Flood Crisis Consistent with Accentuated Hydrological Cycle: A Note from Luke Walker

Yesterday David Karoly from Melbourne University’s school of earth sciences told the Sydney Morning Herald that while individual events could not be attributed to climate change, the wild extremes being experienced on the continent were in keeping with scientists’ forecasts of more flooding associated with increased heavy rain events and more droughts as a result of high temperatures and more evaporation.

”On some measures, it’s the strongest La Nina in recorded history … [but] we also have record-high ocean temperatures in northern Australia, which means more moisture evaporating into the air,” he said. ”And that means lots of heavy rain.”

Regular commentator at this blog Luke is of a similar opinion and sent me two charts as supporting information.  Click on the images for a larger, better view.

Luke writes about the charts:

“The first shows the 3pm vapour pressure (VP) averaged over eastern Australian the 3pm vapour – a measure of humidity.   As one can see there is some correlation with eastern Australian rainfall.

“Also shown is Australian tropical sea surface temperatures (SST) averaged for the same period with vapour pressure at 3pm.

“Both SSTs and VP are the highest for the 2010 period – highest since 1970.

“These data are consistent with an enhanced AGW hydrological cycle i.e. much greater atmospheric water content and source of convection.

“I am not saying that AGW caused this La Nina but the data are consistent with AGW adding to the propensity for rainfall as suggested by CSIRO studies and AGW theory.

“Interestingly these January 2011 Brisbane and Fitzroy floods were not caused by tropical cyclones.

“The charts should be of interest to serious sceptics.”

*************
Relevant CSIRO Report:
Abbs, D.J., McInnes, K.L. and Rafter, T. 2007, The impact of climate change on extreme rainfall and coastal sea levels over South East Queensland, Part 2: A high-resolution modelling study of the effect of climate change on the intensity of extreme rainfall events, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research – A report prepared for the Gold Coast City Council
http://www.hpsc.csiro.au/users/abb029/Seth_Westra/GCCC_Phase2_final.pdf

Comment from David Karoly http://www.smh.com.au/environment/fates-conspire-to-concoct-a-recipe-for-disaster-20110111-19mp7.html

97 Responses to Flood Crisis Consistent with Accentuated Hydrological Cycle: A Note from Luke Walker

  1. hunter January 14, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    Bunk on that, Luke.
    when skeptics point out one year or seasonal tremnds your gang regularly, after calling the skeptic ‘denialist scum’ and promising a time to lock them away reminds them that weather events do not give info on climate trends.
    The plain fact is from the available records this event is not even in the top five in Australia’s short recorded history.
    I know you have a CYA tango to attempt, but this effort seems flat footed and artless.

  2. James Mayeau January 14, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    Lets think about it for a second. In a country with a history of drought and a huge inland desert, the impact of increased ghg are more water?

    Well good golly. That sounds like a gift straight from Gaia. Why would anyone in their right mind want it stopped?

    Now you just need the pols to get out of the way so storage can be built.

  3. Luke January 14, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    These averages are not “weather”. From memory you are not in Australia – which may underlie your inability to what we call “read English”) – many previous events including 1974 and 1893 were the result of decaying tropical cyclones bringing massive rain.

    James – yes Pakistan thinks that’s a great idea – extreme events are always fun. And hey James – let’s irrigate the desert – we can pour the water into the sand 1,000s of km away – wouldn’t that be fun. And you yanks could capture your hurricanes in a pocket handkerchief and do the same.

  4. JT January 14, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    I’ve looked closely at the two graphs and it appears that vapour pressure and rainfall are quite closely correlated, which I find unsurprising. Vapour pressure and sea surface temperature – not so much. Of course, the time period – July to December 2010 – is too short to demonstrate any trend. IF the conclusion being argued is that CO2 is heating the atmosphere which is heating the ocean which is increasing the humidity which is causing torrential downpours … then don’t we need to see a correlated trend between these three variables which is statistically significant and shows lags appropriate to the timescales of the causal mechanisms being invoked?

  5. John Sayers January 14, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    1974 and 1893 were the result of decaying tropical cyclones bringing massive rain.

    Luke – I understood this rain, primarily the Theodore- Rockhampton region, was a hangover from cyclone Tasha that hit the coast at xmas time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Cyclone_Tasha_%282010%29

  6. Luke January 14, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Well it’s not just July-Dec 2010 – it’s every Jul-Dec period since 1970. And it is the La Nina leadup period and to date.

    BoM saying Australian SSTs hottest on record

    http://qcl.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/general/floods-due-to-ocean-heat/2045632.aspx

    In December do we have record trade winds and record outgoing longwave over the Nino regions?

    Neville Nicholls suggesting SOI getting near record http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/42858.html

    JT – not saying additional CO2 forcing is “100% causing” torrential downpours but may be adding to the La Nina in a number of ways.

  7. spangled drongo January 14, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Luke,

    This link supplied yesterday by either John or val shows plainly that floods [like cyclones] have reduced in this recent period of greatest ACO2 proliferation.

    It seems that they were more frequent back in the LIA:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

  8. spangled drongo January 14, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    It appears that there was another huge flood around 1824 not listed on that graph.

  9. John January 14, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Luke uses the old chestnut “… is consistent with …” as if that amounts to proof of causation.

    The reality may be far simpler. Since the mid 1990s the average SST anomalies north of Australia (albeit from an area that looks larger than Australia and much longer from west to east), have been positive, meaning above the 1961-90 SST.

    This water generally cools (a bit) with El Nino conditions and warms with La Nina, although it’s a bit deceptive because the area stretches almost to the dateline/equator area, which of course warms with EN.

    Warm water appears to spread from the western Pacific to the central Pacific with El Nino but in reality water doesn’t move much, it’s just that the water there warms because there’s no easterly wind to “scrape” the warm top layer further west and expose the cooler water beneath.

    It seems that the current extreme weather is due to heat from the last 10 or 12 years in the ocean north of Australia not completely dispersing by ENSO mechanisms – probably due to the dominance of conditions on the El Nino side of “neutral” during that time – and now not only do we have a strong La Nina but also our northern wet season has dragged warm moist air down across Australia.

    As you see, we can account for recent events without any need for alarmism about CO2.

  10. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Brisbane in 1841 http://riensavoir.free.fr/IMG/jpg/Brisbane.jpg

  11. gavin January 14, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    Hi Luke. While listening to David Karoly on AM this week I wondered about putting a note on this blog but decided against it because his climate change connection with the QLD flood was so mild and oh so cautious!

    Another good reason not to bother was the Brisbane River failed to reack 1974 levels Ha Ha!

    To my good friends Spangels. el n co; we have only just started stiring the froth on those currents out in the pacific and its worth following up this next bit

    Perhaps the ex Katrina guru on AM today has it; we need a new authority in the wake to scrub the natural waterways clear

  12. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Luke,
    The events are ‘consistent with’ AGW making no difference whatsoever, as the 2001 flood failed to exceed the 1974, 1893 and several other 19C flood events. Key is not the Brisbane flood peak, dependent upon Wivenhoe operations management, but the Bremer, which is unregulated. The 1893 flood peak figures are 8.35m for Brisbane and 23.5m for the Bremer at Ipswich. (Land-use changes in the Bremer catchment – increased hard surface run-off from development – are likely to have exacerbated peaks, if anything).

    The key point is that the received wisdom was that this would not happen, that it would be dryer, not wetter, under AGW. Mac over at Bishop Hill posted up the following summary of the CSIRO/BOM prediction for SEQ.

    “Here are the climate change projections for Queensland produced by CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

    South East Queensland
    • Potential for more significant increases in inundation as a result of storm surges due to higher mean sea level and more intense weather systems
    • Increase in 1-in-100-year storm tide events projected to be 0.45 m along the Sunshine Coast, mostly due to sea-level rise
    • Less water available in future for cities, industries, agriculture and natural ecosystems
    • Days over 35 °C expected to increase, affecting peak energy demand
    • Increased pest and disease risk.

    The only part of the state projected to have more severe droughts and heatwaves but increased rainfall intensity when it does rain is Western Queensland.

    South East Queensland, the area hit by these floods, is projected to suffer from an increase in storm surges. The greatest danger to Brisbane based on climate change projections comes from the sea and not inland.

    Recent events simply confirm that climate models lack skill at the regional level. We are seeing from Trenberth, Karoly, Jones and co a collective ‘I knew that!’, whereas they predicted the opposite before the event. Good on you if you can find something from which to learn, but learning is the detection and correction of error, which first requires the recognition of error.

  13. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Make that 2011 flood!

  14. spangled drongo January 14, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Yeah, gav,

    dont raise the bridge, lower the river.

  15. Luke January 14, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    John – “consistent with” is precise, understatement and not overclaiming. Would you like me to say “is definitely”

    The reality as you put it is simple – SST’s are highest on record !!

    It’s not “extreme weather due to heat” – but if you’d like to advance “does AGW may cause El Nino Modoki” – Cohenite will have a fit.

    And again – I did not say all recent events were caused by AGW but they may have AGW modification.

    Spangled – less tropical cyclones – yep and you’ve been telling me why i.e. warm phase PDO and more El Nino events ! Or perhaps an AGW induced circulation change (OK just pulling your chain)

  16. Ian Thomson January 14, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Luke , No real comment on the extra moisture , however this link may add a little science to the superstition in the air just now.

    http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews11No1.pdf

    I , like a lot of others, do not really trust anything coming from Canberra on this subject – Too much GW money sloshing around. Too many Big Businesses wanting to trade carbon.
    I saw Professor ( ? ) Karoly on the ABC news and while not arguing with his facts , find the conclusions a little overdrawn.

    The man in the link above is basically self funded and frighteningly accurate – predicting the big Chilean earthquake to the day . He also forecast the Qld floods away ahead .

  17. Ian Thomson January 14, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    I guess what I am saying is that David Karoly came up with a car and a power pole , but was chasing a spectre – not the real driver

  18. Luke January 14, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Aynsley – no peak is not the key issue – try no cyclone and Wivenhoe dam. Murphy’s creek is consistent with CSIRO’s 2007 SEQ extreme event modelling. No previous record either. More “is consistent” for John.

    “Land-use changes in the Bremer catchment – increased hard surface run-off from development” – come on don’t get silly – it’s all pretty well still farm land mate.

    For the storm surge – wait for the east coast low !! that’s what Gold Coast City Council are worried about – high tide, storm surge, and extreme rainfall combination.

    As for your “they predicted opposite” – pfft ! all good theatre

    But Anysley – look forward to you helping some of my mates with your bucket and mop. When will you be here?

    Golly gee sceptics – does this mean CSIRO has been working on some … choke … Plan B’s !!

    You guys….

  19. Neville January 14, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    This is the never ending coin toss heads I win , tails you lose.

    It doesn’t matter what the weather throws up, could be a bad drought or very heavy rainfall it’s always attributed to that 0.01% increase in co2 in the atmosphere.

    Keep hitting them hard, we can’t let them get away with this con, because even if they’re correct ( just arguments sake) their remedy will be disastrous and have zero effect on the climate.
    Just ask China and the developed world.

  20. kuhnkat January 14, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    “As for your “they predicted opposite” – pfft ! all good theatre”

    About those desalinization plants and cancellation of flooding mitigation plans Luke…

    What is that plan B Luke?? Oh yeah, blame it on CO2 while burying the bodies. Kinda like plan A huh??

    You are too funny. You launch into tirades over skeptics who would throw up a couple of charts and wave their arms and here you are doing the same!! I am surprised they haven’t rushed through a peer reviewed paper just so you can flash it!! Probably on the way though.

  21. Will Nitschke January 14, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    It’s fairly uncontroversial science that the increased rainfall is attributable to high SOI anomalies brought on by a strong La Nina. Since the La Nina’s causes ocean surface cooling (and yes, pushes some warmth elsewhere), the bow you have to draw is that greenhouse gases caused this cooling, which then creates this particular atmospheric weather pattern. Honestly…

  22. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    In reality, the Brisbane floods were caused by human error.

    http://regionalstates.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/brisbanes-man-made-flood-peak/

  23. John January 14, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    Luke, SST stands for Sea SURFACE temperature, i.e. the temperature on the surface of the sea.

    Reduced cloud and/or calm surface conditions will allow the surface to rapidly warm – and I’m told that both occur in that region during El Nino events.

    Higher SSTs in that region are therefore CONSISTENT WITH the sustained bias towards El Nino from 2002 to 2008, and then, if you look at the BoM’s SST graphs it’s clear that temperatures there rise during La Nina or even neutral conditions.

    ENSO, a natural force, that has operated for at least 125,000 years, provides a good explanation.

  24. Luke January 14, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    KuknKat – What a loon – “cancellation of flooding mitigation plans ” – do tell you stupid dope – probably why there’s a fortune been spent on flood mapping, levee building, dam mods etc. You wouldn’t have a clue mate. Go back to your tea party party.

    Gee John is that right – warm waters in La Nina hey – didn’t know that – and record warm wouldn’t impress you?

    Will Nits – honestly read the post and see if it says that !

  25. Luke January 14, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Regional states – what a load of bunk. The dam engineers are heroes – they had a 1 in 5000 event in the catchment in the middle of the sequence. El Gordo – like to see you making the call !

  26. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Luke,
    “no peak is not the key issue – try no cyclone and Wivenhoe dam.”
    That’s why I drew your attention to the Bremer – with no flood protection. And the heavy release from Wivenhoe on Tuesday evening, which took 36 hours to travel to Brisbane we now know probably added to the peak. So the data are ‘consistent with’ AGW resulting in lower extreme weather events.

    ““Land-use changes in the Bremer catchment – increased hard surface run-off from development” – come on don’t get silly – it’s all pretty well still farm land mate.” You have to read to the end of the sentence, Luke: that’s the bit where I said ‘if anything.’ The point was that run-off rates are unlikely to have declined – every hobby farm and new house, every sealed road, every concrete driveway and parking lot in the catchment has added hard surface and hard surface and the 2011 run-off is likely to have been (if anything) faster than 1893. Simple point.

    The important point here is that ‘consistent with’ is profoundly unsound reasoning. The decline in infectious disease in London after sewering was ‘consistent with’ miasma theory, upon which the works were undertaken, but miasma theory was wrong. The incidence of heart attack in the US were ‘consistent with’ an increase in radio ownership in the US. The birth rate was once shown to be ‘consistent with’ the number of nesting stork pairs.

    The point is not whether there is a CSIRO model run that we can find with which the observed data are ‘consistent’, but whether the theory can yield accurate predictions. Karoly, Trenberth, Jones et al predicted the opposite. Predicting the opposite is not ‘all good theatre’ – it’s all poor scientific method. It;s about comparable with the leaders of millenarian movements coming up with post hoc rationalisations as to why their prognostications were wrong – but believe them on the revised forecast. I’ll believe them when they can produce a forecast before the event.

    In contrast, I have some reasonable faith in the ability of the SOI/ENSO guys to predict seasonal weather patterns, because their predictions were accurate in this case.

  27. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    The report linked by Jennifer is a high resolution modelling study and carries this disclaimer
    “The results and analyses contained in this Report are based on a number of technical, circumstantial
    or otherwise specified assumptions and parameters. The user must make its own assessment of the
    suitability for its use of the information or material contained in or generated from the Report. To the
    extent permitted by law, CSIRO excludes all liability to any party for expenses, losses, damages and
    costs arising directly or indirectly from using this Report.”

    According to the IPCC definitions http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_definitions.html projection means model-derived estimates of future climate

    My concern with ‘model derived’ is how accurate are the models? Model results are not facts or evidence, the results depend on input assumptions. Willis Eschenbach at
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/02/testing-testing-is-this-model-powered-up/
    says “We are being asked to bet billions of dollars on computer model forecasts of future climate catastrophe. These global climate models, known as GCMs, forecast that the globe will warm extensively over the next century. In this context, it is prudent to take a look at how well the models have done at “hindcasting” historical temperatures, when presented with actual data from historical records.

    His conclusions “A number of the models show results which are way too large, entirely outside the historical range of the observational data. Others show results that are much less than the range of observational data. Most show results which have a very different distribution from the observations.
    These differences are extremely important. As the Thorpe quote above says, before we can trust a model to give us future results, it first needs to be able to give hindcasts that resemble the “average and statistics of the weather states”. None of these models are skillful at that.’

    David Stockwell at his blog has this article http://landshape.org/enm/climate-model-abuse/
    The article links to a paper which says ‘climate models were only designed to provide a broad assessment of the response of the global climate system to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcings, and to serve as the basis for devising a set of GHG emissions policies. They were not designed for regional adaptation studies.’

    David says ‘To expect more from these models is simply unrealistic, at least for direct application to regional water management problems. The Anagnostopoulos et al conclusions negate the value of spending so much money on regional climate predictions decades into the future, for example on the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative and the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence. ‘

    It’s worth reading; Luke has some comments there too

  28. John Sayers January 14, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    This report is well worth a read – the similarity with the 1974 flood is clear. In 74 it was a weak cyclone Wanda, today it was the weak cyclone Tasha.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_reports/brisbane_jan1974.pdf

    BTW the 1893 flood was in fact 3 floods within a month.

  29. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    John I read that yesterday and thank you for the link which I think you gave yesterday

    and wasn’t it refreshing to have no disclaimer on that report

  30. Will Nitschke January 14, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    An overview:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49/20578.full

  31. cohenite January 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Stewart Franks on Karoly’s comments [also repeated in an ABC interview with Chris Uhlmann]:

    “Dear Mr Uhlmann

    I would like to protest the repeated interviews with Prof David Karoly with regard to the Queensland floods.

    Since 2003, I have published a number of papers in the top-ranked international peer-reviewed literature regarding the role of La Nina in dictating Eastern Australian floods.

    There has been no evidence of CO2 in affecting these entirely natural processes, irrespective of their devastating nature.

    Why is it then, that someone without any publication nor insight in this key area of concern for Australia is repeatedly called upon to offer his personal speculation on this topic?

    This is not a new problem with Prof. Karoly.

    In 2003, he published, under the auspices of the WWF, a report that claimed that elevated air tempertatures, due to CO2, exacerbated the MDB drought. To quote…

    ‘…the higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates, which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed…’

    The problem with this is that Prof Karoly had confused cause and effect.

    During a drought, moisture is limited. The sun shines on the land surface, and as moisture is limited, evaporation is constrained, and consequently the bulk of the sun’s energy goes into surface heating which itself leads to higher air temperatures. This effect can be as much as 8-10 degrees celsius.

    This is a common confusion made by those who have not studied the interaction of the land surface hydrology and atmosphere, as Prof. Karoly has not.

    Undoubtably Prof Karoly has expertise but not in the area of hydrology or indeed in many other areas on which the ABC repeatedly calls on him for ‘expert’ comment.

    Could I please ask that you cast your net a little wider in seeking expertise? These issues are too important for the media commont to be the sole domain of commited environmental advocates. Surely objective journalism also requires objective science?

    Sincere best wishes,

    Stewart Franks

  32. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Reading through the paper by Mojib Latif et al. (above) it doesn’t give me much faith in the models.

    ‘Virtually all global models suffer from serious problems in simulating Tropical Pacific climate. The annual mean state, the annual cycle, and the interannual variability as expressed by ENSO are often badly simulated.

    ‘Even the “best models” exhibit large systematic errors…’

    Does a strengthened Walker Circulation produce back to back La Nina?

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/soi-1969-1976.shtml

  33. paul walter January 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Karoly was on teev last night and I thought he explained things neatly, succinctly.
    Therefore I congratulate Jennifer for thoughtfully including the post because its actually, a very big conversation item for people just now; just talking with someone on exactly this on the dog and bone, a few minutes ago, meself.

  34. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks el gordo for the link to Stewart et als paper and it’s worth linking it again
    http://www.ag.gov.au/www/emaweb/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(99292794923AE8E7CBABC6FB71541EE1)~Climate+variability+in+the+land+of+fire+and+flooding+rain.pdf/$file/Climate+variability+in+the+land+of+fire+and+flooding+rain.pdf
    Conclusion and NO DISCLAIMER (sorry for shouting)
    Floods and bushfires are, and always will be, part of the Australian climate and it is impossible to prevent these natural disasters from occurring. Therefore, adequate understanding of the mechanisms that cause enhanced risk periods, and the recognition that enhanced risk periods exist but are predictable, is essential to effectively manage and minimise the damage associated with floods and bushfires when they do occur.

    The bios are impressive too

  35. spangled drongo January 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Good link, val. If govts acted on this advice with half the enthusiasm and expenditure they direct to AGW, what a wonderful world it would be.

  36. Luke January 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Spangled – climate modelling is climate modelling – same science that understands ENSO, PDO, IOD also provides information for AGW etc – you can’t have it both ways

    Val – remember data presented in the graphs are empirical not modelled. As for hindcast modelling – you’d be kidding wouldn’t you – that a GCM could model the 20th century independently. One samll drift in years and all your sequences will be wrong. You need to understand the difference between boundary conditions and initialisation.

  37. Luke January 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Aynsley – what went down Murphy’s Creek was unprecedented. “a land tsunami some have said” – some of the rain rates in both Brisbane Valley and Lockyer have been extraordinary.

    have a drive around the Lockyer and Bremer – do you think the increase in impervious surfaces is significant. I don’t – perhaps improvement in land condition indeed might may be it less impervious ?

    as for “good theatre” – I simply mean how sceptics are retrospectively portraying that mainstream serious climate science had said “it will never rain again”.

    And Aynsley to you of all people – I’m not overclaiming the results. I’m simply asking if AGW exists would it turbocharge La Nina? Some small evidence to that point? And I’m also not saying we can prevent ENSO by adjusting the atmosphere.

  38. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Hi Luke
    Just quoting you:
    Val – remember data presented in the graphs are empirical not modelled. As for hindcast modelling – you’d be kidding wouldn’t you – that a GCM could model the 20th century independently. One samll drift in years and all your sequences will be wrong. You need to understand the difference between boundary conditions and initialisation.

    and my reply is:

    Why can’t that happen in forecast or prediction?

  39. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    Neville Nicholls believes we are heading into global cooling for quite some time, because of the strongest La Nina since at least 1917.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/42858.html

    Luke asks, ‘If AGW exists would it turbocharge La Nina?’ Doubtful, there is no correlation between global warming and stronger La Nina, but we know for sure that a 100 year flood (by traditional analysis) occurs every 15 years of IPO negative.

  40. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Luke:
    ‘do you think the increase in impervious surfaces is significant’ Again, Luke, I direct you to the phrase ‘if at all’. I was simply pointing to which side any change might be on. I am well aware of the nature of the catchment – lived in the region for a few years and experienced a few floods. Much of my family is still there.

    ‘sceptics are retrospectively portraying that mainstream serious climate science had said “it will never rain again”.’ No – a few people are just calling out The Usual Suspects for claiming that anything is ‘consistent with’ AGW, when there seems to be nothing ‘unprecedented’. Yes, there was a cloudburst in a very steep catchment, with horrendous consequences, but the honest answer to any reporter asking the question is ‘we don’t know – and we predicted something different.’

    I wish you the best in your search for understanding all this (even short-term forecasts might have saved lives), but we need to move beyond ‘consistent with’ and the descent of climate science into the situation where anything is interpreted as evidence of AGW – heat, cold, snow, ice, drought, floods. Its all weather, and there appears to be nothing unusual in any of it if one looks at either the historical or geological records.

    A genuine question: what observations would disprove the theory? It seems nothing is ‘inconsistent’ at the moment, and for that reason alone the mass public is beginning to treat climate scientists with derision. I think some of their work is excellent – SOI/ENSO, for example. But it has been lost in the ‘noise’ of the Flannerisms of Doom. It needs to tidy up its act or remain risible in the eyes of the public – and that would be unfortunate. Pitman’s tossing Flannery under the bus is a good start.

  41. Luke January 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Val on your 4:28 – yep totally – no one is never trying to forecast what July 27, 2031 is or what sort of year 2039 will be …. all these tools can do is try to give some idea how distributions of climate may change.

    They are not seasonal forecasts.

    Bolt – what a righist ranter. All good posturing for the redneck faithful. His post is a litany of disinformation.

  42. Luke January 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Aynsley – What observations would disprove the theory – massive global cooling on decadal scale. Temperature plateau for 20 years. As for climate scientists being treated with derision – well sceptics can be proud of their tactics and disinformation campaign. Reality – most of the AGW mainstream findings are still there – however little progress has been made. Difficult problem. Decadal variability a major issue.

    Again not overclaiming at all on the data – it’s all “just interesting and consistent with…” And you have to be careful with “geological records” – quite often very very different circumstances. e.g. in prehistory – higher CO2 but lower solar output.

    And Flannery needs to back off – however as a species guy he will be concerned about the implications. It is unfortunate that he has become an AGW celebrity like Gore. In trying to help they become part of the problem by oversimplifying the case.

  43. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Luke re
    Val on your 4:28 – yep totally – no one is never trying to forecast what July 27, 2031 is or what sort of year 2039 will be …. all these tools can do is try to give some idea how distributions of climate may change.

    why is this not something other experts cannot do without computers

    that is why believe computer modelling rather than astrophysists for example

    particularly when they have that disclaimer about which I’ve been shouting

  44. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Luke I appreciate you are being courteous today (so far) as to your comment:
    And Flannery needs to back off – however as a species guy he will be concerned about the implications. It is unfortunate that he has become an AGW celebrity like Gore. In trying to help they become part of the problem by oversimplifying the case.

    Have you passed that opinion onto Tim Flannery?

    (I’M NOT SHOUTING)

  45. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    and the other thing Luke is WHY THE DISCLAIMERS IN THE BOM/CSIRO reports (I’VE MENTIONED THE DISCLAIMERS A NUMBER OF TIMES IN PREVIOUS POSTS ON THIS ARTICLE AND ON PREVIOUS ONES)
    SORRY FOR SHOUTING!!!!
    in my professional experience if advice is reliable in the opinion of the person giving advice THERE IS NO NEED FOR A DISCLAIMER!!!!

    So why the disclaimers?

  46. Robert January 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    It’s an odd but common form of spin these days. One piles stats, charts and other specifics on blurry generalities, till the reader forgets just how meaningless the generalities are. “Extreme weather events” will never be lacking in a world of instant and dramatic reportage. Since an absence of “extreme weather events” would be itself an “extreme weather event”, and since no definition of “extreme” is ever required, and knowledge of past “extremes” will be limited and fading…how can the climate alarmists lose? They can spin forever.

    What fun they could have with Kempsey’s Great Flood, freakishly occurring in late winter. A devastating encore flood within eight months would really get the alarmists bloviating. Sadly, those two horror events occurred in 1949 and 1950 – hence weather, not climate – and will have to be spun away like the Galveston Hurricane and Medieval Warming. What hipster wants to talk about all that old stuff anyway? That’s not the kind of talk that will get you laid at Cancun.

  47. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    ‘What observations would disprove the theory – massive global cooling on decadal scale.’

    But there might be underlying forcing and cooling from some other cause. Or Trenberth’s ‘missing heat’ might continue. Even stable temperature with continuing rising CO2 might be evidence if there was no other factor at play.

    In the short term, I quite like Jo Nova’s missing hotspot, or Garth Paltridge’s vainglorious search for rising water vapour in 50 years of radiosonde records. Without these positive feedbacks, we’re just looking at minor forcing, for doubling CO2 – most of which we’ve had. And the science is pretty well settled on that. Seems to me, the evidence is weakest on the very point that makes moderate forcing into CAGW. So, for me, absence of evidence of positive feedbacks will do.

  48. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Warwick Hughes has a guest post by Pat Frank
    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=780#more-780
    We’ve all read the diagnosis, for example here, that the global climate has suffered “unprecedented warming,” since about 1900. The accepted increase across the 20th century is 0.7 + or -0.2 C. As an experimental chemist, I always wondered at that “+ or -0.2 C.” In my experience, it seemed an awfully narrow uncertainty, given the exigencies of instruments and outdoor measurements.

    ….
    Here’s the title and the abstract:

    Title: “Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit”

    Abstract: “Sensor measurement uncertainty has never been fully considered in prior appraisals of global average surface air temperature. Random error has been incorrectly assessed, and the systematic error from uncontrolled variables has been invariably neglected. From the statistics of signal averaging, it is shown that the + or -0.2 C standard error commonly assigned to temperature sensor measurements is not random, but an adjudged average representing an ensemble of variances of unknown provenance. Rather than decrementing away, + or -0.2 C propagates undiminished into the total uncertainty. The commonly employed statistical model of monthly station temperatures is found to implicate an impoverished climatological physics. Deterministic temperature trends are thereby distorted into measurement errors, imposing large, avoidable, and generally unapprehended uncertainties onto the global average surface temperature. Illustrative temperature uncertainties, calculated using data sets from widely distributed surface stations, were: monthly, + or -2.7 C, and; annual, + or -6.3 C. The standard physical approach to uncertainty yielded lower limits of systematic error in measurements from three ideally sited and maintained temperature sensors: for the commonly used Min-Max Temperature Sensor (MMTS), + or -0.254 C; the Automated Surface Observing System, + or -0.137 C, and; the Gill, + or -0.189 C. The MMTS systematic error and the + or -0.2 C average noise estimate were propagated into a representative lower-limit of uncertainty in a global annual temperature anomaly, yielding + or -0.46 C. This + or -0.46 C represents a lower bound of precision both in temperature validation targets of climate models and for prospective, physically justifiable, proxy reconstructions of paleo-temperature. Further, the global surface air temperature anomaly trend from 1880 through 2000 was found to be statistically indistinguishable from 0 C. The rate and magnitude of 20th century warming are thus unknowable, and suggestions of an unprecedented trend in 20th century global air temperature are unsustainable.”

    end of quote

    So .. are we feeling warmer yet and if not or even if so what is the cause for alarm?

  49. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    and here’s Tom Quirk again http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2011/01/are-we-going-under

    Over 10 years from 1993 to 2003 the sea level rise due to thermal expansion is 4 mm from a direct measurement and 16 mm from the computer modelling studies of the IPCC reports.

    ——————————————————————————–

    These values are in clear disagreement, the former a direct measure of surface variations and the latter computer modelling of the deeper ocean. There must be some doubt about the forecasts of rising sea levels and indeed given a measured overall increase of 3.1 mm per year, the unexplained balance of 2.7 mm per year sea level rise.

    For a global temperature rise of 6 0C at the extreme of the IPCC projections, a good defence against the rising sea of 9 cm would be a good pair of gumboots or platform shoes. However the thermal expansion with the rising sea level is only a part of the story. A continuation of the trend of the last 20 years would give seas rising 30 cm this century. This is along way from the CSIRO projections.

    The use of elaborate computer models to indirectly calculate sea level changes is an approach to be found in other climate change areas. At least in this case it is possible to check the estimates with direct measurements.

    This raises serious concerns that policymakers and regulators have adopted projections from the CS IRO assuming the certainty of the results. They have not been aware of, or have chosen not to examine the uncertainty of projections.

    AGAIN I SAY WHY ARE WE RELYING ON COMPUTER PROJECTIONS (AND WITH DISCLAIMERS)

  50. Luke January 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Val – CSIRO would have been blooded by numerous attempts to sue them over research findings in all manner of areas. It’s their legal dept’s advice. The state of the science is what it is – errors and uncertainties stated? I for one don’t want too see precious research dollars squandered in profit seeking law suits by Asian legal hit squads.

    Why are you relying on computer projections – gee Val like the computer modelling calculations in biotech, drug design, aircraft design, hydrology. Perhaps you’d like to use an abacus or pencil and paper. Use of computer modelling is ubiquitous in all modern science. Do you actually think that climate science takes no empirical measurements – that they are not obsessed with model validation.

    And again you have not read the reports – it’s often not sea level per se – it’s what a storm surge on top of that will do. Try actually calmly reading some literature instead of deriving all your opinions from blogs. People like Quirk are just activists.

    Aynsley – yes dismissal of positive feedback would be a major issue. But surely you wouldn’t trust a raving hysteric like Nova to give you a complete story.

  51. Will Nitschke January 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    “Equatorial Pacific SST during the past half-century (Fig. 4A) shows a clear warming trend, consistent with global warming. The trend pattern is “El Niño-like,” which means that the warming is stronger and the meridional extent larger in the east relative to the west.”

    “Likewise ENSO activity did not change strongly during the past century (see Fig. 2). Decadal-scale changes can be seen, but an obvious sustained long-term trend cannot be observed. In particular, ENSO activity was rather weak during the past decade, as noted above. However, the past 50 years show somewhat more variability than the 100 years before, but the quality of the SST observations, especially before 1970 when satellite data were not available, needs to be considered in this context. In summary, no clear evidence can be found in the SST observations of the last century for an obvious change in either the equatorial SST gradient or ENSO activity that would stick out above the internal background variability.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49/20578.full

  52. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    LUKE The state of the science is what it is – errors and uncertainties stated? That’s why the disclaimer and because CSIRO BOM don’t want to be sued

    Then why rely upon them?

    The saying you are looking for is ‘errors and omissions excepted’ and that usually only applies to professional bills (accounts) where you see it as E&OE

    Not the advice for which the money is paid

    So why pay for advice which is so uncertain that it needs to bear a disclaimer because its legal advice have so advised it (if that’s correct);

  53. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Luke,
    Then you go and spoil a sensible discussion with an ad hominem (or feminem). End of discussion.

  54. Neville January 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Luke I’ve got the raw numbers for rainfall for Eastern Australia from the BOM, see here above the graph.http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=eaus&season=0112&ave_yr=A

    If you add up the years 1970 to 1990 you get average rainfall of 653mm per year.
    Then add up the years 1991 to 2010 and you get an average of 620mm per year.

    Your graph shows higher SST for the 1991 to 2010 years yet there is a reduction in rainfall of -33mm per year over that period. Rather wrecks your theory doesn’t it?

    The VP isn’t showing much of a trend but the SST certainly is, so I’d suggest you should stop pinning all your hopes on one year.

    BTW remove the last year for VP and rainfall on your graph and ithe trend starts to look very ordinary, or just about zip.

  55. Neville January 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Sorry I’ll try that BOM graph again.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=eaus&season=0112&ave_yr=A

  56. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11387&page=0
    Peter Ridd Professor of Physics at James Cook University and a scientific advisor to the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF).
    The limits of climate models

    conclusion:
    In the end we are relying upon models which are based upon poorly understood physics and operating for conditions outside the range for which they have been tuned. They have been demonstrated to be not useful in making predictions on any timescale longer than a couple of months. Although the GCMs are of considerable scientific value in pushing ahead our understanding of climate physics, it is difficult to tell if they have any value in making predictions.

  57. Neville January 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Interesting info Val and if SST increased over the second half of a 41 year record you’d expect rainfall to increase over that 20 years.

    Just a pity for the theory that average rainfall actually decreased by 33 mm a year over that time.

  58. val majkus January 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Thanks Neville for that comment; have to go put my nose to the grindstone but I’ll ponder your comment as I do
    And I’ll look forward to Luke putting a credible argument overnight as to why computer modelling is so infallible in his view
    Myself I have doubts

    read this somewhere

    If in trouble, if in doubt
    run in circles, scream and shout

    maybe I’ll try that

  59. Luke January 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Aynsley – well I thought I was being kind. Look at the titles of her posts and graphics. If think dear Joanne is fair well good on ya. Listen to the style of commentary she presides over. But as you like it. Jeez I didn’t even lay in.

    Neville – good to see you’re working some numbers yourself. However the latter period you have mentioned is besieged with ENSO – it’s not just SSTs. You need a La Nina and on shore flow to get the expression. El Nino periods won’t favour east Aussie rainfall.

    It’s very simple – there is broadly an upward trend in tropical Australian SSTs – the La Nina has many signs of being exceptional – record Dec trade winds, Nino region OLR and near record SOI values. Additionally the land based VP is very high. These conditions would give rise to some exceptional rainfall storms which we have seen.

    As I said to Aynsley I’m not overclaiming on the result. Could just be chance. But I do like to tease you guys on disturbing data.

    However there are many things to ponder too like changes in STRi and SAM for southern Australia. El Nino events becoming Modoki. Lots going on. These latter comments drought related.

  60. Luke January 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Val – poorly understood physics – oh come now – to what extent. Don’t you find it remarkable that a computer model can reproduce patterns of atmospheric circulation – fronts, high and low pressure regions and ocean conditions. That if you drop the resolution you can produce cyclone like vortices. It’s frankly extraordinary. And far from playstation science.

    I didn’t say the models were without faults but for heavens sake don’t totally trivialise the science put into them. They’re broad exploratory tools and far from perfect. The models are far from infallible.

    The issue is whether they are of sufficient use to be useful for policy development. That’s a complex question.

  61. Aynsley Kellow January 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Sorry Luke – if you cannot conduct the discussion on reason and evidence, rather than ad homs, I’m wasting my time. Jo Nova could be the Devil incarnate, but that has no bearing on her point.
    Bye.

  62. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    I agree SAM is a major driver, when ‘positive’ it brings flooding rains to southern Australia and South Africa.

  63. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    And it has been predominantly ‘positive’ .

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/aao/aao_index.html

  64. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    That is, the AAO is also fairly positive.

  65. el gordo January 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Ian Lowe, in today’s Age, talks about drowning in a hothouse.

    ‘There is no obvious place to dam the Fitzroy River to protect Rockhampton. The proposed Traveston Crossing dam would have been an ecological disaster and would not have protected Gympie, just as Brisbane was flooded despite the enormous amounts of water stored in the Wivenhoe and Somerset dams.

    ‘We need a concerted program of action to reduce greenhouse pollution urgently. It is irresponsible to be planning new coal mines or coal-fired power stations when we can see the tragic consequences of rapid climate change.’

    Well, I’m speechless…..he links the two pars without taking breath.

  66. Neville January 15, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Luke I think you’re caught in a religious trap and don’t really want to observe or even know the facts.

    So let’s add up just the la nina years 1970 to 2010, eleven in total.
    The first 5 returned an average of 749mm (1970 to 1988 ) and the last 6 returned an average of 743mm, ( 1996 to 2010 ) so no trend there either even including the 1009mm of 2010.

    Of course the 5 la ninas from 1988 to 2009 returned a much lower 690mm a year average.
    Fully 49 mm a year less than the earlier part of the record, so you’re pinning your hopes on only one year yet again.

    So the facts so far over the 41 year record easily disprove your theory completely, but because of your religious faith I’m sure you will once again twist and squirm to get off the hook.

    But please show me where I’m factually wrong using the rainfall record but please no more BS.

  67. Luke January 15, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Why would there be a trend?

    Neville you’re really such an amateur at this stuff forgetting everything else told to you before.

    (1) what I said above – it’s a record breaking super la nina in many respects
    (2) la ninas not delivering in the last decade has been well discussed – all of which you sneered at at the time – sub tropical ridge intensity, SAM, and strength of the event, warm phase PDO are all factors
    (3) which la ninas have cyclones – which don’t and to regionally where
    (4) PDO now changed and this event very strong – SAM has changed so fronts useful – and east coast fuelled by high atmospheric moisture and good onshore flow

    What’s all this twaddle you’re on about in terms of religious faith – I said I was not “overclaiming” the result.

    It is actually you who has the religion old mate – you’re so desperate to come with a half-arsed explanation for everything – e.g. ignoring facts and using whole of MDB rainfall graphs when the focus is not whole of MDB and well discussed in the science

    Like with the pro AGW case some stuff doesn’t fit. I’ve just given you some interesting data. I’m not overclaiming the result. Most people just say “hmmm interesting” and “we’ll see” – don’t have a pink fit.

  68. John Sayers January 15, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Luke – you keep saying “with no cyclone” yet you totally ignored my post regarding cyclone Tasha.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Cyclone_Tasha_%282010%29

    read the article, it was Tasha that triggered the whole Queensland event.

    You also ignored my post of the BoM report on the 1974 flood where they describe the weather patterns and it’s a similar situation to what has just occurred. It’s just weather repeating itself. The 74 flood was also preceded by a long drought 63 – 68, (El Nino years) 3 year break (la Nina years) , then another El Nino drought 72 – 73. Then 74 flood! La Nina year.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_reports/brisbane_jan1974.pdf

  69. James Mayeau January 15, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    hey James – let’s irrigate the desert – we can pour the water into the sand 1,000s of km away – wouldn’t that be fun. And you yanks could capture your hurricanes in a pocket handkerchief and do the same.

    yeah well we do. The cities of Los Angeles and San Diego are both built in the desert, on the coast, but the coast of a desert region. Most of the population of California lives on water imported from somewhere else, mostly Arizona but also from Northern California.
    On the one side the people get drinking water, on the other they get money and fewer flash floods.

    The Romans invented the aqueduct. Maybe it would work for you folks. I mean it’s a proven tech.

    Here’s how we do it.
    http://www.desertusa.com/colorado/parker_dam/du_parkerdam.html

  70. Polyaulax January 15, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    EL Gordo,re Ian Lowe. It’s no secret that he accepts the enhanced water cycle outcome of increased ACO2. It’s his rejection of nuclear that I find unrealistic.

    He’s got a point about the Fitzroy.The river basin could have a long,long flood barrage thrown across somewhere up from Rockhampton,but the result would be an enormous sea of a thousand km2 or more backed up for even longer than this current flood. That’s how big flood flow volumes can be up there.I suspect this current flood,while not the highest at Rocky, is the biggest in terms of sheer volume and duration above major level at the gauge. Maybe Tony knows,or I need to request the data from DERM

    He is spot on about Traveston,which was at best to be finished in 2011. Traveston first stage was small [173GL],with very little mitigation capacity.Any mitigation capacity would come at stage 2 planned for 2035. Traveston 1 would have been 100% full like all the other dams in SE Qld,and the flood would have gone right through to Gympie any way. Also major flooding below Traveston is possible without falls above Traveston.

  71. Polyaulax January 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    No,Lowe and I are wrong about Traveston 1 because there was to be air space for a flood. It may have taken most major floods in Gympie down a few good metres.

    Though I reckon Traveston in toto was flawed. I always thought the estimated yield to storage ratio was a little starry-eyed despite the security of the catchment.

  72. TonyfromOz January 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Polyaulax,
    I only moved here to Rocky in August, and the learning curve has been steep indeed over the last three/four weeks.
    This is my Post I know, (bad form) but it has a wonderful map of the whole Basin. Click on the map for a larger image and it shows all 9 of the major rivers. It also shows all the dams weirs barrages etc.

    http://papundits.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/rockhampton-flood-crisis-the-fitzroy-river-basin/

    There is a long history of flooding here, but this is the first time in recorded history that all rivers and creeks in the basin have all been in major flood, hence the huge volume of water flowing past Rocky, two Sydharbs a day, for the last 24 days and for more days to come.

    Here is a historical chart of flooding in the Rockhampton, half way down the page there at the link.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/brochures/fitzroy/fitzroy.shtml#PreviousFlooding

    Tony.

  73. Luke January 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    John Sayers – concede on Rocky but not on SEQ old son. You of course will need to justify it to yourself. 1974 Wanda came in over north of Noosa …. almost direct hit.

    Yea – good on ya James – just submit your hydrology report for a giggle. Dams in SEQ transporting water to the Simpson Desert – don’t call us – we’ll call you mate.

  74. James Mayeau January 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    My bad. I was just checking the wiki and it wasn’t the Romans who invented the aqueduct, it was the Assyrians 800 years before Christ.

    The Iraqis ancestors.

    So, I wouldn’t pump it all the way to the Simpson desert.

    You have the Aramac river that’s going in that direction anyhow, so you just have to dig a tunnel through a mountain , a hundred and fifty miles or so of conduit and bing, you’ve turned the Great Artesian Basin into the bread basket of Australia (Jesus, only a 150 miles. Why do they call you diggers? Before Thomas Jefferson was in the grave my ancestors had dug a canal from New York to Cleveland. – But ok I don’t want to bash on ya. But Jesus though.)

    Or you could go the other way and install drain plugs along the Fitsroy. Horrible waste of water though.

    Now on to funding. The coal miners are being inconvenienced a bit I heard. Them along with the city of Brisbane, that should cover the freight.

  75. TonyfromOz January 16, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    Best leg pull I’ve heard in years!

    Tony.

  76. val majkus January 16, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Warwick Hughes http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=780#more-780 has a Guest article by Pat Frank
    Dr Frank says
    We’ve all read the diagnosis, for example here, that the global climate has suffered “unprecedented warming,” since about 1900. The accepted increase across the 20th century is 0.7 (+/-)0.2 C. As an experimental chemist, I always wondered at that “(+/-)0.2 C.” In my experience, it seemed an awfully narrow uncertainty, given the exigencies of instruments and outdoor measurements. I did a study which led to the paper that is just out in Energy and Environment [5]. Here’s the title and the abstract:

    Title: “Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit”
    (abstract follows and conclusion)
    This lower limit of instrumental uncertainty implies that Earth’s fever is indistinguishable from zero Celsius, at the 1σ level, across the entire 20th century.

    There’s a link in a comment to the above article by Geoff Sherrington
    to http://www.geoffstuff.com/Jane%20Warne%20thermometry%20Broadmeadows.pdf
    A Preliminary Investigation of Temperature Screen Design and Their
    Impacts on Temperature Measurements

    and as for me I’m still running in circles screaming and shouting; I can’t believe we’re getting so heated over such an infinitesmal temperature rise (if it exists at all)

  77. Luke January 16, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Especially for you Val

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=287

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Global-Warming-Cold-Winters.html

    As for infinitesmal temperature rises – it’s not the mean – it’s the changes in extremes, changes in circulation systems that matter – the small absolute change in mean is an old ruse argument. Indeed you only need a couple of degrees in sea surface temperature change to disrupt the whole cycle of rainfall in the southern hemisphere. How much to start an ice age onset. Trying thinking about it Val !

    Energy & Environment – lightly reviewed bunk. Use to start your BBQ.

  78. val majkus January 16, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Now I’m really confused Luke and impressed with your sidestep

    you say if I understand it that to ascertain if AGW is happening we should look at sea surface temperatures and not land surface temperatures and I assume you are in that case discounting global average temperatures,
    or are you saying that because AGW is happening then sea surface temperature becomes the yardstick as to its extremes or otherwise

    in either case here’s a graph which suggests no significant warming during the past 8 years.http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/03/global-sea-surface-temperature-continues-to-drop/

    If in doubt run in circles scream and shout – I think I’ll just keep on doing that

  79. Luke January 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Nope – simply that land and sea temperatures tell the same general story in terms of trend. Others have now repeated mainstream analyses and gained the same answer. As do boreholes. As do satellite measurements.

    You could have said “no significant” warming many times in the last 150 years. There are annual, inter-annual, decadal wiggles and volcanism to consider. But the trend is basically upwards.

    And again – it’s not the average temperature change in itself – that’s just “an index” – it’s what happens to extremes of temperature, storms, cyclones, and rainfall and circulation changes (e.g. El Nino, Southern Annular Mode, Indian Ocean Dipole)

    Let’s look at a sceptic favourite data set – what does it tell you?http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss

    Cooling oceans? http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton-Myth-1-Cooling-oceans.html

  80. val majkus January 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Yep, I looked at that site Luke; thanks for that
    Now questions (cos I’m still confused)
    a) what do you say is the land surface temp trend
    b) same for ocean temperature trend – okay go as deep as you want

  81. Luke January 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Val – here is an interesting analysis looking at two almost independent data sets – the sea surface temperature set (SST) and night time marine air temperature (NMAT) – no land data sets – no heat island or shonky met station issues.

    A principal components analysis (PCA) reveals the main trend in the global data is a centennial warming signal (EOF1).

    A second order EOF (EOF2) being the Pacific decadal signal (IPO ~ PDO)

    A more recent analysis shows the 3rd EOF – EOF3 is the signal of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

    No land data sets in these analyses.

    So there is an unambiguous long scale warming across most of the world. AGW says that greenhouse gases are responsible for the last 30-40 years http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Climate_Change_Attribution.png

  82. Luke January 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Whoops paper being http://www.gi.alaska.edu/~bhatt/CJC/Parkeretal_2007.pdf

  83. hunter January 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Yes, it is clear from here Luke knows his side is full of it- he is almost acting civil in multiple answers. Guilt will do that to one.

  84. Llew Jones January 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    It seems that those who claim that AGW is likely to produce more extreme floods in and around Brisbane are simply not au fait with the rainfall history of the region. The question that may be asked is, more extreme than what? The really big one which reached the highest ever levels in some locations and perhaps also in terms of the sum total of the regional precipitation, was 1893.

    The atmospheric CO2 concentration in that year was about 296ppm, which for all intents and purposes is the pre IR level of about 280. If one likes to check the BOM data there is a record of periodically occurring big floods before 1893. There was a particularly big one about 1820 to 1824 when the CO2 concentration was 284. The then still observable evidence indicated that the flood level was around 50 feet (15 meters).

    Of course 1893 was more extreme than 2011 and 1974 as cyclone activity was involved. Should not we have expected contributing cyclone activity to have been increasing prevalent through the 20thC as atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were on the rise?

    One surely could be forgiven for thinking that not only Karoly but a branch of the CSIRO need to brush up on the BOM history of this very flood prone region and state.

  85. Luke January 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    Hunter – I love you for being the representative to your creed that you are. Pls don’t stop being stupid and content free.

    Anyway Val as luck would have it http://www.skepticalscience.com/Quick-and-Dirty-GHCN-Analysis.html

  86. hunter January 17, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    The only content free posts going on are the defenders of the failed flood and Bush management policies. It is just that like most bureaucrats, he must use many words to accomplish saying nothing.
    Think of Polonius from ‘Hamlet’.
    Luke’s Polonius, however, is not merely capable of using words at great length, but of inflicting and defending great harm with his interminable bloviation as well.

  87. Luke January 17, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Pls cite where I have defended these “failed policies” and “inflicted” great harm – how do you stay upright during the day. Do they make you wear a nappy at your institution?

  88. John Sayers January 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Ok Luke – so you concede that Rocky was triggered bycyclone Tasha. In the 74 flood the dying cyclone triggered a move of the low depression southward , just as it happened last week.

    The major flood in Tabulam and the Clarence river also occurred in 74. I spoke today with farmers who rode horseback to check the flood levels and moved the cattle involved etc.

    This low also travelled down to Eucha as it did in 74 and all the records down there are breaking the 74 flood.

    How on earth do you see some CO2 fantasy in all these clear repetitions of the typical Australian Climate?

  89. Luke January 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Yes John sure mate – we’ll just ignore all the published papers. We’ll juts ignore how the supercell formed. That’s OK. You just keep misrepresenting the message and distorting what the science is saying.

  90. hunter January 18, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    Luke,
    You have done nothing but shred the critics of alarmist bullshit for the time I have seen your writing.
    You have backed alarmist crap as if you were in the crap purchasing business.
    Now that actual lives and property are being lost at both ends of Australian normal weather extremes you are suddenly so (relatively) reasonable.
    When it comes to managing bush, you either allow reasonable cutting or not.
    When it comes to improving dams and flood systems to contain known flood levels, you either build or you don’t.
    Years after the bad decisions are made, don’t come in parsing around and talking about how clever you were to distract from you picking the wrong side.
    The distortion is all coming from you and your need to cover your ass.
    The alarmists and enviro extremists were not only wrong, they were dangerously wrong.
    You have been consistently on their side.
    You chose, and now you want to just sort of ease back into the town and talk about how you did not know what was going on at that place on the edge of town.

  91. Luke January 18, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Evidence to support rant = zero

  92. Ron Pike January 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Not zero Luke,
    But as claimed by hunter.
    All of us at this blog have read your wild rants and assumptions for years and every time you get caught short or totally discredited you change the basis of argument or totally change the discussion.
    All you have ever been consistent with is personal abuse.
    Hardly the stuff of reasoned debate.
    From my memory all of your doomsday predictions have been proven wrong by events.
    You and Tim Flannery would make a perfect pair of Hanrahans.
    Pikey.

  93. Luke January 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Evidence to support assertions = zero

  94. el gordo January 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    From the Abbs et al. paper:

    ‘There is high agreement on decreases in the intensity of 24-hour and 72-hour extreme rainfall events in the hinterland north of Brisbane and the coastal regions of northern New South Wales for 2030. By 2070, the regions of likely decreases in extreme rainfall intensity have almost disappeared and most regions are likely to experience an increase in the intensity of extreme rainfall events.’

    In other words, there will be fewer robust cyclones and decaying cyclones impacting on SE Queensland and NE New South Wales in the run-up to 2030. Then conditions slowly deteriorate up to 2070 when it will be inclement and presumably a lot more cyclones.

    This yarn is based on computer models and doesn’t hold water.

  95. el gordo January 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    ‘The issue is whether they are of sufficient use to be useful for policy development. That’s a complex question.’

    Models are useful tools for weather forecasting a week ahead, but with long range forecasting they fail because of the inherent warming bias.

    It’s a random walk or possibly order masquerading as randomness. Either way, take out AGW and the models will work for climate change too.

  96. wes george March 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Just for the record,

    Luke got banned from Jo Nova’s blog for repeated using foul language and apparently commenting while off his mind on whatever he uses. And if you ever been to Jo’s you know you gotta get pretty damn foul to get ejected.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that Luke use to spruik a drier Australia due to a suppressed hydrological cycle forced by AGW. But that was during the last Big Dry.

    Hypocrisy, Luke is thy name!

    :-)

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2008/10/how-melbourne’s-climate-has-changed-a-reply-to-dr-david-jones-part-3/

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