Andrew Bolt’s “Hockey Schtick”: Australia’s most prominent denier inadvertently posts proof of climate change


Andrew Bolt must surely be in the running to be Australia’s most incompetent journalist. In Andrew’s mind, the recent floods somehow discredit the science supporting global warming: 

“… First, warmists have insisted for years that the drought – which affected large parts of now-flooded Queensland – was in fact evidence of global warming, and we should expect fewer dam-filling rains…”

He then reproduces this graph as “evidence”, hinting there is nothing abnormal about the rains in a historical context:

This somehow proves there global warming “is a fiction”. I mean, just look at the graph – it goes up and down!

“What’s changed huh warmists!?!?!”

He then pointedly asks:

(Incidentally, does that rainfall record above indicate reveal any recent trend that seems to you evidence of “climate change”?)

Does Andrew have a point? 

The graph is an average for Eastern Austrlia only. Not the whole of Austrlia, just part of the continent. It tells of nothing or rainfall distribution across Australia.

So let’s look average rainfall across Australia, but smooth out the data by looking at it in 15 year intervals if it helps us see any trends:

Note that you get slight “hockey stick” effect… well not really, but almost. On average we have the same amount of rain falling over the last 100 years or so.

But what matters is where it is falling.

The following time series maps show how the distribution of rainfall has changed over the last 100 years. I did this back in March, but it’s worth showing again.

I’ve taken the same source data as Andrew but reproduced it as time series maps. I’ve also shortened the data range in order to see if there are any emergent trends.

Here is the average distribution of rainfall over Australia for the 1900-2010 period:  


Let’s jump ahead a few decades and look at the average for the 1950-2010 period. Note how rainfall patterns are starting to change…   




Let’s jump forward a few decades: 



As the CSIRO noted in the “State of the Climate Report” last year:

 “While total rainfall on the Australian continent has been relatively stable, the geographic distribution of rainfall has changed significantly over the past 50 years. Rainfall decreased in south-west and south-east Australia, including all the major population centres, during the same period…”

And that:

“…[The] Trend over five decades of increasing rainfall in many parts of northern and central Australia (see map)”

Rain is more intense in some areas – thus confusing Andrew – but decreasing in many areas of Australia. All of this is line with the argument the world’s climate is undergoing a rapid change.

As I pointed out many, many months ago Andrew can’t even read a map.

Surely, Andrew Bolt’s “Hockey Schtick” rivals the other great hockey sticks in science:

Data and information without context is just noise… you need to look at the total picture. So when Andrew suggests his graph show’s no evidence of climate change, he has inadvertanlty demonstrated it has!

Is Bolt incompetent, or just plain dishonest?

Which is worse?

17 thoughts on “Andrew Bolt’s “Hockey Schtick”: Australia’s most prominent denier inadvertently posts proof of climate change

  1. Nick says:

    To be fair,if the Eastern Australia RF graphic extended back to 1880,we’d see big blue spikes in the 1880s and 1890s,when a lot of regional rainfall records were set in similar phase ENSO/IPO

    Doesn’t detract from the fact that Bolt cannot handle sources usefully.

  2. zoot says:

    Is Bolt incompetent, or just plain dishonest?

    Why the false dichotomy? He has demonstrated again and again that he is incompetent and dishonest.

  3. Sou says:

    I’m with zoot. Definitely dishonest. And it depends on what his objective is regarding competence.

    If he wants to attract deniers and get a reputation for being ignorant and deceitful, he is arguably competent (not sure about his blog reader’s demographics, I have rarely looked at his blog and I know he refuses to post most comments from people who disagree with him – so it’s hard to know his audience).

    If he wants to appear intelligent and knowledgeable, he is distinctly incompetent.

  4. Sou says:

    As you say, rainfall data for Australia can’t be properly analysed by looking at gross data for the whole country. There are different climate zones across this rather large island 🙂

    Rainfall can’t be properly analysed just looking annual rain at a regional level.

    Drought is determined by when it rains and how much it rains compared to the expected ‘normal’ rainfall pattern. If it rains as much in five days as the whole of summer or the whole year – and the latter out of season (summer instead of autumn/winter), then you can even have major floods during a drought!

    Farmers down here couldn’t plant at the right time because it was too wet. Now they can’t harvest because the crops are washed away or under water. Even where floods haven’t damaged crops, a lot of summer crops have been hit by moulds and fungi because of the unseasonal humidity.

    As I heard an agronomist say on tv tonight, floods can be worse than droughts because you might not bother planting a crop in a drought year so you just lose the expected profit. In a wet year, you’ll spend all the money on planting and looking after a crop, only to lose it – a double whammy.

    It’s a tough year for farmers.

  5. Sou says:

    BTW, I’ve posted links to a research paper by Gallant and Karoly just published in J Climate, which provides evidence of the changes in Australia’s climates due to human-caused global warming. I wonder if Bolt will comment on it.

    More hot and wet extremes, drier and hotter in the south-east and south-west, more extremely hot and wet days in the tropics, more intense precipitation as experienced in Victoria.

  6. Pete_Ridley says:

    Mike, as I said on your “A wave that could drown the world: .. ” thread, you do talk a load of nonsense. Severe flooding and severe droughts are not a new phenomenon and they are not climate change, they are weather events. We’ve had them all before and we’ll have them again.

    What is more to the point, there is absolutely no convincing evidence that such events have anything to do with our use of fossil fuels. Please try to understand what science is available instead of simply accepting and parroting the propaganda that politicians, environmentalists and the power-hungry throw at you. Just for once try thinking for yourself.

    As you rightly say “ .. you need to look at the total picture. .. ”.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  7. Sou says:

    Not another “no convincing evidence’ line – given the evidence that’s accumulated over the past few decades, it’s clear that some people will never be convinced. They’ll argue till they are blue in the face that black is white and white is black and ‘climate is always changing’ without pausing to ask ‘why’.

    You have to wonder at their interest in discussions about climate change.

  8. Nescio says:

    He clearly understands what it takes to be a Serious Reporter. You may know the type, they come in all shapes and sizes, if not here’s a slight hint:


  9. Flinthart says:

    How is it you see ‘dishonest’ and ‘incompetent’ as mutually exclusive? I’ve read Bolty’s crap. In my estimation, he is both thoroughly dishonest and wildly incompetent.

  10. PeeBee says:

    I have noticed this trend in Andrew’s work for some time. It is called ‘cherry picking’ the evidence to support his argument. Strangely, his readers don’t seem to be offended when they are duped by Andrew misleading them by not giving all the evidence. Which says a lot about his readers.

    And he goes to bizzare lengths to mislead. The ‘0.0073% of scientist don’t think AGW is happening’ piece is a classic and so far out there, that surely the most stupidest of his readers must begin to smell a rat.

    And he is so smug about it too. It is like a gotcha moment, when he presents on of his half cocked pieces of evidence …. ‘look how clever I am getting this sort of evidence’.

  11. elsa says:

    Living in the UK I don’t know this guy’s work but it may just be that he’s a journalist. He writes what sells newspapers, regardless of whether it’s right, sensible, well argued etc. Sometimes I think people like being wound up – so that smugness may be extremely annoying but it can get you noticed which is probably what he wants.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: