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Climate change, fire may wipe out Australia’s giant gum trees

As Australia gears up for another risky bushfire season this summer, some of its most iconic and valuable forests are at…

Australia’s great gums are at risk. AAP/Forestry Tasmania

As Australia gears up for another risky bushfire season this summer, some of its most iconic and valuable forests are at risk.

Giant eucalpytus trees rely on fire to regenerate, but an increase in major bush fires due to climate change could stunt their growth, a Tasmanian ecologist has warned.

The Unviersity of Tasmania’s Professor David Bowman says giant gum trees – which can act as valuable carbon stores – may become a thing of the past.

Giant gum trees can grow up to 100 metres, and are hundreds of years old.

“They are a globally unique rainforest tree that recovers from bushfires with explosive growth to out-compete the other rainforest trees,” Bowman said.

“With climate change, we see the trend in increasing fire weather, and if the trees get burned in quick succession you can actually lose them because they don’t have any seeds.”

And while the trees may act as valuable carbon sinks now, Bowman says insulating them from fire in the long-term is impossible.

“If we wanted to use them as carbon sponges, the real challenge would be to keep fire out of these landscape for a long time – hundreds of years.”

“We’re not certain how we’re going to do that if we’re up against a drying, warming trend with increased fire weather.”

There is concern this summer will bring increased risks of bushfire activity.

“Every summer is dangerous,” Bowman said, “But drawing from what we’ve seen around the world, the US has just been through one of the most extreme fire season in their history. There has been unprecedented fire activity, just mind-boggling in the scale and dimensions of it.”

“We have had droughts and then we have had La Niña so we’ve got a lot of fuel. There is a lot of grass out there, it just depends on the rain.”

And if Australia does face many more catastrophic fires, it could spell the end of some of the oldest trees in the world – and the biggest.

“Some of the work we’ve done here in the lab shows an older middle-aged giant eucalypt in Tasmania will be 500 years old,” Bowman said. “To get them back to what they were, well, 500 years is a long time to wait.”

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95 Comments sorted by

  1. John Newlands

    tree changer

    The case for preserving aged trees must argue aesthetics as well as carbon sequestration. I think it is disrespectful to senior citizens of the natural world to end up as wood chips. As some Europeans told me recently 'we don't have many 500 year old trees left to cut down'. Contrast that to Tasmania where large swamp gum (E. regnans) are regarded as trophies to be hunted.

    You don't see many trees say 70m tall that appear headed for more growth. I wonder if the average forest height in Tasmania will shrink with warming. The big trees could be a post Ice Age relic whose time slot is passing. Timber buyers who say plantation wood is not fine grained enough should go back to 1512 in a time machine and plant some more seedlings. That's also true of other slow growing resources just not as obvious.

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Newlands

      I see a market opportunity for a new cemetery, located in what was subtropical rainforest in Northern NSW - maybe back of Kempsey, or something.

      The unembalmed remains would be placed in a hessian sack, deposited in a hole dug with a 50 cm post-hole digger, and a cedar sapling planted on top.

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    2. Murray Webster

      Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

      In reply to John Newlands

      Humans have been responsible for ignition of probably a majority of fires since the first humans arrived 50 000 + years ago. Advice from a couple of generations of forestry experience is that ignition from one source or another is inevitable.

      Whereas when aborigines where managing the land, low intensity fires could burn for weeks over large areas. We now extinguish the fires so we don't get that happening now.

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    3. Murray Webster

      Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

      In reply to John Newlands

      John,

      Foresters have been measuring trees in Australia for over a century now, so there is a lot of data on tree height growth. In the most productive mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests in Victoria 1939 fire regrowth has trees over 80 m tall and 1926 fire regrowth forests some trees are over 86m tall.

      Tasmania is actually overdue for a mega fire, which is inconsistent with climate change as the single cause of mega-fires. According to researchers at the Warra long term ecological study area, the 1967 was a medium fire, and 1934 was a mega fire. Looking at the height and age of forests across Tas it is possible to reconstruct fire history back hundreds of years.

      Of course you all know that if mountain ash forest does not have a hugely intense fire that burns just about everything, the huge ancient trees will die and get replaced by lower biomass, shorter, and lower biodiversity cool temperate rainforest eg myrtle beech (nothofagus) (?).

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    4. John Newlands

      tree changer

      In reply to David Arthur

      Done it. I transplanted a seedling which was either E. regnans or E. obliqua on the grave of a horse. Now the tree is about 6m tall I imagine the roots are intertwined through the skeleton. For humans I imagine vertical burial in cardboard coffins. Needs about 1500mm rainfall or regular watering for the first decade then let the site succumb to fire or natural succession.

      From observation of disturbed areas I think acacias like wattles and blackwood rather than myrtle will succeed giant gums in a warmer wet world centuries from now. A warmer but drier forest will turn to box woodland.

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  2. Ken Swanson

    Geologist

    "Giant eucalpytus trees rely on fire to regenerate, but an increase in major bush fires due to climate change could stunt their growth, a Tasmanian ecologist has warned."
    Is there any statistical evidence that there are more bush fires as a result of human activity? Or does this claim fall into the same claim as yesterday about hurricanes.
    If not how can this claim be anything other than naked spin from a climate alarmist looking for grant money to prove up his assertion
    More of the same old stuff

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    1. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      "Is there any statistical evidence that there are more bush fires as a result of human activity?" - Yes, go check out the work that NASA are doing with their MODIS instrumnent which records all global bush fires from space every 10 days as it flies around our planet.

      They actually produce some really cool images

      Also, I'm pretty sure the scientific community have openly said we are currently experiencing climate change, its not something thats going to happen, its happening now and its going to get worse.

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    2. Chris Owens

      Professional

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Take Black Saturday as a typical example. 10 fires, 10 caused by human activity. Bushfires are usually caused by arson, escaped fuel reduction, infrastructure failure or machinery (welder/slasher/grinder, etc). These days fires that are due to natural causes - lightning, etc. are the exception.

      Secondary issues contributing to the drying of forests is fragmentation due to logging or agriculture increasing the edge effect (increased sun/wind exposure drying the vegetation). Those forests allowed to regrow following logging are much drier than mature forests due to the density of the trees, greater water take up of the younger trees, understorey species composition, etc.

      Here I was thinking geology was where the big money was (oil, coal, uranium, etc.). Must try to get into alarmist climate forecasting to cash in on all that "grant money"...

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    3. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Its safe to say that we can now blame climate change for just about anything.

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    4. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      I can blame it for your assertion.

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    5. Matt Stevens

      Senior Research Fellow/Statistician/PhD

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      The point being that we seem to be linking too many ecological events to climate change. Is this the ecologist's easy way for a research grant buck? It's a way to generate media attention for sure. The points made that most fires are human started is far more important than the effect of climate change on the fire regime. Bad science or bad reporting. Professor Bowman should be smarter than that and so should you Tim.

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    6. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I agree there is climate change, any one knows that
      The question is whether humans are predominately the cause of it all
      As far as bush fires are concerned, is there any statistical evidence that proves that CO2 emisions from humans have lead directly to more bushfires, or do we not really know
      If we do not have such a correlation then how does an article like this get published at all in the Conversation
      Pure spin
      Pure lobbying for grant money
      More scientific overreach
      That's the problem with the cabal of climate scientists (the famous 97%). Not critical enough, too eager to please each other

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      The one thing that is predictable about climate science deniers is that they just have to deny, and in the process reveal their utter ignorance about that which they claim "skepticism"

      http://www.sage.wisc.edu/pubs/articles/M-Z/Narisma/PitmanCC2007bushfire.pdf

      "The impact of climate change on the risk of forest and grassland fires in Australia"

      http://ottokinne.de/articles/cr2006/31/c031p085.pdf

      "Potential impact of climate change on fire risk in the Mediterranean area"

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060710084004.htm

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    8. Matt Stevens

      Senior Research Fellow/Statistician/PhD

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, it is exactly this high and mighty nearly religious like porochialism of people of your ilk that fuel the fire for deniers. I am not a denier, but if most bushfires in tassie over the last 200 years have occurred through direct human ignition regardless of climate change, then we need to manage that. Let climate scientists do the modelling, data collection and accumulation and analysis and let fire management people manage the forest. Stop connecting when the immediate causal link is just not there.

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    9. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Matt Stevens

      Read the papers befrore you preach at me.

      It is about the risk of extreme fire intensity - not the source of ignition. This risk is increased by climate change

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    10. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Matt Stevens

      You haven't looked at the fuel load and dryness index that shows the impact of longer and hotter summer periods is having on fire risk.

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    11. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Matt Stevens

      Pathetic reply. Of course we live in a world of risk. The question is the risk and impact increased by climate change - something you appear to wish to deny or refute.

      The evidence says otherwise

      http://wildland-fires.sciencedaily.com/

      You can use this to look at the last 50 years in the USA - it's quite clear the extent and intenisty is MUCH higher in the last decade than previous decades.

      Om what basis do you call yourself a statistician??

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    12. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael Shand,

      Since when were NASA recording images of fires during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Unless there is an earlier baseline for comparison, all of their measurments are of no consequence until many years in the future.

      As Ken says, the climate is changing but there is no significant indication yet that this change is caused by increased carbon dioxide. Grant money is a very powerful incentive to write appropriate research papers.

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    13. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chris Owens

      Chris Owens,

      As one who spent much of his time in the fire seasons waiting in the afternnon for the fires to start by lightening I find your comment quite amazing. Lightening has always been the main cause of bushfires followed by arson and accident. The aborigines controlled the situation by traditional burning. Modern man is not allowed to do that, or to cut appropriate fire breaks much of which was done by the earlier loggers.

      Human life suffers as a consequence of fantasies by green groups who advocate building houses beside the forest whithout a fire break. You may remeber that in the earlier Victorian fires, the one house in the most risky area which was saved, had been protected by a fire break which cost the owner a fifty thousand dollar fine. He was laughing all the way to the bank!

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    14. Matt Stevens

      Senior Research Fellow/Statistician/PhD

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      A statistically unadjusted association means very little in good science. Potential confounders would be a nice mention. I think they call it the caveats. Human encroachment on bush, higher population density. Please!

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    15. Murray Webster

      Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

      In reply to Chris Owens

      The Canberra fires where started by lightning strikes. 27 fires were started. The 24 in forestry areas where extinguished. The 3 in conservation reserve burned for 10 days or so until the extreme weather came across. The three fires then joined together and took a 'big run' as they say...

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    16. Chris Owens

      Professional

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nichol,

      Historically lighning may have been the main cause of fire, but not any more. Between 1976 & 1996 lighning caused approximately one third of fires in parks and state forests: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/102090/Bushfires_Across_Victoria.pdf

      The figure is much less for other land uses.

      Where exacly did I say I was against firebreaks for housing? My comment about the edge effect was in relation to forests which are now more fire prone due to fragmentation. Also where have "greens" said they want to build beside a forest without a firebreak? What makes you think a "green" wants to live somewhere that is unsafe? Not that a firebreak made much difference at Marysville on Black Saturday with the forest some 400m from the town centre, still the buildings burned.

      As someone who lives in the bush, it is a choice and I understand and plan for the associated risks.

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    17. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chris Owens

      Chris Owens,

      Thanks for your response.

      Yes, I can accept that more fires are now caused by arson or accident. I was merely pointing out that lightening has always caused fires, whereas someone on this post (not you)seemed to be implying that lightening was more frequent now because of “Global Warming” than in the past.

      Could you then explain your reasoning behind “fire prone because of fragmentation”?

      I do not believe I had suggested you were against fire breaks. I was merely pointing…

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    18. Chris Owens

      Professional

      In reply to John Nicol

      Thanks John.

      Islands of forest in a sea of agriculture have a significant edge effect which contributes to lower humidity, higher wind speeds and sunlight levels and therefore dries the adjacent vegetation.

      What annoys environmentalists is people who buy land in a forest when there are existing vegetation overlays and they then want to clear the vegetation. If they want to live away from trees, why buy there in the first place when huge swathes of land in Victoria which have been already cleared…

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    19. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chris Owens

      Chris, I couldn't agree more about people living in forests - there is plenty of opportunities to be elsewhere and to live in a forest one also does have to cut down trees which may be beter preserved.

      I must say that the same applies to people who knowingly build new houses or a business in known flood areas as happened here in Brisbane in large numbers since the '74 flood. I extend the critixism to those who have built on the sand in palaces along the coast such as Surfers Paradise and then…

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    20. Matt Stevens

      Senior Research Fellow/Statistician/PhD

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      So the 0.1 c degree increase or whatever it is, is a major threat. This conversation is ridiculous like the article and Prof Bowman should know better. I restate that money and grants and another, the media are the drivers off this dribble.

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  3. Murray Webster

    Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

    Fire severity and frequency has varied enormously since European take-over, as shown in these two articles.

    Banks, J.C.G. (1989) A history of forest fire in the Australian Alps. Pp. 265–280 in R.B. Good (ed.) The Scientific Significance of the Australian Alps

    von Platen, J., Kirkpatrick, J.B. and Allen, K.J. 2011. Variation in decadal fire frequency in southeastern Tasmanian dry eucalypt forest 1740 – 2004.Australian Forestry 74, 180-189.

    Fire size, intensity, seasonality have all changed…

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  4. Ken Fabian

    Mr

    One neglected impact of a warming climate will be the reduction of opportunities for safe cool weather hazard reduction burning.

    The expections of many slow burning fires that put themselves out - as the dew settles in the cool of the night - will be a thing of the past because progressively large regions will fail to get cool enough for dew to dampen the fuel.

    There will be smaller windows of opportunity for safe burns and they'll require more labour and backup services because they'll be…

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    1. Matt Stevens

      Senior Research Fellow/Statistician/PhD

      In reply to Ken Fabian

      I'm so scared. Are we that dumb that we will not adjust/adapt?

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    2. Ken Fabian

      Mr

      In reply to Matt Stevens

      Not sure if that was sarcasm. Reduced window of opportunity for low intensity, safe and containable fires means higher labour, equipment and cost requirements. That makes it possible and even likely that large areas will miss out completely. It will mean more costs for water storage, sprinkler systems, fire bunkers. Not all that 'adapting' will turn out to be adequate or in time.

      There is warming still to come from past emissions and emissions are still rising. The 'agreed' climate sensitivity of around 3 degrees C is not an upper limit - uncertainty leaves a one in ten chance it's 5 degrees or more. (Cf Roe and Baker "Why is Climate Sensitivity so Unpredictable" at http://www.sciencemag.org )

      I think, even with home owner efforts at adapting, there is plenty of cause to be fearful. And given how popular denial the problem is, even within the highest levels of mainstream politics, I'd say there is no shortage of 'dumb' that resists pre-emptive efforts to adjust and adapt.

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  5. Toby James

    retired physicist

    Let us entertain the possibility that temperatures rise by 3C, world wide. Then Tasmania's temperatures will be more like those of central NSW.

    How do the forests get on in NSW under the present conditions? And why don't we see the dreadful predictions for Tasmania and the rest of the forest areas in Australia in those regions?

    Is this stuff a lot of poorly thought out scaremongering?

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Toby James

      Well, given that the positive feedback mechanisms hypothesised by the models used by the IPCC don't seem to exist, a 3 Celsius increase implies three doublings of the CO2 level. That is not going to happen in the near future anyway.

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Typical evidence free assertion with no substantation made regularly by those in denial of the science

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    3. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Toby James

      Well said Toby.

      I hope that if public policy is formed on the basis of such science, that when the predictions turn out to be wrong, the scientists are jailed for fraud or even manslaughter, just are those in the finance industry. I would start with Tim Flannery with his rainfall not filling up the dams anymore advice. How many were killed when the Brisbane dams overflowed because they were not supposed to fill? Likewise, conservation groups with their native tree mantras. Forget the science, it is hopelessly obvious that native trees do not suit our lifestyles and should not be grown in residential areas. How many children are killed every year by falling Eucalyptus branches? Likewise, the Greens with their no clearing of native vegetation mantra. If you remove the fuel, you remove the risk.

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    4. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Toby James

      Toby, Tasmania would only respond as NSW does now if they had the same ecosystem species mix as NSW, which they do not.
      Also, have you forgotten the 2001-2 "Black Christmas" bushfires?

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    5. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Presumably you have applied your much-touted, highly skilled forecasting methodology skils to demonstrate that the predictions will be wrong? Where will the paper be published?
      How many financiers have been jailed for fraud and manslaughter recently? They just crashed the world economy, there must be a few you can point to?
      At what point did Tim Flannery become an infrastructure advisor to the Queensland Government?
      Children killed by falling branches - about 1 every two years. Almost all on camping trips into forests/national parks, not residential areas: http//www.latrobe.edu.au/downloads/brookes_a_preventing_death_serious_injury.pdf . Hardly a national emergency. The majority of deaths due to falling trees are due to land clearing and the tasmanian logging industry...

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    6. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Chris Harper

      That's a very strong claim, Chris. Saying the IPCC is wrong about positive feedback implies either that heating the world will not cause water to evaporate, or you are positing a MASSIVE cloud cooling effect. Citations?

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    7. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      The UN wrong! How could the UN ever be wrong?

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    8. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Dr Mark, that's so cool. Do you have anything else cooler. So cool, so cool, so cool.

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    9. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Only an idiot cant get past the Murdoch paywalls.

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    10. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Type the title into google and hey presto. Since of course, it has been read 1000's of times already today.

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    11. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      No not the Murdoch paywalls! Would you prefer the Green-Left weekly?

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    12. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Newspapers are either read or red.

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    13. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      The question is whether or not it takes a bigger idiot to want to

      http://www.psmag.com/environment/fox-news-viewers-misinformed-on-climate-change-47492/

      I note you have no answer, apart from silly rhetoric, to the evidence of disappearing arctic ice and increased damage from climate related distasters - or risign sea levels, increased oceanic heat content or a myriad of other clear evidence of the reality of climate change.

      Typical denier

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    14. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, don't take too much notice of AR4–no one else does.

      Your link is to a page that has not a single reference on it. Neither peer reviewed nor gray. Its no better than animal chatter noise.

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    15. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      No one else except the vast majority of the climate science community - but then an evidence free denier such as yourself would say that wouldn't they?

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    16. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Evidence it something that can be determined. Projections of the future cannot.

      From your link:

      "There is considerable confidence that climate models provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and past climate changes. Confidence in model estimates is higher for some climate variables (e.g., temperature) than for others (e.g., precipitation). Over several decades of development, models have consistently provided a robust and unambiguous picture of significant climate warming in response to increasing greenhouse gases."

      Where have we seen evidence of "ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and past climate changes"? All we have is claims made in the 1980's that we would all be gone by now. Utter nonsense.

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    17. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Murdoch's loss-making vanity press produces another fact free rant pretending global warming isn't happening. Number 79 in the series (http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2012/11/04/the-australians-war-on-science-78-2/).
      Is this senile rant, based on a discredited fabrication by David "Invade Iraq now now now before they kill us with their WMDs" Rose, all you've got to bolster your evidence-free faith that climate change isn't happening? You must be desperate. Or perhaps this is an acceptable standard of evidence in your economics department? If I write a rant that calls you the high priest of the neoclassical economics religion, will you promise to see the light and become a Marxist?

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    18. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      If you actually read the literature on how climate models are built and tested, you would know about their ability. You are using an argument from ignorance. Skeptical Science has a good introduction to climate models here, with links to further readings:
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models-intermediate.htm

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    19. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      You're getting hysterical again, Spiro.

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    20. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      oh yes, read how models are built and tested and how data is generated and how data from different sources are combined etc. etc. but, the greatest ignorance is realising that a forecast or a projection is not science at all.

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    21. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      Hysterical about the UN? How could they wrong? They are the UN.

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    22. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      I suppose it is pretty funny that someone on an academic discussion site treats The Australian seriously.

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    23. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      Its pretty funny that those that vote for our leaders, the democracy (not the proletariat), are beginning to become unenlightened with scientists thanks to blokes like yourself.

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    24. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      What does "become unenlightened with scientists" mean?

      Honestly, I don't think "blokes like myself", whoever they are, have any influence to speak of at all. You have a lot more influence than I do Spiro - I predict that if you wrote a column attacking the statistical forecasts of the IPCC, The Australian would publish it.

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    25. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      I'm pretty sure I wrote "IPCC", not "UN". Are you dyslexic? Your grammar is certainly decaying.

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    26. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      Oh, and the IPCC was a spin off of the UN. Was there an IPO?

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    27. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      If scientists didn't make forecasts or projections, hypotheses couldn't be tested. So denying that forecasting or projecting is part of science seems very puzzling.
      Furthermore, you had a concise, well-laid out explanation of how climate scientists do forecasting from Kevin Walsh, a distinguished climate scientist (http://www.climatescience.org.au/staff/profile/kwalsh), given to you on the "Losing higher ground" article. You thanked him for it. If you had further problems with the forecasting methodology, why didn't you take it up with him then?

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    28. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      I guess that makes me a scientist. So stop demeaning me, I am a scientist. I am making scientific arguments.

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    29. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      What does "become unenlightened with scientists" mean?

      Honestly, I don't think "blokes like myself", whoever they are, have any influence to speak of at all. You have a lot more influence than I do Spiro - I predict that, as an academic economist, if you wrote a column attacking the forecasts of the IPCC, The Australian would publish it.

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    30. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Do you intend to actually say something about climate feedback and sensitivity, or indeed anything approaching coherence, salience or relevance, at some point, or are you attempting to disappear in a fog of self-squirted acronyms and snark, like a frightened octopus?

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    31. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      What does "become unenlightened with scientists" mean?

      Honestly, I don't think "blokes like myself", whoever they are, have any influence to speak of at all. You have a lot more influence than I do Spiro - I predict that if you wrote a column attacking the statistical forecasts of the IPCC, The Australian would publish it.

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    32. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      "All cats have four legs. My dog has four legs, therefore my dog is a cat".
      Keep up that level of logic and you'll go far in your career, I'm sure.

      Why didn't you stand by your convictions when you had the opportunity to talk to Kevin Walsh?

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    33. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      Oh, so scientists use forecasts, but forecasters are not scientists is your line. It must be then, that the scientists forecasts are not scientific.

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    34. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      Your like a Jehovahs Witness. Except what you consider textual is not the bible, but peer-reviewed science. Keep knocking.

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    35. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      "Scientists make forecasts. Astrologers make forecasts. Therefore, scientific forecasts are astrology".

      You didn't cover logic as an undergrad, did you?

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    36. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      So my forecasts are unscientific, but Richard Lindzens are not?

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    37. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      As always, you've run out of arguments (not that you had anything really recognisable as such) and started going for naked abuse. Considering that I agree with the author of this piece, and you are the one banging on the virtual door posting unwanted comments telling us everything science tells us is wrong, I think it's you who is playing the Jehovah's witness here.

      Why didn't you take up your objections with Kevin Walsh? Was it cowardice, or dishonesty?

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    38. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      I am just contributing to this comedy.

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    39. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      I guess your red nose and baggy trousers should have been my first clue.

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    40. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Account Deleted

      and my Groucho Marx disguise. Of course, he did come up with one of the most spoken of rational truisms: "I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member." My kind of Marx.

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    41. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      I don't know - what have you forecast? What method did you use to make that forecast? Is it (the method) logically consistent and consonant with physical law and available evidence? Can it successfully hindcast (that is, if you give it all the data up to, say, 1980, does it successfully forecast what actually happened in 1981)? Have you tested your forecasts against what eventually happened, and revised your methods if there was a discrepancy? Have your forecasting model been published so that others…

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    42. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I think you are absolutely right. All the climate scientist firmly believe the AR4, but then they believe in models–not facts. In a word, they'd believe anything.

      My evidence for what I wrote about AR4, the latest edition of the IPCC's climate bible is this:

      5,587 references in the 2007 IPCC report (AR4) were not peer-reviewed. They were scattered among the peer-reviewed publications with NO indication that they were gray.

      Among the gray references are press releases, newspaper and magazine articles, discussion papers, MA and PhD theses, working papers, and advocacy literature published by environmental groups?

      http://www.noconsensus.org/ipcc-audit/findings-main-page.php

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    43. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      I know that what Maurice Newman thinks, former chairman of the ABC and known climate science denier with absolutely no credentials on the topic, when he offers an evidence free opinion piece denying the reality of climate change, is irrelevant and quite frankly stupid.

      The fact that you offer his piece in support of your own denialism is similarly lacking in credibility or logic

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  6. Mark Harrigan

    PhD Physicist

    The idiot denialists, predictably, are out in force on this thread pointing to opinion pieces in the Australian by unqualified conservative climate rejectionists, attacking the IPCC reports (but without any substantial evidence on which they base their attacks).

    The offer no answer to the evidence such as the disappearance of Arctic Ice

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/piomas1.gif

    Rising Sea Levels

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/downloads/CSIRO_GMSL_figure.pdf

    Increasing…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      Laughable idiocy. A link to a non peer reviewed blog that references no climate science, claims there is no scientific concensus and confuses climate with weather shows you must have forgotten any physics you calim to have learned,

      When you can address the actual evidence, such as I have posted above, you might have a leg to stand on.

      As it is your posts just makes you look like a foolish desperate denier.

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    2. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, are you telling us that its okay for the IPCC to try to pass off over 5,500 non-peer reviewed items as scientific references in their AR4 report to the member governments of the UN.

      People who are not trained scientists are quite able to understand that the following are not suitable support for proper science:

      press releases, newspaper and magazine articles, discussion papers, MA and PhD theses, working papers, and advocacy literature published by environmental groups.

      Your absence of comment indicates acquiescence.

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      Toby you can rant about any errors that others claim about IPCC reports as much as you want.

      It doesn't change the evidence - which I have presented to you on numerous occasions - and in your denailism ignore and conspicuously fail to refute or address.

      The point is, regardless of what you, or your denialist web sites, or even the IPCC, may say the evidence is clear that artic ice is melting, sea levels are rising, temperature anomalies are increasing, weather related distasters are increasing, oceanic heat content is increasing, temperatures are rising - and we continue to add CO2 to the atmosphere in escess of the narutal cycles ability to cope which is causing all of the above.

      failure to acknowledge or deal with these established facts is denialism - which you and others are practicising.

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    4. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Perhaps it doesn't change the evidence - perhaps there is no evidence. But the Chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, said that the use of non-peer reviewed 'references' were voodoo science.

      5,500 of them are not "errors that others claim about IPCC reports"

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      "perhaps there is no evidence" is a statement that beggars belief - unless of course you are a denialist in which case it is par for the course.

      I have provided the links to several well established lines of evidence, such as sea level rise, disappearing artic ice etc.

      You, on the other hand, can only vaguely manage some handwaving about whether or not the IPCC got its attributiions right.

      No credible physicist, or rational person, would behave in such a manner

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