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Climate change and bushfires — More rain, the same droughts, no trend, no science

Here’s the anti-witchdoctor kit for bushfires and “climate change”

Hi to all the new readers. Keep these graphs handy…

To Recap: In order to make really Bad Fires we need the big three: Fuel, oxygen, spark. Obviously getting rid of air and lightning is beyond the budget. The only one we can control is fuel. No fuel = no fire.   Big fuel = Fireball apocalypse that we can;t stop even with help from Canada, California, and New Zealand.

The most important weather factor is rain, not an extra 1 degree of warmth. To turn the nation into a proper fireball, we “need” a good drought.  A lack of rain is a triple whammy — it dries out the ground and the fuel — and it makes the weather hotter too. Dry years are hot years in Australia, wet years are cool years. It’s just evaporative cooling for the whole country. The sun has to dry out the soil before it can heat up the air above it.  Simple yes?  El Nino’s mean less rain (in Australia), that’s why they also mean “hot weather”.

So ask a climate scientist the right questions and you’ll find out what the ABC won’t say: That global warming means more rain, not less. Droughts haven’t got worse, and climate models are really, terribly, awfully pathetically bad at predicting rain.

Four reasons carbon emissions are irrelevant

1. Droughts are the same as they ever were.

In the 178 year record, there is no trend. All that CO2 has made no difference at all to the incidence of Australian droughts. Climate scientists have shown droughts have not increased in Australia. Click the link to see Melbourne and Adelaide. Same thing.

Rainfall trends, cycles, Australia, Sydney, Graph, 2019, 1840 - 2020

Rainfall trends, cycles, Australia, Sydney, Graph, 2019, 1840 – 2020. All the data we have, looked at in all the ways we can think of shows CO2 is not controlling our rain.

A warming world means more rain. Mega droughts were worse. 178 years of CO2 emissions have no measurable effect on rainfall in Australia.

LindenAshcroftabDavid J.KarolyacAndrew J.Dowdyb(2019) Historical extreme rainfall events in southeastern Australia, Weather and Climate Extremes , 100210

And even more droughts and trends graphs here.

2. No more 40+ hot days either (unless you “adjust the data”)

The raw data shows no trend in days over 40C since World War I.

There are a hundred ways to measure a heatwave or a hot day. This is one from our 60 best and longest stations. The BOM could easily slice, dice and change the parameters and create a scary graph. The only antidote to being bamboozled is to read the old newspapers. Go Trove.

Very hot Days

History changing before your eyes.

Here’s a PDF copy of these three animated graphs side by side. Thanks to Chris Gillham WAClimate for this work.

3. Rainfall trends across Australia have gone up not down

Despite the Cracked-Earth propaganda there is not, on average, across the nation — a trend towards dryness.  Some regions are drier, and since climate models can’t predict where or when that’s just something that happens.


Australian Rainfall trend, BOM, Bureau of Meteorology, Graph, 2019.

Australian national rainfall trend, Bureau of Meteorology, 2019.

I’ll leave it to Professor Andy Pitman to explain how there is no a priori reason for a link between climate change and drought.

To be fair he clarified this later saying “we don’t understand what causes droughts” but “the indirect link is clear”. This sort of clarity happens all the time in the climate world.

4. Climate models can’t predict the rain thing:

A lack of rain causes fires, but climate models can’t predict rain. (See the whole post about the five different models predicting five different rainfall patterns). Only solar factors appear to be linked to rainfall, and none of the models include those factors (could be a clue there). For ideas about the solar influence see here, here, here, and here. Send them to your neighborhood climate modeler.

Here are comparisons of 5 different models over Australia. Is CSIRO Mk 3.6 the “right” model, and who predicted that in advance?

One of them might get it right, accidents do happen, especially if you predict nearly every possible outcome.

Figure 2.1.1: Leading mode of annual rainfall variability over Australia, from observations (Bureau of Meteorology), the CSIRO Mk3.6 and Mk3.5 climate models, and three leading international models: HadGEM1 (United Kingdom), GFDL CM2.1 (USA) and MIROC 3.2, medium resolution (Japan).

Source: Indian Ocean Climate Initiative


4. Prescribed burns are the only way to stop massive firestorms.

Fuel reduction in WA has reduced fires for 60 years. Here’s that graph from WA for the sixth time… let’s keep repeating this killer graph as long as people are still blaming “climate change”.

Fires, burnoff, Western Australia

As prescribed fire reduction declined, wildfires increased in South West Australia. (Click to enlarge)

5. The worst recorded fire in Australia was in 1851

Read some of that misery at the link. CO2 was perfect and five million hectares went up in flames.

Last word: The is one risk that extra CO2 incurs and that is that burnt areas will regrow faster. Thanks to CO2 the biomass of greenery has increased all around the world. So preparing for climate-change means we need to do even more hazard reduction than we did fifty years ago.

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