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Australia's wildfires: Is this the 'new normal'?

Posted on 17 February 2020 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Peter Sinclair

Hotter across the board” is how University of Melbourne climate scientist Linden Ashcroft describes the overheated and dried-out climate that has given rise to Australia’s ravaging bush fires over the past several months.

The prolonged lack of rainfall that has characterized both Australia and the American Southwest over recent years “isn’t like a drought of yore,” University of Michigan scientist Jonathan Overpeck says in a brief new video produced for Yale Climate Connections. “It’s actually an aridification,” Overpeck says, as the warming atmosphere is leading to atmospheric circulation patterns that “are drying up in a way that is changing some of these drier regions.”

Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe explains that with increasing temperatures, evaporation speeds up: “So you need more water to provide the same amount of irrigation.”

One troubling manifestation of the stressful heat and drought patterns is that rampant bush fires are occurring in unexpected places. “What we’re seeing is places burning that aren’t supposed to burn,” Ashcroft says. She points to fires in high-country places that had burned just two years earlier. Overpeck and meteorologist Jeff Masters agree, Masters pointing to a 2018 fire in an Australia World Heritage rainforest.

The new video was produced as part of a monthly YCC “This Is Not Cool” video series by independent videographer Peter Sinclair of Midland, Michigan.

 

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Comments

Comments 1 to 31:

  1. Fuel load reduction has been the way that bush fires have been managed better in the past however some groups protested the low impact burnoffs and it did not happen as planned in the very area that first started up.I live in Western Australia and have taken part in burn offs when I lived in a small country town in the South and was a part of the local bushfire Brigade.It greatly reduces the intensity of the fire and can means that sometimes the fire can be bought under control.If the leaf litter and small twigs are still present it goes off like someone is pouring petrol on it.I can not agree the whole situation is because of some AGW

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  2. duncan61 - is there any evidence that these "groups" are actually affecting burnoff policy? Quoting NSW spokesperson

    "A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has told Guardian Australia that the National Parks and Wildlife Service carried out hazard reduction activities across more than 139,000ha in 2018 and 2019.

    The NPWS had a hazard reduction target to treat 680,000ha of parks and reserves in the five years from 2011, which the spokesperson said it had exceeded.

    The spokesperson added: “Hazard reduction is just one way of preparing for bushfires – it doesn’t remove the threat of fire.

    Factcheck on Green party backburning policy here.

    Extreme fire-risk however hampers efforts thanks to safely concerns.

    Are you seriously suggesting that higher temperatures dont make drought and fire-risk worse?

    There are other articles here on fire in Australia. See the blue left sidebar.

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  3. Greetings all, just joined and first comment.  I am a scientist (environmental chemistry), I am not a climate scientist, and I am openly a non-agressive sceptic of catastrophic AGW.  I do however recognise the collective overwhelming impact of Anthropogenic Global Destruction AGD including the changes to global air quality.  So that being said, I would like to share some information that I have seen little discussion on that greatly effects our worlds climate. 

    A major and little talked about fact in relation to Aust. temperature changes, Australia has removed near 40% of all forests.  

    Image

    LINK

    There is clear research showing the massive impact deforestation has on regional temperature and rainfall.

    I came across the following paper when researching deforestation impacts on climate.  ” The effect of land clearing on rainfall and fresh water resources in Western Australia: a multi-functional sustainability analysis” published in the “International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology” 2013.

    LINK


    From the abstract: “…..We compare coastal and inland rainfall to show empirically that 55% to 62% of the observed rainfall decline is the result of land clearing alone. [an area south coast of Western Australia] Using the index of sustainable functionality, we show that the economic consequences associated with this change of land use on fresh water resource availability have been underestimated to date and disproportionately affect the environment and poorest members of the population.

    Article in ABC news interviewed the author of the above paper and discusses in depth “When trees make rain: Could restoring forests help ease drought in Australia?” September 2018, states “….Around 50 per cent of native forests in the state’s south-west [western australia] were cleared between the 1960s and 1980s, which coincided with a decrease of around 16 per cent in inland rainfall compared to coastal rain, according to University of Western Australia researcher Mark Andrich.”
    LINK

    So when you take into the consideration the understood impact of broadscale continental deforestation seems to dwarf the impact of CO2 alone, and explains clearly why we have the dire situation combined with AGW.  

    To sum up, remove 40% of the vegetation from your garden, stop 30% of rainfall penetrating, remove say 30-50% of the insects and animal species diversity..... and see how it handles a couple of hot days/seasons.

    So when we talk about Australia fires, I think broadscale deforestartion is a major influence.

    So regarding deforestation and possible overwhelming climatic impacts in Australia  am i barking up the wrong tree.... ??

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "the understood impact of broadscale continental deforestation seems to dwarf the impact of CO2 alone"

    You'll need to support this claim.  Per the AR5 (AR5, SPM page 5, Figure SPM.2), deforestation is about 11% of the overall problem.

    AR5 Deforestation

     

    Shortened and activated hyperlinks; embedded linked graphic for clarity.

  4. Mark Thomas @3 ,

    your second link (which is to the "International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology" ) is a journal with a beautiful name ~ but it is not on the Master Journal List.

    What is its quality?   What is the quality of its peer review?

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  5. Mark Thomas, using the phrase "catastrophic AGW" is an instant red flag as just about the only people who use it are AGW deniers.

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  6. Eclectic @ 4,

    The journal's latest impact factor is 2.811. To give an idea to readers, high impact journals are in the 30's/40's. The journal has existed for about 12 years and its impact has been increasing. There is debate, however, as to the usefulness of this metric. Not that it determines the quaity of a single paper. The review process is of more interest. I found some reviewers listed on another source, one had a PhD in disaster management. 

    At first glance, it does not appear to be the predatory type.

    https://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?show=instructions&journalCode=tsdw20

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  7. thankyou moderator for the further information

    I checked out the link document and understand your reference explains about 11% of the current GHG is from 'forestry and other land use globally'.    I thought that the increase in heat and loss of moisture on the landscape from removing the forests is ontop of the impact from GHG from forestry.  

    When I used term Anthropogenic Global Destruction (AGD), it is, for my own understanding, as a way to bring together the physical changes to the planet with the emissions, and their combined impact to climate. I personally have realised that for me climate change is about AGD and AGW as one.  This combination is bringing balance to my sceptisim improving my understanding of overall situation.

    @Eclectic  Correct I dont know if the paper is peer reviewed, nor the quality, it was produced from University of Western Australia.  As the paper is pay to read, ... I dont pay for science, it should be freely available.  In the abstract, I was startled by the huge physical impact on the localised and regional climate from the deforestation.  It got me thinking how almost every civilisation in history has destroyed itself from over agriculture, deforestation etc.  When I see how much we have destroyed in Australia, and our absolute incompetence in water resource management that it is relentless, I have become genuinely worried and I get the point Extention Rebellion is making.  

    So regarding quality, I am not sure and maybe I was sucked in by an abstract with such extreme numbers of impact. I will be doing more research on this particulalry regarding Australia.  Any future post I will be clearer. Cheers

     

    @Jim thankyou for the advice, and pointing out the origins, the current dialogue in media is stating we have 10 or 15 years left before tipping point and runaway dramatic changes.  Taking that seriously, is frightening.  So not sure what words to use to describe.  I  get your point re deniers.  The use of extreme adjectives has gone a little to far in society.   

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  8. Jim, agreed. "Catastrophic" is meaningless in this context. To some it means, say, loss of heavily populated fertile deltas to salt contamination; to others it means paying more taxes. The phrase has no value to science and isnt used.

    If Mark Thomas is contesting the science-based conclusions in the AR5 WG2 ("impacts") report, then perhaps he might like to find an appropriate thread (not here) in which to share his concerns and data supporting them. The Arguments, Taxonomy, "Its not bad" can a good starting point for find appropriate threads.

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  9. scaddenp @8,

    Thankyou for clarification regarding scientific terminology and the use of adjectives.  In environmental investigation reports key descriptive words, rule one: no absolutes so not to get sued :) most prevalent terms, maybe, likely, highly likely, indicates, suggests, possible, potential impact, minimal risk, potential risk.

    To explain myself a little further, I am not here to contest or question anything presented on skeptical science, particularly IPCC reports! I seek knowledge to gain understanding to enjoy fruitful dialogue.  I will check the thread area recommended, thank you for the tip.

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  10. Hello, I have searched the web site, ..... scaddenp pointed me to a information page "its not bad' unfortunately that has nothing on physical component of deforestation impact on climate.

    So staying on topic regarding forest fires and why, I found this, CSIRO report from their ECOS Magazine from 2009.  titled "Linking land clearing to drought and climate change' by Travis Taylor

    http://www.ecosmagazine.com/?paper=EC150p16

    Extract...

    "Dr McAlpine’s team have used the CSIRO MARK 3 climate model – the same one used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – to simulate the climate impacts of land clearing over the past 200 years.

    ‘We were only looking at the effect of vegetation clearing and nothing else,’ Dr McAlpine explained. ‘Any increases in temperature had to come down to a loss of vegetation.’

    The modelling results showed a strong correlation between climate and loss of vegetation from pre-European settlement levels, with an average summer temperature increase in eastern Australia of 0.4–2.0°C, and a 4–12 per cent decrease in summer rainfall......"

    Please I am not being a 'denier' re seriousness of AGW, I am looking into a not so much talked about aspect impacting Australia's climate that appears very significant.  Everyone knows it is a combination of aspects, its the degree of impact from each aspect I seek to know more about as kindly pointed out to me by moderator in my first comment.  Because, if it is true what the CSIRO publish above, then, OMG.

    I would genuinely appreciate some further reading prompts or knowledge sharing on this in regards to Australia.

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  11. Thanks for that clarification Mark.

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  12. Mark Thomas , in my own simple understanding of things ~ deforestation has a global warming effect because woody carbon is released to raise the atmospheric CO2 level (and the replacement grasslands or cultivated fields are much lower in carbon mass . . . also, cultivated soil tends to lose some of its stored carbon, too).

    OTOH, grasslands & farmland have a higher albedo, and thus some cooling effect ~ but not enough to counterbalance the CO2 effect.  Then there are other complexities, such as the methane produced in rice-fields.

    It would be difficult to determine whether small-region climate changes (e.g. in the Australian continent) could be brought about by deforestation.  "Micro-climate" might well be cooled by evaporation from tall forests ~ but I am a touch sceptical about the evaporative difference between grassland/agri-fields and virgin land of the scrubby or semi-arid type (of which Australia has always possessed a vast amount).

    Soil moisture may not be very important ~ since on dry lands the greater temperature during the day is counterbalanced by the lower temperature at night.

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  13. O.k.can anyone tell me how much warmer the Earth is now.

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  14. Philippe @6 , thanks for that info about that particular journal.   As I look into things, I become more aware of the problems of self-citations, and the possibilties of other manipulations of "quality" parameters.   In general, I had always inclined to assess the respectabilty/reputation of a journal by the respect given by the experts in that field.

    One thing which did raise my eyebrows, is that the publisher of that journal [Internat. Journal of Sustainability etc] had a portfolio of 350 journals ~ and stated that they outsourced the review process.  This is a new world for me, for I had previously assumed that reputable journals were (at least in part) reputable precisely because they had very knowledgeable editors who knew the background of the journal's field and knew the appropriate experts who would best be placed to review a submitted paper.

    If I can outsource my core responsibilities so easily, then I see a new career beckoning to me : Editor of a scientific journal !

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  15. duncan61 - well that is kind of trivial to find (maybe even the "escalator" graphic on the right this page. Maybe more relevant is Australian summer temperatures.

    Or for all season, all of Australia.

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  16. I share your concern Eclectic, had not seen that, although one return I found had an advertisement banner at the bottom that said "Interested in being a reviewer?"

    Outsourcing the review process certainly does not seem to be a good idea.

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  17. O.K. where is the sea rising.I took it upon myself to contact Fremantle port Authority and they have measured no change in 163 years.If a lot of the ice has melted why is the sea not going up???.Is it O.K.for me to ask or is it a secret

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Discussion about sealevel rise goes here. It is offtopic here. Cherry picking single points is not how science is done. More on fremantle here. More on ice sheet loss here. For glacier mass balance  see here.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us.  Skeptical Science is a user forum wherein the science of climate change can be discussed from the standpoint of the science itself.  Ideology and politics get checked at the keyboard.

    Please take the time to review the Comments Policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

     

  18. Hello Eclectic @12

    I hear you on the many variables and significant studies to ascertain GHG emissions from the land and land use, tonnes of good scientific studies and seems a clear understanding of related impacts.  In reference to the aspects you raised, they are predominately current use and on-going use studies. I am interested specifically in direct current impact on climate from 200 years of deforestation, in particular in the last 50 years has been the most ... Our temp increases in Aust (scaddenp @15) have also kicked up at the same time... possible correlation... possible contributing factor with GHG. As you pointed out, micro climate impacts can be confidently considered.  So it is it seems I am talking about something a little wider and possibly far fetched.  

    The CSIRO paper I referenced, summised from using IPCC model, put forward a range increase in temperature equal and possibly higher than current modelled AGW impact.  

    It is because Australia has removed so much forest cover, 40% (Mark Thomas @3). From the article I provided (Mark Thomas @10), is a discussion on continental impact, suggesting far more than micro or localised climate change. It quotes studies by Russian scientists that have looked at  Australia's situation because, globally (I assume), we are unusual due to the massive land clearing of forests.

    So I am at this time, seeing deforestation as an equal major issue to address climate change across Australia as much as CO2 (eek am I saying something wrong here?).  This is a focus on Australia and not the world.  Basically even if the world sorts CO2, which is happening, from what I see, we would still be in significant fire danger, accelerating ecological damage because of the massive historic land clearing.  

    I am going to contact CSIRO and enquire on their position on this  subject presented in their ECOS publication I referenced (Mark Thomas @10).  

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  19. Mark Thomas @18, why not compare the long term trend in eastern Australias summer temperatures, where theres been a lot of long term deforestation, with a long term summer temperature trend from somewhere without significant deforestation? And without other complicating factors. There will probably be data somewhere on the net maybe the mid west of America which I think has always been grasslands. 

    If theres any difference in the temperature trend, it would tell you roughly how much deforestation is contributing to local temperature changes. I suspect it isn't contributing much

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  20. Nigelj@19, I was thinking along very similar lines.  Comparing temperatrure trend over time against deforrestation rates and global warming trend, humidity and rainfall.  

    Forest Hydrogeology and impacts of deforestation evidence points to big contributions to climatic change, at much more than a localised climate. Articles I have refered so far in this thread have many references within (I can if people want a list).   I mean now that I think about this it comes across as common sense.  When you visualise Australia, and compare pre-european invasion land cover to the current land cover ... I can see it would drive up temperature, increase arid conditions and reduce moisture.  I will further support this idea with references below.

    The comparison of an area deforested to forested and moisture and temperature impacts is presented in my first comment (Mark Thomas @3) which shows a regional area in Western Australia before and after measurements.  Shows dramatic impact. 

    Regarding Australia wide...

    Available for free online (woohoo!! how all science should be) at AGU100 this paper presents modelling comparions on climate in Australia pre-european and modern day conditions. 

    'Modeling the impact of historical land cover change on Australia's regional climate' 2007 by C. A. McAlpine J. Syktus R. C. Deo P. J. Lawrence H. A. McGowan I. G. Watterson S. R. Phinn

    LINK

    The report discusses in detail the modelled variability in temperature and moisture. (I am going to try to link in some figures ... this is my first time writing on a science discussion site, )

    The report investigation aim (Introduction)  "...The question then is ‐ is Australia's regional climate sensitive to land cover change?....."

     ..."However, the effect of LCC [Land Cover Change] on the Australian climate has been a secondary consideration for climate change projections, despite the clearing of over 1.2 million km2 or ∼13% of the continent since European settlement.

    The regions of greatest LCC are southeast Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, cleared 1800‐mid 1900s), southwest Western Australia (1920–1980s), and more recently inland Queensland [Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (AUSLIG), 1990; Barson et al., 2000]. Nair et al. [2007], using satellite observational data, showed that replacement of half the native vegetation by croplands in southwest Western Australia resulted in a decrease of 7 Wm−2 in radiative forcing. They argue that general circulation models tend to underestimate the radiative forcing of LCC by a factor of two."

    in section 3.2 discusses pre european and current forest modelling temperature trends 2002/2003 drought.

    Image

    LINKED Image

    "[18] The simulated warmer and drier conditions in eastern Australia are cumulatively impacting on surface and sub‐soil moisture, and likely to be affecting vertical moisture transport processes, changing the partitioning of available water between runoff and evaporation. This has important, largely unrecognized consequences for agricultural production and already stressed land and water resources. Further, the simulated increase in temperatures in the sensitivity experiments, especially in southern Queensland and New South Wales, for the 2002/2003 drought, is consistent with the observed trend of recent droughts being warmer than previous droughts (1982, 1994) with a similar low rainfall [Nicholls, 2006]."

    The report concludes

    ..."[19] The findings of our sensitivity experiment indicate that replacing the native woody vegetation with crops and grazing in southwest Western Australia and eastern Australia has resulted in significant changes in regional climate, with a shift to warmer and drier conditions, especially in southeast Australia, the nation's major agricultural region. The simulated changes in Australia's regional climate suggest that LCC [Land Cover Change] is likely a contributing factor to the observed trends in surface temperature and rainfall at the regional scale. While formal attribution studies are required, the outcomes raise important questions about the impact of LCC on Australia's regional climate, and highlight a strong feedback effect between LCC and the severity of recent droughts impacting on Australia's already stressed natural resources and agriculture."

    Now at a global research level for Land Cover Change .....

    Research paper in Science Direct, presented in the Global Environmental Change Journal, Volume 43, March 2017, Pages 51-61

    LINK

    Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world

     

    ".....As illustrated in Fig. 2, solar energy that might otherwise drive transpiration and evaporation remains in the local landscape as heat, raising local temperatures. This can result in dramatic changes across different land-use environments. Heatwave conditions can amplify these effects. Warmer temperatures appear to result in greater temperature differentials between forested and open-field environments, though broad-leaved species may have stronger impacts on cooling than conifers (Renaud and Rebetez, 2009, Zaitchik et al., 2006). Maintaining tree cover can reduce high temperatures and buffer some of the extremes otherwise likely to arise with climate change."

    IMAGE

    LINKED Image

    Fig. 2. Surface temperature distribution in a mixed landscape with forest.

    For me, I am seeing that ecology needs to play an equal part of the conversation regarding climate change mitigation as much as CO2. The more I read about land cover changes and their impacts the more I see it needs to be a bigger part. They are not seperable.  I note the following conclusion from the above reference 'Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world'. 

    ... in section 9 "Though the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement has again turned attention to the carbon-related role of forests, the agreement likewise emphasizes that mitigation and adaptation agendas are to be handled in synergy. Much can still be done to improve implementation.

    The effects of forests on water and climate at local, regional and continental scales provide a powerful adaptation tool that, if wielded successfully, also has globally-relevant climate change mitigation potential....."

     

    Thankyou Nigelj for encouragement to do comparison trends of climate and land based conditions and potential impacts, I see how important this is to turning the tide of climate change and anthropogenic damage, I have a new project it seems :)

     

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB]  Embedded images; shortened and activated URLs.

  21. Mark: you say "...the more I see it needs to be a bigger part..."

    Note that the paper you found has a list of references. Note that the earliest of those references is from 1987.

    I can also point you to a paper from 1979:

    Anthropogenic Albedo Changes and the Earth's Climate

    Carl Sagan, Owen B. Toon, James B. Pollack

    Science 21 Dec 1979:
    Vol. 206, Issue 4425, pp. 1363-1368
    DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4425.1363

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/206/4425/1363

    Studying changing surface effects on climate is not new. This is not something the climate science community is unaware of.

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  22. Bob Loblaw @21   

    I am honestly describing a personal journey unfolding.  I can see how it could be interpreted as insincere, or subversive but its not. This is why I use my real name.  I have a bachelor of applied science, chemistry major, with a focus on enviro management of hazardous materials.  I worked as a scientist for more than a decade assessing and cleaning up contaminated sites (soil and groundwater) in Australia, I have written hundreds of contaminated site reports for property development, ecological and human health risk based studies, including reviewing of contamination models.  So clearly I am not a 'climate scientist'.  I am here presenting myself as a citizen scientist wanting to understand more about broadscale anthropogenic impacts on the world.  

    I thought coming here was a place to learn a balanced view.  The succession of documents I have presented, I have been finding while writing these comments .   I made it clear in my first post (which is my first on a science blog site) I am sceptical about GHG as the main contributor to the understanding of climate change, and that the information I have presented regarding broadscale land clearing seems to explain the current situation to me in hand with GHG impacts.  I seek knowledge on this subject.  If the climate science community your refering to is aware, please share.   

    Your refenced document for me to read from 1979 is paywalled with a subscription, may science be free for everyone, The late great Carl Sagan I am sure would not be pleased his work is paywalled.  I have endevoured to provide open source material so everyone who chooses can read.  

    So I ask, please engage, lets discuss, whats your opinion on this subject matter I have presented? 

    PS No paywalled articles.

    Sincerely, Mark

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Research papers are often available on the web for free, as authors like to share their work.  For example, the piece by Sagan is available here.

  23. Mark Thomas @22

    Many of your questions are answered in our MOOC „Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial“ which also explains the basics of climate change science (but also, how and why it gets distorted).

    It‘s available throughout the year until December 16 as a self-paced version on the edX platform: http://sks.to/denial101x

    You can also just watch the videos via this list: http://sks.to/denial101xvideos where you‘ll also find links to the underlying scientific studies grouped by lecture/topic.

    Hope this helps!

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  24. BaerbelW @23

    Thank you for replying.

    OK i will properly delve into your links to reading and viewing material, which I can see is extensive and I am up for it.  

    May I have a personal reply that shows the position of the climate science community regarding the relavent percentage value of broad scale land clearing to climate change.  In other words, what percentage do you think is from anthropogenic CO2/methane (re main GHG's), what percentage from land clearing in Australia?

    From all my years of reading and with a solid scientific research back ground, I am currently seeing broad scale deforestation in Australia is 0.75 percentage value to our climate situation in Australia, (being fires drought increase in extreme weather etc), 0.25 percentage value anthropogenic CO2/methane and the nasty CFCs.  

    Being genuinely honest, and look forward to sensible dialogue. 

    Kind Regards

    Mark 

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  25. BaerbelW @23

    In regards to your opening line, I am trying to convey one question not many. I am not questioning ice sheet retreats, temp increase, acidification oceans, CO2 as a greenhouse gas, ice age records, ocean levels.

    I am asking how the climate science community (as I have been refered to address here by Bob @21) rates the impact from broad scale deforestation on climate in Australia, thats all. And a personal reply too as I am seeking dialogue.

    It is specific and it relates directly (moderator, yes?) to the post subject which is what I seek to discuss.  

    Yours Sincerely 

    Mark

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  26. Mark Thomas @25

    "I am asking how the climate science community (as I have been refered to address here by Bob @21) rates the impact from broad scale deforestation on climate in Australia, thats all. And a personal reply too as I am seeking dialogue."

    Deforestation globally used to account for 20% of CO2 emissions and now its about 10% of emissions (deforestation and climate change on wikipedia,) so lets say 15% long term for the sake of simplicity. This means deforestation has caused about 15% of global warming at global scale.

    Australia has warmed about 1 degree c since 1900, much the same as the global average, so it looks to me like about 15% of warming in Australia (as a whole) since 1900 is due to deforestation.

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  27. Mark Thomas @25

    Doug - who puts together the weekly research news - pointed me towards this newly published paper which might be of interest for you:

    Anthropogenic land cover change impact on climate extremes during the 21st century

    He mentioned that it has a somewhat different focus and is not specifically about Australia but also that it'll be the references that offer the real payload for your purposes.

    Oh, and about paywalled papers: not sure if you are aware but if you search for a paper's title via scholar.google.com you often find accessible versions.

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  28. Nigelj @26

    Thank you, I see how your reply resonates with the moderator response to (mark Thomas @3) and Eclectic @12 response.

    To attempt a paraphrase..... deforestation / land based changes is recognised in its impact on the climate through its CO2 release and uptake.  Globally (Per the AR5 (AR5, SPM page 5, Figure SPM.2), deforestation is currently approx. 11% of the overall problem (moderator @ Mark Thomas @3) and that Australia, with its higher than average deforestation is approx 15% of GHG impact (nigelj @26), contribution to the greenhouse effect....    

    So I am hearing that the land cover change (LCC) physical impact I have been focused on is recognised as a minor contributor to increasing temperature on earth and across continents such as Australia.   That I am describing a theory studied and investigated and incorperated by climate science in the equation (stating the obvious). That the impact of LCC is recognised more as an ecological issue and therein is extremely important to turn around loss of habitat and fauna.  Lungs of the earth etc.  

    I can see more why there isnt much on LCC and its direct effect on climate, and you may find this interesting, on both sides of the debate (I use this word recognising only some people see there is a debate to be had).  In other words I am discussing a fringe theory.   Even an Ecology professor who is passionate about fighting climate change, gave me no reply or took no interest.

    Thank you for multiple replies to information indicating why its not a primary issue, this is what I am really interested in.

    BaerbelW @27 thank you for research tip to find non paywalled papers, and the link to Dougs work and his weekly research news.  

    I am greatful for the time everyone has taken to reply to me, and making me feel welcome.  

    I will sign off here on this thread as I have significant reading to do now on this subject, look forward to future dialogue.

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  29. Mark: I don't know if you are still reading this, but...

    I was going to suggest Google Scholar, too.

    Skeptical Science is a niche web site,specifically geared towards rebutting bad/incorrect climate myths from people that don't accept the mainstream science. There are other locations more sutaiable to general learning.

    For general climate stuff, I suggest two links:

    1. The Discovery of Global Warming (the history of the science, that is...)
    2. The IPCC reports. Go to the bottom of the list and look at the first one, from 1990.  It doesn't cover the current science, obviously (and it is now 30 years old!), but because it was the first it actually covers a lot more general information than recent ones. Much more suitable as a starting point.
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  30. Mark Thomas,

    After quickly reviewing the comment string I have the following observation to share.

    Your comment @3 was about the way that regional deforestation in Australia was affecting the regional climate. This is similar to the studies indicating that removing only a portion of the Amazon Rainforest could significantly affect the climate in that region, potentially ending the rain forest supporting climate conditions throughout the region.

    However, those evaluations are 'zoomed-in' studies that are difficult to perform, like any scientific investigation of any part of the planet's integrated and complex ecosystem is. The boundary conditions of such a study are difficult to establish. Deforestation, or reforestation, in Australia affects the total global climate system, as well as affecting regional climate. And properly passing that impact out through the boundary of the study and bringing back the global return impacts through the boundary can be done by the complex global climate models, based on the model ability to reflect reality. But the global picture is probably more important to investigate than regional evaluations.

    Indeed, it appears that regional climate changes in Australia are the result of deforestation in Australia plus all the other climate changing impacts of global human activity. Determining how much of the changing climate in Australia is due to the regional changes of deforestation vs. the global changes occurring is challenging, and a rather unnecessary. From a high-level holistic look, regional deforestation in Australia should be stopped because of its global impacts as well as the regional impacts.

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  31. Mark Thomas @20

    Great stuff!  The graphic from Czech Republic is especially enlightening.  In a world where global warming is a reality we will all have to live with,  mitigating the effects at local and regional levels will require an understanding of other factors.  I plan to follow up on the links you provided.

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