JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Koalas extinct? Hardly. “Nearly everything you have read or heard about koalas is wrong”

Since Europeans arrived Koalas have been booming and busting

The calls were out this week saying that koalas will be extinct in New South Wales in 30 years. But they didn’t mention that Koalas thrive and multiply so fast that in the right conditions scientists talk of ‘plagues’. On Kangaroo Island last year, there were so many koalas, the South Australian government has been trying to sterilize or relocate thousands of them over the last twenty years. Periodically scientists even discuss whether we have to cull them (the horror!).

They’ve survived twenty megafires in 200 years. They can recover. Ponder that Koalas were only introduced to Kangaroo Island in the 1930′s but by the 1990′s there were 14,000 of them and even though they are considered a tourism asset they are also considered a problem and pest too.

“Nearly everything you have read or heard about koalas, is wrong” — Vic Jurskis

Koalas favorite snack | Photo by pen_ash

Vic Jurskis is a veteran forester and fire expert who studied them for years. He’s written The Great Koala Scam, Green propaganda, junk science government waste and cruelty.

Jurskis estimates that thanks to European settlers there are more [...]

A history of droughts and flooding rains from 1782 – 1865 in Australia

Here’s one for all the history-deniers from 1885

Mr N Bartley understood Australias climate 134 years ago better than some climate scientists appear to now.

After the fire came the floods, Feb 2020.

Even then Australia already had a century-long rolling cycle of floods, fires and droughts. One natural disaster after another back when CO2 levels were perfect.

These go back to the earliest dates of European settlement. Wherever Captain Flinders landed in 1782 — 1792 he found “found traces of drought and bush fires invariably”. In 1839, the drought was so bad that fish “putrefied” in the big Murrumbidgee River even though there was not one coal fired power plant on Earth.

The author laments that the droughts “become forgotten in the flood intervals.”

In the modern Wifi era humans can forget even faster.

Below is my summary list of the events described in the story.

Below that, the full letter. From The Queenslander, Sept 19th, 1885.

*Since Captain Flinders was born in 1774 I assume those dates were wrong and he wasn’t commanding a ship when he was 8 years old. Any other suggestions welcome.(thanks Gee Aye, SteveD, James West and Peter Fitzroy)

(1795 onwards?)* [...]

Off the charts: Bushfires may be 20 times more intense than the largest fires humans can control

Ten times the fuel means 100 times the intensity

Hardly anyone is talking about these numbers yet they show just how far beyond our control the pyroconvective firestorms are and why we need to be so much smarter at preventing them. They also show how irrelevant temperatures onsite are, compared to fuel load and wind speed.

Controllable fires are 3MW per meter, but we now have loads of 70MW/m

Not only are these fires obscenely, catastrophically intense, it doesn’t matter how much fire fighting equipment we buy, how many dams we empty, they are a man-made disaster, and we’ve known for years how to prevent them. (Some would say, thousands of years). The message in here is that cool controllable burns are tiny, less damaging, and far less intense. The pyroconvective monsters are totally different creatures.

Andrew Bolt interviewed fire expert David Packham in November:

Top fire expert David Packham says forget global warming. It’s the reckless failure to burn-off fuel loads that have turned parts of Australia into death traps. Near Melbourne “we’re looking down the barrel in these areas at 1000 deaths”.

His key point is that if we increase the fuel by ten, [...]

ABC says Arson = 1%. NSW police say 42% of fires are man-made. 9% are “natural”. Rest unknown. (So far)

It’s an arson epidemic

Holy Smoke Batman! An astonishing 12,000 fires have started in New South Wales since August. The police have investigated 1700 so far. Of those, fully 42% are described as “deliberately lit” which includes both intentional and accidental and at the moment police refuse to put a number on how many are truly arson, as opposed to people deliberately lighting a campfire which ran amok. Only 156 fires of the total investigated, or 9%, were caused naturally (presumably that means by lightning).

Another 745 fires of the 1700 are not yet determined. There seems plenty of scope to increase the number of man-made fires but I would assume the extent of lightning strikes are already known.

‘Like nothing we’ve ever seen before’: police step up bushfire investigations

Forty specialist police officers will investigate to zero in on and profile would-be arsonists. “Strike Force Tronto is about profiling. It’s about zeroing in on serial arsonist behaviours that occurs during the bushfire period,” he said.

“That sets the framework for the next fire season so that we do zero in on and target those individuals who we believe may be involved in arsonist behaviour. “This [...]

57 Bushfire Inquiries isn’t enough. We need one more for leaders to hide behind

Big Government strangles our ecosystems just like it strangles scientific research. Australia has had 57 bushfire inquiries since 1939. We knew what was coming and we knew how to stop it, and we’ve known for eighty years (and indigenous people for thousands). Instead we paid a garrison of gravy trainers to not-read-those-reports and to create the exact conditions we knew would turn into a pyroconvective catastrophe. State Premiers missed a major threat to their people, their industry, our environment. On top of the death and destruction toll, just one industry, tourism, is looking at a $4.5b loss. Heads must roll. If they were misled, then name the names.

Our institutions failed us: The CSIRO didn’t save us, the ABC didn’t. What’s the point of them? Academics and CRC’s could’ve warned the nation, but instead most experts and the “reporters” said renewable energy would prevent these fires, even though climate change has made no difference to rainfall or droughts, which are driven by ocean currents, and solar cycles, not carbon dioxide. Let’s promote those who got it right, and turn off the tap to those that didn’t. Who pays damages? Who gets sacked?

Just do it: less fuel, less rules, more [...]

Climate change and bushfires — More rain, the same droughts, no trend, no science

Here’s the anti-witchdoctor kit for bushfires and “climate change”

Hi to all the new readers. Keep these graphs handy…

To Recap: In order to make really Bad Fires we need the big three: Fuel, oxygen, spark. Obviously getting rid of air and lightning is beyond the budget. The only one we can control is fuel. No fuel = no fire. Big fuel = Fireball apocalypse that we can;t stop even with help from Canada, California, and New Zealand.

The most important weather factor is rain, not an extra 1 degree of warmth. To turn the nation into a proper fireball, we “need” a good drought. A lack of rain is a triple whammy — it dries out the ground and the fuel — and it makes the weather hotter too. Dry years are hot years in Australia, wet years are cool years. It’s just evaporative cooling for the whole country. The sun has to dry out the soil before it can heat up the air above it. Simple yes? El Nino’s mean less rain (in Australia), that’s why they also mean “hot weather”.

So ask a climate scientist the right questions and you’ll find out what [...]