Video: Everything was on fire, everywhere: heat, bush-fires and climate change down under

Yes, the very first WtD video

For some time I’ve been considering making short videos exploring climate change, scepticism and related environment issues. This is the first in the proposed series (I hinted these would be coming in a December post).

The above video explores the link between the Australia’s extraordinary summer of heatwaves and fire. What we are experiencing is what the science predicted.

Most of all I wanted to tell a story: of what it means to be an Australian at this point in history, knowing a little something about the science of climate change and seeing scientific predictions play out. It’s about watching the land burn while the planet warms. 

Comments welcome. 

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45 thoughts on “Video: Everything was on fire, everywhere: heat, bush-fires and climate change down under

  1. [...] 2013/01/23: WtD: Video: Everything was on fire, everywhere: heat, bush-fires and climate change down… [...]

  2. Mike, excellent video. Which program are you using to make them?

  3. Eric Worrall says:

    Zoot

    2012: Russia and North America have record heat = pshaw!, it’s not like the planet’s warming.
    2013: Winter is particularly cold in Russia and North America = the end of global warming.
    Grow up Eric.

    Me bad, its only evidence for climate change if its unusually hot. Unusually cold weather is just weather, except when it is also accepted as evidence for dangerous global warming.

    How could I have forgotten.

    • The difference is in the word “record”. Three times more heat records than cold records have been broken over the last few decades. That’s because it is warming.

    • zoot says:

      Extreme cold, and extreme heat are both examples of weather which indicates climate change over the long term. If you add energy to a system its extremes will become more extreme.
      Nobody is saying that the unprecedented hot weather over the last three decades is proof of climate change. But if the planet is warming that’s the sort of weather we’d expect.

    • crank says:

      Silly Big Brain. Youse has forgotten that itza theory of ‘climate disruption, destabilisation or change’. ‘Global warming’ was a moronic shorthand crafted by MSM presstitutes for their ‘dumbed-down’ audiences, and youse fell for it! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me every day….and a year’s subscription to ‘The Fundament’ (The Fundamental Orifice of the Nation) is yours!

  4. john byatt says:

    “it’s pretty extraordinary rain for this area here”

    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201301/s3676541.htm

  5. john byatt says:

    They printed the Andrew Powell denier one

    Editor,

    Sunshine Coast Daily,

    Dear Sir,

    US President Obama calls America into battle…..“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”

    In the Deep North of Queensland, Climate change minister Andrew Powell does not even think that humans are having any impact on climate change, a position immediately at odds with every national scientific academy in the world.

    Then again Mr. Powell may believe that president Obama is the Anti-Christ.. Please do the honorable thing and resign your position Mr. Powell, we cannot afford the years that will be lost with your denial.

    Rgds

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Lots of “mights” and “could be”s – almost like they’re just guessing.

      Well here’s a guess for you – and its only a guess (just like the article you quoted). The “sudden stratospheric warming events” could be caused by parts of the troposphere losing the vapour lock which protects us from ice age conditions. Water yields significant heat when liquid water undergoes a phase transition to its solid state. If some of that heat ended up in the stratosphere, you’d have a sudden stratospheric warming event.

      • zoot says:

        Here’s another guess: the fairy queen done it.
        Why don’t you stop guessing and search the scientific literature? Scared of what you’ll find? Or just not competent?

  6. Eric Worrall says:

    The Northern deep freeze seems to also be affecting America – temperatures in some parts of America are now so cold, fire hydrants are freezing, causing problems for firefighters.

    Stunning pictures of a burning building covered in ice

    http://blogs.wsj.com/photojournal/2013/01/23/after-fire-chicago-warehouse-covered-in-ice/

    Its all very well suggesting Viner left the door open for “occasional” cold winters, but 4, 5 years in a row? All this happening during the midst of an unprecedented rise in CO2?

    How many more bitterly cold winters, how many years of flatlined temperatures, will it take to finish your religion once and for all?

    • zoot says:

      And wasn’t 2012 the hottest year on record for the US?

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/2012-us-temp-record-fox-denial.html

      • Eric Worrall says:

        2% of the Earth’s surface was warmer than usual? What a surprise. On average 2% of the world’s surface should break 50 year temperature records every year, so its not much of a stretch to break a longer record.

        The Northern freeze I’m describing covers a far larger region – definitely not part of the end of snow narrative Viner predicted.

      • zoot says:

        2012: Russia and North America have record heat = pshaw!, it’s not like the planet’s warming.
        2013: Winter is particularly cold in Russia and North America = the end of global warming.
        Grow up Eric.

    • crank says:

      God, you’re busy Big Brain. What’s this!!??? It’s winter in America, too!!?? Is there no limit to your insight??!! Gadzooks! He’s onto us, the conspiracy is over.

  7. john byatt says:

    1. Steven C. Sherwooda,1 and
    2. Matthew Huberb

    Author Affiliations
    1. Edited by Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved March 24, 2010 (received for review November 19, 2009)
    Abstract
    Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. With 11–12 °C warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed. Eventual warmings of 12 °C are possible from fossil fuel burning. One implication is that recent estimates of the costs of unmitigated climate change are too low unless the range of possible warming can somehow be narrowed. Heat stress also may help explain trends in the mammalian fossil record

    • crank says:

      Don’t forget- Eric Worrall used to run a reptile park, so he’s probably emotionally invested, or even, perhaps, constitutionally inclined, to favouring a world several degrees hotter than now, and if the apes don’t like it- stiff cheese!

  8. john byatt says:

    Watch the share price skyrocket after the SA shale oil announcement,
    Watch as it crashes when the facts are revealed.

  9. Eric Worrall says:

    Mike, are you going to do a post on the new, potentially enormous shale oil strike in South Australia? The upper estimate on the size of the field puts Australia in Saudi Arabia territory – though the depth and difficulty of the new find will make extraction even dirtier than Canadian tar sands.

    Be fun watching you guys campaign to convince Gillard to leave the oil in the ground.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/24/up-to-233-billion-barrels-of-oil-discovered-in-southern-australia/

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      I did see that article Eric, and I won’t post on it. Energy policy I leave to others. I’d be very, very cautious about attaching much importance to this article. Announcements like this are made all the time and then fizzle into nothing.

    • crank says:

      I say Giant Brain, have you, as it were, ‘budded-off’ ie reproduced your ineffable self and your precious genetic inheritance? If so, why do you seem so determined to see them living in a world where the current weather calamities will seem positively Elysian in recollection? Or are your type benefited by a world several degrees hotter on average?

  10. Steve says:

    The video was very good, but I must admit that I find it much harder to get meaningful information from videos than from written articles, so often avoid watching them. However, I am well aware that this is because of my own limitations and that many people like videos. Keep up the good work.

    Eric welcome back, I have missed your incisive comments.
    The article you linked to is interesting, but my interpretation of Dr. Viner’s meaning is very slightly different from yours. But we know that in almost any field there will be extreme ideas on both sides of the augment, and personally I would not attempt to defend everything said by scientists, even when I agree with the basic idea. This also applies to some of the extreme things I have written myself.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks Steve – and I appreciate your preference for text. I also take information in that manner. But we live in a visual culture, and far more people consume media in this format today. So really, its an experiment in audiovisual communicaiton.

  11. Eric Worrall says:

    Funny the website won’t let me post a link to Dr. Viner’s prediction (2000) that snowfalls are a thing of the past.

    Obviously the alarmists have changed their minds since then, but regular backflips are a feature of settled science – at least they are when the science is climate alarmism.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Ah there we go – needed a double route link. http://eric.worrall.name/viner.cgi

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Eric, you need to read the end of the article:

        “Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.”

        Note the qualifier: snows will return but will be more chaotic. Sound familiar? More moisture in the atmosphere means heavier precipitation events.

        Vinner did not say there will never be snow again, but that the long term trend would result in changes. That requires a subtle and refined understanding of what the science is actually is saying.

        It is worth noting that our understanding of climate change has improved in the almost 13 years since that statement was made.

        That’s how science works as well.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      No, you’re free to post. As noted I don’t censor voices unless they breach the guidelines.

      I may do a post on the Viner’s post, however it is worth stating this: one cherry picked fact does not refute and entire scientific discipline.

    • crank says:

      Gosh! Thank-you, once again, Giant Brain, for showing me that one false prediction, made twelve years ago, on the basis of the incomplete understanding of the climate system of those days, utterly refutes the opinions of tens of thousands of scientists, and the greatly improved current knowledge of the climate system. Of course, one can pick a Golden Age of knowledge, when the facts were nicely arrayed to suit one’s ideological and psychological preferences, and I see that yours probably date from some time in the early 19th century-certainly before Fourier and Tyndall.

  12. ACC means more extreme weather. Russia and China demonstrate that. Do keep up.

  13. Eric Worrall says:

    It’s about watching the land burn while the planet warms.

    Not the problem Russia is currently experiencing. http://rt.com/news/winter-snow-russia-weather-275/

    The extreme cold and record breaking snow in the North is getting downright embarrassing for alarmists.

    Lets not forget, Australia is really only a small part of the Earth’s surface. The cold snap in the North is affecting a far larger area than Australia’s little heat wave.

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