Heatwaves: Hotter, longer, more often

Cross-posted from The Conversation.

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Heatwaves are one of the most important climate-related risks for Australians. Sometimes called the “silent killers”, they cause the greatest number of deaths of any natural disaster type in Australia, and have significant impacts on infrastructure, agriculture and biodiversity. As the climate continues to warm, heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent.

The extreme heat in Melbourne that frazzled the Australian Open tennis tournament and the record-breaking heat in large areas of Queensland this summer remind us of the risks that heatwaves pose. Hot on the heels of the “angry summer” of 2012/2013, this summer’s heat is part of a longer-term trend towards hotter weather.

Heatwaves on the rise

The Climate Council’s latest report – “Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often”, which we co-authored – delivers four key findings.

First, climate change is already increasing the likelihood and severity of heatwaves across Australia. Second, heatwaves have widespread impacts including increased deaths, reduced workplace productivity, damage to infrastructure such as transport and electricity systems, mortality of heat-sensitive plants and animals, and stress on agricultural systems. Third, record hot days and heatwaves are expected to increase further in the future. And finally, limiting future increase in heatwave activity requires urgent and deep cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions.

Since 1950, the annual number of record hot days across Australia has more than doubled, and both maximum and minimum temperatures have increased by around 0.9°C. Over the past decade, the frequency of record hot days has been more than three times the frequency of record cold days. The hottest area-averaged national maximum temperature ever recorded was 40.3°C on 7 January 2013, and extreme temperature records were broken in every state and territory throughout the course of the 2012/2013 summer.

Almost all of Australia has experienced a lengthening of the heatwave season, with the first heatwave event occurring much earlier than it did 60 years ago. The intensity of heatwaves, as measured by the temperature of the hottest day (the peak of the heatwave), is also increasing.

This summer, Australians again endured record-breaking, extreme heatwaves and hot weather. On 3 January, Queensland experienced its hottest area-averaged day on recordand for the week ending 4 January, average maximum temperatures were a staggering 8°C or more above normal in the southern inland part of the state.

Record high maximum temperatures occurred over 8.8% of Australia during the first four days of January, including 17% of New South Wales, 17% of the Northern Territory, 16% of Queensland and 8% of South Australia. On 2 February, Adelaide reached a new February record of 44.7°C, some 15°C above average.

The global picture

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Heatwaves are also on the increase worldwide, with severe heatwaves affecting many countries and regions in the last 10-15 years. One of the most severe was the European heatwave of July and August 2003, with France and Switzerland particularly affected. This heatwave was followed in 2010 by an even more intense and widespread heatwave, which scorched large swathes of Eastern Europe, including western Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Long-term temperature reconstructions show that these were the hottest summers that Europe has experienced for at least 500 years. North America has also experienced several recent heatwaves, with a major heatwave affecting the state of Texas in July 2011 and a heatwave covering a greater area of the country in 2012.

Diverse impacts

The impacts of heatwaves are surprisingly large and diverse. The Bureau of Meteorology hasdubbed heatwaves “the most under-rated weather hazard in Australia”. While heatwaves do not result in obvious violent effects on the landscape, unlike many other weather-related disasters such as high-intensity storms and bushfires, their impacts on health, the workplace, infrastructure, agriculture, and the environment are serious, costly and long-lasting.

While the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires killed more than 170 people, the preceding heatwave killed double this figure. The economic burden of heatwaves is significant, through the demand placed on emergency services, infrastructure stress and breakdown, and agricultural losses. For example, as temperatures soared during the 2009 heatwave, the Basslink electricity cable between Tasmania and Victoria reached maximum operating temperature, causing the system to shut down and resulting in widespread blackouts in Melbourne.

Plants and animals are also susceptible to extreme heat events, with flying foxes, birds and rainforest marsupials being particularly vulnerable. Marine heatwaves can trigger coral bleaching events, affecting large areas of reefs. Bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef have occurred repeatedly since the late 1970s, with none reported before then. These bleaching events have contributed to the observed 50% loss of coral cover in the Great Barrier Reef over the past 30 years.

The case for decarbonisation

As greenhouse gases continue to rise in the atmosphere, heatwaves will continue to worsen.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2012 Special Report on Extremes and last year’s release of the first part of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, it is virtually certain that hot extremes will increase and cold extremes will decrease through the century compared to the current climate. It is also very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of heat waves will increase over most land areas around the globe.

This is the critical decade for action. Global emissions are still rising and Australian emissions are yet to make a decisive turn downwards. Despite the promising developments in low-carbon technologies and energy-efficiency measures, there is not yet widespread acceptance in Australia of the urgent need to decarbonise our economy and implement policies to facilitate a decarbonised future. This challenge must be met if we are to minimise the risk of worsening heatwaves and other extreme events for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. It’s time to get on with the job.

The Climate Council is a crowdfunded body that advises the Australian public on climate change. You can read its Heatwave Report here.

Comments

  1. I can’t see us taking meaningful action until we’re forced to. I think for now the right wing conspiracy theorists and powerful lobby groups are winning the hearts and minds of Australians. Mind you even the anti vaccination movement, who interestingly use many of the same tactics, are also gaining in popularity. These days everyone with an internet connection is an expert, so we really don’t need physicists or doctors.

    • The inquest heard how George had suffered an epileptic-type fit four months before being given the MMR vaccine and that this might have been a warning he could react badly to the jab.

      However, a consultant told the inquest that while it had been deemed safe to give the child the innoculation against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, his parents should have been told to monitor his temperature.

      Mrs Fisher, 42, a hotel receptionist, said she had not been given any information about what symptoms might signal an adverse reaction to the jab. ”

      Not that’s right scientists can’t possibly EVER get anything wrong. But wait who controls the BioMed/Pharma outfits? Not scientists but rapacious corporate executives who’ve never managed to get even a simple redux equation right you say?

      • Scientists and doctors do get things wrong, and I doubt there is a medication or vaccination that is 100 percent safe for everyone, but vaccinations have saved and improved more lives than they’ve taken.

      • dumb_non_economist

        Come on mig, I think you just like to argue, shit!

        Would you deny that immunisation has saved 10000x more lives than it has ever taken? It isn’t a minor “greater good” theory. A parent puts their child/ren at far greater risk forgoing it while putting others at risk.

        I bet these parents are the same ones who believe property always goes up!

        What pisses me off most is that YOU made me agree with PF.

      • @DNE if rationality made you agree with the irrational then my job is done – I’ve smoked out another hypocrite 😉

        EDIT: Perfect example of the completely irrational:

        A parent puts their child/ren at far greater risk forgoing it while putting others at risk

        Huh? If your kid is immunised how the f..k can my kid not being immunised effect yours? Or are the immunisations ineffective?

      • dumb_non_economist

        mig,

        How am I a hypocrite? 😕

        I’m convinced you love an argument, black is white, white is black! 😆

      • Seriously?

        “Huh? If your kid is immunised how the f..k can my kid not being immunised effect yours? Or are the immunisations ineffective?”

        If your unimmunised (by choice) 5 year old gives my yet to be immunised 12 month old a disease, you should be personally held responsible for the consequences. No if’s, no but’s. You are a bad parent.

        In the past the “stupid, I’m smarter than big pharma” factor in the immunisation debate was limited to a small group, say, 1 in 100, so the effect on everyone was minimal. These days, the number is rising, so the un-immunised numbers are getting to a point where the group is big enough to pass the disease around amongst themselves. As these poor kids (lets not blame the kids – the whole level of stupid rests squarely on the parents shoulders) pass a preventable disease around, it’s the groups that are either too young, or have legitimate medical reasons to not be immunised that suffer.

        But of course, it’s all a big conspiracy….

      • @4WD ha ha ha ha aaaah ha ha ha ha.

        If a 5 yld unimmunised kid goes near your 12 months old you’re a sh!t f..king parent!

        No ifs No buts No maybes.

        @d_n_e that I do 🙂 Y did I class you hypocrite? Because those who rest on rational arguments for most of their comments become hypocrites when they invoke the irrational as justification…

      • Mig,

        some people are unable (for medical reasons) to be vaccinated.

        Your unvaccinated children increase the presence of preventable diseases in the community thus increasing the risk of exposure to disease for those who are succeptable to them.

        DNE is right, you just love to argue, but your manners seem to have gone out the window.

        You used to be polite and considered …. what has changed?

      • I can see a long long way from my back balcony if I stand on tippy toe, and it looks pretty flat to me.

      • ” Because those who rest on rational arguments for most of their comments become hypocrites when they invoke the irrational as justification…”

        you can’t call something irrational just because you’re not clever enough to understand it

      • @Peter right? Here’s a question, it may seem a tad philosophical so call a friend by all means :

        Consider a circle with infinite radius, what is the curvature of a segment of said circle?

        @DrBob what’s changed? Frustration DrBob frustration.
        Incidentally have YOU been vaccinated against all the crap shots kids get now? Cause I had like 5 in my whole life a my sisters kids had 10+ before 3!

        @DrBob ha ha ha ha really you’re going to try that line?

      • Mig,

        if your frustration results in you being offensive and abusive towards other members of this community then maybe it is time that you took some time off from here.

        I’m sure that you (and others) would enjoy the break.

      • @DrBob: Done!! See you in a while! But is there any chance that when I come back you guys will have got one critical thinking brain-cell functioning? Time will tell. Sayonara

      • Not that’s right scientists can’t possibly EVER get anything wrong.

        You seem to be struggling with the difference between an outlier failure and a systemic one.

        Not to mention Occam’s Razor.

        No-one has ever claimed vaccinations are risk-free. What has been (long) debunked is the ridiculous claims by anti-vaccers of a link between immunisation and autism.

        If a 5 yld unimmunised kid goes near your 12 months old you’re a sh!t f..king parent!

        No ifs No buts No maybes.

        Indeed, how could that ever happen. I mean, the possibility of a parent picking up their five year old from school with a 12 month old under the arm defies comprehension !

        Or a social gathering with children of multiple ages ? Crazy talk. Never happens.

        The point and benefit of herd immunity, is that as much of the herd is immune as possible.

      • Next time you want to get burnt I suggest putting your hands on the stove.

        I’m not sure what argument you think you’re making about immunisation, but what I read was an article about unethical – probably illegal – medical research.

      • about unethical – probably illegal – medical research

        …and that’s my point about immunisation… thanks for playing!!

      • …and that’s my point about immunisation… thanks for playing!!

        To be clear, you are arguing immunisation is and unethical and possibly illegal practice ?

      • To be clear, you are arguing immunisation is and unethical and possibly illegal practice ?

        To be clear you read the link so you know it can be right?!?!

        What I want, is what I always want, its accountability! And to ever have any hope of achieving it we need everyone
        with their brains on! Not w..king off about the degrees they’ve “earned”

      • To be clear you read the link so you know it can be right?!?!

        You gave me a link about medical experimentation, not immunisation.

        Once again, you seem to struggle with differentiating between an example and a concept.

        What I want, is what I always want, its accountability!

        Then why are you making a generalised argument against the whole principle of immunisation ?

        No-one here has made even the vaguest suggestion that anyone should not be held accountable.

      • ORLY smithy really? What about all those statements you’ve made re the infallibility of peer reviewed literature or 1000 years of error, I mean accepted scientific knowledge.

        You would be one of those who shouted down Einstein or Bhor! They shouted you can’t go against 1000 years of scientific knowledge too! And boy were they ever wrong.

        But you couldn’t possibly be smithy you’re a doctor…

      • ORLY smithy really? What about all those statements you’ve made re the infallibility of peer reviewed literature or 1000 years of error, I mean accepted scientific knowledge.

        Indeed, what about them ? Maybe in between slaying straw men and thinking up false dichotomies you could quote a few to refresh my memory, because I certainly don’t remember them.

      • @drsmity Further, there is the peer review – formal and informal – process. We don’t all perform the experiments, but enough of us do that assumptions are reasonably concluded

        You’re welcome!

        That is utter bilge peer review is nowhere in the scientific method, experimentation is and validation is.

        If you validate the experiment I’ll listen to you, but if just read that some did guess what? You’re taking something on faith!

      • You’re welcome!

        I read that three times just to be sure, but I still can’t find anywhere I made even the vaguest suggestion that peer review is “infallible”.

        That is utter bilge peer review is nowhere in the scientific method, experimentation is and validation is.

        All aspects of the scientific method are not only open to peer review, but benefit enormously from it.

        If you validate the experiment I’ll listen to you, but if just read that some did guess what? You’re taking something on faith!

        No, when I take something on faith I do it without taking any concern about the reasoning or evidence behind it.

      • @drsmithy

        All aspects of the scientific method are not only open to peer review, but benefit enormously from it

        NO THEY DON’T. Peer-review is a fabrication, a contrivance, in a word its propaganda – designed to confound something that had long existed – scientific rigour – with something that never had – listening to idiot a tell me that idiot b is right because both idiot a and idiot b share a common degree.

        No, when I take something on faith I do it without taking any concern about the reasoning or evidence behind

        Finally! Finally you say something sensible! Hallelujah!
        That is not peer-review that is cognitive assessment! Meaning you are using your brain to review the reviewer hence performing “peer-review” yourself! Sheesh!

      • NO THEY DON’T.

        Yes they do.

        Peer review is, at its core, simply asking others to examine an idea and pass judgement. It is there to provide an independent verification of each step of the scientific process, from hypothesis to conclusion.

        Peer-review is a fabrication, a contrivance, in a word its propaganda – designed to confound something that had long existed – scientific rigour – with something that never had – listening to idiot a tell me that idiot b is right because both idiot a and idiot b share a common degree.

        Your concept of peer review is… unorthodox.

        It is particularly… odd… to see an advocate of open source software heaping contempt upon the principle of peer review.

        That is not peer-review that is cognitive assessment!

        No, it’s not. At all. Taking something on faith is the polar opposite of “cognitive assessment”.

      • @drsmithy dear god let me clarify what you said you didn’t do when you take something on faith IS cognitive assessment. Ugh.

        Open source software IS NOT peer reviewed you lunatic that’s Microsoft software. Bloody hell.

      • Open source software IS NOT peer reviewed you lunatic that’s Microsoft software. Bloody hell.

        Probably the most frequently touted advantages of open source software are supposedly better reliability and security due to the “many eyes” principle. Ie: peer review.

      • No drsmithy “many-eyes” is bloody well NOT peer-review – its the exact opposite. Can you guess why? Probably not so I’ll tell you: You don’t have to be a “peer” anybody can download the source, look through it, compile, test it, use it, improve it! Anybody!! They didn’t need a piece of paper or some editor Oking first!

        But don’t worry I’m through with place, enjoy wallowing in ignorance from now on — and still noone capable of simple trigonometric showed up!!

      • dumb_non_economist

        mig,

        @d_n_e that I do 🙂 Y did I class you hypocrite? Because those who rest on rational arguments for most of their comments become hypocrites when they invoke the irrational as justification…

        What was irrational? If you’re referring to the PF comment that was a joke.

    • So now you’re making the greater good argument, which is not how you originally framed your comment.

      Are you aware that concomitant with modern vaccinations there was the advent of refrigeration, sanitation, personal hygiene and broad based access to medical practitioners? Any chance that could have had at least a similar effect on disease propagation?

      At least now you’re acknowledging that scientists can be questioned, which is good because I’m pretty sure the scientific method is greatly aided by skepticism (informed skepticism mind you, not the rubbish one typically hears and against which you are quite correct to en vie)

      • @Peter I’m pretty sure you can get a great rate on Wmds, prices can only go up! Get in on it Houses’n’ZIRP

      • I had never heard that refrigeration, sanitation, personal hygiene and broad based access to medical practitioners got rid of polio.

        Thanks for the info Mig.

      • @DrBob127 “I had never heard that refrigeration, sanitation, personal hygiene and broad based access to medical practitioners got rid of polio.”

        That is because it is a lie used by Anti-Vaxer to confuse the issue and ignore the science and evidence.

        “Finally, we can look at the experiences of several developed countries after they let their immunization levels drop. Three countries – Great Britain, Sweden, and Japan – cut back the use of pertussis vaccine because of fear about the vaccine. The effect was dramatic and immediate. In Great Britain, a drop in pertussis vaccination in 1974 was followed by an epidemic of more than 100,000 cases of pertussis and 36 deaths by 1978. In Japan, around the same time, a drop in vaccination rates from 70% to 20%-40% led to a jump in pertussis from 393 cases and no deaths in 1974 to 13,000 cases and 41 deaths in 1979. In Sweden, the annual incidence rate of pertussis per 100,000 children 0-6 years of age increased from 700 cases in 1981 to 3,200 in 1985. It seems clear from these experiences that not only would diseases not be disappearing without vaccines, but if we were to stop vaccinating, they would come back.”
        (from CDC – US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm#Diseaseshadalready)

      • @glamb Dear God. Again I don’t advocate others taking or not taking vax – I personally don’t generally but if I was walking in the bush and cut myself on rusty fencing would I go get the tetanus shot? Of course I would don’t be ridiculous! I don’t advocate people telling others what to do either.

        I DO advocate being informed and using your brain and not thinking scientists and doctors are infallible. That’s all folks. Calculated risk life is all about it

    • All aspects of the scientific method are not only open to peer review, but benefit enormously from it

      NO THEY DON’T.

      Yes they do.

      Sorry gents, here I was, fully intending to leave, and this argument caught my eye 😉

      FWIW, I have read very many assertions (which could of course be false) that, when it comes to climate science, the concept of “openness” viz. “all aspects” of the “scientific method” allegedly employed by certain leading climate scientists, is very far from an accurate description of the practical reality.

      To wit, these numerous claims I have read, vociferously allege (supported by documentary evidence) that access by others to the vital raw source data used/relied upon by certain leading/prominent climate scientists — as the basis of their past temperature “reconstructions” — has been, and continues to be, explicitly denied (now there’s a word! lol).

      Indeed, it would appear from certain “evidence”, allegedly illegally obtained, that there has been a concerted effort made by a small and highly influential group of leading climate scientists, to not only refuse such access, but to resist formal FOI requests for same as well; and that in particular, when those persons requesting such access to raw data are, despite being qualified scientists themselves (not that that should matter, if openness and transparency in science were rigorously upheld), not deemed to be of an appropriate persuasion / bias with regard to the drawing of conclusions.

      EDIT: oops, posted in wrong place. Apologies. As you were.

      • dumb_non_economist

        Op8,

        I’ve also read similar statements, however the position has been put that this is a result of climate deniers getting said info, allegedly twisting said info and claiming results are bs and when the request is made for access to their data to check deniers claim, they are told to fcuk off!

  2. in the world where everything is an opinion …

    majority of Australian supports Abbott ^ Abbott said there is no climate change -> Australians democratically decided there is no climate change

    • Just fwiw, I have often pondered the reality that almost all the “facts” and “knowledge” that every one of us (myself included) hold as true … and spruik to others … are little more than articles of faith.

      Unless we have personally acquired the knowledge or information via direct personal experience, personal scientific experimentation, etc, then the truer (-est?) fact is that almost every thing that every one of us says … and believes … is the mere parrotting on of something that we chose to accept, on faith, second (or third or fourth or nth) hand, from the mouth or pen or keyboard of someone else.

      Usually some (typically self-styled) “authority”, or other.

      In essence, almost every thing that every one of us says, and acts on, is mere faith-based opinion, whether we realise it or not.

      Hence my username.

      • Unless we have personally acquired the knowledge or information via direct personal experience, personal scientific experimentation, etc, then the truer (-est?) fact is that almost every thing that every one of us says … and believes … is the mere parrotting on of something that we chose to accept, on faith, second (or third or fourth or nth) hand, from the mouth or pen or keyboard of someone else.

        No, it’s not.

        Much knowledge, while gleaned indirectly, is accepted and believed because it aligns with direct experience.

        Further, there is the peer review – formal and informal – process. We don’t all perform the experiments, but enough of us do that assumptions are reasonably concluded, not “merely parroted”.

        To equate any knowledge not gained directly from personal experience as “faith” is an insult to teachers, scientists, engineers – indeed, our whole civilisation.

      • Ha ha ha ha ha peer review ha ha ha ha. Would’ve worked for Einstein!… Oh wait…

        The self styled “Dr”s around here leave much to be desired

      • “Much knowledge, while gleaned indirectly, is accepted and believed because it aligns with direct experience.”

        A few words spring to mind.

        Perception.

        Subjective.

        Confirmation bias.

        “To equate any knowledge not gained directly from personal experience as “faith” is an insult to teachers, scientists, engineers – indeed, our whole civilisation.”

        Your opinion. Not evidence-based. Not personal experience-based.

        Thank you for affirming my central point.

      • “The self styled “Dr”s around here leave much to be desired”

        speaking for myself, I am not a self-styled doctor. I am a doctor by virtue of the amount of study that I have undertaken and the academic degree that I have qualified for.

        and as for your qualifications, what are they apart from being a code-monkey?

      • @DRbob *cough*

        BE(Mech)
        BE(EE/IT)

        Your education does not impress me, quite the contrary…

        BTW did you work out the simple math problem I asked of Peter Fraser earlier?

      • This can only come form somebody who didn’t spend much time studying or practising science or engineering. Scientific method is very clear about this and what can and cannot be called fact.

        The very example of putting scientific facts on the same level as somebody’s opinion is opinion, and not very good one.

        Not everything needs to be personally tested or experienced to be a fact. Many things could be derived from first principles that are proven to be right.

        It’s very easy to “prove” by reasoning from first principles that a person cannot survive dipping into smelted iron (there is no need to die of see somebody dying to establish that as fact not opinion).

      • @Speculator: You are spectacularly wrong!!!

        One cannot infer from first principle that a person cannot survive a molten lava bath – one required data as to the degree of heat produced in the lava and the degree of heat the physical body can insulate itself from before suffering catastrophic organ failure.

        How could you possibly get that sooooo wrong?

      • @Speculator: You are spectacularly wrong!!!

        One cannot infer from first principle that a person cannot survive a molten lava bath – one required data as to the degree of heat produced in the lava and the degree of heat the physical body can insulate itself from before suffering catastrophic organ failure.

        How could you possibly get that sooooo wrong?

      • A few words spring to mind.

        Perception.

        Subjective.

        Confirmation bias.

        Here’s a few that sprang to my mind:

        “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

        – Isaac Newton

        Thank you for affirming my central point.

        Your central point *appears* to be that millennia of peer-reviewed scientific evidence should be considered no more veracious than an arbitrary and untested opinion.

        I say that’s bunk.

      • @drsmithy & @speculator,

        Respectfully, what you both miss here, is that I am referring to what is, and can be, actually known, by each of us. I am making no comment on the truth, or otherwise, of any particular “fact”, or any specific article of “knowledge”.

        I find your arguments wholly unpersuasive, and do not see any reason proffered to warrant resiling from my originally stated view.

        We humans experience reality via our sense organs. I am not aware of (been informed by a reliable [EDIT: reliable, in that I have personally experienced their reliability; and even if so, to continue to trust them is still an act of faith] source, or personally witnessed) any human with demonstrable, reliable, extra-sensory capabilities. If we have not personally experienced it, personally tested it, via our sensory inputs, then anything we accept as true (fact) we are classifying as such on faith. This should be perfectly obvious.

        The vast majority of “facts” and “knowledge” that we believe ourselves to have, we have not gleaned ourselves, by direct experience, via our senses. We believe them to be true, thanks to placing faith in (eg) our perception (or possibly, past experience) of the honesty of the person/s making a claim; faith in their accurate and honest reporting of experience of the claim. If indeed, they are claiming to have personal experience.

        Note, I am not suggesting or implying that any particular “facts” or “knowledge” are untrue. Clearly, many (most?) “facts” we hear/read, believe, and parrot onwards, are indeed facts. I am simply observing the base reality that most of our “knowledge” is accepted on faith. Nothing wrong with that. Does not suggest or infer that any of us are somehow less “intellectual” for accepting nearly everything we think we “know”, on the primary basis of placing faith in the character and/or intelligence of messengers (and, all those who passed the message on to them, in prior turn).

        “True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know” – Confucius

        “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing” – Socrates

        What can I say. These quotes ring true to me.

        My opinion.

      • @op8red you nailed it! It’s ALL empirical because it’s processed by the senses/sensory input.

        The others are idiots crying on about 1000 years of peer reviewed Bollocks. Like Einstein didn’t do away with 1000 years of accepted scientific “knowledge”!

        D*ckh**ds !

        You’re comment is gold.

      • Note, I am not suggesting or implying that any particular “facts” or “knowledge” are untrue. Clearly, many (most?) “facts” we hear/read, believe, and parrot onwards, are indeed facts. I am simply observing the base reality that most of our “knowledge” is accepted on faith.

        Your definition of “faith” is so broad as to be meaningless, and is not aligned with its common usage.

        You need to either use it in a more typical way, or find another word to differentiate between knowledge that is based on evidence and assertions that are based on faith.

        Meaningful discourse is only possible when the participants understand what each other is talking about.

        What can I say. These quotes ring true to me.

        Words to live by, indeed – but I don’t think they support your position in any way.

      • @drsmithy perhaps you need help with comprehension. What are you suggesting is fact? Have a gander at the works of Deluze or Derida and come back for a chat then.

        Is the boiling point of water 100 degrees Celsius a fact or is 100 degrees Celsius a dreamt up convention for expressing the boiling point of water @ 1 atmos?

        Gets tricky when we leave the lab and need to think more deeply doesn’t it doctor.

        EDIT: Newtonian motion is bunk!! It was always just Keplerian motion with a more fully developed inverse square law.

        You talk rubbish.

      • Like Einstein didn’t do away with 1000 years of accepted scientific “knowledge”!

        No, he didn’t.

        For example, the knowledge behind Newtonian physics continues to be perfectly valid when used in the context within which is was discovered. It did not suddenly cease to be so just because of Einstein’s more advanced theories.

      • “Your definition of “faith” is so broad as to be meaningless…”

        Actually, I didn’t define it. Neither did you.

        Will this definition do?

        n. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith

        If that definition is satisfactory to you, then perhaps you can explain how it is that I have used this word in a way that “is not aligned with its common usage”.

        EDIT: If you can explain how I have misused the word “faith” in this sentence you quoted, that might help us to be specific –

        “I am simply observing the base reality that most of our “knowledge” is accepted on faith*.”

        *Confident belief in …

      • If that definition is satisfactory to you, then perhaps you can explain how it is that I have used this word in a way that “is not aligned with its common usage”.

        Context is, of course, important. However, this one appears more reflective of your usage above:

        “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”

        Particularly in light of your description of any knowledge not personally gained with the derogatory terminology “mere parroting” – ie: repeated without understanding or knowledge of its derivation, meaning and implication.

        Religious preaching is “mere parroting”. Leveraging the outcomes of previous scientific discoveries to make new ones is much more.

      • Leveraging the outcomes of previous scientific discoveries to make new ones is much more

        ONLY if you know what you’re doing!

        You don’t know what you’re doing…

        You are attempting to remove all controversy from science and the only thing that achieves is to remove science from the discussion.

      • “this one appears more reflective of your usage above:”

        Now you are obfuscating 😉

        Perhaps this will help narrow things down further. Note that I am using the example of climate science only because it is topical. Please do not infer that I am therefore criticising, or in any way trying to demean, either climate scientists, or climate science.

        Ok, now …

        I am not saying that (eg) scientists who study climatic phenomena accept what they observe “in confident belief” that their own senses are reliable (trustworthy); I am perfectly happy to accept (on faith) that their senses are indeed reliable, and that their having a “confident belief” in their own senses is not required. Further, I am not saying that they do not observe and record real “evidence”, using their senses, that they then interpret in one way, or another, including via further testing and comparison, peer review inclusive of their methodologies, etc.

        I am saying, that every other person who accepts what any particular scientist says/claims viz. his/her observations/experiments — other scientists who seek to reproduce the experiment excepted, of course — is accepting what they say NOT on the basis of personal, first hand, direct experience of that scientist’s “evidence”. Instead, they are accepting what that particular scientist says on the basis of faith — ie, by the above dictionary definition, on the basis of a “confident belief in” the trustworthiness of that scientist. Or, even more specifically, presuming (ie, trusting) that there is no dishonesty, laxity, or stupidity on the part of the scientist, they are at the very least accepting on faith (“confident belief”) the trustworthiness of that scientist’s sensory perceptions, and, their subsequent interpretive faculties.

        Indeed, unless they hear / see / read the (presumably; again, an act of trust/faith) evidence-based claim being made directly from that scientist — using their own sensory organs — then in reality, they are not even accepting on “confident belief” the (presumably) evidence-based assertion of the scientist. They are actually accepting on faith / “confident belief” the claim of yet another person/s, who is in turn only reporting the claim of the scientist.

        Perhaps this will help you “get my drift”?

      • Perhaps this will help you “get my drift”?

        Certainly. I “get your drift” completley, I just disagree with your apparent argument.

        I reiterate, when terminology like “taking it on faith” is used, it is typically considered to be describing a situation where whatever assertion being made isn’t supported by (generations of, in the case of climate science) research, evidence and scrutiny. It is referring to a situation where the assertion *must* be “taken on faith” because it’s not backed by anything concrete or verifiable and does not stand critical analysis without making unreasonable assumptions.

        Most scientists, engineers, programmers, etc, would, I imagine, be rather offended if you tried to argue all their work is based on “faith”. Not because the word does not have a dictionary defition that could technically be used to describe their work, but because that is not how the word is typically used.

        Unless, of course, you want to explicitly make the argument that, say, all the engineering knowledge used to build a modern computer be considered to have the same veracity as Dianetics.

      • “when terminology like “taking it on faith” is used, it is typically considered…”

        Again, that is merely your opinion.

        Even if true — (ie), if your statement is / could be supported by evidence — that does not in any way negate or detract from my position, in particular as I have now gone on to specifically define the meaning of the word “faith” as I understand, and consistently intended it to be understood in context of my statements.

        I remain of the view that any “knowledge” that any of us think we have, that was not acquired by direct personal experience, is “knowledge” accepted as true / fact not on the basis of first hand experience of the evidence, but instead, on the basis of faith (“confident belief”), and that usually a faith placed in the trustworthiness/reliability of (a long string of) strangers.

        Anyway, thank you for the discussion. I appreciate and value the spirit of mutual politeness and respect with which we were able to conduct it 🙂

      • Again, that is merely your opinion.

        Well, I’d propose more than just mine. 🙂

        I remain of the view that any “knowledge” that any of us think we have, that was not acquired by direct personal experience, is “knowledge” accepted as true / fact not on the basis of first hand experience of the evidence, but instead, on the basis of faith (“confident belief”), and that usually a faith placed in the trustworthiness/reliability of (a long string of) strangers.

        Ok, so given the intended context I read the above (and the original post) and wonder what your point is supposed to be ? It simply appears to be a tautology.

        Anyway, thank you for the discussion. I appreciate and value the spirit of mutual politeness and respect with which we were able to conduct it.

        No problems. Politeness is, after all, just like a set of scales. 🙂

  3. Does anyone else see the unsustainable stupidity in the govt providing free insurance for agricultural businesses against extreme weather events while dismantling the emissions reduction scheme and winding back the renewable energy targets?

  4. From todays SMH. It seems that the USA & China have signed an agreement to co-operate on Climate Change. Yesterday US secretary of State John Kerry sat on Australia’s doorstep & described Climate Change as the worlds biggest weapon of mass destruction. An unsubtle message to Tony Abbott?

    Abbott is also in today’s SMH once again denying any links to drought & Climate Change ,just as he did with the very early bush fire season. What he bases his opinion on is unclear.Perhaps the good Lord confided in him.
    Who will Tone listen to ,The imaginary voice in his head or Uncle Sam?

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-can-no-longer-turn-his-back-on-this-weapon-of-mass-destruction-20140217-32w3l.html

  5. “Those oldies are dying because they are unemployed. I don’t see them out doing their 20 Kms for the day @ 6 am. Heat has nothing to do with it. They are welfare types. They expect me to do their 20 Kms for them. Never do for somebody what they should be doing for themselves.”

    • Indeed, but it doesn’t stop them getting airtime at Green Left publications.

      So Australia has a hot summer, while the rest of the world experiences record freezes.

      The question remains; by how much will temps lower with our CT in place? Answer- not measurable. Response- Remove the CT now and save as many jobs as possible. Green/left obstructionism is killing our economy visibly by the day.

      Anybody who could take Flannery seriously has to be a moron. Witness the white elephant desal plants costing taxpayers Billions. What is it with people who are so desirous of following these crackpots?

    • “Its hard to make a man understand something, when his job depends upon him not understanding it”

      • Yes, its a sword with two edges I’d agree 🙂

        The nature of the climate change argument is such that you can never win the argument on either side (at least until its really too late). Its like arguing religion, there’s always an “out”.

        eg if you dont like the imposition of climate costs on your economy (as you dont), then you just find a bigger miscreant and say “no point till they do”. (this is similar to the argument of why people should or should not vote).

        or you say that the mechanism chosen is inefficient or has uninteded consequences (the case for any tax or policy in history)

        or you say that the science is not proven (it never can be, nothing is ever proven completely even gravity etc etc).

        So theres a lot of tactics to be used if thats your motivation.

      • “”During the medieval period, there was over a century of drought in the Southwest and California. The past repeats itself,” says Ingram, who is co-author of The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climate Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow. Indeed, Ingram believes the 20th century may have been a wet anomaly.

        “None of this should be a surprise to anybody,” agrees Celeste Cantu, general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority. “California is acting like California, and most of California is arid.” (Related: “Behind California’s January Wildfires: Dry Conditions, Stubborn Weather Pattern.”)

        Unfortunately, she notes, most of the state’s infrastructure was designed and built during the 20th century, when the climate was unusually wet compared to previous centuries. That hasn’t set water management on the right course to deal with long periods of dryness in the future”

        …crickets…

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140213-california-drought-record-agriculture-pdo-climate/#.UwJ-6fldWao

        EDIT: I’ve seen the code used at the University Of East Anglia that produced all those nice estimates for the IPCC. Yes, that code.

  6. Heatwaves getting longer!

    How on Earth would they know?… where are the BOM records for the last 500 years? What weather records do they have over the last several thousand years…

    Detailed records go back around 120 years at the most. If I get a small enough sample (In this case “time”) I can come up with “science” like this

    I don’t know if the climate is warming and I bet these clowns don’t either. This is propaganda trying to masquerade as fact. Where is real local evidence for this?

    And about John Kerry… Whats his answer to this… start a war in Syria… what an imbecile

    • So you’ve dismissed historical weather estimation without knowing what the methodology is, or educating yourself enough to assess it one way or the other? Well done.

      And your last sentence is a poor argument of epic proportions. “Mr Kerry, what do you think about climate change?” “I’m off to start a war in Syria”. really??

      Rereading your post, maybe this is a pisstake – if so, well done 🙂

    • Sure local temperatures may have a short recorded history but that is why governments spend millions digging up ice in both Antarctica and Greenland, as well as in the Andes, Northwestern North America, and Asia in order to get a global historical record of temperature zones.

      Your attitude is insulting to the many scientists who devote their life to help in the understanding of the world and how it works. If you know it all why don’t you man-up, do the study, and show everyone where the science is all wrong.

      • because other scientists have done it for me! I don’t belong to a cult.

        You mean you’re taking someone else’s work on “faith” ?

        For shame.

      • Huh? When did I ever say I was taking it on faith? The IPCC in 92 called all the arctic to be water now. It isn’t. They’re wrong.

        A well know Dutch ocean hydrologist whose name escapes me but I can find reasonably easily predicted that the garbage they were saying about the Scheychells was just that – and he was right and yes I saw the science he was basing it on. It wasn’t computer modelled with dreamt up inputs…

      • Huh? When did I ever say I was taking it on faith?

        The posts where you’re rubbishing any data or research not personally collected and verified, and agreeing with other posts making similar statements.

        The IPCC in 92 called all the arctic to be water now. It isn’t. They’re wrong.

        They did ? Where ?

        Have they not reviewed this prediction since ? You know, follow the scientific method ? Because if they haven’t you might have a point.

      • I might have a point you say:

        “The pause – which has now been accepted as real by every major climate research centre – is important, because the models’ predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures have made many of the world’s economies divert billions of pounds into ‘green’ measures to counter climate change.

        Those predictions now appear gravely flawed.

        The continuing furore caused by The Mail on Sunday’s revelations – which will now be amplified by the return of the Arctic ice sheet – has forced the UN’s climate change body to reconsider its position”

        As someone much brighter than myself and capable of incredibly deep thought once observed to me: I don’t need my Knowledge to be justified by your ignorance.

        Like I said enjoy wallowing in it.

  7. Sure local tempratures may have a short recorded history but that is why governments spend millions digging up ice in both Antarctica and Greenland, as well as in the Andes, Northwestern North America, and Asia in order to get a global historical record of temprature zones.

    Your attitude is insulting to the many scientists who devote their life to help in the understanding of the world and how it works. If you know it all why don’t you man-up, do the study, and show everyone where the science is all wrong.

  8. Hi Davel,
    Would love to know about historical weather estimation. Do you have any links? And about John Kerry… what can I say? 🙂

    • I dont think you need links, a quick Google will set you on the right track. Its been around for a long long time.

  9. This place never changes …. more commentary from the illiterati than you can poke a stick at.

    Months ago, I advised DLS to shackle the antiscience faction (mostly paid shills from the mining houses). Until that’s done, the foul odour here will keep a lot of worthwhile posters away. 🙄

    • Because you opine so eloquently on so many topics?

      Always comes down to mining and shills when evidence and reason leave you behind…

      • “evidence and reason”

        you keep using these words, but I don’t think that they mean what you think they mean.

        certainly not in regards to your arguments here today

      • And what are you a doctor in Bob? Clearly not linguistics.

        Did you work out what the curvature of a segment of a circle with infinite radius is yet ? Math not your strong suit?? Nooo

    • Incidentally on all the topics that I’ve battled opinions on none NONE sought to muzzle me, but you enlightened scientists just know better right? Pity you can’t reason for sht

      • @DrBob perhaps a more salutary observation would envelope the strictly arcane and nonsensical posturing you’ve exhibited to us – not merely in deluded self worth you exude but evidenced by the dearth of your commentary elsewhere.

        I that better?

  10. migtronix: A word of advice. You are coming across as a smart arse. You may indeed be very smart and very well educated, but your condescension is not winning any converts.

    I am the first to admit the limits of my intellect, but I reckon I’ve got a fair amount of common sense, and common sense tells me it is extraordinarily unlikely that so many scientists and institutions could be so wrong. Possible certainly, but very, very unlikely.

    I have also observed that all the scientists I admire and respect (generally astrophysicists) accept the mainstream view on climate science. These are people with genuine credibility, not some wanker on a blog who has claimed to have “seen the code, and its rubbish”.

    • but your condescension is not winning any converts

      not some wanker on a blog who has claimed to have “seen the code, and its rubbish”.

      Do tell!

      EDIT: *cough* your attitude to 3d1k *cough*

      Your argument goes something like this: It could be, but it couldn’t be, so it isn’t. Circular much?

      • still flat huh !

        try closing one eye and look into the sun, that should give you a broader perspective.

        Oooo – the AUD has fallen again.

      • @Peter what’s the answer to the question I asked you? I’ll listen to you when you figure out simple trigonometry!

        “AUD is down” – I know I’m short now, since USDJPY reversed. M0r0n.

      • @Peter and I even told why I was now short and you still don’t get it.

        Whatever no trig not paying attention.

  11. Most of you guys can’t do basic algebra or trigonometry and I’m supposed to listen to YOU on science? What’s wrong with this picture?

  12. DarkMatterMEMBER

    What the hell is going on with you guys at MB?

    You publish these provocative articles about climate change and you get a shitstorm. The original article from the Conversation was pretty poor – dire warnings followed by a call to action. So devoid of logic it is bound to incite a flurry of flak between the factions.

    One might be tempted to draw the conclusion that MB is charting a coarse of a particular political correctness by deleting comments.

    I think that in fact, the appeal of MB is that you have attracted a group of quite impressive commenters that express themselves well and stand outside of the constraints of the compromised sensible voices.

    What you have is quite a valuable thing. You should value it.