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Hot summer? Yes: the hottest

This summer hasn’t just felt hot. It’s been hot. In fact, the summer of 2012-13 is now the hottest on record. Average temperatures beat the record set in the summer of 1997-98, and daytime maximum temperatures…

Australia’s latest summer has been significant for weather and for climate. VIBE Audio

This summer hasn’t just felt hot. It’s been hot. In fact, the summer of 2012-13 is now the hottest on record. Average temperatures beat the record set in the summer of 1997-98, and daytime maximum temperatures knocked over the 1982-83 record. January 2013 has been the hottest month since records began in 1910.

A significant summer, for weather and climate

There is an old adage in meteorology and climatology circles, “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get”. But what does this mean?

Essentially, climate is a statistical description of weather. It describes the average weather experienced over a period of time — over either a single location, or averaged over a large region. Climate also describes how variable the weather is around those averages.

Climate also describes trends — longer-term changes in weather that are distinct from the shorter-term variability.

When it comes to climate change, there is often confusion as to when one should consider a particular meteorological event to be “just weather” or something more significant in a climatological context.

In general, the individual weather and climate events that scientists consider most significant are those that are both at the extremes of — or beyond — our historical experience, and consistent with quantifiable trends.

In that context, the summer of 2012-13 has had it all.

As far as day-to-day weather goes, numerous individual locations in Australia set daytime records for extreme heat. As far as regional averages go, records were also set for the hottest daytime temperatures averaged over the whole of Australia.

Summer Temperature Anomalies

Records were set for the duration of extreme heat at both individual locations, and for Australia as a whole. Birdsville experienced 31 successive days above 40°C and Alice Springs had 17.

When it comes to averages over time, January 2013 was the hottest month recorded in the entire observational record for Australia, stretching back to 1910 (the first year for which we can confidently estimate national temperatures).

And as of yesterday, a new record was added to the books. The summer of 2012-13 was Australia’s hottest on record. In fact, the entire six months — from September 2012 to February 2013 — were warmer than the previous high for that period, set in 2006-2007.

Average summer temperatures across Australia were 1.1°C above the 1961-1990 average, surpassing the previous record, set in 1997-98, by more than 0.1°C. Daytime maximum temperatures also set a record; they were 1.4°C above normal, and 0.2°C above the 1982-83 record.

And the most significant thing about all of these extremes is they fit with a well established trend in Australia — it’s getting hotter, and record heat is happening more often.

Six of the hottest ten summers on record have occurred this century, and only two occurred before 1990.

Australia has warmed by nearly a degree Celsius since 1910. This is consistent with warming observed in the global atmosphere and oceans. And it’s going to keep getting hotter. Over the next century, the world will likely warm by a further 2 to 5 degrees, depending on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

Under mid-to-high emissions scenarios, summers like this one will likely become average in 40 years time. By the end of the 21st century, the record summer of 2013 will likely sit at the very cooler end of normal.

Indeed, an interesting feature of the heat this summer is that it occurred during a “neutral” period in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (that is, it was neither La Niña nor El Niño). Up until this year, six of the eight warmest summers, and the hottest three summers on record, occurred during El Niño years.

This essentially means that the record was consistent with warming trends, and achieved without an extra push from natural variability associated with El Niño.

The oceans surrounding Australia have also been exceptionally warm. Sea surface temperatures in February 2013 were the hottest ever recorded in the region, while January was the warmest on record for that month. Unsurprisingly, Australian sea-surface temperatures over the entire summer were also the warmest on record. This follows unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2012, and record annual temperatures for 2011. Sea surface temperatures are measured very differently to air temperatures over land.

Hotter in more places and for longer

The defining feature of the heat of this summer across Australia has been its extent and consistency. Not many individual places have had their hottest summer on record, but the extent of the heat has been unprecedented.

Nearly two-thirds of the continent had a summer that ranks in the top ten of the last 100 years. Only 3% of the continent (mostly in the Pilbara) has been cooler than normal. Some previous summers have been hotter in particular regions, but none have made the top ten across even half the country.

More often, a summer might be very hot in the south but cooler than normal in the tropics (like 2008-09) or hot in the east but cool in the west (like 2005-06, or, going back much further, 1938-39). In the summer just gone, every mainland state had temperatures at least a degree above normal.

The summer’s heat peaked during an exceptionally long and widespread heatwave in late December and the first half of January, which contributed to January 2013 being Australia’s hottest month on record.

During this period, records were broken in large numbers. Fourteen of the 112 sites used by the Bureau for long-term monitoring had their hottest day on record during this heatwave, more than has occurred in any other summer. Sydney (45.8°C on January 18) and Hobart (41.8°C on January 4) were among the places which set new records.

The highest temperature during the heatwave was 49.6°C at Moomba in the far northeast of South Australia, Australia’s highest temperature since 1998. But perhaps the most exceptional temperatures of the event occurred in the interior of Western Australia. This is a region which normally misses out on the most extreme high temperatures because of its elevation – higher areas generally stay cooler. Leonora, 376 metres above sea level, reached 49.0°C, and Wiluna, at 521 metres, 48.0°C; these would rank as the highest “sea-level equivalent” temperatures ever recorded in Australia.

January may have seen the most extreme heat, but December and February were also significantly hotter than usual.

February was cool on parts of the east coast but very hot over large parts of western and northern Australia — the heat in the north a reflection of 2012-13’s weak and patchy monsoon, which meant the cloudy, wet and (relatively) cool spells which typically punctuate the tropical summer were often absent.

February was also consistently warm in many parts of the southeast; some places in northern Victoria had 20 or more consecutive days above 30°C, and Melbourne equalled a record by having 14 30-degree days in the month.

What about the rains?

Apart from the heat, the summer of 2012-13 will be remembered for rain and floods along the east coast, especially those which fell in late January as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Oswald tracked south just inland from the coasts of Queensland and northern New South Wales, bringing heavy rains along the length of its track. A second round of heavy rain occurred in southeast Queensland and coastal New South Wales in the last week of February.

The late January rainfalls were significant and led to major flooding in numerous rivers, especially the Burnett , which reached record levels after a one-day catchment-average rainfall which was nearly 70% above the previous record.

Further south, over 700 millimetres fell in one day at Upper Springbrook, in the Gold Coast hinterland, and Mount Castle. Overall rainfall in the Brisbane catchments was very similar to that during the 2011 floods. A crucial difference, though, between the two years was that the weeks leading into the 2013 floods were fairly dry, and more of the rain soaked into the ground than was the case in 2011, when the rain fell on ground which was already saturated.

Melbourne had a record run of hot days. JosephB/Flickr

In late February the heaviest rains were in northern New South Wales. There was more than 300 millimetres recorded in a day in places, causing flooding on numerous rivers, especially the Hastings and Macleay. This is a region which is no stranger to extreme rainfalls – in 2009 daily totals in the 300s (or above) occurred on five separate occasions – and no significant records were broken at long-term stations.

The rains along the east coast were locally destructive and devastating for communities affected. However, in a national context they brought above-average summer totals to only a fairly small area – southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. Even Sydney was only slightly wetter than normal. From Mackay northwards, Oswald’s rains only made up part of the deficit from what was otherwise a relatively dry summer.

Away from the east coast, it was a dry summer (except for parts of Western Australia), and in many places it was a very dry one. Across much of South Australia, the Northern Territory, western Victoria, and inland areas of New South Wales and Queensland, summer rainfall was near or below half normal levels. Victoria and South Australia both had their driest summers since the mid-1980s.

Australia isn’t going it alone

December 2012 was the hottest December on record for Southern Hemisphere land areas, and January 2013 was the hottest January. Australia was a large contributor to this, but so were southern South America and southern Africa.

Many parts of southern Africa had their hottest January on record, while the month was also much hotter than normal in large parts of Argentina, Chile and Brazil. In parts of Patagonia, January temperatures were more than 4°C above normal. Final hemispheric numbers for the summer will not be available until mid-March.

This latest summer heat follows a pattern of extreme hot summers in various parts of the world over the last few years. A particularly extreme example was the summer of 2010 in western Russia, in which seasonal temperatures exceeded previous records by 2°C or more.

The United States, especially its southern and central areas, has also had two very hot summers in a row in the last two years, which have contributed to 2012 being that nation’s hottest year on record by a large margin.

South America also had a hot one. Andrea Baldassarri

What changes do we see in Australia’s summer climate?

Like every other season, summer in Australia has warmed over the last century.

Since 1910, summer temperatures have warmed by about 0.8°C. Most of this warming has occurred since 1950. This rate of warming is slightly lower than for the other three seasons, mainly because summer rainfall has increased dramatically over the last 50 years in northwest and central Australia, holding back warming in those areas.

Not every year has a hot summer - the last two summers were both cooler than normal, as a result of widespread and record rains associated with La Niña — but the probability of very hot summers has increased considerably.

Six of Australia’s ten hottest summers on record have come in the last 11 years, meaning that very hot summers have been occurring at about five times the rate you would expect without a warming trend.

With higher average temperatures come more extremes of heat. In the last decade, record high temperatures have outnumbered record low temperatures in Australia by a ratio of about three to one. About a third of the all-time record high temperatures at the Bureau’s long-term stations have occurred since 2000.

The latest global analyses have found that extreme high temperatures are increasing in frequency almost throughout the world, and the Australian results are consistent with that picture.

Another indicator of the trend towards extreme warmth in Australia is the proportion of the continent which has a summer amongst the ten warmest in history.

The summer of 2012-13 may have set a record in this respect, but several other recent years have also had a large area of the country where summer has been much warmer than usual. On average, since 2000, about 25% of the continent each year has had a summer in the ten warmest. The chances of such a warm summer in any given place in the post-2000 period are about three times what they were pre-2000.

The “Trend in mean temperature” figure was updated on March 4, 2013, to include data through to the end of summer. This article was also updated on April 23, 2013 to include new data on sea surface temperatures.

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210 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Felix MacNeill

    Environmental Manager

    So, no global warming for 17 years, then?

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "no global warming for 17 years?"

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1975/to:2012/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1975/to:1995/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1975/to:2012/trend

      The global average temp was higher in 2012 than a person in 1995 who extrapolated the linear trend at that time would have expected.

      Get that climate cranks? It was hotter in 2012 than a person 17 years ago extrapolating from the existing linear trend would have expected.

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/11/short-term-trends-another-proxy-fight/

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Yeah we got that Mike, but as I have pointed out in my comment a minute ago, this is not at all remarkable, given that the temperature has remained warm for about 17 years, being at a maximum now since the Little Ice Age from which it has continued to increase. A "spike" upwards is going to show up as the "hottest". The spikes downwards in the previous two years are not noteworthy.

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  2. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    Just waiting for the denialists to start bleating - obviously the BOM is cooking the books - literally - to heat up the temperature.

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  3. Jezze Redmond

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    All down the a stubborn belt of high pressure that sat over the continent for a prolonged period, preventing the monsoon trough from moving south. Nothing to do with CO2 emissions and anyone with any knowledge of meteorology will tell you that. High pressure systems normally move south in summer, that's why we don't get as many cold fronts coming up from the south and also allows the monsoon trough to move south. This summer the highs didn't move as far south as usual until late in the season (why we are now seeing cyclones and rain in the North). This meant no monsoon to cool the north and a subsequent build up of heat under clear skies in the arid zones. This central heat was then transferred West (towards Perth) with prevailing Easterly winds, and East when low pressure troughs ventured towards the Easter Seaboard.

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      I guess 'anyone with any knowledge of meteorology' automatically excludes the entire BoM, including the authors.

      Meanwhile, back on planet earth...

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    2. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Why don't you ask a meteorologist you know; off the record and away from their workplace, what caused the recent heat-waves etc. They will tell you exactly the same as I have just advised. The 2 authors are involved in climate change, and as such have a vested interest in perpetuating the AGW theory, rather than simply advising readers of meteorological conditions resulting in this hot summer.
      You are clearly on the side of alarmism and wont budge, so no point in advising you to go and read up on the most recent global observations, because they will destroy your beloved beliefs.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Thanks right, Jezze, we could both put on our tinfoil hats and slip under the cone of silence to discuss the evild grenie-pinko conspiracy to win research grants and put us all back in the caves.

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    4. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      ok Jezze, explain why we had an unusual high pressior system that sat over the continent for a prolonged period?

      Perhaps something to do with the weather patterns changing?

      Perhaps something about increased heat levels altering them?

      Perhaps something to do with the the planet gaining heat?

      Perhaps something to do with CO2 impacts on the atmosphere and the oceans which also has been warming?

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    5. Riddley Walker

      .

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      No, Bob, you have it all wrong. The BOM is CAUSING the heat increases via secret installations all over the country. The bought them heap from the Soviets after the 1950s science boom. They do this so they can confirm their loony ideology. Same goes for all the other BOMs round the world. They are deliberately increasing the Earth temperatures. Their wickedness has no end I tell you!

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    6. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      so its the reds under the beds using electric blankets to warm the earth so that we will all succumbe more easily to their green mind controlling techniques to make us all wear brown and the only defence is Tin Foil Hats!

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Until you can cite some real evidence rather than anecdotal (eg, he/she said that the official stats have been doctored but be careful or you will lose your job) most of us will take this "evidence" as nonsense.

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    8. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Neither is insulting characterisation.

      Perhaps you should consider actually reading the logical fallacy site referenced earlier?

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    9. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Who said the stats have been doctored? A simple explanation was tendered. Do you have a better one?

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    10. Riddley Walker

      .

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      Yes. And daylight saving. Those commies are forcing an extra hour sunlight on us which is heating the planet and fading our curtains, not to mention what it does to cows. Only Queenslanders are awake to this part of the scam though, and have managed to resist.

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    11. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Well explained Jezze. During the heat of January it was surprising NOT to hear from the BOM that this was most likely going to produce heavy rain later because of the upward flow of hot air effectively drawing moist air from the sea over the continent. However, just on cue, the rains arrived and we have had continuing unstable conditions since. Surprise, surprise. This behaviour is much like the 1950s which were another sequence of wet years in Queensland and Northern NSW,. John Nicol

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    12. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to John Nicol

      Strange that the experts in this field, whom are hard at work at the BOM, don't make that association with the 1950s, but rather are more clear headed with their associations by using actual science.

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    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Ah yes the 1950s - they were the days ... when rain came in inches not these accursed millithings. We knew what they were.

      This nest of Red Traitors at the Bureau of Meteorology must be rooted out and exposed. And all those overpaid map wavers who spread their subversive filth to our kiddies on TV ...

      I agree John BoM should be shut down and replaced with a panel of retired "emeritus" geologists and mining engineers. The Woolibuddha Men's Shed is available for a National Weather Centre and I'll kick in a calculator and the old envelopes.

      1800 1234 00 That's the National Security Hotline I have them on speed dial. And every time Gavin on TV smirks his warming rubbish I'm onto them expressing my outraged suspicions and evidence. So watch youself Gavin - they're a wake-up to your lies and have you under surveillance 24/7.

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    14. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Craig Minns

      No Craig I'm serious ... John Nichol is right - as right can be.

      The BoM has a vested interested in spreading these insidious lies and we have a duty - an obligation as citizens - to denounce them and bring them all to justice. Preferably with stoning. There's a madness to it all.

      No argument is necessary. No evidence acceptable. No expertise required. It's all just so obvious to anyone with common sense.

      No argument is necessary or useful - we need direct action NOW to protect the…

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    15. Eric Vanderduys

      Ecological Researcher

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Hi Jezze,
      I'm no meteorologist, so your explanation for the heat wave sounds perfectly plausible to me. Unfortunately I don't know any meteorologists either. I'm also no climate scientist, so I rely on better informed others a fair bit. My question to you is this: if we put this summer's heat wave down to the monsoonal troughs and pressure systems moving in an atypical fashion (and that sounds reasonable enough to me), then what should we do with these data (i.e. "warmest on record" etc etc)? Or…

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      "All down the a stubborn belt of high pressure that sat over the continent for a prolonged period, preventing the monsoon trough from moving south"

      And this has NEVER happened before (in the records).

      Yeah right.

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    17. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      it's not the commies, its the Global Haberdashery Empire trying to trick us all in to buying curtains to replace the ones faded by daylight savings.

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    18. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      I thought the two authors were "advising readers" of why it did seem hot this summer in australia. It was. The hottest on record for a century. So didn't you like the 100 year graph of jan mean temp. anomaly. I thought it a fabulous article, and particularly liked the heading about "Australia not going it alone". That is, every continent on the planet experiencing similar heat records over the last year.
      But what I demand to know from you is;
      1 How are the authors "involved" in climate change?
      2 What vested interest do they have in GW?
      3 If you changed the word alarmism, to denial, would the last paragraph describe you?

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  4. Mark Lawson

    senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

    Okay, I'll bleat. First off, go back and look at the figures quoted. "surpassing the previous record, set in 1997-98, by more than 0.1°C".. so is that the claimed trend of summer maximum temperatures, 0.1C over what, 15 years or so? Considering that various IPCC the scenarios are supposed to have a mid-point increase of what 3-4 degrees over a century or so (and average of 0.3 to 0.4 degrees a decade), maybe a bit more explanation is required..

    Granted, as the author notes, its not during a El Nino year but we had one of those a couple of years back without that seeming to break the trend. so you realise that this article, taken at face value, blows the economic case for doing anything about emissions, already arguable to begin with, totally out of the water. Or did I miss something? If so, what?

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, the 'explanation' as you know perfectly well, is that these processes are not linear, so averaging the 3-4 degrees per century to arrive at an arbitrary figure of an 'average of about 0.3 to 0.4 degrees per decade' is so meaningless as to be risible.

      I guess what you missed is pretty much all of the last century or so of science, but working for the AFR, that shouldn't represent a career limiting factor.

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mr Lawson, this year's temperature records weren't set during pronounced El Nino events, which has in the past been a major factor in Australia getting its hottest summers.

      The ceonomic case for doing something about emissions remains the huge cost that will be incurred when we write off the capital value of such coastal infrastructure as the CBD's of Brisbane and Perth, and the suburbs surrounding Botany Bay, and the forced investment in barrages across Sydney Heads and the mouth of Port Phillip…

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    3. Ian Smith

      Hon. Res. Fellow at CSIRO

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      In answer to your question - yes, you did miss something.

      Economists/financial advisors and meteorologists have a lot in common. They need to deal with data comprising noise, cycles and trends - and to make sense of them.

      However, I have always thought that meterorlogists would make far better economists/financicial advisors than vice-versa. This interpretation by Mark reinforces that opinion.

      If you told me that the trend in the stock market (for example) is given by the difference between two peaks divided by the time interval I am afraid I would have to look elsewhere for advice.

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    4. Ross Lambert

      Builder

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, probably best not to assume that Mark or any other denier is aware of non linear processes. Mark in response to your comment "of what 3-4 degrees over a century" I strongly suggest you go to the Skeptical Science webpage and read the scientific response to the myth "It's only a couple of degrees" so who cares.

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    5. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Ross Lambert

      Obviously the IPCC and UNFCC aren't aware of non linear processes. Their models are based on linear, non-chaotic processes and that's why they continue to get it wrong.

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    6. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Sigh, Mark, clearly you are missing the point - and not for the first time. Let's see the previous record was just over a decade ago. 1997/98 as you might recall was one of the most extreme El Nino events on record. At the time it was an extraordinary outlier.

      Since then the trend in warming has continued decade on decade and we have had the great majority of annual global average temps slot into the top 10 of warmest years on record. We have also had an increasing number of extreme heat events…

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    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      That's right, Jezze, but fortunately all those scientists have you and Anthony Watts to teach them some high school science which they'd obviously all forgotten - must have been so busy getting all those PhDs.

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    8. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Ross Lambert

      Ross, I think he's perfectly aware - that's what annoys me. If he were merely stupid like a certain other poster here it would be more forgivable - almost innocent. But he's not.

      He's the author of a rant called 'A Guide to Climate Change Lunacy', published by the specialist publishing house Connor Court, who are noted for publishing the works of such famous scientific luminaries as Ian Plimer, James Delingpole and Donna Laframboise.

      People like Mark prefer the term 'skeptic'. I'd argue that the last genuine skeptic was Richard Muller from Berkely, who actually raised scientific concerns, rather than political/religious ones, and was scientist enough to come out clearly and unequivocally in chagning his views in light of the comprehensive BEST stufy of global temperatures.

      Given the company Mark keeps, I'd suggest that the term 'denier' is relatively polite. Cosnscious liar might be more accurate.

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    9. Bob Beale

      Journalist

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Yeah Mark, because your eyes were apparently fixed on the rear-view mirror and not on the windscreen, you missed the sentence that says: "Under mid-to-high emissions scenarios, summers like this one will likely become average in 40 years time. By the end of the 21st century, the record summer of 2013 will likely sit at the very cooler end of normal."
      I would have thought that blows the case for doing nothing about emissions, never tenable to begin with, totally out of the water.

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson makes several mistakes in his post.

      Using just two (record) years of data to measure long-term trends is a mistake. This can be seen in the temperature record, where trends discerned from just two (record) years can sometimes vary wildly from the long-term trend.
      http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=tmean&area=aus&season=0112&ave_yr=10

      Mark Lawson’s post also assumes that linear extrapolation is appropriate for comparing the past 15 years with the expected…

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    11. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix
      nope, still doesn't work. I only gave the average as a benchmark or comparison - so what we can say definitely, as you seem to confirm, is that the increases to date have been far, far below the average we might expect if the forecasts are right.. just 0.1 degrees in 15 years is, after all, difficult to distinguish from background.

      Alright so what you are saying is that at some point in the future we'll get a really, really big increase - much larger than anything we've seen to date? If so, when may we expect this acceleration? We are already a good part of the way through the forecast period with only tiny increases to show for it.. some better give soon, don't you think?

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    12. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to David Arthur

      David - okay, couple of points.
      "For one thing, 0.1 deg C in 15 years is over 6 deg C in a millenium, which is more rapid temperature rise than the ending of the last glacial period"

      So now we're talking six degrees in a millenia, as opposed to the IPCC case of six degrees over a century.. so you do agree that this article suggests that the rate of increase in temps is much less than teh IPCC forecasts? Is that what you're saying?

      Coastal infrastructure.The official sea level increase forecasts given to coastal authorities is 0.4 metres in NSW and 0.3 metres for a bunch of places by about 2050. That's a wild over-estimation from what we've seen to date.. check the satellite stuff at University of Colorado, but let it stand.. sorry no devastation. Any other increases will be outside the renewal cycle of infrastructure, so I don't agree that teh costs would be very high at all..

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    13. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Ian - sorry but you missed the point entirely.. I'm not necessarily saying that the increase was 0.1 degrees over 15 years.. I'm saying that's all you can really infer from the article.. that's all it seems to be saying. Now a fancy analysis with better data may extract a more pronounced trend, so be it.. but the increase noted in the article, taken by itself, would be hard to distinguish from background noise..

      To continue with your stock market analogy.. any managing director who pointed at one peak and said that it was such a small increase over another peak 15 years ago would not go very far would he?

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    14. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Ross Lambert

      Ross - I'm sure your point would devastate me if I understood it, but I don't.. my quote was just an off the top of my head reference to the IPCC baseline case.. and comparing it to the increase in the article.. I wasn't saying anything about teh effect of future temperatrues..

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

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      This is the reason why Journalism is in such a bad state in Australia, thank the lord for the conversation

      The ocean is now acidic where as it was alkaline previously and we have "Senior Journalists" like yourself who still happily and publicaly walk around as if everything is fine - its disgraceful, Australians deserve better

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    16. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin - I'm not going to disagree with any of that here but you are the one who missed the point.. the point I was making is that after 15 years scientists can still only point to that tiny increase quoted. Now you could say it wasn't an el nino year, and what about natural variation, but it wasn't a very impressive increase was it.. difficult to distinguish from background, and that after 15 years.. so I think we can all agree that the expected temperatures increases will be small in coming decades..

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    17. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Bob Beale

      Bob - sorry but you've missed the point. I was merely pointed out that it wasn't a substantial increase now was it? Are you saying it was really 0.2 to 0.3 degress in that time? And after 15 years.. now never mind what the forecasts are .. the increase to date has been tiny, right? If you say its going to accelerate I'll accept that but when can we see this acceleration?

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    18. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael - I regret you are the one who has made an error.. I was not, in fact, extrapolating at all.. My sole comment was that 0.1 degrees in 15 years is not exactly significant is it? Particularly as the IPCC scenarios would seem to call for much larger increases? so already, then we can expect a very big acceleration in temperatures soon right? So when?? I think we can all agree that the article does not say very much

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    19. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @Mark Lawson

      "...so I think we can all agree that the expected temperatures increases will be small in coming decades."

      Got some peer reviewed science to back that up or is that what you read on a denier blog.

      It is pretty clear that you are a science free zone.

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    20. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Dissapointing that as a senior journalist of a rag that I regard as resasonbly reputable and insightful, Mark fails to be able to even grasp even the most basic of analysis on this topic - and yet chooses to make a comment here.

      Maybe I could ask Mark the question in a way that he might understand. Do you believe that over longer time periods the stock market goes up or down? Or more to the point are there are positive returns to be made from investing in the market? In analysing this question…

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    21. Ngoc Luan Ho Trieu

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Beware Felix, between temperature now To and temperature 100 years later T100 which is equal to To+3.5degrees our children may encounter a critical temperature point that force temperature to follow a nonlinear growth path such that T100 will be much greater than To+3.5degrees. All they can do at that time is cursing their forebears.

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    22. In reply to Mark Lawson

      Comment removed by moderator.

    23. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      So, the last 15 years' record 'cancels out' the broader evidence from the last 100 years?

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    24. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, are you actually silly enough to think that people can't see that, if you cherry pick the right period and run a line frpom what was the highest point ever recorded to the new highest point and it isn't that steep because the initial high point was very high actually demonstrated that the long-term trend was slight you've graduated from cherry picking to mechanised canatloupe harvesting.

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    25. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      What does the temperature change look like over 16 years or 17 years Mark? Why do you choose 1998 as your reference year? If you're into drawing straight lines, wouldn't it be better to take a year which shows a similar impact from ENSO as a comparison - you know just to compare apples with apples? Do you think that would be a more useful piece of analysis?

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    26. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, I think it is more impressive than you imagine. If you think of El Nino's and La Nina's as huge variations over a stable trend, then it is very significant. It's a bit like climbing a steep hill compared to climbing a classic Egyptian pyramid.

      The pyramid is like a steady trend line to the summit. But hills, like climate have natural variations, troughs and peaks - rises and valleys - on the way to the summit. With mountains, like climate change temperatures, it's all up in trend terms…

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    27. Ngoc Luan Ho Trieu

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      I think for a non-climatologist writer on climate change and for understanding of the complexity of the effect of natural factors on the trends, cylces and noises in climate anomalies, the best discussion and analysis are given by Professor Trevor Breusch and his colleague Dr Farshid Vahid at http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/ebs/pubs/wpapers/2011/wp4-11.pdf . For a mathematical exposition of the existence of cyclic component in time series (of climate anomalies) fluctuating before assuming a final value between two time points pls see http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/12288/1/58010089.pdf and for a discussion on trend plus noises pls see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trend_estimation#Data_as_trend_plus_noise.
      Contrary to a conclusion given in one of the comments on this article, I think economists/financial advisors are doing quite well and help non-climatologists' understanding of climate anomalies data a great deal.

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    28. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Lawson has already made his prediction for the next El Nino

      "so I think we can all agree that the expected temperatures increases will be small in coming decades.."

      So presumably he is arguing that the next El Nino is not going to be any warmer than a neutral year. It makes it clear that his is a political argument that has no scientific content.

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    29. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to David Bentley

      I couldn't have said it better myself David. It's quite embarrassing for the AFR.

      I have to admit I tend to tune out when people start trying to prove X or Y from trends starting in 97 or 98. It's a year chosen to get a specific result. Poor logic. Poor maths.

      He also fails to understand that temperature and sea level increases are not linear but logarithmic. A gradient now can not simply be extrapolated over a century. Lack of basic research.

      Is Mark supposed to be The Fin Review's resident climate expert?

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    30. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson's comment "average of 0.3 to 0.4 degrees a decade" seems very very close to linear extrapolation, given it comes right after a sentence discussing 0.1 degrees of temperature rise. Why would the average rate be relevant if temperature rise accelerates and varies on decade-scales due to natural variability?

      What really matters is the comparison between the data and the models. There is quite good agreement, as illustrated at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/01/2010-updates-to-model-data-comparisons

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    31. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark,
      To put the years in perspective. The El Nino of 1998 lasted for 14 months with an average reading beyond -18.Global temperatures were 0.18 above the record set the previous year. In 2009 the global temperature record was broken again with an el Nino (only -10 this time) that only lasted for six months with two of those months not at elNino levels. In 2012 only 1 month reached el Nino levels (June). In other words this years record was just the slow progress of AG warming overtaking the erratic warming record caused by el Ninos.

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    32. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark - I think the flaw in your approach is pretty plain - try conducting the same exercise but taking the average temperature anomaly from 1996/97instead on 1997/98.

      You're an economist and I am finding it very difficult to accept that your reasoning in this case is anything but disengeniuos.

      I am willing to be surprised however.

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    33. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mr Lawson, I don't give a rat's what the IPCC reckoned in 2007; this is 2013, for goodness' sake, and climate science has progressed remarkably in that time.

      In particular, IPCC 2007 sea level rise estimates ONLY included thermal expansion of water; it did NOT make estimates of polar ice melt because as of 2007, polar ice melt had only just got started and there was insufficient data to estimate its acceleration. Rignot et al (2011) "Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic…

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    34. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "Any other increases will be outside the renewal cycle of infrastructure, so I don't agree that teh costs would be very high at all."

      Well, they will require wholesale relocation of millions of people (yes, that does include large-scale writing-off of real estate values), meaning all the infrastructure construction will be greenfield.

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    35. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      That's a non-argument, Felix. The processes may be non-linear, but do you have any evidence that the non-linearity is not significant?

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    36. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Once again, a non-response, pretending to superior knowledge without providing any evidence.

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    37. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike - again, you've missed the point entirely. I was merely pointing to the article, the actual result, and saying that the increase was small, and from that one would conclude that the overall trend is a small one. Okay, so I was incorrect and you don't agree and so therefore you must expect increases to be very large so we can get back to the average increase of 0.3 degrees or s a decade. So when do you expect that increase to occur? Any time soon? Of course I would be guided by you. When?

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    38. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to David Bentley

      David
      Basically you are repeating the point that its a comparison with an El Nino year so therefore the underlying trend is much larger. Okay. The trouble is we are not in a super charged El Nino year to make a direct comparison, just an ordinary year. When we will get one of the super-duper El Ninos? Answer is no one knows. We could go back to comparing averages, but that would give depressingly small increases. So we're back to the original point that temperatures at some point have to start increasing sharply or the forecasts will start to look sick. So when do you expect that to happen?

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    39. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix - nope I was just pointing out that the increase wasn't very impressive, and if you took that period as a guide then you're looking at small increases. You do realise that its been something like 0.8 to 1 degree increase in a century, and the mid-range forecasts are something like 3-4 degrees over the next?

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    40. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix - in fact I didn't chose - cherry pick, as you say - the period at all. That was the period given in the article. I merely commented that the increase seemed small. Now you can argue that just wait until a super-charged El Nino comes along and compare it with that.. well sure, when we get one then you can point and say I told you so.. But when will we get one? Seems to be a rare event. Until then of course we could always fall back on the use of averages and avoid cheery picking..

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    41. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to David Bentley

      David - as I just pointed out to another poster in fact I didn't chose the period at all. It was in the article. The author chose the period and did the calculation. I merely commented that the increase seemed small.
      Now you can say wait until a super-charged El Nino come alone and compare it with that. So when will we get such a event? Until that uncertain future time, you're stuck with small increases that don't justify anything much. Temperatures will start increasing you say? Okay, when?

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    42. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin - a better argument and without abuse. Of course, I understand the bit about hills. The problem is that we don't have a super-charged El Nino year to compare it with do we? Just this one. When can we expect a big el nino? Well if the people who advocate the Pacific Decadal Oscillation approach are right we won't get one for perhaps another 20 years or so, but let us leave that aside. Pending such an event we can always fall back on using averages, but that doesn't add up to much over the time frame. Tough to prove your case on such small increases.

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    43. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Ngoc Luan Ho Trieu

      Ngoc - thanks for the pointer but I don't think it is necessary for complex analysis of a simple point. The problem is that we don't have a super-charged El Nino year to compare the starting point with do we? Just this one. When can we expect a big el nino? No one knows. ill the same conditions reoccur? Probably not. We could always fall back on using averages of course, but that may not give you the result you want.

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    44. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike - tsk tsk.. I was talking about average increases, not el nino years, and my arguments involved common sense not science. Teh crack about politics is not worth a response..

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    45. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      Andrew - go back and look at the article. I didn't chose the period. It was in the article. My "sin" was to comment that the increase was small. Admittedly we are comparing a supercharge El Nino year with a non El Nino year so when can we expect another supercharge El Nino year and will the same conditions occur in that year? Assumign that doesn't happene you're stuck with the same, tiny increases.

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    46. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael - I checked out that link. You should print out the graph and take a close look at it. The IPCC base line is for an increase of just 0.2 degrees or so of less for the decade just gone. Seems rather low. Of the lines given the only one that can be said to really agree with that small increase is the Goddard Institute run by Hansen.. the rest seems to fall under it which is about what you'd expect. In any case, the whole exercise is a doubtful one made in an activist site.. You have to go back to the original forecast, see what they said then and then compare. The only useful comparison on a large enough time frame, as I have pointed out, is the IPCC 1990 report and that's bang on the minimum.

      As for your cut lecture on time frames, I didn't chose the period. It was in the article.

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    47. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      See personal attacks without actually knowing my qualifications. I have a tertiary degree and post graduate qualifications. I can do a 1 year course online (with the background I already have) and do your job Felix, so best you crawl back into your hole with your high school science.

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    48. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to David Rennie

      David - quite right. But to repeat the point I've made several times now, I didn't chose the period. It was in the article. In any case there is still a problem. For a real comparison we'd have to find a super-charged el nino year when the same conditions in Aus reoccur? When will that happen you think? Until it does you're stuck with tiny increases. We could always go back to using averages, but it may not give the increases you'r hoping for..

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    49. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      Grendelus - I'm not an economist. I reject that charge completely. But to repeat the point I've made several times now, I didn't chose the period. It was in the article. In any case there is still a problem. For a real comparison we'd have to find a super-charged el nino year when the same conditions in Aus reoccur? When will that happen you think? Until it does you're stuck with tiny increases. We could always go back to using averages, but it may not give the increases you're hoping for..

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    50. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Craig Minns

      Personal attacks, sarcasm and rhetoric is all most of the alarmists have. Tertiary qualifications in appropriate fields are generally amiss with most of them.

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    51. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I agree Michael. It is very similar to taking a lot of interest in the fact that "2012 was the hottest year on record" when we all know that it is simply an upward blip on a warm baseline where several other random, upward changes have lead to "the hottest years on record" over the past ten years or so. The two colder years, just little downwards blips, probably random, are also of no significance in the long term trend.

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    52. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to David Arthur

      Arthur - the increases I gave you are the latest available. As I understand it, they are after taking the other stuff you mention into account. The original IPCC 2007 estimates were increased. I'm quoting the increased ones. You'll have to take up with the scientists, the coastal councils.. nothing to do with me..

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    53. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to David Arthur

      David - no-one is now arguing sea level increases of the magnitudes you seem to be imagining. Not over the next few decades at any rate. You are almost alone on that point, I would say.

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    54. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, Lets put it in terms that a financial journalist might understand.
      1998 is Coles Myer setting an Australian retail profit record
      consumer confidence is high
      they have thousands of stores
      in lots of markets
      they can pressure suppliers to supply at cheap prices
      2012 is IGL setting a the next Australian retail profit record
      they have fewer stores
      they have smaller stores
      consumer confidence is low
      they can't pressure suppliers
      Sure they didn't do…

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    55. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark,
      you didn't choose the period the climate did. The first record was a monster wave. The second was the tide coming in.
      For comparison compare the massive La Nina year of 2011 (18+) with previous massive La Nino s of 1917 (20+)and 1975 (15+). In 1917 the global ave temp was -.38 below average, in 1975,-.04 below and for 2011 (+.52 above average)
      For El Ninos compare 1998 (-18+) with 1983 (-21) 1941 (-15) and 1905 -(-16). 1905 was -.25 below average.1941 .08 above average, 1983 +.26 above and 1998 +.59 above.

      So when comparing like with like, as we can for 2009, we can see massive increases in temperature over the past century. From 1917-2011 , +.90, from1905 to 1998 +.75. Consistent and irrefutable evidence of warming.

      We have just had a massive La Nina so we can be confident that we will never see another year as cool as 2012 , the 9th hottest year in the temperature record.

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    56. Rina Cohen

      retired

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      You're missing quite a lot, including increasingly strong scientific consensus based on increasingly strong evidence - must be because you're shutting your eyes in order to keep on bleating.

      For instance, what, according to you, explains the accelerating retreat of the glaciers and the catastrophic loss of Arctic sea ice. if the planet is not warming? Is it Martian heat-rays? Has a massive swarm of hair-dryers snuck unnoticed into the Arctic? Or - I think this might be your favoured explanation…

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    57. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Hi Mark, just a couple of things.

      The article used 97/98 because it was when the last record was set. But, as I have noted and you have clearly accepted, the circumstances of 97/98 were remarkably different. So, again, as I have noted and you have agreed, this is not a valid comparison.

      To get a sense of what the true size of the increase is, it would make more sense to compare two years that are similar. For instance, if we look at La Nina years over a similar period, we see that each is…

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    58. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson has missed the point regarding 15 years. A 15-year record was broken during Australian summer, but the article’s authors don’t use 15 years of data (or 2 years separated by 15 years) to measure the trend in increasing temperature. It was Mark Lawson’s choice to use 2 years separated by 15 year .

      Each of the models used by the IPCC provides an indication of how the temperature will behave in the coming decades, including some variability. The median (ensemble / Mark's “base line”) of those models provides a good indication of long-term trends, but averages out the variability present in the individual models (variability that is present in the real world). Comparing the temperature record (with variability) on decade times scales to the median line (with little variability) is thus a mistake.

      (If one had ten Earths, took the median of their temperature records, then one could compare that to the median of the models. Instead we have just one Earth.)

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    59. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      Temperature records are interesting if put in the broader context, including long-term trends, and this done in the article. New record highs are being set far more often than record lows, as one would expect for a warming world.

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    60. Ian Smith

      Hon. Res. Fellow at CSIRO

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, you are also missing the fundamental point that a new record has been set - irrespective of the magnitude.
      The same pattern is being seen all over the globe where the number of new warm records is far outpacing the number of new cool records. This is powerful evidence.

      Put another way, if this year the global average temperature sets a new record, would it matter if it was by +1 degree, or +.1 degree, or +.01 degree, or +.001 degree?

      I think you are arguing that it does matter - am I correct?

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    61. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Such a waste... here we are forced to put up with the lies and deceits of climate scientists and their TV frontpersons every night and we have a journalist - a senior journalist - here who could do it all from his desk in his down-time.

      Yep ... we need credible science - stuff we want to believe .... and who else would we trust?

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    62. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Thank you for the link Michael. I think the list of things to remember given there should be noted, viz:

      Short term (15 years or less) trends in global temperature are not usefully predictable as a function of current forcings. This means you can’t use such short periods to ‘prove’ that global warming has or hasn’t stopped, or that we are really cooling despite this being the warmest decade in centuries.
      The AR4 model simulations are an ‘ensemble of opportunity’ and vary substantially among…

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    63. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark.

      Are you a retired geologist? Have you ever owned a quarry?

      Then what on earth would you know about climate science?

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    64. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to David Rennie

      David,

      In spite of a regular upward trend since the end of the Little Ice Age, the temperature has demonstrated much larger swings than in 2012, both increasing and decreasing, with NO association being made by climatologists with increases in CO2.

      Thus I do not properly understand how you can so categorically say that this years record was just the slow progress of AGW. What accounted for the previous two cooler years? I believe that all three are just naturally random fluctuations which…

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    65. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      OOOh be careful John ... lest you find yourself falling for the deceits and blandishments of the Bureau...

      When you say "the temperature has demonstrated much larger swings than in 2012" whose temperature are we talking about - surely not the BoM's metric nonsense? We all know the data is corrupted and falsified to fit their political agenda.

      Below you even state that the BoM's data is protected by "guardians" ... secret numbers known only to the plotters and fellow travellers.

      Now it is either all lies or not. One bite of this forbidden fruit and all is lost John. We must get our own data - throw out these insidious isotherms root and branch. We cannot just accept a lie because we believe it favours our argument can we?

      Trust nothing and no one John. No using BoM numbers - only our own. I've got two years worth (in fahrenheit of course) from up near the chooks if that'll help.

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    66. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to John Nicol

      I thought I'd assume there was no increase in CO2 over recent years, and from from past data - 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 years, predict what I'd expect the temperature to be doing. My best guess is warming - exactly what it's been doing. Why is anyone surprised about this?

      I think people get too bogged down in the time limitations of surface data. If I look at most longer term (up to 5,000 years) plots (I don't include Mann's Hockey stick for obvious reasons), warming is expected, with or without anthropogenic CO2.

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    67. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark,

      You correctly draw attention to the fact that "no one knows" when we will get back to a "supercharged El Nino".

      This really highlights the weakness in the arguments made by the IPCC - they expect us to accept at face value the results of their models (AOGCMs) but are unable to predict even a repetitive, cyclical, climate phenomenon which has been available for study for many years in terms of its temperature distribution and changes from El Nino to La Nina, its association with the…

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    68. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Yes that's right Mark, treat John here with the respect and dignity he treats climate scientists and weathermen... the dignity and seriousness he deserves.

      He's really interested in your answers and the science of all this ... no really. He's not just trying to win an argument and overturn all known science on the matter - no not at all.

      He just knows you're all a bunch of at best incompetent fools at worst dishonest conspirators hell bent on heating. Or both.

      Be fair.

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    69. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "averaging the 3-4 degrees per century to arrive at an arbitrary figure of an 'average of about 0.3 to 0.4 degrees per decade' is so meaningless as to be risible"

      They don't teach the concept of acceleration in journalism school.

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    70. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Dear John,

      In the temperature reconstructions I have seen, there was a steady decline in global temperature over thousands of years. The Little Ice Age added a significant dip in and around the 1600s and then there was an increase before a brief moment of settling into that steady decline again.

      However, the sharp increase, well above this very consistent trend, coincides with the industrial age. Since then the temperatures have spiked up very dramatically without any other increase in external natural forcings.

      The current temperature is well above the correction for the Little Ice Age you describe, so to account for it you need to introduce a cause for the additional warming and explain why the steady decline in global temperatures has appeared to suddenly reverse. Could you tell me where you think the additional warmth comes from as there are no natural fluctuations, such as solar activity, I can see that would explain it?

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    71. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "Granted, as the author notes, its not during a El Nino year but we had one of those a couple of years back without that seeming to break the trend."

      No Mark, 2010 was not an El Nino year. It started with an El Nino and finished with a La Nina.

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    72. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Dear John,

      This paper from last year might help you in regards to developing confidence in the IPCC predictions. ( http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378012001215 ) and its findings were discussed here at The Conversation (https://theconversation.edu.au/20-years-on-climate-change-projections-have-come-true-11245 ).

      Then there is this paper which shows how climate model representations of the fingerprints of anthropogenic global warming are matching up with observations…

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    73. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "just 0.1 degrees in 15 years"

      Mark, what is your confidence interval on this estimator?

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    74. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Clearly everybody "misses the point" except a certain senior journalist who prefers his reinterpretation over what was clearly stated by Blair & Karl

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    75. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "so I think we can all agree that the expected temperatures increases will be small in coming decades"

      You can only say that if your confidence interval is narrow enough to rule out the alternative.

      So your confidence interval is?..

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    76. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Now listen up Alvin.

      You can try all you like with your science and your sense but John's made of sterner stuff ... he will never be swayed over to the Dark Side with such superficial facts. The fella's not for turning. He knows where those facts of yours come from and you'll find the thumbprints of climate scientists and the IPCC all over them. Some of them might even be peer-reviewed - which of we all know just means they've been cooked up by a committee of conspirators.

      Real science comes…

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    77. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "And after 15 years.. now never mind what the forecasts are .. the increase to date has been tiny, right?"

      Extreme weather events that produce records don't come along very often and when they do, they rarely have the same effect as the previous extreme weather event.

      How sure are you that the extreme weather event we've just experienced had the same effect on temperature as the extreme weather event that produced the previous record temperature?

      Not very sure at all, I'd say.

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    78. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Rennie

      "Global temperatures (in 1998) were 0.18 above the record set the previous year."

      And the last two months of that previous year (1997) were also heavily influenced by El Nino.

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    79. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Arthur

      "Future IPCC projections need also consider natural ("runaway") greenhouse gas emissions."

      I wish you wouldn't use that word (runaway) without an appropriate definition.

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    80. Sally Smith

      .

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, after reading your many comments, I have come back to your first coments.

      RE ...so is that the claimed trend of summer maximum temperatures, 0.1C over what, 15 years or so?

      Answer: NO - You are making that up out of thin air.

      RE: ... maybe a bit more explanation is required..

      Answer: NO - Your premise is flawed and does not exist. NO explanation is required.

      RE: ... taken at face value, blows the economic case for doing anything about emissions, already arguable to begin…

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    81. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Thanks for that reminder, Chris.

      On reflection, I realise that my use of the term "runaway" in this thread is not appropriate; where I referred to runaway greenhouse gas emissions, I should have used the expression "temperature-dependent (anthropogenically uncontrollable) greenhouse gas emissions".

      The term "runaway" might in this context be construed as excessively histrionic, so thanks for taking me to task for that.

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    82. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "So we're back to the original point that temperatures at some point have to start increasing sharply"

      "Sharply" is not necessary at all. For example, the current average global trend, 1.7 deg C/century, added to a quadratic increase of 1.3 deg C * ((t-2000)/100)^2 where t is the year would give 3 deg C of warming by 2100. The temperature rise due to acceleration would be (starting at 0 in 2000) with rise from current trend:

      due to acceleration due to current trend
      2000 0…

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  5. Paul Richards

    integral operating system

    "Six of Australia’s ten hottest summers on record have come in the last 11 years, meaning that very hot summers have been occurring at about five times the rate you would expect without a warming trend."
    Ask any farmer about crop preparation, and they will tell you about their local trends over decades. There is a ground swell of acceptance in the cropping areas of Australia. Farmers are well aware of loss caused by change already, the science and statistics are just sign posts. Most land carers are just waiting for the rest of the population to accept it.

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    1. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Paul Richards

      How many farmers do you actually know ?. I would suggest non many, if any at all. I have relatives and contacts that have been farming for decades and they are telling me that the seasons a returning to what they were 30-40 years ago. No sign of the "loss caused by change" you talk of.
      If you are talking about the science and statistics supporting the AGW alarmists, then you may want to read more recent observations.Month by month more observations debunk the projections of the climate models, so heavily relied upon by organisations such as the IPCC, UNFCC etc.

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    2. Thomas Saunders

      Meteorologist

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      "returning to what they were 30-40 years ago" over recent years is due to back to back La-Nina's. Take La Nina out of the equation and hey presto we are back to warmer than normal weather. My point is month by month and even year to year records contain too much noise to see a clear trend.

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    3. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Thomas Saunders

      hahahaha. Sorry Thomas but La Nina has very little to no effect on weather or climate in the Wheat Belt of Western Australia.
      Try again.

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    4. Thomas Saunders

      Meteorologist

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Didn't know you were referring to the wheat belt. Im still surprised to hear that though considering southern WA just had one of its driest wet seasons on record (April to Oct)

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    5. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      So, only wheat farmers in the WA Wheat Belt qualify as 'farmers' for the purpose of this argument. Glad you clarified the parameters. That must be what Paul got wrong - he probably only knows rural folk in other parts of the country who, I now gather, don't actually qualify as 'farmers'.

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    6. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Note that Jezze doesn't actually cite any evidence, because all the observations & evidence are that rainfall has declined in WA wheatbelt. Take your anecdotes to the pub, Jezze, thats as much as they deserve.

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    7. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      @ FelixM - I think they need to be related to Jezze too.

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    8. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Jezze Redmond wrote : "Sorry Thomas but La Nina has very little to no effect on weather or climate"
      Really and you would be one of those Bill Mollison warned not to rip the trees out of the wheat belt in the 1960s and a serial denier over decades. Anything you have to say on weather anyone should "literally take with a grain of salt."
      As for the farmers, having lived in the WA experienced the fires, salt and weather. Not to mention over 30 years of drought in the SW WA, make for qualified to comment.

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    9. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Thats not what my oldies are saying.

      My family has been in Mount Barker for 6 generations, they tell me that it is a lot drier and hotter in the South West than any of them remember.

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    10. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul - that's a better argument, although I don't necessarily agree with it, but note that you had to pull i other material to make your case.. the increases given in the article are too tiny to be worth mentioning..

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    11. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Paul Richards

      As much as I hate to admit it, Jezze is correct in claiming that ENSO doesn't have a huge affect on WA Wheatbelt climate. The major drivers there are the IOD, frontal systems and where the blocking highs sit. Of course, what he neglects to mention is the increased temperatures, especially late autumn and early winter, the decrease in rainfall by 15-20% and the change from rainfall to showers which has made variability higher. This is all reported by the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative.

      So Jezze, are you saying that WA Wheatbelt hasn't been majorly impacted by climate change? Because all the evidence says the exact opposite, as do the farm sales and financial stress from a record number of decile 1 years since 2000.

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    12. David Semmens

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark,

      The difference between the two hottest years on record is not the temperature increase (trend) we've experienced, it's the difference between the two hottest years on record.

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    13. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Liam J

      Any mention of multiple heads at this point would be in very poor taste...

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    14. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      One article does not a case for action make Mark.

      But thousands of pieces of research from hundreds of different and independent authors and researchers using millions of data points does a strong case for action make.

      Your questioning around the rate of temperature increase from a cherry picked point as a justification for asserting that action is unjustified is incredibly weak.

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    15. Ngoc Luan Ho Trieu

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      Climate observations over a short time interval don't say much about long term climat change.

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    16. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      WA's issues are of another variety altogether.

      The States South West, where the wheat belt is, has had a dramatic step-down in rainfall since the 1970s, and another smaller one in the 80s if memory serves me well - always questionable at my age.

      The issue here is that the winter rains that were so common 30 years ago have moved south, exactly as predicted by climate models. Frontal systems that once brought that area precipitation no longer pass over the region. So, yes, ENSO has not had a great influence here but global warming has.

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    17. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      How about quoting overall temperature data for the Oz continent since 1910 and showing your sources to support your claim that "the seasons a returning to what they were 30-40 years ago".

      Anecdotal "evidence" is poor quality and not to be trusted!

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    18. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Paul Richards

      lol, who said anything about ripping trees out in the wheatbelt. Typical of alarmists, simply divert attention from your failings in order to attempt to discredit your opponent.
      If you want to talk Wheat Belt , Salt etc lets go. I have tertiary qualifications that afford me much knowledge in the field. I was taught by a published expert in the Wheat Belt salt problems.

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    19. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      No, I was debunking the claims of any relation to La Nina and El Nino made earlier. I don't deny that the climate changes. It has done and will continue to do so, long after we are gone.

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    20. Jezze Redmond

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Oh so its completely ok for the person I was responding to to post anecdotal evidence but as soon as I challenge him with the same , my evidence is classed as inadmissible. Hypocricy runs rife through the veins of alarmists.

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    21. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      You weren't debunking anything, you were denying the reality of the interactions of climate systems in Australia and how they have changed due to climate change. In WA's case that means less rainfall and is fully in line with climate change predictions of global system changes.

      @Alvin Stone: pretty much spot on Alvin. Essentially the majority of the wheatbelt's rainfall is in the winter and spring period, which is brought primarily by the frontal systems. The changes that have occurred are in how frequently the fronts come, how strong they are and where the high pressure systems sit. So what now happens is that we get less frequent fronts, that are carrying less moisture (more showers, less rain, more variable precipitation) and these are more likely to be confronting a blocking high which stops fronts moving inland. The Indian Ocean Climate Initiative has more on this, as does BoM. http://www.ioci.org.au/publications.html

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    22. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      It's wonderful to find a qualified person with degrees and spelling who has managed to overcome the blandishments and alluring lies of the Weathermen.

      How did you manage it Jeeze?

      The only way I did it was to avoid any courses or areas of study that had anything to do with climate or physicis of large complex systems and the like. That's where the rot sets in doesn't it? With the lies they tell at university.

      So what did you study Jezze?

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Thomas Saunders

      A self-confessed meteorologist!

      From his own lips... coming in here with facts, science, data and evidence and thinking that will blind us to his prefidious purposes - world domination by weatherdudes!

      I take no notice of any weather in decimalised units whatsoever - only inches and fahrenheit for me... everything French is obviously false!

      I have dobbed you in to Bruce at the National Security Hotline - you have been sprung Mr Weatherman! Expect a visit. Or worse.

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    24. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Jezze Redmond

      You are right Jezze.

      I wonder what Paul Richards reception would be in a bar in Dalby or Roma, Goondiwindi, Charleville, Cloncurry, Tenterfield or Narabri if he took his ideas there? None of the many farmers I know have any belief in Global Warming.

      A few years ago someone took to kayaking down the Murray to highlight the plight of the River. On his return he was dumb founded to have found that in all the groupds of farmers he met along the way none believed the climate was changing because of carbon dioxide. It was simply cyclical they said. Just as their grandfathers and great grandfathers had also observed.

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    25. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Couldn't agree more John ... who could argue against such sciencey analysis and data? We farmers are truly the barometers of climate and weather - we have corns and bunyons and infallible memories serving as a massive database of global trends and physics.

      Nearly as sciencey as geologists but far superior to self-serving and corrupt clowns who do climate stuff for a living.

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    26. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Alvin Stone

      Alvin,

      A few years ago the climate models were predicting continued drought for Queensland and increased rain in WA. What happened to that prediction. Certainly in Queensland it didn't work out and we have been under clouds and varying heavy rain since mid January - just after the hot weather which was not predicted as far as I know by either the climate scientists or the Met bureau. (I sometimes wonder what they do with their time - once it is found to be hot, they all come out and tell us that this is because of the global warming they are predicting, but haven't known that this much heating was about to occur! Why not?)

      Right now the Darling Downs is getting soaked, the Wivenhoe Dam is being emptied into the Brisbane River, and we have just had about six inches of rain, over the last few days, at Forest lake in Brisbane where I live. Can someone tell me why this happening - it wasn't meant to be like this, just ask Tim Flannery!!

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    27. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Now that I've seen that Warragamba dam outside Sydney is overflowing, I'd believe it, except that Tim Flannery said it wouldn't be so. Is Gillard still paying him for these predictions?

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    28. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      True, Henry, most farmers do not record temperatures but do read it every day and have pretty good memories for such things which effect their crops and livelihood, I can assure you also that fairly clear histories of the past are passed down through the generations with references to what happened to crops etc and thus often represent a fairly accurate "measurment" if you like of what took place. The situation is quite different from people in the city just 'feeling" hot or cold.

      However, well…

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    29. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      That's the ticket John - rain in inches - like God sends it through time immemorial.

      Just this Thursday Gavin here on the telly was predicting sunny periods over the weekend! Not here there isn't! Floods and unbroken leaden skies as far as the eye can see. That's the BoM for you ... they just make stuff up.

      Spesaking of which I was chatting to one of the Thelmas fro over the road telling her about my solarpanels and how useless they were in the rain. Thelma was married to a dairy farmer for 45 years so a bit of his wisdom obviously rubbed off.

      She told me how solar panels actually cause cancer and bugger up your TV reception. Have you sciencey blokes on that Science Committee of yours done any work on this? I'd be really interested ... no really.

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    30. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Now we're getting somewhere John -

      Let's get this into the Abbott Direct Action strategy ... abolish the BoM, scrap all those expensive weather stations and mind-controlling satellites and such and replace them with a panel of retired geologists using the infallible memories of old farmers to predict the weather.

      Sounds like an idea to me.

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    31. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      John and Jezze,

      I think you may have a narrow view of what constitutes farmers. I have dealt with many farmers in my various capacities and I am the only city slicker in a family that makes its living in rural areas. Most of my relatives accept that things are changing climate wise but really couldn't give a tinkers cuss about why as long as they can adapt to those changes.

      Our climate scientists have an immense amount of respect for farmers, as they ask good questions and are very knowledgeable…

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    32. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      John,

      Two things:

      Firstly, talking to people very well placed in the Bureau's hierarchy, as I do on an almost daily basis, they were very well aware in advance that January was looking nasty. Privately they expected records to fall weeks in advance of the events themselves because that is what their models were telling them. They knew they had a big heat coming but I think the scale of it even blew them away.

      Secondly, what you say about climate models "predicting continued drought for…

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    33. Rina Cohen

      retired

      In reply to John Nicol

      Now, how can we break this to you - it's happening because of AGW. Climate scientists have long predicted an increase in extreme weather events, including more intense storms and floods - which does not necessarily mean more rainfall overall. And actually they have also been predicting more extreme heat events including hotter and longer heat waves. This must be a first for the deniers, accusing climate scientists of failing to predict heat waves! Breathtaking chutzpah there, John. You ask us to be gentle with you and then you go all foolhardy on us.

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    34. Sally Smith

      .

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      RE by Mark Lawson: "David - no point in grumbling to me. I didn't chose the period. It was in the article. I merely commented that it seemed small.."
      Ah yes, the old "Oh Poor Me" syndrome, "I am the innocent one here, don't blame me" suggests Mark .. or iow "But I didn't say it, THEY did!" And spoken just like all good sophists and manipulators. A mainstay technique used by all good liars in any field. Bait - Switch - then Spin! Our nation deserves better than this.

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    35. Sally Smith

      .

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      RE "There's really no point trying to reason with you (Jezze Redmond) , is there?

      Answer: NO, none whatsoever. Speak truth, and stand up for reason anyway! <smile>

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  6. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    it might be about hot weather
    but reading this article gives me goose pimples.

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  7. Marie Bosworth

    Administration

    Can a knowledegable meteorologist please tell me to what extent unnecessarily heated discussions on website comment boards contribute to a continuing rise in global temperatures?

    ;)

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    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Marie Bosworth

      probably to the same extent as a paddock full of cattle, and probably from the same source, but a different end.

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  8. Trevor Johnston

    Retired Freelance Journalist

    "The highest temperature during the heatwave was 49.6°C at Moomba in the far northeast of South Australia."

    I would be interested to know how long Moomba has been an official recording station for the BOM. In fact, I would like to know the name and number of recording stations in 1900 compared with 2013, as I think data may be distorted by the difference in recording stations over that period.

    But I am prepared to embrace the facts if they contradict this hypothesis.

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    1. Blair Trewin

      Climatologist, National Climate Centre at Australian Bureau of Meteorology

      In reply to Trevor Johnston

      The national averages are calculated using 104 stations spread across Australia, the majority of which have data back to 1910. Moomba (which opened in 1972) is not one of them. The way we do it is first to calculate at each station how far it is above/below normal in each month, then average (using a uniformly-spaced grid) those differences from normal - that way, if you have changes in the network, it shouldn't create a bias since the 'expected' value for every station is zero. If you averaged the temperatures (rather than the amount above/below normal) you would get a bias if you had more stations in hot (or cold) places.

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  9. John Nicol

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Blair and Karl,

    You comment that "And it’s going to keep getting hotter. Over the next century, the world will likely warm by a further 2 to 5 degrees, depending on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere."

    I would have expected real scientists to have been more cautious and said " We believe it is likely that the world will keep getting hotter". Given that what you have described about our warmest summer represents "weather" and not "climate" and that following the continual…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim...

      All the best ideas came from the 1950's... we knew who the enemy was - they were foreign and subversive.

      But now it's more difficult and sinister ... we must find new enemies and expose their conspiracies and it's not easy. And obviously the BoM is a hotbed of subversive science and plottery.

      When will we see the names of these BoM conspirators splashed across the Telegraph hiding their faces and running from the outraged citizens hurling stones? When will they bring back black and…

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    2. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      The answer to your question is simple, John.

      The link between C02 and global warming is generally accepted in scientific circles.

      More CO2 leads to more global warming and we certainly don't seem to be easing up on emitting it into the atmosphere.

      The increased baseline of a warmer atmosphere is making most years warmer than the last, hence most of the top ten years have occurred in the past decade.

      If this trend continues - even though most sceptics claim the Earth has stopped warming…

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  10. John Nicol

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Sorry to come back again but I forgot to comment on you other remark that:

    "Not every year has a hot summer – the last two summers were both cooler than normal, as a result of widespread and record rains associated with La Niña — but the probability of very hot summers has increased considerably.

    Six of Australia’s ten hottest summers on record have come in the last 11 years, meaning that very hot summers have been occurring at about five times the rate you would expect without a warming trend…

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    1. Riddley Walker

      .

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol says "no".

      This other lot of oddbods, nincompoops, sellouts, conmen, liars, mischiefmakers, fools and communists say "yes".

      Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias (Brazil)
      Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (Mexico)
      Academie des Sciences (France)
      Academy of Science of South Africa
      Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
      African Academy of Sciences.
      American Academy of Pediatrics
      American Association for the Advancement of Science
      American Astronomical Society
      American Chemical Society
      American…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Yes weathermen and scientists ... that's all very well Riddley but John Nichol says no and that should be more than enough for you! For them too. And for us all.

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  11. David Rennie

    IT Consultant

    The bid question is what will Graham Lloyd of the Australian say.Will he

    1 Have a 'Damascas moment' and acknowledge that everything he has said about climate change is wrong
    2. Totally ignore the report
    3. Explain that there's been no warming over the last 15 - 17 years despite the fact that none of those ears were as warm as any of the past five years.
    4. Other ludicrous explanation of why the scientists are wrong and the Australian is right.

    My 10 bucks is on option 2.

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    1. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to David Rennie

      Sorry I forgot to add
      5 Accuse the ABC of bias in reporting the facts
      6 All of 3-6 Inclusive.

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    2. Alvin Stone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Rennie

      Oh David, I'm going option 7, Find the few places in Australia where the temps were below average and get an old fella from a local pub in one of these areas to tell them how they have seen it before and Australia has always been a land of extremes (add standard poetic reference about flooding rains blah, blah, blah).

      Oh, and not a single quote from a climate scientist, of course.

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  12. John C Smith

    Auditor

    Is it the heat we produce that adds to the hottest..?

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  13. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    Aw, the asterooids coming by again in the 2020s may well solve our creation of so much hot air.
    ;]
    It's worth pointing out that server & network power emissions to handle these long discussions are equivalent to driving a Hummer (a real one) for as long as it takes to read all this.

    But the silly part is that warming dangers are peanuts compared to sea rise and acidification.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Is that why it's called meteorology Alex?

      What is it about retired geologists that drives them to look upwards after carrers spent looking down? To venture boldly where they have never gone before, into fields where they run no risk of contamination by knowledge or understanding?

      Thank god for them I say.... better than Charlie Chaplin ... an absolute hoot.

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  14. Karin Geiselhart

    volunteer climate change presenter

    Very clear description of the trends. How does one best present this to the public who might not see or seek articles like this?

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  15. Ross James

    Engineer

    I see from the plot presented, that this current warming started sometime before 1910. Wasn't this well before there were significant anthropogenic CO2 emissions? What caused this increase, and when did CO2 conveniently take over to continue the warming.

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Ross James

      nah. I found it more useful wondering about the increasing spikes starting around 1968, 23 years after WW2 finished. Industrialisation had been around for 100 years (maybe), but you as an engineer would have to agree industrialisation really took off globally after WW2. Inconvenient maybe.

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  16. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

    Boss

    The BoM has just started to show temperatures as an Australian average. In attempting to replicate their methods, I have not been able to establish which stations were used. There are hints that several hundred weather stations go into the average, but times change and there is no way that a constant number of stations could be used over many decades. The primary test of comparing apples with apples cannot be replicated from public data.
    There are more people living in Sydney and Melbourne than…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Precisely Geoff...

      And it's not just on the Great Lie of the Weathermen either.

      I myself have been attempting to replicate the purported isolation of the Higgs boson up in the shed - using a scaled down particle accelerator based on a Sunbeam blender ... and do you think this sciencey nonsense can be replicated? Not on your life. Not a boson in sight ... Higgs or otherwise.

      Why do we believe them these scientists ... like as mob of bleating sheep?

      No! Stand up geologists and quarry operators - strike a blow for DIY science. Let's put the simple back into simplistic. Let's reclaim the sciencey high ground!

      Smash the BoM smart arsed socialist clique!!!!!

      That National Security Hotline number again: 1800 1234 00.

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You mean the data they freely discussed here and make freely available on their site? Do you mean the data they provide with an easy to use graphing system so you can view long term trends? Yes, curse them for hiding it all from those who haven't even bothered to look at their website.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Hah if it was only so simple and transparent Tim!

      Geoff here - as a retired geochemist and mine manager - knows that the BoM keeps two sets of books - the real numbers and the "adjusted" data... and they use those adjusted numbers to deceive us all - day after day - at the behest of their IPCC paymasters and World Guvvermint.

      They keep the real numbers under lock and key and use them to plan their holidays.

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    4. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I have some problems understanding you. I can't tell if you are serious or not. Sometimes I think you're being sarcastic (I don't consider this a means of communication). I've been following this discussion (mainly silently), but have all but given up on trying to make sense of what you write.

      I'm suggesting you write what you mean in clear normal English, with correct spelling.

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ross James

      Yes a lot of folks have trouble with working out serious views and plain silliness on this issue. I know John Nichol does.

      And some folks even try and argue with the silliness and think they can change their minds or get them to "cry uncle" as my American friends would say. But they won't. Not ever. They are immune. Moreover they don't care.

      That's not what this is about at all. This is about irrelvant old men,from irrelevant backgrounds creating confusion and attacking reason and…

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    6. Adam Richards

      Teacher

      In reply to Ross James

      I enjoy Peter's comments immensely. Sarcasm when used with wit and humour is a wonderful means of communication. Peter's comment regarding trying to isolate the Higgs Boson with a Sunbeam blender is a cracker. Wonderful satire.

      As for your inability to comprehend Peter's comments, look up PEBKAC.

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    7. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Please ask the BOM for the 2012-13 summer period temperatures to be compared to the 1972-3 summer ,so as to compare the same sites with one another. The 2012-13 was taken from 700+ sites compared to just 112 in 1972.
      When you look at the air temperatures at the BOM 14 national tidal stations, there has not been any rise in the trend for the duration of the stations start -up time, 21 years ago. The BOM has refused to work out the trend lines for me.WHY?
      Also the BOM data for Western Australian…

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    8. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ross James makes a fair and relevant observation. I've watched Peter adopt this style of posting replies here and on other blogs, most notably when he is unable to respond to the substance of a post he doesn't agree with. Humour has its place but I don't think Peters cryptic, rambling, sarcastic personal abuse has a place in a serious, vigorous, sustained debate on climate. When carried out in the relentless, belligerent manner seen on this blog and elsewhere, I would compare this style of posting to heckling someone at a public speaking engagement. It is distracting, invasive and just plain rude.

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    9. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, you forgot another,"general manager", I picture molten metal, with slag, on top. Picks come in handy.

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    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      I really can't win. When I disagree with folks like John, Geoff and the like I am accused of meanness and abuse. When I agree with them am accused of being cryptic, sarcastic and even rambling!!! Just by agreeing 110%.

      But of course the real concern for folks like Leigh here is that I am lowering the tone of what they would like to see - "a serious, vigorous, sustained debate on climate change". I am not holding these respected gents and their crankery in due regard.

      But I have this problem…

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    11. Rina Cohen

      retired

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross, Peter is making vastly more sense than you and having a lot more fun as well. But I'm not surprised you just don't get it - you don't appear to get much of anything really.

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  17. Benjamin Arrow
    Benjamin Arrow is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via Facebook

    I thought it was a hot summer.

    Having spikes of record breaking climate events in a concentrated time period surely has to start to put the notion that it is not random variability in the system, but driven actively by some process. That process is most likely to be CO2 emissions.

    I am confused though by all the people who claim that CO2 emissions contribute nothing to global warming (even though we live quite comfortably due to his exact mechanism) if they are so enlightened to what is 'actually' going on, then they should publish some papers and consult with governments all over the world so as to not waste taxpayers money!

    Meanwhile, scientists need to continue doing the work they tirelessly do for the good of mankind. Onward!

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  18. Mike Stasse

    retired energy consultant

    There are people here who seem to think a 0.1 deg increase over the whole of Australia is insignificant..... so my physicist son and I started throwing numbers around at midnight last night to try and establish just how much energy is required to heat the volume of air above Australia by 0.1C. We haven't finished yet, but it looks like something of the order of 77 TJ......!

    That's like putting 2441 MW continuous into the air........ As he pointed out to me, if you increase the energy level in the air, all its molecules start moving just that little bit faster, and on such a massive scale it all adds up to more energetic weather events.

    If you think that's insignificant.......

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  19. James Walker

    logged in via Facebook

    The Bureau has to restrict itself to data since it was collected - fair enough. But records didn't start with them. The first obvious question about the latest heatwaves are - how do they compare with the Federation Drought? Given the mark of a heatwave then was how many people died from it (frex http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/44132389?zoomLevel=5) you will have to *show* that it's hotter now. Otherwise the skeptics will have a field day: and remember, they have the advantage of being able to turn to the poetry of Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson and Kendall to describe the worst drought in Australian history.

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    1. James Walker

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to James Walker

      eh, sorry, 'collected' should have been 'created' (ie the Met, not the data)

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