“Catastrophic” Tasmanian fires; reports of one dead, 80 homes lost

Raw video footage:

From WA Today:

AT LEAST 80 homes have been lost and one man is feared killed by a bushfire that swept down onto the eastern Tasmanian town of Dunalley in catastrophic conditions. The bushfire sent hundreds fleeing and was on Friday night still burning down the Tasman Peninsula, taking more properties as it went. 

The man, a local resident, was last seen by a fire crew attempting to save his house as they were forced to shelter in their vehicle when the fire burnt over them, acting police commissioner Scott Tilyard said.

Extraordinary events, with people fleeing to the sea in order to be rescued:

The Dunalley fire began on Thursday in bushland about 20 kilometres to the north-west of the town and swept out of containment lines on Friday afternoon fanned by strong winds.

It was burning to the sea at several points and also had taken properties at Connolly’s Marsh and Murdunna, local reports said.

Acting Premier Bryan Green said the state government was preparing emergency accommodation, with a report that 600 people were sheltering at one refuge site.

”This has been an extraordinary day,” Mr Green said.

He said around 50 people were awaiting the arrival of police boats to help them leave the waterfront near the top of the Tasman Peninsula where they had taken refuge.

The Tasman Peninsula, including the popular Port Arthur tourist destination, was completely cut off by the closure of the major Arthur Highway.

About 600 people were taking refuge at temporary accommodation at Nubeena and 1500 people were reported to have visited the Port Arthur convict ruins on Friday.

The ABC has a live blog covering the event:

Fires outside Hobart (Source: ABC)

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11 thoughts on ““Catastrophic” Tasmanian fires; reports of one dead, 80 homes lost

  1. [...] 2013/01/04: WtD: “Catastrophic” Tasmanian fires; reports of one dead, 80 homes lost [...]

  2. john byatt says:

    Classic, the just grounds mob are debating comments from a spam application at the moment.
    .

  3. john byatt says:

    One of the best layman understnding comments I have come across in a long time
    Karen Shell says:
    4 Jan 2013 at 10:19 AM
    The feedbacks in these posts are defined from the top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) perspective. A positive feedback increases the net absorption of radiation by the planet when the global average temperature increases (i.e., the increase in absorbed solar radiation is greater than the increase in outgoing longwave emission). In the case of water vapor, for example, the outgoing longwave radiation (W/m^2) _de_creases with temperature (K), so it’s a positive feedback.

    Evaporation and precipitation don’t directly affect the TOA energy budget. They merely redistribute energy within a column (and horizontally if the evaporation and precipitation occur in different locations). Of course, this could alter the temperature, water vapor, surface albedo, and cloud structure. Thus, the TOA effects of changes in evaporation and precipitation are indirectly included in the other feedback terms.

    Evap and precip are extremely important for the surface energy budget, but that a whole other post

    Karen is guest commentator at RC (oregon university)

  4. john byatt says:

    A new face for climate dice
    Thomas R. Karla,1 and Richard W. Katzb
    Author Affiliations

    Although it is not possible to “experience” the 0.5 °C increase in global surface temperature since the 1950s directly, everyone can feel the local and regional effects of extended periods of very hot weather. In PNAS, Hansen et al. (1) present a simple and elegant way to quantify the effects of a 0.5 °C increase in global average temperature on the extremes that have an impact on the way we live, work, play, and grow our food. Hansen et al. (1) show that the thermal climate is tangibly different today compared with what it was like as recently as the mid to late 20th century. The results are quite remarkable. For example, we are now more than 10-fold as likely to endure an extremely hot summer as we were in the decades 1951–1980.

    Looking exclusively at global and hemispheric means masks a rich array of climate behavior that is revealed at the study’s resolution of 250 × 250 km. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere summer, we see that temperature anomalies (the difference of any given seasonal average temperature from the mean computed over multiple decades) in the 21st century now reach up to 5 standard deviations (5σ) above the mean of the 1951–1980 time interval. Meanwhile, cold anomalies can still reach as low as 3σ below that mean. This asymmetry is reflective of a growing variability in the thermal climate over the past few decades, as shown by the statistical analysis in the article by Hansen et al. (1). We will discuss this important but poorly understood aspect of global warming a bit more later.

    The improbability of purely natural causes of such extreme positive deviations was predicted by Hansen et al. (2) decades ago in the 1988 article in which he introduced the idea of “loaded climate dice.

  5. john byatt says:

    Attribution of extreme evenat separatly can take years of research, no research could be done prior to the extreme events, this is new research that may or may not make it into AR5,
    It will be a disaster if it does not with the next AR not due until 2020 or beyond,

    so what can we say
    Dai et al. (2011):

    “All the four forms of the PDSI show widespread drying over Africa, East and South Asia, and other areas from 1950 to 2008, and most of this drying is due to recent warming. The global percentage of dry areas has increased by about 1.74% (of global land area) per decade from 1950 to 2008.”

    Zwiers et al. (2011):

    “Therefore, it is concluded that the influence of anthropogenic forcing has had a detectable influence on extreme temperatures that have impacts on human society and natural systems at global and regional scales”
    Coumou & Rahmstorf (2012):

    “Here, we review the evidence and argue that for some types of extreme — notably heatwaves, but also precipitation extremes — there is now strong evidence linking specific events or an increase in their numbers to the human influence on climate. For other types of extreme, such as storms, the available evidence is less conclusive, but based on observed trends and basic physical concepts it is nevertheless plausible to expect an increase.”

    Hansen et al. (2012):

    “we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”

    Like Hansen et al., Donat and Alexander (2012) found that global warming has made extreme heat waves more likely to occur.

    • john byatt says:

      So more and more we see that the science which predicted an increase in extreme events is mostly being verified, still not all events can be thus attributed purely because of the lack of data used to confirm such, This is the extreme event of the gap in the minds of the deniers .

  6. john byatt says:

    Meanwhile at the No carbon Tax creationists sceptics party blog they are focussing on the supposed predictions of Tim flannery in 2007.

    Look squirrel, comes to mind

    • Nick says:

      They’re still talking about a few Flannery musings over 5 years ago? Cutting edge,eh?

      Really says it all about these shitty pseudo-skeptics: they are intellectually
      lazy and self-satisfied, easily deceived, and see nothing wrong with what amounts to slander and cyber-stalking. The Flannery Derangement Syndrome seems to keep them happy,but it’s really the equivalent of proudly wearing a T-Shirt that says “I’m an idiot and I don’t know it”

  7. john byatt says:

    ENSO = neutral
    Solar = low ss count
    AGW = increasing

    In South Australia, farming properties were under threat in the state’s Fleurieu Peninsula. Temperatures in large parts of the state topped 40 degrees, with the country’s hottest spot on Friday the SA township of Wudinna with a high of 47.7 degrees.

    In Victoria, a fire in a pine plantation in the state’s south-west was a ”major concern”, fire authorities said, posing a risk to nearby camp grounds.

    Crews were unlikely to find help in weather on Saturday, with the heatwave expected to continue well into next week.

    The heat engulfed the state – Sale in eastern Victoria recorded its second-hottest day on record with the mercury hitting 44.3.

    The state’s hottest towns were in the north-west, with Walpeup and Hopetoun Airport reaching 44.8. Melbourne hit 40.9, while Avalon, near Geelong, reached 43. […]

    Authorities have warned the hot weather is not over, especially in the state’s north.

    A senior forecaster from the weather bureau, Richard Carlyon, said the hot weather would continue, with a large pool of hot air across much of Australia unlikely to move for some time. ”We are really at the beginning of a run of very high temperatures,” he said.

    ”We can’t see an end in sight for the next week.”

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