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Rock star-scientist Brian Cox confused on more than global temperatures

August 19, 2016

By Paul Homewood



Jennifer Marohasy launches a scathing take down of overrated TV scientist, Brian Cox:


Celebrity physicist Brian Cox misled the ABC TV Q&A audience on at least 3 points-of-fact on Monday night. This is typical of the direction that much of science is taking. Richard Horton, the current editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, recently stated that, "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue."

Firstly, Cox displayed an out-of-date NASA chart of remodelled global temperatures as proof that we have catastrophic climate change caused by industrial pollution. Another panellist on the program, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, tried to raise the issue of cause and effect: querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question. But interestingly – beyond experiments undertaken by a chemist over 100 years ago – there is no real proof beyond unreliable computer simulation models.

Indeed, in 2006, John Nicol (a former Dean of Science at James Cook University) wrote to Penny Whetton (then meteorologist-in-charge of the climate science stream at CSIRO) asking if she could provide him with copies notes, internal reports, references ("peer reviewed" of course) which would provide details of the physics behind the hypothesis of global warming. She wrote back immediately promising to find some – which he thought was odd since he had assumed her office was stacked-to-the-ceiling with such literature.

Whetton even went to the trouble of contacting other colleagues – one of whom sent Nicol an inconsequential article in a Polish journal. After eighteen months of their exchanging letters and all of her promises to be helpful, all she could finally offer was the "scientific" section of "Climate Change in Australia 2007". There, to Nicol’s amazement he found nothing apart from the oft quoted: "We believe that most of the increase in global temperatures during the second half of the 20th century was very likely due to increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide".

"Believe", "most", and "very likely" are jargon, perhaps meaning "we don’t have a clue".

The chart Cox held up on Monday night – now all-over-the-internet as proof of global warming – essentially represents a remodelling of observed temperature measurements to confirm a belief, that we most likely have catastrophic global warming.

The accurate UAH satellite record shows a spike in temperatures in 1997-1998 associated with the El Nino back then, followed by a long pause of about 17 years, before the recent spike at the end of 2015-beginning of 2016. The recent spike was also caused by an El Nino event. Global-temperatures have been plummeting since March, and are now almost back to pause-levels. Indeed, Roberts was more correct than Cox, when he claimed there had been no warming for about 21 years – despite the rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.



The second misleading statement from Cox on Monday night concerned the nature of the modern sceptic – often harshly labelled a denier. Cox suggested that sceptics were the type of people that would even deny the moon-landing. In making this claim he was no doubt alluding to research, since discredited, funded by the Australian Research Council, that attempted to draw a link between scepticism of anthropogenic global warming and believing in conspiracies.

In fact, astronaut Harrison Schmitt – who actually stood on the moon, drilled holes, collected moon rocks, and has since returned to Earth – is a well-known sceptic of anthropogenic global warming. In short, Astronaut Harrison knows the moon-landing was real, but does not believe carbon dioxide plays a significant role in causing weather and climate change. In fact, Schmitt has expressed the view – a very similar view to Roberts – that the risks posed by climate change are overrated. Harrison has even suggested that climate change is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government – though he does not deny that he has been to the moon and back.

Thirdly, Cox has qualifications in particle physics, yet he incorrectly stated that Albert Einstein devised the four-dimensional-space-time continuum. Those with a particular interest in the history of relativity theory know that while Einstein reproduced the Lorenz equations using a different philosophical interpretation, he was not the first to put these equations into the context of the 4-dimensional continuum – that was done by Hermann Minkowski. Minkowski reformulated in four dimensions the then-recent theory of special relativity concluding that time and space should be treated equally. This subsequently gave rise to the concept of events taking place in a unified four-dimensional space-time continuum.

Then again, Cox may not care too much for facts. He is not only a celebrity scientist, but also a rock star. Just the other day I was watching a YouTube video of him playing keyboard as the lead-singer of the band screamed, "We don’t need a reason".

There was once a clear distinction between science – that was about reason and evidence – and art that could venture into the make-believe including through the re-interpretation of facts. This line is increasingly blurred in climate science where data is now routinely remodeled to make it more consistent with global warming theory.


Many may be aware that Jennifer has been taking a hard look at some of the temperature adjustments made to Australian stations, which, surprise surprise, change cooling trends into warming ones.

She goes on, in this article, to explaining some of these in great depths.

These are some of the adjustments that Brian Cox denies are happening.

  1. August 19, 2016 10:05 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “There was once a clear distinction between science – that was about reason and evidence – and art that could venture into the make-believe including through the re-interpretation of facts. This line is increasingly blurred in climate science where data is now routinely remodeled to make it more consistent with global warming theory.”

    Bang-on Jennifer Marohasy.

    • August 20, 2016 11:46 pm

      Like the demonising of Carl Sagan, but that was by his own scientists. B Cox can sing what ever words he likes as “art”. Art and creativity are essential to come up with a hypothesis to explain the facts. Hypotheses for complex systems like climate, weather, solar system’s, oceans, eco systems etc take many decades or centuries of development, improvement and sometime throwing out and radical change BUT it’s the best we’ve got.

      Brian’s specialty I think was once particle physics, have a look at one of his NON CELEBRITY lectures at CERN. His love and commitment to science credentials are avail to any who want to interpret the facts a little more generously than most on this page.

      • August 21, 2016 12:26 am

        AND in the original article a correction needed:
        Einstein used Lorentz Transformations space time calculations, NOTHING to do with Lorenz equations regarding complex systems around 1963 when Albert was dead.

        I don’t know why sceptics don’t go for the weakest link, how dos CO2 warm the oceans. Land is only quarter earth surface, and total internal energy of atmosphere would be a gazillionth (someone please do the calculation) of that in the oceans. So any model that doesn’t explain how increase CO2 also raises the ocean temp by means other than warmer air warming the ocean (as that couldn’t do it) is not just an incomplete model, but irrelevant.

        The honing of many hypotheses from many different scientists from different perspectives over hundreds of years start pointing to the same thing, THATS the “consensus” B Cox was referring to, then the truth is close, it is precipitating or emerging from a complex human process, hopefully the truth is conspiring to emerge OR the science is wrong and need throwing out because of a scientific revolution.

        There is no sign of the latter, you just look silly trying to debunk the modeling that defines how increased CO2 warms a planet with no oceans.

      • Keitho permalink
        August 21, 2016 1:29 pm

        He, Cox, would assume that the climate scientists have been rigorous in their analysis and the data they use and publish is accurate and useful because in his world of physics that’s generally how things are done.

        He would also not go against the consensus given his current job and so his position is both understandable and clear. When the consensus changes so will he. Perhaps before that happens he will ask the right questions but I doubt it he is too busy popularizing science to take on this hot potato. Who can blame him he is generally doing a good job.

        I do hope he has a “Judith Curry” moment though, and sees just how thin the argument for CAGW is and just how close to the mainstream most “deniers” are. We know there is an anthropogenic component to climate change but we generally think it is trivial and outside our ability to measure it.

  2. August 19, 2016 10:21 am

    After watching him against the Aussie journalist recently who said, quite correctly, that an appeal to consensus is not science. And remembering that at one time the overwhelming consensus was that the earth was at the centre of the solar system I was left wondering if he would not be better employed working for the inquisition or some ‘devoid of intelligence and rationality’ Green propaganda outfit.

    • Jackington permalink
      August 19, 2016 10:43 am

      He works for the BBC for heaven’s sake.

    • August 19, 2016 11:42 am

      I throw another one in when giving a talk about the myth of man-caused climate change. That would be that the earth was flat. I point out that Columbus and Magellan pretty much put that one to rest.

  3. August 19, 2016 10:39 am

    Thank you, Jennifer Marohasy.

    Inflated egos of fools have blocked humanity from conscious awareness of the power that is in immediate and total control of every atom, life and planet in the solar system – the Sun’s pulsar core.

  4. August 19, 2016 10:45 am

    “querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question. But interestingly – beyond experiments undertaken by a chemist over 100 years ago – there is no real proof beyond unreliable computer simulation models.”

    well there is the famous correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative warming. but that correlation has been shown to be spurious

  5. August 19, 2016 10:45 am

    Cox has taken the BBC ‘Horizon’ programmes to an all-time low, devoid of scientific content – mainly music to send the viewer to sleep accompanied by shots of Cox staring wistfully from some remote location into the infinity of space. None of Cox’s programmes are worth wasting time watching. The BBC no longer does proper science.

    • August 19, 2016 11:00 am

      ” The BBC no longer does proper science.”
      ditto for Scientific American
      they should change their name

      • August 19, 2016 11:47 am

        Ditto for AAAS–American Association for the “Advancement” (or “Assassination”) of Science. That once was a professional organization of great status and prestige. Today their drink of choice if Kool-Aid.

  6. August 19, 2016 11:19 am

    “One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, tried to raise the issue of cause and effect: querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question.”

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) says this;

    Quote: One of the most remarkable aspects of the paleoclimate record is the strong correspondence between temperature and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere observed during the glacial cycles of the past several hundred thousand years. When the carbon dioxide concentration goes up, temperature goes up. When the carbon dioxide concentration goes down, temperature goes down.

    Except they lie – the opposite is true: When the temperature goes up, carbon dioxide concentration goes up. When the temperature goes down, carbon dioxide concentration goes down.

    Temperature leads CO2 – it is not CO2 making temperature higher.

    Temperature is blue and CO2 is red – I magnified the last 100,000 years to show better.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      August 19, 2016 12:02 pm

      The nice guys at Skeptical Science argue this point otherwise, alongside no less than 193 (!!!) bolted-on unimpeachable ‘facts’ that ALL (yes, every single one) fall ‘in favour’ of AGW theory. Amazing, eh?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        August 19, 2016 1:15 pm

        CheshireRed: I think it was Mosher on WUWT who once argued that, although it can be generally accepted that ‘natural’ CO2 lags T, the isotopes of ‘man-made’ CO2 are such that they actually lead it. [mind=boggled]

      • August 19, 2016 4:03 pm

        Yes they argue the points with one line lies alongside an advert for the fighting fund for their cause of furthering the scam. Hardly sceptical – more in line with carpetbagging!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 20, 2016 10:40 pm

        Mosher the second-hand temperature database salesman whose qualification to pontificate on climate “science” is an Eng Lit degree epitomises Upton Sinclair’s comment that “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    • mikewaite permalink
      August 19, 2016 7:08 pm

      Whenever this observation appears in discussion on the various websites, I am minded to ask , as a mere layperson , why it is that each time in the last 500, 000 years that the icecore temperatures reach about 2C above “benchmark” , with accompanying increased CO2, the warming and CO2 increase then stop and the process reverses.
      I can believe that the thermally evolved CO2 will accelerate temperatures, but it is difficult to believe that the process of global warming stops because the oceans have run out of CO2. So what natural feedback limits excess temperature ?
      I did once ask the question (on WUWT) and received the single and laconic reply:”clouds”. If this is correct do we have to worry about AGW. Why not just sit back and let natural forces limit the effect of human influence.

  7. August 19, 2016 11:49 am

    Reblogged this on Wolsten.

  8. August 19, 2016 11:55 am

    It seems that, in the interest of frugality, the so-called scientific community has made another cut in the “middle man”. They no longer need to go through the motions of collecting and analyzing data. Just cut to the chase and put out as fact what you wanted to find all along. More lucrative grant money in your personal coffers. Problem solved. Off to the faculty lounge or TV studio to collect your kudos. After all, Aristotle and his “scientific method” is just so old school and truth is relative.

  9. August 19, 2016 12:09 pm

    O/T @Paul : New Times Roman is an awful font. I wish you’d use a clearer sans one like Tahoma.
    – For long text i have to copy into the word processor to read it clearly/quickly.

  10. TinyCO2 permalink
    August 19, 2016 1:13 pm

    What I find odd is the range of people who refuse to admit that there might be flaws in climate science that need to be dealt with. I can understand those that fall for it hook line and sinker but the lack of any criticism is an act of self harm. It makes them look like brain washed drones, not intelligent, logical thinkers.

    To have chosen the illustrations he did (from GISS to Dr Lew) he’s given it enough attention to consider himself informed enough to speak up but not enough to wonder why qualified people might have issues with it. He’s looked for arguments why it’s true, not ones why people might criticise it and then find explanations (if they exist). He’s like a politician who refuses to answer the question and instead rambles through an unrelated set of points. If it worked as a technique, Labour would be in power right now. Similarly, the left of center win the celeb vote every time but when it comes to decision making, people just don’t care how their favourite film star leans.

    Reducing CO2 is so hard that it requires more than a consensus to drive it. It needs to be the best of the best. Mocking sceptics is like insulting Brexiteers, you might just be on the wrong side of the balance and mocking those you need to convince is dumb squared. Ignore their arguments in favour of your own and all you persuade are the persuaded. Why are so many supposedly clever people so dumb when it comes to CO2?

    • Keitho permalink
      August 21, 2016 1:50 pm

      Very good comment. Thanks for putting it up.

  11. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 19, 2016 1:21 pm

    The correct response – one of many, I’m sure – to Cox and his chart was to ask: ‘Does that chart represent a proof, a theory or an hypothesis?’ Then, if the narcissistic one should claim it a ‘proof’, the next question is easy (as one often asked those being audited): ‘Show me’.

    • August 19, 2016 3:03 pm

      Nobody can prove a correlation between man-made CO2 and temperatures because
      1) Man-made CO2 can’t be conveniently separated from natural CO2
      2) The temperature data is unreliable anyway
      3) Temperature changes can be due to various factors, not just one

      The cases of non-disappearing Arctic sea ice and increasing Antarctic sea ice also throw spanners into the climate science works.

      Added to that, climate models are clearly suspect to say the least.

      • August 20, 2016 11:11 pm

        I thought the carbon in fossil fuels hundreds of millions of years underground had a very different signature of isotope proportionality than carbon in active carbon cycle. 2 and 3, complex systems analysis rapidly improving as is the modeling AND is best tool we have to predict the future which the lay man’s use of science now requires us to do. 100 years ago, any man or nation state could do anything they wanted with any scientific advance, no matter how good or catastrophic, effects where local.

        If you want scientific age to survive as long as the Egyptians, in 5000 yrs we’ll want some easy to get fossil fuels left for useful stuff other than burning it. If we wanna out do the 150 million yr reign of the dinosaurs…

  12. August 19, 2016 2:39 pm

    Humans are like other animals that have lost their “frame of reference.” We will perish or restore human contact with reality.

    Deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of a “Higher Power” that controls everything. After that source of energy was revealed by the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in AUG 1945, frightened world leaders united nations and national academies of sciences on 24 OCT 1945 to hide the source of energy in atomic bombs – NEUTRON REPULSION, the same source of energy that powers the Sun and the cosmos.

    That is the cause of current social insanity.

  13. August 19, 2016 3:49 pm

    Thankfully we have the talented, courageous and persistent Jennifer M to set it right as well as the venerable Paul Homewood to ensure we know about it. Many have tried to discredit Jennifer, all have failed. You do the world a great service and every day more of these liars and carpetbaggers are being seen for what they are.
    Now we need more help with a certain wind farm supporter here in the UK, the new Energy Secretary and Climate Secretary.

  14. manicbeancounter permalink
    August 19, 2016 5:06 pm

    Jennifer Marohasy stated

    The second misleading statement from Cox on Monday night concerned the nature of the modern sceptic – often harshly labelled a denier. Cox suggested that sceptics were the type of people that would even deny the moon-landing.

    This claim was the infamous Lewandowsky et al “NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science“ paper. Of the 40 questions, 13 were about belief in various conspiracy theories, with a 4 for strong belief and 1 for strong rejection. I did a table of support for the Climate Change Conspiracy against the Moon Hoax.

    Of the 1145 responses, 10 supported the Moon Hoax conspiracy. Of these just 3 also Climate Conspiracy theory. Lewandowsky et al never asked a question of these 3 believers as to whether the belief in the Moon Hoax lead to belief in Climate Conspiracy. Further details are here.
    This leads to a further issue. If believers in climate are so gullible as to accept such absurd inferences, backed up by so little data, what happens when the highly relevant data on climate change conflicts with strongly held beliefs on climate? What I have found is that data that disagrees with the consensus is ignored, rejected or adjusted towards the consensus belief.

  15. August 19, 2016 9:13 pm

    Perhaps Cox should watch Murry Salbys lecture on Atmospheric Carbon. of July 18 2016 at University College London. Warmist tend to be big on future effects, Salby is the only one I’ve seen do actual research on CO2.

  16. August 20, 2016 10:45 am

    Ohhh dear. Brian I thought you were a pretty cool guy. When you produced that chart on Q&A, with the striking omission of the 1998 El Nino, I thought, there goes your integrity, your scientific reputation, your credibility. Another icon crumbles.

  17. Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
    August 20, 2016 11:52 am

    Once you’ve sold your integrity – the rest is easy.
    How do I email a link to Paul please?

  18. August 20, 2016 9:44 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  19. joekano76 permalink
    August 20, 2016 11:05 pm

    Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.

  20. August 26, 2016 11:06 pm

    What’s the real story here ?
    That Cox and crew are the real Donald Trump
    They behave in the way way that accuse their arch enemies of.
    They went for the STUNT instead of the long detailed step by step science.

    Marohasy, Bob Carter , Patrick Moore are with the science
    And 20 years ago the top BBC and Guardian people would have been the same, but now we somehow get Cox, Singh etc. who somehow have a twisted view of the scientific method.

    Plenty of kids, and the naïve might have been dazzled by Cox, but I know a lot of truckers etc. would have seen thru him saying “we expected a stunt from Q7A and here it is , a dodgy graph , NO mention of satellites and shout down the opposition.”
    There must be tens of thousands of viewers who spotted the tricks, so Cox and the ABC have burnt their bridges there.

  21. Domenic fammartino permalink
    September 17, 2016 9:47 pm

    Brian cox climate change non fiction story teller. malcolm roberts knows The climate change scam has to be stopped, the charlatans behind the scam need to be exposed, sued and some of them sent to gaol, Australia finally has a Senator who calls the climate change as the scam that it is, meet Malcolm Roberts the One Nation Senator destined to be the media’s new public enemy number one. THE REASON THE MEDIA DONT LIKE GREAT AUSTRALIAN HONEST PEOPLE SUCH AS MALCOLM ROBERTS IS SIMPLE !!! THEY CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH !!! the greens party are a horror story gone wrong as there disgraceful votes they received have shown.they are an artificial false political party with no concept on what the australian public really need. AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE ARE SICK OF THERE BLATANT LIES THE PEOPLE CAN SEE STRAIGHT THROUGH THE UTTER RUBBISH THAT FLOWS OUT OF THEIR MOUTHS ON A CONSTANT BASIS. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TRUTH AND A LIE TO THE GREENS IS A BELIEVER AND THE FACTS ARE THERE IS NONE OF THEM LEFT. With malcolm roberts an expert on these topics the greens can’t get away with their usual NON FICTION FANTASY POLITICS AND CONTINUE MISLEADING THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE. something they can’t handle and are not used to. THERE GREENS DAYS ARE NUMBERED MALCOLM TURNBALL has no clue on what is needed to be PM of the people of Australia. He is deaf to the concerns of the hard working Australian families.
    We miss the man that put Australia first before his ego.
    PM Tony Abbott had his feet on the ground and lead by example not arrogance. Turnbull does not speak for Australia, No one wants him as our PM. He is a useless, traitorous, self serving person who does not care about Australians. Its like having Rudd still in government. the only reason he wants to be PM to big note himself on the world stage , not too different from Rudd really both complete dud useless leaders. Not many nails left Malcolm, for you, and the Liberal Party’s coffin lid. THE LIBERAL PARTY HAVE DESTROYED THEMSELVES WITH THIS MUPPET

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