A study done on… golly, Antarctic Ice, allegedly shows that in the catchment area for Newcastle in NSW, Australia, the last 100 years have been pretty darn nice, compared to the past when droughts and big-wet periods used to last a lot longer.
Set aside, for a moment, that the ice cores are thousands of kilometers away and in a totally different climate, if they are right, if, then natural climate change is much worse than our short climate records are telling us. And if our current records are so inadequate and don’t represent the “old-Normal”, then we have a flying pigs of predicting the “New Normal”. Has the climate changed at all, or is the new one just like the old old one?
Hydroclimatologist and lead author, Dr Carly Tozer from the ACE CRC said the research showed exposure to drought and flood risk was higher than previously estimated.
“The study showed that modern climate records, which are available for the past one hundred years at best, do not capture the full range of rainfall variability that has occurred,” Dr Tozer said.
“The wet and dry periods experienced since 1900 have been relatively [...]
The headlines are out, telling us the unnerving news that the climate has changed, “zones are on the march”. How ominous.
Too-tricky graphs show how different everything is in the last 16 years “compared to the 99 before that”. But since our weather comes in cycles of 30, 60 or 200 years, as well as longer ones, almost any 16 year period is likely to be not the average of the century beforehand. Thus this technique can be applied to any noisy cyclical dataset as a Handy Headline Generator.
It’s a tad shameless to present it as if it means something given our short knowledge of the Australian climate and the hyper variability within. You’d think our last century had a constant climate, then there was a “shift”. Spot the hockeystick?
AEGIC — New Australian Climate Developing
Is someone graphing noise?
In thousands of kilometers across the pink “summer dominant” areas of central Australia, it might rain more in summer, but it mostly doesn’t rain at all and when it does rain properly, it’s once in a decade. See Alice Springs in January. How’s that for noise? Did a remnant cyclone rain on Alice this year?
Blame dry weather and electronic sensors for a lot of Australia’s warming trend…
In this provocative report, retired research scientist Bill Johnston analyzes Australian weather records in a fairly sophisticated and very detailed way, and finds they are “wholly unsuitable” for calculating long term trends. He uses a multi-pronged approach looking at temperatures, historical documents, statistical step changes, and in a novel process studies the way temperature varies with rainfall as well.
His two major findings are that local rainfall (or lack of) has a major impact on temperatures in a town, and that the introduction of the electronic sensors in the mid 1990s caused an abrupt step increase in maximum temperatures across Australia. There will be a lot more to say about these findings in coming months — the questions they raise are very pointed. Reading, between the lines, if Johnston is right, a lot of the advertised record heat across Australia has more to do with equipment changes, homogenisation, and rainfall patterns than a long term trend.
Bill Johnston: On Data Quality [PDF]
“Trends are not steps; and temperature changes due to station changes, instruments and processing is not climate change”, he [...]
According to the ABC the Bureau of Met tells us that Queensland has experienced “the worst drought in 80 years” and that “37.3% of the state was covered by the lowest rainfall on record”. (Watch it on iview if you can bear to).
These exacting facts are easy to check, and Ken Stewart did, but the 1.1-billion-dollar ABC did not.
Ken used the BOM’s own websites (Climate Maps and Climate Change and Variability) and shows that the current drought is the worst in 9 years, not 80, and even if it is very bad (heartbreaking for some) it’s not unusual.
Current low rain is not unusual.
The current drought is bad (see red blobs in Queensland):
NW Queensland has missed two wet seasons in a row
The Federation Drought, circa 1900, was much much worse:
(Federation Drought graphed only 1900 – 1902)
Ken wrote to the ABC, and Genevieve Hussey replied immediately — effectively saying the ABC repeat all BOM claims, no matter how hyperbolic, extraordinary, or repetitive they sound.
The information in our report was based on an interview with climatologist Mr Jeff Sabburg from the Bureau of Meteorology. He was also interviewed by [...]
A new study of Law Dome Ice cores tells us that droughts are common in Australia, and that there appears to be eight mega-droughts over the last thousand years, including one that lasted a whopping 39 years from 1174- 1212AD. By their reckoning the 12th Century in Australia was a shocker with 80% of it spent in drought conditions. Things weren’t so bad from 1260 – 1860, at least, as far as they can tell. The researchers are convinced theirs is the first millennial-length Australian drought record. It does seem significant.
The researchers, sensibly, think we might want to pay attention to the Pacific cycles and store a bit more water. Without fanfare the paper also suggests that droughts were worse in medieval times.
“this work suggests Australia may also have experienced mega-droughts during the Medieval period that have no modern analog. Therefore, management of water infrastructure in eastern Australia needs to account for decadal-scale droughts being a normal feature of the hydrological cycle.”
h/t to Paul Homewood at Notalotofpeopleknowthat
The ABC reported this largely as a water management story, without asking whether their past stories that blamed CO2 for droughts were less likely to be true. [...]
A major stormfront in NSW has dropped 170mm on rain on Ulladulla, ploughed down trees, drove waves 8m high onshore, and put the airport underwater in Sydney. It has carpeted the Blue Mountains in 20cm of snow. 30,000 homes lost electricity and 60 people were stuck in a train for two hours. This time last year the region was burning. Amazing photos at the Daily Mail.
Proof of man-made global warming…
h/t to Eric Worrall and Waxing Gibberish.
Image (Top) Photographer Nick Moir, SMH | (Bottom) No photographer listed, Daily Telegraph.
Story of the Fires in 2013 in the SMH | Story with the photos of snow Daily Telegraph
Doreatha Mackellar 1908:
I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains.
We hope everyone is safe.
A new study by Steinke shows that the sun could have been a driver (somehow) of some of the monsoonal rain changes over the last 6,000 years over Indonesia and Northern Australia. h/t to The Hockey Schtick
In the spirit of the Perfect ClimateTM that existed prior to Henry Ford, we also find that Indonesia had a dry spell that lasted for a while, like say, 3,000 years. It ended about 800BC whereupon things got wetter, and mostly stayed wetter. The authors (Steinke et al) think this might have something to do with solar minima which was very low 2800 years ago. (Though I note the Greek Dark Ages also finished then, and “city states” arose, right, so it could have been that too. Ahem?)
To get straight to the action in Figure 6 the top squiggly line is AISM Rainfall (that’s the Australian-Indonesian summer monsoon). It shows how things were wetter in the last 2800 years ago and drier before that (annoyingly, the present time is on the left). The second part of the graph in red shows sunspot numbers. That gets flipped upside down and superimposed on the rainfall graph in the third part, and we can see [...]
A new paper suggests there is an “unprecedentedly” low number of tropical cyclones around Australia at the moment. (How much should we spend to avoid this dreadful outcome I wonder?)
I am a little skeptical of how we can be so sure of the cyclone activity in, say, the year 900 AD. But nonetheless, the study is worth a look. Haig et al took stalagmites from two places in Australia (Chillagoe, Qld, and Cape Range, WA) and got very nice long year-by-year records of 18O and 16O data. They calibrated these against observational instrumental records — though I note these are but a tiny 20 years of data (1990 – 2010), and that during a period described by mainstream climate science (cough) as “unprecedented”.
Assuming that it is possible to pick apart normal rain and cyclonic rain, and that cyclone activity did not just shift to be more than 400 km away (where these stalagmites won’t record the cyclones) then it does appear that there are usually more cyclones in Australia than now. Note the top graphs are the WA site which go back to 500AD, and the lower pair are the QLD graphs “only” going back to 1300AD. Both [...]
Showing that academics can cost the country more than they return, ANU’s Geoff Cary posits that there is an 80% consensus (an unmeasured, meaningless statistic) that there will be more fires in Australia 60 years from now.
This is an opinion about opinions of experts who use models that we know can’t predict temperatures. Not only is this “fact” already piled three layers of nonsense deep, the most abjectly stupid point is the fourth layer, the pretense that these models might, in their wildest dreams, be able to predict rainfall — which is an order of magnitude harder than just predicting global temperature. Predicting bushfires is dependent on knowing not just total rainfall in one region, but how that rainfall is spread throughout the year. Not to mention that bushfires depend on wind speed, wind direction, land-use (fuel load), and humidity.
Everyone knows that different climate models predict both higher and lower rainfall in the same areas at the same time, and the type of phrases used to describe the ability of climate models are: “low confidence” (National Centre for Atmospheric Research), “irrelevant with reality” (Koutsoyiannis ), or an “absence” of skill (Kiktev). Compare the different projections of climate models [...]
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 [...]
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