JoNova

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Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die.

Thermometer Farenheit Celcius scale

Photo: Jo Nova

Post by: Lance Pidgeon with assistance from Chris Gillham and others.

It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.

In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). The maximumun at or above 102 degrees F (38.9°C) for 24 days straight.

By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains.  As reported at the time, the government felt the situation was so serious that to save lives and ease the suffering of its citizens they added cheaper train services:

 “The Commissioner of Railways promised a deputation of members of Parliament to run a special train every Friday at holiday excursion rates for the next month to enable settlers resident in the Western part of the colony to reach the mountains to escape the great heat prevailing.”  (Source)

It got hotter and hotter and the crowded trains ran on more days of the week. The area of exodus was extended to allow not only refugees from western NSW to flee to the Blue Mountains but also people to escape via train from the Riverina to the Snowy Mountains. The stories are heartbreaking. “A child sent to the mountains to escape the city heat died at the moment the train arrived.” “Six infants have died at Goulburn since January 1 through the excessive heat.” Towns were losing their esteemed, lamenting the loss of the good reverend, or of their well known miners. Children were orphaned.

A woman has been brought to the Bulli Hospital in a demented condition, suffering from sunstroke.  She was tramping the roads, with her husband, two days before, when she was prostrated by a sunstroke.  Her husband carried her through all the sweltering heat to Bulli, taking two days over the journey.” (Source).

Bourke circa 1900, National Library of Australia

The Victorian heatwave of 2009 was sold as the worst heat wave in southern Australia for 150 years.

In 1896 the heat was causing people to faint, become demented and was even blamed for driving people mad. “Several women fainted in the streets. A little girl, while walking along Surrey Hills, suddenly became demented through the heat.” In Bendigo “a young man named Edward Swift, hairdresser, was so overcome by the heat that he was unable to work, and in despair shot himself, in the breast. It is a hopeless case.” Longreach “police authorities at Longreach received information that a man who was insane was about fourteen miles out of the town.” “The bodies of people who die of sunstroke decompose very quickly”.  An axe wielding man in Bourke cut down three telegraph poles before he was “secured” by police. Presumably the real cause of the madness was something else, but the heat was the last straw. “Birregurra was stirred from its wanted sleepiness on Saturday evening last by the appearance in the streets of a mad man who caused no small consternation.”  It could be that nuttiness was equally common on other months, or other years. But at the time, people blamed the heat.

With this and people dropping dead in the streets from Perth through Adelaide to Sydney, the heat wave was described as being universal from west to east . It went north into Queensland and south through Victoria.twice, by which time Australians considered themselves to be “Under Fire”.

Later in 1896, heat waves also occurred in India, Burma, Borneo, America. (It was bad in New York.  Listen here.) There was heat in England, Germany and Spain. 1896 was an example of extreme weather. [It was obviously the fault of the evil power stations, eh? Just 14 years earlier, Edison had built the first coal-fired electric generating station. If only people had understood just how dangerous it was. ;-) - Jo]

Thermometers were non-standardized in 1896. Some of the extraordinary temperatures come from thermometers with descriptions like (“under passion tree vine.”)  There it got to 123 in Ultimo in Sydney on January 14. Though some thought the vine thermometer was actually more accurate “ namely, that what is known as the true shade is the shade afforded at the Observatory by one of the loveliest little summer-houses, almost buried in foliage, but with lattice-work all round, so that the breeze may play upon the thermometers, but where the sun’s rays can by no means be admitted.”.

Was the 2009 heatwave really worse than 1896?

The Victorian heatwave of 2009 was sold as the worst heat wave in southern Australia for 150 years. But it does not appear to be as widespread, as long, or as hot.  (Though caveats of comparing different thermometer placements apply — the old ones were in odd places, but the new ones are not necessarily well placed either, with some near airports, buildings and walls). What the newspaper records of 1896 show is that modern extreme heatwaves may not be at all unprecedented in temperature, severity and certainly not worse in terms of suffering.

“These events are unprecedented,” Victoria’s energy and resources minister Peter Batchelor said on Saturday. “In some respects, they are not unlike a natural disaster, impacting on a community like a flood or tornado.” (2009)

The Victorian heatwave began on Jan 25 2009 and broke on Jan 30. Deaths in Victoria were estimated at between 200 – 374. The population of Victoria in 2009 was about 5 million, about four times larger than the population of NSW at the turn of the century. Death-rates are not a good indicator to compare the severity of heatwaves, as deaths in 1896 would have been less if air conditioners and modern hospitals had been available then.

How widespread was the heat in 2009?

The Wiki page associated with the above map, makes claims like “January 7th 45.2° C (113.4° F) – Hottest day recorded in Wagga Wagga since records began in 1941”. Records did not begin in Wagga in 1941. That was just when they began at the airport. In 1896 the temperature in Wagga Wagga got to 116.5° F or 46.9° C. It also points out that Melbourne for three days in a row had temperatures peak above 43° C. This is nearly the same temperature (109° F) that by midnight of the 22 Jan 1896 Brewarrina got down to.

 How widespread was the heat in 1896?

Please note: As well as the caveats mentioned above, the dates given below may be inaccurate and the modern Australian definition of a heatwave  may not have been met in all locations.

This widespread:

Yalgoo W.A. Dec  25 1895 122° or 127° F “the Emerald Hotel, an iron structure” or at the Court House ” The latter structure is a ” wooden frame with duck covering.”;  Marra station N.S.W. 130 F on Jan 21. The link shows a full months record. “The figures were the readings of three different glasses, which were hung in the front verandah at the Marra, station, and were placed out from the wall on a frame to allow the air to get round them, thereby preventing the heat from the wall affecting the instruments.”; Berlino  S.A. 130° F  Jan 22. The thermometer “hangs on a stone house with a thickly thatched verandah facing West” … “never reached by the sun“. From Jan 5 to Jan 13, Berlino recorded many temperatures of 118° – 130° F; Kopperamanna Bore, via Hergott Springs S.A. “under date of January 23 : — ‘For the last month the heat here has been excessive. The lowest the glass has registered in the shade, a good canegrass shed, has been 108°. On three different days it showed 118°, and three times 116°, the average for the last month having been 113°.”; Cockburn S.A. 122° F  Jan 25 (but measured in the general store); Near Cobar at Paddington station around the same “days it rose to 120deg. and 123deg., on a cool verandah, It seems almost incredible, but one night we looked to see what it was at 11 o’clock, and it registered 106deg.”.

Plus

Geraldton W.A. Wednesday, 1 Jan 1896 - 114° F “at Geraldton observatory“.
Geraldton W.A. Thursday, 2 Jan - 115° F “A child succumbs to the heat. ” at “ Northampton, where the thermometer ranged even higher than at Geraldton.”
Geraldton W.A. Friday, 3 Jan - 125° F most papers, 115° F in some (possibly a date error as it matches the previous day).
Perth W.A. 3 Jan - 112° F ” Five deaths have been reported in the city on account of the great heat.”
Mullewa W.A. 3 Jan - 121° F “The town has been enveloped in clouds of dust.”and “crowds of people have bad to sleep out of doors. Water is very scarce.”
Carnarvon W.A. 3 Jan - 121° F Brick House station “It is farther reported that the mercury has been up as high as 125 in the shade there.”
Pinjarrah W.A. 3 Jan - 114° F followed by a minimum of 97° F.
Southern Cross W.A. Week ending 5 Jan - ”averaged 115deg.” “It has often been as high as 122deg.” Mr Mkay died in his office chair of heat apoplexy.
Cue W.A. Sunday, 5 Jan - ”Three weeks of uninterrupted excesive heat“ ”each day exceeded 105“ ”on two occasions reaching 118.
Wilcannia N.S.W. Monday, 6 Jan - 117° F “Wyalong follows close with 114°. Then come Nowra and Corowa with 112.”
Isisford Qld. 6 Jan - 112° F ” The Government Astronomer states that the high temperature has been caused by a heat wave which has come across the continent from Port Darwin,“.
Bourke N.S.W. 6 Jan - ”The fact is that out of 93 weather telegrams sent in, 64 gave temperatures ranging from 100° at Cooma, Tabulam, Tenterfield, and a few other places, up to 118° in the shade recorded at Brewarrina and at Bourke. There were 22 stations which reported temperatures ranging from 110° to 118° inclusive.
Canowindra N.S.W. 6 Jan - 114° F “Reaching the highest point on record“.
Farina S.A. 6 Jan - 113.5° F “the place occupied by the thermometer being a shadebox such as is used at the Adelaide Observatory.
Ungarie N.S.W 6 Jan - 125° F “rural districts do not always recognise the nice distinctions between true shade and other shade.”
Farina S.A. Thursday, 9 Jan - 112.3° F
Quirindi N.S.W. Monday, 13 Jan - 120° F. Out of 54 temperatures shown on that list only one does not meet the 95° F (35° C) heatwave threshold.
Bulli N.S.W. 13 Jan - 115° F “This has been, the hottest day known“.
Kiama N.S.W. 13 Jan - 117° F ” A Scorcher Everywhere. Death and Distress.
Parramatta N.S.W. 13 Jan – 111 ° F “Fruit Broiled on the Trees.” “Birds and Animals Drop Dead.”
Camden N.S.W.  Tuesday, 14 Jan - 123°F ”Great Heat Wave ” “LIST OF CASUALTIES.”
Araluen N.S.W. Friday, 17 Jan - 110° F “It was thought that the heat had passed, but it was back again to-day
Brewarrina N.S.W 17 Jan - 122° F “125 deaths attributable to heat apoplexy” (Sydney).
West Wyalong  N.S.W 17 Jan - 114° F “The thermometer at the post office“.
Nannine W.A. Saturday, Jan 18 - ”After about three weeks of most oppressive heat, with the thermometer frequently registering 120deg. in the shade, the weather has broken.”
Farina S.A. Tuesday, Jan 21 - 112.3° F “Old residents say this is the hottest summer they have ever experienced.”
Broken Hill N.S.W. Wednesday, Jan 22 – 113½° F ”Two horses dropped dead in the street from the effects of the heat.
Farina S.A. 22 Jan - 113° F “The temperature of our police cell was 148° several times.”
Charleville  or  Cunnamulla QLD. 22 Jan – 120.5 ° F (116 °F official ) “The average daily temperature from the 1st instant exceeded 114 degrees.” 25 days!!
Olary S.A. Thursday, 23 Jan - 116° F “and dust flying in clouds during the afternoon.”
Adelaide S.A. 23 Jan - 111° F “Herbert Crown, an ostler at the Langham Hotel, fell down in King William-street this afternoon with sunstroke.”
Swan Hill Vic 23 Jan - 116° F “To-day, it is again exceedingly oppressive”.
Farina S.A. 23 Jan - 114.3° F “Five deaths have occurred in the town and one outside“.
Mildura Vic 23 Jan - 120° F “PHENOMENAL HEAT IN VICTORIA.
Broken Hill 23 Jan - 115° F “Dr Enill took the temperature of the body an hour and a hall after death, and found that it was 109¾ .”
Halbury S.A. 23 Jan – 118° F “Many children are unwell, and it will go hard with them unless a change soon, comes.”.
Rapanyup Vic 23 Jan - 113° F “To-day it is again exceedingly oppressive“.
Natimuk Vic 23 Jan - 115° F ”Telegrams from the country districts show that the heat was general throughout the colony.”(Victoria).
Bega N.S.W. 23 Jan - 113° F “The minimum heat during last night was 73 . To-day the heat was terrific In the true shade the reading was 113 at 2pm“.
Geelong Vic 23 Jan - 110° F ” Largely due to a burning north-west wind.
Hergott Springs S.A. 23 Jan “On three different days it showed 118° and three times 116°, the average for the last month having been 113°F.
Grenfell and Ivanhoe N.S.W. 23 Jan - 122 ° F “At Ivanhoe the heat was so intense that the mail horses fell dead on the road.”
Charleville / Cunnamulla QLD. Friday, 24 Jan – 126/5° F “The official readings at the Post Office are lower; but the instruments used are placed in a thickly-planted garden which has been heavily irrigated during the last week,” So at which town was this garden and non stevenson screen recording? The clue is in the name “Grosvenor” here.
Cunnamulla QLD 24 Jan – ” The official record showed a reading on Tuesday of 111 degs. in the shade, on Wednesday 116 degs., and to-day 117 degs. On Wednesday at midnight, the high temperature of 99 degs. was recorded.”
Isisford QLD 24 Jan – “The thermometer on Monday rose to 114 degs., on Tuesday to 112 degs., on “Wednesday 115 degs., and to-day 118 degs. The country is very bare and the water is giving out fast.”
Wilcannia N.S.W 24 Jan - 123° F “not a breath of wind was stirring during the night”.
Hillston N.S.W. 24 Jan- 115° F “Anything under 110 is now beginning to be looked upon as contemptibly cool.”
Wilcannia N.S.W.  Saturday, 25 Jan – 120° F “The thermometer fell 50deg. at Wilcannia, but a death from sunstroke occurred there yesterday.”
 
 
It goes on, can readers check these ones?
125°F at Middle camp station Netely (Perhaps 160 kilometres south-east of Broken Hill).
129°F at Gundabooka Station near Bourke. (or try here).
125°F at Nelyambo station (Near Nyngan?).
121°F at Namagee N.S.W. “There is no appearance of a change“.
125°F at White Cliffs.
124°F at New Angeldool,  Jan 27.
124°F at Mossgiel (Where is that?).
————————————-

What caused the phenomenal heatwaves that hit the world in the late 1800s? It obviously wasn’t our air-conditioners and SUV’s, and carbon dioxide levels had barely risen over pre-industrial levels (the rise nearly all occurs after WWII).

Photos credit:  CBC bank history of country NSW

 
 
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159 comments to Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die.

  • #

    Well done Lance and the team, and well done Jo. This will be good to hold as a reference point for all future heat waves. Has the Bureau been asked to comment on this?
    Ken


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    • #
      James

      What exactly would you want them to say? Are they denying that heatwaves occurred before?

      Or have the BOM performed analysis like this one finding that extremes are more likely now than before?

      Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming


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      • #
        Andrew Barnham

        James your comments about trending are valid, on acceptance that temperature has risen in the past hundred years, which I broadly accept, then it would come as no surprise to see some increase in frequency for hot spells (of course the trend need not necessarily manifest in this way). It would be easy to construct a fishing expedition that teases out such a result from the data. If you read the abstract of the paper cited in the article you posted, it certainly reads like a fishing expedition to me.

        This is not really the issue though. The issue is that almost every adverse weather related calamity in recent years is framed as being unprecedented and unnatural, a direct consequence of CAGW and surely worse is to come. The point of a post like this, for me at least, is to regain some perspective and to push back against the hyperbole.


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        • #
          James

          Numerous one-sided posts about localised heatwave is not getting perspective. That would come from thorough analysis of global events.


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          • #
            Andrew Barnham

            I agree. This post doesn’t falsify CAGW any more than modern weather calamity journalism confirms it. Yet it certainly does take the wind out of anyone’s sails who claim event X is unprecedented and unnatural (again not necessarily falsifying any such claim).

            As for thorough analysis of treads, I agree. Which is why I’ve found Pielke Jr’s blog a useful resource for trying to construct an informed opinion WRT storm related calamities such as Sandy.


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          • #
            James

            I’d go one step further and say posts like this don’t help contribute to real debate on climate change. Instead, and looking at the vehement replies I get, it’s simply offering ammunition for those not wishing to look at all evidence. This post, along with other like it, I find to be irresponsible given the importance of responding in an appropriate manner. A mixture of irrelevant topics, strawman arguments and web-blog science that will confuse more people than it helps. Perhaps that is Nova’s motive?

            I agree with taking the wind out of the sails of those willing to attribute everything on global warming, (just as I enjoy taking the wind out of the sails here). The climate concensus is not stating that SA heatwave was unprecedented, that’s a strawman argument. A telegraph newpaper article states that. Jo’s post is aimed at correcting a newspaper article.

            Which one is right – I don’t really care, as I would expect sometime in the past 200, 300, 400 years it may well have been hotter. What matters NOW is how climate change is altering the frequency of hot weather.

            As for Pielke Jr’s blog, I’m sorry I don’t read it. For reliable information I prefer to stick with peer-reviewed sources.


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          • #
            Andrew Barnham

            For all it’s imperfections, I much prefer the existence of incomplete contrary analysis than none at all, and suffer the fevered alarmism that is currently occurring to go unchecked and critiqued.

            Your critique of Pielke is unjustified. His methodology for trending storm damage is indeed available in peer reviewed literature.


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          • #
            James

            I’m not saying Pielke is wrong, just that with limited knowledge myself I have no way of knowing if what Pielke writes would be correct or not.

            At least I know, in most cases, the peer-reviewed papers are at least critiqued by other experts in the field.

            Webloggers are able to write whatever they like. That’s not the case in respected scientific journals.

            Has Pielke published his findings in a journal?


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          • #
            Andrew Barnham

            Pielke, Jr., R. A., Gratz, J., Landsea, C. W., Collins, D., Saunders, M., and Musulin, R., 2008. Normalized Hurricane Damages in the United States: 1900-2005. Natural Hazards Review, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 29-42.

            His blog contains analysis running upto Sandy, with caveat provided by Pielke that analysis of economic cost of Sandy is currently based on estimates only at this precise time.


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          • #
            James

            Thanks. Available here for those that wish to read. Seems to be US centric and focuses on the damage bill.

            But topical all the same : http://www.skepticalscience.com/wsj-sandy-global-warming-asking-right-questions.html


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          • #
            llew Jones

            There is no such thing as a global weather event. All, repeat all weather events can only be local and regional. Surely that is axiomatic because of the different, and often unique factors or variables that produce those local and regional weather events.

            The concept of an average global temperature seems perhaps intuitively a reasonable way to measure “global warming” but it too is really an irrelevancy in that context.

            In the Earth’s many local and regional climate systems, which are chaotic and are only partially understood, it is self evident that the present best and only valid measure of the degree of change in weather events is an examination of their history and in the AGW context, the co-incident atmospheric concentration of CO2. That real evidence, when available, invariably indicates that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are producing no historic change in the various types of weather events.

            Incidentally wrt Sandy this is an interesting post: “An Inconvenient Truth: Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies along Sandy’s Track Haven’t Warmed in 70+ Years”

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/11/05/an-inconvenient-truth-sea-surface-temperature-anomalies-along-sandys-track-havent-warmed-in-70-years/


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          • #
            cohenite

            Well extreme weather is not occurring in Australia, nor in the US. perhaps James can point to where . in Gore’s terms, “dirty weather” is occurring.


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          • #
            ExWarmist

            James says…

            WRT R. A. Pielke jr…

            Has Pielke published his findings in a journal?

            He has 278 published results here

            Feel free to check them out some time…


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          • #

            Then i assume you condemn claims that Hurricane Sandy is “proof” of catastrophic global warming? Only today are we warned that the next IPCC report will be even more alarming, based largely on that.


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          • #
            Andrew Barnham

            James, I’ve taken a look at some data to see how it trends.

            Following link is a plot of Victoria max temps showing probability of any given day being >38C

            http://s819.beta.photobucket.com/user/andrewbarnham/media/vic_heat_prob_plot.png.html

            This is a work in progress so very early and preliminary and methodology I’ve used is imprecise : I’ve just averaged station probabilities together when when I should center them on a base line period first (i.e. CAM method): I figure that for Victoria at least the region is small enough that the bias incurred by cutting this corner will be minimal. I intend to extend this to generate a result Australia wide, but I have a day job and fishing expeditions are not that exciting for me.

            Either way, conspicuously absent is the signal you expect there to be; nothing nearly as alarming as Hansen’s fishing expedition you linked to. In fact it is down trending. This doesn’t surprise me as most measured instrumental temperature increases have actually be winter night time temps, so need not necessarily manifest as heat waves. That it is down trending is unusual, but not impossible : i.e. Simpsons paradox. Also the ‘shape’ of the smoothed plot suggests the plot is very sensitive to end-point selection. Chop off 20 years on either side and you’ll get distinctively different fits; so drawing conclusions from line fits without error bars is tenuous.


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          • #

            James keeps on repeating the same dishonest and deceptive stunt. It has been pointed out to him before. So there is no doubt that it is a deliberate act.
            This is a quote from my reply when he was caught at it a previous time. Here at comment 39.

            “Yes notice how every effort now goes into diverting the argument away from the 1950-2011 “study period being far far too short.”

            So what does James proceed to do but quote “1951 and 1980, the base period for this study.”

            James look at the date up top(1896)! Stop it with these comparisons to an ice age scare period!

            “1951 and 1980, the base period for this study.”

            Andrew Barnham on the other hand has presented a nice long chart relevant to the topic time period.
            Thankyou Andrew!
            I do wonder if James is a paid to waste our time.


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      • #
        Heywood

        “For reliable information I prefer to stick with peer-reviewed sources.”

        And then you link to (not so) Skeptical Science.

        And you reckon Jo’s blog lacks credibility.

        What is the link to anyway, a peer reviewed cartoon by the site’s owner?


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      • #

        I’d like them to explain the official “record” high temperature for Ivanhoe NSW, for starters. 48.5C from 2004 is considerably lower than the 50C indicated in this article alone (122F).

        I was born there in January 1967 during an extreme heatwave, and only survived by spending the first three weeks of my life wrapped in wet towels. In my first two years, we had an extreme heatwave, frequent dust storms and a flood. We went back in 1979 for another two years and I remember a reported 51C day, and my mum reckons it was hotter there in the 60s!

        They’re gunna have to do better than Hurricane Sandy to alarm me about extreme weather events.


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    • #

      The actual statement by BoM:

      Australia set a new record for the highest national area-average temperature, recording 40.33 °C (104F) and surpassing the previous record set on 21 December 1972 (40.17 °C). To date (data up to the 7 January 2013) the national area-average for each of the first 7 days of 2013 has been in the top 20 hottest days on record, with 6 January the fifth hottest on record and the first time 6 consecutive days over 39 °C (102F) has ever been recorded for Australia.

      http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/01/09/australia-scorches-record-heatwave-warming-trends-bite#comment-form

      Average maximum, not highest maxima.


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    • #

      The actual statement by BoM:

      Australia set a new record for the highest national area-average temperature, recording 40.33 °C (104F) and surpassing the previous record set on 21 December 1972 (40.17 °C). To date (data up to the 7 January 2013) the national area-average for each of the first 7 days of 2013 has been in the top 20 hottest days on record, with 6 January the fifth hottest on record and the first time 6 consecutive days over 39 °C (102F) has ever been recorded for Australia.

      http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/01/09/australia-scorches-record-heatwave-warming-trends-bite#comment-form

      Average maximum, not highest maxima.


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  • #
    AndyG55

    Let’s all hope we have enough decent solid electricity left for air conditioning if another one like 1896 hits.

    And that the smart (lol) meters don’t shut all the air-con down.

    Solar probably work well, but I bet the wind during that heat wave was basically zero!


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  • #
    Peter OBrien

    And in the end it doesn’t really matter if 2009 edged out 1896 or vice versa, in one metric or the other. They’re both extreme events, close enough to suggest that they are part of natural weather/climate and that CO2 emissions are irrelevant.


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    • #

      I would claim that the most important metric is the human cost, not how high the temperatures last or on many days temperatures exceed a certain level. The human cost in 1896 was much, much higher because people were much poorer and had no access to modern technology. I dislike the “small is beautiful” and “environment v growth” philosophies, precisely because technology and economic growth enable human beings to cope with climate extremes. Even if the catastrophic global warming bit were correct (there is every reason to suspect it isn’t), sacrificing of economic growth with ineffective policies could still leave humanity worse off.


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    spangled drongo

    Thanks Jo, this needs to be brought out. When I was young working during the ’50s in far west Qld, even without a thermometer you knew when these dangerous 120+f days occurred. Birds died in flight.

    They didn’t happen often but they certainly happened and many oldies at that time recounted occasions of this happening in their lifetimes.

    As a keen birder, I have not heard any stories like that in recent decades but imagine, if this phenomenon had occurred in the modern era of human induced climate change it would have been very widely broadcast.


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    • #
      Speedy

      G’day Drongo

      (Or should that be Mr. Drongo?) Whatever – there was a supposedly big bird die off in Esperance in the summer of January 2004 – from memory; this was blamed on lead (Pb) emissions from the local port. Unfortunately, they couldn’t prove otherwise, so the media went into hyperdrive and the port were tried and sentenced in the press. (“Our” ABC joining in for all it was worth.) A lot of pain and disruption – then the same thing happened 2-3 years later for no apparent reason apart from hot weather. No apologies or even questions were asked regarding the accuracy of the previous accusations.

      But that’s not surprising – environmentalists are never wrong and don’t need to apologise.

      Cheers

      Speedy


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    • #
      cohenite

      As a keen birder

      Good on you SD; in my youth I too kept a keen eye on the birds and was ready to help if the poor dears became overcome on the beach.

      Seriously, growing up in the Hunter Valley during the 1950′s, a period where there were floods from 1952 to 1955, I can remember hotter days then during the supposed El Nino period from 1976.

      My extended family have records from 1895 onwards and the BOM climate history is BS.

      Great post from Jo and the lads.


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        spangled drongo

        Yes, I asked for that cohers. But going back even further to Governor Arthur Phillip’s time in 1791:

        Early in 1791 Governor Philip writes: ‘the dry

        weather still continued, and many runs of

        water which were considerable at this season

        the last year [1790], were now dried up…at

        Sydney, the run of water was now very small’.

        Watkin Tench reflects: ‘ Even this heat [of

        December 1790] was judged to be far

        exceeded in the latter end of the following

        February [1791], when the north-west wind

        to surpass all that they had before felt, either

        there or in any other part of the world… It

        must, however, have been intense, from the

        effects it produced. An immense flight of bats

        driven before the wind, covered all the trees

        around the settlement, whence they every

        moment dropped dead or in a dying state,

        unable longer to endure the burning state of the

        atmosphere. Nor did the ‘perroquettes’, though

        tropical birds, bear it better. The ground was

        strewn with them in the same condition as the

        bats.’

        From my experience with modern thermometers it needs 120+f [49c] temperatures to produce those bird fatalities. Imagine the screams and finger pointing if that situation occurred today.


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    James

    Global? Ocurring more frequently back then? Thought not.


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      Nor was the Russian heatwave global, nor was the US drought global nor was the Australian drought of recent years global, nor was super storm Sandy global nor was Cyclone Yasi global.
      (Yet you fraudulent morons tell us it’s the accumulation of energy in the atmosphere causing these extreme weather events.)
      Begs the question: What caused the accumulation of energy that caused the 1880s heatwaves?
      Answer: Nothing you alarmist moron, IT’S JUST WEATHER, IT HAPPENS LIKE SHIT HAPPENS.

      p.s. The heatwave of the above article was followed by the great Federation Drought at the turn of the century just a few years later where parts of the Murray River totally dried out.

      You freeking hypocrite.
      It’s the brain dead morons who can’t think for themselves (like you) who help keep this scam going.


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        Albert

        Remember the yearly dust in Brisbane, it stopped about 30 years ago. Since then we had 2 minor events, 1 massive event on Eastern Australia and a couple of weeks go we had dust followed by smoke.
        The weather changes and those people who know history are protected from all the bs.
        The fools who believe all the crap never question why the alarmists have a policy of disallowing public debate.
        This policy should ring alarm bells.


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        James

        Begs the question: How’s it trending, globally?


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          cohenite

          Begs the question: How’s it trending, globally?

          The trend in stupidity and duplicity of the alarmists is exponential.


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          Begs the question: How’s it trending, globally?

          Begs the question: Why reverse the onus of proof? I claim it’s all just weather, nothing whatsoever to do with CO2 and nothing unprecedented about any recent extreme weather event. Business as usual with no extraordinary claims requiring evidence.

          On the other hand, you accept the claims of activist alarmists such as Hansen who claim many of the recent extreme weather events are unprecedented and a portent of more to come. (You linked to one of his junk papers just a few posts ago)
          What makes you believe them? What evidence have they presented to back their claims of un-precedence or rising trends? SHOW US THE EVIDENCE THAT HAS YOUR BRAIN CONVINCED.

          I contend that you are a lemming, that you can’t think for yourself, that you repeat the assertions of environmental activists posing as scientists and that a mouldy turnip has more reasoning and deductive powers than you. My evidence????

          YOUR POSTS


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        inedible hyperbowl

        Sir Humbug,
        Have you considered encouraging James to acquire a thermometer (of the rectal type). I have seen models that predict that such temperature measurement is a good proxy for establishing whether the subject is full of sh!t.


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      AndyG55

      lol, talk about foot in mouth !! roflmao !!!


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      Duster

      Astonishing how many people can write, yet don’t seem to be able to read.


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      Overseasinsider

      Look guys…. I’ve told you many times before…. DON’T feed the animals!!! They can’t think for themselves, therefore they are animals. Simple. Just ignore the morons and maybe they’ll just comment bombing and actually ADD to a debate????


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      ExWarmist

      James,

      Even the UN IPCC doesn’t think that there is any significant trend in disasters caused by CAGW – as linked here

      Given that Alarmists claim the official consensus of the UN IPCC as a sign of the correctness of their position, why are you now bucking the official consensus – you know more than the UN IPCC?

      So just how did the UN IPCC get it all wrong?


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      ExWarmist

      BTW James,

      You still haven’t provided…

      [1] The CAGW predictions in the 1990s for the subsequent 16 year pause in temperatures while CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to skyrocket. Because – you know – the CAGW theory is really, really correct and able to provide accurate predictions of future events.

      and

      [2] The CAGW falsification criteria – because you must be sure that CAGW is in fact real science – and not a pseudoscientific Dogma – so please share with us just how CAGW would be falsified and refuted if certain measured, empirical events were to occur.


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    Paul-82

    The BoM ignores all data prior to 1910 because it is “before we were established,” ignoring the fact that both before and after 1910, measurements were made by the personnel trained to a high standard under the colonial administrations. Their policy conveniently allows them to ignore the 1880-1900 warm to hot period in Australia. This spoils their “century of global warming.”

    The BoM claimed that not all Australian temperature data from the 1880s was measured in Stevenson screens, but Warwick Hughes has published a paper disputing this and has comment on his web site. [International Journal of Climatology, v.15,231-234 (1995)]


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      Duster

      And there, for sure, is an irony. They have thermometers that could be used as “proxies” for thermometers, rather than tree rings. Yet, not having been established, they do not.


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        ExWarmist

        When you practice science with an assumed predetermined conclusion – it forces you to select methodologies and data sets that support the predetermined conclusion and to discard, and ignore methodologies and data sets that refute the predetermined conclusion.

        This is in fact the Humanities process for writing essays, papers, etc – you just look for supporting data to provide an acceptable conclusion for the professors.

        Science is always in danger of losing it’s way – process corruption is a key element in the sustainment of the CAGW meme,


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      Actually, in their statement re maximum average temperatures BoM published some figures from before 1900.


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    pat

    last time lance posted his links, i ended up on trove most of the night, getting sidetracked, so i hope he hasn’t hijacked my day this time. kudsos to lance, chris & others for the finds. no surprise. fascinating stuff.

    AndyG55 -

    solar will work for some, but not for most:

    6 Nov: Courier Mail: Steven Wardill: Households to be slugged $240 a year to pay for solar power feed-in tariff
    New modelling has revealed that by 2015-16, almost 15 per cent of the total household power price will fund the solar feed-in tariff.
    The Newman Government has already cut the tariff for home-produced power to 8 per kilowatt hour for all solar systems bought after July 9.
    However, the new figures exposing the huge burden being carried by all consumers to pay those who produce solar power may prompt the Government to also reduce the 44/kWh tariff paid to those who previously installed photovoltaic systems…
    Energy Minister Mark McArdle said the Government’s decision to cap the scheme had already produced significant savings.
    Mr McArdle said the solar feed-in tariff would have cost $1.8 billion by 2028 but this had been reduced by $300 million.
    “This cost is passed through to all households in the form of higher network charges, which just adds to the burden of this scheme,” he said.
    “What we have here is Labor, and its Green partners, hiding its head in the sand and continuing to claim that renewable energy schemes are decreasing the cost of electricity. This is blatantly untrue and the modelling by the QCA should finally end this.”
    The QCA has been tasked with developing a “fair and reasonable” feed-in tariff by early next year.
    However, any move by the Government to retrospectively remove the 44/kWh from households with existing solar systems could be political poison.
    About one in every five homes is now fitted with solar panels and the figure is growing daily, with Energex paying out about $10 million a month in August to households with solar panels.
    That figure has increased to $13 million in three months.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/households-to-be-slugged-240-a-year-to-pay-for-solar-power-feed-in-tariff/story-e6freoof-1226511045375

    i’m aware of resentment building already between people who rent – and who therefore weren’t able to take advantage of the solar schemes – and those homeowners who were able to take advantage of the scheme with its lucrative feed-in tariffs.


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    pat

    what a surprise! if only every turbine had been placed in the yard of a wind turbine advocate…twould have done wonders for their neighbourhood relations:

    3 Nov: UK Telegraph: Andrew Gilligan: Wind farm noise does harm sleep and health, say scientists
    Wind farm noise causes “clear and significant” damage to people’s sleep and mental health, according to the first full peer-reviewed scientific study of the problem
    The findings provide the clearest evidence yet to support long-standing complaints from people living near turbines that the sound from their rotating blades disrupts sleep patterns and causes stress-related conditions…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9653429/Wind-farm-noise-does-harm-sleep-and-health-say-scientists.html


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    Manfred

    Thank you Jo. Yet another inconvenient truth for the eco-totalitarians whose agenda centered myopia inhibits any acknowledgment of history prior to The Mannian Schtick.


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    KinkyKeith

    I hope the Extreme Heat associated with the collapse of the Man Made AGW scam finds its way into local Government here in NSW and particularly Newcastle where our budget is in the red;

    and that’s not IR red that’s Bank Statement Red.

    We have well dressed Gentlemen running around the city beaches looking for coffee at 6 am in a very nice Climate Van advertising all sorts of Green Mantra goodies on its stickers.

    Life’s good in Green World

    No doubt they are on overtime; poor things.

    Meanwhile the rest of us just gasp in disbelief as we pay our out of control; rates again as the Climate Scoreboard next to the city hall tells us importantly that yes it’s a high fire danger day today.

    Two salaries; say a min of $150,000 and the depreciation on the van plus running costs $20,000 pa just to get the votes of a few misinformed LG voters.

    I was going to say ratepayers, but not all voters are ratepayers.

    I would prefer to see these climate hypochondriacs out cleaning our storm water drains which have not been maintained as a saving to pay for our Climate Change involvement.

    The city flooded a few years ago for the first time since the drains were installed just because of the green idea of letting weeds and lillys grow in the storm water drains.

    KK

    Not Happy Just Extremely Overheated.


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      AndyG55

      actually KK, the main flooding near King St was because

      a) a bloody great container fell into the channel just near hunter street, blocking the flow

      b) it was an extreme event, (extreme events happen) and the drains were just not designed to cope with that sort of event. (statistically something like a 1 in 100+ year event)

      no lilys or weeds would have slowed down that flood, they were a non-issue and when you think of it, are part of the natural watercourse anyway.


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        KinkyKeith

        Hi Andy

        True that the lillys and watercress and bird habitat settled in some of the drains between the high school

        and athletics field may not have been the entire fault but that sort of slack maintenance spread throughout

        the whole city drainage network was certainly not going to help.

        As you say the King King tide was the big issue.

        Now those drains, I suspect, were put in in the 1930′s and something very interesting can be drawn from this.

        The council administration, who employ or pay contract hydrologists, have a duty of care which appears to

        have been ignored for the last 75 years.

        It seems that no effort has been made to monitor and assess flooding probabilities and install safeguards.

        There was some talk before the flood that this might happen, but when the Councillors put global warming

        before running the city they failed the residents of Hamilton and Islington who suffered flooding and then

        insulted all ratepayers by labeling it as due to CO2 Induced Global Warming.

        Many European cities use flood gates for just this purpose and the silly thing here is that I think they have

        been installed out near where the wetlands meets the highway to Maitland just after Sandgate.

        NCC moto is protect the environment but stuff the people.

        KK :)


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          AndyG55

          Yes there are flood gates to stop flood waters heading down from the mMaitland areas from ingressing into the marshes, they are small floodgates.

          Floodgates in Newcastle would be silly, because you want the stormwaters from Kotara and adjacent areas to be able to escape as quickly as possible.

          Unless you believe in sea level rise of large values (lol), it is highly unlikely that Newcastle would get flooded by incoming seawater.

          The only logical place, would be just east of the road bridges in Hexham at the top end of Hexham Island, to force flood coming down from Maitland area to mostly take the Hunter river route north of Kooragang. But it does that already.


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            KinkyKeith

            Hello Andy

            I was thinking of a different sort of floodgate than those at Maitland road.

            They, beside stopping flooding, also hold a minimum water level in the swamp areas..

            There are some that pivot up out of the flow completely when not in use and I think they are in England somewhere.

            Whatever, I think that the Dutch have shown that when you put your mind to it, extreme water flows can be managed.

            NCC for all it’s resources hasn’t done a good job at forward planning.

            KK


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          AndyG55

          The problem is that the channels draining the Kotara & North Hamilton region are not designed big enough, particularly the route through to the harbour near King Street The channel gets really narrow.. BAD DESIGN, but you would have to knock down a building or few to do much about it.


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      Novo Phantom

      Hi,K.K

      I hope the Extreme Heat associated with the collapse of the Man Made AGW scam finds its way into local Government here in NSW and particularly Newcastle where our budget is in the red;

      The following is from a staff news letter for a local government organisation near you.

      “The green overhaul of ——-‘s depot started last week with installation of a solar panel system. The 91.26kilowatt system has 351 panels and will power up to (wait for it) 15% of the depot’s energy needs for the next 20 years.This is a significant step in reaching the goals set out in Newcastle 2300, our community’s long term vision for the city.

      The project is valued at $198,000, (don’t worry Keith, the full impost will not be worn by Novocastrians alone) it is fully funded by the NSW Government’s Waste and Sustainability Improvement Payment Program.

      What is it that memoryvault always alludes to, that’s right, don’t look to the Liberals as the silver lining in this CAGW nonsense. Until we can convince one of the two major parties to drop all links with this mess, as much as we may protest, we are just their chattel.

      Novo Phantom.


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    redress

    hi jo

    re: “124°F at Mossgiel (Where is that?)”.

    Mossgiel was a small town 160km north of Hay and 50 km south of Ivanhoe in western New South Wales. Mossgiel, still shown on maps as a township is now no more than one house on a main road intersection. There was quite a township there but it died slowly after the effects of WW1, the Influenza epidemic and the railway came through, 30 miles to the north, in 1925. At its most populated, Mossgiel boasted three hotels, the Wool Pack Hotel, the Royal Hotel, and Peak’s Hotel.

    Thank you for leading on this issue. Now if someone could turn their attention to the travesty that is the Murray Darling Basin Plan?


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      Ah, Mossgiel. The town that up until and including the 80s was shown on maps as a big star, obviously not updated since its earlier demise. Living at Ivanhoe, i was regaled by many of their approach to the town for the first time, attempting to find this “large town” that was nothing more than a farmhouse some distance away from the junction between the Cobb Highway and the road to Hillston.


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    Roy Hogue

    It’s sure easy for these scare mongers to carp and complain from the comfort of their air conditioned offices.

    Send ‘em to Furnace Creek in Death Valley, any August — 130F not unknown.

    Send ‘em to Blythe California, a little town on Interstate 10 near the Colorado River — 120F + is common in the summer.

    Send them to the San Fernando Valley north of (actually part of) Los Angeles — 110F + is not unknown in the summer. It’s been that way since I was old enough to realize the difference between hot and cold.

    Or send them to the dustbin of history by the quickest route.


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    Keith Bates

    Mossgiel- is in NSW on the Cobb Highway, north of the infamous Booligal (as in Hay, Hell and Booligal). When I went through in the early 1980′s it consisted of a post office.


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    En passant

    But … but … but what did the models say? Surely the BoM can run their model backwards and demonstrate either that this was ‘as we expected’ or that it did not happen at all?
    What is most annoying is that every paper now published supporting CAGW is either soon discredited or is so tenuous and full of caveats and sentences containing ‘might, could, possibly, etc’ or it is opposed by twenty well researched and factual cases like this one, yet the Church of CAGW rolls on chanting its mantra, its grants and revenue unaffected by real science or reality.


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    Louis Hissink

    Any atmospheric abnormalities noticed here and elsewhere ? It wasn’t all that long ago then that the Earth was affected by the Carrington Event of 1859.


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        Louis Hissink

        Thanks Lance,

        Yes, that was the Carrington event – what interests me was whether similar observations were made prior to, during or after the 1898 heatwave – or whether for that matter heatwave conditions were experienced during the Carrington event.


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      cohenite

      From reports of telegraph operators in 1859:

      On the morning of September 2, the magnetic mayhem resulting from the second storm created even more chaos for telegraph operators. When American Telegraph Company employees arrived at their Boston office at 8 a.m., they discovered it was impossible to transmit or receive dispatches. The atmosphere was so charged, however, that operators made an incredible discovery: They could unplug their batteries and still transmit messages to Portland, Maine, at 30- to 90-second intervals using only the auroral current.

      There you go; renewable does work; when a big enough solar flare occurs you can just plug your appliances into the air. This is obviously what the greens mean when they talk about solar power.


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    If a similar heat wave were to occur in the coming summer in Australia, the death toll would be much lower, despite the population being many times higher. The reason is principally that people have access to cheap energy and reliable sources of energy for air conditioners. This will not be so much the case in subsequent years as initiatives to stop global warming will increase energy costs, so many will have to sweat it out.
    Similarly, if the coming British Winter is exceptionally cold (for the fourth winter in succession) many will have to spend more hours under the duvet, as initiatives to stop global warming mean that energy prices are rising faster than income by 5-10% a year.


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      Grant (NZ)

      But the Alarmists will be able to say “Look we told you that it would be such a tragedy. Booo Hooo Hoo”. All these people dying of heat/cold due to AGW or Climate Change. But they will not be prepared to admit that the policies that we put in place to address a non-problem in fact drove up the costs so that the most vulnerable in society could not afford to adapt to natural variation.


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    Debbie

    We live in the Southern Riverina.
    Our daughter was starting University in Melbourne (and therefore moving) during that heat wave in 2009.
    Unquestionably it was stinking B****Y hot!
    Melbourne definitely struggled over those few days…but of course it has happened before.
    We travelled back and forwards several times during that period and also saw first hand some of the destruction from the those horrific bushfires.
    We’re very often influenced by the same Summer ‘weather systems’ as Vic and SA. Strangely, ( perhaps coz we’re country people & therefore inclined to notice the bleeding obvious’?) we found ourselves remembering ‘other times’ that it was just as stinking B****Y hot….and we were not as fortunate with the air conditioning systems in our cars and houses, that were not able to cope as well with those type of infrequent (thankfully) but definitely not unusual weather systems.
    Our own generational records (despite the fact that modern thermometers may be more accurate and may be better positioned) show that this event, though extraordinarily uncomfortable, was not ‘unprecendented or unusual’ in any particular way.
    We had birds dropping and panting under trees and near our dams and back doors and under our watering systems in the 1982/83 Summers in the mid 90′s and our family records show that it obviously happened in earlier Summer heatwaves, including 1896…and many others between then and now.
    We find ourselves bemused at the current ‘obsession’ with weather. We never considered we would see the day that a ‘demographic’ other than farmers could be so obsessed with the ‘weather’ and seasonal comparisons. :-) :-)
    (And also manage to get it just as hopelessly tangled with myth and outrageous hyperbole!)


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      NoFixedAddress

      Hi Debbie,
      I’m a 1954 model myself who was born and raised on the South West fringe of the Riverina irrigation system.

      My family, both my mother and father’s side, came out of the poverty plains of Victoria in the 1890′s into the Riverina and latched onto supposed reliable rainfall areas and the proposed irrigation scheme areas (my paternal grandfather won a ballet ballot to be one of the first rice growers).

      Where I grew up the average rainfall was 12″ per year. But for 9 years it was about 5″ and in the 10th, if you were lucky, you got a rain event that was just amazing (I have seen flowers in the wild in a wet year that I have never been able to identify on any modern database).

      But temperature. I agree with you.

      Summers where I grew up were frequently in excess of 100F. And winters were frigging freezing. Straight off the South Pole.

      And I think you, and Jo, have underscored a huge point.

      Historical memory has gone. The proponents of how awful the weather is all live in comfortable cities.

      [I somehow can't picture your grandfather performing ballet to win rice growing permits. Fixed for you. Mod Oggi]


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        Debbie

        Yep,
        Not long ago someone wrote:

        It could only be people who drive to work in their air conditioned cars from their air conditioned homes to their air conditioned offices who could be alarmed by climate change

        I thought that was fairly spot on.
        The rest of us know it can change and that it can be extremely savage. I am very fond of my air conditioned home and car. I am just old enough to remember growing up without them.
        My primary school had heating (not brilliant) but no cooling. Those classrooms were almost unbearable in February. By the time I was in year 6, air conditioning started to appear. Much better, and we were actually keen to go back to class after lunch :-)


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        Debbie

        Ha ha mod oggi! :-)
        He meant ballot (as I’m sure you know).
        Ballet is a funny picture.
        Ballots (as opposed to ballet) were a big part of settling inland NSW & Vic.
        There are some truly amazing stories about how those people developed this area.
        Some of them involve those incredibly punishing summers.


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      KinkyKeith

      Hi Debbie

      I have just started reading Bill Gammages book.

      He describes the Aborigine’s method of maintaining the country and I can recall from my childhood an acceptance of “safing” the bush to avoid loss of life and property.

      Compared to modern green memes of “No Fire Anywhere”, the older way was brilliant.

      As we have seen in recent fire scandals ” NO Fire” eventually leads to Monster Fire which has given us Many Many Avoidable Fire Deaths.

      When we have people governing us on the basis of Green ideas that were conceived in front of a green info program on TV we are not being well governed

      KK :)


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    James Hein

    I can’t remember the exact year but it was early in the 1980′s.

    I was a corporal on an Army camp at El-Alemain just SW of Port Augusta.

    We had a week where the temperature did not drop below the old 100F night or day and on one day using a wet and dry thermometer we registered 52 in the shade (celcius).

    I have heard of “record” temperatures of 51 degrees and so on but I was there and saw the measurements for myself.

    To make this a real Arny story we were issued winter weight sleeping bags, needless to say we did not sleep inside them at all.


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    Ian George

    During Jan 1939 another heatwave occurred which was similar to 1896 with over 400 people dying.
    Bourke had 24 consecutive days of over 40C in Jan 1896 and 17 days in Jan 1939. By comparison, Bourke had only 7 days of +40C in Feb 2009. I believe Sydney’s highest max temp was also in Jan 1939 (45.3C).
    Helps put things into perspective.


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    wes george

    If the heat wave of 1896 could happen then, it could happen again.

    But today the weather has been appropriated by the left as a political weapon against their opposition.

    Labor and the Greens are waiting, hoping and praying for the day when the heatwave of 1896 strikes again. All the more reason to put off elections to December of 2013 and hope for a mega-drought to burn a hole in Tony Abbott’s polls. Who knows? It will be the top of the solar cycle…

    Extreme weather happens…never let a perfectly good crisis go to waste.


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      John Brookes

      I’m not praying for heat waves and droughts Wes. I live in fear of temperatures above 43 degrees, or strings of days over 40. I hope that the local weather in Perth cools. Its been so lovely and cool most of the past 3 weeks…


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        Debbie

        You live in fear?
        It’s OK John. Plenty of us know how to cope.
        It is only weather after all.
        Perth cops it along with every other town or city from time to time.


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    sophocles

    Interesting.

    It certainly wouldn’t have been helped by the Victorian clothing
    where undershirts (wool) shirts (heavy linen cloth) and woollen
    felt jackets and coats, and heavy woollen trousers over long
    finer woollen underpants, woollen socks and leather boots, were
    de rigeur. Hats (felt) for all, too. The prevailing attitude was
    too ignore the discomfort and perspire in silence—peoples dressed
    “properly” for keeping up appearances, rather than for comfort.

    It could well have been heat waves like this which prompted a move
    towards more comfortable/appropriate clothing. Development of fine,
    hard-wearing yet cool(ler) artificial fibres in the second half of
    last century certainly cemented dressing for comfort in place.

    Little wonder heat prostrated the population and killed so many.


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      sophocles

      It is not the weight of the clothing that matters. I have lived in the desert, and wore quite heavy clothes made from goats wool.

      It was the tightness of the clothes that mattered. If you have air movement under the clothes, you can feel quite comfortable. Victorian fashion was for close fitting garments, and lots of layers, so sweat, which is supposed to keep you cool. just gets wicked away.


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        Roy Hogue

        And in any case, if you’re out in the sun on a hot day you need clothing heavy enough to protect your skin from exposure, lest you fry like a chicken in a frying pan.


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        sophocles

        Not all the clothing was close fitting—jackets and coats for example. You are correct close-fitting layers of wool wick the moisture away well—*as long as ALL layers are wool*! Close-fitting woollen clothing with other materials between layers is HOT.

        When you add a layer of close-woven (fine) linen or cotton between layers of wool such as shirts and then add waistcoat and jacket linings, that stops. These act as water-proof membranes preventing perspiration from cooling. Add a tight collar sealing the garments at the neck and the heat is further locked in by the loss of convection.

        I’ve worn some of that clothing on stage (all Victorian originals, too!) and I cooked (in ambient temps below 20C, too).

        On the other hand the heavy Arabian desert dress—thick felt/woollen outer robe with much finer cloth robes, shirts and trousers—silk for the wealthy and cotton for the not so well-off—under it with everything very loose, is wonderfully comfortable in extreme temperatures.

        I should have added the colours: dark greys and blacks predominating. Think of the black-body effect
        with the dark outer layers absorbing heat …


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      Gee Aye

      I was about to write exactly this. Even if you could possibly equate the measurements (and I see nothing here that suggests you can), then death rates (as Jo points out) are meaningless for comparison. To add to Sophocles point is compared to 2009 is the general poorer state of heath, vastly different population age structure and an absolute requirement for many to expose themselves to the heat.


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        Debbie

        It wasn’t probably ‘absolute requirement’ but rather ‘no choice’. These days Melbournites have plenty of ‘choices’ even if they don’t have adequate cooling in their own homes. The local shops & clubs are a good choice just for starters.
        Although, even today, it is still an ‘absolute requirement’ for some employees and businesses to work in the heat. They do however have the same extra choices once their work day is completed.


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          Gee Aye

          thanks, that is a better choice of words… “no choice” for a number of reasons… if they didn’t they might have no food or water, they might get sacked, animals might die, transport might cease.


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        John Brookes

        And air conditioning. It is a life saver in summer. Though we all survived an airconditioning free childhood.


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          ExWarmist

          It kinda follows that everyone who didn’t survive an airconditioning free childhood is not here to tell us about it…


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            sophocles

            You wish ;-)

            Children are much smaller than adults.

            Mass is proportional to the cube of the linear dimensions (Y * Y * Y).
            If an adult is 2 times larger than a child, then the adult is 8 times more massive.
            Body heat contained is directly proportional to mass so an adult carries 8 times the
            heat energy of a child.

            Surface area is proportional to the square of the linear dimensions (Y * Y).
            Therefore an adult has 4 times the surface area of a child with 8 times the heat content.
            Adults suffer as their ability to shed heat is half that of the child’s (Surface Area to
            Volume ratio).

            —which is why we adults invented air conditioning.


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      NoFixedAddress

      sophy

      you obviously are sitting in air conditioned comfort, somewhere.

      maybe your ancestors were idiots but mine were certainly not.

      victorian clothing…….ffs.


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      Shevva

      What the Ozzy outfit, mullets, muscle vests and thongs? ;)


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    Shaun

    From http://www.arm.gov/sites/twp/c3/trivia

    - Marble Bar in Western Australia recorded 160 consecutive days where the temperature rose to 38°C (100°F) or higher between the dates of October 31, 1923 and April 7, 1924.
    - Australia’s record 24-hour rainfall of 907 millimeters (35.71 inches) occurred at Crohamhurst, Queensland, in 1893.

    My Dad “read the weather” (observations and recordings) in Leonora in the early ’60s. There was a period where the temperature dropped below 100 once in a 6 week period. But for that day, Leonora would have beaten Marble Bar as the hottest place in Australia


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    RoHa

    But I thought that Gergis and co had proved that, before the twentieth century, packs of sabre-toothed koalas loped through the snow-covered forests in pursuit of the great woolly wombat, glaciers carved their way through the Olgas, and thylacines hunted white kangaroos on the ice that covered Bass Strait.


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    James

    And not even on the same day or week. LOL


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      Heywood

      Do you have a point?

      Is there something factually wrong with the article?


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      James how would you go about fitting the many durations linked to like “24 days straight.” into the same week?


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        ExWarmist

        Hi Siliggy,

        Perhaps James either…

        [1] Did not read all of the article before commenting, or

        [2] Did not understand the article as his inbuilt confirmation bias for CAGW belief forces him to misinterpret what he reads when it is “unexpected” in accordance with his beliefs.

        James may be able to expand on how “And not even on the same day or week. LOL” is a relevant comment on this thread.


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          Crakar24

          Maybe James should spend more time listening to the Muse rather than the IPCC.

          Track 12

          The second law: Unsustainable

          All natural and technological processes proceed in such a way that the availability of the remaining energy decreases.
          In all energy exchanges , if no new energy enters or leaves an isolated system the entropy of that system increases. Energy continuously flows from being concentrated to becoming dispersed spread out, wasted and useless. New energy cannot be created and high grade energy is being destroyed.

          An economy based on endless growth is unsustainable…………………

          The fundamental laws of thermodynamics will place fixed limits on technological innovation and human advancement. In an isolated system, the entropy can only increase a species set on endless growth is unsustainable.

          Now i know this is only a song but is makes more sense than anything the rail road engineer has ever uttered.


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        James

        Everywhere? Or just one place?


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          James. Heat waves like any wave travel, spread and vary. It looks to have been longer in W.A., S.A. and N.S.W. than in the other states. As stated above it seems to have broken in some places only to return again. If you are keen to see what happened click on the links.
          Lance.


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    Neville

    Here’s a letter I sent Sunraysia Daily Mildura in Jan 2010 disputing just about everything their science writer had to say in a previous article about Mildura’s temp and rainfall history.

    Letter starts here—-
    I would like to respond to Graeme O’Neill’s column in regard to ” Equal hottest Year On Record”.

    FACT ONE. Mildura’s mean maximum was recorded in 1892 and was a scorching 28.9C , not 25.1C as recorded in 2007 and 2009.
    ]
    FACT TWO.From 1889 to 1908 there were 12 years of 25.1C or above.

    FACT THREE. From the available years 1889 to 1906 ( some missing) the average mean maximum was 25.7C.
    That is, the average mean maximum was a staggering 25.7C for all those years.

    FACT FOUR. The hottest January and February was in 1906 with recordings of 39C and 38.8C average for the entire two months. ( mean maximum)

    FACT FIVE. Every monthly mean maximum record is held within the earlier record of 1889 to 1949. The one exception is June where the two records are the same at mean maximum of 16C.
    I repeat every month ( 1889 to 1949) except June are record months.

    FACT SIX. Record for mean minimum temperature was 11.8C in 1942 not 11.2C in 2009 as stated. In fact the earlier record shows 1890 at 11.5C, 1902 at 11.2C, 1906 at 11.2C, 1930 at 11.4C, 1934 at 11.2C, 1939 at 11.6C, 1942 at 11.8C, either equalled the 2009 record or was higher.

    FACT SEVEN. The record for mean maximum in November was not 2009 ( 32.5C )as stated but 1902 at 35.1C.
    In fact 1892 at 33C, 1897 at 32.6C, 1901 at 34.5C, were higher as well.

    FACT EIGHT. The rainfall average from 1889 to 1949 was 268mm, that is 15mm less than the average for 1946 to 2009 at 283mm.

    FACT NINE. The last flood of the Murray occurred in the early 1990′s not in 1973 and not surprisingly the newly discovered Indian ocean dipole has been in either a neutral or positive phase for the last 17 years. The negative phase usually brings heavier rainfall south of a line from Broome WA to Wollongong NSW.

    FACT TEN. The Murray Darling Basin has recieved more rainfall in the period 1946 to 2009 than from 1889 to 1946, it’s just a pity this last seven or so years have been so dry.

    All of the above is easily found on the Govt BOM site online and can be a revelation when comparing the real facts with some of the misinformation we are force fed through the mainstream media.


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    Joe's World(progressive evolution)

    Jo,

    This has to be ignored as it is NOT the world average(adjusted) temperatures. Anomalies of individual areas NEED to be adjusted to generate some sort of pattern that does NOT actually exist.
    Man made adjusted science is controlling of the masses to think alike so the positions and careers of individual are secured.


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    ExWarmist

    My Apologies for the OT comment – but many here may find this post by Bob Tisdale on WUWT interesting,

    Especially James and John Brooks.

    an-inconvenient-truth-sea-surface-temperature-anomalies-along-sandys-track-havent-warmed-in-70-years

    Great presentation of the actual data.


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      James

      Take a look at the end of the graph, above normal temps.


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        Heywood

        Oh I see it.. Like the above average temps in the 1940s and 1970s on the graphs, with some below average temps in between. And what do I see in the middle? Oh. A trend line.

        What does that trend line say?

        Whoops…


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        ExWarmist

        Hi James,

        I presume that you are talking about Figure 1. Yes – recent temps are the highest on the actual graph over a specific timeframe since the 1940s.

        But what is “normal temps”?

        What should the temperature be and why should it be that number?

        Do you claim to understand ever single factor impacting temperature such that you know – for a fact – what the specific temperature should be at any given time of day at any location within the climate system of Earth?

        I would suggest that you do not know what the normal temperature is supposed to be, and further more, can not know it. That your concept of “normal temps” is an arbitrary baseline that has been selected to support your ideological position.

        Why not claim that the depths of the LIA is normal, or that the highs of the MWP, or the RWP or the Holocene Optimum are the normal temps. If we look at the last couple of million years, the normal temps are much lower then now as the world was mostly in Glacial periods – and our current interglacial looks like the rare anomaly.

        What is normal?


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        Debbie

        That comment contains no relevant point James.
        You’re not attempting to give a ‘wiggle’ in the graphs any significance are you?
        Because if you are, then all the wiggles must be treated as significant, otherwise your stat analysis would be somewhat inconsistent don’t you think?


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      John Brookes

      Interesting.


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    NoFixedAddress

    From some of you older folk I would like to know what temperature they used to allow us to finish school.

    Then and now.


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      Late 70′s Thornbury High School (Northern suburb of Melbourne). 30DegC and we got to take our ties off. School never shut down due to high temps. We got to grin and bear it.

      I vividly recall numerous girls fainting during assembly almost every week during summer whilst the Principal went on and on and on about who knows what.

      Used to go to the local baths (Northcote swimming pool) almost every day during the holidays. On most days, one couldn’t cross the asphalt roads without painfully burning the soles of ones feet, especially when the asphalt had partially melted and would stick to the soles of your feet. Ouch.


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      John Brookes

      There was a story when I was in school that said you could go home when the temp exceeded 100F. Of course we never got to go home – you could hardly send kids home when it was that hot. I knew that it was really hot when my wooden desktop felt warm to the touch.

      And yes, Baa, we used to go barefoot as well. We used to have challenges to see who could stand on hot surfaces for longest.


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    Kolokol

    Ok, but what caused this heat wave? Apparently it was, or wasn’t, related to other heat waves as far away as New York.


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    A C of Adelaide

    Thank goodness all this happened before these thermometers became part of the instrument record so they can be just ignored. Later and all this stuff would have to be adjusted away.


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      Crakar24

      The SOP in this situation would of been

      1, The time of observation has changed
      2, The site has changed
      3, The equipment has changed
      4, They were stupid back then, we dont trust they new how to read a thermometer
      5, They probably just made it up

      Therefore with consideration to the above 5 points we will have to adjust those temps down…………….way down.

      Cheers

      Crakar24 of Adelaide


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    Alice Thermopolis

    REMEMBER TO REMEMBER – “EARTH OUT OF REPAIR”

    Why did the 1896 heatwave end so soon?

    London newspapers of June 1894 startled readers with this headline – The Earth out of Repair.

    “Observations are to be made simultaneously at Washington and Manila, which is almost directly opposite Washington on the other side of the globe, to see what is wrong with the axis of our planet. Observations show that for some time the Earth has not been revolving on that important, if imaginary, support. Scientists have decided that it is time to find out if possible what it all means. Those who have studied the subject declare that if the variations continue, in the course of a very long time, we shall have an Arctic climate, and the latitude of every place on the globe will be changed, and our geography useless.”

    Overheated? Try Cool-aid!


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    KeithH

    Apologies for O/T Jo, but this is important if we are to be rid of Gillard. I’ve just posted on Weekend unthreaded, but this is in case it was missed by some. Thank you.

    http://pindanpost.com/2012/11/05/fraud-unions-politics-please-share-asks-smith/


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    Peter Miller

    January 2009 and 1896 were unusually cold periods in Europe, so that ‘proves’ CAGC, just like the co-incident hot periods in Australia ‘prove’ CAGW.

    Just like the abnormally hot dry period last summer in much of the USA, which was co-incident with an abnormally cold and wet period in western Europe.

    Most mid-summers, or mid-winters, there is likely to be one or more extreme weather events somewhere in the world, so alarmists: Get over it!

    When big engineering projects are being planned, they are usually designed to withstand a 100, or 200, year extreme weather event. Why? Because that is what happens, extreme weather events are unpredictable and whenever they do happen the lumpen proletariat can be relied on to judge it has something to do with climate change/global warming.


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      ExWarmist

      Because that is what happens, extreme weather events are unpredictable and whenever they do happen the lumpen proletariat can be relied on to judge it has something to do with climate change/global warming.

      Or witches…

      It all depends on the interpretive framework that has been established in the subjects mind. People will see what they expect to see, and expectations are trained into the mind.


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    Lucky for us we did not have leftists back then.

    Here’s some interesting reading on a century of Queensland weather.

    And here’s an article on how massive natural events can change the world in the blink of an eye.


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    [...] THIS IS WARMING!! It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored. [...]


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    Albert

    I was in the Outback in the early 1970′s and the Summers were really hot with 50 degrees C registered at Birdsville on a Christmas day.
    In Brisbane the general rains normally arrive in mid Decamber.
    We had 2 years of early rains from November that preceded the Queensland floods.
    Queensland December rains were 6 times the average, but this is nothing new, it’s happened before.


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    Keith Lawrie

    JUST A POINT, the only scientists I pay attention to in the Climate debate are Meteorologists. Preferably those who don’t work for a government.
    Not someone who shouts at the dinner table. Or someone who thinks the majority are always correct.
    Science is a continuous argument and is never entirely correct, thats what science is.
    Science deniers argue with the “precautionary principle”. Which has its roots in philosophy . The military developed the precautionary principle to lessen casualties during battle.
    Politicians love the precautionary principle because they don’t have work very hard . Especially with a half educated electorate .
    Cheers K.


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    Edward Sikk

    Today (5/1/13),the Hobart Mercury reported the hottest day for Hobart in130 years,41.8 C at 4.05 pm.Bureau of Meteorology forecaster said the record “was not a surprise”. Has anyone any comment.I was under the impression the Bureau was not prepared to take into account temperature measurements anywhere in Australia made before the end of the 19th century. Any comment from anyone? Edward Sikk


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    [...] Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die. [...]


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    [...] Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die. [...]


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    androo

    Mossgiel is about 85km north of Hay NSW


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    David Boyd

    Mossgiel Station was a large pastoral holding-held by AML&F before subdivision. Homestead a few miles N/E of the village of the same name.My parents met there!


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    [...] Extreme heat in 1896: Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die. [...]


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    Arthur Roberts

    This climate change has been going on forever. In 1796 my ancestors lived on the banks of the Nepean River at Cambden. It went dry and to my knowledge that has not again happened. They then moved to the area near the Shaolhaven River between Goulburn and Braidwood. In 1812 the river came half way up the window on the second storey house. The next biggest flood was 1925 that came to the foundations and the 1955 flood was 100 metres away which was supposed to be the big flood.
    The house after they left it was the Cobb & Co rest house from when they started to the time of closure. Also if it again happens I would say it would go approximately double the height of the bridge at Nowra


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    Ray Conroy & Nick Ford

    A peer review nit pick. Third line, 100 degrees F is not 38.8C but 37.8C.

    The underlying message is wonderful though.

    ————-
    I’m checking this out. Thanks. – Jo


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