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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Birds using aerial bombing with firesticks to light fires and flush out prey

By Crikey! Birds are deliberately using fire as a tool. Humans are not the only animals on Earth setting things on fire.

Aerial arsonists are on the loose. Sneaky Australian raptors have been spotted picking up burning sticks, or even stealing them from a campfire and then deliberately dropping them on grass so they can feast on rodents fleeing from the fire. Apparently they do this in hunting packs, and will drop the burning stick half a mile away on the far side of waterways or roads. Aboriginal people have been talking about this for years, but no one quite believed it.

This really puts a spanner in the works of the fire management plans. So much for firebreaks.

Someone is going to have to get these birds to apply for permits.

Australian raptors can spread fires.  Credit: Bob Gosford

Australian Birds Steal Fire to Smoke Out Prey

Live Science, Mindy Weisberger

Three species of raptors — predatory birds with sharp beaks and talons, and keen eyesight — are widely known not only for lurking on the fringes of fires but also for snatching up smoldering grasses or branches and using them to kindle fresh flames, to [...]

Green rules, profit, legal bullying drove the Grenfell disaster

Grenfell Tower

It takes a lot of effort to set up a situation so dangerous under the guise of “helping the poor and the polar bears”.

Grenfell — Britain’s fire safety crisis

By Gerard Tubb, Sky News Correspondent and Nick Stylianou, Sky News Producer

The UK Dept of Energy and Climate Change wanted help to get insulation onto buildings to save the world in 2011, so it asked the people who sell insulation. Somehow the plastics industry found the energy to turn up and help the government write rules that would increase their sales.

The Grenfell tower, where 71 people died, ended up being coated in Celotex — a flammable plastic. Celotex staff were on that committee, and bragged on their website how they were “working inside government”. It’s another example of a vested interest leaping onto the Carbonista-bandwagon. No conspiracy needed.

Follow the money:

A few years later Celotex revealed that the rules the plastics industry helps to write are key to company profits. Trade magazine Urethanes Technology International reported in 2015 that Warren had told them regulatory change was the “greatest driver” of plastic insulation sales. Without new regulations he was reported as [...]

Yarloop fire: History repeats — in 1961, a 41 day inferno destroyed 160 buildings and burned a larger area in South-West WA

Fires this week in South West WA have caused two deaths,  burned 72,000 hectares and destroyed 143 homes, wiping out 80% Yarloop. But it’s all happened before, and the fires were bigger, worse, and burned a larger area. The ABC have described the infamous fires of 1961 before, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of the history of these historic fires in their current news. Surely it’s relevant? No one at the $1 billion dollar agency did the internet search that an unfunded blogger did.

Dwellingup, 1961

Dwellingup, January 1961

In January 1961 the remnants of cyclones meant dry thunderstorms lit fires in the hot dry South West of Western Australia. Ten separate fires began in the same area near Dwellingup. They wiped 60 year old small timber towns off the map, and razed 123 houses.  Over the next 41 days, fires continued to burn, destroying 160 buildings and burning through hundreds of thousands of hectares of land (134,000 hectares in the Dwellingup Fire, but 1.5 million hectares burned in SW WA that summer -PDF ). The damage bill would come to $35 million. Somehow, incredibly, no lives were lost.

The fires of 1961 in South [...]

No Yackandandah, wind farms will not stop bush fires

In less than 24 hours The Guardian can turn personal disasters into political advertising:

Climate change and the Victorian bushfires: this is not a coincidence

Cambell Klose

Klose tells us climate change is too complicated for stupid people:

“The issue of bushfires can’t be divorced from climate change. For too many people climate change remains an esoteric concept – something that may happen to someone else in the hazy, far-off future.”

Luckily gifted people, like Cambell Klose (political adviser) can “feel” the causes of climate change.

“Clearly this isn’t the case. The effects of climate change are being felt right now and it is having real impacts on Australians and people all across the world.”

Who needs computer models? (Or for that matter, thermometers?)

What not to do when faced with infernos:

“Yackandandah is trying to do something about this. The community has committed to powering themselves entirely by renewable energy by 2022.”

Some people reduce fuel-loads, others fight off the flames with a solar panel.

Wind farms may reduce bush fires if we have to chop down large tracts of forest to install them. Otherwise they make expensive fire-breaks.

What warming?

The [...]

Forest fires may produce as much CO2 as half of all fossil fuels burned

Globally, fires have been overlooked as a key player in the global CO2 cycle. Tom Quirk has dug up some studies showing that CO2 emissions from fires can be as high as half of the total emissions from human fossil fuel use.

“In October and November 1997, the haze from fires in Indonesia spread as far the Philippines to the north, Sri Lanka to the west, and northern Australia to the south. In the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo, there was a pollution index reading of 860.” | Annette Gartland

Peat deposits can be an extraordinary 20 metres thick. In 1997, a fire consumed 8,000 square kilometers of mostly peatland in Borneo. Researchers estimated 0.2 Gt of carbon were released in this one area that year, and that carbon emissions from fires across Indonesia in 1997 emitted between 0.8 and 2.5 Gt — or “13 to 40%” of the size of global human fossil fuel emissions.[1] Obviously uncertainties are large, but so are the numbers. It all makes the idea of a “carbon market” pretty meaningless: the largest players in this market can’t play and don’t pay. In carbon accounting, fires are “an act of God” (non-anthropogenic), and [...]

Global warming dumps late snow in Australia. Fires one year. Flood the next.

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.

Low Carbon building at Nottingham University destroyed in High Carbon Fire

As the wonderful Delingpole puts it, timber framed buildings have been banned in the UK since the Great Fire of London in 1666. But in 1999 environmental experts decided it was alright again, and the rules were changed. Nottingham University used all their intellectual prowess and rigorous training, and decided to make their new science labs “Carbon Neutral” in the hope that they might be able to change global weather. The labs were designed to meet the most rigorous bureaucratic rules, but burnt down before they were finished.

Late last week the £20 million GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry was razed.

More than 60 firefighters dealt with the fire at its peak, after the first 999 call at 8.36pm on Friday.

Notts Fire and Rescue Service received more than 150 calls from concerned members of the public as flames and plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around. Social media was filled with photos and messages of shock and support.

It must be comforting to know it was built to the most stringent bureaucratic standards and designed by teams of top research academics.

[...]

A few facts on Flannery, Climate Council, and prophecies of bushfire: no long trends for Katoomba

Flannery and the Climate Council are at it again — trying to scare money out of people with their prophecies of bushfires. They are milking the fear factor from the October fires in the Blue Mountains, telling us disaster planning means we have to get “the facts straight”.

Let’s get the facts straight on exactly how human emissions of CO2 have affected the temperature and rainfall in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. How much hotter and drier is the climate? Ninety percent of human emissions have been produced since WWII. Katoomba has the longest running temperature series I could find in the BOM records -see below. But where is that rising trend? The string of hot years in the late 1930s appears to be just as hot as the last decade.  The 1920s and 30s look a lot like the 1980 and 90s.

The facts about Katoomba annual temperatures

Source: Katoomba annual mean temperature

see also Katoomba October mean temperatures

 

But wait, the Climate Council tells us “Hot, dry conditions create conditions favourable for bushfires. Australia has just experienced its hottest 12 months ever recorded.” Any sane person would assume the Blue [...]

Fuel Loads Not Climate Change Are Making Bushfires More Severe

The Age in Melbourne said they were “keen” to get a piece like this from David on Tuesday, but on Wednesday decided not to go with it.

Unfortunately figures on fuel loads are rare. David used to do carbon accounting for the Australian Government, which included developing the ability to estimate forest debris in Australian forests from a combination of plant models, satellite data on vegetation, and weather data. That capability exists in the Department of Environment, in the unit that produces Australia’s carbon accounts. However the figures here are only what David has heard from other sources over the years, and do not reflect any official or government figures. – Jo

UPDATE: Skynews tells us Defence admit starting the mega Lithgow fire last Wednesday. “A massive fire burning in Lithgow and the Blue Mountains was caused by explosives training which was being carried out in the area by the department of defence.”

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Fuel Loads Not Climate Change Are Making Bushfires More Severe

Dr David Evans

The bibles of mainstream climate change are the Assessment Reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) every six years or so. The latest was issued recently, in September [...]

ABC plan to stop bushfires with windmills and buckets of your cash

The Australian media are going all out on climate change and bushfires.

The ABC 7:30 Report last night clearly laid out the options for preventing mega bush-fires.

Funded by you whether you like it or not.

 

Watch the whole bizarre post-modern witchcraft here: ABC Channel 1

Yes, the world has warmed by 0.7C since 1900. We are living in a new climate. Before, when things were, on average imperceptibly cooler, megafires did not happen. Right?

Thanks to Peter Ritson for the short video version.

“The Science is in”. Annabel Crabb tells us “The link is established between climate change and bushfires”. (What “link” would that be Annabel? — That when there is a bushfire there are more media stories about climate change?)

As Simon at ClimateMadness jokes, obviously there is no groupthink at the ABC because they put forward all the views from every side of Greenness:

[...]