Flannery out of his depth as flooding rains return

Stewart Franks

Tim Flannery is little short of a national joke. Appointed by the Labor government as “Climate Commissioner” (whatever that is) on a juicy $180k salary for a 3 day week, his string of failed predictions would make even the most hopeless astrologers blush.

He has spread relentless alarmism about climate change, including rising sea levels (despite owning a waterfront property), and now had embarrassed himself yet further by claiming that even if it rained again, it wouldn’t fill the dams, as I sit here in Sydney with an east coast low sitting just offshore dumping widespread rain over the region (nearly 50mm in the last 12 hours at my station), Warragamba spills for the first time in 14 years, and dams across the eastern states are full.

Professor Stewart Franks, from Newcastle University, writing in The Australian, twists the knife:

TIM Flannery, Australia’s Chief Climate Commissioner, once declared that “even the rain that falls will not fill up the dams”.

This was back in 2007 at the height of the protracted drought that afflicted eastern Australia. Now, for the second year in a row, we see the effects of El Nino’s twin sister — La Nina — bringing extreme rainfall across great swaths of Australia. This is hardly the climate change future envisaged by Flannery.

Flannery has recently been the target of growing criticism for his wildly speculative claims, in particular from Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones.

Perhaps of even greater significance, Flannery is being publicly criticised by prominent meteorologists. Indeed, The Weather Channel’s Dick Whitaker recently stated: “People ideally suited to (weather forecasting) are meteorologists. From what I can see on Tim Flannery, meteorology wasn’t one of his specialties.”

In response to this growing criticism, Flannery has declared that the recent “big wet” cannot be taken as evidence that climate change is not happening — it is merely an interlude before we continue with the drying of the continent.

In a statement of extreme chutzpah, he also has declared that interpreting the recent wet is merely confusing weather with climate.

But as Franks explains, Flannery himself is confusing climate variability with climate change:

Despite our uncertainty about the PDO-IPO, one thing should be abundantly clear: to look at simple trends across a relatively short 40-year period is meaningless. If one looks at the trends in eastern Australian climate from 1950 to the present, one can see a marked, statistically significant decline in rainfall and flood risk.

However, if one looks at a similar length of records from, say, 1925 to 1975, we see a statistically significant trend, but in the opposite direction: upward. If Flannery were hawking his climate change message back in 1975, he would probably be claiming that the carbon climate future would be one of permanent flood.

Relatively short trends are clearly irrelevant given the multidecadal variability of eastern Australian climate driven by El Nino-La Nina Southern Oscillation and the PDO-IPO.

Flannery in his opinion piece has also stated: “Some commentators jump on any cold spell or rainy period to claim climate change is not happening. This cherry-picking is irresponsible and misleading.”

It is also true that some commentators jumped on the recent drought to claim climate change was happening. This cherry-picking is indeed irresponsible and entirely misleading.

Read it here.


  1. Richard Abbott says:

    The designed scare tactics designed to scare the ignorant into accepting carbon tax as the solution for good climate.

    Given the carbon price of $23 is to rise when the rest of the world is way below at $11 and China $1, then our manufacturing industry is designed to fail!

    The only change in climate Australia will be in money transfer from the haves to the have nots.

  2. Poor old Tim- if only that evil woman hadn’t written that poem describing Australia as a “land… of droughts and flooding rains.” a little over a hundred years ago. It makes a constant greek chorus to all his pronouncements.

    As to the other, you’d think by now any serious meteorologist would know by now, that it is wisest not to predict what the weather will be in the future.

  3. John Rombi says:

    Tim Flannery’s explanation of the two year NOT recent BIG WET is “In response to this growing criticism, Flannery has declared that the recent “big wet” cannot be taken as evidence that climate change is not happening — it is merely an interlude before we continue with the drying of the continent.”
    BUT…he did not explain how he got it so WRONG in 2005-6, 2007-8, when he stated that we would never see dam filling rains again!!
    And since he got it so WRONG, why should we believe anything he says!!
    As a side note, in a recent interview with The ABC, Bob Brown stated that with the opening of only one of the new coal mines in Qld, that the coal from this site sold to overseas buyers, would over shadow ANY (supposed) benfits that a Carbon Dioxide Tax would bring!!!

  4. Bloggard says:

    He’ll just say “Thank God I was wrong” Bloody buffoon

  5. thingadonta says:

    Some things Flannery has claimed and got wrong:

    -in the 1990s in the book the Future Eaters he claimed that Australia shouldn’t invest in mineral resources because they were in decline and likely to run out soon. They have since boomed.
    -in 2011 in the book the Natural History of Planet Earth he claimed that mineral deposits (he doesn’t say which ones) are created by microorganisms taking minerals out of sea-water-on behalf of Gaia- to make the oceans clean, which are then sometimes uplifted and taken out the hills to poison the water again by miners. Most mineral deposits are formed by nature itself-by tectonic and magmatic (i.e. volcanic) processes, and have nothing to do with microorganisms in the sea. In fact in the entire book, about the geology of the earth, he doesn’t mention volcanoes hardly or at all, because in general volcanoes (which are natural) do not generally sit well with the ideology of the green movement. How you can write a book about the geological history of the planet without mentioning volcanoes is beyond me. He also suggests and support the idea that Gaia made the crust through the action of microorganisms as a kind of shell, and the atmosphere as a kind of cocoon, which we are now destroying. He also claims mining is the biggest threat to humans and the environment, (his standard few pages against mining in virtually every book he writes so as to pander to the prejudices of the green left, something bad must be said about big, bad, evil mining which is going to make the sky fall down and destroy the world. He never once mentions what mining does for Australia, and the world in general (e.g. funds for hospitals, schools, welfare etc), nor that societies are simply unsustainable without it).

    Other things about the climate science community and the 7 year drought 2002-2009:

    -They suggested that global warming, being caused mostly by humans, was causing a permanent shift to drier conditions in Australia. They say this so that more desalination dams are built, and less dams (at least 2 were mothballed-one in Victoria, one in NSW), using taxpayer funded money (most of which comes from mining, which they are also generally against).
    -The Murray Darling river system they claimed was in dire straits, during the 7 year drought, again, they claim, being caused mainly by humans causing a shift to permanent drought. (It promptly flooded the last 2 years). They assumed, like a really bad investor, that a past trend simply means that such a trend will continue. Perhaps, instead of taking money from the taxpayer, every climate science initiative has to involve personal money invested by climate scientists-I wonder then if they would be investing their own money buying back water for the now naturally flooded Murray-Darling Basin.
    -Tim Flannery claimed the dams would never be full again, partly because of the permanent shift to drier conditions, and partly because the soil was too hot (the have since nearly all filled and flooded). Never have I seen a reputable scientist be so stupid, and so out of balance. If he cant correctly assess the (lack of) relationship between soil temperature and water runoff, then how can he correctly assess the relationship between something like CO2 and temperature. (The answer is he can’t, he has made a career mostly out of pandering to the prejudices of the left (you know green good, mining bad; renewable energy good industrialisation bad ; irrigation and dams bad desalination plants good etc etc), which is now causing him trouble when people are actually checking his now defunct claims).
    -They claim the drought was unprecedented, it wasn’t. There was a 7 year drought from 1895-1902 called the Federation Drought, and Plimer has showed longer droughts up to 10 years or more which have occurred further in the past.
    -They failed to acknowledge that the drier conditions and less cloud cover was also contributing to the apparent temperature warming, the 7 years of drought were particularly warm partly because there were less clouds and less rain. They never mentioned this anywhere, attributing the 7 year warm period to humans and C02, without looking at the cloud cover. The last 2 years have been noticeably cooler in Australia, which they now correctly note is partly because there is more clouds and more rain. (So when its cooler it’s because of clouds, but when its warmer it’s not because of less clouds, but because of C02).

  6. The Gods are laughing.

  7. I heard that a certain electronic company decided to donate a lot of money to Foolish Flannery’s ‘environmental studies’ department at a certain University.I’ve used products by that company for about 30 years.I don’t know if I’ll buy any more.

  8. I think Dr Flammery should be made to stand at the bottom of some of those dry reservoirs…you know, just to demonstrate the accuracy of his predictions.

  9. It is no longer acceptable, as the past has shown, whereby Public figures like Flannery, Brown and Milne make extreme alarmist statements that do have real consequences for Australian citizens when they get it drastically wrong. It is then a very hypocritical approach taken when we see the likes of Brown & Milne persuing actions against specific media interests to regulate them when some comments from Milne and Brown have had permanent and detrimental affects on individuals such as happened with my family.

  10. Betty Whiffin says:

    Anyone old enough knows that the climate varies from decade to decade. We, born in the 20’s/30’s, have experienced it over all these years The climate changes and it has changed since the world began and nothing and no one can do anything to stop it. This carbon tax will do nothing to the climate but hurt people, businesses and the economy. It is a scam to spread the wealth, which this government is intent on doing. The world has seen gobal warming and global cooling throughout the decades even in pre-industrial times, and yet these people are scaring people to death with false predictions which nobody can predict. The propaganda is only fooling those with little historical knowledge and don’t want to know. It is nothing about the environment which so many believe foolhardly that it is. It is about time that people like Flannery told the truth, stop raking in the money. and got out He has been well and truly caught out propagating a scam.

  11. I have criticized Tim: for buying cheap, Chinese made crystal ball. Lots of thin air in, to harvest from; but nothing solid. Accuracy in tea leaf reading has increased by 30%, much better option. But, in the name of science; he should go back to reading tarot cards. That on side:

    Flannery has ONE GLOBAL warming in his book for 2010; Plimer and Frank Stewart have dozens of phony GLOBAL warmings from the past. Truth: GLOBAL warming, or GLOBAL cooling is impossible – if one part of the planet gets warmer than normal – other part / parts must get colder simultaneously – the air to shrink there and accommodate for the EXTRA volume of air on the place that is warmer than normal. Otherwise, if only part, or the whole atmosphere gets warmer > volume of the troposphere increases – intercepts extra coldness; or releases extra heat, if you will; and equalizes in a jiffy.

    People like Frank Steward and Plimer with their GLOBAL warmings are giving oxygen to the Warmist as Flannery. Who is more guilty? All the correct proofs, facts and formulas are on my website. Was just arguing on somebody’s website that: Plimer’s theory of the Norwegian explorer in 1883 going further north, because was warmer and less ice – it was just proven by nature that I was correct: ”when is less ice is COLDER / when is warmer = more ice. Laws of physics for Frank and Ian are taboo – then they blame Flannery and the Warmist…?! Arctic has less ice, but is getting much colder. Because water without ice as insulator – absorbs much more coldness. White ice for 6 months darkness, doesn’t have ”sunlight to reflect” – but 50C-80C of unlimited coldness in the air. Nature will prove me correct on every other subject gradually. The truth will win!!!

  12. Here’s another Tim…from another Time…but the message is the same…(Stick with it if you can!

  13. Nick in Vancouver says:

    Clive Best has done an analysis of the HadCRU global temperature anomalies data.
    He has found that there is essentially no warming at all in the Southern Hemisphere over the period studied. Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and Argentina all appear to be cooling. Australia and New Zealand stations show either static numbers or are cooling. Tim Flannery can’t even get a break from the “climatologists” of CRU. Yes Australia has been cooling but I don’t need to tell you that. Look out the window. I guess your carbon tax is working.

    • gyptis444 says:

      ?? Even BEFORE it is implemented! CARBON TAX IS FRAUD!
      I invite the rest of the world to witness how the Australian electorate views this carbon tax. This GOVERNMENT OF NO HONESTY OR INTEGRITY will be decimated at the ballot box no later than 2013 (preferably earlier) notwithstanding its attempt to bribe Australians with “generous compensation” for increased cost of living.

  14. Dave Coombes via Facebook says:

    Eventually all puppets outgrow their use.

  15. QLD Sceptic says:

    Good article. However, I must take issue with one point. To describe Tim Flannery as ‘liitle short of a national joke’ is an understatement to equal describing World War 2 as ‘a bit of a rumble!’ Tim Flannerys’ reputation with main stream Australia in non-existent. His statements are so wildly inaccurate as to be ignored by anyone who is not a climate change believer. However, the real joke is still on the tax payer, who are stumping up $180k a year for this buffoon to continue giving these ridiculous statements which serve mainly to convince us that he and those who support him will stoop to any level, tell any lie if they think it will further their religious cause.

    • Bananian, Flannery does much bigger damages than his salary and expenses. He is AGAINST building new dams. Because new dams IMPROVE the climate, prevent floods and droughts. Dams are like shock absorber – bring top and bottom temperature close = milder climate. Trees / crops don’t like extreme temp. Extreme temp = more electricity for heating + air-conditioners. Compare the temp inland Qld with temp on same latitude in Brazil. If you don’t know what is good climate, ask the trees. Plimer is wrong when he says that: human cannot change the climate. Human cannot produce GLOBAL warming; but human can change the climate for better and for worse. Distilled rainwater is flushed into the sea – than desalinate that same water for big bucks; or filtered sewage water for drinking…

      Framers irrigate when is hot and dry – when that water evaporate – the moisture helps the surrounding vegetation – decrease evaporation = moisture in the soil, crops and trees stays longer. Extra moisture from new dams increases humidity inland to fight the dry heat – Les dry heat from inland = no big bushfires. 170 Victorians didn’t burn because is too much CO2 in Kyoto and Detroit; but because for the previous 10 months lots of dry heat from inland was vacuuming the moisture in Vic, Qld.

      Flannery is for repossessing farmer’s irrigation permits – less moisture produced in the air by farmers – on the remaining farms evaporation increases – more dry heat scorches the remaining farms, belly up. Framer’s moisture is fighting the dry heat – with less moisture in the air – dry heat from the desert will not go to Murray river and say: there is no moisture here, lets go back. Instead, that extra dry heat will get to the water catchment areas for Brisbane, Sydney – will reduce that water and more house and bushfires.

      As the most urbanized country – you people think that: who needs those sweaty / dirty farmers – take their water; that will make Flannery & Brown happy and will leave us in peace. WRONG! Less permanent water inland – the good bacteria in the soil dead – dead grass burned = when storms come – soil doesn’t absorb water = big floods. Then without deep moisture in the soil – bushfires in few months. Look around the planet; where is permanent moisture inland – no big bushfires. Dams attract extra moisture and clouds from the sea in dry season – makes the clouds to get lower and drop the rain inland. Dams are magnets for clouds from the sea. How many times you see on TV, clouds get over land and out to the coast somewhere again, to drop the rain in the sea?!

      When finally big clouds / storms get inland – instead of clouds spreading deep inland on large are and drop everywhere 203 inches of rain – dry heat from inland keeps them closer to the coast and drop 9-10 inches (simple arithmetic) = devastating floods

      The only reason Flannery can succeed is because: you skeptical people are barking at Flannery &Brown; but don’t put alternative proofs / because you people are avoiding my proofs / because Stefan is on English semi-literate Vog. That makes the Skeptics more guilty than Flannery. People on the street think: if there is anything, Skeptics will discover and point… Instead the fake Skeptics are stuck into their past phony GLOBAL warmings and childish sarcasm… Leading Warmist are very intelligent / clever people – they know that: as long as the Skeptics’s proofs are: 98 was the hottest / medieval ages was warmer PLANET… Warmist don’t have an mature opponent. They know that 98 was a Warmist’ concocted lie as hottest / they know that in medieval times people were scared to sail more than 50miles west of Portugal, not to fall of the planet – who was monitoring for Plimer in Patagonia, Australia and mid Pacific. It’s human nature, people not to be scared from clowns

  16. This guy gives an extremely poor impression of the educational standards in Australia.Trouble is that naming him as Australian of The year gives a very bad impression of Australian educational institutions as well

  17. gyptis444 says:

    The new unit of rainfall is now…..the Flannery…..equal to 25.4mm

  18. Charles Johnson says:

    I have decided to nickname him Flim Flammery

  19. Dave Coombes via Facebook says:

    Flannery is a fake…and has no idea

    • PutYourHeadInTheSand says:

      I THINK EVERYONE ON THIS PAGE IS A FAKE! IS THIS ASTROTURFING OR WHAT? 6,000 + facebook ‘Like’ that really equate to about 5 people paid to sit at their computers slandering scientists like Flannery without reading their papers and pretend to be a people’s movement

      • Please link to Flannery’s ‘papers’ on climate change – thanks. We’d all love to see them.

  20. Whilst he is incredibly gullible to believe anything he spruikes he is not as dimwitted as the politicians who mindlessly spruike on about our “clean energy future”.

    Clearly none of them have ever researched the mumbo jumbo they rave on about.

    Of the World’s energy supply clean energy supplies less than 5%.

    If you take out burning Biomass the figure drops to about 0.5% – yes burning trees and animal dung for heating and cooking in third world countries is considered “clean energy” by these loons yet they don’t consider hydro sustainable therefore it doesn’t get the big tick.

    The significant take from this is to give effect to our “clean energy future” we have to switch from coal and gas etc at ~99 % of our current energy supply to “clean energy” sources which currently supply ~ 0.5%.

    Good luck with that.

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