JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Massive Fires: far worse 4,000 years ago in Northern Australia

Kenneth Richard at NoTricksZone, found some studies showing Fires are less common today than in the past — including a ripper of an Australian study.

Emma Rehn et al went to a small lake in far North Australia and dug up about 6m of sediment core from the bottom. They looked at charcoal deposits and a bunch of different minerals. They discovered that the top most recent layers had the worst fires for a thousand years. It had all the makings of a Great Climate Change advert. But to their absolute credit, they kept going down and further back and uncovered a story of four thousand long years of wild blazes.

Despite millennia of prehistoric infernos, no media outlets in Australia have shown any interest in this study which came out a month ago — showing Sensationalism is not all its cracked up to be, and not as much fun as Confirmation Bias.

Look at the current blip (left hand side) since European settlement, compared to the fires of 4,000 years ago (right hand side). As Mr Dundee would say, “That’s not a fire…. ”

Carbon Flux showing the intensity of fires in Arnhem land for […]

Oopsie solar-battery fail? Cloud causes System Black event at Alice Springs affecting thousands

Welcome to the new complexified energy grid where a cloud can cause a system black event — knocking out power for as much as nine hours. This affected the hospital for 30 minutes and the prolonged problems caused many businesses and supermarkets to close. Alice Springs is an island microgrid servicing about 29,000 people in the centre of Australia. It was 38 degrees C yesterday when the power went out. Shame about those fridges and air conditioning units.

Alice Springs is a mini version of larger grids showing how fragile these new complicated systems of multiple generators based on weather events and batteries can be.

Looks modern, sometimes has electricity too. Alice Springs | Photo by Stefano, Wikimedia.

Yesterday: Thousands impacted by Alice Springs power blackout*

Steve Vivian, ABC News

Thousands of residents in Central Australia went without power yesterday afternoon, with some experiencing blackout conditions for up to nine hours.

Electricity was cut across the Alice Springs region around 2:30pm yesterday and was not restored in some areas until 10:47pm.

Today: Inquiry called, and explanations garbled — NT Chief Minister announces review

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner told ABC Darwin […]

Just like that: 200 years of gas for Australia discovered in NT

Australia now has 200 years of frackable gas to add to the 300 years of coal

And yet we are still buying Chinese solar panels. The big question is how much of our our gas and coal can we use before nuclear energy makes them irrelevant? h/t GWPF

In April the Northern Territory lifted its ban on fracking. The Beetaloo basin may have a whopper 50 to 100 trillion cubic feet of gas, and it appears to be a “stacked play” in layers (like Texas). To put that in perspective, the largest gas project in Australia in the Bass Strait has produced 8 trillion cubic feet so far with another 7 trillion to go. Shale turned the USA from an energy dependent state to the worlds largest fossil fuel producer.

Geoscience Australia estimates the NT has about 257,000 petajoules of shale gas

[Australian Associated Press]

The Northern Territory holds enough natural gas to supply Australia for 200 years-plus and is comparable to the shale resources that have revolutionised the US energy sector, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan says.

Senator Canavan described Beetaloo, located southeast of Katherine, as “a world class shale […]