Feb 032011

Yet again I ask, what is the point of this column in the Conservative Express?

I mean to say, have a look at it! This is the work of Chris Mitchell’s poster gal, Caroline Overington. Supposedly an award-winning journalist, yet each paragraph reads like a piece of petty ‘NYAH NYAH, mine’s better than yours’ childish schoolyard taunting. The Ross Gittins gotcha being a prime example of nothing more than nasty, snide journalistic back-stabbing and to what purpose? Gittins doesn’t impress me at the best of times and far from being something of a partisan bitch for a masochistic editorial overlord, I find he blows hot & cold on a wide variety of issues. So what is Overington’s point in dredging up a five year old snippet from a Gittins SMH piece that on its own is entirely out of context? Blind Freddy can understand why, given the well-known narky streak running through the supposedly professional journalistic ranks of the Con-Ex.
Moving on, another out-of-context slight at Greens Senator Christine Milne, on the eve of the largest & most destructive cyclone to have ever crossed the Australian coastline. This para is yet another of the Con-Ex attempts at denying the reality of human-induced climate change, a stance well known to be promoted by Chris Mitchell, editor-in-chief at Con-Ex. Denial being the ONLY tactic available to Mitchell and his kind, as never a skerrick of factual support for denigration of the science behind climate change is ever offered. Ah, but wait….read the next para, which is another out-of-contex,t and in this case, entirely disingenuous attempt to sway the ignorant acolytes of denial. Supposedly this para comes from the Bureau of Meteorology website. Here’s the actual web page which Overington does NOT link to. Oopsie, Caroline. Sprung there I think. But further, she cuts and pastes an own-goal. Take note, reader, that El Nino does NOT foster any increase in cyclonic weather patterns. Read the article I’ve linked to, which Overington has selectively quoted from, and you’ll find her dishonest presentation falls apart. The ENSO – El Nino-Southern Oscillation – phenomenon also includes the opposite of El Nino, La Nina. Cyclonic weather patterns will decrease during a prolonged El Nino as cooler than average ocean surface temperatures accompany the phenomenon, and foster prolonged drought over inland Australia and do not encourage cyclonic storm pattern formation. From the BOM website:

For a cyclone to form several preconditions must be met:

  1. Warm ocean waters (of at least 26.5°C) throughout a sufficient depth (unknown how deep, but at least on the order of 50 m). Warm waters are necessary to fuel the heat engine of the tropical cyclone.
  2. An atmosphere which cools fast enough with height (is “unstable” enough) such that it encourages thunderstorm activity. It is the thunderstorm activity which allows the heat stored in the ocean waters to be liberated for the tropical cyclone development.
  3. Relatively moist layers near the mid-troposphere (5 km). Dry mid levels are not conducive for allowing the continuing development of widespread thunderstorm activity.
  4. A minimum distance of around 500 km from the equator. Some of the earth’s spin (Coriolis force) is needed to maintain the low pressure of the system. (Systems can form closer to the equator but it’s a rare event)
  5. A pre-existing disturbance near the surface with sufficient spin (vorticity) and inflow (convergence). Tropical cyclones cannot be generated spontaneously. To develop, they require a weakly organised system with sizeable spin and low level inflow.
  6. Little change in the wind with height (low vertical wind shear, i.e. less than 40 km/h from surface to tropopause). Large values of wind shear tend to disrupt the organisation of the thunderstorms that are important to the inner part of a cyclone.

Warm ocean surface temperatures are part and parcel of La Nina. A positive Southern Oscillation index is part and parcel of La Nina. The Australian east coast is currently in the grip of La Nina. Ocean surface temperatures in the coral sea right now are at the highest levels ever recorded. The facts are blindingly obvious and available, yet Overington and her ideologically driven employer refuse to address the facts.
Then to pad out her excuse for a column, Overington takes the well-worn path of again attacking the veracity of an apparently ideologically opposed foreign media outlet, The Guardian. Given the amateur approach adopted by Overington, Mitchell, et al of the Con-Ex to preach only to the converted, defame all & sundry who don’t toe the conservative line and generally smear any attempt by so-called ‘new media’ to point out their glaring errors, leaving the rest of us rolling in the aisles, her Maxwell Smart jibe falls rather flat.
As does pretty much all the reporting from the Conservative Express these days. It’s a sad indictment on the media in general and conservatively oriented media in particular that obfuscation, prevarication, fear and loathing remain the only tools of proselytisation.