On 20th March, Craig Kelly posted a comment on an old newspaper article that he thought showed the “nonsense” of global warming. Unfortunately for him, the article demonstrates the truth of global warming. How did he get it so wrong?
What Craig Kelly said
Here is the text:
HAS THE BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY BEEN INFILTRATED BY WARMISTS ?
Remember when the Bureau of Meteorology’s Head of Climate Analysis suggested the drought may never break and extreme dry should be called ‘’our new normal’’ ?
Where is he today ?
Will the Bureau of Meteorology issue an official apology for their alarmist nonsense ?
The article he refers to comes from the Sydney Morning Herald on January 4, 2008. It quoted David Jones, “head of climate analysis” at the Bureau of Meteorology, saying 2007 was the 11th year in a row that NSW and the Murray-Darling Basin had experienced “above normal temperatures”.
I decided to check our how right or wrong Dr Jones and Mr Kelly were.
- Neither Mr Kelly nor the Sydney Morning Herald headline quote Dr Jones accurately.
- Despite what Mr Kelly says, there is evidence that rainfall is declining in southeastern Australia, and droughts are getting worse, but it is too soon to establish a clear trend. Dr Jones correctly stated that rainfall decline was debatable.
- The temperature data clearly show that Dr Jones was right in what he said about temperature. The rising trend he spoke about in 2008 has continued.
- The source quoted by Mr Kelly demonstrates clearly that Australia is warming, just as the world is. It is clearly him, not BoM, that is talking nonsense.
What Dr Jones said about drought
The article nowhere quotes Dr Jones as saying “the drought may never break and extreme dry should be called ‘our new normal’’’, as indicated by Mr Kelly. The editor’s headline is “This drought may never break”, but Mr Jones doesn’t say that.
Dr Jones simply outlines the facts: that in 2007 NSW and the Murray-Darling Basin experienced their seventh consecutive year of below-average rain, even though the rainfall was higher than in previous years.
He comments: “There is a debate in the climate community, after … close to 12 years of drought, whether this is something permanent.” Instead of using the word drought “Perhaps we should call it our new climate.”
So Dr Jones simply said there was a debate about whether the 2001-2007 drought would become the new normal. Mr Kelly’s claims are overstatement by the SMH editor and himself.
It takes longer than a few years to establish a climate trend, and it will be some time before we can be sure rainfall is declining long-term in southeastern Australia and drought becoming more severe. But the signs are there.
- Average annual rainfall for the Murray Darling Basin has stayed approximately constant since 1900, but in the last 30 years a slight downward trend is evident.
- Reconstructed rainfall records indicate that major droughts of the late 20th and early 21st centuries in southern Australia are likely without precedent over the past 400 years.
- Recorded streamflows in southern Australia have declined since 1975.
- Average winter rainfalls in southern Australia have declined in the past two decades.
Thus it is clear that Dr Jones was correct that a downward trend in rainfall in southeastern Australia is looking likely but is still debatable. Mr Kelly has misrepresented his statement.
Dr Jones on temperature
While Dr Jones was uncertain about rainfall trends, he was clear that temperatures are rising and global warming is obvious. As he says:
“There is absolutely no debate that Australia is warming. It is very easy to see … it is happening before our eyes.” The only uncertainty now was whether the changing pattern was “85 per cent, 95 per cent or 100 per cent the result of the enhanced greenhouse effect”.
That was true when he spoke (2007/8) and it remains true. In fact, the slope of the trend line has hardly changed, as this graph shows.
If it is “warmist”, as Mr Kelly claims, to see a rising trend here, then the facts are “warmist”!
And if it is “alarmist” to be concerned about the threats this temperature rise poses to the Australian people, the economy, our farmers and the natural world, then let us all be “alarmist”.
But I would prefer to say it is being a realist.
Mr Kelly continues to hide from the clear facts by using meaningless pejorative terms. He should not be a member of Parliament. He doesn’t represent me, or the facts.
Main graphic taken from Mr Kelly’s Facebook page.