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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20 (Weather)

by dulan drift, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 18:49 (169 days ago)

Season kicked off a few days ago with an outbreak of uncontrolled fires across northern nsw and qld. Same scenario as last year only earlier.

Again, judging from the map below, the main cause of the fires appears to be the government's rural fire brigade in conjunction with farmers. The fire brigade has been busily lighting fuel reduction burns, whilst farmers have been granted official permits to burn-off.

Despite drought conditions, it having happening last year, and forecasts of hot dry windy weather - scores of fires were lit.

When the wind and temps got up these already substantial fires exploded out of control. It's insane.

The media is going crazy over a 'possible investigation into an arson attack' on one of the fires - meanwhile zero questions are asked about how the hell all the others got started. The map below shows all the fires that have been granted permits just prior and right up to the current outbreak

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This is today's map of the 'wildfires' - notice any resemblance?

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 18:55 (169 days ago) @ dulan drift

Wow. We get very limited burns around here but nothing like that at all, not even close.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, September 19, 2019, 05:58 (161 days ago) @ dan

The fires are mostly contained but are not out - one of them near here is over 10 000 hectares - the only thing that puts that out is sustained rain. luckily there are no extreme conditions in the next week's forecast - but no rain either

Previously bushfires were mainly a southern state thing starting in Dec-Jan, while the more humid north with greater rain during summer was spared the worst.

Now a few years of dry spring/summer has suddenly changed that. Driving around here i see things that would never be allowed in the south - houses built in the thick of vegetation - 'luan-chi-ba-zao' burning off practices ...

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, October 08, 2019, 11:49 (142 days ago) @ dulan drift

Bad fire day - hot with wind up to 50kph in northern nsw and southeast qld

A few fires out of control at this stage - possibly flare ups from the fires a few weeks back - seem to be in similar areas

nsw: https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me

qld: https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map/Pages/default.aspx

(Annoyingly, you have to go to two different sites to track fires near the state border - which is where they mainly are - you'd think that could be worked out somehow)

There's also some 'dry lightning' around
First time i've seen a lightning icon coupled with 0% chance of rain!

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Good news is that cool change is due by tomorrow - maybe even some rain in the next few days

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, October 08, 2019, 18:16 (142 days ago) @ dulan drift

Several fires raging - most seem to be flare-ups from the fires a few weeks back - worst ones are around the nsw/qld border region

"20 homes and structures" destroyed in Rappville

Forecast was for 'light winds' tonight but it's still gusting up

Some frontline footage on this video:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-08/bushfires-damage-houses-in-northern-nsw/11583912

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 18:31 (113 days ago) @ dulan drift

Friday is shaping up as a bad fire day: a drought + 37C + 35kph winds + existing fires.

From limited observation, the winds often end up bigger than predicted.

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 10:13 (112 days ago) @ dulan drift

Although the winds are not that high here at the moment, there is a dust storm moving in and the air looks like Taipei on a bad day, which indicates that the winds must be strong out in the west where dust is getting whipped up.

Tomorrow is still looking like the day when the fires could explode. Got a front-row seat here in northern nsw. Ironically i chose this area coz it seemed less drought/fire prone but for the last couple of years it's been one of the hardest hit places in the country

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 12:01 (112 days ago) @ dulan drift

The ave high for Nov for Lismore is 28. In the 7-day forecast period that will be exceeded by an accumulated 24C.

Interestingly, the ave low is 16C. In the same time-frame the accumulated differential is -29C! (down to 9C this morning)

So it all depends on how you look at the numbers. If you said that over a week the average temp differential is -5C then you'd say 'what global warming?', but it doesn't account for the extremes we're seeing here. Hotter days and colder nights - presumably due to drier air - which is a key ingredient in bushfires and something that is not normally experienced here.


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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 19:15 (111 days ago) @ dulan drift

This was today - conditions worse tomorrow

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Friday, November 08, 2019, 12:54 (111 days ago) @ dulan drift

I can now see a fire from my house - it's in the Nightcap National Park. Appears to have just started. The report says it's just one hectare but it will expand rapidly. Classified as 'out of control'. Zero chance of controlling it today.

Temps nudging 40 C with wind ranging from 30-50kph across NSW. Winds are currently from north west - which is good for me - bad for others

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Friday, November 08, 2019, 14:25 (111 days ago) @ dulan drift

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Friday, November 08, 2019, 15:01 (111 days ago) @ dulan drift

This sounds exactly like accounts I read out of California. I'm just getting caught up on this thread after a busy week. I'm looking forward to a long holiday weekend of beer and movies. It looks like you'll have a less relaxing time.

Do you have your evacuation bag packed?

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 05:40 (110 days ago) @ dan

Although i can see one of the fires from here, the one pictured below, there's no immediate danger. It's about 10-15 km from where i live. (The photo was from a coastal city a few 100 k's south of here)

It's in the heart of a National Park, which means it won't be a priority for firefighters who will be concentrating on fires threatening private property. The winds (20-30kph) have changed to the south-west and are swinging around to the south-east which would project the fire towards the north west - away from me. It's much cooler than yesterday.

Nightcap NP is a rainforest, which rarely catch on fire, but we're in rare times. Hasn't rained properly for several months and temps are way above ave.

The concern would be for Tuesday when temps are forecast to heat up again plus big north-westerlies up to 45kph. The only thing that will put it out is sustained rain - but nothing is forecast.

There are a lot worse fires going in the state but will monitor this one as a kind of case study.
Judging by the map, it appears to have spotted in at least 2 places. Went from 1 hectare when first reported to 170 hectares by nightfall. Hard to know how it started - possibly an old lightning strike that has smouldered away

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Friday, November 08, 2019, 14:59 (111 days ago) @ dulan drift

Did you take this? I hope not!

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Friday, November 08, 2019, 14:59 (111 days ago) @ dulan drift

Averages mean little to me. I look at the highs and lows, with an eye on highs in the summer and lows in the winter.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 12:33 (110 days ago) @ dan

Fire has been upgraded to 'emergency warning'.

Just received an evacuation message for residents of Terania Creek and Tuntable Falls - i'm not in those places but nearby in Nimbin.

Winds are mainly light from the south east but building and some big gusts are coming through. The fire would be creating its own wind as well. I'm confident that the wind direction means i'm not in any danger at this stage.
Temp is 29C, which is well down from 40C yesterday.

Looking at the fire map, the different sections of the fire have joined up and it's now at 2232 hectares - which is 2000% bigger than it was this time yesterday.

Can't see how they will be able to fight it as it's in inaccessible mountain country - they might try to light backburns but that could backfire. Firebombing is probably a waste of time at this stage as it's already too big - they'll probably hold off until it gets closer to private property. In addition, resources are stretched to the maximum so there may not even be any fire fighting helicopters or planes available

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 18:08 (110 days ago) @ dulan drift

Two people have been reported dead from a fire on the north coast - one from the village of Diehard and another from Kangawalla. The Diehard victim, a 69 year-old woman, was found unconscious but alive on the side of the road but died in hospital. The other perished in his car. A third victim was found in her burnt out home from a different fire on the mid-north coast near Taree.

Another seven people are missing. More than 30 injured. At least 150 homes lost.

Milder conditions tomorrow in terms of wind but its cranking up again on Tuesday. No way they will put these fires out before then.

Around 100 fires burning in NSW alone (mostly north of Sydney) with more in SE Qld

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/09/nsw-and-queensland-bushfires-fea...

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 22:01 (109 days ago) @ dulan drift

Just experimenting with a rough forecast of where the fire might go in the next three days according to temp and wind direction.

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Sunday, November 10, 2019, 06:03 (109 days ago) @ dulan drift

Weather outlook is not good with a run of days over 30C and no rain. Even hotter in Grafton, which is just south of here. Winds are forecast at 30-40kph - that's not off the charts but strong enough - and coming from the north which means low humidity. Despite a lull today, we're no where near through this disaster - not sure if we've even seen the worst of it yet.


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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, November 11, 2019, 08:21 (108 days ago) @ dulan drift

Conditions relatively moderate this morning - light winds which are expected to change to north-east later in the day at 20-25kph.

NE winds are what i don't want as that will push the fire towards me. Tomorrow's forecast (Tuesday) is worse: 35C with NE winds up to 30kph. Then 37C with 30kph northerlies on Saturday.

Looks like New Delhi out there with the smoke haze. It has been smokey but then yesterday it really came in within a period of about 30 minutes. You could smell the smoke like you're sitting around a campfire - visibility dropped to the level of a heavy fog.

In fact, i don't think the smoke is from the fire closest to me, as it doesn't make sense in terms of the wind direction - more likely from the big fire at Rappville which is about 40 km to my south west

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View from my house

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, November 11, 2019, 08:41 (108 days ago) @ dulan drift

Updated potential fire-zone map for today and tomorrow

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, November 11, 2019, 14:49 (108 days ago) @ dulan drift

Australia's deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, dismissed concerns that the current fire situation was related to climate change as the “ravings of … inner-city lunatics”.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/11/australia-fires-nation-braces-fo...

God help us. At least it's no surprise how we got into this situation in the first place.

He is the leader of the farmers party called the National Party. The same farmers that cut down all the trees and replaced them with methane gas. The same farmers that deliberately lit most of these fires back in September when they do their traditional burn-offs because they refused to believe that nonsense about how climate change had made this practice incredibly dangerous. The same farmers who will have their hands out bleating for huge public welfare after the fires go through. The same farmers who will be doing it all again next year.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 06:47 (107 days ago) @ dulan drift

The media (with help from politicians and fire brigade chiefs) is in full hysteria mode predicting the "worst fires in the history of Australia". It's going to be bad but not that bad.

Black Saturday was 46C with 80kph northerlies and tinder dry conditions. We're not at those levels. Here (and most of mid to northern NSW where the worst fires are) it's forecast to reach 35C with 30kph winds in the afternoon. It's pretty much dead calm at the moment.

The conditions around Sydney are the worst in the state with 37C forecast and 40kph north to north-westerlies, which are the dry dangerous one. There will then be a cool change which will bring winds of 65 kph from the south.

The media likes to mix those bits of info up to "temperatures near 40C with winds averaging 60- 70kph". Yes it's kind of true but the southerly change, although still dangerous, is not in the same league as a northerly: it's colder, carries more moisture, is usually short-lived, and will largely blow the fire back on itself.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 06:49 (107 days ago) @ dulan drift

Updated forecast map for Nov 12


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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 09:17 (107 days ago) @ dulan drift

Winds have picked up - appear to be coming pretty much due north.

About 10.30 am the fire sprang to life and is now billowing smoke - clearly visible from my place though there's no smoke haze - which means the fire is not heading in this direction.

However, Terania Creek looks to be in serious trouble. No emergency warning has been issued for residents there but there should be one. I would get the fuck out if i was there.

Nimbin doesn't appear to be in the firing line at this stage.

View from my land:


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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 18:18 (107 days ago) @ dulan drift

The NSW's government's adoption of the 'Catastrophic' fire level warning was arguably an overuse. Was impressed how they didn't go to 'Catastrophic' a couple of times in Victoria last summer in similar conditions.

RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons estimated that "up to a dozen homes have been damaged or destroyed today" at the evening briefing. That's 140 less than last Friday which was rated as 'severe'. But there are a lot of uncontrolled large fires burning - some for more than two months.

“They’re consuming an area of more than a million hectares. A fire of 100,000 hectares typically has a perimeter of around 1,000km. The enormity of the task to bring these fires properly under control, to consolidate them, to get around them and mop them up is enormous.” https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2019/nov/12/nsw-fires-qld-bushfires-que...

Absolutely it is. The question is, how did we get to this point where a million acres are on fire under your watch thereby converting forests into giant CO2 factories? How many of the big un-extinguishable (without rain) fires were farmers (with permits) and/or rural fire brigade doing burn-offs the same way they've done for generations? And fuck any greenie who tries to tell me different!

The question won't be asked coz it's 'not the right time'. I wonder if it was a muslim lighting the fires , would the media think it's not be the right time to be talking about that?

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 18:31 (107 days ago) @ dulan drift

Would be interesting to analyse bushfires from the same perspective as typhoons. They're both rotating weather systems - just a bushfire is a high pressure

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 05:59 (106 days ago) @ dulan drift

Relatively moderate conditions for the next two days.

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 19:44 (105 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yeah, I'd be nervous. One always hears about how quickly the fire arrived.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 19:40 (105 days ago) @ dulan drift

That photo looks grim...

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 21:06 (105 days ago) @ dan

The forecast is interesting - nothing too dramatic but not exactly benign either. After tomorrow, a run of days above 30C with predominately north to north east winds up to 30 kph - which will take the fire steadily in my direction. If there was a 40-50kph NE day in the mix then i'd say we were fucked - so just below that threshold at the moment

Fire projection map for Nov 14

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 06:29 (100 days ago) @ dulan drift

Not a lot happening - still hot and dry - over 30C most days (2-6C above ave) - but with moderate winds so it's basically a holding pattern. Air quality fluctuates - in 10 minutes it goes from not too bad to New Delhi on a bad day - depending on the wind.

Have previously bemoaned the lack of a projection map for bushfires, such as we have for typhoons, hence my DIY efforts. Turns out there is one - a good one - and other maps as well - but not available to the public! Getting the impression that the State rural fire brigades are 'good ol' boys' clubs. The volunteer firefighters do an incredible job, but not sure about the people at the top who are directing them. They have this irrational hatred of 'greenies' and their thinking is dominated by this 'light it up' mentality with regard to fire season preparation - even when those 'mitigation burns' are right before or even during fire season with no strategy for putting them out.

According to a submission from a fire analyst in a government review of the 2018 QLD fires:

"The terrifying thing is that we’re still fighting these fires strategically with pieces of paper and excel spreadsheets. We seriously need to get systems in place to fix the problem. We need information on the ground feeding into a system; raw data that turns into intel".

The problem appears to be that the state fire brigade, which receives this info, has not been uploading it onto their platform where it can be shared with the analysts who are trying to do the modelling. According to the report this is because they distrust the city-based analysts who they feel are undermining their traditional fiefdoms and "local knowledge" with their fancy-pants modelling.

Below are examples of the mapping that is not available to the public

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 06:01 (99 days ago) @ dulan drift

That's insane. Certainly there must be some way for the public to sue for access. I mean, after all, you paid for it, right?

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 06:25 (99 days ago) @ dan

Exactly! I'm sure the rural fire authority has got some twisted reasoning for not releasing them but it seems mainly a case of wanting to hoard their data/intel so they can feel important.

There's a hell of a lot of politics going on with firefighting in Australia - and the US from what i can tell. That's a shame.

Meanwhile the focus moves down south to Adelaide today where they're expecting 42C+ and windy!

Starting to form an idea of how a fire system works meteorologically: seems you get a high which has drifted across the affected area and then sits to the east of it - and then a low pressure below or behind it or wedged up against it - which draws a stream of hot northerly winds off the desert between the rotating wheels of the high (counter-clockwise) and the low (clockwise).

Similar to a typhoon, if that system keeps moving east then at least it passes and the cool-change comes in behind it - the big problems occur when its passage gets blocked and just sits there for a couple of days


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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Friday, November 22, 2019, 06:32 (97 days ago) @ dulan drift

The hot windy weather (42C + 60 kph winds) passed across South Australia and Victoria in the last two days. Interesting contrast to NSW in that the situation was relatively well contained in the southern states. This is probably due to greater experience of dealing with these conditions in the south. Pity that fire knowledge is so hard to pass onto the northern neighbours - no doubt state rivalry plays a part in that.

As it was, these fires heralded the start of the fire season in the south as the heat moves down.

Conditions in NSW and SE Qld remain in a holding pattern - hot weather but thankfully without the big winds just seen in the south. Really just waiting for the rains to come and put them out - hoping this happens before another hot windy day does come.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 11:15 (93 days ago) @ dulan drift

The 'holding pattern' continues for the north east of NSW, though good news to the south of us where some decent rains have come through. Nothing here, however, and nothing forecast.

Spoke to a senior fire fighter yesterday - he works at a building supplies place with stacks of timber lying around which is only 2km from the fire front (i'm about 4). He was pretty concerned - suggested that reports it was 'contained' weren't accurate. They've been trying to back burn and patrol fire-lines but with limited success due to the inaccessible terrain. They had more success when it came out onto farmland.

He said there'd been no water-bombing except to protect the internet antennae - which i can kind of understand due to overstretched resources - but there is a large lake in close proximity to the fire.

Today is bloody hot - mid 30's? - with northerlies around 20-30kph - not enough for it to go crazy but enough to keep it spreading

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 11:38 (93 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is not fire related exactly but gives an idea of the heat - there are areas on this map where the sea surface temperature is 30-32C!

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 12:04 (93 days ago) @ dulan drift

I can't imagine ocean temperatures that high. That would be no fun at all to swim in unless it was much cooler outside, which I'm sure it isn't. That can't be normal, right?

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 12:03 (93 days ago) @ dulan drift

2KM isn't far. That's, what, a 20 minute or less walk on flat terrain?

Come to think of it, 4KM isn't far either!

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, December 05, 2019, 18:26 (84 days ago) @ dan

As for the sea temp, my understanding of the Indian dipole is that it's the same as El Nino, except in the Indian ocean. This is currently a 'positive' phase on Australia's side meaning cooler sea temps, less evaporation, less rain, hotter winds coming off of the interior. Conversely, it has caused floods in east Africa. There may/must be a difference between 'sea-surface' temps and deeper sea temps - obviously - but deep sea water off the coast of Australia is colder than the deep sea water off Africa in the current phase?

Anyway the result is next level climate change here. Baking hot - sky thick with smoke for months - orange sunsets - blood red moons. It's probably not the end of the world, but i guess it's going to look something like this.

According to media reports:

"By the end of November, 1.9m hectares had been burnt in NSW alone, including 800,000 hectares in national parks – 10% of the state’s total national park area. Twenty per cent of the Blue Mountains world heritage area has been affected by fire."

This includes rainforest that has never burned before - ever.

There was some rain last weekend - thought it may have even been enough to douse the fires - but it was followed by a hot windy day and they all kicked up again. 'Thank god for that rain or it could have been horrific. Our local fire was smoking pretty good today though no immediate danger - according to the map it hasn't advanced much closer. Would be nice to see the sat images that the Rural Fire Services have got but don't release to the public - so we could know exactly where it is.

Following week forecast is bloody hot - no rain. The thing is the wind - we did get 50-60kph wind after the rain which wasn't forecast somehow. Nothing big forecast for the coming week - i hope that's right - given the precarious predicament, if there's gonna be big winds that's a huge 'need to know'.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Monday, December 09, 2019, 17:58 (80 days ago) @ dulan drift

"By the end of November, 1.9m hectares had been burnt in NSW alone, including 800,000 hectares in national parks – 10% of the state’s total national park area. Twenty per cent of the Blue Mountains world heritage area has been affected by fire."

This includes rainforest that has never burned before - ever.

Those are some amazing and frightening statistics. The amount of wildlife lost must also be staggering, along, of course, with its habitat.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 17:39 (78 days ago) @ dan

"The amount of wildlife lost must also be staggering, along, of course, with its habitat."

Yes, that's the terrible thing. Dry eucalyptus forest is kind of geared up for fires - regenerates quickly - but 200 year-old trees in rainforests don't - unless you've got a spare 200 years and no further impact from invasive species and/or fires scheduled.

Good news is that some decent storms are starting to stir. Has felt like it's going to be an 'ends-with-a-bang' ordeal - this might be the bang part. Some black on the radar which indicates severe storms - smallish tornadoes are quite possible along with large hailstones. Here there's distant thunder and lightning - but a lot - wind picking up. It's heading vaguely our way but will be hit or miss - similar last night with a narrow miss resulting.

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Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Friday, December 13, 2019, 20:34 (75 days ago) @ dulan drift

Widespread rain has continued over the fire zones - this may be the end finally for the northern Australian bushfire season.

Before then though:

"Bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland have emitted a massive pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere since August that is equivalent to almost half of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Analysis by Nasa shows the NSW fires have emitted about 195m tonnes of CO2 since 1 August, with Queensland’s fires adding a further 55m tonnes over the same period."

I'd wondered how that fit into Australia's emissions equation - you feel like it's these 'freak' events that could push us over the edge.

Meanwhile, Perth (south west Australia) is in the middle of a run of 4 consecutive 40C days

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, December 16, 2019, 10:47 (73 days ago) @ dulan drift

So much for the rain putting the fires out. Just a few days after it's all happening again. Today is hot (38C) and now the wind is picking up, which is the big worry. The wind wasn't forecast either so the conditions seem to be making it up as they go along. Lot of smoke coming off our local fire - after a few days of relatively mild haze our air quality is back to New Delhi levels.

Meanwhile the big fire around Sydney is having another flare-up - partially caused by a fire-brigade backburn that went wrong:

"The ABC has confirmed that up to 20 properties have been destroyed near Mount Irvine, Mount Wilson and Mount Tomah.
RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons also confirmed to the ABC that the fire itself was started by a backburning operation."

20 homes lost due to a backburn! Whoops.

In the west of the continent more extreme conditions 4 x 40+ days have resulted in emergency level fires threatening private homes

Some dramatic footage of the flames from the fire near Sydney:

https://youtu.be/PD85vayA7Wk

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 18:11 (72 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is the #1 story on all of Reddit at the moment:

‘Like a furnace’: Australia set to see hottest day ever with 50C forecast as devastating bushfires rage

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/australia-heatwave-weather-forecast-warnings-...

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 20:56 (70 days ago) @ dan

This is where keeping global temperature rises to 2C hotter by year whatever becomes a bit ridiculous. It's already 6-8C hotter so far as i can tell. The pattern seems to be that there will be hotspots of 'instant climate change' - the question is where they will pop up and how frequent they will become.

Penrith, on the outskirts of Sydney, where fires are burning, is expecting days of 45 and 46 over the next three days. That's 16-17C above average.

At this stage the winds are not looking great but not extreme northerlies either (35kph). - The biggest winds of 50kph coming with the cool change. Likely to be homes lost and certainly massive amounts of forest incinerated but hopefully just short of catastrophic. But if the northerlies are bigger than forecast then you're looking at hell on earth.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, December 19, 2019, 19:02 (69 days ago) @ dulan drift

According to media reports: "Three firefighters were hospitalised with severe burns and 20 properties estimated lost in a blaze south of Sydney."

Our local fire smoked up again today - they're kind of like volcanoes - spewing up smoke - threatening to erupt. No big wind here at least but another heatwave coming - in fact 'heatwave' is kind of the wrong way to talk about it - we've had a couple of 'normal-waves' where the temp is 29C for a couple of days but the rest is heatwave

Temperatures are setting daily records - in individual places as well as hottest ever days for Australia as a whole. In some ways the smoke impacting Sydney could be construed as a 'good thing' - there's a tendency to go about our air conditioned lives and hear about the climate emergency on the tv happening to someone else - but this is more in your face. You can literally taste it, smell it. Threatens your health.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, December 23, 2019, 20:12 (65 days ago) @ dulan drift

Below is a video of the impact of the fires on Balmoral, NSW - the town that was left for dead supposedly by state and federal government

https://youtu.be/KMvFixx901A

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, December 23, 2019, 20:25 (65 days ago) @ dulan drift

Below is a link to a funny meme video about Australia's prime minister listening to the radio whilst on holiday in Hawaii during the latest flare-up - leaving the crisis in the culpable hands of the deputy-prime minister who is on record as saying that those linking bushfires to climate change are "inner-city raving lunatics."


https://twitter.com/CaseyBriggs/status/1208336747555278848

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, December 24, 2019, 18:56 (64 days ago) @ dulan drift

We're up to 5 million hectares burnt so far this fire season in Australia.

Taiwan is 3.6 million hectares.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Wednesday, December 25, 2019, 18:09 (64 days ago) @ dulan drift

That's an amazing figure. I read an article a couple days ago in which a fire official said there is no way possible for human efforts to stop the fires. They can throw everything they have at them, but it won't be enough at this point.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Wednesday, December 25, 2019, 18:06 (64 days ago) @ dulan drift

That looks a lot like the videos that came out of Paradise, California. Total devastation.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, December 25, 2019, 18:55 (63 days ago) @ dan

Yes it's way beyond the capacity of the fire services to extinguish - eventually the rains will come - there were some good falls in northern nsw the last two days. However, the south of the country is just coming into its fire season where it's normal that it won't rain for another couple of months. In fact, historically, the south is the main fire-prone area.

Just drove down to Sydney yesterday from the north which is a 900km drive through a lot of the worst hit areas - was lucky enough to get moderate weather or the trip wouldn't have been possible. Dozens of fires visible along the way - there was one burnt out section about 50 km long.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, December 30, 2019, 21:02 (58 days ago) @ dulan drift

Down in Victoria for Christmas period - seems the destruction has followed me - today was 40+ across the whole state with strong northerlies.

Holiday area of east Gippsland (i'm in south Gippsland) was shut down with major access road blocked. Residents and holidaymakers were urged to evacuate. A fire even broke out in the forested suburbs of Melbourne. Conditions were scary in all the southern states, including Tasmania which recorded record highs, but they did well to get through it without loss of life.

Have mentioned this before, but the southern states (SA, Vic, Tas) are streets ahead of nsw and qld in terms of dealing with extreme fire threats. Today's conditions were as bad if not worse than anything nsw or qld have faced in the last few months, but with a drastically mitigated outcome.

Still waiting on the cool change which is expected to swing the winds into the south at 40-50kph posing an additional short but intense threat before conditions ease tomorrow.

One firefighter was killed in nsw when two fire trucks rolled over, reportedly due to strong winds but would need to see that report confirmed - would question whether the winds were strong enough to flip fire trucks.

[image]


https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/30/one-firefighter-killed-australia...

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Wednesday, January 01, 2020, 21:13 (56 days ago) @ dulan drift

Another day, another disaster zone. The hot windy conditions that passed through made their way to the far east of Victoria and south east of NSW yesterday. Thought we'd done ok to that point but then a series of coastal communities got smashed.

50 properties in Victoria have been destroyed since Sunday while a further 176 homes were lost on the NSW south coast - most of them in day of carnage yesterday.

In the Bateman's Bay area, a popular and picturesque seaside district, more than 1000 people were trapped on a beach at Malua Bay for "almost 24 hours" as a fire ravaged their small town. 40 houses went up as they watched.

“Everyone was on the beach, just covered in ash and smoke. The winds got stronger and stronger and then about 10am you could hear what sounded like a big waterfall. The smoke got very heavy and to the northwest we started seeing spot fires appearing.

“Suddenly we turned around and the headland to the south burst into flame... There were these hot, hot swirling winds, heavy ash, heavy smoke. This bizarre red-orange glow.”

[image]

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Thursday, January 02, 2020, 19:03 (55 days ago) @ dulan drift

At what point, I wonder, will climate change deniers admit they were wrong.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Thursday, January 02, 2020, 19:25 (55 days ago) @ dulan drift

That video is absolutely terrifying.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Friday, January 03, 2020, 16:19 (55 days ago) @ dan

Large parts of Victoria and NSW were evacuated today creating holiday traffic chaos. The danger zone now is far eastern Vic and south eastern NSW.

Tomorrow's forecast for that area is another 40C day plus 35kph northerlies then a gusty cool change. Despite the media and political hysteria, that's bad conditions, but not as bad as it was a couple of days ago. There will likely be more homes lost - certainly 1000's of hectares of forest burned - hopefully no more lives.

As for Dan's question about 'When will the climate change deniers admit they were wrong?' - i can answer that easily: Never

Just listening to talkback radio on the way back through the smoke haze from fishing with my brother today the airwaves were peppered with idiots saying the fires were all the fault of the greenies. The thing about being an idiot is that you will never admit you were wrong and you have zero interest in the truth.


[image]

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Friday, January 03, 2020, 20:39 (54 days ago) @ dulan drift

19 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the fires this season:

NSW: 16 (mostly Nov 8, Dec 30)
Vic: 2 (Dec 31)
SA: 1 (Dec 20?)

Others are still missing.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Saturday, January 04, 2020, 15:49 (54 days ago) @ dulan drift

The pictures and videos I've seen are just incredible.

And when the fire seen ends, hopefully, in Australia, it will be starting up in California and other areas in the northern hemisphere. Spain and Portugal come to mind.

And the problems don't cease when the fires go out. In mountainous areas, the worry is landslides when the rains do come because there is no vegetation left to hold the soil. It looks like Australia's fires are mostly on flat land, but there will still be significant erosion in those areas not normally affected by fire.

One of the takeaways of all this that the world should acknowledge and consider is that climate change will bring fires to areas that don't normally burn. So people in, say, Oregon and Washington states may consider yearly fires to be a California thing, but those old rules no longer apply.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, January 07, 2020, 08:02 (51 days ago) @ dan

One of the takeaways of all this that the world should acknowledge and consider is that climate change will bring fires to areas that don't normally burn. So people in, say, Oregon and Washington states may consider yearly fires to be a California thing, but those old rules no longer apply.


If there's a positive in this, it may be the wake up call Australians needed - maybe. I still wouldn't underestimate the capacity of at least half the population to not give a fuck or to spitefully wish to inflict disaster on future generations - kind of 'I'll be dead anyway so fuck it - let it burn!' attitude - especially with government members showing leadership like this:


“To try to make out as some politicians have to hijack this debate, exploit this tragedy and push their ideological barrow, that somehow or another the Australian government could have done something by reducing its carbon emissions that would have reduced these bushfires is just complete nonsense.” (Craig Kelly, government MP - from the Liberal Party, which is the supposedly the more moderate half of the Liberal/National conservative coalition government)

Typically, people like this say the problem was 'we didn't do enough fuel reduction burns'. This annoys the shit out of me on many levels, most of which i've discussed before. In their minds - and it's not just some dickhead politicians - they have large supporter bases - the overriding problem is trees. Get rid of all the trees and we won't have bushfires. We won't have a planet of course but at least we won't have bushfires.

Equally frustrating is the dearth in charismatic leaders on the environmental side of politics that have the ability to sell the 'save the planet' message to the public. The main flag bearer appears to be Greta Thunberg - unfortunately she's still too young to run for office

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, January 07, 2020, 19:06 (50 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is a not a new weather phenomenon but a climate enhanced one becoming more common - fire tornadoes - also a must for my reality tv disaster series along with pyro-cumulus lightning clouds. It involves 10 world leaders living together on a climate-changed frontline for one summer - armed with handguns


https://youtu.be/oNlG9Mqksiw

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Thursday, January 09, 2020, 15:32 (49 days ago) @ dulan drift

"10 world leaders living together on a climate-changed frontline for one summer - armed with handguns"

I'd watch! That's right up there with the proposal to have leaders fight the wars themselves. Throw them in a cage and let them go at it. Let the rest of us kick back with a beer and popcorn.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Thursday, January 09, 2020, 15:36 (49 days ago) @ dulan drift

Well, according to Trump, as I"m sure you've heard, all we need to do is sweep our forests. God what an idiot. And the really, truly disturbing thing is that he might get reelected.

I was talking with a coworker today who mentioned that the waters around Japan are a few degrees above normal. We've just had two days of straight rain that would normally be snow this time of year. I'll have to look into these ocean temperatures.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Monday, January 13, 2020, 12:49 (45 days ago) @ dan

I was talking with a coworker today who mentioned that the waters around Japan are a few degrees above normal. We've just had two days of straight rain that would normally be snow this time of year. I'll have to look into these ocean temperatures.

Yes, i'm curious about how the northern summer will go. This Australian summer is the kind of northern summer that i thought we might have had last year (but didn't) - the one that gives the general public the kick-up-the-backside it needs.

Having not heard of the Indian Ocean dipole before this fire season, it now seems all the rage. It's also an ocean temperature thing.

Seems the equation is:

Ocean current event + climate change = disastrous summer (either floods or drought/fire)

The question for me is: Is there a link between climate change and the ocean currents? For example, does the melting of ice impact the flow of currents? How else are currents influenced?

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 12:20 (37 days ago) @ dulan drift

Bushfires in Taiwan! Had wondered about that before - it sure gets hot enough and can go a couple of months without rain - had assumed that the humidity was the thing preventing them. Turns out they're possible

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Thursday, January 23, 2020, 20:45 (34 days ago) @ dulan drift

Flare up today around Canberra and south east coast of nsw. Despite some rain on the fire grounds the return of extreme conditions (40C windy) was enough for several fires to erupt.
Three American firefighters killed when their water bombing plane crashed whilst fighting a fire near Canberra. Extremely dangerous conditions for flying - the Canberra airport is closed due to smoke haze - but those guys are flying right into the teeth of the fire - incredible bravery.

Here in northern nsw it's insanely hot but i can't seen any immediate fire danger due to the heavy rain last week and the sticky humidity. Temps this week running 5-7 C above ave.

Again, i'd question the thinking of climate change as being 1.5C warmer by whatever year. The way it seems to be working is that it's 6C above right now. It's more about when it cranks up than the overall mean temp. At 6 C above for an extended period, stuff starts to give. This can create knock-on effects such as a bump in C02 caused by the fire smoke

All this week, outside is virtually a 'no-go zone'. Went to do some shopping as it was too hot for anything - not surprisingly the shopping mall was packed with like-minded climate refugees. I wonder if people will be living in shopping malls in 10 years time and the outside world will be abandoned during summer?

[image]

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Friday, January 24, 2020, 06:21 (34 days ago) @ dulan drift

"Again, i'd question the thinking of climate change as being 1.5C warmer by whatever year. The way it seems to be working is that it's 6C above right now. It's more about when it cranks up than the overall mean temp. At 6 C above for an extended period, stuff starts to give. "

Good point. Extreme events are what we will experience, not the mean increase over time, and those extremes will, I think, have unforeseen knock-off effects, not only natural but also social and political.

I just talked with my mom in Ohio this morning, literally on the other side of the world, and she is reporting the same thing we're experiencing here -- a very mild winter. This is not extreme, but it begs the question of what next summer is going to be like. I guess we'll find out!

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 12:25 (26 days ago) @ dan

The area around Canberra is the greatest danger zone today. It's currently 42-43 there with reports of gusty wind. That's a deadly unstoppable combination.

There was a lot of talk about the Indian Ocean dipole being the cause for the extreme conditions but that's been back to neutral now for over a month yet still we're getting searing heat. As a kid growing up in Victoria you might get a couple of days per year when the mercury nudged 40 - mid-40's were unheard of - but now they're relatively common

[image]

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dan @, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 15:26 (26 days ago) @ dulan drift

Looking at that picture, in addition to it just being horrific, I really am curious to know to what extent the climate models take into account the effect of fires like this will have on climate change. Apparently the models have been pretty accurate so far, but we're just beginning to see really severe events like this.

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 12:39 (26 days ago) @ dan

Extreme events are what we will experience, not the mean increase over time, and those extremes will, I think, have unforeseen knock-off effects, not only natural but also social and political.


Yes, that's the way i see it going. More like the sun passing through a magnifying glass and being focused on a certain area at a certain time to create the 'apocalypse now' effect at that location - with all of these events having the potential to trigger compounding effects.

For example with the Australian fires:
1. Massive amounts of C02 reducing trees transformed into a billowing bonfire of C02 emissions
2. Extended heatwave causing a spike in fossil fuel energy consumption due to increase in air conditioner use
3. Loss of habitats causing a crash in native animal populations (which may not increase temps but bloody sad none-the-less)

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 13:18 (26 days ago) @ dulan drift

Dramatic description from a reporter who got stuck at a farmer's house today near Canberra:

"At first, the fires were manageable. Spot fires would ignite on the fringes and Laurence would floor his ute to the scene and extinguish each one before it could take hold.

Then, out of nowhere, a wind change sent flames barrelling towards the house. Nothing could have stopped them. From inside, you could see the fire licking at the windows from the outside.

The wind sounded like a freight train, rattling the glass. Outside, chaos. Everywhere. The smoke was so thick that breathing was impossible. Ash and dirt caught in the eyes. The horses broke loose and fled from the fire’s approach. But there was nowhere to go. At every corner of the house flames threatened. Somehow it stood. Everyone pitched in. The media crews here were on hoses, with Laurence and Claire barking orders above the roar of the wind.

Every so often, the smoke and the heat became too much and we ran inside for shelter."

Note: It's still 42C in Canberra city at 4pm

Australia Bushfire Season 2019-20

by dulan drift, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 13:35 (26 days ago) @ dulan drift

NSW Fire Services reports: "Fire generated thunderstorms are developing over a number of fires in south-eastern NSW."

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