Earth at night – wildfires in Australia

From NASA – Wildfires Light Up Western Australia (nothing unusual here, it happens every year) A stunning video of the Earth at night follows.

subset of Suomi NPP 'Black Marble' showing Australia
This nighttime image of Australia was cropped from the Suomi NPP “Black Marble” released by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in December 2012. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC – click to enlarge

Careful observers of the new “Black Marble” images of Earth at night released this week by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have noticed bright areas in the western part of Australia that are largely uninhabited. Why is this area so lit up, many have asked?

Away from the cities, much of the night light observed by the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite in these images comes from wildfires. In the bright areas of western Australia, there are no nearby cities or industrial sites but, scientists have confirmed, there were fires in the area when Suomi NPP made passes over the region. This has been confirmed by other data collected by the satellite.

subset of Suomi NPP 'Black Marble' showing western portion of Australia
Closeup on the western portion of Australia, as seen in the Suomi NPP “Black Marble” imagery. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

The extent of the night lights in this area is also a function of composite imaging. These new images were assembled from data acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. This means fires and other lighting (such as ships) could have been detected on any one day and integrated into the composite picture, despite being temporary phenomena.

Because different areas burned at different times when the satellite passed over, the cumulative result in the composite view gives the appearance of a massive blaze. These fires are temporary features, in contrast to cities which are always there.

Other features appearing in uninhabited areas in these images could include fishing boats, gas flaring, lightning, oil drilling, or mining operations, which can show up as points of light. One example is natural gas drilling in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota.


Here is a video of the Earth at night, showing the expanse of human development via energy. It is hard not to think of UHI when viewing these images.

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December 8, 2012 5:43 am

I bet Al Gore says the wildfires are a sure sign of global warming.

December 8, 2012 5:50 am

Maybe Al can use snippets of this in his next movie, since Chris Tangey won’t let him use that firestorm footage.

December 8, 2012 5:56 am

Increased CO2 makes plant growth more productive and enables plants to conquer places that were too arid for them before; as they need less stomata for breathing and therefore lose less water. Independant of temperature this must have more biomass production and consequentially more wildfires as consequence. Cue the warmist, confusing correlation and causation again, blaming more wildfires on increased warming caused by his god molecule CO2.
Leave out the increased warming and the causal chain is intact. More CO2 leads to increased biomass production and to more wildfire. (but not measurably increased temperatures)

December 8, 2012 6:09 am

Makes me wonder. The population centres Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide are all clearly visible. The article text is right that the mid-west is sparsely populated but we do have a lot of mining activity out there now. But yeah, can’t be that much – there’s patches bigger than Melbourne and Sydney – so those fires must be big.
If you look at the enlarged version on the bottom right out to sea (below mainland, above east corner of Tasmania) you’ll see specks in the ocean. That’s where we have oil and gas platforms operating.

John W. Garrett
December 8, 2012 6:11 am

Thank you for clarifying this. When I saw the original image(s), my suspicions were aroused— as one who spends time in small boats on the ocean and in less-inhabited areas, I couldn’t help but wonder if the usual suspects were once more guilty of exaggeration through digital enhancement.
I am convinced that a part of the mass delusion that characterizes the warmistas is attributable to their sedentary urban existence. I have this image of the generic zealot: I picture someone huddled in a small apartment on the 45th floor of a New York apartment building who has never spent a night in the woods and would be utterly terrified by true darkness or 20-foot seas.

December 8, 2012 6:20 am

That is one helluva lot of wildfires …. hard to imagine that much of Australia burning over 9 days without any comment?

December 8, 2012 6:29 am

Maybe it is related to this almost unbelievable rort:
(I spoke to a guy whose family has long lived in that area – he says they have only had one major bushfire that burnt all their pastures in 70 years)
Burning savanna creates carbon credit cash
From: AAP November 02, 2012 2:13PM
AN indigenous organisation could earn up to $500,000 a year by selling carbon credits it creates by deliberately burning savannas ahead of the fire season to reduce the amount of pollution.
The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) has gained approval to generate the credits on its 1800 square kilometre Fish River property which is a two hour drive south of Darwin. It’s the first indigenous project approved under the carbon farming initiative (CFI) which forms part of the federal government’s carbon price regime.
Under the CFI, grasslands can be purposely burnt early in the dry season to reduce fuel load and therefore the severity of late-season fires. Savannas are also burnt to create fire breaks.
“Both actions reduce the high level of pollution that would otherwise be generated by out-of-control wild fires,” parliamentary secretary Mark Dreyfus said in a statement on Friday.
The ILC will be able to generate up to 20,000 carbon credits each year. CFI credits are expected to sell for less than the current $23-a-tonne fixed price but Fish River could still earn close to $500,000 annually. “The ILC’s carbon credits can be sold to big polluting businesses that need to offset their carbon price liability,” Mr Dreyfus said. “The extra income will be used to help conserve the significant biodiversity of the Fish River property, support indigenous jobs and training and investigate other investment opportunities.”
Historically around 70 per cent of the property would be burnt by uncontrolled fires each year. But in recent years that’s been cut to just three per cent by combining traditional knowledge with satellite tracking and mapping technology.
Carbon credits created under savanna-burning projects are Kyoto compliant and count towards Australia’s national emission-reduction targets.

Jeff in Calgary
December 8, 2012 6:56 am

I deal with similar situations at work, but with RF noise. If they had averaged the multiple images, rather than a ‘peak detection’ type function, it would have been a much different image.

December 8, 2012 6:56 am

What IS that south of South Korea?
Chinese navy ships patrolling the border of their seas?

De Bruin
December 8, 2012 7:22 am

Big wildfires in WA are pretty normal, it is a big place, 3.5 times the size of Texas with a population of only 2.4m. If the fires aren’t near where any lives or livestock then no-one worries about them too much. It is not like it is possible to do much about them.

Billy Liar
December 8, 2012 8:05 am

I’m skeptical. You only have to fly over a thunderstorm to realize that one flash of lightning lights up the whole cloud and if the strike rate is high enough huge areas of convective cloud will appear to be lit up.
At 1:31 in the video the sea to the east and south of S Korea is lit up – phosphorescence?
Pointing a photomultiplier at the earth and integrating over time requires a lot more explanation than they have given: do fireflies show up?

December 8, 2012 8:28 am

Bushfires are “part of the weather” in most of Australia.
Most fires burn quickly but relatively “cold”, leaving plant (parts) below the surface (and bark) to regrow quickly. The situation is different in areas where periodic burning is suppressed. The high fuel load, usually consisting of litter containing large amounts of lipids (oils), increases the likelihood of a highly destructive and very rapid, hot fire that can sterilise even indigenous vegetation, preventing regrowth for many seasons.
Such fires tend to go unnoticed by the mainstream media. But when those fires hit towns populated by those “escaping” the city; melt the engine blocks of cars and burn everything that has been built to the ground, it’s suddenly an unusual event. In the past decade or two, preparing for severe bush fires has been obstructed by country town councils that appear to have become infested with feckless do-gooders; making regulations that e.g. ban fuel reduction burns; prevent homeowners from clearing trees in the proximity of their homes and removing loud town fire alarm sirens because they were too noisy. People have been imprisoned for daring to clear fire breaks. Such policies have resulted in deaths and loss of property.
When such man-made disasters occur, there are inquiries, commissions and reports with recommendations … but subsequent actions usually run counter to the recommendations. They are “forgotten” even though they are common sense. Legal processes against those whose actions or inactions exascerbated the impact of the fires are rare. They appear to be above the law.

Ceri Phipps
December 8, 2012 8:51 am

I spent three weeks in the out back as a junior geologist doing field mapping back in 1986, I think it must have been October (ish) and I was on the north coast on the border of Wester Australia and the Northern Territories. While I was there, you could see wild fires every night in most directions. Mostly they were small areas burning at at any one time, and most were deliberately set to burn off dead grass to encourage the new growth. What surprised me, was although the fires would move through very quickly, you always ended up with a few old stumps and logs burning for up to a couple of days afterwards. We speculated that some of the bright spots you could see in the distance might be natural gas seeps burning, but we never investigated (we had other things to do) as I recall, the Australian geologist I was with referred to the night lights as ‘Ning Bings’

December 8, 2012 9:01 am

Duncan says:
December 8, 2012 at 6:56 am
“What IS that south of South Korea?
Chinese navy ships patrolling the border of their seas?”
Fisher boats attracting fish with spotlights.

December 8, 2012 9:01 am

Billy Liar says:
December 8, 2012 at 8:05 am

Not phosphorescence but squid fishing:

Goode 'nuff
December 8, 2012 9:02 am

First looking at that I was saying, “What are all them people down there smoking?”
Old timers in the Ozarks used to talk about how tobacco was discovered in America and it used to be the only continent that was lit up.
“Back then people had a choice of continents. Smoking or Non-Smoking.”
Guess you have to be from the Ozarks. You don’t have to post this if you don’t want to.

December 8, 2012 9:32 am

Apart from cruise ships and fishing vessels, vessels under way at night have complete darkness on deck so that those on the bridge have proper night vision; thus they don’t show up on pictures like this. (The navigation lights are too dim to show up from space, and anyway are constructed to show only on a horizontal plane.)

December 8, 2012 10:02 am

Do NOT tell Al Gore about cloud-to-cloud lightning!
We will never hear the end of it.
His brain will equate incomplete combustion (and exhaust of non combusted gasoline from automobiles) at Earth’s surface, lofting into the upper troposphere, leading to increasing concentrations of combustible materials and add cloud-to-cloud lightning resulting in ignition.
A new prediction of death and horror and rain of fire and brimstone from Gorezilla. XD

December 8, 2012 11:38 am

Oh no! Don’t tell me we Aussies are responsible for global warming! Oh, the shame!
/sarc. 🙂
Pretty pictures. I’ve driven in the bush at night after a fire has gone through. The embers look magical, as though there is a city all around, yet you know for a fact there’s not another human soul for miles.
I’ve also seen how quickly nature springs back. Within days grasses are sprouting up and there is a green-sheen over everything. The kangaroos are okay, too, because they’re right back there eating it. You get a better appreciation of the majesty of nature when you live out bush.

Douglas Haynes
December 8, 2012 11:55 am

Check out thunderstorms and lightning for Western Australia! Central and NW sectors of WA have experienced, and are are experiencing, an unusually active thunderstorm season for late November and early December, with above average storm activity over the (non-populated) areas lit up in the image. It would be very unusual for wildfires to be that extensvie and prolific without witness reports – and the resultant widespread smoke would be observable on the daytime satellite images – and it is not.

December 8, 2012 12:43 pm

These areas look way to big to be bush fires, if they are. they would be the biggest bush fires in Australian history

December 8, 2012 12:49 pm

These “photos” are NOT made with a camera. An observer from the space station would only see darkness and not get a photo like this even with a long exposure. They use very high sensitive detectors, like those used in trying to find galaxies at the edge of the universe, to make these “photos.” These sensors can detect light levels in the neighborhood of a few photons. Then they use this to tell us how much light/energy we are wasting. Another “true lie” that NASA tells us.

December 8, 2012 1:01 pm

If you want to know how to reduce fire risks in Australia – just ask the Indigenous Australians.

Fire ecology and Aboriginal land management in central Arnhem Land, northern Australia: a tradition of ecosystem management
We attribute the ecological integrity of the site to continued human occupation and maintenance of traditional fire management practice, which suppresses otherwise abundant annual grasses (Sorghum spp.) and limits accumulation of fuels in perennial grasses (Triodia spp.) or other litter. Suppression of fuels and coordination of fire use combine to greatly reduce wildfire risk and to produce and maintain diverse habitats. Aboriginal people derive clear economic benefits from this style of management, as evidenced by abundant and diverse animal and plant foods. However, the motives for the Aboriginal management system are complex and include the fulfillment of social and religious needs, a factor that remains important to Aboriginal people despite the rapid and ongoing transformation of their traditional lifestyles. The implication of this study is that the maintenance of the biodiversity of the Arnhem Land plateau requires intensive, skilled management that can be best achieved by developing co-operative programmes with local indigenous communities.

As for earning carbon credits for what the have traditionally done is insane. A bit like paying oil companies for pumping co2 into wells when they have been doing it for almost 40 years now.

John Gardner
December 8, 2012 1:21 pm

As an old aussie, I put my money 99% on lightning flashes, 1% on bush fires. Take it from me, there isn’t that much out there to burn!

December 8, 2012 1:21 pm

Images of Australia April 2012 and October 2012.
Hmmm … therefore not surprising not much showing up in Queensland. April, wet season, somewhat protracted this year, so the fire season that would normally have commenced in September was delayed. (Around here, second week of the September school holidays is often a “bad time”.) The October fly-over would not have picked up much in the way of controlled burning, as that is carried out in daylight hours. Local firies predicted a major fire season this year, and yes, late November early December has been busy.

December 8, 2012 1:26 pm

Once the Greenies here in Australia see this one they will go absolutely bananas. They will not realise that it has been going on since the year dot, but will immediately attribute it all to catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and slap yet another tax onto us!

Billy Liar
December 8, 2012 1:42 pm

Nix says:
December 8, 2012 at 9:01 am
Good pic! Thanks.

December 8, 2012 2:23 pm

I agree with John Gardner – something not right there in the WA image. The smoke from fires that size would obscure the light; a lot of that land is semi-desert or desert; the areas depicted are massive. There is absolutely nothing that would generate a decent fire for thousands of square miles in some of those regions.
Either there is massive magnification of the light going on, or things like lightning are being picked up and extrapolated over large areas.

Philip Bradley
December 8, 2012 2:35 pm

markx says:
December 8, 2012 at 6:20 am
That is one helluva lot of wildfires …. hard to imagine that much of Australia burning over 9 days without any comment?

You have to understand these areas are completely uninhabited. Even big fires hardly ever make the Perth news.
In the 1970s one fire burned continuously for 2 years over 30 million acres. Yet it doesn’t make the various bushfire lists, because no one was affected.
Another fire in the 1990s killed 70,000 emus. It was only reported because the emus were piled up along the fence that separates the agricultural belt from the uninhabited forest. It happened I travelled through the area of the fire a week after it burned out and there were dead kangaroos everywhere.
Also, no effort is ever made to control these fires. They are just left to burn.

Tom Harley
December 8, 2012 2:44 pm

This time of year, a lot of thunderstorms and lightning spread through that area of Western Australian desert country. Mostly spinifex grasses, fires start easily as they are high in resin. The one light in the NW corner of the image is my home town of Broome, with a population of about 16,000. These fires are prolific at this time of year, in the Kimberley at least a third is burnt every year. Smoke can always be smelled in the first rainwater of the year. Chemicals in the smoke are an aid to germination of many desert plant species.

December 8, 2012 3:10 pm

Tom Harley, I take your point – but remember, these images are for only 9 days in April and 13 days in October. At that rate – all of WA will be a pile of smoking embers by Christmas!

Philip Bradley
December 8, 2012 4:04 pm

In the 1970s one fire burned continuously for 2 years over 30 million hectares. Which is the size of Arizona.

wayne Job
December 8, 2012 4:21 pm

Some years ago I was traveling on a motorcycle, from Catherine to Broome on our going down of the sun road on New Years eve. It was hot as hell with the sun straight in my face, clear blue sky for ever. In the distance two huge isolated thunderstorms, the 60 thousand feet tall monsters that inhabit the area.
As I approached them they were blocking the sun much to my relief, the road turned down into a small valley with red cliffs and all hell broke loose. Lightning like a military barrage, it did not just hit the ground it skipped and danced, lighting hundreds of fires for as far as I could see. It was a scene from Dante.
I stopped in that valley for about an hour in total awe. To quote Maxwell Smart “missed me by that much.”

December 8, 2012 4:25 pm

I remember as a kid in SE Qld we used to celebrate Guy Fawkes night in November – a British tradition.
Everyone built huge bonfires and let off all kinds of fireworks – it was great.
Except – September – November here is usually very dry and November can get quite hot – over 30 C with very low humidity.
Every year the hills around where I lived would catch fire and burn for weeks.
The practice was banned in the early 70s.

Philip Bradley
December 8, 2012 4:31 pm

Bushfires burn over a narrow front. The image above must be showing the heat plumes from fires, not the fires themselves that would show up as narrow lines.

December 8, 2012 5:04 pm

This video looks like a composite of many images taken over time. Making it look as though there are many fires in W.A. at once when in fact there may have been only a few a each time an image was taken. Same for the the rest.

John Gardner
December 8, 2012 5:40 pm

Thanks, Johanna. One more thing folks, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology satellite image shows no visible smoke at the moment (and rarely does, in my experience, except for huge bushfires), hence my 1% bet for bushfires as being the primary cause of the ‘night light’ on this image of Australia. Lets apply a bit of common sense here – if it ain’t bushfires, and it ain’t streetlights or cars 😉 out there in the desert, let’s look at the weather map – lots of upper level troughs moving from W to E across the country at the moment with lots of thunderstorms (4 storms dropped 6 inches of rain on my house in Brisbane on a single weekend only a couple of weeks ago) and lots and lots of lightning (just ask my cat!). Add to this the statement that this satellite adds the PEAK brightnesses and therefore it will sum all the light from all the lightning strikes in each storm for a period of several days to generate this image. Enough twaddle about us Aussies having humungous (nonexistent) bushfires all over the country, just because some new satellite shows some unexplained ‘bright spots’, OK?

December 8, 2012 5:50 pm

A propaganda film. Obviously over exposed. A fabrication. Anyone doing film recognizes the fallacy here.

December 8, 2012 7:20 pm

In case you haven’t guessed by now, they are called “bushfires”, not “wildfires”.

December 8, 2012 7:28 pm

Why is it every-time I read past the end of the articles on this site i find the first comments are made by sarcastic retarded jackasses and have no relevance to the article. I have no interest in Al Gore or his “evidence of global warming” I read this article as i found it interesting and i wanted to read the comments to see other people’s opinions on the article (alternative explanations for light in the Australian outback etc). I don’t enjoy having to sift through sarcastic and irrelevant crap every time i look through the comment section. If it was a one off I wouldn’t mind so much it seems to be a recurring theme. If you have nothing relevant to say don’t comment! save the global warming sarcasm for the posts related to climate change or politics.
Thank you to everyone that posted relevant and interesting comments. Not you “Jimbo” you’re a tool so I didn’t bother reading you later posts.

December 8, 2012 7:57 pm

I agree with John Gardner – the bush fires in the top end occur in the winter and are all started by man. Station owners start them to get extra green grass for their cattle, indigenous peoples start them as it’s supposedly their tradition. Local land councils have people employed to start fires. Driving from Kununurra to Wyndham at dusk I noted fires had been lit every kilometer, the resultant fires burnt for days. From Broome in the west to Karumba on the Gulf was on fire!
There’s a big difference between the original nomadic tribes wandering the area with a fire stick and a Toyota landcruiser troopee with 5 guys with diesel guns as occurs today.
The burning of the top end of Australia every winter is IMHO one of the worst nature disasters on the planet. The vegetation can hardly survive it – small gum trees that have been ring barked by fire every year eventually give up and fall over – you see them everywhere. We called them “falldown trees” and they were great for firewood as they shattered into small pieces when they hit the ground. Broome to Fitzroy Crossing will eventually become like the Nullarbor – no trees – yet I eventually found a patch that hadn’t been burnt. It had tall beautiful trees, birds, roos and wildlife everywhere. The burning of the grasses takes away the seed for birds so you see few birds where there once used to be huge flocks. According to the owner of the Bird Park south of Broome whilst they continue the burning we’ll never see the huge flocks again.

December 8, 2012 9:34 pm

” John W. Garrett says:December 8, 2012 at 6:11 am
and would be utterly terrified by true darkness or 20-foot seas. ”
Darkness no but if 20 foot seas don’t make a knot in your gut you are either on a very large ship or have a stronger constitution than me.
Great video. North east Italy along the Adriatic was just totally lit up. Was not expecting that much.

John Gardner
December 8, 2012 9:40 pm

I’m sorry Janama, I didn’t say anything in my two posts about who may have started these probably non-existent bushfires, so please don’t associate my name and opinions with your polemic dissertation.

December 8, 2012 11:00 pm

If you want to see where the actual bushfires are in Australia at any time, this site will show you:
You need javascript enabled, and have to click through a disclaimer page to see the image. Notably, most of the fires today are in the tropical far North. Not a lot of activity in the deserts – perhaps because nothing much grows there? It is simply a myth that there are significant fires which we know nothing about, as this continuous satellite imaging service demonstrates.
Very nifty, and reminds us that not all of our taxes are wasted!

December 8, 2012 11:54 pm

Most of these would not be wildfires, but deliberately set by Australian Aboriginals as part of their traditional hunting practices.

December 9, 2012 2:29 am

In a dry year in the 1980s, can’t recall it exactly, I flew in a Fokker F28 for 35 minutes with a single line of fire visible out the window, south of Mt Newman. It was long and narrow, but if you integrated the brightness over days, you would get patterns like are shown. Proof of this is immediately obvious when you study even 1950s B&W aerial photography from most of WA that is not under agriculture. You see scars hundreds of km wide and long, overlaid on top of each other as a mosiac. The answer to the satellite view problem expressed above is to show single shots, as well as time-integrated ones, to clear up the impression being given. There is a lot of combustible grass and very, very few people to cause lights.

December 9, 2012 3:55 am

enoughsarcasm says:
December 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm
Why is it every-time I read past the end of the articles on this site i find the first comments are made by sarcastic retarded jackasses and have no relevance to the article. I have no interest in Al Gore or his “evidence of global warming” I read this article as i found it interesting and i wanted to read the comments to see other people’s opinions on the article (alternative explanations for light in the Australian outback etc). I don’t enjoy having to sift through sarcastic and irrelevant crap every time i look through the comment section. If it was a one off I wouldn’t mind so much it seems to be a recurring theme. If you have nothing relevant to say don’t comment! save the global warming sarcasm for the posts related to climate change or politics.
Thank you to everyone that posted relevant and interesting comments. Not you “Jimbo” you’re a tool so I didn’t bother reading you later posts.

Hi enoughsarcasm,
How is your morning? I hope you apologize to me for having to read through your non-content filled rant.
My first comment was not as silly as it seemed so next time do some looking before flying your mouth off.

The Australian – October 03, 2012
A WEATHER expert has backed the stance of an Alice Springs filmmaker who refused to sell footage of a firestorm to former US vice-president Al Gore — to use in Mr Gore’s climate presentations — because the event was unrelated to climate change.

November 11, 2012
Emails reveal Al Gore and crew won’t take ‘no’ for an answer when seeking imagery to spin for their ‘dirty weather’ project
Readers may recall this story: Al Gore denied film footage rights by an Australian filmmaker where Mr. Gore sought the broadcast rights to a “fire tornado” footage shot during a wildfire near Alice Springs Australia for use in his upcoming “dirty weather report” aka 24 hours of Tabloid Climatology

Climate Reality Project
Down under, Dirty Weather is increasing the risk of fire. Hour 10 includes an engaging conversation with first responders who risked their lives to control fires, and then participated in a massive effort to support climate change legislation.

More on Al Gore and Australian wildfires.
Did you see the words “Australia” and “fire” and the name “Al Gore”? My sarcastic comment has roots and it’s not beyond possibility that Gore could have assigned blame.

December 9, 2012 3:58 am

Geoff, according to the interpretation given of those images there were massive fires in the Little Sandy Desert, the Gibson Desert, the Nullarbor and the Great Victoria Desert – and all in the space of a few days.
I don’t think so.

December 9, 2012 4:35 am

johanna says: December 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm
” If you want to see where the actual bushfires are in Australia at any time, this site will show you:
Wow …nice site Johanna, thanks for the link!
And seeing the number of fires happening in the last 12 hours in the northern part of Australia is amazing! The video may be plausible after all, although I think there is a lot more to burn in the north than in the west. (last 12 hours)

December 9, 2012 9:47 am

It is interesting how comparisons of North Korea and South Korea suggest political deficiencies in the north while a similar visual contrast between the western and eastern US is not mentioned. I think the black marble imagery is as misleading as are red/blue voting pattern maps. The misinformation is common of stacked images where transient artifacts appear as import as static features. Bogosity at it’s best.
As examples of art they are quite lovely, though.

richard verney
December 9, 2012 11:13 am

And how much CO2 is produced by these fires in comparison to say car use in Australia? One rarely hears about how much CO2 is caused by fires (natural, slash and burn, and unfortunately those caused by the deliberate or reckless behavoir of humans).

Billy Ruff'n
December 9, 2012 1:48 pm

Anthony, don’t be silly. Those lights are just a bunch of jackeroos enjoying a barbie out back o’ Bourke.

December 9, 2012 4:51 pm

For interested parties the fires aren’t there for dubious carbon credit claims. They are generally started by lightning and can burn for weeks, even months. There is little human infrastructure in most of the areas affected so, in most cases, no reason to attempt to interfere in nature’s workings.

December 9, 2012 5:08 pm

Why does the cynic in me find myself questioning NASA’s use of nighttime composite photography to represent and exaggerate mankind’s footprint on the face of the earth? They would never plump that particular point of view, right.
wayne Job, interesting, if you have pictures of the fire event you witnessed, many people would pay money to see them.

December 9, 2012 6:07 pm

Following on from Johanna, the Geoscience Australia site [] won’t show many current fires over the featured part of Western Australia despite a lot of recent lightning storms as there has been quite a bit of rain accompanying the storms. Just a bit wet for fires at the moment. Wait till it dries !!
Some good fires in North Queensland though.

December 9, 2012 7:16 pm

We took a flight from Uluru to Darwin a couple of years ago and saw numerous columns of smoke from fires even though it was only just the start of the dry season. It seems that fire is an ever present through Australias history.
This website sums it up well.

December 9, 2012 9:31 pm

If anyone has any proof that wild fires in Oz are different in 2012 than they were 40,000 years ago this would be an excellent venue to make your case. Give it your best shot because it will be your only shot.

December 9, 2012 10:48 pm

Jimbo says: December 9, 2012 at 3:55 am re Gore on Queensland floods
I was born within a few km of the origin of the big floods that Brisbane took, just after the Toowoomba floods. It is important to know that Toowoomba resides on a ridge that marks a river divide. Rain to the East of the Divide flows to Brisbane; rain to the west flows to the Darling Downs and eventually into the Murray-Darling system (if there is enough).
The big Brisbane flood would not have happened if the east edge of the storm was (let’s say) 20 km further west than where it was. It would have flowed away from Brisbane.
The Toowoomba floods largely hurt the town because man had impeded river flow with structures. Water built up too fast to disperse.
The relevance? No climate model of which I am aware can resolve the projected position of future storms to within a few tens of km. They can’t usually get even continent-sized projections too good.
The flood that hit Brisbane had nothing to do with global warming or climate change in the sense that a better knowledge of either would have prevented it, or even forecast it.
It is just so unscientific to claim fasle prophesy after the event and rig your figures in hindsight to make your case.

December 10, 2012 1:38 pm

I’m glad more people have become aware of the Geoscience Australia site which gives real time info about bushfires in Australia. I found it some years ago, when fires were close to where I live. You can zoom in for more details.
However, I’m still puzzled that anyone really believes that vast areas of sandy and/or stony desert were ravaged by massive fires over such a short period. OK, say a bit of spinifex was hit by lightning and burned for a few minutes. These images do not differentiate between that and a raging forest fire, or the lightning strikes themselves. I agree with Rick and dp – they are pretty pictures, but seriously misrepresent what is going on.

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