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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Flash floods will be more common, say climate scientists right after flash floods happen

In the Great Pagan Tradition of neolithic fortune telling, modern climate witchdoctors predict everything right after it starts

Last year it was droughts and bushfires. This year its floods. If only the climate models worked, they could have warned the people of Europe, China and India that there would be rampant flooding before it happened.

Imagine a world where climate models worked and they could give people three months notice?

Flash floods will be more common as climate crisis worsens, say scientists

The Guardian

Dr Jess Neumann, a hydrologist at the University of Reading, said: “Flooding from intense summer rainfall is going happen more frequently. No city, town or village is immune to flooding and we all need to take hard action right now if we are to prevent impacts from getting worse in the future.”

As usual, to stop floods, the first recommendation is cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If only the UK had put in more windfarms, they might have avoided this flash flood in London!

They don’t mention how climate models have no skill in predicting rainfall, or low solar activity is associated with central European floods, and that Asian rainfall has been linked […]

Blockbuster: 178 years of Australian rain has nothing to do with CO2, worst extremes 1849, 1925, 1950

Remarkable! A new study by Ashcroft, Karoly and Dowdy pieces together an extraordinary 178 years of rainfall data from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. This is a rare study that brings in much older data, looking at trends and extremes. This is pretty much the ultimate long term rainfall paper for South East Australia. Henceforth, there shalt be no more headlines about “unprecedented” rainfall or area’s drying out “due to climate change” unless an event rates against this data…

Australia – a land of floods and droughts: Rainfall goes up and down in long ongoing cycles or change, but no obvious trend that matches the sharp rise of CO2 in the last 30 years. It’s almost like CO2 has no detectable effect… The worst extremes were for the most part — long ago — particularly in the 1840s (assuming those records are reliable). Almost nothing in the last 30 years is unusual or unprecedented despite humans putting out 50% of all our CO2 since 1989. These charts show how misleading it is to use graphs that start in 1970 (or even in 1910) and declare that the recent changes are meaningful, or caused by CO2.

The researchers also use newspaper archives […]

Deadliest droughts in India were before 1924

Next time someone tells you how extreme the climate is today remind them that five million people died in a drought in 1896 in India. That was the same year a brutally hot summer in Australia caused 400 deaths and people fled the inland heat on emergency trains. Somewhere between 1 and 5 million people died a few years later in the next drought — the same time as Australia’s “Federation drought”.

Spot the effect of CO2 in 150 years of rainfall of India:

Average rainfall anomalies in India from 1850 – 2016 from IMD (black) and GISS (red). | Click to read the official caption.

Famine deaths have largely been eliminated in India, mostly thanks to better transport and organisation, higher yields (thanks to fertilizer and CO2) and irrigation. Droughts still happen but in a population that has grown from 250 million in 1880 to a billion in 2000 the extraordinary thing is that more people starved of famine when the population was only a quarter of the size and CO2 levels were “perfecto”.

Weakened people died of cholera and malaria, and bubonic plague too. Death rates to these diseases often doubled or tripled.

Famine, India, 1896.

[…]

Massive, unprecedented, 10 out of 10, life threatening storm hits, drops 2 inches on Melbourne

It was all yellow: A warning was in place for the whole of Victoria.

Massive flooding forecast across “whole state”:

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned an “unprecedented” amount of rain is expected to fall in Victoria over a three-day period.

Asked to rate the storms out of 10, senior forecaster Mr Williams said: “I’ll take the punt and say it’s a 10 for Victoria.”

He said the most recent rain in a short period of time in Melbourne was 100-200 millimetres (in 2005 and 2011) and on both occasions: “it paralysed transport routes in the city.”

Get out your sandbags!

Events were cancelled, and the Premier of Victoria told people not to “have a big night on the town” in preparation.

The city was told to bunker down for an “absolutely massive” rainfall event over the weekend …

“Half the inhabitants of Melbourne have never ever seen anything like this,” the Bureau of Meteorology’s senior forecaster Scott Williams said on Thursday.

“It is an event that poses a threat to life.”

Not so much a flood of rain, but there was a flood of text messages:

[…]

Five years after rain returns, climate modelers redo models and “predict” more, less, some, different or same rain

The same modelers were predicting drought and letting their friends nail their reputation to statements about how the dams would never fill, and Perth would be a ghost town. When Australia wasted billions on desal, they said nothing about the “extreme rain” coming. Then the endless drought broke, the rains returned, and now, years later, they’ve rejigged and tweaked their skillless models and put forward ambiguous, vague, yes-no-maybe, scare-scare-scary predictions that could have come from a tarot card reader.

Get ready for the full genius of expert modelling:

“There is no chance that rainfall in Australia will remain the same as the climate warms,” said an author of the paper UNSW Professor Steve Sherwood.

“The only way that this intensification of extreme rainfall falls at the lower end of the scale is if the continent becomes drier overall. The long and the short of it is that with 2°C of global warming Australia is stuck with either more aridity, much heavier extreme rains, or some combination of the two,” said Sherwood, from UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre.

— A hard rain to fall in Australia, Phys org.

Other, less astrological climate […]

Low solar activity means more Central European floods

Yet another paper showing the spooky non-relationship with the local thermonuclear reactor. Thanks to climate models we all know that jiggles in solar radiation mean nothing much to Earth, otherwise we might wonder if the pattern of lows in sunlight and highs in floods meant something…

The River Ammer is in Southern Germany, and Markus Czymzik and others dug through the sediments nearby and graphed the flood layers alongside the small changes in solar radiation (TSI). They noticed that a less active sun correlates with more floods. At the low point of every solar cycle there appears to be more rain. (Don’t buy a house on a floodplain in southern Germany in the next few years.)

There is a pretty neat correlation there in the last 90 years, and then in the second graph they take that correlation back to 3,500BC, back when the Funnelbeaker culture was making nice pots in the same area. This same odd coincidence of the sun and rainfall patterns was also found by researchers in Chile, China and Australian and Indonesia. Low solar activity tends to occur at the same time as the winter jet stream in the North Atlantic gets blocked. And solar activity […]

500% more rain over a million square kilometers – Wettest September across Eastern Australia in 116 years

It is not surprising there are floods all over the East coast at the moment

September brought 500% of normal rain to 2 million square kilometers of Eastern and Northern Australia. There are floods across the South East. There are flood alerts in South Australia, floods have been washing through NSW (and some of those floods were caused by a dam release). There are floods in Tasmania. Flood watches are active in Victoria. Spare a thought for farmers who are taking big losses from both frost and flood in Australia. (So much for endless droughts, and early springs. Hello, Tim Flannery.) Heavy snow has also fallen — 25cm in Threadbo (it so late in the season, some ski lifts have stopped operating). Right now, thousands of people still don’t have power in South Australia, while others are being rescued from floods across SA and NSW. Floods have stranded 181 families for month on islands in the middle of NSW.

h/t to Warwick Hughes, and Lance Pidgeon

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

A large part of the scary purple area got only 100-200mm of rain in a month (4-8 inches). It’s just very unusual in these dry areas.

To give […]

Innovative work: Predicting rainfall with neural nets – Jennifer Marohasy

Predicting seasonal rainfall months ahead has surely got to be the Holy Grail of weather forecasting. Imagine the billions of dollars, the man-hours, and the anguish-prevented if we can do it. What if neural nets can be trained, validated, and used to help farmers, investors, and “Oi” — even Dam Managers?

Jennifer Marohasy and John Abbott were inspired to try a whole new approach to rainfall predictions after John’s car met a sad end in the infamous Brisbane flood. After five years work they’re keen to share the results, and their predictions. Check out those graphs below. The last one has a 3000 year range.

Read about how difficult it was for them to get useful data from the BOM, and how the BOM does not do proper benchmarking of their success rates. How serious are they? As usual, it’s those outside the stagnant pond of government approved science that are testing new ground. The government talks about innovation. Independent researchers do it.

***Jennifer Marohasy is speaking in Deniliquin NSW on Friday (tomorrow 6pm — details at the bottom)***.

 

She will be sharing the results of their research on using neural nets. How about this graph? That […]

Megadroughts in past 2000 years worse, longer, than current droughts

What hockeystick eh?

A new atlas shows droughts of the past were worse than those today — and they cannot have been caused by man-made CO2. Despite the claims of “unprecedented” droughts, the worst droughts in Europe and the US were a thousand years ago. Cook et al 2015[1] put together an old world drought atlas from tree rings data as a proxy for summer wetness and dryness across Europe. They compare the severity and timing of European droughts with the North American Drought Atlas (NADA) released in 2004. Yes, it’s a tree ring study with all the caveats about how trees are responding to several factors at once etc etc. But at least the modern era is measured with the same proxy as used in the old eras.

Something else is causing droughts, something modern models don’t include:

“megadroughts reconstructed over north-central Europe in the 11th and mid-15th centuries reinforce other evidence from North America and Asia that droughts were more severe, extensive, and prolonged over Northern Hemisphere land areas before the 20th century, with an inadequate understanding of their causes.”

The worst megadrought in the California and Nevada regions was from 832 to 1074 CE (golly, […]

Australian – Asian rainfall linked to solar activity for last 6000 years

A new study by Steinke shows that the sun could have been a driver (somehow) of some of the monsoonal rain changes over the last 6,000 years over Indonesia and Northern Australia. h/t to The Hockey Schtick

In the spirit of the Perfect ClimateTM that existed prior to Henry Ford, we also find that Indonesia had a dry spell that lasted for a while, like say, 3,000 years. It ended about 800BC whereupon things got wetter, and mostly stayed wetter. The authors (Steinke et al) think this might have something to do with solar minima which was very low 2800 years ago. (Though I note the Greek Dark Ages also finished then, and “city states” arose, right, so it could have been that too. Ahem?)

To get straight to the action in Figure 6 the top squiggly line is AISM Rainfall (that’s the Australian-Indonesian summer monsoon). It shows how things were wetter in the last 2800 years ago and drier before that (annoyingly, the present time is on the left). The second part of the graph in red shows sunspot numbers. That gets flipped upside down and superimposed on the rainfall graph in the third part, and we can see […]