JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Land clearing caused drop in rainfall in South West of Australia

Rain rain go away, let’s chop a forest down today?

Mark Andrich and Jorg Imberger compare the rainfall patterns in different regions of southwest Western Australia. The areas where the most land was cleared show the greatest decline. They estimate that as much as 50 – 80% of the observed decline in rainfall is the result of land clearing, which doesn’t leave much to blame on CO2.  The paper came out in 2012.

This fits with other researchers working on the Amazon who estimated chopping down the forests could reduce rain by as much as 90%. Once again: it’s not so much that trees grow where the rain falls, but that the rain falls where the trees grow, and the taller the trees, the better.

So the good news for Greenies is that we ought to plant more trees (and I’m all for that). But driving a Prius, building windmills, and using solar panels won’t do much for our rainfall. (It’s so strange anyone thought it would. The witchdoctors have them completely bamboozled.) The Abbott government’s plan to plant trees to sequester carbon may work, but by accident, not because of anything to do with CO2.

Oh the irony. The evil climate skeptics want more trees, while the good and earth-loving gullible Greens want a forced financial markets of fake goods (sounds more like bank-loving!).

If you are a rainfall analyst, WA (where I live) is a bit of a prize spot because, unlike most of the world, the flora was mostly chopped down after long-term rainfall data started being collected. So it’s possible to analyze the effect clearing has on rainfall patterns. The rainfall has declined by 30% since 1970 in the inland areas of southwest Western Australia, as climate activists like to remind us at every opportunity. Instead of being a prime example of a global warming disaster, it turns out that southwest WA is a bit of a poster-child to show the effects of land clearing.

The many ways land clearing can affect rainfall

To gloss over a complicated array of effects: clearing land increases the albedo (which means the surface reflects more light), and there are lower transpiration rates (the air is drier and there is less latent heat flux in the boundary layer). Trees affect something called the Biotic Pump (see here as well), and produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that seed cloud nuclei, so there are less cloud seeding particles if there are less trees.

Taller trees break up the surface, and without them the surface profile is flatter, so the wind flows faster. Inland WA is a pretty flat region, mostly around 300 m above sea level, and trees as high as 100m tall would make a big difference to the profile. Indeed rainfall increases by 40mm for every 100m in altitude between Fremantle (the port) and the hills.  This is known as the orographic effect. We don’t just want trees, apparently, we want tall trees.

 

Figure 7. Rainfall zones. Moving from east to west, Zone 1 includes the uncleared region east of SWWA, Zone 2 includes the wheatbelt, Zone 3 includes the hills region, and Zone 4 covers rainfall station locations along the coast. The station location details and rainfall data are available from BOM [2012]. The station locations are as follows: 1.1 Bullfinch; 1.2 Lake Carmody; 1.3 Ravensthorpe; 2.1 Northampton; 2.2 Beverley; 2.3 Duranillin; 2.4 Broomehill; 2.5 Deeside; 2.6 Merredin; 3.1 Mundaring Weir; 3.2 Dwellingup; 3.3 Brunswick Junction; 3.4 Collie; 3.5 Nannup; 3.6 Wilgarrup; 3.7 Manjimup; 3.8 Pemberton; 4.1 Mandurah; 4.2 Cape Naturaliste; 4.3  Busselton; 4.4 Cape Leeuwin; and 4.5 Albany. All zone station location numbering corresponds with the rainfall at station locations shown  in Figure 8.

 

Zone 1 above is the most arid and furthest inland, but also the least cleared, and it hasn’t lost rainfall (though it didn’t have much to start with).  Zone 4 is the wettest area close to the coast. But Zone 3 is the hilly escarpment where the biggest trees live, which has the highest annual rainfall, and it shows the largest decline in rainfall.  Zone 2 (the wheatbelt) was drier to begin with and was more heathland and forest.

Note the scale changes. Zone 1 gets about 20 cm (8 inches) in winter which is the “wet” season.  Zone 3, the wettest, gets five times as much.

 

Figure 8. 9-year moving average of winter rainfall. Zone 1 has a slight increase in rainfall over time, Zone 2 rainfall declines, Zone 3 rainfall has the largest decline, and Zone 4 also declines, but by less than Zones 2 and 3. The zones are shown in Figure 7 and exact locations are available from the BOM [2012]. (Click to enlarge)

Most of the clearing happened from 1950 – 1980

In 1910 around 90% of the wheatbelt was covered in native vegetation. Clearing accelerated from 1950 to 1980 when 40% of the land was cleared. By 1980 a mere 20% of natural cover remained.

Andrich and Imberger calculate the dollar effect of deforestation on water resources: “if deforestation had been managed in a way that did not reduce rainfall at reservoirs or increase streamflow salinity, then SWWA residents could be paying as little as $765 M/year for their water (instead of $1,165 M/year).” The additional expenses on water work out to be around $250 – $300 dollars a year per household.

ABSTRACT

It is widely recognized that southwest Western Australia has experienced approximately a
30% decline in rainfall, in areas inland from the coastal margin, over the last forty years or
more. It is generally thought that this decline was due to changes induced by global warming,
but recently evidence has emerged suggesting that a substantial part of the decline may be
attributed to changes in land use. These changes involved extensive logging close to the coast
and the clearing of native vegetation for wheat planting on the higher ground. We present a
methodology that compares coastal and inland rainfall to show that 50 – 80% of the observed
decline in rainfall is the result of land clearing. Using an index of sustainability, we show that
the economic consequences associated with this change of land use on fresh water resource
availability are substantial, disproportionately affecting the environment and poorest
members of the population. Given that the effects of land-use change on rainfall have been
recently shown to be widely underestimated world-wide, the methodology is relevant to other
regions where land-use change may have caused rainfall reductions in the past.

Rainfall is especially important in WA — about half our water comes from underground aquifers, and farmers across the Wheatbelt depend on rainfall in a make-or-break kind of way. Perth dam levels are often in the 20% range, and two desalination plants were built in the last decade to ensure the water supply. Right now, Perth dam levels are nearly 37% full — which is not as bad as it sounds, last year dams were only 31% full at the same time.

WA used to have very tall trees

There are still tall trees of course — like the glorious Karri trees which grow up to 90m tall, but there were probably a lot more of them.

Although the impact of the early indigenous humans was likely transformational, the low population density, lack of modern machinery, and long time scale for recovery probably allowed the vegetation to evolve without dramatic short term devastation. This continued until European settlement began in 1829.

By 1901, when Western Australia officially became  a state of the new Australian Federation, the non-indigenous population had reached 184,000  [ABS 3105.0.65.001, 2006], six times the original indigenous population density. In these  seventy years 4,900 km2 of land had been cleared according to the West Australian State  Library Collection [WASLC, 2001].

“In 1902 it was estimated that the SWWA contained the following forests (not including other minority species such as Red Gum): 32,000 km2 of Jarrah; 4,800 km2 of Karri; 28,000 km2 of Wandoo; and 16,000 km2 of York Gum [Fraser, 1904]. It was reportedly not unusual to find trees 300 ft (100 m) in height, 20-30 ft (7-10 m) in circumference and 40 tons in weight.”

WA used to surface nutrients (in the trees), now it has some of the poorest soil in the world

“The introduction of tractors with a ball and chain prior to the Second World War allowed land to be cleared quickly and by 1950, 68,000 km2 (30%) of the SWWA arable area had been cleared [WASLC, 2001]. However, it was not realized until the 1950’s that the Australian bush held almost all available nutrients above ground. As the trees were removed so too were the nutrients and trace elements that had once been recycled via leaves [Attiwill, 1966] and water was no longer adjusted within the soil by hydraulic lifting from the roots to the leaves [Whitehead and Beadle, 2004]. The native vegetation had evolved in a salt impregnated soil matrix [Peck, 1978] and as transpiration disappeared the water table began to rise, bringing the ground water nearer to the surface, where it intercepted the salt in the soil  matrix, turning the surface ground water saline, further impacting vegetation regrowth and reducing agriculture production [Peck and Hurle, 1973].”

Does CO2 cause weather patterns to shift south? Not really

It does not appear that the cold fronts (that bring the rain) have shifted southwards as some people (like the Climate Commission) claim. Long term rainfall from points on the coast (namely Cape Naturaliste, Cape Leeuwin and Dongara) shows little decline. Dongara — the most northern of these three long records shows a 12.5% decline after 1970, compared to the years 1884 – 1970.

Now here’s an odd paragraph about the decline in data in the last 15 years:

“Because coastal rainfall was stationary, the coastal analyses results do not support the hypothesis that global warming effects were contributing to rainfall decline; at least until around 2000 when data became less reliable.

It rather begs the question as to why data was less reliable after 2000 than it was before 1900? Data at Dongara has many “gaps from 1999 – 2004″. And at the two Capes, “data at both of these locations needs to be treated with caution as it was not quality controlled after 1997″. Hmm?

SW WA is a biodiversity hotspot – a wildflower wonderland

The Queen of Sheeba orchid

One of the special things about the southwest of WA is that it’s the opposite of places with rich soil and reliable rain where monocultures rule. Like other zones where nutrients are scare and conditions are variable, evolution produces weird and wonderful ways to fill a lot of little niches with an array of little creatures, and there’s a different plant for every moment. (Some 8,000 species, 75% of which are found nowhere else).

It could be argued that the main value of SWWA is its unique biodiversity, since the region is recognized as one of the world’s twenty five, and Australia’s only, biodiversity hotspot, with 1.4% of world-wide endemic plants [Myers et al., 2000]. Of the 4,333 endemic plant species (3.07%) are known to be critically endangered or extinct [DEWHA, 2006].

Total losses due to land clearing: $7.6billion

As well as agricultural losses due to salinity and falling rain, land clearing also impact on tourism, biodiversity, and freshwater fisheries (eg marron catches).

“Calculating a baseline value for tourism and biodiversity is more difficult than other  indicators. Nevertheless we estimate that the tourism, biodiversity and freshwater natural products ISF baseline indicator I6 is given by the sum of current tourism plus the value of biodiversity/tourism loss plus the loss of natural freshwater products, that is $6,950 + $590 + $20 = $7,560 M.”

For the global perspective, it could be said that the area has a population of about 2 million people but feeds tens of millions of people: SWWA produces less than 1% of the world’s wheat, less than 6% of the world’s apparel wool, and less than 1% of most other major products such as sheep meat and canola. (Kingwell and Pannell 2005)

Since climate models are pretty bad at predicting droughts, the theory that CO2 drives droughts could use a bit of a shake-up. The tree factor changes everything.

REFERENCE

Andrich M., and Imberger, J. (2012) The effect of land clearing on rainfall and fresh water resources in Western Australia: A multi-functional sustainability analysis [Available here PDF]

Kingwell and Pannell (2005) Economic trends and drivers affecting the Wheatbelt of Western Australia to 2030,  Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, CSIRO, 56, 553-561

 

See also Tallbloke: New study lends support to Makarieva et al Biotic Pump theory

Hat tip to Michael. Thank you!

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158 comments to Land clearing caused drop in rainfall in South West of Australia

  • #

    Before going over the top about where forests may have been, take a look at the geology.

    The fertile “pork chop” between the capes and the coastal plain are on post-Jurassic ground, Much of the inland is trying to grow on top of 2500 million year old rock; the Yilgarn Craton. The SW forests, where they thrive are on different foundation again, not quite Archaean but more ancient than the western shores.

    During my SW tour of last year, I almost did a transsect of the wheat belt while travelling to Wave Rock. From the rock, one can see a fair distance and the tree density doesn’t vary much between what is parks and what is cultivated land. When one is thinking up stuff to impress overseas tourists, it’s best to only point out those things that are obvious. That was one. ;-)

    Further out at The Humps, there are clusters of tall gum trees but the height of trees seemed to diminish away from the outcrops. Even in the parks. I suspect that that has to do with the availability of near-surface water; the rocks let the water run off and pool, with the depth of the pools forcing the water deeper into the ground and less likely to evaporate from wind and sun.

    It was getting dark so I didn’t have a lot of time to sit and think in situ; where open eyes most readily find contradictions to one’s hypotheses. Before they become too enchanting.

    I’ve downloaded JImberger’s paper and will read it “at leisure” to see which confounding factors were addressed and how.

    P.S. The link to Tallbloke should be corrected.


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    • #

      Bernd, I don’t think the paper was suggesting that 100m trees grew on the Yilgarn craton. Even 28,000Km2 of Karri doesn’t cover much of the SW. Sorry if my summary implied otherwise. I was just struck with the historical reference suggesting there were many reports of 100m trees, which I presume were in the scarp and lower SW. Certainly estimates of tree height 100 years ago were often exaggerated, but usually some measurements were taken of felled trees, and so were more believable. The paper doesn’t hinge on the height of trees 100 years ago anyway as far as I can tell. They were assessing clearance areas.

      The reference for the 40mm decrease in rainfall for every 100m altitude between Fremantle and the hill reservoirs is [Wright, 1974]. The 100m tall trees is from [Fraser, 1904]. Though I see Fraser said some timber (which sort?) was removed for crops, which is not a scarp pattern. Obviously, Fraser would be an interesting read. Let me know if you find a copy.


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  • #
    Richard

    Plant more trees and get rid if the rabbits,

    Since their introduction from Europe in the 19th century, the effect of rabbits on the ecology of Australia has been devastating. They are suspected of being the most significant known factor in species loss in Australia. The extent of plant species’ loss is unknown at this time though it is known that rabbits often kill young trees in orchards, forests, and on properties by ringbarking them.[6]


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    • #
      Turtle of WA

      I spent my childhood in rural SWWA killing as many rabbits as I could. You don’t get any save-the-planet cred for that do you?


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    • #
      bananabender

      Ironically wild rabbits are endangered in their native environment (Mediterranean region).


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      • #

        Rabbit populations go in cycles. Right now, it’s low cycle in Wyoming. Ten years ago, I could count over a dozen rabbits in my south yard daily. Now, maybe one or two. This seems to be natural for the rabbits–though disturbing to human beings. All the talk of their losing their habitat–they live anywhere, next to houses, in parks, under trailers, etc. Maybe they are not where they used to be, but it does not mean the rabbits are gone.

        Any idea why humans have such failure rates with keeping rabbits in check? I wonder why in the USA we are so helpless we can’t keep feral hog populations in check. We love to save species, even ones we introduced and wiped out native animals with. We are not a very bright species, it seems. Or maybe we really don’t care about species, just about power and control. Looking at the FWS in the US handing out 30 year permits to knock eagles out of the sky, I’m thinking it’s the latter. Forget our kids “now seeing snow”–they aren’t going to see raptors and we’ll need a new national symbol (I’m rooting for the dodo bird.).


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  • #

    Sometimes, it’s hard to make out the trees from the forest. It seems to me that the skeptics are better stewards of nature than the Greenies. They think they can control it and we tend to know we’re a part of it that it allows to live.

    Pointman

    BTW. Voting is now open for Climate Prat of 2013 and there’s an Ocker in the running – Tim “the tooth fairy” Flannery.


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    • #
      Bulldust

      Anyone who’s suffered the condescending tripe the tooth fairy dishes out would have to agree he is a very strong contender. If you have a twit category Suzuki would run away with that one.


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  • #
    PeterK

    I have no scientific data to support what I say but having grown up in rural Saskatchewan in the early fifties and sixties and reflecting back to the seventies and eighties, lack of moisture during some of the growing seasons resulted in poor crops. In my observed opinion, when the farmers started draining the sloughs in the fifties, which then escalated over the next decade, lack of water for evaporation resulted in some of the dry years. I believe there is a direct correlation to lack of rain and the draining of the sloughs.


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  • #
    Peter Miller

    It’s all about what’s happening at the margin.

    Trees, especially eucalyptus ones, can put down roots a long way to extract groundwater. They then transpire through their leaves marginally raising the local humidity levels, not only increasing the chances of rain, but also increasing the likelihood of more rain. Another factor is dew, dripping from the leaves of trees can have a small, but significant, on precipitation levels.

    Obviously, groundwater does not get to be evaporated until it finds its way into the sea or nearby rivers or streams.

    I was taught this at school at the age of 10-12! So the greenies have hijacked the fact that inland areas under crops have less rainfall than when they were forested and morphed this into: the weather systems in Western Australia have moved south because of global warming? Well, distorted science is what the greenies and alarmists do best.

    So what about Tasmania? They chopped a lot of trees down there, but forests are apparently growing there again. I came across this which shows a very slight drying trend over time, which probably correlates well with minor deforestation.

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoer.justice.tas.gov.au%2F2009%2Findicator%2F12%2Findex.php&ei=fg-iUrLPG47n7Ab724CgDg&usg=AFQjCNFhRdhkmtCJuOiQhiiMn60ALxyHlA


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    PhilJourdan

    I think they have the start of a point, but I do not buy the either or. I can see a cause and effect between trees and rain, but only if that area is predisposed to rain to begin with (the vegetation will cool the air, which will cause the moisture to condense).

    But if there is no moisture in the air passing over (like the Sahara or Atacama deserts), planting trees will not help much.


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  • #
    Stuart Elliot

    This TED talk comes to mind, where land use reverses desertification.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html

    The CAGW foundation continues to crack under the weight of observations and testable hypotheses.


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  • #

    Perhaps genetic engineering could help – be nice to create a drought and salt tolerant tree which grew to the size of a giant redwood, see what effect that has on the microclimate. Of course, there might be a long wait to see the results.


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    • #

      Actually I take that back – looks like the Aussie natives are already at least as tall as a redwood.


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      • #
        Karl W. Braun

        As a longtime gardener I’ve noticed that the bigger a plant gets the tougher it becomes. Maybe a seedling tree won’t prosper in a marginal place if left up to its own devices, but give it a little help and that tree might very well grow to maturity.


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        • #

          If you are willing to go with shorter trees, you could always go with Russian Olive trees. They get around 25 feet tall and reseed themselves like weeds, so no problem getting them going. Presently, my county counts them as noxious weeds. Of course, 30 years ago the extension office was selling them to people for windbreaks and actively encouraging the planting of these trees. I guess no matter what choice you make today, 30 years down the line, someone will call it wrong and try to reverse the effects. One cannot win at this.


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    • #
      scaper...

      I believe the CSIRO has been doing some work on GM salt resistant trees and also wheat.

      Was following developments by a private organisation and the fields trials but have not enquired for awhile.


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    • #

      You seldom get tall trees surviving without surrounding flora of lower height. And many of those smaller trees have difficulty if not shielded by shrubs.

      I have observed that tall trees “by themselves” tend to be near where the topography shields them; next to rocky outcrops, at cliffs, etc; at least during the early stages of tree growth, from the stronger, prevailing winds.

      If you happen to be out and about on a plain on windy day and there’s a copse nearby, head into it. Once a few metres inside the copse, almost invariably featuring smaller trees and shrubs, you’ll notice that the wind has dropped sharply. Only the crown of the taller trees remains exposed and e.g. tall gumtrees have the “trick” of shedding branches in high winds which stops their trunks from snapping; so watch out for falling branches.

      I think that that’s one reason why monoculture forests offer less opportunity for tall trees; especially if the species is naturally tall.

      Wind speeds at the surface, downstream of a perturbation such as a copse or line of trees will be lower, but the turbulence may be higher. The effect will be most marked if the terrain is flat. In the case of the inland on top of the Yilgarn craton, that is the case for the majority of the area. In rolling hills, etc, it doesn’t make as much difference to wind speeds.

      As a “system”; tall trees are most effective where they have the most difficulty in becoming established. So for “rehabilitation” it’s necessary to include complimentary species introduced over several seasons and a sufficient area of habitat. One doesn’t have to be super-accurate or comprehensive because nature will fill any niche.


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      • #
        bananabender

        As a “system”; tall trees are most effective where they have the most difficulty in becoming established. So for “rehabilitation” it’s necessary to include complimentary species introduced over several seasons and a sufficient area of habitat. One doesn’t have to be super-accurate or comprehensive because nature will fill any niche.

        The best method of land rehabilitation is probably de-stocking (or fencing off) and letting nature take it’s course. It costs almost nothing and eventually provides a very diverse and stable ecosystem. Natural forests are created over many centuries by succession: grasses > shrubs > small trees > large trees. You won’t get a rich and diverse forest simply by planting cloned saplings on herbicide treated bare ground.


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  • #
    bullocky

    I remember that Ken Stewart’s analysis of B.O.M. data reveals a gradual increase in rainfall across Australia for the period of the instrumental record. There must be, ergo, areas of Australia which have experienced significant increases in rainfall to offset the diminishing effect of extensive land clearing.
    The question arises; are these areas of increased rainfall characterised by greater numbers of taller trees?


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  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    There are many issues with Allan Savory and his ideas. Last spring there were 2 posts on WUWT. One by guest blogger Tm Ball (March 25) links to the first one (March 8).


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      Stuart Elliot

      True. Dr Ball took issue primarily with Savory’s AGW assumptions, as I read it, not the basic idea that vegetation leads to higher humidity in a virtuous cycle.

      I take an irreverent pleasure in finding natural processes that confound the True Believers.


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  • #
    Yonniestone

    I believe the Topography of an area has a lot of influence on cool air and rainfall.
    Here in Victoria we have the Otway Ranges which virtually start at Bass Straight and climb quickly out of the ocean to form magnificent coastal ranges, even through recent droughts this area remained green and had reasonable rainfall compared to the rest of the state.
    The Otways seem to create their own weather system as the air coming South/South West off the ocean rises sharply then cools quickly to form clouds and mist that carry inland over the forests.

    If anyone hasn’t driven the great ocean road or seen the Otways I strongly recommend you do, it’s simply stunning.


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    • #
      Ross

      You are right Yonniestone. You only have to look at the South Island of NZ. On the west coast we have some of the highest rainfall areas in the country. On the east the opposite.
      Like Peter Miller, above, we got taught this and reasons for it as 10 year olds at school.


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    • #
      bananabender

      The coastal areas of Brisbane get about 1800mm of annual rainfall. The CBD gets about 1200mm. Ipswich, about 20km west of Brisbane, gets about 800mm.


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    • #
      Karl W. Braun

      Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the presence of such microclimates is quite evident. In the mountains facing the coast, rainfall totals can range as high as two meters, whereas the valleys immediately to the east experience only one fifth of that.

      It appears to me that the climate is really a function of all four of the classical elements: air, water, earth, and fire(heat and light).


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  • #
    Bones

    You wont get much arguement about the greens being more about banking than the environment.The loss of snow on the mountains of Africa was shown to be caused by reduced rainfall caused by deforestation years ago.Dont the gangreens read anything but thier own dribble


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  • #
    Colin Henderson

    Does it then follow that sequestering carbon by growing trees causes CAGW flooding ;)


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Very off topic and also with my apology to Catholics, I found this today, the Pope on Capitalism. I think it warrants attention.

    I don’t mean to knock the Catholic Church or Catholics. But this opinion is just plain mistaken. And it will have a lot of influence where the free world cannot afford to have any more anti capitalism sentiment than there already is.

    You can read it and decide for yourself what you think.


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      Yonniestone

      When I asked a Catholic friend what they thought of a South American Pope they replied “Great now we have a commie Pope.”
      I think the poorer nations need to be educated on how worse off they are BECAUSE of left wing political systems and not because of Capitalism.


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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Great now we have a commie Pope.

        Was that statement with /sarc on or /sarc off? ;-) or :-( if you get my meaning.


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        • #

          There was fear of a pope coming from an area where liberation theology was taking hold. It appears the Catholic Church decided to ignore this concern, or perhaps choose whom they did because of it. How much the current pope is endorsing communism/socialism/whatever seems to depend on who reports it (some do use communist and marxist). Whether or not we should be concerned? Who knows. My theory is the pope serves only so long as God allows.

          Also, as was pointed out by some commentators, redistribution of wealth is NOT charity. It’s theft, pure and simple. However, the church (all denominations) has not always been patient in waiting for “voluntary” changes. And let’s be honest, humans seem to be enamored with the idea that you steal from people who worked so you don’t have to. It’s a long-standing tradition, giving us countless wars and incursions. We should not be surprised to find another impatient person who thinks taking is better than waiting for a gift.


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          Yonniestone

          Roy my friend was definitely speaking in the negative sense as they’re a more traditional Catholic and conservative in politics.

          Sheri you’ve just revealed the elephant in the room that seems to be hidden or ignored by the MSM worldwide and this behavior always raises alarms with me, you also said it very well, a thumbs up from me.
          From an outsiders viewpoint as an atheist the concern of having a Pope so different to others is the influence they have over a huge portion of the population worldwide and how they might use that power, maybe the Vatican can see an increase in socialist politics in developing nations and thinks its a good move to gain support from a potentially large conversion base?, this plus the ability to counter the growing influence of Islam in these countries.
          Between the two I know what I’d rather have in my country.


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        bananabender

        The New Testament clearly shows that Jesus was a (left wing) radical who despised wealth and authority. By definition a genuine Christian would also be anti-Capitalist. My guess is that Pope Francis is simply following the scriptures rather than traditional Roman Catholic dogma.


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          Not sure which New Testament you are referencing, but nothing I read ever said Jesus was a left wing radical. There was no despising of wealth (except the love of money, not money) and most certainly there was no despising of authority (which is why he was born in Bethlehem–shouldn’t his parents have told the “authority” they were not going to go Bethlehem because they had better things to do? I would think if authority was wrong, God would have instructed Mary and Joseph to stay home and have Jesus in a nice, warm bed. Then there’s the “render unto Ceasar” admonition.) There is no evidence whatsoever that a genuine Christian would be anti-capitalist. Again, if working and capitalism were wrong, God would have forbade Christ to ever hold a job, forbade his parents to own property and anyone ever be involved with churches that owned buildings (or say the very, very, very rich Vatican community–so unless I a fire sale there and proceeds go to the poor….) and Christians that owned property. None of these things are true. Pope Francis is following something, but not the scriptures in this case. Especially, and most certainly, if he is advocating fordable removal of money from the rich, he is not follow doctrine. That is as anti-God as it comes. ALL of Christian giving was voluntary, every last bit. If it wasn’t voluntary, it wasn’t Christian. When people didn’t give up enough voluntarily, yes, the church has often decided to take over for God and forceably remove money. Taking over for God is not Christian.


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          Roy Hogue

          Actually, bananbender, Jesus had no problem with wealth. Among his supporters were some with what in those days must have been a considerable net worth. Were you to talk with him I think you’d find that he had no problem with having money. His problem was with those whose money had them.

          There is a big difference.

          A genuine Christian as you put it would put his money to work both for himself and for others. And by the way, Jesus was not a Christian but a Jew; he was a Jew through and through. His followers were Jews, also through and through. The name Christian was, as far as I can tell, first applied to the followers of Christ (which means messiah) by the Romans some time later. There was even debate in the early church about whether converts to Christianity must also convert to Judaism. The Jews had no problem with wealth but just like today, many quickly let it possess them. Instead of keeping the intent of the law they became lawyers and then it was all over.

          If you read more carefully you’ll find that Jesus never ever attacked anyone for having money, only for putting that money ahead of more important matters.

          When I decided to actually learn about Christianity I turned to the Bible, the supposed authority on the subject. I read it from cover to cover, not once but twice in two different translations, King James and a more modern English version (about a year each to get through). The difference between what I read and some of the things I was told was nothing less than startling. No, Jesus had no trouble with someone having money, only with putting that money ahead of more important things.

          PS: I have known some quite wealthy Christians that I’m absolutely certain will get into Heaven. Their money has nothing to do with it, one way or the other. There are others I’m in doubt about. Thankfully the ultimate judgment is not mine to make.

          PPS: The Pope lives in a fortified city state, the Vatican, in surroundings that would be the envy of any king, dictator, rich man or would be tyrant the world has ever known. He enjoys the privilege of maintaining diplomatic relations with the United States among many other countries. Were he genuinely interested in following the example of Christ, shouldn’t he give up all of that, sell his worldly possessions and give the money, along with the considerable wealth of the Roman Catholic Church itself, to the poor? I believe that’s what you’re really trying to say, isn’t it?

          You might be surprised to hear me say I wonder why he doesn’t do exactly that.


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            John Brookes

            I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

            Pretty straight if you ask me. No doubt modern wealthy Christians have neat post hoc explanations about how Jesus didn’t actually mean it.

            I’m not a Christian, but I do wish that those who claim to be Christans wouldn’t pick and choose which bits of Jesus’ teaching they followed.

            And one more thing – you actually have to try to be rich. Bill Gates, for example, fought tooth and nail to make sure that every PC in the world ran DOS. He worked very hard to kill any competitors products. I’ll let you decide if this was a good or bad thing, but I don’t think anyone can pretend that Bill didn’t have money as a major goal.


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              Note that the passage is not saying a rich man cannot enter–only that is is hard. The “camel” word is up for debate as to translation, though I would note that Biblically, God could literally pass a camel through the eye of an actual sewing needle if he choose to. Not in standard form, of course. So in spite of your hopes here, rich people are allowed into the kingdom of heaven if they meet all the criteria for entrance.

              The last sentence is the generally regarded as the problem. If individuals are not willing to lose everything they have in service of God (which does not mean they have to get rid of their money necessarily), they cannot enter heaven. If the money stands in the way of service to God, then yes, it is a problem.

              I wondered how you felt God would regard lottery winners worth millions? They didn’t earn it and now they are rich. They didn’t even have to try.


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                John Brookes

                Most lottery winners are fine – within a few years they have spent it all.

                Anyhow, I’m an atheist, so while I find Jesus’ teachings interesting, I don’t go for the “Son of God” thing, and Heaven & Hell are just figures of speech to me.


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                What if they die while they still are rich?

                While it doesn’t “matter” to you, you had no problem jumping into a discussion and then exiting when you wanted. Maybe avoid such discussions? Makes you look petty and foolish when when you start something and then run out when the questions come up.

                Oh–have a nice couple of weeks off from teaching. You get something out of religion that way. Sort of.


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          PhilJourdan

          No he did not. That is a common misconception. Jesus was apolitical. Shunning politics totally (see Simon Zealot). He taught about the greatest commandments (the first 2) which clearly showed that charity was a great good. Poor have no resources to be charitable, but the rich do.


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        PhilJourdan

        The founders of America were not batcrap crazy to have put in strong language guaranteeing freedom of religion. Christian religions, with their dictates to provide for the less fortunate, can easily be seen as Communistic. The religions though never tell you how to get the resources to achieve the ends.


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          Actually, PhilJourdan, I think they do. It’s called getting people to believe in the religion and then to donate money to the cause. Yeah, it’s a tough sell–telling people to reign in behaviours, to think about the future, to care about someone outside themselves and to want to serve God. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean the answer isn’t given. Oh-and there’s always the “guilt them” method. If you don’t tithe, you’re a bad person. (I’m not a fan of that one, but I have seen it done frequently. I think giving should be because you care about the cause, not to avoid guilt feelings.) Dictates to provide for the less fortunate are not communistic. Forceable removable of the money by the government (or the church) would be communism. Plus, religions often stress helping people to succeed rather than just handing them cash (maybe not so much any more, but that was the original idea.)
          The goal of a religion is to help people be better people. If it succeeds, the resources come in.


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            PhilJourdan

            I was too brief with my comment. Yes, they get YOU to give it. But how to YOU get it? They never tell you that. And that is because they are not economic think tanks, but religious ones.


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              Why would we want churches to be economic think tanks? I really don’t understand what your point is. Are you saying religion must be everything to everyone? I think that the Bible tells us to work. It tells us to be charitable. I just don’t see how it could be an economic roadmap (in spite of the return of the “Biblical Money Code” scammer). Would you have them write texts for how to make money in all types of governments–dictators, monarchies, socialists, capitalists (I’m skipping communism since that’s generally against religion). How would they even have done that when capitalism wasn’t even called that at the time? I don’t see what you want from religion. It gives us ground rules and goals in life–we have to figure out some things for ourselves.


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                PhilJourdan

                Again, you are trying to create a thesis, based upon your own bias. I never said I wanted them to be economic Think Tanks. I never said I wanted them to be all things to all people. Indeed, none of those false assumptions even crossed my mind.

                I stated a fact. I did not then pontificate on the nefarious or benevolent motives behind that fact. I merely stated it.

                I am not sure what your goal is or your point is. But I will be glad to explain a bit about myself.

                I do not debate religion. Period. You are free to believe what you want. And as long as you are happy, I am happy.

                I will discuss religion. I will point out facts and make observations. But I will not debate it.

                So please, stop trying to put words into my mouth. Either read what I write and disagree and offer your own facts, or ignore it. But I will not debate you on the subject. My faith is fine for me. I have no idea if it would work for you. But if you are curious, I will gladly put you in contact with others that will be happy to debate it with you.


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                You said “The religions though never tell you how to get the resources to achieve the ends.”
                I answered “It’s called getting people to believe in the religion and then to donate money to the cause.”
                You answered “I was too brief with my comment. Yes, they get YOU to give it. But how to YOU get it? They never tell you that. And that is because they are not economic think tanks, but religious ones.”
                I answered “Why would we want churches to be economic think tanks? I really don’t understand what your point is.”
                You answered “Again, you are trying to create a thesis, based upon your own bias. I never said I wanted them to be economic Think Tanks.”

                It is not a thesis based on my own bias–it’s a statement that I don’t understand your point. Somewhere, and I obviously missed where, the discussion went from churches not telling us how to resources to a completely different discussion or statement that churches don’t tell you how to “get money”. I missed the part where this switched to economics and dropped the religion. Again, I thought your statement was pretty much obvious. My apologies for overestimating your comments. I will try to read them as completely literal in the future.

                Since I have no idea what you mean by what you write, there’s really little point in my commenting. It just makes you angry and I remain totally confused about what your comments were made for. I was not “debating” religion. I was stating how religion in general seems to work. I was not commenting on whether or not it was good or bad, right or wrong, but merely how it seems to function.


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              PhilJourdan

              You stopped short on your response. You responded by claiming you said:

              “Why would we want churches to be economic think tanks? I really don’t understand what your point is.”

              But you left off:

              Are you saying religion must be everything to everyone?

              That is debating religion. You may not have intended to, but that is what that 3rd line is doing.

              I am not angry. I merely told you that I do not debate religion. And I do not.

              As for my comment, again I apologize for not being clearer. When I said that religions were not Economic Think tanks, I meant they have no clue how wealth is created. They are experts on how to save a soul and get you to heaven (or their nirvana), as that is their expertise. So while they say you should give, they do not tell you how to get to the point to give. Nor do they condemn it (except when it comes to stealing and lying).

              So they are not against money. They clearly want it. And it feeds the poor. And they have to rely on the “wealth creators” in order to get it


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                Mark F

                Feed the poor, freeze the poor, about the only difference that comes to mind…


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                Phil: I think I understand better now. My statement asking about religion was asking what the function of religion was–which I did not think was debating religion. To me, it was nothing more than saying you don’t use a hammer to extract screws, do you? However, I can see where my question could be like asking if a certain action is a function of government, which will indeed lead to much debate.

                I do agree with you, now that I understand more clearly what you were saying.


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          Roy Hogue

          Christian religions, with their dictates to provide for the less fortunate, can easily be seen as Communistic.

          Phil,

          May I differ with you on that? Communism requires the state to own literally all the means of production and pretty much everything but the clothes on your back. Christianity has never even come close to requiring this and anything calling itself Christian that does require this is not Christian but a cult.

          It’s easy to call yourself Christian. It’s a little harder to be Christian.

          Some I have met don’t agree that the Roman Catholic Church is Christian. Others will say that the church in which Barack Obama says he sat every Sunday morning for 20 years listening to the hate filled sermons of Jeremiah Wright is Christian, including the president.

          I disagree with both. You judge the man by his actions and by what comes of his actions.


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            PhilJourdan

            Roy – given your definition of Communism, please do disagree with me! I was talking in the more dictionary definition sense – i.e. all wealth belongs to the community and there is no government. Most Christian religions do tell us that we are our brothers keeper.


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              Roy Hogue

              …all wealth belongs to the community and there is no government.

              Phil,

              A very interesting point — and the early church did do pretty much that. But as I read it, it was as much a defensive mechanism as a matter of religion; possibly not a matter of religion at all. Early Christians banded together because they were pariahs, someone to be persecuted because they didn’t bow to established authority. They basically needed each other to survive. And the practice apparently didn’t persist for very long as historical time frames go.

              I don’t see anything in Christianity that requires this kind of communal living or that prohibits it either, except that according to Jesus statement that knowing the truth, we would be free, it should be voluntary.

              As for being our brother’s keeper — to me that implies control over that brother, something anathema to the very things that Jesus stood for, taught and preached. Helping someone in need, yes, certainly. But taking a controlling responsibility for others, no, I don’t see it. We must not lead others into doing wrong. But I see no way we have justification for a responsibility to prevent someone from making a mistake except by verbal argument against the mistake. And for that matter, no justification for simply supporting someone indefinitely because he will not work for his own daily bread.


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                PhilJourdan

                Roy,

                I agree there is very little evidence of religions acting in a communistic fashion. I only noted that some would see the “ideals” as being communistic. Not that they actually practiced it.

                And I guess we see the phrase “brother’s keeper” differently. Your view seems to be closer of a parent to a child. I see that phrase as meaning we must provide for our brother when he falls on bad times. But we cannot tell him how to live his life. Quite honestly, I am also unclear on what exactly that means. I just took it as an extension of the “charity” ideal.


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                Roy Hogue

                And I guess we see the phrase “brother’s keeper” differently.

                Phil,

                It certainly is somewhat ambiguous and wanting a better definition of keeper.

                I think the responsibility for others has been a stumbling block down through the whole of recorded human history. Some see it as absolute and unlimited in scope while others see it as having some very practical limits or not a responsibility at all. You can put me with those who believe there are some limits on it, simply because beyond a certain point you can do little or nothing of real benefit for the other guy. Then you must leave him to figure it out for himself if he can or get yourself into a project that just consumes you but doesn’t help the other guy.

                For many years now I’ve tried to watch life going on all around me and when I see something that looks undesirable (and there’s plenty to see) I first try to figure out why it is that way instead of crying fix it, fix it, fix it all the time. Sometimes things are the way they are because that’s the best a large complex society can do. In other words, the problems are there simply because that’s the way things are. There is no solution to them because they’re the natural result of us and the world we live in. If I can help someone through bad times, if I can help someone become a better competitor and improve his lot, good. But if all I do is give that guy in trouble a free ride on my back I’m just going to keep him where he is and eventually fail myself.

                Sometimes you have to let the failures go in order not to harm those who’re succeeding. You give helping them an honest, good faith attempt. But if they don’t grab onto the rope you’re dangling in front of them and start to climb then you have to let them fail. I make a very strict exception for those who are unable to take care of themselves because of physical or mental disability or age. But not for anyone else.

                I know that’s an unpopular viewpoint, at least with a large segment of society. But right now this country of mine is on a guilt trip over its magnificent success; oh, just look at all those poor people you aren’t bringing along with you. And we’re destroying ourselves and our ability to help anyone by doing what we’re doing.


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                PhilJourdan

                Roy – Unpopular? By some I have no doubt. But for many they see the same things. I call it the lifeboat syndrome. You want to save everyone, but if you let them all in the lifeboat, we all drown.

                Our lifeboat has been large. But all things have a carrying capacity. And until people realize it, we are doomed to drown.

                It is not only our country, I see it in every “wealthy” country. They see the excess and think that what is will always be. So they have stopped teaching the less fortunate how to fish, and instead given them fish. It is easier. It is a lot easier to hand the panhandler a fiver on the corner than to find him a job.


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      PhilJourdan

      I am Catholic, and it really does not offend me in the least. The Pope, in an idealistic world, is purely concerned with spiritual matters. And of course with the teachings of Christ. Who did warn that you cannot serve 2 masters – money and God.

      So the Pope is being simplistic. But then he is an expert on the religious world, not the secular one. He has no clue how wealth is created. IN his ideal world, everyone works for the betterment of everyone else, not themselves. But reality is not that way. Not everyone is willing to put themselves last.

      I greatly admire the man for being very true to his beliefs – as he understands them. And the whole attention to his pronouncements are amusing (not his announcements, just the recent attention). Catholics (including Cradle but non-practicing) are only 1/6 of the world, yet the pope has managed to stop half the world in their tracks to try to understand the “deeper” meaning of a simple man espousing an honest philosophy partially out of ignorance.


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        Roy Hogue

        Phil,

        As I said previously, I’ve been impressed with this pope generally. I don’t wish to be simply putting him down (or anyone for that matter). But I’ve one great big problem: Stated in simple terms, organized religion and what I read in my bible simply do not match up. Jesus was not only apolitical, he was and still is personal. No one and nothing else is required but you and Jesus. If you live the life Christ called for, you do not necessarily forsake worldly things. The one overriding commandment he gave was to tell the world about Him. To do that you need to have some credibility with your listeners. And that credibility is the one thing that organized religion has become good at destroying in favor of rules for everyone to follow. Billy Graham has stayed steadfastly on that course. Almost no one else, at least those with widely recognized names, ever has.

        To reform the society you must reform the heart first. That seems to be the last thing would-be reformers are interested in. It was and still is the only thing Jesus is interested in.


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          PhilJourdan

          Roy, I have not seen any of your comments as an attack. And this one is pure gold! You will not get a debate from me.

          But for every “follower” of Jesus, there were thousands of followers of the Disciples who followed Jesus. In other words, some people need the comfort of being told HOW to follow him. And thus you have religions (and also cults – e.g. Jim Jones).

          Religions are not “THE way” (although they like to think each is), they are “one way”. For some, the inside of a Church is a hindrance to following Christ. For others, it is the only way they know.


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            Roy Hogue

            But for every “follower” of Jesus, there were thousands of followers of the Disciples who followed Jesus. In other words, some people need the comfort of being told HOW to follow him. And thus you have religions (and also cults – e.g. Jim Jones).

            …and political parties and a president still called, Messiah, by many to this very day. We humans are a difficult bunch to say the least.

            There are certainly no hard feelings on my side over any of this discussion.


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              PhilJourdan

              I guess the reason I am an independent politically is that if I am going to “blindly” follow any clown, it will be one talking about God, not handouts.

              But even that gets my hackles up. Unfortunately, as you noted, not many of us humans are contrarians.


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          I would add Mother Teresa to those who followed their religion steadfastly. It became apparent after her death that she had doubts, but she continued to serve selflessly throughout her life. That is extremely rare.


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    RWTH

    I can’t back this up with specifics but has anyone else noticed that trees seem to cause airborne dust to settle out on the ground? What would be the mechanism??


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      Andrew McRae

      Well as long as we’re free to speculate without backing it up with specifics… :)
      I’d guess… the trees would keep the dust down two ways. Firstly they can prevent dust from getting into the air by acting as a windbreak and shading the top soil to keep it moist for longer. Secondly they could remove dust that’s already in the air by acting as tall air filters.
      Your guess is better than mine if you’re out and about in the sticks very much.


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        RWTH

        Yep, the windbreak idea would cover it — but while we’re speculating, what about transpired moisture fixing on dust particles to make them heavier?


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          Andrew McRae

          That sounds even better, since it can affect dust a long way from the trees.
          Perhaps in areas far from the coast the ability to tap into underground water would make a more measurable difference to dustiness. Whether that’s significant in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know.


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          Roy Hogue

          I’m not sure I follow any of this. I’ve been in plenty of woods where there was dust just plain blowing around in the breeze. When you’re allergic to nearly everything in the environment to some extent, your eyes and nose know there’s something around that you don’t like pretty much instantly.

          Any comments from those with similar experience?

          On the other hand, trees do tend to slow the wind down a lot which could prevent picking up as much dust from the ground, from leaves, etc. But that’s an ordinary old windbreak that farmers and many others have used for a long time. Before the advent of high density housing I used to see such rows of trees along property lines out on the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles.

          It’s pronounced Mo-hah-vee by the way and is the name of the tribe that once lived in the area I think. But the spelling is Spanish (Wiki gives an alternate spelling without the “j” but I’ve never seen it — dumb to mess with the history on the back of which you currently stand!).


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            Roy Hogue

            The picture in the Wicki article is the Joshua Tree. They look dead most of the time like any desert vegetation. But when the spring rain is right they bloom like any well watered garden. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen often and they’re an endangered species because they bloom so infrequently and civilization has been encroaching on their habitat.

            They are entirely native to Southern California. They stop at the Colorado River. Coming the other way, some species of cacti also stop at the river and are not found on the California side. A river can be a very wide barrier.


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            Rereke Whakaaro

            If you can see dust “just plain blowing around”, then it is probably pollen.

            A lot of trees – G. Pinus, in particular – use wind as a propagator. If it settles on grass, or on hard flat surfaces, it can look like very fine dust.


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        Dave

        Vegetative Environmental Buffers.

        Chicken farms and Feed Lots are now using the triple row tree planting to reduce dust and odourous compounds as the wind starts concentrating both into the area at slower speeds. The smelly compounds attach themselves to dust particles and wind tunnel studies have found that this layout reduces dust particles and aerosols by 35% to 56% in the downwind transport (Laird, 1997; Thernelius, 1997).

        The poultry farm screens were initiated for visual and shade concerns, but the results in noise, aerosol pollutant reduction and dust reduction were a bonus. Temperature reduction along with increased humidity were also observed.

        From “Using Trees to Reduce Dust and Odour Emissions From Poultry Farms” September 26, 2012 in Poultry Extension, Vegetative Environmental Buffers (VEB)by Bud Malone University of Delaware – Georgetown, Delaware USA.

        With wind reduction and higher H20 concentrations, it makes sense that dust particles would be more likely to settle.

        More studies should be done in this area. Good question RWTH and great answers Andrew & RWTH, but I would say there is plenty of unknown factors.

        And despite David Suzuki’s 7 points as to why tree planting is opposed by GANG GREENIES listed here by Betapug, common sense dictates that the GAIA worshipers are wrong.

        Proves that these idiot GREENS are interested in the money only.


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        Karl W. Braun

        The leaves of trees can become rather dusty over time. They rely on the occurrence of rain and mist for their shower.


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      scaper...

      In a forest situation with undisturbed border trees about 40% of the prevailing winds penertrate, the remainder is deflected.

      The wind is basically brought to a standstill, the dust particles clump due to the negative ions create in the forest which causes the dust to fall to the ground. The moisture in this air is naturally conditioned.

      If dry hot air enters the forest it is shaded, cooled and humidified. If cold humid air enters the forest it is warmed, dehumidified and slowly released via the crown of the trees. This warm humid air can be observed as misty spirals ascending from the forest. The trees modify extremes of heat and humidity to a tolerable level.

      The winds deflected over the forest causes compression in the streamlines of the wind, an effect extending to twenty times the tree height, thus creating more water-vapour per unit volume, and also cooling the ascending air stream. Both conditions are conducive to rain.

      I could go on but got to watch the Poms get their just desserts.


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    Betapug

    Why David Suzuki and “…many environmentalists oppose the use of tree-planting to mitigate climate change.”

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/the-problems-with-carbon-offsets-from-tree-planting/


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    Jon Reinertsen

    I also live in WA and on a tour of the Margaret River area in July this year, I thought the windscreen wipers on my new car were in danger of wearing away. I spoke to a number of Wine producers who had shifted to dry climate grape types, on the advice of “the experts” a few years ago. They believed the experts, and are now trying to grow grapes in the wrong climate. We had very strong winter rains in the south west of WA this year when we were due apparently for, below average rain fall during winter.


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    scaper...

    I too, learnt this stuff when I was a kid.

    Must of planted or been responsible for the establishment of over a million trees in my time. The earliest plantings of native eucalypts are now ~40M high. Seeing these fine specimens has its rewards for the effort and in many cases, personal financial outlay.

    Used to do a lot of native revegetation and what I see these days is pathetic…wrong species selection and planted too close together. Not hard to replicate nature, the lesson is observation of nearby habitat.

    I believe the only element of worth in the Direct Action policy is the tree planting, exotic weed eradication and the human resource approach to accomplish such.

    Biased as had input into the element of the policy that was taken up. Especially the structure of the so called ‘Green Army’. Can’t stand the word ‘green’ as it is now up there with the ‘c’ word in my opinion.

    But that does not directly address the cropping element in its entirety. The socialist agrarians will have to contribute if they are to expect government handouts for drought relief and the like.

    Strip and block planting will be required to prevent wind and water erosion and the farmers will be responsible for maintenance after installation, monitored by the agricultural departments of the respective states and territories to ensure compliance to receive future benefits.

    This element of the policy, in reality is not to address CO2 because Australia is a sink. It is an effort to redirect at least a portion of funds to improving the environment instead of p***ing it against the wall in the name of a non problem!

    The warmists have usurped the words ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ but they will not take ‘environmentalist’ without a fight. Sweated and bled a great deal to leave my mark out there and have yet to hear of a warmist doing same.

    THEY CAN GET STUFFED!


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      bananabender

      Often the cheapest, simplest and most effective way to regrow forests is just to fence off the land and let nature take it’s course. The Brisbane Forest Park is a remarkable example of ex-farmland allowed to regrow with minimal intervention for a century. Much of it looks like natural rainforest. [However an area of bush at Keperra has a neat row of huge mango trees where an old farm was situated.]


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        And how many people does that employ?

        If government isn’t going to offer jobs in a programme, they they’re judged (by the media circus and occupiers of ivory towers) to be incompetent, uncaring and wasteful.

        Rehabilitation, or up-valuation of land is something that has been in the interets of agricultural landholders since agriculture began and farmers noticed degradation. Mechanisation brought with it problems due to scale. Fields were made large, seeds were sown and crops fertilised in a way that was convenient to do with the machines.

        I remember in the 1980′s when contour-ploughing was being introduced to reduce soil degradation, fertiliser use and erosion. It meant that the machines were following the lay of the land instead of man-made lines. All that difficult driving has been made easier and easier with affordable technologies to steer the machinery in the right direction.

        In that same decade, soil salinity became a big issue in the media. Recognizing that trees take a decade to establish useful transpiration of ground waters that were pushing the salt to the surface, I proposed a “solar tree” product, using a PV-array on a steel pole, powering a submersible pump that’d lift the water up from below the salt and let the water settle on top of the soil, by-passing the salt, or, given enough PV power, spray the water into the air as a mist.

        The devices were intended for areas of severe salinity, to facilitate the initial establishment of salt-tolerant flora which would take over the process before the pump wore out. I could see the point of them being a tough sale as long as farmers had other land which they could use.


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          bananabender

          And how many people does that employ?

          A local land care group has taken 3-4 years to partially “rehabilitate” about one hectare of creek bank. Many of the seedlings they plant simply die from lack of rain or are choked by weeds. I guess they have spent at least $10,000 on material and plants and provided tens of thousands of hours labour in this basically futile exercise. They could have simply let nature take it’s course over the next 10-20 years at zero cost with arguably better results.


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      Karl W. Braun

      I tend to think that the environment most of the “environmentalists” experience is an urban one.


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    Difficult ter choose fer Pointman’s Prattus, or Rattus Award, but
    I’m going fer Suzuki fer his blinding un-self-awareness,I believe
    they call it cog-nit-ive diss-onance.( Beth-the-serf.


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    handjive

    Confirmation in the strangest places.
    The ABC Weather Quarter, 15 minutes of Alarmist Global Warming (if you can bear it).
    For those that can’t-

    8.38 minutes, glider pilot #1: “Thermals are formed, by, as the sun hitting the ground, it heats up the ground, and the ground heats up at different temperatures.
    So, we’re looking at the ground, the big, brown paddocks surrounded by green forest.
    That brown paddock is going to heat up much, much more than the green forest around it.”
    Glider pilot #2: “I’m looking for some nice cumulous clouds, the nice fluffy clouds with a good, dark base to them, that look flat with a little bit of action.
    And, judging on the wind, where it’s coming from, maybe a line of trees, a dam wall or something that will trip that warm air off.”
    .
    Common sense, one would think.
    Or, at least it was, until the ‘settled science’ of global warming, where heat sinks to the bottom of the ocean.


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      handjive, thanks for those. If the rainfall or the clouds are indeed this localized then the study above may be limited by grouping such large zones together, when a small scale study might turn up something more informative. See my comment #25 about local variations. We have so much yet to learn.


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        Geoff Sherrington

        Jo,
        Willis Eschenbach has written a couple of observational essays at WUWT regarding daily cloud cycles and thermoregulator mechanisms. For example, he points to the inability of models to address a gap of 15 minutes in the time to first cloud formation in 2 scenarios, with some estimate of how much (significant) energy can get to the ground/sea if the clouds are 15 minutes late one day. (E&OE, I’m going from memory).
        It’s a similar concept to yours of whether rainfall is so localised that you need to count events as well as areas.
        Yes, there is so much to learn.


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      Truthseeker

      Since you bought up the ABC …

      This excellent article with details of the breaches by the ABC of their own charter.

      Review of the ABC Petition – Sign up!. I have.


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    A similar pattern of reduced rainfall in evident in Paraná state, in Southern Brazil, extending into the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Sao Paulo to the North, Santa Catarina to the South and the country of Paraguay to the East. Over an area more than the size of France, there used to be the dense South Atlantic forest. In the last 100 years an area greater than the UK (>250,000 km2) has been levelled for agriculture. This includes the area around Londrina in Northern Paraná which until the 1980s was the centre of Brazilian coffee production. Yet the city (now >1m people) was only founded in 1902 by the Scottish Earl Lovat.
    Locals to NW Paraná have told me that the climate is not only much drier than before, rainfall when it arrives is often much fiercer.
    There are some compensations. Much of the area is given over to agriculture. It is too dry for bananas now, but very productive for sugar cane. Oranges and cassava crop 3 times a year. The aubergines, mangos and papaya are all massive when in season.


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    pat

    MSM is still ignoring farmers – third chance in a week for ABC, Fairfax & the rest to give our farmers a voice, but only reported in the Daily Liberal:

    7 Dec: Daily Liberal: Farmers jolted by electricity hikes call for end on carbon
    THE National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) and Macquarie River Food and Fibre (MRFF) have urged politicians to repeal the carbon tax as electricity bills are expected to keep rising, affecting local farmers the worse…
    MRFF chairman and farmer Mike Bennett said a 20 per cent hike in electricity prices has been met with an additional 10 per cent price cost from the carbon tax.
    “The bill for my own farm increased by about $15,000 a year,” he said.
    The NIC said irrigators in the Macquarie Valley are among the most efficient but unsustainable electricity prices are forcing electric pumps to be switched off.
    As a result Mr Bennett said farmers now face a trade off between continued efficiency or out of control electricity bills.
    He said rather than having an incentive for farmers to be more water efficient there is a disincentive with rising energy costs, making Australian farmers less competitive on the world market…
    http://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/1956579/farmers-jolted-by-electricity-hikes-call-for-end-on-carbon/?cs=112

    however, if it’s about abstract, incomprehensible “carbon credits” with anti-Govt, anti-business potential, ABC Rural is on to it:

    6 Dec: ABC Rural: Babs McHugh: Concerns farmers may miss out under Direct Action
    An analysis of the proposed direct action plan concludes farmers and foresters would lose out to big industry when it comes to carbon credits.
    An Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) of $2.55 billion will be established to buy them for greenhouse gas abatement.
    They’re known as ‘grey’ credits when they go to industries like manufacturing and mining; and ‘green’ credits when they’re awarded under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).
    Brett Harper, of carbon market consultants RepuTex, says the problem is that the Federal Government plans to set baseline emissions for industry using historic data over a five-year average…
    “We have big polluters make a lot of grey credits if they base their baselines for emissions on historic averages,” he said.
    “If they receive credits for this drop in emissions, it may overwhelm the green credits that come out of the Carbon Farming Initiative.
    “And this would funnel a lot of the Emissions Reduction Funds to the big corporations for their grey credits, rather than to smaller farmers and foresters for green credits.”…
    Environment Minister Greg Hunt was asked to respond to the RepuTex claims, and he provided a written statement saying the ERF was still being finalised.
    “The Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper will be released later this month. The final design of the ERF will be released in early 2014 in the form of a white paper.
    “The Government will continue to engage with industry in relation to the final design of the Emissions Reduction Fund.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-06/direct-action-may-favour-industry-over-farmers/5140322

    the Govt has nothing to gain from carrying on with such time-wasting proposals, and much to lose, so give it up.


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    pat

    Reuters started the ball rolling, it would seem:

    5 Dec: Reuters: Australia’s carbon fund a windfall for big polluters -analysts
    Australia risks wasting up to A$2 billion ($1.8bn) of its planned Emissions Reduction Fund if it goes ahead with moves to give big polluters carbon credits based on historical efficiency levels, analysts Reputex said on Thursday…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/05/australia-carbon-idUSL4N0JK0DH20131205

    for another CAGW scam, REALITY bites again:

    6 Dec: Reuters: Barbara Lewis: RPT-UK, France, Germany attack EU aircraft carbon plan
    EU officials to debate the issue on Friday
    * Britain says EU Commission misread international mood
    The combined weight of the three powers means there is a strong chance they will get their way, pleasing trading partners such as China…
    EU diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said many of the 28 member states agreed the European Commission’s proposal on charging flights using EU airports for their emissions in EU airspace was impractical, but not all.
    Denmark, for instance, has drawn up its own position paper, saying the aviation sector must take responsibility for its share of greenhouse gas emissions…
    But Britain, France and Germany’s proposal calls instead for no charges before 2016 when the ICAO will hold another general assembly.
    Environmentalists and some members of the European Parliament have condemned the ICAO deal as far too weak and accuse the big powers of being beholden to China.
    They note that Britain, France and Germany all have an interest in Airbus, which has played a major lobbying role…
    ‘GLOBAL REALITIES’
    Britain says it is just being realistic.
    Niall Mackenzie, a senior official at Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, said in London on Thursday the Commission had misread the international mood and was not reflecting “global realities”.
    The Danish paper, seen by Reuters, warns of possible legal complications of scrapping the Commission plan…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/06/eu-aviation-idUSL5N0JL1MN20131206


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    Andrew McRae

    Okay, evapotranspiration, in modern parlance, “is a thing”, but what is the size of the effect on rainfall?
    (Devil’s Advocate horns are now in place.)

    The only figures given to quantify the land clearing are for the whole of SWWA, not for the individual zones. If the rainfall reduction for the worst affected area is used with the clearing percentage for the whole SWWA region then the effect will be exaggerated above what is really happening. Even so, that’s the only way I can see to gauge a ballpark figure.
    They say clearing is responsible for 50% to 80% of the rainfall reduction, let’s call it a nice round figure of 2/3rds.
    The worst affected zone (3) had a reduction (by eyeballing the graph) from 800mm/y down to 650mm/y.

    (650-800)* 2/3 / -80% = 1.25mm/y/%

    Barely more than a 1mm/y reduction for every 1% of land cleared in a region still getting 600+ mm/yr.

    So rain comes from the sea, just like it always did?

    It’s also a bit strange that rainfall was increasing from 1910 to 1950 even though 30% of the land was being cleared over that time.

    The Indian Ocean Dipole is rumoured to be responsible for most of the rainfall change across Australia. [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL036801/abstract ]
    However there is one paper purporting to reconstruct the IOD index from coral samples, and it shows no trend over decadal scales that could explain the SWWA rainfall trend. [ http://www.manfredmudelsee.com/publ/pdf/Recent-intensification-of-tropical-climate-variability-in-the-Indian-Ocean.pdf ]
    So I’m out of ideas there.


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    pat

    5 Dec: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: ED PERRY/ED ZYGMUNT: Global warming vs. wildlife in Pennsylvania
    Climate change is affecting fields and streams in the Keystone State
    (Ed Perry, a retired aquatic biologist and advocate for the National Wildlife Federation’s global warming campaign, lives in Boalsburg, Centre County. Ed Zygmunt, a life member and former board member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, lives in Laceyville, Wyoming County.)
    Here in Pennsylvania, those excise taxes have helped the Game Commission purchase and manage more than 1.4 million acres of game lands that are open to the public — at no charge — for hunting and passive recreation.
    But a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, “Nowhere to Run: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World,” documents how climate change is altering the landscape for wildlife, jeopardizing that success…
    During the dry season of late summer and early fall, deer begin congregating near scarce water sources. At the same time, a small midge that lives mostly in the south is blown north by dry summer winds, where it encounters deer at the watering hole. The muddy banks provide egg-laying habitat while deer provide a blood meal for the midges. Because northern deer have not evolved with this insect, the bite of the virus-bearing midge is almost always fatal…
    Climate change is also affecting moose populations all across the southern portion of their range, from Wyoming to New Hampshire. Warmer winters have facilitated the explosion of tick populations, and biologists are finding moose in New Hampshire and Maine covered with more than 150,000 ticks. In a desperate attempt to dislodge them, moose begin rubbing themselves on trees. In some instances, they’ve removed 90 percent of their hair, making them susceptible to hypothermia and disease…
    With warmer temperatures and fewer hard freezes, hunters are being exposed to more Lyme disease as deer ticks expand their range. Recent testing by the West Nile Virus program in Pennsylvania found over half of the deer ticks tested carried the bacteria for Lyme disease…
    To safeguard our outdoor heritage for future generations, we must cut carbon pollution and speed our transition to clean energy. It’s time for sportsmen and women to speak up, both here in our community and to our elected officials in Washington…
    http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2013/12/05/Global-warming-vs-wildlife/stories/201312050128

    6 Dec: San Francisco Chronicle: John Diaz: Pace of global warming adds to urgency to change
    There is no hope of doing something truly transformational to meet the No. 1 challenge of our times in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where deference to consumer fear, dubious science and the clout of Big Oil continues to rule the day.
    The contrast between Washington’s foot dragging and California’s leadership on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was cast in high relief during a Tuesday panel discussion on “Climate Change and California’s Future” put together by the Public Policy Institute of California.
    Participants included Steven Chu, former energy secretary; Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the state Air Resources Board; and George Shultz, whose deep resume of top-level jobs includes a stint as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan…
    The seasoned and savvy Shultz had an interesting answer. He compared the doubters of climate change – a stance that is “harder and harder to defend,” he said – to industries and politicians who balked at efforts to curb the production and use of chemicals that were depleting the ozone layer.
    Shultz said those who question the science on whether human activity is a major source of global warming would at least have to admit that “it’s a big problem” if it does happen.
    “So let’s take out an insurance policy,” he said, echoing the reasoning that secured passage of federal legislation signed by President George H. W. Bush that has helped cut sulfur-dioxide emissions by half. That bill instituted a cap-and-trade program – similar to California’s approach to climate change – that provided financial incentives for companies that exceeded emission goals and penalties for those that did not…
    One critical next step, all panelists agreed, would be a carbon tax that fully reflects the price of greenhouse emissions on the planet’s climate, and thus allows renewable technologies to compete on a level playing field.,,

    http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/diaz/article/Pace-of-global-warming-adds-to-urgency-to-change-5042485.php


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    Andrew, I too wonder about those long cycles, but even talking to Stewart Franks, hydro-environmental-engineering specialist – he tells me no one is very good at predicting the SW rainfall. On the East Coast the ENSO pattern dominates, but there are other things going on in WA. The lines in those graphs are also 9 year moving averages, which hides the unpredictability of rainfall (like I suspect the annual rain in the arid zone is highly variable, unfortunately the BOM site is down at the moment).

    I suspect the clearance effect is also non-linear – in that we can cut down and clear some land with little effect, but there may be a point where things shift more with each percent of clearing. I don’t know where that point is.

    Looking closely at Zone 3 — the escarpment zone with the most rain — looks to me like it diverges into two groups, and the northern half of that escarpment hasn’t had as much decline as the southern half. Most of the place names in the bluer curves are from nearer Perth. The oranger colors generally come from the south. Mundaring (blue) has the longest record but shows almost no decline, yet surely the area. See the google image of the clearing around Mundaring. Around the weir it is preserved, but around the town it is patchy – 40% cleared to the north? (Where is the mundaring rain gauge – town or dam?) [Silly me, the guage is listed as "weir".] Mundaring is close to Perth, but isn’t as cleared as I would have expected.

    Though contrary to my blue=north theory in Zone 3, but also curious – Pemberton is “blue-grey” but far south and didn’t decline and Manjimup (logging town) is blue-green and did decline. Does it mean anything that Pemberton has a lot more forest around it and Manjimup has a lot more cleared areas? I don’t know. But it would be interesting to see this study tackled on a station by station record with local clearance as well.

    See this image, pemberton is the southern town, manjimup the northern one. Pemberton is famous for tall trees, Manjimup is renown for logging. Does forest attract rain on such a local scale? (I’ll bet someone can find me counter examples in a thrice…)

    Click on the map to enlarge it.


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      Yonniestone

      Jo are you suggesting there might be a rough tipping point as to when it won’t rain, or rain less due to a certain cleared expanse area on the ground?
      This makes me think of some deserts and how they get little or no rain all year then an intense weather system builds up and buckets down tons of water, but that huge system seems the only way that desert gets rain.
      It also reminds me of how fuel reacts differently under velocity over different surfaces, years ago race mechanics used to polish the inside of intake manifolds thinking the fuel would move faster to the intake valve in the engines head thus making more power, the result was less power and more unburnt fuel out the exhaust.
      The reason this occurred was simple physics, as droplets of water are forced over a smooth surface by high speed wind they will bead on that surface due to a good match of surface tensions, think of when your doing 100kph in your car in the rain and the droplets will move slowly over your windscreen compared to your speed.
      Now change that surface to a rough finish and the water will literally vaporize into the air under the same conditions, this principle was applied to the fuel intake and the results improved dramatically as the fuel was suspended in the air for longer, I have personally done this and know it works.
      Do you think this has any bearing on ground conditions vs rainfall? or am I off on the wrong tangent?


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      Andrew McRae

      Wellll…. without my Devil’s Advocate horns on… you raise a good point.
      I didn’t notice those two diverged groups before.
      It is looking a bit suspicious that Pemberton and Manjimup fared so differently.

      Also Dwellingup has just a few clearings and it would be interesting to know when they were done. They would have to be cleared mainly between 1965 and 1980 for the rainfall theory to stack up.

      Onnnnn the other haaannnnnd… there’s a rainfall decline in the Zone 4 stations and they are surrounded by the ocean. What’s the deal with Cape Leeuwin? A huge drop there beginning 6 years after Jurassic Park was released. Are the boffins from Mammoth Cave trying to geo-engineer the cape back to Ice Age conditions for a little genetic project we don’t know about?

      I guess that’s why the paper authors could only attribute 50%-80% of the Zone 3 decline to deforestation, since you have to subtract the decline in primary water supply from the ocean away from any decline you see in the logged areas.

      Anyhow, I can see how it all has a faint whiff of chainsaw about it.


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        Dave

        What about fire?

        Andrew:
        After a large burn, the proliferation of new growth may be significant, as the density of foliage increases rapidly compared to old age forests. The whole area would have a different heat retention pattern from being burnt to the new regrowth stage. Have rainfall patterns been correlated to post burn areas as per above?

        Maybe the increased photosynthetic activity and transpiration is reflected in the rainfall data. Similar to handjives explanation of the glider pilot observations. If large areas of burnt bush heat up rapidly over the initial period, followed by a much cooler area after regrowth, surely this would influence rainfall patterns, and vastly much larger areas than urban growth & clearing would contribute.

        I not sure, but just suggesting.


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      scaper...

      Something that raised my brow when I spent three months in Perth was the practice of over recharge of the aquifer. All rainwater is directed to sump pits instead of making its way back into the cycle (Indian Ocean) through natural flows. A form of hydro-engineering that I suspect has repercussions, especially the inner zones.

      Got nothing to back the theory up, just adding another dimension to this most interesting discussion.


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    Rod

    I grew up in the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland Victoria. As a child I often heard how the rainfall in the Strezlecki Ranges, south of Morwell, used to record 100 inches of rain annually, before the land was cleared. It was all anecdotal, but at least is was told by honest brokers, not climate “scientists”.


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    Sceptical Sam

    Thanks Jo. Interesting.

    Having spent some of my life in Kalgoorlie I have always been interested in the impact the “wood lines” may have had on rainfall. The “wood lines” are long gone and the trees are well and truly back over the wide area where they had been removed for pit props and power for the mines of the Eastern Goldfields. That reafforestation presumably was well underway by the 1930s when we see the Blue line (Zone 1 – Lake Carmody???) starting to lift. The long-term trend line makes me think that this is telling us something.

    However, when I check Figure 7 I see that Lake Carmody is perhaps misnamed or misplaced. It is more likely the Johnston Lakes (Lake Hope etc). My Google check puts Lake Carmody just 40 kilometres east of Hyden (and in the cleared cropping country) whereas Figure 7 has it about 165 kilometres east of Hyden (on the eastern side of the treeline) – which makes me think it been misnamed/misplaced and is really the Johnston Lakes etc that are being referred to.

    If indeed it is the Johnston Lakes, then it encourages me in my hunch regarding the rainfall impact resulting from the reafforestation of the “wood lines”.

    If not, I need to get a new Google browser!


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    Dave

    Apologies but this is way off topic:

    “Electric car owner arrested, held in jail over stealing 5 cents worth of energy”

    What they don’t say is that Kaveh Kamooneh admits that he had charged his car multiple times on the school’s property but he says he didn’t know he wasn’t permitted to do so. What a blooody cheek, another GREENIE living off the fat, and abusing the law.

    Question:

    Can I put my steak on your BarBQue next door when you light up to save on gas?
    Can I recharge my laptop in your properties outdoor plug?
    Can I fill a water truck from a public tap and take it away?

    I think the GREEN thinking is that everything is free if you are GREEN. Arrest him for stealing.


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    TAboat

    You gotta love the consistency of the “sceptic” arguments. Remember the old meme: Man can’t do anything to affect the environment – who are we to think we, just a single species on a huge planet, can affect the weather? How arrogant! Then, they had the argument that the warming was all associated with the UHI effect. Now it’s due to removal of trees. Apparently, humans can affect the weather if Jo Nova says so.

    Similar to the argument about the surface temperature record: The measurements have too high an uncertainty to be trusted. Now, the “sceptics” are using that same uncertain temperature record to say a pause in warming discredits the AGW hypothesis.

    Jo Nova twits and turns like a twisty turny thing and gives us all something to laugh at.

    But, there’s always a crowd willing to throw coins at the world’s jesters and buy them new computers.


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      Sorry if the arguments are too sophisticated here for you, there’s not much I can do about that.
      Microclimate ≠ global climate. Some warming ≠ all warming. Fake strawman quotes ≠ what I said.
      I can see why you are afraid to use your own name. Good call.


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      Carbon500

      ‘TAboat’: you say ‘Jo Nova twits and turns like a twisty turny thing and gives us all something to laugh at.’
      The only thing I find laughable is the sheer nonsense that is ‘man made global warming’.
      For example: Al Gore’s blatant propaganda which seems to have brought the whole business into the public eye on a grand scale, phony graphs with exagerrated vertical axes so that fractions of a degree look imposing, a so-called scientific paper claiming to be able to plot the Earth’s temperature going back thousands of years by measuring tree ring diameters (where is the discussion of enzymatic and other biological factors which without doubt affect tree ring diameter?), ‘ocean acidification’, and all the other rubbish which we are endlessly subjected to.
      The IPCC came into being in 1988. Where is the climatic Armageddon?
      The UK’s Central Temperature Record at no time shows an average temperature per annum over 11 degrees Centigrade – and that’s since the mid 1600s – you have got and looked at a copy, haven’t you?
      I’ve lived here in the UK since the 1940s, and I haven’t noted any climatic changes which might be perceived as threatening. Cold winters, warm winters, wet summers, dry summers, cooler years, warmer years – we’ve had them all. As I often joke, come to the UK and escape the disaster.
      It’s getting to the stage where perfectly normal weather events (however severe) are being described as harbingers of the coming climatic holocaust by the warming brigade.
      The abysmal performance of computer models (i.e. calculations) has been widely commented on.
      And finally, there’s the most unscientific aspect of it all. As I never cease to point out, no-one has published a paper describing a laboratory experiment to demonstrate the effect of varying CO2/water vapour concentrations under controlled conditions using modern equipment. No one. I’ve written to and had this confirmed by the UK’s MetOffice. The whole CAGW is a house of cards, lacking this vital, essential foundation stone.
      I’ve even seen papers describing computer manipulations as ‘experiments’. Naive teachers with no scientific background (and the required quality of cynicism) are peddling the CAGW garbage as fact in our primary schools. I know because I’ve seen some of it at first hand.
      And no, I’m not a ‘climate scientist’. But I’ve spent a working lifetime in science and technology and read quite a lot of climate research papers. I came to the conclusion some years ago that CAGW is a fantasy.
      I’d say that current temperature measurements bear this out. I give the whole affair another five years before it’s history.
      Finally, I think that you should get yourself a decent book on meteorology which properly discusses weather and climate, such as Robin Stirling’s ‘The Weather of Britain’ and get to grips with the real world.


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      I think it is very sad, really. You shouldn’t criticise TAboat for being snarky, and a little bitter and twisted.

      I would feel the same way, if my sources of income were to go into decline, as the partying grown-ups moved on to the next fashionable venue.

      There is no future in being collateral damage.


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      Yonniestone

      “You gotta love the consistency of the “sceptic” arguments.” you just answered your question there without realizing it, again.
      Look at Heraclitus http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Heraclitus and start thinking for yourself instead of arguing from authority.


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      handjive

      If TAboat had anything to offer the conversation, along with the ‘gotcha moment’ it thinks thunk it has found, a link showing how 400ppm of carbon(sic) is responsible would be game over for this post.

      Instead, it shows it’s ignorance.


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    Robert

    There is little doubt about the improved microclimate of tree cover. On very hot days temperatures are lower due to shade and there is greater humidity. At night it is much warmer because less heat is radiated out. But, on a larger or regional basis, does this increase rainfall, particularly when the rain-bearing clouds are coming from the ocean? I don’t know, but did the loss of tree cover change the climate of North Africa as it was in Roman times, or is the loss due to changes in climate combined with exploitation of the forests and the foraging of the goat. The difference in the micro-climate of the oases and the desert is incredible.


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      Graeme No.3

      Probably both, but the climate was drying out before roman times (mention by ancient greek source not readily to hand.. Herodotus?).

      The northern Sahara gets 10-14 inches of rain a year. Australian wheat farmers like that. Yet there is little natural vegetation. It has been noted many times that areas that exclude goats and camels e.g. oil pipelines with fences, become vegetated rapidly. Suggests that over grazing is the main cause of desert continuing.

      The Tassili frescoes show that 7-9,000 years ago the Sahara was wet with permanent water for hippos. Also shown are elephants, giraffes, various bovines and large cats. Sceptics think this was during the Holocene Optimum warm period but Warmists know that current temperatures are “unprecedented” so haven’t any explanation (one of the very few times they’ve been silent).


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    pat

    7 Dec: Australian: Judith Sloan: Joe Hockey embraces the ‘economic fringe-dwellers’
    As events have panned out, the whole concept of the debt ceiling is to be scrapped, with the government and the Greens – previously referred to as “economic fringe-dwellers” by the Coalition – reaching an agreement that involves greater transparency in relation to debt and the inclusion of climate change in the intergenerational report.
    Apart from the strange political optics of the deal for the government, Hockey has got his way. But the letter of agreement sent by the Treasurer to Greens leader Christine Milne does contain some strange phrases…
    So if Tony and Christine are on a unity ticket when it comes to government debt, does this mean they agree on all sorts of other things? Does the Coalition now deny that the combined impact of industrial relations regulations and energy prices, particularly in the context of a high dollar, is crippling manufacturing industry?
    As factory after factory closes or scales back, will the Abbott government simply shrug its shoulders and tell the community it has a measured and modest program to reform industrial relations, but there is no rush? And when we hear of Qantas making substantial losses and laying off large numbers of staff, do the Greens want to hear about the $105m carbon tax bill the company is paying – an impost not imposed on its competitors?
    But don’t think it is just the carbon tax. The main driver of higher energy prices has been the renewable energy target, instituted by the Howard government. Will the Abbott government scrap or reduce the target of 25 per cent or thereabouts of electricity sourced from renewable energy by 2020? In due course, there will be a review – but again, no rush…
    To the extent manufacturing is being killed off by virtue of lousy industrial relations and high energy prices, the government should be acting, not sitting back foreshadowing reviews.
    But at this juncture, the Coalition’s friends from the Left will have parted company and fled for greener pastures. Each time they hear about the closure of an energy-guzzling car factory or ore smelter, they simply pop the corks – of a locally produced sparkling white wine, probably from Tasmania. They are economic fringe-dwellers. Let’s just hope the Abbott government doesn’t fit into the same category.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/joe-hockey-embraces-the-economic-fringe-dwellers/story-fnbkvnk7-1226777464151#


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      Graeme No.3

      Pat:
      the “fringe dwellers” are right up front when it comes for government money to be distributed. The vast majority are paid by various government departments and agencies, and their view is that there is a never ending supply of money, all you have to do is squeal loudly. Any suggestion of a shortfall is met by a call(?) (more like a thunderous bellow) for increased taxes.

      Perhaps we should start pointing out that reducing economic growth and the standard of living means less taxes, less money to support all these people. Hinting that in future we won’t be able to support all those bureaucrats, or every one of those commissions may make some think a bit. Suggest that less money means a rationalisation of universities by reducing the number, or that lots of faculties could be be amalgamated between universities, so anybody wanting to study psychology (to pick an example) will have a choice between the University of New England or the University of Tasmania (since there isn’t one on Macquarrie Island).

      A bit of discussion about why $500 million subsidy to save 60,000 jobs in the car industry is TOO MUCH, but $250,000-500,000 each for green jobs is JUST RIGHT, and whether the same treatment should be applied to both might give some of the chorus to think.


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        Maybe we need to phrase this in a way these people will understand:

        Redistribution of wealth, increased taxation and subsistence living are “not sustainable”. That’s the thing they fear the most “not sustainable”. We will run out of rich folks’ incomes to redistribute, taxation revenues will fall and subsistence living will devolve into wars over food and water. Maybe throw in “peak wealth” and how we may have already achieved that and from now on, the wealthy will continue to decrease in value and eventually we will lose our wealth. If you really want to terrify people, start talking about it happening in their lifetime. Mention how their grandchildren will be out scouring the land for berries and twigs. Conjure up imagery of the Dark Ages. Lament loudly that we are now using far too much wealth and taxation and the sustainability is just not there. We must find a more suitable way to deal with money before we have totally destroyed the system. We may be at the tipping point now–look at Greece. They “may have bottomed out”. Totally not sustainable. Stop the redistribution and taxation now before it’s too late.


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    pat

    7 Dec: ABC: Jane Norman: Labor, Greens join forces to set up Senate inquiry on Government’s Direct Action policy
    The inquiry will examine whether it is the most cost-effective way of cutting greenhouse gases and will report back by late March.
    Greens leader Christine Milne says the inquiry will expose the policy as a sham.
    “Direct Action doesn’t exist, it has no shape, it’s not an alternative to what we have in place,” she said.
    “It is not a plan, it’s basically an idea and that is all.”…
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/20204864/labor-greens-join-forces-to-set-up-senate-inquiry-on-governments-direct-action-policy/


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    David

    Well – here’s a situation that you might find interesting. Because we in the UK belong to the EUSSR (the European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) we are required to shut down our ‘polluting’ power stations. So – as the UK Parliament does what its told by Brussels, we are duly converting our largest coal-fired power station (Drax in Yorkshire) to run on – er – ‘biomass’ (wood pellets to you and me).
    Never mind that Drax sits on a coalfield. Irrelevant.
    So – we are now going to IMPORT wood pellets from AMERICA (that’s a 5000-mile round trip) by, basically, trashing the forests of North Carolina – and burn them (at something like a quarter of the efficiency of coal). The argument is that this is ‘carbon neutral’ because trees grow again (eventually).
    Now – I bet you can see some flaws in this scheme – not least of which is the MASSIVE sea/rail activity involved. Then there’s the point at which (say) the governor of NC will say: ‘Whoa..! Enough already. No more timber..’
    One only has to look back in British history to the Middle Ages – when every oak tree in the land was used to build the British Navy – and it didn’t take long to run out of them.
    Never mind – the politicians know what they’re doing…. don’t they..?


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      … that’s a 5000-mile round trip …

      You can’t count the return trip. I doubt that any shipping company would put an empty bulk carrier to sea. Perhaps they get a back-load carrying UN documents from Geneva to New York?

      … the UK Parliament does what its told by Brussels …

      And what ever happened to the traditional English response, “Stuff off, Mister”?


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    lemiere jacques

    well it is man made for sure… it is very likely the temp have changed because of land use on a very large scale and at long distance … so how can we compare temp record and say…it is CO2.

    The worse place to measure temperature is at the ground level.


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    Paper by Anastasia Makarievia at The Air Vent, discussed at Tallbloke, on forests
    and precipitation. Comment by Tallbloke @ 03/02/13 @ 2.11am on deforestation and
    a decrease in rainfall in Amazon basin, 1973-2003.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/makarieva-et-al-make-the-headlines-with-where-do-winds-come-from-paper/


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    warcroft

    OT. . .

    I had to share with you all the December 7th issue of New Scientist.
    Theyre at it again.

    http://www.warcroft.com.au/new-scientist-2013-12-07-dec-gw.pdf


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      You know the most alarming thing is these people really do appear to be so stupid that they do not understand that they are admitting CO2 is NOT the driving force. They are admitting that nature can overcome the CO2 and drop the temperature. They are admitting they don’t have a clue as to how the system works, but they sure they were right and we’re just mean not agree with them. I don’t know how someone with so much education can be so stupid. It’s depressing how badly science performs. Maybe we should go back to superstition–it can’t be much more wrong and at least the practitioners don’t look as stupid as these people do.


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    Louis Hissink

    I recall reading somewhere that the rural Medieval English reckoned that cutting down forests would stop rainfall, (read somewhere on the internet), and hence were against cutting down trees.


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    pat

    remember:

    A-PAC is Australia’s Public Affairs Channel and is fully funded by FOXTEL on a not for profit basis and operated by Australian News Channel as a free service for all Australians…
    A-PAC Classroom provides syllabus relevant classroom resources for teachers and students encouraging investigation of parliamentary principles, concepts and processes.
    http://www.a-pac.tv/

    the A-PAC Channel never misses an opportunity to spruik for CAGW. it’s not easy to check online about anything they broadcast, but Fraser Coast Chronicle has the details. these programmes were on in the evening as well, & may have been repeated more than once!

    A-PAC: 2013 CarbonExpo 6:30am – 8:36am
    Saturday, 7 December 2013
    Pricing carbon in Australia’s post-election landscape. CarbonExpo Australasia 2013 is held in Melbourne. Speakers include Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister Mark Butler and Greens Leader Christine Milne.
    Genre: News
    Duration: 126mins
    http://www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au/things-to-do/tv-guide/program/2013-carbonexpo/11890492/

    followed immediately by:

    University of Sydney
    Professor Chris Field
    8:36am – 9:55am, A-PAC
    Saturday, 7 December 2013
    Climate Change: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters. Professor Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, speaks in Sydney.
    Genre: News
    Duration: 79mins
    http://www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au/things-to-do/tv-guide/program/university-of-sydney/11906821/

    that’s about 7 hrs viewing for the day, even if there were only single repeats!

    eat your hearts out, ABC, Fairfax. Guardian. Murdoch media’s reach is so much greater than yours worldwide, he has actually done far more to propagandize CAGW than you could ever dream of

    shhhh! let’s not tell the CAGW-believers that, let’s keep repeating Murdoch is a Climate Denier – that’s the only thing that still works with your mindless audience.


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    pat

    FoE exploits the storm on behalf of?

    8 Dec: Guardian: Mark Townsend: Half-million homes at risk are not covered by flood scheme
    Government insurance plan ignores serious future effects of climate change, Friends of the Earth warns
    Almost half the homes deemed at serious risk from flooding will not be covered under the government’s new flood insurance scheme because officials have decided to omit the future impact of climate change…
    Initial assessments of the damage caused by Thursday’s surge indicates that 1,400 properties were flooded and up to 15,000 people had to leave their homes…
    Yet the fact that the damage was less extensive than feared has led to praise for improved flood defences, with experts estimating they may have protected up to 800,000 properties…
    Guy Shrubsole, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner, said: “Following the devastating damage caused by the biggest storm surge across the east coast in the past 60 years, it’s unforgivable that the government’s future flood insurance plan excludes consideration of climate change…
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/07/flood-insurance-flood-climate-change

    Guardian has two comments so far, but they’re not buying it!

    MutantNinjaThinktank: This is a bone-headed article. Have a look at the ABI explanation of the scheme to see what it is designed to protect against and what it is not designed to protect against. Basically it covers eventualities up to a one in two hundred year chance of flooding, and anything above that is down to the government.
    Idiotic scare-mongering like this merely discredits climate change activists and their cause.

    Jacksavage: Flood protection, storm surges, insurance…why, there is just NOTHING those people at Friends of The Earth do not know best about, is there?
    Frankly, were I the “officials” involved I should be tempted to request that FoE took a running jump at themselves.
    The time will come….count on it. I am staggered that the two or three decades of wolf crying about global warming and climate change combined with the complete lack of any of the catastrophes so confidently predicted has not provoked this kind of reaction already.


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    Dean Wild

    Oh, isn’t the irony sweet?
    Those that claim to be ‘Green’ support open clear areas to put their wind turbines and solar panels.
    While the skeptics propose to plant trees that would suck up CO2, increase rainfall and provide habitat for fauna.
    Who are the real environmentalists?

    And a further irony, is that the ‘Green’/Left wing leaning ABC knows first hand the effects on rainfall from planting trees on farms in western Victoria http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1674809.htm


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      John Brookes

      Yeah. Pretty funny really, the thought of “skeptics” planting trees. I mean, aren’t you the guys who will defend to the death some poor farmers right to chop down trees if he wants to?


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        Yes. Very funny if you have no understanding of property rights. (Too bad you see skeptics as hating trees–maybe you need to think that one through more thoroughly, because that’s what you’re saying here.)


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        Eddie Sharpe

        The notion of urban Greens telling farmers how to look after their land. It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. The difference between Greens & farmers is, no amount of telling will convince Greens they could be wrong, whereas as while farmers don’t always understand why what they have lived & learned the hard way is right, it usually is.
        Farmers have usually learned & forgotten more than Greens ever knew.

        Greens turn farming into a bureaucratic nightmare and usually for the wrong reasons.


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        PhilJourdan

        No, we defend to the death that people need to eat.


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    Just want to nag a bit about my bamboo. I’m not selling any now or any time soon, so this is not a plug. Moso, the bamboo of commerce which is seen in movies like Crouching Tiger, can grow splendidly in much of eastern Oz. In a mature grove it can go from the ground to a hundred feet in seven weeks, after which it gains no more height ever, but hardens to good timber over five years. It’s safe to handle and be around, not very fire prone since it creates a tight mat and open, shady ground underneath – through which you can stroll or ride a bicycle. It prefers marginal hilly country, leaves the flats for other species or for grazing. It filters wind perfectly, and can do it in high places (though you have to know how to grow it in exposed locations). It’s also one of the world’s important foods for humans (once again, understanding required here.)

    Every time one mentions bamboo one encounters a wall of ignorance. People immediately imagine swamps, snakes, mosquitoes and some species they once saw or heard of which got “out of control”. The opposite is the case with moso, which forms airy, open forests on hills.

    Nobody is more aware than I of how hard it is to get moso established over a broad acreage. It is a bad propagator (my moso is all from seedlings of the last world flowering in the late 80s) and wily Australian animals love to feast on moso shoots and growing tops. But we are so lucky to have one of the few biomes where it can really do its stuff when its needs are understood: temperate/sub-tropical eastern Oz. Why am I ranting about all this? Because you can, with understanding and persistence, grow a superb edible plant good for timber and all kinds of fibre processing AND add a hundred feet of height to marginal hill country which now grows splendid crops of lantana, cockspur and tobacco bush. (I’m not mentioning other promising bamboos because I don’t know enough about them – but there are some tremendous possibilities there.)

    I don’t think we should mindlessly plant tree seedlings just anywhere to make delicatessens for wallabies. But surely it’s time to remember what the word “green” used to mean – before we had Greens.


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      Yonniestone

      Robert the same can be said about Hemp Fiber vs Cotton Fiber, hemp uses half the water to grow, produces over twice the amount of fiber per acre, doesn’t need pesticides to grow and is stronger than cotton, apparently the USA banned the farming of it in 1937 and there’s a lot of theories as to why.


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    Tiresome

    Not withstanding some land surface feedback as demonstrated by the bunny fence another predictable lightweight analysis ignoring where the rainfall comes from. Ho hum.

    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/14/science/14fenc_ready.html

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n4/full/ngeo761.html#a1

    http://www.cmis.csiro.au/Yun.Li/Papers/reprints/2010_JCLI_SWWA%20Monsoon_Feng_Li_Li.pdf

    http://www.csiro.au/news/New-climate-index-solves-south-west-WA-rainfall-riddle.html

    And the usual myopic WA thought processes – “The evil climate skeptics want more trees” says Jo – not in eastern Australia and especially Queensland they don’t.

    The only good tree is a dead one. Grass and wheat doesn’t seem to grow as well under trees despite the sceptics beloved CO2 magic pixie anti-Liebig’s law gas. So bulldoze them. Or Tebuthiuron is equally good to get right up them. So many trees aren’t natural anyway.


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      llew Jones

      Very enlightening O Tiresome one Here are some excerpts from the gems you referenced:

      “According to Dr Ian Foster from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, the department will adopt the new index to help forecast seasonal rainfall and to assist farmers with agricultural management decisions such as, which crops to plant and when.

      “We will be using the SWACI to see if it can improve our skills in forecasting seasonal rainfall and crop growth potential in south-west WA,” Dr Foster said.”

      Please ensure you are not using a double headed coin, Dr. Foster.

      or this little bet many ways (think settled science):

      “The southwest corner of Western Australia has been subject to a serious drought in recent decades. A range of factors, such as natural variability and changes in land use, ocean temperatures and atmospheric circulation, have been implicated in this drought, but the ultimate cause and the relative importance of the various factors remain unclear.”

      That’s what we skeptics had already worked out.


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        Tiresome

        Really llew – I must has missed your erudite publication. Try reading the papers plural – you must admit just blaming it all on the trees is a bit of giggle isn’t it. Trees trump oceans ! wow ….


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    Tim

    It’s bigger than Oz…

    In research meant to highlight how the destruction of the Amazon rainforest could affect climate elsewhere, Princeton University-led researchers report that the total deforestation of the Amazon may significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States, resulting in water and food shortages, and a greater risk of forest fires.


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    handjive

    A Dartmouth College study has found that replacing forests with snow covered fields could be more helpful for the environment in some regions.


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    scaper...

    Off topic, you just got to laugh…to prevent yourself crying. They used to say “only in America”. Now it is “only in Australia”.

    LABOR’S $6 billion carbon tax reduced Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by less than 0.1 per cent.

    As PM Tony Abbott ratchets up the pressure on Labor’s Bill Shorten to axe the carbon tax by Christmas, the new figures will be released this week by Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

    They reveal that the introduction of the carbon tax coincided with a reduction of greenhouse gases of around 300,000 tonnes in the first full financial year of operation.

    While the carbon tax is now $24 a tonne, the effective cost of the emissions reduction on the basis of revenue raised is $21,000 per tonne.

    Worthy of a thread, I reckon.


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    Geoff Sherrington

    Recently I saw a paper on the effects of sugar can plantings on rainfall/temperature. The shiny cane leaves reflect sunlight and lower soil temperatures. Perhaps the outcome for WA should be genetic modification research into wheat with shiny leaves to preserve soil moisture. There’s an idea to make a mint in agriculture. No patents applied for yet AFAIK.
    The paper under discussion is plausible, but I think there are some simplifying assumptions that need more rigour and testing. Personally, I’d not go into the economics as it’s a better paper without that aspect. There should also be a study of soil fertility, including interpretation of Landsat style imagery for the farmed and unfarmed test areas that are compared. There are quite a few papers lately that seem to take a few parameters that are thought to count, while ignoring other possible parameters that could count, as the known unknowns.


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    Geoff Sherrington

    Re WA used to have tall trees – On King Island in Bass Strait there also used to be some tall trees. You can still find the stumps left after logging if your guide is good and you don’t mind the tiger snakes in the ti-tree forest. I saw one ground-level stump that was by eye 3-4 meters in diameter. Maybe some of the locals in WA know of remnant stumps there.


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    I’m not sure where I got the original link (perhaps here) for this website, but it seems a good fit to this discussion: http://landscapesandcycles.net

    Also, http://joannenova.com.au/2013/02/do-forests-drive-wind-and-bring-rain-is-there-a-major-man-made-climate-driver-the-models-miss/ covered a similar topic at the beginning of the year on this blog. I read much about this and find it interesting that in the end, CO2 may have very little to do with climate changes. Now, if we can just reign in the green whacks who will want to stop all tree cutting……

    The statement about wanting “tall” trees–very reminiscent of corporations who go to places like Costa Rica and buy out farmers and turn them into tree shepherds so they can claim CO2 savings. It has to be in a tropical area to do any good, I am told. Which allows corporations to destroy local farming and throw in trees to “save the earth”. Needless to say, I avoid buying from these companies as much as possible. These “restrictions” conveniently allow people to “save the planet” in a different country where land is cheap and farmers desperate. In other words, to behave as the typical environmentalist.


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    Richard

    No only land clearing but introduction of non indigionous plants cause water problems ,

    [PDF]water shortage, deforestation and development – University of …
    planet.uwc.ac.za/nisl/invasives/Assignment1/Binns.pdf
    by JA BINNS – ‎2001 – ‎Cited by 34 – ‎Related articles
    Post-apartheid South Africa faces a serious water supply crisis. … that the widespread introduction and spread of alien tree and plant species has ….. 25 000 m2 of invasive trees were cleared from riparian zones, leading to an increase in …

    It is reckoned in America the damage of non indigionous plants causes over 100 billion dollars of damage.

    Look up rabbit damage, it is astonishing what the little buggers do, of course in the wonderful climate they bread all year round .


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      Wyoming has a similar problem with salt cedar–actually large portions of the US. Apparently, it grows a tap root down to the water table–clever plant! Trying to irradiate it has proven extremely difficult. Seems like these things “escape cultivation” (meaning the plant does what plants do an makes as many new plants as possible) frequently. Perhaps we should think a bit more about what we are cultivating? Just because it was pretty where you lived before does not mean it belongs where you live now. Pretty or not.


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    [...] Another interesting paper is by Mark Andrich and Jörg Imberger who seek to distinguish rainfall changes in Western Australia caused by land-cover and more general shifts in the Hadley circulation. Their conclusion is that land-cover (i.e. tree loss) is the dominant factor to explain precipitation changes. (See also here). [...]


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