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Climate change causes full dams

Last week the Maroondah Reservoir, near Melbourne, was full. Thanks to Bob Fernley-Jones for a great shot, perfect for a weekend thread:

Melbourne, Water Storage, December 2016, Photo, Dam.

Observations early on 7/Dec/2016 in Maroondah Reservoir Park  Photo: Bob Fernley-Jones

In 2009 things were dry, the drought was endless, and in a panic, billions were spent  on desalination plants for Victoria (not to mention for Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane). Then the rains returned, the desal plants were mothballed. In Victoria alone, up to $18 billion will continue to be spent regardless of whether any water is used.

(Amazing what a desal plant can do for water storage. ;-)   )

Water Storage, Graph, Melbourne, December 2016

Water Storage

Water Storage two weeks into summer, Australia:  Melbourne  72% |    Sydney 91%  |  Canberra  98% |    Adelaide     89% |  Hobart 98%   |     Darwin 68%   |  Brisbane 75%  |    Perth  28% *

There is water overflowing from the full dam below.   As Bob says: “Not the greatest overflow it’s ever been but positive, and its only part of an interconnected system that is currently a very healthy collective.”

Overflow, Melbourne Dam, 2016

Bob has added more photos here of the healthy ecosystem in a PDF.

*Perth storage is pathetic for lots of reasons, and has been for some time. Rainfall is down, but streamflow is the big problem. That’s another story…

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113 comments to Climate change causes full dams

  • #
    TdeF

    The mining boom has seen a booming Perth population, from 1.1Million in 1990 to 2.1million today. Apart from the desalination plant, what provision has been made since 1980 to increase water catchments and storage for double the population? Of course the dams run dry.

    Across Australia it is the same story, no new dams since the early 1980s and a campaign to free the water for ‘ecological’ flows. Only 2% of the world’s water is fresh water and only 2% of that is outside the Great Lakes, Lake Baikal and Antarctica. We need more dams, more power stations and to use the coal while it lasts but a generation used to having everything provided by their parents is blowing up power stations and will not let new dams be built even while the population doubles. A new drought is a certainly, while we enjoy the flooding rains and build totally unreliable and inadequate windmills. Every species is protected except humans.

    503

    • #
      AndyG55

      Apart from places to put dams, there is something going on in the Perth catchment areas.
      That area has had a gradual drop in rainfall, but a large drop on inflows into the dams.
      Warwick Hughes has some ideas on that.

      They do have good groundwater resources and the possibility of more, but if Perth keeps expanding , then desal will probably have to be a big part of mix, they have plenty of gas to drive them.

      I have no problem with desal when it is needed. Israel relies on it for most of their water.

      But dams are far better is possible. Not sure if Perth has that option.

      162

      • #
        King Geo

        Perth Dams are located in heavily forested national park on the Darling Scarp. The problem is “run off” into the dams. The dams are surrounded by wall to wall eucalypt trees (mainly Jarrah) and heavy undergrowth. There are two problems here. The thick forest and undergrowth severely reduce “run off” into the dams and secondly the millions of trees suck a lot of water as well. Solution: thin the trees (? remove 30%), clear the undergrowth and apply an impervious layer over the catchment floor. The rainfall on the Darling Scarp is generally over 1,000mm a year (much lower on the coastal plain) so these dams should be a lot fuller by making the catchment floors more effective – of course this won’t happen. Trees are protected in national parks but in the overall scheme of things we are dealing with a fairly small area of the vast Darling Ranges National Park.

        133

        • #
          AndyG55

          iirc, the run-off into their dams in 2015 was about 1/4 of the regional demand.
          (data is at work, and I’m not going back there until January :-) )

          That means that major supplementary supplies have to be used.

          Desal and groundwater systems will have to carry the bulk of the supply unless the run-off issue can be solved.

          73

        • #

          Water Corp (?) conducted a trial of undergrowth management in one of the catchments. Result was (IIRC) 3 times the streamflows from the same rain. Effect persisted for several years.

          Side effect was reduced fuel load for bush fires in the catchment, resulting in less destruction of flora and fauna; and easier containment of fires.

          120

          • #
            Annie

            Who’d a thunk it? It’s so obvious to anyone with half a brain but the resident green-minded haven’t worked that one out.

            82

            • #
              john karajas

              Exactly. I remember hearing a radio interview with a veteran of the WA Forestry Department who stated that forest thinning was routine around the Darling Range dams until the Greens stated campaigning against it. Result: less run-off into the dams and greater fuel load as stated by Bernd Felsche above. We are truly afflicted big-time by the green galahs.

              82

        • #
          Bob Fernley-Jones

          @ King Geo,

          But the water catchment areas around Melbourne are dense forest too, including the biggest of Eucalypts (Mountain Ash….E.Regnans) and dense understory.

          BUT, heretically!

          I do think there are potential benefits in selective harvesting (thinning) of some forests. For instance, in Victoria there are large areas of regenerated mountain ash after the granddaddy of bushfires in 1939. They are densely packed from their mass seed-bedding and eventually must thin-out for them to achieve mature size…..

          32

    • #
      Dennis

      At least one proposed dam site in New South Wales that was set aside in the late 1960s was cancelled by the state Labor government in the 1990s and the area handed over as national park which was supported by the Greens.

      161

      • #
        AndyG55

        Welcome Reef would have given Sydney, Wollongong and the South Coast water security for a long time. Their supply is pretty solid

        Brisbane and Newcastle are probably the most vulnerable east coast cities to a long drought.
        Both need extra long term storage and both have had the necessary dams DENIED by the green agenda.

        163

        • #
          Dennis

          But NSW Labor built a desalination plant at Kurnell alongside Botany Bay that is maintained at millions of dollars cost a year but unused.

          During their last couple of years in government in NSW Labor decided to sell half of the electricity businesses (private companies owned by the state government). The sale achieved $5.9 billion of the estimated value exceeding $12 billion. And when debts were settled, money taken from those businesses by the state government as extra dividends, debt hidden off state budgets in the private company accounts, only $800 million was left.

          Spending, borrowing, squandering of taxpayer’s monies, grants to the unions etc., poor decision making on water supplies and so called renewable energy, all considered and the total waste of our monies is disgraceful.

          212

        • #
          beowulf

          Newcastle’s position would have been better had not the RAAF base at Williamtown contaminated the groundwater of the Tomago Sandbeds with PFOS and PFOA firefighting foam.

          The sandbeds only comprise 20% of the Lower Hunter’s total water storage, but are of greater significance because they are its main reserve supply for dry times when the surface water storages are under stress. Extraction has already been halted in about 10% of the sandbeds area, instantly locking up roughly 1.5 billion litres of reserved drinking water.

          A further issue is that in a dry period if the water table in the uncontaminated zone is drawn down considerably, the likelihood increases that contaminated water with its higher water table could migrate into the clean zone, further limiting potential extraction.

          It has been suggested that decontamination of a wide area of the Port Stephens hinterland around Williamtown (not just the water storage) could be achieved with the use of “modified clay” (sodium bentonite I suspect). If the contaminants bind to the clay particles, then what? Why not activated charcoal filtration? Any chemical engineers?

          50

          • #
            AndyG55

            Newcastle still lacks any long term storage.

            It relies heavily on the regular continuous supplies from the Barrington Tops.

            That area still gets rain and mist etc during major droughts.

            42

            • #
              beowulf

              Correct, and Grahamstown Dam (the largest storage at 182.3 ML) is very shallow with a consequent high evaporation rate per unit volume. In terms of storage capacity, the Lower Hunter is the worst off of any major urban area in Australia, because – as you point out – it is reliant on the constant top-up from the Chichester and Williams rivers. Hunter water storages fill quickly and empty quickly as a result.

              They are talking of increasing the pumping capacity from the Williams into Grahamstown to take advantage of peak flows, but that pumping is contingent upon water quality in the river. Too much turbidity or algae and they stop pumping, and if the dam is already full after good rains, there is no available storage capacity anyway.

              All this, yet the Hunter is supplying Gosford and the Central Coast with water and moves (on hold) were afoot to supply northern Sydney as well via a new pipeline. Apparently the Hunter’s water is infinite if you view it through NSW parliamentary goggles.

              A second Dungog dam is a given – it is just a matter of when. Desperation will be the catalyst.

              10

              • #
                AndyG55

                There is another option available.

                If a large dam is built downstream from Chichester Dam it would provide a large increase in storage until a longer term option can be implemented once the greenie menaces is dispensed with.

                Not the ideal, but a great stopgap.

                13

          • #
            Graeme No.3

            The perfluoro-octanoic acid, perfluorooctanoic sulphonate and the perfluorohexyl equivalents have been used industrially for many years, but not widely because of cost. They were used in firefighting foams as the foam was stable in contact with petroleum products (for the RAAF thing jet fuel).
            From the NSW Health Dept. (up-dated July 2016)
            How do PFASs affect human health?
            Recently, experts in the Australian Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) considered relevant international scientific evidence and found that there is currently no consistent evidence that exposure to PFOS and PFOA causes adverse human health effects. However, based on the evidence from animal studies potential adverse health effects cannot be excluded.

            The existing limited studies on PFHxS suggest that this chemical can cause effects in laboratory test animals similar to the effects caused by PFOS. However, based on available studies, PFHxS appears to be less potent in animal studies than PFOS.

            Much of the research on humans has been done with people who were exposed to relatively high levels of PFASs through their work. Workers involved in the manufacture or use of PFASs usually have higher blood PFAS levels than the general public. Studies on PFAS workers have looked for effects on cholesterol levels, male hormones, heart disease, liver changes and other effects, including cancer. These studies have not consistently shown that PFAS exposure is linked to health problems.
            In other words it MIGHT be a problem, but NO evidence (yet). Now where have we heard that before? It may turn out that way but many perfluoro substances have shown no adverse effect for humans over many years. I suppose some of you have seen the video of a mouse running around a large beaker in the perfluorinated oil (which is possible because it transmits oxygen to the mouse). There were experiments with humans http://johnclarkeonline.com/2011/06/20/liquid-breathing-its-not-as-easy-as-it-looks/

            In theory you could extract these acidic perfluoro compounds by circulating the ground water over basic ion exchange beads but that would be very expensive as it would also remove other acids and it assumes that the perfluoro compounds are still in solution and not fixed onto the soil or rock strata. Best if the water was deionised before use. I foresee lots of grants and experiments.

            20

        • #
          Bushkid

          Andy, one of the proposed Queensland dams was totally inappropriate as water storage. Large surface area therefore high evaporation rate, very shallow, and also would have swallowed up a huge amount of very highly productive agricultural land in the Mary Valley. That was a debacle of the Qld labour gummint that had some very serious consequences, including suicides of land-holders being forced off their land. In the end, common sense did prevail and that dam wasn’t built, but obviously and tragically far too late for some. Another dam that was built in later years apparently has some serious water quality problems, that the gummint was warned about prior to construction. Ho hum…….

          20

      • #
        Greebo

        Rather like the Mitchell here in Vic, with the then Premier ( Bracks ) swanning around in a helicopter telling us that dams only “take water from our rivers”.

        31

    • #
      Ian

      You seem not to be aware of the Groundwater Replenishment Scheme in which waste water has been and is being pumped back into the groundwater recharging it by about 14 billion litres per year to boost the supply of drinking water

      30

      • #
        AndyG55

        Just another part of the puzzle. :-)

        22

      • #
        ianl8888

        This needs forced pumping of treated waste water into an active (ie. flowing) aquifer.

        While the technology has been tested and refined in a number of locations, there are risks – no greater than those from deep strata fracking – that are NOT listed in the WA Govt propaganda publications.

        Without both sides of the issue, just more fake news.

        40

    • #
      Robert R

      Er……before they figured out that they did not need to run the desal plants they built, what were they planning to power the plants with……wind turbines?
      OMG, lucky for them the rain cycle continued (as it has throughout history).
      Why aren’t these people behind bars for flushing billions down the toilet when these billions of voters’ money should have been spent on productive endeavours instead of pure folly like desal plants? Productivity advances living standards and civilisation. What are these unneeded desal plants contributing to society. This whole episode is more than just gross incompetence which is bad enough!

      112

      • #
        Yonniestone

        An idea is going about that the Vic desal plant could be used for a fresh water supply to cool a nuclear reactor, if this ever comes to pass popping watermelons will be heard by Ra.

        52

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        In the case of SA yes. It was an early warning sign that the Premier and several members of the Cabinet should have been remanded in custody pending a psychiatric report.

        20

        • #
          Wally

          And the opposition (the libs) who applied VAST pressure at the time for it to be built. Both sides are complicit in the madness.

          00

    • #
      llew jones

      “Every species is protected except humans.”

      That’s the name of the game.

      “The UN Dislikes People”

      https://stream.org/un-dislikes-people-heres-plan-fewer/

      82

      • #
        AndyG55

        Many of its members are from countries run by dictators who care only about enhancing their power.

        Of course the UN doesn’t give a stuff about people.

        33

    • #
      stan stendera

      Every species except birds and bats.

      30

  • #
    Mark M

    2007, and as Tim Flannery put it, coal fired power stations “emit much of the CO2 that is the ultimate cause of the drying”.

    But by far the most dangerous trend is the decline in the flow of Australian rivers: it has fallen by around 70 per cent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain.

    Even more ominous, “Australia is likely to lose its northern rainfall” (New Scientist. Editorial: Australia, Not Such a Lucky Country. June 2007).

    That was before the floods.

    Queensland Floods. Climate Scientists 2010: Less Moisture Over Australia. Climate Scientists 2011: More Moisture Over Australia (via hauntingthelibrary)

    “(C)limate scientists pinning the blame for the Queensland floods on global warming have been contradicting a report published by other climate scientists just weeks earlier.”

    182

  • #
    Mikky

    That photo kills two birds with one stone, the mirror flat water surface shows that no wind was blowing, i.e. the Victorian wind farms were as useful as the desal plants.

    191

    • #
      Annie

      It’s a great photo. I must stop by next time we go over the Black Spur. The intention is there but the need to get home quickly is overiding most of the time. Cold stuff doesn’t stay that way indefinitely!
      We had a very soggy winter hereabouts but the grass is curing rapidly and locals are saying that conditions are similar to those of 1969 when bad grass fires came through here.

      30

  • #
    el gordo

    The Wonthaggi desalination plant was supposed to start pumping this summer, but as nothing has been said I guess the government decided to pay the expensive cancellation fee instead.

    91

  • #
    Dennis

    Recalling the very recent complaints from the SA Labor government accusing the federal and other state governments of not providing SA with the agreed water allocation from the Murray-Darling system completely ignored that the river system is in flood at this time. The locks normally used to maintain river heights for boats have been withdrawn to the river banks to allow the fast flowing waters to pass.

    111

  • #
    RobK

    Dam storage of rainfall runoff is in effect storage of solar distilled sea water. It is a waste to let it run into the ocean without making as much use of it as possible. The greens just can’t get their head around that. Perhaps they see more sense in a nuclear powered desal contraption….simple things done the hard way.

    91

  • #
    toorightmate

    Melbourne is very fortunate to have that water.
    Warragamba Dam ran dry several years ago and is now permanently parched dry. It will never fill again because any rain that does fall is now soaked up by the dry ground..
    I know this because Tim Foolery told me – and Tim never, ever speaks untruths.
    Just like the people in NE USA at the moment must be wondering where all the snow is coming from. Al Gore told them there would be no more snow after 2007 – and Al Gore never, ever speaks untruths.

    221

  • #
    el gordo

    “If we can, over time, irrigate one and a half million hectares in the north, that would almost double the amount of land we have under irrigation today … in the whole of Australia, and that would help us to double agriculture over time,” Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan told the ABC.

    “We don’t have a lot of major dams in the north and in the south, in the Murray Darling and other places, we’ve kind of exploited the resources we already have, so our future opportunities in agriculture, our future opportunities to develop our water resources do predominantly lie in the north.”

    ‘Senator Canavan said the Government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility would help to ensure that any northern foodbowl could get its produce to market.’

    ABC

    90

    • #
      AndyG55

      ““We don’t have a lot of major dams in the north”

      One big huge one, Lake Argyle.

      The rainfall up there would allow for several more.

      This was one Tony Abbott’s dreams… to see the north of Australia become a bread basket for the world.

      So many possibilities, stifled by the far-left REGRESSIVES

      153

  • #
    Dennis

    I have not heard any mention in recent times about the Coalition’s long term plan for more dams to built around Australia, and for the present northern WA Ord River irrigation area to be extended right across the NT and QLD utilising the “wild rivers” waters via dams and barrages.

    The LNP when last in government in QLD managed with PM Abbott led federal Coalition government to overturn the wild rivers protection legislation that the Labor Greens had created to stop dams being constructed.

    81

    • #
      Dennis

      The CSIRO have identified lands in northern Australia covering an area approximately the area of western Europe that with good water supplies would make excellent irrigation farmland.

      80

      • #
        toorightmate

        Dennis,
        Do you honestly believe that this pearl of wisdom came from the CSIRO?
        I suspect a few blokes in the pubs from Richmond to Halls Creek would have discussed this several times over the last couple of centuries.

        40

        • #
          Dennis

          No I don’t think it is a CSIRO first. But I do understand that the CSIRO has been looking into making that a reality by advising the government for planning purposes.

          50

          • #
            el gordo

            The CSIRO did a green paper, then a white paper and this is what they come up with:

            ‘That includes potential projects in the Ord valley in the Top End, Pilbara groundwater projects in Western Australia, Rookwood and Eden Bann weir projects in Queensland, Nathan Dam in Queensland, modification to the Wellington Dam in Western Australia, and development of the Emu Swamp Dam in Queensland.

            ‘The working group also names the Macalister Irrigation District augmentation in Victoria, waste water reuse expansion in the Northern Adelaide Plains in South Australia and the augmentation of the Burdekin Falls Dam in Queensland as “showing potential”.

            ABC (2014)

            30

            • #
              el gordo

              According to Matt Canavan (Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) this is the first cab off the rank.

              ‘That is why we have committed $174 million to invest in specific water projects in the north. This includes our 2016 election commitment of $130 million to co-fund the building of the Rookwood Weir on the Fitzroy River, a project that could kick-start an agricultural boom in Central Queensland in a water catchment that is the second largest in Australia – behind only the Murray-Darling.’

              20

        • #

          The CSIRO used to always do this kind of work, before they discovered climate change was the perpetual funding agenda for a life’s work.

          61

          • #
            AndyG55

            Parts of CSIRO are still productive in this way.

            Also in the study of urban water recycling etc.

            Its mostly the climate scammers which produced nothing but baseless anti-progress propaganda that has tarnished the CSIRO record.

            53

  • #
    Robert Rosicka

    Given the history of droughts in our country the construction of dams should be a no brainer , they have the added benefit of hydro as well .
    I do realise that the site selected for dam has to be appropriate but other than that the only obstacle is the greenies .
    The longest drought in Australia was back around the Middle Ages according to ice core sampling and ran for (I think ) 26 years or so .
    We as a nation would be in dire straights if another super drought like this hit .

    61

    • #
      gnome

      That’s a totally meaningless statistic. There are large parts of Australia permanently in drought and parts that have never known more than a few months drought.

      Anyone who thinks, after a moment’s consideration, that the whole of Australia could be in drought probably lives in inner Sydney or Melbourne and thinks Australia ends at the horizon.

      Gergis might think ice-core sampling has meaningful information about the monsoon rains at Darwin or Cairns, but you shouldn’t quote her fantasies.

      41

      • #
        ianl8888

        … probably lives in inner Sydney or Melbourne and thinks Australia ends at the horizon …

        These people are also scared of the regional areas – one never knows what’s in them, do one ? (Although that comment is sardonic, it contains much truth).

        This narrow mindset reminds me of the view of ancient map makers: “in areas of no knowledge, there be monsters”.

        80

        • #

          Tho’ I meself live in sight of the tall towers of Melbourne
          Central, I agree with yr observation ian18888. ‘In areas of
          no knowledge there be monsters’…so pertinent to CAGW
          cli-sci cloud-tower dooms-day predicting.

          40

          • #
            Annie

            Crikey Beth, I hope it is a distant view from the country! We can never get out of the city fast enough when we’ve been there! It’s supposed to be one of the most ‘liveable’ cities on the planet…Heaven help the inhabitants of the less-so…yuk!

            20

            • #

              Quite close, Annie, but near a Yarra River flood plain
              so lots of river bushland, golf courses and wildlife.
              Watching a pair of kingfishers by the river most days,
              ducks flourishing in this year’s wet conditions.

              00

      • #
        Robert Rosicka

        You crack me up “never known more than a few months without drought” isn’t that called summer?

        21

        • #
          gnome

          No- usually it’s the late onset of the wet season, like this year and last year. If it doesn’t rain in October and November it gets very dry and trees start dying on the slopes where soil moisture is depleted. Even on lower, flatter areas where the soil is usually a bit deeper and there is plenty of soil moisture plants don’t get their roots into it because those roots would die as soon as the rain comes and lifts the water table.

          It’s drought, but the drought ends when the wet season starts.

          00

      • #
        el gordo

        ‘…but you shouldn’t quote her fantasies.’

        In defence of Gergis, she was rolled by an unsavory bunch of Klimatarians and produced a southern hemisphere hockey stick.

        Apart from that minor blemish on her name, my client has some good runs on the board. For example, Gergis says La Nina is more common during global cooling.

        20

  • #
    Dennis

    What about an economic recovery based on infrastructure building, new dams around Australia and the northern irrigation scheme with all the infrastructure that project would require including dams?

    71

  • #
  • #
    AndyG55

    This may never happen…

    http://www.eastwestlineparks.com.au/

    Iron ore from the west, coal from the east.

    Manufacturing at both ends.

    Add some big dams for agriculture and open up the whole of Northern Australia.

    93

    • #
      Dennis

      We need our governments to get together, push political differences aside, invite the best business brains this country has to offer and lay down a nation building plan for the next one hundred years.

      Dams, irrigation farmlands, fossil fuel power stations, manufacturing projects like AndyG55 has posted, etc.

      But the political side must get rid of the business draining rules and regulations with compliance cost burdens, amend industrial relations law to reduce union powers, governance issues and corruption, lower company tax into line with our international competitors and generally create a competitive business environment that puts Australia at least on the same level as the US now is. The Financial Review in 2015 published a story on this and included the average cost per day of employing a skilled person: Australia A$600/day and US A$400/day.

      It could be achieved but petty politics, extreme greenism, socialism and unionism are not helping.

      132

    • #
      toorightmate

      Lang Hancock was laughed at for this suggestion in 1970.
      So since then, Australian resources have made Japan and then China the largest steel producers in the world.
      Aren’t we smart?

      140

      • #
        Dennis

        I watched a documentary on ship building in Korea, coal and iron ore shipped in from Australia and the steel made there.

        50

  • #
    Dennis

    And how about closing the Sydney metropolitan area open ocean sewage dumping, drilling a tunnel or tunnels under the Great Dividing Range to the west and pumping sewage to sewage farms to process into usable water?

    101

    • #
      AndyG55

      Could still do all the primary treatment in the Sydney area, that way you would not be pumping sludge, just reasonable quality water with some nutrients left in it, which would be magic for crops.

      113

      • #

        I have been trialing a native nut tree with different growing conditions. The one the golf course, sprayed with recycled sewage water, doubled in size. Now being tested in a Queensland Laboratory. This water seems wasted on a golf course!

        60

      • #
        markx

        Hey, sludge is great stuff. But depends on the soils. With sandy fast-draining soils it creates soil structure and a bacterial population, and retains both moisture and nutrients where plants can use them.

        10

      • #
        Wally

        You all like to call us a bunch of morons here in SA, but we’ve been using the outflow water from Sewage treatment for years. Lot’s of irrigation done with it, and treated to a point where it’s high nutrient but otherwise drinkable. No sludge gone out to sea here for decades.

        Always mystified me why it was that in NSW they were so proud of grinding the sewage up really small and diffusing out out to sea instead of just treating it to a point where it can’t be a problem.

        10

    • #
      David Maddison

      It was argued at the time of planning the Sydney sewer outfall that it was a terrible waste to pump this resource out to sea but should have been used to irrigate crops in the West. No one listened to reason.

      31

  • #
    Rick Will

    I have a great example of confirmation bias.

    I have a theory that the sea ice line is a key control in the present global thermal balance and the precise temperature of formation and melting of sea ice at 271.2K is the primary control of earths temperature. This relies on the oceans having good connection to the sea ice, particularly in the southern ocean. I reasoned that if ice extended from Antarctica to South America then that could dramatically alter the circulation and lead to reglaciation of the northern hemisphere.

    I eventually found a 2003 paper by Sijp and England that models the consequence of of Drakes Passage being closed or partially closed:
    http://web.science.unsw.edu.au/~matthew/SE_DP_2004.pdf
    Figure 4 shows what I expected.

    On further reading I learnt that there was a period when the Pacific was much warmer than present and Antarctica was a sub tropical woodland. This occurred during the so-called Middle Eocene Climate Optimum. Australia was mostly tropical rain forest. Water off Eden was 6C warmer. Pollard a DeConto in 2003 explained that the change to glaciation of Antarctica around 34Ma ago was due to a sudden reduction in CO2 from 1000ppm to 400ppm:
    http://www.essc.psu.edu/essc_web/publications/PDFs/ant_hysteresis.pdf
    They have run their climate model backward from 400ppm to 1000ppm to demonstrate the deglaciation of Antarctica.

    In continuing searches I found an interesting story by Scher and Martin 2006 on the separation of South America from Antarctica to form Drakes Passage:
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/312/5772/428.full.pdf?sid=bc860ca0-3669-41bd-ac22-629226be541f
    This apparently succeeded the separation of Australia from Antarctica

    If you believe that CO2 drives climate then the linked chart is all you need to explain major shifts in earth’s climate:
    http://descentintotheicehouse.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Capture8.jpg
    The sudden drop in CO2 around 35Ma ago is all you need to explain the glaciation of Antarctica. The reason for the change in CO2 is simple because it is so finely balanced that there are reinforcing feedback loops so once it starts it keeps going.

    20

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      But Rick Will, I read that the sudden drop in CO2 from about 1,000 ppm to around 550 ppm was accompanied by a jump in temperature of roughly 2℃. The timing was also slightly different with the drop around 28-30 million years ago. I have also seen claims that the Antarctic ice cap started 38 m.y.a as well as a confident one that it couldn’t be older than 25 m.y.a.
      Isn’t climate science so reliable? Looks like another lot of research Grants needed.

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    thingodonta

    When I was at primary school in Sydney, we did a study on Sydney’s rainfall and it was obvious that east coast lows, which occur periodically and produce major and widespread floods on the east coast, would always return eventually and fill up Sydney’s and Brisbane’s, water supply. Upper atmosphere disturbances, generally resulting from the mixing of warm moist ocean winds and westerly moving air would also produce major widespread rainfall events, which keep the dams water supply virtually assured. As children it was obvious that Sydney’s and Brisbane’s water would never run out mostly because of these factors.

    So ‘experts’ ignored this and built expensive desalination plants in Brisbane and Sydney, loaded with contracts which ensured those building it didn’t even need to have low rainfall. The east coast lows and upper atmosphere disturbance-related rainfall returned, and the dams water is assured.

    But I wonder what they are telling the children in schools now?

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      So true. All there in our local precip records, which are not subject (yet) to as much fiddling as the temps. Sydney’s driest year was 1888, next driest was 1862, followed by 1968, then 1941, then 1957, then 1880, then 1980, then 1936. Going back in the record, there have been several clusters of dry years more severe than the ones leading up to the building of the desal. There is clear evidence of huge variations in the catchment going back to the 1790s: the rains have always returned, and the new normal is the old normal (except that Eastern Oz has been a fraction wetter overall since the half-century between the Fed Drought and the end of WW2.)

      Was the whole desal thing a half-million per day beat-up? Yes. Yes it was. Can this be deduced simply by looking at the history of rainfall in one’s state or region? Yes. Yes it can. Duh. And is the whole idea of such an energy gobbler incompatible with the concurrent war on coal, a war waged by the same people who urged for energy-gobbling desals? Sure, but you can’t expect a passionate green activist to wear his anti-coal hat and his end-of-rainfall hat at the same time.

      Of course, Sydney has a long history of “visionary” leaders who build things like monorails and desalination plants quickly ready for demolition and removal so the next visionary leader can leave his mark. Who knows? Maybe Baird can lead his light rail all the way to historic Kurnell and its unused desal plant (after servicing such urgent stops as Fox Studios, the racecourse, certain Meriton and Westfield developments) and get funding from some Federal or international body because it’s for “ecotourism” and “green jobs”.

      As every good green citizen and civic leader knows, you can’t burn an omelet without smashing all the eggs.

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    Peter C

    Road Testing Stephen Wilde’s New Climate Model.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/10/for-discussion-can-convection-neutralize-the-effect-of-greenhouse-gases/

    Stephen Wilde has published a well thought out meteorlogical based Climate Model which he has published here on JoNova’s site and also on his own website.
    http://www.newclimatemodel.com/

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) flys atmospheric balloon probes every day from a variety of sites which extend from the tropics to coast of Antarctica. The balloon data is published on the BOM website (go to Aviation Weather Services, aviation observations, aerological diagrams)

    I looked at the balloon flights to road test Stephen’s model. The sites chosen were Cocos Is (tropical and almost under the sun at this time of year) and Davis, Antarctica. Tropics are associated with low pressure (rising air) and Antarctica with high pressure (descending air). The south pole would be a better site but I don’t know how to get balloon data from there.

    Results:
    Cocos Is: Surface temp; 25C, Height of tropopause; 16km, Temp tropopause -85C, Lapse close to the saturated adiabatic lapse rate (SALR) at all altitudes.

    Davis: Surface temp 0C, Height of Tropopause 9km, Temp tropopause -55C, Lapse between DALR (dry adiabatic lapse rate) and SALR

    From this one set of observations my tenative conclusions are:
    1. Tropopause is much higher in the tropics than Antarctica,
    2. High altitude air is not isothermal on its journey under the tropopause from tropics to pole,
    3. Air arrives back at the surface colder than when it left on the way up
    4. Ascending air has a lapse rate close to the SALR
    5. Descending air does not follow the DALR.

    However we do not have to go to such extremes of latitude because there is a egular succession of high and low pressures over the Australian continent. Air goes up in the low and comes down in an adjacent high. At the moment we have a low pressure over Broome and a high pressurew over Adelaide. Balloon flights are made at both sites.

    Results:
    Broome: Surface temp; 32C, height of tropopause; 15.5km, temp tropopause; -85C, Lapse DALR below 10,000ft and SALR above 10,000ft

    Adelaide; Surface temp 15C, Height of tropopause 12km, temp tropopause -55C, Lapse SALR above 5000ft with an inversion below 5000ft.

    From this set of observations my conclusions are much the same as for Cocos Is and Davis. In this case conclusion 1. is the tropopause is much higher under a low pressure cell than a high pressure cell. Note; that land seems to influence the lapse rate near the surface.

    I give the New Climate Model 3 correct predictions out of 5. The tropopause temperatures are not the same in highs as in lows and the observed lapse rate in a high pressure area does not seem to be the DALR (as predicted).

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      Peter C

      From my observations the correct predictions of the New Climate Model are:
      1. The tropopause is higher in a low pressure cell than a high pressure cell.
      2. Ascending air has a lapse rate very close to the SALR
      3. Descending air arrives back at the surface colder than it was before it went up.

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        tom0mason

        I wonder about the motives of the red thumber.
        Who would dislike an explanation of your assumptions used in your model without actually stating what they see is wrong with it.

        Red thumbed because they are to dµmb to understand maybe…

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        Peter C.

        Thanks for your efforts.

        I should address the two ‘predictions’ that you currently do not consider to be correct.

        One of them seems to be that you do not find the tropopause temperature between equator and poles to be isothermal but that is not what my theory suggests. It only needs the tropopause temperature between high and low pressure cells to be similar at the same latitude. The reason is that the tropopause temperature varies between equator and poles in any event. Furthermore, even at the same latitude I would not expect the temperature betweeen the two cells to be perfectly isothermal because there are many factors that can influence that temperature. All I require is that the temperature change between the top of the low pressure cell and the top of an adjacent high pressure cell at the same latitude be something less than would be expected solely from the height change.

        I’m not sure what the other apparent ‘failure’ was. Please could you clarify that before I comment on it ?

        Stephen.

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          Peter C

          Thanks Stephen for your reply

          I am most interested in your New Climate Model and I would like to assist with any refinements. However I do not have any qualifications.

          Point 1. Yes Cocus Is to Davis is a huge change in latitude. Your theory did not anticipate that. Hence on the second pair of stations I took two stations which are much more similar in latitude. Australia is ideal for this because the procession of high and low pressure cells is much more regular than the Northern Hemisphere.

          Broome and Adelaide are not so far apart in latitude. The change in tropopause temperatures was similar to the Cocus Davis comparison. However I admit the the tropopause level was not very well defined in the Adelaide trace.

          It is only one test. Unfortunately the BOM does not give any archived data so it is not easy to go back and check results. None the less it is a great resource. I think that the data I took was typical but I will monitor to see if I get confirmatory results.

          Point 2. Descending air should follow, or be cooler than, the DALR. Not confirmed. Descending air more or less follows the SALR. Why is that? I do not know.

          There are lower level affects which are hard to explain. One is the subsidence inversion which is typically seen in a high pressure cell, here in Australia.
          https://bmtc.moodle.com.au/mod/book/view.php?id=3764&chapterid=2233
          This is a well documented phenomenon. It affects the thermal heights for us glider pilots. The inversion restricts the height of convection. None the less I do not know why it occurs. Why does the subsidence not go all the way down to the ground?

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            OK.

            The tropopause level is important because what we are looking for is the temperature change between the top of the low pressure cell and the top of an adjacent high pressure cell at the same latitude being something less than would be expected solely from the height change. I don’t know how that could be measured or calculated in a highly mobile thermally complex scenario. Radisonde data does not currently help.

            A true DALR is never encountered in reality since no descending air is ever completely dry and there are gases and aerosols present which themselves have radiative capability.

            The point about my diagrams is that they look behind the complexity of the reality observed by sensors and instead set out the underlying simplicity that must exist if the global air circulation system is to behave as observed.There are many confounding factors at every location but on average globally it must be as per my insight if the general laws of physics are to be obeyed.

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    David Maddison

    The dams are full, there is no global warming and the earth is likely cooling and Infrastructure Victoria wants to build a SECOND desal plant or expand the existing one (even though it is unused) plus they want close the coal mines and coal power stations, among other insanity.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/what-infrastructure-victorias-30year-plan-for-the-city-looks-like/news-story/d5c447a16edf2b9a1f937ded6957f338

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    David Maddison

    In Israel, which has a natural chronic water shortage but due to good management is now a water exporter, rain water that runs off the street is now being collected rather than run out to sea. It is put through a series of filters including biofilters and when sufficiently clean it is reinjected into aquifers or otherwise used.

    The water that runs off Australian cities could be similarly collected, filtered and reused to address any water shortage. It beggars belief that the Left chose horrifically expensive and unused desal plants just because some idiot told them the dams would never fill again.

    The simple and cheap solution, even if a water shortage was real, would have been to build more dams, pipelines or collect rain runoff from the streets.

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      bobl

      The contaminants in road runoff in general are very expensive to remove and generally quite toxic, given the large areas for catchment we have in Oz it is much easier to collect water that has less chemical contamination and more organic contaminants and use mostly biological treatment (by storing it in dams for a while) to remove bio contaminants (like animal dung) and then kill off the biological critters that remove the biomass with a little chlorine just before delivery to your tap.

      We actually have plenty of water, what we don’t have though is the bulk of the people living where the water is! We could actually solve that if we really wanted to.

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    RoHa

    Has Tim It-ain’t-gonna-rain-no-mo’ Flannery made any public comment on this?

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    Environment Skeptic

    Looks can be deceptive….

    When still a young lad we used to have a subject called ‘Geography’ and can still remember the teacher pointing out that all dams have a shelf life due to the fact that eventually they fill with silt…

    Well then, with the explosion of plantation forestry, state forest is logged and many catchment areas are i hear also being logged and this would inevitable speed the filling of dams with silt…

    What you are seeing is in part the result of an increasingly thinning layer of water covering an increasingly thick layer of silt i suspect. It is something that also needs to be taken into consideration.

    I remain skeptical about contemporary environmentalism in its current pathological form.

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      Annie

      That’s why you scrape out the silt during the time a dam runs dry, as we did early this year.

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        Environment Skeptic

        That makes sense then.
        Thanks Annie.
        PS I used to be called ‘Mike’ on this forum, and have adopted this new identity.

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    RB.

    Adelaide 80% full? They seemed to have released a lot of water only a few days ago down the Torrens. Kangaroo creek has dropped from 100% to 66.5% in two months. I’m guessing they need to make room for 30GL bought in March from the Murray.

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      Dennis

      I have recently been along the Murray at Wentworth and Mildura, and on it in a boat. It is flooded, locks withdrawn to enable the rushing waters to move without being blocked.

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      Wally

      Actually its probably because there are large scale works on Kangaroo Creek Dam to alter the spillway and strengthen the dam wall:

      https://www.sawater.com.au/current-projects/kangaroo-creek-dam-upgrade

      “The third and final stage will involve widening the spillway and raising and strengthening the dam wall. The reservoir will be maintained at a lower level during the project to allow works to be completed safely. To do this, we release a steady, consistent flow of water from the dam after rainfall events. This release is controlled and is scheduled over a long period of time to minimise the impact downstream. The water being released is of good quality and is cleaner than stormwater.”

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    Harry Twinotter

    “Climate change causes full dams”

    I have not seen that prediction for Australia. But if you have a reference…

    If you are just being ironic and implying that climate change will cause empty dams, I don’t think anyone made the prediction that the dams would be empty all the time.

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      AndyG55

      Yawn !!! google “Tim Flannery”.

      And do try to learn at least something about Australian “climate farce™” if you are going to comment on an Australian realist site.

      Otherwise you will risk looking like an ignorant ass.

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        sophocles

        Learn? Learn? What’s this learn stuff? That’s for School.
        Get Real. There’s no learning required to become a Climate Change Advocate.
        After all, the Science Is Settled™
        No thinking is required either.

        That’s all work and gets in the way of brain-wash… adbocating the Biggest Threat to Civilisation and Humans Ever.
        Besides, all that learning and thinking stuff is what the 97% of Klimate Scientists do.

        /sarc (for the 3%) ;-)

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      John F. Hultquist

      Harry,
      Perhaps you should attempt to be a bit less literal in your thinking. Unlike the CAGW crowd most readers enjoy Jo’s wordsmithing abilities.

      In any case, here is part of the story line:

      So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush.
      So said Tim.
      http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1844398.htm

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      Bob Fernley-Jones

      Harry Trollotter,

      I would think that less than 1% of readers here will concur in your opinions or your apparent lack of understanding of the humour…irony….sarcasm….reality….etcetera, entailed in Joanne’s presentation.

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      markx

      Hi Harry. Tim Flannery, as Climate Change Commissioner, said: “…even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems…”

      The full quote is below from the original ABC program:

      SALLY SARA: What will it mean for Australian farmers if the predictions of climate change are correct and little is done to stop it? What will that mean for a farmer?

      PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we’re going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.

      The full Landline interview is here:

      http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1844398.htm

      It is interesting to note some ‘interpretations’ of what he really meant (ROTFL! …. gotta love the convolutions of language used!):

      However, what Flannery was actually saying that climate trends at the time indicated a long-term outcome of normalized water shortage consistent with IPCC projections.

      Flannery’s comments were to the effect that Australia was at the time currently experiencing a 60% fall in run-off going into dams due to hotter soils and greater rainfall take-up by drought-stressed vegetation and that this would be indicative of what we could eventually expect as a consistent and normal outcome in the future.

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        Bob Fernley-Jones

        @markx,
        If I understand you correctly, I don’t comprehend why you should be ‘Rolling On The Floor Laughing’ in your personal interpretation of what Flannery said to a receptive Sally Sara. It is clear that from his position of authority (and charismatic popularity….becoming Oz OTY 2007) that Flannery said many things on multiple occasions from I think around 2005 onwards that conveyed an incessantly alarming CAGW message that led to; a resultant media feeding frenzy; and a resultant panicking by decision makers.

        For instance, out of many of his allegations, in this particular case, you declare/interpret that his meaning was:

        “Flannery’s comments were to the effect that Australia was at the time currently experiencing a 60% fall in run-off going into dams due to hotter soils and greater rainfall take-up by drought-stressed vegetation”

        Sorry, I’m a mere mechanical engineer, of much lower status than he; an acknowledged mammalian fossil expert, but that is a very simplistic and incredibly broad-brush analysis. (Erh BTW, engineers seriously DO DATA).

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    Bob in Castlemaine

    Due to the “great Green paralysis” Melbourne has not seen any significant new water catchments developed for more than 30 years. During this time Melbourne’s population has increased by more than 65%, to be now more than 5 million. Considering this, Melbourne’s creaking water supply infrastructure really hasn’t done a bad job in keeping up.

    The travesty is of course that on the strength of dire warnings from “climate change” high priests such as “flim-flam”, Victorian Labor governments saw fit to lock-up Melbourne’s most significant undeveloped catchment, the Mitchell River. This ignored the need for flood mitigation works i.e. a significant dam, sorely needed because Mitchell River flooding regularly devastates downstream farmland. Net result, ongoing flooding, billions of liters of water wasted, simply flushed into Bass Strait. Not to mention of course the ongoing cost liability of $1.8M per day Victorians must pay to keep the Labor/CFMEU preferred alternative, the “white elephant” Wanthaggi desal plant in moth balls.

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