Queensland floods are “consistent with climate change predictions”



Deniers "You can't handle the truth"


First let me clarify my position on the Queensland floods: climate change is not solely to blame.

Attribution is a tricky business. However, what is happening in Queensland is line with predictions made by scientists.

Don’t believe me?

Then read on.

At least the media are drawing the connection, as today’s The Age editorial notes:

A disturbing aspect of the floods is that they are consistent with (although not proof of) climate change predictions for northern Australia. Meteorologists accurately forecast that intense monsoonal rains would hit Queensland this season, under the influence of a strong La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean. They also warned that up to six cyclones could hit the state (the most ever to cross the coast in a season is three)

Which is my personal view: the floods are not “proof” per se, but are consistent with predictions about the impact of climate change on Northern Australia.

Flooding and increased precipitation events predicted

 A 2010 publication released by the Queensland government titled “Climate change in Queensland: what the science is telling us” notes:

Extreme rainfall is defined as the amount of rain falling in the top one per cent of rainfall days.

Projections based on 15 climate models and a medium emissions (A1B) scenario indicated that Cape York can expect up to a four per cent increase in extreme rainfall across all seasons, and that western Queensland and the Gulf Region can expect up to a four per cent increase in summer and autumn (CSIRO & BoM 2007).

Climate change is also likely to affect extreme rainfall in south-east Queensland (Abbs et al.2007). Projections indicate an increase in two-hour, 24-hour and 72-hour extreme rainfall events for large areas of south-east Queensland, especially in the McPherson and Great Dividing ranges, west of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. For example, Abbs et al. (2007) found that under the A2 emissions scenario, extreme rainfall intensity averaged over the Gold Coast sub-region is projected to increase by 48 per cent for a two-hour event, 16 per cent for a 24-hour event and 14 per cent for a 72-hour event by 2070. Therefore despite a projected decrease in rainfall across most of Queensland, the projected increase in rainfall intensity could result in more flooding events. 

The report notes the greatest risks to the state:

In Queensland the major risks to communities and their supporting infrastrature are cyclines and flooding. In addition, poor building design will place an increasing load on mechanical cooling to manage the effects of higher temperatures, increasing the need for fossil-fuelled electricity generation and thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change will affect settlements through direct and indirect impacts resulting in damage to buildings and other infrastructure. These climate changes include: 

> increased intensity of rainfall events
> increased temperatures
> more frequent extreme weather events
> increased extent and frequency of coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surges.

 The science is well understood, and so are the impacts. 

17 thoughts on “Queensland floods are “consistent with climate change predictions”

  1. fredorth says:

    These have been very informative updates and I greatly appreciate your effort. Difficult to imagine that Queensland has the resources to deal with this level of damage and emergency. Does Australia?
    With CC, we will be seeing this type of occurance more often.

  2. povo says:

    Didn’t this happened back in 1974?

  3. […] global warming had an impact on this event? Watching the deniers quotes The Age saying that the floods are “consistent with (although not proof of) climate […]

  4. […] Gareth’s piece and “Queensland floods are “consistent with climate change predictions” which he directs you to over at Watching the […]

  5. […] floods have natural, meteorological and climatic causes. And Queensland will be cleaned by real people doing hard work. Nothing more and nothing […]

  6. […] echte oorzaak is echter waarschijnlijk het klimatologisch fenomeen La Niña. Queensland telt circa twintig doden en zestig vermisten. Ook de economische schade is […]

  7. Klem says:

    Being ‘consistant’ with claimte change predictions is the bigest BS statement ever. I think the whole ACC theory should be given the BS Award simply because it is not a theory anymore. Predictions of the effects of AGW cover just about every situation imaginable now. All events are covered, from volcanic eruptions to teenage acne are now claimed to be caused by
    climate change. When it rains too much it is climate change, when it is
    too dry climate change, too warm climate change, too cold climate
    change, too windy, too calm, too dusty, too clear, everything is due to
    climate change. As a result every actual climate related event has been
    predicted and all predictions are therefore found to be correct. So now
    the theory of ACC is infallible. When a theory becomes infallible it
    ceases being a theory and becomes a faith.


  8. Shane says:

    Both the ’74 and current flooding are pretty mild compared to earlier floods. Follow this link to BOM data which shows much worse flooding in the 19th century.


    Warmists just love to grab any story and put a climate change stamp on it, it really is quite funny, except for the fact that people are losing their lives because of this scam.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      What do you mean “much worse”?

      Flood levels, houses destroyed, loss of life? Damage to property?

      Death toll for 2011 floods is 16 so far, which exceeds every other death toll listed on the page you’ve given:


      According to your link 8000 Brisbane houses where affected in 1974 floods.

      Number of houses affected in 2011 floods… 20,0000 in Brisbane:

      “….Brisbane Mayor Campbell Newman stated than an estimated 20,000 homes would be affected when the river peaks on 14 January.[44]

      On 13 January the Brisbane River did not reach anticipated heights but still 20,000 houses in Brisbane were inundated. Some of the Brisbane neighbourhoods worst affected by the floods include St Lucia, West End, Rocklea and Graceville…”


      So based on these two criteria, the 2011 floods look bad.

      People losing lives because of this scam? Oh please, do please enlighten us with your amazing reasoning. I’m on the edge of my seat. Really.

      • Shane says:

        Maybe I should have made it really clear – RECENT FLOOD LEVELS ARE FAR LOWER THAN PREVIOUSLY RECORDED. Look at the link.

        As far as the scam goes – Climate scientists have ignored historical data (they know better & they need funding) and recommended the buidling of desal plants (now being mothballed) rather than flood defences. When we were in drought Climate scientists told us that heavy rainfall was a thing of the past. Councils and people built property on flood prone areas, lots of it. Now it floods and some people blame global warming/climate change/climate disruption. Wake up.

  9. […] Queensland floods are “consistent with climate change predictions” […]

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Shane – an area the SIZE OF GERMAN AND FRANCE COMBINED was flooded. Over 2 million people impacted. A $30bn hit to our economy.

      In Victoria – thousands of kilometres south – thousands are fleeing flood waters right now.

      In Brazil over 600 dead.

      In Sri Lanka 30 dead and over 1 million people displaced. Right now!

      And you cherry pick a few statistics?

      I get that the way to cope with climate change is to deny what is happening.

      But mate – OPEN YOUR EYES!

      Climate scientists DID NOT say heavy rainfall was a thing of a past. I’ve given you the links to papers and reports that say more droughts with but with an increased change of heavier rains and flooding.

      Read the papers and you’ll see your statement is a flat out lie.

  10. Shane says:

    I’m not cherry picking statistics…I’ll leave that to you.

    I’m just stating the simple fact that the recent Brisbane flood levels are unremarkable, i.e. in the past the flood waters rose much higher. This is not my data, it is from the Australian Bureau of Metrology. Why would they lie?

  11. adelady says:

    Brisbane flood levels were unremarkable, Shane?

    And did the BoM include any references to number and capacity of dams in the river system or the extent and capacity of drainage systems in the city?

    Thought not.

    • Shane says:

      Flooding in the 19th century was far more frequent and extreme(flood levels) than today. This is indisputable. Therefore the prediction that climate change is making things worse is clearly wrong.

      What is it about some people that always think we are
      a) doomed?
      b) having it much tougher now than in the past?

      Recent (including 1974) flood levels are unremarkable….end of.

  12. john byatt says:

    Abs et al predictions were made in 2006 and 2007, what were you sceptics saying in 2006 , it was cooling .

    The waters of north Qld are the warmest ever recorded, The monsoonal trough punched down almost into Tasmania The dam was designed to reduce flood levels in brisbane by up to 2 metres, exactly in line with Abs et al 2006 an extreme rainfall event occurred in exactly the region that they predicted , keep convincing yourself it was natural and had no global warming component the coal moguls will be rubbing their hands together in glee listening to you lot ,

    global warming continues at the rate and trend predicted by models

    Are the models, in fact, untestable? Are they unable to make valid predictions? Let’s review the record. Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:

    That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and about how much.
    That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.
    That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.
    That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.

    Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).
    That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.
    The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
    They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.

    They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.
    The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.
    The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
    The expansion of the Hadley cells.

    The poleward movement of storm tracks.
    The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.
    The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.
    The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.
    That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.

    lots of correct predictions there,

  13. digital analog watch says:

    Precisely what is a watch called when its Analog yet has a digital clock on the face

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