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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500% more rain over a million square kilometers – Wettest September across Eastern Australia in 116 years

It is not surprising there are floods all over the East coast at the moment

September brought 500% of normal rain to 2 million square kilometers of Eastern and Northern Australia. There are floods across the South East.  There are flood alerts in South Australia, floods have been washing through NSW (and some of those floods were caused by a dam release). There are floods in Tasmania. Flood watches are active in Victoria. Spare a thought for farmers who are taking big losses from both frost and flood in Australia. (So much for endless droughts, and early springs. Hello, Tim Flannery.) Heavy snow  has also fallen — 25cm in Threadbo (it so late in the season, some ski lifts have stopped operating). Right now, thousands of people still don’t have power in South Australia, while others are being rescued from floods across SA and NSW. Floods have stranded 181 families for month on islands in the middle of NSW.

h/t to Warwick Hughes, and Lance Pidgeon

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

A large part of the scary purple area got only 100-200mm of rain in a month (4-8 inches). It’s just very unusual in these dry areas.

To give [...]

Witchdoctors blaming climate change for storms again

Collaroy Beach 1967

Seas Pound Beachfront, Collaroy and Manly.  Weds 6th Sept 1967

“…at Collaroy, heavy earth-moving equipment is standing by to prevent the huge seas from further undermining home units and a house which has been in danger for several days.”

Roger Franklin at Quadrant, wrote about a time  When weather was just weather, and a Collaroy Storm of 1945.

Houses washed away, Collaroy Beach, 1945

Weds June 13, 1945.

..

Weds, June 13, 1945

14 Deaths in NSW Storms

Source: Houses Washed Out to Sea.

Blame climate change, without blaming climate change

The climate scientists are telling us that there will be less of this type of winter storm. But all the other experts, planners, engineers  — get their moment of glory in the media to tell us that climate change will make this worse. In such a way does a media marketing team (like, say, the ABC) convey the sense of alarm, even when their favourite experts are actually saying the opposite.

Here’s Karl Braganza, head of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology, in the SMH, saying that this is [...]

1000 year rainfall study suggests droughts and floods used to be longer, worse

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 UK National Trust wants to stop floods with leeks and lightbulbs

Tony Thomas visited the UK and found old fading National Trust signs using scary photos of flood damage and warning people to “eat local” and change their light globes to stop more floods. He followed that thought to a 2005 web plea from the National Trust, to find them claiming floods are accelerating but using 20 year old photos to scare people with.

Years from now people will study climate propaganda and marvel at how stupid it was.  — Jo

Guest Post by Tony Thomas

My wife Marg and I, two Antipodean yokels, wound up at the National Trust’s Bodiam Castle in Kent last month, awed at its 650-year history. After all, our colony’s iconic historical moment was in 1854, when someone broke a hotel lamp in Ballarat, Victoria and precipitated a scuffle between goldminers and police. The ringleader, instead of being quartered like Mel Gibson  — sorry, William Wallace — acquired a seat in Parliament next year and eventually died in bed. That’s all you need to know about Australian history, unless you’re into sheep.

Marg and I had lunch and wandered out the back of the Bodiam cafe towards the Rother River. “Hey, come [...]

Thank Agenda 21, Red Tape and Green sustainability for Somerset floods in UK

Christopher Booker explains in The Spectator that it’s not global warming that caused  such ghastly floods in the UK, but incompetence and a Green EU wetland plan. He lives near Somerset, (SW England) so he started investigating the rising water six weeks ago — which has now become widespread inundation there, with damages estimated at over £100 million.

(Click to enlarge) Map of Somerset floods | From this BBC page.

As usual, this was a process of small government becoming collectivized big-government.

In the Spectator he writes that before 1996, local groups of farmers and engineers managed the drains, but in 1996 the EA (Environmental Agency) took over. Regular dredging stopped happening, the pumping stations were neglected (or stopped, see the link to the note from the Ghost below), and the local drainage boards found it hard to get anything done with the EA red tape. Then things got worse. In 2002, “the Baroness Young of Old Scone, a Labour peeress, became the agency’s new chief executive”. As Booker goes on to note, she used to run the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England, not that that’s a bad thing per se, just that she [...]

UK Met office predicts 15% chance of heavy rain. Britain gets “biblical floods”.

UK Met Office in December predicted a 15% chance of Jan-Feb-March being the wettest category. Instead the UK got “Biblical floods”.

Cartoon thanks to Panda at It’sNotClimateScience

The Prediction

SUMMARY – PRECIPITATION: Latest predictions for UK-precipitation show a slight signal for near or just above average rainfall during January-February-March

as a whole. The probability that UK precipitation for January-February-March will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 20% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is between 10 and 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).

Photo Chris Murray

The flooding continues:

[RT] England’s largest river, the Thames, has burst its banks, devastating homes in the southeast in the worst floods in 50 years. PM David Cameron has called the flooding “biblical,” as economists predict the crisis will cost close on $1 billion.

The latest bout of rainfall caused the Thames River to swell and burst its banks, forcing people in Berkshire and Surrey from their homes. On Monday evening Surrey Police issued a statement saying that over 150 people had been rescued from their flooded homes. So far about 5,000 homes across the country have been flooded [...]

Floods are manmade, you say now?

Flood Marker in Rome 1598, when CO2 levels were extreme-(extremely low). Photo by Anthony M.

After twenty years of drought predictions that turned out to be not worth a rhinestone rune-stone,  the acolytes of the scare campaign were keen to find some evidence that they were still “right”. Two new papers came along showing that, golly, warming really “formally” “officially” caused floods after all, and they were just what the PR-doctor ordered. So the BBC, ABC, and the usual suspects rushed out to talk about how it was now “proven” that any flood was now officially man-made with a “robust” study and the “first scientific evidence” of a link. Richard Black even got excited that the study was based on “real world data”, which makes you wonder which studies used the fake sort?

If it’s all so definitively proven and obvious now that it’s a shame they didn’t think to join these dots, say, two years ago, so they could warn the world beforehand. It must be frustrating for them that they always seem to get the forecasts right two years too late. It’s another post hoc “prediction”.

And what are these two (TWO! shouted the believers) papers based [...]

Science is played by politicians

Brisbane floods, 1893. Young boys take the opportunity to play in the floodwaters in the business heart of Brisbane. Other people use rowboats- the only sure mode of transport during the floods. Poul C. Poulsen.

When an expert on small mammals announces that sea levels will rise by 100m, that’s national news. When an expert on hydrology announces that thousands of homes will be flooded sooner or later in a major capital city, it’s buried, and stays buried for four years, and even after it’s leaked, it still isn’t front page news until after the flood.

The photo above reminds us that the hydrology experts were not predicting anything unprecedented.

As usual, pronouncements from science are just the hammer used (or locked away) by those in power for their own purposes. A convenient tool. From Hedley Thomas at The Australian

The levels of inundation experienced throughout Brisbane as a result of this month’s flood show that the June 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study, which caused a political crisis for Mr Quinn when it was leaked and published in June 2003, correctly warned that the development control lines, set in 1984, were incorrect.

The June 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study [...]

Brisbane’s Man-made Flood Peak?

In Australia we’re all watching the flood news unfold. Right now, two friends are trapped without electricity in an apartment building in inner Brisbane. The ground floor below them is inundated. Troy and Jan wrote on Tuesday night that they had little warning their exit route would be cut off, and by the time they knew it was, it was too late to leave. They were rushing to cook meals before the electricity went off and were expecting to lose the car. — My thoughts go out to them, and to those who are so much worse off. Which brings us to questions about what might have been.

The major dam above Brisbane, the Wivenhoe, may have missed the opportunity to release serious quantities of water in the week or two leading up to the major flood peak. Because the Wivenhoe was almost completely full, when the big danger-day came  they could do very little but eek out a small amount of water into what was a rising flood, with little capacity to absorb the massive flows. There are hard questions to be asked about water management.

It’s one of the severest La Nina seasons on record, and with [...]