Friday, January 17, 2020

More than 10 years on, Anthony Watts at WUWT is still befuddled by temperature anomalies

Sou | 11:05 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment
It's hard to believe but poor Anthony Watts, despite all the help offered him over the years, is still totally befuddled, perplexed and bamboozled by the notion of temperature anomalies. You know he's not the brightest spark in deniersville yet you'd have thought that by now even he might have learnt something about temperature charts. But no.

The oddest thing is that he's unashamed of being numerically illiterate. He might even regard it as a strength. It means his readers have found someone, somewhere, who's dimmer than they are, and that could be why they keep coming back for more.

Today Anthony wrote about the global average surface temperature for 2019, saying at least in the USA it wasn't another "hottest year". That's a classic conspiratorial diversion tactic, by the way: focus on a detail and try to dispute the big picture.

2019 was the second hottest year on record despite no El Nino

Sou | 4:38 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment
Summary: 2019 was the second hottest year on record. December 2019 was the second hottest December on record. The last decade was the hottest decade on record.

According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for 2019 was 0.98 °C, which is just 0.04 °C cooler than the previous hottest - 2016.

Below is a chart of the average of 12 months to December each year. 2019 was 0.06 °C hotter than the 12 months to December 2017, which is the third hottest year.

Figure 1 | Annual global mean surface temperature anomaly - 12 months to December each year. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

It's climate change on top of drought, heat and wind, not arson, that's behind Australia's fires

Sou | 12:43 PM Go to the first of 34 comments. Add a comment
Know what? If I see another know-nothing denier try to claim "it's not climate change it's arson" or "backburning" or "not enough prescribed burns" or "it's not happening", I'll scream.

I was going to deal quickly with "it's arson", then move onto prescribed or controlled burns. However, I'll now devote this article just to the arson furphy, because the false meme is appearing all over the place, even being insinuated in mainstream media. Some people are suggesting it's an organised disinformation campaign. I don't know about that, but it is being fanned by the usual crowd of deniers, including many from the USA and other places outside Australia. [Edit: I've added a tweet below, which expresses my disdain for the people spreading this meme.]

Let me be clear. Arson is not the reason for the catastrophic fires this summer. There has always been arson but never a fire season as bad as this one. These major fires are there because the bush is so dry and because it's been so hot. Fires need ample fuel, wind and an ignition. The fuel is ample, because even though there's not been much growth in vegetation because of the drought, what's there is dry and easily ignited. There've been enough windy days to fan the flames and spread the fires further. And there's been ignition, obviously. Mostly (in the case of the major fires), the ignition has been lightning.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 goes out with many bangs - Australia's hottest year and hottest decade on record

Sou | 9:22 AM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment
Australia has just had another "hottest year" on record beating the last by quite a way. The average mean annual temperature was a huge 1.52 C above the 1961-1990 mean. The average maximum was a whopping 2.09 C above and the average minimum (not a record) was 0.95 C above the 1961-1990 mean.

I've plotted all these on the same vertical axis for comparison. Scroll over the charts to see the data labels:

Australia is burning

Sou | 12:47 AM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment
Fires in East and Far East Gippsland and the high country exploded on Monday. We were warned.

Some people who I thought would have known better were sceptical of the warning from Emergency Services to leave Far East Gippsland. After all, it's a huge area, was jam-packed with holiday-makers, and it's on the coast (water puts out fire, right?). They may have neglected to factor in a number of things:

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Season's greetings to all

Sou | 1:31 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment
A short, sweet and old-fashioned greeting to everyone.

I'm sorry I've not been blogging much this past couple of years, but fear not (or fear, depending who you are), I shall return in 2020.

Here is a picture of my most Christmas-y plant - Little John Callistemon, which keeps getting better and better each year and thrives on very light pruning and general neglect.

And another, this time a snapshot of the next door neighbours' decorations. They have been entertaining the local children (large and small) and raising money for local charities for decades and continue to do so despite the fact that Santa suffered a stroke some time ago, which has been quite debilitating for him. The photo doesn't do justice to the lights, which look amazing. Santa's daughter made the kangaroos :)

Happy holidays wherever and whoever you are, especially to all the courageous men and women fighting fires around the country and not forgetting all the people supporting them.

Stay safe.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Fires - follow your plan but expect the unexpected

Sou | 1:50 AM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment
From Mount Beauty Dec 2006
The fires across Australia this year are horrific. Because the smoke is inundating the biggest capital city (not good), people are taking notice (which is good). The fires this season are probably vying for the worst ever experienced in this country. There will be worse to come with more global warming, so it's important to be prepared.

I expect there are a lot of people who've never had an up close and personal experience with fires or smoke, so I figured I'd put some thoughts down from my own experience. I'm not a fire expert but I've been through a few huge fires in my time, including three big ones this century. (If you've got better or different advice, based on your knowledge and experience, don't hesitate to say in the comments below.)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

G'Day - Not today, mate!

Sou | 10:54 PM Go to the first of 62 comments. Add a comment
Australia's politicians from the Liberal, National and Labor parties all vow that now isn't the right time to talk about climate change.

Soon there'll be not the tiniest gap between the droughts, fires, heat waves and floods so they'll be saved from ever having to talk about climate change and what they aren't doing about it.

Courtesy of Australia's national broadcaster:

If you're wondering about some of the references, here's a guide:

  • Karl Stefanovic - I don't know who he is (I don't watch television). I gather he's some tv host who's changed time slots or channels or something. You'll have to Google him if you're interested.
  • Dr Karl - is a popular Australian science lover who is in turn loved by many.
  • Quiet Australians - our Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to silence any Australians who speak. He only want's to listen to "quiet Australians" because they say nothing, don't make his head hurt and don't interrupt him when he's singing in tongues to his god.

If only Scott Morrison would stop telling his god what to do and start listening to what his god's been telling him for the past few years: Millennium Drought, Canberra fires, Black Saturday fires, Alpine fires, big wets and big dries, dead fish, dried up rivers, towns out of water - and all the other weather catastrophes this century including the current ones.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

To fly or not? Fashion, peer pressure and societal impacts

Sou | 12:29 AM Go to the first of 34 comments. Add a comment
I don't think I've previously written about flight shame or flight shaming or whatever you want to call it and I see it occupies the minds of many people. So here are some random thoughts on the subject.

There are a lot of issues bound up in this. I'm not advocating anything one way or another. What an individual does to reduce their personal carbon footprint is their own decision. It's worth saying that multiple personal decisions can eventually add up to societal change. Also worth noting there is a lot of peer pressure involved, with some people arguing that flying is hypocritical or anti-social or whatever. This pressure can become a force for societal change as happened with smoking tobacco, sun-bathing, littering, recycling and other behaviours and attitudes over the years.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Climate scientists - respect, but don't be afraid of policy

Sou | 11:16 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
There has been some discussion in the Twittersphere about how or whether climate scientists should wade in on climate policy. I'm guessing that this is of most concern to early to mid-career scientists and/or academics who have not had much, if any, exposure to policy development. Some scientists at a senior level do get involved in providing policy input and advice, either through advancement (e.g. job promotion in a government agency) or by being co-opted onto one or more government advisory committees (e.g. senior academics).

Thought I'd add my two bobs worth since I've had some experience in the policy area.

The tweet that started the thread was from climate scientist Kate Marvel (and another here).