February 4, 2011

Damn that global warming!

Chicago - February 2011

[Yes, yes, I know:  individual weather events are not indicative of the climate, unless you're Bob Brown (that would be Dr Bob, right?), in which case you get to blame individual cyclones on coal miners and you get to blame individual floods in flood plane areas on coal miners.  For the rest of us, we must refrain from latching onto every little weather event as evidence of anything, as it would only serve to show our ignorance of science.]


  1. I can't remember the last time the remnants of a monster tropical cyclone dumped twice the monthly average of rain on Melbourne. I'd better get googling.

  2. Lol.. Spot on Caz...

    The Greens are saying that cyclone Yasi is a tragedy of climate change..

    WTF would they know?

    "Trends in tropical cyclone activity in the Australian region (south of equator; 105 - 160°E) show that the total number of cyclones has decreased in recent decades. However, the number of stronger cyclones (minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa) has not declined."

    Bureau of meteorology.

    WTF would anyone know... Really?

  3. geoff8:28 AM

    Here's a true cyclone story. A bloke I know lives in Brisbane with his partner and her teenage daughter. He has two kids of his own who live in Townsville with their mother. The oldest, a nine year old, was spendiing the school holidays with her dad in Brisbane when the house was flooded to the roofline. Her dad evacuated her back to Townsville in the morning, flying with her and then flying back the next day to help with the horrible mess. On Tuesday he flew again to Townsville, and evacuated the kids and their mother to Toowoombah to stay with grandparents, driving through the night and the next day in a hire car.

    Little Eva has been evacuated twice in three weeks. First from her dad's home in Brisbane and now her mother's home in Townsville.

  4. Jacob - Remnants of the cyclone also going to dump rain on Northern Territory.

    Hmm ... Northern Territory ... Melbourne?

    Weird, yeah?

    Kath - I noticed that sweet little things from the Australian Youth Coalition for the Environment (or something like that), were bleating after the floods about not wanting to live in a country like this if that was how the future looked. Poor petals. Imagine how quickly they would have needed to emigrate during the 1800's, when the flooding was nearly four metres higher than the recent Queensland episode.

    At least little Eva will have a good story for show and tell when she's back at school Geoff. Your friend must be exhausted; he sounds like a good man.

    I also liked the story about the toddler made famous in a pic from cyclone Tracy (on cover of mags, crying in the middle of his wrecked home) - more than 40 years later, guess where he's living ... smack bang in the midst of where Yasi hit in Queensland. Apparently he's seen more than a few cyclones in his time.

  5. I work on a gold mine south of Kalgoorlie and commented to others recently how odd it is for easterlies blowing off the interior, normally hot and dry, to be full of moisture and bring drizzle, this time of year. The culprit: remnants of Yasi. Her influence has been far reaching, affecting local climates well removed from her source and main Australian influence on the FNQ coast and local interior.

    I'm not sure about climate change (nobody is certain) but I do know that this summer started off with a negative IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) event which results in greater rainfall for eastern/south eastern Australia due to warmer Indian Ocean waters, leading to evaporation and greater moisture levels being advected over the continent which results in rain-bearing clouds.
    IOD events, it has recently been discovered, have a greater influence and acts independently of any ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation - El Nino/La Nina) event.
    It’s the Indian Ocean (IOD) not Pacific Ocean (ENSO) that has the greater influence on the weather of Australia but the media has not yet picked up on it. I hope they will, most people have at least heard of El Nino.. very few have heard of the IOD.

    The initial summer negative IOD event coupled with a very strong La Nina strongest in almost a century) has led to greater levels of moisture available to the continent due to evaporation occurring from higher than normal Pacific and Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures (sst). Where previous years have seen lower sst, less available moisture and hot dry continental air the abundant moisture from evaporation has resulted in flooding up and down the east coast and warmer water (La Nina conditions) means a season with a chance of a greater number of Tropical Cyclones than normal.

    Really, it’s quite a shock to the system when one has been used to strong El Nino and positive IOD events (drought) for many years. It’s like Mother Nature has suddenly decided she needs to compensate for all the years of below average rainfall, in one short six month period.

  6. Dave - La Nina is getting surprisingly few mentions, and none of the "blame". Oh, sure, she's buried in lengthy pieces, a token mention, surrounded by lots of blathering about "evidence" of global warming / climate change / extreme weather events. La Nina and El Nino kind of slip through as being inconsequential, even though they're quite normal (and extreme) phenomena, and responsible for dry and wet spells aplenty.

    Cyclone Yasi, being the BIG one has dominated the blame game for weird and wet weather in other states. Much to my surprise, the smaller and almost ignored Cyclone Anthony has has also played a part.

    Your commentary about the influence of the Indian Ocean are educational, and illustrates how mainstream coverage and comments from those with vested interests are so knee-jerk, politically correct, and not founded on science ... certainly not founded on an understanding of climatic conditions or the weather.