Blackest day: stunning NASA images of NSW fires

Images from NASA allow us to appreciate the scope of the devastating NSW fires:


This satellite image was taken on October 17 (last Thursday), now regarded as one NSW’s worst fire days.

78 thoughts on “Blackest day: stunning NASA images of NSW fires

  1. john byatt says:

    “t I would say that when highly experienced firefighters are saying they’re seeing things that are unprecedented, you’ve got to sit up and listen, because this is exactly what happened in the US when firefighters were reporting very strange fire behaviours in tandem with fire scientists who’ve got better records in the US who were saying that they were beginning to see the earlier onset of severe fire weather in the fire seasons and longer fire seasons. So, circumstantially, this is very worrying because it is consistent with the climate change signal.”

  2. Nick says:

    Article from Roger Jones on general attribution and background.

    I notice on the radar some light rain will cross some of the fire area. Does not look like it will do much use at current rates,but fingers crossed.

    • john byatt says:

      “The current level of fire danger is equivalent to the worst case projected for 2050, from an earlier analysis for the Climate Institute.

      While it’s impossible to say categorically that the situation is the same in NSW, we know that these changes are generally applicable across south-east Australia. So it’s likely to be a similar case: fire and climate change are linked.

      • Michael Marriott says:

        I’ve seen that to – as is almost always the case, our models are inherently conservative and underestimate the pace of changes.

  3. john byatt says:

    The United Nations says the New South Wales bushfires are an example of “the doom and gloom” the world may be facing without vigorous action on climate change

  4. Nick says:

    It’s always worth reminding ourselves about COALition policy from the days when Tony hadn’t gagged his colleagues.

  5. john byatt says:

    Now is the time to talk about climate change
    By Paul Gilding

    A NSW rural firefighter monitors back-burning near Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains.
    PHOTO: A NSW rural firefighter monitors back-burning near Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains. (AFP: William West)
    While we’d like to think of climate change as a long-term global risk we can emotionally detach from, the bushfires currently raging in New South Wales bring the threat uncomfortably close to home, writes Paul Gilding.

  6. Rodger the Dodger says:

    The climate zombies are in a real tizzy at the moment. They are all blaming the greens, who love trees, but they also love Mr Rabbit’s Direct Action, where the policy is to plant MORE trees. Cognitive dissonance in full force!!

    They are also all blaming the arsonists, who have the magical ability of controlling the climate. You know, it’s the arsonists who have caused Australia to have it’s hottest 12 months on record, and who control the lack of recent rain.

    How disturbing it must be to have such a warped worldview. Ahh climate zombies, they are funny though aren’t they?

  7. john byatt says:

    DO not think about it just get out now

    Live: Fears 100kph winds will feed huge Blue Mountains bushfires
    Crews are racing to gain the upper hand on several blazes burning across New South Wales, amid grim warnings tomorrow’s weather may be more dangerous than first thought.

    The NSW Rural Fire Service says tomorrow’s conditions across fire-hit areas of the Blue Mountains are forecast to be “about as bad as it gets”, with temperatures in the high 30s, humidity at 10 per cent and wind gusts of up to 100 kph.

    “There is a very real potential for more loss of homes and loss of life,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned this afternoon.

  8. astrostevo says:

    Awful image in the original sense of the word. Full of awe – and dread and stunning.

    Grim thought but I keep wondering what (more) it will take for the reality to sink in for some people. How many extraordinary climate events in how short a time, how many broken weather records, how many floods, bushfires, heatwaves and more will it take?

  9. Nick says:

    Tony Abbott has committed himself to dismissing a connection between the circumstances of these fires and climate change….from the ABC:

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed a UN assessment that the New South Wales fires are linked to climate change, accusing a senior UN official of “talking through her hat”.

    Earlier this week, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, said the fires proved the world is “already paying the price of carbon”.

    She also criticised the Abbott Government’s direct action plan to tackle climate change as being potentially “much more expensive” than the carbon pricing scheme that it is moving to dump.

    But Mr Abbott argues that “fire is a part of the Australian experience” and not linked to climate change.

    “The official in question is talking through her hat,” he told 3AW.

    “Climate change is real, as I’ve often said, and we should take strong action against it.

    “But these fires are certainly not a function of climate change – they’re just a function of life in Australia.”

    Need a full transcript for clarity, but at face value this is not good…or surprising.

  10. john byatt says:

    had sent an email to the labor party re abbott’s anti ETS legislation

    received an email this morning asking to put that question to a panel

    sent it in, podcast this afternoon, will link

  11. What we see with T Abbot is the conservative agenda of not accepting the increasingly bleeding obvious. First plan was to deny that climate change was real, latest plan is grudgingly acknowledge that while climate change may be happening, nothing that happens due to weather extremes that we currently observe is as a consequence.

    On another matter there have been a number of interesting articles on the underhand and deceptive practices of climate change nay sayer groups in mass trolling of pro climate change action sites. Climate denial crock today 23/10 has a good report on the behaviour of murdoch’s news corp efforts in the US. Sadly for us he has his newspapers, together with the IPA and the Menzies Foundation as part of that armoury over here.

    • john byatt says:

      Have been lurking on sites such as justgrounds over the years and quite often a comment comes up ” quick everyone over to the ABC, they have put up a climate change opinion piece from (insert goon) , the lefty alarmists there need to be told the facts”

      of course their facts and reality are mutually exclusive

    • Nick says:

      via Roger Jones

      Quote from one Lucy J Evans –

      ‘I might explain myself a little further. My family home is in the fire affected area and my parents are currently awaiting bad winds on Wednesday which could possibly blow embers into their property, even though the fire has already burned its way completely around them. My dad was a member of the RFS for 18 years and I have grown up with a deep respect for fire and all men and women who risk their lives. I’ve experienced first hand what it is like to leave your home, not knowing if you’ll return again. I’ve also witnessed the tremendous work they do whether it be back burning or trying to contain a fire front. Tony Abbott rolled on into Bilpin, sat around and ate, got some happy snaps (despite this being a terribly sad situation), watched some people complete a back burn operation, drove a fire truck, got his moment of glory and then left. Not only is it completely irresponsible of him to put himself at risk (seen as though he somehow managed to get the top job), he also managed to exploit this situation to the tenth degree.’


    • Nick says:

      The truth is the first casualty of Alan Jones

      Abbott’s mates are always so well informed.

  12. john byatt says:

    massive hazard reduction despite the claims of the deniers

    “So if someone’s able to predict which bit is going to burn next, we’re more than happy to go out and burn it but it’s just not that simple.”

  13. john byatt says:

    “You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore… They are dealing with increasing numbers of fires, increasing rainfall events, increasing storm events. – A senior Victorian fire officer, interviewed in 2012 for a recent National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility report.”

    • john byatt says:

      they have trolls there as well

      Geoff Henley
      Research Officer

      Firefighters are in no position to make any meaningful assessment of the link between human carbon emissions and fire risk.

      pure troll, he cannot perceive

      that does not prevent them from accepting the science though, as stated

      “You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore”

      What was the idiots point?, these trolls are hopeless at maths hopeless at understanding how we arrive at global anomalies from paleo evidence, hopeless at understanding the difference between illegal immigrants and asylum seekers

      they live in a world oblivious to scientific consensus and just what that means after decades of research in dozens of different branches of science.


  14. john byatt says:

    Why Tony Abbott’s plan means more bushfires for Australia & more pics like this of Sydney

    — Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) October 17, 2013

    • Nick says:

      Al tells it like it is….for which he will be castigated

      More excellent background…Jeff Masters showing up local journos as data shy, and citing the Climate Commission disappeared by Putin/Abbott.

    • john byatt says:


      October 24, 2013 at 4:19 am · Reply
      As I mentioned in a previous post, Al Gore appears obsessed with fire, more politely perhaps, appears preoccupied with fire. From the perspective of habitual socio-political pyromania, maybe it is understandable. And it seems any climate conflagration is ‘useful’ to the practiced spin meister. His previous efforts to purchase footage of a fire storm were however, doused by failure.. The footage was not sold to him because of a potential for it to be used ‘by alarmists’ for deception. And now they’re at it again – peddling the moment for all its worth.

      When the ashes settle, I think the emergence of reason and fact will do them like a dogs dinner.

  15. john byatt says:

    The bits selected at JO Nova from the Greens policy see comments

    “Assumptions about traditional European bush fire prevention, mitigation, control and management need review in the light of the need for ecologically sustainable management.”

    “There is an urgent need to correct the common misconception that responsible fire management always involves burning or clearing to reduce moderate and high fuel loads generally throughout the landscape, irrespective of where they occur.”

    “Many vegetation communities and plants cannot survive frequent fire; for this reason frequent fire has been listed as a key threatening process by the NSW Scientific Committee under the Threatened Species Conservation Act.”

    “Ecologically appropriate fire regimes are required to maintain biodiversity and functioning ecosystems.”

    “Education of councils, land managers, land-holders, the general public, fire management planners and fire fighters is needed and should be publicly funded. Such education should target specific audiences and address a broad range of ‘bush fire’ and environmental issues.”

    “All Fire Fighting Agencies and Land Managers should be issued with guidelines as to the specific implications of the legal requirement for ecologically sustainable fire management and receive training on the environmental effects of bush fires.”

    “New development that requires the clearing of native vegetation on adjoining properties should not be permitted in identified Bushfire Prone Areas, where such development is likely to put lives or property in danger or involve substantial
    protection and suppression costs including loss of environmental

    and the full policy

    Click to access Bush%20Fire%20Risk%20Management.pdf

    • john byatt says:

      comment after that and this is despite NSW completing the largest hazard reduction ever 2012/2013
      October 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm · Reply
      When you read that, its NO WONDER that winter burning etc has all but stopped.

      There are way to many bureaucratic hoops to jump through for even the most resolute to ever get anything done.

      A Greens plan for DISASTER !!!


      who needs facts when you are engaged in misinformation campaigns

        • john byatt says:

          will check back later to see what they reply with

          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          October 24, 2013 at 10:00 am · Reply
          all but stopped?

        • john byatt says:

          been in moderation 1 hour 45 minutes and dozens of new comments since then.

          what are they doing checking out everything to see what they can whinge about ?

        • john byatt says:

          That was interesting

          they simply changed the accusations when confronted by the facts, twice

  16. J Giddeon says:

    ABC’s fact checkers basically agree with Barry O that there’s been a massive increase in hazard reduction in the past year. Great news.

    281k hectares of hazard reduction last year out of 20mill hectares of fire prone land (1.4%). Ummm, not so great.

    • Nick says:

      ‘Not so great’

      It’s the art of the possible, surely you know? Budgets are not limitless. Manpower is not limitless. Conditions have to be suitable: safe for the workers, the right moisture range. What is known is that targets have been increased over the last decade and more is typically being achieved, but year to year it varies.

      The RFS report 2011/12 stated that of 11,044 haz red works planned, 9,070 were completed…and that is not the only kind of work they do.

      In terms of areas to be treated, national parks presents by far the largest task, and only 50% of the target was achieved…because of conditions.

      These fires have burnt, and are still burning, national parks estate, but there ignitions were not natural and occurred in bordering lands. The State Mine fire started on defense land where it is said that fire management plans have not been followed. It burnt into Wollemi National Park which is impossible to defend and impossibly expensive to control burn.

      • J Giddeon says:

        Yes I agree that the government probably feels it can do no more. I was simply making a comparison between that what the spin makes look like a great outcome (doubling hazard reduction) is still a woefully small outcome when looking at the whole picture.

        I’ve been told by some who were in the game in the late 1980s that the aim then was to do each area every 3-4 yrs. But at 1.4% this implies that each area gets done once in a generation or worse.

        Clearly its a money issue and I’d unleash a torrent of ‘retard’, ‘moron’ and ‘troll’ accusations if I started suggesting where priorities might be re-ordered to get the money to do more hazard reduction. At the end of the day, we choose to risk these fires in preference to other spending.

        When I talk about spending on mitigation rather than emission reductions, this is what is meant.

        • Nick says:

          20 million hectares is not a very informative number. 6.6 million is national park and nature reserve, more than 2 million is state forest…that leaves a lot of private land, army land and private timber plantation. It covers a wide area: a good part of it will usually be too moist to burn because it is raining somewhere, another part of it is well managed with access and water points, other bits are so remote that a wildire can burn without much concern…so it’s not realistic to think that all or even a lot of it is vulnerable in any one hot spell, or the risk is great over the whole area..

          In context, the area treated each year is a much greater percentage of vulnerable territory.

  17. john byatt says:

    Of course you cannot just pick out a few years from say 2008 to work out growth rate Co2

    but some retard picked out 2008 anyway

    lets have a look at that
    ear CO2 (ppm)
    2012 393.84
    2011 391.65
    2010 389.92
    2009 387.35
    2008 385.45
    2007 383.61
    2006 381.83

    increase from 2007 to 2008 = 1.84
    1.84 X 2.2% 2009
    1.88 X 2.2% 2010
    1.92 x 2.2% 2011

    2012 prediction 1.96

    actual 2011/ 2012 2.19ppm

    • J Giddeon says:

      As I thought, JB, you really don’t get this. Its instructive, not to say entertaining, that, despite this, you still feel compelled to use the “retard” epithet.

      Probably the easiest way to show you that your understanding is flawed is to suggest that you continue your calculations up to 2050. If you do that you won’t get within cooee of 560ppm. Actually you’ll get to 513ppm which is probably closer to the truth but not what you’re hoping for.

      Actually the way to do this is to use their formula. That’s the only way to get to 560ppm. But the problem is the formula is flawed and will over-estimate CO2 levels by a progressively greater amount each year after 2008.

      eg over-estimation of the formula against actual result

      2009 0.47ppm
      2010 0.48ppm
      2011 0.85ppm
      2012 0.93ppm

      2013 is currently headed for an error greater than 1ppm.

    • J Giddeon says:

      Although it is spectacularly obvious that JB hasn’t got the faintest idea about this despite using it as the basis for believing CO2 levels will double by 2050, the more I looked at the more I realised I didn’t quite follow it either.
      Specifically, the formula used to generate this graph was more than a little screwy.
      The formula reads:

      CO2 level = 280*( 1+exp(0.0222(year-2052)) ). This formula gives the projected CO2 level in parts per million (ppm) for any year from 1958 on, assuming the growth rate is constant at 2.22%.

      As it turns out the formula is designed to give a result of 560ppm in 2052 irrespective of the growth rate. eg use the formula and substitute 2052 as the year and change .0222 to .0500 and you still get a doubling in 2052. So if the rate of growth is assumed to be 5% instead of 2.22% you still get a doubling in 2052.
      That’s because the 2052 year is built into the formula.

      So change 2052 to 2352 and the formula will show the doubling in 2352!!!!

      The critical point is that the formula includes the 2052 year in the formula which determines the result. Its as though they decided they wanted a doubling in 2052 and designed the data to give that result.

      To be certain about this I contacted a Dr Mills who was the only contact I could find on the site. He advised that, although he wrote some of the text he had no idea where the formula came from and agreed that “you are quite correct in your calculation. This formula was probably just a fit to the previous data”.

      So we are left with a site which hopes that CO2 levels will double by 2050, and then ‘creates’ the data to achieve that. My experience is that this type of thing happens all the time and drags in the innumerate gullible. Although the site appears to be dormant I will put a comment on the site so that people might get a heads up that the ‘analysis’ is a “crock of ****”.

  18. john byatt says:

    you will not believe it but the firefighters have made apologies to people complaining that the firefighters did not save their own homes.

  19. john byatt says:

    It will have taken approximately 200 years (from 1850 to 2050) for the first doubling of atmospheric CO2 from 280 to 560 ppmv, but it will only take another 70 years or so to double the levels again to 1120 ppmv

    • Bill Jamison says:

      It seems kind of silly to assume that CO2 emissions will continue to grow for the next 107 years at the same exponential rate. Very silly indeed. To me that’s like claiming that a car that can go from 0 to 100kph in 5 seconds will reach 1200kph in one minute.

      • john byatt says:

        you are correct but not in the way which you believe

        the 2.2% has been an average so is a very conservative figure.
        see last decade for instance

        daily kos

        CO2 emissions continued to grow in 2012, at a dangerous rate that makes a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 2°C nearly inevitable. Over the past year CO2 emissions rose 2.6% and the average growth rate from 2000 to 2012 is a disastrous 3.1% per year. A level emissions rate, at this point, would lead to a rise of more than 2°C by 2100. At the present growth rate, which is an exponential growth rate of about 2.2% per year for the period 1990-2012

        • Bill Jamison says:

          Are emissions in developed countries increasing or decreasing or staying steady? Are plans being made to reduce emissions or increase them?

          I ask those questions because they need to be answered before you can simply take historical growth rates and assume they will continue into the future. And if you don’t expect them to continue to grow at current rates then discussing what would happen in 107 years if they did continue is a complete waste of time.

          IF projections of warming are valid then it is obviously even more unbelievable that emissions would continue to increase all the way through 2020.

  20. john byatt says:

    Decade Total Increase Annual Rate of Increase
    2003 – 2012 20.74 ppm 2.07 ppm per year
    1993 – 2002 16.73 ppm 1.67 ppm per year
    1983 – 1992 15.24 ppm 1.52 ppm per year
    1973 – 1982 13.68 ppm 1.37 ppm per year
    1963 – 1972 9.00 ppm 0.90 ppm per year

  21. […] 2013/10/21: WtD: Blackest day: stunning NASA images of NSW fires […]

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