Interpreting the fire weather in New South Wales

by Mark Goldstone

On October 21st UN climate chief Christiana Figueres made the unusual statement that the bushfire crisis in NSW is “absolutely” linked to climate change.

Figueres prefaced her comments by noting that the World Meteorological Organisation had not yet established a definitive link between climate change and these specific fires, but went on to say that fires of this nature were clearly more and more in our future unless we take rigorous action.  My question: Is there really such a simplistic link between climate change and fires of this nature?  That is, as things get hotter will the dryer conditions lead to forest fires?

First up, I am not a meteorologist per se, but I do have a PhD in Air Pollution and some nearly thirty years of recording air quality and observing the meteorlogical phenomena that affect air quality.  To be an air quality scientist, with any predictive capability, you have to know what weather is likely to be doing at any typical time of the year.

I thought I would write this summary of current conditions so that people could understand the potential complexity of what may be going on.  I need to state clearly that this is my own interpretation and does not necessarily represent the views of companies and societies that I am associated with.

The attached figure shows the current surface pressure map for Australia. Credit to the Bureau of Meteorlogy.

Presentation3

The southern portion Australian meteorology is characterised by a progression of high and lows travelling from west to east, which can clearly be seen in this synoptic chart.  In winter the highs are interspersed with lows and as summer progresses the lows are replaced with troughs. This normal sequence of highs and troughs means that strong northerlies travelling from the tropics bring high temperatures and increase the risk of fire.

As we progress towards summer, they tend to transport monsoonal storm cells down the east coast bring summer rain.  In spring, however these storm cells may not form, and instead the trough driven northerly winds bring hot dry conditions.  What I am writing is supported by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Data. A quick look at the following map confirms the general climate belts of the Continent.  The area of where fires are currently occurring is almost entirely within the yellow area described as having wet summers and low winter rainfall.

Presentation3

Paradoxically, a late onset of the summer cycle increases the risk of extreme fire weather in NSW.  As spring advances the rate of evaporation increases leading to the drying of undergrowth.  However, if this is not accompanied by the onset of summer rain then this can cause the weather scenario we are seeing right now.

So why would this year be different from any other?  Recent seasons have brought significant summer rain to the Eastern Seaboard, and this may have led to an increase in the fuel load. Alternatively, or perhaps additionally, this season the progression from winter to summer seems to be slightly later than normal and as described above, this does not necessarily mean that the Eastern Seaboard is cooler – deep troughs caused by higher northerly penetration of lows means potentially higher winds carrying heat from the north, but as yet without the rain.

It is reasonable, though paradoxical, to conclude that the current fire weather in NSW is not caused by climate warming, but may be caused by the opposite: a climate condition that may lead to late onset of summer rains.  Unfortunately this is likely to mean that fire weather has a higher probability of remaining longer into spring, and the later onset of summer rains may mean that may be reduced summer rain leading to drought conditions on the East Coast.

JC comment:  This post was submitted via email.  It is certainly a timely topic for us to consider.  As with all guest posts, keep your comments relevant and civil.

341 responses to “Interpreting the fire weather in New South Wales

  1. As long as climate change will be shown as rains where it’s always rained, fires where it’s always burned etc etc there’s really little to talk about.

    • The Defence Department caused one of the fires.

      “An angry Blue Mountains mayor wants answers from the Department of Defence after it emerged army explosives training started the massive State Mine bushfire which has stalked his community for a week.”

      http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=917823

      • Brings back fond memories of youthful training. I ordered my troops to put out the fires. Others did not. There was little difference in result. The famous training facility in North Carolina had little undergrowth.

      • David Springer

        Figuera is shameless and should be roundly condemned by all the usual suspects practicing climate “science”.

        I hate to do this but when in Rome…

        Clearly linked to global warming:

        2013 – a year with minimal extreme weather events in the US

        Discussion

        There have been many forecasts in the news in recent years predicting more and more extreme weather-related events in the US, but for 2013 that prediction has been way off the mark. Whether you’re talking about tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat or hurricanes, the good news is that weather-related disasters in the US are all way down this year compared to recent years and, in some cases, down to historically low levels.

        Tornadoes
        To begin with, the number of tornadoes in the US this year is on pace to be the lowest total since 2000 and it may turn out to be the lowest total in several decades. The table below lists the number of tornadoes in the US for this year (through 10/17) and also for each year going back to 2000.
        (Source: NOAA, http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/monthly/newm.html)

        Year # of Tornadoes
        2013 771
        2012 1119
        2011 1894
        2010 1543
        2009 1305
        2008 1685
        2007 1102
        2006 1117
        2005 1262
        2004 1820
        2003 1374
        2002 938
        2001 1219
        2000 1072

        Wildfires
        Second, the number of wildfires across the US so far this year is on pace to be the lowest it has been in the past ten years and the acreage involved is at the second lowest level in that same time period (table below).
        (Source: National Interagency Fire Center; http://www.nifc.gov/)

        2013 Fires: 40,306 Acres: 4,152,390
        2012 Fires: 67,774 Acres: 9,326,238
        2011 Fires: 74,126 Acres: 8,711,367
        2010 Fires: 62,471 Acres: 3,233,461
        2009 Fires: 78,792 Acres: 5,921,786
        2008 Fires: 80,094 Acres: 5,254,109
        2007 Fires: 85,822 Acres: 9,321,326
        2006 Fires: 96,358 Acres: 9,871,939
        2005 Fires: 66,552 Acres: 8,686,753
        2004 Fires: 63,608 Acres: 8,097,880
        *2013 data through 10/16

        Extreme Heat
        In addition to wildfires, extreme heat is also way down across the US this year. In fact, the number of 100 degree days across the country during 2013 is not only down for this year, but it is perhaps going to turn out to be the lowest in about 100 years of records (chart below).

        100_deg_days
        (Source: NOAA, USHCN reporting stations; through August)

        The five summers with the highest number of 100 degree days across the US are as follows: 1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930. In addition to the vast reduction in 100 degree days across the US this year, the number of high temperature records (ie hi max and hi min records) is way down compared to a year ago with 22,965 records this year as compared with 56,885 at this same time last year.
        (Source: NOAA, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/; through 10/17).

        Hurricanes
        Finally, as far as hurricanes are concerned and keeping in mind that the season isn’t over yet, there have been only two hurricanes so far this year in the Atlantic Basin (Humberto and Ingrid) and they were both short-lived and weak category 1 storms. Also, the first forming hurricane this year occurred at the second latest date going back to the mid 1940’s when hurricane hunters began to fly. Overall, the tropical season in the Atlantic Basin has been generally characterized by short-lived and weak systems.

        In addition, this suppressed tropical activity has not been confined to just the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern Pacific Ocean has had no major hurricanes this season meaning there has been no major hurricane in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific which only occurred one other year in recorded history – 1968. This is actually quite extraordinary since the two basins are generally out of phase with each other i.e. when one is inactive the other is active.

        One of the best ways to measure “total seasonal activity” in the tropics is through an index called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) which is a metric that accounts for both intensity and duration of named tropical storms. Indeed, the ACE for this tropical season so far in the Atlantic Basin is only 29% percent of normal (through 10/17) when compared to the climatological average from 1981-2010 and it is the 7th lowest since 1950. Elsewhere, the ACE across the northern hemisphere is only 58% of normal and global ACE is 62% of normal.
        (Source: Dr. Ryan Maue at Weather Bell Analytics; http://models.weatherbell.com/tropical.php)

        Finally, another interesting stat with respect to hurricanes has to do with the fact that we are currently in the longest period since the Civil War Era without a major hurricane strike in the US (i.e., category 3, 4 or 5). The last major hurricane to strike the US was Hurricane Wilma during late October of that record-breaking year of 2005 – let’s hope this historic stretch continues. By the way, just as a point of comparison, in 1954 the US was hit by 3 major hurricanes in less than 10 weeks.

    • “Most human affairs come down to depending upon whose ox is gored.” ~Martin Luther

      • Oxbow ridge fire Ore 1966.

        It took a week for crews to contain the fire, the first large Oregon wildfire controlled without a major weather change. Some 42,274 acres burned, about 66 square miles, including 24,359 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management, 17,601 acres owned by International Paper Company, and 915 acres of other private land. At that time it was the fifth largest wildfire in Oregon since 1910, exceeded only by the three Tillamook fires of 1933, 1939, and 1945, and the 1936 Bandon fire.

    • “Fires where it’s always burned etc”. And when they have always burned, too. The ABC (Australia’s government media) tried to claim it was the first time large fires had occurred in October. Fortunately, Australia also has independent newspapers :

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cutandpaste/its-all-doom-and-gloom-at-aunty-where-no-one-has-ever-seen-a-bushfire-before-in-october/story-fn72xczz-1226744792166

  2. Paul Homewood, who has been involved in the Australian fire issues, believes that the big problem is poor land management. From a paper presented in April 2007:

    “Sadly, when it comes to bushfire management in Australia, I see history repeating itself continuously, and even worse, because of recent changes in our forest management environment, the outlook is for more of the same. And its not just fingers getting burned. Every year over the last ten, the nation’s forests, farmlands and even suburbs have been ravaged by large, high intensity fires. The damage from these fires, the wastage, the loss of resources and the economic and ecological costs have been astronomical. There have also been great but immeasurable psychological impacts on the people in the bush who have suffered from the fires, or who have been forced to turn out, over and over again, to fight them.

    “The sorriest aspect is that it is all so needless. It is not as if we Australians are brand new settlers in this country, still feeling our way and guided by imported European philosophies, immature science, inexperience of the bush or impractical ideologies.”

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/10/bushfire-management-in-australian-forests-a-note-from-roger-underwood-2/

  3. What the thread does not say, is that recently there has been a lot of rain in this part of Australia; the water reservoirs in the Sydney area are over 90% full. This means that there was probably a strong recent growth of the forests, which has led to more fuel being available to burn.

    • The thread says this:
      “Recent seasons have brought significant summer rain to the Eastern Seaboard, and this may have led to an increase in the fuel load.”

      Your statement on reservoirs confirms it.

    • Jim Cripwell,

      a lot of rain … means … more fuel being available

      Large parts of California have this problem, too. Rain at certain times of the year is greeted with widespread warnings, that it will result in heavy growth of grasses & forbs, which will become a large crop of tinder at the wrong time.

      Ted

      • Yeah, this is part of the story in the paper linked by HS:

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/23/interpreting-the-fire-weather-in-new-south-wales/#comment-403215

        The idea is that in relatively moist forest areas, where fuel is primarily tree litter (rather than grasses), lower rain increases burn area, whereas in more arid lands, grasses (rather than tree litter) are the primary fuel and lower rain means less grass which means lower burn area (or perhaps no change in burn area). Interesting idea.

      • Yes NW …. actually, I am an Olympic Peninsula temperate rain-forest jungle-boy; former DNR forest fire fighter. But my retired pilot brother is settled in the Vacca Range, SE of Sacramento. He uses llamas to keep the tinder chewed down. – Ted

      • Funny about the llamas… earlier I listened to the podcast posted here by Peter Lang:

        http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2013/10/23/3874342.htm

        The interviewer asks Dr. Cheney (Australian fire expert) about precautions taken, including historically by people living in the bush. He claims that people would deliberately let sheep eat grasses down to the ground in areas they wished to protect when fire season started.

      • … people would deliberately let sheep eat grasses down to the ground in areas they wished to protect when fire season started.

        No computer-model or database? Amazing. ;)

      • NW,

        The interviewer asks Dr. Cheney (Australian fire expert) about precautions taken, including historically by people living in the bush. He claims that people would deliberately let sheep eat grasses down to the ground in areas they wished to protect when fire season started.

        We still do that. it is very common. Land holders do it and so do councils. For example, in Canberra, cattle are moved onto grasslands within the city to eat the grasses down. Currently the kangaroo population has been allowed to increase on the Red Hill reserve to keep the grass short. This is right in the middle of Canberra about 5 km from Parliament House.

  4. In the US, “natural” fires result from lightning strikes. News reports have said that these fires were started by humans — electric power line down, artillery practice, campfire. The “Black Christmas” fires were also human caused.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Christmas_(bushfires)

    The spread of these fires is dependent on weather conditions. The start appears to be dependent on human conditions.

  5. Not sure about NWW but population encroachment on the indigenous chaparral, the cutback policies of the local fire abatement districts, building codes and non-native plantings comprise the risk factors in California.

  6. From a commenter at Bishophill

    Deep ocean heat causes Australian army to use live ammo

    There are a number of claims doing the rounds that the bush fires in Oz have been caused by climate change.Here is an example

    http://paulgilding.com/cockatoo-chronicles/lets-talk-about-bushfires-climate-change-and-coal.html

    In the manner much loved by the green activist Paul tells us

    “Of course no one can …….. draw a direct causal relationship between any particular fires and climate change”

    But that is what the whole piece purports to do

    So, given no surface warming for 15+ years and the ‘fact’ that all the missing heat is hidden in the deep ocean and the Australian army has admitted it started one of the fires by using live ordnance the conclusion that has to be drawn is as stated in the heading

    Oct 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinlegs

  7. There’s an excellent post at Jennifer Marohasy by
    someone from Western Australia with extensive
    experience in bushfire management.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/

  8. paper published today demonstrates how complex this issue is

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi?DOI=10.1111%2Fgcb.12449

    Divergent responses of fire to recent warming and drying across south-eastern Australia

    Abstract

    The response of fire to climate change may vary across fuel types characteristic of differing vegetation types (i.e. litter versus grass). Models of fire under climatic change capture these differing potential responses to varying degrees. Across south-eastern Australia, an elevation in the severity of weather conditions conducive to fire has been measured in recent decades. We examined trends in area burned (1975 to 2009) to determine if a corresponding increase in fire had occurred across the diverse range of ecosystems found in this part of the continent. We predicted that an increase in fire, due to climatic warming and drying, was more likely to have occurred in moist, temperate forests near the coast than in arid and semi-arid woodlands of the interior, due to inherent contrasts in the respective dominant fuel types (woody litter versus herbaceous fuels). Significant warming (i.e. increased temperature and number of hot days) and drying (i.e. negative precipitation anomaly, number of days with low humidity) occurred across most of the 32 Bioregions examined. The results were mostly consistent with predictions, with an increase in area burned in seven out of eight forest Bioregions, whereas area burned either declined (two) or did not change significantly (nine) in drier woodland Bioregions. In twelve woodland Bioregions, data were insufficient for analysis of temporal trends in fire. Increases in fire attributable mostly to warming or drying were confined to three Bioregions. In the remainder, such increases were mostly unrelated to warming or drying trends and therefore may be due to other climate effects not explored (e.g. lightning ignitions) or possible anthropogenic influences. Projections of future fire must therefore not only account for responses of different fuel systems to climatic change but the wider range of ecological and human effects on interactions between fire and vegetation.

    • HS, thanks much for this reference

      • Look Judith, I know I’m no scientist, but why do I need to look past the very first sentence of the abstract?

        It says, “The response of fire to climate change may vary across fuel types characteristic of differing vegetation types (i.e. litter versus grass)”

        Blah blah blah fancy talk

        I thought that all the “climate change” that has yet been measured is on the order of fractions of a degree of temperature on average over decades, so how could a fraction of a degree, or even a degree of temperature possibly have any real effect on fires? How can there even be a “response” to something that has barely changed at all?

        I guess I’m just not smart enough to get all the nuances here. Help anyone?

      • Tomdesabla, here’s a couple of observations.

        (1) The paper looks at twenty relatively small regions (“bioregions”) in Australia, treating each region as a separate thing to be analyzed over the period 1975-2009. Although global average climate change may be small, divide up the planet into thousands of “regions” and you will find a lot of significant trends in precip, humidity, temperature etc. that are much bigger than that small global average change.

        (2) Among other things, the paper is trying to see how much consistency of results there is across the regions analyzed. They are actually contrasting their favored hypothesis (fuel heterogeneity across regions determines the relationship between changes in climate and changes in fire) with the “big global models view” (a warmer and/or drier climate will increase fires, period, end of story).

        There’s a lot more (of a critical nature) to say about this paper, but I am going to wait and hope that some of the other statistically literate denizens can get to the article and take a look at it too. Damned paywalls. Abolish the journal system!

    • I’m finding this paper frustrating in a number of respects. Does anyone know what the unit of observation is (I may have missed it)? How many observations are there? (I know there are 20 bioregions used and 40 years of data, but within a bioregion, is a subregion the cross-sectional unit, or are those 0.1 hectare griddings the cross-sectional unit, or is it simply a bioregion, or what? I can’t find the SI online either.

      • Thanks NW – so it’s about what is happening on smaller scales, where changes may be bigger in those smaller areas than they are averaged out over the whole globe. Got it

  9. Spring is a dangerous season for fire in NSW. Classically, it can be dominated by dry inland winds after a dry winter, till thunderstorms arrive in October/November. When that moisture is delayed you have trouble.

    This has not been the case during a few blissful years after 2006, when oceanic winds dominated even through winter and early spring, and even through the 2009 El NIno.

    The result of good years is fuel build-up and the scene is set for fire once the weather warms but the storms and rains hold off. I won’t bore you with a list of springtime fires in NSW, but it’s a long list. Victoria is home to the worst fires, including the blockbuster of 1851, perhaps the world’s greatest known inferno, but those tend to be summer “crown” fires. While bad conditions and destructive fires occur in summer in NSW, spring is a more usual fire season as one goes north. Up to a thousand hectares right on the southern fringe of Sydney were burnt out in the spring of 1980 after the lush, stormy seventies.

    Christiana Figueres no doubt feels exempt from having to understand such things in detail, but those of us who live in the NSW bush need to know, rather than believe. Curiously, Australia could reduce its “emissions” by closer stewardship of bushland. It would be an enormous and revolutionary task, and there would be much opposition from our Green Betters, who like to see vast “natural” tracts left unfunded and abandoned to fire-prone regrowth and feral killers of native animals, while billions are sent offshore to the rogues we neglected to lock up after ’08.

    On the other hand, a return to stewardship and conservation would be worth the spending of billions.

    Remember conservation?

  10. So.. there’s definitely a change in climate that is contributing to greater risk of fire, but that definite change and definitely greater risk aren’t regional ‘warming’, so it’s not connected to anthropogenic global warming?

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/

    I think Dr. Goldstone’s selectivity in interpreting data makes his conclusions suspect, most especially since he appears to be saying the opposite of what the drought data shows.

    Is this the sort of logic Dr. Goldstone uses when pushing industrial projects through the environmental hearing process on behalf of the clients whose views he is not representing here?

    • Bart R lectures us on selectivity. Well, we got a professional, anyway.
      =============

    • Bart,

      I read through the entire link and fail to see what these 12 and 18 month statistics have to do with climate. The discussion talks about Southwestern Australia receiving above average and the East below average. It is a large continent known for strong year to year variability. Not the first time they have bad fires either. Isn’t this the kind of argument that has destroyed the public’s confidence in the science of global warming?

      • wkernkamp | October 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm |

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/composition-division

        The climate has changed in the longer term, making the 12 and 18 month occurrences more likely as parts within that longer term. We know this because climate works that way.

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-nature

        The 12 and 18 month occurrences resulting from this unnatural climate make the fire more likely. We know this because drought and heat and high evapotranspiration (or drying) have been known causes of fire risk, common sense that has been known for centuries and well-understood since humans started using fire.

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/personal-incredulity

        Failing to make these caveman era rational connections on your part doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It just means your use of logic can’t keep up with a caveman’s.

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/black-or-white

        Saying that other bad fire seasons have happened before for other reasons than AGW doesn’t mean AGW isn’t the leading contributor to this fire season, either. It just means you’re fuzzy on the whole relationship between cause and effect.

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/begging-the-question

        Isn’t this the kind of argument that has destroyed the public’s confidence in the science of global warming?

        Five sentences, six fallacies. That’s an outstanding rate.

        http://www.canada.com/business/Religious+Canadians+bend+morals+almighty+buck/9073083/story.html

        Tell me, are you religious, a business major, or a child of divorce?

      • John Carpenter

        “Isn’t this the kind of argument that has destroyed the public’s confidence in the science of global warming?”

        Oh no, this is the exact kind of argument that convinces the general public how real climate change is. Can’t you see how well it’s been working the last several years? /sarc off

      • Bart, you may want to take a look at the new paper that HS linked above (I copy the link here), if you have library access to it. Although I haven’t checked whether there is some easy way to assassinate the character of the authors:

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi?DOI=10.1111%2Fgcb.12449

      • Bart R | October 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

        Bart mutters about fallacies…

        In a system which varies by 10°C or 15°C from day to night, which varies over a range of some 30°C from season to season, which year on year is under the varying influences of El Nino and La Nina conditions, which suffers unpredictable droughts (some lasting years) and randomly occurring floods, with plant growth so dependent on the happenings of preceding seasons, (when it last rained, when the last fire occurred) and everything so influenced by the stewardship of man….

        …..you (and others) try to tell us the ‘influence of global warming’ (what, a global 0.7°C or even a regional 1.5°C increase in temperature over 100 years?) must be evident in this one seasons events…..??!!

        That is surely an abomination in terms of logical thinking and scientific method.

        The best you can really say is,”Well, it sort makes sense that if it were getting hotter, under some circumstances it may be logical that it may sometimes make fires worse than, um, other times … cough … cough…”

      • NW | October 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |

        It is a rather excellent reference, thanks for emphasizing the link. If you’re trying to attack it, rather than looking for easy ways to assassinate the character of the authors, or complaining about deficiencies in units, perhaps you could dazzle us with original research of your own on the topic with actual data gathering and analyses that you think provides better reasoning?

        markx | October 24, 2013 at 2:41 am |

        I believed we were already well-covered in the areas of straw man and personal incredulity, but thanks for expanding the examples available to us.

        So, did you have anything true to say?

        Come on guys; this is stuff cave men grasp easily. If you haven’t figured fire out yet, maybe you should try rubbing sticks together until you get the hang of it.

      • John –

        Oh no, this is the exact kind of argument that convinces the general public how real climate change is. Can’t you see how well it’s been working the last several years? /sarc off

        We’ve been through a variant of this discussion before. You seem to be arguing some clear indication that “this…kind of argument” has had a clear and measurable impact on public opinion.

        I have not seen convincing evidence to support that view. It might be true, but I haven’t seen convincing evidence. As I recall, in the past you have posted links to poll data about the impact of “climategate” on public opinion, but didn’t respond to my critique of your use of those polls. As I recall, you didn’t respond to my critique. I’m wondering if you even read it?

      • Bart R | October 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        Come on guys; this is stuff cave men grasp easily.

        C’mon Bart. I presume you have some sort a scientific background.
        So you know, as I do, that it is absolutely impossible to make any sort of statistical conclusion from that mish mash of data with gigantic variances tens of times bigger than the changes you purport to measure. And especially so in relating something affected by as many variables as is fire frequency/intensity.

        There is nothing there but some vague logical theories.

        This is astonishingly blatant programming of the general population. And people are so ill-read and uneducated that it works. An online survey on The Age showed some 75% of people now think the current fires are related to climate change. Now, they may be. But there is absolutely no way we could go anywhere near reaching that conclusion through any sort of science or statistics.

        The Season.—Strong hot winds, clouds of dust, and a thick hazy atmosphere continue to be the prevailing characteristic of the weather in the district of Bathurst. On Saturday and Sunday last, the smoke from the enormous bushfires raging around us in every direction, hung over the plains like a huge fog, exceedingly oppressive and totally concealing from view the surrounding mountains.
        The above is a quote from The Bathurst times. 19 October 1865

        http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/1280590?

        ________________________________________

      • markx | October 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm |

        You presume? Pfft. I’m no scientist. But I do have some kind of background with fire and risk.

        You seem to want to treat the fires as their own silo, and look only at fire statistics segregated from all other knowledge available, and then using that fallacy backwards to take your argument and use it to attack what we do know. Your approach is no different from watching a Sandra Bullock movie and concluding that gravity doesn’t exist because her character floats in orbit.

        We don’t just have a mish mash, we don’t have just Australia, we don’t have just fire. We have the simplest, most parsimonious, most universal explanation for trends affecting woodlands and grasslands globally under multiple distinct regional conditions: the USA has multiple different fire regimes and all of them are seeing consistent profile changes, Canada (which manages fire risk differently from the USA), likewise sees these changes. Europe? Asia? All the same. Pretty much the only continent without fire risk profile changes best explained by AGW is the Antarctic, and it’s losing ice mass while spreading out sea ice extent in ways also best explained by AGW.

        There are 50 essential climate variables according to the World Meteorologic Organisation, and guess what? Their changes are also each best explained by AGW too.

        So your say so that there is no way to take over four dozen distinct and well-founded different statistical indicators globally all pointing to the same inference-based scientific explanation, I presume you’ll excuse me if I apply the word absurd to it.

        And how dare you impose that risk on us all, without our consent, and without compensation to us? What pathological arrogance. What antisocial ego, lets anyone even think as you do?

      • Your approach is no different from watching a Sandra Bullock movie where her character floats in orbit and concluding the only place gravity doesn’t exist is in a Hollywood studio.

      • Bart R

        You are not going to seriously tell me that a 0.5C increase in the globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly has resulted in an increase in fires anywhere.

        If so, you are only making yourself ridiculous.

        Max

      • manacker | October 25, 2013 at 11:52 am |

        You are not going to seriously tell me that a 0.5C increase in the globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly has resulted in an increase in fires anywhere.

        Do you NEVER consider what you write before posting it?

        NEVER research to see if there might be something wrong with the first crap that pops into your head?

        NEVER notice how badly it goes for you when you just make crap up?

        While a general approach not specific to wildfire and outdoors scenarios (using instead NFPA 101 for indoor occupancies), have a look at http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire08/PDF/f08005.pdf for some fundamental precepts of the mechanisms associated with fire hazard.

        Land surface temperature is an excellent predictor of wildfire risk. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=1291390

        Remembering we’re not talking about average temperatures going up, but about the chance of high temperature extremes going up, and high temperature extremes — a known and observable outcome of AGW — do lead to increased and more severe wildfires, plus the chance of low temperatures decreasing — a known and observable outcome of AGW — so fires are less likely to ‘lay down’. Add to this increased fuel from large swaths of plant wilderness laid waste by climate conditions and reduced water table from precipitation changes — two known and observable outcomes of AGW — and you have a perfect firestorm. http://www.climas.arizona.edu/files/climas/pdfs/feature-articles/2011_mar_risingtempsfirerisk.pdf

        Temperature has an established link with fire danger on several fronts. Fires light more readily when the sun is beating down and raising daily temperatures. Lightning bolts fly more often with higher temperatures, too, providing more opportunities for fire ignitions. And fires can spin out of control more easily when overlying air is warm, especially in the absence of cool nights that help the fire to “lay down.”

        Maybe stop making crap up? It makes you sound like a clown, and your morals come deeply into question because you so gleefully and negligently expose others to these risks and harms without their consent or compensation.

      • Bart R

        Don’t get all huffy, Bart.

        There is no indication that a 0.5C increase in the globally and annually averaged temperature will result in a higher risk of bush fires in Australia.

        You’d have to come with a statistical analysis, showing the observed direct correlation between this indicator and the incidence or severity of bush fires in Australia in order to establish “correlation”, but you can’t do that, because it doesn’t exist.

        And then you’d have to establish “causation”, which would be even more difficult.

        So stop spreading silly BS.

        Max

      • Bart said:

        ” If you’re trying to attack it, rather than looking for easy ways to assassinate the character of the authors, or complaining about deficiencies in units, perhaps you could dazzle us with original research of your own on the topic with actual data gathering and analyses that you think provides better reasoning?”

        Bart, my earlier question about the unit of observation was not a complaint, it was a question that I was hoping someone could answer: What’s an observation, and what are the sample sizes within each “bioregion?” If you are not familiar with the terminology, here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_of_observation

        If you know the answer for this paper, help me out. I think the unit of observation is “sub-bioregion j in year t” but am not sure.

        My addendum on character assassination was based on an earlier remark of yours:

        “Is this the sort of logic Dr. Goldstone uses when pushing industrial projects through the environmental hearing process on behalf of the clients whose views he is not representing here?”

        I thought you might want to know that I had not bothered to check whether any of the authors of the paper lacked the appearance of integrity, since you seem to care about this.

      • manacker | October 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

        Thanks for sharing what you’d think I’d have to do to establish causation of fire.

        When questions come up about how the wheel works, I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.

        NW | October 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm |

        Huh. And no one at CE suspects the integrity of authors whenever they disagree? However, I wasn’t attempting to malign the author’s integrity, I was affirming the author’s own statement about his profession of shepherding projects through the environmental approval process, “I need to state clearly that this is my own interpretation and does not necessarily represent the views of companies and societies that I am associated with.

        Don’t you feel silly about misreading that so uncharitably now?

        In either case, I’m not particularly interested in the units used, but I note one remedy might be to contact an author directly. Another would be to do your own primary research and furnish your own units. It’s amazing how few comments at CE use that approach.

      • Bart R | October 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        Remembering we’re not talking about average temperatures going up, but about the chance of high temperature extremes going up, and high temperature extremes — a known and observable outcome of AGW — do lead to increased and more severe wildfires, plus the chance of low temperatures decreasing — a known and observable outcome of AGW — so fires are less likely to ‘lay down’. Add to this increased fuel from large swaths of plant wilderness laid waste by climate conditions and reduced water table from precipitation changes — two known and observable outcomes of AGW — and you have a perfect firestorm.

        I admire your fervent belief, Bart.

        And I concede that it is a nice simple story and to the average citizen it all makes nice simple ‘let’s tell the populace what to think’ sense.

        But I am, somewhat pedantically, talking about science. And I know enough about science and statistics to know that this “Well, it all sorta makes sense” story is not science, no matter how much AGW background story is brought into it.

        And, just as an aside, what is the point of your long list of links all of which point to the currently ongoing set of events? This is supposed to be some sort of evidence … of what?

        Your sense of superior morals and having a higher purpose is illustrated by your thinking below. I would guess that you justify ‘dramatic stories’ in lieu of science as a necessary evil.

        …. so gleefully and negligently expose others to these risks and harms without their consent or compensation…
        The worst scenario will be if the alarmists turn out to be correct but in the meantime have managed to alienate every thinking person in the world in their desperation to brainwash the masses by trumpeting every storm, drought and wildfire as ‘proof’.

      • markx | October 26, 2013 at 1:00 am |

        And I concede that it is a nice simple story and to the average citizen it all makes nice simple ‘let’s tell the populace what to think’ sense.

        But I am, somewhat pedantically, talking about science. And I know enough about science and statistics to know that this “Well, it all sorta makes sense” story is not science, no matter how much AGW background story is brought into it.

        You think you’re pedantically talking about science? Really?

        Sir Isaac Newton, author 300 years ago of the Principia (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28233/28233-pdf.pdf) that laid out the principles of science disagrees with your Dunning-Krugerish self-assessment.

        Here’s Andrew Motte’s translation of the relevant portion regarding what Newton says about simplicity:

        RULES OF REASONING IN PHILOSOPHY
        Rule I: We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.

        Rule II: Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes. As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones in Europe and in America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.

        Rule III: The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever. For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to diminution can never be quite taken away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which is wont to be simple, and always consonant to itself. We no other way know the extension of bodies than by our senses, nor do these reach it in all bodies; but because we perceive extension in all that are sensible, therefore we ascribe it universally to all others also. That abundance of bodies are hard, we learn by experience; and because the hardness of the whole arises from the hardness of the parts, we therefore justly infer the hardness of the undivided particles not only of the bodies we feel but of all others. That all bodies are impenetrable, we gather not from reason, but from sensation. The bodies which we handle we find impenetrable, and thence conclude impenetrability to be an universal property of all bodies whatsoever. That all bodies are movable, and endowed with certain powers (which we call the inertia) of persevering in their motion, or in their rest, we only infer from the like properties observed in the bodies which we have seen. The extension, hardness, impenetrability, mobility, and inertia of the whole, result from the extension, hardness, impenetrability, mobility, and inertia of the parts; and hence we conclude the least particles of all bodies to be also all extended, and hard and impenetrable, and movable, and endowed with their proper inertia. And this is the foundation of all philosophy. Moreover, that the divided but contiguous particles of bodies may be separated from one another, is matter of observation; and, in the particles that remain undivided, our minds are able to distinguish yet lesser parts, as is mathematically demonstrated. But whether the parts so distinguished, and not yet divided, may, by the powers of Nature, be actually divided and separated from ane another, we cannot certainly determine. Yet, had we the proof of but one experiment that any undivided particle, in breaking a hard and solid body, suffered a division, we might by virtue of this rule conclude that the undivided as well as the divided particles may be divided and actually separated to infinity.
        Lastly, if it universally appears, by experiments and astronomical observations, that all bodies about the earth gravitate towards the earth, and that in proportion to the quantity of matter which they severally contain; that the moon likewise, according to the quantity of its matter, gravitates towards the earth; that, on the other hand, our sea gravitates towards the moon; and all the planets one towards another; and the comets in like manner towards the sun; we must, in consequence of this rule, universally allow that all bodies whatsoever are endowed with a principle of mutual gravitation. For the argument from the appearances concludes with more force for the universal gravitation of all bodies than for their impenetrability; of which, among those in the celestial regions, we have no experiments, nor any manner of observation. Not that I affirm gravity to be essential to bodies: by their vis insita I mean nothing but their inertia. This is immutable. Their gravity is diminished as they recede from the earth.

        Rule IV: In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions. This rule we must follow, that the argument of induction may not be evaded by hypotheses.

        You’re clinging to fallacies and asserting knowledge you have yet to demonstrate. You apparently can’t follow a train of evidence so plain and obvious any child could make the logical links without prompting.

        And, just as an aside, what is the point of your long list of links all of which point to the currently ongoing set of events? This is supposed to be some sort of evidence … of what?

        Go ahead, ask a child to lead you through it.

        Your sense of superior morals and having a higher purpose is illustrated by your thinking below. I would guess that you justify ‘dramatic stories’ in lieu of science as a necessary evil.

        Dude, if you think not pissing in the town well is superior morals, consultation and compensation are parts of higher purpose, and references to an introductory guide to logic, a manual for scientific fire risk assessment, peer-reviewed academic papers and articles in technical journals by scientific experts is somehow dramatic stories in lieu of science, you have suffered some sort of cranial inversion. Can you actually not tell the difference inside your head?

        Coriolanus is a dramatic story; “high temperatures make wildfire more likely,” is just common freaking sense.

        The worst scenario will be if the alarmists turn out to be correct but in the meantime have managed to alienate every thinking person in the world in their desperation to brainwash the masses by trumpeting every storm, drought and wildfire as ‘proof’.

        “Alarmists.. alienate.. every.. in the world.. desparation.. brainwash.. masses.. trumpteting..” Those are all pretty dramatic words, but we still have seen zero science and no statistical acumen from you at all.

        You think anyone but the most laggardly backwards denialist is basing proof of AGW on wildfire alone?

        The day of being warned ahead of the consequences are long past. This isn’t about proof. The proofs are already ample, scientifically compelling, and sufficient to assert increased risk. This is more “told you so.” How much do these fires cost, globally, do you think? Get Jo Nova to pick a number out of thin air, she’s good at that, her dramatic stories are full of made up -illions. Heck, Dr. Curry dramatically thinks the IPCC costs ‘bazillions’, so what made-up number do you think our host would use to describe this damage?

      • Bart R | October 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm | says: (italics)
        …….. can’t follow a train of evidence so plain and obvious……. “high temperatures make wildfire more likely,” is just common freaking sense.
        When you say ‘train of evidence’ you are actually talking about a ‘train of conjecture’, or even ‘a train of logical suppositions’:

        In the second sentence you sum up the whole basis of this argument on which so many inane words have been wasted (most notably by you) – That is exactly where your science is at right now “Well, it sorta makes sense that this would be the case, right?”

        No doubt the huge fires of past decades and centuries which in most cases resulted from fuel building seasons followed by dry, very low moisture conditions were incredibly freakish events. Perhaps with your recent studies analysing your samples of … um … n=1 season you may realize you need a little more data before you can say you have noted something interesting.

        You think anyone …… is basing proof of AGW on wildfire alone?
        Aha! Now you are seeing the problem clearly! No. A whole string of hobgoblins* are trotted out as ‘proof’ and ‘increased frequency and severity of wildfires is theorized’ is just one of them. Jumping up now and saying “I told you so! At last! Here is my proof” is still a little premature.

        If it is not your proof, and you are simply pointing to it as an example of what you think will happen in the future, why get involved in a debate over whether or not this one season proves anything at all? Time is the only thing that will tell us whether:
        1. AGW is indeed catastrophic
        2. Wildfires are one of those catastrophic events

        I’m pretty sure if wildfires are your big thing we might be able to respond and drastically reduce their impact quite separately to ‘prevention of climate change’ – simple things like grazing forestry leases, cool season controlled burns, allow selective logging and firebreaks in selected areas, mandating cear zones around houses in forest zones, etc…. it ain’t rocket science. But if you think we must have the right to live out our idyllic green dream while the rest of the world struggles for food and water, then it will be more complicated to deal with…. And I suspect a carbon tax may not be the answer to your fires.

        *hobgoblins as listed in AR5:
        Atlantic MOC collapse – very unlikely (high confidence)
        Ice Sheet collapse – exceptionally unlikely (high confidence)
        Permafrost carbon release – possible – (low confidence)
        Clathrate methane release – very unlikely (high confidence)
        Tropical Forest dieback – low confidence in projections of dieback
        Boreal Forest dieback – low confidence in projections of dieback
        Long term droughts – low confidence in projections of frequency changes
        Monsoonal circulation – low confidence in projections of a collapse

        You are left with this to worry about:
        Summer Arctic Ice disappearance – regarded as likely, with medium confidence
        IPCC Chapter 12 Table 12.4 http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter12.pdf

      • markx | October 27, 2013 at 11:44 am |

        Your twaddle now veers into a truly inane spiral of sophistic equivocation.

        Try that rubbing sticks together thing. It can’t hurt, if you’re right, and if you’re wrong it’s doubtful you have the competence to succeed in causing harm by getting fire to start.. which one supposes will convince you more deeply you’re right.

  11. It’s all they have left, extreme events…weather, fires…..and “unprecedented” artic sea ice loss. They’ll continue to hammer away without evidence for as long as they can.

  12. Figueres is crying ‘theatre’ in a crowded fire.
    ========

    • Now that was one of your best kimericks.

    • Can’t find a video of when somebody yelled fire in a theatre and a bunch of people got killed. Human beings do not want to b fooled. They want to believe they are rational. So they sit and do nothing and wait. That’s why we have smoke alarms. Because humans are morons.

      • “Humans are morons.” Present company excluded.

      • John Carpenter

        I just gotta say that it was pretty sick to put this video up. I remember when that happened as I live near to RI. 100 people died. The Morons were not the people stuck in the firetrap of a night club. The morons were not the people who never made it out. The morons were the owners of the club who put illegal, cheap sound insulation around the stage that was extremely flammable. The Morons were the people who allowed the pyrotechnics to be used. The morons were the people that gave the building a pass on not having to have a sprinkler system. Next time your in a crowded night club listening to music, take a look around for the exits and ponder how much a of moron you would be if the place erupted in flames in 30 seconds.

    • Yes, outstanding!

    • Brilliant Kim … notwithstanding the fact that Figueres’ “facts” are frequently shown to be figments of her fertile imagination and febrile grasp of (and/or acquaintance with) reality!

      Like a good UN bureaucrat, word salads are her specialty (and/or those of her speech-writer) – and her “tears” are mere dressing on her particular salads!

  13. kim | October 23, 2013 at 10:46 am | Reply

    Figueres is crying ‘theatre’ in a crowded fire.</I.

    Brilliant!

    • While the skeptics make their “brilliant” septic, rank witticisms …
      an Australian firefighter dies and …
      Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the current “unparalleled” fire threat to Blue Mountains communities followed an unseasonably hot and dry winter.
      “Never before have we seen the extent of damage and destruction and wide-scale fire activity at this time of the year,” he said. “We need to remind ourselves that we have still got a long way to go as we look down the coming months into summer.”

      • Fire Commissioners do and should predict the worst in order to get people to co-operate and, if needed, evacuate.

        I live in the NSW bush and know the threatened areas well. The worst of the emergency seems to have passed but spring in NSW has very changeable winds. I would say what the Commissioner said, even if I knew there had been worse high-spring emergencies in the past. (There have been many, including one which wiped out up to a million hectares right on Sydney’s edge in 1980 and killed five.)

        Nobody making light comments here is responsible for someone having a heart attack or air crash. However those attributing the fires to CAGW (or whatever we are suppose to call it this month) are deeply and hopelessly wrong, The worse spring conditions where I live were in 1897 and 1926…by far!

        The Winmalee/Springwood ridge where the most damage occurred this week has always been known as too exposed to fire and inadequately managed for fire as population has grown there. I remember remarking on this many times, and I have heard others remark on it.

        Sending billions to rogues in Brussels or Strasbourg so Australia can be part of an ETS will simply reduce our wealth and consequently our resources for fire-management.

        Above all, Victoria must start to follow a West Australian model (and WA needs to firm up on its own model.) Victoria is cool and wet right now, but nothing burns like a crown fire in a Vic summer. And it doesn’t matter if you are talking about 2009 or 1851 (the all time blockbuster of fires globally). When the wrong conditions recur, and the fire-front is advancing, we will wish we had not mucked about in a hopelessly manipulated non-market which deals in a fraction of thin air. We will wish we had acted directly on our problem, like free and responsible Aussies.

  14. David L. Hagen

    How much of the fire risk is due to ENSO?
    Considering that solar cycle 24 is like cycle 5, we have the lowest solar cycle in 190 years, what is the impact on fire risk from solar cycles?

  15. Two comments on NSW bushfires. Notice the similarity and when the second one below was made:

    Whether or not it’s unseemly for Greens politicians to raise the spectre of future cataclysmic climate change when bushfires are still raging out of control, there’s no doubt that many of us who looked up to bruised and belligerent skies swirling with ash and a drift of incinerated gum leaves had to wonder, ”is this what the future will be like”? http://www.theage.com.au/comment/climate-change-ship-heads-into-uncharted-waters-20131018-2vs3f.html

    Strong hot winds, clouds of dust, and a thick hazy atmosphere continue to be the prevailing characteristic of the weather in the district of Bathurst. On Saturday and Sunday last, the smoke from the enormous bushfires raging around us in every direction, hung over the plains like a huge fog, exceedingly oppressive and totally concealing from view the surrounding mountains.The Bathurst times. 19 October 1865 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/1280590?

    • Good find, markx. There were some doozie spring fires in NSW in the 19th century.

      Alarmism hinges on ignorance of the past. Here on the mid-coast of NSW our driest October occurred in 1908 and our hottest occurred in 1912. Our driest year, as for the rest of Australia, was in 1902. Our hottest year was 1915. But the past is now to be treated like a faded sepia photograph. Our Green Betters won’t make jet trails to Cancun by worrying about what happened centuries ago!

      NSW’s spring fires of 1951 came after the mother of all big wets in 1950.
      It’s a bit like that now. I’m concerned about any hot dry conditions in October after good rainfall. I’m concerned right now, as we approach November without good rain. Feels like 1991. No good for bamboo.

      But this is where I live and where I want to live. At least I’m not a climate expert at the UN, serving as a banker’s favourite vegetable.

  16. In the US, the human development interface with nature is seldom addressed. How many fires would have occurred without our activities and construction in what once was wilderness? I suspect a lot less.

  17. Having grown up in the Blue Mountains myself, I can tell you that bush fires happen – a lot. You have the Great Dividing Range being almost 100% national park. Beautiful, pristine but also prone to massive, uncontrollable fires. Sometimes those fires impinge upon human settlement. The Great Western Highway is the major road that makes its way directly west from Sydney and crosses the Blue Mountains then heads down to the western plains on the other side (and ends up going all the way to Perth). That tiny ribbon of road lays the path for human settlement in the Blue Mountains and other than that road (and the smaller Bells line of road just north of it) there really isn’t much in the Blue Mountains other than deep valleys and plateaus made up of dense Eucalyptus tress. Put Australia’s hot, dry climate to work there and you have perfect conditions for large, destructive fires. Eucalyptus trees really BURN! And those sorts of fires happen regularly and monotonously throughout most of Australia. Connecting Australian fires to human induced climate change is like saying my pet dog caused those fires. And my pet dog lives in Connecticut.

    • Thanks for this thoughtful comment. My olds lived in the Blue Mountains for several years – at Mt Riverview – but they had a scare 10-15 years ago when there were big fires. What they realised is that in the end there is only one road in or out – and it is likely blocked by fire or clogged by emergency vehicles and people trying to get out.

      Never again, they swore, and I think that they were right, They sold their beautiful house with wonderful bushland views right down a gully which would incinerate everything if a fire came, for a good profit,

      The Blue Mountains are the worst possible terrain for fighting fires. It is a series of ridges and valleys, with lots of rocks and impenetrable forests. It took Europeans three goes to even figure out how to cross them.

      I don’t suppose that many America readers have seen “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, but there is a hypnotic quality about the Australian bush. Having spent some time there, I can attest that the Blue Mountains are hypnotic and deadly.

      The reason that they are called “blue” is because of the eucalyptus haze that hangs over them. Join the dots.

      • You are aware, I expect, that the eucalypt “haze” produced by the leaves has evolved as a fire accelerant, the chemicals are extremely volatile and flammable. It’s purpose is to pass the fire through as quickly as possible so that the large majority of trees survive

        Eucalypts (common parlance “gums”) also use fire to seed

        Such a marvellous adaptation to a fire-prone environment. Many millions of years to evolve to this

      • “Such a marvellous adaptation to a fire-prone environment.”

        Agreed. The trees seemingly use fire to dominate their competition, unless we interfere.

  18. Mystery: other than global warming, what else might explain why two rare oarfish washed up on California beaches over the last week (the first in Catalina and the second in Oceanside)? These rare creatures dive thousands of feet deep; and, any sighting of these snake-like sea serpents, dead or alive, is exceedingly rare. So, it is very puzzling that we now have these two oarfish within five days time; and, what killed them? Both oarfish seemed to be in perfect health.

  19. Let’s leave Christina Figueres’ recent groaner aside (it is too absurd to comment on), but here’s another recent IPCC blooper.

    Nir Shaviv has already commented on this over on Motl’s blog, but I love it, anyway

    http://motls.blogspot.ch/2013/10/nir-shaviv-ipcc-ar5-first-impressions.html

    “We are more confident today (AR5) that climate sensitivity is between 1.5º and 4.5ºC than we used to be (AR4) that it is between 2.0ºC and 4.5ºC.”

    Huh?

    Yep. It looks like a “confidence game”.

    Max

  20. Cause and effect

    Well, we can’t say with any certainty that there is a direct meteorological causative link between anthropogenic warming and the NSW fires – BUT:

    – We do know from psychological model simulations that higher global average temperatures caused by AGW can cause people to behave strangely and even aggressively, AND

    – We know that the NSW fires were caused by arsonists, who were obviously acting both strangely and aggressively, THEREFORE

    – We cannot rule out that the NSW fires were caused by AGW.

    Makes sense?

    Max

    PS I stated earlier that I would not comment on the Figueres canard, but I just couldn’t help myself.

  21. Tony Abbott is quite right. She is talking out of her fundament.

    South Africa, the Cape in particular, is heading into its annual fire season. Unfortunately the government, for reasons of corruption and incompetence, has indicated that it can no longer spare the cash for helicopters and aircraft for fire fighting. Expect that we will see the same claims being made about bushfires in South Africa but the complaisent media will report the cause of increased losses to climate change.

    • you want big government to come help you with helicopters?

      nah, the free market will solve your problem. Probably by creating a huge bush fire!

      • But the free market has been starved of cash by the total corruption of the Government. So the Government cannot provide helicopters and the free market cannot because the Government rapes and pillages the free market.

  22. CO2 makes stuff grow more quickly so a critical mass for burning will be achieved more frequently. Simple.

  23. Reality Checking the World's Fools

    Soooooo . . . UN climate chief Christiana Figueres believes that the bushfire crisis in NSW is “absolutely” linked to climate change.

    And I am absolutely certain that Christiana Figueres is mentally ill, should take a health leave of absence and attempt to get cured of what appears to be a terminal case of Eco Fruits & Nutter AGW Hysteria & Fear Mongering disease.

    Please, Chrissy, get professional help and stop embarrassing yourself, science and the UN on the public stage. All you have to do is simply stop chugging the Greenie Kool Aide and you will be on the road to a cure.

  24. Wiki has a pretty good list of the big ones in Australia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Australian_history/Bushfire_disasters

    It also links to the 2003 Canberra NSW brush fires (that seemed to be the most costly). I remember the 2005 Victoria fire as my brother was living near there at the time and it had fairly extensive international coverage. I don’t know why they choose this fire as a Climate fire. The fire near Yosemite was also blamed on global warming even though it was most likely forest (mis)management. Any big fire will get the climate change treatment I suspect:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=yosemite+fire+2013+climate+change&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=com.floodgap:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a

  25. Figueres, a wealthy, trust fund kid from one of the poorest countries in the world, is a splendid example of the people who would like to rule us. She weeps … just like real people. Oh, spare me.

    She made an incoherent statement about the bushfires along the lines that we were paying the price for carbon (sic) because we were not paying the price for carbon (sic). Whatever that means.

    In the ultimate insult, it turned out that an 11 year old boy (who was already on bail for other charges) set the fire that threatened homes, businesses and people around Newcastle, NSW. He, and his father, gave the finger to the public. And, an academic from one of the Sustainability tumors (at Monash University) rushed to his defence, because what with climate change and all, a childish prank could lead to unforeseen consequences.

    Yep, I’ll spell that out again. According to this Professor of Sustainability, what with climate change and all, how can you blame the arsonist?

    Details, with photo of dad and proud arsonist, here:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/climate_change_did_it/

    • “Sustainability tumor”. You do have a way with words.

    • I couldn’t find any photo there?

      • Sorry about that. You need to go to the blogroll, click on Andrew Bolt, and look at the story called something like “where are the parents”. There’s a lovely photo of the kid and his father giving the finger to the public after the kid’s court appearance.

    • Figueres, a wealthy, trust fund kid from one of the poorest countries in the world, is a splendid example of the people who would like to rule us. She weeps … just like real people. Oh, spare me.

      With respect, johanna, real people do not cry theatrical crocodile tears, as Figueres seems to do at the drop of a factoid!

      She seems to excel on the word-salad front (no doubt a pre-requisite for any appointment to the higher levels of UN’s bureaucratic maze). But I have to say that her recent tearful “I am committed to climate change” as in:

      “I’m committed to climate change because of future generations, it is not about us, right? We’re out of here,” Figueres told BBC News. “I just feel that it is so completely unfair and immoral what we are doing to future generations, we are condemning them before they are even born.”

      strongly suggests that Figueres may have missed her true calling: i.e. that of a Soap Opera diva;-)

      Not to mention (pardon my French but) WTF is “I’m committed to climate change” supposed to mean, eh?!

      • Serfs are committed ter climate change,
        Spring brings showers, planting in fields …
        Summer, sunshine hours, corn almost as high
        as an elephant’s eye, unless change in the
        wether brings a year without a summer,
        happened during the French Revolution
        with serious results… Autumn and serfs
        bring the harvest in, unless, happens
        sometimes, pesky climate change
        brings heavy rains presaging crop
        failure and the dreaded famine…
        Winter, not serfs favourite time of year.
        Winter icicles hang from the wall,
        milk comes frozen in the pail,
        but sometimes, climate bein’ variable
        as it is, a milder Winter, and its like
        livin’ in the South of France. :)
        bts

  26. “The increased frequency of intense fires was associated with a reduced occurrence of low intensity fires. Ward et al. (2001) demonstrated a
    decline from about three fires per decade under Aboriginal management to about one fire per decade under post European management of jarrah forests. During the same time, the average frequency of fires sufficiently intense to cause scarring on trees increased from one in 82 years
    to one in 13 years (Burrows et al. 1995). Thus, under a ‘fire exclusion’ policy, every fire in jarrah forest was sufficiently intense to cause some fire scarring of established trees.” – http://home.vicnet.net.au/~frstfire/docs/fire_management_lessons.pdf

    Increased fire frequency is related to less brush load. Increased brush load is associated with tree top crown fires and increased tree scarring as well as increase fire intensity, and finally bigger headlines.

    Figure 1 at the link shows different brush loads, with and without man. I think a likely target on this issue is land use.

    I have the privilege of taking a walking tour of: http://www.cfc.umt.edu/Lubrecht/
    with a knowledge person. He described one school of thought as a Let it Burn Policy. Granted the hills of Montana aren’t quite the same as NSW but the idea may translate, as in Montana a key factor is brush load and resultant crown fires.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject.

  27. Smokey Herbert Bear (often called Smokey the Bear or Smokey) is a mascot of the United States Forest Service created to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. An advertising campaign featuring Smokey was created in 1944 with the slogan, “Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires”. Smokey Bear’s later slogan, “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires”, was created in 1947 by the Ad Council. In April 2001, the message was updated to “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”.[1] According to the Ad Council, Smokey Bear and his message are recognized by 95% of adults and 77% of children in the U.S.[2]

    That still stands today. When they change it to “Only Climate Change can prevent forest fires” we have a problem.

  28. So, once again, no one has a clue about some physical connection between global warming and forest fires. I am not surprised.

    I grew up the son of a forester in the eastern US. After many years observing fires and pondering fires, I have yet to figure out why forest fires that start east of Denver are extinguished in the blink of an eye but forest fires that start west of Denver seem to burn for years; ok, maybe months. I realize that there are differences of climate and geography but those differences do not explain why they are so hard to control when west of Denver. Why are they not nipped in the bud?

    • Theo,
      My guess is different types of Timber.

      • I don’t know the real answer, but I’m under the impression that the U.S. is a much wetter place east of the Rockies generally.

      • tomdesabla | October 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

        Yes, but even during regional droughts there are no runaway fires in the east. Regional droughts have been uncommon in the east.

      • Nice map you have there. Looks to me that differences among trees would not explain why the west burns so.

      • Perhaps, but usually coniferous trees ignite much more quickly because of the sap and the needles almost explode when thrown on a fire. My Dad who was a log truck log truck driver was always more worried about fire in a coniferous forest and they always cut fire lines before they harvested. So I do believe it has some but not all of the reason for your question.

    • Theo, could it depend critically on topography and access? Sometimes, when the media actually interview people fighting fires, I here the firefighters citing these things as impediments. Generally the eastern US is less tortuous, topo-wise, and more densely provided with roads. Could that be a lot of the story?

  29. The Astronomer Royal, last month, gave a lecture to the British Association.

    http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162

    I quote
    @@@@@
    But what’s less well understood is how big the effect is. Doubling of CO2 in itself just causes 1.2 degrees warming. But the effect can be amplified by associated changes in water vapour and clouds.
    @@@@@
    He is clearly talking about no-feedback climate sensitivity. We have discussed this on CE a few years ago, and shown that this number is scientifically meaningless. Not only has it not been measured, it is impossible to ever measure it. Warmists on CE have learned not to quote this number any more. Instead they talk about TCS and ECS.

    But like Ms Figueres, the Astronomer Royal talks scientific nonsense, and there is no-one present to call either of them out. Here we have a senior Fellow of the Royal Society, at a prestigious scientific venue, making these sort of ludicrous statements.

    As Roy Spencer remarks, when is someone with some gonads going to step up to the plate and say, in simple straight forward words, what needs to be said?

    • Roy Spencer accepts the 1.2C figure for no feedback sensitivity. So does Judith.

      • lolwot, you write “Roy Spencer accepts the 1.2C figure for no feedback sensitivity. So does Judith.”

        So what.. I am talking science, not opinion. This is the mistake the IPCC makes when they claim it is extremely likely that CO2 caused the warming at the end of the 20th century. They have absolutely no science whatsoever on which to base this claim; just opinion. Show me the science behind this number quoted by the Astronomer Royal, and then let us talk. Don’t give me opinion.

      • That is just a number that everyone throws around. It has no basis in anything, as any of them will tell you.

      • Steven Mosher

        Theo its basis is math. You merely assume zero feedbacks and solve .

        now, you can argue that you dont know feedbacks
        you can argue that they are positive
        you can argue that they are negative
        but, you can assume they are zero and do the calculation.

        its pretty simple.

        just like You can also say

        Assuming drag is zero, how fast will object X fall to earth? you can do that.
        it has a meaning. you can even test it and see that drag is not zero.

        there is nothing remarkable or different about this process.

        assuming zero feedbacks we get 1.2C for doubling

        IF you want to argue for a number different than this, then you have to make an argument about feedbacks.

        Roy makes arguments for net negative
        All other science says net positive

        A true skeptic would say.. feedbacks are unknown, assume they are zero and you get 1.2

      • Steven Mosher,

        “You merely assume . . .”

        The scientific method is to verify your assumption by experiment.

        You give no logical reason for your assumption, other than it provides an answer that you assume to be correct.

        Surely you are joking, Mr Mosher!

        Show me how you can heat an object, lacking an internal heat source, by surrounding it with CO2, and I will join your cult of Latter Day Scientism.

        Until then, I continue to deny the existence of caloric, luminiferous ether, phlogiston, or the heating effects of CO2.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Steven, you write “assuming zero feedbacks we get 1.2C for doubling”

        How? And if you claim that the method is something other than an actual measurement, then the number is meaningless.

    • I suspect it’s going to be another 10 years before this thing well and truly dies. There are too many people with too much to lose. It literally does not matter I don’t believe, what anyone says. Even someone on the inside suddenly getting an attack of integrity, like a K. Trenberth for a wild example, wouldn’t do much more ultimately, than give skeptics another talking point. The warmists of course will claim he’s been bought off, or gone insane.

      I think the only thing that will hasten the end is an actual period of cooling. That just might be fatal.

      • Pokerguy,
        IMHO you can’t have a logical conclusion from an emotional argument.

      • pokerguy, you write “The warmists of course will claim he’s been bought off, or gone insane.

        I think the only thing that will hasten the end is an actual period of cooling. That just might be fatal.”

        Yes and no. I agree completely that if an individual were to change his/her mind, nothing much would happen. But if an institution like the Royal Society were to do a 180, I think the result might be earth shattering. We can only hope.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Jim Cripwell asserts [without link] “As Roy Spencer remarks, when is someone with some gonads going to step up to the plate and say, in simple straight forward words, what needs to be said?”

      Yes, in regard to Hansen-style energy-balance science, Roy Spencer speaks plainly:

      Roy Spencer says [with Cripwell-commended “gonads”?] “Less energy leaving the climate system means warming under almost any scenario you can think of. Conservation of energy, folks. It’s the law.

      Your respect for Spencer/Hansen-style science is well-grounded Jim Cripwell!

      Another plain-speaker is the redoubtable Steve Mosher:

      Steve Mosher speaks plainly “You’ll know the planet has stopped warming when the sea level stops rising.”

      Needless to say, mention of these robust scientific “gonads”‘ causes causes Anthony Watts and his numb-minded WUWT audience to recoil in horror!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Conservation of energy does not mean that no energy/heat can leave a climate system here on earth and be dissipated into space. Further, there is no “meter” anywhere that definitively tells us how much energy is or is not leaving the system of the entire freaking earth. Also, hasn’t Hansen been proven wrong enough times that you should stop quoting him?

        Oh yeah, I forgot. The Hansen Shrine in your bedroom. We’re still waiting on those pics FOMTrolling…

      • And, again, we’ve had lots of warming and lots of cooling for thousands and millions of years before you or your beau Hansen were ever born, so what does conservation of energy have to do with the AGW issue anyway?

      • Fan, you ought to start a website that obsessively focuses on WUWT and whines about Anthony and his readers in every posting.

      • AFOMD,

        You quote Steve Mosher. Would it not be more reasonable to say that we will know the planet has stopped warming when planetary temperatures start falling?

        Oh wait. You can’t measure the planetary temperature?

        In that case, you might as well invoke the sacred name of Hansen. I occasionally peruse WUWT, and I have yet to observe myself recoiling in horror when you call upon the names of Hansen and Mosher.

        Like you, I am likely to reply “balls” to the mention of their names in connection with science.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • AFOMD,

        One more thing.

        Has anybody told Hansen about the aspect of Earth called “night”?

        That’s when the surface tends to cool. This phenomenon is explained by a science called “physics”.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn..

      • Steven Mosher

        You quote Steve Mosher. Would it not be more reasonable to say that we will know the planet has stopped warming when planetary temperatures start falling?

        ##############################

        No. you’re forgetting inertia. The air temperature has and will fluctuate over short time scales while the sea level continues to climb. You’ll know. really know, that the full effect of warming is over when sea level stops increasing. in the short term a short term fluctuation in air temps ( even decades) can fool you when it comes to the energy balance of the planet. dont forget what a tiny heat capacity the atmosphere has relative to the ocean. Thats a standard sceptical talking point. Peikle beat this drum (correctly) for sometime

        ################################
        Oh wait. You can’t measure the planetary temperature?
        ##############

        sure we can measure it. we do it all the time. Its how we know that the LIA was cooler and the MWP was warmer. We can even measure it with one small batch of thermometers: CET.

    • Steven Mosher

      “We have discussed this on CE a few years ago, and shown that this number is scientifically meaningless.

      Nobody has shown this because it is not meaningless. Its not scientifically meaningless or meaningless in any other kind of way.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Is the number 42 more or less meaningless than your number, in either a scientific or non scientific way?

        I rather like 42. It’s a very nice number. Why don’t you like it?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Steven Mosher

        I like 42. 42 is quite fine. And its meaningful in many ways. Of course nothing is meaningful in an of itself because meaning is not an inherent property of things. meaning is a transactional property.

        put another way. the term ‘scientifically meaningful’ isnt scientifically meaningful. it might be meaningful to scientists. If you think the term scientifically meaning is scientifically meaningful, then describe the test you did to show this. Show your data and your code.

    • Flynn. you are just pullin’ our leg !.

      Just think of the atmosphere as a complex resistor capacitor network that modulates the outward flow of electromagnetic waves and causes a little slower cooling in the flow to space. A little energy is used so the molecule “sings” energy out at a cooler temp. If we add resistance how much does the capacitance change also? The other problem is our tubes are not running in the linear part of the curve so the system oscillates like crazy. And the earth is not a single ended triode system.

      What is it that changes the state of the molecule from relaxed to excited? Temperature of the surface wave? Or are they uniformly excited? Or locally?

  30. so it rains more and things grow more and it gets dry and there is more dry things to burn.

  31. One of the more destructive stunts of the climate priesthood is in raising alarms about declining rainfall. But here is the reason why eastern Australia has more to burn since the middle of the 20th century, and why we need saner bush maintenance policies, not vaticinations from the trough-swillers of the UN:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rranom&area=eaus&season=0112&ave_yr=15

    It’s the same story for the Murray Darling Basin and even more so for all of Australia: the long, sad era of rain deficit has already occurred – from after the 1890s to 1950! The stunt is to talk about a declining trend (yes, they’ve got a little trend!) because we just had so much rain in the fifties and seventies. Only parts of southern WA have experienced less rainfall overall since 1950. See for yourselves:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rranom&area=aus&season=0112&ave_yr=15

    They’re hoping you won’t notice!

  32. “Anthony Watts and his numb-minded WUWT… ”
    I have been feeling a tad benumbed these days, Fan. A relief to know the reason…

  33. I haven’t yet read the post or the comments, but in case no one else has said, the Australian government owned media outlet, the ABC, interviewed Al Gore last night. In short the main take away messages from Gore were: Doom an gloom. The NSW bush fires are due to man’s CO2 emissions and conservatives policies to repeal for carbon tax, it’s going to get much worse, the Republicans are all bad, the Democrats are all good, Australian Labor is good because it supports carbon pricing, the LNP (conservatives) are bad, irresponsible, incompetent and deluded because they don’t, carbon pricing is essential to save the planet.

    • Peter Lang,

      It’s obvious that those people containing more carbon are responsible for more consumption, and therefore more pollution. Gore is right! Tax carbon!

      “The more you weigh, the more you pay!”

      Problem solved.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Guvuhmint owned ABC, Pete?.
      Well silly me, and here I was thinking
      it was funded by the Australian
      tax-payers and reflected their
      diverse views.

  34. My two cents:

    The Antarctic Oscillation is negative.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/hgt.aao.shtml

    Low pressure systems surrounding Antarctic coast are therefore further north than usual. This pushes high pressure systems that normally deliver cool moist easterly winds to Sydney region further north. Conversely rainfall is very heavy over Tasmania due to westerly winds. And then there is ENSO, and previously wet conditions, fuel build up, not to mention the “higher density of population in the area (unprecedented)”.

    Over the Austral summer, the Antarctic Oscillation has tended to be in positive phase, contributing to wetter summers over Australia. It has been proposed that this is due to ozone depletion (cause fallacy). I guess one should not read to much into a linear trend which has an r squared value of ~0.2. Although, Global warming has increased global atm. pressure.

    A warmer, wetter climate for Australia since the last glacial maximum has lead to more biomass, and therefore more fuel to burn. Paradoxically, a return to a cooler, dryer glacial climate would increase the wind over Australia. Low humidity and strong wind would be just as catastrophic, in my view.

    Perhaps this is why climate alarmists are referred to as “climate hawks”, not to be confused with the other bird of prey…..

  35. Mark Goldstone,

    Thank you. Very interesting post.

    I wonder if you are familiar with Dr. Phil Cheney’s work on bush fires? He is one of Australia’s foremost authorities on bush fires in Australia. Here are two at the top of the Google search.

    http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/13703/NP_Cheney_-_Bush_Capital__our_city_in_a_flammable_landscape_paper.pdf

    http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/13496/Bush_Capital_-_our_city_in_a_flamable_landscape_-_NP_Cheney.pdf

    • Dr Phil Cheney interview on ABC yesterday:

      http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2013/10/23/3874342.htm

    • Mark Goldstone,

      If you are not aware of it, there is a book called “Think Trees; Grow Trees”, compiled by Department of Environment and Institute of Foresters and published by Australian Government Publishing Service in 1985 – i.e. before the AGW hype got underway.

      Chapter 5 ‘Living with Fire is excellent. It explains very clearly the conditions that cause the major fires in SE Australia. It was written by Phil Cheney.

      ISBN 0 644 03736 6.

  36. Thanks to Marl for his incisive comments on the current NSW weather and Julia for publishing them.I am not surprised that the UN climate chief found a link with global climate change, But why this year? If bush fires are the result of global warming, there ought to be a steady increase in them over the 20th and 21st centuries, but such evidence is lacking. What is happening is that more and more people like to live in leafy surrounds, despite the risks and responsibilities they entail.

    It now appears that the worst fire was started by an ill-advised Arny range explosion. But fires are started by lightning strikes and children playing with matches.

    So the UN’s problem is that it has an abundance of models, all of which exaggerate future global warming and are therefore useless. But they do illustrate the fine democratic practice of spreading the work between the participating countries.

  37. AGW theory — I.e., turning global warming into a function of CO2 — is an amazing example of Karl Marx’s commodity fetishism: all social relations between men and women have no meaningful value beyond an esoteric average global temperature that results. The economy of the Left would essentially alienat all of humanity.

  38. Mark Goldstone

    Thanks to everyone for your helpful comments.

    My point in asking Prof. Curry to think about publishing this was to gain a greater understanding of meteorology and there are some very useful comments here that I will follow through. No doubt some people will dispute this interpretation.

    I know it is only one instance of potentially paradoxical weather patterns and shouldn’t therefore be extrapolated to other systems.

    My feeling is that we will only really understand how Climate can affect meteorology, when we understand how non-linear and sometimes counter-intuitive it can be. Regardless of whether the planet is warming or not, I believe there have been great advances in climatology over the last 30 years and no doubt there is more to come.

    I should have said at the beginning of this post that like most Australian’s my heart goes out to those who have been affected by these fires. Even though I live in Western Australia there is a strong sense of mateship across this great continent and we feel deeply for their troubles because it is a shared problem. Our fire season is yet to come and we have had significant rain here too.

    Forecast for New South Wales today: Cooler, with winds from the west and south west. Thankfully.

    • +1

    • Hi Mark

      Good to get this topic up on Judith’s blog. As an exfarmer I have always been very fire aware IMO high fuel loads have been a continuing problem in more recent years.

      A corollary problem is that of dieback in our native forests.

      In both cases, the cause have been artificial constraints on burning due to pressure from greens and environmentalists and to indifference from State governments and local authorities to the imminent dangers of such policies.

  39. eucalyptus leafs burn even when green. 2] eucalyptus leaves produce disinfectant that kills the beneficial bacteria in the soil – absence of essential bacteria = dead grass is not taken into the soil, instead of, waits for fire. 3] dry winds for 10-11 months in the year is blowing from the desert and is preparing it for intensive fires.

    in Australia is illegal to build a dam and increase humidity and fight against the dry heat from the desert. yes is made illegal by the ”phony environmentalists” / Warmist / Greens

  40. Forgetting CO2, Australia from June-August 2013 was a degree warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline. Does this extra warmth for three months lead to more fire risk? I am sure there must be statistical studies of correlation there. If there is, we can statistically attribute the fires to the extra warmth, if not CO2. If warm and cold years are equally likely to have fires, then nothing can be said about climate effects.

    • Before anyone says of course it will be warmer than 30-60 years ago, it is also a warm anomaly compared to 1980-2010 as a baseline.

  41. David L. Hagen

    Jo Nova posts David Evans article on:
    Fuel Loads Not Climate Change Are Making Bushfires More Severe

    Current fuel loads are now typically 30 tonnes per hectare in the forests of southeast Australia, compared to maybe 8 tonnes per hectare in the recent and ancient pasts. So fires burn hotter and longer. (The figures are hard to obtain, which is scandalous considering their central importance. There is also confusion over whether to include all material dropped by the trees, or just the material less than 6mm thick–it is mainly the finer material that contributes to the flame front.)

  42. Dr. Strangelove

    Judith,
    Wildfires are not caused by climate change.

    “Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that even with global warming proceeding uninterrupted, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until around midcentury and won’t resume on the level of 1950—the worst for fire—before the end of the century.” (Lomborg, 2013)

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323485704578258172660564886

  43. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    There are two critical factors to consider in looking at fires in Australia to determine what, if any, anthropogenic factors may be present. The first is the historical record of fires in the region, and the second is a deeper analysis of the near-term factors involved. Historically, going back through both recorded history and further back, using paleoclimate evidence we know that this region in Australia has seen some periods of major fire activity. Thus, the historical record is no help. But what about the near-term factors– say, the past year or so? Here’s where it gets interesting, for we know ENSO activity has been in a “La Nada” or ENSO neutral mode for the past year. But this current mode has favored slightly drier and slightly earmer conditions versus previous ENSO neutral modes. In fact, Australia as a whole has seen the warmest 12 month period on record, for any period, ENSO neutral or not. And the planet as a whole, averaged across both land and ocean has seen the warmest ENSO neutral year on record, and will likely finish out as About the 4 or 5th warmest year on record, with all the warmer years being of course El Niño years. So, to the the extent that there is an anthropogenic fingerprint in this regional and global warmth, is the extent that there is a connection to the Australian fires.

    • Annually, one of the driest years in NSW was 1967, similar to this year, an “almost La Nina” some 45 years ago, 18th driest on record, so how does that fit in with all this ENSO -neutral analysis? With the current mode being hot and dry compared with previous ENSO neutral modes being HOT and DRY as well? Annually, 67 was average for temperature, however, October 1967 was the 5th hottest October on record for NSW.

      The difference “global warming”, human induced or otherwise, is having on these fires…… is miniscule.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        X,

        The net drying induced by the hottest 12 months on record in Australia must be considered. Every few tenths of a degree warmer removes just that much more moisture from the trees, shrubs, and grasses. This current record 12 months in Australia certainly has played a role in making the fire behavior just that much more intense. What it really comes down to is whether or not there is an anthropogenic fingerprint on this current record warmth for that region. Added to this effect of temperatures on fire behavior is potential effects of atmospheric circulation, which gives even more areas for research. If you think having 40% more CO2 in the atmosphere and similar increases in methane and N2O since the industrial revolution can’t impact temperatures or atmospheric circulation then you’ll chalk everything up to natural variability or internal variability, no matter whether or not the physics says something quite different is possible and even likely.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist, so now it is not only more CO2 in the atmosphere but also similar increases in methane and N2O since the industrial revolution, and still singing. Years later and you haven’t changed your song one single bit, but wait… I take that back, I did notice the new lines. Co2’s getting rather thin standing all by itself nowdays huh?

      • As with all things scientific, it’s not only the probability that’s important, rather than a single cause, or proof, …it’s the question and it’s significance.

        What is the probability NSW fires are made worse with AGW? And define “Worse” by a metric determined by historical events limited to meteorological /climatic data, rather than media coverage and population density. AT this time no fire storm has occurred in NSW…yet.

        Are you suggesting that fire storms prior to Australian European settlement, so unimaginable in intensity compared with experience today, never existed?
        What’s the probability they didn’t exist? Your dealing with statistics. There is very good proxy evidence that things can be “a lot worse” than today, sediment records all over the world suggest flooding / drought and fire events in the near past have been absolutely biblical compared with today with out any forcing or cause what so ever. You only have to look at sediments where there is two feet of charcoal to determine the past fire history. Defining a normal climate with what we have experienced is potentially the biggest mistake in climate science history, it assumes external forcing is significant and climate is static……I assume nothing. Their are lives at risk, why make stuff up?

      • Good point about 1967. Horrific fires. Still nobody knows why the climate stayed so dry in the previous year long after SOI had lifted and SSTs were back to neutral.

        Honestly, it’s been a huge mistake to put ENSO into the hands of the literal-minded. One of our worst years for heat and fire was 1938-9, the “dry” La Nina which led to the incineration of millions of hectares in the south east of the continent. Black Friday was one of the worst fires anytime anywhere, after searing heat and drought. Yet it was a La Nina year. Go figure.

        ENSO is a rough but handy observation set (with numerous versions and revisions). It is NOT a mechanism.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        1967? Another one of those pesky non mechanisms delivering rainfall – or not – to parts of Australia with odd shifts of warm water across oceans.

        http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/indian-ocean-causes-big-dry-drought-mystery-solved

  44. The Problem is of course that trying to draw links between Australian Extremes of weather forgets the obvious, the continent’s average weather is defined by the extremes.. (i.e. its either drought or flood and precious little in between.). This has been noted since European settlement, and is obvious in the adaptions that Australian flora have for fire. (i.e. Eucalypts for example recover quicker after fire, some species require fire to propagate etc,)
    I always have a laugh when people from with little or no knowledge of the place point to the extremes as some sort of evidence of something….

    Cheers Jim

  45. How can global warming be worsening brush fires when we are 15 years into a pause in the supposedly CO2 induced rise in surface temps? I thought the extra heat was being sucked into the ocean. Is the increase in ocean heat content somehow teleconnecting to the Australian grasses?

    • Must be the CO2 increasing the vegetation fuel.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Gary M.,

      Australia has seen the warmest 12 months ever recorded. The “pause” is over for that region.

      • Glad to see climate is going local.

      • The “warmest 12 months ever recorded” is courtesy of the BOM, which is unashamedly an advocate of CAGW. The BOM endlessly fiddles with temperature records (no prizes for guessing in which direction), compares apples with oranges, and claims that it can make long term predictions based on sketchy records that go back less than 100 years.

        During the latest fire scares, we had breathless predictions from the BOM that an apocalyptic event was about to occur, that temperature records were about to be broken, yada yada. Thankfully, it didn’t happen – in fact, as I sit here, it is about 15C at 5pm. They were hoping it would be more like 30C. And I say hoping, because it would have bolstered their ever eroding assertions that “it’s even worse than we thought.”

        On the day that the Blue Mountains fires were predicted by the BOM to become catastrophic because of “unprecedented” hot weather and winds, it rained. Only lightly, but nevertheless. It was 10C cooler than they had predicted (with lip-smacking enthusiasm) a few days before.

        The BOM is right up there with Christina F. in revelling in the prospect of disaster, because they need it to justify their increasingly shaky record of predictions of doom.

      • The BOM and CSIRO are working with an eye to funding as it is with other Govt agencies all angling for a slice of the pie. Apparently climate change worked a treat with progressive governments but now that Abbott is calling the shots, hopefully more common sense will prevail.

      • Beth is in the wrong tree :) see below

      • No, see above, hehehe

    • Well, 15 years into what is a really weird notion of the significance of the temperature 2 meters above the ground does not change the fact that Australia just experienced one of the warmest Septembers in the record.

  46. Mark Goldstone

    @ Jim D.
    Its an interesting thing, but if you are looking at warmer conditions during the antipodean winter, it usually means it is raining. Colder weather is typically associated with clear skies.

    • That’s possible too, so you might expect an anti-correlation between fires and warm winters, but here we are with a warm winter and fires anyway. Other factors would seem to be needed, if that was the case.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Things have been dry following fuel load growth in good seasons.

        Rain in winter in the south is not warm either – blowing off the Antarctic.

  47. Dr. Strangelove

    It’s silly to attribute a single event (NSW wildfire) to climate change. The obvious question is what causes wildfire?

    “As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava.” (National Park Service, US Department of the Interior)

    They forgot to mention climate change? Maybe because they are not climate scientists.

  48. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    The key issue is the fact that, at least for Australia the tropospheric “pause” has ended, and so those skeptical of AGW should now propose why temperatures are rising again as these record temperatures have definitely affected the fire behavior.

  49. “On October 21st UN climate chief Christiana Figueres made the unusual statement that the bushfire crisis in NSW is “absolutely” linked to climate change.”

    No. UN is wrong yet again. It is “absolutely” linked to a ‘climate’ change in the management style about fuel loads and ‘protecting’ the environment. Don’t allow a burn for twenty years and then wonder why we are having a hell of a fire. The perfect fingerprint of environmental imbeciles upon the agencies that are supposed to exist to protect us.

  50. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    So the proximal cause was definitely anthropogenic for at least one of the scores of fires, but the larger question remains, was the distal cause of an increased intensity of the fire season the human carbon volcano?

    • R. Gates

      So the proximal cause was definitely anthropogenic for at least one of the scores of fires

      Yeah.

      Someone lit a match.

      Max

      • Someone lit a match.

        Four factors cause bush fires:
        – temperature
        – wind
        – fuel
        – humans

        We can have an effect on only the last two.

    • R. Gates

      To follow up:

      the larger question remains, was the distal cause of an increased intensity of the fire season the human carbon volcano?

      The answer to that question is almost certainly “NO”.

      (Because there is no empirical evidence to support such a notion.)

      Max

    • Peter Lang

      If the annually averaged temperature in NSW has increased by 0.5 degrees C over the past several decades, does that mean that bush fires there are more likely to occur than several decades ago?

      Hmmm…

      Evidence?

      Max

      • I refer you to my comments on the BOM, and the way it continually fiddles with temperature records, elsewhere in this thread.

        Indeed, if .5C is the best they could come up with after all that heroic work, I doubt that we have much to worry about.

      • More damage because more people are choosing to live in houses surrounded by bush. They have no proper fire breaks like people used to have long ago when they are dependent on themselves. Now people believe it is up to the nanny state will save them.

    • The Human Carbon Cornucopia.
      ==========

  51. Chief Hydrologist

    No one has died in NSW thus far – a sign of exceptional preparation. Even the Prime Minister is out there on the front lines. A bit Dad and Dave but that’s the way we like it.

    I studied fire ecology at the University of Wollongong. Interesting topic. The Australian bush is adapted to fire as a result of 60,000 odd years of fire stick farming. Vegetation has many survival mechanisms from the nature and thickness of bark, to coppicing proclivities, sub-surface tubers, seed dispersal after fire, etc. Biodiversity increases after fire for up to a decade and then declines.

    There are two choices for fire in Australia. Frequent cool, mosaic burns favoured by kangaroos and aborigines. Infrequent, high intensity hot burns that are immensely damaging and very scary. There is no 3rd choice.

    This cycle of fuel build up and burn off can only be marginally impacted by the climate changes – almost entirely natural – seen in the last century. Regardless – the solution paradoxically is to increase the frequency of burn off in winter. In many places in the country that’s happening as a result of handing back huge tracts of land and paying aborigines to burn it. In many other places in the country far more effective burn off planning is required.

    As I say the only choice is between hot fires and cool fires. Climate change doesn’t change this fact at all.

    • Chief, I’m confused about the use of prescribed burns in Oz. I read a paper (linked above by HS) about the relationship between burn areas and various climate variable. The authors say in passing that they omit planned burns from the total burn area each year. Yet above, wayne said something about fire management not allowing a burn for 20 years. What are the regulations (or presumptions) in Oz concerning controlled burns and/or letting fires burn?

      • I am sure the chief is more knowledgable than me on this, but controlled burns policies are state by state and even council by council in Australia. The terrible bush fires in Victoria a few years ago were precipitated by poor land management policies in comparison to WA where they are better but not as good as they used to be. If you go through the bush in forrest areas in WA you can see (or used to be able to see) long wide dirt tracks where the forrest had been cleared to make firebreaks. We used to collect firewood (and were encouraged to do so) from these areas.

        The burn offs were generally conducted by the SES – the state emergency service, in conjunction with the fire dept, partly as a training tool for when real bush fires inevitably came. The SES was a volunteer organisation, a sort of environmental militia, of which both my parents were part. During the Victorian blaze, it got so bad that people volunteered from the WA SES to travel to Victoria and help them fight the fires. They were generally appalled at the lack of land management, preparedness, and experience of their counter-parts there.

        In one incident to illustrate how absurdly the local authorities differed in Victoria, owing to environmental protection laws, one land owner who applied for permission to clear the area around his house was denied it, but carried it out anyway and was about to be prosecuted for it. The bush fires came through and owing to his foresight (or good fortune) his house was spared, and after it was all over, the authorities still persisted in trying to prosecute him. I am not sure what the outcome was – I think they failed.

        As has already been mentioned, the Australian bush is specifically adapted for bush fire. Many species won’t germinate without it. The haze that gives the blue mountains it’s name is not dissimilar to aviation fuel. Trying to pin these fires on climate change is absurd in the extreme. In my agnostic opinion, it’s claims such as these that promote skepticism. Since it ought to be obvious to any thinking person familiar with bush fire and conditions in Australia, that bush fires are a fact of life there, making such a dubious connection that can so easily be doubted would lead critically thinking individual to wonder what else could be doubted about other claims regularly made about climate change.

      • Agnostic,

        the problem for the Australian bush is that most of the time a prescribed burn takes place, MORE fuel is generated due to all the stressed eucalyptus dropping scorched leaves. In most cases there is NO prevention strategies to prevent the fires getting into the crown, in spite of numerous “expert” opinions.
        I wholeheartedly agree with not allowing individuals to clear bush around houses. They shouldn’t be there in the first place, and creating pockets of cleared land simply generates more intense winds and fires. Sorry. What was done in the the past is in the past.

      • the problem for the Australian bush is that most of the time a prescribed burn takes place, MORE fuel is generated due to all the stressed eucalyptus dropping scorched leaves.

        That doesn’t sound right. The controlled burns I have seen have been pretty well controlled and do very little damage to the existing trees. It’s just clearing the undergrowth. I am not sure where you got that idea from.

        I wholeheartedly agree with not allowing individuals to clear bush around houses. They shouldn’t be there in the first place, and creating pockets of cleared land simply generates more intense winds and fires. Sorry. What was done in the the past is in the past.

        This is even stranger. If you do not clear the area around your house, it will burn down. And pockets of cleared land generating more intense winds and fires? That’s a very strange notion – the important thing is to deprive the fire of fuel. The man in my story saved his house, and considering those that lost their lives, possibly that as well. Clearing vegetation around property in fire prone areas is just common sense, and generally supported by local councils in WA. You can even get the SES to come and do it for you.

      • So the impression I’m getting–both from you two and from Tedm’s remarks below–is the law varies tremendously across the Australian states. (I am beginning to realize that there are strong federalist strains in your country’s DNA.) This is going to sound really stupid, but… here goes… are the greens and environmentalists a substantially stronger force in the southeast than the west? It sounds like WA leaves more decision authority in the hands of property owners.

      • A quick reply. I don’t mind people living in the bush. I do, however, mind people moving into the bush and cutting down an acre of trees surrounding their house. It’s like moving into a house next to a zoo and then complaining about the noise the monkeys make. Completely defeats the purpose of moving there in the first place. Second, if you do live in the bush then don’t build an expensive house, odds are it will burn down. Yes, clearing leaves out of your gutter, mowing the lawn, etc.. are good fire prevention strategies. Third, in a lot of cases, burning the under growth to reduce fuel levels can make a big difference, however, the difference it makes will be determined by the conditions, which change on an hourly basis. A back burn to reduce fuel loads can make all the difference with regards to keeping a fire in control. My point is that even if this level of prevention has been achieved, there is nothing you can do to stop a fire in the crown traveling at over 100 km /hour.

        As for all the scorched leaves dropping off the trees after fire? Yeah, that’s a counter intuitive result. As long as the burn is “low intensity”, then the amount of leaf drop should be minimal. But expect nothing less than a complete “carpet” of dry flammable leaves. Trees generally act as a barrier to wind, which explains why the wind is strong out at sea (no objects to slow it down).

      • @NW

        It’s not a matter of whether the greens are or environmentalists are a stronger force in the different states, it’s the manner in which that force is applied. Australia is very big and WA is quite remote from the rest of Australia. DEC has been – on balance – an efficient and well run department over the years, the evidence for which can be found all along the coast, with walk platforms to protect sand banks, managed tracks through forrest, implementation of fire-breaks and burn offs, some really excellent tourist initiatives that allow people to really enjoy the amazing wildlife without causing harm or coming to harm themselves.

        My father, in his line of work as a senior engineer at the refinery in Kwinana, had a lot of dealings with them. In fact he reckoned a quarter of his job entailed ensuring that their stringent rules were being followed. And for good reason; Kwinana in the 70s when I went down to swimming lessons there, stank terribly. But he also found that when a rule couldn’t be followed exactly or was unreasonable, they were accommodating and reasonable to deal with in the main.

        Nowdays, I’m not so sure, but the legacy of many years of good work is still there.

        Burn-offs were naturally delegated to the councils and the SES. That’s because it required local knowledge of the surrounding area. It was a good system involving locals taking responsibility for their area. I don’t recall any major bush fire that threatened seriously any major area of human dwelling.

        Recently there was a terrible fire in the Margaret River area in WA as a result of a cockup at the DEC, who were advised against the prescribed burn due to the weather conditions, and poorly trained and resourced to deal with it when it inevitably got out of control. A report found that the DEC had become under-resourced, under-trained, and staff over-worked and paid far too little for the decisions they were to make. This doesn’t sound like a ‘green dominated’ big government does it?

        http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/emotionally-physically-exhausted-dec-staff-overworked-underpaid-inquiry-20120223-1tqnr.html

  52. I think your’s is a fairly good analysis JC. Down here in OZ we are much affected by the IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole).

    See Link here: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=indian+ocean+dipole&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=c9lRUv-NO-SciAehtYGoBA&sqi=2&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1536&bih=776&dpr=1#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=d-Del81Q7kaLYM%3A%3Bg7MvIV9lYPKSBM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.science.unsw.edu.au%252Ffiles%252Findian_graph_download.JPG%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.science.unsw.edu.au%252Fnews%252Findian-ocean-causes-big-dry-drought-mystery-solved%3B900%3B646

    We have just come out of a negative IOD and the balance appears to be goswinging ing the other way.

    Both negative and positive phases of the IOD result in reduced rainfall in the area of the fires as you can see from the maps on the link given above.

    The other issues here are fuel loads which have been allowed to become excessive increasing the chance of ignitions and the difficulty in controlling fires, and of course arson. At this stage it is not known how much arson may havebeen the cause of some of these fires.

    As I work in fire surveillance and have been involved in measuring fuel loads in SW Western Australian forests I am not speaking from a position of total ignorance.

    • Tedm, same question I just asked Chief might be answered as well by yourself.

      • NW it depends on what part of Oz (which state) you are in. In Western Australia there is the most fuel reduction burning. Here it is called prescribed burning because for each burn a detailed prescription, which could be 30 or 40 pages is prepared to define the conditions under which the burn should be conducted. Such as soil dryness index, fuel moisture content, wind strengths and directions, temperature and humidtiy. The prescription will also include details of the proposed lighting strategy, Strategies to protect various species of flora and fauna are also included.. It is a detailed prescription.

        As far as letting burn is concerned; when a wildfire occurs it is the responsibility of the appropriate Govt. authority to suppress the fire in the safest way possible. This may mean a direct attack on the fire or allowing it to burn out to the nearest hard boundaries if a direct attack can not be carried out with a high degree of safety of the fire crews.

        Other states have different policies. NSW where the current fires are raging does does about 20% of the fuel reduction burning that we do here in Western Australia. That is as far as their area of forest is concerned. There is no doubt that this has contributed greatly to the difficulty that they have in controlling their current wildfires.

        In stating this I’m not ignoring the severe weather conditions that they are also experiencing.

      • NW: I posted a rely to you but it seems to have vanished into the either. I’ll check back later and see if it’s here.

      • Lol TedM inter the either?
        Or …

      • Its seems that your response has gone to moderation, perhaps because of too many links? I do not believe that it could be for reasons of abusive language ;)

      • Peter Davies could be right, although it only had one link but the address was an extremely long one.

      • NW: your question is quite a reasonable one. The first thing you need to understand is that circumstances are different between the various states in Oz.
        Western Australia does far more fuel reduction burning (as a percentage of forest) than any of the other states. More burns are planned than are expected to be carried out because it is impossible to know what weather conditions will exist at any given time. This is important because different plant communities are burnt under different conditions for both environmental and safety reasons.
        Fuel reduction burns in Western Australia are called prescribe burns because a detailed prescription is prepared for each individual burn. The prescription details the conditions under which the burn will be carried out; ie. the soil dryness index, the fuel moisture content, the temperature range, the humidity and wind strength and direction. The prescription also includes the lighting strategy that is planned to minimise impact on flora and fauna or to regenerate flora or fauna habitat. These prescriptions can be thirty or forty pages long. Known populations of threatened flora and fauna are all included in maps in the prescription along with requirements for post fire monitoring.
        The other Australian states carry out far less fuel reduction burning and do not use the detailed prescriptions that are used in WA. The area of the current wildfires in NSW has only about 4% of the forested area burnt by hazard reduction each year as far as I know. I think far more is burnt by wildfire as a result of so little hazard reduction.
        Also note that the current fires are not the worst ever, nor have they burnt the greatest area ever. In fact, far from it. These fires have certainly been serious but they have also been hyped, particularly by the catastrophic AGW adherents.

      • Sorry NW but I tried again and it still didn’t work

      • One thing I can tell you is that one of the fires was started by explosives training on an army base. I’m just waiting to be told that there is a scientifically demonstrated link between climate change and explosive training.

  53. Seriously. Where does all the heat from the fires go?

    Is it trapped by the CO2 generated by the fire itself, or trapped by the CO2 generated by previous fires?

    The heat definitely exists. It kills and sets things on fire – even without embers.

    So, if it vanishes, and is prevented from escaping to space by CO2, does it wind up in the abyssal depths? How? Colour me confused, as usual.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Radiation and convection

    • Steven Mosher

      C02 doesnt “trap” heat. Neither does it prevent the escape to space via radiation.

      increasing C02 raises the Effective radiating level of the planet. Thats the altitude at which the earth radiates back to space. Its the altitude where the concentration of GHGs is low enough to permit the escape to space.

      for example. at 280 ppm the earth will radiate to space from a given altitude. call this X.

      The temperature at height X determines the rate at which the earth cools.

      When you add co2 ( go from 280 to 400ppm) the altitude at which the earth radiates will increase.. Say by about 60 meters.

      At X+60 meters the earth is then radiating from a colder location. This means the radiation will be lost at a slower rate. The compensation for this is a surface warmer than it would have been otherwise.

      • But the radiating surface will be larger. Isn’t that better at radiating heat?

      • PV=nRT

        Hold all else constant. Increased T equals increased V. The radiating surface will be larger. However with a radius of 4000 miles (earth’s diameter 8000), even plus 1 mile isn’t much of a change in the surface area.

        The discussion of the math behind CO2 sensitivity is informative, at least to an accountant.

      • “At X+60 meters the earth is then radiating from a colder location.”

        That depends.

        http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter1/vert_temp_all.html

        “even plus 1 mile isn’t much of a change in the surface area”

        Or much change in temperature either. And the temperature may be going up or down depending …

      • Radius Of Earth: 6378.1
        Surface Area: 511201962.31054497

        Radius of Earth + 60m: 6378.16
        Surface Area: 511211580.30399364

        Difference: 9617.99344867 sq km.

      • Just a random thought Sunshinehours.
        If I wanted to store a greater amount of heat, I’d increase the size of my warehouse. As the atmosphere apparently expands.
        Anyone know who many Hiroshima bombs equal 9617.99344867 sq km of atmosphere?

      • Until about 10km, if you increase the sphere radiating by 60m, then it is colder from where you radiate. However, it is also colder just above you.

        And the surface area is bigger by about 10,000 sq km or so.

        So I think Mosher’s theory is not convincing me things will change unless the radiating region is one where the temperature is rising with altitude.

      • Ragnaar, imagine having an extra Cyprus sized area radiating directly to space for free.

        It would explain the pause. :)

      • That is not “Moshers theory” Sunshine that is textbook radiative physics in a few sentences.

      • dalyplanet , Mosher says “radiation will be lost at a slower rate” because “At X+60 meters the earth is then radiating from a colder location.”

        1) Up to 10km, it is true that a 60m rise will result in “radiating from a colder location.”

        2) But up to 10km that will also result in radiating *TO* a colder location from a larger sphere.

        Does 60m make a difference? I doubt it.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Mike Flynn,

      The “heat” from the fires should really be looked at in terms of not just sensible heat but in terms of energy. The fuel for the fires (the wood and brush, and unfortunately…houses) represents stored energy or mainly stored energy that was once solar radiation. The act of combustion of course uses oxygen in the air to release that energy into various forms. Some of that energy goes immediately into space, literally at the speed of light, as it is light at visible wavelengths. Think about this, if a satellite can take an image of a fire from space, which they can, then it means that a bit of energy that was once trapped in a tree was turned to electromagnetic radiation that went at the speed of light into space at the moment of combustion. Now of course, broad spectrum of radiation leaves a fire at the point of combustion, and some of this is of course in the LW bands that would be absorbed and re-emitted by all the GH gases. But there are other effects of fires, like that clouds that form from the extra aerosols, that can actually lead to cooling. But overall, the net effects of fires (on the scales we see on Earth today), are far too inconsequential to have a net warming or net cooling effect.

  54. “Humans are about as special as bacteria, and the species is about to die off, probably in some sort of global Armageddon or end-of-days climate shift of epic proportions.

    That according to Dr. Guy McPherson, a University of Arizona professor emeritus, in a recent speech at the University of Colorado Boulder, during which he predicted humans will die off by 2040.

    ‘All species go extinct,’ McPherson said. ‘We’re about as special as bacteria. … In 2040, there will be little to no humans.'”

    http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/15082/

    ELAGW?

  55. Dr. Strangelove

    “An army training exercise caused a massive fire in the Blue Mountains that ripped through more than 47,000 hectares of bushland last week, a Rural Fire Service investigation has found.”
    (The Sydney Morning Herald, Oct. 24, 2013)

    The firemen know the cause but warmists insist it’s climate change. Let’s say I burned your house. Go to your fire insurance and convince the investigators that it’s not arson. The cause must be the hot summer because if it’s raining the wet wooden house will not ignite. Good luck.

  56. “Figueres prefaced her comments by noting that the World Meteorological Organisation had not yet established a definitive link between climate change and these specific fires, but went on to say that fires of this nature were clearly more and more in our future unless we take rigorous action. My question: Is there really such a simplistic link between climate change and fires of this nature? That is, as things get hotter will the dryer conditions lead to forest fires?”

    Well, going towards summer things should get hotter. But world is not getting hotter.
    One can’t even say that from the much cooler period of LIA the world has got hotter. It has got less cold, meaning winter as not as cold, there no evidence of summers become warmer.

    With global average average of around 15 C, the only way it gets cooler or warmer is by having temperature below 15 C rather than above 15 C,
    becoming cooler and having a longer duration of it being cooler.

    OR different way to say this, is the tropics generally stay around the same temperature, and it’s the Temperate Zones which have wilder swings of average temperature as compared interglacial and glacial period. During the glacial periods the tropics don’t become much cooler, it is the Temperate Zones become much cooler, and the Temperate Zone increases significantly in the average temperature during the interglacial periods.

  57. Mark Goldstone

    Just a thought here, which keeps nagging at me. The conventional wisdom on Global Warming is that a Warming Planet will inevitably lead to more droughts and deserts with fires along the way.

    However, the equator is the warmest part of the planet (on average) and the equatorial region is distinctly not hot dry desert, it is covered in a swathe of tropical rainforest and having tried to work in Tropical Rainforest for a time, I can assure those that don’t know is that the one thing that characterises tropical rainforest is that it rains, a lot.
    I seem to remember somewhere that during previous interglacial/warm periods the tropical rainforest belt was much larger.
    So is it possible that warming might lead to expanded equatorial regions or am I just hopeful?

    • David Springer

      Yes the rain belt will get wider. But so will the desert belt.

      In brief on a warmer world (contrary to leftist urban myth the world has been warmer for most of its history) the tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate climate zones will expand the polar zone will disappear. Underneath the ice in Antarctica lies buried what remains of the temperature forest which covered it up to about 4 million years ago. For most of its history the earth had no polar ice caps.

      • David Springer,
        Nice to hear from you. I enjoy your common sense perspective. Lots of climate history beyond or CAGW 2 *C emergency.
        Scott

      • The Polar Zone disagrees for about 120,000 years out of every 130,000.

        The ice will be back.

        The Eemian was warmer. Hippos frolicked in Germany and the UK.

        And the Eemian still ended.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Springer reminds us “For most of its history the earth had no polar ice caps.”

      Yes. Now reason further Dave Springer!

      During that warm era, the UW East Coast/Florida/Gulf States was a submerged breeding ground for the great shark Megalodon.

      Uh … we’re in no particular hurry for those days of submerged-Florida shark-breeding to return, are we Dave Springer?

      Especially because today’s sun is brighter, and so the CO2-driven Florida-drowning ocean-waters will be deeper and hotter and more acidic?

      Think it over Dave Springer!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • “During that warm era, the UW East Coast/Florida/Gulf States was a submerged breeding ground for the great shark Megalodon.”

        It went extinct about 1.5 million year ago- and it’s unlikely humans caused it’s extinction.

        “Uh … we’re in no particular hurry for those days of submerged-Florida shark-breeding to return, are we Dave Springer?”

        Farming and human civilization started about 10,000 years ago.
        It would be quite a disappointment if humans aren’t spacefaring within another 10,000 years.

        The only way the Megalodon could exist again if humans genetically
        engineer it- and say put them on Mars or somewhere else.

        Safe to say a “submerged-Florida” nor Megalodon are problems within the next 100 years.
        It’s likely that humans century or more in future will be more informed
        about everything than people are today.
        So, therefore one thing they will not have is solar panels on the land surface of Germany.

        “Especially because today’s sun is brighter, and so the CO2-driven Florida-drowning ocean-waters will be deeper and hotter and more acidic? ”

        The Sun has not become brighter in last million years..
        The Sun will run out of Hydrogen gas within about 5 billion years and become larger diameter but cooler star, and if we haven’t move Earth by this time, Earth will be incinerated due to being bigger and closer to the Sun or the Sun may expand so as to engulf Earth in it’s atmosphere.

    • “Contrary to what the climate catastrophists claim, a warmer climate tends to suppress tropical storm activity because circulation becomes more uniform. Even under significant warming the tropics do not heat up, they simply expand. The higher latitudes are where the temperatures climb. This is in agreement with historical records that indicate more major storms during the centuries of the Little Ice Age, 300-400 years ago. ”

      http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/problems-pliocene

  58. Oops. The largest fire was set by the military. Figueres’ reasoning: global warming causes more military exercises, which start more brush fires.

    “Fire officials also Thursday defended Australia’s defense department after investigators revealed a military training exercise with live ordnance ignited the largest of the wildfires. The fire near the city of Lithgow, west of Sydney, has burned 47,000 hectares (180 square miles) and destroyed several houses but caused no injuries or deaths.

    “Fitzsimmons said the defense department’s actions were obviously an accident.

    “It was a side effect of a routine activity, it would appear, and clearly there was no intention to see fire start up and run as a result of that activity,” Fitzsimmons said. “There is no conspiracy here.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/23/3705988/homes-evacuated-as-wind-fans-wildfires.html

  59. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS

    The common-sense electorate rejects far-right climate-change denialism:

    •  As New South Wales burns, it’s time to talk about climate change

    •  Why we need to politicise the bushfires

    Particularly commended:

    Why We Don’t Care About Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change

    You want to know what the biggest obstacle to dealing with climate change is?

    Simple: time. It will take decades before the carbon dioxide we emit now begins to have its full effect on the planet’s climate.

    [That’s] why “win-win” climate policies — like innovation investments that can lead directly to cheap clean energy, rather than policies that make dirty energy more expensive — are likely to be the most effective ones.

    Barring a species-wide personality change, few of us will be willing to endure present pain so that our grandchildren won’t have to endure an unlivable climate.

    We’re likely better off tailoring solutions that work with our selfishness and brief attention span, rather than hoping we suddenly become better, more farsighted people.

    Climate change is not complicated, Climate Etc readers … it’s human nature that’s complicated.

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  60. Steven Mosher | October 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    @@@@@
    there is nothing remarkable or different about this process.

    assuming zero feedbacks we get 1.2C for doubling
    @@@@@

    This discussion came about because the Astronomer Royal basically claimed that the no-feedback climate sensitivity has a meaning in science. I claim that, because it is impossible to measure the no feedback climate sensitivity, it is a hypothetical, meaningless number. Now it is legitimate to use a hypothetical number to support a hypothesis, but before that hypothesis can be considered to be anything else, it is essential, according to the scientific method, to measure that number. In the case CAGW, this clearly cannot be done. So the Astronomer Royal, a senior Fellow of the Royal Society, is talking scientific nonsense.

    Steven chimes in with his statement that the 1.2 C value has a meaning. I asked him how this number is derived, pointing out that if it has not been measured, then it is meaningless. I have received no reply. I wonder why. Could it be because I am not “stupid” after all, and he has no scientific argument to support his claim?

    • Jim Cripwell

      Yes. Mosh is on thin ice with his theoretical 1.2degC “2xCO2 only” temperature response.

      Since 2002 CO2 has increased from 372.9 ppmv to 395.3 ppmv (or about 20% of all the added human CO2 since pre-industrial days).

      Using Mosh’s figure, we should have seen warming of around 0.1C since 2002.

      Instead we have seen cooling of around 0.05C.

      No doubt this discrepancy can be rationalized away:

      – time period is too short
      – heat is disappearing into deep ocean
      – Chinese aerosols have cancelled it out
      – natural variability has overwhelmed it
      – “wait’ll next year”
      – etc.

      But the facts on the ground since 2002 do not substantiate the 1.2C claim.

      It’s just that simple.

      Max

      • Max, you write “Yes. Mosh is on thin ice with his theoretical 1.2degC “2xCO2 only” temperature response.”

        Thanks, and I know we agree on this sort of issue. But the important thing is that it is not only Steven who is on thin ice; The prime issue is that it is the Astronomer Royal who is on thin ice.. He is the one who recently went out in public and claimed that no feed-back climate sensitivity has a meaning.

        As Roy Spencer has put it, which senior scientist is going to have the gonads to call the Astronomer Royal out? It is all very well for me to write this on Climate Etc. but no-one takes any notice of that. Science really is in a sorry stare when a senior Fellow of the Royal Society can appear in public, spout scientific nonsense and nothing happens.

      • Jim Cripwell

        A good point.

        When a famous scientist openly makes a scientific blooper it has consequences that your or my individual blog comments cannot outweigh.

        But these silly statements by distinguished but misguided (or politically motivated) science icons, like the Astronomer Royal, are simply last-ditch attempts to keep the CAGW hysteria alive, when the public in general has lost all trust in climate science and is not in the least concerned about CAGW, and – in addition – Nature, itself, is no longer favoring the CAGW meme.

        Let’s face it, Jim.

        Another scientist (like Roy Spencer) will have a harder time pointing out that the “Emperor has no clothes on” than a naïve bystander in the crowd.

        But what really counts is what all the (voting) naïve bystanders think; not what a handful of scientific hotshots proclaim.

        And this simply shows that “you can’t fool all the people all the time”.

        Max

      • You can cool some of the people all of the time. You can cool all of the people some of the time. But you can’t cool all of the people all of the time.
        ============

    • “Climate sensitivity” without feedbacks is…not climate sensitivity. There may be a CO2 sensitivity in some sense, where CO2 is present but there are no feedbacks. But it is nonsensical to talk about the CLIMATE’S sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 without…you know… a climate. CS is defined by the response of the climate (meaning initial conditions and feedbacks) to a doubling of CO2.

      This is not science, it s polemics. They can’t show what the CS is, so they need another argument. The intent is to say that – without feedbacks, sensitivity is X, so with feedbacks it must be significantly higher.

      And notice that the proposed feedback-free sensitivity is 1.2, which gets you pretty close to the low end of the IPCC proposed range.

      Obscurantism at its finest.

      • Gary, you write “Obscurantism at its finest.”

        Thanks. It has been obvious to me for some time that no-feedback climate sensitivity has no scientific meaning. And it is encouraging when someone like yourself supports this. But the issue is that, although it is undoubtedly true, the warmists, including our hostess, will NEVER come out in public and agree.

        And the warmists claim they are doing science. The mind boggles.

      • It’s only a unicorn in a guilted age.
        ===========

      • a dehorned one, at that

      • The utter copiousness of that cornered horn.
        =========

      • Though de-horned
        and de-formed
        it re-mains
        un-reformed.

    • Steven Mosher

      ” I asked him how this number is derived, pointing out that if it has not been measured, then it is meaningless.”

      This is jim’s problem. he thinks that only thinks that are measured have meaning. he’s wrong.

      1. the concept of meaning itself isnt measured. That renders his appeal to it self contradictory.

      2. There are many things that cannot be measured that have meaning

      a) we cannot measure Jim’s weight on oct 23, 1976. However,
      we can say ‘jim had a weight on oct 23 1976″. His weight on that
      day is not measurable. But, we can speak about it meaningfully.
      We can even constrain our knowedge about his weight even though
      we cannot measure it. If we had a record of it and decided to trust
      that record we could say more about it weight. but jims position
      is that things that cant be measured have NO MEANING
      b) When the Higgs field was posited, there was no way of detecting the paricle associated with this feild. It was not possible to measure. BUT
      it clearly had Meaning. the meaning informed behavior to find ways
      to measure it.
      c) the speed of light. There was no way to measure the speed of light
      for a long time. But that did not render the term ‘speed of light’ MEANINGLESS. under Jims epistemology ‘speed of light’ would have been meaningless until it was measured.

      The problem is that Jim doesnt thnk through the consequences of his epistemology. His particular position is that if a thing cannot be measured
      that it is meaningless. We know this is not true. We know its not true because the claim itself cant be measured. Its fails to meet its own test. Also, If it were true then every statement about the past would be meaningless. We cannot measure past events. I cant measure now how fast jim could run the 100 yard dash when he was 12. but clearly the sentence ‘Jim never ran a hundred yard dash at age 12 in under 2 seconds’ has meaning. it has meaning even though we never measured it and cannot go back in time to measure it.

      We find a fossilize skeleton of a T-rex. We reason that it must have weighed tons. But we have no actual measurement of its weight. Absent this measurement do we want to say that
      the sentence ‘ t-rex weighed many tons’ is meaningless? We don’t. Sentences have meaning independent of our ablity to measure things.
      the cave man who said “its cold’ meant something even though he could not measure it. the sentence ” the number of stars is odd’ has meaning even though no one will every count them.

      Also, this renders statements about the future meaningless. i will die someday. Now, we cannot measure this today. is that sentence meaningless?

      long ago there was a school of philososphy that had a less crazy but similar approach. they were called logical positivists. They didnt last long.

      What Jim is trying to do is make a philosophical argument ( only things measured have meaning ) to deny what science does routinely.
      Given the succus of science and the abject failure of philosophy, I’d suggest that science knows better.

      • Steven, you are, as usual, dead wrong. What I maintain is that in physics, if you have a hypothesis, then the only way you can change that, is to have measured quantities. Unless and until the value of climate sensitivity has been measured, CAGW will remain a hypothesis. It is that plain; it is that simple. You can write all the things that you do, and do it very well, and it will not change the issue.

        Measure climate sensitivity, or CAGW remands a hypothesis. Simple.

    • Steven Mosher

      http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/a-simple-analysis-of-equilibrium-climate-sensitivity/

      “I claim that, because it is impossible to measure the no feedback climate sensitivity, it is a hypothetical, meaningless number. ”

      lets consider something from Jims Former line of work; Operations Research

      And lets consider a key number in that field that had great historical importance.

      http://csis.org/blog/understanding-decision-drop-bomb-hiroshima-and-nagasaki

      The number in question would be the number of US death that would be incurred if we didnt drop the bomb.

      If Jim worked in OR then I assure you that many times he was asked to estimate and calculate quantities that were never measured and could be never measured, and the whole point of the science he did was to PREVENT those things EVER being measured.

      Imagine Jim before truman.

      Truman: So Jim, your the expert, how many US lives will dropping the bomb save
      Jim: thats meaningless. we cant measure it. They would have to die first then we might be able to measure it.
      Truman: you’re fired. your job as an OR specialist is to give answers so that we never have to measure the deaths. You’ve just told me your job is meaningless.

      • Steven, you write completely out of context. What I am taking about is whether CAGW is or is not a hypothesis. In this context, no-feedback climate sensitivity is a hypothetical, meaningless number. Period. There are many other contexts where numbers may not be able to be measured, but gross estimates, guesses, are useful. The story of the atomic bomb is one such instance. There are, of course, many many others. But a guess as to what the numeric value of no-feedback climate sensitivity is, does not make any difference to the fact that CAGW is still a hypothesis.

  61. The hornswoggled cornered horn.

  62. Makes me think of that poem “There’s a Warm Unicorn in My Heart.

    there’s a warm unicorn in my heart that
    wants to get out
    but I’m too tough for him,
    I say, stay in there, I’m not going
    to let anybody see
    you.
    there’s a warm unicorn in my heart that
    wants to get out
    but I pour lies on him and inhale
    propaganda
    and the ****s and the bartenders
    and the grocery clerks
    never know that
    he’s
    in there.
    (etc)

    (With apologies to the great Bukowski.)

  63. I decided to send the following email to the Royal Society

    The Astronomer Royal gave a lecture to the British Association in September this year. See

    http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162

    In this lecture he made the following statement, and I quote
    @@@@@
    But what’s less well understood is how big the effect is. Doubling of CO2 in itself just causes 1.2 degrees warming. But the effect can be amplified by associated changes in water vapour and clouds.
    @@@@@

    This statement is scientifically incorrect. The figure of 1.2 C that he is quoting is what is termed the no-feedback climate sensitivity. Because the total climate sensitivity includes the feedbacks, it is impossible to isolate the no-feedback climate sensitivity in any sort of measurement, and so it is theoretically impossible to ever actually measure this quantity, with a value of 1.2 C. It is, therefore, a purely hypothetical and meaningless number. As such, Lord Rees had no business quoting it. It is scientifically inaccurate to claim that this number has any meaning.

    Further, since it is impossible to do controlled experiments on the earth’s atmosphere, the total climate sensitivity, in practice, can also never be measured. Such little empirical data as we have shows that there is no CO2 signal in any modern temperature/time graph; see Beenstock et al and Mora et al. So there is a strong indication that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero.

    It is sad when a person of the scientific caliber of Lord Rees makes statements in public that has little or no scientific foundation.

    Sincerely, Jim Cripwell 121 Mountbatten Ave Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 5V6 623-733-9601
    bf906@ncf.ca

      • It’s still a misuse of the term. It is not “climate” sensitivity if you exclude climate from the calculation. It might be an interesting academic question; it might be something you can estimate; it might be a lot of things. But it is not climate sensitivity.

      • Steven Mosher

        The “simple analysis” of climate sensitivity by Steve F., which you cited, is rolling along pretty well with some theoretical black body stuff until we hit:

        So based on this very simple analysis, the diagnosed equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 (which is ~3.71 watts/M2 forcing) absent feedbacks that are due to a change in forcing, is ~1.56oC per doubling of CO2 (or 0.4207oC/watt/M2).

        Huh?

        Howdat?

        Where did that 3.71 watts/m2 forcing for 2xCO2 come from?

        Umm…it comes from the equation:
        dE (change in forcing) = [alpha] * ln [(CO2)/(CO2orig)], where alpha is 5.35

        Hmmm…But where does the 5.35 come from?

        Umm…it comes from estimates by Myhre et al.

        Whaddaya mean, “estimates”?

        Well, it’s kinda complicated, but Myhre et al. started with some lab data on CO2 IR absorption characteristics and, based on this, they estimated what they thought “alpha” might be for CO2 impact in our atmosphere.

        Wait-a-minute – if you ASS-U-ME that alpha is 5.35 and, thus, that 2xCO2 (no feedbacks) gives you 3.71 watts/m2, you’ve already ASS-U-Med the answer to 2xCO2 climate sensitivity.

        Sorry, Mosh.

        That’s circular reasoning (even forgetting about the four added caveats Steve lists at the end of his “simple analysis”).

        You haven’t answered Jim’s question.

        Max

      • Steven, From your reference “I assume here that radiation is fungible, which means it should not matter very much if net solar intensity increases by 1 watt/M2 or increases in GHG’s generate 1 Watt/M2 of “back-radiation”, the average temperature rise at the Earth’s surface should be comparable.”

        Sorry. We have been over this before. This statement is just plain wrong. When the sun increases it’s solar constant, there are more joules in the earth’s atmosphere. When you add more CO2 to the earth’s atmosphere, you do not add any more joules.

      • Steven, you reference also states ” But heat flow through the atmosphere would also have to increase by one watt, so we could expect the total surface warming at equilibrium for a 1 watt/M2 increase in absorbed solar intensity to be approximately:

        0.270 (blackbody) + 0.1507 (atmosphere) = 0.4207o C/watt/M2″

        I am not sure whether I really understand this, but I think it means that the imbalance caused by the increased in solar radiation is overcome ONLY by there being more radiation through the earth’s atmosphere. If I am correct, then this neglects, the main way in which energy is transported to the TOA, namely convection. A small change in the energy transported by convention will need a very considerably smaller increase in global surface temperature to overcome the imbalance..

        In any event, these hypothetical estimations are NOT and NEVER WILL BE measurements. Until we have a measurement, any number produced by estimation, such a number is little more than a guess. The scientific method requires that all hypothetical estimations be confirmed by actual measurements, before a hypothesis can be considered to be anything more than a hypothesis. And CAGW was, is, and probably always will be, a hypothesis.

      • Steven Mosher

        Where did that 3.71 watts/m2 forcing for 2xCO2 come from?

        Dunce. 3.71 watts comes physics and field test pure and simple.

        The physics is RTE, radiation transfer equations.

        It works like this.

        The airforce wanted to know how to make bombers safe from IR missiles
        fired from the ground. To understand this they had to figure out how radiation transfers ( propagates and reflects and is absorbed ) by the various molecules in the atmosphere. This work also helped us design stealth aircraft. Once upon a time these codes were secret. Now they are not. The simplest version is called MODTRAN. There are more complicated versions called line by line models.

        This is the same physics that is used to create satellite images. the same physics that a radar engineer uses.

        If you want to see the test data go ahead and google.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Well, it’s kinda complicated, but Myhre et al. started with some lab data on CO2 IR absorption characteristics and, based on this, they estimated what they thought “alpha” might be for CO2 impact in our atmosphere.”

        Here is the paper. the description above isnt accurate, so if you want full detail you have to read.

        http://go.owu.edu/~chjackso/Climate/papers/Myhre_1998_New%20eatimates%20of%20radiative%20forcing%20due%20to%20well%20mixed%20greenhouse%20gasses.pdf

        Now understand that LBL physics is known physics.

        It is used to build things that work including missiles, satellites, radars, communications devices.

        http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/9/7397/2009/acp-9-7397-2009.pdf

        http://www.arm.gov/publications/proceedings/conf11/extended_abs/iacono_mj.pdf

        http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20120015945_2012016328.pdf

        http://rtweb.aer.com/docs/aer_codes.pdf

        So, 3.71 comes from known working physics. RTE

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_radiative_transfer_codes

        http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/05/confidence-in-radiative-transfer-models/

      • Steven Mosher

        “I am not sure whether I really understand this, but I think it means that the imbalance caused by the increased in solar radiation is overcome ONLY by there being more radiation through the earth’s atmosphere. If I am correct, then this neglects, the main way in which energy is transported to the TOA, namely convection. A small change in the energy transported by convention will need a very considerably smaller increase in global surface temperature to overcome the imbalance..”

        Not even wrong.

      • To understand this they had to figure out how radiation transfers ( propagates and reflects and is absorbed ) by the various molecules in the atmosphere.

        Is this set of qualities enumerable?

      • Mosher says:

        “The physics is RTE, radiation transfer equations.”

        Well, that’s clearly the wrong application of physics. The Earth’s surface is cooled multimodally and mostly nonradiativelly.

      • Mosh

        Where did that 3.71 watts/m2 forcing for 2xCO2 come from?

        Dunce. 3.71 watts comes physics and field test pure and simple

        Naw, Mosh.

        It comes from Myhre et al estimates using lab data on CO2 IR absorption characteristics and the hypothesis that these characteristics would translate into radiative forcing in our climate system.

        If you call that “physics”, so be it.

        But it is not based on empirical evidence gathered from physical observations in our climate system. It’s based purely on theory.

        So it looks like you’re the “dunce” on this point.

        Sorry ’bout that.

        Max

      • Mosh

        I am aware that you probably know all this, but you appear to be attempting to deny it, so let me lay it out for you.

        IPCC uses the estimate by Myhre et al. for calculating the (no-feedback) 2xCO2 forcing and temperature response:

        http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/222.htm

        Using this formula, the radiative forcing for doubling CO2 is 3.71 Wm-2 and the no-feedback 2xCO2 temperature response is ~1°C.

        [There are other formulas and estimates listed by Hansen 1988 and Shi 1992, which arrive at a temperature response of 0.85°-1.2°C. Not listed is an estimate by Lindzen, which arrives at a figure of 0.65°C.]

        In a footnote, IPCC tell us:

        The constant in the simplified expression for CO2 for the first row is based on radiative transfer calculations with three-dimensional climatological meteorological input data (Myhre et al., 1998b).

        We can then check the cited Myhre et al. study, which states in the Abstract:

        http://folk.uio.no/gunnarmy/paper/myhre_grl98.pdf

        We have performed calculations of the radiative forcing due to changes in the concentrations of the most important well mixed greenhouse gases (WMGG) since pre-industrial times. Three radiative transfer models are used. The radiative forcing due to CO2, including shortwave absorption, is 15% lower than the previous IPCC estimate.

        Reading further, we see that the model-derived estimate is based on theoretical deliberations plus spectral band data for CO2 from HITRAN-1996.

        The HITRAN-1996 molecular spectroscopic database is here:

        http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hitran/Download/HITRAN96.pdf

        So, to sum it up, the no-feedback 2xCO2 climate sensitivity used by IPCC is a model-derived figure, based on theoretical deliberations and molecular spectral band data, rather than on empirical evidence from real-time physical observations in our atmosphere or reproducible experimentation.

        And that’s the problem many CAGW skeptics (including Jim Cripwell) have with this figure.

        This would be OK in itself.

        But the problem is compounded by model-derived feedbacks, which end up increasing the theoretical 2xCO2 response by a factor of 3 or more to support the CAGW premise.

        That’s where my BS meter goes off the scale and I become rationally skeptical.

        And I will remain so until someone can show me empirical scientific evidence to support a 2xCO2 temperature response of 3°C, which no one has been able to do, so far.

        Max

      • A very good summary, Max. And I am sure Steven and all the other wamists are fully aware of the problems with no-feedback climate sensitivity. But they have succeeded in persuading a lot of people that the 1.2 C no-feedback climate sensitivity of CO2 is written on tablets of stone. We have Lord Rees, who really ought to know better, stating this scientific garbage in this sort of way.

        The last thing the warmists want, is to have this sort of number queried, and doubt cast on it’s validity. So no matter what science we present on CE, no warmist, particularly Steven Mosher, is ever going to admit that there is anything wrong with the science.

        This is the complaint I have of our hostess. She clearly knows that science, physics, is being abused by the warmists, but she cannot bring herself to say sort of the things that you and I are saying.

      • Well the longer either feedback goes immeasurable, and poorly estimated, the stronger the argument that the effect net of everything is small.

        Meanwhile, all Hail the Plant Kingdom!
        ======================

      • A nit: ‘measured’ is better there for meaning and symmetry than ‘immeasurable’, though both work.
        ===================

      • dang, ‘unmeasured’. Joe, java?
        =======

      • kim, you write “Well the longer either feedback goes immeasurable,” You got it right this first time. No-feedback climate sensitivity is “immeasurable”. It is impossible to measure it. That is the main issue with respect to any values attached to this particular number.

      • Sure, Jim, that’s why I say both work. It’s likely a variable, anyway. Measure that.
        ========

      • kim

        all Hail the Plant Kingdom!

        Speaking of the plant kingdom”:

        Plants love it slightly warmer!

        Here is a Chinese study on impact of projected global warming on agriculture

        http://www.slideshare.net/SBuzzelli/zhao-jin-the-possible-effect-of-climate-warming-on-northern-limits-of-cropping-system-and-crop-yield-in-china

        – Northern limit moves further north by 30 to 127 km, depending on geographical region

        – Crop yields increase between 54% and 106% for maize/winter wheat, and between 27% and 58% for rice/winter wheat.

        They also like more food!

        The additional increased fertilization effect of higher CO2 levels is not considered in the Chinese study, but other studies have suggested that overall plant growth increased by around 14% as a result of the late 20thC increase in atmospheric CO2 (roughly 75 ppmv).

        Just think how they’ll react when we zap ‘em with another 200-300 ppm of plant food!

        Of course, the potential hidden threat here is that we will have billions of obese Chinese as a result of AGW. A study is needed.

        Max

    • Jim Cripwell,

      A layman’s way of saying it is that climate sensitivity is the final answer of the question is AGW C? It is not a factor to be considered in reaching that result, it is the result. When they try to make it an input, or a metric for tuning, they are cooking the books.

    • Jim and Gary,

      You just handed Mosher his @$$. lol

      Andrew

    • Jim Cripwell

      Very good letter to the Royal Society.

      Now, if you’d have put it in iambic pentameter, even Beth would have approved.

      Max

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Jim C,

      I know you feel it proves you have nothing to hide, and I highly respect that, but it is exceptionally unwise for you to post personal information freely on the web like that. There are unlikely to be people who are regulars here who would use that information for nefarious purposes, but there are thousands of other people who have multiple ways to use it in that manner who are scouring the web constantly for just that reason.

      • Yeah, must agree.

        No need to make it easy for the lowlifes who constantly scan the internet.

        I think that you should ask Judy (or whoever is moderating in her absence) to remove the personal details from your post.

      • Yes, I’ve been pretty disgusted by the digging into private lives, on both sides of the climate divide. There were those attacks on Joshua, and there was that list-maker guy who went to an uncommon amount of trouble. Creepy.

      • R. Gates. Thank you for your concern. There are very few Cripwell’s in the world. Once anyone knows my name, and I live in Canada, my address and telephone number are easy to get. I have been the equivalent of blogging on the internet for over 20 years, and my email address is widely known. I never do anything important, like banking, online; I always go to my bank. Let people get as much information as they like about me. I don’t think it is going to harm me. Certainly nothing has happened yet.

      • I should add that no-one concerned with CAGW has ever used my email address. Those who use pseudonyms will never do so; it would tell me who they are.

      • Same for me Jim. Everyone knows who I am and my address is listed in the phone book. We bank and do everything on the internet and no problems so far.

        I never intentionally upset people and have always been approachable to anyone wanting to chat on-line.

        I am careful with passwords and change them frequently but this causes me a bit of grief from time to time as old timers disease catches up with me.

  64. Australia was founded just before the early 1790s, when colossal monsoon failures caused the tragic Doji Bara Famine in India. The conditions at Sydney Cove were alarming, and, by good fortune, were recorded by the most competent of English officers. It took several years for local creeks to start flowing after this major and prolonged El Nino (plus whatever!).

    The thing which did not happen was fire. The undergrowth (NSW fires tend to be more below canopy) was clear because of millennia of aboriginal burning practices. Once these practices were discontinued, the flammability of Australian species favoured by those millennia of burning was now working against humans and animals.

    There is, in the Green mind, a deep desire to return to a no-burn regime. The theories sound attractive, and can even come wrapped in some of those “studies” where So-and-So et al (2013) “demonstrate” and “show” etc etc (I think we know the drill by now). While there is a grain of truth in it all, and there are already areas of bush where a no-burn regime is practical and desirable (the marvellous Dorrigo NP!), as a general policy it is lethal. I don’t live near the most dangerous bushland (though the aboriginal name of my area means “Many Burnings”) but I can tell you that when those 1790s or 1982-3 conditions come along, all theory is combustible in an instant. Impossible to describe, but think of a fan-forced electric oven. And unless you think Big Flax was behind the 1790s conditions, you can forget sending money to villains to “stabilise” your climate.

    Except in WA, our burning practices have become greener and consequently blacker. If anyone wonders just how bad it can get in Oz, consider the scale of Victoria’s Black Thursday Fire, probably the world’s greatest known inferno. Then ask yourself this: if Black Thursday were to occur now, do you think our Green Betters would abstain from preaching and finger-wagging about climate change? No need to answer.

    However, you won’t hear a peep out of them about Black Thursday. You see, the world’s greatest bushfire happened in Australia 162 years ago. It’s just one of those old sepia photographs. Doesn’t count. Change the subject. Look! A glacier calving on YouTube!

    • “The thing which did not happen was fire. The undergrowth (NSW fires tend to be more below canopy) was clear because of millennia of aboriginal burning practices.”

      Exactly, I’ll take your word for it. Some prefer this type of management. It tends to small boring fires.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      mosomoso claims [bizarrely and falsely] “There is, in the Green mind, a deep desire to return to a no-burn regime.”

      But mosomoso, isn’t your post’s false, bizarre, fact-free, and unsupported claim wholly falsified by the Green-endorsed scientific literature?

      The world wonders, mosomo!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • AFOMD,

        It seems you have made another unfounded assertion.

        Correct me if I am in error, for I assume “the world wonders”, relative to mosomoso’s post, includes myself.

        I am certainly not wondering, nor, I assume would the rest of the world’s population who have not read your post.

        Until you have some evidence supporting your claim, I assume you are, as they say, “making stuff up.” Keep up the entertains comments.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

    • Amazing! An article from the sane WA re fire management (see my remark above on WA) is seen as being “Green-endorsed”? Does the spin ever, ever stop? Something is “falsified” because somebody somewhere wrote a sane article on fuel level reduction?

      Here’s just one notorious case of deep green neurosis. It kind of has a happy ending. A Victorian family (Vic is probably the worst region in the world for fire) cleared trees from around their house. Fines and legal costs amounted to $100,000 dollars. It was a well known case in 2002. It would become better known seven years on when the catastrophic 2009 fires swept through. The Sheahan’s house was left standing (just), the neighbouring ones were all incinerated.

      This is not untypical of what is happening in most parts of Oz – except, thank God, WA! And I am aware of the many sensible people who write in favour of sane policy. If you think they are “Green-endorsed” you must have a better class of Green up your way. Ours are typically in favour of abandoning wilderness to fire prone regrowth and feral dogs who tear the life out of native fauna. (I live in and around recognised koala habitat.) Our Green Betters don’t say that’s what they want to happen. That’s just what happens.

      Fire should be excluded from living cathedrals such as the Dorrigo National Park, and certain other areas. Otherwise, it needs to be integrated with bush management on a vastly greater scale. Also, you can’t be too delicate about taking action: the conditions for hazard reduction can be very brief.

      This sane type of management is not implemented partly because resources are scarce and responsible bureaucracies are fragmented. But the greatest barriers to progress are Green philosophies, Green policies and Green groups. I won’t call them conservationists. I’m a conservationist.

      Real conservation and active stewardship will cost Australia massively, but it needs to be done. Fortunately, we have all those billions we were about to ship offshore into that snakepit of mutual loathing and manipulation called the EU carbon “market”. There’s still hope for my koalas!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Real conservation would cost some $6 billion a year. Ironically – it is about what we spend on green tape regulation of industry, development, mining and farming.

  65. Chief Hydrologist

    “Fuel reduction burns make it possible to fight and control a fire; what happened here was uncontrollable,” Dunalley farmer Leigh Arnold told The Australian.

    Greenies who oppose such burnoffs, “care more about birds and wildlife than they do about people and farms,” he said.

    “But what’s the point of that now when the hills and trees they told me I couldn’t burn off, because there were protected eagles and swift parrots there, are now all burned and the fire it created was so hot we had dead swans dropping out of the sky?”

    No, the only permissible comment on a bushfire catastrophe is to say it was caused by “climate change” – that convenient get-out-of-jail free card for greenies, governments and the obstructive bureaucracies they jointly create.

    But we’ve heard it all before, and we’re not buying it.

    “It’s really simple,” says Brian Williams, captain of the Kurrajong Heights bushfire brigade, a veteran of 44 years of firefighting, in one of the most extreme fire risk areas of Australia, on a ridge surrounded by 0.75 million hectares of overgrown national park between the Blue Mountains and Wollemi.

    “Fires run on fuel. Limited fuel means limited fire.” http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/lets-tell-the-burning-truth/story-e6frezz0-1226552629947

    FOMBS indulges his serial ignorance, sneers and calumny in equal measure.

    Fire is one of those things that city progressives have protested out of the typical but quite unfounded belief that they understand anything at all.

    Things are changing – but in the interim the nature of the bush substantially changed from open, dry sclerophyll forest to closed forest with resultant increases in fire intensity and concomitant pressures on biological diversity.

    Controlled burning is increasing – but is still limited by resources. Burning in NSW for instance is about 1/10th what is needed.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/bush-burns-ease-global-warming/story-e6frg6xf-1225704699242

  66. Jennifer Marohasy has just taken a look at the climate history of Bathurst, an old “cathedral” city close to our recent fires (which seem to be settling down, though one can never tell in a windy spring in NSW).

    I don’t do inconsequential links, nor do I appreciate those who do. I really think this is worth a read in the context of this thread:

    http://www.mythandthemurray.org/no-increase-in-hot-days-at-bathurst-or-the-misguided-politics-of-attributing-bushfires-to-global-warming/

    1915 was the hottest recorded year in my region, 1902 was the driest. Even so, I was a little surprised at that late 19th century heat around Bathurst. But Bathurst has an older record, so who knows?

  67. Fire suppression equals fewer but larger fires due to the build up of fuels. It’s a phenomenon that happens everywhere where fire suppression occurs. There is nothing new here, just political spin or ignorance.

  68. if carbon tax prevents bushfires, Australians are paying carbon tax; how com those bush infernos?

  69. Dr. Strangelove

    Bathurst (near Blue Mountains) is not unusually warm compared to historical records. The army started the bushfire. The greenies made it worse by preventing regular burnoffs. And we blame climate change for the disaster. Something is wrong here.

  70. Naychure’s voracious and don’t
    you fergit it.That speckled thrush
    that chortles, oh so sweetly, has
    ijest devoured a worm. You yrself
    might escape harm if
    you remind yrself, often, that
    ‘Naychure – is – dangerous!
    Dangerous like a sleeping tiger,
    burning bright, that overlays
    its cubs, ferocious fire devouring
    all before it, spitting out the charred
    remains oh so contemptiously as it
    leaps and engulfs a forest glade,
    gullies and all that live therein,
    animal and vegetable, nothing
    vegan about fire. …And then,
    in contrast, there’s ice, some say
    it’s worse than fire. Poor Otzi,
    Bronze Age traveller snap frozen
    in the Tyrol in a sudden storm,
    swallowed by an Alpine glacier,
    a hungry glacier that swallows up
    whole villages, churches, where
    praying congregations seek
    insurance from the elements
    to no avail. Ripeness is all
    Naychure has its way,.
    and don’t you fergit it.

    bts

  71. “…nothing
    vegan about fire.”

    I won’t fergit it!

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Apart from the Prime Minister and most farmers in the volunteer fire services you mean?

      • +1

        I wonder how much firefighting John Cook, Lewandowski and Dana have done?

      • A Prime Minister who works a 14 hour shift with his home brigade, right through the night at the Bilpin fire-front. What a star.

        You can’t do that as a stunt. You have to be a trained firey, ready to go, with a crew you know and who can rely on you. And he’s been doing it unheralded for years, same as he’s been lifesaving and giving up his holidays to teach aboriginal children in the Far North.

        You don’t find many John Cooks at the end of fire hoses.

  72. Robert Holmes

    I live in Singleton, NSW. We have fires close to us and also around Sydney. The claim that these fires were caused by or enhanced by global warming is absolute rubbish. We had worse fires in 1951-52, 1968-69, 1984-85, and 1993-94. The worst bushfires in Australian history were in 1851, when the planet was 1c cooler; 50 times as much bush was burnt then as compared to now.
    We have recently had very heavy rains (which the greenies said we would never get again due to ‘climate change’) -this rain has resulted in huge forrest growth, the dry winters that we usually get have dried out this fuel.

    What has made the fires much worse are the new rules by the many ‘green’ councils we now have, who prevent clearing of any tree or bush over 3m that is close to houses (with the threat of a $1m fine) they also do not allow fuel reduction burns in winter.
    These insane green policies have resulted in massive fuel loads of 40t per hectare; (more than 10t per hectare is dangerous). We have lost 300 houses.

    Thanks to the greens, all we need now is one spark and there is an inferno.
    Robert Holmes

    • Robert, I live north of you on the mid-coast. I’ve just been discussing conditions and causes of NSW fire on a local Oz site, thus:

      Only big fire on my place occurred in a frosty winter while the soil was drenched from the Big Wet of 1988-9. It thrived because of my own stupidity and inexperience and because of:
      1) species of grass (blady, whisky – with plenty of frosted bracken)
      2) winter drought after good summer/autumn conditions
      3) the howling dry winter/spring westerly winds of 1990 onwards

      I remember being in Rome in winter 2005 and being amazed by the phenomenon of winter thunder up in the Alban Hills. It had been so long since I had heard or seen a winter thunderstorm! Yet two years later winter thunderstorms became a feature of my own climate, in 2007 and for the following half decade. Even now, conditions are not that great for winter burn-offs, because late winter wind is not as strong and parching as those direct three-day westerlies of the 90s. (I don’t miss ‘em.)

      Too many fad-subject experts lack the scientific genes of skepticism and enquiry. Not only do the literalists of publish-or-perish academism get future and past climate wrong – many wouldn’t notice an actual climate change if it jumped into their laps and performed Aida with live elephants.

  73. Chief Hydrologist

    Just checking Facebook. My niece’s daughter packed her evacuation bag – with teddy bears. Cute as.

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