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Australian Bushfires – Assessing The Role of Climate Change

 

The pitch black hue of Green ideology is revealed to us in the spreading stain of false event attribution which is oozing its way across social media and the alarmist main stream media right now. It is the absurd, irrational, insane, driven, hysterical, urgent, fanatical, obsessive need to attribute the near apocalyptic human and environmental tragedy of the Australian bushfires to man-made climate change. The need to absorb it into their narrative, to bathe in its burnt, blackened, bloodied wastes, to inhale its sweet perfume of despair so they can spit it right back into the faces of all the doubters who dared to question the validity of the Holy Settled Science.

A moral and intellectual black hole has opened up which the Greens apparently are diving deep down into with frenzied abandon, unparalleled, unbridled joy even, sputtering madness, mayhem and rancid illogicality on their inexorable way to its fearful Event Horizon. We can but hope that beyond that point of no return lies their utter oblivion but right now they are many and they form a high-pitched, howling, screaming, white hot accretion disk of malcontents in orbit around their own moral abyss, determined to do harm even as they accuse others of doing so.

‘Empirical evidence please,’ you politely, naively request as they enthusiastically and brainlessly point the finger of blame firmly at the climate crisis:

‘What?’, they reply, ‘It’s bleedin’ obvious innit. Hotter temperatures means drier fuel means terrible fires. And clymit models. And peer reviewed studies wot say fire conditions are getting worse and will get worse in future. And all the world’s major academies – and stuff.’

‘Er no, that’s not actually empirical, scientific evidence and it’s really not that conclusive’.

‘F*** off you climate change denialist; stop shilling for the fossil fuel companies and stop spreading denier conspiracy theories’.

Those people are never going to be convinced by any rational argument based on science and evidence. They’re just going to keep believing that ‘scientists know best’ and that the world is burning up because of CO2 and that deniers should be thrown in jail for crimes against humanity and the planet. So why bother at all really? I often wonder. The answer must be that science, evidence, facts and reason must take precedence over uninformed hysteria, even if eventually they do not prevail and uninformed hysteria wins the day.

 

Increase in Fire Weather – Actual and Projected

Richard Betts:

That’s a fairly unequivocal statement from a senior Met Office scientist, an expert in climate change impacts. Strip out all the hyperbole and the political posturing from the Manns, the Marvels and the Hayhoes and this is the basic message coming from the climate science community. High fire risk weather is increasing in Australia because of climate change – ergo the current extreme fire risk weather and resulting catastrophic fires are a manifestation of the ‘climate crisis’. So let’s take a look at the BOM study which Betts refers to in order to justify that message. Firstly, it’s based on an analysis of observations only from 1950-2016. So it does not include the exceptional drought conditions and heatwaves recently experienced in Oz, nor does it include any observations of extreme fire weather prior to 1950.

Long-term changes in fire weather conditions are apparent in many regions. In particular, there is a clear trend toward more dangerous conditions during spring and summer in southern Australia, including increased frequency and magnitude of extremes, as well as indicating an earlier start to the fire season. Changes in fire weather conditions are attributable at least in part to anthropogenic climate change, including in relation to increasing temperatures.

Hmm, ‘at least in part attributable to climate change’ doesn’t quite sit with Richard’s publicly stated claim that “high fire-risk weather is increasing in Australia due to climate change”. But never mind, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now and read on. The authors identify El Nino as having an important influence on fire weather conditions:

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can have a significant influence on fire weather conditions in Australia (Williams and Karoly 1999Williams et al. 2001Long 2006Nicholls and Lucas 2007Dowdy et al. 2016). Building on previous studies such as these, the influence of ENSO is examined here for individual seasons of the year based on a long time period of gridded FFDI data so as to examine both the seasonal and spatial characteristics of ENSO–fire weather relationships throughout Australia.

Then they explain how important it is to understand the influence of natural and anthropogenic influences upon fire weather in Oz.

There is a growing need to better understand climatological variations in extreme weather conditions, such as those leading to extreme fire danger and wildfires, particularly given the scientific consensus that global warming is unequivocally occurring because of anthropogenic influences and has enhanced fire danger in parts of the world (Seneviratne et al. 2012IPCC 2013Whetton et al. 2015Abatzoglou and Williams 2016). Improved climatological knowledge of fire weather conditions in Australia, including the factors that influence its variability (e.g., large-scale natural modes of variability and the influence of anthropogenic climate change), is therefore an important research priority that could have benefits for a range of fields such as emergency management, planning, insurance, health, agriculture, climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction.

OK, yes, right, so hopefully this study will provide that better understanding, an understanding communicated to the public by Richard Betts himself, being in turn widely representative of the views of the scientific community, as further amplified by Greens and activists to the excusion of all other ‘right wing conspiratorial beliefs’ re. what is contributing to the severity and frequency of bushfires.

So, here, the data, based on gridded observations of FDDI:

jamc-d-17-0167.1-f3

Fig. 3. Long-term changes in seasonal mean FFDI values. This is shown for the change from the first half (1951–83) to the second half (1984–2016) of the study period during (a) DJF, (b) MAM, (c) JJA, and (d) SON. This is also shown for the change from the third quarter (1983–99) to the fourth quarter (2000–16) of the study period during (e) DJF, (f) MAM, (g) JJA, and (h) SON. The colored regions represent locations where the magnitude of the change is significant at the 95% confidence level.

So what seems fairly obvious is that there has been a significant long term increase in dangerous fire weather conditions in austral winter (Jun/Jul/Aug) and particularly spring (Sep/Oct/Nov) since 1950 in SE Australia, SW and parts of Northern Australia. Much of this increase has happened during 2000-2016. Also notable is that there has been a sharp decrease in fire weather over central northern Australia and north west Australia during summer (Dec/Jan/Feb). Overall, there has not been a marked increase in FDDI (Forest Fire Danger Index) over the entire Australian continent during summer, except in southern Australia. In fact, in central northern and north western Australia, the risk of fire weather has decreased significantly during the summer season.

Here now is the correlation of FDDI with seasonal Nino 3.4 values for each of the four seasons over the period 1950-2016:

jamc-d-17-0167.1-f6

Fig. 6. Correlations between seasonal values of Niño-3.4 and FFDI for the time period from 1951 to 2016. The correlations are calculated individually for (a) DJF, (b) MAM, (c) JJA, and (d) SON. Correlations are also shown between seasonal values of Niño-3.4 and the number of days per season that the FFDI is above its 90th percentile at a given location, calculated individually for (e) DJF, (f) MAM, (g) JJA, and (h) SON. The colored regions represent locations where the magnitude of the correlation is significant at the 95% confidence level.

This second map demonstrates:

  1. A high correlation between ENSO and mean and extreme FDDI in summer over east and west Australia and northern regions. This is to be expected as Pacific Nino conditions generally peak in December.
  2. Virtually no correlation between ENSO and extreme FDDI during winter, reasonable correlation with mean FDDI during that season, but only in eastern Australia.
  3. High correlation of ENSO with mean and extreme FDDI over most of Australia, excluding western regions, during the spring.

Does one need to point out that the current extreme FDDI conditions and wildfires have developed over the austral spring (Sep/Oct/Nov) and carried through into early summer due to an intense heatwave with daytime maximum temperatures exacerbated by an extreme lack of moisture in the soil? Does one need to point out that the 2019 winter and spring drought in Oz is the expected result of a record positive Indian Ocean Dipole? Does one need need to point out that Nino3.4 has been largely positive since July 2018, often exceeding the 0.5C El Nino threshold? Indeed, that El Nino has remained largely positive since the monster El Nino of 2015/16? Does one need to point out that most of the worst fires have occurred in south eastern Australia, in the spring and early summer, where correlation of extreme FDDI with ENSO is high? Yes, apparently one does need to point these things out.

Here is what the authors of Richard’s paper say about the correlation of El Nino with high fire index values:

Large regions where significant relationships occur between Niño-3.4 and seasonal mean FFDI values are apparent, with almost all locations having a significant correlation for at least one season. These correlations are positive in sign, indicating that higher FFDI values are generally associated with El Niño conditions (characterized by high values of Niño-3.4) and lower FFDI values with La Niña conditions (characterized by low values of Niño-3.4). 

Here is what they say about the long term changes in FDDI since 1950 and in particular the dramatic changes since 2000:

Long-term changes in FFDI values are apparent, with substantial increases in recent years in the frequency of dangerous fire weather conditions particularly during spring and summer in southern Australia. It was found that these increases in southern Australia are predominantly due to an increased frequency of occurrence of the higher FFDI values in recent decades, including numerous examples since the year 2000 that are higher than anything recorded previously (Figs. 5a–d) together with increased variability (i.e., standard deviation) of fire weather conditions from one year to the next, noting that knowledge of changes such as these is important for fire management authorities to consider in relation to preparedness for risks associated with extreme fire events.

This is what the authors have to say about the influence of the long term temperature trend and the influence of greenhouse gases:

The long-term changes in fire weather conditions (Figs. 3 and 4) are broadly consistent with observed long-term trends in temperature throughout Australia as well as in rainfall in some cases. For example, the climatology of a wide range of meteorological features was recently examined throughout Australia based on a synthesis of various different observations and analyses (including based on the AWAP dataset as used here) as well as climate modeling from global and regional downscaling models (Whetton et al. 2015), showing significant anthropogenic climatological changes have occurred in Australia in line with expectations based on increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (IPCC 2013). The observed daily maximum temperature for Australia has increased by about 1.0°C since the year 1910, noting that a large amount of this increase occurred during the second half of the twentieth century (Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO 2016), with models also indicating with very high confidence a continued long-term increase throughout this century in daily maximum temperature for all regions of Australia and for all seasons of the year (Whetton et al. 2015).

The long period of available data (spanning more than six decades) allows climatological analysis with minimal influence from natural variability (e.g., internal climate fluctuations associated with ENSO and other sources of interannual- to decadal-scale variability), with the long-term climate change signal for Australian fire weather conditions being clearly apparent based on the results presented here (e.g., from Figs. 3 and 4). For the example shown in Fig. 5, on the recent FFDI increases in southern Australia during spring, all input variables for the FFDI were found to have changes in sign consistent with increasing FFDI, including increasing temperatures for which anthropogenic climate change influences are well established (IPCC 2013Whetton et al. 2015Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO 2016).

The second paragraph is interesting. Firstly, 1950-2016 is not that long a period that it can eliminate multi-decadal scale variability. Secondly, their own maps show that ENSO is significantly correlated with the observed changes in FDDI over the entire period. It’s almost as if this finding is uncomfortable for them, therefore the emphasis on the ‘long term trend’ when speaking about the influence of anthropogenic climate change. But really, the above two paragraphs are the only evidence presented in that paper for linking climate change to FDDI. In actual fact, there is absolutely no new research presented in this paper which demonstrates a more positive and definite connection of FDDI trends over Australia to climate change. On the contrary, the paper quantifies regional variability in FDDI over 1950-2016, and establishes that it is positively correlated to ENSO activity according to season; further, that much of the increase in extreme FDDI has occurred in the space of just 16 years (now 20) from 2000, therefore the trend in FDDI has not been linear or gradual, unlike the underlying long term trend in global mean surface temperature. Maybe this is why the UNFCC were only yesterday at pains to stress that global warming is now no longer the long term trend, using Ed “Stripes” Hawkins’ ridiculous graphic as an example – it’s the very short term trend in mean temperature in Australia, in December!

Richard’s paper concludes by restating the link between fire weather and ENSO:

The influence of ENSO on fire weather conditions has been examined in numerous studies, including for various individual regions of Australia . . . . .

a previous study (Harris et al. 2008) found significant relationships between ENSO and fire activity in southeast Australia, while noting this was considering fire occurrence data rather than fire weather indices such as the FFDI. Complementary to previous studies, the results presented here highlight a number of variations in the influence of ENSO on fire weather conditions, including between different seasons and regions . . . . .

the correlations are predominantly positive in sign between the Niño-3.4 and the FFDI measures examined here. This corresponds to more severe fire weather conditions generally occurring for El Niño than La Niña conditions for each of the four seasons. examined here. 

It’s bad enough that Richard Betts, a senior Met Office scientist and the more sane, reasonable and approachable representative of the climate science community, takes to social media to declare that fire weather has increased in Australia due to climate change, linking to a study which really doesn’t demonstrate that – but it gets worse. Other studies conclude that the anthropogenic influence upon an essential ingredient of extreme fire weather, drought, is minimal, and that natural variability has played the greater part.

In 2013, a study was published which looked into the possible natural and human causes of the Millennium Drought (2001-2009) in South East Australia. Again, let us remind ourselves that this is the region where the 2019 bushfires have been most widespread and intense (i.e. New South Wales and Victoria) and was the same region (Victoria) where the devastating Black Saturday fires of 2009 killed 173 people. The authors set themselves the task of actually quantifying the contributions from the various natural and human influences upon the drought, which they defined as follows:

The “Millennium Drought” (2001–2009) can be described as the worst drought on record for southeast Australia. Adaptation to future severe droughts requires insight into the drivers of the drought and its impacts. These were analyzed using climate, water, economic, and remote sensing data combined with biophysical modeling.

Here, we define the Millennium Drought as the period 2001–2009: the longest uninterrupted series of years with below median rainfall in southeast Australia since at least 1900.

Say the authors:

Droughts and their impacts can be categorized as meteorological, hydrological, agricultural, and socioeconomic [Mishra and Singh, 2010; Thomas, 1965]. The contributions of climate change, water management, and other natural or human factors to these impacts need to be understood to guide our expectations about, and response to, future droughts. For example, if some part of drought impacts can be attributed to global warming, more frequent and more severe events may be expected in future [Milly et al., 2008].

Unambiguous isolation of the factors contributing to drought and its impacts is difficult.

Our main objective was to isolate and quantify anthropogenic and natural contributions to the Millennium Drought and its impacts.

The authors identify one of those impacts, unsurprisingly, as serious wildfires in 2003 and 2009. In order to try to identify the main factors which affected the meteorological drought, the authors examined time series of the following six atmospheric/oceanic phenomena:

ENSO (Nino3.4 [Kaplan et al., 1998] and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)); IOD mode index and the classification of Ummenhofer et al. [2009]; Pacific decadal Oscillation (PDO) [Zhang et al., 1997]; SAM [Marshall, 2003; Visbeck, 2009]; global mean temperature (GMT); Hansen index); and the intensity and location of the Southern Hemisphere Subtropical Ridge (STRI and STRL) [Drosdowsky, 2005].

This is what they found:

Statistically significant (P < 0.1) drying trends (1950–2009) in annual rainfall were found for east (−0.36% per year) and south Australia (−0.26% per year).

In east Australia, drying appeared due to trends in ENSO, STR [Subtropical ridge], and PDO in approximately similar parts. In south Australia, PDO appeared to explain a large part of the observed rainfall decline, with smaller contributions from ENSO and IOD.

Here’s the table which details the exact contributions in each region.

Screenshot_2020-01-08 The Millennium Drought in southeast Australia (2001–2009) Natural and human causes and implications f[...]

Only in the southwest did global mean temperature contribute to the long term drying trend from 1950-2009. In all other regions, it had no measurable effect. Given that drought index is a major and essential component of calculating the FDDI, given also that maximum daytime temperatures are proportional to the dryness of the soil and hence the drought index, it does not take a massive leap of the imagination to conclude that global mean temperature (climate change) has had little effect upon the trend in dangerous fire weather observed in south and east Australia and that natural variability (ENSO in particular) has been the dominant influence.

The results from this study suggest that by far the most important predictors of precipitation in most regions of Australia are ENSO, the southern hemisphere sub tropical ridge, PDO, Indian Ocean Dipole and the southern annular mode. On the Millennium Drought in particular, ENSO seems to have been the major influence:

Overall, our results confirm that that ENSO was the most important driver of the Millennium Drought in east Australia and explained a small part of the rainfall deficit in south Australia. Our data analysis proved inconclusive with regard to the main causes of the drought in south Australia.

It was ENSO which ended the Millennium Drought:

The end of the drought is less ambiguous: a strong La Niña event in early 2010 brought very high precipitation and large‐scale flooding to many parts of southeast and east Australia.

Is there any hope for global warming amongst all this natural variability in the Australian climate? Just small crumbs I’m afraid:

Different phenomena are anticipated to be affected by global climate change to different degrees. For example, STR shows a long‐term trend consistent with changes in the Hadley circulation expected from global warming [Hu et al., 2011, and references therein; Kent et al., 2011; Nicholls, 2006]. On that basis, global warming has been hypothesized as a factor contributing to the drought. The sensitivity of other drivers to global warming is much more tenuous. There appears little agreement among global climate models about the influence of global warming on ENSO [Van Oldenborgh et al., 2005], even though Power and Smith [2007] noted that many existing ENSO indices attained unprecedented values during the period 1977–2006. Similarly, a mechanism by which global climate change influences PDO has so far not been established. Regardless, the apparent importance of PDO as a low‐frequency driver of decadal precipitation trends suggests a potential source for climate nonstationarity that warrants further research in its own right.

After the Millennium Drought and the subsequent La Nina of 2010, the massive El Nino of 2015/16 occurred of course and it seems almost inconceivable that this huge event did not further influence drought conditions in Australia, particularly in the east.

From the point of view of real world data, facts, figures and actual scientific research, it seems fairly obvious that attributing the current human-ignited devastating wildfires to ‘climate change’ is idiotic at best, politically motivated lies at worst. At best, the long term global warming trend may have played some part which is difficult to quantify. At worst it played little or no part. This won’t stop idiot greens and climate activists from continuing to blame climate change and hence King Coal in Australia for that continent’s current woes. I fear it will not even stop activist scientists from boldly declaring that 8000 dead koalas is evidence that the ‘climate crisis is here’. Shame on them.

 

 

 

48 thoughts on “Australian Bushfires – Assessing The Role of Climate Change

  1. If you look at the map Mr Betts tweeted, there is no change shown for the coastal region north of Sydney. That same region is where the fires first started this season. So his own “evidence” doesn’t support the facts.
    But then one shouldn’t let trivial bits of contradictions like that ruin a polemic, should we.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not just greens going down the black hole; but “progressives” too. Modern progressives turned progress into statism; they forgot every lesson from the European Enlightenment. I’ll remind us all that skepticism is the core method shared by all Enlightenment thinkers: “show us the evidence”. Skepticism binds Marx, Kant, Hume and Hobbes to one project. We can all quibble about the value of these Enlightenment thinkers; but we surely can’t disagree on what they shared. Today’s progressives think skepticism is a dirty word, and consensus the holy grail.

    As for Richard Betts: he’s just a careerist. He’s paid to model. If his employers don’t take his models seriously he’s out of a job.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Australian Bushfires – Assessing The Role of Climate Change — Climate Scepticism – NZ Conservative Coalition

  4. Jaime, I admire your energy in wrestling with the instant attributions being made in the Twittersphere. I was slightly encouraged to see a sensible article in the Financial Review (generally highly susceptible to alarmist reporting) linking fires past and present to ENSO, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode. In amongst it the author points out that fires in 1974-75 in outback NSW, Queensland, NT and Western Australia burned 117 million hectares compared with 8.7 million so far this year. I’m afraid I don’t even remember that event, but the main point was that the area did not affect many people. The article will be paywalled i’m afraid.

    Noticed yesterday some wit referring the National Parks and Wildlife Service as the National Sparks and Wildfire Service which amused me no end.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. While Climate Change may have a small role to increase the temperature which may increase the hazard, the real hazard is allowing the fuel build up.

    Proper management of the forest to reduce fuel load and provide fire breaks would drastically reduce both the size of subsequent fires and their ability to spread.

    Money spent (by Australia) to reduce CO2 will do nothing in any short or medium term (as in decades). Money spent on forest management will have immediate results.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve often admired Geoff Chambers writing when he tells us what he really thinks, but your first paragraph is so good that I just had to read it out to my wife. I thought your “bathe in its burnt, blackened, bloodied wastes, to inhale its sweet perfume of despair so they can spit” was truly lyrical, but she thinks that given the “spit” there was room for a “salivate”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Geoff, I can’t find much info online on the huge burn of 1974-75 when 15% of the Australian land surface was damaged by wildfire. Isn’t that odd. There were floods in 1974. I’m guessing that grasses sprang up, then dried out very quickly and then they burned right across the country, but it’s just a guess.

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  8. Excellent work!!
    And do not forget the ABC games.

    Bushfire expert David Packham tried to tell 7.30 we had to burn our bush every 10 years to cut the leaf litter that turns our fires into infernos, a level of burning NSW doesn’t come close to reaching. But after just 69 words, 7.30 handed back his microphone to chatterers whose living depends on the warming scare – two green activists and a scientist from Climate System Science.
    Packham has told me what actually happened:
    “Briefly, at 7.30 request I came into Melbourne a three hour drive and spent 50 minutes with the 7.30 folk. I estimate about 35 minutes was in interview. I was asked to confirm that the fires in NSW were unprecedented in being so early in the season. I said no, they were not and offered information from Luke and Mc Arthur “Bushfires in Australia -1976” (Aust Govt Publishing Service) which was not accepted. When the question was put as to the role of global warming, again I said “not involved”. That was not an acceptable answer and it was clear that it did not fit with the predetermined agenda. My sadness at the termination of my life-long love of the ABC because of this very unethical journalism – at least of the news division – is not only sadness but also a touch of fear for our democracy.”
    Andrew Bolt

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Indian Ocean Dipole has returned to neutral as confirmed by BOM. They also confirm its significant role in the weather (and bushfire risk) in Australia during the second half of 2019:

    The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has returned to neutral after one of the strongest positive IOD events to impact Australia in recent history. The IOD is expected to remain neutral in the coming months, meaning that it will have little influence on Australian and global climate.

    However, the IOD’s legacy of widespread warm and dry conditions during the second half of 2019 primed the Australian landscape for bushfire weather and heatwaves this summer.

    Not only this but the BOM point to the unusual nature of this particular IOD event:

    The IOD typically has little influence on Australian climate from December to April. When the monsoon trough shifts southwards into the southern hemisphere, it changes the broadscale wind patterns, meaning that the IOD pattern is unable to form.

    This year the positive IOD event decayed much slower than usual, persisting through to late December, as the monsoon trough took longer to move into the southern hemisphere than it usually does.

    This is critical. Not only was the IOD record positive in the spring season, it persisted even into the summer season, driving extreme dryness and record temperatures. All that was needed for massive wildfires was then firebugs and human carelessness to ignite the fuel load allowed to build up to dangerous levels by green forest management policies. Virtually nothing to do with climate change unless one can attribute the unusual weather patterns around Australia to the long term global warming trend. One can’t – but I’m sure they will try!

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  10. deniers creed:hotter drier conditions cannot lead to worse fires unless those hotter drier conditions are unprecedented.
    global warming caused by natural factors could not contribute to hotter drier conditions.
    co2 could never contribute to any warming and so could never contribute to hotter drier conditions and so could never make any fire worse than it would be otherwise.

    or ya global warming, natural or human caused can result in hotter drier conditions which would make a given fire worse than it would be otherwise.

    do you suppose all that extra underbrush makes it worse than it would be otherwise.

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  11. Steven:

    Science creed: we tested for the influence of global mean surface temperature and found that it had no statistically significant influence at all on trends in precipitation except for western Australia (drying). Being a simple test for statistical significance, we did not need to attribute a cause to the observed trend in global mean temperature, as attribution was irrelevant. Global warming is global warming.

    Conclusion: as global mean temperature had no detectable effect on precipitation in most of Australia, we can conclude that neither anthropogenic global warming, natural warming, or a combination thereof had any effect on precipitation in most of Australia.

    Science.Logic. No denial in sight.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Steven,

    There were so many straw men in your latest comment, I have to wonder whether you might be adding to the fire risk.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I think its great Mosher reveals the faux green true mindset here..at least he didnt use any holocaust smears..oh wait..he did..Off the grid yet Mosh, sold the cars and dont use planes..? thought not…but at least your still an angry prick..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Richard,

    Telling the Australian public how they’re not able to connect the dots and instructing them how they should be voting. That should go down well down under. He is one of the more extreme examples of what is, I’m afraid, a rapidly growing overtly politicised group of activist scientists who are prostituting their alleged expertise and knowledge by pumping out propaganda messaging into the public domain which is contradicted by or not supported by hard data and facts. The idiot is claiming, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, that arson is not responsible for any of the fires, that this is just a myth propagated by the climate change denying Murdoch controlled media and that they have all been ignited by lightning strikes! The man is a raving conspiracy theorist.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Practical Creed: (talking to myself) Geoff, the weather where you live is very variable. Expect a couple of months of dangerous fire conditions every year. Long term average rainfall 822mm. (102 years).
    Lowest annual rainfall 204mm(1945). Highest annual rainfall 1648mm (1953).

    Climate change making this worse? Hard to tell. Last thirty years average rainfall 821mm. Lowest annual rainfall 585mm(1994). Highest annual rainfall 1407mm(2009).

    No temperature records are available for your specific location apart from that min max thermometer hanging on your verandah which you glance at on hot days. But you will have temperatures near 40 degrees most years which will always come with hot northerly winds. The BOM tells you that your state has an increased mean temperature of about 1 degree, some of that due to higher overnight minimum.
    They seem to think we might be getting more really hot days. Dunno. Feel good about the fact that your farm is a lot better than carbon neutral, as you and your grand daughter worked out when she caught the school strike bug. Unless all the Bush goes up in smoke, of course.

    What can you do? Have the full expectation that you’ll get burnt out sometime. Reduce fuel loads in the Bush especially to the north in the off season. Do this in a patchwork, don’t try to burn it all in one year. Have a number of firefighting pumps, and keep the tanks near the house full. Graze paddocks carefully to try to maintain a green bottom as long as possible, while keeping mature drying tops low. Have reasonable insurance. If all these precautions come to naught and you’re sitting on a tinderbox, you might consider selling your stock, parking your gear in a gravel pit, and taking a holiday in the northern hemisphere.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Jaime

    sure I saw/heard Tomasz Schafernaker on bbc weather saying the weather/heatwave in Aus was due to the meandering southern jet stream?

    is that related in any way to your to your post?

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  17. Jaime: Agree that, aside from the attribution baloney, Mann isn’t the greatest diplomat in all this, to put it mildly.

    The Australian PM is also fighting back, very logically. Do we all agree that “human activity makes up just a tiny fraction” of atmospheric CO2? That wasn’t really necessary in defence of the PM here I feel.

    Australian (and other) alarmists do indeed seem addicted to the “sweet perfume of despair”. By chance tonight I came across this response from one of them on the death of Clive James:

    Not missed. All else the guy wrote and stood for counts for nothing. Nihilism. Pitch black.

    It is a good first paragraph, as Geoff said yesterday. The situation is tragedy piled on tragedy.

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  18. DFHUNTER,

    The Australian climate, I’m finding out, is really quite complex and there are multiple drivers, which interact with each other in variable and highly complex ways. It being such a large continent, there are two jet streams which affect Australia: the sub tropical jet stream and the sub polar jet stream. I think the very rare sudden stratospheric warming late last year affected the sub polar jet stream, which made it even drier in southern Australia. It’s crazy that people like Mann are saying ‘this is climate change’, then telling Australians they should put 170,000 people out of work in the coal industry in order to stop it happening again. In fact, crazy is an understatement. This is worth a read:

    Click to access CCIA_2015_NRM_TR_Chapter%204.pdf

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  19. @Jaime – thanks for the link, looks interesting, will have a read.

    @Richard – thanks for the “Strickland” comment, take the “tr” from his surname & I get where he belongs.

    ps- thank god some in the public sphere have the courage to voice doubts on this subject.
    when you read comments like that no wonder most toe the line (almost can’t blame them)

    Like

  20. Another nail in the coffin of those claiming that the Australian bushfires are due to climate change. Earth’s Energy Imbalance ‘paused’ during the period 1999-2018. That means no extra energy was added to the global system by accumulating GHGs during that time, even though global mean temperature was ‘bumped up’ by the 2015/16 monster El Nino and has remained fairly high ever since. Judith Curry estimates that this implies an equilibrium climate sensitivity over that period of 1.72K, which agrees closely with the Lewis and Curry 2018 estimate of 1.66K, based on a longer period.

    This begs the question: if no energy was accumulating in the system during the first two decades of the 21st century, what was causing Australia to get hotter and drier? The Ghost of Global Heating Recently Past? Camels drinking all the water and farting maybe?

    Correction: Earth’s Energy Imbalance declined slightly during 1999-2018, meaning that energy was still accumulating in the system, but at a slower rate. Not what you would expect when GHGs continued to rapidly accumulate, if sensitivity to GHGs is high.

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  21. Peter Hitchens joins the discussion

    https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/01/peter-hitchens.html

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh dear, Roger Pielke Jr. is at his fact-mongering best again:

    “That’s right, according to the latest research looking at the issue, the role of human-caused climate change in Australian bushfires has not yet been detected. It remains to be seen if the fires of 2019/2020 will alter that conclusion, but according to the Abatzoglou study, such detection is not expected until the 2040s. And that conclusion depends upon projections based on an extreme (and implausible) scenario for future emissions (RCP8.5), so detection may take a bit longer, assuming the projections are correct.

    Those who have chosen to wage their political battles over climate change through science – whatever side they are on – will certainly not be happy with the nuanced, somewhat complex, present state of detection and attribution of wildfire to human-caused climate change. For those of us interested in more aggressive mitigation and adaptation policies scientific nuance and complexity is not at all a problem – because it is accurate, and accuracy is important.”

    I told you attribution wasn’t going to be easy. Sooo looking forward to climate scientists’ inevitable forthcoming attempt to claim these fires as their own.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2020/01/14/the-inconvenient-facts-on-australian-bushfires/#376f680b4594

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You are right, Jaime, about Roger’s article. I notice it has full links to trace his logic so it isn’t just opinion but a proper review. It will be interesting to see who try to discredit him, and on what grounds. I am laying odds it will be the usual suspects and their camp followers in the alarmist camp.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Richard has doubled down on his airy-fairy attribution of climate change to the Oz busfires. In a BBC article, he says it’s only “common sense” that climate change played some part and he also says that this year’s bushfires are a ‘sign’ of worse to come. Richard has also been awarded an MBE for Services to Understanding Climate Change. You can see what we’re up against.

    Like

  25. The Attenbollox attribution statement is even more straightforward and definitive than the Betts attribution statement:

    “As I speak, south east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing.”

    No nuance, no expression of reasonable scientific doubt, nothing, ‘It’s the climate crisis and we’re all going to die/fry/drown!’. I hate to say it, but he looks and sounds confused. Is Alzhemiers setting in? I’m pretty sure that the BBC would wheel him into the studio on his death bed and turn the mic up full in order to capture his last, whispery, delirious utterances that we must radically alter our lifestyles in order to save the planet from Thermageddon. After all, exploiting one dying man’s last few minutes live on camera to push the catatsrophic global warming narrative would be a minor moral transgression, a piece of cake, compared to exploiting the deaths of dozens of Aussies, half a billion animals and the destruction of entire forest ecosystems for the same purpose.

    https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2020/01/david-attenborough-is-making-the-same-mistake-as-greta-thunberg/

    Like

  26. Attenborough has been totally captured by WWF. They are the ones pulling his strings and making him the face on the can. They also captured Cameron, with his Hug a Husky trip a few years back and they have also captured Michael Gove. I’m not sure about Boris, his ability to flip at a moment’s notice may be what we need for the climate stuff, but not for Brexit.

    Re Richard Betts, since Blair, perhaps before, science has been policy driven:

    In 2007, Defra was congratulating its scientists in sharing in the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore:

    “Defra provides financial support to the co-chairs and their supporting secretariats. As such the UK has provided underpinning funding for almost one-third of the major scientific reports produced by the IPCC, which the Nobel committee believes have “created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.”

    On Science:
    The Climate Prediction Programme was not an academic research programme; its work plan and deliverables was driven by Defra’s requirements for science to inform UK government policy on climate change mitigation and adaptation. As the policy requirements changed, so did the research programme objectives.

    The Met Office will focus on research that contributes to UK government policy objectives and will communicate the results to government and the public.”

    http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=12331

    We have a policy, we need some sciency stuff to back it up…

    Liked by 2 people

  27. “Attenborough has been totally captured by WWF. They are the ones pulling his strings . . . ”

    Attenborough has long ploughed his own furrow when it comes to endorsing explicitly reactionary, rather than merely conservative, politics. (I have given up trying to explain to ex-lefty pals that reactionary and conservative politiics are very different beasts.) Our boy was a founder member of and is still an active patron of the chilling “Optimum Population Trust” (now called for cootchy-coo reasons “Population Matters”). Fellow patrons have included James Lovelock, Sir Crispen Tickell (Margaret Thatcher’s former science advisor who was arguably to blame for her endorsing eco-tosh), Blairite eco-hero Jonathon Porrit and, more recently, Chris Packham, Attenballs’ annointed successor.

    In passing, see Packham’s rant in this week’s Radio Times and, so help me, next Tuesday’s prime-time BBC2 programme for his latest misanthropic rants. Time was when the Beebocrats reined in Attenborough’s worst misanthropic excesses (though not alas his mendacity) but it now seems all bets are off.

    Even more in passing, I’m surprised that St Greta’s dodgy background is not more widely understood. H/W the meat of a note I sent to a still-lefty pal:

    “More seriously, I’ve just read a piece by Bob about the election. Aside from the usual nonsense blaming northern proles for Boris, he explicitly, if faintly, praises Greta Thunberg (GT).

    Now that has me really upset. Does no-one on the left know who she is? She’s the great grand-daughter of Svante Arrhenius, the Nobel Prize winning scientist who first hypothesised global warming. (His 120-year-old writings on the topic seem a deal more nuanced than the vast bulk of the modern stuff but that’s another story. He was undeniably an important scientist even if he was as relentlessly self-promoting as his progeny.)

    GT’s zeal for “the science” (whatever that is) is thus perhaps not entirely objective. I’d have been more impressed had we been made aware of the link, if not by her then at least by her legions of admirers and advisors. OTOH, the reason for their being so coy may have something to do with Arrhenius’ chief hobby horse.

    ‘He] involved himself in the eugenics movement by joining the Swedish Society for Racial Hygiene, a group focused on researching and promoting the benefits of controlled reproduction in humans. This society was formed in 1909 in an attempt to popularize eugenics and encourage policy changes to promote eugenics. Arrhenius was not only a member; he was on the board for the society.’
    (http://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/tree/531f7ac0132156674b000204 and elsewhere.)

    I’ve known for years (as has everyone else) that he was a eugenicist of far-right stripe (Racial Hygiene, if you please). I dimly recall reading a few years ago of iffy “research” into Sweden’s indigenous communities organised by the social-democrat-government funded body (originally called “Statens institut för rasbiologi”). And so on.

    In fairness, I should stress that I don’t yet know if Arrhenius was an active board member or just lent his name to it. It also seems that the body never endorsed anti-Semitism and that Arrhenius died before it became a major international issue.

    Though, as I hinted in that e-mail “debate” about Extinction Rebellion, I detect a strong whiff of the far-right in ER, I only recently learned of GT’s being a direct descendant of Arrhenius. Which wouldn’t matter had her coterie been up-front about it but they haven’t even been hand-over-mouth, mutter-mutter honest. Nor has ER, though she has spoken at its rallies.

    Obviously, neither GT nor her coterie are to blame for Arrhenius’ views but I’d argue that, to avoid any charge of endorsing or at least tolerating them, they need unequivocally to eschew them. They have not done so even though the historical links between strands of the far right and of “environmentalism” are known to all. (OK, many.)

    Aside from the issues we raised in that exchange, it strikes me that political children like Bob and his ex-lefty, ER-supporting pals are, at best, playing with fire. Am I over-reacting?

    ++++
    Well, whoodathunkit? He didn’t reply.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. On the idea of various people being ‘captured’ by WWF, I don’t think that really applies to David Cameron. WWF did pay I believe for the ‘Hug a Husky’ stunt in Norway which launched the Conservative party’s “Vote Blue Go Green” campaign in 2006. But the Conservative party had already been captured by the ‘Green capitalists’ in 2005, following their third defeat in row to Labour, when they decided to recruit Zac Goldsmith, one of the UK’s leading Green capitalists, into the party in order to mastermind their environmental policy.

    This Spiked article by James Heartfield from Oct 2005 discusses the recruitment of Goldsmith into the Conservative party, which happened when Michael Howard was still the party leader:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20081013233133/http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CADD8.htm

    Heartfield wrote a book called “Green Capitalism: manufacturing scarcity in an age of abundance” quite a few years ago. I think he stood as a candidate for the Brexit party in the 2019 General Election.

    To me, the Green capitalists are the most dangerous bit of the Green Blob, but for some reason many climate sceptics seem not to notice them. The Blob consists of various factions – the Green NGOs, the Green academics, environmental journalists, the BBC, etc, but the Green capitalists are the ones who finance the ‘climate industrial complex’ (or partly finance it, as the general public tends to pick up a lot of the bill). The Green capitalists are also at the forefront of making sure that nuclear power is sidelined as they refuse to finance it or will only lend money out at daft interest rates. Green capitalists can generally be identified as the people who are talking about climate change and Green issues at the Davos World Economic Forum conferences. They used to spout phrases like “We can’t afford not to go Green”, but as the costs of Green energy have become better known, you don’t hear that as much.

    UKIP did something similar to the Goldsmith arrangement, but in a sort of ‘mirror-image’ way, where Christopher Monckton was brought into UKIP and had a high-up position (he was even deputy leader of UKIP for a few months) from about 2008 to 2010 expressing UKIP’s climate change sceptic position.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Just on Peter Hitchens, who quite rightly pointed to Jaime’s earlier post on the Australian bushfires (or jungle fires, as some I am told are), please allow me now to go ever slightly off-topic. Peter has been sticking to the subject of climate and this got the attention of Gavin Schmidt on Thursday:

    Just the start of a fairly lengthy thread, as shown by the compilation at Thread Reader. And Willis Eschenbach has now done what looks like a really helpful response to Gavin at WUWT, including this key summary:

    Let me start by saying he is badly conflating three very separate and distinct theories.

    Theory 1) Increasing CO2 increases atmospheric absorption, which affects the overall temperature of the various layers of the atmosphere, and increases downwelling so-called “greenhouse” radiation.
    Theory 2) In the short term, large changes in downwelling radiation change the surface temperature.
    Theory 3) In the long term, small continuing increases in downwelling radiation lead to corresponding small continuing increases in global surface temperature.

    Here the spoiler alert: I think that the first two of these are true (with caveats), but we have virtually no evidence that the third one is either true or untrue.

    Now I’m not sure Peter Hitchens could have come up with that but I believe that his instincts are spot-on. That makes the whole thing rather interesting from a philosophy of science and epistemology point of view.

    Like

  30. Dear Mr Hitchens is still at it! Going back a bit for context:

    Like

  31. This was earlier today, nothing to do with climate (in fact, probably to do with Peter and Steve Mc’s Syria concerns) but it made me laugh.

    Like

  32. The indignation coming from the AGW cultists at having their precious Princess and their settled science of doom called out in the MSM is palpable. As Jonesy would say: “They don’t like it up ’em”.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. The Met Office has released a news/research article entitled ‘Causes of extreme fire weather in Australia’. Expecting the worst, I read it, but it’s actually quite a sane, down ot earth assessment and credit to Richard Betts for sharing it on Twitter. Spoiler:

    Fire weather is increasing

    Australia has seen an increase in extreme heat events and the severity of drought, according to the CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s State of the Climate 2018 report[3]. This has led to an increase in fire weather over much of Australia. The FFDI has increased in many parts of the country over the decades from 1978-2017, particularly in the south east (Figure 1).

    The recent conditions in Australia have largely been driven by the pattern of Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) in both the western equatorial Pacific and Indian oceans, and a sudden stratospheric warming. These events are now occurring on top of a background of continued warming, which is contributing to increases in extremes.

    ENSO events can take different forms, generally they occur every 2-7 years and last up to a year or so, although some ‘protracted’ episodes can last for a number of years[4]. One of the main characteristics of ‘protracted’ El Niño episodes are warm SST anomalies in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean, which leads to enhanced atmospheric convection in that region, and the generation of a teleconnection which suppresses rainfall across eastern Australia. This is what has been seen since April-May 2018.

    In Australia, previously-published scientific literature has not yet found the impact of human-induced climate change on fire weather to be emerging from natural climate variability.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Jaime, here’s a misleading press release from the met office about the fires in Australia, implying in headline and text they had a major influence on co2 emissions, which is nonsense of course.

    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2020/2020-global-co2-forecast

    This led to misleading articles in the Guardian and Independent, as noted by climate scientist Thomas Smith here

    Usual suspect Betts is mentioned in the Guardian article. Smith didn’t seem to realise that the mislead came from the met office until I pointed it out to him. But to his credit he did acknowledge in a later tweet that the met office page was confusing.

    I was thinking of doing a blog post on this story but had better things to do.
    The bottom line is that the met office has successfully misled the public again.

    Like

  35. It’s the Guardian lying again Paul and – of course – drafting in that idiot Bob Ward to reinforce their lies. They say:

    The predicted year-on-year rise of about 2.74ppm would be one of the biggest on record. Emissions from the Australian bushfires will make up one-fifth of the increase, according to the Met Office.

    This is BS. It’s not 20%; it’s 2%. In another Guardian article, they actually give the correct figure:

    While human-caused emissions cause the carbon dioxide rise in concentration, impacts of weather patterns on global ecosystems are predicted to increase the rise by 10% this year,” the statement says.

    It says emissions from the Australian fires contribute “up to one-fifth of this increase”, or up to 2% of the total rise.

    The first Graun article misleadingly states that the Oz bushfires have contributed a fifth to the total rise, which is wrong. Then Bob the Bullshitter wades in to claim that emissions from bushfires (caused by global warming) are driving further global warming!

    Like

  36. LOL. They are absolutely desperate to ‘prove’ that climate change had a significant part to play in the Australian bushfires and they intend to pull out all the stops to try to do just that. The future of climate change alarmism itself almost rests upon this one definitive attribution study. They’ve bluffed their hand for the last month – now they’ve got to play it. Climate cultist ‘scientist’ Sophie Lewis and WWA are teaming up to rush out an attribution study hopefully by early February. Can’t wait.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00173-7?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=organic&utm_campaign=NGMT_USG_JC01_GL_Nature

    Like

  37. Serial coral reef catastrophist, Peter Ridd harrasser and all round dodgy ‘scientist’ Prof Terry Hughes is pushing the extreme weather meme on Twitter for all it’s worth. Richrd Betts is trying hard to disagree with him technically whilst still keeping to consensus messaging about catstrophic warming to come.

    Like

  38. Let’s see now. What are the chances that the forthcoming attribution study will be a sober, rational, non partisan, strictly scientific exercise based on evidence? One of the authors already knows what climate change looks like:

    New Year’s Eve started out quietly. There was the early dinner with hidden vegetables, the negotiations over more story books, and insistence on milk in a blue cup. We put the toddler to bed and flopped on the couch with a glass of wine.

    The evening became quieter still. There were no neighbourhood BBQs, no parties, no fireworks, no celebrations. Before dark, a vast plume of thick smoke rolled into our already smoky city.

    It was utterly confusing. We watched the plume approach, thinking is that dust, or …? Visibility decreased, darkness fell, our house filled with smoke, our minds with fear. We went to bed early but spent the night checking the news and social media for updates and discussing whether to disconnect our smoke alarms.

    The New Year was thick, red and hazy. Our city felt abandoned, the streets were empty, the birds gone. Everything sat under layer after layer, week upon week, of dust and smoke and ash.

    Kind colleagues sent through links to volunteer groups, suggestions for positive people to talk to, ideas for discussion and fora on ‘what next’ and assurances that this was a turning point in climate discourse in Australia.

    I just couldn’t. I deleted news and social media and emails from my phone. I sat in my grief. I embraced my anger at the betrayal of scientific information and warnings derided for decades. I let myself feel rage for my daughter and her future.

    Eventually, I had the enthusiasm to respond to emails and media requests for comment. International media asked about the fires and the drought and the heatwaves. What was it like, what was it from, what of our future?

    This is what climate change looks like.

    Not a lot, in my opinion.

    Like

  39. Compare and contrast city-dweller and climate alarmist scientist Sophie Lewis’s whinging about nasty smoke with farmer, climate change sceptic and all-round realist Elly Melly’s truly harrowing account of how she attempted to get home to water her desperate cattle and rescue her terrified puppy and three baby WillyWagTail chicks. Spoiler: the puppy, the chicks and the cattle were all fine.

    https://ellymelly.home.blog/2020/01/27/australian-bushfires-the-last-great-taboo-part-one/

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Richard Betts is trying hard to disagree with him technically whilst still keeping to consensus messaging about catastrophic warming to come.

    Sorry that I missed that intriguing comment till now. I couldn’t see this on Twitter when I looked, though. Do you have an example?

    (As an aside, I didn’t and don’t accept Ben Pile’s “Betts has gone native” the other day. Well, it depends what native means I suppose. I’ve been disappointed with Richard since he came to the pub with us after Mike Mann’s talk at Bristol in 2014, I’ll say that. I’d be interested to see his technical disagreement on the Oz fires.)

    Like

  41. Hi Richard,

    First Richard B attempts to suggest that the extreme weather Oz experienced is simply what would be “normal” in a 3C warmer world, without actually attributing that weather to climate change impacts now, which Hughes does.

    Then Hughes presses him further:

    Then Betts avoids a straight answer by waffling about the contibution of the Oz bushfires to the annual increase in CO2 (which is only 2%) – like this was somehow an example of why extreme weather impacts now ‘mattered’! Why didn’t he just say to Hughes: ‘That’s BS, our own Met Office report shows that weather and natural meteorological variability played the main role in the 2019 bushfires’. But no, he waffled on about current conditions being the ‘new normal’ in a hypothetical 3C warmer world and then he suggested tangentially that the bushfires were helping to get us there! Consensus is a powerful limiter of free speech on Twitter if you’re a scientist on its payroll.

    Liked by 1 person

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