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The Big Dry Ten Years On

November 13, 2020

By Paul Homewood


 A decade ago, this appeared claiming that the big drought in Southeastern Australia was probably the worst experienced since the first European settlement:





Lead author Joelle Gergis is part of the Michael Mann circus, ever ready to claim that weather in her native Australia is worse than ever before. Steve McIntyre once described her as a data torturer, after tearing her Australian temperature reconstruction to pieces in 2016.


This particular paper regarding rainfall was little better, as a look at the actual rainfall data quickly reveals. The definition of Southeastern Australia, by the way, follows the BOM’s mapping:





As the BOM data shows, rainfall anomalies there during the Big Dry were no greater than in the decade leading up to 1945. The black line is the 10-year running average.



Since the paper was published, of course, the running average has risen close to the long term average.


Better get torturing that data again, Joelle!

  1. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 13, 2020 9:21 pm

    Aah, nostalgia.
    This report was when the head of the BoM told Australians to resign to the new permanent dry future, and when Flannery announced that the rain that falls won’t fill the dams, and that Perth would be the first city to be abandoned because of drought.
    10 years on and we are having flooding rains and Perth is still there, and the Greens are now gungho on new dams for pumped storage to save their “renewables” dream.

    • Chris Morris permalink
      November 14, 2020 4:44 am

      You forgot to mention the water desalination plants. How many billions were wasted on those? Now they are worried about floods – the mantra of saving every drop until the dams overflowed was what caused the devastating Brisbane flood. .

    • OldCynic permalink
      November 14, 2020 6:30 am

      The 2 GigaLitre Warragamba dam, which Mr Flannery forecast would never be full again, is today at 97.7% full. These damned facts – ruining elegant theories!


    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 14, 2020 8:48 am

      The joys of extrapolating. I was taught very early on about the dangers but now its everywhere, from climate to Covid. Not sure I’ve ever seen a phenemon that actually carried on along an extrapolated Line of Doom?

      • November 15, 2020 7:06 pm

        That would be climate ‘science’ itself.

  2. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    November 13, 2020 10:02 pm

    History is so much more interesting now than in high school and college 101.

  3. JCalvertN(UK) permalink
    November 13, 2020 11:08 pm

    Torturing or tutoring? Gergis should revert to the latter.

  4. Curious George permalink
    November 13, 2020 11:24 pm

    “We find evidence for a robust relationship .. there is a 97.1% probability that the .. anomaly .. is the worst experienced since the first European settlement of Australia”.

    Karoly team, good work. They even managed to get a 97.1% consensus in.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 14, 2020 8:45 am

      They really don’t understand probability. The event has happened. It’s either 100% or 0% now. If you don’t have good enough data to prove it, then you don’t have good enough data. You can’t assign probabilities to it and claim it’s 97% likely to have happened.

      So much of climate science is so obviously false – in its claims and conclusions – that I just don’t understand why other scientists stand for it?

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 14, 2020 8:09 pm

        It was a Schrödinger event…

  5. November 14, 2020 2:47 am

    Maybe geo-engineering can help poor old Australia get out of the climate jail

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 14, 2020 7:55 am

    There’s little doubt Boris has gone insane and would rather listen to Carrie and eco-nutters (with his wind and car and ‘green jobs’ announcements) than his ‘spads’ – possibly why the door has been shown?

    Well now (on the face of it) we have SIX WHOLE days to say what we think of the climate assembly recommendations! I haven’t done it as I write, if it turns out to be one of those leading surveys, I suggest you let your MP know directly.

    Looked at the first question and it does appear to allow comprehensive answers, so gather your facts!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 15, 2020 10:28 am

      I will be shocked if Johnson is still PM come summer. I don’t whether to laugh at or pity those who are saying that the real Boris will step forward now and save us all. they obviously are not aware that the shitshow we are seeing IS the real Boris who is shambles personified. The Mail on Sunday has rumblings that his woke agenda courtesy of his ‘court prostitute’ (nice term Pete North) is not what anyone voted for. And come 1 January all manner of chaos will ensue with massive problems in N Ireland getting food from Britain as well as being dropped by companies as being not worth trading with when the double VAT system comes in. And what ever pitiful deal might be agreed it won’t change any of that.

  7. Mike Jackson permalink
    November 14, 2020 8:12 am

    Off topic but I’ve just had an email from HMG following my response to the petition “Hold a referendum to scrap the UK’s policy of Net Zero CO2 by 2050”.

    I quote: MPs want to know what you and your communities think about the recommendations made by the assembly.

    Discuss these questions with your school, workplace, family or community group and submit a joint response. It’s a great opportunity to hear others’ views on these issues and to share the outcomes of your discussions with MPs.

    Share your answers via this online survey:

    This seems an ideal opportunity to flood the government with a bit of climatological common sense. Starting with the fact that their precious “Climate Assembly” is not the totally objective body they like to think it is.

    Responses by next Friday.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      November 14, 2020 8:16 am

      I should have looked before I posted, shouldn’t I?? Tsk!

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        November 14, 2020 8:36 am

        I just completed it, waste of time, only seems to address a couple of ‘sideline’ issues, anyway, additional remarks forms were well filled!

      • Hivemind permalink
        November 14, 2020 9:58 am

        Still worth the effort to let them know how stupid we think that the climate crazies are.

  8. Phoenix44 permalink
    November 14, 2020 8:39 am

    Eyeballing that BOM graph, what is the zero line calculated using? It’s obvious there’s far more red below the line than blue above it, which is why the average runs below most of the time. So we have 120 years of data but the “average” is nothing like the average?

    • November 14, 2020 9:37 am

      Good point – according to the Heading, it is the 1961-90 average!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 14, 2020 8:12 pm

      Usual trick – cherry pick the period and claim it is “normal”, although it is clearly close to a high among thirty year windows that could have been chosen from the data.

  9. November 14, 2020 9:01 am

    Trying to interpret natural climate variability as human-caused is a mugs game, but there seem to be plenty of mugs available.

  10. November 14, 2020 10:52 pm

    I lived in Adelaide in 2005
    One day I was out at the Murray Darling river
    As I walked I was listening to the Naked Scientist podcast which told me there was no rain at all.
    #1 The rive had boats in
    #2 It was raining as I walked, not a huge storm
    A lot of the issues was due to over abstraction of water way upstream
    AFAIK one issue was the assumption that rainfall patterns were 100% regular
    whereas in reality they hadn’t built any new dams for years
    and the the rain patterns had shifted slightly away from old locations.

  11. Tim C permalink
    November 15, 2020 1:00 am

    The Federation drought in the 1890’s was by far the worst drought in Australia’s recorded history, which is why the BOM (Bullshiters on Meth) will not include it. Since environmentalism has replaces science in our schools, I few people under the age of 30 have even heard of it.

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