back to article Oz's 2013 heatwave was man made

It was a summer notable both for long heatwaves and for extremes that led the Bureau of Meteorology to update its heat map colour schemes to take into account a new normal. Now, University of Melbourne scientists believe they can attribute the unusual heat of summer 2012-2013 to human-driven climate change. The university's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    More info needed

    I really, really tried to understand what the graph was trying to tell me, but failed. The abstract tells me the scientists' conclusions, but no more.

    Since I can't afford to pay to read the paper I'm forced to ignore it until more detail leaks somehow. Very disappointing.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: More info needed

      The chance of an extreme weather event is the area under the curve to the right of the line divided by the total area under the curve. A small shift in average temperatures (which typically distribute on a bell curve means the area to the right increases significantly and thus so does the chance of extreme weather.

      So when people harumph that it's only 1 C degree rise or whatever they fail to grasp that the likelihood of extreme weather events may have gone up many-fold.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: More info needed

        An excellent response, thanks.

        For some reason it just wouldn't click, but it is clear now.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More info needed

        The *models* are moving to the right, the observations appear static.

        Does this not imply that the models are wrong?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe, they just are seeking some attentiona dn extra funding.

    Get used to it, just like our own Met. Department, who never get anyhting major right.

    1. andro

      Re: Speculation

      Nah, not speculation for funding if the CSIRO are involved. They have a very good track record of releasing good and impartial information, including on the climate. Much more on their site.

    2. NewAccount
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Speculation

      In mathematics (*) there is something called the Three-body Problem. To summarise it: when dealing with three bodies (down, Paris!) the maths gets beyond manageable.

      Well, meteorology tries to deal with one helluva lot more than three bodies, so maybe give it a break, already. (*)

      Paris, because her attributes aren't all bad, really.

      (*) Don't actually know why I thought 'already' in a Bronx accent. Just felt right.

  4. e8hffff

    What a load of ****. There is no global-warming. It's just a political Agenda.

    1. NewAccount

      "What a load of ****. There is no global-warming. It's just a political Agenda."

      Maybe. Maybe not.

      Perhaps the cumulative effect of all of humankind and what it's done in the last century or two is really so incredibly paltry that it could *never*, *possibly* have any effect on the status of the chemical bonds of our little planet.

      Perhaps. Who knows?

      In about another 148 million years of evolution we'll have dominated Mother Earth for about as long as the dinosaurs did.

      In 198 million years we'll have survived as many changes as the cockroachly species of today.

      Then, perhaps, we'll have earned our place in the Planet Earth Walk of Fame. Then, maybe, the successors of Mr. Lewis (to AGW what Eadon was to Microsoft), will supplement claims with facts and reasoning in a balanced sort of way.

      Not sure whether the world would be a better place, though, if we or our droid descendants are around to see it. There is a certain 'Je ne Sais Quoi' about their world-view that reminds me of a Tracey Emin work of art. It appeals to some people that see art in that way.

  5. e8hffff

    I live in Australia and the summer at the start of 2013 was not anything unusual. The Media went on a propaganda campaign to say 30-40 degrees a day her or there was a heat wave, yet it's typical in australia to get weeks of 35+ at summer.

    1. Denarius

      last summer

      Depending where you live. In Perth, definitely. In the Alice and points north to katherine, routine. Sydney, rare. Hobart, rare but not unknown over the decades. CSIRO are respected in their data quality. However, assuming a 500 year warming cycle is peaking, a series of hotter summers are reasonable. Have to admit a couple of days in January in central NSW were like tropical north preWet around 5 Ant Creek (used to be Tennant Creek, but downsized).

      However, the records of Watkins Tench indicate that Sydney had the same summer weather in First Fleet days. So no proof of anything really unusual, yet. If the Russians are right, next two years should see a definite cooling trend. If not, it will be the first time a bunch of pressure groups aka NGOs, bureaucrats and panic merchants will be right. No doubt kev07 and supporters still want to de-industrialise this nation with the help of the WTO. We are colonials after all, if not of the poms, then the yanks, or china soon enough.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: last summer

        Whoa there! How come we can't assume basic physics/chemistry applies at a planetary level but we can assume we are approaching the peak of a 500 year warming cycle?

        Choosing data to fit your worldview may be comforting, but it is not science.

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

          Re: last summer @AC 09:36

          I think that we <bold>can</bold> assume that basic chemistry works at a planetary level, the problem is that we just don't know what all of it is. e.g. what processes in the atmosphere convert wheich compounds into what; and does that lead to clouds and higher albedo, or does it reduce clouds? Another is if there is higher CO2 and higher temperatures, what do the different plants do?

          Another problem is that we just can't process that many datapoints, so we have simplifications to significantly reduce the number of datapoints. Hence there being at least 90 different climate models.

          Where the 500 year cycle idea comes from, no idea, but possibly it's orbital. Possibly it's inferred from digging up stuff (e.g. ice cores).

  6. NewAccount
    Thumb Down

    Impeccable logic


    "What a load of ****. There is no global-warming. It's just a political Agenda."

    The thingss that won me over immediately were your well-sourced, carefully presented facts and your incisive line of reasoning.

    1. cortland

      Re: Impeccable logic

      incisive line of reasoning

      Yes, with incisors, it bites.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So the models do not match the actual observations, but we should believe the models?

    Would someone kindly put this story into English, and provide some context to the random graph.

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    As stated above, the model data is varying away from the observational data on that graph. Either the observational data is incomplete or the models are becoming more inaccurate. Either way, it completely throws the accuracy of this article into touch.

    We need more info to make an informed opinion..

    1. Tom 13

      @Andy The Hat

      More importantly than that, we've learned an important lesson from Professor Mann: Never trust a graph that comes from a Warmist. Science is predicated on the sharing of data and methods. Since the article in question is behind a paywall, it isn't science.

      1. Northumbrian

        Re: @Andy The Hat

        "Since the article in question is behind a paywall, it isn't science."

        Or to re-phrase, "if it isn't paid for by advertising, I won't believe it."

        I think you'll find that most of the world's leading academic journals are behind paywalls - as is the FT, the WSJ, the Times, the Telegraph and The Economist.

        Even in the post-dead-tree era of publishing most journals find it necessary to get you to pay in order to meet their costs. Getting the synopsis gives you a start. After that you probably need access to a university library with a sub to the appropriate journal.

    2. Wzrd1

      "Either the observational data is incomplete or the models are becoming more inaccurate. Either way, it completely throws the accuracy of this article into touch."

      Not really. If the model were previously highly accurate over decades and suddenly it is becoming inaccurate, something changed in the climate itself that changed the local climate to diverge from the fixed data model.

      We lack the computing capability to measure vast numbers of data points, then incorporate them into models, so fixed data is used to approximate the general climate model.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  10. Andrew Jones 2

    Yes..... the fact the whole continent is gradually moving toward Asia has nothing to do with changing climate at all.....

    1. JDX Gold badge

      That's right, it won't. Unless you find stepping one pace to the left changes the climate in your country, of course?

  11. Toltec

    When did climate change start then?

    "The researchers put a 90 percent confidence level on their analysis, and added that we'd better get used to it: the chance of similar events is five times higher than prior to the onset of climate change."

    Presumably they have a date in mind, anyone know what it is?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When did climate change start then?

      Once the Earth cooled enough to have a climate, that's when it started.

      What might be different this time is the rate of change and the extremes it goes to. I'm not sure. I can't make head or tale of the story nor the abstract. I don't think the author of the piece can either.

      This is a major problem. If AGW is real, they need to learn to communicate it in a way that can be understood.

      1. berniez

        Re: When did climate change start then?

        You're complaint is understandable as their is a lot of disinformation about.

        Yes climate has changed for 4 billion years and the factors include suns output, Milankovich Cycles (earths orbital eccentricities), greenhouse gases water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane etc.

        Mostly the first 2 factors have been historically responsible for climate change but they have been exceedingly stable over the holocene (the period humans have existed)

        Human induced CC really began in the 1600s when Europe pretty much burnt all the forests for fuel which led to the 1st global energy crisis.

        The UK discovered coal and this great energy source led to the industrial revolution.

        It was discovered in 1860 that CO2 absorbed heat energy and the first hypothesis was formed that one day CO2 might become a problem.

        This effect was studied much through the 1950s as the US Airforce was interested in developing heat seeking missiles and CO2 was interfering with the heat signal.

        It was talked about until the late 80s when the atmospheric warming signal began to emerge from the noise which led to governments around the world to start the IPCC to keep us informed of how GW was progressing.

        Since the mid 90s it was apparent that we were headed for a problem but modest adjustments to how we sourced our energy would fix the problem.

        Nothing has been done since and now we find ourselves on the edge of a global emergency which will really kick in in the next 30 or so years.

        If we don't act by 2100 global temps could go up by 6C...

        if it does we a seriously talking about a world like Mad Max- no joke!

        1. Jtom

          Re: When did climate change start then?

          The rise in temps caused directly by CO2 as indicated by its absorption bands and thermodynamics is approximately two-thirds of a degree C. Positive feedback is required to create the rise you quote. Those feedback mechanisms are poorly understood, with some (like the effect of cloud coverage) completely ignored for lack of understanding. The reality of the last SEVENTEEN YEARS proves that the modelling of the feedback is grossly exaggerating any additional increase in temps. Only the scare is anmade, not climate cange.

        2. B1ngoCrepuscule

          Re: When did climate change start then?

          "Yes climate has changed for 4 billion years and the factors include suns output, Milankovich Cycles (earths orbital eccentricities), greenhouse gases water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane etc.

          Mostly the first 2 factors have been historically responsible for climate change but they have been exceedingly stable over the holocene (the period humans have existed)"


          No, no no. The Sun's output has followed a long-term increase as its internal burning structure changes. This is not to be confused with 11-year and other cycles which are essentially small signals superimposed on this trend.

          Similary M-cycles have operated throughout Earth's history (though not necessarily with the current-day periodicity) but are not strong enough by themselves to force glacials. The current ice-age with extensive polar ice caps has come about primarily because of the change in continental configuration and also by the extraction of CO2 by continental weathering caused by the closure of the Tethys Ocean and the formation of mountain ranges from India to Greece.

          In fact the M-cycles are now leading to a decrease in Northern Hemisphere insolation. The confirmation of this and the proof of the effect of these cycles was what lead to so-called predictions of an ice-age in the 70s. An ice age should start, all things being equal.

  12. Fading Silver badge

    Woo Woo alarm......

    So man induced global climate change is causing warmer weather in Austrailia during the summer - proof provided by running lots of models with no skill and comparing with an unreliable temperature record. Woopie do. Well done you pseudo science guys.

    The thermosphere has already shrunk and have a look at the ice caps why don't you? And you're worried about warmer weather?

  13. A B 3

    It's convenient that the highest recorded temperature happened the same year that they disallowed temperature readings before 1910.

    I can also tell you that there has been a lot of urban development here, including cutting down small forests to turn into housing estates. Surely lopping down trees and replacing them with concrete is going to change the weather more than the man made 0.06% rise in CO2 levels.

    1. berniez

      CO2 levels

      CO2 levels have increased about 40% due to human activity in the last 100 years from about 280ppm to 400ppm.

      Doesn't sound like much but that is equivalent to a blanket of about 8 meters of pure CO2 distributed over the atmospheric column.

      The US airforce did extensive measurements of the effects of CO2 in the 50s because it interfered with the ability of heat seeking missiles.

      NASA measures the extra heat trapped by the CO2 we put there directly by satellite since 1984 with their ERBE satellites.

      That extra energy is equivalent to detonating 400,000 Hiroshima sized atom bombs per day!

      So those regular record floods we are seeing that leave devastation as if a atomic bomb has hit are a dramatic demonstration of conservation of energy.

      You can't thwart the laws of thermodynamics.

      1. Fading Silver badge

        Re: CO2 levels

        Erm no they haven't. Whilst some increase can be attributed to mankind the out gassing of the oceans as the earth rebounded from the little ice age is responsible for a fair amount of CO2. Also if you haven't noticed the increase in CO2 has increased the "green" - we are improving our deserts with this increase in plant food. I'd also like to inform you that CO2 does not "trap" heat. It may effect lapse rates but only when H2O is not present (the main GHG) and whilst your Hiroshima bomb quote is only relevent if Trenberth's "missing" heat actually exists (and is not a figment of poor energy balance assumptions) spead thoughout the atmosphere is less than a drop to an ocean (And I thought the current CAGW nonsense was "it's all gone in the oceans" - in which case where's the problem?)

        Shall we look at some other measurements that Nasa conducted? Like measuring the troposphere that should have pronounced warming if the CO2 theory was correct? How'd that one go?

        You cannot change the laws of thermodynamics but given as they rely on equibrium and closed systems you can ignore them for the atmosphere.

  14. stuff and nonesense

    Climate Models

    The basic principles behind the models are the laws of thermodynamics. These are applied to seed data sets with known outcomes (present day) and extrapolated to the future.

    The models that are "trusted" are those which are closest to the consensus/average. Outliers are discounted so while there may be 90 models, only those which (within limits) agree form the basis for the reported predictions.

    In 1998 a colleague announced that the model with a see data set of 1900 had produced an output consistent with data recorded in 1997. The fudge factors required to match the data are unknown (to me) but in 1998 we had been subject to nearly 20 years of propaganda stating that CO2 was bad and the only way to live was in sack cloth and ashes.

    The JASONS (google it) in the 1970s predicted global warming, this was picked up by politicians who ran with the idea and financed climate research. The funding seems to have been allocated to those who came up with the "right answers".

    There are currently NO scientifically accepted models that run counter to the Global Warming consensus. Scientists who propose counter arguments are discounted. There is no real discussion. The models are tweaked to match the outputs required and the scientists keep getting funding.

    The discussion has got to become more open. The pro GW scientists need to present their findings in a transparent format, there has to be proper scrutiny. The anti GW scientists likewise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Climate Models

      "The pro GW scientists need to present their findings in a transparent format, there has to be proper scrutiny. The anti GW scientists likewise"

      Why? Policy in most Western countries is already based on the religion of CO2 AGW. so there' s no need for either more data, or proper science.

      It'll be interesting to see if the Oz government, (who appear to subscribe to CO2 AGW) will ban exports of coal.

      1. Tim Bates

        Re: Climate Models

        "It'll be interesting to see if the Oz government, (who appear to subscribe to CO2 AGW) will ban exports of coal."

        They need the money first and foremost, so I can't see them doing that.

        That said, we if it's Labor, then we're talking about the group that definitely won't have a carbon tax, then decided to do it anyway, then decided to compensate everyone for it, with a net loss to the government... If they stay in power, any stupid thing is possible.

  15. berniez

    Explanation of bell curve:

    Explanation of bell curve:

    The curve shows the distribution of likely events.

    The peak in the middle is most likely 'medium' temps, to the right the likelihood of hotter events tapers off, to the left the same with cooler events.

    Now, your not going to notice an increase of an average of 0.8C on normal days.

    The red trace on the graph shows the bell curve has shifted to the right meaning the likelihood or frequency of hotter events has increased (and the reverse for cooler events)

    It's these extremes we notice when we plot number of hot records verses number of cold records.

    Which currently sits at about 3-1 in favor of hot.

    Hope this helps.

  16. icedvolvo

    Models Are Crap!

    I cold go on about the mathematical failures of climate models; lack of initial and boundary conditions, missing physics, lack of spatial/temporal resolution and sub grid issues, lack of any error estimation e.g. Monte Carlo analysis etc but the boffins already know the models are mathematical crap!

    The easiest way i s to compare the models PREDICTIONS against REALITY like here:

    Tell me again how we should slavishly rearrange the world based on these models again!

    Come on Reg: ASK THE REAL QUESTIONS ........

  17. Jtom

    Well, the basic problem is that there are three different groups 'taking the temperature' of the earth; the one using a scattering of ground-based sensors and two independent satellite monitoring systems (RSS and MSU). The ground-based systems do indeed show an unusually hot summrr in Australia for the period in question. Unfortunately, neither of the satellite systems do. They both show that temps were well within the typical range. So there is only a 1 in 3 chance that there was any unusually hot weather to begin with. Correcting this 'oversight' means the real likelihood that Man is resonsible for higher temps is 90% of one-third, or less than 30%.

    But that wouldn't produce the results they wanted.

  18. Wilfred in Oz.


    The thing that concerned me was the lack of evidence that this is "man made."

    Also, because a group of scientists believe the same thing, does not make it true.

    (Check history)

  19. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

    The way I see it - the original model used data going back to 1911, the "new" model uses data over a much narrower period.

    Surely using a wider range of data produces a broader more stable model, and thus the new model is flawed and potentially inaccurate. It hardly covers one solar cycle.

    I have no doubt that the earth's climate is changing, but I refuse to believe that the change is as man-made as the climatologists maintain. Only recently we heard that the sea bed was changing due to tectonic movements, and this will change under-sea currents which in turn changes sea temperatures, which changes atmospheric temperatures etc.... There's a lot more to the climate than "we're all doomed because of our carbon footprint".

    Only recently, the Canadian govt released data which showed the northern polar ice sheet grew by over 11M sq.Km this last winter - the highest level for many years, and the trend in the data is increasing, not decreasing. The Antarctic ice sheet is growing, and the scientists are baffled because their computer models said that it must be melting and everyone will die.

    Sorry WOPR got it wrong. Mother Nature is throwing a curved ball just as it's done for millions of years.

    What is a fact is that the human population is growing at an exponential rate and nothing is being done to stem the unsustainable growth in the amount of us draining the planets finite resources. The religious zealots all over the world would have us breeding like rabbits to increase their flocks, without for once thinking about where we're all going to live, and what we're going to eat in the future.

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