Bogus claims on Australian and Brazilian floods from ABC and Dr. Richard Sommerville

This ridiculous video story below from ABC news cites über alarmist Richard Somerville of Scripps in San Diego, and is backed up with this print story.

click to watch video

Here’s what the print story headline said:

Raging Waters In Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming

Quoting Somerville:

“Because the whole water cycle speeds up in a warming world, there’s more water in the atmosphere today than there was a few years ago on average, and you’re seeing a lot of that in the heavy rains and floods for example in Australia,” Sommervile [sic] said.

he adds:

“This is no longer something that’s theory or conjecture or something that comes out of computer models,” Sommerville [sic] said. “We’re observing the climate changing — it’s happening, it’s real, it’s a fact.”

Well perfessor, while a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor content, I call BS on your statement. The climate has always changed. The same argument is being used to hype increased hurricane threats, and as we’ve seen from Dr. Ryan Maue, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) says the linkage just isn’t there.

The headline of course is sensational, they really didn’t put any thought or research into the Brisbane, QLD flooding, they simply drew a conclusion and found somebody to support it with a soundbite. I’ve seen plenty of examples of this style of crappy TV news journalism in my career. Professor Somerville apparently couldn’t be bothered to do a little historical research before claiming the floods in Queensland were connected to “global warming”, neither could ABC News.

What did ABC news and professor miss? This graph from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) on Brisbane flooding history. When you add the 2010 flood levels to the graph (as Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. bothered to do, shown in red below) all of the sudden, the historical context for the flood being driven by global warming disappears:

And this is backed up from the BoM web page narrative.

Explain then perfesser, how the 1974 flood, which was worse, links to “global warming”. Or how about the biggest flood, in 1893? How does that figure with “global warming”, especially when it was cooler in 1974 and in 1893 there was no appreciable rise in CO2 globally?

Some people will say, “well that’s just Queensland”, so here is the Australian continent. The same questions apply:

The historical narrative for 1893 from BoM:

3/2/1893 Lower part of Brisbane submerged, and water still on the rise; the “Elamang” and the gunboat “Paluma’ were carried by the flood into the Botanical Gardens, and the “Natone” on to the Eagle Farm flats.
4/2/1893 Disastrous floods in the Brisbane River; 8 feet of water in Edward Street at the Courier building. Numbers of houses at Ipswich and Brisbane washed down the rivers. Seven men drowned through the flooding of the Eclipse Colliery at North Ipswich. Telegraphic and railway communication in the north and west interrupted.
5/2/1893 The lndooroopilly railway bridge washed away by the flood. Heaviest floods known in Brisbane and suburbs.
6/2/1893 The lower part of South Brisbane completely submerged. The flood rose 23’9″ above the mean spring tides and 10 feet above flood mark of 1890; north end of the Victoria Bridge destroyed.
7/2/1893 Flood waters subsiding. Sydney mail train flood bound at Goodna, unable to either proceed or return.
13/2/1893 Second flood for the year in the Brisbane River.
16/2/1893 More rain in the south east districts; another rise in the Brisbane; further floods predicted.
17/2/1893 A third flood occurred in the Brisbane River for the year.
18/2/1893 The ‘Elamang” floated off from the Botanical Gardens. Business at a standstill in Brisbane. Ipswich and other towns. Several deaths by drowning reported.
19/2/1893 The gunboat “Paluma” safely floated off the Gardens, and the “Natone” off Eagle Farm flats. Another span of the lndooroopilly railway bridge carried away. The third flood reached its maximum height at 12 noon, viz. 10 inches below the first flood.

In my opinion, professor Somerville is spouting nonsense about Australia.

As for Brazil, they don’t have as easily accessible climatology, but I did find this newspaper front page from the 1967 Brazil flood, on the website of my friend and fellow skeptic, Alexandre Aguilar in Brazil who works for the weather forecasting firm METSUL. This event which mainly hit Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, with floods and landslides/mudslides, was the worst ever then. The headline cites 400 dead.

The final death toll was 437 people.

METSUL writes on their blog: (more photos there)

The disaster in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is the largest since the disaster Caraguatatuba in 1967 (photos). On March 18 of that year, a flood came down the hills like a tsunami of water, mud and rocks, causing a landslide. Hundreds of homes were submerged and rivers have won strong currents, trailing not only houses, but trees, bridges and other structures. The exact number of dead is unknown until today, having been speculation over 500, but officially are considered 300 fatalities. The rain gauge installed at São Sebastão in March 1967 indicated a [monthly?] precipitation of 851.0 mm, with 115.0 mm and on day 17 and 420 mm the next day. The accumulated [rainfall total] may have been higher due to saturation of the rain gauge.

Again, how did this massive flood happen without the help of CO2 back then?

The Australian rains are being driven by La Nina says NASA in this press release

“Although exacerbated by precipitation from a tropical cyclone, rainfalls of historic proportion in eastern Queensland, Australia have led to levels of flooding usually only seen once in a century,” said David Adamec, Oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “The copious rainfall is a direct result of La Niña’s effect on the Pacific trade winds and has made tropical Australia particularly rainy this year.”

UPDATE: Here’s yet another expert with a similar opinion, from CNN, where they quote a Columbia (where NASA GISS is located) lead forecaster:

The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations.

Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing.

UPDATE2: T Gough in comments points out this discussion on the Met Office website:

For the Australian state of Queensland, there is strong evidence to suggest that La Niña is the main reason for the ongoing widespread flooding. The current floods are also the worst since 1974 – which coincided with the strongest La Niña on record.

They offer this chart:

And this Q&A discussion which is a transcript of a video interview (PDF)

La Nina and severe weather around the world
Adam Scaife – Senior Climate Scientist
What is La Nina?
La Nina is part of a natural climate oscillation in the tropical Pacific. It oscillates between the warm El Nino phase, El Nino is Spanish for ‘the boy’, and the cold La Nina phase. So La Nina is like the cold little sister phase of this oscillation and it’s a purely natural event, occurs every few years as part of this natural oscillation.

Is the flooding in Australia linked to La Nina?
So during La Nina the rainfall that normally falls out over the Pacific shifts west over Indonesia and indeed northern and eastern parts of Australia. So the fact that there’s been lots of flooding in Queensland recently is very consistent with the occurrence of near record La Nina this year.

Is the flooding in Sri Lanka and Brazil linked to La Nina?
So La Nina affects weather patterns throughout the globe but of course the further away you are from the La Nina the more difficult it is to pinpoint the affects, it’s a bit like waving a long stick, the uncertainty grows the further away you are from the source. And so when we look at remoter regions, like Brazil or Sri Lanka, it’s more difficult to attribute the recent flooding events to La Nina. If we take the Brazil case, then when we look in historical records and in our climate models, then southern parts of Brazil are actually dry during La Nina so it would be difficult to attribute the recent flooding near Rio to the La Nina that is going on at the moment. If you go to Sri Lanka that is a little bit more complicated, a little bit less clear because it’s right on the edge of the wet influence from La Nina, but again historically it looks like La Nina tends to drive drier conditions in Sri Lanka so the previous biggest event, or the biggest on record in fact in 1974, Sri Lanka was actually dry.

Is La Nina linked to climate change?
La Nina, El Nino cycles have been going on for a very long time, they’re natural cycles, they’re part of a natural oscillation in the Pacific and indeed when we run our climate models into the future with increasing levels of greenhouse gases then there are no consistent changes in the El Nino, La Nina cycle.

Here’s the video:

While the Met Office may have trouble forecasting winter, they are right about this basic understandign of La Nina. It seem’s there’s a consensus forming that contradicts Somerville’s view of the world.

UPDATE3: My Oz friend Dr. Jennifer Marohasy has this discussion of Eastern Australian rainfall from 2008 and offers this graph, not the 1974 peak. When this graph is updated with the latest rainfall data, it may show a spike similar to 1974.

What the graph demonstrates is that heavy rainfall spikes have occurred in the past, and they are not exclusive to our present with m ore CO2. h/t to reader Crosspatch for this link.

UPDATE4: Crosspatch also points out that BoM now has the most recent rainfall totals online, here is the rainfall for QLD:

Weather history apparently can repeat itself, and the precedent was set before CO2 became a worry.

UPDATE5: See this report about Brazil -

Is the Brazilian flooding catastrophe evidence of another global warming era extreme ?

I think Dr. Richard Somerville needs a swift kick in the butt style reality-check, or perhaps he needs a course in weather history, or both.

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176 Responses to Bogus claims on Australian and Brazilian floods from ABC and Dr. Richard Sommerville

  1. Darren Parker says:

    Looks like someone saw my post on The Punch – good to see you’ve fleshed it out though

  2. Torgeir Hansson says:

    It’s the usual conflation.

    “Climate change is happening.” No doubt.

    “The extreme weather events we saw in 2010 were caused by climate change.” OK. If you say so, and depending on what you mean by “caused by climate change.” Agreed if you simply mean that the ever-changing climate causes all weather phenomena, by definition.

    “It’s all our fault.” Fill in your favorite screaming-at-your-TV-set verbiage here.

  3. ShrNfr says:

    I don’t Noah about these people. Are they dishonest or just stupid, or both?

  4. Mike Jowsey says:

    ShrNfr: both

  5. Michael says:

    Please man-made global warming accepters, for your own and your children’s well being, step outside for five minutes, especially if you live in Summit, Greenland, and take notice of the temperature. Then go back in your heated home quickly. I really don’t want to see harm come your way, and this is getting really serious. Please open up just a little and have an open mind for a moment on what we are all about. We really want you to be well.

    Weather Underground Forecasting All Time Record Cold For The Northern Hemisphere Tonight
    “The coldest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere is -90F.”
    -92F is forecast for tonight.
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/weather-underground-forecasting-all-time-record-cold-for-the-northern-hemisphere-tonight/

  6. Rick Bradford says:

    You can show these graphs time and again, with no effect whatever on people like Sommerville or Australia’s equivalent David Karoly.

    These are people who have never learned that reality exists separate from their own wants or desires. They still want what they want when they want it no matter what. And what they want is to be heroes of Saving the Planet, a prerequisite for that being that the planet must be proved to be in terminal trouble.

  7. Don Penim says:

    Good article at the Guardian UK by Germaine Greer:

    “Australian floods: Why were we so surprised?”

    Meteorologists warned Australians six months ago to prepare for a soaking. And nobody did a thing …

    …In Brisbane the benchmark was the flood of 1974; most Queenslanders are unaware that the worst flood in Brisbane’s history happened in 1893. Six months ago the meteorologists thought it was worthwhile to warn people to “get ready for a wet, late winter and a soaked spring and summer”. So what did the people do? Nothing.

    ….The phenomenon is anything but momentary; the not-so-exceptional rainfall will continue, probably until the end of March. Professor Neville Nicholls, president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, believes that “the Queensland floods are caused by what is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) La Niña events since our records began in the late 19th century”.

    He was asked if the intensification was a consequence of global warming, and declined to comment.

    Other people have been rather too quick to claim the extreme weather as a direct consequence of global warming. (It will surprise many readers of the Guardian to learn that in Australia there is still a bad-tempered debate about whether global warming is happening or not.) …

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/15/australian-floods-queensland-germaine-greer

  8. Tom T says:

    I guess that the droughts that they also blame on global warming are also caused by more moisture content.

  9. Richard says:

    I knew that was coming. Peg any disaster with Global warming. Like astrology – you cannot fail. Its all due to the star configuration / global warming.

  10. Michael says:

    The leftist ideology wants more money for their pet projects.
    The rightist ideology wants more money for their pet projects.
    What ends up happening is the lions share of the money goes to your overlords at the to of the pyramid food chain of our society, ie the people that rule over you either inside or outside government.
    I try to transcend both ideologies. I don’t want any of your money coming to me from anyone else’s pockets that I didn’t honestly earn.
    Please step away from the overlords.

  11. Michael says:

    My dad used to tell me,”A liar is worse than a thief”. I have known for a long time exactly what he was talking about. The liars are capable of doing more damage.

  12. Hugh says:

    OK … I accept … it’s probably not global warming that’s the cause of these floods.

    Maybe it’s Sarah Palin’s “inflammatory rhetoric”… ???

  13. TGSG says:

    ShrNfr says:
    January 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm
    I don’t Noah about these people.

    I see what you did there :)

  14. dp says:

    I’m just sick to death of so-called scientists talking out of their poo hole. This needs to be a punishable offense where the offender is required to post a video on YouTube wearing extremely embarrassing attire and singing “No, I won’t, I won’t make sh*t up! (repeat to fade).

  15. Manfred says:

    Tom T,

    this is correct. There are essentially 3 points contradicting this ad hoc “science”

    1. If increased mositure is used to explain these floods, draughts should become less frequent/severe and not the opposite.

    2. La Nina is on a global scale a cool weather event, which should become less frequent/severe in a warming world and not the opposite.

    3. There have been worse floods in history all occuring in typically cold episodes of temperature history, the worst in the 18oos.

  16. Michael says:

    Status of the CLOUD experiment – November 2009
    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1221088

  17. D. King says:

    Give him a break!
    It’s not easy to predict change, with everything changing all the time.
    This guy gets it right 100% of the time after the fact.
    Could you do any better?
    I think we all know the answer to that question!

  18. Michael says:

    D. King says: wrote
    January 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm
    ‘Give him a break!
    It’s not easy to predict change, with everything changing all the time.
    This guy gets it right 100% of the time after the fact.
    Could you do any better?
    I think we all know the answer to that question!”

    Piers Corbyn gets it right 85% of the time, before the fact.

  19. TimiBoy says:

    My Business is in the thick of the mop up. Not as victims, but I own bobcats and excavators, and they are working hard helping the victims of this entirely cyclical, happened before but worse event.

    Those who read this site but support AGW should at the very least be appalled by the politicisation of this event by blow hard AGW Alarmists.

    It is enough of a tragedy without these rat bags politicising what is a tragic event. They will stoop to anything to push their agenda. Filthy Bastards. It is NOT OK.

    Tim

  20. Sou says:

    Thanks for posting this. The charts you’ve posted clearly support the statements by Dr Somerville and other renowned scientists that anthropogenic global warming is already exacerbating the weather around the world, with disastrous consequences. More frequent and intense precipitation (rain, floods and snow), more extensive and hotter drought, more frequent and worse fires as the global temperature rises.

    I realise that some people here aren’t yet ready to accept the reality that is confirmed by observation, and neither is the original poster. But the evidence is in and available to anyone with an open mind.

  21. D. King says:

    Hugh says:
    January 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm
    OK … I accept … it’s probably not global warming that’s the cause of these floods.

    Maybe it’s Sarah Palin’s “inflammatory rhetoric”… ???

    Typical warmist thinking! Her rhetoric has a chilling effect.

  22. u.k.(us) says:

    Michael says:
    January 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm
    Status of the CLOUD experiment – November 2009
    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1221088
    =========
    Thanks for the link, but I’m afraid to click it, lest my already slow computer
    gives up the ghost. :)

  23. Michael says:

    I agree to abandon the right wing establishment.
    Will you agree to abandon the left wing establishment?
    Lets restart with the premise, “the government lies to you a lot”, like they lie about the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is actually double what they tell you, if you go back to the old formula for calculating unemployment pre 1994.

  24. mike g says:

    Hugh says:
    January 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    OK … I accept … it’s probably not global warming that’s the cause of these floods.

    Maybe it’s Sarah Palin’s “inflammatory rhetoric”… ???
    —————————————————————————-
    Well, her rhetoric is no less likely to be the cause than is global warming.

  25. Ted Gray says:

    The real solution to GLOBAL WARMING is to reduce and eliminate our consumption of fossil fuels and energy use.

    Let me help those who feel oppressed and helpless in the face of climate change, floods and drought, by offering to take your car and house off your hands.

    You will feel unburdened, that you have more than contributed to environmental cause.

    Conditions:
    Note this is a limited time offer. Newer homes and cars only please.
    PS. No electric cars will be considered.

  26. This ridiculous video story below from ABC news cites über alarmist Richard Sommerville

    Global warming is going off the rails.

  27. Michael says:

    Lets restart with the second premise, “the TV people lie to you a lot”.

  28. John F. Hultquist says:

    This makes one wonder if Dr. Somerville is an advisor to Rep. Hank “Tip-Over” Johnson of Georgia. If a climate scientist can twist his own mind into a tangle, for whatever reason, how easy should it be to confound the non-scientist with expert opinion.
    You need a laugh; here’s Hank:

  29. Robw says:

    Last year we were inundated with how AGW was causing the then Australian drought. Now the story is AGW is causing it to rain too much. Yeah and that bridge, can i buy it?

    The average person in Oz must be shaking their head and MUST be wondering why they believed the AGW hype.

  30. Jim Cole says:

    It’s particularly absurd to point to flood damage in the “mountainous surroundings of Rio de Janiero” in terms of “houses being swept away” and “loss of life”.

    Rio’s hillsides are slums (favelas) consisting of ramshackle ad-hoc constructions of corrugated metal, cardboard, plywood, tarp, etc., all crowded into narrow gullies that regularly run with offal, bilge, and waste — oh! and flood water.

    Yes, the rain discharge “swept away homes” much like a good thunderstorm sweeps the crud from the gutter – in the civilized world – but in Rio’s hillside “communities”, far too many people happen to live in those gutters. This ain’t exactly on par with Laguna Beach mansions sliding into the local gully (which also happens).

    Just because people (worldwide) happen to live in areas subject to natural extremes doesn’t mean we have to reorganize our entire economies to chase after a microscopic margin of “safety”.

    People die every day under perfectly mundane circumstances. That’s life. Not global warming.

  31. F. Ross says:


    “Because the whole water cycle speeds up in a warming world, there’s more water in the atmosphere today than there was a few years ago on average, and you’re seeing a lot of that in the heavy rains and floods for example in Australia,” Sommervile said.

    Then it follows that, with more water in the atmosphere and on land, sea level must be falling. No? But that’s not what these snake-oil salesmen are pitching – along with the above tripe.

  32. John F. Hultquist says:

    Sou says:
    January 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    You forgot the sarcasms tags.

  33. peter_ga says:

    The extra GHG heating, excluding water vapor, is 2.63W/m**2 according to NOAA.
    Evaporation/Convection, which causes weather, removes about 100 W/m**2 from the earths surface.

    If this GHG heating causes an increase in surface temperature, both radiation and evaporation/convection will increase. Surely the maximum increase in evaporation/convection is 2.63/100.

    So how can the GHG heating increase convection by more than a couple of percent? This effect would always be too small to be statistically detectable, surely.

  34. JPeden says:

    “This is no longer something that’s theory or conjecture or something that comes out of computer models,” Sommerville said. “We’re observing the climate changing — it’s happening, it’s real, it’s a fact.”

    Sommerville then turned his head toward the vast sky and proclaimed, “Yea, my brethren, but behold, there shall also come a time when Anthropogenic Climate Disruption doth maketh even a passing cloudless shadow of the Sun itself!”

  35. Mike says:

    Sommerville is just one of those elite scientists – um – I mean elitist scientist, that’s what I mean.

  36. Sou says:

    For the benefit of readers who mistakenly think that Brisbane (as shown above) represents the entirety of Queensland (or Australia), the records show that the number of major floods in Queensland has been increasing since the 1970s and 1980s, and particularly since 2000. Records also show that rainfall in many parts of Australia is breaking records in regard to precipitation intensity much more often than before. And that droughts are longer and more pervasive.

    In other words, many parts of Australia are getting hotter and drier and when it does rain, it buckets down more intensely. All this is in line with what is expected with human-induced global warming as far as Australia is concerned.

    As for the rest of the world – well, everyone knows the arctic ice continues to disappear, glaciers are melting, snowfalls and rain are more intense etc etc. And that warming-related extreme events far outweigh cold extreme events.

    Unfortunately, not wanting all this to happen is not sufficient to prevent it. Nor is protesting that it’s not happening. We need to do more to shift away from using the atmosphere as a rubbish dump.

    REPLY:We can’t tell the difference between Brisbane and QLD? That’s just stupidly insulting. And what records of floods? Cite them. Just saying it doesn’t make it so. Are you actually capable of reading? Because it sure seems that you have not read nor understood a single thing about this article. Have a look at what the other experts says, and then comment on that, and we’ll see if you have cognizance of the facts. Or you can not read the article, and remain ignorant like you are now. – Anthony

  37. Tom Harley says:

    Conservation Council of Western Australia appear to believe Somerville and Karoly’s tripe, just like any good ideologue …from their facebook page…
    Neville Numbat
    Floods, Climate change and what the scientist are saying. | Conservation Council of Western Australia
    ccwa.org.au
    In Queenland, large areas of the east coast, and of course our own Gascoyne region, are bearing the brunt of floods that are resetting the record books. There have been well informed voices been prepared to talk about the obvious link these massive and extreme floodign (sic) events have to climate change.”

  38. Ed Mertin says:

    Well, I looked at the Smithsonian eruptive history of volcanoes by date for the years on or just prior to 1893, 1974 and 1967. There are a number of eruptions reasonably close to the lattitudes of the flood subjects. Vesuvius was active all throughout the latter 1800′s as well. I still think Merapi in Indonesia added massive amounts of steam and aerosols to the La Niña weather pattern. Volcanoes inject a lot of steam into the atmosphere, especially near subduction zones, that will eventually come down. Sometimes a lot in one area. What say the rest of you?

  39. David Falkner says:

    100% admit to skimming the article, so apologies if it was addressed.

    Couldn’t the lack of cyclone energy be a result of increased thunderstorms elsewhere, causing more precipitation? Of course, all this work changing phase of water uses the energy that is supposed to be changing the temperature, so perhaps that is Trenberth’s missing energy. It’s gone out to space in a puff of thunderstorm. Water condensing released it’s latent heat and poof.

    Of course, what does this mean for their climate equation?

    And I guess we’ll have to play wait and see with the flood predictions.

  40. The heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro were caused by the Benguela current that borders the west African coast and start a journey of warm waters towards Brazil. It reaches Brazil and split in two branches, one towards the north and another to the south. This branch stops the Malvinas cold current coming from Antarctica and diverts it towards South Africa.

    It is also known as the “Atlantic El Niño-Benguela” -an event less frequent and less poweful than the regular Niños, but it was the cause of these heavy rains as it did in 1967.

    Although the article is in Spanish, you can see maps and graphs in my website about it:

    http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/calen12/catastrofe_rio.html

    you’ll see there an animation of satellite pics just before the rains in Rio, then a map of the Benguela current off west of Capetown; a graph of merged sea levels indicating the warming of the current, a map of how the current flows and its path north and south, and finally a graph of sea level anomalies 1992-2007 in a square between 36ºE/15ºE and 10ºS/15ºS.

    The Brazilian met service was unable to predict the storm with 24 hours in advance –but they purport to predict the weather by year 2050.

  41. Sou says:

    Anthony, I was in no way suggesting that most readers could not tell the difference between Brisbane and Queensland. Nor is that what I said. As the expert you posted about clearly states, the evidence is accumulating more and more that the effects of AGW are occurring already – even though the warming has only just begun.

    I’m pleased that you do not disagree with the rest of my post because I know that you generally promote the notion that the world is not warming, even though a lot of articles you provide on this site demonstrate the fact of human-induced global warming.

    REPLY: For the record, I disagree with everything you say, and you are cherry picking your facts because of your beliefs.

    Read this below, then comment on them, no diversions about ice or other things allowed. – Anthony

    The Australian rains are being driven by La Nina says NASA in this press release

    “Although exacerbated by precipitation from a tropical cyclone, rainfalls of historic proportion in eastern Queensland, Australia have led to levels of flooding usually only seen once in a century,” said David Adamec, Oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “The copious rainfall is a direct result of La Niña’s effect on the Pacific trade winds and has made tropical Australia particularly rainy this year.”

    UPDATE: Here’s yet another expert with a similar opinion, from CNN, where they quote a Columbia (where NASA GISS is located) lead forecaster:

    The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations.

    Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing.

  42. MikeA says:

    I think the tide gauge is not a good metric, you need to factor in the effect of the Somerset Dam (1959) and the Wivenhoe Dam (1974). I’ve lived in Brisbane but feel free to call me stupid.

  43. Puzzled says:

    Why is the media reporting on global warming so biased in favor of those supporting it? Shouldn’t there be two sides to every story? Why are all the western governments pushing for global warming taxes when the science remains unproven? Why do people still believe that hypocrite and snake-oil salesman Al Gore?

    Al Gore has no friends and is just using global warming to get attention. His own wife divorced him and his children are on drugs and booze because of him. I’m super cereal.

    By the way, there’s no possible way for America to pay back its debts. Even if Americans passed a carbon tax, they still couldn’t overcome their budget deficit. They can’t print money forever. I look forward to the day when China buys America and turns it into a sweatshop. Of course, America could always go rogue like North Korea and threaten everyone with nukes.

  44. Al Gored says:

    Excellent article Anthony. In skewering this particular blowhard you have also presented a great summation of this whole story.

  45. Sou says:

    No-one that I know of disputes the fact that this season’s La Niña, which scientists posit will turn out to be the strongest or second strongest La Niña ever recorded, is bringing record rains and repeated flooding to eastern Australia – from Queensland to Tasmania.

    Nor does any knowledgeable person dispute the fact that the intensity of the rainfall across eastern Australia occurring during this La Niña would be less if not for anthropogenic global warming. AGW is exacerbating the extremes of weather. There’s no doubt about that.

    [Reply: You are sure? 1/4 of 1 degree difference in global temperatures since 1980 makes that much difference that you can be that sure that this year's storms are affected by the change in temperature going on since 1750; but not last years', the previous years', nor any of the the previous 29 years of weather are affected? Robt]

  46. Al Gored says:

    “Sommerville said. “We’re observing the climate changing — it’s happening, it’s real, it’s a fact.””

    He’s correct. We’re also observing global rotation – it’s happening, it’s real, it’s a fact.

    That Orwellian shift to ‘climate change’ sure was handy.

  47. jaymam says:

    I really hate to be picky but I think his name is Dr. Richard Somerville.
    It’s important for people using Google, which already has many negative results under the name Sommerville.

  48. Bob Diaz says:

    Let’s assume that we have Global Warming and more moisture in the sky due to the increased temperature. OK, come winter the cold causes more snow, more moisture = more snow; it all sounds reasonable, UNTIL you look at the science.

    (1) The process of freezing water, causes the water to release heat energy.

    (2) According to the laws of thermodynamics, the energy does NOT just disappear.

    (3) Air circulation will mix the air from the ground level to the cloud level and back again.

    The explanation given could explain more snow, BUT it should be very mild cold temperatures. Sooner or later the heat will make its way to the ground. If it doesn’t, then we would have more snow, followed by more rain. However, we are seeing a very bitter cold. The facts don’t fit the theory.

    Given that 10 years ago they told us that, “However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. ”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

    I’d say they are just making it all up as they go along.

  49. crosspatch says:

    The individuals who claimed that Queensland would not experience floods anymore due to AGW need to be listed in large bold print on the front page of the newspaper.

    Anyone now saying that floods are due to AGW need to be likewise listed along with the notation that today’s floods are still less than the flooding that has appeared in the past.

    What they attempt to do is take ANY current weather extreme and link it to AGW. If it is dry, it is AGW. If it is wet, it is AGW. If it is hot, it is AGW. If it is cold, it is AGW. What some newspaper there needs to do is contrast these conflicting claims on the front page in large, bold print.

  50. Christopher Hanley says:

    Sommerville, Karoly et al. are simply following Rahm Emanuel’s frank advice:

  51. David W says:

    ABC’s story is a peice of warmist clap trap. You expect this from ABC that has bought the AGW con hook,line and sinker.

    But please don’t compare 1893 with what has just happened. There are 2 significant dams in place today that weren’t present in 1893. If these dams were not present it is quite possible the 1893 flood level would have been exceeded for the current event although its hard to be certain.

    Some areas in SE QLD saw flood levels 1-2m above the 1893 event bear this in mind when making comparisons. Several recording stations in the Lockyer Valley had their gauges destroyed so we will never know what the true river levels were at these places. Both events were very different in nature. The current event saw wide spread rainfalls up to 600mm whilst 1893 saw more concentrated rainfalls in the northern part of the catchment with one measuring station recording 2000mm+ in a 4 day period.

    I’m a big fan of this blog but we need to get our responses correct when people like Dr Richard Sommerville start trying to falsely link AGW to severe weather events.

  52. Sou says:

    Re comment to my previous post: Yes, I’m sure that this season’s rainfall has been exacerbated by the warming world. And AGW has not only clearly exacerbated the weather of this year and this summer as a whole, but also that going back at least the last 20 years or more.

    Certainly in my part of the world the weather of the last decade or more has included events unprecedented in recorded history. Record drought in extent and duration, record heat in duration and temperature, record rainfall in intensity and extent, record floods in extent.

    Many other parts of the world are recording similar patterns of increasing extreme events.

    BTW – not sure what units Robt is using, but the global temperature has increased by 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the late 1970s, which is considerably higher than 1/4 of a degree in total using any known temperature scale. And as the charts in the original article above show, the land temperatures in Queensland and the sea surface temperatures around Australia are trending up at an alarming rate (the scales in Celsius as is used around the world except the USA). (If not for humans using the air as a waste dump, global temperatures would probably be falling.)

    REPLY: You really need to look at the history of rainfall in your area, reader crosspatch provides this link to Jennifer Marohasy, in Australia. When this graph is updated, it may be close to the 1974 rainfall peak from that La Nina – Anthony

    http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/Eastern%20Oz%20No%20Trend%20Line.jpg

  53. T Gough says:

    Met Office has a report (14/1/11) on its website ‘Global flooding and La Nina’
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/La-Nina-impacts

    They say “For the Australian state of Queensland, there is strong evidence to suggest that La Niña is the main reason for the ongoing widespread flooding. The current floods are also the worst since 1974 – which coincided with the strongest La Niña on record”.

  54. John Kehr says:

    I have put some other examples of Biased and Unbiased Climate News together. This particular topic is part of the coverage as well.

    There is good news coverage out there, there is also an equal amount of crap.

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/01/examples-of-biased-and-unbiased-climate-news/

  55. crosspatch says:

    I guess Australia had access to the real story as early as 2008:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2008/08/interpreting-eastern-australian-rainfall-data/

  56. bryn says:

    I do not think anyone in Oz has woken up to this post yet, so may I add a couple of comments.

    Brisbane is not the only part of eastern Australia affected by floods. The problem started as a cyclone developed in the Coral Sea, moved south and then inland. This left a trail of townships flooded down the Queensland coast.

    Oz is the flattest continent, averaging only 300 m asl. The continental divide runs close to the eastern coastline and is generally less than 1000 m asl. As a result, major waterways starting in the ranges, run inland until they reach the Southern Ocean or Lake Eyre. The gradients on these rivers is thus very low, except near the headwaters and so there are no effective deep channels to guide rainwater in the manner of many northern hemisphere rivers. Instead large downpours in the headwaters of the major rivers readily spread across broad, ill-defined flood plains and readily cause chaos.

    A similar pattern has developed in the Gascoyne region of WA and flash flooding is seriously affecting northern Victoria. Much of the Queensland water is about to flood western NSW.

    It is like pouring water on a table. Too readily the flow takes ill-defined courses to the sea or lowest point.

    Unfortunately many settlements are on or close to the “normal” water courses, and hence they are too readily prone to flooding, because there is little to contain extra waters in existing channels. Brisbane is one such settlement. Water from the eastern side of the Darling Downs escarpment was channeled onto the flood plains of the Brisbane River. Old hands learnt by experience and designed the “Queenslander” style of house on stilts, that generally survives flooding. Unfortunately engineers warnings, particularly after the 1974 floods, were ignored by governments and planners and much of the damage witnessed in the past few days could be blamed on lax planning laws about rapid development and poor house design on flood-prone plains, ie. in much of western Brisbane.

    And don’t forget northern Australia is in the tropics, subject to monsoonal conditions. Heavy rains are “normal” in that part of the world. The cyclone was an unwelcome extra.

    And after all that, I agree Somerville is an ignorant idiot.

  57. Sou says:

    Hi Anthony, thanks for responding to my posts and for posting the articles illustrating what is happening. I realise how difficult that must be given your position on the matter of global warming.

    Jennifer Maharosey is not a climate scientist and she is well-known down here in Autralia for frequently writing articles that range from misleading to false. I am not saying this particular article you to which you refer is wrong or right (I don’t bother reading her articles any more). I rely on information from the Bureau of Meteorology and the findings of other experts in the field. I would expect that (except perhaps in matters relating to climate), most people on this site would also look to experts for information about important matters.

    REPLY: James Hansen is an astronomer by training, so what? It doesn’t matter if Dr. Marohasy trains goldfish for a living, LOOK AT THE DAMN DATA.

    Otherwise you are just wasting our time. And so far it looks like you are incapable of ingesting new information, but travel the safe path of the faithful. Rommulan perhaps, a svarmisk resident maybe?

    On second thought I realize now your purpose here is to waste our time, so we won’t be having any more of that until you can comment intelligently on the data and sources presented instead of tossing out diversions. Frankly, I don’t think you are capable. – Anthony

  58. Christopher Hanley says:

    “….I’m sure that this season’s rainfall has been exacerbated by the warming world. And AGW has not only clearly exacerbated the weather of this year and this summer…”

    I know this is a stupid question Sou, but I’ll ask it anyway:
    How do you know that a “warming world” = AGW*?
    *AGW being shorthand for ‘IPCC science’ viz. most of the warming since c. 1950 is most likely due to human CO2 emissions.

    Is it because 98% of scientists say so?

  59. Dave vs Hal says:

    Sou,

    You have said that the rising sea temperatres around Australia this past 30 years exacerbated the La Nina. Using the same logic warming oceans should moderate the cooling around Australia during an El Nino event and hence reduce drought severity. Yet we have been told AGW will increase drought frequency and severity?

  60. Noelene says:

    Sou
    for you
    http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/flood7.htm
    The year 1973 was one of the wettest known over much of Australia, and in keeping with the strong La Niña event that prevailed, the 1973/74 northern wet season started early. By the end of 1973 large areas of the country were saturated. Then came January 1974, which featured probably the biggest continent-wide drenching since European settlement, inundating vast areas of the country.

    New Year celebrations had barely finished when torrential rains on 4 January soaked northeast Victoria and parts of the Riverina, and flooded Albury. Meanwhile, far away in north Queensland, big floods on the 5th marooned cars and coaches across a broad area. The deluge then extended to northwest New South Wales on the 7th and 8th, causing flooding along the Namoi and Castlereagh rivers: railways and roads were cut, necessitating evacuations by helicopter.

    Further heavy rain fell in NSW during the second week of January , and many rivers in the north of that State were flooded. On 11 January, creeks in Brisbane burst their banks, flooding roads and streets. Northern Victoria experienced a second burst of heavy rain on the 13th; this time, floodwaters swirled through the streets of Nhill and Dimboola. Rains also extended to the normally arid north of South Australia on the 17th, flooding opal mines at Coober Pedy.

    As monsoonal rains poured down, the Gulf Country of Queensland, and extensive areas of the dry centre, were turned into vast inland seas, isolating pastoral stations and causing heavy cattle losses. About 500 people were evacuated from Normanton and Karumba, while 250 stranded passengers on the Townsville-Mt Isa railway were air-lifted to Mt Isa. Some 400-600mm of rain inundated the southern Northern Territory and southwest Queensland in January, more than twice the average ANNUAL total at some locations.

    On top of all this came tropical cyclone “Wanda”, which moved ashore north of Brisbane on Thursday 24 January, producing relatively little wind damage, but sending down enormous quantities of rain over the Australia Day weekend. In Brisbane, intensifying rain throughout Friday dumped over 300mm within 24 hours. In three days (ended 9am 27th) the Queensland capital received 580mm, with even heavier falls over river catchments near the city (1,300mm in five days at Mt Glorious). Wanda floodThe first houses were washed away along Enoggera Creek early on the 26th. As rivers continued to rise, many more were lost. The Bremer river peaked at Ipswich on the Sunday, and the Brisbane River peaked early on Tuesday; both at their highest levels since the disastrous floods of 1893. Fourteen people were drowned, some trapped in offices by the rising waters.

    By the end of January much of Australia – normally the “dry” continent – was experiencing the problems of too much water. Vast areas of the inland remained submerged for weeks – in some cases, for months. Crops were destroyed, and outbreaks of disease, such as Murray Valley encephalitis, took their toll.

  61. Sou says:

    Hi Dave, good question.

    El Nino tends to cause hot and dry conditions across much of Australia with more evaporation from the land surface, rather than having a cooling effect. It is during La Nina that the cooling occurs, all the extra water in the atmosphere condenses, rain falls and droughts come to an end. Despite the cooler weather with this La Nina, the temperatures in many places, for example Melbourne, are still above the 30 year averages.

    You can explore the BOM site to see what is happening: http://www.bom.gov.au

  62. Richard S Courtney says:

    Anthony:

    I think we are seeing a new meme being presented by catastrophists. It is based on this argument:

    Weather events are driven by energy flows,
    and AGW increases energy in the climate system,
    so the severity of each weather event is increased by AGW.

    The new meme is
    ‘AGW increases the severity of weather events and those who dispute it are evil deniers in the pay of Big Oil, or Big Coal, or Big Industry.’

    The argument is wrong for several reasons, but the catastrophists need it.

    Following the failures of the conferences at Copenhagen and Cancun, it is clear that political support for AGW is fading away. But that political support fuels the AGW ‘gravy train’, so those riding the ‘gravy train’ need a way to maintain the political support. And politicians respond to public concern. Everybody is concerned at weather disasters, and weather disasters happen somewhere around the world most of the time.

    Hence, we can expect much more propoganda like
    “The severity of these heat waves is AGW”,
    “The severity of these cold spells is AGW”,
    “The severity of these droughts is AGW”,
    “The severity of these floods is AGW”,
    “The severity of these snow storms is AGW”,
    “The severity of these tropical storms is AGW”,
    etc.

    Richard

  63. Brian H says:

    Anthony;
    Took you long enough to twig to Sou; classic thread-highjack-with-loud-blather troll. Scroll-by stuff.

    As for “warm air holds more moisture”, the converse is also true: cool air holds less moisture. So it falls out and lands on the ground as rain, causing floods. I think you’d find much more statistical support for that observation than the Hot Rain one.

    REPLY: I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and offer data for discussion, but it’s clear now he’s just a tweaker. – Anthony

  64. Mike Haseler says:

    “Again, how did this massive flood happen without the help of CO2 back then?”

    That’s easy!

    In the past such disasters were due to the weather … these days they are due to the climate!

  65. Peter Miller says:

    Whenever, or wherever, engineers construct a major new processing plant or bridge, they are asked to ensure it will continue standing in a 50, 100, 200, or in some extreme cases a 500 year weather ‘event’.

    Only the most stupid AGW fanatic would refuse to accept we have occasional extreme weather events in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

    A classic case of: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.”

  66. tango says:

    this goose should be told that he speaks a load of crap, in brisbane it has been flooded countless times 1886 was a bigger flood than 2011 I wounder what they where blaming back then I bet it was not global warming.

  67. Chris in Hervey Bay says:

    Noelene says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Good Post Noelene, don’t forget that the ’74 flood in Brisbane was made worse because of the total stuff up of the management of the Somerset dam out flows, as the release of water concided with the extra high king tide at the mouth of the Brisbane river.

    See Jo Nova at Brisbane’s Man Made Flood,,, http://joannenova.com.au/2011/01/brisbane%e2%80%99s-man-made-flood-peak/

  68. Sou says:

    It’s been suggested that I haven’t referred sufficiently to the data. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that many posters here would have been familiar with the masses of climate data widely available. I also referred to the information shown in the charts in the original post above. For some more data, here is the latest annual climate statement from our Bureau of Meteorology, which includes some explanation of data on 2010 weather in Australia:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/climate/change/20110105.shtml

    The statement concludes with the following: “Increasing global mean temperatures derived from instrumental measurements are consistent with other independent indicators of climate change, such as reductions in ice and snow cover, and rises in global sea levels.”

    The BOM site is rather good to delve into for anyone wanting to learn more about weather in Australia and the changing climates in the different parts of this large island continent.

  69. Dr A Burns says:

    Global warming was supposed to cause drought in Oz, according to CSIRO and WWF:
    http://www.wwf.org.au/news/n36/
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200610/s1765929.htm

  70. galileonardo says:

    Just a relative surface dig of Richard Somerville (couldn’t stomach more than that at the moment) yielded some interesting facts about him. He was a coordinating lead author of IPCC AR4 and helped throw together “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” released a few weeks after Climategate broke (Mann, Schneider, Steig, Weaver and others listed as co-authors). A gem among many from the executive summary:

    “[T]he average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under 1 metric ton CO2 by 2050. This is 80-90% below the per-capita emissions in developed nations in 2000.”

    I wonder if the Luddite brigade will still be flying around the world spreading the good word. I glanced through the report itself, twitched a bit at the Nature cover illustration of Steig’s fiery Antarctica, and then forced myself to stop at the Mann 08 spaghetti schtick. Gotta love this passage:

    “The first of these reconstructions has come to be known as the ‘hockey stick’ reconstruction (Mann et al. 1998, 1999). Some aspects of the hockey stick reconstruction were subsequently questioned, e.g. whether the 20th century was the warmest at a hemispheric average scale (Soon and Baliunas 2003), and whether the reconstruction is reproducible, or verifiable (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003), or might be sensitive to the method used to extract information from tree ring records (McIntyre and McKitrick 2005a,b). Whilst these criticisms have been rejected in subsequent work (e.g. Rutherford et al. 2005; Wahl and Ammann 2006, 2007; Jansen et al. 2007) the US National Research Council convened a committee to examine the state of the science of reconstructing the climate of the past millennium. The NRC report published in 2006 largely supported the original findings of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) and recommended a path toward continued progress in this area (NRC, 2006). Mann et al. (2008) addressed the recommendations of the NRC report by reconstructing surface temperature at a hemispheric and global scale for much of the last 2,000 years using a greatly expanded data set for decadal-to-centennial climate changes, along with recently updated instrumental data and complementary methods that have been thoroughly tested and validated with climate model simulations.”

    Now I have to go and try to fall asleep with that ripe tripe revisionism fresh on my mind. Why do I do this to myself? If you’re a glutton for punishment, the links are below. And maybe somebody can do the calculations on just how far (in today’s terms) one metric ton of CO2 will get us, perhaps even some top ten lists of ways we can use our alloted energy of “well under 1 metric ton CO2.” For perspective, according to the last link I provide below from Science Daily 2008, the average American’s carbon emissions is 20 metric tons. Better still, that article says that even a homeless American tallies 8.5 metric tons:

    “But the ‘floor’ below which nobody in the U.S. can reach, no matter a person’s energy choices, turned out to be 8.5 tons, the class found. That was the emissions calculated for a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters.”

    So perhaps our new goal (based let’s say on 0.85 metric ton CO2 to qualify as “well under” one) should be as follows:

    “”[T]he average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink by 2050 to 90% below the per-capita emissions of a homeless person in America in 2008.”

    Pleasant dreams.

    http://www.copenhagendiagnosis.org/executive_summary.html
    http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/Copenhagen/Copenhagen_Diagnosis_LOW.pdf
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428120658.htm

  71. henrythethird says:

    Since you brought up Tony Barnston, you should know he’s deep into AGW belief – as evidenced here:

    http://www.bic.org/statements-and-reports/featured/the-ethical-dimensions-of-climate-change

    Taking part in talks about the ETHICAL side of climate change.

    “Tony Barnston noted that it takes humans years to adjust to ‘inconvenient discoveries’, citing cigarette smoking and prolonged exposure to the sun as two examples. A more urgent change is needed and a far shorter lag time when it comes to stemming greenhouse gas emissions. We need to move quickly to the action step, as the implications of not acting are severe and wide reaching…”

    So, even though he didn’t mention AGW there, he’s spreading it elsewhere.

  72. Geckko says:

    This is enraging, especially coming from idiots who don’t even seem to know what the “normal” climate is for Queensland.

    Queensland floods. Australia floods. Always has always will. Just as it has always suffered severe and extended drought.

    One can only attribute such comments to stupidity of dishonesty.

  73. Charles Worringham says:

    Robw says (above):
    January 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm
    “Last year we were inundated with how AGW was causing the then Australian drought. Now the story is AGW is causing it to rain too much. Yeah and that bridge, can i buy it?

    The average person in Oz must be shaking their head and MUST be wondering why they believed the AGW hype.”

    Robw – you can buy the bridge. Try reading the IPCC 2007 Technical Report – Regional climate change projections, in which it is predicted that Australia will become dryer overall, but that when (rarer) extreme rain events do occur, they are likely to be more intense. Not only that, the prediction that more extreme (southern hemisphere) summer rain events will occur mostly in the eastern half of the country while the southwest will be dryer in summer matches the current situation remarkably well. Good science is pretty sceptical, but your scepticism is way over the top.

  74. hide the decline says:

    The priests of voodoo science are still sticking their pins into Mother Nature. If they were fair-dinkum about their belief’s they would lead by example and abandon all their life’s choices and standard of living and return to the cave from whence they yearn to live, and leave the rest of us alone.

    However, they are not fair-dinkum because there is no conned taxpayer money in being fair-dinkum.

  75. joe says:

    Global Warming just means “extreme weather of all kinds” – Rachel Maddow

    tough to argue with that.

  76. Slacko says:

    Sou says:
    January 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    “… everyone knows the arctic ice continues to disappear, glaciers are melting, snowfalls and rain are more intense etc etc. And that warming-related extreme events far outweigh cold extreme events.

    Unfortunately, not wanting all this to happen is not sufficient to prevent it. Nor is protesting that it’s not happening.”

    ———————-

    You need to catch up on the facts. Globally, almost all glaciers are advancing not melting. The Northwest Passage between Canada and the polar icecap is well and truly frozen over. And the Antarctic ice extent increased by 3,500,000 km^2 in the three years to mid 2010. So Global Warming (via the miniscule amounts of Co2 being returned to the biosphere from previously sequestered deposits in coal and limestone) is making lots of ice in both hemispheres, but you think we need to decimate our economies to avoid boiling to death!

  77. Robert Ellison says:

    Speaking as a hydrologist in the Australian flood zone – none of the recent events are much outside of limits of variability in even our very limited records. I’d be wary of comparing simple flood heights in a tidal system such as Brisbane however.

    Me and mine are fine – thank you – but traumatised by the deaths and made more sad and cynical by those attempting to make political capital.

    I think the Pacific Ocean drives climate much more than climate drives the Pacific Ocean – see http://www.earthandocean.robertellison.com.au/index.html

    The Australian hydrological consensus is that we get 20 to 40 years of a drought dominated regime (DDR) followed by 20 to 40 years of a flood dominated regime – an analysis replicated endlessly across the country. This, btw, is an example of chaotic bifurcation in the complex and dynamic (as in chaos theory) climate system. The system bifurcated after 1998 to a flood dominated regime. And yes – we should assume 10 to 30 more years of intense and frequent La Nina – something which I and others have repeatedly publicly predicted for years. A case of pearls before swine apparently. I know Stewart Franks had a (draft – but never finalised) policy with the National Committee on this very topic for most of the last decade. Ironically – this was replaced by some nonsense about global warming induced water shortages recently.

    Superimposed on DDR and FDR is the idea that ‘global warming’ (a muddle headed idea based on simple causality) intensifies both La Nina and El Nino – an idea for which there is scant and conflicting evidence.

  78. Robert Ellison says:

    A correction to my last post – that is the National Committee on Water Engineering

  79. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Well, at least some headway is being made in the UK.

    The Independent, until recently one of the staunchist bastions of global warming hysteria, ran an article this morning with the headline: ‘This isn’t global warming, but it may be the face of the future’.

    The article stated clearly that La Nina was the cause of the Queensland floods and that climate change wasn’t. Experts were quoted to add weight to that position.

    The situation in Brazil was described as being exacerbated by poor construction practices on steep hillsides, which is factually accurate but probably of little comfort to those who lost relatives.

    The issue of inappropriate urban development was highlighted, which for any sane person is the reason behind the more toxic effects of floods when they do happen. Namely that if you are idiotic enough to build houses on flood plains, don’t be surprised when they flood. It might be once every 5 years, once every 35 but it’ll flood. Because nature is pretty predictable on longer time scales…….

    The issues to me should focus now about expecting reservoirs to be low most of the time since you need really big ones to catch all the water from floods like these. But given the propensity for long-term drought in some of those areas, that’s precisely what you need to keep things going during the dry periods…….

    It should also focus on either not building on flood plains or building houses on stilts if you must build there. No doubt politicians will take due care to ensure that those stilts don’t collapse at times of flood due to cowboy developers who bunged them a few hundred grand to let the development take place in the first place????

  80. Mike Borgelt says:

    bryn says:
    January 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    “And after all that, I agree Somerville is an ignorant idiot.”

    So is our new drive by troll, Sou.

    Got any training in science, earth science or any other kind , Sou? Lots of posters here have.

    Or are you just a Greenpeas patsy?

  81. LazyTeenager says:

    I’m not impressed by the idea of just using Brisbane records as an indicator of the flood severity. People in other locations report this flood was worse than past ones.

    To get an indication that is not misleading, the amount of water fallen over some common baseline area needs to be calculated for all floods past and present.

  82. LazyTeenager says:

    Timiboy says
    ——-
    It is enough of a tragedy without these rat bags politicising what is a tragic event. They will stoop to anything to push their agenda. Filthy Bastards. It is NOT OK.
    ——-
    You’re right, so why were you silent when climate skeptics did exactly that?

  83. Mike Borgelt says:

    I had a chance to fly over the Lockyer Valley today but didn’t take it. My First Officer (wife) and I decided it would be voyeuristic so went where we were going by an alternate route.
    It was good to hear my friends in 161 troop Australian Army Aviation come up on the frequency flying Search and Rescue in the valley. Good kids. It is our pleasure to know them.

  84. richard verney says:

    I did not like the tone of Jim Cole comment at January 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm.
    We are talking about peoples homes (whether these be mansions or wooden shacks) and one cannot pay a higher price than to pay with one’s life and/or the life of family members.
    The point is though, if one builds a town high in the mountains where avalanches occur in the Spring, one is always living in the shaddow of an avalanche occuring. The same is so on mountain sides where there is a prospensity for mud slides, or on flood plains, or in the foothills of a volcano. When one builds and lives in these areas, one runs a risk that nature will strike with a vengance and from time to time she does just that.

    We should not be surprised by the cruelty of nature (after all this is the driving force behind natural selection) but rather by man’s stupidy in settling in places which do not make good habitats or in failure to manage properly the known risks which are inherent in the habitat chosen (I have in mind that with better management, at least in Brisbane, the worst effects of the flooding could have been controlled and reduced, much like New Orleans and her sea defences). As regards Australia, one suspects that town planners/city engineers were being told that with global warming drought is the problems and floods will become a thing of the past such that they took their eye of the ball. This is what has happened in the UK with winter snowfall. There is a lot of blood on the shoulders of the AGW crowd.

  85. Robert Ellison says:

    The best available measure is Claus Wolters’ multi-variate ENSO index found here – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/

    The big La Nina are all found prior to 1976 – it is associated with the Pacific decadal pattern. More frequent and intense La Nina to 1976, more frequent and intense El Nino to 1998 and a climate shift since to more frequent and intense La Nina. The intensity of the current La Nina is similar to the large events prior to 1976 and I’m betting that it will hang around this year intensifying again into next summer. The cool Pacific decadal pattern brings more intense and frequent La Nina for 20 to 40 years.

    ‘El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the most important coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon to cause global climate variability on interannual time scales. Here we attempt to monitor ENSO by basing the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) on the six main observed variables over the tropical Pacific. These six variables are: sea-level pressure (P), zonal (U) and meridional (V) components of the surface wind, sea surface temperature (S), surface air temperature (A), and total cloudiness fraction of the sky (C). These observations have been collected and published in COADS for many years.’

  86. LazyTeenager says:

    Richard S Courtney says
    ———–
    I think we are seeing a new meme being presented by catastrophists. It is based on this argument:

    Weather events are driven by energy flows,
    and AGW increases energy in the climate system,
    so the severity of each weather event is increased by AGW.
    ——
    Richard, it is an old meme. Maybe 20 years old. Glad to see your climate science knowledge is catching up.

    Here is a little question for you. How many years of crazy weather would it take to convince you?

  87. Jimbo says:

    My only comment, after the comprehensive smackdown, is that we are constantly being told not to cite cold weather events to counter AGW yet they have cited Russian heatwave, Pakistan floods and now the Amazon and Australian floods as a sign of global warming. They also cited the previous droughts in Amazon and Australia as a sign of global warming.

    “So have there been more natural disasters in recent years? In a word, NO.
    What we have, rather, is an increase in our ability to detect hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.”
    Epicdisasters.com

    Let’s look at some natural disasters of the past:

    Ten worst floods in history
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/flooding/tenworst.shtml

    Five worst forest fires
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/forestfires/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst hurricanes in history
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/hurricanes/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst tornadoes in history
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/tornadoes/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst avalanches in history
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/avalanches/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst landslides in history
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/landslides/tenworst.shtml

    Worst natural disasters in history
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/worstdisasters.shtml

  88. Carolina says:

    Dear Dp,

    “Poo hole” ??!?!
    Ha! ROFL! Lololol ! Whew, caught me off guard with that one. Yes indeedee …. very apt description. Well done! And thank you for the funny-
    Carolina

  89. Jimbo says:

    “So how do these scientist explain that the worst floods in Brisbane’s history occurred in 1893. Brisbane has the longest complete record for floods. The Brisbane Flood of 2011 is nowhere near as high as the the floods of the 1890s or the 1840′s. So how did we manage to have more rain in the 1840s and 1890s when there was no Global Warming, and no Climate Change? When CO2 levels were much lower than they are today?”
    Source

  90. LazyTeenager says:

    Brian H says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:20 am

    As for “warm air holds more moisture”, the converse is also true: cool air holds less moisture. So it falls out and lands on the ground as rain, causing floods. I think you’d find much more statistical support for that observation than the Hot Rain one.
    ————–
    So you have not heard of monsoons then and don’t believe in tropical rain storms at all then?

    And the idea of rain accompanying cold fronts must be totally alien then?

    And other popular climate skeptic ideas like: drought is caused by cold must be totally confusing to you then.

    The problem is you don’t want to understand how rain fall is related to temperature and moisture content. All you are interested in is simple minded debating points.

  91. 1974 would be the 37 year ago, cycle two analog year I use for my forecast method, so it is no surprise to me this rerun of the past is right on time…. I sure would like to get hold of a complete record of the daily raw data back to about 1900, to generate a daily map based forecast for Australia, for the next 10 years or so.

    I would need the data in a Lat, Long, parameter value (highs, lows, precipitation,snow, and dew point would be nice) format, for a rapid response forecast generation, in less than 6 months.

  92. Jimbo says:

    Maps of Brisbane’s floods: 1893, 1974, 2011
    [Includes a good background article]

  93. Keith Battye says:

    Lazy Boy won’t like that.

  94. Keith Battye says:

    Or that.

  95. Patrick Davis says:

    “LazyTeenager says:
    January 15, 2011 at 2:59 am”

    Yeah, and alot I saw in reports weren’t old enough or weren’t even in the country to recall the 1974 floods, so your comment is rather pointless. Regardless, I have seena shift in poersonal accounts. A few weeks back you’d see reporters talking to “older” people stating “Seen it like this before!” Now, I see very young people, some were NOT teenagers at all, being asked if they’d seen “…anything like this before?”. But I get the impression that if you see and hear “accounts of an event or past events” on TV, and in colour, it must be true right?

    Floods are very common in Queensland, early settlers adapted to it by bulding differently, ie, building houses on stilts, which was a departure from building standards known to the early settlers.

  96. Jack Simmons says:

    Sou says:
    January 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    – even though the warming has only just begun.

    Check this out: http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateReflections.htm#20080927:%20Reflections%20on%20the%20correlation%20between%20global%20temperature%20and%20atmospheric%20CO2

    Not only has the warming stopped, but global temperatures have not correlated with CO2 concentrations. Hence, CO2 does not drive global temperatures. AGW hypothesis falsified.

    Now about those 1893 floods.

    There was also a economic panic here in the US in 1893.

    My grandmother was born in 1893.

    Clearly, my grandmother’s birth was the cause of all those bad events in 1893.

  97. Mariss says:

    These floods were caused by a government that let their people down. Dams that would have protected people and saved lives weren’t built.

  98. Jack Simmons says:

    Rhys Jaggar says:
    January 15, 2011 at 2:45 am

    The situation in Brazil was described as being exacerbated by poor construction practices on steep hillsides, which is factually accurate but probably of little comfort to those who lost relatives.

    The issue of inappropriate urban development was highlighted, which for any sane person is the reason behind the more toxic effects of floods when they do happen. Namely that if you are idiotic enough to build houses on flood plains, don’t be surprised when they flood. It might be once every 5 years, once every 35 but it’ll flood. Because nature is pretty predictable on longer time scales…….

    Here in Colorado the issue is building homes in firewood stands, also known as forests.

    People want to be close to nature, but there is a risk.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayman_Fire
    The irony of the Hayman fire is the source was a government employee whose job was to prevent forest fires.

    Every year we have homes burn up. But people still keep building up there.

  99. Paul R says:

    Imagine being able to truly believe in something like these so called scientists say they do, to actually know beyond doubt that you have the undisputed facts.
    It makes me wonder if they know what they don’t know or are total frauds.

  100. Matt Rogers says:

    The other irony here is that La Nina is defined as colder-than-normal water temperatures in the central Tropical Pacific. So here we have a moderate to strong La Nina event. So much for the warming oceans.

  101. MartinGAtkins says:

    Whoosh. That’s the sound of the point of this article going right over the heads of WUWT posters. It’s not one crappy paper that’s the problem but the whole peer review process. Small wonder that the cargo cult scientists spout it’s wonders to behold. It’s because peer review is eminently corruptible.

    You pay for the privilege of headline grabbing “research” but are not allowed to examine the full paper without subscribing to a privately owned and profit oriented media outlet.

    Do you as a taxpayer feel this farce should continue?

  102. thechuckr says:

    WUWT had a post on DECREASING atmospheric water vapor

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/18/a-window-on-water-vapor-and-planetary-temperature/

    Not that I would expect alarmist dolts like Sommerville and his ilk to actually look at facts before they spout AGW rhetoric.

  103. David says:

    Look, everyone – you can post graphs showing previous Queensland floods till you’re blue in the face – these AGW-ers are the ones who get the air time – because they have an ‘explanation’.
    You and me saying: ‘Its normal; its happened many times before’ – is not a story you can put on tv…
    How could the news channels survive on: ‘Nothing much has happened today..’..?

  104. Tom in Florida says:

    Well, Somerville has made a believer out of me!
    Just check out this drought index:
    http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html

    Obviously there is no global warming in the Southeast U.S. because it is cold and dry in that region. Obviously the lack of CO2 there has prevented the air from being warm enough to hold moisture. But this is really a positive feedback because all this cold will make local residents to turn on the heat in their homes which will require more energy which will create more CO2 which will then eventually warm the air again. You will see, just wait a couple of months and see how warm the region gets because to this.

  105. Paul Pierett says:

    It is all about sunspots and they are right in their observations.

    The accumulated global warming since 1934 since the growth of global warming sunspot cycles, the amount of precipitation in the USA rose by one inch on average and low precipitation for a year rose as well as the peaks over the period 1885 to 1933.

    As has been proven, lower sunspot activity lowers upper atmosphere humidity, which causes drought, which causes more dust and that seeds the clouds and causes more flooding during drought periods.

  106. Mike says:

    “REPLY: James Hansen is an astronomer by training, so what? It doesn’t matter if Dr. Marohasy trains goldfish for a living, LOOK AT THE DAMN DATA. ”

    The folks in Australia are swimming in data.

  107. Buzz Belleville says:

    http://www.munichre.com/en/media_relations/press_releases/2011/2011_01_03_press_release.aspx

    This is an insurance company, just looking to protect their money, not to advance any scientific theory or political ideology. They recognize the threat of climate change. Much like the Pentagon and our military do.

  108. Smokey says:

    Buzz Belleville,

    Did you notice the words “PRESS RELEASE” in your link? They are using ‘climate change’ to raise insurance rates. And their rationale is certainly confusing:

    The level of overall losses was slightly above the high average of the past ten years.

    What is a “high average”?

    WUWT is a science based site. In fact, it is the “Best Science” site on the internet. Arguments based on an insurance company’s public relations advertising are not very scientific. Is that the best argument you’ve got?

  109. latitude says:

    There were over twice as many floods from 1840 to 1940,
    as there were from 1940 to 2010.

    Man made global warming has caused the amount of floods to go down by more than half.

  110. thechuckr says:

    Buzz Belleville – you should read:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/01/signals-of-anthropogenic-climate-change.html

    There are other studies that cpme to similar conclusions.

  111. Martin Brumby says:

    Mike Borgelt says:
    January 15, 2011 at 2:56 am
    bryn says: January 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    “So is our new drive by troll, Sou.”

    No Bryn, I think he’s been here before. I’m sure that I remarked that a “Sou” is an obsolete and valueless French coin.

    As in “Not worth a sou”.

  112. DirkH says:

    Sou says:
    January 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm
    “Thanks for posting this. The charts you’ve posted clearly support the statements by Dr Somerville and other renowned scientists that anthropogenic global warming is already exacerbating the weather around the world, with disastrous consequences. More frequent and intense precipitation (rain, floods and snow), more extensive and hotter drought, more frequent and worse fires as the global temperature rises. ”

    You forgot the most important aspect of AGW. Rising CO2 levels and increasing global temperatures obviously correlate with the spread of favelas on steep hillsides and the urban sprawl into floodplains. So as long as we go on emitting more and more CO2 we will see more favelas and more construction in floodplains, exacerbating future desasters.

    Please tell your masters to have this included in the next IPCC report. It’s an obvious and unprecedented correlation; we need top climatologist researchers to prove it’s also a causal link!

    /sarc

  113. DirkH says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    January 15, 2011 at 3:14 am
    “Richard, it is an old meme. Maybe 20 years old. Glad to see your climate science knowledge is catching up.

    Here is a little question for you. How many years of crazy weather would it take to convince you?”

    So let’s change the name from Global Warming to Global Craziness, shall we? It describes the AGW believers quite well.

  114. Robw says:

    Just so we are clear Charles W.
    They predicted drier conditions for Oz but with wetter rain events. How to go wrong when one covers all bases, eh?

    Hmmm how could we have ever doubted them?

  115. Ralph says:

    I note in the UK that these Oz floods are pointedly blamed on La Nina, as if to divorce them completely from Global Warming – so that Global Warming can continue as soon as they are over.

    However, The Times noted that this was a particularly “warm” La Nina. Not only wrong, but an oxymoron, I would have thought.

    .

  116. TomRude says:

    Another one Jeff Masters in his blog is also quoting high SST and Global Warming… yet in his own post demonstrates that the 1967 Brazilian floods could not be due to high SST… but still goes on…

  117. Monroe says:

    Was global warming the cause of potential devastating floods in Brisbane during 1841 and 1893? A small population a lesser disaster.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

    The current flooding has so far fallen short of the crest of 1974, and far short of the crests of 1841 and 1893.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/15/australian-floods-quee

  118. James Sexton says:

    I’m always late to the party. :-(

    Sou, thanks for the chuckles. And an introduction to the BoM! We’d never known it existed were it not for you! Please, do yourself a favor and peruse the archives of this site. I’m certain you’ll see the nearly uncountable references to the BoM. I’m curious, the unprecedented flooding (which isn’t unprecedented) occurring in Australia, is this a global phenomenon or is AGW simply picking upon Australia and a few other places? I find it interesting that you mention Arctic ice but say nothing of the growing mass to your south.

    Your argument seems to be a common theme nowadays. Back in the good old days of AGW, it was simply warming we were concerned about. Then, it moved a bit to warming and drought!(climate change?) Australia was used as proof of such concerns. Then, we see that’s its moved again to simultaneous drought and flooding! Not only that, we see the cold in the NH is caused by, you guessed it! Warming! So we moved a tad bit again, to the AGW(now climate disruption?) exacerbates weather events.

    Now, I can only come up with descriptive terms for these events to be warmcold- this is defined as cold caused by the warmth of AGW, as opposed to the extinct type of cold that used to be cause by less heat. After reading a story http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2011/01/does_climate_change_explain_th.html (thanks to Steve Goddard) we see that even these events aren’t unprecedented as claimed, but serious nonetheless! Were is not for this story, we’d never learn of the AGW phenomenon called drywet! I believe Australia is falling victim to this very phenomenon! While all of the connections haven’t been made, yet, I think its fairly obvious to any casual observer that drywet is a product of warmcold. There is an intermediate undefined process involved, but I think it has something to do with open freezer doors, or some such.

    Fortunately, history has a recording of these unprecedented events so we know what not to do in the future when these unprecedented events visit us again.

    Sou, you want to see less flood in your country, build some dams. Understand that weather events will still occur in your country, just as they did 1839 http://climatehistory.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/From-the-Sydney-Gazette-and-New-South-Wales-Advertiser-Thursday-13-June-1839.jpg

    And welcome!

  119. M White says:

    “Raging Waters In Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming”

    Or maybe a prelude to the next ice age

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

  120. robertvdl says:

    Queensland Floods. Climate Scientists 2010: Less Moisture Over Australia. Climate Scientists 2011: More Moisture Over Australia
    Posted on January 15, 2011 by hauntingthelibrary

    In what is sure to be yet further embarrassment for advocates of the theory of man-made global warming it has emerged that climate scientists pinning the blame for the Queensland floods on global warming have been contradicting a report published by other climate scientists just weeks earlier.
    http://hauntingthelibrary.wordpress.com/

    Also
    Queenslander (architecture)
    Queenslander architecture is a modern term for the vernacular type of architecture of Queensland, Australia. It is also found in the northern parts of the adjacent state of New South Wales and shares many traits with architecture in other states of Australia but is distinct and unique. The type developed in the 1840s and is still constructed today

    Queenslander buildings are primarily of timber construction and can be low or high-set, one to two storeys. They are typically “tripartite” in sectional composition; underfloor (stumps), primary rooms (can be two levels), and roof. All have one or more veranda spaces, a sheltered edge of the building that is typically only part-enclosed and used as another living zone. This consideration for climate is the defining characteristic of the Queenslander type.

    The raising of the main living spaces off the ground can be seen as both a stylistic and practical device. The vertical “stumps”, initially of timber, allow the building to “float” above the terrain. Queenslanders all have this underfloor area that is used to cool the building through ventilation and also for protection of the main structure from termite attack and other pests. The stumps also help to overcome any variations in the terrain that would normally require earthworks to flatten for construction and ALLOW FOR THE NATURAL FLOW OF WATER across the terrain in the event of EXCESSIVE RAIN and downpours.

    They were not stupid in 1840

  121. Stephen Wilde says:

    I’ve been saying for quite some time that a change in the speed of the water cycle is the means whereby the extra energy from more CO2 is negated by shifting it faster to space.

    However solar and oceanic variability already makes such huge natural changes to the speed of the water cycle that the influence of CO2 would be miniscule and unmeasurable.

    For example in the North Atlantic the jet stream position (directly related to the speed of the global water cycle) can vary by as much as 1000 miles latitudinally in response to natural solar and oceanic influences.

    CO2 might shift the jets by a few hundred yards.

    This is the first time that I have seen a warmist accept the speed of the water cycle overall as a response to GHG effects.

    Usually they just suggest more extreme events due to more water vapour. They don’t seem to realise that the speed of the water cycle dictates the speed of energy ejection from oceans to space and that therefore it offsets the effects of GHGs.

  122. robertvdl says:

    Australian rainfall patterns during La Niña events

    “There is a contraction and weakening of the effect in western Queensland, but in the east of that state, the La Niña-induced tendency towards wetter than average conditions continues to be moderate to strong. This is significant as December to February are, on average, three of the four wettest months in this part of the country. In eastern NSW, there is an increased tendency for wet conditions in comparison with the impact during the winter-spring period. As with eastern Queensland, this is significant in northern NSW because the region experiences a natural summer rainfall maximum. ”

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/ninacomp.shtml
    Commonwealth of Australia 2011, Bureau of Meteorology

    So why were they not prepared?

  123. crosspatch says:

    Actually, there are some updated graphs:

    See here:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/01/annual-climate-statement-bureau-of-meteorology/

    From here:

    http://reg.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=eaus&season=0112&ave_yr=0

    But the rain doesn’t stop at the end of the year and I wish there were “seasonal” or “water year” graphs someplace to get an accurate picture of the rains over the course of a rainy season and not calendar year. An exceptionally dry spring can mask an exceptionally wet winter in graphs that go by calendar year.

  124. Stephen Wilde says:

    As regards the Australian , Sri Lankan and Brazilian floods the speed of the water cycle is not in fact the cause.

    What has occurred is a latitudinal shift in the air circulation systems to bring rain bands across areas that were previously under drier zones.

    The more equatorward/meridional shift that has occurred is related to a cooling globe and not a warming globe.

    When the globe was warming those locations were situated under drier zones because the air circulations had moved more poleward/become more zonal.

  125. Ian George says:

    Sou (if you are still around)

    You like data. Then how does 2010 have all these more extreme weather events when it was less than 0.2C above the ‘norm’. From the BOM website on climate summaries for 2010, it claims;
    ‘Overall, Australia’s annual mean temperature for 2010 was 22.00 °C, +0.19 °C above the 1961 to 1990 average of 21.81 °C. This ranks as the nation’s 31st-warmest year since standard records began in 1910.’

  126. R. Gates says:

    Yes, these kinds of news reports must really upset AGW skeptics, and I can understand why. But the bottom line is, the acceleration of the hydrological cycle with increased amounts of CO2 is based on solid science, and while we can’t say that any specific flooding event was caused by, or even intensified by AGW, we can say that we will see an increase in the frequency and severity of such events as more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere.

    It is completely true that the current flooding in Australia (which is far from over, as the waters near Australia remain anomalously warm) is related to the current cooler phase of the PDO as well as the current La Nina, it is at least possible that these natural ocean cycles are being intensified by AGW and/or otherwise changed in their natural character. One would expect this to occur through the acceleration of the hydrological cycle brought about by increased atmospheric CO2.

  127. sky says:

    The distiguished professor is right in general theory and very wrong in its specific application–a common failing of academics. Higher temperatures do speed up the hydrological cycle globally. But where, when, and at what rate the increased rains fall is a very much more complex matter. Somerville, no doubt, understands that . As the head cheerleader for IPPC alarmism, however, he simply can’t pass up an opportunity to shout “Go AGW, Go!” It does make an impression on sophomoric minds.

  128. Anthony Watts says:

    R. Gates, welcome back from your visit to the penalty box. Unfortunately your style of debating hasn’t changed.

    Explain the BoM graph is update 4 then. Explain why the rainfall total now is different from an equivalent rainfall total in the 1950′s and how CO2 made that difference. Explain how it could reach the same peak then with less CO2.

    Explain why all the other experts saying this is a La Nina event, as seen before in Australia’s history, which is not connected to AGW/global warming/climate change are wrong… and you are right.

  129. R. Gates says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm
    R. Gates, welcome back from your visit to the penalty box. Unfortunately your style of debating hasn’t changed.

    Explain the BoM graph is update 4 then. Explain why the rainfall total now is different from an equivalent rainfall total in the 1940′s and how CO2 made that difference. Explain how it could reach the same peak then with less CO2.

    Explain why all the other experts saying this is a La Nina event, as seen before in Australia’s history, which is not connected to AGW/global warming/climate change are wrong… and you are right
    _______

    Anthony, thanks for the timeout…it gave me a great opportunity to catch up on some other pressing issues.

    In response to your questions:

    I think I made it quite clear that one could not specifcally claim that the current flooding in Australia, nor any place recently (i.e. Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, etc.) could be pinned on AGW or the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, it is true that the increase in frequency of such events is entirely consistent with the general acceleration of the hydrological cycle. We know that the current La Nina pattern combined with the cool phase of the PDO is the immediate culprit, but what we don’t know is if these natural ocean cycles might be changed by the accumulation of CO2. The carbon-rock cycle is well understood as is the long-term hydrological response to increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. Could changes in the nature of the ENSO and PDO cycles be one of the ways that the hydrological cycle accelerates?This certainly cannot be dicounted, and certainly is the area of some research. With 2010 as the wettest year on record and atmospheric water vapor levels increasing, this is all very consistent with the accleration of the hydrological cycle and consistent with the trends indicated by GCM’s when considering the effects of the 40% increase in CO2 since the 1700′s.

  130. Billy Liar says:

    Smokey says:
    January 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Buzz Belleville,

    Arguments based on an insurance company’s public relations advertising are not very scientific. Is that the best argument you’ve got?

    He’s from planet ‘Toy Story’.

  131. Paddy says:

    Anthony: R Gates should never have been released from the penalty box. His latest post warrants a ban for life for peddleing bullshit. He will never reform.

  132. roger says:

    R. Gates says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    No, you don’t get away with that one, no way.
    For the past five years articles have been appearing in the MSM advising that southern England and Kent in particular would experience such droughts and temperatures that gardeners in that area would be well advised to plant succulents and cacti in future seasons.
    And for my piece de resistance the Daily Telegraph today reports that some members of the Royal Horticultural Society are objecting most strongly to that body’s politicisation as demonstrated by it’s current promulgation of AGW in advising those same gardeners to plant their gardens this year with mediterranean plants and cacti.
    So you see that there are climate researchers that have not caught up with your newly espoused and completely opposite reasoning. Obviously can’t keep up with the convolutions of the new improved brand of climate science where words mean whatever you want them to mean.
    Now where have I heard that before?

  133. Ian George says:

    R Gates
    ‘With 2010 as the wettest year on record and atmospheric water vapor levels increasing, this is all very consistent with the accleration of the hydrological cycle and consistent with the trends indicated by GCM’s when considering the effects of the 40% increase in CO2 since the 1700′s.’

    No, 2010 was the 3rd wettest year since 1900 (1974 was the wettest). See:-
    http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/climate/change/20110105.shtml

    Also, how do you explain the extreme wet periods in the 1840s and 1890s (which still show up as some of the wettest periods on record with extreme flooding events) without the CO2 component?

  134. Reponse to “Puzzled”:

    The main stream media needs a never-ending series of crises to keep up their ratings, get ad revenue, steal reader/viewer-ship from competitors, etc. This is why the 6-o’clock news is a body bag report and chronicle of mayhem.

    As H. L. Mencken said: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”.

    AGW is all about politics, power and wealth redistribution – period.

  135. R. Gates says:

    Paddy says:
    January 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm
    Anthony: R Gates should never have been released from the penalty box. His latest post warrants a ban for life for peddleing bullshit. He will never reform.

    _____
    Specifically, what have I said that is “bullshit”?

    Would it be that:
    Increased CO2 is correlated with an accelerated hyrdologcial cycle?
    2010 was the wettest year on record?
    Changes in the ENSO and PDO cycles might be one way the acclerated hydrological cycle is reflected?
    Atmospheric water vapor levels are increasing as is consistent with an acclerated hydrolgocial cycle?
    Increased flooding and other severe hydrological events are consistent with an acclerated hydrological cycle?

    Or is it simply that the points I raise upset certain members of the AGW skeptical community?

  136. charles nelson says:

    The warmists in australia have been telling everyone for years that the climate is getting drier. Some, like Tim ‘ghost metropolis’ Flannery, predicted the imminent demise of major cities through lack of water! And as I recall the Murray Darling river was in a death spiral too.
    I sincerely hope that somewhere in the Queensland Government archives is a Report/Document containing official ‘expert’ advice that Climate Change would lead to less floods. And that as a consequence: town planning and flood mitigation programmes were altered accordingly.
    Other professions can be held to account for such failures why not climatologists?
    Let’s try and nail these people down.
    Oh and one other thing…has anyone ever seen a tv weatherperson begin a report with the words….’well we sure got that last report wrong’! After all – to err is human.

  137. R. Gates says:

    roger says:
    January 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm
    R. Gates says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    No, you don’t get away with that one, no way.
    For the past five years articles have been appearing in the MSM advising that southern England and Kent in particular would experience such droughts and temperatures that gardeners in that area would be well advised to plant succulents and cacti in future seasons.
    And for my piece de resistance the Daily Telegraph today reports that some members of the Royal Horticultural Society are objecting most strongly to that body’s politicisation as demonstrated by it’s current promulgation of AGW in advising those same gardeners to plant their gardens this year with mediterranean plants and cacti.
    So you see that there are climate researchers that have not caught up with your newly espoused and completely opposite reasoning. Obviously can’t keep up with the convolutions of the new improved brand of climate science where words mean whatever you want them to mean.
    Now where have I heard that before?

    _____
    The acceleration of the hydrologcial cycle has long been seen in the GCM’s when factoring in the 40% rise in CO2, so this is not a “new’ projection, but is based on the historical and geological record from the basic carbon-rock cycle and is a natural negative feedback…(i.e. it is the earths way of keeping CO2 levels in check).

    But to your point about the weather in England and any ‘warmist’ predictions for what to expect. I think specific localized predictions based on any GCM is absurd. GCM might be good a predicting global trends (i.e. temps, water vapor, acclerated hydrologcial cycle) but very poor at telling what the weather will be like in any specific area as it is dangerous to do so with a system such as climate that exists on the edge of chaos with too many factors that we don’t know about and possible tipping points yet to be revealed.

  138. Bob of Castlemaine says:

    Sou says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:11 am

    ….. Despite the cooler weather with this La Nina, the temperatures in many places, for example Melbourne, are still above the 30 year averages.

    It might be instructive to check just what the December 2010 temperature anomaly is for what BOM refers to as the Melbourne Area. True the Melbourne weather station (MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE) did show an anomaly of around +1 °C but as is well known that station has its problems, being located in the middle of a sea of bitumen and motor vehicles.

  139. AusieDan says:

    Anthony – I agree with your analysis.
    Belief in AGW is a cult, a pseudo religious belief system.
    It is not a scientific paradigm, theory, or hypothesis.
    It is at best, an unproven and unprovable conjecture.

  140. crosspatch says:

    La Nina should make the Western Pacific warmer. During a La Nina, the surface temperatures in the equatorial Eastern Pacific go down because of strong trade winds blowing across that surface but the amount of energy going into the ocean increases during La Nina conditions. So temperatures go down over part of the ocean but overall heat content goes UP.

    Now this La Nina might be different because there is less energy in the far UV spectrum that heats the ocean at depth. We will have to see. But overall, a La Nina year results in overall more energy going into the oceans even though the surface temperature drops. Temperature does not equal heat. Tisdale has done a lot of posting on that.

  141. Global warmers have a real problem with all this hysteria about these floods being unprecedented. It’s so simple to look up the far worse floods in the past. Then they’ll look bad for claiming these over the past week were unprecedented.

    And the ones in the past had a couple over 90 feet high of flood water.

  142. crosspatch says:

    Just page through this article searching for “Australia”:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/20/ncar-daidrought-under-global-warming-a-review/

    To get a total picture of the disinformation being put out there.

    You can convince people of anything. For example: I can predict with what I believe is certainty that if people continue shaving and getting haircuts at the current rate, that California and most of the Great Basin region will suffer a megadrought on the scale never before witnessed in the entire recorded history there.

    Now the reason why I can make that claim is that I know that the past 500 years or so is the wettest period that the region has experienced in over 10,000 years and can with reasonable certainty predict that the region will, at some point, return to more “normal” weather patterns. If you go 20 meters deep into most Sierra Nevada lakes, you will find tree stumps. They aren’t small stumps, and they don’t appear in just one lake, either. In order for them to exists there, the levels of those lakes had to be much lower than they are today and had to be that low for a very long time. There is also evidence that Lake Tahoe was below its outlet level for many centuries at a time, perhaps millennia.

    What we perceive as “normal” is actually anomalously wet. What we experience as mutli-year drought conditions are probably closer to the long term “normal” condition during this interglacial. So to make a prediction that “if we ….” and you can insert anything after the “we”, that we will face megadroughts in Western North America is probably accurate but not because we did anything in particular.

    Of course the “fly in the ointment” is predicting the exact time that it will come to pass. But if one crafts their prediction so that it does not rely on any specific time frame, the prediction will eventually come to pass with as much assurance as my predicting right now that if you continue reading blogs, the sky will become very dark and you will not be able to see the sun and stars will appear in the sky. Note that I didn’t say the setting of the sun was CAUSED by reading blogs, I simply linked the two things in a sentence of words hoping that with the power of subliminal persuasion does its work.

  143. Geraldo Luís Lino says:

    Any attempt to link the massive rainfall, floods and landslides in the Região Serrana of the Rio de Janeiro State (the city itself was not very much affected) to the global warming hysteria is preposterous, to say the least. This region has always suffered from such extreme meteorological phenomena and the problems are indeed aggravated by the massive irregular and precarious occupation of the slopes of the elevations, hills and mountains. And if it is a fact that most of this occupation is done by the poor, this time the tragedy was somewhat “democratic” and fell upon many middle and upper class dwellings in the cities of Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Friburgo (the death toll is already over 600 and rising).
    I am a geologist with specialization in Engineering Geology and I spent some years at the university in the 1980s making geological-geotechnical maps of some of those areas. Since that time and even before the professionals of these fields have been warning the authorities against the irregular occupation of the hillslopes (and we have a good deal of highly skilled experts in such areas). Unfortunately, politics (with very small “p”) have always prevented any kind of rational solution for this problem – and the consequences may be seen in the headlines.
    But in any case there is nothing new in such phenomena here, as Mr Watt himself showed in the 1967 newspaper clip about the floods of that year. In Rio and its surroundings we had very heavy rainfalls and the corresponding tragedies in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1982, 1988, 1994, 1996 and 2010. There are records of the same problems going back to the 18th century. Global warming all this time? Please no kid.
    By the way, despite its huge toll of human suffering this tragedy does not come even close to being the country’s greatest. This dubious distinction goes to the terribly severe droughts in Brazil’s Northeast in 1877-79 and 1915 (caused in part by very strong El Niños), whose combined death toll reached some hundred thousand lives.

  144. There exists much confusion about the present climate extremes, but what is happening was entirely predictable.
    For at least 7 years the oceans have been cooling, with the past 3 years very significantly. As a result, the climate of the surrounding land moves more towards that of a desert, with hot days and cold nights (and heat waves). It happens because the cool sea draws more land wind than producing sea wind. As a result, less moisture reaches the land, accompanied by droughts, bush fires and high day temperatures. Remember that the land temperatures are heavily moderated by moisture, and once that has evaporated, the land climate becomes more like that of a desert.
    Very cool land will be snowed for the little bit of moisture that reaches it. Hence early snow. But we’ve had excessive amounts of snow and rain. Why?

    This is where ocean circulation comes in. We’ve just sat out a long El Niño during which ocean circulation stagnated, while accumulating warm water over the tropics. Just recently the ocean began circulating again, and large pulses of warm water are finding their way now towards higher latitudes, thereby inverting the above process. With the warm water come more sea winds and more moisture, which is deposited as snow in the north and as deluges of water in other places like Australia. I live in New Zealand, south of Australia and have been watching the water temperature, which jumped suddenly from a very low of 14ºC to 18 and then 20. With it came a deluge of rain. We are now expecting a second La Niña pulse with more torrential rain.

    Often the ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) is seen as an oscillation, which it is, but due to stagnation, it is also accompanied by a sudden warm water pulse in the transition from Niño to Niña. When one attempts to predict the weather, one must know what the sea is doing, and this is alas missing from view.

  145. David W says:

    “Monroe says:
    January 15, 2011 at 9:20 am
    Was global warming the cause of potential devastating floods in Brisbane during 1841 and 1893? A small population a lesser disaster.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

    The current flooding has so far fallen short of the crest of 1974, and far short of the crests of 1841 and 1893.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/15/australian-floods-quee…”

    Sigh. You’ve made a point of saying “The current flooding has so far fallen short of the crest of 1974, and far short of the crests of 1841 and 1893.” but you have failed to point out this is purely due to the flood mitigation capacity of the dams now in place.

    I’ll say it again dont compare flood levels from 1841 and 1893 to those for the current event and 1974.

    In 1974, Wivenhoe Dam was not yet built and in 1841 and 1893 nor was Somerset Dam.

    Had these 2 dams not been in place, flooding for this current event may well have approached 1841 and 1893 levels.

    It is better simply to say that the nature of the current event is no different to events that occur once every 50 years on average in SE QLD. These events will continue to occur into the future with or without global warming so until we get frequent events of a severity in excess of those seen previously, blaming the current one on AGW really is something that cannot have any statistical support.

  146. jtom says:

    Just a quick, simple question to Sou, lazyteenage, gates, et al, who are convinced of AGW:

    Just what evidence would lead you to believe that the global climate models are wrong? If there is none, if there is absolutely no way to falsify A COMPUTER MODEL with real life data, then you are no longer practicing science.

    Before you ask, if we began having weather phenomena on a widescale basis THAT WE HAVE NEVER HAD BEFORE, or if record high temperatures were consistantly being made, year-over-year, in the same areas, I would concede GW, and probably AGW if temps were going up faster than anytime since the LIA.

    So, what would the climate/weather look like if the models were wrong? So far, all we’ve seen are extreme weather events that are no different than extreme weather events over the past century.

    Would any of you concede if, say, a monthly average of global temps came in below the average? Or would you say something like, “despite global warming, natural forces were so strong that we had below average temperatures. Imagine how cold it would be without GW?”

    Obviously, there would be no reason to engage in a discussion with you if there is absolutely nothing that would disprove GW to you. You can’t argue with a religious fanatic.

  147. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    DEREK ARNDT.

    I noticed that name when that ABC piece was on TV, wrote it down. The older talking head, Somerville, was ignorable in his spewing of the expected (C)AGW garbage. But something about Arndt seemed notable, might have been the NOAA connection.

    Googling lead to a curious reprint site for WUWT-type articles, utahclimate.org (WUWT on the blogroll, and where is the Source link for Josh’s Met Office cartoon?), leading to a nice ICECAP piece by Art Horn mentioning Arndt and NOAA (Claim 2010 tied with warmest year ever lacks historical perspective, good reading) and a Goddard post with a WAPO excerpt:

    Derek Arndt, who heads the climate monitoring branch at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said the new data should be viewed in the context of the record retreat of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of the melt season and a near-record retreat of Arctic sea ice.

    “Together across the board, it was an unusual year, and a year that in many ways was a culmination of what we’ve been seeing for the past several years,” Arndt said.

    As the ICECAP piece put it:

    Given this twisted logic, last season with all-time record snows in the DC area meant all-time record snowmelt as it disappeared. Reminds me of the ridiculous NOAA spokesman statement last year that global warming helped explain the record DC snow thanks to storm track shifting north and more moisture from the Great Lakes. Clueless.

    Derek Arndt, an Important Person at NOAA-NCDC. A younger, hipper, much less discredited face for the (C)AGW movement, now being trotted out for face time with the media as a new Great Climate Expert. A person to watch, if you can’t turn off the TV fast enough.

  148. Part of the summary of a paper in 1949, RGB (Brazilian journal of geography) event in 1948 on River Basin “Paraiba do Sul, with 250 deaths. Cause of death: Landslides caused by heavy rains.

    Summary
    This article deals with the natural and cultural factors responsible for the violent floods, which, in December 1948, ravaged an extensive area at the “Zona da Mata” in the State of Minas Gerais. Damage was inflicted mainly by the sloughing away of hillsides and the subsequent deposition upon farmlands of resulting detritus, which also buried homes and stores. …….. ……In concluding this interesting and timely paper, the author considers the steps which must be taken if the deleterious effects of unusually rainfall are to be avoided, or at least, mitigated……

    In 1949 no one talked of anthropogenic global warming. Save Dr. J. B. Kinco (on March 29, 1939) in Diario de la Marina ” – Havana. He said that in the last 21 years the earth’s temperature increased 11.7 °F. Cause: A large amount of carbonic acid, generated from burning coal. (But that’s other story!!! :))

  149. R. Gates says:

    jtom says:
    January 15, 2011 at 7:02 pm
    Just a quick, simple question to Sou, lazyteenage, gates, et al, who are convinced of AGW:

    Just what evidence would lead you to believe that the global climate models are wrong? If there is none, if there is absolutely no way to falsify A COMPUTER MODEL with real life data, then you are no longer practicing science.

    ________
    I happen to think it very likely that GCM’s are wrong…about the specifics, but not about the trends. If the models were 100% accurate, we would know everything, but as it is, it is very hard to model a system at the edge of chaos. Also, as models, they are never really looked at as “right” or “wrong”, just more or less accurate. Just as it has taken decades of data to see the fingerprints of AGW, it would take decades to see the evidence disappear to totally disprove the GCM’s. This is very very unlikely to occur as the models have it generally right, but specifically:

    1) If global atmospheric water vapor levels begin to level and then decline. They been rising steadily for decades as shown to occur by GCM’s and is one of the positive feedback processes specifically modelled to occur as CO2 levels rise. Corresponding to these increases in water vapor levels would be the continued acceleration of the hydrological cycle. Expect to see more frequent and more severe flooding events such as we saw in the past year in China, Pakistan. If this doesn’t happen over the course of decades, GCM’s would be shown to be grossly inaccurate.
    2) Arctic year to year sea ice stops falling and returns to historical levels. We’ve not seen a positive anomaly in Arctic sea ice since 2004. Most GCM’s show the Arctic to be ice free in the summer by the end of this century, and some much sooner than that. Some skeptics want to look at one year in rebound and make a big deal of it (though no signficant rebound year has occurred). Expect a spiral down in year to year sea ice over the decades ahead. If this doesn’t occur, GCM’s would be shown to be grossly inaccurate.
    3) The decade to decade temperatures stop increasing. 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. It is only a statistical exercise to look at any single year like 2010 and compare it to others, as natural variability can affect temperatures year to year, but decade to decade, all GCM’s show a steady rise in temps. Expect to see 2010-2019 warmer than 2000-2009, and then 2020-2029 warmer still. If this doesn’t occur, GCM’s would be shown to be grossly inaccurate.

  150. Mike says:

    Wetter and wetter.

    “The flooding in the Campaspe threatens Echuca, where it meets the swollen Murray. The peak, expected later today, is likely to reach levels not seen since 1916.”

    “The Wimmera River at Horsham is expected to peak between 3.75 and 3.85 metres tomorrow night, higher than floods in September 1988 and possibly mirroring the historic August 1909 floods.”

    “In fact, western and central Victoria has already received the region’s highest monthly rainfall on record – in just the first 14 days of January.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/record-flooding-wreaks-havoc-20110115-19s0t.html

  151. R. Gates says:

    “Unprecedented” flooding continuing in Australia:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/16/3113796.htm

    Last I checked, unprecedented meant the worst in recorded history. Quite in line with a CO2 induced acceleration of the hydrological cycle on top of a La Nina and cool phase of the PDO. The last time La Nina lined up with the cool phase of the PDO (1974) there was flooding, but atmospheric water vapor levels were lower then, so it is not unreasonable to see how higher water vapor levels now could make the flooding worse now than even 1974.

    REPLY:Sorry Gates, citing from my 30 years in the news business, “unprecedented” in a news story is often far different than “unprecedented” data. Simply put, I don’t trust reporters enough to get it right, they all have a penchant for factual inflation. The data is what is important, not the news hype. When the data comes in fully, then we’ll see if that term holds up. – Anthony

  152. Mike says:

    @jtom

    AGW predicted stratospheric cooling. It this did not happen, AGW would be refuted. It happened. Likewise with winters warming more than summers and nights more than days. Satellites have measured the radiative imbalance. If there wasn’t one, AGW would be falsified. The ocean cycle theory is falsified by these same tests.

    What would cause you to stop believing the theory that we can dump all the CO2 we want into the atmosphere and not seriously affect climate? After all it is only a theory, right?

  153. Khwarizmi says:

    ABC, September 2003
    Drought Vortex
    … Climatologists are desperately trying to explain the mystery of where southern Australia’s winter rainfall is going. They’ve known the rain is being pulled south by an unexplained force. Now they’ve devised a revolutionary new theory to explain why. It appears that the circulation of the entire Southern Hemisphere is changing to suck our rain away. The reason is the Antarctic Vortex – a natural tornado of 30km high, super-cold, super-fast winds spiraling around Antarctica. The vortex is not new; it’s one of the engines that drive climate in the Southern Hemisphere. But now it appears the vortex is shifting gear, and is spinning faster and faster, and getting tighter. As it does it’s pulling the climate bands further south dragging rain away from the continent out into the southern ocean. Most disturbing of all we might be responsible for shifting the speed of the vortex. Scientists at the US Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research believe the speeding up of the vortex is caused by the combined effect of global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer over Antarctica. If their theory is true it will have devastating consequences for our southern cities – the drought may not go away. It takes just a slight shift in rainfall patterns for our capital cities to start running out of water – and the reservoirs in Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne are all dangerously low right now.
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s948858.htm
    ===

    April 2007
    Bribie best for desal plant
    THE world’s biggest desalination plant should be built north of Brisbane to drought-proof southeast Queensland
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/features/bribie-best-for-desal-plant/story-e6freoyo-1111113319771
    ===

    October 2007 -
    … “The pattern that we’re seeing now in the weather in Australia is very much the pattern was predicted by computer models as much as a decade ago. We will have to get by with less water. The CSIRO’s telling us that. We’re seeing it now, in the evidence before our eyes in our rivers and creeks, and of course the computer models in the global models have been predicting just this now for some years. I think all evidence says that this is our new climate and we have to get by with less water than we’ve ever had before.” – Tim Flannery
    http://old.globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/2833
    ===

    November 2007
    La Nina behind Australia’s drought

    … “The drought that’s going on in Australia right now is a very serious drought and it is one of the atypical situations associated with this particular La Niña event,” says WMO climate specialist Dr Leslie Malone.
    http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/2007/2078345.htm
    ===

    October 2010
    Desalination plants lose $1m a week
    RESIDENTS are losing at least $1 million a week operating desalination and water recycling plants in Queensland’s flooded southeast.
    ===

  154. Just The Facts says:

    R. Gates says: January 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    ““Unprecedented” flooding continuing in Australia:”

    There have been around 40 notable floods in Australia in the last 200 years:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floods_in_Australia

    In light of land use changes, population growth, encroachment on flood zones, poor urban planning, etc. I haven’t seen anything about the recent floods that seems unprecedented from a climatic perspective.

    Stop handwaving about short term weather events and come back to the Willis’ thread so you can explain to us how effective Global Climate Models are at forecasting climatic conditions many decades into the future…

  155. crosspatch says:

    “unprecedented” in the context of the dam upstream. There is a link in the article that goes to a video in that video I believe you can find the source of the use of “unprecedented” . “Largest outflow in the dam’s history”, is I believe what is unprecedented here and that dam didn’t exist during the earlier flooding.

  156. Paul Pierett says:

    La Nina and El Nino are becoming the catch all names along with global warming for anything we don’t understand about the weather. Last time I checked, La Nina’s act up in cold water, 40 to 60F degrees and El Ninos act up around 70F degrees of cold water.

    Hurricanes need 82F degrees of water 100 feet deep.

    La Ninas stir up food for the ocean food chain and during the colder 1970s La Ninas were happening yearly rather than after an EL Nino; bi- annually..

    It’s time to pull back and before we throw out catch phrases, have some web sites to back up what we are saying.

  157. Sou says:

    @ jtom, January 15, 2011 at 7:02 pm
    Just a quick, simple question to Sou, lazyteenage, gates, et al, who are convinced of AGW:

    Just what evidence would lead you to believe that the global climate models are wrong? If there is none, if there is absolutely no way to falsify A COMPUTER MODEL with real life data, then you are no longer practicing science.

    Sorry, jtom, you’re asking the wrong person about computer models. I have no expertise in the design or interpretation of computer models developed to help analyse climate, so it’s meaningless for me to speculate on the efficacy of any of the myriad climate models. Those who design the models would have developed test parameters and protocols. (And I’m not a practising scientist, I’m just another concerned member of the human species.)

    In my case, I don’t need to rely on climate models. Where I live we have been seeing the climate change markedly over the last few years. My 90 year old mother, not known for hyperbole, said to me this week that she’s never seen a summer like this one and I agreed. I am well aware that memories are fallible, so I checked the rainfall and temperature data for our local region. We have this summer the most precipitation ever recorded in a single day, the biggest floods ever recorded simultaneously – all while a strong La Nina, which is supposed to bring cooler weather, is not causing temperatures here to drop below even the latest the 30 year average. We’ve had a longer, hotter drought and more major fires this decade (mostly by lightning strikes) than in the previous 70 years at least, combined, despite a much better fire response capability.

    One locality isn’t sufficient to illustrate global climate, so I look at the world as a whole. The number of extreme events is reportedly increasing. The number of heat extremes is far outweighing the number of cold extremes. Each decade is hotter than the one before, though if not for the huge rise in greenhouse gases, the earth would be cooling slightly.

    I understand the basic physics of how greenhouse gases keep the earth from freezing, having first learnt it during science lectures more than 30 years ago. The CSIRO models were basic then, computers were primitive compared to those used today, yet what the CSIRO scientists suggested then could happen to Australia’s weather as a result of global warming, is taking place already, before our eyes. I expect the scientists then thought it would take longer before becoming so evident and that we’d have done more to address the problem by now. They underestimated human failings.

    I’ve referred to the BOM site in a previous post and been told that regular posters here are familiar with it so I won’t repeat the links. I expect readers here are also familiar with the global climate statements produced by US government agencies.

  158. Michael says:

    Wivenhoe has a huge capacity — about 1, 165, 000 ML for water storage, plus an additional 1, 165, 000 ML (and a bit) for flood mitigation.
    http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/dam-levels

  159. jtom says:

    Thank you , Gates and Sou, for your replies.

    Gates, you have three conditions: decline in water vapor; restoration of traditional levels of polar ice cover; and decline in decadal global average temperatures.

    I tried to find a site reflecting the constant increase in water vapor over time, but with no luck. Perhaps you could point me to a link where they graph that. I did find numerous sites discussing an apparent decline in atmospheric water vapor, resulting in global warming not continuing as expected. Obviously, that’s not what the same data you are looking at. I would appreciate it if you could tell me what data you are watching viz-a-viz global water vapor. I would love to be able to track the water vapor levels, particularly at the moment, since the northern hemisphere seems to be running below average in temperature at the moment.

    As far as the recovery of the Arctic ice cover, I believe you will see a start to that this summer, and continue in the future.

    I also suspect the decadal global temperatures for 2005-2015 will be less than 1995-2005, but as you say, it will take time to reverse the impression of global warming.

    If these predictions do not hold true, then I will swing to your side of the fence. I think all natural signs indicate significant cooling. If we get the opposite, even if not to the degree of the models, then I will feel that something UNnatural is impacting the climate.

    Sou: You base your belief on the anecdotes of an elder plus your own understanding of a miniscule slice of science. Everything you see is the fault of global warming, whatever it is. Discussing this with you is about as enlightening as discussing the moon landing with someone who has convinced himself/herself that it was fake. There is no evidence that can be offered that it actually happened, since all evidence is, de facto, fake. There is no proof to you that GW is not happening, because all proof to you is , de facto, proof of GW. So I will not bother reading your posts in the future.

  160. Robinson says:

    R Gates

    But the bottom line is, the acceleration of the hydrological cycle with increased amounts of CO2 is based on solid science

    Step 1: assert fact.
    Step 2: assert solidity of fact.
    Step 3: offer no evidence whatsoever either a priori or a posteriori to back up fact.
    Step 4: **** off.

  161. Ian George says:

    Sou

    I don’t know where you live but where I do, in NE NSW, the last two decades have been the some of the coolest since 1910 (max temp means). As far as max temps go, we have just had the coolest spring on record, the 3rd coldest December on record and 2010 was the 3rd coolest year on record.
    Rainfall has been above average for the past 3 years.

    Do you live in a city?

  162. Lock Piatt says:

    Fools point to the closest thing that will take the lights off them sitting in the corner on a tall stool with a tall pointy hat and a sign above saying VILLAGE IDIOT.

  163. Sou says:

    @ Ian, like I said in my post above – local climate is not global climate. I expect you are aware that climates in Victoria and south west WA have changed rather a lot. Northern Australia less so. I hope you are safe from the floods. (The closest capital city is a few hours drive from here and it’s a fair drive to the nearest rural city – I’ve lived and worked in large cities before, but I was raised in the bush and that’s where I prefer to live.)

    @ jtom, no problem. I’ve been told my writing style puts some people off. That’s just me, I’m afraid. Anyway, if you read my post again you’ll read that I deliberately do NOT base my understanding on anecdotes or observed local climate change. It’s based on world-wide documented evidence and scientific knowledge.

  164. Ian George says:

    I realise that but you posted about what’s happening in your area – I have pointed out that the opposite is happening in mine.
    Since the little ice age, the Earth has been warming naturally. Of course it is still in its warming stage for at least another 2/3C if the Vostok ice core temperature history is to be believed. It will have colder and hotter times on its way but the trend will be upward regardless of CO2.
    As far as more extreme weather events, I’m sure you will find them going back into history. As far as Australia is concerned, our worst cyclone was in 1899, our longest heatwave was in 1923/4 and out hottest day was 1960. Our worst bushfire was in Vic in 1851 and our worst floods were in the early 1890s.
    If you check the ONI history you can see the drought and flood histories are closely aligned to the table.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml
    Only SE West Aust has been dry during this wet period. This also happened in 1974 when less than 30mm of rain fell in 5 months from Nov 1973 until March 1974 compared to 45mm for Nov, Dec and Jan this time. Same weather conditions, same result.
    Check
    http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/flood7.htm
    for the climate report from 1974.

  165. Keith Minto says:

    Interesting use of before/after photographs of the Brisbane flooding. Some of the old ‘loop’ river channels can be seen refilling.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/infographics/qld-floods/beforeafter.htm

  166. graham g says:

    I am a 70+ year old North Queenslander. The BoM knows, and every Australian should know that the highest rainfall in Australia is inland of the Tully/Innisfail/Babinda areas, and most of that water finds its way to the sea through the coastal town of Ingham down the Great Dividing range via the Herbert or Burdekin Rivers. The town of Ingham is therefore mostly flooded in ENSO years.
    World Heritage Area legislation stops this problem being addressed as it should be.

    Professor Jon Stevenson from JCU ( now retired) gave me a geology lesson many years ago. We stood on the top of the Blencoe Falls on the Herbert River some 50 kms. from the sea, and looked at the huge canyon below the falls that the Herbert River had carved through solid rock over many millions of years flowing to the sea.

    The Brisbane story is possibly similar, if one looks closely at the steep Kangaroo Point rock cliffs near the city centre on the Brisbane River. The rainfall in the Brisbane inland area is a very small percentage of the rainfall above the Blencoe Falls on the Atherton Tablelands , but Ingham doesn’t have the political strength of the Queensland capital city, or population that Brisbane has at present..

    I am convinced that mankind’s efforts to control carbon in the air will not change these rainfall patterns of the ENSO effect on what seems to be to me an approximate 40 to 60 year cycle. It is a great pity that in an apparent effort to get world peace, protect more wildlife habitat, improve air quality ,and cope with uncontrolled population growth worldwide that we allow, and some people promote, such public ignorance of the true reasons for this constant government promotion on “Climate Change” throughout the world.

  167. Jack says:

    Why are we debating weather? Isn’t global warming about the increase of CO2 due to fossil fuel usage which causes global temperature to rise then scorches the earth if we don’t stop the usage of oil?

    Can we focus on CO2 and temperature relationship? Isn’t this the core of CAGW theory? If there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature, then the debate is over.

    The skeptics win, the truth is out.

    Taxpayers rejoice.

  168. Jimmy says:

    hahahahahahahahah “drywet” and “warmcold” hahahahahahah kudos!

  169. Excellent web site, excellent information. All of this reminds on the French thinker Jean de la Bruyère (17th.Century) who said: `The EXACT opposite of what people are told is in fact the truth.´ Gerry Frederics

  170. Brian H says:

    For those puzzled by Jimmy’s hilarity, it’s about James Sexton’s comment, above:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/14/bogus-claims-on-australia-and-brazilian-floods-from-abc-and-dr-richard-somerville/#comment-574811

    Excerpt: “While all of the connections haven’t been made, yet, I think its fairly obvious to any casual observer that drywet is a product of warmcold.”

  171. All of this will eventually force mankind to reappraise its model regarding food security. It needs to start from a household level, with local markets being fed the surplus produce. Local organic = sustainable. Large scale agriculture as we know it is in dire need of change, and the imminent collapse is going to be part of the trigger mechanism that will cause people to seek out the land.

  172. Brian H says:

    Utter nonsense, Jacques. Bucolic rural phantasies are plain inanity. You want local production? Try vertical farming:
    http://weburbanist.com/2008/03/30/5-urban-design-proposals-for-3d-city-farms-sustainable-ecological-and-agricultural-skyscrapers/

  173. @ Brian, it all depends on your perspective. I respect your views, and am a great fan of urban farming as an ultimate sustainable solution for city dwellers. However I am heading up a project on the KZN South Coast in South Africa where we are specifically working with rural subsistence farmers, and we’ve got a solid working model where people are actively growing organically and selling their surplus produce via a community based secondary co-operative we’ve helped set up and are supporting. You don’t get much more real than that.

  174. Brian H says:

    Good for you. I’m sure they will benefit from cutting out artificial inputs and costs. But rural subsistence farmers are NOT a useful model for the rest of us. Despite the wishes of misanthropic ecology-worshipers.

  175. @ Brian, agreed that it is not a model for everyone, not by a long shot, but it does work pretty well, and is helping lots of rurfal people to have a better life.

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