How do we establish AGW’s complicity in the latest disaster?

24 10 2013

As everyone reading this blog will know, Climate Change has been blamed for making the current fires in NSW “unprecedented”.  Nutjobs like Andrew Bolt were quick to fire from the hip attacking the ABC with statements like:

The ABC is furiously promoting the NSW fires as “unprecedented” and evidence of the global warming that actually paused 15 years ago.

This morning Fran Kelly, host of ABC Radio National Breakfast, claimed there had never been bushfires in October and implicated global warming:

The issue, some people say, is we’ve always dealt with fire, but not necessarily in October.

In fact, of 48 major bushfires in NSW between 1926 and 2006, 11 occurred in October or earlier

THAT list, conveniently stops in 2006.  During the period 1926 to 2006 there were 90 Human fatalities.  I say convenient, because the Black Saturday bushfires, a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009, three years after that list ends, killed 173 people and injured 414.  So it alone killed more people that died in all bushfires combined in the previous seventy years.  Furthermore, even back in 2009, Climate Change was also being linked to that terrible tragedy:

Professor David Bowman, an expert in forest ecology and bushfire management at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, says the research is useful because it confirms scientifically what we already know.

“It does open up some pretty intense political issues,” he says. “You’ve got to ask the question: why are people living in these areas if these disasters are only going to keep happening? Why do peri-urban communities exist?” Population growth in bushland areas and more frequent bushfire weather predicted with climate change are expected to create major challenges for protecting homes in the future.

It’s neither easy, nor helpful, making comparisons with what occurred a long time in the past…….. because everything changes.

On 6th of February, 1851 – “Black Thursday” – the largest Australian bushfire in European recorded history burnt an bushfire_victoria_house_safetyarea of approximately 5 million hectares (12.5 million acres), reputedly a quarter of Victoria.  The areas affected include Portland, Plenty Ranges, Westernport, the Wimmera and Dandenong districts.  Approximately 12 lives, one million sheep and thousands of cattle were lost.  The elevation of Port Phillip district into the colony of Victoria, was on the 1st of July 1851.

I found this particular fire mentioned as “proof” that Australia had major events well before Climate Change became an issue.  Yes, a quarter of Victoria may have burned in 1851…… but it was in February, not October…  and who was there to fight it?  How many trained fire fighters were there?  Where were the helicopters?  Do we even have data on temperature and wind speeds during that event…??

There’s no way of knowing of course, but I suspect that in precisely the same conditions today, there’s no way 5 million hectares would be allowed to burn……

Today, having sacked leading scientists at the Climate Commission, Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced he turned to Wikipedia for evidence that the devastating bushfires in NSW are not connected with our changing climate.

angry abbott

Prime Moronster

Hunt says that they have always been with us and have nothing to do with climate.  Indeed, they have always been with us but he ignores the increasing frequency of these fires, and is nothing but a lie by omission and unfitting of an Environment Minister…….

When pointing to Australia’s history of bushfires, Abbott also rattled off a list of historical events, and the dates were: 1851, 1939, 1968, 1983, 1994, 2003, and 2009 and now.  Ignoring, for a moment that none of those other fires were in October, take a look at the gaps between those events……..  80 years, 29 years, 14 years, 11 years, nine years, six years, and four years. Am I the only one detecting dumbing down…?

The deniers are out in force, but I think the time has come when people are starting to wake up to the fact we are heading for even worse situations.  How much longer before the likes of Bolt and Hunt are tried for treason?

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15 responses

24 10 2013
jeninorton

More extreme fires due to ACC make sense, but it’s hard to prove.
We need statistics to demonstrate that the current fires fall outside the 95% confidence interval. Then the facts can speak for themselves.

24 10 2013
mikestasse

Trouble is of course……… by the time we have all the statistics needed to ‘prove’ climate change…. it will be way too late!

24 10 2013
jeninorton

I’m not even sure it would be possible to predict a confidence interval for bushfires. Although insurance companies might be doing something like that?

25 10 2013
shaunmolloy

You can prove climate change statistically. There are numerous papers on this subject and much of the information used by the IPCC is statistically derrived.

A CI can be calculated for anything, the trick is caculating a CI within a meaningful level of significance. It is also possible to accurately predict bushfire risk, which is a statistical analysis of the conditions conducive to bushfire. What cannot be effictively predicted is the ignition source, i.e., where and when the fire will be started.

25 10 2013
bev

I Agree with Greg Hunt, fires have nothing to do with the climate change theory. We have emergency people lots of volunteers putting their life on the line, trying to save people and their property from the property owners own stupidity.
We can not live among the gum trees in wooden homes with tiles roofs.

25 10 2013
mikestasse

Agree with Hunt at your own peril……. did you even read this bit……..:
look at the gaps between those events…….. 80 years, 29 years, 14 years, 11 years, nine years, six years, and four years.

As it gets hotter, catastrophic fires are happening more and more often……..

26 10 2013
Chris Diesel

Please do a little research. Australia has suffered many more devastating fires than in just those years.

26 10 2013
mikestasse

So why are they the ones Abbott, Hunt, and Bolt continue to quote? And why should I do the research to prove I’m wrong….. do it yourself!

Besides, the research I did yesterday came up with the same dates…….. so go ahead, make my day.

25 10 2013
bev

why our peril?
yes look at the gaps long before climate change evolved in the theory of science
so what makes you wiser than us
last time they had fires a rural firy said timber houses were the best in bush fire(look at latest timber homes in a fire), how wrong his opinion, 30 or so years ago a district i think to the south of Canberra was devastated not a thing standing, all tree cleared back to at least 4km from the estate now, all homes tin rooves, steel frame on slabs with brick walls, and no wood facing out. wise move by that local shire.

voluntere fire people do massive job, but experts on climate and other they aren’t

25 10 2013
mikestasse

I don’t think I understand your train of thought here… the shortening gaps between catastrophic fire events have little to do with what houses are made of. And besides, I’m not advocating timber houses at all. THIS is what our next house will look like…
https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/fantasising-about-our-next-house/

25 10 2013
bev53

Nothing to really understand, what you plan to build has nothing to do with what I am saying, if you plan to use timber that is your business you know the risks. Compacked earth like what we live on cracks up and termites love earth.
The compacted earth comes from the habitat.
What I am talking about is people don’t learn, all these places have been burnt out in the past but people still keep building the same type of house.
There is no shortening gaps, fire can’t burn where there is no fuel, while we continue to destroy the habitiat the fires will continue.

25 10 2013
mikestasse

How an you say there is no shortening gap? The evidence is CLEAR! the gaps between those past events in the 19th and 20th Centuries ARE shortening…….. 80 years, 29 years, 14 years, 11 years, nine years, six years, and four years.

What issue do you have with those numbers?

25 10 2013
lemmiwinks

Lots of confirmation bias here (interesting to note I am not denying AGW just that there is a direct link between it and the severity of recent bushfires). Also Mike you are comparing human fatalities? Apples with oranges IMO, population distribution has changed drastically and population itself has exploded exponentially.

Let the fires burn (saving houses where possible) and then we won’t have bushfire problems for years, at least not in the areas where the fires have been through.

25 10 2013
John McCulloch (@csaw59)

Wow, a scorched earth policy … bugger the native animals, tough luck for the nesting birds, bad luck about the poisoned & silted up waterways & the cost to continually monitor fires the refuse to die out by natural means. Perhaps you should move to Port Stephens where the local Mayor, Bruce MacKenzie was advocating a 500 mtr. clearance zone between the bush & any buildings to prevent property loss … I’m sure you will fit in quite well!

28 10 2013
bev

abbott, hunt and bolt are looking to shed any blame for anything coming their way so the fog things by dropping in other names, so when the fan splatters mud they can wipe their face and blame someone else.
didn’t baird’s say that australia was a land of droughts, fires and flood?

look some sense please Co2 CC is enough of a myth to live with don’t tack fires to it, you may have some leverage if these fires occurred at the same time in the same places, doesn’t happen, can’t happen.

cu to the chase please, people are dying of thirst

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