The Global Mail has ceased operations.
CLIMATE

This Heatwave: Officially Brought To You By Climate Change

At the weekend — as roads melted in parts of Queensland, trains crawled on heat-buckled tracks and long-standing temperature records disintegrated in the outback — Australia’s climate change agency slipped out a report confirming that the warming of the planet is behind our record-breaking heatwave and severe bushfires.

It is unlike the Climate Commission — headed by Professor Tim Flannery, a scientist notably not unwilling to share his opinion on the doom of climate change — to mask its reports. But no press release announcing the report appears on the commission’s website; unhappily the commission’s report, Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat, received only the barest media attention when it was released early on Saturday morning, an odd hour for any attention seeking.

We think it worth a fuller account — especially as another recent study shows that Australia’s media has largely failed to connect the January heatwave to climate change. Simon Divecha is the business manager at the Environment Institute of the University of Adelaide. A week ago the website The Conversation published his study which showed that fewer than 10 of the 800 articles published in the previous five days about the heatwave had mentioned climate change, global warning or greenhouse gas.

<p>Mike Bowers/The Global Mail</p>

Mike Bowers/The Global Mail

September 2012 to January 2013 were the hottest four months in recorded Australian history, according to the Climate Commission’s report.

It’s perhaps not so surprising then to learn that scepticism about climate change — at least before the grip of the heatwave — remains reasonably high among Australian conservative voters. A study completed late last year by Griffith University found that one’s experience of climate change in Australia was closely allied to which side of politics you supported. Some 75.7 per cent of Green voters and 60 per cent of Labor’s agreed with the statement: “We are already feeling the effects [of climate change].” But only 40 per cent of Nationals voters agreed, and even fewer (32.7 per cent) Liberal voters. Overall, only 4.2 per cent of the study’s 4,300 respondents selected the option “there is no such thing as climate change” and 8.5 per cent could be considered strong sceptics. Some 45 per cent of all respondents reported they’d had direct personal experience with climate change. Perhaps Australia’s January heatwave will shift opinion in the debate.

The Climate Commission’s report lists what it says are four key messages for Australians arising from the heatwave. They are:

1. The length, extent and severity of the current Australian heatwave is unprecedented.

2. Although Australia has always had heatwaves, hot days and bushfires, climate change is increasing the risk of more frequent and longer heatwaves and more extreme hot days, as well as exacerbating bushfire conditions.

3. Climate change has contributed to making the current extreme heat conditions and bushfires worse.

4. Good community understanding of climate change risks is critical to ensuring appropriate action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to put measures in place to prepare for, and to respond to, extreme weather.

The report says that as global temperatures rise, very hot days in Australia are increasing in frequency and heatwaves are lengthening. Temperatures above 40°C and 45°C were unprecedented in their extent across Australia this month, records were broken and the duration of the extreme heat was also unprecedented.

January's soaring heat shot off the charts, literally, forcing the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to add two new colour codes on top of black on the official weather maps. Dark purple and magenta now top the map, representing temperatures of 51°C to 54°C.

In seeking to answer the question of how climate change influences Australia’s temperature, the report says that Australia’s average temperature has already risen 0.9°C since 1910, consistent with the global trend of increasing temperature. While the increase might seem modest, small changes in average temperature can have significant effects on the frequency and nature of extreme weather events, the report says.

By way of example, it says that the number of record hot days across Australia has doubled since 1960, despite the average temperature increase of only 0.9°C. Many record hot days are in store for Australians if global warming continues unabated, the report says, adding that the increase in temperature observed around the world is directly connected to the increase in greenhouses gases from human activities. Those gases in the atmosphere trap heat.

Aside from warming, much of eastern, southern and southwestern Australia has become drier over the past 40 years. Tasmania’s total rainfall has reduced, Victoria has experienced a 10-to-20 per cent decline in rainfall in its late autumn-winter season, most of New South Wales has become drier and there has been a stark rainfall decline in South Australia.

Accompanying the trend to a hotter and drier Australia, is an exacerbation of the risk and intensity of bushfires. When fires occur in more extreme weather conditions, they have the potential to be far more intense and difficult to control, the report says. The Forest Fire Danger Index, used to gauge bushfire threats, has significantly increased at 16 of 38 weather stations across Australia since 1973. None of the stations has shown a significant decrease. The increases are most marked in southeastern Australia, and the fire seasons have become longer, reducing the opportunities for fuel reduction burning.

<p>AAP/ADAM BRUZZONE</p>

AAP/ADAM BRUZZONE

Professor Tim Flannery

In seeking to explain why the heatwave has been so unusual, the Climate Commission says the period from last September to January was the hottest four-month period ever recorded in Australia. Rainfall has also been below average across the continent and the wet (monsoon onset) season has been notably inactive. This four-month dry period followed two years of record rainfall across southeastern Australia, magnifying the amount of vegetation and, thus, fuel for bushfires.

This month’s searing temperatures have led to records being set across Australia. Among them are:

Australia experiences seven consecutive days with area-average maximum temperatures above 39°C between January 2-8, breaking the previous record of four days in 1973.

NSW: On January 5, the town of Hay reached 47.7°C, breaking its record by 1.7°C.

Northern Territory: Curtin Springs broke its maximum temperature record on January 4, only for it to be broken again on January 8 when the temperature hit 45.7°C.

South Australia: Between January 4-6, temperature records were broken at four weather stations.

Tasmania: On January 4, Hobart reached 41.8°C, breaking the record by 1°C.

Victoria: On January 4, the temperature in the southwestern town of Portland reached a record 42.1°C.

Western Australia: On January 3, the state’s eastern-most town of Eucla broke its record, reaching 48.2°C.

And what of the effect upon humans of these extremes? If core body temperatures exceed 38°C for several hours, the body can suffer heat exhaustion and reduced mental and physical capacity. At 39°C more serious heat stroke and unconsciousness may occur. Serious heat stroke and even death occurs after a relatively short time if body temperatures rise above 42°C.

The commission’s report says Australian heatwaves in recent years have resulted in more deaths than previously. In Melbourne, for instance, during late January 2009, temperatures reached and exceeded 39°C over three days. There were 374 extra deaths over the period, beyond the estimated 606 that would have been expected. That was a rise of 62 per cent. The elderly were the hardest hit. During the Brisbane heatwave of February 2004 when temperatures climbed to 42°C, deaths increased 23 per cent.

The commission’s report concludes that climate change will cause even more deaths if Australia fails to improve the way it forecasts, prepares for and manages the extreme heat events that are to come.

Soon enough we’ll know just how many extra deaths have occurred because of the January heatwave. First, we’ll need it to end.

61 comments on this story
by Matt

Interesting stat on the number of mentions of climate change in media reports of January weather. Perversely climate skeptics claimed such reporting was endemic. It's continual baseless claims of 'climate hysteria' by the skeptics that have scared off our media from frank and rational reporting.

January 14, 2013 @ 8:23pm
by George

The evidence for the heatwave is anecdotal at best. This is simply alarmism and there is no rigorous statistical method available to prove beyond doubt that the recent heatwave is as a result of climate change. It is equally valid to state that the snow that fell in October near Sydney was a as result of global cooling. I would also doubt whether the author has the ability to understand basic forecasting methodology and basic statistical practice. Records get broken because the length of directly observable data is finite, making it more probable that temperatures at the tails of a true distribution of all historical (including unmeasured) temperatures being reached.

January 14, 2013 @ 11:36pm
by mememine69

Yes I see the signs of change. The signs of change cannot be denied. We see the obvious signs of change!
Ug ug cave man see strange, cave man put out fire to please angry weather gods ug ug

January 15, 2013 @ 1:40am
by Bern Lagan

Thanks, George. Suggest you use the link in the story to read the whole report. I do think the Climate Commissioners, Prof Tim Flannery and Prof Will Stefen, probably understand basic statistical practice .

January 15, 2013 @ 11:38am
by Lux01

George have a read of the csiro website and their report. It shows the temperature trends to be rising

January 15, 2013 @ 12:59pm
by Terry Constanti

Don't be surprised when the argument goes from "you can't prove it's climate change, why change our lifestyle/ business model" to "OK , in hindsight it is, but its too late now to do anything - now, how do we make money out of the new reality?"

January 15, 2013 @ 1:13pm
by George

I don't think they do understand their own statistics and the article here takes their results on the basis of faith only. A really poor effort at trying to represent anything scientific.

January 15, 2013 @ 2:24pm
by Kevin Cobley

I live my life in an energy constrained manner, I don't own or drive a car (the largest squanderer of energy by a large margin, and that includes greenwash vehicles like Prius) due to some technical limitations my home is not suited to solar hot water or panels so I will get a much more efficient instantaneous gas system at the expiry of my current electric system and install a more efficient gas heating system than I currently have, I have no airconditioning. When I buy appliances I buy the most efficient I can (thought the energy efficiencies stated on the devices are clouded by the laregly inept and unverifyable energy star system which is designed to confuse rather than assist purchasers). My electricity account has always been under around $260 up until this quarter when it has risen to $340
I don't fly.
What I would like to see is people that lead by example not Al Gore's that constantly flying and Mansion living hippocrit.
I want to see Flannery on trains and on foot and the planes and Prius gone.
You can't expect or lecture people to modify their lifestlyes unless Gore and Flannery are not prepared to do the same>

January 15, 2013 @ 2:37pm
by Ross Cochrane

Kevin Cobley, I am happy to see Al Gore and Tim Flannery flying around in jets if its to promote the understanding of global warming. No one has ever said we must all stop flying tomorrow and go live in caves, even the Greens don't advocate that.

January 15, 2013 @ 4:06pm
by Ross Cochrane

George, there will never ever be conclusive proof, its not an exact science. But climate scientists are by nature skeptical. They record, analyse and reanalyze every bit of data , then they get it peer reviewed then release their findings. And I trust them so much more than say Tony Abbott who just says its a load of crap!!!

January 15, 2013 @ 4:09pm
by ken waite

Good article Bernard. Unfortunately in my case you are preaching to the converted. I've read the "Off the Charts" report and it makes sobering reading. More worrying is the way the mainstream media either distort or ignore important scientific news on climate change. Today in "Crikey",Cathy Alexander reports an interview with IPCC chief Rajandra Pachauri about the meeting in Hobart this week of 240 scientists from 32 countries who are in the process of producing the 5 yearly report this September on climate change.

In our national newspaper 'The Australian", with environmental editor Graham Lloyd (in Crikey's words) ... "the Oz marked the summit's opening with a front page "exclusive story" which claimed there was no link between sea-level rises and global warming. That is the sort of rubbish that scientists who have dedicated there lives to, have to put up with every day.

The Hobart meeting will no doubt be ignored by the mainstream print media and probably the ABC too. Hopefully more people will find the facts online on publications such as yours. cheers.

January 15, 2013 @ 7:33pm
by Robert Longmuir

Our next deputy PM, the inspirational, intellectual Warren Truss, is on record as telling us last week that a single hot weather event does not mean the climate is changing. For Truss's benefit, there have been multiple and increasing record hot weather and wet weather events over the last 30 years, exactly as predicted by the science. Big Insurance knows! They are accutely aware that the climate is changing. Has anyone else observed the doubling of their home insurance over the past 5 years? Big Mining knows! Thats why they lobbied to have the Environmental Defenders Office de-funded in NSW and most probably Queensland.

January 16, 2013 @ 8:43am
by susan e

Many Australians do indeed carefully read the science as well as the media stories covering climate issues. Some, like me, have 'been on the bandwagon' supporting climate change initiatives from the beginning. So much weight is given to the climate skeptic case in this country, skewing media attention and public voicing. that it really hard for many to get a clear perspective and make their way from skeptic to supporter. It is a case of slowly, slowly.

We need relentless and crystal clear presentation of both new material on this issue, and regular reviews of amassing data. Every such piece is valuable. The premises may not be accepted by the skeptics as they read. listen or view. Still, those premises enter into their minds and are stored somewhere (my background is in neurophysiology). Those premises add to the weight of evidence and can eventually shift these people's opinions. I have to hope for this.

At the same time, thank goodness that the Government has the courage to move forward with some mitigation efforts.

This article is excellent. Thank you, Bernard.

January 16, 2013 @ 11:44am
by Will Solly

Susan, Ken and Robert. Congratulations. Your responses/comments are so much better than the norm.
Like you all undoubtedly I empathize with Noah of "Noah's Ark" fame. We are telling and informing and so often our words fall on deaf ears.
It's difficult to know any more if we should continue activism or direct our energies to preparing our habitats for our future security.
In 1983 I STOOD ON A GLACIER IN SWITZERLAND THAT HAD MELTED MORE SINCE 1900 THAN SINCE THE ICE AGE. The North West Passage opened for the first time in 2008. The North Pole may well all but disappear this year in the summer melt. The rapid acceleration is now occurring at a pace that will overtake the general populace in a way it will not be able to be dealt with. The famous last words of the captain on a sinking ship, "each person for themselves".

January 16, 2013 @ 10:43pm
by gabrianga

I would suggest that 100% of Australians have experienced climate change every year of their lives.
What some disagree about is "experts" like a Combet, a Flannery, a Milne etc.etc. making out that climate change is something brand new and we all have to pay for a "cure"

I noticed our Prime Minister reverted back to the even more frightening "Global Warming" which many believed,along with Kevin, died at Copenhagen.

January 17, 2013 @ 8:12am
by Julie Ho

I'd like to remind George and others of the Precautionary Principle. From Wikipedia, referencing the New South Wales Land and Environment Court under Justice CJ Preston (24 April 2006):

"If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reasoning for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. In the application of the principle… decisions should be guided by: (i) careful evaluation to avoid, wherever practicable, serious or irreversible damage to the environment; and (ii) an assessment of risk-weighted consequence of various options". The most significant points of Justice Preston's decision are the following findings:

The principle and accompanying need to take precautionary measures is "triggered" when two prior conditions exist: a threat of serious or irreversible damage, and scientific uncertainty as to the extent of possible damage.
Once both are satisfied, "a proportionate precautionary measure may be taken to avert the anticipated threat of environmental damage, but it should be proportionate."
The threat of serious or irreversible damage should invoke consideration of five factors: the scale of threat (local, regional etc.); the perceived value of the threatened environment; whether the possible impacts are manageable; the level of public concern, and whether there is a rational or scientific basis for the concern.
The consideration of the level of scientific uncertainty should involve factors which may include: what would constitute sufficient evidence; the level and kind of uncertainty; and the potential to reduce uncertainty.
The principle shifts the burden of proof. If the principle applies, the burden shifts: "a decision maker must assume the threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage is… a reality [and] the burden of showing this threat… is negligible reverts to the proponent…"
The precautionary principle invokes preventative action: "the principle permits the taking of preventative measures without having to wait until the reality and seriousness of the threat become fully known".
“The principle should not be used to try to avoid all risks."
The precautionary measures appropriate will depend on the combined effect of "the degree of seriousness and irreversibility of the threat and the degree of uncertainty… the more significant and uncertain the threat, the greater…the precaution required". “…measures should be adopted… proportionate to the potential threats".

January 17, 2013 @ 10:13am
by Marcus

Gabrianga, just like most Denialist Trolls, you manage to present an entirely garbled message. In truth, the rate of Climate Change we've experienced in the last 30 years is unprecedented in the last 5,000 to 8,000 years of human history.
Also, unlike the Denialist Cult, who have to rely on "experts" like Watts, Plimer, Monckton, Fielding et al for their "evidence", we have more than 100 years of well established science & temperature records to tell us that the warming of the last 30 years *is* indeed something brand new, & something we'll need to pay to cure.

January 17, 2013 @ 10:17am
by Clem the climate change man

Good on you for pointing out Australian media slackness in linking the heat wave to climate change. Needs to be said.

January 17, 2013 @ 10:20am
by Marcus

Just a few pointers, gabrianga. The terms Global Warming & Climate Change are both used all the time-though the phrase global warming is still used more often in recent years as it is the subset of climate change that we're most frequently being exposed to. For the record, though, Republican Spin Doctors were the ones who-in the 1990's-urged politicians to try & use the phrase "Climate Change" as often as possible, as they deemed it sounded "less urgent" & "less threatening".

January 17, 2013 @ 10:20am
by Marcus

Another pointer for you, Gabrianga. The coal & oil we're currently burning are the products of tens of *millions* of years of CO2 sequestration by plant life. When this sequestration ocurred, both CO2 levels & average global temperatures were significantly higher than they are even today (even though the sun was "cooler"). Yet you'd have us believe that releasing millions of years of CO2 in mere decades won't have *any* impact on our environment or-more specifically-the climate? If you believe that, then I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you!

January 17, 2013 @ 10:24am
by Ricardo K

The deniers have taken a leaf out of Sir Humphrey Appleby's book. In an episode of Yes (Prime) Minister, he outlined the delaying tactics of the bureaucracy. First, deny there is a problem. Second, acknowledge there may be a problem but it's not clear what the problem is. Third, admit there is a problem but insist there is nothing to be done. Finally, confirm that a problem existsed but it's too late to do anything about it. This last phase is what is called 'adaptation'.

January 17, 2013 @ 10:47am
by Marcus

Ah George, an ideal example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. A talentless individual who thinks he knows more than experts with decades of training & experience. Unfortunately there's no convincing these tin-foil hat wearing Denialists.

January 17, 2013 @ 11:59am
by gabrianga

May I suggest that Will Solly was just a wee bit out with his statement that the North West Passage opened for the "first time" in 2008

I believe the first ship went through about 1905 and Kiwi Yachtsman, Graeme Kendall, completed a world sailing first; Arctic North West Passage solo, non stop, unassisted & in a record 12 days around 2010

http://www.astralexpress.com/passage.htm

January 17, 2013 @ 12:29pm
by Darlene Morris

My dear gabrianga, from your first sentence, I would guess that you are stuck in stage two of the five stages of climate denial.

Stage one: It's not happening.
Stage two: It's happening, but it's natural.
Stage three: It's happening, it's not natural, but it's beneficial.
Stage four: It's happening, it's not natural, it's harmful, but it is not as bad as alarmists are suggesting.
Stage five: It's happening, it's not natural, it is harmful, it's a really bad thing, but there's nothing we can do about it.

January 17, 2013 @ 1:16pm
by Marcus

Again, like a good denialist troll, gabrianga deliberately misrepresents the facts. Being able to navigate the North-West Passage in specially designed vessels (as Amundsun's was) is a far cry from the North West passage being *open*-meaning accessible to *all* shipping, as was the case in 2008.

January 17, 2013 @ 1:19pm
by Paul

gabrianga

It took three years for Andmunsen to get through the North West Passage. This hardly indicates that it was "open".

January 17, 2013 @ 4:12pm
by Geoff

I can remember Alan Jones stating last year that it was much warmer in the 18th Century than it is now and the Northwest passage was open and navigable at that time. Just another of Jones unsubstantiated statements which weak minded people seem to take as gospel.

For a discussion on the history and charting of the Passage go to http://visionsnorth.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/a-navigable-northwest-passage.html. It should convince all but the blindest sceptic that temperatures today are higher than Jones' claimed.

January 17, 2013 @ 10:18pm
by George

Ah Marcus, but do you know that there is no well defined statistical convention for the term climate? Hence, these climate alarm gurus would not be able to publish any of their scientific findings in a statistical journal due to their poor application of statistical principles. They are only accountable to those with the same biases.
They may be famous and well known, but so is Paris Hilton.

January 18, 2013 @ 12:12pm
by David

Ah Marcus, of course Climate is not statistically well defined, it is not a statistical term. Maximum, record breaking and above average are.

January 18, 2013 @ 3:29pm
by James Trevelyan

For your information, here in the south west corner of WA, rainfall is down by 15% or so over the last 4 decades. However, stream flows are down by nearly 90%, due to increased evaporation and demand from vegetation. This trend started in the mid 1970s. Causes are debated, but the climate shift is unmistakable. Desalination is the main response. Much of our present farming may cease when the current elderly generation retire in a few years or give up their grim determination.

January 18, 2013 @ 4:04pm
by Brian Thinker Cook

I just do not understand the logic.If man- made carbon dioxide is the MAIN cause of temperature increase,why did the earths temperature DECREASE for 30 yrs between 1940 and 1970 whilst CO2 increased during the post- war boom. Why also was half of the worlds temperature increase during the 20th century warming between 1910 and 1940 before the Post-war boom?

January 18, 2013 @ 7:46pm
by Suzy
January 19, 2013 @ 11:48am
by David

So what did humans do around 500 yrs ago to cause The Little Ice Age? I think that any climate change is caused by nature herself weather (sic) it be from Volcanos, solar flares or other means . Having said that, we of course can reduce any emissions to a minimum and mimimise deforestation and pollution. We can still learn a lot from the world's indigenous population, ot those that are not contaminated by Western ways .

January 20, 2013 @ 9:39am
by Jay Jackson

Have you ever stood in front of the aircon unit? outside the building??? It pains me to know that the more we use airconditioning systems to artificailly cool a contained area inside a building, the hotter the outside becomes. The more heat sinks that are built (poor building design and relentless concreting) the more everyone feels the heat. In this day and age why is it so 'out-there' to utilise the marvells of technology to assist in climate appropriate building design, and have people accept it?

January 21, 2013 @ 9:56am
by Darlene Morris

Many of the common questions are addressed at www.skepticalscience.com (winner of a Eureka award, 2011, from the Australian Museum). Briefly summarising the information I found there:
(1) Why did temperature decrease between 1940 and 1960? In short, airborne pollutants, both industrial and volcanic.
(2) What caused early 20th century warming? In short, increasing solar activity and low volcanic activity.
(3) What is the significance of the Little Ice Age? In short, many theories have been advanced to explain the LIA, none conclusive. Does this uncertainty cast doubt on the theory of climate change? No. For more information go to http://www.skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-little-ice-age.htm

Does the discovery of natural causes for climate variation cast doubt on the theory of human caused climate change? No. See http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-natural-cycle.htm.

January 22, 2013 @ 5:39pm
by Peter

One of the problems of the Climate Commission is that it exist to support a position, not to analyse data without bias. Hardly a credible source of information. And the BOM's comparisons are made using a database that only goes back to 1910. Unfortunately some of the hyperbole ( or should I say "hyper bowl") spouted by these people and requoted without qualification by naive journalists does not reflect these simple facts. Even more unfortunately in the current "climate" one cannot make such simple observations without being labelled and denigrated, such is the zealoutary surrounding this issue. And I am a scientist, not a sceptic.

January 22, 2013 @ 6:31pm
by MattR

Yet it was hotter 1000 years ago, it was hotter 2000 years ago, CO2 is a required gas for life to exist, warm climates are better for humans, nobody has proven that rising CO2 levels has any noticable effect on the climate. Must be fun living in a complete fantasy world.

January 22, 2013 @ 7:31pm
by Tamas Calderwood

So what is causing the current cold snap in the Northern Hemisphere?

And how can global warming be the cause of our heatwave if the world hasn't warmed for 16 years?

January 22, 2013 @ 7:53pm
by Peter Too, but not also

Why is it that reasoned articles such as this flush out those who refuse to accept the very data being reported in the article? Three responses and three of the usual canards from the skeptics. And Nero kept fiddling, at least in legend...

January 22, 2013 @ 9:40pm
by Brendan

Ok - nice personal opinion piece Bernard.

Three questions for you though.

1. You state that journalist's have failed to make the link between climate change and extreme weather. On what evidence (apart from a media release from a government body) would they have to draw this link. Further to the matter - what real evidence do you have?

2. You refer to "extreme heat" however you provide no parameters to define this phrase. What events and scenarios do you personally refer to as to qualify as " extreme".

3. What democratic process did this website/ blog use to select you as the best possible person to provide an " independent" view on climate change.? pardon my ignorance but you seem way to the "warmist" side and very far from the " skeptic" point of view.

Please

January 22, 2013 @ 10:57pm
by Linda

People seem to have an instantly negative reaction the moment the words "climate change" are used. I think it should be dropped immediately and let's just focus on living cleaner and greener just because we can and it makes sense.

January 23, 2013 @ 12:20am
by JohnM

"A study completed late last year by Griffith University found that one’s experience of climate change in Australia was closely allied to which side of politics you supported. " Whoopy-do! One interpretation of this data is that right wing voters are better able to analyse data and think for themselves. Do you think that this could be why they align themselves to the Coalition?

January 23, 2013 @ 8:22am
by JohnM

As usual, not a skerrick of evidence anywhere in the report to show a significant human influence. I suppose though if the IPC can't show it, the CSIRO can't show it and the Australian Climate Commission can't show it then it's a bit much to expect a journalist to show it.

I guess we'll have to stick with the BUreau of Meteorology's good summary of the situation - delayed arrival of the monsoonal rains, very dry in central Australia, slow moving High's that directed sustained streams of warm air onto various locations. Now can you see anything there that can be blamed on human activities?

January 23, 2013 @ 8:30am
by Ziggy

China is experiencing it's coldest winter in 28 years. All this type of reporting is about weather, not climate change.
The shallowness of these left wing commenators is quite depressing. Anything to support a political position and truth is the casualty.

January 23, 2013 @ 8:41am
by grumpy

Just as well they all changed the name in unison from "Global Warming" to "Climate Change".

Funny how the greenies and their media lackeys all bought into the name change at the same time.....

January 23, 2013 @ 12:04pm
by George P

@johnM. "as usual , not a skerrick of evidence". Every creditable scientist on the planet , in every discipline, have outed the fossil fuel industry and its contribution to the over heating of Earth, but johnM , hes smarter than all of these people. He knows that it doesnt matter what happens now, its the legacy he leaves the next generations that count and like most of his ilk, he could not care less.
Good one johnM.

January 23, 2013 @ 1:54pm
by Copernicus

I'll think go with Lindas comment. Those of you that resort to childish name calling do little to advance either side of the debate. Obviously the debate isnt over, as not everyone is convinced. Trolls denialists greenies and fanatics of either ilk.....nyah nyah nyah

January 24, 2013 @ 11:28am
by Chris

It's called an Australian summer. If the climate change lobby hadn't made such wild predictions the last few years people would pay attention more. The public's not stupid. There's a big vested interest in government "green" schemes as well. Now communism/socialism is not worth fighting for the "progressives" have found a new cause !

January 24, 2013 @ 5:10pm
by Georgina from Gidgegannup

The cold snap in Europe..as far south as Istanbul, strangely enough, is caused by the warmer conditions in the arctic . These conditions fail to produce the usual westerly winds which counteract and dissipate the cold coming down from the arctic....All of which goes to show how incredibly complicated it all is. That information came from the New Scientist. I can tell you from personal experience is that almost all the large eucalypts on our WA farm are dying from water and heat stress induced disease. Maybe city types don't care about trees...perhaps they think more can be grown with no trouble at all...they might have thought that on Easter Island too.

January 25, 2013 @ 12:19am
by trevor

when the BOM used the 700+ sites to obtain the record temperature of 40.33 degrees C and compared it to the previous record on december 1972 , how many sites were used in 1972. To obtain comparisons you need to use the same sites. Kenskingdom site suggests that if the 112 sites ( only 108 working) had an average of 35.91 degrees C ,which is 4.26 short of the record. --------------------------------BOM COMMENT WOULD BE WORTH WHILE-----------------------

January 25, 2013 @ 9:04pm
by Paul Merry

What a remarkable phenomenon! That acceptance of climate change should be directly related to how far left or right one's politics are. Yet I realise that is indeed also my experience of Liberal voting friends. Is it just a proclivity for resisting new ideas and doggedly clinging to old beliefs that characterises conservative thinking? But there's more, surely? Two shining examples of denialist friends of mine are retired businessmen for whom anything likely to adversely affect the economy and market conditions is an anathema - ie, the Carbon Tax for a start. When I ask them do they feel nothing should be done to reduce the harmful effect of greenhouse gases I never get a straight answer. Is economic progress the only thing that matters to them? Again, they shrug and say that it's all happened before in the Earth's hisory or that Australia's efforts to reduce the effects of global warming are meaningless and are likely to come at too great a cost for our competitiveness. They have yet to countenance the idea that the world may conceivably become unlivable while it singlemindedly pursues growth and prosperity.

January 26, 2013 @ 11:26am
by Ellie

If this connection remains an unacknowledged aspect of the denialist mindset for much longer then I really do hold very grave fears for our collective future. To me, the reality of anthropogenic warming through GHG emissions is a most eminently reasonable and objectively perceivable reality - although one which frightens me no end. Money and the economy are meaningless flights of fantasy if our water, air and soil are rendered degraded beyond repair. Many peoples around the world are already very familiar with this reality. It is no doubt that on the earth's driest inhabited continent the warning signs are becoming absolutely clear. We blithely choose to ignore them at the known and imminent peril of our grandchildren and at the foreseeable peril of our own present generations. I don't trust technology to fix nature, if fact I consider this to be impossible.

February 1, 2013 @ 2:35pm
by Anthony

The connection between political affiliation and likelihood of having a truly rational acceptance of global warming is a perfect example of a well researched and well understood phenomenon called motivated reasoning.

We humans tend to seek out data that is consistent with our beliefs and we interpret data to further strengthen our beliefs. Our reasoning is not driven by a need to learn the truth, but rather to reinforce what we already think we know.

Those seeking action on climate change will need to understand motivated reasoning theory and develop strategies to deal with it.

As an example, find ways of promoting action on global warming that reinforces our deeply held beliefs about ourselves, e.g. What would the Anzacs do?

February 4, 2013 @ 8:36am
by angela

It is strange that we never focus on the possible positive economic opportunities in climate change! New industries, savings in wasted energy, new sources of energy, a less crude economy running on clever new energy processes, bioenergy, new science etc etc. If the horse carriages of the 19th century were owned by powerful corporations whould we ever have got railways?

February 11, 2013 @ 3:28pm
by Dennis Sullivan

As a professional geologist who studies climate changes and its impacts over millions of years I found your article to be political rather than scientifically factual.

February 12, 2013 @ 2:51pm
by jeremiah

Quite unbelievable - out of 55 comments so far more than 20 have been by CC skeptics. I think you have an infiltration of either coalition toadies, employees of coal mining companies or
blithering idiots.
This does not bode well for the future of the planet. Or for the future of 'Independent journalism for independent minds'.

February 13, 2013 @ 5:22pm
by Karl

I am a geologist and microbiologist PhD. There is no debate about climate change - none, ne, nein, zilch. Australians need to pick up a book and read. To the other geologist - political? It is an independent mate. Come on, your real name is Tony isn't it? Or your a mud logger right? I like a good joker! Where is your degree in climatology mate? I too have studied ancient landforms and the climates that produced them - but I don't go around pretending that a degree in geology makes me an authority on climate change. Oh, and you may have noticed it is a general news service, not a scientific journal your reading.

February 14, 2013 @ 7:25pm
by Damien

Karl, you are a geologist and a microbiologist and a Phd - that's fantastic mate - doesn't though, give you a monopoly on being smart. I don't have a degree in anything. But I run a small business employing Australians and turning over a few million dollars - I have a factory in the outer suburbs of Melbourne and I live in a brick veneer home also in an outer suburb of Melbourne. And my name isn't Tony.
You on the other hand i suspect mate, live in an inner suburb, surrounded by concrete and tar, probably wear Chinese made clothes, drive or ride a bike, components of which are made in China. Probably don't work too hard, if at all. Maybe you're a full time student plugged into the government mothership. Don't know.
What's obvious though, is your pretentious, affected prose. So hypercritical don't you think. If the world weather is influenced by man made activity, and it might well be, then you should focus on the countries that are the biggest contributors to the problem. But I bet you won't. Have a go at Tony and co by all means, but your energies might be better suited to a sincere act of retribution against the Chinese, the Russians, the Yanks et al.

February 21, 2013 @ 7:52pm
Show previous 58 comments
by Roger Strickland

I am so sick of this debate. are not the key issues pollution, energy efficiency and adapting to the climate as it changes (as opposed to expending huge amounts of finite resources fighting it). I would have a guess at saying the amount of energy expended flying people around the world first class to talk about this (as well as the money) if it had been directed to energy efficiency and renewables would have made this debate redundant.

February 27, 2013 @ 10:25am
by Alex Smith

May I recommend a book for all of you CC sceptics; "The Republican Brain". It is a well researched discussion on the phenomenon of how right-wingers (in America) have difficulty accepting facts that are contrary to their views. From the above comments, the phenomenon obviously extends to other countries.

(I suspect there is another book written prior to this, called "The Search for a Republican Brain". This search might have inspired the invention of the electron microscope). .

March 9, 2013 @ 1:17pm
by angela

You know Damien what Karl wears and where he lives and if he drinks coofee latte or chadonnay is totally beside the point! You may run a business but your skills in logical argument are abysmal. Can you please make a real argument against Flannery?

December 1, 2013 @ 6:37pm
CLOSE
Type a keyword to search for a story or journalist

Journalists

Stories