Thursday, May 31, 2018

Lightning fire confusion at WUWT

Sou | 11:04 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment
Bushfire Mount Beauty 11 December 2006
It would be nice to think that wrong headlines like the one below are the reason for the decline in WUWT readership. Thing is, headlines that don't reflect a copy and pasted article are par for the course at WUWT. The headline is: "Claim: Global warming to make more lightning caused fires, but only in the Northern Hemisphere."

Anthony Watts got his north and south mixed up. The paper is about an increase in lightning caused fires in the southern hemisphere. So far, no-one at WUWT has noticed (archive here).

Notice, too, that Anthony continues his "claim" prefix. He does that with most of the press releases he copies, showing that he doesn't "believe" science and wants his readers to think that science is nothing but a hoax.

This latest WUWT article is a copy and paste of a press release about a new paper on fires caused by lightning. (No attribution or link at WUWT, but Google is helpful.) The new paper posits that there will be an increase in such fires in the southern hemisphere as the world warms more. The paper is by a team of scientists led by Michela Mariani of The University of Melbourne. The bottom line is:
The study found that the natural influence of the three climate modes (ENSO, IOD and SAM) on fire activity was stronger during the 21st century than during the last couple of decades of the 20th century as a result of anthropogenic warming. That trend is expected to continue...

...During the onset of the 21st century, lightning-ignited fires were tightly coupled with upward trends in the SAM and rising temperatures across the Southern Hemisphere.

SAM is the Southern Annular Mode and is described by the Bureau of Meteorology as  "the north–south movement of the westerly wind belt that circles Antarctica, dominating the middle to higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere". When it's positive, the winds move south toward Antarctica so southern Australia gets more high pressure systems (drier etc). When it's negative, the westerly belt expands upward toward the equator and there are bigger storms across Australia. It's more complicated than that - you can read more on the BoM website.

The work is interesting and particularly relevant to where I live (Victoria, Australia), which is prone to disastrous fires.

References and further reading

Mariani, Michela, AndrĂ©s Holz, Thomas T. Veblen, Grant Williamson, Michael‐Shawn Fletcher, and David MJS Bowman. "Climate change amplifications of climate‐fire teleconnections in the Southern Hemisphere." Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078294  (readcube here)


  1. North/south, up/down, black/white, wet/dry, tomayto, tomahto... such minor distinctions aside, the important thing is that our brave WUWTsians are taking on the Vast Climate Conspiracy that would see the world in chains.

    Not hotter, flooded, droughty and environmentally degraded, admittedly, but in chains that are no less weighty for being entirely fantastical.

  2. The Very Reverend Jebediah HypotenuseJune 1, 2018 at 12:59 AM

    Maybe it's just that Anthony has his computer monitor upside-down.

    Anyway - As I watched the Sun rising in the West this evening, I thought to myself "Why is it always so dark during the day?"

    Real Science is all about answering questions like that one.

  3. There is a good book titled "The Scientist In The Early Roman Empire" by Dr. Richard Carrier.

    Within, Carrier reveals the attacks upon early science and scientist throughout history. The record is clear - religion held back science for over 1000 years, and still holds sway today in the 21st century.

    At the very heart of the "argument" which in reality, is no argument at all, is the belief that there is no need to grasp the physical world or the effects anything (including man) has upon the physical world. Empirical knowledge is simply rejected out of hand, based upon nothing more then superstitions accepted as fact.

    Yet even the definition of "facts" is misunderstood. So it is no surprise at all to get any and all the "facts" totally backwards by those that reject science, knowledge and evidence. Accuracy isn't their strong suit, and neither is honesty or integrity.

    Carrier makes it clear - mankind has been seriously repressed by stupidstitions (my term, not his) for a very long time, a belief system that continues to hold sway even today over large segments of our population, politicians and even our policies and practices. These pillars of our institutions are hateful, harmful and hindering.

    America is now, once again, "caught up" in this groundswell of rising stupidity and rejection of science. ~Survival Acres~

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