The author is a grape farmer and wine maker, and a close observer of climate.
It is widely asserted that grape vintages are nowadays earlier, due to hotter summers. I reject that assertion. Winters are warmer than in the past. Not summers. The earlier start to a longer growing season and enhanced availability of CO2 enhances photosynthetic capacity. It improves efficiency in the use of scarce water by the grape vine. This very likely accounts for the earlier time of ripening. In addition, when the ripening month has been in February, the warmest month, and it occurs in January, the maturation period is cooler than hitherto, an advantage.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s maintains that Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 ± 0.24 °C since national records began in 1910. But this statistic is the result of averaging monthly data that gives equal weight to autumn, winter, spring, and summer months. The inference is that temperature is rising in summer, in daytime when the sun is shining and this is considered a dangerous development.
To establish whether there has been warming in summer we should examine the average daily maximum temperature in locations that are already, or likely to become, unsuitably warm from the plant productivity/fruit quality point of view.
The bulk of the continent, including the major fruit growing and cropping areas, is described as hot dry summer, cold winter. Surprisingly, only a few towns in this zone have temperature records for a century or more. But, this is indeed the case for Mildura, Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, Alice Springs and Bourke. Their locations are indicated on the map below.
Data above and below from: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/index.shtml
Mildura is close to the junction of the Murray and the Darling Rivers, where most of Australia’s grapes, citrus, almonds, pistachios, olives, carrots, and asparagus are grown. Mildura prides itself on four hundred more sunlight hours per annum than the Queensland’s Gold Coast where people go in their retirement, to live out their remaining years in a warm environment close to the sea. Mildura has rich red, energy absorbing soils that radiate strongly.
We have data for the post office up to 1950 and for the airport, that is about 4Km away, after that date.
First let us look at the monthly average daily minimum temperature in February, the warmest month.
The minimum, both prior to and after 1950, is close to 16.5C. No change. Contrary to expectations based on greenhouse theory, all the energy that is picked up during the day is dissipated overnight. There is no inhibition of the cooling process in the eight hours of darkness in mid-summer. Quick and complete. There is no ‘greenhouse effect’ in Mildura.
The average daily maximum in February is shown below.
In the 70 years prior to 1950 the average maximum reached or exceeded 35C on ten occasions. In the seventy years post 1950 it reached 35C on two occasions and exceeded it once. In the most recent seventy years the mean maximum is cooler by about a degree. If we rule out the data for the years prior to 1910, as being perhaps inflated due to the use of ‘non standard equipment’, no change.
Periods of sustained heat occurred between 1890 and 1905 and more recently, between 2011 and 2019. In these years there were wide fluctuations in temperature over short intervals. What can account for these gyrations?
Even the drovers dog knows that the temperature of the air is driven by the origin of the travelling airmass arriving from different points of the compass every day of the year. That is what a weather map shows. The direction of flow depends on the distribution of surface pressure. The sustained heat of the odd warm year and the early decades is plainly due to something other than trace gas composition. It is fair to suggest that the recent warmth is likely due to the same influences that brought warmer air in the earlier years.
In the instance of Kalgoorlie, as for Mildura, we must have regard to records for locations that are just a few kilometers apart. However, bear in mind that due to the lack of vegetation, airports tend to be warmer than well watered regional towns with their long established and proudly maintained gardens, lawn and trees.
The data for the airport runs from 1954. The situation in Kalgoorlie is like Mildura. The warmest years occur in the earliest decades, in this instance, persisting until the 1930s. If we consider only the data post 1910 is reliable, we still have 20 years of sustained warmth from 1910 to 1930, warmer than recent decades.
Looking at Adelaide we see sustained warmth until about 1930 and cooling in the maximum temperature over time. The long gap in the data is unfortunate. However the data for Adelaide Airport, that is 7km closer to Spencer’s Gulf, is instructive.
The warmest years at the airport were during a brief interval about the year 2000. Since then, the maximum has fallen away. Plainly, warmth comes and goes with change in the winds.
In the case of Alice Springs and Bourke the story is similar. The maximum falls away in mid period. Recent decades are no warmer than in the past.
Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
When the minimum temperature varies in a manner that is out of concert with the maximum, logic suggests that something other than a ‘greenhouse effect is involved.
In my estimation there appears to be a cycle about 100 years in length, which is likely solar driven, influencing the distribution of atmospheric pressure, cloud cover and the planetary winds. This changes the ocean currents and the pole to equator temperature gradient.
Remember that greenhouse gases are well mixed. If warming is produced by burgeoning levels of greenhouse gases, it should be evident in all seasons, in both the minimum and maximum temperature, everywhere, without exception. Warming should be a one-way affair, constantly up. The Greenhouse mechanism can’t take a holiday.
Notice that, over a century or more, the change in the central tendency in the maximum temperature is a fraction of the change that occurs in the space of a few years. Logically, this small degree of change could be due to the same, regular, everyday mode of causation, a change in the origin of the wind. We observe that the temperature of an air mass depends upon where its coming from. A falling maximum and rising minimum, in the case of Adelaide, and even Alice Springs, is likely due to an enhancement of air flow from the Southern Ocean. When this occurs in Perth people refer to the ‘Fremantle Doctor’. In Kalgoorlie, much further inland, the ‘Albany Doctor’ may or may not arrive to relieve the heat.
The natural factors that change temperature from one year to the next, to do with the way the wind blows, are unstable, in both the short and the long term. Why is this? For over seventy years surface pressure has been falling on the margins of the Antarctic and rising at 20 to 40 degrees south latitude. The resulting enhancement of air flows from the warmer north of the Australian continent is accompanied by a loss of cloud cover and enhanced blue sky. This is predominantly a winter phenomenon. So, it aligns with the seasonal bias to the warming that has occurred. Greenhouse theory doesn’t cut it as an explanation for this phenomena.
Regrettably, the temperature record from the BOM is sparse and discontinuous. Recording stations open and close. There have been changes in the type of housing that shield thermometers from direct sunlight. There have been changes in the amount of vegetation that cools the air in the vicinity of the recording station. One cannot assume that data from our BOM, possibly no better or worse than that of any other country, is capable of supporting an assertion that the background air temperature has changed from one decade to the next, let alone over a period of one hundred years. In the case of lighthouses and islands the data may be less corrupted by change in the local vegetation. Central city areas have warmed by 6C or more due to the loss of vegetation and enhancement in the amount of material that absorbs and stores energy including a vast expansion of window glass to trap heat in buildings and dense materials that are rock like in their capacity to store energy. Many sources of uncertainty are attached to the measurement of air temperature. In my view the BOM and the CSIRO should recognize the uncertainties, pay a lot more attention to seasonal data, up their game so far as logic and observation is concerned and practice the precept that ‘honesty is the best policy’.
The future of Western Civilization…a question of human welfare.
Self described ‘climate scientists’ who rely upon numerical models, built on airy-fairy assumptions, predicting warming, have a vested interest in the climate scare. The concern with fossil fuels used to be that they would run out. These fuels have never been as cheap as they are today, especially oil and gas. So, another rationale has been developed to take us back to a simpler life style, presumably less exploitative, more in tune with the ‘nature’ of Prince Charles and David Attenborough.
There is an ideological component, city, income, and wealth based, not grounded in observation, that is free of any concern about loss of employment as energy becomes expensive and unreliable. The cost of energy to Australian households at $US0.26 /kW hour is more than three times the $US0.08 in China and the gap is widening. Cheap energy is the foundation of human progress and material welfare. Our pattern of expansive urban development (new suburbs on the outer margin) depends for its viability on cheap personal transport. If energy is expensive and unreliable, the result will be inconvenience and impoverishment. But not necessarily for those with inherited wealth, or those supported out of the public purse including the British aristocracy, of whom we Australian’s are very fond, the public service, the CSIRO, the BOM, the ABC, the teachers who educate our children and that ever-expanding class we refer to as ‘academics’….all of whom could be described as ‘protected species’.
Tellingly, according to the ‘United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’ the total of direct foreign investment in China exceeded that in the USA for the first time in pre Covid 2019. There was a substantial fall in investment in climate obsessed Europe. The inflow to China increased by 4% as the inflow to the USA halved. This should be a wake up call.
We are witnessing the decline of Western Civilization, hamstrung by ideological commitment to the “Green New Deal’, ‘The Great Reset’ and ‘zero carbon by 2050’, all recipes for economic and social stagnation. We are being ‘led up the garden path’ by those who should know better. This is like the Dardanelles all over again. The hubris that is exhibited by the leaders of the ‘free world’ was also evident prior to the debacle of World War 1. John Kerry, the White House’s special envoy on climate, warned last week that the U.S. has less than a decade left to avoid the worst of a climate catastrophe instancing the cooling affecting Texas. Cooling, warming, its all the same to John. Its incredible that we have got to the stage that people who mouth this nonsense are given credence by the daily press.
Unless society is prepared to arrange for a massive transfer of wealth from those who are alarmed at changes in the climate, to those who have their noses closer to the grindstone, as has occurred to a limited extent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia, that could produce the worlds cheapest energy, via utilization of its coal reserves, is destined to suffer a collapse in the living standards, first for its non-public service employee division, and later, everyone. There are limits to what can be achieved by expanding the public debt and ‘quantitative easing’ of the money supply.
There is no substitute for independent thinking, grounded in observation. Is there a politician brave enough to tell the story as it is and risk condemnation by those obsessed with the ‘climate emergency’? The last federal election surprised us. A clear message came from rural and coal mining areas in Queensland and NSW. Will Her Majesty’s opposition continue to put forward policies that disadvantage traditional supporters to please the chatterati at the ABC (Invasion Day) and the Australian Financial Review (Green Finance). Will the opposition continue to lend credibility to the notion that the planet is endangered or can/will it come to its senses.
The conjunction of the words ‘climate’ and ‘science’ is insupportable and this has been the case for more than thirty years. So called ‘scientists’ that select data to support an agenda, are either naïve, or corrupt. This gives science a bad name. What happened to ‘impartiality’. We cant trust these people. There is a direct comparison with Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union.
The northern Hemisphere is currently experiencing the coldest winter in many decades. Tragically, when people most need electricity, they find that it is not available. Yes, the climate changes. Get used to it. Warming is not forever. Adapt. Listen to the engineers.
We should acknowledge that the last fifty years of ‘Climate Change’ has been beneficial. Warming in autumn, winter and spring is a great advantage. It lengthens the growing season. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is favourable to plant life. Necessarily, we must expect more fires in the dry season. Plants become fuel. The planet is greening.
Let us rid ourselves of this absurd notion that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem.
It is time for a ‘Reset’. We can either manage the situation intelligently or wait for the inevitable explosion and then, with extreme difficulty, endeavor to pick up the pieces.
This post is dedicated to Philip Adams, one of the cleverest minds around, who should know better.