February 15, 2019 | Graham

CO2 may be responsible for more destructive forest fires

Queensland was hit by forest fires, and the Queensland Premier was at it, blaming climate change (and the Australian government):

“If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change,” the Queensland premier told reporters. “It is only the LNP who could watch Queensland burn and then blame the trees.”

Tasmania is  burning, and here we have local novelist Richard Flanagan:

Climate change isn’t just happening. It’s happening far quicker than has been predicted. Each careful scientific prediction is rapidly overtaken by the horror of profound natural changes that seem to be accelerating, with old predictions routinely outdone by the worsening reality – hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier, wilder, and ever more destructive.

But what if they were both right, but for the wrong reason?

Here is an image of the globe showing how is is greening. Land management and CO2 fertilisation is leading to more ground cover on every continent.

globalgreening_tamo_2017_lrgSource: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/144540/china-and-india-lead-the-way-in-greening

It’s strongest in India and China, where changing land use is the cause, but the east coast of Australia has a lot of spots that have picked-up at least 32% more cover in the last two decades, and that can’t be due to land use. Tasmania is also (contra the claims in Flannigan’s article) getting greener.

More vegetation equals more fire load, which, especially if you do maintenance burning less frequently, surely leads to bigger and more frequent fires.

So at last, a credible link between CO2 and forest fires. Just not the one that the Queensland Premier and the Tasmanian Bard were looking for.


Posted by Graham at 4:12 pm | Comments (11) |

March 31, 2015 | Graham

Heat not hiding in the ocean

Anyone who understands physics, which excludes many prognosticators on climate change (yes, I’m thinking of you @beneltham*), understands that the oceans drive the climate.

So it was always a bit of a stretch to think that the plateau in global temperatures of over the last 18 or so years was because the heat was hiding in the ocean.

For that to be the case they had to answer the question as to why the ocean had suddenly stopped heating the atmosphere and was now retaining the additional heat and effectively becoming hotter than the atmosphere.

Recent research by Liang, Wunch, Heimbach and Forget suggests that not only is the heat not hiding in the ocean, but the ocean is very gradually becoming cooler.

This opens the possibility that recent temperature increases reflect energy balances at some stage in the past, not the present. Another of the interminable list of confounding factors that can’t be, or aren’t, factored in to climate models.

Current emissions of CO2 may well just be balancing out a gradual cooling of the globe, which is evident in the record of the last 10,000 years.

*If you’re wondering about the Ben Eltham jibe click here to follow his haranguing of me for daring to have an opinion on global warming that differs from his. When he claims to be a scientist and tries to pull rank I ask him a simple question about water, air and thermal mass which he confuses with oceanography. You can read the whole unedifying discussion here. But I’ve also copied the tweets below.

I challenged Eltham, who works for rival think tank the Centre for Policy Development to a debate on the subject of global warming, but he refused. Seems it’s OK to have a view, but not necessary to be able to defend it.


Posted by Graham at 1:09 pm | Comments (7) |

January 14, 2015 | Graham

Green climate deniers

A climate denier is apparently someone who says anything that disagrees with the IPCC Assessment Reports. That makes Christine Milne, Al Gore, and my fellow blogger Ronda, climate deniers.

They all assert that climate change is causing more extreme weather, including more tropical cyclones and hurricanes. This is contrary to the most recent IPCC Assessment Report AR5, although some earlier reports did give some comfort to that view.

That the IPCC is right, and the Green deniers wrong, is graphically illustrated below. The graphs are taken from WeatherBell.com, and can be seen in context on this page.

They demonstrate that there is no trend in the number and the total energy of hurricanes over the last 40 years.


Posted by Graham at 5:11 am | Comments (32) |

January 31, 2011 | Graham

Prepare for more flooding

My sister writes adventure romance novels, and she is also a commercial airline pilot.

So she knows something about imagination, but she is also practical and keeps an eye on the weather.

She just sent me a link to this map of weather in our more or less immediate vicinity as a partial answer to my question as to whether Brisbane could face more flooding from a cyclone(s) making landfall and then coming south as a rain depression.

Cyclones and Queensland on 31 January, 2011

You can see Cyclone Anthony looking relatively anemic in central Queensland, but its “ugly sister” Yasi (ugly name too),  looks huge off the coast.

It would be unwise for anyone in Queensland or northern New South Wales to put away their gumboots and shovels just yet.

Posted by Graham at 7:34 am | Comments (1) |

March 02, 2010 | Graham

Physicists criticise Jones et al

It’s couched in neutral language, but the Institute of Physics, with an international membership of 36,000 physicists has expressed serious doubts about the objectivity, methods and outcomes of the published results and staff from the Hadley Centre for Climate Research Unit.


Posted by Graham at 5:31 pm | Comments (3) |