The Climate Commission, the (very handsomely) paid climate propaganda wing of the Gillard government, trots out the drearily predictable line that the recent heatwave in Australia is all due to climate change and that if only we would reduce our emissions, the planet would get back to how it was in the Little Ice Age. At the same time the Greens are claiming the fires are “punishment” for the evils of burning coal. Who says the Renaissance and the Enlightenment never happened?
All of which is ably aided and abetted by the ABC, the Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation, naturally:
A new report from the Federal Government’s Climate Commission says the heatwave and bushfires that have affected Australia this week have been exacerbated by global warming.
The report – Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat – warns of more extreme bushfires and hotter, longer, bigger and more frequent heatwaves, due to climate change.
It says the number of record heat days across Australia has doubled since 1960 and more temperature records are likely to be broken as hot conditions continue this summer.
When Prime Minister Julia Gillard linked the heatwave with climate change this week, the acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss said that was utterly simplistic.
But climate change experts have no doubt that climate change is a factor in the current conditions.
The scientific advisor to the Climate Commission, Professor David Karoly, has written the report for the Climate Commission to answer questions about the link between heatwaves and climate change.
“What we have been able to see is clear evidence of an increasing trend in hot extremes, reductions in cold extremes and with the increases in hot extremes more frequent extreme fire danger day,” he said.
“What it means for the Australian summer is an increased frequency of hot extremes, more hot days, more heatwaves and more extreme bushfire days and that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing typically over the last decade and we will see even more frequently in the future.”
OK, who DIDN’T see that coming? Just like the recent floods and the drought and [insert any weather phenomenon you care to mention], it’s all caused or “exacerbated” by climate change. Well duh! Maybe the climate is changing. It says nothing about the cause. As any reader of this blog will know, if it’s hot it’s climate change, if it’s cold it’s “just weather”. Yawn, yawn, yawn.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the Met Office has actually downgraded its warming forecast for the next five years:
AS Australians sweltered through a record-breaking summer heatwave this week, one of the world’s leading scientific bodies revised down its five-year projection for the world’s average temperature.
The revision, slipped quietly into the public domain on Christmas Eve by Britain’s Met Office, has fuelled a significant and growing debate about what exactly happened to global warming.
On one analysis, the forecast confirms what many people have been saying for some time. Global warming effectively stopped 17 years ago and, if the new forecast is accurate, that “pause” will be extended to 20 years.
Using new computer models, the Met Office now believes global temperatures up to 2017 will most likely be 0.43C above the 1971-2000 average, with an error of plus or minus 0.15C.
The Met Office had previously estimated the most likely global temperature increase to be 0.54C above the 1971-2000 average during the period 2012 to 2016.
The Met Office says despite the change, “we will continue to see near-record levels of global temperatures in the next few years”.
“This means temperatures will remain well above the long-term average and we will continue to see temperatures like those which resulted in 2000-2009 being the warmest decade in the instrumental record dating back to 1850.”
But the release of the data – and the way in which it was released – has fuelled a strong reaction. David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the new prediction challenged the assertion that the underlying rate of change of global warming was unchanged.
“If the latest Met Office prediction is correct, and it accords far more closely with the observed data than previous predictions, then it will prove to be a lesson in humility,” Whitehouse said.
“It will show that the previous predictions that were given so confidently as advice to the UK government and so unquestioningly accepted by the media, were wrong, and that the so-called sceptics who were derided for questioning them were actually on the right track.”
In response, Britain’s science media organisation released quotes from leading climate scientists to explain the revision.
Richard Allan, reader in climate science at the University of Reading, said: “Global warming is not ‘at a standstill’ but does seem to have slowed down since 2000 in comparison to the rapid warming of the world since the 1970s.”
He said the slowdown reflected greater scientific understanding and was due in part to increased heat being trapped in the world’s oceans. “Nothing in their (Met Office) data leads me to think that global warming due to human influence has stopped, or is irrelevant. It hasn’t, and it isn’t,” he said.
Professor Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford, effectively said the revision provided a lesson in the dangers of spin.
“A lot of people (not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) were claiming, in the run-up to the Copenhagen 2009 conference, that ‘warming was accelerating and it is all worse than we thought’. What has happened since then has demonstrated that it is foolish to extrapolate short-term climate trends.”
For the sceptical, the Met Office’s near-term predictions are coming home to roost. In 2007, it predicted that by 2014 the global average temperature was expected to have risen by 0.3C compared with 2004, and that half of the years after 2009 were predicted to be hotter than the current record hot year in 1998.
“Given that we have data for three of the five years of that period, and all show no departure from a constant temperature when analysed statistically, this is a prediction that will probably be totally wrong,” Whitehouse said.
“In any case, it is completely at odds with the new forecast.”
The headbangers are in strife, desperate to hose down this story, so Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science does it’s usual trick of assembling an article by cutting and pasting lots of scary GISS graphs and portraying anyone who could possibly reach a different conclusion as somehow one thermometer short of a weather station.
Happy New Year (just the same as the last one, two, five, twenty…).