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What’s causing Australia’s heat wave?

Australia has started 2013 with a record-breaking heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks across many parts of the country. Temperatures have regularly gone above 48°C, with the highest recorded…

Australia has always had heat waves, but the current one is far from typical. Daniel Alexander Head

Australia has started 2013 with a record-breaking heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks across many parts of the country. Temperatures have regularly gone above 48°C, with the highest recorded maximum of 49.6°C at Moomba in South Australia. The extreme conditions have been associated with a delayed onset of the Australian monsoon, and slow moving weather systems over the continent.

Australia has always experienced heat waves, and they are a normal part of most summers. However, the current event affecting much of inland Australia has definitely not been typical.

The most significant thing about the recent heat has been its coverage across the continent, and its persistence.

It is very unusual to have such widespread extreme temperatures — and have them persist for so long. On those two metrics alone, spatial extent and duration, the last two weeks surpasses the only previous analogue in the historical record (since 1910) - a two-week country-wide hot spell during the summer of 1972-1973.

A good measure of the spatial extent of the heat is the Australian-averaged maximum daily temperature. This is the average of the highest daily temperature of the air just above the surface of the Australian continent, including Tasmania. The national average is calculated using a three-dimensional interpolation (including topography) of over 700 observing sites each day.

On Monday and Tuesday last week (January 7 and 8) that temperature rose to over 40°C. Monday’s temperature of 40.33°C set a new record, beating the previous highest Australian daily maximum of 40.17°C set in 1972. Tuesday’s temperature came in as the 3rd highest on record at 40.11°C.

The accompanying map of temperatures shows just how much of the country experienced extremely high temperatures, with over 70% of the continent recording temperatures in excess of 42°C.

Highest daily maximum temperature during the first two weeks of January. Australian Bureau of Meteorology

And it’s not like these sorts of days occur that often. The records set last week sit between two and three standard deviations above the long-term January mean of 35°C.

Perhaps more unusually, the Australian mean temperature (representing the average of the daytime maximum and night-time minimum) set record high values on both days at 32.22 (January 7) and 32.32°C (January 8), that were well above the previous high of 31.86°C, set in 1972.

However, it is really the duration of this extreme heat wave that makes it so unusual, and so significant in terms of impacts.

While some towns in Australia are famous for their extended runs of hot temperatures, the limited geographical nature of those events distinguish them from this January’s heat wave. Multiple days of extreme heat covering most of the continent are both rare, and isolated.

It is not that common for the Australian-average temperature to exceed 39°C for even two days in a row. A run of three days above 39°C has occurred on only three occasions, and a run of four days just once, in 1972.

The current heat wave has seen a sequence of Australian temperatures above 39°C of seven days, and above 38°C of 11 days straight.

The sequence of Australian mean temperature has been just as impressive. As things currently stand, the first two weeks of January 2013 now hold the records for the hottest Australian day on record, the hottest two-day period on record, the hottest three-day period, the hottest four-day period and, well, every sequential-days record stretching from one to 14 days for daily mean temperatures.

The number of records that have tumbled for individual sites are now too numerous to catalogue here, and the Bureau of Meteorology has prepared a Special Climate Statement with a detailed analysis the temperature records broken. The list of records is limited to just those stations with at least 30 years of records.

So, does all this have something to do with climate change?

To put it in context, we need to look at the influence of background changes in the climate system.

The planet is warming, and so is Australia

Planet Earth is warming up. Climate scientists use a range of different indicators to track global warming. These include ocean heat content, sea surface temperatures, sea level, temperatures in the lower and middle troposphere, and the rate of melting glaciers and ice sheets.

The surface of the earth, as measured by global mean temperature, has warmed by about one degree Celsius during the past hundred years, and the decade from 2001 to 2010 has been the warmest we have recorded.

This warming has been strongly attributed to increasing greenhouse gases from human activities. While there are a number of influences on the climate system, such as changing solar radiation and changing atmospheric aerosols, it is very clear that warming has been dominated by increased carbon dioxide levels.

The globe doesn’t warm uniformly everywhere, due mostly to natural regional variations in climate. In Australia, land temperatures and the temperatures of the surrounding oceans have warmed by approximately 1°C since 1910, fairly close to the global trends.

A warmer planet means a warmer atmosphere for all our weather and climate

As the climate system warms due to increasing greenhouse gases, more energy is retained in the lower atmosphere. That extra energy influences all our weather and climate.

Hot days, hot nights: how much of it is due to global warming? Richard Riley

In essence, every weather system and ocean current operates in a climate system that is now, on average, a degree warmer than a century ago.

In this way, the impact of global warming is clearly observed in a distribution shift of daily weather, as well as shifts in monthly and seasonal climate, to higher temperatures. As is now communicated by many climate scientists, the warming planet is loading the climate dice in favour of warmer conditions.

So, while the “cause” of an individual weather event, including heat waves, is always proximally linked to antecedent weather conditions — it is possible to determine the influence of climate change on the frequency of occurrence of such an event. This is expressed by the increased likelihood that these extreme events will occur in comparison with the past, or in comparison with climate modelling scenarios of an unchanging climate.

Even further, the antecedent weather conditions in the January heat wave have themselves displayed the influence of a warming world.

The lead-in climate conditions for this event were four months of very warm temperatures across Australia. September to December 2012 was the warmest such period on record (since 1910) for daily maximum temperatures.

During November, a precursor of the January heat wave affected many parts of the country for a prolonged period. It set the highest spring temperature on record for Victoria (and NSW fell just short of its record; it couldn’t beat the extreme heat that occurred in 2009). In this context, the recent heat wave is little more than an extension of a record hot four months for Australia, made worse because it is mid-summer.

We’re seeing more record-breaking heat events than cold events

A relatively small change in the average temperature can easily double the frequency of extreme heat events. Australia has warmed steadily since the 1940s, and the probability of extreme heat has now increased almost five-fold compared with 50 years ago.

Within the past decade, the number of extreme heat records in Australia has outnumbered extreme cold records by almost 3:1 for daytime maximum temperatures and 5:1 for night-time minimum temperature.

More than 70% of Australia has been very hot. AAP Image/Damian Shaw

The duration of heat waves has increased in some parts, especially in the northern half of the continent. Put another way, the frequency of abnormally hot days (above the 90th percentile) has increased by 30% and the frequency of hot nights (above the 90th percentile) has increased by 50%.

It is worth noting the summer just gone in the US was the warmest on record, with extreme heat records broken at a rate never previously seen before. Studies here and overseas are now showing that many of the recent extreme summer heat events around the world — such as the European heat wave of 2003, the Russian heat wave of 2010, and US heat waves during 2011 and 2012 — would have been very, very unlikely without the influence of global warming.

Global warming is not only warming summer but also broadening the summer-like period of the year, creating the perfect set-up for record extreme heat.

Of great concern in Australia is the substantial increasing trend in severe fire weather — weather conducive to the spread and intensification of bushfires and grass fires — in about half of the monitoring sites studied around the country, with a concentrated increase in the southeast of the continent. The fire season is now longer, reducing the time for preparation such as fuel reduction.

Again this is not surprising, and has been predicted in advance — the combined impact of warming and cool season drying is increasing the fire danger in a region already highly fire prone.

We expect extreme warm weather events will occur more often

Future warming of the climate due to greenhouse gas emissions will very likely lead to further increases in the frequency of unusually hot days and nights and continued declines in unusually cold days and nights.

These changes will result in weather events which are increasingly beyond our prior experiences.

And it’s not just temperature extremes. Climate model projections indicate that the frequency of many different types of extreme weather will change as the planet warms.

Join the conversation

225 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. David Clerke

    Teacher

    So what are you going to do about it? What was Australia's contribution to the warming? How are we going to prevent China and India industrializing? Kyoto has expired, the US never signed, Russia, Canada Japan and NZ withdrew.
    The fact there a few miniscule carbon taxes have been imposed is pure cosmetic.

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    1. Roger Davidson

      not really a Student

      In reply to David Clerke

      What can we do about it now? We are now at the point that climate change is obvious, because even the most clueless denier can see the changes with their own eyes - that it is too late.

      The time for change was years ago.

      So thank the politicians, the deniers, the advisors and the clueless public for all this.

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    2. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to David Clerke

      We are, in fact, encouraging China's industrializing. Our CO2 tax is forcing manufacturing to move to China. I've worked in China, and from what I've seen, Australia is way ahead in emission control

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    3. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to David Clerke

      Think Global - Act Local

      One thing you could do is follow activist groups for climate change and see where you can get involved.

      Another is to attend protests and rally's calling for renewable energy plants such as solar thermal

      Another is to start changing your own lifestyle - although we are really past the point where this is going to be effective - we need mass change

      If you are able - you could participate in the Electric Car Trials that are running until the end of 2013

      There are many many ways to get involved and try to make a difference - because, you know who never achieved anything? the guy who sat on his couch and said he could never achieve anything

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    4. George Crisp

      Medical Practitioner

      In reply to David Clerke

      Firstly we should be rapidly phasing out coal and then other fossil fuels. Making a transition to renewable energy ( not just electricity ) sources where possible. Just as importantly we need to reduce energy use through efficiency and reducing waste ( including embodied waste such as food and material obsolescence )

      We cannot possibly address climate change ( and other environmental degradation / planetary boundaries ) whilst at the same time pursuing growth in consumption. We will inevitably have to acknowledge that to live sustainably on a finite planet will mean consuming a fraction ( in energy / water ) of a current westerner.

      Our fixation on economic growth is probably the greatest impediment to addressing climate change and other environmental constraints.

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    5. spiro kavalier

      manager

      In reply to George Crisp

      Do you add your comment after you drove to work, as you sit in a temperature controlled building, type out the email on your asian computer and print out items on paper manufactured at an energy intensive pulp mill??
      I struggle when i see people using "consumption products" to call for the reduction in consumption.
      You should be getting your point across not via this media, but via smoke signals and carrier pidgeon although the impact of these on climate change is still to be addressed...

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    6. George Crisp

      Medical Practitioner

      In reply to spiro kavalier

      So what is the point of your comment ?

      That because we live in a eco-suicidal country we are not able to spot the problem"?

      In fact I cycle to work, minimise my consumption in every way I can and have tried to make our small business as paperless and energy efficient as possible. But I cannot control Australia's carbon intensive economy.

      We should all be endeavouring to make the world a better place. I don't see your comments contributing to that.

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    7. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to George Crisp

      I suggest that firstly we should acknowledge that population growth is the biggest issue. We'll never get on top of using up our resources with an ever increasing population,

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    8. David Clerke

      Teacher

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Well the best leadership is always by example but I have never seen any greenie sacrifice one iota of their life style other than by making a virtue out of a necessity. Having a small house simply because they could not afford a large one. But hell what is the problem anyway. One writer has already said it is too late to do anything and anyway coal power will be replaced by the Spanish liquid salt solar generators, By the way how much will the world's temperature be reduced by each person who protests at a rally? Sounds like rentacrowd becoming enamoured with its own existence.

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    9. Antony Day

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Clerke

      By claiming you do not know any "greenies" who have sacrificed "one iota" of their lifestyle, you reveal your bias. I don't think you're looking hard enough - I'm a greenie ( and certainly no exception ) and have
      1) installed solar PV 7 years ago before it became popular.
      2) installed solar hot water
      3) improved efficiency by replacing all lighting with LED lighting
      4) only buy efficient appliances.
      5) ride a bicycle to work
      6) bought the most fuel efficient car for those times when I use…

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    10. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Roger Davidson

      Roger

      "....We are now at the point that climate change is obvious, because even the most clueless denier can see the changes with their own eyes..."

      I wish this were so - but alas!! Have a read of some of the comments below and weep for the stupidity of humanity.

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    11. Michael Swifte

      writer

      In reply to David Clerke

      The way we are going David, coal will be replaced by gas. The Australian government have failed - just as they have in the USA - to back solar thermal technology. Martin Ferguson wont even acknowledge it's existence. This is a great shame!
      But somewhere in there I think you have a point. I don't know any 'greenie' types who don't fly. There's a certain over-priviledged ugliness in their choices that leaves me despairing for the future. Who would be inspired by that kind of self importance?

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    12. Eli Rabett

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      Some time ago, Eli described a simple plan to save the world which solves this problem

      Nations wishing to make major progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions should introduce emission taxes on all products. These taxes should be levied on imports as well as domestic goods at the point of sale, and should displace other taxes, such as VAT, sales taxes, and payroll (e.g. social security, health care) in such a way that tax revenues are constant, and distributed equitably.

      These should…

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  2. John Newlands

    tree changer

    With temperatures over 40C in populous areas we have seen electricity demand skyrocket and in rural areas we see fire crews stretched to breaking point. Could the system cope with even higher temperatures? Conceivably we could have periods of mayhem where blackouts are widespread, roads are impassable and emergency services are spread too thin or cannot get to those needing help.

    In the past fortnight we have seen fires so ferocious they torch property within metres of the sea. It seems likely we can also expect more flash floods and roads blocked by landslips. This is going to require a major rethink on how we respond. Perhaps we are already mentally prepared to some extent since casualties are lower than just a few years ago. Contingency planning is going to be a feature of the 21st century mindset.

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    1. Craig Savage

      Professor of Theoretical Physics at Australian National University

      In reply to John Newlands

      The evidence strongly implies that for the foreseeable future world greenhouse gas emission will continue to grow. As you say, the sensible response is then to develop strategies for dealing with the likely changes. It seems to me governments and other responsible agencies are in the process of doing this.

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    2. Steve Williams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Quite right, Alice.

      If recent history shows us one thing, it is that our 'leaders' can be relied upon to do nothing of the sort. Except leading from behind when our young men are to be sent to die in a war somewhere.

      Hence we have this disconnect between our major parties' energy and climate policies: acknowledging the reality of anthropogenic climate change on the one hand, and encouraging coal exports on the other.

      'Responsible agencies.' Hah.

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    3. Brent Hoare

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Craig Savage

      Craig, while I have to agree that in the absence of a major change in attitude and policy world greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow, no responsible person or organisation that understands what climate science is saying should accept this.

      Far from sensible, the idea that it is possible to develop strategies for dealing with environmental changes likely in a world in which average temperatures exceed 2, 4 or 6 degrees C is extremely dangerous. It might work for a handful of the wealthiest…

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    4. Brent Hoare

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Brent Hoare

      Anderson concludes this presentation with a quote from Roberto Unger, which neatly sums up what I was trying to say above - "at every level the greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different"...

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  3. Ross James

    Engineer

    So I guess this somehow explains the record cold temperatures currently in Russia etc.

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    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Ross James

      Yes, exactly, more variability and a less stable climate - check out the NASA website for some really good information (They are the guys with the satilites making measurements, they know what they are doing)

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    2. George Crisp

      Medical Practitioner

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross, you should read the above article.

      The frequency of extreme cold temperatures decreases as the range of temperature increases, but that does not mean that extreme cold spells will not occur. But you probably knew that.

      Are you James Inhofe incognito?

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    3. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Amazing what 0.7 degC increase over 170 years will do. I'm not convinced about extreme weather events. I heard this about Hurricane Sandy over New York. When I checked the historical data, I found that it was perfectly normal, and certainly not in the "extreme" category - in fact it was expected. I find this over and over with such claims.

      NASA, and GISS, focuses mainly on US (admitted in their correspondence). Their data conflicts with most other sources (eg Hadcrut, UAH etc) - not regarded as a good climate authority. Did you know that the Met office recently reduced its prediction for warming this decade - forced to review their models due to the lack of warming over the past 16 years in their data..

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross, you need to read more, and anyway, I'm completely uninterested in this new crap argument about cold weather in russia.

      Think about this. If the bushfires and heat-wave are are as bad as this at 1 degree. What will happen in say, the blue mountains at 2-3-4-5 etc increase. Armageddon of a fire. Move there, I dare you.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross, read the huffington post articles about Sandy. Summer, and late summer storms are moving down further from the arctic, due to rapidly changing arctic conditions. It was predicted. Huff post is a great place to understand these changing northern hemisphere weather conditions.

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      "...the Met office recently reduced its prediction for warming this decade - forced to review their models due to the lack of warming over the past 16 years in their data...."

      Well, Ross just revealed he has no credibility on this issue. By parrotting denier memes which have already been discredited he obviously just gets his opinions from denier blogs.

      Ross - this is what the UK Met Office said about that nonsense:

      "....The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally…

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    7. Steve Williams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      It's quite amusing when commentators like Ross resort to obviously mendacious lines of reasoning and easily detectable misreporting to argue that AGW isn't happening.

      They don't appear to realise that they're discrediting the standpoint that they're trying to defend.

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    8. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      The Met office did a forecast that over the next 5 years we would experience a temperature increase of 0.54 degC. They've just revised this to 0.43 degC. This was the result of a new modelling process. No retraction is required.

      This is good news, and the way science should work. Previous practice has been - if the real data doesn't match the hypothesis, change the real data (eg Hadcrut about a year ago, when they suddenly decided to use previously excluded data from the Arctic, because it slightly boosted recent temperatures)

      Mike, the link you gave is dated October last year - you're a bit out of date. I'm referring to the one discretely released just before Christmas - you can read about it here - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2259012/Global-warming-Met-Office-releases-revised-global-temperature-predictions-showing-planet-NOT-rapidly-heating-up.html or there are plenty of other sources.

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    9. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Steve Williams

      Steve - I'm interested - show me where I said that AGW wasn't happening? My main point has been that the Met office has downgraded its forecast. I've already stated that there's been 0.7 degC rise over the past 160 years, (part of which could be anthropogenic.)

      Personally, I still regard catastrophic anthropogenic global warming as an hypothesis, which is yet to be substantiated. That is - positive feedback (eg increased water vapour) will dominate negative feedback (eg cloud density)

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    10. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross - really. You keep saying you are an engineer, but when challenged on something you provide a quote from the UK Daily Mail, as if that is supposed to be a reliable source of information. You do know it was the Daily Mail that made up the original incorrect story in the first place, don't you?

      I was responding to your incorrect claim about the 'no warming for 16 years' story - which was EXACTLY what you claimed. So my response was not 'a bit out of date'. It was the appropriate response to…

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    11. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I didn't suggest that they said there'd be no more warming - simply that they had revised their modelling and downgraded their forecast.

      There's no doubt that increased CO2 should result in a small direct increased temperature (I think about 1 degC) - probably a good thing. The question is whether there's any validity in the hypothesis of a thermal runaway as I described above. This is the basis of alarmist claims - huge sea level rise, scorching temperature, ice caps melting, extinction of polar bears, extinction of the golden plover in Scotland, increased kidney stones, Atlantic ocean more salty, Atlantic ocean less salty - the claims go on and on. I'm looking for solid evidence to substantiate these extreme claims.

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    12. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross - these scenarios you mention are all borne out in computer modelling.

      ..And before you start telling me how useless computer models are, just stop and consider that the UK Met Office you keep referring to is the result of their computer modelling.

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    13. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      There you go again Ross:

      "...There's no doubt that increased CO2 should result in a small direct increased temperature (I think about 1 degC) - probably a good thing....."

      It's ridiculous to talk about temperature rises in the absence of feedback mechanisms, because they exist whether you like it or not. And there would not be a credible climate scientist in the world who makes claims of thermal runaway - but they all say that the overall changes as a result of doubling of CO2 is much more…

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    14. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      I'm well aware of the origins of the Met office (Hadley Centre) , its strategic aims, and the possible under the table aims with Thatcher, linked to the coal industry. Note that I have no idea how valid these latter aims were at the time.

      They lost a lot of my respect last year when they suddenly added old data from the Arctic area to boost recent temperatures. I can't help wondering if they would have included them if the results had gone the other way. - If the hypothesis doesn't match the data, then change the data.

      As for computer modelling, one thing they don't include much of is cloud science - even the IPCC admitted that this is poorly understood. Yet, to me, it must have a major influence on the climate. - it drastically affects both the energy reaching the Earth, and the radiation at night back to space.

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    15. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      You're right, I have done lots of reading of real science papers, and not just the ones referred to in the popular media - I look at both sides. I'm very aware that much good research gets rejected if it doesn't follow the popular line. It's well known that journals are biased in the research they adopt, and universities have to look after their research grants - few will encourage research if the results go in an unfavourable direction. A university is measured partly by its number of published research papers.

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    16. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Ross James

      Yes Ross.

      People - your average layman - doesn't realise how widespread and deep this climatic conspiracy runs.

      Last night young Gavin - who does the local telly weather - was talking about how hot it would be today and he was grinning - from ear to ear like a Cheshire Cat. Just rubbing our noses in it the smug little bastard.

      So I rang that special number John Howard gave all us good citizens to call - you know the "alert but not alarmed" number - I have it on speed-dial - and I told them about Gavin and his schadenfreude smirking.

      Trust nothing and no one - that's my motto.

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    17. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      "....I'm very aware that much good research gets rejected if it doesn't follow the popular line. It's well known that journals are biased in the research they adopt, and universities have to look after their research grants - few will encourage research if the results go in an unfavourable direction..."

      Absolute rubbish. You have categorically demonstrated that you have zero credibility with those ideological lies. There is no nicer way of saying it Ross.

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    18. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ross James

      Oh, dear! The old "no warming for <insert cherry-picked number here> years" chestnut gets another airing.

      For anyone who may be in danger of misled by Ross' misinformation, you can believe the old chestnut, or you could seek the truth: http://www.skepticalscience.com/16_more_years_of_global_warming.html

      Skeptical Science http://www.skepticalscience.com is an award-winning web site where scientific research is discussed in a civil manner and questions from ordinary yobs like me are answered intelligently. It is well worth a visit, if you are genuinely interested in the science behind AGW theory.

      (Cue the outraged bluster from contrarians, who will claim that a science-backed venue like Skeptical Science must really be an 'AGW religious site'. Sigh!)

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    19. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      So Mike, you're not closely associated with reality, are you. You need so exposure to the real world. I think you'd get a few surprises if you got close enough to the action.

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    20. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross James: "forced to review their models due to the lack of warming over the past 16 years in their data"

      You are not telling the truth. No statistically significant warming does not mean the same as no warming. Just means we don't have enough noise-affected data in 16 years to be 97.5% certain there was warming.

      It is true that there was no statistically significant decline in the rate of global warming in the past 16 years. However,just like with Ross James' claim, that does not entitle me to say there has been no decline in the rate of warming in the past 16 years. Uncertainty matters.

      The confidence interval of global temperature trend over any period in the record can be calculated using this tool: http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

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    21. Arthur James Egleton Robey

      Industrial Electrician

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Is there any correlation between smoking and cancer?
      Applying scientific rigour to Climate Change is inappropriate. I prefer the Legal approach "Beyond reasonable doubt".

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

      And then we have to deal with the Merchants of Doubt.

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ross James

      "The Met office did a forecast that over the next 5 years we would experience a temperature increase of 0.54 degC."

      More accurately, the average of the next 5 years would be 0.54 deg C above the average of 1971 to 2000.

      "They've just revised this to 0.43 degC...

      This is good news"

      Good to some degree but hardly cause for complacency.

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  4. Phil Dolan

    Viticulturist

    It does beg the question that if someone reads this article, how could they still deny? It seems pretty clear to me. I can predict though that along with the chant of privatising the ABC, deniers will want the Met Office privatised so only 'nice' temperatures are predicted.

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    1. Bob Beale

      Journalist

      In reply to Phil Dolan

      Phil, you have asked the most pertinent question: having read this, how could they still deny? One way I can imagine is that the denial is based in a supreme self-confidence. I'm right; I have a superior capacity to sift and select facts, to choose and rank sources and expertise. It must also require a prodigious capacity to compartmentalise one's thinking.
      Thus one can ignore a statement such as the one above: "In essence, every weather system and ocean current operates in a climate system that…

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    2. Brent Hoare

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Bob Beale

      Phil, Bob, while deniers are infuriating, and the psychology of climate science denial is worthy of much greater study, as lamentably these people vote, I'm still undecided about whether it's worth engaging or responding to them, given the unshakable faith and arrogance they typically display. The best advice I've had, from a climate scientist, is "never argue with an idiot, lest those looking on have trouble telling the difference". I mostly follow this.

      Contributions such as yours Bob are much more valuable, and do help the rest of us understand how deniers can hold to their beliefs. Hopefully it may even give pause for some to engage in some reflection, but I'm not holding my breath...

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    3. Bob Beale

      Journalist

      In reply to Brent Hoare

      I've found it useful reading research by Dan Kahan's cultural cognition group at Yale Law School. E.g. "Why we are poles apart on climate change" Quote: " . . . positions on climate change have become a marker of one's group allegiances, it is in the interests of individuals to attend to information in a manner that promotes beliefs that help them effectively signal their commitment to the cultural group on whom their status and well-being most depends. To fix this problem requires breaking the link…

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    4. Jennifer Kent

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Bob Beale

      To Bob & Brent
      you might find some other research on climate denialism interesting. Bruce Tranter at the University of Tasmania has published research on the partisan nature of Australian's views on climate change and this is supported by research done in the USA. My simple take on this is: where the politicians are divided so are the people - worth thinking about.
      Bob you might also find Cultural Theory (Douglas & Wildavsky 1982) of interest. They identify four typologies related to human-nature interactions - denialists would appear to fit the fatalism typology as fatalists perceive nature as a lottery and climate change outcomes as a function of chance. In my view denialists can play a useful role in climate change discourse, however it is a waste of time & energy to try to change their views. PS Happy to share some articles around this offlist.

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  5. Mark McGuire

    climate consensus rebel

    The Great Australian Heatwave of January 2013 didn’t push the mercury above 50C at ANY weather station in Australia, yet it’s been 50C (122F) and hotter in many inland towns across Australia over the past century.
    (see tables in BoM Special Climate Statement link above)

    In explorer Charles Sturt’s time it was so hot that thermometers exploded.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/07/charles-sturts-time-so-hot-that-thermometers-exploded-was-australias-hottest-day-in-1828-53-9c/

    Was this Australia’s…

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Mark, would that be 'rebel' in the Ku Klux Klan sense or the outlaw bikie sense?

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Mark McGuire's argument boils down to a conspiracy theory that he has sourced from climate crank Jo Nova's blog.

      He claims
      "One is that The BOM’s raw data adjustments have increased the warming trends in the raw data by
      around 40%."

      Mark also makes similar unsubstantiated claims about sea-level rise that he had to run away from here.
      https://theconversation.edu.au/solar-forcing-effect-on-climate-change-extremely-small-ipcc-scientist-11589#comment_106714

      Do not expect links to peer-reviewed science from McGuire.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      To the authors,Thank-you for the wonderful article.

      Mark, there's a difference between weather and climate. You don't get it. We are not changing our behaviour fast enough. I have a tiny house which produces more clean energy than I require for my electricity needs. And try really hard to think about every aspect of my life, which can be modified to minimise my impact.

      Give it up Mark, admit your recalcitrance and get out of the way. We are going to be living in a world economy driven by run-away climate change. Changed behaviour, activism, loud talking wherever possible, and not voting for Tony is the best I can think of for now.

      Mark, you are no rebel, read the article again.

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    4. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Wow Mark.

      To counter an article written by five climatologists from the Bureau of Meteorology, you quote from a well known denier blog.

      Can you not see how ridiculous that makes you look?

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Aw look at the evidence Mike ... see how these BoM authors are just grey outlines? The Faceless Men of the Weather.

      I'm actually deeply disappointed in the calibre of our contemporary conspiracy theorists... picking on quiet humble statisticians and nice smiling girls on the telly... I myself have reported the local TV weatherman Gavin on several occasions for his barely disguised enthusiasm for unseasonable temperatures.

      But down deep where it counts we all know the hideous truth - that…

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    6. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Congratulations Mike on being the first to deny the historical records presented above & engaging in ad hom, the last refuge for people with no facts.

      The BoM selectively adjusts data. They admit to that.
      Do you deny that they do?

      No "running away," Mike, comments were closed.

      As for links to "peer reviewed science," here is a start:

      http://www(dot)populartechnology(dot)net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

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    7. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, what exactly does Jonova deny?

      Can you not see how ridiculous THAT statement makes you look?

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    8. Nick Kermode

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      @Mike Swinbourne,

      And is also a complete strawman seeing as the neither the article or any of the scientists claimed any new record for max temp on a single day at a single location

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    9. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "....The BoM selectively adjusts data. They admit to that. Do you deny that they do?..."

      Why would anyone deny the facts? Oh wait......... But then, the BOM explains the reasons why they adjust data, and they even publish it.

      And seriously - is that your list of 'sceptical' papers? Let's have a look shall we:

      Here's a quote from the first 'highlighted' paper:

      "....Although the evidence I have presented suggests that a doubling of the air’s CO2 content could raise Earth’s mean surface…

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    10. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

    11. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Regarding the last two cool summers; I harvested grapes the last two years earlier than ever before and as you can probably believe, the warmer it is, the faster they ripen. Now you can quote me anything you want, but seasons are changing.

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    12. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "....Mike, what exactly does Jonova deny?..."

      Facts.

      ".,...Can you not see how ridiculous THAT statement makes you look?..."

      Which statement?

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    13. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Quote:
      "Temperatures have already risen more than that for only 50% increase in CO2."

      Where did you pull that unsubstantiated one from, Mike?
      Care to link?

      As for your "dates strawman" logic, does it apply to this:
      1896
      Arrhenius publishes first calculation of global warming from human emissions of CO2

      If not, why not?

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    14. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Me I reckon.

      Do you read anything other than Jo Coddling on this issue?

      Any evidence of her charges at all from anywhere else?

      See Mark you're accusing these faceless guys here from BoM of pretty serious acts - deliberately distorting their work and lying.

      It's getting to the point that I'm wondering about the whole use of the education business - of unis and schools and the like ... when in order to grasp The Truth one must only read Jo Nova.

      But don't forget Mark - none of this warming stuff was an issue until we had centigrade. It's the dread hand of Napolean from beyond the grave with his campaign to turn everything into tens .... the BoM is just a front!

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    15. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "engage in ad hom"

      A so common denier tactic - accuse scientists of lying ("David Jones .. stated untruthfully..") then bitch ad hom if one was to point out JoNova is not a published expert but further that the conspiracy of Fiat Currency+Gold Standard+Greenhouse Gas Theory = World Dominion is pure crank.

      And it irritates me that TheConversation entertains these cranks to continuously spam any climate change article to the point of flooding any signal in the comments. Do the moderators buy into this particular crank?

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    16. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "..."Temperatures have already risen more than that for only 50% increase in CO2....Where did you pull that unsubstantiated one from, Mike? Care to link?..."

      You are kidding, right? Every single climate and meteorological organisation in the world says that. But if you read science instead of opinions at denier blogs, would know that. As for me linking to it - why bother? You would just deny it anyway, that's what you do. But for your reading pleasure (and I await the predictable denier rant about…

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    17. Nick Kermode

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Hi Mike, sorry it was in relation to Mark McGuires comment starting "The Great Australian Heatwave....." that you commented on. The new format here is just so bad comments end up all over the place. Ironically The Conversation has made it almost impossible to follow the conversation.

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    18. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      mods,
      How can we have a "conversation" if you are going to censor comments?
      My response was within guidelines.
      Links were legitimate and VERY relevant and addressed ALL points raised by Alice Kelly.
      Why should anyone spend time researching & linking when you censor it?
      Why should anyone looking for a "conversation" bother reading this one sided website?
      Guess you just want a echo chamber where everyone agrees.
      Good luck with that.

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    19. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      yer darned tootin' Peter.

      Does anyone know where you can get French Fries made from real Frenchmen?

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    20. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      'The BoM selectively adjusts data.' They admit to that.' So Mark, I assume you're suggesting that the BOM selectively adjusts data in order to fudge the figures in favour of climate change. Again, that is a fairly serious charge to make against a scientific organisation, and at the foot of an article written by scientists from that organisation.

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    21. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Dave McRae

      its instructional, if not entertaining, for onlookers & passers-by (669,000 per month) to be able to read vigorous rebuttals of the various incorrect claims presently in circulation. some threads are like intellectual quilting bees; other threads are like intellectual boxing rings. -a.v.

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "In explorer Charles Sturt’s time it was so hot that thermometers exploded."

      Obviously those were accurate thermometers.

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    23. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Still playing the troll! Joe Nova is actually a scientist who understands the physics and chemistry involved in climate change. Strangely enough she also understands statistics. I would love to see you involved in a debate with her directly. Without access to Google I am sure of my bet as to the outcome.

      But frankly this is not a simple problem with simple solutions. Nor will it be solved by ideologically driven ignorant rants.

      Mike, anyone can cherry pick from the Internet to support their position. It doesn't mean they are right! When the ideologues recognise this then perhaps we can evolve sensible policies.

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    24. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      "anyone can cherry pick from the Internet to support their position. It doesn't mean they are right!"

      Yeah that's what he said.

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    25. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      So, Peter, there is just one person in all the world who understands physics, chemistry and statistics.

      How come she isn't running th eAustralian Academy of Science?

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  6. mark mc dougall

    educator

    Russia cold,and the rest of northern hemisphere. Allow that we now have more extremes. Then Wonder why ? As we reduce the depth of the verdure we reduce the moderating capacity of the landscape. Coal mines, citiscapes, farm clearing, bushfires even, leaving black char, increase the hot and increase the cold alternately. The soil structure itself is ever shallower with ever less holding capacity for rainfall absorbtion. Less supportive for the moderating influence of verdure. Rainforests attract rain - microclimates - balancing extremes. Incrementally we continue to destabilise but refuse to acknowledge doing so. We could consider these observable basic things before we go chasing phantom CO2's or dealing with wall street for more barren econature erosion. Intentional winter burns would be but one way to be countercyclical - moderating extremes.

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  7. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Who are these faceless folks at the BoM telling us this awful truth???

    Facts. Data. Observations. Awful. And undeniable.

    What can we do?

    First up we stop listening to those who would pretend this isn't happening. We don't let people get away with saying it's "crap" or that there isn't really an issue.

    What a thing we have done to our grandchildren.

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  8. Edward Kleingeerts

    logged in via Facebook

    our coal exports are a big contributor don't you think and we dig it out in great quantities in great haste we are a significant contributor to global warming don't let anyone tell you different

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Edward Kleingeerts

      I totally agree, Edward. Near where I live coal laden trains go past, heading for a coastal port nearby, every hour or so. This has been happening ever since I began living here some 15 years ago, and I understand for many years before that. Now, there's a reason why all that carbon has been naturally sequestered under massive caps of sandstone for millions of years. And the reason is made pretty clear to us now, by the same nature that carefully stored this coal in a safe place to begin with ... :[

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  9. Gary Looney

    Person

    This forum forces me to start with a statement which I hate having to do but I do not claim that increased levels of C02 in the atmosphere will not increase temperature!

    I believe that the planets overwhelming long-term driver of temperature is magnetic fluctuations and solar radiation from the sun, at least from the context of the Milky Way as we know it.

    For me forums are about what you or I think as opposed to telling someone what to think.

    Plenty to chew on : )

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Looney

      Thanks Gary, but what you believe or disbelieve is immaterial.

      Let's stick to the facts thanks - and all the things you 'believe' are wrong.

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Looney

      Ok Gary, here is what I 'think'.

      I think it's best to stick to the facts, rather than making statements of belief which are counter to the evidence.

      Is that better?

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  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    How did everyone sleep last night? With an overnight low of 30 C, not too well, if like me, you do not have the luxury of air conditioning.

    Since November we have experienced a blaze of extreme weather events, all this from only a 1C global mean increase.

    Climate scientists are predicting a 4 to 6 C increase by end of this century, and we think we are experiencing 'extreme' now. The past few months are nothing compared to the extremes that are looking highly probable.

    Fasten your seat belts its gonna be bumpy.

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    1. Gordon Smith

      Private citizen

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna , I slept wrapped up in blankets. Went to see a play in Kings Park called "much to do about nothing" by The barb and it wais so cold my wife and I were huddled up in a blanket - probably the wind.
      Great event for anyone in Perth.

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  12. Eco Gear

    logged in via Facebook

    Wanton deforestation in SE Asia with Malaysia,Indonesia removing most of their forests and now adding Cambodia and Myanmar to the mess. Saving Tasmania's forests which are now under chain saw might have helped a bit to cool the air closer to yr home.

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    1. Gary Looney

      Person

      In reply to Nick Kermode

      Cheers for the link.
      I live in Menindee NSW 2879
      Around 1999 the temperature on Tandou Lake Menindee was 47 degrees C by a thermometer under a cowboy hat :) Not a scientific measurement but we get pretty good at even guessing the temperature living in one place. Here is Menindee mid year > http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/extremes/daily_extremes.cgi?period=%2Fcgi-bin%2Fclimate%2Fextremes%2Fdaily_extremes.cgi&climtab=tmax_high&area=nsw&year=1999&mon=1&day=15

      Temperature here with hot gusts and still areas varies considerably across 50km and different times.

      Tanami gold mine is another very hot place and sparse area to cover with thermometers

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    1. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      I didn't realise Bob Carter had any papers on AGW published in reputable journals. Is he an expert in the field? Searching Google Scholar for the term "robert carter global warming" turned up a number of opinion pieces and commentaries, but no original research under his name. Got any links to such papers?

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    2. Greg Flynn

      ANU Science student

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      I tried to look at this presentation, but I couldn't get very far as I judged it would be a waste of time.
      This is how it starts:
      (1) Is the world warmer? Well "no" Carter says, look at the graph over the last so many MILLIONS of years.
      My response would be: true - but so irrelevant to evaluating climate change science.
      After all - what were conditions like when the world was hotter? Sea level higher? Crocodiles in the Artcic circle? Yes to both, but of course no mention of this from Carter…

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    3. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Greg Flynn

      I did find this article on Bob Carter: http://www.skepticalscience.com/bob-carters-financial-post-gish-gallop-scientific-denial.html

      He doesn't seem to be much of an expert in the field, so I expect his ideas may not be worth very much.

      Skeptical Science http://www.skepticalscience.com is an award-winning web site where scientific research is discussed in a civil manner and questions from ordinary yobs like me are answered intelligently. It is well worth a visit, if you are genuinely interested in the science behind AGW theory.

      (Cue the outraged bluster from contrarians, who will claim that a science-backed venue like Skeptical Science must really be an 'AGW religious site'. Sigh!)

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  13. Gordon Angus Mackinlay

    Clinical Psychologist

    I find the responses to those who DARE to make comment which casts doubts on the accuracy of the doom and gloom tone of both the article and its supporters rather noxious.

    When I did my base science degree in the 1970's it was accepted that the scientific records relating to climate were in relation to recorded history, extremely immature. With our knowledge of weather cycles over hundreds of years, limited.

    I finished reading last week the unpublished journal of the Engineer Officer in Chief…

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    1. Steve Williams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gordon Angus Mackinlay

      Right, so your opinions are based on something your lecturer said in the 1970s and old records using methods that you admit were inaccurate. And a bunch of anecdotes about some expeditions.

      What we need is not 'honest' debate with people divorced from reality, but an honest admission that we need urgent action - and we need it couple of decades ago.

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Gordon Angus Mackinlay

      I find people who deny climate science based on nothing but anecdotes noxious.

      You call for honest debate but then proceed to produce a dishonest argument.

      Yours Mike Hansen

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gordon Angus Mackinlay

      Gordon:

      “…When I did my base science degree in the 1970's it was accepted that the scientific records relating to climate were in relation to recorded history, extremely immature….”

      And do you think that we have stood still for the past 40 years?

      “…The engineer officer only had primitive wet and dry bulb themometers with him, if using modern equipment the temperatures could would have been several degrees higher….”

      In what possible basis could you claim – randomly – that the temperatures…

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Gordon Angus Mackinlay

      "Or the temperature at Adelaide Airport surrounded by many hectares of concrete and jet engines blasting out heat!"

      You clearly spend too much time reading WUWT.

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    5. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Quite clearly Mike you really don't understand the science. Much of the arguments you promote so vigorously are anecdotal or speculative.

      I have anecdotal evidence of my own. When I grew up in the Mallee summer temperatures in the vicinity of 45C were not all that usual. These were recorded by a thermometer hanging in the veranda on the south side of the house 2 metres from the ground, and on the edge of the veranda. Temperatures of 30 C at 0100 in the morning were also part of life.

      However…

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  14. Edward Kleingeerts

    logged in via Facebook

    what I find so sad is the debate takes on a tone of whose education was better than the other and I am smarter than you meanwhile it is happening and has been for a long time and it could well be too late to reverse this trend "Nature" does its own thing all the waffling is not going to stop it. Action is what is required.

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Edward Kleingeerts

      Yeah, Edward, but what distinguishes your posting here from anyone else's? Does your posting constitute 'action' where everyone else's is just waffle?

      Sorry to be a grouch - and I share your frustration - but posting here doesn't mean that one isn't doing practical things (I know I am!), it just means we aren't doing them just exactly at this moment.

      Let's not engage in pointless feuds when we're all after the same goal.

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  15. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Greg Boyles

      Comment removed by moderator.

  16. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Greg Boyles

      Comment removed by moderator.

  17. Gary Looney

    Person

    It is my belief that if you own or use anything more than the cloths on your back you need to live, you are unsustainable. The same argument is there is no such thing as constant growth.

    My life is simple, to be honest I would rather live like mostly you folk, drive, own a nice house and have everything the Jones have.

    So if you get what I am saying, how is the answer posible in the context of resource per individual?

    It is my opinion that no one would want or accept the answer if it were offered!

    GL

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  18. Michael Brown

    Professional & academic

    "What’s causing Australia’s heat wave?"
    The latest paper from James Hansen suggests an answer to that question as well as to why the temperature has stopped rising recently:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130115_Temperature2012.pdf
    "A slower growth rate of the net climate forcing may have contributed to the standstill of global temperature in the past decade, but it cannot explain the standstill, because it is known that the planet has been out of energy balance, more energy coming in from the sun than energy being radiated to space.......The more important factor in the standstill is probably unforced dynamical variability, essentially climatic "noise"."

    Translation: we don't really know.

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Michael Brown

      Don't you hate it when the climate cranks selectively quote from scientific publications.

      "...the continuing planetary energy imbalance and the rapid increase of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use assure that global warming will continue on decadal time scales. Moreover, our interpretation of the larger role of unforced variability in temperature change of the past decade, suggests that global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably into the next El Nino phase."

      Translation: uncertainty is not our friend.

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Michael Brown

      "essentially climatic "noise"."

      Translation: we don't really know."

      Of course we don't know what noise is. That's why it's called noise. Global average temperature has lots of it. That's why it takes such a long time to get statistical significance: http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

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    1. Glenn Tamblyn

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Phillip

      John

      Not sure of all the connections but an additional factor at the moment is that surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean of the Weat Australian Coast have been quite high for weeks. And Global warming certainly contributes to ocean warming. Even small changes in what happens in the ocean have big impacts on climate in the atmosphere.

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  19. Dave Phillips

    logged in via Facebook

    On a personal note I was 5 years old during the 1972 - 73 event and living in Western Australia in the northern suburbs. We (my family and I) had come to Australia in 1971 on assisted passage and had never experienced weather such as that during the first 3 years we were here! Everything after that felt like a walk in the park, this time around I am 45 and can see the difference in conditions not only from the seventies but in recent warm weather mini events. The climate is definitely changing and…

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  20. Spiro Vlachos

    AL

    A seeming realisation of the effects of climate change, but there can be no comparison to temperatures outside the available data that have been directly measured. To compare recent highs to those before the use of direct measurements would require exact knowledge of the second moments of the true distribution of temperatures. Facts such as this must have weighed heavily when it was determined that the funding to gain intelligence on the climate change problem by the worlds largest intelligence gathering organisation was cancelled:

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/c-i-a-closes-its-climate-change-office/

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Given that the CIA could hardly find their arses with both hands (though they are quite good at finding non-existent weapons of mass destruction) I hope you'll understand if I remain deeply unimpressed.

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    2. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      What was CIA going to do?
      Assassinate Global Warming?

      Gotta luv America. They have such quaint notions of what's appropriate undertakings, as setting the CIA on Global Warming :)

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  21. Comment removed by moderator.

  22. Danderson

    logged in via Twitter

    Why are there no chronological charts here? Trends over time aren't gauged by a snapshot in time. Doesn't bode well for the claims.

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Danderson

      This is a good question. I await a second installment on historical trends.

      As an orchardist initially planning my operations I wanted to get very detailed long term local records of temperature rainfall and frosts and the like.

      Nope. Officially the local records stopped twenty years ago and the only data easily available since then are from a site 60kms away with a totally different microclimate.

      But I was able to track them down through a most circuitous route. Still collected - just…

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Darryl O'Bryan

      Ah Mr O'Bryan you have plumbed new depths indeed. Truly excellent.

      Although I must admit I knew it was all down to mind control - I guess I just ESPed it ... you know like with my intuition ( which I note can be lifted by an impressively sciency 400%.) I will try that after I have become an athlete with the new magic vitamin line with over 200 rich heteropolysacdchaides. Wow.

      People laugh at me on stinking hot days running about town in my Akubra with the foil skull helmet underneath. But they just don't realise how much of this stuff there is about. People who'll believe anything but the evidence.

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  23. Theo van den Berg

    IT consultant and trainee farmer

    Very nice article and from people who are qualified to make such statements. I placed a reference to this on a GW discussion website called "Open Mind" by Tamino.
    My post to Tamino was a response to a very big thread http://tamino.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/impeach-craig-kelly/
    Yes, that is our own Mr Kelly, who did an heatwave-denial "guest" post on the largest anti-global-warming website at: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/14/global-warming-it-was-warmer-in-sydney-in-1790/
    AND appearently…

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  24. Elizabeth Bold

    logged in via Twitter

    What should we do about it? I propose we talk more about Australia's growth plans for our coal industry being out of sync with the United Nations international climate negotiations. Australia has an opportunity to show leadership and ingenuity by making some changes at home. We can't and wouldn't want to prevent China and India industrialising, but we can show some leadership.

    We should talk more about demanding more leadership from our government. Specifically we need to demand the Federal Government commit to a binding agreement to transition Australia to having 100% of our electricity come from clean, renewable sources by 2020. The current commitment is a mere 20% energy from renewable sources by 2020. We need only look at countries with successful programs in place for practical policies (such as Germany's feed-in tariff law).

    Here is more on my contribution to the discussion: wp.me/p33fEB-1E

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    1. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Elizabeth Bold

      How about we slowly withdraw the $7billion per annum subsidies to the fossil fuel industry?

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    2. Carol Daly

      Director

      In reply to John Newton

      Yes, but why slowly? Coal mining is one of our major very profitable exports of CO2, employs only a small number of people and does not contribute to the 'mining.tax'. Our coal mines are mainly owned by multi national global companies which are delighted to receive but do not need Australian taxpayer dollars in subsidies.
      Why doesn't Tony Abbott suggest this as a way to cut our deficit?

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  25. Candace Wirth

    logged in via Facebook

    Hey, wouldnt it be a good idea if instead of people blaming others, denigrating some for their lifestyle, throwing up our hands in horror at inept governments, those who have signed/those who havent.. ad infinitum..that we each took responsibility for ourselves, and lived as sustainably as we possibly can wherever we live, share knowledge, share info with friends, colleagues and whoever will listen, join groups that campaign for change etc, i.e. this morning I spoke with an older work colleague who…

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Candace Wirth

      Reasonable words, Candace, except that the course of action you propose is sufficient if and only if everybody on the planet does as you suggest.

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    2. Elizabeth Bold

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, I respectfully disagree. Not everyone on the planet has to live with Candace's ethos, just enough people have to in order to reach a kind of tipping point that will effect widespread social change. Join the revolution and be the change in the world you want to see!

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Candace Wirth

      Candace, I agree with a great deal of what you're saying (and my inner suburban veggie patch is coming along quite nicely too) but could we make this 'both/and' rather than 'either/or' - i.e. we certainly do need to do everything we can individually (and, by the way, a great many of us are already!) but that alone simply won't be enough.

      Personal action is certainly a necessary thing but, on its own, it's just not sufficient.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Elizabeth Bold

      True, Elizabeth, except that the tipping point you hope for (and I too hope for) is really a way of getting to the state David suggests we will need to achieve, rather than an altenative.

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    5. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Elizabeth Bold

      Thanks for that reply, Elizabeth, rest assured I'm doing as I can.

      Meanwhile, Oxford Professor of Energy Policy Dieter Helm has recently written "The Carbon Crunch - How We're Getting Climate Policy Wrong - and How to Fix It".

      I'm up to Chapter 3 - it's looking like a valuable book.

      Mind you, his Chapter 1 "How serious is climate change?" shows he's an economist, not a climate scientist.

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  26. Gary Looney

    Person

    Planet:
    I do not believe we fully understand the role natural carbon deposits in the planet play, likened to the climate we see and complexity to understand, the study of magnetics on organic fluids and solids becomes much more complex then initially understood.

    Axis position, crust variations and molten dynamics are not something anybody has seen in the form of a large polar shift or calculating the event with accuracy?

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  27. Spiro Vlachos

    AL

    From the American Meteorological Society, the glossary entry for urban heat island:

    "(Or heat island.) Closed isotherms indicating an area of the surface that is relatively warm; most commonly associated areas of human disturbance such as towns and cities.
    The physiographic analogy derives from the similarity between the pattern of isotherms and height contours of an island on a topographic map. Heat islands commonly also possess "cliffs" at the urban–rural fringe and a "peak" in the most built-up…

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    1. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Its a bit little arguing with children. The methodology for obtaining a national average is stated by the authors as: "The national average is calculated using a three-dimensional interpolation (including topography) of over 700 observing sites each day." So, the question is how much does the heat island effect, found to be significant by the American Meteorological Society, affect the temperatures in urban areas that dominate the 700 observing sites of the BOM?

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    2. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      To compare Australia`s temperature, the early recording stations should be the same as todays , otherwise it is not a fair comparison. In Western australia the waclimate site shows the 5 largest coastal sites with temperatures nearly 2 degrees higher than the 16 rural sites. Also the Perth recording station moved in 1994 and when you compare it with the old site the new site is 1 degrees hotter. When you ask the BOM to work out the mean air temperature at their 12 tidal stations , they refused . I f you want to find out why ,ask them. When the catalyst program states birds are now dying because of the present seasons heat wave , why didn`t they look at the newspaper records around 1900 when it was recorded 5 times? Whats causing the heat wave? Co2 is only a minor reason.

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Yes Spiro, it is a little bit like arguing with children. Helpless individuals who appear incapable of doing anything for themselves and requiring adult supervision at all times.

      Silly me - when you started with your post with a quote from the American Meteorological Society about UHI, I mistakenly assumed you wanted to know whether scientists had considered UHI in their calculations of global temperature. I apologise.

      So I won't treat you like a child, I will treat you like the adult you claim to be.

      You are sitting in front of a computer. Go to Google Scholar and find it for yourself. I just did.

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    4. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, my question was directed to the BOM experts. I could not care less what you have to say about it.

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    5. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      The heat island effect is well established, and we only have to look at all the sensors that now have roads, airports, air conditioning outlets etc next to them, to be concerned about it. Of course, the temperature data is adjusted to allow for this effect (subtract a bit and hope it's right. From memory, the order of magnitude of the correction is similar to the global anomaly, which concerns me). This may well explain much of the discrepancy between satellite and ground data.

      The other issue is the number of measuring stations that have disappeared, and changed. How they can make a valid comparison with these changes, and change the would based on this, leaves me gabberflustered.

      Just for interest, I found this link - correlation between temperature, and number of stations ; http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/nvst.html I have no idea of the validity of this data - just throwing it in for interest.

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      ".... From memory, the order of magnitude of the correction is similar to the global anomaly, which concerns me..."

      Then your memory is flawed. But then, given the other misinformation - no, straight out lies - you have been putting forward so far, this should surprise no-one.

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    7. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      When you can no longer win the argument, abuse the opponent. It's a shame people resort to this.

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ross James

      "abuse the opponent"

      It's not abuse when it's statement of fact.

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    9. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I've read the work of McIntyre and McKitrick, specifically on "The Hockey Stick" (which was obviously wrong, even just for the absence of the Dalton Minimum, and Medieval Warm Period). I find their work logical and raising very valid concerns.

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    10. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ross James

      Oh, yes! McIntyre and McKitrick. They are referred to in this post http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

      Skeptical Science http://www.skepticalscience.com is an award-winning web site where scientific research is discussed in a civil manner and questions from ordinary yobs like me are answered intelligently. It is well worth a visit, if you are genuinely interested in the science behind AGW theory.

      (Cue the outraged bluster from contrarians, who will claim that a science-backed venue like Skeptical Science must really be an 'AGW religious site'. Sigh!)

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    11. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      I'm very familiar with this site - been looking at it for years. Never have I experienced such bias. Try posting just a hint that you have a view that differs from theirs, and you might as well stand in front of a firing squad. Perhaps it's changed in recent times - I haven't posted anything for a while.

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    12. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ross James

      That's odd. I searched the site for "Ross James" and got no hits. Were you posting under a pseudonym?

      You are always welcome to challenge the views of posters at Skeptical Science, as long as you can back up your claims with sound science that can stand the scrutiny of peer review. Posting wild, unsupported claims will certainly attract robust comments, but no-one gets put in front of a firing squad. I am not a scientist and, from ignorance, I have said some pretty silly things over there, but I have always been politely and helpfully corrected when I err.

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    13. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ross James

      That's the one! The most recent post I can find is 'rhjames at 22:36 PM on 19 August, 2011' http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-curve-fitting-fools-gold.html#60553

      You mentioned there that you would post in another thread "Models Are Unreliable", but I can't find any record of your having done so, unless you used a different pseudonym.

      As far as I can tell, none of your posts attracted a firing squad: where were you treated unfairly?

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    14. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ross James

      "the work of McIntyre and McKitrick, specifically on "The Hockey Stick""

      Yes the corrections you have when you don't have corrections: Corrections to the Mann et al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series.

      Even though they title their paper "Corrections to the Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series", they subsequently disown the idea that they are meant to be corrections.

      "which was obviously wrong, even just for the absence of the Dalton Minimum…

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    15. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I meant to refer to the Little Ice Age, not the Dalton Minimum (working too hard).

      You guys rely very heavily on realclimate - I prefer to go to their sources, rather than their conclusions.

      When I first saw the Hockey Stick, I couldn't believe such a thing could be published, which was so obviously in conflict with established historical data. A straight line of temperature, where previously there was the Medieval Warm Period, and The Little Ice Age.

      Is that "moving the goal posts"?

      Getting back to the topic, I certainly don't blame Australia's high temperatures on global warming. Even though we've had 0.7 degC warming over the past 160 years for whatever reason, every year, high and low temperature records are broken. They have to be - there's millions of locations around the Earth, and we've only had meaningful temperature records for less than 200 years.

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ross James

      "I meant to refer to the Little Ice Age"

      Still wrong of course. THE Hockey Stick shows the Little Ice Age and so do all the other Hockey Sticks.

      "You guys rely very heavily on realclimate - I prefer to go to their sources"

      One citation here and that's heavy reliance? I haven't seen any evidence of you going to their sources.

      "A straight line of temperature, where previously there was the Medieval Warm Period, and The Little Ice Age."

      How many times do I have to tell you? THE Hockey Stick shows the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. And so do the other Hockey Sticks that you studiously ignore.

      "Even though we've had 0.7 degC warming over the past 160 years"

      The authors say 1 deg C in 100 years. I wonder why you downplay it?

      "every year, high and low temperature records are broken"

      Carefully ignoring the fact that far more high temperature records than low are broken.

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    17. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Actually, I've had a few links given to me here to realclimate - notice I used plural "guys".

      For temperature records, I normally refer to Hadcrut and UAH (noting that Hadcrut recently adjusted recent years upwards). My Hadrut data shows a rise of about 0.7 degC since 1850. UAE shows about 0.3 degC since 1980. The authors say "about 1 degree Celcius over the past 100 years". Perhaps they rounded it up. Note they don't state the data source (I do).

      Re your comment about ratio of record highs and lows. Does this apply globally, or just the US (which is where most reports on this come from).? Does it apply to all the years that data has been available, or just a few recent years (eg since 1950)? You're no doubt aware that the number of record highs and lows has been decreasing for the past 70 years.

      I had another look at the Hockey stick in the IPCC report AR3 - you must be looking at a different one to me and all the critics.

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ross James

      "I've had a few links given to me here to realclimate"

      I searched for "realclimate" and could only find my citation so I don't know what you're talking about. What's wrong with citing realclimate anyway? And where are your "sources"?

      "My Hadrut data shows a rise of about 0.7 degC since 1850."

      Which didn't start until around 1910.

      "UAE shows about 0.3 degC since 1980."

      Close to 0.5 deg C actually. But 2 sigma confidence interval is quite large for such noisy data with long lasting autocorrelation…

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  28. Jeremy Bradley

    Farmer at self employed

    When science and ideology hand-in-hand come walking
    Be cautious of the logic and watch which one does the talking
    I'm a farmer and, as such, I am a compulsive gambler. The main thing that I bet on is the weather. Like every other gambler I study the form-guides and records. I listen to expert commentators and factor in their advice. I also make personal observations, like the early flowering of a peach tree or a late frost. I decided long ago to 'bet' that the changes to our climate are caused…

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    1. Gary Looney

      Person

      In reply to Jeremy Bradley

      I would like to say it is true but do not see how we can improve something by 100's of percent that is shrinking, the carbon we are removing has been there a long time.

      Natural layering works on very long time scales and attempts to mimic nature in unfavourable environments is more expensive if possible at all, maintaining moisture for environmental purpose cost water.

      The modelling in EU will not cover our climate.

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    2. Jeremy Bradley

      Farmer at self employed

      In reply to Gary Looney

      I'm not saying that farmers can put the coal and oil back in the ground Garry. What I am saying is that we have lost more carbon from Australia's landscape from clearing, cultivation, compaction and overuse of NPK fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides than all of the other anthropogenic activities combined.
      Landscape restoration can complement productive landuse while sequestering CO2 and reducing methane and nitrous emissions. Higher carbon soils hold more nutrients and store water. We just need to treat soil carbon as a product of National Security and pay farmers to produce and store it out of consolidated revenue.
      This would be the greatest single rural employment creating scheme in our history as it would re-employ farmers on their own farms and free up the jobs that they currently have in towns, cities and FIFO mining camps.

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  29. Kurt Olney

    logged in via Facebook

    I bet the sun has something to do with this......

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  30. Arthur James Egleton Robey

    Industrial Electrician

    In October of this year I went to Daejeon in Korea to attend the ICC17.
    http://www.iccf17.org/sub16.php

    There has been a lot of research been done over the last quarter of a century on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. The power that this maligned field promises is carbon free, transportable and a million times more energetic than chemical.

    But will the world embrace it? Perish the thought. The Ape has a death wish. Douglas Adams was right. "You are all going to die." Fools.

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    1. Antony Day

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Arthur James Egleton Robey

      You have the right word, just there - promises - and will remain a promise and very far away from reality - Cold Fusion is what LENR used to known as and is just as elusive as always - despite the name change.

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    2. Arthur James Egleton Robey

      Industrial Electrician

      In reply to Antony Day

      A lot of declarative statements with no substance.
      After you have read the thousands of papers in this library you might want to entertain us with your views on the Nanor.
      http://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?page_id=1081

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  31. Dennis Scott Moore

    logged in via Facebook

    There's a really interesting documentary I saw a few years ago on PBS ( also available on YouTube ) SEARCH: 'BBC-Global Dimming'........I think it's about an hour long, in the 2nd half, they discuss the band of clouds that normally moves north ( bringing the monsoons to parts of southern Africa )....and how the climate has shifted in such a way, that this has NOT been taking place in recent years.....contributing to all the drought conditions in that part of the world. I'm sure it's got something…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Dennis Scott Moore

      "All these clouds with the additional droplets.......are actually reflecting a lot of sunlight BACK into space. In a way, this is preventing the planet from 'warming' even faster than it already is."

      Indeed, as the last IPCC report pointed out, there is about 1 W/m2 of negative forcing from sulphate aerosols which compares with the approx 1 W/m2 net positive forcing from all the GHGs and other forcings giving us our 0.8 deg C of warming.

      So if all the sulphate aerosols that we generate suddenly disappeared then global temperature might be expected to go up another 0.8 deg C.

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  32. Dennis Singer

    Student

    Are climate deniers concerned about the health of the planet after they have passed on? If so, the following quote would be rather depressing, given that the ranks of the climate denier movement isn't exactly swelling with youth:

    "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. "

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Dennis Singer

      I'm afraid that quote is rather spot on Dennis.

      Folks like me despair that we cannot convince or change their minds. But we should not feel too bad - the deniers themselves cannot change their minds. They never have. About anything I suspect.

      I keep hearing this bellowing sound from tarpits.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Dennis Singer

      Dennis, I choose to argue as much as possible. I see no other option. I am not always polite, although I really admire the whimsical humour Peter Ormonde has mastered. Nuh, clever stupidity has to be shouted at wherever possible, don't have time for being polite any more.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Thanks Alice.

      I am finding that humour is the most effective tool at shutting these rabbits down.

      The one thing they all absolutely crave - from Archduke Monckton to Alan Jones - is to be taken seriously.

      Don't give it to them. Treat them with the derision and dismissal they reserve for climatologists and TV weather spokespersons.

      Especially these retired geologists and mining engineers who have decided to embark on a self-schooled adventure on the chaotic seas of mathematical modelling…

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    4. Jeremy Bradley

      Farmer at self employed

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      In support of Peter Ormonde
      Too right mate but I won't die wondering if increasing the carbon in my paddocks would have been good for my farm and/or the planet. Live frugally and get as much carbon int the soil as I can. That's my contribution to future generations.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Jeremy Bradley

      Yeah Jeremy, I do a lot of this up on "the hill". I'm playin chicken with the Big One which will come one day. I throw murdered wattles along the hill to make swales and cool the roots of citrus and walnuts. It's working spectacularly well underneath. The only way for them to prosper. What a lot of bonfires. Does grass really put much carbon into the soil, or woody matter more?

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    6. Jeremy Bradley

      Farmer at self employed

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Soil C sequestration depends on photosynthesis so the answer to your question is, it depends. All green leafy plants split the molecules of CO2 and H2O and reorganise them into O2, C and an amazing number of compounds. Some of this carbon based material builds the structure of the plant and some is exuded into the soil through the roots. The exudates feed rhyzospheric bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi which, in turn, feed the plant. These carbon-rich microbes can be up to 20 tonnes per Ha in fertile…

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jeremy Bradley

      Depends what one's doing a bit too Jeremy - and how much of it.

      Round here the folks grow grass for a living ... they put cattle on it ... but basically it's the grass that makes them the money - how fast it grows, the composotion of the pasture, how many cattle you run and how quickly you move them through And my goodness me they're hoofs barely hit the gound at the moment.

      Over time it's a form of strip mining... systematically exporting the carbon out of their paddocks ASAP.

      The end result of this is the most dreadul depletion of organic content imaginable. Soil like cement. Dependent on chemical supplementation and increasingly sensitive to variations in rainfall and temperature. The soil now cracks in summer This is new.

      Going to be interesting how we manage this.

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    8. Jeremy Bradley

      Farmer at self employed

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      In 150 years we have created a chemically dependent food and fiber production system and called it traditional agriculture. The problem is that maintenance of productivity requires inputs that have become more expensive and less effective. This combination of higher fertiliser prices and the declining quality of agriculture's primary asset, the soil, is resulting in a reduction of on-farm profits. We can, and must, turn this around by investing, as a Nation, in soil reconstruction and regeneration…

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  33. Ivan Quail

    maverick

    2. It is a fundamental, cold hard peer reviewed scientific fact that Co2 is 62% better as a thermal insulator than air is. As Dr Bindschadler (NASA) pointed out we know how many million tons of coal, oil and gas are burnt each year. We know fairly accurately how much additional Co2 is released into the atmosphere each year on top of the Co2 emissions from nature. Dr Bindschadler claims 1 Gton from nature and 7 Gtons from fossil fuel as measured by their satellites.

    Could you or anyone else double…

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    1. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Ivan Quail

      I'm interested in this cold hard peer reviewed fact - "CO2 is 62% better as a thermal insulator than air is." This is wrong. Carbon dioxide thermal conductivity is 62% of the thermal conductivity of air. This doesn't make it a good insulator for a particular application - only situations where the gap is small (eg <10mm) and the gas is stagnant.

      Heat is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation. For the application we're talking about, heat transfer is mainly by convection and radiation, so the thermal conductivity is irrelevant. Throw in the complexity of the greenhouse effect (wrongly named), cloud influence etc, and the heat transfer becomes impossibly complex.

      I'm trying to find a point to your comment about k (thermal conductivity) of CO2.

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Ross James

      Ah yes... go on then... argue all you like Ivan. You'll be wrong. Always wrong! Everyone is wrong. Always. Forever. About everything.

      Like other drivers on the road - none of them know the rules do they? None of them are any good? All mugs innit?

      Well not quite everyone. There's a few brilliant self-taught climatologists and modellers who's grasp of the science is omniscient ... they are spot on the money and know everyone else is wrong.

      To have actually studied or practised…

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    3. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - I can't figure out what or who you're talking about. Who's Gavin? Can you simplify this into plain language? Perhaps Ivan understands it, or someone else can translate it.

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross,

      Gavin is the local public face for the lies spread by the likes of these fellas here from the Bureau of Meteorology.

      Every night on local TV there he is with his deceits and wiles, his computerised conccotions. But it's his twinkling eyes and toothy grin that give it away though ... every time he talks about his "unseasonable heat" ... we all know that's code for his BoM handlers.

      So I'm with you Ross. Believe no one. Trust nothing. Especially if it's in centigrade. The BoM must be exposed!!!!

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  34. Ivan Quail

    maverick

    The Tides of the Kimberly can generate 10 times more electricity than we currently generate in the whole of Australia. Installed National generating capacity is about 60Gwatts

    Too far away you think. A 6G/watt (6,000Mw) bulk HVDC power line can transmit the power to Sydney for a cost of 1c per Kw hr. It is cheaper to build and operate a bulk HVDC transmission line than a natural gas pipeline which carries the same amount of usable energy.

    In Brazil 15% of their power is transmitted by HVDC…

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    1. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Ivan Quail

      I'm interested in this, and have wondered about tidal energy for a long time. Also DC transmission. I see all sorts of possible problems (eg conversion of HVDC to AC - equipment cost, reliability and maintenance).

      Tides have problems of daily variation in magnitude. The daily stagnant periods dictate the need for large storage areas. However, I'd rather consider this to wasting so much effort and money on things like solar, and wind, which I believe will never be more than a supplement to the main grid.

      If you have any good links on this, please let us know.

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  35. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    While I am aware that the average mug punter (aka consumer of News Ltd products) needs to have the effect of increasing temperature on the probability of heatwaves explained to them in careful terms using words of few syllables, I was rather hoping that this article would proffer a meteorological description of how and/or why there has been no monsoon trough formation inland of the Coral Sea coast - I know it's due to the ongoing presence of blocking high pressure systems in the Tasman Sea, but what's driving that?

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  36. John Kelmar

    Small Business Consultant

    Yes it has been warm recently, but in 1984 I traveled through the outback and enjoyed temperatures as high as 50C.
    Currently, whilst Australia is suffering from a heat wave (it is summer you know) Europe is finding the temperatures are dropping to record lows.
    Does "Global Warming" explain both situations, or are some of us just isolating a set of figures to support their own point of view?
    I also notice that records have only been kept since 1910. What about the weather patterns before that, or during the Ice Age etc.
    The weather changes from season to season, from year to year, from decade to decade, from century to century, and from millennium to millennium. Lest not be too hasty in our conclusions.

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    1. Glenn Tamblyn

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Kelmar

      John

      Global Warming has 2 basic effects. It warms the overall climate system somewhat. But because this has added energy to the climate system there is more energy generally available to drive the intensity of weather systems.So more extreme highs and more extreme lows.

      Generally warming in the Arctic is greater than the average for the whole planet. This appears to be driving changes in the Polar Jet Stream that are leading tomore intense & prolonged heat waves and storms in the Northern…

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  37. Sham Chukoury

    logged in via Facebook

    It may well be worth looking at the current heatwave in the context of warming trends, but this article stops well short of discussing more tangible weather phenomena that have helped keep the heatwave going. There is no discussion of fluid movement patterns - how unusual winds or the placement of pressure cells and gradients allowed the heatwave to continue for so long.

    This isn't as much a proper explanation of the record-breaking heatwave as a confirmation that it fits an overall warming of the climate.

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  38. Ivan Quail

    maverick

    Ross James
    In a heat wave the energy absorbed on day one is not completely lost during the following night. This results in the energy absorbed on day 2 being added to the residual energy from day 1 and so on day after day.

    At night the heat loss by convection is reduced because the medium for transporting the heat (air). a) is diluted with a greater proportion of Co2.
    b) You will be aware that the specific heat of Co2 is less than that of air therefore the ability of a Co2 molecule to absorb…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ivan Quail

      "I have been unable to determine whether or not a Co2 molecule reflects more radiant heat than a similar volume of air."

      GHG molecules do not reflect radiation. They both absorb radiation and generate radiation. Their ability to absorb depends on wavelength. Their ability to generate also depends on wavelength but it depends on the gas's temperature as well. Try to look up the radiation transfer equation.

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    2. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Ivan Quail

      I didn't claim that CO2 wasn't an insulator. I pointed out that the 62% was incorrect, and that the heat transfer mechanism is far too complex to put a figure on it.

      The ocean is a huge buffer and processor of CO2. We are a long way from understanding its long term ability and mechanisms. Personally, I'm not too concerned about current CO2 level - in fact I find it frighteningly low. At about a third of the current level, life as we know it would cease to exist. I'd be really worried if it was dropping. I know there's talk that it's at its highest level ever. However, I can find plenty of reports indicating that it's been much higher in the past. My conclusion on this is that we just don't know the history of CO2 concentrations. To say it's never been higher, means we ignore analytical results from early last century, and lots of other evidence.

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    3. Glenn Tamblyn

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross

      Yes,CO2 has been much higher in the past,but we are talking timescales of millions of years. On time scalesof less than a million years or so, we are at an absolute record. As to the 'analytical reports from last century',yes there are a few measurements taken by early researchers.But only a small number. As you move from the early 19th century closer to the 20th, the values they report become less variable and converge towards a common value much lower than the early ones.

      Some factors…

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      It's also worth remembering Grant, that while in the geologicial and ice records we can see higher levels of CO2, where were the sea levels back then? Where was Cairo? Bangladesh? Venice, Bangkok, Shanghai...all those now heavily populated river deltas all over the world? How much of our most valuable arable land was then under water?

      The geologists I've discussed this with have a bit of trouble when it comes to describing the world in which those levels of CO2 existed and what that would mean in the modern world - with us in it.

      Just tolerating more C02 in the geological past doesn't make the future survivable. Not any more. Not surviving in any meaningful sense.

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    5. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      Some more factors to keep in mind."So we do know the history of CO2 concentrations over the last 800,000 years or so. Because we have taken the measurements ourselves." Measurements on samples that are 800,000 years old"? How stable are those ice samples? No chance of leaching? I expect you're familiar with Jaworowski's research March 2007 on clathrates and how they influence ice core CO2 data, plus the influence of heavy metals and their long term reactions with CO2 in the ice.

      His conclusion…

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    6. Glenn Tamblyn

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross James

      Ross

      WOW!! That has to be one of the most spectacular Gish Gallops I have ever read. And masquerading as a Scientific Paper! First several pages of diatribe, including photos of varous supposed malfeasants! Then littered through the pages of it, every few sentences - polemics, bitch sessions, gripes. This guy wants to be taken seriously scientifically,technically, and he uses this sort of invective laden, emotive language?

      His peers would just laugh at him and not give him the time of day…

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  39. Steve Hindle

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    I take human induced global warming as proven beyond reasonable doubt.
    While I also think improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy has a big part to play in reducing CO2 emissions, I lament the fact there can be no serious debate on nuclear energy in Australia.
    The VERY BEST we can do without nuclear power is reduce world wide CO2 emissions by 1.3% (our input).
    Putting emotions to the side, we could export uranium to countries on the condition that it is to be used in the latest generation reactors and the waste returned to Australia where it can be turned back into rock (synroc) and reburied in impervious rock.
    The best we could do with encouraging the world to go nuclear would be a substantial worldwide reduction of CO2 emissions rather than our token 1.3% reduction.


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  40. Ivan Quail

    maverick

    Chris O'Neill
    There has been much criticism of Science about its failiure to communicate on global warming.
    This Conversation is not about semantics.
    I will bear your comment in mind when I next look in the mirror and see my reflection.

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  41. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Australian use of fuel per capita is amongst the highest in the World. We are further down the path of industrialisation than are India. China and the rest.

    We are the ones in the position to be setting an example of how to turn things around.

    And if you think that Ausralia, with over 20 million people, is insignificant in World affairs, just look at what influence Israel has with a quarter that number.

    Example is measured in quality, not numbers.

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    1. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to John Harland

      Some countries choose low population and high standard of living (eg Australia) Others choose high population, low standard of living. Both have emissions. I could be critical of India with it's high population, and demand that they pay us compensation for their high emissions due to the high population.

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  42. Toby James

    retired physicist

    Oh my goodness, its worse than we thought.

    Just imagine how much worse it would have been if the global temperature had actually risen during the last 16 years.

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    1. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Toby James

      Oh, dear! The old "no warming for <insert cherry-picked number here> years" chestnut gets another airing.

      For anyone who may be in danger of misled by Toby's comment, you can believe the old chestnut, or you could seek the truth: http://www.skepticalscience.com/16_more_years_of_global_warming.html

      Skeptical Science http://www.skepticalscience.com is an award-winning web site where scientific research is discussed in a civil manner and questions from ordinary yobs like me are answered intelligently. It is well worth a visit, if you are genuinely interested in the science behind AGW theory.

      (Cue the outraged bluster from contrarians, who will claim that a science-backed venue like Skeptical Science must really be an 'AGW religious site'. Sigh!)

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    2. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      The BOM has air temperature data at their 12 tidal stations around Australia. The waclimate site graphed the monthly average mean for the 20 years these stations have been operating and it shows no increase . If you call this "cherry picking", then the Climate Commission used the same data and length of data when they showed the sea level rise to support the federal governments selling of the carbon tax.If the Western Australian 16 rural sites temperature increase is 1.55 C less than the 5 large towns it indicates that the urban heat effect does push up the overall global warming. That makes the assumption of record temperatures from Co2 suspect, especially when the recent heat wave was taken from 700 sites and the comparison was taken from around 100 sites

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    3. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug, you should get more. Skeptics and deniers who are in the pay of the wicked people are no longer the flavor of the month. The folk you referred to are more concerned with the soundness of theories and models.

      They revel in such questions as: how many CO2 molecules can dance on the head of a pin? And they have been known to tell a few porkies, now and again.

      Ordinary gobs, as you call them, tend to get sucked in by smooth-talking "skeptically".

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    4. Ross James

      Engineer

      In reply to trevor prowse

      I monitor Fort Denison Sydney sea level data on a monthly basis from 1965. Just looking at this century to date, sea level is increasing at 0.2mm/year. There's absolutely no indication of dramatic increase. Sea level has been increasing for the past 20,000 years. Sea level data to date does nothing to support the alarmist concepts.

      Certainly, it will increase if land ice melts, and the sea gets hotter, but so far, it's not doing anything out of the ordinary

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  43. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Hot topic. Record posts. Seems to me though the subject avoided is the political context?

    Growth-pushing globalized corporate "economic rationalist" capital of the 1% (Milton Friedman's baby aka the Chicago School) dances slickly across the planet, strip mining here, exploiting cheap labor there, polluting hither & thither, avoiding tax there, mass marketing towards excessive consumption over here.....etc etc. It has unregulated, government -black mailed carte blanch to PROFITEER at all costs...the…

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  44. Noel Kendall

    Low Income Grunt

    While cycling home from work the other night, it was snowing. I was thankful that my low carbon lifestyle, using strictly bicycling for transportation, was helping the planet stay cold enough for it to snow. Ironically, those who believe that carbon taxation is critical for saving our planet do not have to wait, wait, wait for their governments to "right price" their carbon - I have made it possible on my cyclinglifestyle wordpress blog to increase the price of carbon voluntarily. Through kind donations, folks that want to continue to live high carbon lifestyles can offset their carbon emissions and support my low carbon lifestyle while doing so. This is direct, grassroots action. It is available now. No need to dither, wait, procrastinate. Small donations (think, carbon offsets), make can make a huge difference at the low end of the economic scale, and help save the planet today by right pricing carbon.

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