Via The Australian:
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has lashed the “disgraceful, disgusting” behaviour of “raving inner-city lunatics” for linking climate change to the ferocious bushfires burning across Queensland and NSW.
Speaking on ABC Radio on Monday Mr McCormack said Australia had experienced bushfires since “time began” and defended the Morrison government’s decision not to meet with senior fire and emergency service leaders that have demanded action on climate change.
It comes as firefighters across Sydney and NSW brace themselves for predicted “catastrophic” conditions on Tuesday after three people were killed and 150 homes were destroyed over the weekend.
Perhaps the leader of thr Nats might consult the Australian Government on this. In its most recent State of the Climate report, the BOM and CSIRO noted:
Australia’s weather and climate are changing in response to a warming global climate. Australia has warmed just over 1 °C since 1910, with most warming since 1950. This warming has seen an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events and increased the severity of drought conditions during periods of below-average rainfall. Eight of Australia’s top ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2005.
The year-to-year changes in Australia’s climate are mostly associated with natural climate variability such as El Niño and La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean and phases of the Indian Ocean Dipole in the Indian Ocean. This natural variability now occurs on top of the warming trend, which can modify the impact of these natural drivers on the Australian climate.
Increases in temperature are observed across Australia in all seasons with both day and night-time temperatures showing warming. The shift to a warmer climate in Australia is accompanied by more extreme daily heat events. Record-warm monthly and seasonal temperatures have been observed in recent years, made more likely by climate change.
Examining the shift in the distributions of monthly day and night-time temperature shows that very high monthly maximum temperatures that occurred around 2 per cent of the time in the past (1951–1980) now occur around 12 per cent of the time (2003–2017). Very warm monthly minimum, or night-time, temperatures that occurred around 2 per cent of the time in the past (1951–1980) now also occur around 12 per cent of the time (2003–2017). This upward shift in the distributions of temperature has occurred across all seasons, with the largest change in spring.
Australian rainfall is highly variable and is strongly influenced by phenomena such as El Niño, La Niña, and the Indian Ocean Dipole. Despite this large natural variability, underlying long-term trends are evident in some regions. There has been a shift towards drier conditions across southwestern and southeastern Australia during April to October. Northern Australia has been wetter across all seasons, but especially in the northwest during the tropical wet season.
Year-to-year variability occurs against the background drying trend across much of the southern half of Australia (south of 26° S). In 17 of the last 20 April to October periods since 1999, southern Australia has had below average rainfall. Recent years with above-average rainfall in this region were generally associated with drivers of higher than usual rainfall across Australia, such as a strong negative Indian Ocean Dipole in 2016, and La Niña in 2010.
Fire weather is largely monitored in Australia using the Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI). This index estimates the fire danger on a given day based on observations of temperature, rainfall, humidity and wind speed. The annual 90th percentile of daily FFDI (i.e., the most extreme 10 per cent of fire weather days) has increased in recent decades across many regions of Australia, especially in southern and eastern Australia. There has been an associated increase in the length of the fire weather season. Climate change, including increasing temperatures, is contributing to these changes. Considerable year‑to‑year variability also occurs, with La Niña years, for example 2010–2011 and 1999–2000, generally associated with a lower number of days with high FFDI values.
Hotter, drier and more fires is exactly what is expected from climate change in south eastern Australia.
There is only one “raving lunatic” lighting political fires here and it ain’t “inner city wokes”.
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.