tip off

Hamilton: Queensland being sacrificed to our inaction

Queensland is being sacrificed to Australia’s and the world’s unwillingness to take global warming seriously.

Like the floods, the fearful intensity of Tropical Cyclone Yasi is probably due to the effects of global warming. Yasi has been intensified by the unusually warm sea-surface temperatures of the Western Pacific, warmth that provides the energy and moisture that made Yasi so terrifying, with the combined effects of tempestuous winds, torrential rains and a storm surge.

Last night Professor Ross Garnaut, currently revising and updating his 2008 climate change review for the Gillard government and the multiparty climate change committee, delivered a speech in Melbourne in which he stated that since his 2008 review, the scientific evidence for global warming had become stronger.

Cyclonic events are likely to become “more intense in a hotter world”, he said, and since we are just at the beginning of the warming process “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

To say so is not insensitive, is it not irresponsible, nor is it political. It is simply a statement of the bleeding obvious, at a time when we should be most attuned to it.

The Bureau of Meteorology have said that we have to go back to 1918 to find a cyclone as big as Yasi in Queensland. We would also have to go back to the early 1900s to match a December sea-surface temperature of 1.2°C above the long-term average in the seas beneath Yasi.

It is those seas, warmed by the enhanced greenhouse effect, that drove Yasi, just as they supplied the moisture for the rains that, on top of La Niña, swamped the state over the Christmas-New Year period.

BOM

Dr Kevin Trenberth of the US the National Centre for Atmospheric Research explains what is happening globally:

[T]here is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.”

Climate Progress quotes “uber meteorologist” Jeff Masters on the equal hottest year on record, at the end of the hottest decade on record:

I suspect that crazy weather years like 2010 will become the norm a decade from now, as the climate continues to adjust to the steady build-up of heat-trapping gases we are pumping into the air. Forty years from now, the crazy weather of 2010 will seem pretty tame.”

Despite the strong science connecting global warming to extreme events in this country — the Queensland and Victorian floods, cyclone Yasi, the Victorian fires and the long drought — Australians don’t really want to know.

It’s not just that those who make the link with climate change are shouted down as insensitive or exaggerating — although there is plenty of that sort of outright denial around — but that ordinary Australians would rather focus on the awfulness of the tragedy and the adequacy of the emergency response than talk about the causes.

Garnaut told journalists yesterday:

”All the measurable impacts are tracking right at the top of the range of possibilities … or in some cases above them … there is no major area, unfortunately, where sceptical views of the science can draw any strength from the peer-reviewed science, the real science, that has been done in the past five years — all of the evidence appears to be in the other direction.”

There is, as always, an alternative view, spouted by commentators who don’t let the fact that they don’t know what they’re talking about get in the way of their theories:

Piers Akerman today on the link between extreme weather and climate change:

Those who choose to live and work in tropical Australia, be it Queensland, WA or the Northern Territory, well know what comes with the turf.

Cyclones, floods, crocodiles, poisonous snakes, lethal jellyfish. This is the sort of wild stuff that sends shivers up tourists’ spines and sells books for Bill Bryson.

It is not new however. None of the creepy-crawlies or the smashed homes can be attributed to climate change.

How much damage does the state of Queensland, or the nation as a whole, have to sustain before we take climate change seriously?

*Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University. He is based in Canberra.

134
  • 1
    JamesH
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Incoherent outrage and multiple Godwins to follow in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

  • 2
    David Sanderson
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    No doubt Clive will be howled down in a similar manner to the attacks on Bob Brown but that’s okay - both are pointing to a very uncomfortable truth.

    We are living now with the effects of climate change and it is time we, weakly and self-indulgently, stopped ignoring the realities that are bearing down on us. Our economy and society needs to embark on large scale reform in an effort to beat the threat. Only then will we be able to stand on the world stage and get other countries to embark on their own transformations.

  • 3
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Indded! And who takes any notice of Piers Ackerman? I find him repugnant to human decency, on many levels. I don’t read his articles, I don’t watch him on TV. He’s so predictably vile, that he’s not worth watching? Nor is his mate, Andrew??

    The climate change denyers will be the loudest to scream when we reach that point too far. That’s if we haven’t arrived there already! If just one person would ask Piers A and Andrew B, where they achieved their scientific qualifications - it would be great! They just quote the international denyers, many of whom also worked for tobacco companies, who denied that smoking was injurious to health! We all know how contemptible those people were then - they’re the same or worse now!

  • 4
    Fitz
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    @ David Sanderson

    Are you even dafter than Hamilton? “Only then will we be able to stand on the world stage and get other countries to embark on their own transformations.” Who are you kidding. It didn’t need the Copenhagen fiasco to demonstrate that the pipsqueak voices and inevitably tiny physical actions from a country of 22 million people are not going to count when the rulers of billions of people, especially in developing countries, seek to maximise their countries welfare.

    From today’s AFR letters “US President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union message indicated that neither an ETS nor a carbon price were on the US’s climate agenda but that nuclear power was; and that the latest projections by the World Energy Organisation show China’s emissions of greenhouse gases as being twice current levels by 2030.”

    Get real.

    Also, and this applies especially to Hamilton’s latest effusion…

    From a meteorologist friend:

    Overall the tropical ocean surface temperature during January 2011 was slightly cooler than average (Source: US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).”

    While we know there has been a lot of warming of the earth’s atmosphere, and, probably, ocean during the last 250 years and that CO2 is almost certainly contributing something extra with or without feedback from water vapour effects and cloud albedo, and we can also believe that warmer oceans may add energy to the tropical storms that, nonetheless are not unprecedented in their force since CO2 began to rise significantly, it doesn’t follow that we should be so naive as to take the self-interested statements of Munich Re and other reinsurers as gospel - let alone the scientists who beaver away in small corners of the vast complex whole.

  • 5
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Probably need a few more than one to make a claim like this… yeah yeah yeah i know, floods, cyclone Larry. But I’m willing to take it all back if there’s yet another category 5 of the same intensity that hits Queensland in a few years… better 2 or 3 more because then you have a trend and some substantiated facts rather than predictions. No matter how reliable the source, they’re still preditions and don’t replace solid facts. Once cyclones of this size become a seasonal norm you can more confidently make a statement like this. Until then you’re preaching to the choir.

    Yes, personally, I know that something should be done now and we take steps that appropriately insure the future of our nation’s resources like an individual might insure their home, income or life. But to anyone other than the converted this will look like unsubstantiated hyperbole. Which is a real shame because this sort of article makes it difficult to have a rational discussion about climate change simply because of the “incoherent outrage” it provokes.

    Contrasted with the Garnaut article in the same edition of Crikey, this is the stuff of tabloids.

  • 6
    David Dowell
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Clive the problem is that the debate is ar*e about. It is the people who claim global warming - climate change can’t happen, because of anything humans do, who have to prove it. They are the ones who want to change the chemical composition of the atmosphere rather than produce energy in ways that don’t. Want I want to know is what are their parameters for change? Do they have any upper limit on PPM of carbon dioxide? I have never heard about one of them saying we can go to say 500 or 1000 or maybe 10000 PPM or what ever. It is always prove that it will be harmful right now. Not just that but exactly how harmful. Of course, the thing is we don’t have a spare Earth in a lab we can run tests on. We just have this one and we need it to keep operating correctly. We didn’t design it. we don’t have an owners manual, we don’t know what will happen as we keep altering the atmosphere. So sceptics, rather than this constant sniping, explain exactly why it will be OK and include up to what PPM.

  • 7
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Fritz, are serious? This:

    “Overall the tropical ocean surface temperature during January 2011 was slightly cooler than average (Source: US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).”

    …is like someone in FNQ walking out into the calm moments of the eye of the cyclone and declaring that it’s all over!

    January was cooler? Have you seen the amount of ‘noise’ in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data series since 1950? I suggest you do, and notice the steadily rising graph and the choppy movements within it.

    Ocean temperatures are rising, as are atmospheric ones. Carbon dioxide is rising quicker than the planet’s seen in historical times. The physics is elementary. There are global changes in every biosphere on the planet.

    But you quibble about January? Are you serious, or just seriously deluded?

  • 8
    Roger Clifton
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Marvellous graph! It is hard evidence of warming - to my eye, since 1950. Please supply a URL that we can quote in future tussles with disbelievers.

    I wouldn’t mind knowing the lag time between each emission and its expression in the SST - and thus a wilder climate. Evidence of the lag is needed to counter the arguments of those who think we dont have to worry about emissions until the consequences become intolerable.

  • 9
    NIGEL BURGESS
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Queensland should become its own best friend and stop exporting enormous amounts of carbon (coal) to the emerging economies to be released into the atmosphere……?

  • 10
    Jonathan Maddox
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    “Overall the tropical ocean surface temperature during January 2011 was slightly cooler than average (Source: US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).”

    Not in the tropical western pacific, it wasn’t.

  • 11
    Meski
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Like the floods, the fearful intensity of Tropical Cyclone Yasi is probably due to the effects of global warming.

    Probably? A feel-good word. How about something like ‘is’ or ‘is not’?

    At least the US have bitten the bullet and committed to nuclear. Australia will just carp and whinge about not wanting nuclear, but not wanting coal/gas/oil either.

  • 12
    David Sanderson
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Summary of Fitz:
    1. It’s not worth trying to do anything
    2. Anyway, nothing much is happening. It’s only a bunch of dumb scientists - what would they know?

    Sad, but all too common.

  • 13
    David
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    And who takes any notice of Piers Ackerman? I find him repugnant to human decency, on many levels. I don’t read his articles, I don’t watch him on TV. He’s so predictably vile, that he’s not worth watching? Nor is his mate, Andrew??

    LIZ45…thankyou Liz couldn’t have said it better.

  • 14
    Observation
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The Bureau of Meteorology have said that we have to go back to 1918 to find a cyclone as big as Yasi in Queensland. We would also have to go back to the early 1900s to match a December sea-surface temperature of 1.2°C above the long-term average in the seas

    Wow, what were we doing back then????

  • 15
    Jonathan Maddox
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    … yeah yeah yeah i know, floods, cyclone Larry. But I’m willing to take it all back if there’s yet another category 5 of the same intensity that hits Queensland in a few years… better 2 or 3 more because then you have a trend and some substantiated facts rather than predictions. No matter how reliable the source, they’re still predictions and don’t replace solid facts. Once cyclones of this size become a seasonal norm you can more confidently make a statement like this.

    Simon, this paragraph seems to misunderstand the difference between events and probabilities.

    Every extreme weather event is a “solid fact”, but nothing can ever turn extreme weather into a “seasonal norm” unless you’ve specified what you mean by a season, or a norm.

    Weather in the tropical Pacific has cycles broader than seasons. The relevant cycle here is the ENSO. Some summers it’s strong El Niño (like 1999-2000) and some strong La Niña (like 2010-2011). Most years it’s far milder. The cycles are not timed nicely and regularly like years.

    You would not expect much in the way of cyclones in North Queensland except in a La Niña year. If it’s really strong, you’d expect strong cyclones. I say this not because of any recent weather statistics but because the mechanism whereby a cyclone develops has long been well-understood : still, humid air above a warm, still ocean. It stands to reason (absent any clear explanation as to why it shouldn’t be so) that the warmer and more humid it gets, the more likely you are to get a cyclone and the bigger it’s likely to be. If we weren’t getting them under current conditions, climatologists would then have some explaining to do.

    Meski, “is” or “is not” would imply the existence of solid evidence. You can’t prove causality any better than “it’s what you would expect under the circumstances”. Which is a statement of probability, hence “probably”.

  • 16
    Lorry
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics ” - say no more - an arts degree hahahahaha

  • 17
    Mark Duffett
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    How much damage does the state of Queensland, or the nation as a whole, have to sustain before we take climate change seriously?

    …we have to go back to 1918…We would also have to go back to the early 1900s…

    There’s your answer, right there. Simon above is right on the money. It’s all too easy for skeptics to point at previous extreme events, no matter how long ago and say ‘so was global warming responsible for that as well?’, no matter what the trends are indicating. The infuriating reality is that it’s going to take unprecedented events, or at least unprecedented clusters of extreme events, to regenerate political momentum on climate change.

    These may not be that far away, though. The slight globally averaged ocean cooling referred to by Fitz is a well-known association of La Niña events, but this remains merely a short-term superposition on the increasing trend. I’m tipping that the next El Niño, likely as it is to coincide with the next solar maximum circa 2012-13, will see new heights of temperature extremes scaled. (Not more extreme cyclones though, as these are more prevalent for Australia during La Niña.)

  • 18
    Mark Duffett
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Don’t you love it when someone goes and exemplifies your point while you’re in the act of writing it? Thank you, Observation.

  • 19
    michael r james
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Aaggghh, I am an angry at myself again. I have just wasted time on trying to track down specific source for that Fritz crap. Yet again I have to promise myself to never bother when explicit links to such claims are not given (and I do not mean deniers sites like Andrew Blot). You can phone a friend to try to get that link, Fritz but you’ve lost everyone here. Incidentally when one Googles the precise phrase it is Crikey (and Fritz’s own post) that comes up in the top 5 or so places! Thus is how low quality trash like that propagates. (Not, as others have pointe out, even if that statement was made by NOAA, it wins any points.)

    FITZ Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    From a meteorologist friend:

    “Overall the tropical ocean surface temperature during January 2011 was slightly cooler than average (Source: US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).”

  • 20
    Johnfromplanetearth
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Here we go again with Clive Hamilton’s commitment to destroying economies and restrict freedom. Narrow, unenlightened self interest does not interest me Mr Hamilton.

  • 21
    nicolino
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Might I add that Gina Rinehart is planning two new massive coal mines for Queensland. Can hardly wait.

  • 22
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    JOHN From Planet Earth - What good will a flourishing economy be, when every day is roasting or freezing or whatever, there’s no jobs; we lose our whole agricultural abilities due to high temperatures etc and can no longer produce our own food? What do you plan to do about that? It’ll be much worse than now - loss of cattle, sheep, sugar and bananas - a ‘stroll in the park’ by comparison? Where do you plan to live? On Mars?

    What scientific qualifications do you have? You’re a Professor in what? BS?

    @NICOLINO - Indeed! And I heard this morning, that Gina is now a multi-billionaire - on par with Belusconi of Italy? How’s that? She made almost a billion last year alone! Who cares about what coal is doing to the planet?

  • 23
    David
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    What scientific qualifications do you have? You’re a Professor in what? BS?

    LIZ you are running hot today :-)

  • 24
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Climate change, both man-made and not man-made, has interested me since the 40s, but I’d suggest that anyone who reads the emotive responses and (more importantly) non-responses above to the unfortunately complex issues involved in the ‘debate’, might begin to realise that it won’t be easy even to convince enough observers that something needs to be done, let alone convince them about what precisely that ‘something’ needs to be.

    Would it be better if this confusion didn’t exist? Of course, but it does exist, and I doubt anyone can proffer a sound reason for believing the above sort of ‘debate’ can do anything positive.

  • 25
    David Sanderson
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Norman defines ‘pompous old fart’ to perfection.

  • 26
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Projection on your part, D.S., or were some of the words just too big for you? If only you’d had my primary school teachers.

  • 27
    David Sanderson
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    My primary school teachers were better than you primary school teachers.”

    How wonderfully primary school!

  • 28
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Congrats on a cute retort, D.S., and it’s well ahead of your usual contribution.

  • 29
    David Sanderson
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Norman, I’ll always be here for you.

  • 30
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    @DAVID - thank you! I’m running out of patience. I just want them? to get on with it! Soon! I do not have any scientific knowledge or education. I just trust that 1500? learned people plus, do!

  • 31
    Noble Wasp
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    The only conclusion that I can draw from this thread is that LIZ45 and David should get a hotel room.

  • 32
    erikaR
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Northeastern Australia is on high alert, as a tropical cyclone is approaching the coast, and due to make landfall. The storm, Cyclone Yasi, will hit the state of Queensland soon. Queensland, the northeast corner of Australia, has already had the most detrimental flooding in a century in the past month alone, and now must deal with a Category Four cyclone. Yasi is approximately identical in dimensions and power as Katrina, which battered the Gulf Coastline of the United States in 2005.

  • 33
    Rohan
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    David Sanderson,

    pompous or otherwise, at least Norman has the courage to break the unpalatable truth that no matter how impressive we’ve become at defining the problems, we’re still no closer to finding the solution(s).

  • 34
    Gratton Wilson
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Does Bill Heffernan still advocate that we concentrate our agricultural production up the top end so that we needn’t worry about droughts?

  • 35
    AR
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Let’s imagine that climate change is NOT anthropogenic. Can we agree that there have been major shifts in weather in both hemispheres? Big freezes in wet but usally mild Ireland, after an astonishing Summer without a drop of rain April-June, hay won twice before Autumn. At the same time Moscow was over 30C, occasionally nearly 40C, etc etc.
    the question is,dowe continue to build ticky tacky boxes on flood plains and do the major cities of the northern hemisphere (London tried flood barriers in the 80s when AGW was barely a theory) have to wonder if being river ports has a future.
    And Bangla Desh ought to sue India for Himalayan deforestation.
    Anyone recall the razing of the Amazon forests in the 70s? It’s no longer news coz there’s so little left - the flow is so depleted that its delta is drought stricken. Early euroid mariners noted, 4 centuries ago, that its output was so great that the SEA was fresh water a hundred miles from the shore.

  • 36
    bereasonable
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    but that ordinary Australians would rather focus on the awfulness of the tragedy and the adequacy of the emergency response than talk about the causes”

    This - I so agree.

    Can’t believe we’re still debating the base cause of the bipolar weather we’re experiencing in Oz - its a no-brainer in my mind.

  • 37
    bereasonable
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Answer to what was going on back in the early 1900’s… a World War. Loads of blowing shit up!!!

  • 38
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    @NOBLE WASP - Do grow up! WASP? How apt! NOBLE? I don’t think so!

    Not long ago, I had a little family of wasps? near one of my outside lights. We had an agreement; I didn’t bother them, and they left me alone! They just went - eventually! You might learn something from that?

  • 39
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    For once LIZ 45, something IS to be learnt from what you’ve said; but don’t worry, no one will tell on you.

  • 40
    AR
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Liz45 - we have both communal paper wasps & solitary clay builders, within inches of each other. They don’t hassle us, even entering the kitchen in search of water lately and don’t attack each other.
    Would that Crikey commenters were half so civilised.

  • 41
    bereasonable
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Liz45 & AR:
    I also had wasps in the eaves by our lounge-room window - did the obligatory google for ‘how to exterminate paper wasps’ then decided they had as much right to a space as I did. As of last week, mine too have moved on. Amazing how by letting things be, they tend to disappear…

  • 42
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    AR, read something fairly simple, Say “King Solomon’s Ring”, and you might understand inter/intra species conflict a little better.

  • 43
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    @AR@BEREASONABLE - I must admit to being a bit scared of them in the beginning, but they didn’t appear to be bothered by having a human around, so I just didn’t worry about them. I just took care when I washed my door or windows, and we managed to live together just fine.

    AR-I know what you mean about some commenters? I’ve just chosen to ignore the really pesky ones, as they only want to be noticed, don’t they? Reminds me of a dear little nephew who used to throw himself down on the ground in the middle of a busy street - if he didn’t get his own way! Little possum used to embarrass his mum. I’d tell her to walk away, while I kept an eye on him - he was only about 2-3 yrs at the time? At least he had an excuse! A toddler isn’t always very worldly is he?Not conversant with the social niceities of life! When he realised that nobody was very interested, he’d ‘turn off’ get up and run to his mother! Little devil!

    You’ll be pleased to learn, that at 46, he doesn’t feel the need to do it these days! Unlike some who are older than he is?

  • 44
    AR
    Posted Friday, 4 February 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Pathetic that Handscum (imagines that he) is an authority on all things. Arrogance combined with ignorance is never pretty as he demonstrates, tapping away in his foetid phantasy.

  • 45
    Liz45
    Posted Saturday, 5 February 2011 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    @AR - Indeed! Funny how you knew who I was referring to? I just treat him with ignore! Not worth the effort!

  • 46
    Fitz
    Posted Saturday, 5 February 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    @ David Sanderson
    “Summary of Fitz:
    1. It’s not worth trying to do anything
    2. Anyway, nothing much is happening. It’s only a bunch of dumb scientists - what would they know?”

    That proves one thing I suppose. That it is not worth responding to Sanderson if one hopes that he might actually read and understand what is written and possibly therefore learn something. even about how to read and think clearly.

    @ Jonathon Maddox and Christopher Dunne

    Jonathon Maddox, what a surprise to find relevance on a Crikey blog, actually responds relevantly to my quoting someone of some authority who points to a good source for saying that January average tropical sea surface temperature is below average. At least saying that it is not true of the Western Pacific does sound intelligently relevant (but I’ll come back to it).

    Christopher Dunne, by contrast, doesn’t notice that the fact of the tropical water from which a cyclones water content arose being cooler does create a problem for warmists because the physical connection between CO2 emissions and additional, or is it additionally vigorous? cyclonic activity, is that more heat means more energy and therefore greater power in the cyclone. So, if there is less heat, therefore less energy in the water from which a cyclone arose how does that sit with the supposition that there is a causal link to an unusually vigorous cyclone? I think you are confusing yourself with a woolly-minded conflation of what my correspondent was implying with the argument of those who think that any temporary trend is a contradiction to a theory which proposes some longer term contrary trend.

    But, Jonathon Maddox, your point, even if true, isn’t conclusive of any effect on current Queensland problems of oceanic warming because it would appear to be the local effect that you refer to which is possibly responsible for the current vigour of cyclonic activity and not the general level. Maybe you would say there is a higher base from which local effects can take their starting point but that obviously is a proposition needing testing and may not sit comfortably with the fact that Queensland has experienced comparably great weather events to the recent ones extending back 100 years and more.

    @ Michael R. James

    As you can see I merely quoted someone I regard as a reputable authority rather than quote or cite a documentary source myself and I am glad that someone tried to follow it up if, with reason given than I didn’t even name my source, you wanted to verify it. Clearly you haven’t either verified it or found a reliable contradiction of it - or a way of distinguishng it like Jonathon Maddox - so it says something only about you and your prejudices that you call it crap. I would be delighted to learn that you had some competence in the field of climate science and could give some reliable information on the subject. Evidently you can’t.

    I have cited on another blog a link given by the same meteorologist which is

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

    From there a graph is extractable I gather, though I haven’t been able to replicate it myself - but have seen the graph - which shows a trend line for tropical ocean sea surface temperature from 1948 to date which indicates a rise of 0.4 degrees in the 62 or 63 years except that the actual end of 2010 temperature is 0.2 degrees below where the trend would take it. For devoted warmists it does create a slight problem as heat energy is the key to vigorous cyclonic activity. As far as I know no one is claiming that Cyclone Jasi built up a head of steam six months ago when the water at its place of origin was exceptionally warm!

  • 47
    Moira Smith
    Posted Saturday, 5 February 2011 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    @Liz 45 - you wrote: ‘who takes any notice of Piers Ackerman? I find him repugnant to human decency, on many levels. I don’t read his articles, I don’t watch him on TV. He’s so predictably vile, that he’s not worth watching? Nor is his mate, Andrew??’

    I totally agree with you, but alas lots of people take notice of Piers and Andrew, that’s why they get huge ratings and earn huge salaries. (And why ABC’s ‘Insiders’ feels obliged to have one or other of them on each Sunday morning, to add ‘balance’.) This is the truly worrying thing. We *can’t* just dismiss them as repugnant etc (tho they are) …

  • 48
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Saturday, 5 February 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I’m fully aware, AR/LIZ45, that my posts haven’t displayed any special competence. It’s just that alongside your sad struggles to understand what’s happening in the world, even mediocrity can appear reasonably adequate. It’s possibly selfish of me to be so grateful that I don’t have your psychological needs to project shortcomings onto others, but I’m sure objective observers would understand. I’d have continued longer trying to help you if it hadn’t seemed such a hopelessly impossible goal.

    My hopes to get you thinking a tad more effectively were (in light of your incredibly strong and deeply ingrained defence mechanisms) probably doomed from the beginning; but I believe those same fair observers would agree that I’ve been trying — - possibly even extremely trying?

    Via con dios, little munchkins, as you appear to need his/her help more desperately than any of the slow learners I’ve succeeded in helping in the past.

    P.S. I trust you didn’t mind me finishing off above on such a positive note?

    P.P.S. Why not take a leaf out of Moira’s book. She shares your prejudices, but does at least give a hint of understanding that simply abusing those whose views differ, may not be the only possible path, when she implies it may not be enough simply to dismiss opponents instead of trying (presumably whatever your personal limitations may be?) to actually understand WHAT they’re saying and, more importantly, actually develop a coherent refutation of what they’ve actually said. Unless such effort is another bridge far to far for you to tackle?

  • 49
    David Sanderson
    Posted Saturday, 5 February 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Pompous ass, and a deluded egoistic fool to boot.

  • 50
    Norman Hanscombe
    Posted Saturday, 5 February 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    D.A., perhaps an apt confession on your part, but instead of berating yourself, why not risk the pain of trying to improve your analytical skills? Who knows, you may not merely come up with sounder, less emotive ideas, but even be able to express them better — - not to mention detect tongue in cheek commentaries?

    Good luck.

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