Wild weather

We have had more than a bit of that in the past few days. Partly it is the effect, most likely, of the La Nina phase we have now entered. US meteorologist Dan Satterfield posted a link to a Washington Post account of that: La Niña is back. Here’s what that means.

It’s one of many drivers in our atmosphere, but it is often among the most important given the extent to which it shuffles other atmospheric features key in determining how weather evolves over the Lower 48.

In brief, here are some of the key impacts La Niña could have in the coming months:

— Extending favorable conditions for Atlantic hurricane activity this fall.
— Worsening drought conditions in the Southwest through the winter and potentially elevating the fire risk through the fall.
— Raising the odds of a cold, stormy winter across the northern tier of the United States and a mild, dry winter across the South.
— Increasing tornado activity in the Plains and South during the spring.

La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, which often makes headlines for spurring powerful southern storms that can generate beneficial rains in California and track across the entire nation.

In Australia:

La Niña is characterized by increased rainfall and cloud cover, especially across the east and north; snow cover is increased. There are also cooler daytime temperatures south of the tropics and fewer extreme highs, and warmer overnight temperatures in the tropics. There is less risk of frost, but increased risk of widespread flooding, tropical cyclones, and the monsoon season starts earlier.

Recent Wollongong weather forecasts

And we have been getting a lot of these warnings, this one from Thursday afternoon.

Wollongong actually has been spared. Not so some other parts of the state, and I especially noted Armidale where Jim Belshaw now lives. There was a tornado there on Thursday night!

Jim himself says he is OK. When I asked he said: “Hi Neil. It was wild while it lasted, very noisy and the car has some hail marks, but the main storm was just to the north of us running along a west-east line. The closed UNE campus which suffered damage starts about 800 metres, away, but is a very big campus.”

I remembered one of my mother’s favourite stories from her childhood in Braefield — my mother and the 1921 tornado! My God, that’s 100 years ago! And note she calls Australia Day “Anniversary Day”, as people did back then.

More tales from my mother 3 — Braefield NSW 1916-1923

Braefield was a small place: three railway night officers’ cottages, a Post Office Store of sorts, and a brand new school building. The old one became the local hall where church services — every denomination — were held once a month, and it was also the scene of all local social activity. It was War time and a very energetic committee made up of farmers’ wives and families knitted for soldiers and every lad that left Braefield was farewelled in the old school hall and presented with a watch, and welcomed home — those that came home — being then given a medal by a now saddened committee….

In December 1920 we went to Sydney for the Christmas vacation, returning on Chaffey’s Mail, which left Central about 2 pm on Saturday and stopped all stations from Murrurundi to Tamworth where it terminated. We arrived home about 2.30 am.

The tornado

The following day, Monday, was Anniversary Day. Dad drove into Quirindi to get supplies; there were Chinese shops always open. Before his return we children had been watching the sky. At first we thought a dust storm was approaching across the Breeza Plains. The sky went from red to purple and then to deep indigo. Thank goodness Dad arrived home, and he said to Mother who was ironing in the kitchen, “There is a storm going to hit the back of the house, and we had better go into the bedrooms.” She refused as she wanted to finish her ironing. Within moments the verandah had gone and dad hustled us all into the dining room and under a heavy oak table. It became pitch dark. The storm only lasted for twenty minutes, but the dining room was all that was left of our home! If it had not been for a 10,000 gallon water tank which was luckily full and sheltered that room only, I would not be here today.

Kind neighbours took us in. The path of the storm could be traced back along the plains as large trees were chopped to match wood, and our place and the railway siding were in its direct path. Both were shattered. A kindly farmer lent us an unoccupied dwelling, scarcely a house, but shelter, and we were given bedding and necessary equipment so that we could survive. The iron roof of our place was found over a mile from the house! The other farmer had our home rebuilt as quickly as possible.

Poor Mother was pregnant again and a still-born child was born in June. Again it nearly cost our Mother’s life, and again, thank God for Dad’s wonderful mother who came and stayed through these very troublesome times.

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 71 — on just about everyone except our government being inspirational about our planet

Sad, isn’t it, the shag on a rock stance of the current Australian government when even the great bastions of tradition are seeing the light! See for example Dozens of prominent religious figures from around the globe meet at the Vatican to demand world leaders take immediate moves.

So radical eh!

And the next is beautiful and gloriously WOKE! As all of us should be in 2021 — :DEAD or ASLEEP are the alternative states after all.

The background to that hymn:

Hymns for Our Contemporary World: a new collection of hymns addressing some of the dominant themes of our contemporary world.

  • Social justice
  • Racial equality
  • Mental health
  • Refugee crisis
  • Environment
  • Societal divisions
  • Global pandemic
  • Isolation
  • Truth
Recording session, Leeds Minster July 2021.

31 October to 12 November 2021 — UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021.

Mind you, there have been crazy tree-hugging greenies in politics for years — and thank God people like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt to put them in their place — both of whom sadly missed out on the Nobel Prize for Physics yet again! Bloody woke leftist global warmist mainstream media eh!.

Look at this woman — one of the most notorious tree-huggers ever! And she apparently hated fossil fuels too as she caused more coal mines to close than anyone at the time thought possible…

Mind you, her reasons might not entirely have been environmental.

This is the uncut speech made in November 1989. I commend listening to it right through. Some of it may surprise you. She is crystal clear on what the problems are and how we are part of those problems. Her thoughts of 32 years ago would not play at all well in the Murdoch media today, particularly among the denizens of Sky After Dark here in Australia. Yes, you will note her advocacy of nuclear — but she is not alone among environmentalists and advocates of action on climate change in seeing that as part of a solution, even today. I certainly can see merit in the thought.

But that is another argument. In the main the speech is passionate, articulate and still convincing. And as relevant as ever.

And on the 2021 Nobel Prize:

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three scientists who have made significant contributions to our understanding of climate science.

Syukuro Manabe, 90, from the US, and Klaus Hasselmann, 89, from Germany, were cited for their work in “the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”.

The second half of the prize was awarded to Italian Giorgio Parisi, 73, for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”.

The panel said Dr Manabe and Dr Hasselmann “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it.

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 40 — our town and some brilliant finds

Yes, the 40th in the series! OMG! Longer actually, as our lockdown began 26 June. So Day 61 in fact.

In accordance with NSW Health advice Saturday 26th June Collegians will be closing its venues from 4pm today. This includes:

Collegians Wollongong, Collegians Balgownie, Collegians Illawarra Leagues, Collegians Figtree & Collegians Port Kembla

At this stage we hope to re-open our doors on Saturday 10th July in accordance with the end of the lock down Midnight Friday 9th July. Pending further advice from NSW Health.

Thank you for your understanding. Stay safe and take care. Collegians Management

Well here we still are… As I have said City Diggers is taking advantage of the lockdown to do major renovations.

The coffee shop bar yesterday!

Talked to a club friend from early on in my return to The Gong, Steve Hitchens, about this yesterday on the phone. BIG changes. But as I said to him, I hope the Bistro menu is better than it was in the lead-up to lockdown — the reason I and Maurice and many others migrated to Illawarra Leagues. Be interested to see the changes though.

Speaking of The Gong, on Thursday I went to town to the chemist as I had to renew some medication. Waiting for the bus at this bus stop I had a conversation which I later reported on Facebook:

At the bus stop in The Gong this morning — a woman around my age was consulting the bus timetable as I scanned the intersection of Crown and Keira for a bus…

“Are they after you?” she suddenly said.

Apparently some kind of police or public order officers had just gone past. I hadn’t noticed…

She laughed and said, “You never know these days, do you?”

We chatted about how things were going. “It’s bad,” she said.

“Yes, but our parents lived through the War,” I replied. “This is not as bad.”

She agreed. “Yes, I was born just after and I remember…”

And told stories of shortages and rations.

“I was born during,” I replied. “And I think now we should be tapping into the spirit our parents had back then.”

“True,” she replied. And went on her way.My bus arrived. A 39. Good, Mount Keira Road service. And I was the only passenger.

Meanwhile the internet continues to deliver, especially through Facebook, some amazing things.

First a family history treasure from the Wollondilly Historical Page on Facebook. I have colourised the image.

John (Jack) Whitfield (1864-1956) joined the Police Force as a Probationary Constable on 28th October 1889. Previous to this he worked as a sawyer with his father W.J.J. Whitfield at his Bluegum Creek Sawmill near the Thirlmere Lakes.John Whitfield was the last constable with the Police Force at Appin. The Court House/Police Station was closed in 1933. Photograph from Whitfield family collection.

Uncle John deserves colour! I met him when I was a kid, but I hardly remember him I’m afraid. I better remember his brother Bill and indeed his other brother, my grandfather Tom. And his sister Annie, who attended the reception in Shellharbour in 1972 for my gold medal Olympian cousin Beverley.

Then on a completely different tack is this brilliant video from journalist George Monbiot on climate change.

So very true! I am ashamed to see that Aussie motormouths like Alan Jones PhD (not) are a significant part of the picture! Game, set and match George! He uses plain and sometimes Anglo-Saxon words at times — perfectly justified, in my view! But if you are a bit precious about such things. be warned if the letter F frightens you….

And yes — kind of contradictory of me, but I really love steam trains! This wonderful footage is of my favourite steamer of all time — the C38! Beautifully edited too. The ending is so apt, given this was the end of the era really. Enjoy! Sorry that you have to watch on YouTube instead of here, but it is very much worth it!

Yes, I know absolutely dreadful things have been happening in Afghanistan. On Facebook first thing yesterday I wrote:

I will not spend too much time on this but like everyone I will be following these events closely. Nothing but absolute revulsion can be our attitude, There is nothing good about ISIS, nothing worthy in their cause or their tactics. They appear to hate everyone except themselves.

Any here or in the USA who turns this into partisan politics of any kind is simply contemptible.

But soon after I did share an item from blogging and FB friend in California, Kanani Fong with this note:

Kanani Fong shared this saying “I thought of this photo this morning, when I heard the news about the Kabul airport. It was the last image I saw last night before tucking in. The Marines have always brought a dose of safety and clarity wherever they go. Much love to their family, friends, and fellow Marines.”

Her husband worked as a surgeon with the US military in Afghanistan. She was involved in that excellent documentary Restrepo.

On not posting about the IPCC Report 2021

Yesterday on Facebook I boldly stated, after quite a few shares there on the subject:

So I will give the blog a day off tomorrow — after all there are a whole lot of great (I think so!) posts I have put out there since our lockdown began.

And no, I am not going to do a post on the climate emergency or the latest IPCC Report.* I have read and seen many good things about all the bad things in it, as have you no doubt — but I have not read the thing itself, and probably neither have you.

Anyway, I have no expertise in any relevant field. I depend on carefully selected sources I have been following for years now.

And went on with what — ironically — has become this post! Stiill, I am the master of this blog,eh, and I can change my mind if I want to!

If you go to my blog (and of course here you are!) you will see in the side-bar (as in these screen shots) what I did from at least 2007 when I got sick of going over and over the same damned fool arguments denialists and minimisers and often their powerful industry sponsors have recycled again and again.

As a simple rule ignore just about everything ever published in the Murdoch press (especially The Australian) and of course the opinion mongers at Sky In The Bog are literally unbelievable and often even less qualified than I am.

The links in the side-bar are up-to-date and all work. I have just tested them. Of course the pic is just a pic, so I have added with each picture a link to the blog so you can check out the EXCELLENT resources the real thing links to.

Seeing you of course are here, let me take you through each of those links.

Skeptical Science — winner of the Australian Museum’s Eureka Award in 2011. Excellent, and VERY sound and sane! In the left sidebar you will also find all the latest posts, including on that current IPCC Report.

The Great Global Warming Swindle Swindle — is a 2007 post of my own, referring to a column by the egregious Murdoch hack Miranda Devine.

Why shouldn’t we be told humans produce a small fraction of the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere each year, compared with volcanoes, bacteria, animals, rotting vegetation and the oceans?

That is in Miranda’s damp squib defence of “The Great Global Warming Swindle, a science-backed [sic] rebuttal of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.” I’ll let notoriously non-Marxist Christian Sir John Houghton, a top meteorologist and former Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Oxford University, reply.

The late Sir John Houghton

Next question. Miranda?

Why shouldn’t we hear about the 2005 House of Lords inquiry, which first examined the economics of climate change, expressing concern about the objectivity of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

Sir John?

8. The IPCC process stifles debate and is used by scientists to further their own self interest – NOT TRUE.

I chaired the main meetings of Working Group I during the production of the first three IPCC scientific assessments. I can say categorically that the process was very open and honest. The aim was to distinguish between what was reasonably well known and the areas where there is large uncertainty. The chapter groups had complete freedom to investigate and assess the scientific literature and draw their conclusions.

Contrary to the impression given in the programme, no one ever resigned from being a lead author in Working Group I because of their disagreement with the process or the final content of their chapter. In fact, no one ever communicated to me a complaint about the integrity of the process.

I should mention, however, a case of disagreement that occurred in Working Group 2 of the IPCC that dealt with the impacts of climate change – a more complex area to address that the basic science of Working Group I. Professor Reiter who appeared in the programme described how, unfortunately, his expert work on malaria failed to get recognition in the relevant IPCC chapter.

Even Professor Lindzen, who appeared at length on the programme, stayed the course as lead author within Working Group I, expressing his satisfaction with the report’s chapters as good scientific documents. He has often, however, gone on to express his view that the conclusions of the Policymakers Summary did not faithfully represent the chapters. But he has never provided any supporting evidence for that statement – nor, to my knowledge, has anyone else who has quoted that statement originating from Lindzen.

It is important to note that IPCC Policymakers’ Summaries are agreed unanimously at intergovernmental meetings involving over 200 government delegates from around 100 countries. This agreement is only achieved after several days of scientific debate (only scientific arguments not political ones are allowed) the main purpose of which is to challenge the scientific chapter authors regarding the accuracy, clarity and relevance of the summary and most especially its consistency with the underlying chapters. Agreement at such a meeting has ensured that the resulting document, so far as is possible, is scientifically accurate, balanced and free from personal or political bias.

Reference was made in the programme to an article in the Wall Street Journal in 1995 about the 1995 IPCC report accusing the IPCC of improperly altering one of the agreed chapters before publication. This was a completely false accusation as was pointed out in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 1996, 77, pp1961-1966.

You may like to listen to (or read the transcript of) this tribute to Sir John Houghton, broadcast on the ABC Science Show in April 2020, on the occasion of his passing.

With his leadership, Sir John Houghton did more than inspire a generation of scientists. No one has more successfully and effectively traversed the world of cutting-edge science, domestic and international climate politics, and the institutions and policies required to reduce climate risk. His combination of scientific rigour, humanism and political nous made him truly formidable.

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to common arguments is just brilliant! Every sincere and/or damned fool question is there!

Below is a complete listing of the articles in “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

Stages of DenialScientific TopicsTypes of Argument, and Levels of Sophistication.

Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

The Discovery of Global Warming — A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change by Spencer Weart — “a noted historian specializing in the history of modern physics and geophysics. Until his retirement in 2009 he was Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in College Park, Maryland, USA, and he continues to be affiliated with the Center.”

And of course the IPCC itself.

As for Australia’s position, a discussion came up on Facebook yesterday following our Prime Minister’s response to the latest IPCC Report. My bottom line:

Even if ScoMo believes every word — and he just might — he is going down the wrong path. And taking us with him. So he has to go.

As I said — the wrong path. That rather than his sincerity is the issue. They have been running with the technology will fix it line for ages now, and it is pathetic as a lot of their fixes are extremely hypothetical.

I care about us having a better climate policy. I am not going to go back over all those issues. The fact is I really do not care all that much one way or another about Scott Morrison, either to lionise him or demonise him. Simple fact — he and his government have the wrong policies. Let’s hope the other side — who have been a bit messy too in the past — do a better job.

This cartoon offers a view which resonates with me.

And of the many media responses yesterday, this one from India is one of the most powerful.

And here is an hour from someone I am sure you know. I offer it in the unlikely event you have not seen it — it is an hour well spent though.

Let’s talk about the weather…

Over in the USA, so US ABC News tells me, they have been baking east and west. Here Sydney had its coldest June day since the 1880s. (The Gong was a degree or two warmer — we got to 12C.) Oh, and in case anyone starts: I know the difference between weather and climate. Do you?

Cold June days are not entirely unprecedented of course, as I discovered back around 2000 when exploring my own family history.

The relation of Jacob Whitfield (convict arr. 1822 from Ireland) to William and Mary (such Protestant names!) now seems established: he was their father. Certainly he witnessed the wedding on 20 June 1836 at St Andrews Presbyterian Church of William Whitfield and Caroline Philadelphia West, along with the other witnesses Maria Burgess and William Burgess. On 18 September 1836 (yes, I can count!) the baptism is recorded at St James Church, King Street, of William Joseph John Whitfield, son of William and Philadelphia. William gave his profession as carpenter, and his address as Elizabeth Street. The child had been born on August 14. (By the way, it snowed in Sydney on June 28 1836.)

Some question that 28 June 1836 event as possibly just being sleet. However, it was clearly a cold week for William and his pregnant wife on their wedding day, it appears.

Victoria copped the wildest of our weather event, but the predictions of snow in the central ranges of NSW certainly came true. Mr Rabbit (once a regular on my blogs as far back as 2000) is now a teacher in the Blue Mountains; he tells me that his school closed at 10am yesterday. His school is not far from Medlow Bath railway station which looked like this:

That photo and the others here were posted yesterday on Facebook. FB friend and South Sydney Uniting Church member Julie McCrossin was staying in Blackheath:

This is an official shot warning of road conditions:

But the most brilliant photo I saw has to be this one from Mount Victoria by Gary P Hayes — and he says: “and no, not photoshopped for the trolls out there …”