Two years, three record heat waves in southeastern Australia

Summer 2009 — 2010 hasn’t even begun in Australia, and yet we are already sweltering under another record heat wave — the third in two years. Temperature records for the month of November have been broken across the region, caused by a blocking high pressure system over the Tasman Sea. This follows an abnormally hot winter, including Australia’s hottest August on record.

In my home city of Adelaide, we’re still experiencing the first official November heat wave since records began (a ‘heat wave’ being defined here as five or more consecutive days above 35°C). Last Saturday 7th Nov, the mercury climbed to 34.4°C, and on Sunday the heat wave officially commenced. From Sun 8/11 to Sat 14/11, the maximum temperatures have been 36.7°C, 37.0°C, 38.6°C, 39.2°C, 39.0°C, 38.7°C  and 39.5°C. The forecast for Sun 15/11 is 40 °C, after which the temperatures will drop back to the high 20s for a few days, and then another burst of days in the low-40s. If Sunday’s scorcher is realised (confirmed: 39.4°C), the heat wave will have lasted for 8 days [confirmed] (almost 9, with Sat 7/11 also almost reaching the threshold 35°C). Not a great time to hold a Christmas pageant — poor Santa!

Time for some context. The closest Adelaide has ever come to a spring heat wave was 4 days in a row 1894. This month’s event will double that — a doubling like this is not twice as unlikely, it’s orders of magnitude more unlikely. Consider that in prior to 2008, the record length for an Adelaide heat wave in any month was 8 days (all occurring in summer). Now, in the space of less than 2 years, we’ve had a 15 day event in Mar 2008 (a 1 in 3000 year event), a 9 day sequence in Jan/Feb 2009 (which included 8 days above 40°C and 13 consecutive days above 33°C), and now, another 8 day event in Nov 2009. How unusual is this? There have been 6 previous heat waves that lasted 8 days, many more of 7 days, more still of 6, and so on — the return time is logarithmically related to it’s length. Given these data, and the fact that the latest spring event has equaled previous all-time summer records (!), and the alarm bells should rightly be ringing. Statistically speaking, it’s astronomically unlikely that such a sequence of rare heat waves would occur by chance, if the climate wasn’t warming. But of course, it is.

The November 2009 heat wave has not been restricted to Adelaide — it’s affecting most of southeastern Australia. Here’s a useful report from NSW (ABC Sydney) by Graham Creed, which noted:

Adelaide’s run of record November heat has been in the media spotlight for much of the week but there have been longer runs of heat. Batchelor, a mining town 100km south of Darwin with a permanent population under 400, has just recorded its 80th consecutive day of temperatures at or above 34.7 degrees.

A regularly updated summary of the current heat wave and the records that it’s breaking, can be found on Wikipedia.

Regarding potential links to climate change, BNC commenter ‘perps’ notes:

In this clip from the “7.30 report” both John Nairn from the Bureau of Meteorolgy and Euan Ferguson from SA Country Fire Authority attribute tthe conditions to climate change as indicated by the IPCC who now say that a trend is emerging. John Nairns also explains why we are seeing these extreme heatwaves – high pressures keep re-establishing over SE Austalia without the intervening lows which used to bring cooler southerly winds.

Further along this line, ABC News radio’s The World Today program ran a story on the Nov 2009 heat wave yesterday: Adelaideans cower under scorching heatwave. Here are a few quotes from me:

NANCE HAXTON: The extreme weather pattern has left many wondering what’s caused the heatwave.

The weather bureau puts it down to a stationary high pressure system over the Tasman Sea, which has prevented cooler air moving up from the Southern Ocean to South Australia and Victoria.

But other experts see another pattern at work. Professor Barry Brook from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute says the increasing occurrence of heatwaves in recent years is pointing to climate change.

BARRY BROOK: Heatwaves are going to become more frequent and I think that’s what we’re seeing. That the sort of heatwaves that may have occurred once every few summers in Adelaide in the past, may be a yearly event now and occasionally we’re going to get heatwaves that far exceed anything we’ve had in the past, such as what we had in January this year and in March last year.

NANCE HAXTON: And so that would have policy implications as well?

BARRY BROOK: Well in the immediate term heatwaves are bad for public health, especially those people who are vulnerable to heat stress and haven’t got the ability to cope with that by turning on the air conditioner or going in a pool or whatever.

And that’s what happened in the major heatwave that we had in January, that a lot of elderly people especially died in their homes as a result of heat stroke. So that puts a stress on emergency services and of course it’s bad for the community.

In the broader context hot temperatures early in the year or late in the year put a lot of stress on the plants and animals that live around this area too. It increases their water stress and of course it changes their physiological ability to tolerate heat.

And so all of that put together means more young animals tend to die, more trees die off that are vulnerable and ultimately you get a shift from one type of flora and fauna in a region to another.

And it’s going to get hotter and more hot days, more heatwaves, drier conditions and Adelaide is going to end up looking more desert-like than it currently does today.

Of course they had to end with some quotes from a ‘sceptic’; this time it was William Kininmonth with the usual “natural cycle”, “random things” happen, etc. line.

Another regular BNC commenter, John Newlands, points out an interesting implication for energy supply, here:

Later on I would like to know the capacity factor this week for South Australia’s 800 MW of nameplate windpower. I’ve pointed out before that SA’s power demand of 2.8 GW in March 2007 gives us (Aust pop 22m)/(SA pop 1.1m) = 20 so that a ‘national’ heatwave would give Australia a peak demand of 56 GW…

… Wishes can come true, the AEMO website already had capacity info for 10/11/09

The demand in the South Australian region peaked at 2947 MW at 16:30hrs, due to temperatures reaching a high of 38.6ºC in Adelaide. Wind generation in the afternoon was less than 70 MW. Demand in Victoria reached 9386 MW and temperatures reached 35.2ºC in Melbourne.

70 MW actual/ 800 installed for SA is an instantaneous c.f. of about 9%. Conclusion: wind doesn’t help in heat waves.

Finally, I see that my old haunt of Darwin also cracked the record books – October 2009 was that northern tropical city’s hottest month on record, with an average maximum temperature of 34.8°C. This beat the previous all-time record (Oct 2008) by 0.4°C and followed hot on the heels of its hottest August on record. Makes me glad I left Darwin in February 2007! (at least Adelaide’s heat waves finally break).

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79 Comments

  1. The forecast for the rest of the month is also looking exceedingly dry – the fire risk in this part of the country (the South East) could easily push extreme again this summer.

    Last years tragic fires happened during a moderate La Niña, when things are supposed to be cooler and wetter. If this El Niño sustains, it could be worse again.

    And why the ABC thinks it has to balance things with a statistical illiterate is beyond me.

  2. It seems Adelaide needs a secure supply of clean, reliable electricity as soon as possible – sufficient to meet the cities’ demand for electricity and fresh water from desalination. Of course we knew that 20 years ago.

    I wonder when the penny will drop?

  3. I listened to the radio interview on the Adelaide heatwave and was astonished to hear Kininmomth say , in answer to the question climate change being implicated in the heatwaves,
    “if one saw in the records that there was in fact an increasing propensity for records to be broken over succeeding years…”
    Well ,exactly Bill – so what constitues succeeding years if not three excessive heatwaves in two years. I thought he had seen the light but he went on to reaffirm this weather was not climate change. Go figure!

  4. Note inshore sea surface temperatures in the Great Australian Bight are 20-22C when air temperatures on adjoining land are 41-44C. Additionally unlike the gulfs the GAB has good sea currents. That suggests that the SA desert coast would be an excellent place to site large thermal plant with sea water cooling. Even in heat waves the water on the open coastline is almost too cool to swim in. So Mr Rann build your gas or clean coal power station at Ceduna.

    I’m convinced something strange is happening with the weather. I’m just a few degrees of latitude south of Adelaide and the local weather is chilly as it has been for a couple of years, not so much before that.

  5. You Aussies are such wimps, you bitch and moan about what in Texas would be regarded as typical summer days. When you have more than 59 days of 100 degree or higher heat in one year – the Dallas record – let me know.

    More seriously, I contend that it will take a couple of very hot years back to back before mitigating global warming becomes an urgent issue for most people. At that point the politicians will start taking serious action.

  6. John Newlands — Ceduna to Adelaide seems to be about 700-750 km as the tranmission line would go. Using the popular 750 kV HVDC line, the line loses would be about 3+% and the conversion losses, of course independent of length, another 1+% total; call it 5% in all to be sure. Then a 540 MW CCGT, running flat out, would deliver 513 MW to Adelaide with 92% availability. (The downtime is schedulable; the %$) MW is nominal and increases slightly with colder cooling water.)

    So convince the powers-that-be to build a few out there; enough so that the transmissiion line payments are easily handled.

    Incidently, from my (far) remove that looks to be a great place to pilot an algae farm to supply some of the required methane…

  7. David B Benson,

    Of course CCGT with a suitable sized gas pipeline could eb built. So could a nuclear plant (ignoring politics). Which is the better buy. Which avoids CO2 emissions at the least cost? Which provides the greater ewnergy security over the long term??

    Of course the power station, whichever type, could be built near Adelaide with the following advantages:

    1. lower transmission losses
    2. lower cost (especially for local housing, infrastructure and travel costs)
    3. greater educational benefit (for nuclear engineering students, researchers and the general public),
    4. Desal plant closer to the demand centre.
    5. Closer to the Submarine facilility (just in case we decide to go to nuclear powered subs at some time in the future)

  8. David I was being cynical about a gas fired plant. There was talk of building a ~400km gas pipeline from the dwindling Cooper Basin (Moomba) to Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs township) but Moomba would probably need to connect to coal seam methane in Queensland’s Surat Basin via the existing NG pipeline to Roma. That could happen if the SA government’s irrational opposition to nuclear overruled economics. Both NG and CSG will get expensive due to carbon taxes, depletion and competing uses.

    However if the HVDC line went all the way (~1400km) from Pt Augusta SA to Norseman in WA as proposed by Neil Howes there could be a short connector to Ceduna and another to Roxby Downs. Maybe just build the eastern section first. In future most of the physical NG will be in WA as the SE basins deplete. WA could send peaking electrical power via the cable and there would be no need for an east-west gas pipeline. The cable would unify Australia’s now separate eastern and western grids. Qld CSG could still go to Adelaide’s 1.3 Gw baseload gas fired steam cycle plant.

    I suggest something like an AP 1000 incorporating flash desal should be built at Ceduna. It would send water directly to Olympic Dam via a pipe only slightly longer than the one planned (but not approved) from Whyalla. The electrical output would go into the east-west HVDC line of which 700 Mw would be drawn by Olympic Dam via a connector. Surplus water could be used in the region area enabling a 100 ML/day pipeline from the dwindling River Murray to be switched off. The surplus 300 Mw of power would go onto the new national grid. Any other form of low carbon generation could feed into the Ceduna node; that includes wind, solar, hot rocks and algal gas provided they made economic sense. It could replace eastern States coal generation as it is retired. I’d call it the ‘East Nullarbor energy hub’.

  9. Pingback: Le Rayon Vert » The Adelaide Heatwave in Context

  10. Barry the question I, and I’m sure many others want answers to, is can weather events like the Adelaide heat wave, be directly linked to anthropogenic global warming ? ……. Put another way, can that blocking high pressure system in the Tasman Sea causing the heat wave be directly linked to anthropogenic global warming ?……David Karoly attempted to answer this question in relation to the Black Saturday fires ref :(Real Climate 16th February 2009) and often referred to the IPCC 4th Report, which does predict more droughts and fires in southern Australia due to global warming……However at the time the IPCC Report was compiled, weather patterns like the Indian Ocean Dipole were unknown or poorly understood……Is climate science any closer to unequivocally linking heat waves and long droughts, not only to changes in frequency and behaviour of El Ninos and Indian Ocean Dipoles, but then to directly link those changes to anthropogenic global warming ?

  11. Dear Professor Brook,

    My apologies for this off-topic injection into the conversation… I just wanted to express my profound admiration for your website. I am an ex-Navy nuke here in the USA, and while I lack the academic credentials of some of your commentators, I flatter myself with a solid scientific perspective generally, and a high level of understanding of Nuclear Power in particular. Reading back through your posts, I’ve watched with great interest and satisfaction your conversion from a primarily “renewable-centric” position to one of urgent nuclear advocacy. You are to be congratulated… it represents an all too rare and very difficult “leap from faith” for many committed Environmentalists, and is a measure of your intellectual honesty. I applaud you, sir.

    It is with some dread that I confess to being an “AGW Agnostic”… as a person with deep family connections to the Jewish faith, I do not relish being saddled with the ugly appellation of “Denier”. But since it is germane to the observation I wish to make, the confession is necessary in spite of the potential rancor it may inspire. To make matters worse (depending on your point of view), I am also of a very “Conservative” political bent… I doubt this will endear me to many of your readers either. So why is it that such an unsavory character ;o) would be so impolite as to intrude, unasked, into your forum? Well, because… as counter-intuitive as it may seem… I am a committed “environmentalist” too (small “e” on purpose), and I consider your efforts here to be tremendously important!

    I describe my environmentalist stance with a small “e” to distinguish myself from the “Environmental Establishment” (big “E”… again, on purpose), which IMHO has morphed from a noble cause into, at best, a political ideology, and at worst, into an anti-humanist religion. I am convinced that “Environmentalism” is long overdue for a reformation, and forgive me, but would it be controversial to observe that “Environmentalism” is perceived as being aligned with a Liberal agenda? With all due respect, I contend that is the case. Both Environmentalism and politics have suffered from cross-contamination. The once lofty idealism of the Environmental Movement, fed and corrupted by its political cousin, has been replaced by the cynicism of established “Power”, stooping to the worst examples of propagandist hyperbole and misinformation to preserve and expand its position. If all that is true, it is all the more important that clear-minded, high-profile individuals like yourself stand up to disperse the mythology… from within!

    With all that in mind, my question is… what inspired your epiphany? In reading through your posts, it appears to be the influence of Mr. Blees excellent book… is that true? If so, and now we get to the meat of the matter, were Mr. Blees’ political views relevant as to why you were receptive to the message? Would you have found the technical elements as persuasive if a similar tome (with a different political bias) had been written by, for example, Newt Gingrich… or perhaps (perish the thought), Dick Cheney? (Pause for thunder on the soundtrack;o) I mention this because I’ve been preaching the virtues of Gen-4 nuclear to my liberal friends for almost 20 years to no avail… they discount the “facts” because they distrust my political pedigree. You have an uphill battle before you, but at least you have one less obstacle to overcome in convincing your Liberal audience… and make no mistake, by and large, it’s the Liberals that require the lion’s share of the convincing!

    There is a wise old saying that goes, “If a man that is honestly mistaken is shown the truth, he has a choice to make… he can either continue to be honest, or continue to be mistaken, but not both”. You have clearly chosen honesty. Your station in life gives you legitimacy in Liberal/Environmentalist circles. I wish you Godspeed. Thank you.

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
    Mark Twain

    John Rogers

  12. Hi Neven,

    I really don’t want to be a distraction by debating Climate Change. Given the sensibilities and qualifications of the members of this forum, I’d sooner go to a gun fight armed with a knife! As I said, I’m “agnostic”, not dogmatically dismissive of AGW, nor am I spoiling for a fight. But briefly, as to your point… if I were to point to 2 successive cooler than usual summers here in Idaho as evidence against AGW, I would be opening myself up to legitimate criticism on your part, would I not? Of course I would… and rightly so. We both know it’s more complex than that.

    Rather than dwell on our differences, I’d rather try to identify what we have in common… we’re all in this together, after all.

    - The current fossil-centric energy paradigm is unsustainable and unnecessarily destructive… in both the human and natural landscapes.

    - Fossil fuels are a finite and dwindling resource in a global environment of hyper-escalation of demand.

    - All of modern civilization, and the fragile economies which make it possible, float on a thin cloud of petroleum vapor and coal dust. The smallest disturbances in this tenuous foundation shake the entire edifice, amplifying as they work through the system, erupting at last as major socio-economic convulsions far out of proportion to the event that triggered them… up to, and including, war. In the “real-politik” world of international relations, this will get worse in the face of growing scarcity.

    - Any legitimate solution must be one that offers hope for as good, or better, circumstance as ourselves to subsequent generations. Anything less will be rejected on a political level and is doomed to failure.

    - Exposing the renewable-centric energy model as a “non-solution” it is the first step in preparing the public mind for real solutions.

    - Exposing the lies that have led to grossly distorted public perception of nuclear power, and providing solid, honest information on the topic is the obvious and necessary compliment to the first step referenced above.

    Of the existing technologies, only one has the capability to accomplish the transition from a fossil based model… nuclear power, particularly “Fast Spectrum” technology. For those of us who have been aware of this for decades, we have watched with dismay the near total saturation of anti-nuke/pro-renewable propaganda that has emanated from ostensible “Green” sources. Hence my high regard for this website and others that are putting that word out… especially considering the source. My point all along was to highlight how important it is that this message is starting to get out from people with legitimate, high-profile “Green” credentials… it is as welcome as it is long overdue.

    I can’t speak for Oz, but in America, the anti-nuke political rallying point has always been left-of-center, driven by an ever-more-powerful Environmental Lobby (EL). To its credit, the EL has been instrumental in raising a healthy and acute sense of environmental consciousness in the public mind. To its shame, the “establishment” EL party line provides no useful outlet for this important sensibility, at least as it applies to energy. Indeed, it seems intent on continuing to muddy the water and stymie progress. You Neven, by engaging in this conversation, are part of the solution, and I thank you for that.

    There are more than enough reasons for urgency on this question. Whether it be the current “tangible” body count associated with fossil emissions, the on-going body count associated with international energy security, the certain increase in mortality in the advent of energy scarcity and its attendant impoverishment of developed countries, the continuing high mortality rates in energy starved undeveloped countries with its attendant explosive population growth, the serious potential of a tremendous body count globally if the worst AGW predictions prove correct… take your pick, prioritize as you please… it makes no difference. We are allies all the same, and the solution doesn’t change.

  13. Here’s the second sentence of the Wikipedia article to which you link:

    “Daily maximum temperatures during the heat wave have been roughly 10 °C (50 °F) above average in many locations.”

    Somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to continue reading.

  14. @John Rogers
    You write: “I am an ex-Navy nuke here in the USA, and while I lack the academic credentials of some of your commentators, I flatter myself with a solid scientific perspective generally, and a high level of understanding of Nuclear Power in particular”.

    Hence you spent your occupational time, John, on de facto salaried assistance to the policy run by every US president since Truman in threatening opponents of US corporate outreach since Lend Lease with atomic death, cf. your countryman John Perkins and his “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” et. seq.

    Now the patron devil of this blog for Joe McCarthy lovers and neoliberal corporatists, who may have e.g. some high-yielding equity stakes in the West Bank to strengthen that Israel alliance, is your countryman Tom Blees.

    Tom points out in Ch 9 of his book that given the notoriety of the USA’s highly negligent and collusive NRC as as non-supervisor in e.g the case of the Besse-Davis near-accident of 2001, GREAT is the only answer. GREAT is: Global Rescue Alliance Energy Trust.

    So John, until you as a free market, i.e. US corporate ideologue by your own admission stop assuming that keeping the world safe for US capital can be done without “putting the entire international nuclear fuel cycle under strict international control” (Blees, p. 261) you are not my ally and I am not in your boat, no.

    Tell me you support putting US soldiers and commanders before the International Criminal Court, John, for example in respect of using DU to cause generations-long genetic damage, then you are bona fide.

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  17. Hi Charles Barton,

    I appreciate the humour in your observation of wimpy Aussies versus tough Texans. Might be a fairer fight if we all did without our air-conditioning and went to Africa, but I digress.

    The hazard of heatwaves is associated with their deviation from the normal, since we humans actually have a good capacity for physiological acclimatisation, and associated with that, the preparedness and experience of a community. Hence the massive fatalities in Europe in the 2003 summer associated with temperatures that you and I would consider positively balmy.

    Something we are getting here that is a bit new is persistant and prolonged high overnight minimums, that give people and buildings little opportunity for respite. This increases the health hazard dramatically.

    You may know all this, but it’s a favourite denial line of “what are we worried about? It’s hotter in Dallas/Brisbane/Algiers than it is here and they don’t all die” that I like to ward off.

  18. Molnar, 10° C as a temperature is indeed 50° F but saying temperatures are 10°C higher is the same as saying they are 18°F higher–a pretty significant temperature difference but a 50°Fdifference would indeed be truly astounding.

  19. Dear Mr. Lalor,

    From the tone of your response (and others I’ve read here), I recognize the futility of engaging with you on political matters… I’m fine with that, you’re entiltled to your opinion, difficult though they are to decipher from your writing.

    The only substantive comment I have on your offering (for other readers benefit… I doubt you are receptive of anything from me) is to correct your characterization of the effects of Depleted Uranium. It is indeed deadly stuff… when fired out of the barrel of a gun. No doubt we both agree that this is a terrible misapplication of the material… it’s hard to imagine a more cynical and brutal employment for such an important resource! It’s one of the most useful and beneficial substances on the planet… when utilized correctly. One day, when its true value as fuel to Gen-4 reactors is realized, this foolish usage will be looked back upon as tantamount to firing off diamond tipped, golden bullets! Pure stupidity.

    However, this mythology you’re propagating that it causes multi-generational genetic defects is completely unfounded, and amounts to nothing less than pure anti-nuke, LNT inspired misinformation. To dispel such falsehoods is precisely the service that this website provides.

    It’s hard to determine whether you admire Mr. Blees, or consider him the devil… it’s unclear from your offering. However, since you quote his book chapter and verse, and seem to endorse his political solution as it applies to oversight, perhaps the veracity of his technical observations will find purchase in your understanding as well. I hope so. Happy reading!

    John Rogers

  20. @John Rogers

    your attempt at supercilious patronising is noted; is that naval academy style? It is amusing , by the way, that while being a de facto climate change denier AKA agnostic, as you state in your first message, you nevertheless claim allegiance to the scientific method.

    You ask about Blees: unlike most in this blog, Blees does not seem to equate NPPs of Gen IV with those of Gen III and even Gen II in regard of safety issues.

    You seem to have spent your life in the US armed forces the purpose of which has demonstrably been to ensure as much US corporate access to other people’s markets and raw materials as possible. Hence it is unsurprising that you aim to protect prima facie war crimes committed by employees of that selfsame DoD, which will be paying your pension.

    However, even Wikipedia is enlightening on DU:

    “The U.S. Department of Defense claims that no human cancer of any type has been seen as a result of exposure to either natural or depleted uranium.[61] Yet, studies using cultured cells and laboratory rodents continue to suggest the possibility of leukemogenic, genetic, reproductive, and neurological effects from chronic exposure.[62] In addition, the UK Pensions Appeal Tribunal Service in early 2004 attributed birth defect claims from a February 1991 Gulf War combat veteran to depleted uranium poisoning.[14][15] Also, a 2005 epidemiology review concluded: “In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU.”[16]“

  21. @Peter Lalor – The Wikipedia entry also goes on to report:

    A 1999 literature review conducted by the Rand Corporation stated: “No evidence is documented in the literature of cancer or any other negative health effect related to the radiation received from exposure to depleted or natural uranium, whether inhaled or ingested, even at very high doses,”[104] and a RAND report authored by the U.S. Defense department undersecretary charged with evaluating DU hazards considered the debate to be more political than scientific.[105]

    A 2001 oncology study concluded that “the present scientific consensus is that DU exposure to humans, in locations where DU ammunition was deployed, is very unlikely to give rise to cancer induction”.[106] Former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson stated in 2001 that “the existing medical consensus is clear. The hazard from depleted uranium is both very limited, and limited to very specific circumstances”.[107]

    A 2002 study from the Australian defense ministry concluded that “there has been no established increase in mortality or morbidity in workers exposed to uranium in uranium processing industries… studies of Gulf War veterans show that, in those who have retained fragments of depleted uranium following combat related injury, it has been possible to detect elevated urinary uranium levels, but no kidney toxicity or other adverse health effects related to depleted uranium after a decade of follow-up.”[108] Pier Roberto Danesi, then-director of the IAEA Seibersdorf +Laboratory, stated in 2002 that “There is a consensus now that DU does not represent a health threat”.[109]

    The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in 2003 that, “based on credible scientific evidence, there is no proven link between DU exposure and increases in human cancers or other significant health or environmental impacts,” although “Like other heavy metals, DU is potentially poisonous. In sufficient amounts, if DU is ingested or inhaled it can be harmful because of its chemical toxicity. High concentration could cause kidney damage.” The IAEA concluded that while depleted uranium is a potential carcinogen, there is no evidence that it has been carcinogenic in humans.[110]

    A 2005 study by Sandia National Laboratories’ Al Marshall used mathematical models to analyze potential health effects associated with accidental exposure to depleted uranium during the 1991 Gulf War. Marshall’s study concluded that the reports of cancer risks from DU exposure are not supported by veteran medical statistics, but Marshall did not consider reproductive health effects.[111]

    hardly a full endorsement of your position.

    Depleted uranium first emerged as a social, political, and scientific issue after the 1991 Gulf War. The decline of rational discourse about DU can be traced to the 1999 Kosovo conflict. At that time, the DU issue took on a more overtly political role. The Yugoslav government under Sloboban Milosevic suggested the use of DU in the Balkans would have genocidal effects, and when the U.S. government refused to release information about its use of DU following the war, activists and propagandists alike suggested that the United States was responsible for causing widespread and severe effects from its use of DU munitions. Saddam Hussein similarly blamed the United States (and DU) for a sharp increase in cancers and birth defects, and Yasser Arafat joined the chorus by accusing Israel of using DU in Palestinian territories. In the years since 1999, politicians, propagandists, and activists have intoxicated each other with heart-wrenching but extremely misleading and unsubstantiated claims about the effects of DU munitions, radicalizing the issue in a way that has had a chilling effect upon serious debate.

    Prior to the use of DU munitions in combat, large quantities – probably on the order of thousands of tons of DU – were shot at testing ranges in the United States, United Kingdom, and as well as in the former Soviet Union and other countries. In addition to the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel, it is possible and even probable that other countries or armed forces have used DU munitions in combat. Some anti-DU activists have claimed the quantities of DU shot by U.S. forces are orders of magnitude higher than the figures released by militaries and governments. While such deception is not outside the realm of possibility, the figures released by some activists, such as the claim that the U.S. released 900,000 kg (2,000,000 lbs) of DU in Afghanistan, lack any supporting data, and in some cases are complete fabrications.

    As far as the people suffering from the health effects of being in combat, it would seem to me that it would be very, very hard to isolate exposure to any one material from the hazmat background in an active theater; such places are not exactly OSHA compliant to begin with.

    There are many environmental hazards caused by modern munitions, singling out DU is a bit of a red herring that is leveraging peoples fear of all things nuclear. This stuff has been use in ordnance since 1958, but it wasn’t till two tin-pot dictators tried using the issue to discredit NATO in general and the U.S. in particular that anyone noticed it. Never mind Iraq, why haven’t epidemiological studies been done to the populations near test ranges in the U.S., the U.K. and France? Why would anyone want to run a study under conditions where the confounding variables will make any conclusion scientifically suspect?

  22. Here’s a nice additional summary from the newsletter “Ochre Thoughts”:

    The heat is on It might not feel like it, but officially it’s still spring. Check out these facts and figures from the BOM website:

    First ever Spring Heatwave in Adelaide
    The highest ever average maximum temperature for Adelaide over the first 15 days of November
    Heat records broken across many Regional Centres
    Adelaide has experienced the first spring heatwave ever recorded (since 1887) with 8 consecutive days in excess of 35°C from Sunday 8 November to Sunday 15 November. Before this, the record was 4 days, set in 1894.

    The average maximum temperature for Adelaide over the first 15 days of November was 33.6°C. This is more than 8°C higher than the November maximum temperature average for Adelaide of 24.9°C.

    A number of regional centres around South Australia also experienced record runs of hot days.

    New records of 3 consecutive days or more with a maximum temperature of 40°C:

    Ceduna 10th to 15th 2009 (6 days)
    Pt Augusta 9th to 15th 2009 (7 days)
    Pt Pirie 11th to 15th 2009 (5 days)
    Murray Bridge 10th to 15th 2009 (6 days)

  23. “First ever Spring Heatwave in Adelaide”

    Really, since when?

    150 years ago?

    250 years ago?

    1000 years ago?

    Since Daniel Gabriel was a boy?

    Maybe the answer is in Phil Jones’ emails…

    Game’s up.

  24. Don’t be obtuse Peter W – you know that must be since records began.
    The point is that these records are being broken Australia wide and the heat is intensifying yearly. Let us hope the “game’ s not up, as you suggest, and that we are able to do something to halt the currently relentless progression to a hotter world with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.
    Your cynical comment is an insult to those who have suffered loss of life (or loved ones lives) through heat stress, bushfires, flooding, landslide and rising tides.
    Read this article from “The Age” and then try telling these people that AGW/CC is a myth – I don’t think they will agree with you!

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/in-kiribati-a-way-of-life-is-being-washed-away-20091120-iqy7.html

  25. “AGW/CC is a myth – I don’t think they will agree with you!” No I’m sure ‘they’ won’t, after all ‘they’ didn’t unsustainably pumped out their aquifers drawing salt water into previously fresh water lenses.

    ‘They’ didn’t destroy coral reefs for land fill and foreshore reclamation causing coastal alteration and erosion, they didn’t use high explosives to blast deep channels through reefs changing tidal flows and increasing erosion even further, nor did ‘they’ pollute their lagoons with sewage, heavy metals and PCBs killing living coral causing an entire island to erode until it vanished beneath the waves.

    And of course ‘they’ didn’t cripple their fish stocks by greedily selling fishing rights to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States regardless of the consequences.

    So as the islanders are completely blameless I’m sure ‘they’ won’t agree with me because it’s all the fault of ‘rich countries’ and their carbon dioxide emissions.

    However, the South Pacific Geoscience Commission’s report into the ‘health’ of the coral atolls that make up the Republic of Kiribati concluded: “Coastal erosion is a problem in Kiribati particularly in the urban areas. Most of it is a consequence of unregulated human activity, which has caused a change in the balance of the natural coastal processes.”

    So the only insult occasioned here is the ‘insult’ to the coral atolls being steadily destroyed because of the “unregulated human activity” of the islanders – but no matter, Kevin will tax CO2 and hand out some more cash and all will be well.

    As for that Age article, it’s just the usual emotive rubbish published by the Fairfax stable of comics to promote the bed wetters’ gab fest in Copenhagen.

    And I’m sure the bed wetters will heartily agree with the sentiments expressed by Phil Jones when he wrote to John Christy:

    “I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences.”

    Oh the science of it all.

  26. OK Peter W
    You have given us your opinion that the Kiribati people are getting what they deserve.
    Now fill us in on what the folk elsewhere in the World from Australia to California to Bangladesh to France to Italy etc did to deserve losing their life or property in bushfires, floods, mudslides, high temperatures etc.
    Start by telling us what the people of Cockermouth in the Lake District have done to cause the heaviest volume of rain to ever fall in the UK since records began. I’m sure they will all be grateful to you, so that they may see the error of their ways and prevent the next deluge or freak heatwave.
    You are a disgrace to humanity!

  27. So as your link to the ‘spencer street stalin’s’ mendacious polemic about Kiribati is shown to be just the usual alarmist shit it’s off to the rest of the world to look for a cause to wet our beds with – how very ‘briffa’ of you.

    Here is a link to the sea level project report – see pages 21 to 25 – explain how the recorded observations justify the bullshit published in the Age: http://www-cluster.bom.gov.au/ntc/IDO60102/IDO60102.2009_1.pdf

    Notice the net sea level rise is 3mm a year and falling – in other words the sea level rise in the past 40 years could be as much as 12 centimetres or the length of a smallish BBQ sausage.

    If sea levels continue to rise at this rate they might be as much as 27 cm higher by 2100, so if the islanders want to “build up the islands” as their spokesman claimed, one sandbag will go the trick for the next 90 years.

    “…losing their life or property in bushfires, floods, mudslides, high temperatures etc.”

    High temperatures – really pray tell who has lost their life due to “high temperatures”?

    Where was it? Tasmania or maybe Yamal – you know next to the ‘hockey stick tree’?

    Can’t be New Zealand – record cold in the shakey isles.

    Maybe in the USA – whoops, no, not there – too much cold.

    “You are a disgrace to humanity!”

    Ha ha ha…

    What a specious comment.

    But as you mentioned ‘disgrace’ I suppose we should consider the ‘warmenallatti’ from CRU.

    The material hacked from the so called climate scientists’ servers reveals what a spiteful, venal and disreputable lot they are.

    They gloat at the death of a competitor; gleefully boast about defeating FOI requests by deleting emails and data and snigger when describing how they’ve massaged their shoddy climate records to agree with their pre-formed ideas.

    But as you are obviously a supporter, perhaps Briffa will ‘brown bag’ you some of Jones’ $30 million of grant money like he did for his Russian mate Shiyatov, then you can pop off to Florence for a holiday too.

    “From: Phil Jones
    To: Tom Wigley
    Subject: Re: MBH
    Date: Fri Oct 22 15:13:20 2004
    Cc: santer1@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

    Bottom line – their is no way the MWP (whenever it was) was as warm globally as the last 20 years. There is also no way a whole decade in the LIA period was more than 1 deg C on a global basis cooler than the 1961-90 mean. This is all gut feeling, no science, but years of experience of dealing with global scales and varaibility.

    Must got to Florence now. Back in Nov 1.

    Cheers

    Phil”

    Enjoy…

    Oh, here’s a quiz to keep you occupied whilst Keith bags up the dosh: http://asiancorrespondent.com/gavin-atkins-shadowlands/climate-science-the-quiz.htm

  28. There has been some unusually hot weather and extreme events in Adelaide and SE Aust in general over the past few years and especially this November and last March. However, to put things into some sort of perspective, we need to look at what has happened in the past.
    Even though this decade has been warmer than any other recorded decade in Adelaide, Adelaide’s average maximum temperatures for summers from 1898 -1909 (Federation drought era) were warmer by about 0.3C than the corresponding summers from 1998-2009 (present drought period).
    It looks as if Adelaide’s Nov av temp will be the highest on record but this spring will not beat the spring maximum averages temps in 1914.
    Darwin had eight hotter Octobers in the late 1800s with 1889 being 35.7C.
    In 1901, Darwin had a 34.9C which beats this year’s 34.8C. These records are on the Darwin Post Office (14016) and are on the BOM site.
    The BOM reports about August 2009 that: ‘Every weather reporting station in the Alice Springs district exceeded its previous hottest August, many by several degrees.’ Alice Springs airport recorded 28.1C. But in Aug 1880, Alice Springs PO (15540) recorded an 28.6C average.
    Weatherzone also reports that inland weather stations in NSW with long-term records show a much longer heatwave in November, 1878 than 2009 with Gunnedah having 15 days of 35C+. So the ‘unprecedented’ label for parts of western NSW may be all a bit premature.
    Marble Bar still has the record of the longest heat wave of 160 days of 37.8C+ temperatures in 1923/4. Oodnadatta still has the highest temp recorded in Aust at 50.7C in 1960.
    As I mentioned above, this does not diminish the events that are happening at the moment but shows that we base much of our what people tell us, rather than look at the long-term records to put things back in perspective.

  29. “…please let me know where I can download your email archive?”

    What a feeble argument.

    I’m not engaged in developing and interpreting climate record databases which are being used as justification for re-engineering the world’s economies.

    But as you find their actions regarding rorting the peer review process, which many on this blog point to as a gold stamp of approval, all hunky-dory then you’ve made my case that peer review with regard to so called ‘climate science’ is dysfunctional at best and nothing published in this field has a shred of credibility.

    I thought you’d be ashamed of what Jones, Mann and the others have done, but obviously you feel the ends justify ANY means.

    But not everyone agrees with you, as your mate Monbiot wrote on Monday; “I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.”

    But it seems that rather than react with outrage that your reputation as a climate scientist has been trashed by the CRU crowd, you are taking the RealClimate approach:

    “I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through…. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.

    [T]hink of RC as a resource that is at your disposal…. We’ll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics don’t get to use the RC comments as a megaphone.”

    Can you hear the conversation the next time you are trotted out by the ABC?

    “Barry Brook, isn’t he one of them, you know’ one of them ClimateGate scientists darl?”

    “Dunno, they all talk shit to me Cheryl.”

    And there is another hundred megabytes to come…

  30. I have often commented on your site in the past and expressed the view that I too want a green and sustainable energy solution and a cleaner atmosphere. Even though I do not like nuclear, if the theory is correct then nuclear will be better than the disasters that may occur due to AGW.
    But I have also been worried that if we pin all our hopes for that greener future on the scare of AGW and the theory proves to be wrong or ‘part of a conspiracy’, the public will not be so inclined to embrace that future.
    No matter what you think, this CRU hack is a worry. If the data is proven to be manipulated, it may set back not only our faith in climate scientists but investment in sustainable forms of energy for many years.
    By the way, when they hacked into Sarah Palin’s emails many journalists claimed that it was legitimate. The press can’t have it both ways.

  31. “I take that to mean you don’t want your private email correspondence to be open access for every Tom, Dick and Harry to see.”

    Strawman again Barry.

    If the emails revealed a $30 million link between ‘big oil’ and Spencer, Plimer, Carter and the other leading contrarians and revealed it was they who conspired to “oust” the editor of a journal they believed held views contrary to their own and who prevented ‘alarmist’ papers from being considered by the IPCC; “Ian and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is”, you’d be all over it like a rash.

    The files would still be unzipping as your column was being dashed off to the ‘Australian’, sound bites sonorously delivered on the evening news and gravitas enunciated on ABC morning radio.

    Talk about hypocrisy. Talk about denial.

  32. I have to agree with Ian George – the case against coal for example is strong regardless of climate issues due to health impacts alone, and gas prices will rise if that fuel takes on more baseload, regardless. We have taken a setback on one front, we have not lost the war.

    Nor have we lost the AGW battle as yet. The public is nether as stupid or as fickle as they are often made out to be, many will see this for what it is if for no other reason than they know their own correspondence taken out of context and selectively quoted, might not show them in such a good light ether.

    Furthermore, the physical evidence of climate change is becoming more acute and noticeable and the public will likely not demand that any initiatives be halted on the force of these leaked e-mails. Ultimately, even if AGW is not true, things like rising sea-levels, lack of rainfall and the other manifestations, will have to be actively dealt with.

    In the end I suspect that these sorts of tactics will not gain the deniers many converts from our side of the hill, nor convince many on the fence to decide for them. In fact the tawdry nature of their methods might do them more damage in the long run, in the forum of public opinion.

  33. I can find the monthly/yearly average temps for all weather stations but where can one find the daily temperature records for all stations?
    I can find the daily rainfall for each station going back to the start of each station and use the ‘all available’ function to see temp records, etc.

  34. Peter W
    Exactly how does an email from a scientist at CRU (whatever the content) change the fact that, as this post outlines, that we have experienced three record heatwaves in two years in southeastern Australia. The proof of climate change is in the pudding – the pudding is burnt – the thermostat is broken and the oven is too hot!

  35. Perps
    I don’t know how significant this is yet but the release of findings from the NZ Met Office may be very disturbing. If these ‘data sctentists’ have been fudging figures (whatever their agenda) and this causes a backlash against fighting for a greener energy future, it would be a disaster.

  36. And Winston looked at the sheet handed him:
    “Adjustments prior to 1972 shall be -0.2 degrees and after 1998 shall be +0.3 degrees.”

    Winston wondered at the adjustment to the data. At this point, no one even knows if the data, prior to his adjustments, was raw data or already adjusted one or more times previously.

    It didn’t matter. All Winston was sure of is that one of the lead climatologists needed more slope to match his computer model outputs. He punched out the new Fortran cards and then dropped the old cards into the Memory Hole where they were burned.

    “There!” Winston exclaimed to himself. Now the temperature data record is correct again; all is double-plus good.

  37. Riiiight PeterW, so 1984 aside, how it is that the other 3 measures give the same warming?

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/mean:12/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/rss/mean:12

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/notes#baselines

    And sea level rise data, which is an integrator or ocean heat content and land ice melt and therefore the single most robust measure of ongoing global heating:

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

  38. “The proof of climate change is in the pudding – the pudding is burnt – the thermostat is broken and the oven is too hot!”

    How do you know – what adjustments have been made to Australia’s climate data?

    Harry the coder who was apparently trying to muddle through the disparate and shoddy datasets used by CRU wrote the following in exasperation after hours of effort:

    “I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. “

    Although the veracity of the data is now in doubt and BOM’s wiggly lines only go back to 1900 or so the trend line for November Australian mean temps depicts a gradual rise of about .5C at most, as does the same wiggly line for South Australia.

    What was November like in say 1861 when heat waves swept the Victorian goldfields prompting the colony’s government to consider abandoning Bendigo?

    It was worse during the late 1880s according to newspaper reports and other historical material.

    So why do a few thousand emails and other documents and datasets from CRU matter? Well it might be because they don’t just refer to CRU staff but are between those whose names are synonymous with alarming climate commentary.

    There is Mann, Briffa, Wigley, Santa, Trenbeth, Overpeck, Wilson, Wahl, Ammann, Funkhouser, Foster, Mitchell and the leader of the pack, Phil Jones.

    Many were (are) IPCC reviewers – keepers of the gate of peer reviewed papers accepted for review by the IPCC and so on.

    I was watching SBS World News last night with a few left of centre teachers who have always seemed to have swallowed the climate catastrophe ‘Flavor-Aid’.

    After a slew of ‘the world is ending yarns’ the announcer switched to serious voice mode and up popped a bunch of climate catastrophists who intoned “6 to 7 degree increase in temperature”, “it’s faster than our worst fears”, “sea level rise…” etc etc etc.

    The chalkies’ reaction; gales of laughter and comments like “woo woo, 6 to 7 degrees my arse” and “show us your dataset Phil”.

    As I mentioned earlier, I’m surprised Barry et al aren’t seething with anger, not at the whistleblower, but at the shabby behaviour the documents reveal.

    The great unwashed aren’t all that discerning when they decide they are being fed a line by a few representatives of a particular group.

    Ask the used car salesmen.

    Even RealClimate has given up the ghost on this one and gone home for the night.

  39. So Peter W, I would say. The great washed aren’t that discerning when they decide they are being fed a line by a few representatives of a particular group. One must ask the question, how many shares do you hold in coal, gas & oil ?
    Better go and sit on uncle Andrew Bolts knee

  40. “…how many shares do you hold in coal, gas & oil ?”

    Barry was trying to be serious coco, but you’ve just dragged out the old ‘big oil’ argument and ruined his pitch.

    But, whilst were on share holdings, how many ‘geo thermal’ shares does alarmist of last year Tim ‘Perth will be evacuated’ Flannery hold?

    Oh look, like Al Gore he stands to profit enormously from the CO2 catastrophists.

    “ALL of this would require a new city in the desert; let’s call it Geothermia.” [Flannery 2006]

    “High profile Geodynamics shareholder and Monash University geology graduate, Tim Flannery, was named Australian of the Year on Thursday 25th January, obviously in recognition of his support of geothermal energy.” (http://www.hotdryrocks.com/content/view/39/2/).

    Ho hum…

    Back to Barry’s charts…

    Let’s see, 3.3mm x 91 years (to reach the magical end of the century) = 300.3mm, bugger, that’s less than halfway from the sole of my left foot to my left knee, better tax CO2 and get it back down again or the Maldives will be as wet as they were 900 years ago.

    But if one has a quick squiz at: (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/downloads/CSIRO_GMSL_figure.pdf) one sees, well, nothing really, just a gentle and very manageable sea level rise since 1870.

    No alarming “shit better sell the house at Glenelg” increase at all.

    So the current rate of sea level rise is well within the lumps and bumps recorded during the last 148 years or so.

    What was that again about “ocean heat content and land ice melt”?

    Well, that’s one round straight through Barry’s foot, let’s see if he reloads and pulls the trigger again.

    Barry chooses to use cherry pick, or should I say ‘Briffa’ a chart from ‘Wood For Trees’ and proves ‘Paul’, the site developer, right again when he wrote:

    “Depending on your preconceptions, by picking your start and end times carefully, you can now ‘prove’ that:

    •Temperature is falling!
    •Temperature is static!
    •Temperature is rising!
    •Temperature is rising really fast!.”

    So I proffer this version for your enjoyment; (http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/uah/trend/plot/uah/from:2003/trend/plot/uah/from:1997.5/trend/plot/uah/from:1992/to:1999/trend).

    That’s two rounds expended and the only blood on the floor apart from Turnbull’s is Barry and coco’s.

    Despite the all round fun of the moment, I do wish all of our coal fired generators were replaced with nukes as soon as possible, what would it cost?

    $150 billion over 20 years?

    It’s time the silly windmill idea was scrapped and a serious alternative like the atom was embraced rather than ludicrously expensive wind, solar and Flannery’s oft broken steam pipe.

    It wouldn’t be a bad idea if a few ‘Julia Gillard Memorial Hall’ dollars were expended kick starting a change from oil to our abundant and cheap natural gas as fuel for our transport sector too.

    But no, it’s much easier to tax CO2, ‘cos that’ll fix everything.

  41. PeterW – “better tax CO2 and get it back down again or the Maldives will be as wet as they were 900 years ago.”

    Typical of a climate change denier. Now argue climate change doesn’t exist, now argue the effects are negligible anyway. The trend supports the AGW hypothesis. You need evidence which runs contrary to this or you’ve got nothing.

    And please, don’t refer to “scandalous emails” as evidence against AGW. Empirical data will suffice. I suspect you may find that rather difficult though, refuting the peer reviewed publications of thousands of climate scientists.

  42. PeterW, how can a chart that represents the full time span of the satellite data and uses all four temperature metrics be a ‘cherry pick’? I don’t think you understand the meaning of the term.

    Just as you utterly failed to grasp what was a fairly basic point of my regarding sea level rise. It was not a comment on the magnitude of the rise, or whether a constant rate projection of that would lead to catastrophic damage. It was, and I repeat, to point out that “sea level rise data, which is an integrator or ocean heat content and land ice melt and therefore the single most robust measure of ongoing global heating”. That is, SLR is far more monotonic than trends in air temperature, because it’s a much more complete representation of the planetary energy imbalance.

    So I don’t think it’s my blood on the floor. It looks more like a piece of your brain that’s fallen out. At least the part that tries to think about climate change. The hemisphere that thinks about energy seems to still be intact.

  43. Ian George said, “No matter what you think, this CRU hack is a worry. ”

    DV82XL said, “We have taken a setback on one front, we have not lost the war.”

    Both of these commentators have hit on something that deserves serious attention… “a worry”… “a setback”… indeed so, understated in fact.

    Professor Brook, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of sharing an observation that you may find unwelcome. To put it in proper context, and so that it is understood rightly, I offer the following excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Benjamin Franklin… I’ve edited it somewhat for brevity’s sake, but the integrity of the core message remains intact.

    “A Letter From Father Abraham to His Beloved Son

    Printed in The New-England Magazine, I, no. 1 (August 1758), 20-8.

    Dear Isaac,
    You frequently desire me to give you some Advice, in Writing. There is, perhaps, no other valuable Thing in the World, of which so great a Quantity is given, and so little taken. Men do not generally err in their Conduct so much through Ignorance of their Duty, as through Inattention to their own Faults, or through strong Passions and bad Habits; and, therefore, till that Inattention is cured, or those Passions reduced under the Government of Reason, Advice is rather resented as a Reproach, than gratefully acknowledged and followed.

    The strongest of our natural Passions are seldom perceived by us; Most Men are very indifferent Judges of themselves, and often think they do well when they sin; and, imagine they commit only small Errors, when they are guilty of Crimes. It is therefore necessary for every Person who desires to be a wise Man, to take particular Notice of HIS OWN Actions, and of HIS OWN Thoughts and Intentions which are the Original of his actions; with great Care and Circumspection; otherwise he can never arrive to that Degree of Perfection which constitutes the amiable Character he aspires after. And, lest all this Diligence should be insufficient, as Partiality to himself will certainly render it, it is very requisite for him to chuse a FRIEND, or MONITOR, who must be allowed the greatest Freedom to advertise and remind him of his Failings, and to point out Remedies.

    Find out such a Man; insinuate yourself into a Confidence with him; and desire him to observe your Conversation and Behaviour; intreat him to admonish you of what he thinks amiss, in a serious and friendly Manner. Do not imagine that you live one Day without Faults, or that those Faults are undiscovered. Most Men see that in another, which they can not or will not see in themselves.

    If such a Monitor informs you of any Misconduct, whether you know his Interpretations to be true or false, take it not only patiently, but thankfully; and be careful to reform. Remember that if a Friend tells you of a Fault, always imagine that he does not tell you the whole, which is commonly the Truth; for he desires your Reformation, but is loth to offend you.”

    And so, with great presumption and temerity, not to mention quite unasked, I take up the role of the aforementioned MONITOR. And while you would be forgiven for dismissing me as just another anonymous cyber-voice, I assure you that our solidarity for a nuclear solution to a host of pressing global problems qualifies me as your friend.

    Professor Brook, your command of AGW science is manifest, as is your dedication to avert the worst of its effects. Is it possible that you are so blinded by your passion to the cause of AGW that you cannot acknowledge that the CRU revelations are even the least bit troublesome? If you have done so, please correct me, but I haven’t seen it. For integrity’s sake, this situation cannot be ignored, or dismissed as unimportant/irrelevant. Many, myself included, find the situation quite troubling indeed… and potentially scandalous! Do not deceive yourself that these concerns are the exclusive province of a pack of lock-step, robotic “Deniers”. Please think about it.

    If something comparable had been uncovered in a nuclear context, both you and I, indeed all parties, both pro- and anti-, would DEMAND further investigation, and rightly so! Not only would it set back public acceptance, but it would bring the science itself into question! Under those circumstances, it would be incumbent on the nuclear scientists themselves to set the record straight, and purge their ranks of those who had dishonored their discipline. Having worked in that environment, I assure they would do so… immediately and decisively.

    The bi-polar response to this CRU deal, outrage on the one side, indifference/excuse-making on the other , smacks more of ideology than science. For what it’s worth, from an anonymous friend, I think being silent or dismissive on the CRU issue is a mistake. Perhaps it’s even worthy of a post all its own…

    Thanks for your time.

  44. John Rogers, I haven’t been reading the hacked CRU emails, as I consider it to be a blatant breech of privacy, as well as being illegal. Unlike most people who comment on the internet, I do not do so anonymously.

    However, if there is are one or more points of science in these exchanges that you find ‘troublesome’, please feel free to ask my opinion of them (without any direct citations). If you have found something troubling, then you must work through the science and decide what the evidence says about the matter.

    I do find your insinuation that I am ‘blinded by passion’ on the anthropogenic influences on global warming to be rather insulting, and clearly indicates that you do not know me at all.

  45. For the record, I am more a pronuclear sort of commenter than anyone deeply invested in AGW arguments. Climate forcing to me was just another good reason why we should pursue a nuclear powered future, but not by any means the only one. I have not engaged in the AGW debate with any vigor because frankly I do not feel that I understand climate physics enough to contribute anything meaningful. So I would rather if my position on this matter was not typified as indifference or making excuses.

    Having said that I agree with our host that this event is shameful. It was a transparent attempt to undermine the credibility of a group of people by airing their private communications and mendaciously displaying them out of context. It is nothing more than character assassination. If anything demonstrates to me, and remember I am not invested in AGW on ether side, that the deniers are morally, ethically and intellectually bankrupt, and this tends to lend credence to the accusations that they are nothing but the mouthpieces of Big Carbon.

    I doubt if I an alone in this opinion.

  46. Dr Brooks
    With regard to the recent weather conditions in South Australia it seems there has been little balance in the reporting of weather events. From a farming perspective the conditions have been ideal. Prior to the hot spell SA experienced its best winter and spring rains for quite some time and the first two weeks of October were the coolest for some fifty plus years.
    This produced ideal growing conditions and this year we more than doubled the hay we bailed after three rather average seasons. The dry spell came at just the right time as it cured the hay and we had it under cover before further rains. Standing pasture is exceptional for this time of the year and as I type this email we are experiencing more rain which will improve an already great season. While this of course varies from region to region with some winners and losers overall it has been a good season for farmers. Friends in NZ report similar good news.
    My point is that one can not make assumptions from a single event such as our heatwave and use this to promote an agenda. It took the interaction of a number of weather events to determine what has been a good season, one that will benefit not just farmers but the economy of the state. Conversely supposed good years have been disastrous.
    At times reality belies statistics and to immediately assume the worst of one event smacks of politics not science. Science not conjecture will determine the extent to which human activities have influenced the climate.
    I find it dishonest to selectively dismiss short term trends that fail to support AGW theory on the one hand and to embrace and publicize localized events that do.
    With regard to the whole issue of climate change to paraphrase from a comment above I find a small number of adherents on both sides of the debate are morally, ethically and intellectually bankrupt . What i find more disconcerting is the support they receive from colleges. You are either misreading the public on this or just dont care.
    Regardless of whether one supports or opposes AGW theory we know from history that there can be dramatic climate shifts over relatively short time frames. It is important that the funding levels are maintained to advance the science. It is time to stop acting if this is a zero sum game between ” alarmists” and “deniers” and find a way to collaborate on the science. If things remain as they are public support will diminish the politicians will jump ship funding will be reduced to a dribble and then we are all losers.
    Then again what would I know after all we non scientists have been described in the comments on some pro blog sites (not BNC) as “weapons grade stupid” and “dumb as lizard shit” for not understanding the science. In light of recent should I just trust the experts?
    On a more positive note I find your posts on nuclear and alternative energy sources quite informative.

  47. Gentlemen, it appears apologies are in order.

    Dr. Brook, this is the first website at which I have ventured a comment. This is a testament to how compelling I find both the honest conviction with which you pursue your topics, and the quality of the conversation that follows in the comment section (especially your contributions, DV82XL… I’ll get to your particular apology in a moment). As I feared, I have bungled the task and offered insult where none was intended. Nor, given the outright rancor (or sometimes not-so-subtley veiled animus) that so often animates many of the comments, do I blame you for being cautious… even prickly. In retrospect, I think my mistake was in trying to make it a personal communication rather than just stating my concerns in a more general way. And so, in keeping with the Franklin piece I included, I accept your criticism of my offering, “not only patiently, but thankfully”, and will try to reform. Please accept my sincere apologies… I did not mean to impugne your integrity, and the fault lies with my clumsy communication style.

    DV82XL… wow… I feel even worse at having botched the job in your case. Of all the commentators in these thread discussions, I look forward to your pieces most of all… the consistency of your position, your command of the topics you choose to engage in, and the seemingly encyclopedic access to relevant reference sources… it’s a powerful combination, and pulled off with a succinct eloquence I both admire and lack. Not to mention that I owe you a debt of gratitude… earlier in this thread you very thoroughly hoisted a particularly ugly commentator by his own petard as he was in the process of abusing me. Thank you. I invoked your quote to highlight to Dr. Brook the fact that others on this thread had noticed and were actively acknowledging that the CRU event had occurred, and that it was troublesome… in your words, a setback. It was by no means meant to “typify” your position as “indifferent” or anything else… indeed, it was meant to be understood as an example of precisely the opposite. Funny the trouble words can cause. I assure you my pilfered quote was not intended to go any deeper than demonstrating that this CRU mess was NOT a non-event that could be, or was being, ignored. Nothing more. In both your’s and Dr. Brook’s case, more was read into my comments than was intended. You are both more experienced in this forum than I… no doubt by necessity you filter these comments through a cynical lens… I’ve seen some of the dreck you’ve had to wade through. Hence, naturally, my comment was understood in its worst possible light. Please forgive me for my lack of clarity… I’m new at this.

    Dr. Brook, just a couple more comments and I’ll stop pestering you. Once more into the breach…

    I appreciate very much the generous offer to address any particular points as to the science in the e-mail exchanges, but like others here, I lack the expertise to interpret the data adequately to even form a good question. Not my area. Nor is “data” necessarily the concerning element of the exchanges, at least not from those I’ve read and from the interpretations that I’ve heard. The heart of the matter, as I understand it, has to do with a culture of secrecy and an unwillingness to allow (IPCC level) AGW analysis to be verified and independently vetted. There also appears to be some pretty straightforward attempts to by-pass legitmate public information access requests, among other things.

    Given the magnitude of influence climate science and the IPCC Reports exert on public policy and resources, IMHO such potential improprieties are correctly and unavoidably “troubling” to the impartial mind… ill-gotten or otherwise.

    My use of the words “blinded by passion” was a poor choice in your case. It’s true I don’t know you from Adam, but I don’t need to to know the following:

    -It takes courage for a man in your position to publically take the stance you have… no doubt you are an apostate among some of your colleagues.
    - It takes an open and honest mind to make the jump from renewables to nuclear… this is less about pure intellect than it is about strength of character. (How many very smart people do you know who simply won’t change their views regardless of how convincing the math?)

    I hope you will abandon any lingering insult you may feel on my account. I was a little dismayed at your silence on the issue, and was trying to galvanize you into rethinking your (non)actions. In the bigger picture, the appearance is of a coordinated strategy to just keep silent and hope it blows over. Not that I’m accusing you of such, but in the absence of… well, anything… in the face of such a big development right in your wheelhouse??? It’s perplexing to say the least… you don’t strike me as a follower.

    For better or worse, you have differentiated yourself from the pack. That you have outgrown many in the pro-AGW debate by offering real solutions legitimizes you to a much broader audience… the last three entries here make that clear. This website has expanded beyond its original Climate Change boundaries, which is exactly the trend necessary to effect substantive energy policy that works. Like it or not, you’ve attracted a bunch of Nukes, and we’re the persnickety type.

    So here’s the dilemma. Reprehensible though it may be, these CRU e-mails are now part of the public domain. They will be parsed, intepreted and explained ad nauseum… certainly from commited anti-AGW circles. Are we to be treated to silence from your end? Or worse, will we have to endure the spectacle of the pro-AGW analysis coming from a climate scientist who is on record as claiming Techno-solar will be our salvation, and deadly nuclear waste is an unsolvable problem? To the nuclear literate, this would undermine the force of that argument, and to the less informed it would serve to further attach non-solutions to the AGW camp. Basically, nothing positive is advanced.

    IMHO, silent indignation is not a good policy. What if there is legitimately damning information in those e-mails? At first blush, that appears to be the case. Again, in a nuclear context, it would be the operators themselves howling for blood… first and loudest. What if its all a tempest in a teapot? Who better to demonstrate that than a scientist with a demonstrated record of an open mind and impartial demeanor? The silence from the AGW scientific community is ringing… and not just to the ears of committed “Deniers”, as you call them. Do you really want to be a part of that?

    Sorry for the length of this… too much time on my hands.

  48. ” It was, and I repeat, to point out that “sea level rise data, which is an indicator of ocean heat content and land ice melt and therefore the single most robust measure of ongoing global heating”.”

    Mmmmm, yes and that rate has changed by how much since the record began?

    Nothing.

    And the amount of the devil’s breath CO2 in the atmosphere has changed by how much during the same period?

    Lots.

    And the correlation between the two?

    None.

    So if sea levels have been rising for the 150 years of the CSIRO record at much the same rate, and probably a bit longer according to historical and archaeological evidence, what caused it to rise during the late 1790s?

    Was the Earth shrinking?

    Why was it warmer during the MWP, Roman Optimum and so on, why was it cooler during the Dark Ages and Little Ice Age?

    What caused the Mediterranean ecotone to shift so dramatically between 1200 & 800 BC heralding the rise of the Roman Empire and later shift again hastening its demise around 500AD?

    Mann tried to answer these questions by getting rid of the MWP and failed; amusingly he’s just published again and continues to misuse sediment records as the Tiljander sediment series remains inverted, although at first glance the MWP makes a welcome reappearance on stage.

    My brain is intact and increasingly sceptical of the CO2 catastrophe mantra – there are many deleterious effects on our environment as a result of human activities, but the effects of increasing levels of CO2 are a minor one.

    Deforestation, rampant profligate dewatering of aquifers, pollution of the air with heavy metals, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen fluoride and all the other effluvia of industry combined with barely treated sewage and other wastes pouring into the oceans and destruction of fish stocks by over fishing are a few of my least favourite things.

    Time to get off the warmy trace gas excuse for environmental prevarication and spend the billions being wasted trying to support this baseless theory fixing the obvious and very visible damage we can fix in the here and now.

    We could start by selectively replacing marginal and unproductive agricultural land with natural land cover, repairing catchment water courses by removing weeds and willows, replacing all irrigation channels with pipes and sub surface watering systems and treating the waste water of all our large and medium sized cities and reusing it in their reticulated water supply systems.

    We could engage in a nation building exercise by replacing our sooty, gritty dirty coal power generators with nuclear plants and upgrading the grid with a new technology transmission system.

    Our rickety public transport systems could also make use of new technology so we could see truly fast and efficient electrified rail criss-crossing the country.

    These are just a few of my favourite things, but none of this is occurring. It’s all too hard for governments to contemplate as it requires real decisions to be made followed by effective planning and action – it’s much easier to ‘deny’ the problems and tax CO2 ‘cos that’ll fix it all and we can all feel happy and safe.

    Kevin will make a speech and the commentariat will preen and bluster in support.

    But we will still struggle to supply water to Adelaide, the Murray Darling basin will continue to degrade, tuna fisher men will return with ever diminishing catches until they join the North Atlantic cod industry as footnotes in a lengthening catalogue of environmental disasters and blackouts will follow brown outs as our burgeoning population outstrips our ability to generate base load electricity, let alone cover peak demand.

    ” Typical of a climate change denier…”

    The typical comment of a thermogeddonist true believer denying the reality that ‘climate’ is a synonym for change.

    Now TeeKay, argue that “dangerous, tipping point, catastrophic, moral challenge of our age, civilisation threatening, polar cities our only refuge” climate change is occurring and it’s all the fault of CO2.

    You need evidence to support this theory and there is none.

    “hide the decline”.

  49. PeterW, where is the evidence that SLR occurred in the 1790s? At what rate? Sea level was approximately flat from 6000 BP through to the 19th century, and quite slow during the late 1800s (so says the geological record and tidal gauge data).

    The average rate of rise over the 20th century was 1.8 mm/yr. In the last 15 years it has been nearly double that (3.4 mm/yr). The latest SEAFRAME data now suggest the rate has risen to 5 mm/yr across the Pacific basin, and the GRACE satellite data from Greenland and Antarctica indicate that the contribution of land-based ice has increased by 50% from the year 2000, up from 0.8 to 1.2 mm/yr.

    If you’d bothered to look into the science behind sea level rise, you’d know this. But you didn’t, you just pulled a bunch of just-so stories out of your rear orifice. I can only conclude that you’re either dishonest or anti-intellectual. Or both.

  50. John Rogers, thanks for your reply. In that case my simple answer is that this is the response I wish I’d written, if I was going to be bothered engaging in this ridiculous CRU hack beat up (which I’m not). It’s reflective of what science is and who scientists are. Science is a semi-objective art in a world utterly dominated by subjectivity and ideology (as you’ll have noticed in the anti-nuclear universe — I get it on both this side and the climate change denial side now).

    Scientists are bitchy, competitive and often narrow minded, but they have their reputation for honesty to maintain. and, in general (though not always), hold evidence and logic to be higher authorities than partisanship and money. They also tend not to suffer fools gladly in any situation, and so when people like Santer, Mann and Jones have been forced to suffer the inane ravings and grossly unreasonable demands of denialist idiots for years, it’s no wonder they get stroppy.

    I don’t call them “Deniers” because there’s no quotes required. That’s what they are, small-minded, anti-scientific, pathetic, and self-interested DENIERS. The ones who aren’t, are just ill-informed. I hope you, as a self confessed sceptic but strong nuclear advocate, are a sceptic and not a denier, and will make the effort to teach yourself the basic science on which you can make an informed judgement rather than an ideological deference to myth and spin.

    If I sound frustrated with the whole anti-science denialist writhing mass of parasitic worms, well, I am. If I sound like I’m sympathising with the researchers involved in the disdainful CRU hack, you can damned well take it from me that I am. If I seem like I’m being silently indignant, I’m not. I’m just sick to my back teeth of the whole denialist game. As I said in an earlier post, to me it’s akin to bobbing for rotten apples in a communal cesspit. Hence my decision not to write any further ‘spot the recycled denial’ posts, or other anti-denialist analysis. It’s just not worth the effort, as and you note, we all get further by talking about real solutions, like nuclear power, instead of wasting time pandering to the idiotic whim of ideologues.

  51. “PeterW, where is the evidence that SLR occurred in the 1790s?”

    Well I’ll pull this out of my arse if you like Barry:

    “A reconstruction of global sea level since 1700 has been made. Results from the analysis of a 300 year long global sea level using two different methods provide evidence that global sea level acceleration up to the present has been about 0.01 mm/yr2 and appears to have started at the end of the 18th century. The time variable trend in 300 years of global sea level suggests that there are periods of slow and fast sea level rise associated with decadal variability, which has been previously reported by several authors [Douglas, 1992; Woodworth, 1990; Church and White,
    2006]. However, we provide evidence that the main contribution to the evolution of the sea level acceleration is associated with multi-decadal variability, which is superimposed on a background sea level acceleration. We show that sea level rose by 28 cm during 1700–2000; simple extrapolation leads to a 34 cm rise between 1990 and 2090. [Jevrejeva, S., J. C. Moore, A. Grinsted, and P. L. Woodworth (2008), Recent global sea level acceleration started over 200 years ago].”

    They add:

    “The fastest sea level rise during the 20th century was between 1920–50 and appears to be a combination of peaking of the 60–65 years cycle with a period of low volcanic activity [Jevrejeva et al., 2006; Church and White, 2006].”

    Looks like the recent rate of sea level rise is dropping off too http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global_sm.jpg.

    “Sea level was approximately flat from 6000 BP through to the 19th century…”

    Really, that’ll be news to the Romans – they can’t have eaten a lot of fish 2000 years ago given the tidal sluices in their fish traps in the Atlantic and Mediterranean are up to two metres below current sea levels.

    Might have been hard for them to harvest salt from two metres below the surface too, or cut peat come to think of it.

    And I know the Minoans are supposed to have been belted by Santorini, but many Bronze Age coastal settlements around the Med are well below modern sea levels, certainly more than the rise measured from 1700.

    “…and the GRACE satellite data from Greenland and Antarctica indicate that the contribution of land-based ice has increased by 50% from the year 2000, up from 0.8 to 1.2 mm/yr…”

    The GRACE models are being re-evaluated as ice loss guesses based on this short term set of observations have been over estimated.

    I note the Google response for “ClimateGate” has topped 11 million pages with ‘Bing’ reporting over 50 million pages.

    Doesn’t look like it’s going away regardless of how deeply you bury your head in the ‘science’.

    I did read the response you wished you’d written to the non-problem as suggested by your link, I thought it might provide an insight into your outrage at the appalling and dishonourable actions of the CRU crowd, but this phrase rather jumped out at me:

    “I haven’t read all 62MB. I’ve read hardly any of it, in fact.”

    Says it all really.

    As for your foot stamping little “anti intellectual and dishonest” tanty, well it’s what we’ve come to expect from ‘climate scientists’.

  52. PeterW, do you understand what an acceleration means? A 0.01 mm/yr2 slope between 1700 and 2000 means that the rate of sea level rise between 1700 and 1709 was ~0.15 mm/yr, compared to 3.2 mm/yr for the decade 2000-2009. That is, the rate of seal level rise, according to the paper you happily cited (you left the question mark off the end of the title by the way), is 30 times larger. Get it? Sea level rise is 30 times faster today than it was back in 1700.

    A total lack of quantitative nous, and a hodge-podge of anecdotal waffle, is what I’ve come to expect from ‘climate deniers’. Anyway, as I suggested in my earlier comment, I’m sick of wasting my time ‘debating’ idiots, so I won’t be responding to your ravings again. Oh, and if you decide to get personal and snidely on me, I’ll whack a ban on you, because frankly my tolerance level for this tosh has just about hit negative territory.

  53. PeterW

    “You need evidence to support this theory and there is none.” NONE? Easy response for you – just deny it. Like everything else.

    “As for your foot stamping little “anti intellectual and dishonest” tanty, well it’s what we’ve come to expect from ‘climate scientists’.”

    What you really mean here is simply ‘scientists’, as you clearly aren’t interested in science, nor appear to have the capacity to effectively evaluate scientific research or data. The fact that Professor Brook has had to explain to you the issue of sea level rise over three posts now is a clear indicator of this. Either that, or you just don’t want to understand. (ie. anti intellectual and/or dishonest).

  54. Professor Brook,

    To answer your question, I had nobody specific in mind. It’s just that I have seen very little evidence that many established experts in your field are publically advocating for nuclear power… and even less from the rank and file. That’s not to say there aren’t any… and the number is growing thank goodness, though not fast enough for my liking. Given the circles you run in, perhaps you have a different perspective? Is there a larger “private” acceptance… nay, eager endorsement… among your peers for nuclear power that wouldn’t be obvious to the public? If so, I guess that’s progress of a sort, but until they get off their rear ends and “come out” publically as you have, they are tacitly endorsing the renewable, non-solution, status quo… and complicit in making matters worse.
    You mentioned these fellows in one of your posts… Santer, Mann and Jones… do they have an official position on the matter? That would be interesting to know…

    Anyway, my point behind the comment was, left to random chance, and assuming that the climate science community eventually deigns to even make a formal response, odds are that the spokesman will not be of your caliber… ie: on record as to the necessity of a nuclear base-load solution. Acknowledging in advance that this may be the fevered opinion of a self-absorbed curmudgeon suffering from a tremendous case of tranference, I think that this would dilute the message.

    ‘Nuff said… leaving that behind – thank you for the “statement” on the CRU issue… the article you linked to notwithstanding, I much preferred the text in the body of the post. I am intimately familiar with the frustration you expressed, though my nemesis were always anti-nukes rather than Deniers. Over the decades, I too have built up a backlog of exhaustion at the seeming futility of battling the never-ending, circular, thousand-headed hydra that is the anti-nuke argument. I have to admit, for sanity’s sake, I’ve had to resort to the old, “Piss off, I’m NOT going over this again!” defense too many times not to recognize its validity… accepted, moving on…

    Maybe sub-consciously I cling to my AGW agnosticism because I simply don’t have the energy to fight a war on two fronts… plus, I’d like to keep a little bit of my hair! Of course, you don’t seem to have that problem so better you than me, I reckon. ;o)~ Have at it amigo, and best of luck.

    I think I’ll take a tip from DV82XL and limit my contributions to those topics where I have a settled position and can be of support… you’ve got enough critics no doubt… I don’t want to be one of them.

  55. Pingback: Mind the gap – distant climates and immediate budgets « BraveNewClimate

  56. As Euro Sino Soviet invader industry continues to pollute and plunder the ancient earth of Australia, in greedy pursuit of wasteful “resources”, we fully anticipate Nature to withdraw more and more water from the system, EVEN BY DRASTICALLY INCREASING TEMPERATURES, to decrease water availability or make life uncomfortable/unlivable for invader human cells. This would 1) reduce extraction and processing of toxic heavy metal ore 2) decrease runoff from contaminants such as deadly radioactive dust 3) further discourage a nonsensical agricultural regime bent on turning Australia into World Wine Island + Desert Rice Bowl + Cubbie Station Cotton Catastrophe.
    Needless to say, the best of strange weather and strange phenomena happens when humans are experimenting with forbidden nuclear magic, something that triggers intervention by Advanced Beings who can then employ nuclear shut-down technology.

  57. Pingback: Climate change basics II – impacts on ice, rain and seas « BraveNewClimate

  58. Pingback: Deadly heatwaves will be more frequent in coming decades

  59. Pingback: Oops, he did it again

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