Australia has been suffering under a heat wave. New Zealand is having one of its hottest and driest summers on record. On cue the climate changers start beating their little drums with all the frenetic pace of the Energizer Bunny. "See, we told you. Global warming. All this heat. It's proof that the climate is changing." Blah, blah, blah.
With one minor problem. Just a small one. Usually these extreme weather events are reported with a little codicil, often announced sotto voce, that runs like this: "we are experiencing the hottest summer ever since . . . " What follows after the little preposition "since" skewers the credibility of the climate changers.
Miranda Devine takes up the case:
Aussies have weathered nature’s extremes before
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
CLIMATE alarmists have waited a while for a good heatwave to press their case that human activities are causing unprecedented catastrophic global warming. This summer the weather delivered.
Right on cue, after a record string of hot days across Australia, the ABC, The Guardian (UK) , the Climate Commission, the CSIRO and the UN’s IPCC (coincidentally meeting in bushfire-racked Tasmania) all trotted out scary climate statements. The Bureau of Meteorology even added an extra colour to its heat scale, even though previous charts have included temperatures over 50C, and there have been hotter days in the past.
Yes there have. There really, really have.
Take the 50.7C at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia on January 2, 1960, or the 50.3C the next day. Hot stuff.
Australia has always had extreme heat, droughts, bushfire and flooding rains. To prove it, let’s go to a contemporaneous source. Sir John Henniker Heaton kindly recorded it all for us in 1879 in the Australian Dictionary Of Dates, which a reader has provided. It is an invaluable primary resource, as you will see. (I have translated temperatures from fahrenheit to celsius).
December 27, 1790: “Great heat in Sydney, 39C in the shade. Settlement visited by myriads of flying foxes, birds dropped dead from the trees.”
February 10 and 11, 1791: “On which days the temperature at Sydney stood in the shade at 41C, the heat was so excessive at Parramatta, made worse by the bushfires, that immense numbers of the large fox-bats were seen to drop from the trees into the water, and many dropped dead on the wing.”
Heaton quotes from The Sydney Gazette of November 29, 1826: “The heat and hot wind of Saturday last excelled all that we ever experienced in the colony. On board the Volage man-of-war (a naval vessel), in the shade, the thermometer was 41C, and on the shore it was, in some parts of the town, 38C, and in others 40C.
“To traverse the streets was truly dreadful, the dust rose in thick columns, and the northwest wind, from which quarter our hot winds invariably proceed, was assisted in its heat by the surrounding country being all on fire, so that those who were compelled to travel felt themselves encircled with lambent flames. Sydney was more like the mouth of Vesuvius than anything else.”
Again from The Sydney Gazette, February 21, 1832: “Saturday was one of the hottest days ever remembered. The recent rains having saturated the earth, the atmosphere was impregnated by an aqueous vapour not unlike steam issuing from a boiler, while the sun poured down all the fury of his heat. It was dreadful. “Man and beast groaned beneath the oppression, and numbers of working oxen dropped down dead on the public roads.”
The bullocks were even worse off on Saturday, March 18, 1832, which The Sydney Gazette reported was “insufferably warm. At 1pm, the thermometer was 54C in the sun. The cattle suffered much. Working bullocks dropped dead.”
Of course it was much hotter in Central Australia. Heaton records explorer Captain Charles Sturt’s account of November 11, 1845: “The wind, which had been blowing all the morning hot from the NE, increased to a gale, and I shall never forget its withering effects. I sought shelter behind a large gum tree, but the blasts of heat were so terrific that I wondered the very grass did not take fire. Everything both animate and inanimate gave way before it.
“The horses stood with their backs to the wind and their noses to the ground, the birds were mute, and the leaves of the trees fell like a shower around us. At noon I took out my thermometer, graduated to 53C, and put it in the fork of a tree, and an hour afterwards when I went to examine it; the tube was full of mercury and the bulb burst.”
On January 11, 1878, Heaton reported that, on the Lower Macquarie River, at 2.30pm, a thermometer registered 47C in the shade. At 5.30pm it was still 43C.
He records the fate of one Lieutenant Lowe, in January, 1840: “at the floods on the Namoi, [he] was perched on the trunk of an uprooted tree ; the rains had ceased, the thermometer was at 38C, a glaring sun and a coppery sky were above him; he looked in vain for help; but no prospect of escape animated him, and the hot sun began its dreadful work. His skins blistered, dried, became parched and hard like the bark of a tree and life began to ebb…He was literally scorched to death.”
There were “disastrous bushfires throughout the south and west of NSW in January, 1870, fires burning on each side of the line on the southern railway, the railway porters and others beating it out with bushes, and waiting at the stations with water for the passengers to drink, and a truck on the Goulburn train catching fire near Liverpool on January 18”.
He records years of drought (interspersed with floods), including the three-year drought from 1825-27: “One of the most severe droughts ever known in NSW, with great scarcity of water in Sydney and suburbs, only two months’ supply being left in the Botany dams, and water being sold at a very high rate in Parramatta.”
In January and February 1791, wrote Heaton, there were “several weeks of excessive heat, hot winds, birds dropped dead from trees and everything burnt up, stream of water supplying Sydney nearly dried up”.
And so on.
Australians were religious about their climate in the past as well. Heaton wrote they prayed for rain on November 2, 1858, and “for breaking up of drought” on November 2, 1876, and on March 1, 1878, with a fast day and “day of humiliation”.
Australia has never had a mild and easy climate. Whatever is the extent of global warming and any human contribution to climate change, exaggerating the 2013 heatwave is just another green lie which will blow up in all our faces.
NSW hit a high of 48.3 degrees on Saturday at Bourke, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, and Sydney hit 42.3 degrees last Tuesday.
But we haven’t come close to the highest state temperature on record, (BoM records have been kept since 1910) which was 49.7 degrees in Menindee on January 10, 1939.
Or even to the 48.9 recorded at Brewarrina on December 9, 1912.
And in the 19th Century, long before BoM took notice, there were hot days recorded in Sydney, and elsewhere, by Sir John Henniker Heaton in his 1879 Australian Dictionary of Dates. Here is a sample which should throw cold water on climate alarm enthusiasts trying to seize the latest temperatures for propaganda purposes.
1826, November 29, in Sydney: 40C in the shade
1832, March 18 in Sydney: 54C in the sun
1833, February, in Bathurst: 41C (sun)
1835, January 31, in Sydney: 43C (shade)
1837, February 23 in Sydney: 56C (sun)
1839, January 29, in Yass: 49C (sun)
1845, January 21, Central Australia: 55C (shade)
1845, November 1, Central Australia: 53C (shade)
1848, January 1 on the Paterson (Hunter Valley): 53C (sun)
1848, January 3 on the Paterson: 43C (shade) (At 10.30 p m. it was still 33C)
1863, January 5, in Sydney: 42 (shade)
1866, January 8, in Lochinvar (Hunter Valley): 42 (shade)
1867, January 2, in Lochinvar: 42 (shade)
1867, November 16 ,in Lochinvar: 40 (shade)
1867, December 25 in Lochinvar: 41 (shade)
1870, January 3, at Sydney: 41 (shade)
1871, December 22 at Sydney: 40 (shade)
1878, November 21 at Sydney: 55C (sun): “Glass burst, and the temperature must have been over 55C to do this.”