David Karoly

While Prof. David Karoly’s guest post at RealClimate is admirably nuanced, he has graciously left some low-hanging fruit to take the stick to. He states:

1. Increases of mean temperature and mean maximum temperature in Australia have been attributed to anthropogenic climate change, as reported in the IPCC Fourth Assessment.

In a comment at ClimateAudit, Ian Castles remarked on a a similar temperature phenomenon attributed to David Karoly, but mysteriously dissapearing from the AR4:

As long ago as 1996 Professor David Karoly (subsequently a lead author of the TAR and AR4) included “reduction in the diurnal temperature range” (DTR) among the pieces of evidence that had led the IPCC to reach the conclusion that “the balance of evidence suggests a human influence on climate” (“Detecting a Human Influence on Climate” in Australian National Academies? Forum conference “Australians and Our Changing Climate: Past Experience and Future Destiny”, 25 November 1996, Summary of Proceedings, p. 39).

Now that it is recognized that the DTR did not change between 1979 and 2004, these confident assessments can no longer be sustained: there is no reference to the phenomenon in Table SPM-2 (p. in the SPM of the AR4. If models show a faster increase in nighttime temperatures in the last decades of the twentieth century, as stated in Chapter 8, the authors? confidence in the models should have been weakened (whereas the main theme of the Chapter is that confidence in the models has increased since the TAR).

While anybody can be wrong, or change their minds, it is interesting to see how inconvenient mistakes are swept under the rug.

2. While south-east Australia is expected to have reduced rainfall and more droughts due to anthropogenic climate change,

3. In addition, reduced rainfall and low relative humidity are expected in
southern Australia due to anthropogenic climate change.

In what was an otherwise immaculately referenced article, this assertion was strangely not referenced. It makes the dubious claim that due to a globally widespread phenomenon, a tiny localized area is expected (by whom?) to have lower rainfall. I wonder where it came from?

4. it is clear that climate change is increasing the likelihood of environmental conditions associated with extreme fire danger

Global warming is largely equivalent to the poleward movement of climate zones, and consequently vegetation types adapted to those zones. To anticipate the future fire danger in Victoria, one has only to look at the fire danger to the immediate north. I don’t know Victoria, but I bet the vegetation types to the north have a lower fire risk than the montane forests of Gippsland. At equilibrium the vegetation types will adjust and fire risk will reduce to those typical of a warmer, dryer climate composed of lower, more open forest. Temporary disequilibrium in the form of tall closed forests in a warm dry climate is probably the greatest contributor to high fire risk. Over time, as equilibrium reestablishes, the risk will return to normal.

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0 thoughts on “David Karoly

  1. “Temporary disequilibrium in the form of tall closed forests in a warm dry climate is probably the greatest contributor to high fire risk.” Isn’t this exactly what he is saying? How long is “temporary”?

  2. “Temporary disequilibrium in the form of tall closed forests in a warm dry climate is probably the greatest contributor to high fire risk.” Isn’t this exactly what he is saying? How long is “temporary”?

  3. Nick: Although he says

    it is clear that climate change is increasing the likelihood of environmental conditions associated with extreme fire danger in south-east Australia and

    he doesn’t make it clear that this is a temporary condition, so people assume climate change is going to increase bushfire trauma for all time. Hot fires like the Gippsland fires will kill many trees, and so there has probably already been an irreversible change in the community structure, and eventually composition. “Temporary” is as long as it takes for vegetation to get in sync with climate, which in this case is only the time it takes for one hot fire to come through — an inevitable event IMHO.

  4. Nick: Although he says

    it is clear that climate change is increasing the likelihood of environmental conditions associated with extreme fire danger in south-east Australia and

    he doesn’t make it clear that this is a temporary condition, so people assume climate change is going to increase bushfire trauma for all time. Hot fires like the Gippsland fires will kill many trees, and so there has probably already been an irreversible change in the community structure, and eventually composition. “Temporary” is as long as it takes for vegetation to get in sync with climate, which in this case is only the time it takes for one hot fire to come through — an inevitable event IMHO.

  5. Sadly, any excess fire risk being experienced in Australia can be blamed mostly on poor anthropogenic MANAGEMENT. We have the same problems here in California. Since I was a kid in the 60’s, the fires have slowly been getting worse due to a combination of aggressive firefighting, lack of logging, control burns… basically a regimen that has contributed to fuel increase to exceptional levels.

    Unlike in the past, there are no mechanisms to reduce fuel load until the catastrophic burn takes care of it along with sterilising the soil. This also reduces the normal build up of charcoal in the soil that retains water and makes excellent growth media with decomposing vegetation.

    It should also be noted that forests choked with undergrowth are unhealthy for many plants AND animals. Burns are the natural way to bring back balance and soil composition. Either we allow burns or MANUALLY take care of the situation.

    I would also add that here in California we have similar laws that interfere with people trying to fireproof their property. Lives continue to be lost due to these policies. I wonder if the idea is to push everyone into communal settlements as in the UN Agenda 21.

    http://www.crossroad.to/text/articles/la21_198.html
    http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/index.htm
    (many more articles and sites pro and con easily found by searching on Agenda 21)

    I would go so far as to offer our current financial fiasco as a BIG boost for this type of local control. (yup, got my tin foil hat on 8>)

  6. Sadly, any excess fire risk being experienced in Australia can be blamed mostly on poor anthropogenic MANAGEMENT. We have the same problems here in California. Since I was a kid in the 60’s, the fires have slowly been getting worse due to a combination of aggressive firefighting, lack of logging, control burns… basically a regimen that has contributed to fuel increase to exceptional levels.

    Unlike in the past, there are no mechanisms to reduce fuel load until the catastrophic burn takes care of it along with sterilising the soil. This also reduces the normal build up of charcoal in the soil that retains water and makes excellent growth media with decomposing vegetation.

    It should also be noted that forests choked with undergrowth are unhealthy for many plants AND animals. Burns are the natural way to bring back balance and soil composition. Either we allow burns or MANUALLY take care of the situation.

    I would also add that here in California we have similar laws that interfere with people trying to fireproof their property. Lives continue to be lost due to these policies. I wonder if the idea is to push everyone into communal settlements as in the UN Agenda 21.

    http://www.crossroad.to/text/articles/la21_198.html
    http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/index.htm
    (many more articles and sites pro and con easily found by searching on Agenda 21)

    I would go so far as to offer our current financial fiasco as a BIG boost for this type of local control. (yup, got my tin foil hat on 8>)

  7. Re Diurnal Temperature Range.

    For the 17 high-quality rural Australian stations selected by the BOM, annual averages of both Tmax and T min were calculated from daily results. Period was 41 years, 1968-2008.

    Without being ststistically rigid, a summary of the DTR using the Excel linear SLOPE function (which might not be the best) is:

    Essentially no change 7 stations.
    Convergence 3 stations.
    Divergence 7 stations.

    Now, we should not dismiss the Karoly DTR theory out of hand in the light of figures like this. One should not rush to condemn original thinking because it is supported strongly in only 3 cases out of 17. Maybe it needs modelling to find reasons for the low score.
    Divergence 7 stations.

  8. Re Diurnal Temperature Range.

    For the 17 high-quality rural Australian stations selected by the BOM, annual averages of both Tmax and T min were calculated from daily results. Period was 41 years, 1968-2008.

    Without being ststistically rigid, a summary of the DTR using the Excel linear SLOPE function (which might not be the best) is:

    Essentially no change 7 stations.
    Convergence 3 stations.
    Divergence 7 stations.

    Now, we should not dismiss the Karoly DTR theory out of hand in the light of figures like this. One should not rush to condemn original thinking because it is supported strongly in only 3 cases out of 17. Maybe it needs modelling to find reasons for the low score.
    Divergence 7 stations.

  9. There’s a flaw in your logic here:
    “I don’t know Victoria, but I bet the vegetation types to the north have a lower fire risk than the montane forests of Gippsland.”
    The vegetation types move slower than the climate changes. You should note that the climate around Gippsland will become closer to the area north (is it Mallee country?) – although modified due to the mountainous topography. So the cliame will change, before the vegetation changes – this is what will result in more fires.

    Kuhnkat
    “I would also add that here in California we have similar laws that interfere with people trying to fireproof their property. Lives continue to be lost due to these policies. ”
    This is not the case in Australia. People can make their properties fire proof, what they can’t do is clear large areas that form part of water catchments. There is a difference between reducing the load in the immediate vicinity of your home, and clearing to make paddocks. There are examples of people in the Victorian bushfires who took appropriate measures – no shrubs against their homes, use of deciduous trees (especially Maples), regular clearing of local understorey.

  10. There’s a flaw in your logic here:
    “I don’t know Victoria, but I bet the vegetation types to the north have a lower fire risk than the montane forests of Gippsland.”
    The vegetation types move slower than the climate changes. You should note that the climate around Gippsland will become closer to the area north (is it Mallee country?) – although modified due to the mountainous topography. So the cliame will change, before the vegetation changes – this is what will result in more fires.

    Kuhnkat
    “I would also add that here in California we have similar laws that interfere with people trying to fireproof their property. Lives continue to be lost due to these policies. ”
    This is not the case in Australia. People can make their properties fire proof, what they can’t do is clear large areas that form part of water catchments. There is a difference between reducing the load in the immediate vicinity of your home, and clearing to make paddocks. There are examples of people in the Victorian bushfires who took appropriate measures – no shrubs against their homes, use of deciduous trees (especially Maples), regular clearing of local understorey.

  11. Geoff (#4) and David,

    There is a misunderstanding here. My post to Climate Audit from which the two-paragraph excerpt quoted above was taken was not to the thread to which David has linked above (which is to ‘Santer et al 2008’) but to the earlier thread ‘IPCC WGI FAR’, where the excerpt in question will be found in my post #36.

    In that post I mentioned that David Karoly had said, at a 1996 conference in Australia, that “reduction in the diurnal temperature range” was one of the pieces of evidence that HAD LED the IPCC to reach the conclusion that “the balance of evidence suggests a human influence on climate.” This was a statement of fact, not a point of criticism.

    I went on to cite Easterling et al (1997) as having found that “Analysis of the global mean surface air temperature has shown that its increase is due, at least in part, to differential changes in daily maximum and minimum temperatures, resulting in a narrowing of the diurnal temperature range (DTR)”, and that “[I]t is likely that the maximum and minimum temperature and DTR changes presented here continued to occur through 1995.” This high-profile paper had been published in ‘Science’, and had been the subject of a press statement by NOAA headed “Rising Low Temperatures: Temperature Range Narrowing Between Daytime Highs and Nighttime Lows, NOAA Reports.”

    Three of the authors of Easterling et al were Coordinating Lead Authors or Lead Authors of Chapter 2 of the WGI contribution to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report which stated, without qualification, that analyses had showed that global minimum temperatures had increased at nearly twice the rate of maximum temperatures between about 1950 and 1993.

    I went on to point to an inconsistency in the contribution of IPCC Working Group I to AR4. While it was stated in Chapter 8 that “Models also reproduce other observed changes, such as the faster increase in nighttime than in daytime temperatures” (Question 8.1, p. 601), the SPM of the same report had said that “Updated observations reveal that DTR [diurnal temperature range] has not changed from 1979 to 2004 as both day- and night-time temperature have risen at about the same rate” (page 9).

    The key point is that the observed decline in the DTR was being cited by the IPCC and by mainstream scientists as evidence for AGW and for confidence in models. Then, when observations suggested that there had not been any observed decline in the DTR for 25 years, the IPCC SPM simply dropped the reference but did not acknowledge that this important phenomenon was (presumably) not captured in the models. And the Chapter 8 authors seem to have remained under the impression that nighttime temperatures HAVE increased faster than daytime temperatures. This was included in a Q&A comment that was subsequently included in the AR4 Synthesis Report.

  12. Geoff (#4) and David,

    There is a misunderstanding here. My post to Climate Audit from which the two-paragraph excerpt quoted above was taken was not to the thread to which David has linked above (which is to ‘Santer et al 2008’) but to the earlier thread ‘IPCC WGI FAR’, where the excerpt in question will be found in my post #36.

    In that post I mentioned that David Karoly had said, at a 1996 conference in Australia, that “reduction in the diurnal temperature range” was one of the pieces of evidence that HAD LED the IPCC to reach the conclusion that “the balance of evidence suggests a human influence on climate.” This was a statement of fact, not a point of criticism.

    I went on to cite Easterling et al (1997) as having found that “Analysis of the global mean surface air temperature has shown that its increase is due, at least in part, to differential changes in daily maximum and minimum temperatures, resulting in a narrowing of the diurnal temperature range (DTR)”, and that “[I]t is likely that the maximum and minimum temperature and DTR changes presented here continued to occur through 1995.” This high-profile paper had been published in ‘Science’, and had been the subject of a press statement by NOAA headed “Rising Low Temperatures: Temperature Range Narrowing Between Daytime Highs and Nighttime Lows, NOAA Reports.”

    Three of the authors of Easterling et al were Coordinating Lead Authors or Lead Authors of Chapter 2 of the WGI contribution to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report which stated, without qualification, that analyses had showed that global minimum temperatures had increased at nearly twice the rate of maximum temperatures between about 1950 and 1993.

    I went on to point to an inconsistency in the contribution of IPCC Working Group I to AR4. While it was stated in Chapter 8 that “Models also reproduce other observed changes, such as the faster increase in nighttime than in daytime temperatures” (Question 8.1, p. 601), the SPM of the same report had said that “Updated observations reveal that DTR [diurnal temperature range] has not changed from 1979 to 2004 as both day- and night-time temperature have risen at about the same rate” (page 9).

    The key point is that the observed decline in the DTR was being cited by the IPCC and by mainstream scientists as evidence for AGW and for confidence in models. Then, when observations suggested that there had not been any observed decline in the DTR for 25 years, the IPCC SPM simply dropped the reference but did not acknowledge that this important phenomenon was (presumably) not captured in the models. And the Chapter 8 authors seem to have remained under the impression that nighttime temperatures HAVE increased faster than daytime temperatures. This was included in a Q&A comment that was subsequently included in the AR4 Synthesis Report.

  13. NT

    “People can make their properties fire proof, what they can’t do is clear large areas that form part of water catchments. ”

    When the fuel load is high, the allowed clearing areas are too small. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. If you wish to pay for the increases in insurance and loss of life that is your choice. Mine is to allow larger clear areas, return to local control of personal property, and a more reasoned control of the larger area at risk.

    Do you still have fire roads in Australia?? We are losing them in designated areas putting fire teams at even more risk.

    Yes, we could all dig our homes underground and harden the entrances and have automatic sealing and air supply. This would actually be a good choice. Except for cost of course.

  14. NT

    “People can make their properties fire proof, what they can’t do is clear large areas that form part of water catchments. ”

    When the fuel load is high, the allowed clearing areas are too small. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. If you wish to pay for the increases in insurance and loss of life that is your choice. Mine is to allow larger clear areas, return to local control of personal property, and a more reasoned control of the larger area at risk.

    Do you still have fire roads in Australia?? We are losing them in designated areas putting fire teams at even more risk.

    Yes, we could all dig our homes underground and harden the entrances and have automatic sealing and air supply. This would actually be a good choice. Except for cost of course.

  15. Ian #6

    I was aware in outline of the above. I merely contributed an update of the DTR so that it remained on the record. It is a common human failing that authors and their readers remember what is proven and novel, but try to forget was was wrong, novel or not. I guess it was a bit naughty to remind Prof Karoly and other readers that the passage of time has not strengthened the DTR convergence relied upon in the records cited.

    There is a marvellous passage in the movie “Dr Strangelove”. A General with the power to throw the nuclear switch goes off the track and sends a fleet of B52s to Russia with final instructions. The President, in the War Room, reminds that General that he had been convinced that the quality assurance programmes of personnel had given supreme confidence that such an event would not happen. The General (George C Scott) mumbled back to the President that it was hardly fair to condemn a whole careful program because of the failure of just one of its parts.

    I often think of this passage.

  16. Ian #6

    I was aware in outline of the above. I merely contributed an update of the DTR so that it remained on the record. It is a common human failing that authors and their readers remember what is proven and novel, but try to forget was was wrong, novel or not. I guess it was a bit naughty to remind Prof Karoly and other readers that the passage of time has not strengthened the DTR convergence relied upon in the records cited.

    There is a marvellous passage in the movie “Dr Strangelove”. A General with the power to throw the nuclear switch goes off the track and sends a fleet of B52s to Russia with final instructions. The President, in the War Room, reminds that General that he had been convinced that the quality assurance programmes of personnel had given supreme confidence that such an event would not happen. The General (George C Scott) mumbled back to the President that it was hardly fair to condemn a whole careful program because of the failure of just one of its parts.

    I often think of this passage.

  17. Re Kunhcat #7, NT #5

    Through contamination I have worked with botanists and forestry companies and gained a little knowledge, enough to be dangerous.

    The correlation between rainfall, evaporation, relative humidity, depth of water table, fequency of floods and fires and so on is really very complex. In one respect, a good wet season will encourage plant density, providing more fuel to the fire. Yet, another way, a dry season can cause more litter of a flammable type and also encourage fire.

    The rate at which vegetation ecosystems change to reflect small century-long temperature changes is rather unknown for Australia. I have no firm picture of vegetation changing its range because of such factors. My thought would be that landform undisturbed by farming, grazing, logging, was the same a century ago as is there now. Like bristlecone pine habitats.

    Growing trees close to the home can cause harm if the trees burn hot, but can be protective if a cooler fire is retarded by the trees before the house burns, or trees deflect wind and ash upwards. It is so hard to generalise, it’s a case by case affair.

    It also varies according to local Council regulations. One land owner made a firebreak by removing a couple of hundred trees from about 50,000 trees on his property. He was fined something like $70,000 because he proceeded without approval. Yet, his home and farm were saved from the recent fire.

    Difficult times, difficult concepts. Hard to think it has anything much to do with 1 deg change over a century.

  18. Re Kunhcat #7, NT #5

    Through contamination I have worked with botanists and forestry companies and gained a little knowledge, enough to be dangerous.

    The correlation between rainfall, evaporation, relative humidity, depth of water table, fequency of floods and fires and so on is really very complex. In one respect, a good wet season will encourage plant density, providing more fuel to the fire. Yet, another way, a dry season can cause more litter of a flammable type and also encourage fire.

    The rate at which vegetation ecosystems change to reflect small century-long temperature changes is rather unknown for Australia. I have no firm picture of vegetation changing its range because of such factors. My thought would be that landform undisturbed by farming, grazing, logging, was the same a century ago as is there now. Like bristlecone pine habitats.

    Growing trees close to the home can cause harm if the trees burn hot, but can be protective if a cooler fire is retarded by the trees before the house burns, or trees deflect wind and ash upwards. It is so hard to generalise, it’s a case by case affair.

    It also varies according to local Council regulations. One land owner made a firebreak by removing a couple of hundred trees from about 50,000 trees on his property. He was fined something like $70,000 because he proceeded without approval. Yet, his home and farm were saved from the recent fire.

    Difficult times, difficult concepts. Hard to think it has anything much to do with 1 deg change over a century.

  19. Geoff
    “One land owner made a firebreak by removing a couple of hundred trees from about 50,000 trees on his property. He was fined something like $70,000 because he proceeded without approval. Yet, his home and farm were saved from the recent fire.”
    He was fined because he broke the law. All land clearing in Australia now requires a permit, for good reason. Those laws have been in place for some time.
    There are no laws preventing people from protecting their homes, just laws preventing clearing large areas; you don’t need to clear large areas to protect your home.

  20. Geoff
    “One land owner made a firebreak by removing a couple of hundred trees from about 50,000 trees on his property. He was fined something like $70,000 because he proceeded without approval. Yet, his home and farm were saved from the recent fire.”
    He was fined because he broke the law. All land clearing in Australia now requires a permit, for good reason. Those laws have been in place for some time.
    There are no laws preventing people from protecting their homes, just laws preventing clearing large areas; you don’t need to clear large areas to protect your home.

  21. KuhnKat
    “Do you still have fire roads in Australia?? We are losing them in designated areas putting fire teams at even more risk.”

    yes… Or rather there’s a legal requirement to have firebreaks. The problem is that Local Government has a lot of trouble maintaining them (or just forget, who knows). One big problem with these fires was that the firebreaks (or roads) weren’t maintained and the firefighters had trouble back-burning. They basically could only use helicopters for a long time, the fires got huge and then uncontrollable.

    There have been stories, I saw one this morning, of people who had actively maintained their properties and had not lost their homes. They still had large trees etc, just not adjacent to their homes.

  22. KuhnKat
    “Do you still have fire roads in Australia?? We are losing them in designated areas putting fire teams at even more risk.”

    yes… Or rather there’s a legal requirement to have firebreaks. The problem is that Local Government has a lot of trouble maintaining them (or just forget, who knows). One big problem with these fires was that the firebreaks (or roads) weren’t maintained and the firefighters had trouble back-burning. They basically could only use helicopters for a long time, the fires got huge and then uncontrollable.

    There have been stories, I saw one this morning, of people who had actively maintained their properties and had not lost their homes. They still had large trees etc, just not adjacent to their homes.

  23. I think you’ll find NT, that any clearing for whatever purpose has to run a gauntlet of Acts and Regs; in NSW the sheer volume of National Parks and Wildlife statutes and Regs, plus Native Vegetation and Heritage Acts, not to mention local council environmental policies, make it impossible for any landowner, rural or urban, to remove anything without genuflecting to explicit and implicit green ideology. There is no doubt that green values, along with bad planning, contributed to the dreadful human toll in these recent fires, but we still have green spokespersons shrilly and irrationally promoting the same ideology that has made us all tacit worshippers at the cruel alter of gaia; for example;

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8539

  24. I think you’ll find NT, that any clearing for whatever purpose has to run a gauntlet of Acts and Regs; in NSW the sheer volume of National Parks and Wildlife statutes and Regs, plus Native Vegetation and Heritage Acts, not to mention local council environmental policies, make it impossible for any landowner, rural or urban, to remove anything without genuflecting to explicit and implicit green ideology. There is no doubt that green values, along with bad planning, contributed to the dreadful human toll in these recent fires, but we still have green spokespersons shrilly and irrationally promoting the same ideology that has made us all tacit worshippers at the cruel alter of gaia; for example;

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8539

  25. This is not the ideal place to continue this discussion so I’ll make a last comment then withdraw to elsewhere as might be available.

    I was deeply involved in the start of the world heritage concept (another United nations f-up) and the national parks that proliferated around that time. I made strong pleas to prime ministers, other ministers, senate committees, etc etc., that such large areas needed management beyond the budgets envisaged for fear they would become hazards from fire, pests and weeds. The best form of land management rewards the manager and private ownership and the lure of profit is a strong motivation. Anyhow, we now have these huge unmanaged areas now and they are a fire, pest and weed hazard.

    Second, to NT above, there is expected to be a challenge to the empowerment of the Council to make the “laws” that resulted in the fine.

    Third, re litter burning and backburning out of fire season. Yes, there is a plan and the Greens pay lip service to it. Last time I checked the areas so treated and compared them to the land area of Victoria, I calculated it would take 30,000 years to cover the whole State. That is, the present effort, though spoken of, is puny. Some of the reasons for its failure are valid. (Only certain days are suitable each year). Other reasons for its failure are blatantly political and a consequence poor human understanding and misinformation.

    Return the wilderness and parks to productive use by concerned and capable people. That is the bottom line.

  26. This is not the ideal place to continue this discussion so I’ll make a last comment then withdraw to elsewhere as might be available.

    I was deeply involved in the start of the world heritage concept (another United nations f-up) and the national parks that proliferated around that time. I made strong pleas to prime ministers, other ministers, senate committees, etc etc., that such large areas needed management beyond the budgets envisaged for fear they would become hazards from fire, pests and weeds. The best form of land management rewards the manager and private ownership and the lure of profit is a strong motivation. Anyhow, we now have these huge unmanaged areas now and they are a fire, pest and weed hazard.

    Second, to NT above, there is expected to be a challenge to the empowerment of the Council to make the “laws” that resulted in the fine.

    Third, re litter burning and backburning out of fire season. Yes, there is a plan and the Greens pay lip service to it. Last time I checked the areas so treated and compared them to the land area of Victoria, I calculated it would take 30,000 years to cover the whole State. That is, the present effort, though spoken of, is puny. Some of the reasons for its failure are valid. (Only certain days are suitable each year). Other reasons for its failure are blatantly political and a consequence poor human understanding and misinformation.

    Return the wilderness and parks to productive use by concerned and capable people. That is the bottom line.

  27. Cohenite
    These are the laws of our country. You can work to change them if you want. Have you ever wondered why they are in place? Perhaps you should genuinely attempt to find out rather than letting your political opinions shroud your views. You still demonstrate no attempt to look deeper than your ideology demands. Why are the land clearing laws in place?

    “make it impossible for any landowner, rural or urban, to remove anything without genuflecting to explicit and implicit green ideology”
    This statement is also completely untrue. The idea that you can clear NOTHING is a fabrication.

    Geoff, the Greens have no power in this regard and did not make the laws. Perhaps you should ask yourself why there is so little prescribed burning. Probably it has more to do with too little funding.
    Also note that there are laws in every state that limit land clearing. This is a right and proper law considering the need to protect water resources. These laws were not enacted by any Green party.

    Remember the area that was burnt in Victoria in Feb actually had bushfires in 2004. Prescribed burning regimes in WA (which seem moderately successful) runs on a 7 year rotation (although it is currently longer as the Govt doesn’t fun it properly). The fuel load was developed late last year with the spring rain, not accumulated over a longer period. There are other problems with prescribed burning too. The act of regularly burning a region will promote the growth of fire-loving plants. This has been demonstrated in southwest WA. Prescribed burning is a balancing act and is no silver bullet.
    You seem to be doing a grave injustice to a complicated issue by simply arguing that the Greens did it. It’s simplistic nonsense.

  28. Cohenite
    These are the laws of our country. You can work to change them if you want. Have you ever wondered why they are in place? Perhaps you should genuinely attempt to find out rather than letting your political opinions shroud your views. You still demonstrate no attempt to look deeper than your ideology demands. Why are the land clearing laws in place?

    “make it impossible for any landowner, rural or urban, to remove anything without genuflecting to explicit and implicit green ideology”
    This statement is also completely untrue. The idea that you can clear NOTHING is a fabrication.

    Geoff, the Greens have no power in this regard and did not make the laws. Perhaps you should ask yourself why there is so little prescribed burning. Probably it has more to do with too little funding.
    Also note that there are laws in every state that limit land clearing. This is a right and proper law considering the need to protect water resources. These laws were not enacted by any Green party.

    Remember the area that was burnt in Victoria in Feb actually had bushfires in 2004. Prescribed burning regimes in WA (which seem moderately successful) runs on a 7 year rotation (although it is currently longer as the Govt doesn’t fun it properly). The fuel load was developed late last year with the spring rain, not accumulated over a longer period. There are other problems with prescribed burning too. The act of regularly burning a region will promote the growth of fire-loving plants. This has been demonstrated in southwest WA. Prescribed burning is a balancing act and is no silver bullet.
    You seem to be doing a grave injustice to a complicated issue by simply arguing that the Greens did it. It’s simplistic nonsense.

  29. “This statement is also completely untrue. The idea that you can clear NOTHING is a fabrication”

    That’s not what cohenite said.
    You can clear within a few metres of your house [virtually where a tree can fall on your house] but where I live you cannot now clear a firebreak and a firebreak in some areas and conditions is 200+ metres.

  30. “This statement is also completely untrue. The idea that you can clear NOTHING is a fabrication”

    That’s not what cohenite said.
    You can clear within a few metres of your house [virtually where a tree can fall on your house] but where I live you cannot now clear a firebreak and a firebreak in some areas and conditions is 200+ metres.

  31. Kuhnkat
    It’s true that prescribed burning encourages the growth of fire-loving plants.
    What isn’t true is that green groups have prevented prescribed burning.

    Spangled,
    A firebreak is to provide access for firefighters. It isn’t to act as a barrier to fire. Embers will travel more than 200m in a big fire. By your theory the only way to fireproof Australia would be to have no vegetation.

  32. Kuhnkat
    It’s true that prescribed burning encourages the growth of fire-loving plants.
    What isn’t true is that green groups have prevented prescribed burning.

    Spangled,
    A firebreak is to provide access for firefighters. It isn’t to act as a barrier to fire. Embers will travel more than 200m in a big fire. By your theory the only way to fireproof Australia would be to have no vegetation.

  33. Wikip says something else when I asked about fire break.

    “A firebreak (also called a fireroad, fire line or fuel break) is a gap in vegetation or other combustible material that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a wildfire. A firebreak may occur naturally where there is a lack of vegetation or “fuel”, such as a river, lake or canyon. Firebreaks may also be man-made, and many of these also serve as roads, such as a logging road, jeep trail, secondary road, or a highway.”

    I don’t know how to insert a link here but Google will get you there I’m sure…

  34. Wikip says something else when I asked about fire break.

    “A firebreak (also called a fireroad, fire line or fuel break) is a gap in vegetation or other combustible material that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a wildfire. A firebreak may occur naturally where there is a lack of vegetation or “fuel”, such as a river, lake or canyon. Firebreaks may also be man-made, and many of these also serve as roads, such as a logging road, jeep trail, secondary road, or a highway.”

    I don’t know how to insert a link here but Google will get you there I’m sure…

  35. NT,

    Fire breaks are what Spangles says they are. Fire trails is what the firefighters travel along to gain access deep into the forest etc.

    Heavens, when I was working with the NSW Geol Survey all those years back, we frequently masde use of the fire trails to do mapping etc in the various forests.

  36. NT,

    Fire breaks are what Spangles says they are. Fire trails is what the firefighters travel along to gain access deep into the forest etc.

    Heavens, when I was working with the NSW Geol Survey all those years back, we frequently masde use of the fire trails to do mapping etc in the various forests.

  37. “I should say “fire roads” in deference to Kuncat’s usuage in california.”

    “Fire roads” are what American hikers sometimes walk along, “fire trails” are what Australian bushwalkers (sometimes) use.

    Still I’ve seen one council allows a 6m “fire break” but I believe 6m is the requirement for a “fire trail” it really doesn’t constitute much of a break for eucalypt vapour fueled fires.

  38. “I should say “fire roads” in deference to Kuncat’s usuage in california.”

    “Fire roads” are what American hikers sometimes walk along, “fire trails” are what Australian bushwalkers (sometimes) use.

    Still I’ve seen one council allows a 6m “fire break” but I believe 6m is the requirement for a “fire trail” it really doesn’t constitute much of a break for eucalypt vapour fueled fires.

  39. Louis and Jan

    In WA, a firebreak that you are required to keep around your property (the width of which varies from council to council) is for fire-fighter access.

    There would be no firebreak wide enough to stop a bushfire in the conditions on that Saturday a few weeks back. There’s no point in even trying to build one. The point for the firebreak is that it allows access for firefighters to do back burning, which will actually create a fire break.

    Jan, I think even 6m is wide. When I lived in Mundaring the firebreak was only about 3-4m wide.

  40. Louis and Jan

    In WA, a firebreak that you are required to keep around your property (the width of which varies from council to council) is for fire-fighter access.

    There would be no firebreak wide enough to stop a bushfire in the conditions on that Saturday a few weeks back. There’s no point in even trying to build one. The point for the firebreak is that it allows access for firefighters to do back burning, which will actually create a fire break.

    Jan, I think even 6m is wide. When I lived in Mundaring the firebreak was only about 3-4m wide.

  41. Yes indeed. Fire strategy in Tasmania (the south island of Australia) I have seen that works is that as soon as fire breaks out, operators get into D9’s and start circling the perimeter of townships to provide access to fire crews that follow up with back burns. Get serious, no one is going to keep breaks clear.

  42. Yes indeed. Fire strategy in Tasmania (the south island of Australia) I have seen that works is that as soon as fire breaks out, operators get into D9’s and start circling the perimeter of townships to provide access to fire crews that follow up with back burns. Get serious, no one is going to keep breaks clear.

  43. “Get serious, no one is going to keep breaks clear.”

    Perhaps not but fire access trails where they exist generally are maintained by the national parks and forestry people. It’s just that 6m space cannot be considered a fire “break”.

  44. “Get serious, no one is going to keep breaks clear.”

    Perhaps not but fire access trails where they exist generally are maintained by the national parks and forestry people. It’s just that 6m space cannot be considered a fire “break”.

  45. Jan
    Firebreak is a colloquial term. Like car park. Or greenhouse effect.
    It is put there to provide acces to firefighters to create a proper firebreak.

    The reason that they didn’t work in Victoria, is because they weren’t maintained so the fire crews had no access to back burn.

  46. Jan
    Firebreak is a colloquial term. Like car park. Or greenhouse effect.
    It is put there to provide acces to firefighters to create a proper firebreak.

    The reason that they didn’t work in Victoria, is because they weren’t maintained so the fire crews had no access to back burn.

  47. The general point I was trying to make is that while there is a long history of good intentions, no long term fuel supression program can work for a variety of reasons, nor is it ecologically advisable in some areas. But you can be organized with a fallback positions, put operators and plant on standby when the fire risk is high, and be ready for strategic protection of people and infrastructure. Its doable and what emergency services are trained for and good at. Lack of access is not really a good excuse for not back burning if that is what happened. It looked to me the services were overwhelmed by the number of fires though.

  48. The general point I was trying to make is that while there is a long history of good intentions, no long term fuel supression program can work for a variety of reasons, nor is it ecologically advisable in some areas. But you can be organized with a fallback positions, put operators and plant on standby when the fire risk is high, and be ready for strategic protection of people and infrastructure. Its doable and what emergency services are trained for and good at. Lack of access is not really a good excuse for not back burning if that is what happened. It looked to me the services were overwhelmed by the number of fires though.

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