Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is Climate Change Affecting Bushfires?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the burning-question dept.

Earth 397

TapeCutter writes "After the devastating firestorm in Australia, there has been a lot of speculation in the press about the role of climate change. For the 'pro' argument the BBC article points to research by the CSIRO. For the 'con' argument they quote David Packham of Monash university, who is not alone in thinking '...excluding prescribed burning and fuel management has led to the highest fuel concentrations we have ever had...' However, the DSE's 2008 annual report states; '[The DSE] achieved a planned burning program of more than 156,000 hectares, the best result for more than a decade. The planned burning of forest undergrowth is by far the most powerful management tool available...' I drove through Kilmore on the evening of the firestorm, and in my 50 years of living with fire I have never seen a smoke plume anything like it. It was reported to be 15 km high and creating its own lightning. There were also reports of car windscreens and engine blocks melting. So what was it that made such an unusual firestorm possible, and will it happen again?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh... (2, Funny)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026131)

It burns! It burns!

CO2 causes Global Warming? (-1, Troll)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026301)

The argument:
Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect which is caused by greenhouse gases which are released from burning oil.

The problems:
1. Ignores the biggest contributor to the greenhouse effect: water vapor.
2. Oil is formed by compressing organic material for a long long time. This means that, prior to life, this CO2 was already in the atmosphere. Meaning, life formed under conditions of higher CO2!!!
3. Global temperatures have not been tracked long or accurate enough to make the empirical claims that have been made.
4. Global warming has been replaced with Climate Change, and all evidence is, by definition, in favor of Climate Change. Ie, it is now disprovable since it accurately predicts the future can hold anything.

All in all I'm glad it it makes its way into every topic...

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026387)

Your post ignores:

1. Science

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (0, Redundant)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026399)

Doesn't the scientific method mandate a testable hypothesis?

Please explain how we can test "climate change".

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Insightful)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026433)

We wait until its too late to act.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Insightful)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026457)

If climate change can literally destroy the planet, shouldn't we understand it before we act?

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026515)

And in the meantime while the plant might be being destroyed? What should we do?

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (0, Troll)

derfy (172944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026555)

Quick, do something! Anything as long as we DO SOMETHING@!

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (3, Funny)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026619)

Use the LHC to create a black hole to suck all the heat out of the planet and thus prevent climate change!

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (5, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026721)

And in the meantime while the plant might be being destroyed?
 
Water it and stop the cat from eating its leaves.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026545)

So your argument is actually we should go back to the stone age. Gee, could have fooled me.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026725)

    Actually, with the population of the earth, going back to the stone age would be catastrophic. People would build wood fires for heat, light, and cooking. That would require mass deforestation, and the burning fires would release more pollutants than we are now.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026775)

I'm sorry but this is ridiculous.

You don't need to understand exactly how a toilet works to know to shut off the water if it overflows.

Similarly, it doesn't take any extreme level of understanding to recognize the benefits in limiting our emissions.

Or are you trying to make the case that the byproducts of fossil fuels are actually HELPING our environment?

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Insightful)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026455)

We have - guess what the results are: the ones you ignore.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1, Flamebait)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026471)

We have a test for climate change? Please please please, can you tell us what this test is?

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026623)

You seem to misunderstand what a "testable" hypothesis really is.

It doesn't mean that we need to somehow develop a laboratory test to evaluate climate change. Obviously that poses some problems.

A hypothesis only needs to explain observed phenomena and make predictions concerning future related phenomena which can be verified or falsified by observable evidence.

In that sense, climate change as caused by increasing CO2 levels is a testable hypothesis.

Consider an analogous situation: astrophysics. How can we ever "test" any astrophysical hypothesis we develop?
 

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026653)

My point is that hypothesis can only be proved, it cannot be disproved. If it canned be disproved, it is not testable.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026461)

With recorded weather data.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1, Informative)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026633)

....Please explain how we can test "climate change"....

That is easy! Climate ALWAYS changes, at least it has historically. Sometimes it gets a little warmer, and sometimes a little cooler, but it is always changing. There are many cycles in nature, climate being just one. There is indeed evidence that long ago the average temperature of the Earth was significantly warmer than it is today. Greenland is called that for a reason. It was within human history once a green land. Ice cores drilled to the bottom of the ice contain molds, pollen and other microscopic evidence of plant life now still in existence on the East Coast of the United States.

The climate of Earth has always changed up and down, warmer and cooler, long before people discovered oil and coal and started burning them. In fact, climate changed before there were people at all and it will continue to change no matter how much we pretend to be able to do something about it one way or the other.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1, Troll)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026661)

Yes, climate always changes, and since Global Warming is politically tied to Climate change, it is invariably true?

This is hand waving. This is not science.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Insightful)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026711)

Please explain how we can test "climate change".

You entirely miss the point because you ask the wrong questions. It is not about testing climate change. During the Cuban Missile Crisis they hypothesized that if one country launched an nuke, we'd all launch them and it would be the end for us all. That was untestable, but we avoided it anyway on far less testable science than we have today to suggest that climate change is occurring and will alter life on this planet. If the sum of humanity's knowledge suggests that under a certain situation (launching a nuke, or business as usual carbon emissions) something bad has a probability very close to 1 of occurring, it is probably best to avoid it.

Science is frequently about using proxies and models to test whether something will occur without actually having to perform an experiment (which may be impossible). This type of science has been regularly used for climate change. So let's lay out the basics really quickly:

  • Carbon traps heat that would otherwise escape the atmosphere. Falsifiable: yes. True: yes.
  • Humanity is emitting carbon back into the atmosphere that was previously sequestered. Falsifiable: yes. True: yes.
  • The sum of the earth's other climate mechanisms is unable to adequately balance out our carbon emissions and prevent climate change from occurring. Falsifiable: yes (in more granular pieces). True: probably. This is where science is currently working. ALL of the data we have suggest that the earth will shift if we continue to emit carbon because the earth's systems will react. However, science hasn't given up on this yet and numerous studies are released every year on this subject attempting to falsify pieces of this (suggesting that this part or that part might take up the slack, etc).

So, science hasn't given up on climate change yet. It's not as if they are saying "there, we've proved it, now we only need to respond." No, scientists are providing as much evidence as possible to help us understand just how much this will or will not affect us.

If they haven't given up on climate change yet, why have you? While you sit there convinced that it's not occurring, we continue to blindly provide an input (carbon) into an extremely dangerous system (climate). All of the knowledge we have says that there is an extremely high probability that doing so will result in extreme shifts and war, famine, drought, etc - and you want to wait for a directly testable hypothesis? Goodness.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026763)

Please explain how we can test "climate change".

Simple: check the historical record. The one thing that we can be sure of about the climate is that it's always changing. Sometimes it's getting hotter, sometimes colder, but it's always in flux.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026451)

Science is a human endeavor and subject to limitations of humans. There is one thing that has and will continue to often trump and cause the revising of science:

reality

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Informative)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026473)

1. Water vapor is by a feedback effect. Google "op amps" or something. Water vapor multiplies the effects of carbon (and methane, and other effects that are not modified by feedback).

2. The life that was supported was single celled algae. No cows = no steak = low quality of life.

3. Global temperature is dead accurate for 30 years. It has been measured to a high standard for a century, and has been reconstructed over millennium. It's been rising the whole time.

4. Yeah, we could shut down the THC, and screw up England and the West Coast. That would cool things down. Didn't you see the movie?

OK, The Day After Tomorrow was a little inaccurate, but the idea of global warming freezing New York does have a grain of truth, you just wouldn't get supercell ice tornadoes, or whatever they made up to make it more exciting. The process would take years, or decades. Compare it to 300 (Spaaraaa!) which was also a weird mix of real history, and crazy impossible special effects.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1, Informative)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026517)

2. But if you follow global warming models, as Al shows them to us, the CO2 quantities at that time would make it impossible for even the most basic cellular life to form.

3. 30 years is not a long time. The biggest collection of temp. data used in favor of Global Warming came from NASA and was plagued with a Y2K bug (bizarre, I know). Methods for reconstructing millenia old temperatures are scientific, but well, untested. We may be warming, our indicators suggest we are, but we don't have the data to make an empirical claim.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (0, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026563)

data used in favor of Global Warming came from NASA and was plagued with a Y2K bug

So, you don't believe in global warming, but you do believe in the Y2K bug.

You can't make this stuff up.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (3, Informative)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026583)

Nope, you can't [dailytech.com]

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026543)

1. Water vapor is by a feedback effect[sic]

To have water vapour, you usually have to start with water. Most of the more populated areas of the country have been in drought for several years, and there can be no doubt that this is a major contributing factor to the fires - the forest floor is (or was) essentially a tinderbox waiting for a spark.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026549)

Oh, y'all know there's no such thing as global warming. The bible says so.

It's about time y'all stop believing in that junk science and realize that inteligent design is how God made us.

I know this because the nice young man on AM560 said so, and he's got an associates degree in divinity with minors in atmospheric science and marketing.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026833)

3. Global temperature is dead accurate for 30 years. It has been measured to a high standard for a century, and has been reconstructed over millennium. It's been rising the whole time.

No it hasn't. That period includes The Little Ice Age, [wikipedia.org] which, among other things, froze out the Viking colony on the West Coast of Greenland as well making it impossible to grow grapes for wine in England. If you're basing your post on the Hockey Stick Graph, [wikipedia.org] you need to be told that it's been repeatedly demonstrated to be an artifact of badly handled data, and thoroughly debunked.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026479)

And you do realize that point number 2 assumes that everything is in a standard state and that these levels have always existed at a constant and never in different forms such as just plain O2 and C or through the breaking down of much more complex molecules when carbon based life forms consume food or breath in and out just to name a few. We know about climate change because we can look at ice core samples which record a great deal of information about the climate over millions of years and how it has changed and using advanced computer models make fairly accurate predictions. You appear take the "climate change can't happen let me shove my head in the sand" approach and ignore a great deal of evidence.

Climate change can easily play a role in bushfires since one area can become much dryer than usual and therefor everything becomes dryer and if you add fire to a now very dry area then you get a bushfire.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (2, Interesting)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026499)

  1. So how much (and why) did the water vapor content in the atmosphere change since the beginning of industrialization?
  2. Life formed in the ocean - ready to move there?
  3. IOW you want to disregard the temperature record because it doesn't prove your point.
  4. It has been replaced by the likes of you to muddy the water.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026519)

2. Oil is formed by compressing organic material for a long long time. This means that, prior to life, this CO2 was already in the atmosphere. Meaning, life formed under conditions of higher CO2!!!

Confusing wording, but there is bit of accurate information in it. Much of the world's petroleum is believed to have been formed during periods that were warmer than now, with higher levels of C02, perhaps as much as 2-3x higher or more. While possibly a paradise for some kinds of plants and algae, it should be mentioned that such periods were also accompanied by Anoxic Events [wikipedia.org] and enormous waves of mass extinctions.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (4, Informative)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026559)

1. Water vapor levels aren't being artificially increased.

2. The CO2 absorbed by that organic material has been sequestered for millions of years. The climate required for our lovely little civilisation began a few thousand years ago and depends upon that sequestration.

3. Global temperatures are easily tracked back via examination of ice cores and other scientific methods, back long before thermometers and writing with which to record any observations made.

4. Global warming begets climate change, so functionally they are one and the same. Close observation of past events allows prediction of future events.

5. You have no clue and blindly parrot propaganda without consideration of facts or logic.

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026629)

1. They aren't being increased by every boiling pot in America, or every breathing child, or every AC unit in America?

2. Our CO2 levels need to stay within the range of the last few thousand years? We're all doomed for sure then.

3. I agree, scientific, but untested.

4. Right, it predicts change. This is untestable, and self-affirming. If it were scientific, there would be a testable hypothesis. No such testable hypothesis exists, ergo not scientific.

5. Because I disagree?

Re:CO2 causes Global Warming? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026811)

MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate.

FACT: Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures. Average ground station readings do show a mild warming of 0.6 to 0.8C over the last 100 years, which is well within the natural variations recorded in the last millennium. The ground station network suffers from an uneven distribution across the globe; the stations are preferentially located in growing urban and industrial areas ("heat islands"), which show substantially higher readings than adjacent rural areas ("land use effects").

There has been no catastrophic warming recorded.

MYTH 2: The "hockey stick" graph proves that the earth has experienced a steady, very gradual temperature decrease for 1000 years, then recently began a sudden increase.

FACT: Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time. For instance, the Medieval Warm Period, from around 1000 to1200 AD (when the Vikings farmed on Greenland) was followed by a period known as the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the 17th Century the "average global temperature" has been rising at the low steady rate mentioned above; although from 1940 Ã" 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a Global Cooling scare.

The "hockey stick", a poster boy of both the UN's IPCC and Canada's Environment Department, ignores historical recorded climatic swings, and has now also been proven to be flawed and statistically unreliable as well. It is a computer construct and a faulty one at that.

MYTH 3: Human produced carbon dioxide has increased over the last 100 years, adding to the Greenhouse effect, thus warming the earth.

FACT: Carbon dioxide levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and otherwise, just as they have throughout geologic time. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased. The RATE of growth during this period has also increased from about 0.2% per year to the present rate of about 0.4% per year,which growth rate has now been constant for the past 25 years. However, there is no proof that CO2 is the main driver of global warming. As measured in ice cores dated over many thousands of years, CO2 levels move up and down AFTER the temperature has done so, and thus are the RESULT OF, NOT THE CAUSE of warming. Geological field work in recent sediments confirms this causal relationship. There is solid evidence that, as temperatures move up and down naturally and cyclically through solar radiation, orbital and galactic influences, the warming surface layers of the earth's oceans expel more CO2 as a result.

MYTH 4: CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas.
FACT: Greenhouse gases form about 3 % of the atmosphere by volume. They consist of varying amounts, (about 97%) of water vapour and clouds, with the remainder being gases like CO2, CH4, Ozone and N2O, of which carbon dioxide is the largest amount. Hence, CO2 constitutes about 0.037% of the atmosphere. While the minor gases are more effective as "greenhouse agents" than water vapour and clouds, the latter are overwhelming the effect by their sheer volume and Ã" in the end Ã" are thought to be responsible for 60% of the "Greenhouse effect".

Those attributing climate change to CO2 rarely mention this important fact.

MYTH 5: Computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming.

FACT: The computer models assume that CO2 is the primary climate driver, and that the Sun has an insignificant effect on climate. You cannot use the output of a model to verify or prove its initial assumption - that is circular reasoning and is illogical. Computer models can be made to roughly match the 20th century temperature rise by adjusting many input parameters and using strong positive feedbacks. They do not "prove" anything. Also, computer models predicting global warming are incapable of properly including the effects of the sun, cosmic rays and the clouds. The sun is a major cause of temperature variation on the earth surface as its received radiation changes all the time, This happens largely in cyclical fashion. The number and the lengths in time of sunspots can be correlated very closely with average temperatures on earth, e.g. the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period. Varying intensity of solar heat radiation affects the surface temperature of the oceans and the currents. Warmer ocean water expels gases, some of which are CO2. Solar radiation interferes with the cosmic ray flux, thus influencing the amount ionized nuclei which control cloud cover.

MYTH 6: The UN proved that manÃ"made CO2 causes global warming.

FACT: In a 1996 report by the UN on global warming, two statements were deleted from the final draft. Here they are:
1) ÃoeNone of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases.Ã
2) ÃoeNo study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to manÃ"made causesÃ

To the present day there is still no scientific proof that man-made CO2 causes significant global warming.

MYTH 7: CO2 is a pollutant.
FACT: This is absolutely not true. Nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere. We could not live in 100% nitrogen either. Carbon dioxide is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is. CO2 is essential to life on earth. It is necessary for plant growth since increased CO2 intake as a result of increased atmospheric concentration causes many trees and other plants to grow more vigorously. Unfortunately, the Canadian Government has included CO2 with a number of truly toxic and noxious substances listed by the Environmental Protection Act, only as their means to politically control it.

MYTH 8: Global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes.

FACT: There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that supports such claims on a global scale. Regional variations may occur. Growing insurance and infrastructure repair costs, particularly in coastal areas, are sometimes claimed to be the result of increasing frequency and severity of storms, whereas in reality they are a function of increasing population density, escalating development value, and ever more media reporting.

MYTH 9: Receding glaciers and the calving of ice shelves are proof of global warming.

FACT: Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. Recent glacier melting is a consequence of coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating. ItÃ(TM)s normal. Besides, glacier's health is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature.

MYTH 10: The earthÃ(TM)s poles are warming; polar ice caps are breaking up and melting and the sea level rising.

FACT: The earth is variable. The western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer, due to unrelated cyclic events in the Pacific Ocean, but the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder. The small Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. Ice thicknesses are increasing both on Greenland and in Antarctica.

Sea level monitoring in the Pacific (Tuvalu) and Indian Oceans (Maldives) has shown no sign of any sea level rise.

FIRST!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026133)

wow, a first

Global warming isn't really cutting in yet (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026143)

...so it didn't cause the bushfires. Fires like this are normal. Suburbs sprawling into the bush are abnormal. Fifty or a hundred years from now it may be a different story.

Re:Global warming isn't really cutting in yet (3, Interesting)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026185)

More fundamentally, no one drought can be directly attributed to global warming, just as the current cold winter in NA can be considered as casting doubt on global warming.

Over time, global warming may make droughts such as the one that exacerbated the current AU fire situation more common. During the change, the vegetation left over from the wetter period before global warming will result in some spectacular fires, but it will only be in hindsight that we can say fires were a result of the change.

Oops (2, Informative)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026211)

...just as the current cold winter in North America canNOT be considered as casting douby...

Re:Oops (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026271)

your right because global warming destabilizes the climate as well as heating it up

Re:Oops (2, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026427)

Your acting like climate science is a positive science, where we can do experiments and do direct event correlation.

We can't. We don't know -at all- what is causing climate behavior. All we have are statistical models ... and 80% of that model is the following brilliant rule :

"the weather doesn't change" (= about 80% of any climate model)

And while I may agree that statistically this is, without any argument, correct, it is not a solid basis for predicting the weather a long time from now (or even more than a week).

In addition to that, the sun's been acting up rather badly (google "sunspot cycle 24"). Now when a 2960 billion petawatt fusion reactor does something unexpected, the consequences are ... severe. 1% difference in output and we'll have the mother of all ice ages next year. Right now we have about 4% difference (the sun's corona is 4% cooler - in absolute value, than the value climate models currently use, nobody knows why, or when it will change). If that doesn't change fast, no amount of co2 in the athmosphere is going to save us from the mother of all winters coming up real soon. And if it does change, it will -once again- render all climate predictions invalid.

Re:Global warming isn't really cutting in yet (3, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026393)

"the vegetation left over from the wetter period before global warming will result in some spectacular fires"

Much of the bush in the area (indeed the entire state) has been burnt several times since our last "wet period" over a decade ago. In the summer of 2006-2007 Melbourne was blanketed in smoke for two months where as the normal situation might see smoke for a week or two.

Re:Global warming isn't really cutting in yet (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026357)

"Fires like this are normal."

This is incorrect, fire is normal but this one was not (regardless of the death and destruction). There is a metric called the Fire Danger Index [csiro.au] that is used to issue warnings and declare total fire ban days, it is calibrated on the 1939 fires having an index of 100, IIRC the ash wednesday fires that I also witnessed had an index of 70-120. The abnormal conditions [bom.gov.au] for this fire saw the index in the unheard of range of 150-200.

Re:Global warming isn't really cutting in yet (4, Informative)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026671)

fire is normal but this one was not

I think one of the primary issues is we haven't let native Australian's burn the bush the way they always have in the cooler months of the year (say around May or June). I remember seeing something about this on the ABC that because the burning was being done in those cooler months the intensity of the fires were greatly reduced and the most volatile fuel was burnt.

This also had the effect of leaving the less volatile fuel in the ground, so the soil had a higher carbon content and was less prone to bushfires. Ironically, the Aborigines in question were being paid by a power company to do the burning because it offset the power plants carbon emissions.

The reality of Australia's management of the land is we have a lot to learn from Native Australian's, and that's a humility that goes beyond just saying 'Sorry'. Until we grasp that, as a nation, we will have more of these bushfires.

Re:Global warming isn't really cutting in yet (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026467)

"Not cutting in yet"?

Um. Is that the flavor of the week?

Boring (0, Troll)

dooby_Monster (817224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026147)

boring, getting tired of hearing about global warming.

Re:Boring (0, Redundant)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026565)

Well, you can stick your head in the sand if you want, but you'll be part of the problem.

NO... (5, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026183)

The answer is no.
Despite Al Gore and Michael Moore's best efforts, climate change did not get Bush fired ... we had to rely on the 22nd amendment to get the job done.

Why don't the Austrailians build differently? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026187)

Some years ago, Fine Homebuilding did an article about houses that did and did not survive wildfires in California. The houses that survived had certain characteristics. They were clad with non-burning material like stucco. They had metal or tile roofs. They didn't catch heat under the eaves. They didn't have trees near the house. The plantings they did have mattered. There was one kind of ground cover that was full of water and that would burst if heated, releasing the water and cooling the fire.

The Australian houses I have seen (in pictures, I haven't been there) had almost none of the characteristics of the houses that survived the California fires. So, my question is; if you live in a country that has bush fires, why don't you build your houses to accommodate that fact?

Re:Why don't the Austrailians build differently? (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026293)

Its a good question. About a week ago there was an article in the paper here in Melbourne about a family who survived the fires in a concrete house. Building standards are going to change before new houses are built so I expect the situation to improve.

Some of the houses in the affected areas were as much as 100 years old. They were built when timber was the only material available. Later houses tended to be built the same way either because of tradition, or people wanting to build houses which fitted in with the historic designs.

I work with a guy who has a two story oiled timber house. On the day of the fire he was away from home with his family. When he finally got back a couple of days later he was surprised to find it still there. Another person I work with lost his home (and old farm house) in the fire and barely escaped. They actually drove one way into the fire, turned around and took the last clear road out of the area.

As for vegetation around houses home owners have been blaming local council regulations which prevent them from cutting down trees. One family were fined for removing a tree and later credited that act with saving their house.

Re:Why don't the Austrailians build differently? (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026487)

Yes, the building code could certainly do with an upgrade. When I was growing up many people had small fire bunkers dug into the ground and every local fire-brigade had a air-raid style siren. Neither are common today.

"As for vegetation around houses home owners have been blaming local council regulations which prevent them from cutting down trees. One family were fined for removing a tree and later credited that act with saving their house."

You may be interested in the councils side of that story, the minutes can be found here [vic.gov.au] (pdf warning). I don't know what happend to the four acres of trees Mr Shehan cut down but from my days working on an old growth sawmill a back of the envelope calculation says that many trees would have yeilded ~5000 tons of processed timber and several thousand tons of woodchips.

Re:Why don't the Austrailians build differently? (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026529)

Traditional wood-framed (cheap shit) construction is popular because it can be assembled with a three-man crew. The components are light (therefore easy to lift) and do not require much in the way of tools on-site. Wood, wood products, plastic, and so forth are very easy to work with for a contractor with modest experience. The tools fit in a pickup truck.

People don't think about what they are buying other than wanting it to look like everything else.

People don't think about using fire-resistant materials like concrete which are far superior to wood, nor do they choose modern metal roofing which is durable and easily outlasts shingles (and weighs less, is stronger in storms, and is much easier to install).

If you want a house to resist fire, simple concrete block construction on a cement slab with a steel roof on steel trusses is a fine way to go. Cut GENEROUS firebreaks around it (fires need fuel, so cut down the brush and trees and compost them away from structures) and have some amount of water under pressure available to fight fire should it reach your home.

If you want outbuildings to resist fire, store flammables outdoors in lockers away from them, and use metal for your structures. I use two forty-foot ISO containers (buy the 9'6" High Cubes if you have a choice) and a Steelmaster garage.

Concrete is durable, termites don't eat it, it doesn't burn, and it lasts far longer than wood. If you want sexy, rustic concrete then mimic adobe structures. Containers are also excellent and could easily replace single-wide mobile homes, and are far stronger and more weatherproof (good to 100mph winds!).

Re:Why don't the Austrailians build differently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026861)

Shingles..... Who the F uses shingles?
The only place you will see them in Aus is on heritage listed buildings.

Sorry sunshine, we've been using tin roofs for well over 100 years now.

Please, go for a Google street view tour be for assuming the rest of the world still lives in the 18th century

Re:Why don't the Austrailians build differently? (4, Informative)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026719)

Thanks to the influence of the environmental lobby in Australia, we have situations like this:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/fined-for-illegal-clearing-family-now-feel-vindicated-20090211-84sw.html?page=-1 [theage.com.au]

Summary: the Sheahan family of Victoria bulldozed a firebreak around their house to protect them in case of a catastrophic bushfire. Of course, anything that involves killing trees places you somewhere between "pedophile" and "war criminal" these days, so the family were taken to court by the local council, and ended up $100,000 poorer.

Then a catastrophic bushfire came along and the Sheahan's is now practically the only house left standing in the district.

Easy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026191)

Everything is caused by global warming. Next?

Climate Change? No. (3, Insightful)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026203)

The ever increasing severity of wildfires in Australia, North America, and elsewhere have nothing to do with any hypothetical climate change. It has everything to do with honest to Cowboy Neal human intervention.

Every year, dry areas with lots of vegetation catch fire. This is natural. Every year, humans that are stupid enough to build flammable houses in fire prone areas fight the fires and put them out. This is not natural. If the fire was let to burn out on its own, the thick and highly flammable undergrowth would turn into fertilizer for the larger, healthier, and more fire resistant plants that have historically survived such wildfires. Unfortunately, because society likes to coddle the retards that build in fire prone areas, the undergrowth survives year after year and becomes thicker and thicker. Then when the conditions are especially ripe, like during a drought and wind storm, the brush that had been saved for all those years suddenly goes up and creates a massive fire with the fury of all the years that human intervention prevented nature from taking care of the problem. Lo and behold, the massive super fire is much more destructive than the natural fires would have been. Good job.

Flood prone areas with human settlement have the same problem. Levees prevent the natural yearly floods and deprive the land of the silt deposits that would have normally been left after the flood plains have lived up to their name. This causes the land to over time sink and become less fertile, and then when the levees fail OH MY GOD BUILD AN ARK THIS IS THE WORST FLOOD EVAR!!!1


tl;dr climate isn't the problem, retards fighting nature is

Re:Climate Change? No. (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026297)

This is not natural. If the fire was let to burn out on its own, the thick and highly flammable undergrowth would turn into fertilizer for the larger, healthier, and more fire resistant plants that have historically survived such wildfires.

That's a nice theory, and it's a shame that it's wrong. The arid parts of Western Australia are home to chaparral, [wikipedia.org] the same as Southern California, although some of the species are different. Chaparral is notoriously prone to fire when conditions are right, and many of the species regrow quickly after a blaze. The plants aren't intruders that have pushed out the "more fire resistant native plants," they are the native plants. If you want to live there, you need to learn to keep the brush cut back, plant a barrier of less fire-prone plants around you and build a house that's not going to catch fire quickly when (not if) there's a wild fire.

Re:Climate Change? No. (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026367)

I was referring to wildfires in general.I know perfectly well what chaparral is. However, in places like the Pacific Northwest, California once you get inland, and the rest of the Western US, there are plenty of trees and plenty of wildfires.

Re:Climate Change? No. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026685)

I was referring to wildfires in general.I know perfectly well what chaparral is

I'm glad you do. However, much of the discussion has been about Australia, where chaparral is as much of an issue as it is here, in Southern California, and I thought that that was where you were referring to. Also, many slashdotters have probably only heard of chaparral in news reports and don't have any idea how easy it is to set alight, so it seemed like an explanation would be welcome. Sorry if you thought I was putting you down, because that wasn't my intent.

Re:Climate Change? No. (1)

Cuppa 'Joe' Black (1000483) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026351)

Never go full retard, man.

Re:Climate Change? No. (5, Informative)

BlortHorc (305555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026425)

The ever increasing severity of wildfires in Australia, North America, and elsewhere have nothing to do with any hypothetical climate change. It has everything to do with honest to Cowboy Neal human intervention.

Every year, dry areas with lots of vegetation catch fire. This is natural. Every year, humans that are stupid enough to build flammable houses in fire prone areas fight the fires and put them out. This is not natural. If the fire was let to burn out on its own, the thick and highly flammable undergrowth would turn into fertilizer for the larger, healthier, and more fire resistant plants that have historically survived such wildfires.

You, sir, haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about.

The state of Victoria has been in the grips of the worst drought in a century for the past 12 years, leaving the whole state tinder dry.

The day of Black Saturday the highest temperatures on record were observed in many parts of the state, and extremely hot, dry and high winds were blowing out of the semi-arid center of the country.

You didn't even have to RFTA, you just had to see from TFS that here in Australia we do control burns in the off season, fuel management is a critical part of fire management in this country, especially when you consider that many parts of the country have acclimatised to the fire-stick agriculture practiced by the aboriginal inhabitant of this country for over 40,000 years

If you seriously think that the already observed climatic changes are having no impact on the prevalence and severity of natural disasters around the globe you need to pull your head out of your arse and realise that's not coffee you've been smelling.

Re:Climate Change? No. (0)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026525)

(note - i am australian) I believe the real issue is that we get rid of all the kindling (ie bush's underscrub etc) and allow the fuel (ie the tree's etc) to keep growing, brushfires are natural, and use to happen enough that when they did happen, it was a small to medium size. Now we have massive amount of large+ tree's in high density, what do you think is going to happen? "super" bush fires. Bush fires aren't going to happen anywhere near as much as they use to, due to human intervention, but when they do - they are going to be alot bigger, and more intense. If climate has anything to do with it - it would be that there was more dry wood out there to get it started, by the time the fires are in full swing, the sheer heat is going to annihilate the water content of anything in it's path

Using something like this saying the climate is what caused it, well all i can say is - beware the religion of climent change

Re:Climate Change? No. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026539)

Do you even know what the 'observed climate changes' entail?

From 1905 to 2005, the temperature only increase 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit. From 2005 to 2100, even the most pessimistic model only expects a change of 11.5 degrees. At that rate, it goes up 1 degree ever 8 years. So -maybe- since 1905 we've increased 2 degrees.

Do you -really- think this massive fire was the result of those 2 degrees and not every other thing already posted by others here, including government incompetence in not controlling the dry growth in the area?

You had a drought and a fire, sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026571)

But that is going to happen.

None of this has anything to do with fake climate change.

Re:Climate Change? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026573)

Its not drought... NSW stole our rain. Get Rudd to make them share or gtfo

Re:Climate Change? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026657)

You, sir, haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about.

Ahem!

You didn't even have to RFTA, you just had to see from TFS that here in Australia we do control burns in the off season

What a load of rubbish!!!

If people in Victoria DID perform EFFECTIVE controlled burns, we wouldnt have thousands of destroyed homes and hundreds of dead people.

It is because of a lack of controlled burns the fires were so bad.

So It would appear that you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

Also I'm not the parent post.

Re:Climate Change? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026687)

Hmm, so let see if i get this straight. Global warming caused the drought. Ok I will take your hypothesis and see where it goes.

Water evaporates when it is warmer. Which is easy to see as it is dry out. So if the earth is warmer wouldnt there be MORE rain in other places? It is covered in 2/3rds water and the OMG the ice caps are melting. Or is there another mechanism in play which retards this process? Maybe because it is warm the water ran into the seas instead of evaporating? Then it is locked in?

So maybe under your hypothesis it rains more when it is colder?

Or maybe it was a shift in a weather pattern? It does happen, every year like clockwork it still gets cold around here.

And yes fuel managment is critical if they do not want things like this. It sounds like they just sort of skipped doing that for a few years. RIGHT when they needed to most...

It doesnt take much brush and dryed out wood (doesnt even have to be THAT dry) to create a crazy huge fire. I have seen a pile of brush 10 ft x 50 ft x 10 ft burned. The smoke could be seen for miles. The fire you couldnt get within 50 ft of. It burned for a day. It melted a metal swing set to slag. It dryed out the area around it due to the heat. The fire actually spreads by drying out the area around it. Wood brush belive it or not is actually a VERY nice fuel source. People have used it for thousands of years to dry things out and heat other things up.

To use this tragedy to fuel global warming propaganda is sad. See that is the beauty of the theory of global warming. It is not a disprovable theory. Everything can be attributed to it. Too cold 'just an anomaly it will return back to global warming soon enough and temperatures are not constant', too warm 'see its global warming', too much rain 'see its global warming', not enough rain 'see its global warming', too windy 'its global warming', not enough wind 'its global warming'. Everything can fit into it. It is not a disprovable theory. Even the theory of relativity has escapes. Which basically state 'if do see this the theory is garbage'.

NOW do not get me wrong here global warming might be real. What I take to task is the lack of scientific rigor applied to it. It is the sort of theory that would have earned me a big fat F in college. What we have are a bunch of observations that do not fit ANY theory. A catch all theory is not good science.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/25/jstor_climate_report_translation/

That puts it best.

Re:Climate Change? No. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026443)

Excellent form of natural selection though, isn't it?

Regrettably, a lot of people don't have a choice but to live in those dangerous areas.

Re:Climate Change? No. (0, Redundant)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026533)

Except for your insistence on referring to climate change as "hypothetical", I have to agree with everything you said. The traditional environmental issues are quite enough to explain events like these.

Climate scientists keep reminding us that it's difficult to trace a connection between any given event and climate change. If we're going argue about climate change, we need to start arguing about the scientific models and stop arguing about specific events that can be explained in terms of either theory.

Goverment failed to back-burn, that is the story (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026213)

David Packham is our foremost expert in this area, he "wrote the book".

It is clear that when you let 35-50 tonnes of fuel build up per hectare by not backburning then you will get these sized fires.

We have had similar fires in the 1850s, 1870s, 1930s, 1980s. The common factor is the amount of fuel ready to be burnt.

Shouldn't Climate Change have actually reduced fuel load by killing the trees?

It has a lot to do with the fact that the Government departments failed to conduct the necessary backburning.

There will always be arsonists, lightning strikes and stray cigarettes. We can't stop ignition. We CAN reduce the amount of fuel available to a bushfire. Climate change has nothing to do with proper back burning.

Re:Goverment failed to back-burn, that is the stor (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026329)

There will always be arsonists,

Yes but I do think that if we made less of a song and dance about forecast fire risk days, fewer arsonists would see the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

Re:Goverment failed to back-burn, that is the stor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026503)

There will always be arsonists,

Yes but I do think that if we made less of a song and dance about forecast fire risk days, fewer arsonists would see the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

Except if you don't make a song and dance about fire ban days, you get people like some of my relatives who insist that a hot, windy day is the perfect time to hold an imprompt barbie with that pile of old branches in the middle of a paddock.

Re:Goverment failed to back-burn, that is the stor (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026597)

"David Packham is our foremost expert in this area, he "wrote the book"."

So why is he peddling disinformation on the BBC and why is it that I could not find a description of his position at Monash?

"It has a lot to do with the fact that the Government departments failed to conduct the necessary backburning."

Please re-read the summary and look at the reference.

Global Weirding, not warming. (2, Informative)

amclay (1356377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026215)

It's been classified more as "global weirding" rather than "Global Warming." Where I am from, it's freezing cold, and has had colder weather here than we normally have. But you can't just speculate and attribute these weather storms to global whatever. They have and will continue to happen regardless.

people are affecting bushfires (3, Informative)

acorn6 (1435671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026247)

let's just wait for the findings of the Royal Commission before debating the merits of global warming vs green policy vs urban sprawl. The scale and ferocity of the firestorm has devestated entire communities. The sooner politics are removed from the debate the sooner the answers may be found. Neither side of the debate is immune from point scoring or spin. The fact remains that the indigenous Australians have used seasonal burning as a land mangement practise for thousands of years.The foolish guidelines allowing people to build combustable homes within heavily wooded areas without sensible conditions has led to the worst loss of life,both human & animal in the recorded history of the continent.To say the cause of this tradgedy is global warming is stupid

Re:people are affecting bushfires (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026371)

I know somebody who used to work for the MFB. He used to complain about the CFA all the time. I got the impression that the various fire fighting organisations in the state don't get along at all.

I worked for Vic Roads for ten years and while I saw a lot of politics (particularly between Vic Roads and the police) it never got out of hand the way it seems to be happening within Connex and the fire authorities.

Other way around (1)

SirAdelaide (1432553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026317)

Regardless of whether climate change is affecting bushfires, the bushfires will affect the climate. Put enough ash high in the air and we could cool the planet.

Re:Other way around (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026607)

Put enough ash high in the air and we could cool the planet.

Only for as long as you can keep the ash in the air. Once it drops to the ground, you would have an even worse problem than before.

Fuel Load (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026355)

so what was it that made such an unusual firestorm possible, and will it happen again?"

1. The failure to control the fuel load using prescribed burns.

2. Yes, unless they stop putting out every fire and enable the fuel load to grow and grow.

All you have to do is look at what happened at Yellowstone.

Re:Fuel Load (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026383)

1. The failure to control the fuel load using prescribed burns.

Where population density is low you can back burn on vacant land. No problem.

Where population density is high (ie, inner city) fire is less of a problem.

On the urban fringe (like Kinglake) there is no room to back burn, but there is still enough fuel around to keep a fire going.

Global Warming...Yeah Sure (1)

slater86 (1154729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026361)

Stuff like this has happened before.
The 2 notable ones I remember are:
canberra a few years back
and ash wednesday back around 1984(I think)

whilst it would be nice to know better management plans, (planned burn offs work great IMHO)
I think blaming global warning seems like a bit of a "what can be blame today".

No, climate change hasn't affected it either way.. (4, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026401)

Climate change hasn't affected bushfire occurrences significantly in any way. This is all speculation and from a very unscientific standpoint as far as I can tell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushfire#Significant_bushfires [wikipedia.org]
Notice where many of these fires occur...Australia. And the documented dates go back to 1851. Climate change has nothing to do with anything, a bushfire is longstanding and naturally occurring event, and has been observed that way for 150 years on record.

Where is the data that shows that fires have occurred more often and burn longer and stronger AND the reason so is climate change and not the fact that suburban sprawl introduces woodland areas to power lines, lit cigarettes as litter, and other human fire related causes?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_wildfire [wikipedia.org]
There is the same issue with wildfires occurring in California. And an even bigger threat or cause of wildfires than global climate change is still lit cigarettes being discarded in woodland areas. More on that later.

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN2327145120071023 [reuters.com]
Here's a short article from Reuters discussing some basic wildfire facts in California.

* During Santa Ana conditions, fires can be easily ignited by nature, in the case of lightning, or by humans. Some are arson, while others can be sparked by machinery operated near dry brush, campfires or carelessly tossed cigarettes. Downed power lines also pose a fire hazard. Once the wildfires are whipped by the winds, they spread quickly and are extremely dangerous and difficult to fight.

* "Fire Season" officially begins in early summer and lasts through October, though officials say that as the state suffers through cyclical drought conditions, they consider the season to be almost year-round in Southern California.

http://ca.prweb.com/releases/20061010/6/prweb393120.htm [prweb.com]

In September 2002, a wildfire that scorched 247 acres on the Camp Pendleton, California base was started by a cigarette butt tossed by a passing motorist.

In January 2001, a motorist driving along Interstate 8 in San Diego County flicked a cigarette butt onto the center median, sparking a fire that burned more than 10,000 acres, destroyed 16 homes and charred 64 vehicles.

http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/40452047.html [kbtx.com]

In Texas, people cause 95 percent of wildfires. The Texas Forest Service says residents should not engage in activities, such as throwing out lit cigarettes, welding and burning debris, that could lead to an accidental wildfire start.

So we are causing a vast amount of wildfires. In some places even 95 percent.

Maybe climate change plays a large role in bushfires, but I need way more evidence to convince me that it's not people being careless with litter, downed power lines, or household electrical fires, etc. causing the majority of these fires.

Re:No, climate change hasn't affected it either wa (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026785)

Read these two assertions carefully:

excluding prescribed burning and fuel management has led to the highest fuel concentrations we have ever had

However, the DSE's 2008 annual report states; 'The DSE achieved a planned burning program of more than 156,000 hectares, the best result for more than a decade.

The intended effect is this; two conflicting statements cancel each other out. The net impact on the reader is therefore zero. This is an intentional deception.

The skeptical reader notes that the two statements do not, in fact, conflict. The first statement asserts insufficient fuel management. The second asserts some quantity of fuel management, but does not attempt to counter the original assertion.

The second argument asserts a quantity of prescribed burning that amounts to a square 24 miles on a side. Now that we've dispelled the ambiguity of a figure like "156,000 hectares" we can see that very little fuel management was performed relative to the size of the Australian bush, and this is asserted to be the "best result" in a decade!

This is now to be the basis for story after story, year after year of how "global warming" caused the bush fires. You people wonder why there are global warming skeptics? Shut down the boneheads that publish this sort of blatantly obvious nonsense in the name of "global warming" and maybe there wouldn't be so many. Or maybe there wouldn't be much to talk about.

Hmm.

Some more interesting facts... (1)

ltmon (729486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026513)

Poor urban planning and lack of forest management are definately contributing factors.

However: We've been in drought for 12 years, this has been the driest February on record, the hottest week on record was earlier this month and the hottest day on record was the day of the worst of these fires.

It's pretty easy to convince me of global warming after living through this.

historical perspective (2, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026587)

When Europeans first started to exert control over large areas of the Australian coast, they put a stop to the Aboriginal practice of starting bushfires annually. This was done to stop such fires damaging their crops and newly built properties for the most part.

However, this frequent and deliberate starting of bushfires had come into being as a survival strategy. By starting such fires often, the Aboriginies avoided having vast, uncontrollable fires that posed a real danger.

Since that time, bushfires have occurred that are exactly what the aboriginal practice had been designed to avoid, and due to the high density of Australia's coastal regions, the dmaage cost and death toll have been high.
This has been noticed to a greater extent recently because the press are looking for things they can point to as evidence of global warming. This alas is no such thing, its just evidence of man failing to adapt to the requirements of an atypical environment.

Re:historical perspective (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026765)

not really correct. yes the abo's did light fires, they wiped out all the super mamals doing it and totally changed the landscape of australia, far more than white man has done. and it wasn't done to control the bush fire threat, it was done because they were too fucking lazy to hunt, so they just burned everything and picked up the carsasses that were left.

if you think i'm trolling or full shit i suggest you take a good hard google on the subject and you'll see i'm right. that and i've lived with them all my life so i know exactly what they get up to.

Poor management practices (0, Offtopic)

topham (32406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026589)

Without knowing the specifics in Australia, the fact elsewhere in the world is that many governments treat things like Russian Roulette.

With 6 cylinders, and 1 bullet you can keep pointing the gun at your head and pull the trigger.
You can keep making cuts to various departments and everything keeps going ok.
You pull the trigger a few times, and then, bang. Your dead.
And then, out of the blue, the shit hits the fan and your carefully managed cuts are too deep and you bleed to death.

classic media "someone must be to blame" (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026601)

you know, sometimes inspite of our best efforts shit just goes very very wrong. we are not masters of the universe. to suggest global warming is to blame for the bush fires is media whoring at it's worse, and totally disrespecting those who died and their families just to push their own agenda.

Global Warming My Arse (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026613)

The fires were a direct result of several actions:

1) A hot and drier than usual summer
2) A LOT of fuel on the ground
3) "Environmentally Concious" governance, including banning clearing of ANY land whatsoever, even banning clearing of land as a means of fire reduction.
4) Insufficient backburning, except for when it is too late.

Obviously 3) and 4) are the problems here. If either 3 or 4 (or both) were allowed, then the death toll and property losses would be far less.

Both 3 and 4 are the direct result of interference by greenies and environmentalists.

But seriously, these fires are nothing special. Victoria had devistating fires in the 1980s and the 1930s.

Given the relatively short time Australia has been populated, it's not hard to imagine that these fires are probably a 1 in 20 to a 1 in 100 year event.

Affecting... bush... fires... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026643)

Global Warming affect bushfires...

Ah, so that explains what happened at the Justice Department.

Is Climate Change Affecting Bushfires? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026651)

I dunno.

Does the pope shit in the woods?

It wasn't the CO2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026669)

I blame the O2, there was a lot of it that day and it was from the direction of central Australia so it was hot and dry. i.e. strong nth wind in Summer = fire storms for Victoria Australia. If you want the historical info, look at soil cores, the carbon and ash layers from fires should give you an idea of what has happened in the last 1000 years or so, not that it is a long time, the first Australians have been there and lighting fires for 40 to 60 times longer than than.

If it were not tragic, I would be amused (1, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026731)

by the way people who take any opposing view on this subject -- no matter how valid their comments -- get modded as "troll". That is not a very adult way to behave.

At least one poster above had good and true things to say, but got modded as troll anyway. Some others may not have had all their facts right, but they were no more off than people on the "other side" of the question, and they got modded as troll too, even though the people who made ridiculous statements on the "pro" side of global warming were not modded.

That really sucks, folks. You can do better. That kind of crap makes me ashamed to be here on Slashdot.

And by the way, I just want to point out: the UN "TAR" or Third Annual Report on Climate Change, which is what much of this Global Warming argument is based on, has by now been found to be seriously flawed, AND politicized. Much that was in that report was not science, either. In fact, at least one paper the report was based on was an outright fake. You can't rely on flawed and discredited data for your argument, then turn around and tell others that their argument is "not science". That would make you a hypocrite. What you really meant (whether you knew it or not), was "that is not science, either".

An australian's view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026745)

I live in Australia and I love the bush and all of our country.

Awhile ago the greenies (green political party and other environment supporters) mistakenly tried to stop natural bushfires and back-burning. The reasons being that nobody likes to see burnt animals (koalas, kangaroos etc..) or burnt plants.

However, there has been a turnaround in thinking regarding this. Bush fires actually bring around new growth and some plants only drop seeds when a bush fire goes through. Bush fires are actually necessary and if they are allowed to occur regulary then it's actually better for everyone. Because the greenies and other people stopped back-burning and because we intervene and fight bush fires the dead leaves, plants etc... don't burn but rather just sit there waiting as potential fuel for the next big one.

However, obviously nobody wants to see humans hurt. The answer to this is allowing natural bushfires and backburning. To stop this hurting humans we need to build fire breaks, surround housing with concrete fire breaks and build bunkers to protect humans who live near the bush.

Re:An australian's view (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026799)

"However, obviously nobody wants to see humans hurt."

wrong, there is most definately a human hating element to greenies.

Lots of deniers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026845)

There's a bunch of deniers who say that global warming is a myth, and that somehow Muslims are behind all this.

Of course, they are no different than the Nazis of the 1930's

What a politically loaded question. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026889)

1. [strike]Global warming[/strike] Climate change is not a fact. It's a theory. A bad one at that since it does not predict the current climate much less the near and far future and is not consistent with the data.

2. Climate change is now the fad since earth is not warming globally anymore. In fact, the ocean has been cooling since 2003 [nasa.gov] and the ice in the Arctic sea [dailytech.com] is now back at the same level as in 1979 and Alaskan Sea Glaciers are advancing for the first time in 250 years [icecap.us] . Hey, those AGW fanatics are now shifting the goal post and make those facts proof of a climate change.

3. Bushes and forests have been burning since the dawn of time. The Australian fire was more fierce due to the idiots who "protected the environment" by banning clearing of vegetation.

Sydney Mornding Herald [smh.com.au] :
Last week angry fire survivors in Victoria pointed the finger at local authorities who prevented clearing of vegetation. At a public meeting in Arthurs Creek, Warwick Spooner, who lost his mother and brother in the Strathewen fire, stood up criticise the Nillumbik council.

"We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down." Then of course, there is Liam Sheahan, the Reedy Creek home owner whose house is the only one in a two-kilometre area which survived the fires. In 2004 he was fined $50,000 for removing 247 trees around his hilltop house to protect it from fire. His two-year court battle against the Mitchell Shire Council cost him $50,000 in legal fees.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?