The Australian bushfire outbreak we’ve already discussed here and here remains a top story, in part because in Australia itself anyone questioning the link to greenhouse gases is getting hit with alarmist bullying. But updated satellite data from Globalfiredata.org shows that while fires in Victoria and New South Wales were well above average, just north of that in Queensland they have been below average. Surely climate change isn’t that localized. Besides, as Aussie climate blogger Joanne Nova noted, the fires are not where the heat is, they're where the fuel is; too bad warnings about the latter were ignored. And if it's all the fault of climate change, why is it that, as Ms Nova also shows, Australian Bureau of Meteorology data show no trends in rainfall or drought in the hard-hit burn regions or in global wildfire rates. When it comes to climate alarmism, whenever there's pressure for a nice tidy story, be prepared for some suspicious editing of reality.
If you're wondering where the phrase "pressure for a nice tidy story" comes from, it was an objection during “Climategate” to massaging the data. (See our video on Hiding the Decline, particularly from 11:33 on.) Much of climate alarmism seems to come down to powerful people putting pressure on scientists and others to tell a “nice tidy story” that’s a scientific mess serving a political purpose, and people who should know better either not pushing back or doing so and getting attacked and marginalized for their efforts.
Still, truth will out. Over and over the numbers resist telling those nice tidy stories, almost like they want to keep reminding us that the climate is complicated. So our antidote is to try and find the data that tells us what's really happening. An excellent data source for forest fires is globalforestwatch.org. Their Australia summary shows that the current fire season is bad, but not as bad as 2011 or 2012. In fact up to the end of November the fire season was average, then December took off, at the same time as an outbreak of arson made the situation worse.
We join with everyone else in hoping that Australia recovers from a very destructive burn season. We also hope they learn the right lessons about what caused it and how to minimize the risk of such devastation in the future. Otherwise the story will take another ugly turn.