I received the following message from a reader of this web-log:
“You have previously exposed the drawing of shonky conclusions by government agencies from time to time. Here is a developing case. The Queensland DNRM (Department of Natural Resources) web site makes the following claim about a recently released CSIRO report titled ‘Climate Change in Queensland under Enhanced Greenhouse Conditions’, projected climate changes for Queensland can be summarized as follows: Annual rainfall over Queensland is projected to decline over most of the State, although projections of rainfall change are less certain than for temperature.
The full report link is at http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/ClimateChanges/pub/FullReportLowRes.pdf .
The issue is, no where in the report does it state that average annual rainfall is projected to decline, quite the opposite. See statements in Section 2.2.2, page 13 “…the Mark 3 model projects slight increases in annual rainfall in Queensland by 2050 (about 7%; see section 3.2).” Other references to rainfall increases are made on pages 48 and 73. Page 74 states “average rainfall in Queensland is projected to change little by Mark 4.” Mark 4 is the next version of the Mark 3 climate model.
DNRM (Department of Natural Resources) spokespersons have recently been taking every opportunity at workshops and seminars to play up large projected declines in Queensland rainfall and I understand that the Minister was making statements to that effect today on radio too.”
In fact the report is not recent. It was published in January 2002. However, this web-log reader and others probably heard the Minister on radio on Wednesday morning and it sounded like he was talking about a new report. The ABC radio news was actually quoting the Minister answering Estimates Committee questions in the Queensland Parliament on Tuesday. This is what was said in Parliament on 12th July 2005:
“Mrs DESLEY SCOTT: Minister, page 9 of the MPS mentions the department’s role in researching the potential impacts of climate change. Can the minister outline the findings of any government
research into the possible effects of future climate change on Queensland rainfall patterns?
Mr ROBERTSON: For four years my department has been researching the possible effects of future greenhouse concentrations on Queensland’s climate. Our studies into past climate conditions have been central in covering the link between greenhouse gas concentrations, natural variability, ozone depletion and declining rainfall across much of eastern Australia. The results indicate that growing greenhouse gas concentrations and ozone depletion have contributed significantly to Queensland’s rainfall decline over the past 20 years.
In collaboration with the CSIRO’s Atmospheric Research Division we are researching whether this declining trend will continue. We expect rainfall to continue to decline over the next 70 years. Our modelling experiments suggest that over much of the state annual rainfall may decline by as much as 13 per cent by 2030 compared to conditions in the 1990s. By 2070 the decline may be as much as 40 per cent compared to conditions in the 1990s.”
Was not the Minister referring to that 2002 report that was a four-year contract between the Queensland Government and the CSIRO and that is now 3 years old?
Roger Stone contributed to that 2002 report.
Graham Young (Editor of e-journal Online Opinion and Blogger) has been remembering Roger Stone’s predictions. This is what Graham wrote on 1st July 2005:
“Another entry for my yet to be constructed database of predictions is climatologist Dr Roger Stone of the University of Southern Queensland and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries.
On the first of June ABC Rural carried these pars:
The prospects for normal winter rainfall and crops have deteriorated, with news today Australia is officially in a borderline El Nino.
The southern oscillation index is in the negative.
Dr Roger Stone, a climatologist with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, says the outlook is bleak for winter crops.
He says three eastern states have almost no chance of a normal crop, with the outlook worst in New South Wales.
“For the state as a whole, less than 10 per cent chance of getting normal winter crop,” he said.
“This is normal yield, so it doesn’t miss out altogether on getting what we call median yields.
“For most of those shires to the west and south-west of Parkes and Dubbo, stretching down towards the Victorian border, in fact for most of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, the chances of getting a normal wheat crop are about 10 per cent to 20 per cent at most.”
Then, on the 30th June, a mere 29 days later, the Courier Mail carried this sentence about the sometimes torrential rain South-East Queensland has been receiving since mid-June:
Climatologist Roger Stone said the rain was likely to continue at least through winter due to a one-in-10-year climate phenomenon.”
Yeah, we did have a bit of rain including through the NSW wheat belt -and contrary to the original prediction!
I note that the Queensland Government in their summary of that 2002 report claims that:
“Maximum tropical cyclone wind speeds are likely to increase by 5 to 10%, by 2050. This will be accompanied by increases of 20 to 30% in peak tropical cyclone precipitation rates. However, little change is expected in the regions of tropical cyclone formation, and there is no evidence that tropical cyclones travel further south.”
I don’t think cyclone-expert Chris Landsea would approved, see
And I was recently sent this information in relation to my blog about the Wyaralong Dam (my blog of 7th July titled Government Commits $2.3 million to Unknown Quantity of Water):
“I suspect DNR (Queensland Department of Natural Resources) is fudging on projected volumes because the decision to go with Wyaralong rather than Glendower as the next dam site was taken late in the piece. The Government has bought up almost all the land it needs for Gledower, not so for the dam it is now shackled to. Old timers tell me that there is no way the water volumes from the Teviot Brook catchment will produce the sort of dam the Government is talking about, but I suspect there is a bit of politics in that, too. Locally, the dam is seen as water storage for metropolitan use located smack dab in an area crying out for more water for rural use.
DNR has always maintained that the Mary River valley is where the next big dam will be located for seq’s urban water needs. I believe all this talk of Wyaralong is an attempt to control the policy agenda until the Government sniffs how the political breeze will blow in relation to a bigger dam on the Mary.”
I think this message is saying that the Queensland Government already knows that the dam they have committed to, will catch no water.
In making this determination I suspect the Queensland Government did not even consider the predicted 40 percent decline in rainfall over the next few decades as per the Minister’s comments in state Parliament on Tuesday?