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 He uses a multi-pronged approach looking at temperatures, historical documents, statistical step changes, and in a novel process studies the way temperature varies with rainfall as well.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 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 [...]
In a competitive field it’s going to hard to beat this.
In 2007 the Victorian Government thought it was a good idea to spend $24 billion to build a humungously big desalination plant. There was a drought on at the time, and a specialist in small dead mammals said the drought would never end. But now Victorian households will pay up to $310 extra in water bills next year, and something like that every year for the next 28 years until it’s paid off.
Even the people running the plant say it’s too big,
Herald Sun EXCLUSIVE: THE French boss of the troubled Wonthaggi desalination plant has admitted for the first time that the plant is too big for Melbourne’s water needs.
Suez Environment chief executive Jean-Louis Chaussade told the Herald Sun the size of the plant was based on unrealistic rainfall expectations.
“The design was done to provide water to the full city of Melbourne in case of no rain during one year – which was not realistic … The details why it was 150GL per year, I don’t know,” he said.
Which bright spark believed the government paid advertising that said there will be endless droughts? Who [...]
Record-breaking rain means huge Australian arid-land lakes are visible from space.
Australia has one of the most unpredictable rainfall patterns in the world, and this is one of those unpredictable years. For the past few months, the repeated downfalls have left large pools of water lying in arid lands in Western Queensland. It’s great news for farmers. The water will, over the next year, flow south through the Darling River system, restoring parched watercourses, swamps, and dams. The Darling River system flows from Queensland through New South Wales and into South Australia.
Earlier this month, the Bureau of Meteorology announced that the rains were “exceptional”:
The most remarkable aspect of this event was the area covered by the heavy rainfall and the total volume of rainfall that fell. Daily totals exceeded 100 mm over 1.7% of Australia on 1 March and 1.9% on 2 March. The latter is the largest area of 100 mm-plus daily totals on a single day in the Australian meteorological record, breaking the previous record of 1.7% set on 22 December 1956. 28 February was the wettest day on record for the Northern Territory with an NT-wide average of 29.23 mm, while 2 March set [...]
21 contributors have published
2246 posts that generated