David Dougherty and Bill Pugsley, CACOR members, are concerned about Climate Change deniers and the Australian wild fires.
David Dougherty comments:
“Some new material. Perhaps sobering, if not frightening.
We should all watch it and commit it to memory for instances in which we encounter climate change deceivers.”
Bill Pugsley comments:
As a comment on this fairly well based presentation, I’d point out that while all the factors noted would have an impact on the bush fires, some are more important than others. This is often the problem dealing with exaggerations on the one hand or denials on the other when the “evidence” is presented by laymen- whether it is Al Gore or Don Trump (or PM Morrison of Oz or former Cdn Env Minister McKenna ) often done without attributions or references to the scientific literature but only what will sell politically. Even in this piece the presenter talks about references that supposedly are available but gives no list to check primary sources ( i suppose those who want them could use google scholar and find the papers and then pay to download them but doubt that many in the public would do that) which would put each factor in context as I will try to do below
i.e. the ignition source- lightning- is associated with thunderstorms or occurs without rain as “dry lightning”. Climate change does lead to more extended periods of hotter weather and this means longer periods of more lightning which if it is accompanied by dryer than normal soil conditions leads to more fires (and this is true as well for Canadian forest fires and their increase in extent and severity as well)
The point about oscillations in ocean current and temperature anomalies is part of the global system and would be better explained in that context rather than as a stand alone process that only happens in the south Indian Ocean or in the wind pattern south of Australia when it comes to linking them to climate change- no question that they do result in drier conditions in Oz but they are not a phenomenon that only occurs down under
The one that raises the most doubt in my mind is that increase in CO2 leads to more vegetative growth and more fuel for the fire- only in the point of yes there is a link but not to a significant degree since the increase in global CO2 since the late 1880s (less than 300 ppm) has only been around 35-40% to what it is today (415-420 ppm) which amounts to around 3% increase per decade. The question for growth of vegetation is how much more would grow with an increase of 5% or so – not so much I’d think (but stand to be corrected by someone with more botany background than my academic premed courses in cytology and genetics). In my experience with the Cdn Climate Centre in the 70s and 80s (before it was closed by then Liberal govt in 1995), we looked at the claims by some in the agricultural industry in the Prairies (the much weaker climate denial group at the time who favoured biofuels and other subsidies to farmers) who claimed than more CO2 would be a good thing by increasing growth – but this was in the context of the amount of global CO2 doubly or quadrupling and even then many wondered if the increase in temperature and droughts (if not offset by major increase in irrigation) would not have a greater impact than the slight increase in growth
Bottom line that everyone on the science fact side would probably agree – climate change makes extremes greater and more frequent not just in Australia but also in equally vulnerable parts of the world such as the American midwest (and southern Cdn prairies)
. How much greater and how much more frequent are the things that improved climate models will tells us – along with extended observations of more events like the 2019/20 Aussie bush fires. The IPCC does include a working group 2 on impacts and adaptation – this is what they do worldwide- and I would suggest is the place to go for backed up peer-reviewed research.