The Nova Travesty – Cherry Picker Ahoy!!

Joanne “I never cherry pick” Nova takes to the oceans in her quest to yet again cherry pick only the science that supports her political opinion.

This time she blatantly throws out science that has warming in it … because, er, it has warming in it.

Basic Argo Facts

We first need to help Nova understand the limitations of measuring the ocean which stems mostly from the fact that it’s huge. In volume, it’s about 1.300 billion cubic kilometres.

  • Whilst Argo data is much more comprehensive than we used to have, it still works out to one float per 380,000  cubic kilometers. That’s cubic kilometres, not just meters, or litres.
  • Argo floats don’t go below 2,000 meters. The average depth of the ocean is almost double that.
  • Argo floats don’t measure under ice so they’re not measuring a large part of the Artic, where polar amplification is thought to be causing greater warming and accelerating sea ice loss.
  • Argo floats are designed to go up and down in the water, not from side to side so they drift with the current, measuring the same area of water over and over again.
  • Argo floats will drift with the current allowing two or more floats to be covering the same patch of water (see animation using actual Argo data), thus leaving even larger volumes unmeasured for many months.
  • Argo floats have been slowly deployed over many years (see animation here), from Nova’s cherry picked start year there were only around 1,060 floats, that’s 1 float per 1,200,000 cubic kilometres.

One float per 380,000  cubic kilometres of water (three times that amount in the beginning), half of which is never reached, is not accurate enough to give any precise figure of ocean heat content.

The Argo team themselves say “The global Argo dataset is not yet long enough to observe global change signals.”, yet Nova bases her “science” upon an even smaller cherry picked timeframe and then ignores any science that says otherwise.

Nova Hides the Incline

Joanne “I never cherry pick” Nova places ALL her cherries into the Argo data, however, not all of the Argo data. Nova’s graph (she says it’s from Douglass and Keen 2010, but she’s wrong, it’s from Douglas and Knox) only plots a trend on “filtered” data between 2004 and 2008 and doesn’t consider more recent data. In Douglas and Knox’s words … “Note that the length of the time segment is four years.”.

Here’s the full amount of ocean heat content data including the more recent Argo data, as well as the earlier XBT data.


Nova wants you to discard the XBT data too. I’m betting that would be the case if it showed a downward trend. But it’s foolish to throw away data because it’s less extensive than modern day measurements. Looking at the above graph it’s easy to see that XBT data has more year-to-year variability than the Argo data, but it’s not so “erratic and highly uncertain” as Jo puts it. The long term upward trend is very clear no matter how much Nova tries to wish it away.

In true fashion, Nova only wishes to keep the small section of data showing a slight decline, instead of the full picture which clearly shows long term heat accumulation. An accumulation that fits in with the many pieces of non-cherry picked data showing that the planet is warming.

Can’t see the Data?

Nova makes up a story about how Argo was apparently impossible to get even though it was freely available.

When faced with this easy-to-find data, she then changes her expectations and instead of just the data, she wants it to be gridded, analysed and reported to her as soon as new data becomes available.

Ironic now that more recent analysis of the data shows the Argo data inclining once again as the long term trend overwhelms short term variation, she no long wishes to present it on her graphs, instead sticking with just the 4 years, and just the first 700 metres.

Model Expectations

Nova goes on to plot the cherry picked Argo data against her view of “Model Expectations”. Nova fails in a few ways.

1. No model predicts a straight line over any short term period. Trendlines are used to show the average changes over long term periods, it makes no sense to use one on short term data. Doing so means your choice of cherry picked year becomes critical – as discussed by Tamino.

2. Argo’s data, as the Argo team says, is not long enough to provide a long term trend because  it doesn’t measure the entire ocean on a resolution that is capable of reporting all heat. On a time scale of a few years the inadequacy of our measurement system ensure that we do not know for certain exactly how much heat there is. Scientists know there is uncertainty in short term data, that’s why they look at long term data for real climate trends.

3. Nova doesn’t compare against all the data. She insists on throwing out data from the deeper readings (see below).

Nova Lacks Depth or Perception

If you wish to measure the heat in the ocean, is it better to measure to 700 meters or down to 2,000 meters? The answer is obvious, the more ocean we cover, the more accurately we can monitor the change.

Not so it seems for Nova; well especially when the addition 1,300 meters shows up more warming than if you just look at the top 700 meters and that’s what Nova’s friend Bob found by comparing the different depths. Once again the denialist mind like Nova/Bob is thinking that the science is “hiding the levelling off of the 0-700m data” rather than simply a graph showing more data. When faced with more data that confirms the well established science showing the world is warming, denialists will go to great lengths in order to pretend the new data doesn’t exist.

Nova complains … “Despite the paucity of measurements below 1000m, the NCDC decided to add the deeper ARGO series to their 1950 -2010 graph on ocean heat. This creates a sudden uptick at the end of the graph“. At least Nova is blunt about why she doesn’t like it. But if you take a look at her friend Bob’s analysis you’ll find this period is where the most amount of deeper samples have been taken. The more detailed, deeper period of sampling shows the heat content is increasing.

On the one hand Nova says she likes Argo data because it’s more accurate than the XBT data, then when the ARGO team delves deeper and the warming trend continues, Nova gets cold feet about going deep.

An Even Deeper Look

That’s not the end of it. One study looks at even deeper data and Nova briefly mentions it … Purkey & Johnson 2010  look at depths down to 4,000m for the 1990s and 2000s (how is that relevant to CO2 induced warming in the last 10 years?) It’s not like recent coal emissions could have warmed the abyssal depths.”.

Ironic that one moment Nova refuses to use the deeper Argo data, yet now she suddenly claims that there’s no possible reason for looking. A real scientist that has a good skeptical mind would allow the data to do the talking rather than simply assuming the heat could not reach to abyssal depths.

It seems her conviction is born from her previous statement that “The oceans take about 1,000 years to fully churn”, a mistake in thinking that the entire ocean must churn in order for heat to transfer downwards, an assumption on her part which isn’t supported by the science. Not only did Purkey and Johnson find Nova to be wrong, new research show’s Nova’s concept of the slow conveyor belt is simply outdated.

Nova’s View of the Science World

When you choose to ignore data, like the way Nova cherry picks only some bits of data and ignores the rest, then your view of the planet becomes less clear.

Science is about using all of the data, regardless of whether it supports your personal political view or not.

The data that shows warming or cooling is NOT based upon Nova’s cherry picked 4 years of Argo data, the data comes from multiple lines of evidence such as:

  • land surface thermometers show the planet has warmed.
  • sea surface readings from ships & buoys show an increase in temperature.
  • satellite data also shows the planet has become warmer.
  • XBT and Argo data both show the ocean heat content is increasing.
  • plant and animal species migrating in response to warmer climate.
  • sea ice extent and volume decreasing and at an accelerated rate.
  • sea level rise showing increased land ice melt and thermal expansion.
  • glacier ice decreasing and at an accelerated rate.

For more detail, and links to the science I recommend …

Nova’s addiction to cherry picking means she ignores the mountain of evidence showing that our planet is rising in temperature.

update 1 Mar 2012: added 700m vs 2000m comparison graph.

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18 Responses to “The Nova Travesty – Cherry Picker Ahoy!!”

  1. Felicity Says:

    It’s amazing to see a person like Nova claiming to have a scientific background, and yet repeating the non-scientific act of cherry picking. She does the same thing with satellite data, choosing only one small time frame and only one set, then ignoring all other datasets.

  2. rogerthesurf Says:

    First thing I did when I visited your site is to try to find who you are. Your lack of an “About” page is not encouraging to say the least.



    PS your link to skeptical gives quite a lot of your believability away to say the least.

    • Mike Says:

      Roger, I just did the same on your two sites. You have an ‘About ‘ page on only one of them, and it doesn’t say who you are either!

      Nothing wrong with scepticism, just make sure you don’t fall into the fake sceptic trap. Challenge science with science and you’ll be good to go.

      Looking at your sites, you could do with a bit more science and a bit less character assassination. Just a suggestion.



    • Bernard J. Says:

      Roger. Diddums.

      Really, it matters not who INN is as long as his facts are verifiable and correct.

      They are, and they are, and that is devastating for Joanne Codling. Perhaps this is the real source of your petulance…

      And INN, kudos for taking on the deflation of one of Australia’s more pernicious pseudoscientific reporters. I expect that there will be much rabidness directed your way as a consequence, but that simply indicates that you are scoring touches.

      Well done.

  3. Jameee Says:

    Nice picture representing the denialist view of the world!!!!!

    Nova now removes all posts to your website so you must be doing a great job!!!!!!

    She has not been able to respond to any of your arguments.

    Not including the 0-2000 meter data because there is less of it than the 0-700 meter data is bloody risiculous!! Every single 0-2000 meter sample, by definition, contains a 0-700 meter sample so of course there will be more of it!!

    Nova’s stupidy is why she can’t find scientific work – no conspiracy there.

    Keep up the good work!!!!!

  4. Dibble Says:

    Just found this blog with a little help from Tamino.

    Thank you for taking the time to unravel the online nonsense regurgitated by this particular disinformer, you’re doing a worthwhile job.

  5. Nick Says:

    The mendacious/audacious Nova is now claiming that the government is overstating sea-level rise on the east Coast of Australia ‘eight or ten-fold’ compared with the roughly 1mm/annum seen at one Sydney tide gauge. This is nonsense.

    I cannot find a single government or agency pronouncement that SLR in the east is currently averaging 8 to 10mm per annum. The State of The Climate 2010 report puts it at 1.5 to 3mm/annum since 1993.

    Curiously, ‘The Australian’ newspaper has repeated the same claim…which rather suggests that they’ve been fed it by Nova.

    • Vince Whirlwind Says:

      It’s called “groupthink”.
      They don’t do research – they don’t even do science. It’s just an endless circle of repeating each others’ inanities.

  6. John Brookes Says:

    I think, Nick, that Jo probably uses 8 – 10mm per year, because that plays out to ~1 metre by the end of the century (which is a prediction I seem to recall). She rather conveniently avoids our expectation that the sea level rise will start off slow and then accelerate, so that most of the rise will probably happen in the last half of the century.

    Mind you, a 1 metre rise by 2100 is pretty hard for me to believe (at least without actually looking at the calculations people have done:-) )

    • Nick Says:

      I know exactly what she’s doing,John. She’s having a lend,feeding her chooks. She’s pretending that the government is effectively saying that your idealised rate [10mm/annum] is being seen now,and should be seen now.. Her choice of words:-‘Australian sea-level rises exaggerated by 8 fold [or maybe ten]’- leaves no other interpretation possible. Clearly this is not what the governments,state and federal,are saying NOW about CURRENT SLR in eastern Australia…she could clearly express this distinction if she wished in her post title.

      She also gives no physical reasoning to suggest why we should expect to see a constant 10mm/annum rate-or any other rate for that matter- every year for the next 90,despite the fact that the record never shows The ‘skeptics’ seem happy to stare dumbly at the past data and state that it predicts the future,while discounting the past twenty years acceleration as completely meaningless…when of course Nova was delighted to use seven years of ARGO data when it suited her.

  7. Mike Says:

    Just saw this graphic of her sea level rise start date cherry pick on another site. Hilarious!

  8. Hmmm Says:

    nice post.

    My guess is that as soon as Argo starts showing an uptick they will begin divorce proceedings against it and finding all sorts of reasons to claim it’s uncertain.

  9. rogerthesurf Says:


    Only thing I can say is that you are sounding like skeptical more and more.

    Like at skeptical, whenever some fact or evidence appears that you don’t like, you immediately start calling anyone associated names and condemn it as being junk/lies/ignorance/part of a conspiracy or even “denier rubbish”

    Now this does not sound the least scientific to me.

    “opinion and politics written by by serial fake sceptic Donna Laframboise”

    Well call her what you like, but unfortunately for you her research is excellent and what I like most is all her facts are easily verified. Maybe you should steel yourself and take a read- that is if you want to actually become objective.

    “You better tone it down, Roger. If this gets any funnier you’ll get moderated for being more hilarious than the original story!”

    Oh yes, I forgot to add non publishing of comments and threats of spamming to the above.

    Do not worry though, you see I record all my comments and any warmists who get over zealous and cannot stand facts on their site that threaten their beliefs, well I publish the conversation in full at My readers enjoy seeing the the unedited conversations and my comments.



    • itsnotnova Says:

      Hi rogerthesmurf. You are free to post whatever you like. Unlike Nova, I won’t moderate you unless you simply spam.

      In fact I encourage you to post more, so far you’ve posted several times, yet not once have you rebutted any of the arguments.

  10. Craig Thomas Says:

    “all her facts are easily verified”


    Easily verified as completely and utterly wrong.

    She reckons Ozone wasn’t a problem AND was an example of western economies being damaged by greenies.

    Replacing CFCs was actually an economic positive to the companies that had been using them. Duh. Duh. Donna.

  11. Nice One Says:

    Nova’s latest folly is to blame deep ocean heat on subterrainean causes.

    Even though this has been ruled out as not nearly strong enough to cause the amount of warming observed.

    Nova merrily skips from one debunked theory to another.

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