09
Feb
09

Incredible: AP Finds Way to Blame Aussie Fires on Climate Change

It’s amazing.  People are dead because of an arson campaign, and a reporter for the AFP takes the time to make a ludicrous leap between the wildfires and climate change.

The key point in the story comes from bushfire expert Mark Adams:

“I have never seen weather and other conditions as extreme as they were on Saturday, the fire weather was unprecedented,” Adams said.

“We don’t have all the evidence yet to fully explain this day in terms of climate change, however all the science to date shows that we can expect more extreme weather in the years to come.

Let me rephrase that for you.  “We have no real evidence that these fires are in any way connected to climate change, but I’m going to fearmonger nonetheless and blame the warming planet and CO2 emissions!”

Remember all the flak Al Gore gets when he attends an AGW conference while it’s 8 below, and the environmentalists warn us not to base our conclusions on allegorical evidence (and, rightly so, environuts!)?  Well, it cuts both ways.  Australia’s had one hot summer, but global temperatures have been either stagnant or in decline, on average, since 1998 (or 2001, if you want to avoid using such an outlier of a data point as 1998).

Of course, the idiot reporting this for AFP doesn’t bother to check the data before seeking out a one-sided argument on climate change.

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13 Responses to “Incredible: AP Finds Way to Blame Aussie Fires on Climate Change”


  1. 1 John A. Davison
    February 15, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Oddly enough it is the retreat of the glaciers and the melting of polar ice that is the CAUSE of colder weather. Every gram of ice at 0 degrees C that is converted to water at that temperature requires the absorption of 80 calories. That energy comes largely from the atmosphere. At some point in the melting sequence, a sequence that can no longer be denied, a “tipping point” will be reached when net warming will enter a rapid irreversible phase with disastrous results as sea levels will rapidly rise due to thermal expansion and the excesssive precipitation which already characterizes the world climate. We should remember that the other product of the oxidation of hydrocarbons is water which as vapor is, with CO2, a greenhouse gas. The only question is at what point the “tipping point” will occur. It is my conviction that it is inevitable. Of course that is just my opinion and it is not my fault if others do not share it.

  2. 2 docattheautopsy
    February 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    That logic is a bit backwards. Cold weather is the result of warming?

    If you are applying energy to a system, and you have a heat sink such as ice, in order to cool the entire system, you would need an incredible amount of ice absorbing an incredible amount of energy. We just don’t see that.

    The problem I have with this whole thing is lack of historical evidence. If CO2 increases cause a positive net feedback to planetary temperatures, and it’s the driving force of current warming, then there shouldn’t be any abberations to warming. Indeed, now that CO2 concentrations are entering 340 ppm, we’re should see, according to the models, runaway temperature changes around the world. But the trend has flatlined, and I don’t think it’s from the melting glaciers. In fact, we’re seeing thickening glaciers in Antarctica, record sea-ice in the Arctic, and a constant temperature anomaly since 1998/2001.

    The historical record clearly shows that warming preceeds CO2 increases by hundreds of years, and in times of high CO2 concentrations of 245 ppm, the temperature started to plummet. The only time the CO2 greenhouse model were successfully applied were to the snowball earth scenario and the PETM, but each of those were accompanied by increases in methane as well.

    Much of the reason I discount Hansen et all who rely on models for warming trends is the same reasoning I discount psychics. They may be right once, and then we depend on them to be right in the future. Hansen’s models failed to predict the current leveling, something that has not been caused by a geologic event like Mt. Pinatubo. The historical records shows quite clearly that temperature and CO2 alone do not correlate, so why should be expect them to correlate now?

  3. 3 John A. Davison
    February 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Doc

    That is exactly what we have, an incredible amount of melting ice. When that amount is substantially reduced, the “tipping point” will occur and we will have runaway warming and rising sea levels. Historical models do not apply to our present situation because the present rate of change has been estimated (by Tim Flannery) to be 30 times that in the past. The facts are that both poles are melting, glaciers are receding rapidly worldwide, the permafrost is thawing, the oceans are acidifying, and methane levels are increasing 1% per decade. These are not models but present realities. In addition, we are releasing a number of other industrial gases into the atmosphere. I agree that models are not reliable, but facts cannot be denied and certainly should not be ignored. CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas and perhaps not even a major one. Enormous amounts of methane are in the frozen permafrost and in the ocean depths as clathrates. Methane is also produced in swamps and in the stomachs of an estimated one billion or so cattle not to mention nearly 7 billion farting human beings. With world wide increases in precipitation, more swamps will be produced. Water is the other greenhouse gas produced by the oxidation of hydrocarbons. I don’t see how anyone can ignore this scenario. I sure can’t.

    Of course my explanation may be without merit but I will stick with it until it is proven to be so. I have no idea what is meant by “current leveling.” That is news to me. Are my generalizations in error?

    P.S. I do not share your appraisal of James Hansen.

  4. 4 docattheautopsy
    February 15, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    “I agree that models are not reliable, but facts cannot be denied and certainly should not be ignored.”

    Facts cannot be ignored. However, drawing incorrect conclusions from data should be ignored. If the glaciers and polar caps are melting from runaway global warming, then we should see considerable warming of the oceans. Water has a substantial heat capacity, and it covers 75% of the planet. If ice, which is a small percentage, is melting due to runaway warming, similar temperature increases should be seen in surface ocean temperatures.

    As for the historical data, the rises seen in the past in CO2 have been prolonged during cold eras, indicating that increases in CO2 on the 100+ ppm level do not cause corresponding rises in average planetary temperature. The exceptions to these rules are times when global humidity was dropped to prolonged lows, and a mammoth volcanic eruption resulted in dramatic and substantial rises in planetary methane and carbon dioxide concentrations.

    I agree that methane is a more dangerous problem, but worldwide concentrations of methane are far below that of CO2. Should there be a dramatic spike in methane concentrations, then there would be a greater concern for global warming, but so far, a 1% increase is on the order of parts per billion increases in concentration.

    What makes me a skeptic most is that the argument has been highly promoted by politicians rather than scientists. In fact, I hear more climate scientists making arguments against AGW than I hear in any documentary about AGW (and the primary person the talk to is Hansen.)

    As for Hansen, I’d find his methodology far more compelling if he would release it for confirmation. As for now, he’s been jealously guarding his scientific methodology, which should raise red flags.

    I don’t dispute increases in carbon dioxide concentrations. I do dispute that they’re all resultant of mankind’s influence. Earth is a dynamic system, and changes in CO2 and temperatures causes other changes in the ecosystem as well as gaseous solubility in the oceans. I will caution you on using acidity of the oceans to prove a point– CO2 becomes more soluble in colder aqueous systems than in warmer ones. If CO2 concentrations are increasing in the ocean, that would mean two things: the equilibrium is shifting towards solublizing CO2 in the water, and/or the oceans are getting colder.

  5. February 15, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Cold weather is the result of warming?

    Hi, I came over from RealClimate to harass you. You sound like a ‘joe six pack’ who doesn’t have a clue about fundamental thermodynamics or planetary science, but still think you can comment definitively on those subjects. First of all energy is conserved. The best way to create a reservoir of heat (energy) in a closed system is to move it around. Thus weather, for instance.

    Thus, by definition, cold weather is the result of warming. For instance, at night heat can radiate away into space, thus, ahem … warming things in space. Do you begin to see the picture?

    When the sun radiates away light, for instance, it is effectively cooling itself. If doesn’t happen in a moderate and controlled manner, well, the result can be very unpleasant, especially when nuclear or chemical reactions are concerned, nevermind the objects’ blackbody temperature.

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

    You just aren’t thinking the physics through, that’s all.

  6. 6 Miles Leggett
    February 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    100 glaciers studied.

    Canada alone has 13,000 or more glaciers.

    Statistically, this study is a complete load of rubbish.

  7. February 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    My hypothesis is based largely on the physical chemistry of water in a semi-closed system. I have still to see any evidence that it is not fundamentally correct. I have great respect for the folks at “Real Climate” and for James Hansen. I have not much for Anthony Watts and the folks at “Watts up with that?” Besides, Watts banished me. I must have reached him!

  8. February 16, 2009 at 5:52 am

    DocAtTheAutopsy said:

    The problem I have with this whole thing is lack of historical evidence. If CO2 increases cause a positive net feedback to planetary temperatures, and it’s the driving force of current warming, then there shouldn’t be any abberations to warming.

    That’s a non sequitur. CO2 affects temperature, but it is not the only thing that affects temperature. Other greenhouse gases, clouds, aerosols, albedo, and changes in sunlight also have effects.

    Indeed, now that CO2 concentrations are entering 340 ppm, we’re should see, according to the models, runaway temperature changes around the world.

    What models say that? Cite, please.

    But the trend has flatlined,

    No, it has not. Try here:

    http://www.geocities.com/bpl1960/Ball.html

    http://www.geocities.com/bpl1960/Reber.html

    and I don’t think it’s from the melting glaciers. In fact, we’re seeing thickening glaciers in Antarctica, record sea-ice in the Arctic, and a constant temperature anomaly since 1998/2001.

    See above.

    The historical record clearly shows that warming preceeds CO2 increases by hundreds of years,

    That’s true in a natural deglaciation, where the CO2 is coming out of the ocean due to temperature-induced changes in solubility. It is not true now, when the CO2 is coming primarily from fossil-fuel burning.

    and in times of high CO2 concentrations of 245 ppm, the temperature started to plummet. The only time the CO2 greenhouse model were successfully applied were to the snowball earth scenario and the PETM, but each of those were accompanied by increases in methane as well.

    The models also successfully predicted the magnitude and duration of the cooling from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, that the northern hemisphere would warm more than the southern hemisphere, that warming would be slowest in Antarctica, that the stratosphere would cool as the troposphere warmed, and that there would be greater warming at night than during the day. That looks like a pretty good track record to me.

  9. February 16, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Doc says:

    I hear more climate scientists making arguments against AGW than I hear in any documentary about AGW

    Try checking the peer-reviewed science journals. For a good summary, try the AR4 report. Nearly all the published work of the past decade or so supports AGW — thousands of studies by thousands of people.

  10. February 16, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Miles Leggett writes:

    100 glaciers studied.

    Canada alone has 13,000 or more glaciers.

    Statistically, this study is a complete load of rubbish.

    Miles, do you understand what “sampling” means in statistics? Do you know why Gallup polls and so on only interview 1,000-2,000 people, instead of the whole population of the United States?

  11. 11 John A. Davison
    February 16, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    I am still waiting for someone to evaluate the validity of my suggestion that it is the MELTING of the huge ice reserves that can be a CAUSE of global cooling. So far my hypothesis seems to fall on deaf ears both here and elsewhere. I am a stubborn old physiologist so I will stick with it until it is proven to be in error.

    Here is a model experiment to illustrate my point. By the way, this is not a “thought exeriment,” but one that one can do at home. Pick a small unheated closet and place in it a 50 pound block of ice in a bucket. Close the door and measure the temperature in the closet wth a remote sensing thermometer. As the ice melts the temperature in the closet falls until a point is reached were it reverses and then, when all the ice is melted, the temperature rapidly returns to the original temperature. As a control, if the ice block is contained in an insulated container, the effects will be very much slowed and dampened. It is the MELTING of the ice that produces the cooling.

  12. 12 Canbyte
    November 13, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    The sun is warming the earth – along with Mars, Jupiter, Triton and other heavenly bodies.

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=469DD8F9-802A-23AD-4459-CC5C23C24651

    When the earth warms, clouds of CO2 and methane ooze out of every bog, swamp, ocean and thawed permafrost, completely dwarfing all the CO2 humans produce – the opposite of what we are told by politicized scientists like Suzuki. The sun has been playing these tricks forever. Grapes and corn used to grow on Greenland, yet humans survived.

    Treaties like Kyoto and now Copenhagen are ruses to make Al Gore rich (first green billionaire?) and the rest of us poorer and more controlled. Environmentalists will still fly to distant tax deductable conferences but the rest of us will pay after tax carbon penalties to visit a dying parent. Other unintended consequences will diminish quality of life for most with no offsetting benefit. Our economy, the tool we need to solve our problems will be run into the ground by politicians making photo ops of high and mighty sounding but useless projects such as carbon sequestration. Do they have any idea of the cost or energy penalty of such approaches? And if we do undertake these ideas and they do not work, what then? Will we still be able to move whole cities if the ocean should rise? Environmental extreemists cite the precautionary principle but they have it backwards. An expensive wrong action is worse than no action. If the sun is too hot, put up a sun shade. Move a little slower. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years.

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About Me

My name is Doc. Welcome to my blog. If you're visiting from another blog, add me to your blogroll (and I'll happily reciprocate). I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and live in Wisconsin. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. My email is docattheautopsy at gmail. (No linking to deflate the incredible spam monsters).

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