But hot weather is nothing new to Australia. This country has always had extreme heat, droughts, bushfires and flooding rains. Miranda Devine from Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph (16 January 2013) encourages her readers to consider these comments recorded by Sir John Henniker Heaton n 1879 in the Australian Dictionary Of Dates (Fahrenheit has been translated into Celsius):
December 27, 1790: "Great heat in Sydney, 39C in the shade. Settlement visited by myriads of flying foxes, birds dropped dead from the trees."
February 10 and 11, 1791: "On which days the temperature at Sydney stood in the shade at 41C, the heat was so excessive at Parramatta, made worse by the bushfires, that immense numbers of the large fox-bats were seen to drop from the trees into the water, and many dropped dead on the wing."
Heaton quotes from The Sydney Gazette of November 29, 1826: "The heat and hot wind of Saturday last excelled all that we ever experienced in the colony. On board the Volage man-of-war (a naval vessel), in the shade, the thermometer was 41C, and on the shore it was, in some parts of the town, 38C, and in others 40C.
"To traverse the streets was truly dreadful, the dust rose in thick columns, and the northwest wind, from which quarter our hot winds invariably proceed, was assisted in its heat by the surrounding country being all on fire, so that those who were compelled to travel felt themselves encircled with lambent flames. Sydney was more like the mouth of Vesuvius than anything else."
Again from The Sydney Gazette, February 21, 1832: "Saturday was one of the hottest days ever remembered. The recent rains having saturated the earth, the atmosphere was impregnated by an aqueous vapour not unlike steam issuing from a boiler, while the sun poured down all the fury of his heat. It was dreadful.
"Man and beast groaned beneath the oppression, and numbers of working oxen dropped down dead on the public roads."
The bullocks were even worse off on Saturday, March 18, 1832, which The Sydney Gazette reported was "insufferably warm. At 1pm, the thermometer was 54C in the sun. The cattle suffered much. Working bullocks dropped dead."
Of course it was much hotter in Central Australia.
Heaton records explorer Captain Charles Sturt's account of November 11, 1845: "The wind, which had been blowing all the morning hot from the NE, increased to a gale, and I shall never forget its withering effects.
"I sought shelter behind a large gum tree, but the blasts of heat were so terrific that I wondered the very grass did not take fire. Everything both animate and inanimate gave way before it.
"The horses stood with their backs to the wind and their noses to the ground, the birds were mute, and the leaves of the trees fell like a shower around us.
"At noon I took out my thermometer, graduated to 53C, and put it in the fork of a tree, and an hour afterwards when I went to examine it; the tube was full of mercury and the bulb burst."
On January 11, 1878, Heaton reported that, on the Lower Macquarie River, at 2.30pm, a thermometer registered 47C in the shade. At 5.30pm it was still 43C.
There were "disastrous bushfires throughout the south and west of NSW in January, 1870, fires burning on each side of the line on the southern railway, the railway porters and others beating it out with bushes, and waiting at the stations with water for the passengers to drink, and a truck on the Goulburn train catching fire near Liverpool on January 18".
He records years of drought (interspersed with floods), including the three-year drought from 1825-27: "One of the most severe droughts ever known in NSW, with great scarcity of water in Sydney and suburbs, only two months' supply being left in the Botany dams, and water being sold at a very high rate in Parramatta."
In January and February 1791, wrote Heaton, there were "several weeks of excessive heat, hot winds, birds dropped dead from trees and everything burnt up, stream of water supplying Sydney nearly dried up".
Do I believe in climate change? Yes, I certainly do. But how much man is to blame for this is still not conclusive. Climate has always changed. The earth has lived through five “glacial ages” the most recent of them, known as the ice age, was about 20,000 years ago – well before man-made carbon emissions.
A glacial age is a period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the earth’s surface and atmosphere resulting in the expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. The time between glacial ages is known as the interglacial period during which the earth’s temperature warms and ice sheets shrink. This has happened for thousands of years. We’re living in an interglacial period now.
I repeat, I do believe in climate change. I also believe that, where possible, humans should reduce the amount of pollution pumped into the atmosphere. The problem with linking them together though is that it provides a breeding ground for alarmists who are trying to push their political agenda at the expense of Australia’s economy (and the economies of other nations too).
There have been far too many false predictions from climate alarmists in the past. If you want to read more on this then simply Google “False climate change predictions.” But every time we get a hot spell it gives them an excuse to come out of their air-conditioned conferences to make more alarmist predictions. Well, I for one am not buying into them.