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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Climate control gone wrong: Tasmanian Hydro seeded clouds before disastrous floods

Greedy Green Hubris gone wrong? It took months of bad choices to achieve this Gold-Star Moment in Bad Management:

Tasmania’s state-owned Hydro-electric power generator could face legal action for damages after admitting it cloud-seeded in or near water catchments the day ­before disastrous flooding, although heavy rain was forecast.

Tasmania  shut their only fossil fuel power plant in August last year, and relied on renewable energy and one sole Basslink electricity cable to mainland Australia. The cable was supposed to be a back up supply but was bringing in 40% of Tasmania’s electricity, and it broke in December. But a green and greedy approach in Tasmania meant that the state had already run its dams down to 26% levels by selling too much electricity to the mainland at high “renewable” subsidized prices. That was a low level at the start of summer, normally a drier season in Tasmania. After the Basslink cable broke, the dam levels fell to a precipitous 13%, so fast that the green state had to bring in diesel generators just to keep the lights on. They also switched back on the Tamar Gas plant in late January. So much for being the “100% [...]

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 [...]

Sydney Storm damage: forget sandbags, stop these waves with a carbon tax

Massive storm across Australia’s East Coast — 3 dead, 3 missing. Nearly half a meter of rain fell on Wooli (469mm) in 24 hours. Record rain and flooding occurred in NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania. Sympathies to victims and their families.

Houses left hanging as gardens and a pool disappear.

ABC 7:30 Report

There is a lot we could say, but for the moment, marvel at the government brain that bans unauthorized sandbags, but taxes people to stop the storms.

The Big-gov solution — fine residents a quarter of a million dollars if they use sandbags.

[The Australian] Families whose multi-million-dollar Sydney homes were last night beginning to break away in another king tide could have faced fines of up to $250,000 if they even used sand bags to try to protect their properties.

Houses at Collaroy have been under threat since at least 1974 but the council has failed to build a sea wall or pump sand on to the beach because of environmental concerns and a belief that it was spending public money for the benefit of private landholders.

Or make that a million dollar fine:

Planning Minister [...]

History rewritten? BoM wrong on “first” July cyclone, forgets 1935, 1954, 1962

Cyclones down the memory hole?

July 1935, Click to enlarge | Trove

A weak tropical cyclone has formed off the Solomon Islands, and the BOM is reporting that there has never before been a July cyclone in the Queensland region. But Warwick Hughes has already posted up details showing that there have been quite a few cyclones in July. The cyclone is hardly extraordinary, and certainly not “historic”, but what about the BOM?

Forecaster David Grant on the ABC:

“We’ve never had a July tropical cyclone in the Queensland region before.

Australia has only had one other officially declared July cyclone, which formed off Western Australia in 1996.

The official tropical cyclone season runs from November 1 to April 30.”

The July cyclone “first” scores headlines in both The Australian and The Courier Mail. “Queensland weather forecasters record first cyclone in July “. But it’s wrong. Commenter Siliggy on Warwick Hughes site found a HardenUp link listing cyclones and storms in Queensland. Some of the older July cyclones listed below may not qualify as “cyclones” under the new scale, but some clearly did — and rather than being far to the north near the [...]

Climate change causes more tsunamis — The ABC will believe anything

Too much panic is never enough. Fran Kelly asks Stephen O’Brien, lawyer and UN official, about that the effects of climate change which are “already being felt”. She does not blink when his answer includes more frequent and more severe tsunamis. His qualifier…  It’s not a question of “if”, but “when”.

Yes, yes, this is “best and brightest” ideas from around the world, apparently.

 ABC Radio National

Fran Kelly: “Give us a sense of the effects [of climate change] which are already being felt in our region and discussed at this conference.” (at 1 minute)

Stephen O’Brien: “The Pacific Region, and particularly the Pacific Island countries whose land, as you rightly say, are the ones just above sea-level, are the ones that really do have the greatest challenge when it comes to climate change effects on humanitarian need, with the regularity of cyclones, tropical storms, and tsunamis coming through [at 1.30 minutes]. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. And we see that [these] effects of climate change seem to be exacerbated so that they are more frequent and even at times more severe…”

ABC gives free advertising for “the cause”

ABC staff [...]

CO2 is not making storms worse near Japan either

Yet more evidence that there is no relationship between CO2 and cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons. This paper from 2012 tests the theory that global warming made storms more severe and tried to find any effect on typhoons hitting Japan that could be linked to climate change since 1980.

There has been no increase in “super typhoons”. The typhoon season is not longer, nor is it delayed in starting. There has been no change in intensity. The wind speeds are not increasing. The minimum pressure is pretty much the same.

CO2 appears to influence storms in simulated worlds, but not so much in the real one. There is no sign of more severe storms in Australia, New Zealand or the South Pacific either. Nor is there any pattern in the Global Energy indicies, US Hurricanes, US Tornadoes either.

When will scientists and reporters make sure that their audiences know that?

The authors conclude:

“The results suggest that typhoons have not been influenced by global warming. In conclusion, global warming has not significantly changed the characteristics of typhoons, and there is no close relationship between the two.”

Figure 19. Number of super typhoons that develop

[...]

Playing politics with every disaster: Vanuatu cyclone blamed on “climate change”

So far 24 are confirmed dead in Vanuatu, a figure that seems likely to rise.  About 100,000 are homeless, according to the local Oxfam director, which, if accurate, is an awful lot in a country of 270,000. There is no doubt the nation needs help.

Despite the pressing need to solve immediate problems, the predictable claims are already starting. How many journalists will bother to check these claims against the history of cyclones in Vanuatu?  Accuweather lists a lot, including one in 1951 that killed 100 people when CO2 levels were just 311ppm. In 1987 another storm killed 48.

President Baldwin Lonsdale is blaming “climate change”.

Pacific nations regard themselves as at the frontline of climate change, given many are low-lying islands dangerously exposed to rising sea levels, and Lonsdale said changing weather patterns were partly to blame for the destruction.

“Climate change is contributing to the disaster in Vanuatu,” Lonsdale told reporters in Japan, saying rain had been unusually heavy this year.

Even President Hollande, host of the Paris UNFCCC later this year, is milking this disaster: “…the cyclone “is a new cry for the international community to take seriously its responsibility in the fight [...]

Category Five storms aren’t what they used to be

UPDATE: Data for Middle Percy Island has disappeared from the BOM site, but Jennifer Marohasy kept a copy. (I’m sure the BOM will be grateful!) The Courier Mail has an article quoting Jennifer.

The facts on Cyclone Marcia: the top sustained wind speed was 156 km and the strongest gust 208 km/hr. These were recorded on Middle Percy Island in the direct path before it hit land and apparently rapidly slowed.  The minimum pressure recorded after landfall was 975Hpa. BOM and the media reported a “Cat-5″ cyclone with winds of 295 km/hr. To qualify as a Cat 5, windspeeds need be over 280km/hr. The UN GDACS alerts page estimated the cyclone as a Cat 3.

The damage toll so far is no deaths (the most important thing), but 1,500 houses were damaged and 100 families left homeless. It was a compact storm, meaning windspeeds drop away quickly with every kilometer from the eye, so the maps and locations of the storm and the instruments matter. See the maps below — the eye did pass over some met-sites, but made landfall on an unpopulated beach with no wind instruments. It slowed quickly thereafter. The 295 km/hr wind speed was [...]

Disaster. Australian cyclone season is quiet! We have to stop that!

Get ready:

“Australia records its third quietest start to the cyclone season in 50 years.” ABC news, Jack Kerr

Bravo, I thought. ABC covers a good-weather story… but no, lo, for the climate oracles tell us this is ominous and bigger nastier storms are coming. Be afraid!

This weather is weird?

There have only been four occasions since the mid-1960s when cyclones haven’t crossed the mainland before February.

Only four. Golly! This year is almost as “bad”as the worst of the prehistoric era, i.e. ’68, ’80, ’88).

It’s not like the good ol’ days  — when people used to get decent cyclones all the time:

Back in 1870, when Cairns started life as a gold port, four to five severe cyclones would hit the Queensland east coast every decade. By 2010, that average was down to less than two.

Lucky them.

To see the effect of man-made global warming, look hard at this graph below.  Spot the… trend.

A high bar means a long slow quiet start to the cyclone season.

At the start in 1964 CO2 was a wonderful 320ppm. Now it is at 400ppm and obviously (when seen through a computer [...]

Watching Cyclone Ita – Category One (was Five yesterday) over Queensland

UPDATE Sat morning: Thank goodness this has slowed dramatically. Now Cat 1 at 120 km/hr. 990hPa. While some have lost homes, there don’t seem to be any lives lost, though rainfall and storm surges mean the situation is still dangerous.  Courier Mail appears to have the best live coverage.

About midnight, last night Queensland time, Cyclone Ita crossed the coast. (Roughly about now). Hopefully it will pass through a less developed region. It potentially could be disastrous. We hope not. It is about 500km across (?) while Cyclone Yasi was 600km wide.  Winds were nearly 300km per hour but have slowed to 265km/h  205km/h. One meteorologist predicts it to slow to Category Four as it makes landfall. [He was so right, it's now a Cat 3]. Other reports say there’s no sign of that.

Cyclone Ita is currently Category 5 Category 4 Category 1 bearing down on the region around Cooktown and Cairns in North Queensland.

The Cairns 500km radars show it. The BOM warnings. ( 120km 105 30km N of Cooktown. Winds: 295km/hr.   265km/hr 205km/h Pressure: 931 939 960hPa. ) It’s clearly visible in the satellite image on the radar link. ABC live blog. [...]