Sunday 9th of August 2020

another year to remember...


For Australia, 1974 is the year when the city of Darwin, Northern Territory, got flattened by cyclone Tracy. Cyclone Tracy was the end of a bad year, Christmas to be exact — the culmination of many meteorological disasters around the world — and around Australia, including the Brisbane floods. We could list all these 1974 worldwide weather disasters, but we’ll only note a few from the Bangladeshi floods that killed nearly 30,000 people to one of the worse tornado season in the US’s Tornado Alley.


1974 was also the year that Richard Nixon resigned (August 9). This had nothing to do with climate, but a bucket of dirty “water” — Watergate.


In the 1970s, climate variations studies were already on the horizon, but not as one would have expected. The 1974 experience was worrying… There had been a warm peak in 1939-40 and from then on it seemed to be going downhill.


In the late 19th century, Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, had worked out a formula to establish what induced ice ages and warmer climes. His assessment was not far off the mark. By his calculations done according to his rigorous seat-of-the-pants mathematics and exacting scientific records for the times let him to assert that for an ice age to occur, half of the CO2 in the atmosphere had to disappear. This would lead the earth surface temperature to drop by around 6 degrees worldwide and induce an ice age. His next prognosis was that the industrialisation of the world was going to raise temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius and that this would have benefits.


But in the 1970s, there were still many conflicting analysis of climate.


On June 24, 1974, Time Magazine wrote an article entitled “Another Ice Age?” which stated:


As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.


Telltale signs are everywhere …


Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.


Amazing assessments here. Nothing really scientifically precise though. Despite the “new” sciences of the 1920s, Relativity and Quantum mechanics, many other sciences were still lagging in ‘accuracy”. For example, the geological timeline was a bit fanciful, not due to the efforts to understand but because of reference points that were time-wise iffy. The discovery of nuclear decay helped a lot to expand the knowledge and precision. Nuclear decay in isotopes can be measured precisely, though no-one knows what really induces this ‘decay”, thus the proportion of natural elements and their isotopes can indicate “a length of time” with high precision. We’ve all heard (or we should have) of carbon dating, etc… Soon, dinosaurs, a group of animal species left behind by Noah because they were too big (joke), became extinct by 65 million years ago, not by 5 million years ago as were thought in the early 1930s.




We must mention that climate and weather are linked. Though it is very difficult to predict weather, it is possible to calculate the trends of “climate change” presently manifested as GLOBAL WARMING, with high accuracy.


But science in the 1970s was still sputtering badly about the issue. The calculations done by Arrhenius did not match the observations. This came for several reasons, including that the compilation of historical records was sketchy and patterns of weather were often mistaken for climatic trends.


The cooling of 1974 was a hard one to understand. Between 1973 and 1974, the temperature worldwide fell by 0.3 degrees Celsius. This was a major drop, considering that present CO2 induced global warming trend is around 0.03 (“accelerating”) per annum. This drop led to a major panic that the average church-going Joe, had no clue about, though it prompted some major “scientific” and political rethink.


On August 1, 1974 the White House wrote a letter to Secretary of Commerce Frederick Dent stating:


Changes in climate in recent years have resulted in unanticipated impacts on key national programs and policies. Concern has been expressed that recent changes may presage others. In order to assess the problem and to determine what concerted action ought to be undertaken, I have decided to establish a subcommittee on Climate Change.


Out of this concern, the U.S. government started monitoring climate.


As NOAA scientists Robert W. Reeves, Daphne Gemmill, Robert E. Livezey, and James Laver point out:


There were also a number of short-term climate events of national and international consequence in the early 1970s that commanded a certain level of attention in Washington. Many of them were linked to the El Niño of 1972-1973.


A killing winter freeze followed by a severe summer heat wave and drought produced a 12 percent shortfall in Russian grain production in 1972. The Soviet decision to offset the losses by purchase abroad reduced world grain reserves and helped drive up food prices.


Collapse of the Peruvian anchovy harvest in late 1972 and early 1973, related to fluctuations in the Pacific ocean currents and atmospheric circulation, impacted world supplies of fertilizer, the soybean market, and prices of all other protein feedstocks.


The anomalously low precipitation in the U.S. Pacific north-west during the winter of 1972-73 depleted reservoir storage by an amount equivalent to more than 7 percent of the electric energy requirements for the region.



Scientists Considered Pouring Soot Over the Arctic in the 1970s to Help Melt the Ice – In Order to Prevent Another Ice Age


On April 28, 1975, Newsweek wrote an article stating:


Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality. 


 ice age


This was in line with the article in The Sydney Morning Herald, published on Saturday 29th of February 1959.

In 1959, science was still going as if the "natural" rhythms of climate were in charge. As I have mentioned before on this site, science believed rightly that the earth's climate was going towards another ice age. This was based on the study of the Milankovitch cycles and previous paleo-geological trends. Nothing wrong with these, except Svante Arrhenius quite amazing calculations based on Tyndall scientific discovery of CO2 as a “warming gas”, had been forgotten. The EXTRA CO2 added by humans burning fossil fuels, according to Arrhenius would soon add an extra 2 degrees Celsius to the average temperatures. Politics and sciences were still in a state of confusion after WW2. Misunderstandings and the cold war made life uncertain. The grey bad weather of 1974 added gloom to this uncertainty.


To the contrary, Arrhenius, a no-nonsense scientist of the end of the 19th century, was precise, concise, with an observe/formulate/explain/predict visionary common sense. He had many detractors then — but politics were, are and will never be a place for common sense. See cartoon “by burning coal, the black soot will prevent the great barrier reef turning white, no?


So, according to the 1959 article, the boffins were also planning a big dam from Greenland to Norway to “stop the ice”.


So what happened in 1974? The massive differential of temperature (0.3 degree Celsius) between 1973 and 1974 was induced by a sudden change from a severe El Nino to a severe La Nina. As noted the change was quite brutal.



So where to from here?


The record tornado count in Tornado Alley prompted more study of the weather patterns and predict to probability of tornado formation. This record of the number of tornadoes for a single day was beaten a few years ago.


So more had to be done on the weather front and on “climate change”. By the mid-1980s, the petroleum companies scientists knew that burning fossil fuels was inducing global warming. The plateau of surface temperatures between 1940 and 1980, that had been tilting towards cooling was reversing at a rate of knots towards warming. It has to be said that further observations showed that, overall, world surface temperatures had gained more than half a degree since the beginning of industrialisation, in the 1850s.

In the Middle-Ages, there had been a period of warming as well, mostly natural, that was exploited by the Vikings “colonising” Greenland. As well some religious scholars point to the period of Jesus Christ, which they say was warmer than now. No way knowing this one, though it could be, but it is irrelevant to our “next”.


“Our next” can be predicted, within worrying ranges, by sciences: with the amount of CO2 already added in the atmosphere, temperatures of the surface of the planet can be expected to rise between 6 and 9 degrees Celsius, in about 150 to 200 years from now.


If 1974 was a brutal year, weather-wise WE HAVE NOT SEEN ANY THING YET. We have already reached 1 degrees Celsius above the new average, which discounts the years prior 1950. From the 1850, the average temperature of the surface of the planet has risen more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.


So what are we going to do about it? Apparently: NOTHING, according to our Scummo, who Christianly bleeds like Christ on the cross for your salvation, at the thought of your secular electricity bills, probably pumped up by the Devil AGL. Thus contrary to common sense, we are going to burn more fossil fuels to keep cool. Makes sense? Nupe.


People like Scummo are dumb. They would not understand the complexity and urgency of the problem we face.



Picture at top: Gus in Venice, possibly 1974, before the floods...

floods in venice...

An exceptionally high tide has inundated Venice, putting three-quarters of the famous Italian city under water as large swathes of the country experience deadly flooding and heavy winds.

Key points: 
  • Six people have died across the country in wild weather
  • Water levels in Venice rose by more than 1.5 metres
  • Venice often floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon

Six people died in four separate incidents in Naples, Lazio and Liguria, after gale-force winds brought down trees.

Tourists and residents of Venice donned high boots to navigate the city's streets, after strong winds raised the water level by more than 1.5 metres before receding.

The water exceeded the raised walkways normally put out in flooded areas in Venice, forcing their removal.

Transport officials closed the water bus system except to outlying islands because of the emergency.


Read more:


The first documented description[13] of acqua alta in Venice concerns the year 782 and is followed by other documented events in 840, 885, and 1102.

In 1110 the water, following a violent sea storm (or, possibly, a seaquake and its subsequent tsunami), completely destroyed Metamauco (ancient name for Malamocco), Venice's political centre before the Doge's residence was moved to Rialto.

Local chroniclers report that in 1240 "the water (that) flooded the streets (was) higher than a man".[13] Other events are recorded to have occurred in 1268, 1280, 1282, and on December 20, 1283, which was probably an abnormally significant event, since a chronicle reported that Venice was "saved by a miracle".[13]

Chroniclers report that high tides occurred in 1286, 1297, and 1314; on February 15, 1340; on February 25, 1341; on January 18, 1386; and on May 31 and August 10, 1410.

In the 15th century, high tides were recorded in 1419 and 1423, on May 11, 1428, and on October 10, 1430, as well as in 1444 and 1445. On November 10, 1442, the water is reported to have risen "four feet above the usual".[13]

Modern Era[edit]

High waters were recorded on May 29, 1511; in 1517; on October 16, 1521; on October 3 and, again, on December 20, 1535. Local chronicles also attest to floods occurring in 1543; on November 21, 1550; on October 12, 1559; and in 1599.

The year 1600 was characterized by a high frequency of events, with floods on December 8 as well as December 18 and 19. The latter event was probably remarkable, since there are also records of very violent sea storms that, having "broken indeed the shores in several places, entered the towns of Lido Maggiore, Tre Porti, Malamocco, Chiozza, et cetera".[13]

Another noteworthy acqua alta took place on November 5, 1686. Several chronicles of the time, among them one written by a scientist, concur in reporting that "the waters reached the outdoor floor of ... [Sansovino's] Lodge", which is the monumental entrance to the Campanile di San Marco. A similar level was reached during the exceptional flood of November 4, 1966, which allowed scholars in the late 1960s to recreate a likely scenario for the 1686 flood. After accounting for the rebuilding of the Lodge after the 1902 fall of the Campanile and for subsidence, estimates concluded that the tide may have been as high as 254 cm. above today's standard sea level.[14]

In the 18th century, records became more abundant and precise, reporting acque alte on December 21, 1727; New Year's Eve, 1738; October 7, 1729; November 5 and 28, 1742; October 31, 1746; November 4, 1748; October 31, 1749; October 9, 1750; Christmas Eve, 1792; and on Christmas Day, 1794.

According to the records of the Tide Monitoring and Forecast Centre of Venice,[1] these are the maximal documented levels (in decreasing, not chronological, order):

  • 194 cm on November 4, 1966
  • 166 cm on December 22, 1979
  • 158 cm on February 1, 1986
  • 156 cm on December 1, 2008
  • 151 cm on November 12, 1951
  • 149 cm on November 11, 2012
  • 147 cm on April 16, 1936
  • 147 cm on November 16, 2002
  • 145 cm on December 25, 2009
  • 145 cm on October 15, 1960
  • 144 cm on December 23, 2009
  • 144 cm on November 3, 1968
  • 144 cm on November 6, 2000
  • 143 cm on February 12, 2013
  • 143 cm on November 1, 2012
  • 142 cm on December 8, 1992
  • 140 cm on February 17, 1979
  • Maximum high tide level: 1.94 m recorded on November 4, 1966
  • Minimum ebb tide level: -1.21 m, recorded on February 14, 1934
  • Maximum difference between a high tide and the following ebb tide: 1.63 m, recorded on January 28, 1948, and on December 28, 1970
  • Maximum difference between an ebb tide and the following high tide: 1.46 m, recorded on February 23 and 24, 1928, as well as on January 25, 1966

Read more:


Meanwhile in the USA, 1974:

The 1974 Super Outbreak was the second-largest tornado outbreak on record for a single 24-hour period, just behind the 2011 Super Outbreak. It was also the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded, with 30 F4/F5 tornadoes confirmed. From April 3 to 4, 1974, there were 148 tornadoes confirmed in 13 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario.[nb 1] In the United States, tornadoes struck IllinoisIndianaMichiganOhioKentuckyTennesseeAlabamaMississippiGeorgiaNorth CarolinaVirginiaWest Virginia, and New York. The entire outbreak caused more than $600 million (1974 USD) in damage in the United States alone, and extensively damaged approximately 900 sq mi (2,331 km2) along a total combined path length of 2,600 mi (4,184 km).[1][2] At one point, as many as 15 separate tornadoes were ongoing at the same time.[1][3]The 1974 Super Outbreak was the first tornado outbreak in recorded history to produce more than 100 tornadoes in under a 24 hour period, a feat that was not repeated globally until the 1981 United Kingdom tornado outbreak[4]and in the United States until the 2011 Super Outbreak.


Read from top.


See also: 

a sad story about a bridge...

bad weather at the IPCC...

Why is the IPCC “so concerned” about rising temperatures above 1.5 degree Celsius?



When Svante Arrhenius wrote that a rise of 2 degrees Celsius would be beneficial, he was already accounting for what had been emitted plus a little bit more of what would come in the next 20 years after his calculations.


As well, Arrhenius — despite his thorough analysis of what global warming is — only mentioned that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius would benefit European crops, mostly in his neck of the wood — Sweden.  And he could have been right on this score. Worldwide, this would be disastrous.


The details, why this increase of two degrees Celsius was such a bad idea, are numerous — from changes in the climatic balance, excessive heat, more droughts and floods, and rising sea levels.


Our present problem is that the main global warming effects are masked by the melting of the ice in our whisky. We can see the ice melting but the whisky is barely warming. This is normal.  Until most of the ice has melted, such feedback mechanisms are momentarily hiding the full potential dangers of CO2 warming.


Meanwhile, the IPCC language is that of “corporatespeak”, a diluted newspeak dialect adapted for the dummies of the corporate ladder, seven year old kids and for the opportunistic hubristical politicians — so they can “understand”. They don’t. They don’t care. They're actually anti-IPCC. No matter what. Look at our Scummo and co.


Scientifically the IPCC reports appear to Gus as weak as a moribund Popeye without his spinach. They are actually dangerously dishwatery — as reluctantly since the Kyoto protocol, they seem to provide a snail pace solution towards the end of time, with a bit of finger pointing at the oil, coal and gas industries.


The other problem with the IPCC reports is that they include poverty in the equation. Though well-meaning, this will get the corporate bristles to rattle like snakes in the grass. . . Meanwhile the right-wing political hubristers and shockjockers will claim that the UN IPCC is a communist plot, designed to prevent free trade and to promote socialism. For them, charity should be enough to keep the poor surviving where they are. Dead poor people, unless they are those we bomb in Yemen, are a bit untidy.


We’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”


Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his “last will and testament”. His last intervention in public life. “I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said,” he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.

From Malthus to the Millennium Bug, apocalyptic thinking has a poor track record. But when it issues from Hillman, it may be worth paying attention. Over nearly 60 years, his research has used factual data to challenge policymakers’ conventional wisdom.


Policymakers’ conventional wisdom? Where have you been? Isn’t this totally wrong? When was the last time you saw your “policymakers” wisdom? In a dump near Grenfell? In a Lord’s rotary blender? In a sunk Trident submarine?


On the issue of global warming, most “policymakers” have left their brains to turd polishers. Enters Donald, the brain of whom is replaced by a toilet seat in the cartoons by Steve Bell.


So we need to do more to shake the apple tree. The IPCC isn’t doing enough and most countries give lip service to this "not doing enough" anyway — Australia included.


We’re still tracking towards 2032. Will it be worse that 1974? 1974 was a picnic. 2032 will be the beginning of hell, though we have been knocking on its door since we started burning coals.


Read from top.

IPCC has underestimated the oceans' warming

What have the researchers found?

According to the last major assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's oceans have taken up over 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases.

But this new study says that every year, for the past 25 years, we have put about 150 times the amount of energy used to generate electricity globally into the seas - 60% more than previous estimates. 

That's a big problem. 

Scientists base their predictions about how much the Earth is warming by adding up all the excess heat that is produced by the known amount of greenhouse gases that have been emitted by human activities. 

This new calculation shows that far more heat than we thought has been going into oceans. But it also means that far more heat than we thought has been generated by the warming gases we have emitted. 

Therefore more heat from the same amount of gas means the Earth is more sensitive to CO2. 

What are the implications of the finding?

The researchers involved in the study believe the new finding will make it much harder to keep within the temperature rise targets set by governments in the Paris agreement. Recently the IPCC spelled out clearly the benefits to the world of keeping below the lower goal of 1.5C relative to pre-industrial levels

This new study says that will be very difficult indeed. 

"It is a big concern," said lead author Dr Laure Resplandy from Princeton University in New Jersey.


Read more:


Read from top. The temperatures from 1939 to 1980 went "south" a little bit, until they shot through the roof... See article at top.




more water in venice...

Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says. 

The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years will leave "a permanent mark", Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

"Now the government must listen," he added. "These are the effects of climate change... the costs will be high."



Read more:


Read from top.

less water in venice...

Just two months after experiencing some of the worst floods in the city's history, Venice's iconic canals have been left dry by exceptionally low tides.

Many of the city's waterways were rendered impassable by the tides, with boats and gondolas beached along the sides of canals.

The drop in water peaked at 45 centimetres below sea level.

Tides mean Venice's water levels typically vary by around 50cm, but extremely low tides are not unprecedented.

Meanwhile, Venice was struck by its second-highest flood in its history in November last year.


Read more:



Read from top... Imagine the stink...