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Emergencies and luxuries

February 3rd, 2013

The floodwaters have receded[1] and the miserable task of cleaning up is beginning in Bundaberg, Laidley and other communities. Here in Brisbane we were lucky enough to avoid another flood. The remnants of Cyclone Oswald hit us in the form of a summer storm, bigger than usual, but a pretty regular event here. It wasn’t surprising that hundreds of thousands of people (including me) lost electrical power, or that repairs couldn’t start until the wind had subsided. Even so, the restoration of power was very slow – in many places slower than in 2011. It’s become evident that, like all areas of the Queensland public sector, the electricity distributors (Energex in the Brisbane region and Ergon elsewhere) have been subject to staff cuts that have hampered their ability to respond. The union was issuing warnings about this last year, and they have been proved right. In one startling case, workers were delayed from responding to the emergency in Bundaberg, so they could be briefed on their redundancy options.

Ergon and Energex are government-owned corporations, which are normally supposed to make their own commercial decisions. In this case, however, the shareholding ministers, Energy Minister Mark McArdle and Treasurer Tim Nicholls, have actively intervened to push for job cuts. The obvious explanation is that they are trying to boost profitability (at least in the short term) to prepare the enterprises for privatisation. The regulatory system is supposed to require Energex and Ergon to meet reliability standards, but it seems likely that it is vulnerable to gaming, possibly by excluding extreme (but not uncommon or unpredictable) events like this storm from the criteria (I plan to look into this).

The cuts in the electricity sector have been matched or exceeded across the entire public sector, including the services on which we all rely in an emergency. Meanwhile, Campbell and Nicholls are building themselves a brand new office tower, demolishing the aging but serviceable building in which they currently work. They are paying off their supporters with cuts in payroll tax, grants to racing clubs and so on. But if you want a symbol of this government, you can’t go past Jeff Seeney, who tried to get a government plane, currently used for organ transplants and similar emergencies, allocated for his personal use.

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  1. Ikonoclast
    February 3rd, 2013 at 16:36 | #1

    Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in fequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. Yet we are reducing all the emergency services. In addition, instead of making more robust infrastructure we are letting it degrade further.

    The public debate is about all the wrong things. I have yet to hear one person in a position of prominence, knowledge and authority with the sense to say publicly we should never rebuild on flooded land. Going further, we need to progressively move all structures above the old 1 in 200 year level. This level is now probably the new 1 in 20 year flood level. A thorough re-think of all built infrastructure is required. In particular we need open flood parks and grazing land below (the old) 1 in 200 year flood level. In bushfire prone areas we need to build semi-underground houses in the hills with one open side facing north and equipped with storm & fire shutters.

  2. Katz
    February 3rd, 2013 at 16:47 | #2

    The Victorian Liberal Party still hasn’t recovered electorally from the shock of Kennett’s similar slash and burn policies.

    And, from a distance, it appears to me that Newman is not Kennett’s equal in some of the things that Kennett did well.

    Is there. Steve Bracks in Queensland who can appear as the embodiment of modest common decency in public administration?

  3. Ikonoclast
  4. February 3rd, 2013 at 17:11 | #4

    The industry code excludes ‘major event days’ under section 2.4.3 (pdf). These days are identified in the code (pdf) as days where the log of the normalised sum of outage durations for that day exceeds 2.5 standard deviations from the average log (for the past 5 years). I’m not sure whether that limit is appropriate, but I say it’s pretty clear the impact from Oswald will be excluded.

    I’m not sure this is unfairly gaming the system though. It’s important to measure the day to day reliability of the system in determining performance. However, it’s unlikely that there is enough statistical data on performance, or predictability in the effects of major weather events to be able to assess recovery performance quantitatively in these types of situations. It is a valid political question though, as to whether we’d prefer marginally higher electricity prices (or higher taxes, or whatever) in order to get the power back on hours (or even a day) earlier in these situations, when they do actually occur.

  5. John Quiggin
    February 3rd, 2013 at 17:50 | #5

    @desipis

    Exemptions of this kind represent a misallocation of risk. It doesn’t matter whether or not its predictable.

    Given the losses involved in two or three days without power, I imagine most people would be willing to pay a significant amount for earlier restorations. Estimating this WTP is the kind of job regulators are supposed to do.

    I should disclose that I was once involved in regulation of Energex as a member of the QCA. Poor performance in the 2002 storms was clearly due to regulatory gaming. I thought the problems had been fixed up with the performance standards, but it’s now clear to me that these exemptions were a mistake.

  6. February 3rd, 2013 at 17:51 | #6

    Lawrence Springborg is talking about claiming damages from tobacco companies to cover the extra cost tobacco related illness is putting on the public health system. More strength to his arm is all I can say.
    The logical extension of this thinking is to use a massive Levy on coal (and other fossil carbon) companies to pay for fixing the the flood damage and the changes required to flood proof Qld and NSW. If it is OK for coal companies to profit from digging up fossil carbon it does not seem unreasonable for them to pay for the damage the product they are selling is causing.

  7. February 3rd, 2013 at 18:40 | #7

    Qld coal production was 188 mt for 2011/12. (http://mines.industry.qld.gov.au/mining/coal-statistics.htm) This would have generated about 550 mt CO2 when used.
    A flood levy of only $5/tonne CO2 equivalent would have raised $2.8 billion for 2011/12. This would have covered Newman’s first guess for flood costs with a bit left over for flood proofing. Equivalent levies on the gas and cement industries would allow more for flood proofing and compensating those affected by bloating flood insurance costs.
    Apart from paying for flood costs the levy might make the state think hard about tying its future to ongoing damage to the planet.

  8. Hal9000
    February 3rd, 2013 at 19:06 | #8

    @Katz
    Modest common decency in public administration is pretty much a foreign concept in Queensland, Katz. Public servants who give unwelcome advice, however soundly based (e.g. ‘the law says you can’t do what you want to do’) have their careers truncated. Unless, of course, that advice is accompanied by work-around advice (e.g. ‘but here’s a bill retrospectively validating your unlawful acts’). Bligh’s lot were little, if at all, better. It was Bligh who pushed through legislation to geld the Speaker’s office, effectively passing day to day control of parliament to the executive. So, when Ray Hopper defected from the LNP to the Katter party, his Parliament House office was moved to a storeroom next to the gym.

  9. Sheila Newman
    February 3rd, 2013 at 19:07 | #9

    @Ikonoclast
    I agree with you Ikonoclast. The debate is about all the wrong things and your example of the failure to ban building on flood plains is extremely important. I personally think that Campbell Newman and Anna Bligh, who both pushed for more and more people and buildings in these areas, whilst fully aware of the flood potential, should have gone to prison.

    I was depressed that the competition for election was artificially confined as usual by the mainstream press to these two contenders.

    Our problems can only increase if we continue to have distant governments that are only accountable according to arcane economic premises, rather than face to face with their constituents on a local basis.

    All my own research shows me that governments without strong local democracy underpinning them are unresponsive to human scale social and environmental needs.

  10. Sheila Newman
    February 3rd, 2013 at 19:19 | #10

    @Katz

    What on earth makes you think that Steve Bracks embodied decency? He was just like all of them – obsessed with population growth and unresponsive to democracy. I actually debated him for one hour on the Jon Faine Show in Victoria a couple of years ago. The phones ran hot with anger at what he had done to Victoria. You can listen to the show here: http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2010/04/19/2876868.htm?site=melbourne&microsite=faine&section=latest

    I admit it starts off a bit slowly but what was amazing was how the phones were jammed with people supporting what I said although I had not advertised that I was going to be on the show and do not believe that all those people knew me; it was a general public who took advantage of a rare opportunity.
    Towards the end of the show both Bracks and Faine talked about how important it was for housing costs to rise for investment. It showed how out of touch they were by believing that ‘most’ people treat their homes as investments, whereas, of course, most people simply need shelter and stability. Most people do not have ‘investments’. They have wages and debts.

  11. Katz
    February 3rd, 2013 at 20:06 | #11

    I said he was decent, not perfect.

  12. February 3rd, 2013 at 21:01 | #12

    @John Quiggin
    I agree that there’s a misallocation of risk. However, the risk from everyday events and the risk from major weather events are two different types of risks. It’s entirely appropriate to distinguish between the two when measuring performance. The former can be reasonably compared across networks and time to provide a benchmark.

    However given the variability between networks and time when it comes to major weather events, even if an appropriate way to measure performance after major weather events could be established there’s no real way to benchmark it to tell if the performance was ‘good’ or ‘bad’. There’s no objectively rational way to mitigate the uncertainty, and there’s no market to serve as a proxy. So we’re left with politics (‘the regulator’), where we have politicians demonstrating a complete lack of understanding or creativity with a policy of across the board cuts.

    The only way I can see to improve it would be some form of insurance scheme into the regulation to cover common costs and inconveniences, and let the networks handle the balancing act of paying for repair capacity vs paying compensation internally. That way the costs of major events would be spread across the population and across time, and not be something the politicians can just hope doesn’t happen on their watch.

    (And FWIW I did work in the industry a few years back, although not specifically to do with reliability)

  13. Ikonoclast
    February 3rd, 2013 at 21:17 | #13

    @Sheila Newman

    There seem to be strong links between land developers and our local and state governments. This seems to affect both major parties equally. If one had to sum up matters in a nutshell one would say the land developers own local and state government and the coal and mineral barons own our national government. That is why nothing changes and the ordinary people suffer.

    The only way forward is a radical restructure of our politics to remove all power from capital and give all power back to workers and the general citizenry. Without a pro-democratic. anti-capitalistic revolution in our society we are going to get nowhere. It will be more of the same until the current system destroys the capacity of the environment to sustain civilization.

  14. iain
    February 3rd, 2013 at 21:19 | #14

    Ikono, not sure if you know what a 1 in 200 year flood level for Brisbane looks like? (assuming this is 0.5% AEP?)

    Likely this would cover a significant part but of central Brisbane, but, since all floods are different and vary from any accepted modelling predictions, it is hard to say which buildings should be moved (demolished)?

    Regardless, demolishing a significant portion of central Brisbane for grazing paddocks is probably not the smartest idea I’ve heard put forward. Better to look at mitigation strategies (move strategic infrastructure such as substations, put more power/services underground, and have a science based approach to dam management?

  15. February 3rd, 2013 at 21:33 | #15

    Most of the damage in the Brisbane 2011 flood occurred because damage started at a very low rate of dam discharge. As a consequence, the dam level was allowed to rise quite high before discharge rates were raised above this low level. What is needed in Brisbane is not clearing all the buildings that were flooded in 2011 but the clearing and other action required to allow higher discharge rates as soon as the dam starts filling the flood pocket. These changes would also reduce the temptation to lower dam levels below 100% at the start of the wet season.

  16. February 3rd, 2013 at 22:47 | #16

    @Katz wrote:

    I said [Steve Bracks] was decent, not perfect.

    Decent?!

    From page 283 of “The Latham Diaries” of 2005:

    Tuesday, 22 April 2004

    Nothing to cheer me in Melbourne town, least of all our meeting with Bracks this morning, accompanied by Faulkner, Crean and McMullan. He went to the last State election promising a freeway and, as soon as he won, announced a tollway. We tried too get him to reverse his broken promise on the Scoresby Freeway. Now wonder people hate politics and politicians. Bracks has broken his promise, hoping the odium will wear off before the next State election.

    But we’re copping the fall-out electorally–disastrous polling right through the eastern suburbs. We can kiss good-bye to any hope of winning La Trobe, Deakin, Aston or Dunkley, and Anna Burke will be lucky to hang on to Chisholm. I might as well not bother campaigning in the marginal seat of Melbourne.

    Bracks, however, was unmoved, even when Faulkner put it right on him: ‘The stakes are high in what we are talking about. You need to know, Steve, this could mean the difference between forming a Labor Government and falling a few seats short. You need to think about how history will see that.’ Yes, a day of deep and abiding Labor history as Bracks refused to help, not budging an inch. Sat there like a statue. that silly grin on his face.

    We can thank Bracks, as well as at least two other State ‘Labor’ Premiers, who behaved no less cynically, for handing John Howard three more years to mis-rule this country.

  17. Mel
    February 3rd, 2013 at 22:54 | #17

    Ikonoklast:

    “Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in fequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW.”

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms

    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    (2) is not predicted by the IPCC, and

    (2) is not anticipated by so much as a single peer reviewed publication considered by the IPCC

    Rasmus from Real Climate reviewing the latest IPCC summary for policymakers:

    The message from the summary of policy-makers is therefore that it is likely [66-100% probability] that there will be fewer or same number but more intense tropical cyclones (including tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons) in the future. This conclusion is not new, however, as it was also the conclusion of the AR4, as well as the most recent WMO consensus statement on tropical storms.” [1]

    Note that Rasmus then describes the IPCC conclusion as “a bit premature”.

    The f@lsehoods that you shamelessly and repeatedly promote are tiresome.

    fn 1: wwwDOTrealclimateDOTorg/index.php/archives/2011/11/the-ipcc-report-on-extreme-climate-and-weather-events/

  18. Chris Warren
    February 3rd, 2013 at 23:05 | #18

    Mel

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms

    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    You seem to be suffering from the stumblebum syndrome.

    Are you able to read a simple graph showing increased storms?

    try: http://centerforoceansolutions.org/climate/impacts/cumulative-impacts/storm-intensity/

    Are you able to read English?

    try: http://www.thorntonweather.com/blog/climate-change/nasa-says-global-warming-will-increase-severe-storms/

  19. Chris Warren
    February 3rd, 2013 at 23:06 | #19

    Mel

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms

    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    You seem to be suffering from the stumblebum syndrome.

    Are you able to read a simple graph showing increased storms?

    try: http://centerforoceansolutions.org/climate/impacts/cumulative-impacts/storm-intensity/

  20. Chris Warren
  21. Mel
    February 3rd, 2013 at 23:27 | #21

    CW, did you read your links? Neither contradict my statement. Neither says major storms will double let alone increase tenfold. Thanks-not- for wasting my time. Now how about ode to Karl Marx?

  22. Chris Warren
    February 3rd, 2013 at 23:31 | #22

    Mel

    Didn’t you know that, using models, a joint MIT-Princeton University research team has shown that the frequency of intense storms would increase due to climate change.

    Try: http://www.enn.com/climate/article/44006

  23. Mel
    February 3rd, 2013 at 23:39 | #23

    Sigh. Learn to read.

    My argument is with the childish exaggeration of arguing the case for a tenfold increase. If I want to read horse sh1t on climate change, I can read Lord Monckton or his homegrown flunky, Jo Nova, or maybe Cataplexy. Let’s stay sane here.

  24. Chris Warren
    February 3rd, 2013 at 23:52 | #24

    No Mel,

    Anyone can say “probably X%” or “probably by a factor of Y” including:

    probably by a factor of 10″

    Only nutters would carry-on as if someone was therefore

    arguing the case for a tenfold increase.

    Your deliberate fabrication was not appreciated.

    However any increase from a small base, can lead to a ten-fold increase if it continues long enough.

    Anyway, put on your glasses, and tell me if you can see a probable 10 fold increase here:

    http://www.tinyurl.com/Mel-disaster

  25. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 00:07 | #25

    @Mel

    Mel, look at this graph.

    http://www.grida.no/graphicslib/detail/trends-in-natural-disasters_a899#

    Increase in natural disasters since about 1940 is well over a factor of 10. Earthquake increase is a reference for increased detection of all disasters and for increased population. Allowing for this reference we could just about say a factor of 10 increase since 1940. Certainly by 2040 we will have the factor of 10 in one century. It’s not an exaggeration. You just want to live in a semi-denialist fantasy land. “Oh yeah it’s happening a bit but nothing to worry about.”

  26. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 00:10 | #26

    Mel

    Can you count?

    Does this show a probable tripling or a probable quadrupling of floods – since 1980?

    Or is it a decrease?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/isdr/7460711188/in/set-72157628015380393/

  27. Nick
    February 4th, 2013 at 01:19 | #27

    Chris, referring to the last graph you linked to, what is the specific definition of a “flood disaster” being used by the UN? And who is doing the reporting of these floods ie. which bodies have shown the most increases? Goverments, insurance companies, the press etc? Answer those questions, and you might have an inkling why climate scientists don’t conclude there’s been anything near a 3 to 4 times increase in the frequency of floods in the last 30 years.

  28. Katz
    February 4th, 2013 at 04:17 | #28

    Maybe Bracks did the decent thing by adding to Latham’s difficulties getting anywhere near the Lodge.

  29. Mel
    February 4th, 2013 at 07:16 | #29

    Chris Warren, you are a waste of pixels. You have linked to a site called the Spiritual Research Foundation that promotes ghost tourism and New Age spiritualism as an authority on extreme weather events. For God’s sake, stop embarrassing yourself and this site with these stunts.

    No wonder right-wing populists like Jo Nova have accumulated a legion of followers. The left really is its own worst enemy.

  30. February 4th, 2013 at 07:36 | #30

    I mis-typed “No wonder people hate politics and politicians.” as “Now wonder people hate politics and politicians.” My apologies.

    To the contrary, Katz (@ #26), I don’t see how Latham’s victory in 2004 could have been as disastrous for Australia and the rest of the world as Howard’s. Almost certainly, Australia’s participation in the illegal and criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq would have ended and many of the 3.3 million Iraqi lives lost since 1991 would have been saved.

    It is true that the insight and honesty that Latham showed in his Diaries in 2005 did not even last until the 2007 elections. Astonishingly, Latham did in 2007 what he was rightly harshly critical of Bracks, Carr and Beattie for doing prior to the 2004 elections: He called for a vote for John Howard.

    Victorians are still living with the consequences of Bracks’ mis-rule, as those in other states are also living with the consequences of the mis-rule of other ‘Labor’ and Coalition Premiers and as we are all still living with the consequences of mis-rule by Federal ‘Labor’ and Coalition governments since 1975.

    It is time those who have been haloed by the media as ‘elder statesmen’ are instead remembered for the terrible harm they have caused and treated accordingly.

  31. Katz
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:11 | #31

    I apologise for ignoring Latham’s Jesus-like ability to resurrect war victims.

  32. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:27 | #32

    @Mel

    oh dear,

    read what is in front of you.

    The source of the data is cited at the bottom of the chart.

    Not the url address in your browser window.

    You do not save yourself by shooting the messenger.

    The source of the data is: emdat, which is authoritative.

    Here is the description from the United Nations (http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/disaster-statistics)

    EM-DAT contains essential core data on the occurrence and effects of over 18,000 mass disasters in the world from 1900 to present. The database is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies.

    Now do you see why you keep stumbling?

  33. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:28 | #33

    @Mel

    oh dear,

    read what is in front of you.

    The source of the data is cited at the bottom of the chart.

    Not the url address in your browser window.

    You do not save yourself by shooting the messenger.

    The source of the data is: emdat, which is authoritative.

    Here is the description from the United Nations (http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/disaster-statistics)

    EM-DAT contains essential core data on the occurrence and effects of over 18,000 mass disasters in the world from 1900 to present. The database is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies.

    Now do you see why you keep stumbling?

  34. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:28 | #34

    “Over the past two years, 700 natural disasters were registered worldwide affecting more than 450 million people, according to a new IMF study.

    Damages have risen from an estimated $20 billion on average per year in the 1990s to about $100 billion per year during 2000–10. This upward trend is expected to continue as a result of the rising concentration of people living in areas more exposed to natural disasters, and climate change.” – IMF Survey Natural Disasters.

    This is a five times rise in one decade. It would have to be adjusted for population increase and inflation. Even allowing for this, my statement “Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in fequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW” looks reasonable. AGW has been on the rise since industrialisation. Thus a statement that major storms and natural disasters (as measured by damage costs adjusted for inflation) are (present tense meaning the historical era in question i.e the industrial anthropocene) increasing in frequency by a factor of ten looks reasonable when we consider the time span of about 1800 to the present and then to the near projected historical future, say to 2050.

    Of course, Mel will carry on with his usual tirade of abuse when someone posts something he disagrees with. Provide the counterfactuals (wordplay intended) Mel if you have them.

  35. Mel
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:40 | #35

    Chris Warren, I’m well aware of the source of the graph. The fact remains that you sourced it from a New Age spiritual healing website. The fact also remains that it is not evidence in support of Ikonoclast’s claim for reasons that are fairly obvious.

    Here is Ikonoclast’s claim once again:

    “Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in frequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. ”

    Now how about a link to peer reviewed paper published in a reputable journal to support this claim?

  36. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:42 | #36

    @Nick

    So where, precisely, is it discussed in mainstream refereed sources, to show;

    climate scientists don’t conclude there’s been anything near a 3 to 4 times increase in the frequency of floods in the last 30 years.

    In fact I would not get too tied up in actual measured magnitudes – the trend is the key reality because – if the trend continues – any magnitude can occur.

  37. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:49 | #37

    @Mel

    So what?

    You clearly were not aware of the source.

    The messenger is irrelevant if the data is useful.

    Its not my claim, I just use the sources identified by the United Nations.

    So you are playing your usual games – stumble-bum.

  38. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 09:24 | #38

    @Mel

    I mentioned the IMF study on costs. Isn’t that good enough? I outlined my logic re 1800 to 2050. Did you even read it?

    Are you aware climate (and hence climate change) is not a linear system? Are you aware of how rapidly exponential change occurs as it ramps up?

    (Memo to self: Ignore Mel in future.)

  39. Nick
    February 4th, 2013 at 11:36 | #39

    So where, precisely, is it discussed in mainstream refereed sources, to show;

    climate scientists don’t conclude there’s been anything near a 3 to 4 times increase in the frequency of floods in the last 30 years.

    Where is it discussed in mainstream refereed sources to show that they do? It’s an easy claim for me to make, because, quite simply, I’m well aware they don’t.

    “In fact I would not get too tied up in actual measured magnitudes – the trend is the key reality because – if the trend continues – any magnitude can occur.”

    What trend are those graphs you linked to charting? Again, Chris, what is the specific definition the UNISDR (via EMDAT) is using for a “flood disaster”? From which bodies have we seen the most increase in reporting over the last 30 years?

    Regarding the MIT-Princeton paper you linked to on hurricanes, just 1 out the 4 models they used showed anything resembling a possible (not probable) 10x increase 100 years from now.

    The NASA report showed an increase in storms by a factor of .06 per decade. You agree that hardly supports Ikon’s position that severe flooding frequency has *already* increased by a factor of 10. Or, your own position that current trends will eventually result in an increase by a factor of 10. At the NASA rates, based on current warming, it would take 400 years. What increase in warming, linear or otherwise, would we need to see to bring that down to under 100 years?

    It was hyperbolic claim, and it is unfounded. Mel was right to call Ikonoclast out on it. It is not unlike some of Flannery’s ill-judged remarks over the years, and it has the potential to do more harm than good. It runs directly against people’s lived experiences, and is therefore of no use in trying to convince them of the actual severity and reality of climate change.

  40. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 12:27 | #40

    @Nick

    It is probably best if you answer your own questions.

    If you are “well aware” of something – what is the evidence?

    Playing games with “possible” vs “probable” is absque hoc.

    The actual site says:

    Though the results varied, they all showed that the frequency of intense storms would increase due to climate change.

    The exact magnitude is flexible and any statements re the future are best made as “probable” or otherwise.

    The site was referenced purely to inform stumble-bum, and not to engage in the trends/magnitude investigation.

    I have no view on whether:

    …severe flooding frequency has *already* increased by a factor of 10.

    Any increasing trend will eventually increase the base by a factor of 10. So what. This applies to bank accounts, population growth, etc etc.

    What claim are you saying is unfounded. You seem to be adding-in all manner of extras.

    It is possible to challenge a view:

    Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in fequency, probably by a factor of 10

    but not by deleting words (Mel)

    or changing words (Nick).

    It is also not possible to contest such views by uttering worse: viz;

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms

    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    [stumblebum sans probable]

    And it is certainly not an occasion to run some wacko private agenda against Tim Flannery.

  41. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 12:32 | #41

    As flood intensity and flood frequency go up and these are combined with more and more intensely windy hurricanes & cyclones and these combine with storm surges and with sea level rise and all this is combined with the great numbers of people who live on coasts and estuaries… then it is not hard to see a 10 times increase in the impacting severity of natural disasters as measured by damage costs and mitigation/adjustment. I have already posted graphs which indicate this process is well in train.

    I also stand by my claim that we are clearly transitioning to a new climate regime (runaway climate changes) where what was a 1 in 100 year flood is now likely every 10 years. The climate system is not linear in any sense. A two degree rise will likely do 10 times the damage of 1 degree rise and so on up the scale. Since we are already locked into 4 to 6 degrees C rise, the outcome is clear.

  42. February 4th, 2013 at 13:26 | #42

    When disasters like flood, earthquake, tsunami strikes all government planning and strategies fail because of the simple reason that one cannot estimate accurately how these emergencies will pan out, but one can surely speed up the recovery process after a country is hit by such catastrophic event and that is where the government and politicians come into picture. Politician and government who are dedicated towards well being of there people would make sure that recovery is fast and nobody dies due to government apathy and lack of safety measures.

  43. Nick
    February 4th, 2013 at 14:28 | #43

    Ikon, as usual, I loosely support what you’re driving at, but don’t see there’s anything to be gained from dramatically exaggerating your case. You continue to do so – a factor of 0.6 per decade is not a factor of 10 already occurred – it can’t be put any more simply than that. Increases in levels of insurance payouts, and reported ‘flood disasters’, are not measures of the effects of climate change. Look up the history of flood events in the US – thousands killed, entire burgeoning cities wiped off the map. But those cities weren’t built as well as today, you say? Neither are any of the crappy housing developments built in what have always been traditionally considered flood plains, located all over the world. But you know this already, I think. That’s why you’re calling for it to stop. I dispute your figures, but I don’t disagree with you.

    Chris, no offence, but you’re not worth engaging on this subject, and I won’t be continuing to do so. Feel free to think what you want. Link as randomly as you can to sites and papers you clearly don’t understand – and by any means possible, always seek to misrepresent the authors’ intentions and explanations for their findings as you see fit. When you’re asked for evidence, don’t find it. Instead make nonsense accusations using inappropriate legal terms. A handful of scientific papers that find something is *remotely possible in 100 years time*, does not, and will not, ever equal *probable*. Not in a court of law, and not in a blog discussion. Sue me for pointing that out – and for being very particular about what I was pointing out. Always remember, you’re only arguing with me and Mel – a couple of ‘wackos’ with private agendas – and not the >90% of climate scientists who also disagree with you.

  44. Mel
    February 4th, 2013 at 14:45 | #44

    Ikonoclast, this is your claim: ““Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in frequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. ”

    A report on the cost of natural disasters is completely immaterial as it captures events like tsunamis and changes land use, population, wealth and so on.

    I once I request you or our numbnut, Chris Warren, produce some actual peer reviewed evidence published in a reputable journal.

    Please also explain why the IPCC doesn’t say anything a factor 10 in major storms due to AGW.

    Either p!ss or get off the pot.

  45. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 15:01 | #45

    @Nick

    Fine Nick, I agree it’s time for the slanging match to stop.

    We do however need to take preventative action re floods. The simplest measure would be to require 2 metres “freeboard” above the current standard for a “1 in 100 year” flood level for any new development. This freeboard would apply to the lowest habitable floor of any building, residential, commercial or industrial. Freeboard could be achieved by houses on 2m “stilts” in some cases provided the foundation anchoring was sound in the engineeering sense.

    Areas below the standard 1 in 100 year flood level would become flood parks and in rural township areas could become government owned grazing land available for agistment. Residential property resident-owners below that level could be offered market price by the government in voluntary buyouts. The land bought would revert to flood park.

    Flood parks could have various fixed (more or less immune to flood) infrastructure built as in sporting fields, courts not requiring fences (like basketball courts) and even traffic overflow bypass roads (of concrete not asphalt) for use in all the non-flood times.

    Flood parks would need to be green, well mown and maintained with much open grassy area and relatively few bushes and shade trees. This latter measure would be to ensure they never became a bushfire risk. Perosnally, I think this would open out towns and cities to the river and make for much improved cityscapes and townscapes.

  46. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 15:18 | #46

    According to the SMH;

    “About 200,000 residential properties in Australia are below the 1 in 100 level. At least this many again can be affected by bigger floods. It is therefore not practical, affordable or appropriate to relocate all of these buildings away from the floodplain.”

    Perhaps, but it is practical to never let such building happen again. It is also practical and necessary to compensate for homes completely lost/destroyed in floods and never again allow building on such sites again (allowing it to revert to flood park).

    It will also be practical to extend the “houses on stilts” measure in some cases and some areas. Federal government could run a flood proofing scheme and pay a 50% subsidy if owner-occupiers want to raise their houses on 2m to 4m stilts in appropriate areas.

    Disclaimer: I am well above (20 vertical m plus) the standard for 1 in 100 year flood levels. Still, I think these measures would save me tax and insurance costs in the long run (as such costs are spread).

  47. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 15:19 | #47

    Now Mel, you can gainsay and snark or you can add something constructive to the deabte.

  48. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 15:29 | #48

    Mel

    Please get your head out of the pot.

  49. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 15:38 | #49

    @Nick

    You need to reconsider your fabrication.

    How did I

    1) Link randomly
    2) not understand

    where is there any:

    misrepresent the authors’ intentions and explanations

    I certainly do not link “probable” with *remotely possible in 100 years time* and the probability is not this. This is your linkage entirely.

    You were asked for evidence of what you were supposedly “well aware of” but you have failed. Now please provide evidence for

    the >90% of climate scientists who also disagree

    When you are up a creek without a paddle – it is probably best if you stop paddling.

  50. Mel
    February 4th, 2013 at 15:45 | #50

    Here is New Scientist summarising the leaked IPCC draft report, due for release later this year:

    “For one thing, the IPCC has changed its 2007 prediction on droughts. Then, it concluded that a world beset by more intense droughts was “likely”. But the authors of the new report have taken heed of recent criticisms that the statistical measure of drought favoured by climatologists is unreliable.

    The draft quotes studies that show recent “decreasing trends in the duration, intensity and severity of drought globally”.

    Another common expectation of a warmer world also bites the dust: more frequent tropical cyclones. In 2007, the IPCC said there had been a “likely” increase in tropical cyclones since 1970, which was “more likely than not” due to global warming raising sea temperatures.

    But the new report backtracks. “The [previous] assessment needs to be somewhat revised,” it says. After a review of past cyclone counts, it concludes that “tropical cyclone data provides low confidence that any reported long-term changes are robust”. There is evidence, however, that the average intensity of cyclones will rise in the years ahead.”

    wwwDOTnewscientistDOTcom/article/dn23014-what-leaked-ipcc-report-really-says-on-climate-change.html

    Let’s compare this with Ikonoclast’s claim:

    “Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in frequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. ”

    Who is telling the truth? I pick New Scientist and the IPCC, Rabbit picks Ikonoclast. Anybody else have an opinion?

  51. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 17:05 | #51

    Please read the report.

    It gives precise reasons why there is low confidence that reported cyclone changes are robust.

    This is not related to cyclones but to “insufficient observational data”.

    I suppose we will have to wait and see on this point.

    Anyone’s comments such as: ““Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in frequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. ” cannot honestly be changed to cyclones.

    But this is what you have done.

  52. Chris Warren
    February 4th, 2013 at 17:31 | #52

    Where there is data, the IPPC leaked Report says:

    There is medium confidence that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to an increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events over the second half of the 20th century over land regions with sufficient observational coverage.

    It is more likely than not that over the next few decades there will be increases in mean precipitation in regions and seasons that are relatively wet during 1986-2005, and decreases in regions and seasons that are relatively dry during 1986-2005.

    In the near term, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events will increase at the global scale and at high latitudes.

    It is virtually certain that global precipitation will increase with global mean surface temperature.

    The increase is projected to be 1-3% increase in precipitation per degree temperature (K).

    For short-duration events, a shift to more intense individual storms and fewer weak storms is likely. In moist and some arid and semi-arid regions, extreme precipitation events will very likely be more intense and more frequent.

    In high emission scenarios, global monsoon area and global monsoon total precipitation are very likely to increase by the end of the 21st century.

  53. Chris Grealy
    February 4th, 2013 at 20:25 | #53

    Just a regular summer storm, right, oh, except for the tornadoes. In fact when it passed through here it was only 3 millibars away from being an official cyclone. The wind gusts were as bad as any I saw in North Queensland. Two power poles here in Capalaba were snapped off at the base dropping the 2kV lines on the road. Most places were without power for a while, many went without for days. Trees down all over the place, and while the rain didn’t match the event of two years ago, it came pretty close. These used to be called once in a hundred year storms; now they come every two years or so. We better get used to it.

  54. Mel
    February 4th, 2013 at 21:22 | #54

    Rabbit, stop wasting our time with distractions and irrelevancies. Here is Ikonoclast’s claim:

    “Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in frequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. ”

    I want suitable peer reviewed evidence of a likely 1,000 per cent increase in “major storms and natural disasters”. I don’t want a Lord Monckton style banquet of pork pies and snake oil. Ikonoclast should be man enough to either put up the scientific evidence or apologize for bringing this blog into disrepute.

  55. Hal9000
    February 4th, 2013 at 21:39 | #55

    There have historically been dozens of cyclones that have hit south-east Queensland. None, however, in the last thirty years. The cyclone season has just begun for 2012 – Oswald was the first cyclone of the season.

    On principle, you would expect to see more cyclones moving further south. Cyclones build and maintain their intensity by drawing on warm seas. I have no idea what the sea temperatures are off the Queensland coast, but increasing coral bleaching events on the GBR surely mean that sea temperatures are rising. It would be surprising if a tropical cyclone did not hit south-east Queensland in the next few years.

    South-east Queensland is home to numerous canal estates built on what were once wetlands. Scarborough and Raby Bay come to mind. Tens of thousands of people live in these estates. A cyclonic storm surge on a high tide would likely cause widespread devastation and loss of life. The insurance industry would justifiably refuse to cover against future events in the absence of massive infrastructure to protect these residential areas. This sets the scene for political conflict between those living in areas not subject to flooding, whether by rainfall or storm surge, and those who live in vulnerable areas. Whether by tax transfers or the cost of insurance, the prudent will be asked to finance the costs of those who are through choice or ignorance living in risky locations.

    The choices will be 1) abandon these people to their fate – savage decline in property values being the least of their worries 2) subsidise their relocation or 3) invest in massive earthworks, New Orleans style, to ‘floodproof’ their suburbs. Note that 3), as in New Orleans, may not prevent, or may indeed intensify the catastrophic effects of, cyclone-induced flooding.

    Knowing what is now known about how such events would play out, the Queensland government and local governments place themselves in considerable legal jeopardy if they continue to allow inappropriately sited developments. Somehow I don’t think that the remedy applied to avoid another ruinous potential legal liability in the case of the indigenous people cheated out of wages and monies supposedly held in trust – a one-off cheque for $10 grand or so – is going to be much of a precedent. The current State budget deficit, even on the inflated Costello calculation, looks puny in comparison.

  56. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2013 at 22:56 | #56

    @Mel

    “The costs of extreme weather events have exhibited a rapid upward trend in recent decades and yearly economic losses from large events increased ten-fold between the 1950s and the 1990s, in inflation-adjusted dollars.” (IPCC, 2001b)

    “Increasing frequency of extreme rains in western and southern parts including Changjiang river, and decrease in northern regions; more floods in Changjiang river in past decade; more frequent floods in North-East China since 1990s; more intense summer rains in East China; severe flood in 1999; seven-fold increase in frequency of floods since 1950s.” – IPCC.

    “Changes in Flood Risk under Global Warming Estimated Using MIROC5 and the Discharge Probability Index – Atsushi OKAZAKI Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, Pat J. -F. YEH, International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management, Tsukuba, Japan, Kei YOSHIMURA phere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan, Masahiro WATANABE, Masahide KIMOTO, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan and Taikan OKI Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. (Manuscript received 28 February 2011, in final form 9 May 2011)

    Abstract: We evaluated change in flood risk under global warming using the output from the latest version of the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate (MIROC5), an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. River discharge for the 21st century were simulated for the two Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) scenarios and converted to the Discharge Probability Index (DPI) to evaluate future flood risk. The occurrence of flood events corresponding to various DPI categories was calculated for each continental region. The results show a significant increase in the risk of massive flood incidents during the 21st century in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and South America, with relatively large differences between the two scenarios. In contrast, both scenarios showed only slight increases in massive flood risk in North America and almost no change in Europe. For the RCP8.5 scenario in particular, the risk of massive flood occurrence will increase approximately ten times in Africa, seven times in Asia, and five times in South America by the end of the current century. Further analyses indicated that these projected flood increases will occur mainly due to the increases in the number of rainy days and the annual maximum daily precipitation, and the decrease in snowmelt in high latitudinal regions will play an important role on the unchanged risk in Europe in spite of the projected increase in precipitation.”

    “The Environment Agency, which is responsible for flood warning in England and Wales, recently stated that flooding is now twice as frequent as 100 years ago and predicts that there will be a ten-fold increase in flood risk over the next century.”

    “Milly et al. (2002) demonstrated that the frequency of large floods has increased substantially during the twentieth century. For all (but one) large basin (>200 000 km2) analysed, the control 100-year flood is exceeded more frequently as a result of CO2 quadrupling.* In some areas, what is given as a 100-year flood in the control run, is projected to become much more frequent, even occurring as often as every two to five years (i.e. 20- to 50-fold increase in frequency). Particularly strong increases are projected in Northern Asia. According to Milly et al. (2002), the likelihood that these changes are due to natural climate variability is small.”

    * Note: CO2 quadrupling is a future scenario.

    Therefore: “Major storms and natural disasters are increasing in frequency, probably by a factor of 10, due to AGW. ” Note “are increasing”. The historical process is not complete but is well on the way. Better go and join the deniers Mel, that is your true home.

  57. Mel
    February 4th, 2013 at 23:23 | #57

    Ikonoklast, you once again show a lack of any interest in truthfulness. Your first cite is from IPCC 2001, which is now 12 years out of date. What is of interest is AR5 2013. Also, it says absolutely nothing about frequency of extreme weather events.

    None of your other cites support your claim of a probable 1,000% increase in “major storm and natural disaster” frequency due to AGW.

    I’m beginning to suspect you are a troll planted here by Jo Nova or Anthony Watts.

  58. Ikonoclast
    February 5th, 2013 at 06:53 | #58

    @Mel

    “The costs of extreme weather events … rapid upward trend… economic losses from large events increased ten-fold between the 1950s and the 1990s, in inflation-adjusted dollars.” (IPCC, 2001b).

    “…. seven-fold increase in frequency of floods since 1950s.” – IPCC. (Re parts of China)

    “For the RCP8.5 scenario in particular, the risk of massive flood occurrence will increase approximately ten times in Africa, seven times in Asia, and five times in South America by the end of the current century.” – Japanese study.

    “The Environment Agency, which is responsible for flood warning in England and Wales, recently stated that flooding is now twice as frequent as 100 years ago and predicts that there will be a ten-fold increase in flood risk over the next century.”

    I now understand you Mel. Even when evidence is provided that a statement was reasonable you just continue with denial of evidence and vituperative abuse. I think the statement “I’m beginning to suspect you are a troll planted here by Jo Nova or Anthony Watts.”, probably applies to you. Chris Warren and I have replied with cite after cite to indicate there is plenty of evidence that my statement is reasonable. You have not posted any cites to the contrary. Put up some evidence of your own or shut up.

  59. Ikonoclast
    February 5th, 2013 at 07:15 | #59

    @Hal9000

    You are absolutely right. Our poor development pattern and decaying infrastructure both leave us in an extremely vulnerable position with respect to extreme weather events and bushfires.

    I would prefer the nation’s money be spent on progressively moving parts of the most vulnerable towns and suburbs to higher ground. This would be more economic in the long run. The suburbs impacted in Bundaberg should never be re-occupied in my opinion. The simplest principle is that what has flooded (catastrophically in this case) can flood again.

    I’d be intrigued if anyone (perhaps an economist) knows what constitutes a reasonable economic boundary line for building relative to flood lines. Clearly, a place that floods houses every five years on average is not viable. Clearly, only building above a (genuine) 1 in 1,000 year flood line would be too stringent. What is the economic boundary line? Also, what is a reasonable social and psychological boundary line for social and personal disruption? These lines might be different.

  60. rdb
    February 5th, 2013 at 08:01 | #60

    IEEE Spectrum Network Damage After Sandy Through The Eyes of A Disaster Forensics Expert

    Is there news of this kind of “disaster forensics” happening?

  61. Chris Warren
    February 5th, 2013 at 08:12 | #61

    @Ikonoclast

    At this stage, ignoring trouble makers is the best policy.

    The sources provided were from;

    Pew Center on Global Climate Change
    United Nations
    NASA
    MIT-Princeton University
    EMDAT

    The twit made a claim:

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms

    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    which was firstly, not the terms of the original, and secondly, was contradicted by EMDAT.

    Anyone can obtain a 10 fold increase in any upwardly moving chart simply by choosing appropriate start and end points. Any increase in storms, if it continues – as is likely – will always reach a 10 fold point. The timing depends on the starting point.

    The IPCC is using terminology, that is synonymous with probable, but with multiple gradations of probability.

    At this stage stumbles should go out and play in the traffic.

  62. Mel
    February 5th, 2013 at 12:59 | #62

    Rabbit, EMDAT data includes earthquakes, tsunamis and other non climate related disasters. It isn’t meant to be a database of AGW caused natural disasters. If you’d accessed the EMDAT site rather picking a graph from a New Age spiritual healing website you might have worked that out. Talk about thick.

  63. Chris Warren
    February 5th, 2013 at 14:06 | #63

    Stumbles

    Fool,

    The site has a search function where you can dissect data.

    The data feeds into the UN and and other august bodies – as cited.

    If you think that EMDAT has data showing:

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms

    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    then produce it.

    If you want to include other disasters – then the EMDAT chart from 1900 to 2000 shows a probable twenty-fold increase.

  64. J-D
    February 5th, 2013 at 14:28 | #64

    Since it is true that any currently increasing trend will eventually produce a tenfold increase if it continues unchanged, the description ‘a trend that will produce a tenfold increase if it continues unchanged’ means no more than ‘a currently increasing trend’.

    That doesn’t mean there’s no difference between a trend that will produce a tenfold increase in a year’s time, a trend that will produce a tenfold increase in a hundred years’ time, and a trend that will produce a tenfold increase in ten thousand years’ time.

  65. Mel
    February 5th, 2013 at 14:30 | #65

    Rabbit – “If you want to include other disasters – then the EMDAT chart from 1900 to 2000 shows a probable twenty-fold increase.”

    Yes, dopey, that is largely because of population growth, growth of cities and infrastructure etc and ease of reporting circa 2000 cf circa 1900. The emdat cannot be interpreted in the manner you suggest and it does not invalidate what is said in the IPCC AR5 documents. No wonder you’re a Marxist.

  66. Chris Warren
    February 5th, 2013 at 14:43 | #66

    @J-D

    Yes, you can easily pick your start and end points.

    And it doesn’t imply the increasing trend to be constant.

    However the trend is apparent, driven by a probable 1-3% increase in precipitation per degree temperature (K). it is unlikely that temperature increase will remain constant.

    Only stumbling denialists think otherwise.

  67. may
    February 5th, 2013 at 15:36 | #67

    as a comment on the comments.

    is there a hatching out pod for argument-for-arguments-sake proponents?
    there seems to be a continuing tag team relay thingo.
    one lot drop out and the next lot try a different twist on the same old theme.
    i suppose they serve the purpose of eliciting elucidation for the likes of me in what can be a quite esoteric discipline.

  68. Jim Rose
    February 5th, 2013 at 16:13 | #68

    what are the solutions to politics interfering with the running of state owned businesses?

  69. Ikonoclast
    February 5th, 2013 at 19:32 | #69

    @Jim Rose

    What are the solutions to capitalists exploiting workers?

  70. Jim Rose
    February 6th, 2013 at 07:18 | #70

    @Ikonoclast Capitalists do not exploit workers. Workers exploit capitalists who start businesses that fail. These workers are paid more than they add in labour value to failed start-ups.

    • A self-employed farmer scraping a living with the help of a part-timer is exploiting that worker while a manager who owns no shares on a salary of $500,000 a year is a downtrodden and exploited member of the proletariat!

    • Elite athletes, celebrities and TV and movie stars are the most exploited of all proletarians. Itinerant workers with no income security at all. At the mercy of the selectors, the record companies and big studios.

    • Many capitalists scrape a living and often go bankrupt and lose their house and marriage after business failures while many workers are highly paid. The university educated are well-paid proletarians with low unemployment rates.

    • How is your superannuation portfolio going? Riding high on the fat of the working class? Pension fund socialism was never a promise of long-run super-normal profits. Despite the majority of labour surplus now going back into the hands of workers in their retirement savings, the share market is still a dog.

    As Jon Elster noted “Marxian economics is, with a few exceptions, intellectually dead” and Marx’s labor theory of value is “useless at best, harmful and misleading at its not infrequent worst.”

  71. Chris Warren
    February 6th, 2013 at 09:26 | #71

    A self-employed farmer employing workers is not a capitalist.

    A manager on $500,000 benefits from capitalist exploitation.

    Your view of elite athletes is at your normal standard of understanding.

    Small businesses are more likely to go bankrupt than capitalists.

    Graduate unemployment is higher than any other unemployment if you assess this on the basis of working in a job associated with their qualification.

    Over 8% of graduates are unemployed
    Over 15% of graduates are forced into part-time, casual roles while waiting for employment.

    Superannuation consists of take-home wage cuts to force workers to gift capitalists huge funds to boost investments. In the long-run the super-schemes are cut (pleading affordability) or the jurisdiction pleads bankruptcy (US states).

    Marxist economics is nothing but the continuing essence of Ricardo. You do not even know what Marx’s Labour Theory even is.

    The continuing ratcheting in macoeconomic instability – merely alleviated by population increase and increased participation of low waged labour as a short-run tactic – proves beyond dispute that the labour theory – properly understood is the only basis for economic stability and social justice – with or without Marx.

  72. Ikonoclast
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:18 | #72

    @Jim Rose

    My question was a ripost to your leading question of “what are the solutions to politics interfering with the running of state owned businesses?” This was a leading question or suggestive interrogation which is one that suggests a particular answer the examiner is looking to have confirmed. It was obvious what you were driving at, the unexamined assumptions you were making and the preferred answer you had in mind. I was not going to play your game. Instead, I asked a leading question of my own albeit with an analytical basis on much firmer empirical ground. As I expected, my leading question deflected yours and touched you off on a highly unsupportable and muddled anti-worker rant.

  73. Nick
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:51 | #73

    Chris, you quoted some excerpts from the leaked IPCC doc, which can viewed here:

    http://www.stopgreensuicide.com/summaryforpolicymakers_wg1ar5-spm_fod_final.pdf

    In the spirit of all of us hopefully learning a few things – and apologising for my earlier crankiness (the way you’re talking to some of the other commenters really does push my buttons…two to tango, and all that)…

    I think Figure SPM.4 on page SPM-23 is instructive as to the very different changes in precipitation being experienced by different latitudes.

  74. Nick
    February 6th, 2013 at 10:52 | #74

    I also found this page fascinating, on the history of flooding in China:

    http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=395

  75. Ikonoclast
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:31 | #75

    @Nick

    Part of that dog fight occurred because I made a statement that sounded on the face of it like a rhetorical exaggeration. One commentator took great exception but instead of using facts to refute me indulged in continuous crude, personal and vituperative attacks. As it turned out, what appeared to be rhetorical exaggeration on my part was largely supportable by various sets of empirical data and modelling albeit some, but not all, of the modelling required extension to 2100 (close in historical terms) for my claims to be validated. Given that the kind of planet and climate we bequeath to our children and grandchildren is a very valid concern, the timeline of potential events to 2100 is clearly admissable in the debate.

    The dissenting commentator continued to ignore or deny evidence validating my broad claim in many large regions and even continents albeit not entirely globally, continued to abuse me and even defamed me by strongly suggesting I was a denialist provocatuer and troll. He/she offered no direct refuting evidence but only general claims that a yet unpublished, leaked, draft document from the IPCC belied my claims. He further denigrated earlier IPCC reports as being in error, not in early modelling projections which of course could be the case, but as wrong in fact in reporting about empirical events which had already occurred. The flooding increase in China is an example. He/she offered no evidence or reasoning for this extraordinary claim. Is it any wonder C.W. and I got more than a little cranky and responded with proportionate vigour to these scurrilous attacks? I do not resile from doing so.

  76. Ikonoclast
    February 6th, 2013 at 11:54 | #76

    @Nick

    I also note that the draft report you linked to says as follows (if we want to admit it as evidence in this debate).

    Heavy precipitation events. Frequency (or proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls) increases over more areas than decreases:

    1. Is ”Likely” to have occurred since 1950.
    2. There is ”Medium confidence” humans have contributed to this trend.
    3. Is “Likely” to continue this trend for future decades.
    4. Is “Very likely” to continue trends based on projections for 21st c using RCP scenarios.

    I will admit, I don’t understand the technical or substantive difference between points 3 and 4 without further explanation.

    Given this information and extant local and regional emirical evidence of five to tenfold increases in overall flooding damage caused by frequency times intensity over the decades from 1950 to the present, my case rests as reasonably proven. What proportion is due to climate change and what proportion is due to deforestation and land use changes is a moot question. But it clear both are likely (at the very least) to be conjointly involved.

  77. Mel
    February 6th, 2013 at 16:28 | #77

    Ikonotroll again demonstrates a lack of truthfulness. Global population in 1900 was 1.6 billion people. At that time we had no satellites, mobile phones or computers. Vast areas of wilderness remained. It simply dishonest to look at an aggregation of natural disasters in 1900, compare it with now (as Chris Warren did with the EMDAT data) and say this is evidence of an increase in “major storms and natural disasters” due to AGW. Emdat themselves make no such claim and acknowledge the limits of their data.

    Ikonotroll introduced another dishonest argument to support his claim by looking at historical dollar value changes in the costs of extreme weather event damages. This is dishonest because global GDP grown at a rapid rate for over one hundred years.

    Here is an example of Ikonotrolls evidence: ““The costs of extreme weather events … rapid upward trend… economic losses from large events increased ten-fold between the 1950s and the 1990s, in inflation-adjusted dollars.” This data only becomes meaningful once you acknowledge the doubling of real global GDP each decade since the 1950s and tendency for much development to occur in harms way, such as seaside development in areas subject to cyclones etc…

    The fact remains as I stated, that being:

    (1) IPCC AR5 does not say we are on a trajectory of a 1,000 per cent increase in major storms and natural disasters due to AGW, and
    (2) no body of peer reviewed research published in reputable publications say we are on a trajectory of a 1,000 per cent increase in major storms and natural disasters due to AGW

    In truth, IPCC AR5 has backtracked on some of the more alarming claims made in earlier IPCC reports. FRom New Scientist:

    “… the IPCC has changed its 2007 prediction on droughts. Then, it concluded that a world beset by more intense droughts was “likely”. But the authors of the new report have taken heed of recent criticisms that the statistical measure of drought favoured by climatologists is unreliable.
    The draft quotes studies that show recent “decreasing trends in the duration, intensity and severity of drought globally”.
    Another common expectation of a warmer world also bites the dust: more frequent tropical cyclones. In 2007, the IPCC said there had been a “likely” increase in tropical cyclones since 1970, which was “more likely than not” due to global warming raising sea temperatures.
    But the new report backtracks. “The [previous] assessment needs to be somewhat revised,” it says. After a review of past cyclone counts, it concludes that “tropical cyclone data provides low confidence that any reported long-term changes are robust”. There is evidence, however, that the average intensity of cyclones will rise in the years ahead.”

    wwwDOTnewscientistDOTcom/article/dn23014-what-leaked-ipcc-report-really-says-on-climate-change.html

  78. may
    February 6th, 2013 at 16:39 | #78

    Chris Warren :A self-employed farmer employing workers is not a capitalist.
    A manager on $500,000 benefits from capitalist exploitation.
    Your view of elite athletes is at your normal standard of understanding.
    Small businesses are more likely to go bankrupt than capitalists.
    Graduate unemployment is higher than any other unemployment if you assess this on the basis of working in a job associated with their qualification.
    Over 8% of graduates are unemployedOver 15% of graduates are forced into part-time, casual roles while waiting for employment.
    Superannuation consists of take-home wage cuts to force workers to gift capitalists huge funds to boost investments. In the long-run the super-schemes are cut (pleading affordability) or the jurisdiction pleads bankruptcy (US states).
    Marxist economics is nothing but the continuing essence of Ricardo. You do not even know what Marx’s Labour Theory even is.
    The continuing ratcheting in macoeconomic instability – merely alleviated by population increase and increased participation of low waged labour as a short-run tactic – proves beyond dispute that the labour theory – properly understood is the only basis for economic stability and social justice – with or without Marx.

    ah a perfect lead in to the current hoo hah about super.

    our one party broadcasting industry is at it again.(still)

    a small percentage of battling superannuitants on a measly $52,000 per annum are claiming to represent all superannuitants who are not on $52,000 per annum in claiming tha gubmunt is going to do us all down.
    the untrustworthy baarstuds.

  79. may
    February 6th, 2013 at 16:43 | #79

    orh
    and the coalition policy is to get rid of tax breaks for low income superannuitants .

  80. Chris Warren
    February 6th, 2013 at 16:57 | #80

    The troll is back…

    Oh well;

    Where there is data, the IPPC leaked Report says:

    There is medium confidence that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to an increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events over the second half of the 20th century over land regions with sufficient observational coverage.

    It is more likely than not that over the next few decades there will be increases in mean precipitation in regions and seasons that are relatively wet during 1986-2005, and decreases in regions and seasons that are relatively dry during 1986-2005.

    In the near term, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events will increase at the global scale and at high latitudes.

    It is virtually certain that global precipitation will increase with global mean surface temperature.

    The increase is projected to be 1-3% increase in precipitation per degree temperature (K).

    For short-duration events, a shift to more intense individual storms and fewer weak storms is likely. In moist and some arid and semi-arid regions, extreme precipitation events will very likely be more intense and more frequent.

    In high emission scenarios, global monsoon area and global monsoon total precipitation are very likely to increase by the end of the 21st century.

    and:

    Does this show a probable tripling or a probable quadrupling of floods – since 1980?
    Or is it a decrease?
    www-flickr.com/photos/isdr/7460711188/in/set-72157628015380393/

    and:

    Anyone can say “probably X%” or “probably by a factor of Y” including:
    probably by a factor of 10?
    Only nutters would carry-on as if someone was therefore

    arguing the case for a tenfold increase.

    Your deliberate fabrication was not appreciated.
    However any increase from a small base, can lead to a ten-fold increase if it continues long enough.
    Anyway, put on your glasses, and tell me if you can see a probable 10 fold increase here:
    www-tinyurl.com/Mel-disaster

    and:

    Didn’t you know that, using models, a joint MIT-Princeton University research team has shown that the frequency of intense storms would increase due to climate change.
    Try: www-enn.com/climate/article/44006

    and:

    Are you able to read English?
    try: www-thorntonweather.com/blog/climate-change/nasa-says-global-warming-will-increase-severe-storms/

    and:

    Such an increase in the frequency of major storms
    (1) has not been observed anywhere

    You seem to be suffering from the stumblebum syndrome.
    Are you able to read a simple graph showing increased storms?
    try: centerforoceansolutions.org/climate/impacts/cumulative-impacts/storm-intensity/

    And not only all that – but the trends are that, matters are only going to get worse in the future.

  81. Nick
    February 6th, 2013 at 16:58 | #81

    “The flooding increase in China is an example.”

    Ikon, I’m seriously at a loss to find any evidence of a seven-fold increase in flooding in China.

    I’ve read through a bunch of papers, including the ones referenced by the IPCC (on holiday in Qld atm, btw, so have some time on my hands and an interest in the subject), and can’t find anything like that. Total precipitation, as well as frequency of extreme precipitation, have at most increased by 7-10% per decade since 1950 – and only in particular regions. They’ve decreased in other regions – and the totals for China as a whole really haven’t increased much, if at all.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI-3318.1

  82. Nick
    February 6th, 2013 at 17:00 | #82

    Also see Table 3 here

    Average all those figures and you get a decrease in 50-year events ie. an increase in their return times.

    I’m kinda concluding (until shown differently) that seven-fold increase referred to is similar to the EMDAT figures – it refers to the frequency of flood damage reporting, not the frequency of extreme weather events.

  83. Mel
    February 6th, 2013 at 17:17 | #83

    Ikonotroll and Rabbit are apparently unaware of the role of hard surfaces and inadequate storm water drainage in floods. I well remember parts of Northcote/Thornbury in Melbourne flooding in the late 90s after a 50mm downpour. Such a downpour wouldn’t have caused any flooding 20 or 30 years earlier because there was much urban consolidation including fewer dual occupancy, fewer concrete driveways and other hard surfaces.

    As I’ve said all along, AGW is a serious issue that must be addressed as a matter of priority. However the antics of ne’er do wells like the two stooges, Rabbit and Ikonotroll, makes action less likely.

  84. may
    February 6th, 2013 at 17:24 | #84

    is it just a coincidence that the colouring of the commenter who calls the “breaker-of-icons” a troll,is very samish as the colouring of the self described torturer who called an MP “stasi-eyed”?

  85. Chris Warren
    February 6th, 2013 at 17:24 | #85

    @Mel

    You have lost track of what you are even arguing about.

    No one has mentioned the role of hard surfaces etc.

    It is all in your head.

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