Fires (which burn brightly)


The sheer scale of the Victorian bushfire tragedy (over 170 dead at the time of writing: BBC coverage here) is apparent in this false colour satellite image from NASA’s Earth Observatory, captured on Feb 9th. Melbourne is at the top of the bay bottom left, and two large brown areas are the extensive burnt areas centred round Kinglake (left) and Marysville (right) in the Barry Mountains. Red boxes mark active fires, and in some of those boxes bright orange colours show intense heat, probably flames. To be visible from satellite, those fires must be enormous.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has updated its statement on the heatwave [PDF], prompting further commentary by Barry Brooks. For me, the money quote is this:

[…] a colleague at BOM pointed out just how exceptional this event was:

“Given that this was the hottest day on record on top of the driest start to a year on record on top of the longest driest drought on record on top of the hottest drought on record the implications are clear… It is clear to me that climate change is now becoming such a strong contributor to these hitherto unimaginable events that the language starts to change from one of “climate change increased the chances of an event” to “without climate change this event could not have occured”.

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground also adds his thoughts. The Herald has details on how to make donations to support fire victims.

[Procol Harum]

36 thoughts on “Fires (which burn brightly)”

  1. Bodies still smouldering, but already the climate vultures are circling, ready (with zero evidence) to blame this on “climate change”

    “without climate change this event could not have occured”. ???!!!
    What a crock

    “The Red Tuesday bushfires took place on February 1, 1898 in South Gippsland, Victoria. The bushfires claimed 12 lives, destroyed about 2,000 buildings and affected about 15,000 people, leaving 2,500 homeless”

    Please explain whose emissions from SUVs were reponsible for this.

  2. The really sickening thing, Steve, is that you are willing to play politics with this issue. I was sorely tempted to remove your comment – but decided to leave it up so that the world can see how low you are prepared to stoop when denying reality.

  3. Can you read Steve?

    “Given that this was the hottest day on record on top of the driest start to a year on record on top of the longest driest drought on record on top of the hottest drought on record the implications are clear…”

    and …

    “a strong contributor ”

    You trolls are truely sad!

  4. “Without climate change this event could not have occurred…”
    In other words, blame our emissions on climate change, and blame climate change for the bushfire deaths…
    Gareth, you posted that comment above, and have the gall to accuse Steve of “playing politics” !

  5. “The oppressive heat [i]s a major talking point of the vast and drought stricken country of Australia.

    “While cyclonic winds have been lashing the coast off Townsville, the temperature today soared to 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4° C) in Adelaide and Broken Hill, and 104° F (40° C) in Melbourne.

    “So dry is much of Australia that the riverboats on the Murray have come to a stand still. On a cattle station in central Queensland, it is reported that the kangaroos are too weak to hop and the kookaburras can no longer fly.

    “In Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, the New Year sees these State’s battling to recover after recent bushfires. But if its not fires it would be floods, and if not floods it would be drought.

    “In the north the odd cyclone adds a bit of interest by knocking down a few towns, or sinking the fishing fleet.”

    Oh BTW, these reports all date from 1901

    Unprecedented weather, yeah right.

  6. Ayrdale: Had you bothered to take the time to understand my recent post on this issue, and read the references therein, you would know that there is a clear link between these new extremes and climate change. Pointing that out isn’t playing politics, because as I have repeatedly pointed out, the fact of warming is not a political issue.

    Wrathall: Your attempt to ignore facts in pursuit of your political agenda is plain for all to see. It disgusts and sickens me when applied to this ongoing tragedy, which has been made worse by the fact of warming. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  7. Gareth, it is amazing that you can actually write about being “disgusted and sickened” by Steve’s comments.

    This is so far a very short thread, and anyone can follow it very easily from that first comment you posted. Quite clearly “the money quote” !! as you crassly describe it in your posting, contains the words “without climate change this event could not have occurred.”

    Then you have the effrontery to claim to be “disgusted and sickened” by Steve responding to that blatant politicisation of the tragedy !

  8. Effrontery! Steve’s opening phrase is so offensively tasteless that he will get no goodwill from me.

    Saying that “without climate change this event could not have occurred” is both accurate and apolitical. The only politicisation going on is by (and I’m toning down my language here) idiots who refuse to face facts.

    Remember, Steve turns up here to try to establish that these events have nothing to do with climate change. His statements politicise the event, not my reporting of it.

  9. Gareth !
    You’re in a hole.
    Stop digging.

    Steve’s other posts pointed out that disaster on a terrible scale has happened in the sunburnt country long before climate change was fantasised about.

  10. Wrathall’s posts are a disgusting attempt to downplay the importance of this tragedy. The current events are unprecedented. This is Australia’s worst peacetime loss of life, and you defend a man who wants to pretend it’s somehow not unusual. If you want to defend that sort of tripe, it diminishes you as much as it diminishes him.

  11. “Australia’s worst peacetime loss of life”

    Only because the density of people, buildings, and (apparantly) arsonists in that particular part of the world is at an all-time high.

    However the long-term trend in Australian deaths from natural disasters is definately down (despite population increase).

    This trend is common for all developed nations, with significant death tolls like the Victoria fires mercifully rare.

    It is Australia’s developed nature, with reliable communications, fire appliances, good roads, and advanced medicine (ie, its large carbon footprint) that has kept the death toll from being even worse.

    The tragedy is that the false blaming of this event on “global warming” will divert attention from sensible policies to manage human habitation amongst flammable forest. It will also promote the insane international energy-rationing policies that will keep poor counties poor and therefore susceptible to natural disasters.

  12. “Steve turns up here to try to establish that these events have nothing to do with climate change”
    There you go again displaying your logical incoherance. I do not have ANY burden of proof to prove any negative proposition. No-one does.

    The driest inhabited continent, which has always had bushfires…..has bushfires…in summer.

    It is you who are trying to introduce the extra explanatory variable (MMGW). The burden of evidence is on you.

  13. The only pompous hypocrisy on display is coming from two people who seem to think that it’s OK to ignore the facts of a tragedy, and grandstand on “politics”.

    Here’s the news. Neither of you get to set the agenda on this blog, or in the wide world. Your views identify you as cranks out on the fringe of politics, and your comments are offensive in the context of the Victorian tragedy. You can bluster all you like, but you don’t score points here, now.

  14. “without climate change this event could not have occured”.

    It is utterly ludicrous for any person or group, IN 3 DAYS, to have analysed the Victorian bushfires, their causes, extent and possible relationships with other factors, in order to make the above statement and for it to be deemed a FACT.

    However this is entirely in keeping with the warmist habit of claiming absolute knowledge, about what they do NOT know. (science is SETTLED, inconvenient TRUTH, CC is REAL, etc. etc.). It’s why their global credibility is currently in free-fall.

  15. The only person whose credibility is in “free-fall” is you, for trying to make a tragedy into a game of political point scoring.

    …the hottest day on record on top of the driest start to a year on record on top of the longest driest drought on record on top of the hottest drought on record…

    Your inability to live in the real world is your loss. Not ours.

  16. Today of all days the climate cranks need to prove to themselves that they’re right, or don’t want anyone else pointing out that they’re wrong.

    One suspects that their faux indignation when people join the obvious dots is to protect their pride and their consciences (if they have them: HIV/AIDS denialists and anitvaxxers certainly don’t appear to). After all, who’d want to admit that their brand of wrongness is killing people right now?

  17. “The blood of innocents”… not given to hyperbole, are we?

    The facts are simple: your belief that global warming is some kind of lefty/greeny conspiracy to impose world control is (and always was) rubbish. As the effects of climate change become harder and harder to ignore, what will you do?

    To have some influence in what’s done to address the problem, you first have to admit there is one. Until then, you are irrelevant.

    PS: your link doesn’t work.

  18. They have had the blood of innocents on their hands since they agitated for a ban on DDT…

    The political chip on your shoulder must be massive – does it hurt, or don’t you notice it any more? You haven’t linked ‘greens’ and warmists to to communism yet either, tut tut.

  19. It will be interesting to see how many climate skeptics there are among the bushfire survivors. Possibly these people will say “I cant say for sure that climate change caused the loss of my house/car/worldly possessions/family members, but if there is a chance it was a factor, I sure would have appreciated the government doing something about it beforehand, you know, just in case something bad were to happen …..

  20. Green politicking is simply based on fear, distortions and outright lies.

    A tragedy like the Victorian fires gives green propagandists the excuse they need to indulge their fantasies, and capitalise on the fear.
    A loathsome and despicable exploitation of suffering and misery.

    Green followers are either easily led, or devious.
    Historical examples abound of extreme weather in Australia. See above. This is another example. If its hot, blame global warming. If thousands die because of cold, blame climate change.
    Vultures don’t have consciences, neither it seems do greens.

  21. Have you seen this quote from the article yet?

    “Given that this was the hottest day on record on top of the driest start to a year on record on top of the longest driest drought on record on top of the hottest drought on record

    Would appear to have a modicum of significance, wouldn’t it?

  22. Not sure why you keep referring to ‘greens’/’Greens’ (big G is the political party, small g just a type of person). Is a scientist a cunning, conniving, deceitful green if he/she reckons anthropogenic climate change is real?

  23. Ayrdale’s diversion to DDT and political ranting is a bit of a giveaway. It shows that a)he realises that his opinion on AGW is indefensible and so he must change the topic, and b)his scientific beliefs come from his politics.

  24. …his scientific beliefs come from his politics.

    It’s an amazing thing, the power of political delusion. In many ways, the libertarian/far right/anti-green desire to bend reality to their will resembles the Stalinist belief that science was a tool of politics, or the Nazi search for “scientific” justification for their racist dogma. In each case, the ideology conditioned the view of the world, and provided a spurious context for “science” to be done. In Russia and Germany, of course, the edifice came crashing down. And today, as the impacts of warming become harder and harder to dismiss with a few quotes and a choice turn of phrase, one wonders how long it will be before the likes of Ayrdale and Wrathall adjust their views to accommodate the new reality. Until they do, the cognitive dissonance will just get louder – and in Wrathall’s case it appears, more offensive.

  25. Yes, he/she is following the money trail or easily led by comments such as…

    “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public imagination,we have to offer up some scary scenarios,make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective,and being honest.” (Stephen Schneider)

    A scientist who leads the alarmist pack, ie NASA’s Hansen, and scientists such as Schneider above, who declare the scientific debate over, the science settled, “tipping points” reached and compare dissenters to holocaust deniers, isn’t worthy of the name scientist.

  26. I agree fully Gareth, as you’ll see at my blog.
    The problem for your version of events is the climate isn’t cooperating with the climate models.
    Apart from that, the urgency for “repair” has evaporated with the dawning that the money’s not there to “fix” the problem. Hence the divorce between the scientific and political communities predicted by Pielke Jnr. and discussed earlier…

  27. “A scientist who leads the alarmist pack, ie NASA’s Hansen, and scientists such as Schneider above, who declare the scientific debate over, the science settled, “tipping points” reached and compare dissenters to holocaust deniers, isn’t worthy of the name scientist.”

    What about people who have no science background, yet claim they know a whole lot about science and deny the peer reviewed evidence?

    Hansen… one of the world’s leading climate scientists. You Ayrdale, a person who admits they are not a scientist.

    I wonder who is right?

  28. Ayrdale at #31: I’m glad that you agree that your take on the true state of affairs is delusional. Self-awareness is the first step to healing, they say…

    The problem for your version of events is that the climate isn’t cooperating with your politically-inspired position. Ice melts, weather extremes set new records, the world warms…

    I know you won’t accept this — you have too much mana invested in your current position — but for the sake of argument, what will you do when the evidence for global warming is finally so conclusive that you can’t ignore it? Will you argue for a libertarian approach to solving the problem, or retreat into silence? I doubt the latter…

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