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

          Recent Posts

          • Billion dollar bully ABC resorts to namecalling for the nightly news
          • You think I’m the devils child and you branded me a climate change denier…
          • Midweek Unthreaded
          • Global Patsy: Since 1990 — Each Australian has already cut CO2 emissions by 40%
          • Hallelujah — rain coming
          • The Hotter-Drier “Climate change” myth — the rain in Australia has always been erratic, no CO2 trend
          • On Facebook Greta looks 16, but secretly identifies as two grown men
          • Quick Dick McDick explains to Protestors the secret of Vegan Margarine …
          • Weekend Unthreaded
          • Busted: Reef fish aren’t bothered by “acidification” and James Cook Uni isn’t bothered by potential fraud.



          Australian Speakers Agency


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

          The Skeptics Handbook

          Think it has been debunked? See here.

          The Skeptics Handbook II

          Climate Money Paper


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          Billion dollar bully ABC resorts to namecalling for the nightly news

          ABC Prime Time News in Australia this week stooped to abject petty namecalling with despised climate change deniers robbing Australia again. The people robbing Australia work for the ABC. If they only had evidence they wouldn’t need to stomp all over debate.

          The first words of the nightly 7pm news Jan 15th The Government tells Climate Change Deniers to stop arguing and accept The Science.

          And in the website:

          Climate change deniers robbing Australia of time to respond to impacts, Science Minister Karen Andrews warns”

          Yet the government said nothing that insulting.

          In other news — the Australian Science Minister obediently repeated a twenty year old robot meme that Al Gore invented. Unlike what the ABC headline and wording suggests, it doesn’t appear Karen Andrews mentioned “deniers”. That profoundly unscientific and inflammatory activist term seems to be all the ABC’s. And they call themselves “reporters”?

          The formerly esteemed journal Nature did it once, and after I pointed out how unscientific it is, they backed down.

          What the Minister for Science said:

          Those who are still debating whether climate change is real are wasting time.

          The people wasting out time are the ones using vague, ill defined, unscientific terms to discuss the end of a debate that never began. What’s “climate change” mean to the listeners? Anything they like. What’s a denier, just the brain of a lizard.

          It’s pure namecalling. It’s a science debate yet no one can define a “climate change denier” scientifically — what observations does a climate change denier deny?? The original meaning of “denier” in 1475 was to deny God. Five hundred years later and nothing much has changed except to replace denial of one church with denial of other (or any sub part or sub-clause of the 10,000 page IPCC commandments.)

          So the evidence is overwhelming, and has been settled for 100 years, but somehow Australians needed to hear this lite-tripe in their 7pm news?

          Let’s accept that the climate has changed, the climate is changing.

          ?Lordy I believe in ice ages…!

          Between them, not one meaningful new concept was raised, no policy point was moved forwards. No one learnt anything except what they are allowed to say in polite company. It’s just a fashion update.

          Andrews is naively hoping that capitulation will get the attack dogs off her back, but? all it does is give them more to work with. Now the ABC and Labor Party (co-dependents in politics) can manufacture headlines saying how there is division in the Liberal Party, that even conservative MP’s “accept climate change is real”. They can isolate the real threats like Craig Kelly who they paint as marginalized, even though he’s the most popular conservative MP on Facebook, possibly even more popular than Scott Morrison, and definitely more popular than the opposition leader:

          Liberal MP Craig Kelly outperforms Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese on Facebook

          Sydney Morning Herald:? Mr Kelly – who denies the link between human activity and climate change, … – uses his Facebook page to question climate science and spruik the coal industry on a daily basis.

          Although the backbench MP has only 38,000 “fans” on the social media platform, compared to 231,000 for Mr Morrison and 124,000 for Mr Albanese, he regularly outperforms both men on engagement – particularly the number of people sharing his content.

          Since July 1, there have been 1.33 million interactions involving Mr Kelly’s page, compared to 1.26 million for Mr Morrison and 720,000 for Mr Albanese. Mr Kelly regularly outperforms the Prime Minister, and there have only been three weeks since July 1 when the Opposition Leader had more interactions than Mr Kelly.


          The term “climate change” is deliberately vague. Everyone agrees with the literal meaning of the words climate and change which means some kind of religious belief that humans have a convenient dial to control storms, clouds, rain, heatwaves and the sea, that they know what exact temperature “earth” should be, and that we can also measure that accurate, and that all countries agree on that level of storms and heat and sea level.

          The ABC is afraid of debate. The Science Minister is afraid the ABC will mock her, but they already are, and this only feeds the bun-fest.

          Hence both are happy with an interview where no one says anything except 20 year old propaganda lines.

          Hook, line, stinker.

          In the Iview WA News edition UK readers will be amused to hear that ” in the United Kingdom action on Climate Change is largely bipartisan. Boris Johnson took an ambitious climate target to an election and won. (2:45). Since Australians have added more renewables per capita than anywhere in the world, including the UK, and that’s been done by a conservative government here, “what’s the difference”.

          Presumably the BBC says the same about Australians.

          Defining “denier”. Is it English or Newspeak?

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          You think I’m the devils child and you branded me a climate change denier…

          Let me be the one to introduce DanPrawn to the world.

          Man this is going to go viral. 17 views and it’s headed for thousands…

          Great new talent!

          “I thank my lucky stars that I became a climate change denier”

          Thank you Dan!

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          Midweek Unthreaded

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          Global Patsy: Since 1990 — Each Australian has already cut CO2 emissions by 40%

          Proving that actual carbon reduction is totally irrelevant…

          It doesn’t matter what any nation does. The CO2 blame-game is a fashion contest and success is not measured in megatons, but with megaphones.

          Over the last 30 years, the Australian population has grown faster than nearly any other western nation on Earth.?At the same time the Australian GDP more than doubled. Despite that and against all the odds of being a large, remote, thinly spread population which makes a living from industrial mining and agriculture and is further on Earth from anywhere, each Australian has reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 40% each.

          In a normal world, if environmentalists cared at all about carbon dioxide, Australia would be the star of the Kyoto Agreement. Instead, when nearly all the major nations are failing to meet their Paris agreements, plus the US? has left, Indonesia has threatened to, somehow when we are one of the only nations trying to keep up with this game, we are the big evil polluters?

          Dear Australians, it’s a con, and we are The Mark.

          This carbon reduction comes at a price: We stole land off our farmers without compensation, locked up native regrowth and created million-hectare fire hazards all over the country, and we pay the highest electricity rates in the world.

          Emissions per capita and per dollar of real GDP, year to June 1990 to 2019

          Australian per capita emissions reductions, Australian Greenhouse Office, 2019, graph.

          Australian per capita emissions reductions, Australian Greenhouse Office

          Our national leaders need to start getting better at negotiating. They undersell our target and our achievements. Isn’t it time to talk “per capita”?


          • Over the period from 1989-90 to June 2019, Australia’s population grew strongly 49% ( from 17.0 million to around 25.4 million).
          • Australia’s real GDP (chain volume measures) grew 137% expanding from $0.8 trillion in 1989-90 to around $1.9 trillion in the year to June 2019.

          Emissions from the electricity sector are experiencing a long term decline, down 15.0?per?cent from the peak recorded in the year to June 2009. Emissions in the NEM for the September quarter 2019 decreased by 1.5?per?cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis compared with the previous quarter.[3] For the September 2019 quarter, generation from renewables increased 20.3 per cent primarily due to increases in wind generation (21.4 per cent) and solar generation (33.5 per cent).

          ?Past Posts on this

          Those Green Australians! Our emissions per person fell 28% since 1990? (2013)


          Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts, Department of Environment. June 2019 PDF

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          Hallelujah — rain coming

          Good rain forecast for East Coast fire-grounds 15 – 50mm.

          Probably thanks to the MJO which Joe Bastardi told us was strongly building nine days ago. The northern monsoons have finally started, and the peak MJO position for rainfall has arrived. It won’t end the drought yet, but it might put out some fires.

          Rain forecast BOM Australia.

          Rain forecast BOM Australia.


          As Joe Bastardi explained, there is an extreme Madden-Julian Oscillation going on north of Australia.? We’ve launched into “Phase 5″ with a rocket, and “wow” — things are far out on the phase diagram. Looking at past MJO patterns the wiggles can loop, dive to the centre, swing wildly out, though I didn’t see any with such an extreme phase 5. They can resemble the flight path of a bee. Predicting what any MJO does next looks difficult, and next week it may have retracted to low normal “six”. Who can say?

          Madden-Julian Oscillation map current. 2020. Australia.

          Madden-Julian Oscillation map | Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

          The BoM does an average forecast of what different phases of the MJO mean for Australian rainfall. I’m not sure how much it would change in an extreme MJO.

          Keep reading  →

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          The Hotter-Drier “Climate change” myth — the rain in Australia has always been erratic, no CO2 trend

          When will our BoM and Climate Experts correct the Fake Science and misinformation?

          Climate change leads to a hotter-wetter world. This is a central canon of the theory of man-made global warming. Despite that, none of our paid experts are correcting the myths and misinformation of our public debate. Every man and his monkey (including M.P’s) are saying that Climate Change causes a hotter drier world which leads to fires, and the BOM, CSIRO and millions of scientists apparently agree. So if Australians are misinformed, who’s fault is it? — Not looking at you Andy Pitman, David Karoly, Tim Flannery, ABC Science Unit, Gergis, Sherwood, Trewin, Steffan and all the rest.

          Blame the ocean currents for our bush fires

          The biggest cause of bush-fires in Australia is the drought. A lack of rain allows the nation to get scorching hot days and dries out the fuel. Yet our long term records show that obscene megatons of CO2 from China has no detectable effect on our long term rainfall. Not in the fire zones, and not across the whole country either.? The main driver of droughts and fires therefore is the El Nino oscillation, the IOD, and the SOI. Tax the ocean! Stop the currents! Hold back the tide and pray to Karl Marx!

          Climate change made zero difference to rain trends in Australian fire zone

          A half hour search finds six long records of rainfall in the latest bushfire zone but no sign of a CO2 signal. But, hey,? it’s not like we pay the BOM a million dollars a day to correct misinformation, or the ABC three million dollars a day to ask them hard questions.

          Map rainfall, South-East Australian, fires zone.

          Long term rainfall in all these places is just like it used to be.

          ?Spot the meaningful trend

          CO2 has no effect on Cobargo rainfall

          This is what a graph looks like when CO2 has no detectable impact on rainfall. 50% of all human emissions since the days of Neanderthals has been produced since 1992. But the rainfall is just like it was in the 1920s. 89 houses were lost in Cobargo, but they were lost because of land management and a natural drought.


          BOM: Cobargo rainfall


          Likewise Dalgety Rainfall


          BOM: Dalgety Rainfall


          Ensay Rainfall

          While the rainfall in Dalgety appeared to increase slightly, the rainfall in Ensay appears to fall slightly. Since modelers have no skill in predicting regional rainfall trends anyone claiming either shift is caused by coal plants might as well be a fortune teller.


          BOM: Ensay Rainfall


          Gabo Island Rainfall

          Climate scientists can’t explain why the rainfall was lower from 1920 – 1940 here so they have no idea if it’s just a natural cycle driving twenty year trends. There are natural cycles linked to solar cycles that are a complete mystery to climate modelers.


          BOM: Gabo Island Rainfall


          How about 160 years of nothing?

          Melbourne Regional Office 1855 – 2015


          Melbourne Regional Office 1855 – 2015


          Sydney Observatory 1858 – 2019

          The longest records we have show cycles come and go. Since we can’t predict the cycles more than five months in advance (and often not even then), clearly we don’t know what drives these cycles. When will Australia’s climate scientists correct the politicians and celebrities who benefit from making false claims?


          Sydney Observatory 1858 – 2019


          It’s not drier than the 1880s. Not drier than WWI. If there is any pattern it’s that there might be a long term natural cycle where there was less rain in the early 1900s, more rain after WWII and less rain again after the 1980s.

          Looking at the 1900 – 2020 Australian rainfall trend map (which ignores the decades of data before that) much of Victoria has a 10mm lower rainfall per decade. But NSW, where most of the fires have burned so far ,, has exactly the opposite trend.? Which one is climate change?

          In Australia you can claim any trend you want in rainfall, just by cherry picking the start date.

          Droughts are the same as they ever were

          In the 178 year record, across the whole nation — there is no trend. All that CO2 has made no difference at all to the incidence of Australian droughts. Climate scientists have shown droughts have not increased in Australia. The graph here shows Sydney rain, but click the link to see Melbourne and Adelaide. Same thing. All the data we have, looked at in all the ways we can think of shows CO2 is not controlling our rain.

          A warming world means more rain. Other evidence also shows mega droughts were worse. 178 years of CO2 emissions have no measurable effect on rainfall in Australia.

          Rainfall trends, cycles, Australia, Sydney, Graph, 2019, 1840 - 2020

          Rainfall trends, cycles, Australia, Sydney, Graph, 2019, 1840 – 2020. All the data we have, looked at in all the ways we can think of shows CO2 is not controlling our rain.



          Linden AshcroftabDavid J.KarolyacAndrew J.Dowdyb(2019) Historical extreme rainfall events in southeastern Australia, Weather and Climate Extremes , 100210

          And even more droughts and trends graphs here.



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          On Facebook Greta looks 16, but secretly identifies as two grown men

          On Facebook no one knows you are a puppet — until a bug reveals who edits your posts. Such a bug happened on Thursday and by Friday people on 4chan had pointed out that Greta’s facebook posts were being done by her father and some guy in India called Adarsh Prathap.

          thanks to Michael Smith News. h/t AndyG, Dennis

          Greta’s handler, Adarsh Prathap

          ?GraniteGrok (or someone else?) revealed Adarsh is a UN climate official.

          There is nothing either wrong or surprising about this. Only an idiot would believe (then or still) that she is writing her public remarks for delivery to social media or the UN. She’s a Muppet. A child trafficked in socialist environmental doomsaying. A prop. But who the heck is?Adarsh Prathap?

          According to LinkedIn, he is a?Global Regional Coordinator at Youth Engaged in Wetlands. Principal Investigator of Revive Vellayani Project.?And a big fan of the UN. Youth Engaged in Wetlands?is?“an international youth team committed to the conservation, protection, and wise-use of wetlands. YEW provides a global platform for young people to enable and empower them to help protect promote our wetlands.”

          He’s a Green Energy player with UN connections. A stakeholder in the economic swindle that is the socialist Globalist environmental assault on the West.

          Her father Svante Thunberg also posts material.

          Greta’s Dad

          But Greta’s Facebook account is not set up as a “fan page” it’s set up to look as if it is her account alone.

          On Saturday Greta (or one of the two men) said they are her words “reposted”.

          Greta’s handler, Adarsh Prathap

          It reminds me of Obama’s twitter account which turned out to be almost entirely run by an activist group called?Organizing for Action (OFA). Curiously OFA tweeted in the name of the man who was leader of the Democratic Party, but they are legally a?non-partisan organization. Figure out how that works. Strangely, even once people knew the tweets were not his, they still quoted the twitter feed as if he said them.

          I predict that no fans of Greta will unfriend her (or the two men).

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          Quick Dick McDick explains to Protestors the secret of Vegan Margarine …


          A talkie talkie picture book that should be in every public school:

          Brilliant delivery. So simple, even an XR protestor might get it…? Enjoy!


          h/t Willie

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          Weekend Unthreaded

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          Busted: Reef fish aren’t bothered by “acidification” and James Cook Uni isn’t bothered by potential fraud.

          “Clark et al. (2020) found 100% replication failure. None of the findings of the original eight studies were found to be correct.”

          Scientists tried to repeat eight experiments that showed “acidification” would make reef fish get hyper, act like their predators smell nice, and generally swim in the wrong circles, behave weirdly and need therapy sessions. Turns out the fish will be OK, but James Cook Uni’s reputation may never recover. The original junk experiments and press releases came out of the coral reef centre at JCU.

          This is the “replication crisis” Peter Ridd warned us about. He was fired from? JCU in 2018 after stating that work from JCU’s coral reef centre (ARCCoE)? was not trustworthy.?He also helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish. Obviously this latest reef research shows he? was right to be concerned about quality assurance at JCU. One JCU researcher,?Oona L?nnstedt, had already been caught fabricating data in Sweden, and yet JCU “investigated” and sacked Ridd faster than it investigated her suspicious lionfish shots. Indeed, two years on, JCU has not even officially appointed the committee to investigate her potentially fraudulent work. It seems JCU would rather employ untrustworthy scientists than honest ones.

          Ridd won on every count in court against JCU last year, but they still want to waste millions in the high court defending their right to exile and punish a whistleblower for being non-collegial and writing a slightly satirical subject line: “for your amusement”.? This unpermitted behaviour is seemingly so much more important to JCU managers than employing people who do honest, useful scientific work. And who cares about the stupid fish and the fate of the dumb reef anyhow? They are just a fund-raising tool for a grants machine.?? I guess JCU can’t maintain the abject fear among their staff, and get obedience to their own agenda if the dang staff say what they really think.

          Think about how pointless the JCU appeal is — even if they were to win, they lose — they prove that they are not the kind of institute taxpayers should be funding.

          JCU management have learnt nothing. Since losing the case JCU has changed its employment contracts, not to give their academics the unequivocal right to speak freely, but to make sure they can’t. Enough is enough — all universities need to guarantee free speech in employment contracts or no more government funds.

          Every JCU employee’s work is tainted by this. Even the honest ones. We will never know what any JCU researchers really believe, or which results were filed in the bin, no matter what they say, because we know employees of JCU have to hide unfashionable opinions. Their quality assurance is terminally flawed. This makes the entire institution useless as a research body, and with standards so low, also useless for teaching. The government could fix this entire embarrassing debacle in five minutes. They just need to withhold JCU funding til the uni gets new management, investigates potential fraud, stops wasting funds in legal battles, and demonstrate that they support free speech — rehire Ridd, sack the VC Sandra Harding AO who earnt $975,000 in 2018, and enshrine free speech in employment contracts. It could all be fixed in time before the academic year starts.

          Environmentalists should be defending Ridd. Junk science hurts the reef. The nation could waste money giving the fish counseling instead of solving actual issues that may threaten the reef.

          And the problem is bigger than just JCU. As Ridd points out “Such replication studies have been opposed by all the major GBR (Great Barrier Reef) science institutions.” None of these institutions want the science checked.?

          It’s also proof that sacred “peer review” is as meaningless as a pal review by two anonymous people obviously would be.

          JCU is the text-book example of what happens when government funding strangles science. The people in charge of JCU’s “science” department — deciding what “the consensus will be” are the administrators, not the academics.

          This is not a one off. JCU has a pattern of evicting,?blackbanning, and ousting people?who disagree with the bureaucrats pet fashions (vale, Bob Carter!). In this culture, more funding means more strangling. So just stop.



          Peter Ridd: Scientific Misconduct At James Cook University Confirms My Worst Fears

          Global Warming Policy Foundation

          Seven scientists expose massive scientific incompetence –? or worse – at James Cook University

          All the erroneous studies were done by scientists from James Cook Universities highly prestigious Coral Reef Centre. They were published in high profile journals, and attracted considerable media attention.

          Keep reading  →

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          Fires are not where the heat is, they’re where the fuel is

          A thread for those who are watching the fire crisis.

          Fires NSW

          NSW Fires today Map Click to enlarge

          Fires Map Victoria

          Victorian fires, click to enlarge.

          Fires flared again today in Australia, though have calmed in the last few hours. Outback NSW was wildly hot (Bourke and Ivanhoe reached 47C and 48C), but the fires are mostly in Alpine and SE coastal areas of Australia where temperatures ranged on Friday only up to maximums of 21C -? 35C.

          Fire conditions are bad tonight in NSW and Victoria. Cooler, but windier. Some gusts are up to 100km/hr. Rain has begun to fall in East Gippsland. Map details and links to updates are listed below. It’s obvious in the maps that massive areas of forest have already burned. The black areas on these maps are burnt, but not all to the same degree. The red areas on the NSW map look terrible but these are “potential spread areas”.

          It’s not about the heat.

          The fires are where the fuel loads are (and the arsonists and accidents).

          Keep reading  →

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          The cloudless NW Indian ocean may drive Australian storms and US cold weather in the next month

          There is a strong phenomenon called the Madden-Julian Oscilation (MJO) happening over the Indian ocean North west of Australia.The MJO is a massive convective pattern that churns it’s way from west to east across the Indian and into the Pacific. For 30 – 60 days it’s a dynamo, changing global weather. It has a profound influence on both sides of the world — driving cold winter spells as far away as Canada and the US.

          “It’s as extreme as I’ve ever seen it”? — Joe Bastardi, Weatherbell, Jan 6th

          “I’m looking at one of the worst 30 days periods in central Canada and western United states.”

          “I’m watching what I was taught happen in front of me.”

          ” Jan 20 – Feb 10th may be very cold in the US.

          Joe Bastardi is a long range weather forecaster at Weatherbell and he does a weekly video each Saturday. Last weekend he discussed the MJO and the hot tropical convective pattern occurring in the NE Indian ocean off Australia where, unusually, there are no clouds.? The gap in the clouds allows sunlight in to heat the ocean in the tropics, but also allows the warmer ocean to radiate energy out to space. The outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) is pouring out across the equator in the central and western Indian ocean.This makes cyclones and rain more likely off NW Western Australia.

          Bastardi loves the climate and his enthusiasm is infectious. Bear in mind it’s six days old now, things will have shifted. It must be tough making a living out of trying to predict the weather weeks in advance…


          There is more energy involved because the oceans are warmer,? yet there is severe cold in parts.

          ?The heat is pouring off the planet at 35W/m2 at 90E in the tropics. (That brown blob in the Indian Ocean). But it’s being followed by storms, clouds, cold and rain.

          MJO on sea surface temperatures.

          Three months of very few clouds over the NW Indian Ocean.

          We all wonder, of course, what drives a 3 month period of very few clouds in the tropics … could it be a solar phenomenon — a shift in the solar wind for example.

          Joe Bastardi on the effects over the USA

          If the MJO gets into 8 (in the chart below) 1 or 2 don’t be surprised if it hits -10 in Chicago.

          Most of the West and Central US will be cold, but the pool of cold dense air will lead to storms from the gulf across SE USA.

          The man-man global warming theory predicts more water vapor, so there should be more clouds, not less in the tropics.


          Madden-Julian Osscilation, Convection, diagram.

          Madden-Julian Oscillation is a pattern that travels east bringing storms and rain and influencing weather right around the globe.


          The cloudless warm water cell in the MJO pushes through this pattern from 1 to 8. Right now it’s at 4 (or it was a week ago). Let’s hope it brings some rain to Australia.

          MJO pattern


          MJO means Madden–Julian oscillation?(MJO) (Wikipedia)

          It is a large-scale coupling between atmospheric circulation and tropical?deep atmospheric convection.[1][2]?Unlike a standing pattern like the?El Ni?o–Southern Oscillation?(ENSO), the Madden–Julian oscillation is a traveling pattern that propagates eastward, at approximately 4 to 8?m/s (14 to 29?km/h, 9 to 18?mph), through the atmosphere above the warm parts of the Indian and Pacific oceans. This overall circulation pattern manifests itself most clearly as?anomalous?rainfall.? — Wikipedia

          At some point Bastardi comments to the effect of saying something like…. I’m not seeing evidence that man-made CO2 is driving this, but I am seeing solar influence.

          Any mistakes in the transcript or “translation” above are all mine. Apologies!

          h/t Charles M

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          Inferno on Black Friday 1939: 71 deaths, 3,700 buildings, too much fuel and “lit by the hand of man”

          Black Friday 1939

          Omeo . Image courtesy of Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria. More photos

          Those who don’t know history…

          On Black Friday 1939, on a day of high wind and savage 45 degree heat (110 Fahrenheit) many separate fires joined forces in Victoria to make mass conflagrations, one of which burned most of the western flanks of the Snowy Mountains all the way to New South Wales. In the end the conflagration burned through two million hectares, 3,700 buildings, 69 mills and killed 71 people. Five towns were completely destroyed –? never to be rebuilt. At the time, the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide was 310ppm and 90% of all human emissions were yet to be made. Climate Change has nothing to do with it.

          In the end, they were horribly unprepared, the forests were horribly overgrown and the weather was horribly extreme.

          Men who had lived their lives in the bush went their ways in the shadow of dread expectancy. But though they felt the imminence of danger they could not tell that it was to be far greater than they could imagine. They had not lived long enough.

          The Stretton Royal Commission into the Black Friday fires found that it “almost?all?fires?are?caused?by?man”, and recommended among many other things, the “common bush practice of controlled burning to reduce risks”. The Commission (as well as the fires) had far reaching effects: spawning roads, firebreaks, dams, aerial patrols. A radio network was set up that was considered better then than what the police and military had (think… that was 1939). The Forests Commission more than doubled the area it was managing.

          The report makes for interesting reading: the populace were struck with apathy, letting things become overgrown too close to town. The Board of Works believed planned burns were a bad idea and let the forest manage itself naturally. The people and industry were careless, lighting fires for all kinds of reasons, flagrantly flouting laws they disagreed with or felt were silly and unenforceable. The Minister kept half the funds of the Forestry Commission, and lots of people told a version of the truth that best served their own interests. How nothing changes.

          Various Departments competed and fought among themselves and Stretton wanted ” to? expose? and? scotch? the? foolish? enmities? which?? mar? the? management? of? the forests by public departments, who, being our servants, have become so much our masters that? in some respects they lose sight of our interests in the promotion of their mutual animosities.

          Thanks to David B for sending in these excerpts. I’ve read quite a bit of the report though, no doubt there are plenty more gems to be found. There is some reassurance there knowing that government was just as inept, corrupt and incompetent then. Though we have less excuse…

          This coming Monday is the 80th anniversary.

          Black Friday, Victoria, Map 1939

          Black Friday, Victoria, Map 1939 Wikipedia


          The Causes of and Measures Taken to Prevent the Bush Fires of January, 1939,

          and to Protect Life and Property AND

          The Measures to be Taken to Prevent Bush Fires in Victoria

          and to Protect Life and Property in the Event of Future Bush Fires.

          “There had been no fires to equal these in destructiveness or intensity in the history of settlement in this State, except perhaps the fires of 1851, which, too, came at summer culmination of a long drought.

          “Balls of crackling fire sped at a great pace in advance of the fires consuming with a roaring explosive noise….”

          “The speed of the fires was appalling. They leaped from mountain peak to mountain peak, or far out into the lower country, lighting the forests 6 or 7 miles in advance of the main fires. Blown by a wind of great force, they roared as they travelled. Balls of crackling fire sped at a great pace in advance of the fires, consuming with a roaring, explosive noise, all that they touched. Houses of brick were seen and heard to leap into a roar of flame before the fires had reached them. Some men of science hold the view that the fires generated and were preceded by inflammable gases which became alight. Great pieces of burning bark were carried by the wind to set in raging flame regions not yet reached by the fires. Such was the force of the wind i hat, in many places, hundreds of trees of great size were blown clear of the earth, tons of soil, with embedded masses of rock, still adhering to the roots ; for mile upon mile the former forest monarchs were laid in confusion, burnt, torn from the earth, and piled one upon another as matches strewn by a giant hand.”

          ?“On that day it appeared that the whole State was alight.

          At midday, in many places, it was dark as night. Men carrying hurricane lamps, worked to make safe their families and belongings Travellers on the highways were trapped by fires or blazing fallen trees, and perished. Throughout the land there was daytime darkness,. At one mill, desperate but futile efforts were made to clear of inflammable scrub the borders of the mill and mill settlement. All but one person, at that mill, were burned to death, many of them while trying to burrow to imagined safety in the sawdust heap. Horses were found, still harnessed, in their stalls, dead, their limbs fantastically contorted. The full story of the killing of this small community is one of unpreparedness, because of apathy and ignorance and perhaps of something worse. Steel girders and machinery were twisted by heat as if they had been of fine wire. Sleepers of heavy durable timber, set in the soil, their upper surfaces flush with the ground, were burnt through. Other heavy woodwork disappeared, leaving no trace. Where the fire was most intense the soil was burnt and destroyed to such a depth that it may be many years before it shall have been restored by the slow chemistry of Nature. Acres upon acres of the soil itself can be retained only by the effort of man in a fight against natural erosive forces.”

          “Millions of acres of fine forest, of almost incalculable value, were destroyed or badly damaged. Townships were obliterated in a few minutes Mills, houses, bridges, tramways, machinery, were burned to the ground; men, cattle, horses, sheep, were devoured by the fires or asphyxiated by the scorching debilitated air. Generally, the numerous fires which during December, in many parts of Victoria, had been burning separately, as they do in any summer, either ” under control ” as it is falsely and dangerously called, or entirely untended, reached the climax of their intensity and joined forces in a devastating confluence of flame on Friday, the 13th of January. On that day it appeared that the whole State was alight.”

          ?”These fires were lit by the hand of man.”

          The prelude — creeks ran dry and the litter was bone dry

          Keep reading  →

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          What the BOM don’t say: it’s not the hottest year in Australia according to satellites

          For forty years NASA satellites have been circling the Earth covering our landmass day and night.? But yet again, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has released the obligatory “hottest ever year” media release without mentioning that it wasn’t the hottest year in the far more accurate satellite record of Australia, and that this new “record” depends entirely on adjustments and quite possibly on ignoring all the data recorded in the 1800s. Once again they miss the chance to remind Australians that it was almost certainly hotter for hundreds of years seven thousand years ago. Sea levels were higher then too.

          They claim it’s the driest ever year, and maybe it was, but they don’t say that there is no trend in droughts and rainfall for the last 178 years.

          So to help them out I’ve graphed UAH satellite temperature record which shows that last year was the 4th hottest year since 1979 when the UAH satellite data set begins.

          Perhaps in 2020 the Australian Bureau of Meteorology will set their own record, and explain for the first time how and why they adjust their data continuously and post hoc. The Australian surface data is all changed with a mystical secret technique that cools historic thermometers in paddocks, warms them in cities, and can’t be explained to anyone outside the sacred BOM guild (see the marvel of homogenization). They also might explain why they insist on ignoring the superior satellite data and try to measure a vast continent with flawed surface stations placed next to airport tarmacs, car parks, asphalt, incinerators, skyscrapers, super highways, and basically in sites and that are often not compliant with the BOM’s own standards and using super fast electronic sensors in a way that is not WMO compliant either. Let’s not forget they also get data from boxes that are a quarter of the original size, that move all the time, and that many modern records are just meaningless electronic one second “moments” that could never have been recorded in 1910 (or even in 1980). With so many scientific bombs, the marvel is that 2019 wasn’t even “warmer”.

          Australian Annual Temperature (UAH)

          The hottest year in Australia was 2017, then 1998, then 2016 and then 2019

          According to the BOM the year 1998 was +0.96 °C above the 1961-1990 average and last year was nearly 0.6 degrees warmer that that. But according to the NASA Satellites, this year was a tenth of a degree cooler than 1998. The gap between satellite measured 1998 and BOM measured 1998, as compared to their 2019 measurements, is now almost as large the entire warming trend for the last century.


          ?UAH Satellite data

          ave temp Degrees C

          No doubt the honest scientists at the BOM will issue a correction to all their incomplete press releases any day now, unless of course, they are trying to scare more money out of Australian taxpayers, in which case they probably don’t want Australians to know how different the satellite measures are.

          DATA: Update Jan 9th 2019? from http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tlt/uahncdc_lt_6.0.txt

          UPDATE: Vishnu reminds us that Roy Spencer says a 0.6C difference between UAH and the BOM surface temperatures can occur in especially dry years during summer (though he found the opposite effect happens in winter, and we are discussing whole annual averages here). But both 1998 and 2019 were both very dry years, so we’d expect both years to diverge in the same direction which they do not.

          Thanks especially to Geoff, with help from Ken, Ian, Ed, Chris, Warwick, Lance and Tony.

          To find out the real history of the Australian climate start here:

          Keep reading  →

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          The information war about astonishing arson figures

          Arson in Bushfires

          ABC News Australia, from the Australian Institute of Criminology

          Rapidly the word about the astonishing rate of arson and man-made accidents* is spreading, but it doesn’t help “the cause” (which for left-leaning journo’s appears to be getting left-leaning politicians elected).

          For example, the awful Binna Burra fire in September was blamed on climate change. Instead it turned out to be caused by two teenagers with cigarette butts. Who looks silly pushing a carbon tax agenda to stop fires?

          So The Guardian and the ABC are now compiling stories with conspiracy theories about how a thousand or so tweets with a pedantic error mistaking legal action for arrests somehow demonstrates a mysterious disinformation campaign (it’s pro-ject-ion.)? The main mystery here is how a prof in Qld can mind read through twitter — Dr Graham tells us “The motivation underlying this often tends to not be changing people’s opinions about the bushfire itself and how it’s happening, but to sow discord and magnify already existing tensions in polarised political issues.”

          Maybe people are just angry at the wanton, pointless and avoidable destruction, yeah?

          The Love Media are downplaying the arrests in a situation where catching, charging and convicting people must be near impossible, so 24 arrests already for arson this season is remarkable. What’s more important to the nation, preventing arson, saving wilderness, or proof-reading-type errors on social media?

          Firstly: Most of these fires are man-made but it’s arson and accidental* not climate change:

          In NSW alone 24 people have been charged, with legal action happening against 180 in total ( that’s just in NSW)

          NSW Police take legal action against more than 180 people

          6 Jan 2020. NSW Police: Since Friday 8 November 2019, legal action – which ranges from cautions through to criminal charges – has been taken against 183 people – including 40 juveniles – for 205 bushfire-related offences.

          • 24 people have been charged over alleged deliberately-lit bushfires
          • 53 people have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban, and
          • 47 people have had legal actions for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.

          A US study estimates that 85% of fires are man-made (both accidental and deliberate):

          Janet Stanley, Associate Professor at Melbourne University’s Sustainable Society Institute, The Conversation.

          Experts estimate?about?85% of bushfires?are?caused by humans. A person may accidentally or carelessly start a fire, such as leaving a campfire unattended or using machinery which creates sparks. Or a person could maliciously light a fire.

          But official fires are just the tip of the iceberg: the actual number of bushfires in Australia is thought to be?about five times?that recorded. Virtually none of these unrecorded fires are investigated.

          A Western Australian study from 2012 estimates 43% of fires in WA are deliberate arson, 22% of fires are due to lightning, 13% are accidental, 2% are escaped from hazard reduction, and 20% are unknown.

          Secondly: the misinformation misinformation campaign

          The ABC and The Guardian readers are being taken for a ride:

          Fires misinformation being spread through social media

          By?Kevin Nguyen?and?Ariel Bogle, ABC news

          Australia’s bushfire emergency is being exploited on social media, as misinformation is spread through cyberspace via hundreds of thousands of posts.

          • Bushfire discussion on social media is attracting a high number of “bot-like and troll-like accounts”
          • Some of the misinformation includes the idea left-wing “ecoterrorists” are behind some fires
          • The lies are highly sharable, which means they can spread faster than the truth

          They don’t mention that four people from a Brazilian green NGO have been arrested in relation to starting fires in the Amazon. We don’t know if they were guilty, or what the evidence is. They deny it, and we hope they get a fair trial. Regardless, the ABC etc are already trying to brand “the idea” of eco-terrorism as misinformation and a conspiracy. Who’s in denial that there might be a motivation in the means-to-an-ends crowd who are hyped up by propaganda about the end-days of climate change ?

          The ABC found some of the suspicious accounts were amplifying unproven suggestions arson had been the overwhelming cause of Australia’s disastrous bushfire season.

          Suspicious accounts like those of professors?

          The Guardian is almost a mini-ABC:

          Bots and trolls spread false arson claims in Australian fires ‘disinformation campaign’

          Christopher Knaus, The Guardian, @knausc

          Online posts exaggerating the role of arson are being used to undermine the link between bushfires and climate change

          Bot and troll accounts are involved in a “disinformation campaign” exaggerating the role of arson in Australia’s bushfire disaster, social media analysis suggests. The bushfires burning across the nation have been accompanied by repeated suggestions of an arson epidemic or “arson emergency”.

          With a million tweets on climate change and fires, why is this tiny hashtag so important? Maybe some of these are fakes, but how many fakes are shouting about a #ClimateEmergency? Who knows, and don’t ask. Nothing to see here comrade.

          The Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer on social network analysis Dr Timothy Graham examined content published on the #arsonemergency hashtag on?Twitter, assessing 1,340 tweets, 1,203 of which were unique, published by 315 accounts.

          His preliminary analysis found there is likely a “current disinformation campaign” on Twitter’s #arsonemergency hashtag due to the “suspiciously high number of bot-like and troll-like accounts”.

          He similarly found a large number of suspicious accounts posting on the #australiafire and #bushfireaustralia hashtags.

          Lord help us. Now he realizes there is hyped up polarisation?

          “Australia suddenly appears to be getting swamped by mis/disinformation as a result of this environmental catastrophe, and we are suffering the consequences in terms of hyped up polarisation and an increased difficulty and inability for citizens to discern truth,” Graham told the Guardian.

          The Prof finds there’s “likely” a disinformation campaign in a thousand tweets and that means the nation is “swamped”? Tell me again who’s hyping and polarizing the news?? The Guardian practically IS a misinformation campaign.

          A search on “The Guardian arson”? and “abc.net.au arson”, or “theguardian.com arson arrests” turns up almost no other headlines about the large number of? Australian arsonists?

          Information is our friend. The poor sods reading The Guardian and The ABC will go out loaded with nothing-burger conspiracies and indignant outrage and get squashed in any real forum.

          ?UPDATE: The Daily Mail says arrests in other states are large too :

          Color me skeptical, because their headline looks a bit sloppy. I would like links to police news releases or more reliable numbers.

          In Queensland, police have arrested 101 people accused of starting bushfires, 69 juveniles and 32 adults.

          Five people were arrested for allegedly setting bushland alight in Tasmania – and a further 10 in South Australia.

          Meanwhile in Victoria, where locals have experienced some of the most catastrophic conditions the nation has ever seen, 43 people were charged with firebug offences.

          H/t to Travis. Thank you. And Dave B and Panda.

          * Arson is not the same as an accident — a word that has just been added in two spots to make the point clear. There must be malicious intent. h/t DryLiberal.

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