Understanding the Climate and History of California Fires

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

There is no hope for the truth when world leaders like Governor Brown of California (he runs the 19th largest economy in the world) can present such utterly false information in pursuit of a political agenda.

“Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.”

Civilization began more than 10,000 years ago and, in my opinion, it hasn’t reached California yet. I consider the 20,000-year-old cave paintings a measure of civilization, certainly superior to most ‘art’ produced in California today. It also reflects an awareness of nature that Brown lacks. Yes, the State may be wealthy, and manifest glamor and glitz, but, in my opinion, from Hollywood on down there are very few signs of civilization.

It was created by people going west, as Horace Greeley advised, looking for the promised land. It got drier and drier as they crossed the Mississippi and passed the 500 mm isohyet. They reached California and were determined to make it the land of milk and honey, even though most of the State has deficit moisture conditions all the time. It has burgeoned by literally plundering the water from the north and east including bringing it over the mountains from the Colorado River. The truth is most of the State is arid or semi-arid.

Brown clearly doesn’t know that the world was 6°C warmer 9000 years ago and was warmer than today for at least 95 % of the last 10,000 years known as the Holocene Optimum. Consider those conditions in California today. The Governor should count his blessing for purporting to be in charge during a cooler phase of global temperature. Being ignorant is one problem, opening your mouth and proving it is another. It is time to put the entire issue of weather, climate, and water in California in perspective.

In every lecture I ever gave at any university level, I always began with one or two items from the news that related to what we were studying in the course. It was part of my campaign to show the students that there was relevance to something in their university time. Of course, the information varied with the news cycle and the course I was teaching. However, there were some issues I used to demonstrate the application of another feature and that is the ability to predict based on information and understanding.

In the introductory climatology class, I always mentioned early in September that we can watch for a sequence of events from California. This will begin with complaints about drought and threatened water supplies. In the Fall, we will have stories about fires decimating the landscape and burning up communities. The next in the sequence is rain and mudslides. Welcome to sunny southern California. I don’t recall a year in which that sequence did not occur. The only differences were the intensity of the events, the hysteria of the media and the degree of political exploitation.

Exploitation of the California events is just another example of the standard ploy of environmentalists to take normal events and present them as abnormal. This works because most people have little knowledge or understanding of what is normal. They certainly don’t know anything about the patterns and mechanisms of climate or how they change over time.

Figure 1 shows the general circulation of the atmosphere that over the course of a year creates the average wind and weather conditions affecting each of the zones identified in Figure 2.

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Figure 1

Although not identified in Figure 1 you have distinct latitude pressure zones from the Polar High to the Sub-polar Low, to the Sub-tropical High to the Equatorial Low.

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Figure 2

Notice that there are only four zones (1,3, 7, and 9) that remain under the same controlling mechanism year-round. California’s climate is categorized under the Koppen system as a Mediterranean climate (Zone 5). It is unique because it is the only climate that has most, over 70% of its precipitation in the winter months. This means you have more effective precipitation for plant growth because less goes to evaporation. This occurs because in the winter California is under the influence of the Subpolar Low with cool, wet conditions, but in the summer, it is influenced by the Sub-tropical High with high temperatures and virtually no precipitation. It is called a Mediterranean climate because that is the part of the world with the largest area and classification was done in Europe. Figure 3 shows all the regions with similar weather conditions.

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Figure 3

Here is the annual seasonal pattern of weather for these regions and most of California. Cool, wet winters create specific vegetations with different names in different parts of the world. It is Chaparral (Figure 4) in California and Maquis (Figure 5) around the Mediterranean. They are both shrub vegetation that survive the hot, dry summers but require fire as part of the regenerative process.

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Figure 4 Chaparral in California

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Figure 5 Maquis in Corsica

After the hot dry summer, the vegetation is parched and vulnerable to fires. These are triggered by several causes including lightning strikes as thunderstorms start to form and human causes that contrary to reports have declined since Europeans arrived. Figure 6 shows a graph of carbon sediments in the Pacific Ocean. Although this is for Central America, the settlement patterns are similar to those in California.

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Figure 6

After many areas are burned off, which, with reduced vegetation cover due to shrinking and wilting, exposes soil to rainfall and downslope erosion. As the Sub-polar low migrates toward the equator, it brings rain to the region and so by late in the year the reports of mudslides are added to the collective woes of the promise land.

In this age of environmental extremism with its powerful underlying anti-humanity theme expressed by comments like those of Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA

“Mankind is a cancer; we’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.” “If you haven’t given voluntary human extinction much thought before, the idea of a world with no people in it may seem strange. But, if you give it a chance, I think you might agree that the extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions if not billions, of Earth-dwelling species. Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.”

This may sound extreme, but various slightly more moderate eversion sexist everywhere. Many people react angrily to cruelty to animals while ignoring what happens to children.

Every change that is normal or natural is caused by humans, and this includes forest fires. The environmentalists such as Governor Brown ignore the moral dilemmas in their positions. For example, the number of forest fires and their extent has reduced dramatically in modern times. This is because while people do set fires, they also report and extinguish them more quickly. In the past humans set fires deliberately for hunting and they had no way of controlling them. They and lightning triggered fires frequently and always burned out of control as soil coring indicates. Then there were the vast grass fires, again natural from lightning, but also set by humans for driving animals for hunting. The Hudson’s Bay Journal has an entry at the end of the 18th century that simply says, “The Indians report the whole of the Prairies are on fire.” Paul Kane recorded such an event in his famous 1845-46, nighttime scene painting “Prairie on fire” (Figure 7).

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Figure 7. (Editor; I left the copyright in place.)

The town of Carberry in west central Manitoba, was the first community in the Province to install a municipal water supply. It did so primarily to prevent their homes being burned down every time there was another grass fire.

Perhaps the final arrogance of people like Brown is that they consider California an ‘ideal’ climate for people. I know Inuit coming from Arctic Canada to Churchill on the shores of Hudson Bay for medical services hated the heat and couldn’t wait to get back to the high Arctic.

It is a risky world and no matter where you live there is some form of natural hazard. Your choice is move or understand and prepare for the hazards of the region. Clearly, Brown doesn’t understand the nature of California and since he is on State welfare he will not move. But that is fine because I don’t understand the nature of Brown, other than his manifest ignorance. The good news for him and the bad news for the truth is that the pattern of fires in Greece, another Mediterranean climate are also being misunderstood, mischaracterized, and mishandled by more bad leaders.

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Rich Davis

“Governor Brown of California (he runs the 19th largest economy in the world)”
Fortunately that is not quite accurate yet. There is still a little room for free enterprise even in Cali

Curious George

I remember when it was the 7th largest economy.

Theo

IMO, by nominal GDP, CA must rank higher than that. It is more than 1/8 of the US economy.

CA’s GDP last year was $2.75 trillion. That would have placed it fifth in the world, after the US, China, Japan and Germany, just ahead of the UK.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California

Theo

Maybe Tim was referring to the government of CA, which is indeed run (mismanaged) by the Moonbeam, as the 19th largest “economy”, although that would be a gross misnomer.

john harmsworth

Regardless, Brown doesn’t run the economy. He rides it!

Eric

Note that reports of California’s economic volume is now grossly inflated by it’s grossly inflated property values, the highest in the world.

Theo

It’s also home to three of the five largest market cap publicly traded companies in the world. GOOG and FB might be overvalued, despite FB’s recent crash. APPL, IMO however isn’t, despite its trillion dollar valuation. Its P/E ratio is 18.84, GOOG’s 23.62 and FB’s 29.43.

As of Friday’s close, the top five biggest caps were: AAPL, AMZN, GOOG, MSFT and FB. Their HQ states are CA, WA, CA, WA and CA.

Trump’s tariffs might however hurt AAPL in China.

Bill

“Trimp’s tariffs might however hurt AAPL in China”

Not if they move production here in the U.S., where they started. I’ll bet we can produce their products better, with a lot less impact on our environmen,t than they can in China!

Theo

Bill,

Maybe under deregulating Trump, but it wasn’t just lower labor costs which prompted Jobs to build factories in China and Taiwan. It simply took too long to get permits, and would probably not have been possible, given environmental rules.

However, China is a big market for APPL’s finished products. They’re already almost prohibitively expensive there, and the regime promotes Chinese phones, tablets and computers over foreign products, even when assembled in China. Nationalistic patriotism has never gone out of favor in China.

There is a huge temptation that people feel, when confronted by their own affluence, to ascribe it to their moral or political natures: That California’s Liberal Progressive agenda is somehow responsible for its economic success.

The corollary, that only people with such a colossal economic success could afford to be so politically retarded and get away with it, never seems to cross people’s minds…

Duster

As of May, California ranks as the fifth largest economy on the planet. The “Bay Area” is the 19th largest. Fact checking helps.

Duster

And just to be clear, Brown is a disaster. Hopefully we can get some of his worse ideas reversed, but …

Ken Mitchell

Tomorrow, August 5, is the 69th anniversary of the Mann Gulch fire in Montana in 1949. 15 smoke jumpers jumped into the mountains to extinguish a lightning-sparked forest fire. Only two survived.

Willigan

Great song. Here’s my favorite version. By Hank Cramer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcqr8A-_ISM

JimmieCJ51

The lateBob Salee was also a survivor and should have been listed. I have worked volunteer projects with Bob and including Mann Gulch and listened to his account. He attributed his escape to the rocks to his youth (16)

donb

The Palmer drought index shows greater US drought in the 1930s than recently.

Bruce Cobb

Climate: so easy, a caveman could understand it. Maybe next time, Brown could do a little research.

Rich Davis

You don’t research propaganda, Bruce. You read what the pollster told you was the best lie to convince your focus group.

Bill

So, you’re saying; “Don’t argue with a fool politician because they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with their vast experience.”

Snowleopard

“so easy, a caveman could understand it”

Yes Gov Brown avoids inconvenient research, but so do many of us.

Approx 12Kyrs ago the earth suffered extinction level events that wiped out half of the mega-fauna species worldwide. While mainstream “science” likes to blame humans for these extinctions, humans were severely impacted as well. It is my hypothesis that many of these “caveman” were survivors of these calamities and were too busy surviving (over several generations) to maintain their previous civilization. Their intelligence was likely not significantly different from our own.

donb

The Palmer drought index gives more US drought in the 1930s than recently.

Theo

What makes for more frequent and larger fires isn’t a fourth molecule of CO2 in 10,000 dry air molecules, but a lot more O2.

During the Carboniferous Period, when oxygen was about 35% of the air rather than today’s 21%, forest fires raged across the continents.

HotScot

Theo

Do we get a 20th/21st Century discount for arsonist’s, stupid twats who BBQ where they shouldn’t, and dick heads who toss lit cigarettes out their car windows?

J Mac

Projecting the ‘Savior’ image and preaching Climate Change fraud are key aspects of Gov. Brown’s political fear mongering act. He’s a better actor than Gov. ‘Ahnold’ Schwarzenegger ever was….

Ken Mitchell

Remember that Jerry Brown was a failed seminarian; he was in training to become a Jesuit priest. Having lost his own religion, he’s anointed himself as the Vice Pope of the Church of Global Warmism. Algore, also a failed seminarian, is the Pope.

J Mac

The Pope is a Jesuit IIRC and a vocal leader in the Church of Global Warming also.

Komrade Kuma

Aha! Now it makes sense! The J’s are the originators of what we now term ‘managerialism’, that is management of society/government/bureucracy/whatever by ‘expert’ managers. John Ralson Saul gets it perfectly by referring to them as “Voltaire’s Bastards’, i.e. the kiddy fiddlers of the age of reason. You name a topic, ana rea of society and these arrogant imbeciles will turn it into a self serving shambles.

ThomasJK

Could it be that “Moonbeam” is actually the pachamama popey and that Francis is an interloping imposter who’s doing a very poor job of faking it?

Nutty

Anyone is free to develop algorerithms – some make it quite profitable too and do also serve a large congregation.

Doc Chuck

A cautionary note: Another failed seminarian was a certain (Eurasian) Georgian, Iosef Jughashvili, later to be known to us as Joseph Stalin, who then similarly thought himself free of all restraint to remake the world according to his own design.

HotScot

J Mac

A little hypothesis of my own.

Climate change science is gradually eroding the public’s faith in ‘experts’ and we sceptics smell a political imperative to all this, namely socialism.

Perhaps we are on the wrong path. As science is almost the religion of the last couple of hundred years, and religion has lost so much ground, might their be religious underpinnings to discredit science itself by promoting a false scientific narrative then watch it eat up science itself.

J Mac

HotScot,
I think socialists will bastardize and co-opt anything that furthers the socialist agenda. Science and religion are just the latest ‘opportunities du jour’. And their useful tool adherents will support the continually corrupting dogma to advance their selfish ‘more free stuff for me’ greed.

HotScot

J Mac

Goodness. We have the same Hymn sheet.

🙂

Theo

American Indians intentionally set fires to burn grassland and forest every year for millennia.

J Mac

Now the bums, illegals, and pyromaniac ‘firebugs’ intentionally set the fires every year… and Jerry Brown claims its ‘mann made climate change’.

Theo

Prospective fire fighters have been known to set them. Arsonists seeking seasonal employment.

Susan

They had the sense to live in homes which could be moved out of the way.

rocketscientist

Not so much the reason, and then only the planes tribes. They were nomadic.
Many tribes were in permanent civilization locations with agriculture and domestication. Somewhere between stone age and bronze age.

Pat Frank

Eastern NAs regularly burned the forests to encourage populations of bear and deer, both favored by open parkland. See Shepard Krech, “The Ecological Indian.

Graeme#4

The Australian aborigines did the same. Knew what they were doing.

Dahlquist

California, 20 or so years ago, used to be the 7th largest economy in the world. Before the left really took it over.

Chris

And now it’s the 5th largest. So apparently the left is doing a good job.

Eric

The left is only doing a good job inflating California’s cost of living and property values, both the highest in the world. They get to count both of those when they report their economic self-importance. California’s economy is mostly based on the cost of merely being able to survive there without joining the droves of people now sleeping on the streets in ever increasing numbers. The economy of those not sleeping on the street is deeply entrenched in paying property-owner debt and paying state taxes with what’s leftover.

Pat Frank

I live in CA, and whereas the politicians and liberal left are total nut-cases, the economy is real. Silicon Valley is joined by Bio-Tech in the East Bay and South City, and SF remains a huge financial center. Kern County remains oil-rich and the Central Valley agricultural areas have survived (so far) the water wars. The prosperity is obvious and everywhere.

However, I believe the political censoriousness of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest will be their undoing. The officers of those companies are arrogant beyond belief. They have consciously fostered a culture of Stalinism within their corporations. Innovation cannot survive political tyranny and thought-crimes. Their best people will leave.

Meanwhile, Stanford University has made “equity” the center of its new vision for its own future. The administrators have proudly embraced institutional racism/sexism, thereby having embarked on a journey to scholarly mediocrity.

mikewaite

Since there has been a discussion of the homeless in California, and having little personal knowledge of that fine State I looked for more info from Google .
One of the first responses was from an unlikely source – NY Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/us/california-today-states-homeless-population-drives-national-increase.html

-“It could hardly come as a surprise to anyone who travels around the state: the number of people who are homeless in California continues to rise at a steady clip. Every year, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development releases a Point in Time count of the homeless population. This year that number reached nearly 554,000 — a 1 percent increase from last year, driven by the dramatic surge in West Coast cities.
More than one-quarter of the total homeless population nationwide lives in California, roughly 114,000. The vast majority are “unsheltered” — a more bureaucratic term to describe the thousands living on the streets, under freeways and tucked into grassy fields and parks in cities all around the state.
“It’s certainly a bigger increase than we would have expected,” said Ben Metcalf, the director of the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. “There’s a tale of different countries here: We’re seeing a real significant increase and much of the rest of the country is not. We’re all doing the same things, but here the rent is too damn high. We’ve seen an incredible increase in the cost of housing.”
About 1.6 million households are considered to be living in “worse scenarios,” Mr. Metcalf said, living with low-wages and spending more than half of their income on housing. That number has ballooned continuously through much of the last decade, while wages have remained flat.
There is grim evidence at county morgues, too — because of a significant hepatitis A outbreak and because the homeless population is aging, several cities have seen a dramatic rise in the number of people who die homeless. In Santa Clara County, the number of homeless deaths have more than doubled since 2011, with 132 people dying on the street last year.”-

Not what I would have expected from the 5th or 7th largest economy in the World
( although to be fair the statistics in , say , England are probably no better – I daren’t look).

Trevor

Mike Waite :
Actually IT SEEMS SAFE ON THE STREETS IN CALIFORNIA !
“…….with 132 people dying on the street last year.”-……”
In TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS ALONE IN 2017 some 3564 PEOPLE
DIED( and between 2013 and 2017 it was over 13,000 killed !! )
When you consider that the total number of people killed
in the 9/11 disaster was 2996 [ including the 19 hijackers ]
with between 6,000 and 10,000 injured in some way ,
then statistically…………….IN CALIFORNIA ………….
“homelessness” ISN’T SUCH A BAD SURVIVAL STRATEGY !!!

HotScot

Chris

It’s quality that counts, not quantity.

Arnie was running the place for a while.

nuff said.

Katy Grimes

You cannot honestly say California is the fifth largest economy in the world without addressing the $1 trillion unfunded pension obligations coming due, and the wall of debt of more than $1.5 trillion by state and local governments. With California owning the most billionaires and having one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, it most certainly is not the fifth largest economy in the world.

Davis

How can you tell if a politician is lying?

If they are talking, they are lying.

brians356

“Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.” “Kin” Hubbard

Snowleopard

Yes, that happens sometimes. If they remain innocent and have any smarts they do not seek re-election.

tracy poore

BAD typo ‘eversion sexist’ top line, forth paragraph under Fig 6

MilwaukeeBob

Thank you! Most of what I would add about Moonbeam and CA would NOT get past the moderator. However, Brown and Obama are examples of PURE, 100% politicians. They may actually KNOW some stuff, including the truth. In Brown’s case, I doubt it. But facts and truth (reality) are not relevant to a pure politician or for that matter to a person whose mental make-up is 100% narcissistic. Their mind simply does “think” about the truth/reality, only what moves their (in this case the socialist) agenda and/or image (in their mind) forward/positively. Again, in their mind.

Jon Salmi

Brown and Obama are not talking truth, but rather post-truth. [From Wikipedia] “Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics[1] and post-reality politics[2]) is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of facts by relegating facts and expert opinions to be of secondary importance relative to appeal to emotion.” Perhaps GW/CC is the 1st Post-Truth science.

Yirgach

Nowadays, truth will only remain true when it is inserted into a blockchain.

MilwaukeeBob

Yes, love it! Thank you. Copied it! Great synopsis of how the narcissistic and or pure political mind thinks (if one can call it “thinking”) and expresses itself.

Gary Pearse

When I read Tim Ball, I understand climatology was more of a piece before the Gang Green started exploiting it. Since, the science has shrunk down to one molecule, and all the ordered climate phenomena have become chaotic events arising from human intervention. I should say the activities of шнуте men – the only group not welcome in the “Diversity” klatch, unless you wish to undergo a corrective operation.

Warren in New Zealand

Minor typo “This may sound extreme, but various slightly more moderate eversion sexist everywhere. “

Annie

‘Eversions exist’?

Susan

Predictive text is clearly programmed to see sexism everywhere!

Crispin in Waterloo

Read fast. It’s fine.

Trevor

Crispin ! YOU approve SEXISM ?? I am sure Susan WILL be disappointed !

Gary Pearse

I have a wonderful idea! WUWT should publish a weather and risk forecast for California each year and note the success of it. This could be ticked off each season with an article on the accuracy of the firecast. It would be given a name and publicized with a major ad in the LA Times to kick the campaign off. Maybe a fun contest with nominal prizes could be held for forecasts of the dates of thefirst fire, etc. This might help take the science back.

J Mac

See Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell.com
Each spring, he usually puts out a forecast for California wildfire season, based on spring rains. He accurately forecast this year and last years active fire seasons in California.

Annie

You might find some nutters forecast fires they then set….hmmm?

David L. Hagen

A flat tire started the deadly Carr Fire and days of devastation in California

…on one road near Redding, California, when a tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt, the result proved to be catastrophic for an entire region.
The sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, California fire officials said, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history.

John MacDonald

In the past few years in Mariposa County, we’ve had several fires caused by flat tires on vehicles and tralers, and, maybe most insidious, trailer safety chains dragging on asphalt. If you tow a trailer, please tie chains up with bungy cords so they cannot drag.

4TimesAYear

I don’t think the source of the fire matters. The point of the article is, I think, that California’s climate has only two seasons: wet and fire.

Sam Grove

Brown doesn’t run the economy, he sucks out its lifeblood.

Le7gh

Every year in Australia, get the same crap served up to us by a compliant media. Headlines of “worst bushfire season ever is coming”. Are a standard headline across all media.
Three things are commonly apparent every year in Australia (world?) if you are prepared to look.
1/ The governments of affected states continually pump up the amount of coverage of off season burn offs. To reduce the fuel loads. A closer look at the size and geography of those burns show they are mere props for the politicians. Who sole fully say after a big fire in the summer, “I don’t know what else we can do”. Sound familiar?
2/ If your going to continue to build communities amongst the Australian bush. Then it is inevitable that at some stage they are going to be affected by fire. In other words. The more people in its path. The more casualties. The alarmists would rather you not look back in history.
3/ Wether it be accidentally or deliberate. More fires are lit deliberately by the human hand and are usually bigger. Why are they bigger? Beause these sick barstards. Target areas and days in summer that would give them their biggest “sick fix”.
The solutions to the majority of the above are staring the alarmists, the politicans and the media right in the face. All we, the long suffering public get is ground hog day!

PeterW

There is more than one reason for the frequency of damaging fires, despite the increased funding and tech available to fire services.

We should continue to point out that every major fire inquiry going back to the Stretton Royal Commission into the 1939 fires, has found that we are not doing adequate fuel management. EVERY inquiry. Yet land management agencies still do not meet these targets despite including every wildfire and escaped burn-off as “management”. The head of one such government land management agency was overheard stating that big fires and big headline said lead to big budgets. Politicians get better media coverage by funding high-tech “solutions” than low-tech prevention.

The so-called “safety culture” is anything but. It simply transfers the risk. A classic example is the 2003 fire that hit suburbs of the national capital, Canberra. The three fires that combined to kill 4 people and burn 500 homes had been burning for 10 days under conditions that were relatively benign. The same lightning storm that started them, started over 100 other fires that were all contained quickly. Local officers and fire researchers were able to walk in to the edge of these fire without significant risk – during that period – but a manager in an office decreed that it was “too dangerous” as a result, these fires were still alight when conditions worsened. “Safety culture” , if not thoughtfully applied does not reduce risk, merely transfers it to the more vulnerable.

Rapid response and effective suppression require access. Not only do we see LMAs not meeting fuel management targets, but some of them are actively reducing access by closing fire trails. Go figure….

As for the public who build their houses on and in the fringes of the bush, they demand that the government give them both their cure green environment, and safety. More and more we see the kind of learned helplessness that demands being told what to do under every circumstances. It is not rocket-science to step outside and feel the wind on your face.
– if it is hot, dry and windy, the danger of fire is high.
– if there is smoke on the horizon, there is a fire.
– if that smoke is blowing towards/over you, the fire is moving in your direction.

The question is not if we will have fires, but when.

usurbrain

Thank you for explaining something that I learned more than 65 years ago and should be intuitively obvious to anyone that was raised then or taught by teachers like they had back in the 50’s and earlier and not by the propagandists claiming to teach today.

KT66

I have seen a graphic reconstruction of Cali’s drought history going back a millennia here at WUWT before a few times. I saved it on my old computer because it was so eye opening. Brown is indeed lucky to be Gov during a relatively blessed time period and not during one of those 200 year droughts. That state really needs to build more reservoirs and not a bullet train to nowhere.

Linda Goodman

I Love You, Dr. Ball.

John Garrett

Thank you, Dr. Ball, for this wonderful compilation of fact and reality. I will send a link to my Governor, Senators and Representative.

BrianB

An illustration;
I owned 160 acres of timberland about ten miles from the north end of Yosemite NP surrounded by Forest Service land. In 2013 the Rim Fire broke out and burned approximately 250,000 acres.
The first time I drove in, a few days after the fire passed, the way in which used to be a thick green, largely unmanaged forest was a smoldering moonscape as far as the eye could see. But the FS had thinned a few hundred acres around my property and we had selectively logged ours in 2012 taking about half the timber. As I approached our place the fire damage suddenly laid down and rather than scorched spikes the larger trees were green and the lower ladder fuel which was already greatly reduced by the logging was burnt off in a way better than most prescribed burns. There were a couple of hot spots of a few acres where the undergrowth was too thick but by an large the fire was a net benefit on my property.
To the east toward Cherry Lake there was a large pine plantation about 30 years old where a previous fire had burned. The FS had conducted pre commercial thinning operations on the eastern half of it. The fire obliterated the western, unthinned half but again laid down when it hit the thinned ares and eventually burned itself out.

J Mac

BrianB,
You should write your real, fact based experience up and publish it here at WUWT. If you have photos to support your observations, it makes the narrative irrefutable.

Please consider this…
J Mac

usurbrain

Last night I watched “Nebraska” episode of the Smithsonian series on Arial America. One section described the trials and tribulations of the pioneers as the followed the Platte River from Omaha to the west. As they were describing the fact that mentioned that there worst problem was that there was no wood for fires within miles of the route. Yet, as they displayed the trail and river it looked as if it was winding through a forest. I have been told many times that none of the trees presently growing in Nebraska are native to Nebraska and that all were brought in by settlers and then, to help prevent soil erosion, establishing the tree-lines along the fields. Yet, the Envirowhacos believe that CO2 is the worst problem for the environment.

Kenji

Yes, the State may be wealthy, and manifest glamor and glitz, but, in my opinion, from Hollywood on down there are very few signs of civilization.

Brilliant, Dr. Ball! Brilliant! One of the amazing things about America is that one does not need wisdom, intelligence … or civilized behaviour to become $Rich$ … filthy $Rich$ in America. Just Tax the crap out of a huge majority of the people. Esp. “Sin taxes” … cause you all deserve to be punished for your Sins … like heating your home >65 deg.F. Al Gore is a simpleton, politician, who has become filthy fkciung Rich!!! All without so much as a solid C in a science class. But I suppose you can’t say Al isn’t “civilized” … what with his Montecito Mansion sitting below the Santa Barbara BLUE LINE demarcating even moderately predicted sea level inundation.

brians356

“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it … ” Jonathan Swift, 1710

Dipchip

Fake news flies, the real news dies.

ivankinsman

This is the factual evidence happening on the ground. The world is getting hotter due to AGW and we need more than the IPCC Paris Agreement to combat it. Thankfully events like these huge Californian wild fires are convincing more Americans than ever before that climate change is happening and they, unlike the Trump administration, want to do something about it: https://edition-m.cnn.com/2018/08/04/world/climate-change-deadly-summer-wxc-intl/index.html?r=https%3A%2F%2Fedition.cnn.com%2F

Theo

There is no evidence in support of dangerous AGW, or even of AGW, period, on a global scale. Cities and some rural areas are however made warmer by human activity. Others cooler.

Nothing out of the ordinary is happening in any climatic phenomenon, to include especially wild fires.

Clearly, you are young or, if old, can’t remember or never knew about the terrible fires of yore. Same goes for hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, flood, you name it. All far worse in the past.

A warmer world is a less stormy world. It also, as IPCC assumes, should be a wetter world, hence less drought and fewer fires.

Chris

Which cities are getting cooler?

Theo

Cities of course aren’t getting cooler, since air conditioning, pavement, automobiles and a plethora of other human activities all conspire to make extreme urban heat islands.

Where or when did I suggest urban cooling? Au contraire, quite the opposite.

Chris

Your statement: “Cities and some rural areas are however made warmer by human activity. Others cooler.”

If you mean only rural areas, which rural areas are getting colder?

Red94ViperRT10

Must move quickly to stamp out ANY tidbit that might contradict the narrative, eh, Chris?

I love the smell of proof by assertion unbacked by any facts…

Graeme#4

Absolute rubbish. Bushfires happen more frequently because greenies oppose controlled burning to save some unknown minor animal that ends up dying anyway because the huge very hot bushfires kill everything. In the past controlled burns not only prevented large bushfires but saved the native animals because they could run away to safe areas not being burnt at that time. Nothing at all to with AGW and everything to do with stupid green ideas.

MarkW

Typical propaganda, if it’s warmer this year than any time in the past, CO2 is whut don it.

Red94ViperRT10

…and there’s no such thing as natural variation. But if perchance it is colder this year than last, that’s only weather and clearly proof that natural variation has overwhelmed unstoppable AlGore-bull Warming, and you just wait ’til next year when AGW returns you’re really gonna get it!!! Or you just wait ’til next year, the Houston Oilers are gonna win the Super Bowl!!! (Same facts behind each assertion; i.e., none!)

HotScot

ivankinsman

This is a CNN report. Not a factual report at all.

What are you smoking?

Chris

HotScot – at least he puts up supporting links. You, on the other, just assert things without evidence. They are true because Hot Scot says so!

HotScot

Chris

Did I make a claim that required a link?

No. I pointed out that the link was to MSM, not a scientific site. When my comments require a link I’ll use one, as I have done frequently in the past. You just don’t like them because you’re incapable of assembling a coherent argument on anything.

4TimesAYear

If you’re going to try and use it for evidence of climate change, you’re going to lose. It proves that nothing has changed. It’s no different than California’s climate back in the 60’s. Go look up the California fires and floods of the 60’s – or 60’s and 70’s. There are probably some from the 50’s, but I was a bit young to remember then, and the news media was still a far cry from what it was in the 60’s when they covered those fires and floods.

Gord

I recall Johnny Carson once quipped California has 3 seasons, Fire, Rain, Mud!

4TimesAYear

I think that can be shortened to fire and rain. Or rain and fire. Or wet and fire…😁

Patrick

Can we get a graphic comparison between the Carr Fire and the Peshtigo Fire of 1871? Perhaps the graphic could line up the number of lives lost, square miles destroyed, etc…

Nothing like history to choke a warmist windbag.

Theo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinchaga_fire

The 1871 Wisconsin Peshtigo Fire (overshadowed by the Chicago Fire) was the deadliest, with 1200 to 2500 fatalities, but in terms of area, some more recent fires have been more extensive. Peshtigo burnt 1.2 million acres, but the Great Fire of 1919 (Alberta and Saskatchewan) five million and the 1950 Chinchaga (BC and Alberta) 3.5 million. There were also big Canadian fires in Manitoba (1989) and the NWT (2014), but they consisted of many smaller fires on a mix of forest and grassland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wildfires#Canada_and_the_United_States

Alan Tomalty

QUESTION

Main stream CAGW and AGW both hold as a tenet of their position that daily maximum temperatures will increase as well as daily minimums. When certain data sets showed that only the daily minimums had gone up, then some alarmists changed their position to ; only daily minimums need to increase and thus the diurnal temperature range (DTR) need only to decrease to prove that global warming is real. IS THIS LOGICALLY CONSISTENT DUE TO THE FACT THAT CO2 is evenly distributed in the atmosphere? I can’t think of a physics logic that would make this possible even if global warming were true.

A related complaint I have is that the 2 sigma statistical tests that climate scientists do for significance is bad enough ( they should use 5 sigma as in physics); however it gets even worse. It seems that climate scientists have now defined extreme climate/weather as any data that falls outside 1 sigma (above the 66 %tile or below the 34 %tile). I dont know when this statistical definition started. If that is the case then we must be extremely weary of datasets that combine any period of weather event data that is prior to when the extreme weather got first defined statistically from climate scientists. I predict that this will be the new way to fudge the data. To hold up the CAGW house of cards, climate scientists need to prove to the public that data sets show more extreme weather events. If they are going to compare old extreme weather
data with newer data defined as a 1 sigma significance, then of course there will more extreme weather events compared to the past. I contend that the standard should be 2 sigma( 95% two tailed test), just the same as all their other tests. BUT of course the climate scientists wont change it. We just have to be very careful of extreme weather event data. So far the climate agencies that track this stuff have not fudged the figures, because I have seen NO extreme weather data that shows any increase.

ferdberple

3 sigma is the standard typically used in industry to identify an “out of control” process. See Dennings.

Climate is unlikely to be normally distributed so extreme events are likely more common than one would expect for a normal distribution.

Alan Tomalty

“Climate is unlikely to be normally distributed”
All the more reason to not use 1 sigma. By using 1 sigma they are compounding the number of extreme weather events.

Anthony Banton

“IS THIS LOGICALLY CONSISTENT DUE TO THE FACT THAT CO2 is evenly distributed in the atmosphere? I can’t think of a physics logic that would make this possible even if global warming were true.”

https://bjerknes.uib.no/en/article/news/understanding-why-nights-are-getting-warmer-faster-days-0

Red94ViperRT10

I’m not going to click on your fishing link because even the title has no bearing whatsoever to the question asked. And I recommend to any other reader the same course of action.

Alan Tomalty

Evapotranspiration from water cycle gives 486000 km^3/year. WIKI gives 503000 and Babkin in a Russian study gave 577000 but we will use the lowest figure.

1 km^3 = 10^12 kg
Heat of vapourization of water at 20C = 2,450,000 Joules/kg
Number of seconds in a year = 3.1536 x 10^7
1 watt = 1 Joule /second
Surface area of earth = 5.1x 10^11 m^2

NASA graph gives evapotranspiration = 86.4W/m^2 Check their Earth’s energy budget graph on their website
comment image

The task is to convert the latent heat that is represented inside the water molecule from the water cycle upon evaporation to a W/m^2 equivalent of NASA’s figure of 86.4 W/m^2. I want to see if NASA’s figure has any basis in reality.

Solution : Total evapotranspiration = 486000 km^3/year * 10^12kg = 4.86 x 10^17 kg/year
Total number of Joules = 2,450,000 Joules/kg * 4.86 x 10^17 kg/year
= 1.1907 x 10 ^24 Joules/year
Number of Joules/second = 1.1907 x 10 ^24 Joules/year divided by 3.1536 x 10^7 sec/year

= 3.775684932 x 10^16 Joules /sec
= 3.775684932 x 10^16 Watts

W/m^2 from surface = (3.775684932 x 10^16 Watts) divided by 5.1x 10^11 m^2
= 7.403303788 x10^4 W/m^2

~ 74,033

divide by 4 because the earth is a sphere and is diurnal = ~18,508 W/m^2

which is 214.2 times the NASA figure. Where did I go wrong?

Red94ViperRT10

@Alan Tomalty @August 4, 2018 11:56 pm The thing is, I think you’re right. That diagram has irritated me for a long time. I took heat transfer class (made a A, IIRC) and we never once discussed “back radiation”, I believe that is a crock. There was insulation, which retarded the rate of heat transfer. The atmosphere is insulation. But the water cycle not only ameliorates the insulation (water vapor is a heat capacitor, right?), but also negates the insulation (when necessary) by punching holes in it, in the form of thunderstorms. One of Willis Eschenbach’s “emergent phenomena”. So the water evaporates due to solar radiant energy, until the air reaches saturation, and then the air temperature begins to rise and then it wants to ascend. When enough air parts have joined in, it makes a plume up into the atmosphere where it forms a cloud, which may progress to a thunderstorm. All of that moisture condensing releases energy that is now near enough to top of atmosphere that it can radiate to space. Cooling the Earth. See, temperature regulation. I have been contemplating drawing that up into a diagram for several weeks now. You have done a great deal of the research necessary.

Red94ViperRT10

To prove my own point, I could set a radiation sensor outside which would dutifully record positive numbers until sunset, whereupon it would register zero. If “back radiation” was a thing, the sensor would record something above zero even after the sun has set. It does not. If it cannot be measured, it does not exist.

DMacKenzie

You are incorrect. Chill the radiometer sensor to absolute zero and it will show radiation from the sky at night. And the readings will be in line with the numbers published.

Red94ViperRT10

Irrelevant. For heat transfer to occur, there must be a difference in temperature, ΔT. By chilling the sensor to absolute zero, you have created a ΔT that doesn’t actually exist. Trying to use that figure in determining heat transfer from the atmosphere to the EARTH (not a black body, as I’m sure you realize), or vice versa, is just plain wrong, and in fact takes place at such a small amount as can be overlooked. Thus, that number has no place in a diagram purportedly showing heat transfer relationships in and out of our Earth. The correct (or at least less wrong) method to calculate heat transfer in this case is of a sphere radiating to a Black Body, with a layer of insulation or even a heat shield between the sphere and the Black Body. In the diagram as shown, the atmosphere creates heat. That’s a no-no.

DMacKenzie

In your heat transfer course, you should have learned, to slightly oversimplify, that the amount of heat transferred by radiation between a hot and a cold surface is a factor times (Thot^4 – Tcold ^4). “Back Radiation” is just the (-Tcold^4) part of that equation which has to be included if you assume all objects radiate at a factor times T^4, which climate scientists and physicists tend to do, but engineers will normally include the (-Tcold^4) term as a result of professorial harping during thermodynamics classes.

Red94ViperRT10

We also learned that IF Tcold is of a perfect black body, then Tcold=0. BUT there is no such thing as a perfect black body, thus the fudge factors. That non-perfect black body is part of the sausage making behind the Stefan-Boltzmann Constant σ. But that has almost nothing to do with whether or not “back radiation” (in this context) even exists.

beng135

~18,508 W/m^2 which is 214.2 times the NASA figure. Where did I go wrong?

Maybe they assume almost all that energy doesn’t escape the earth & just gets recycled back? I agree with Red94Viper above that much/most of it will radiate to space once it’s sufficiently high in the atmosphere.

Alan Tomalty

Whether it gets recycled back is not my immediate question. I dont believe in back radiation either, but my post was not about back radiation. I simply dont arrive at the same latent heat content of the water vapour emitted from the surface to the atmosphere that NASA portrays and that everyone else copied from Trenberth. The numbers dont add up. The amount of evapotranspiration energy in the hydrological cycle seems to be 200 times the amount of energy of the evapotranspiration energy in the heat budget cycle.

Red94ViperRT10

Based solely on the diagram presented, it appears they are only attempting to illustrate the heat transfer budget over land. If so, they are guilty of deliberately misleading. I fully agree with you, for a number representative of the entire Earth, that evapotranspiration number ain’t right.

So skipping over my part about “back radiation”; the amount of heat transfer due to the water cycle (another way of saying evapotranspiration) should equal the amount of heat from the phase change, so we could take the worldwide amount of rainfall, and additional heat for frozen precipitation, and that heat should equal the amount radiated into space. I think. We need to know precipitation (and convert that to mass), frozen precipitation (and convert that to mass), and do the multiplication and addition. I’m not sure those numbers exist worldwide, I found only a graphic representation of rainfall from 75° N to 75° S, or thereabouts. I did not see how to download the underlying numbers that created the graphic, and I couldn’t tell if everything was counted as rain, or if it really was rain only and all frozen precipitation was just flat ignored. (It may have been over land only. I can’t recall now.) And there is an awful lot of precipitation that occurs at >75°, in both directions.

In short, I haven’t really made a start at it yet. This could be a good cross-check (if I ever attempt to do the calculation I just described), you are using the evaporation and I’m using the precipitation, shouldn’t those two numbers be equal?

wws

Oh come on, if you understand the nature of the average 3 year old having a tantrum, you understand the nature of Jerry Brown. There’s nothing difficult about it at all.

I recall an article here showing that California is in a relatively cool and moist period relative to past millenia.

Thomas Johnson

Fires in California (and other parts of the west) have been a basic part of public policy for upwards of 100 years. Prior to the invention of flight, lightning caused regular small fires throughout the area, which soon burned out the undergrowth in a regular healthy cycle. Without a lot of rain, the dead leaves and branches do not quickly turn into mulch. Without regular fire, the dead undergrowth builds up to unbelievable levels and supports very destructive fires. Keep in mind that mesquite is very high in oil. So Smokey the bear put out forest fires. Somehow all that brush had maintained itself throughout the holocene without human help.
Humans began to meddle by putting out small fires. Soon very big fires became standard. Millions of dollars and thousands of lives have been lost as a result. And as for water…the Colorado river once emptied into the sea near Baja California. No more. No water is left. It has all been diverted.
And just as folk will willingly build homes where hurricanes strike, folk will build homes in areas subject to severe fires. It’s just the way people are, I guess.

John Ledger

Thank you Dr Tim Ball for another thought-provoking contribution, which you regularly and masterfully share with the many readers out here who appreciate your insights and perspectives. In your brief global overview of Mediterranean climates, as depicted in your Figure 2, the southern part of Africa was unfortunately not included. Here too there is a Mediterranean climate with rain in winter that nourishes the highly diverse Cape Floral Kingdom, colloquially know here as the ‘Fynbos’ and usually fills the dams that provide water for the citizens of Cape Town and other cities in the winter rainfall region.

Due to a number of consecutive below-average winter rainfall seasons, Cape Town recently made world headlines as possibly the first major city in the world that would run out of water. The climate activists were quick to turn this into a poster and drama for CAGW, and even the President of South Africa was suckered into saying something silly along the same lines. Some reasonable rain has now made landfall from the Atlantic, and there is less of a crisis in Cape Town now, although some other cities in the southern parts face water shortages.

“Climate change is a reality. We’re facing a real total disaster in Cape Town which is going to affect 4 million people.” Cyril Ramaphosa (President of the Republic of South Africa).

The resonance of what happens in California and the southern part of Africa is striking. The summers are hot, vegetation dry as tinder, and runaway fires frequent. In the Cape we have an operation called ‘Working with Fire’, operating a fleet of Bell Huey helicopters that do valiant work trying to contain the fires using large water buckets. The pilots are real heroes and some have paid the supreme price, the latest due to loss of tail rotor control through a cable failure. We have never dropped fire-fighters from the air as far a I know – that story from 1949 is indeed tragic.

It seems that opportunistic politicians and climate activists are the same the world over. Take any extreme natural conditions that are bound to happen from time to time, and label them as evidence that ‘climate change is real, and its happening right now!’

Pat Frank

I enjoyed Tim Ball’s inadvertent, but highly accurate, description of Ingrid Newkirk’s views, as being “various slightly more moderate eversion sexist everywhere. (my bold)”

I have no doubt whatever, without even looking, that Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, is a feminist with all sorts of sexist male-denigrating views.

Let me now look … yep.

Also here. And when portly feminists get angry with sexist PETA feminists.

That last is particularly funny. It is said that the radical left eats its own. See Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying

But one is hard pressed to express this delicately when it’s body-triggered feminists eating PETA feminists.

ferdberple

Neither reporters nor politicians are in the business of “truth*.

primitive humans also believed they could make sacrifice to the heavens and control the weather. Sacrifice your gold to the great god Car-Bon and fair weather will bless you. All the days of your life. Comes with a full “No money back guarantee”.

Lutz

The argument that nature would be better off if there were no humans around to destroy it is nonsense. Firstly, for billions of years there were no humans and nature just ran its course according to the environment anyway. Dinosaurs did not care about other species, they just ate them.
More importantly, if you think about it, nature without humans is actually totally pointless. The world only has a meaning when considered by thinking beings.

johann wundersamer

There is no hope for the truth when world leaders like Governor Brown of California (he runs the 19th largest economy in the world) can present such utterly false information in pursuit of a political agenda.

“Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.”

Civilization began more than 10,000 years ago and, in my opinion, it hasn’t reached California yet. I consider the 20,000-year-old cave paintings a measure of civilization, certainly superior to most ‘art’ produced in California today. It also reflects an awareness of natur
______________________________________________

Yes.

Saharan rock paintings for planned next game hunting:

https://goo.gl/images/oa32or

That is very punchy article. I hope it gets picked up by journalists who can nail the nuggets, perhaps by lifting them from the context and placing them in a shorter version. Actually that would go straight into any independent magazine that values objective truth, like the Spectator or New Statesmen in the UK, but not Nature or Science, of course.

The only change I would make would be to explain what a “moderate eversion sexist” is.

It took me a while ;-). First thought was I had missed a new letter in the changing alphabet of the ever increasing self-invented groups of the delusional oppressed and proxy offended of the great country of America, “what’s an eversion sexist” I thought……..

ccscientist

Chapparal is going to burn. The plants are full of oils and burn like a torch. In the summer the vegetation goes to zero moisture. How can you stop this from burning? Calif also insists on keeping “natural” areas right in the middle of the city. This is ok is NY or Chicago (we call them parks) but with chapparal this is crazy.

Richard Wright

Breaking news from 1889, from Wikipedia:

The Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 (previously called the Great Fire of 1889) was a massive wildfire in California, which burned large parts of Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County during the last week of September, 1889.[3] It was possibly the single largest wildfire in the recorded history of California,[1][2] burning at least 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land.[3]

Why didn’t Governor Brown study California history in school?

4TimesAYear

Yep. California has two seasons: wet and fire. I would challenge people to look up the mudslides and fires of the 60’s and 70’s. I guarantee you this was going on then, too.