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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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?)* […]

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 […]

This is the “old normal” — these fires are mid to late season fires for NSW

Fires in Spring? It’s normal for fires to peak in Spring in NSW

Greg Mullins is a former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner and a councillor on the Climate Council, he implies in the Sydney Morning Herald that this is abnormal and that fires are starting earlier:

If anyone tells you, “This is part of a normal cycle” or “We’ve had fires like this before”, smile politely and walk away, because they don’t know what they’re talking about.

In NSW, our worst fire years were almost always during an El Nino event, and major property losses generally occurred from late November to February. Based on more than a century of weather observations our official fire danger season is legislated from October 1 to March 31. During the 2000s though, major fires have regularly started in August and September, and sometimes go through to April.

This year, by the beginning of November, we had already lost about as many homes as during the disastrous 2001-2002 bushfire season. We’ve now eclipsed 1994 fire losses.

Mosomoso: The fire season in NSW is spring — this is not early, this is “late season”

For those […]

Settled! Global Warming and the pause, caused by changes in cloud cover, not CO2

That’s it: It was 4% cloudier in 1985, then roughly the same after 2000 — that’s the Pause and the Cause

A new paper in Russian, by OM Pokrovsky, shows that global cloud cover decreased markedly from 1986 to 2000. This is a very large decline in terms of the planetary atmosphere. Pokrovsky uses ISCCP satellite data (the “International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project” — a US program). It’s the best cloud data there is. The effects of clouds are so strong that most of the differences between IPCC-favoured-models comes from the assumptions the models make about clouds. Cloud feedbacks are the “largest source of uncertainty”. [IPCC, 2007]

Clouds cover two-thirds of the Earths surface, reflecting around 30% of the total energy from the Sun back to space. A small change in cloud cover can easily warm or cool the planet, like a giant pop-up shade-sail.

This, on its own, explains all the warming that occurred from 1986 – 2000. It explains the pause. We don’t know why clouds decreased, but we know it wasn’t due to CO2, which kept rising relentlessly year after year, and even faster after the turn of the century.

Something else is driving cloud formation, or […]

California: maybe prescribed burns once every 500 years are not enough?


California’s devastating Kincaid Fire located in Sonoma County has grown to over 66,000 acres and NASA’s Terra satellite captured this dramatic image of the smoke plume cascading down the coast. OCt 27, 2019. | NASA image.

In Western Australia (WA) we have incendiary gum trees, regular droughts, and humidity so low that sometimes the clothes dry in the washing machine. Far be it for me to tell Californians how to manage their forests, but thought it worth a mention that Western Australian State govt do managed burns on 8% of the forest each year, and our top experts say it should be twice as much.

Compare that to California, where the rate of prescribed burning is now around 0.2% of the forest or so. Not the same type of fire-loving trees, but still the flammable kind…

BushfireFront: WA burns about 8% annually

A regime of green burning also produces a healthier and more vigorous forest and is better for biodiversity. This approach was applied rigorously in WA forests for nearly 30 years, with tremendous success. Unfortunately since about the 1980s green burning has been under constant attack from environmentalists and academics. As a result, in […]

EPA Part 1: Has the EPA done due diligence on the IPCC Climate Report? (Has anyone?)

The WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) wants every new project to aim for carbon neutrality, costing billions, almost certainly increasing pollution overseas, but hoping to lower temperatures over WA by 2100 AD.

The EPA is a scientific advisory body — the government doesn’t have to follow their advice — but if it does, and the advice was wrong — who is responsible for loss and damages which are foreseeable? The IPCC favoured models do not include solar magnetic, spectral or particle-flow parameters, and repeatedly fail. They are unaudited, unvalidated, and unaccountable. If the sun controls the climate these models will not show that. If the EPA is not doing due diligence on reports of a foreign committee, which person representing Western Australians is?

— Jo


Submission for the EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment Guidance – Consultation

Joanne Nova, Sept 2, 2019: Submission ID: ANON-1TDB-D593-G.


Question 1: Has the EPA done due diligence on the IPCC Climate Report?

The EPA’s core role is to “protect the environment and abate pollution”, Section 15 of the Act (s.15) Therefore, the EPA would be legally obligated to assess the scientific evidence. The question upon which […]

Denying 2000 years of the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age on every continent

Here we go again. For five or so years believers didn’t really mention the Medieval Warm Period. Too bruised by the embarrassment of Hockey Stick Zombie failures. But it’s an inconvenient era they have to rub out because none of the expert models can explain what caused it, and it’s hard to panic about same temperatures that Edward the Confessor survived with oxen and carts.

And it’s hard to call the modern warmth “man-made” if nature created something just like it 1,000 years ago.

Climate change: We haven’t experienced anything like this in the past 2,000 years

By Michael Collett, ABC, Environmental Copy and Paste Promoter

Climate scientists writing in the journal Nature have found there is no evidence for “globally coherent warm and cold periods” over the past 2,000 years prior to industrialisation.

That’s significant, because climate change deniers have sometimes pointed to epochs like the so-called “Little Ice Age” or “Medieval Warm Period” to argue that the current global warming is one among multiple similar global climate events.

But what the research actually shows is that other “peak warming and cooling events” over the past two millennia appear to have […]

Antarctica was warmer one thousand years ago — and life was OK

Remember when polar amplification was the rage? So much for that theory

Antarctica is twice the size of the US or Australia. Buried 2 km deep under domes of snow, it holds 58 meters of global sea level to ransom. The IPCC have been predicting its demise-by-climate-change for a decade or two.

A new paper looks at 60 sites across Antarctica, considering everything from ice, lake and marine cores to peat and seal skins. They were particularly interested in the Medieval Warm Period, and researched back to 600AD. During medieval times (1000-1200 AD) they estimate Antarctica as a whole was hotter than it is today. Antarctica was even warmer still — during the dark ages circa 700AD.

Credit to the paper authors: Sebastian Lüning, Mariusz Gałka, and Fritz Vahrenholt

Feast your eyes on the decidedly not unprecedented modern tiny spike:


The little jaggy down after 2000 AD is real. While there was rapid warming across Antarctica from 1950-2000, in the last twenty years, that warming has stalled. Just another 14 million square kilometers that the models didn’t predict.

We already knew the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon, thanks to hundreds of proxies, and 6,000 boreholes. But […]

Cosmic rays seeded clouds during the last geomagnetic reversal

That’s not in the models

The cosmic ray theory, Henrik Svensmark, (Click to enlarge)

What if our clouds are partly driven by a rain of cosmic radiation from far flung exploding stars… What if the warming on Earth had more to do with magnetic fields than with CO2? h/t GWPF

The Grand Mal test of Henrik Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory was 780,000 years ago when the poles on Earth flipped. For 5,000 wild years our magnetic shield was down to about a quarter of its normal strength. That would have allowed more cosmic rays to come streaking through the atmosphere down to the lowest part, crashing into molecules and generally busting things up in the air. Those ionised particles then seed clouds — in theory, which make an umbrella shade for the planet, keeping things cooler, and reflecting all that solar heat back into space. But how do we measure clouds that disappeared three quarters of a million years ago?

A team at Kobe University studied the patterns of monsoons in East Asia during the reversal. They argue that the extra low clouds would cause the winter monsoons to become stronger, so they looked closely at layers of dust […]

Coral reef totally recovers (for 400th time) and researchers surprised

If only coral researchers read skeptic blogs, they’d know that corals have been getting bleached and wrecked by cyclones for millions of years. They have adaptable genes, honed by 500 million years of natural selection, plus epigenetic tricks, and with safe zones to seed recovery. The Great Barrier Reef spans 2,000 kilometers and five degrees Celsius from 27 to 32°C and we’re still finding reefs we didn’t even know about. The pH swings on a daily basis, and fish do better when it does. One coral has adapted to ocean “acidification” in 6 months. Other fish remarkably adapted from salt to freshwater in just fifty years. As Peter Ridd says: Of all the ecosystems in the world, the reef is one that’s best at adapting to climate change.

So once again, corals have recovered — and yet the “experts” who wear their dogma covered glasses didn’t see it coming.

‘Teeming with life’: New hope for the Great Barrier Reef as island shows remarkable coral growth

By Melissa Martin and Erin Semmler, ABC

One Tree Island was lashed by Cyclone Hamish in 2009, destroying much of the island’s coral.

In the five years following the […]