with telemetered accelerometer tags. Preliminary observations of swimming performance in the laboratory were conducted at 11–14 °C, 14–16 °C and 16–18 °C for each fish (n=2 fish and >12 trials, weight=1.8 and 2.7 kg), following the procedures described in ref 30.”

    Thats n=2! That’s TWO FISH. I bet they even have names. Now what was that about “negligence in fact-checking”? Expect to see YOUR apology posted below.

  90. Firstly, glasses won’t help me read subscription-only material that I don’t have access to. But more pertinently…

    If the scientists had never done the study with N=2 the journalists for ABC and Reuters could still have written 90% of those news articles identically… including the headlines. Their theme is supported by the larger samples and has no link with spawning speed.

    The only thing the preliminary two-fish study is relevant towards is your cherry picking.

    Mudslinging at warmists must be really difficult these days if you have to scrape the bottom of the fish barrel.

  91. Ozjuggler…Here’s an extract from Steve’s letter that might help you understand where the problem lies…

    “Preliminary field and laboratory studies suggested that this decline in growth may be related to temperature induced physiological stress, resulting in increased oxygen consumption and reduced ability to sustain swimming activity.” http://www.utas.edu.au/tools/recent-news/news/ocean-warming-detrimental-to-inshore-fish-species

    The Commission will be surprised to learn that this conclusion does not arise from the examination of the otolith radii, which is the supposed focus of the research, but of a smaller, seemingly adhoc addition to the study. This was in the form of an experiment, and the sample size of fish that led to the alarming conclusion regarding physiological stress was a mere two fish.

    “This thermal limit is also suggested by results from preliminary (n=2 fish) activity experiments for fish from the southernmost (coldest) population where we observed fish performance at the species’ typical spawning swimming speed (~1 m s−1; period of highest activity) and temperatures ranging from 11 to 18 °C (thermal range at sampling site, see Methods).”

    Now, since when did exposing poor science count as mudslinging?

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