It’s hard to be a CAGW sceptic. Just when you think all the ducks are lining up, at a moment when no serious person could invest the slightest credence in catastrophrianism’s sky-is-falling predictions and busted prophecies, summer gets hot, as its wont, and all the usual suspects are speed dialling boy and girl reporters to dictate the last update on the planet’s imminent, heat-addled demise. And we were so close, too, when last week’s Dreadful Heat (™) revived the climate careerists, academic fabulists, grant-snaffling rent-seekers and subsidy hogs.
Think about it: the strongest recorded El Nino only causing the globe to warm by a miniscule amount (less than the margin for error); Donald Trump elected on a promise to tear up the Paris climate agreement; new revelations about the settled science of climatological back-stabbing and skulduggery; more blackouts due in no small part to renewable energy’s impact on the electricity grid and market.
Why, even Malcolm Turnbull was extolling the virtues of coal, albeit “clean coal” and its cousin, “pumped hydro”, a prime ministerial endorsement suggesting the smart money is preparing to mine yet another corner of the public purse.
Then along comes Sydney’s ‘hottest summer on record’ to dominate the nightly news. I’m taking about NSW, but I guess it’s pretty much the same story everywhere else — apart from Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, where summer so far as been a cool disappointment for beachgoers and those who appreciate cool drinks with little umbrellas in them.
The weather soon returned to normal, but by then the doomsayers and their stenographers were off and running, yelping alarums to every sympathetic journalism-school graduate they could find. As demonstrated by today’s ABC headline, “Climate change: Scientists sad, frustrated as extreme weather becomes the new norm“, the usual suspects couldn’t have moved any faster toward the nearest microphone than if the visiting Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann was offering the hem of his garment for media slobbering.
As it happens, the press pack would have had to take a number and wait its turn, as Fairfax’s Peter Hannam was first in line — and seemingly determined not to mention anything negative about the jet-setting carbon-belcher’s dubious science, his involvement in Climategate, or the defamation action against Mark Steyn for branding a huckster and disgrace to science as exactly that. Deliciously, Hannam reported the author of so much fake news as being deeply troubled by … yes … “fake news.” You couldn’t make this stuff up, except that’s what their climate careerists and their toadies to every day of the week, twice on Sundays.
So forgive me, please, for being a little down in the mouth just at the moment, especially about the increasing tendency for alarmists (and their useful idiots in the MSM) to employ vague hyperbole in reporting weather events, thus avoiding the inconvenient truth that such record temperatures as we have been setting lately are meaningless, being smaller than the margin of error.
By emotive hyperbole I mean, for example, words like ‘scorcher’ or ‘sizzler’ to describe days that, 30 years ago, would merely have been regarded as uncomfortably hot. The latest verbal trick I have noticed this summer is the term ‘heatwave conditions’ to refer to a single day above 35 degrees. We heard it constantly last week, as in:
Residents of Australia’s East coast will suffer through scorching, “hell on earth” temperatures on Saturday as the full brunt of the lingering heatwave bites.
There are two big ‘record temperature’ stories that have dominated reporting here in NSW this summer.
We were told earlier this month that Sydney is now only one day short of equalling the record for the number of days over 35C in a single summer, that is eight days. The record of nine days over 35C was set in 1896. The breathless Skynews headline reads ‘Sydney summer could break 120 year record’. Well, the record has now been surpassed.
You might well react with an unimpressed shrug and dismissive ‘so what?’ If it was that hot 120 years ago, what’s so special about now? Alas, we know that such unquestioned media barracking is also part of the ongoing narrative, which features a constant barrage of subliminal CAGW propaganda. Sadly, many unthinking punters out there will buy it — otherwise they would be up in arms about electricity bills stupendously inflated by subsidies and market distortions intended to cripple reliable energy, coal and gas, in favour of wind and solar.
Anyway, I thought it might be instructive to look at the history of Sydney summers vis a vis the number of days 35C or over since 1896. After all, 1896 might be an outlier and 2017 the continuation of that Dreadful Heat’s (™) upward trend we keep hearing about but never seeing in the actual record, which has flat-lined for near on two decades, despite the climate establishment’s latest desperate bid to ginger up the numbers.
Here is a histogram based on BoM records:
For example, summers with more than four days above 35C are common – 24 in this 120 year period and spread throughout the timeline. But only four have come in the last 25-odd years, the very period, we are told, of ‘ten of the hottest years on record’.
The other big story has been the record heatwave at Moree. As I write, Moree has recorded 47 days in a row above 35C, as the SMH put it “easily breaking the record of 17 consecutive days set in 1981/82.”
Even to a confirmed sceptic, such as myself, that sounds dire, seeming as if it is some of that ‘unprecedented warming’ has finally arrived, and arrived for good. Always ready to consider evidence that might prove me wrong, I decided to take a look at the historical record for Moree and what I found was very interesting. If you look at the BoM’s online long-term temperature record for Moree it only goes back as far as 1996. Not much help there, so I looked at ACORN.
ACORN is the Bureau’s official subset of 122 stations that forms the basis of our national temperature record – the data that gets shunted off to NOAA so that we can claim our rightful place in this catastrophically warming world. Moree is part of ACORN and its summary of stations shows Moree as having data back to 1910. However, when you open the datalink for Moree, it only goes back to 1957. With my limited resources I have not been able to find the data-set for Moree going back to 1910, if it exists. I wonder why not?
Anyway, I went through that data looking for long stretches over 35C. As it happens, 1957 provides the best example but unfortunately there is no data for December 1956. So let’s just look at January/Feb 1957. In that period, there were a total of 41 days exceeding 35C broken into stretches of 8 days, 16 days, 6 days and 11 days, these separated by three short periods of two or three days below 35C. Since the first ‘heatwave’ period started on the 1st of January, it’s entirely possible that the initial eight-day stretch may have been even longer, courtesy of December.
In practical terms, there is virtually no difference between what happened then what is happening this year. Interestingly, the January average for 1957 was 40.25, whereas for 2017 it was only 38.3. That may not seem meaningful but when ‘climatologists’ measure global temperature records in hundredths of a degree, well two can play at that game.
I must make a confession here. I took a small amount of licence in that I included any temperature over 34.7C (4 instances) as over 35C. Given that Moree is part of ACORN, it has undoubtedly been manipulated (sorry, homogenized) and if they can do it, why can’t I?
Why this preoccupation with days over 35C in places as disparate as Sydney and Moree? The reason is not hard to fathom: 35C is now the magic number the IPCC is using as a benchmark for ‘extreme weather’. The self-appointed Climate Council, under the stewardship of Tim “Empty Dams & Hot Rocks” Flannery, has issued a report, based on IPCC product, called Cranking up the Intensity: Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events.
Among its predictions are that the number of extremely hot days — classified as maximum temperatures of more than 35C — will climb in all capital cities. News.com.au’s Kim Stephens’ commenced her coverage of this report thus:
IMAGINE a city where 265 days a year, the temperature rises above 35C.
The residents of Darwin in 2090 will not have to imagine it, because for them, it may well be their reality.
As Australians endure the summer of the seemingly never-ending heatwave, a new report from the Climate Council essentially has one message.
Get used to it.
Other prognostications in the Climate Council report are that:
…in Sydney, the number of hot days (>35°C) per year are projected to increase from 3 to 4 per year by 2030 (relative to 1981-2010 climate), increasing to 11 per year by 2090, under a high emissions scenario (CSIRO and BoM 2015) from 11.
For Brisbane, the numbers are said to be going from 12 per year to 18 by 2030, and 55 per year by 2090. You get the picture.
Those ‘record’ years, such as 1896, 1957 and 2017, are climate outliers, not representative of the climate in general other than as manifestations of the fact that climate can throw up anomalous years for reasons that we only vaguely understand. They are not proof of ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ whether natural or man-made. Nor are they part of a trend, although no one is rushing to tell you that.