Mackellar’s lesson learned

But not yet for the warmists

The meme of droughts and flooding rains has really taken hold. Having, like Clive James, studied and learned “I love a sun burnt country” in primary school, I had always understood that Australia was just that. Nothing in my education had suggested anything different. I posted the poem in its entirety on my blog in early December , thanking Dorothea Mackellar posthumously for her rigorous historical documentation of climate change, written before any real increases in industrial atmospheric carbon di-oxide, and before our modern, scientific understanding of the Indian Ocean Dipole or the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

Clive James had a wonderfully enjoyable piece in Southpoint Magazine, reprinted in latest Weekend Australian, reflecting on the small mindedness of our former Australian of the Year.

Professor Flannery was heard all the time, and always predicting that the major cities would run out of water. The nice thing about him was that he was without guile and therefore ready to say that a certain city would run out of water in some verifiable time: say, two years.

Two years later, abundant rain would be falling on that city. But he always had an explanation, and the media always liked his story best, because it was a story about Australia eventually and inevitably running out of water, even though what appeared to be water might currently be seen to be falling out of the sky. Then an awful lot of it fell on his head at once and he was finally seen to be short of credibility.

Unfortunately, not for the Gillard Government and our commentariat. During the latter stages of the drought, I started thinking of Professor Flannery as Tim Flummery, after his sloppy and approximate approach to weather forecasting. The wags in Sydney, after their first summer of inundations following his groundless predictions, should have named the second month of the year after him — January, Flannery, March …

But James’ deeper message brought back memories of constant frustration in my former regular appearances as a commentator on ABC 774 Melbourne with Jon Faine. Whenever there was a very hot day, or cold day, or rainy day, Faine would contrive to say that it was the hottest, the coldest the wettest day on record, without a wit of evidence — a first requirement for an ABC warmist. I eventually down-loaded a document from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Earth Sciences that contained all the record temperatures, cold and hot, for every day of the Melbourne year going back to the 1860’s. Faine was a slow learner. As Clive James points out in his essay, having a dry desert interior and also having recent massive floods everywhere does not mean there is something “wrong’ with the weather. He adds,

As any Aboriginal might have told them had they known how to ask, the Australian climate is simply like that.

Beyond Dorothea MacKellar’s wisdom, we could also all look at own heritage during this year of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The perfect answer for the green movement and our ABC warmists, is this famous passage about the Earth’s solar and hydrological cycles. It is a beautiful metaphor to illustrate the immanence of nature.

“The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again . . . The thing that hath been, it that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5-9)

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