by Dr. Jennifer Marohasy
THIS last summer has been hot in Australia. But was it the hottest ever? Summer 80 years ago was arguably as hot, if not hotter. Back then more ferocious bushfires burnt larger areas.
Yet Australia’s Environment Minister, Melissa Price, recently claimed this summer’s bushfires as a consequence of climate change. I grew up with stories from my late father of terrible bushfires – infernos – back in 1939. The Black Friday bushfires destroyed four times the area of farmland and forest as the devastating February 2009 fires – and twenty times as much as burnt this last summer. Ash from that bushfire fell as far away as New Zealand.
My father described hot and hungry years in rural Victoria back then – just as John Steinbeck described farm life in the mid-west of the US in the 1930s in his famous ‘Grapes of Wrath’. There was hardship, and there were dust storms in the US and also in south-eastern Australia.
In rural Victoria, the summer of 1938-1939 was on average at least two degrees hotter than anything measured with equivalent equipment since.
Yet Minister Price denies this history – my late father’s history. She is relying on temperature data that has been extensive remodelled. This remodelling is justified by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on the basis that temperatures are now measured using a non-standard method (spot readings) from non-standard equipment (custom built probes in automatic weather stations). Apparently, we need to know how hot it was back then, relative to the equipment used now.
More of that post here: https://jennifermarohasy.com/2019/03/hottest-summer/
“COOLING the past relative to the present has the general effect of making the present appear hotter – it is a way of generating more global warming for the same weather.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has rewritten Australia’s temperature in this way for the second time in just six years – increasing the rate of warming by 23 percent between Version 1 and the new Version 2 of the official ACORN-SAT temperature record.”