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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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.”

————-

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:

[...]

Are forest fires evil polluters?

Note the mass emissions in the Amazon and Africa in Sept 2007

The Carbon tracker shows the major CO2 polluters as they splurt out CO2. See the massive plumes of CO2 around the planet.

Look at China… watch clusters of coal fired power stations bursting into life only to shut down a month later. (Or maybe not.)

Is that mass rallies of four wheel drives each August in the Congo? No, it must be air-conditioners in Kinshasa…

Tom Quirk tells me that the intermittent polluters around the equatorial region are likely to be massive fires. (And there are even monster fires as far north as Siberia).

I’m intrigued but I want some data. The NASA Earth Observatory obviously have some data — see the picture here of the same month as the picture at the top (sept 2007). It is not enough though. The dots represent the number of fires, but not the intensity, and not the fuel load…

 

Note the active fires in the Amazon and Africa in Sept 2007

Watch the global wildfires rage and die out in this animation below:

[...]

Al Gore tries “back door” and gets knocked back by Australian Firenado filmmaker again

It’s good to know some people just can’t be bought and Chris Tangey is one of them. He refuses to allow any part of his work to be used to “decieve” people.

Al Gore or someone in his team, really wanted the firestorm footage for his 24 hour televised special coming up this week (which Watts Up is matching hour for hour). One arm of his team (the Office of the Honorable Al Gore) asked Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film & TV for permission to use the spectacular footage in late September, and Tangey said “No” it would be “deliberately deceptive”,  which caused media stories around the world. Now another arm, The Climate Reality Project has quietly tried dressing up in their nonprofit-documentary-group-cloak and again offering money to secure the rights.

The full recent email exchange is below. The Gore team mean “no disrespect” but their representative Andrea Smith was still happy to insult people with names, and was perplexed, writing that ” the US is the only country in the world that has an active Climate Denier movement – every other country in the world has accepted this as a fact.” We can see how well informed Al’s [...]