Lower-elevation resorts - were they ever any good?

Discussion in 'Alpine & Southern' started by The Ravenous Frenchman, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. Mctavish

    Mctavish One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Elderly friends who have lived at Eucumbene over the past 70 years tell tales of snow lying on the plains (now under Lake Eucumbene) for weeks on end, snow burying fences most winters and tougher times feeding the stock through the winters than today. What they say has changed is fewer heavy snow falls, the snow doesn't lie around as long as it used to and they don't have to hand feed as much. When talking about the heavy dumps in 04 & 05 though the answer was they were 'more like we used to get'.
     
  2. Shiraz

    Shiraz Hard Yards

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    well there seems to be plenty of low level snow on this australian hill...

    [​IMG]

    :out:
     
    #52 Shiraz, Jul 27, 2006
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  3. et

    et First Runs

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    Though I'm a firm believer in the warming trend, the CSIRO report was (surprisingly) unconvincing.

    Based on local data, they only found a statistically significant result in one instance (thou they may have been conservative here) and actually found a slowing/reversing of the 1957-89 trends during 1990-2002.

    They then proceeded to project a future decline in snow cover based on IPCC data (correct me if I'm wrong).

    In any case, 2020 is'nt all that far off, so we'll all see for ourselves. I am interested what earlier models would have predicted by now thou.
     
  4. QldSkiBum

    QldSkiBum First Runs

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    Took my lil sis that year year 12 grad thing. It went off. Skiing funnel web in september. Have never done it again.

    [​IMG]

    Bring on 2006 [​IMG]
     
    #54 QldSkiBum, Jul 27, 2006
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  5. D-eye

    D-eye Photographer and skier Moderator

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    Any season with a peak depth of over 2 m is a good season, regardless of when it fell :p
     
    #55 D-eye, Jul 27, 2006
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  6. agentBM

    agentBM Part of the Furniture

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    I'll be down Funnelweb should there be sufficient snow - can't wait. But this topic is eveidence of the less snow we now get. Arguments arise all based on Spencer's depth, yet continuously fail to include the data and relevence of info in this thread to indicate less snow. I have heard of regular drifts lasting around Cooma, and three feet of snow at the road to Kalkite east of Jindy.

    If only the significance of trees was fully appreciated....
     
  7. daj

    daj First Runs

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    You can see for yourself from the 2003 bushfires that the effect of trees is pretty minimal. Before the fires snowfalls were declining and after we have had a couple of shockers. Compare the size of trees to the size of mountains... you can see why the effect overall is small unless you clear massive massive areas of trees (such as the amazon). Regardless, most of the land to the west of the snowies was cleared well before snow started to decline, and the areas cleared weren't particularly treed anyway.

    Similar, buildings in the snowies have no effect on snowfalls. They are all disturbances on scales which are far far far too small to make a difference. Scale it up to a city the size of Melbourne and you will see an effect (this is why the CBD is virtually frost free) but a couple of lodges isn't going to have an effect, and the snow course data comes from spots well aways from buildings anyway.

    Hill Billy
     
  8. BlueMountains

    BlueMountains First Runs

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    Yes, you misread my post. Was talking about low levels up here. I think the laugh is on you. [​IMG]

    And well said Hilly Billy, IMO. Areas west of here around Shooters Hill on the Oberon plateau have been getting notably less snow in the last ten to fifteen years and its basically all paddocks out there so a little town in my area wont effect snow levels either.
     
    #58 BlueMountains, Jul 27, 2006
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  9. The Ravenous Frenchman

    The Ravenous Frenchman First Runs

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    One interesting area is Mt Kaputar in North Central NSW. At 1500 m, its the highest mountain range in the region.

    In the 1940's-1960's there used to be lots of snow on Mt Kaputar, and one fall in 1984 was massive - down to 400 m elevation which is impressive given how far north it is. These days, some years go by with virtually no snow, and decent falls are becoming rare.

    Sounds like a similar situation in the tablelands.
     
  10. qlder

    qlder First Runs

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    It seems to me that the serious rain events are killing seasons faster that a lack of snowfall .

    2005 never recovered after a weeks rain mid August , particularly the Vic resorts . I was at Hotham and the rain was monsoonal all day . The rain all but washed away the gains of the heavy falls at the begining of August . Sure there were follow up falls of snow but the loss of base never saw any accumulation. Heavenly Valley only needed a couple more 5 - 10 cm falls when we left on July 13 this year , rain a couple days later completely flushed the snow off Snake Gully - look on the web cam at the big brown patch around the lift on the Snake Gully Cam - surely days of rain must affect the base in in Snow Making Areas long after the rain has passed.

    Reflecting on 15 years of skiing I do not recall consectutive days of heavy rain mid July and August.

    Are these serious rain events common , did they occur during the 60's 70's and 80's ?

    Living in Qld we definitely have noticed a warming trend during July and August . Can't remember the last time a serious wet cold front has made its way north. A decade ago on a road trips South we would always expect to see remnants of some light snowfalls or get some light snowflurries on our way up the range to Guyra . Hasn't happened for a while now . We also don't get the cold westerly winds that usually accompany the start of our Royal Show. More often than not we pack the car for our annual ski trip in a t-shirt bitching how warm it is for this time of year .
     
  11. QldSkiBum

    QldSkiBum First Runs

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    amen brother amen

    fellow northerner :angel:
     
  12. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think berg was referring to less shade affecting the longevity of the cover once on the ground. This would definitely be having an effect. Not to mention the presence of more undergrowth as a result of the fires. More undergrowth means more to get covered before there is a complete cover. It also results in much faster meltage once shrubbery is exposed.
     
    #62 Snow Blowey, Jul 28, 2006
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  13. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    You need to be warey of tales told by old folk. Our brains have a habbit of remembering rare events and forgetting the everyday.

    Ask Megs about the May 2000 dump and he/she will remember it very well. Ask her/him what they did at work three days before hand and i'm sure she won't be able to tell you much at all.

    Similarly when you see old photographs ask yourself why they were taken. I never really pull the camera out unless there is something a little bit out of the ordinary going on. (This has changed a little with use of digital cameras). So when you see a picture of 3 m of snow in cabramurra township ask why the photo was taken in the first place and why it is on the wall. Usually the reason will be because it was a significant event in the towns history. If you visit cabramurra you will see a series of photographs on the wall. Most are taken in 1974 or 1956 (or 57) becuase these were significant snow years for the town. Not many photographs from other years.

    In a reasonable snow year the plains around eucumbene still get covered with snow for a week here and there and i'm sure this has always been the way.

    Whether or not places like jindabyne and cooma get snow is more related to the direction the weather is coming from. Last years big falls along the monaro were not the result of a freakishly cold event, just a system that came in off the east coast.
     
    #63 Snow Blowey, Jul 28, 2006
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  14. agentBM

    agentBM Part of the Furniture

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    Ah yes Kaputar - beautiful up there - I am going to go and have a look again soon, must be nearly 20yrs since I took the road up. My uncles' property at Wean (halfway between Boggabri and Manilla) has a great view straight up toward it.
     
  15. agentBM

    agentBM Part of the Furniture

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    Oh no - I actually had trees from Esperance to Cooma in mind when I thought that. There is significant less forest now (say Murray Red Gum) - surely there has to be changes to local climates etc. I know they won't determine cold fronts, but all that less Oxygen, moisture (air and soil), distance now not covered by vegetation plus other de-treeing factors. I was also picturing some paddocks I remember seeing in NZ and all would be brown, but the bit in the shade - got me thinking of regeneration corridors and many other ideas - perhaps too fanciful. Is there any study / research that could at any level establish correlation between diminished tree cover and drought, precipitation amounts, temps, humidity, cloud. Could end up being no correlation, but thought I should raise the occurring thought.
     
  16. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Buffalo is a good example because it has the historical cultural records and photos, and it gets snow of the NW and the SW, it is the middle of the vic alps, and it is at marginal elevations. They used to ice skate on lake catani in the 20s, it rarely freezes now.

    But yeah, who knows if this is due to natural or man-made fluctuations
     
  17. daj

    daj First Runs

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    >But yeah, who knows if this is due to natural or man-made fluctuations

    The science is pretty clear that the warming is pretty close to 100% human induced (good place to start is "Attribution of Recent Temperature Changes in the Australian Region, J Climate 2005, Karoly & Braganza"). Our climate should have cooled over the last 50 years but instead temperatures have risen in something approaching an exponential in line with the increase in CO2.

    The science moved on a good 10 years ago, and the public will eventually too as the weight of observations overwhelms them. You don't have to look to hard to see that our climate is just not what it used to be (even accounting for imperfect memories), and every year it gets just that little bit less normal.

    Hill Billy
     
  18. The Ravenous Frenchman

    The Ravenous Frenchman First Runs

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    I didn't know you knew the Mt kaputar area, Berg. I have a farm in the foothills up Eulah Creek, is the place you're talking about up Maules Creek way?

    Anyway the highest point on our place is 600 m, and it snowed there in 1984 in the huge event that year. In fact it snowed to 400 m, and there was sleet in Narrabri that year.

    My neighbour says that in the 1940's snow lay on the ground down to 300 m near Narrabri, and that at 450 m at their place there was around 5 cm of snow. Its hard to imagine that happening today.
     
  19. quro

    quro First Runs

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    ..big call
     
    #69 quro, Jul 28, 2006
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  20. HiLo

    HiLo Old n' Crusty

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    The intial post asks about "resorts" like Baw Baw. The people who first hiked in there and built a hut and a rope tow didn't really have a resort in mind. They just wanted to ski. No concept of booking in advance, lift prices, property investment, etc.

    Nor did the concept of a ski season mean anything to them. If it was wet and cold where they lived in the valleys, they figured it might have snowed up top, so they would head up the mountain, start up their rope tow and have a ski. It might have been in August. It might have been in May. It might have been in November. It might have been in January. They skied when it snowed.

    It was a different world. Very hard to draw comparisons. Although I've seen some unbelievable photos from the 1950 with snow depths unlike anything I've ever seen. (And I'm not really young.)
     
  21. PowderMadness

    PowderMadness First Runs

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    Weather Channel on Fox was Just stateing some statistics - obviously due to snow making but still interesting is that in the 60's Thredbo would got an average of 30 days per season top to bottom, and now gets closer to 90 days.
     
  22. bad-lattitude

    bad-lattitude First Runs

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    every year around this time the stories of the 84 dump are dragged out, mainly because it was the last epic dump - at least north of about 37 degrees. The year Toowoomba got snow. When Guyra got well over a metre (3 metre drifts around the place), lost power and were snowed in for days, with snow on the ground for 3 weeks. So many times I've travelled the New England with flurries from Glen Innes to near Tamworth, but those days seem gone or very rare. In the 70s, you could skate on the small lakes in the Western Canterbury Plains right through winter - they were totally frozen over. No more - they get a light covering of ice but are never skatable. However, warming is not synonymous with less snow, only less snow at lower altitudes and snow for shorter time. Glaciers are advancing in northern Europe because the warmer oceans are causing increasing precipitation - so more snow despite the warmer conditions. Unfortunately we are too far from the pole to enjoy that advantage.
     
  23. daj

    daj First Runs

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    >..big call

    Not really quo. It is a bigger call to attribute the warming to natural factors. The sun hasn't warmed over the last 50 years, volcanic activity has increased (and should have cooled things), we have thrown up massive amounts of light reflecting aerosols which should have cooled things, the oceans have warmed from the top down (meaning that it can't be driven by the oceans). You are left with no natural factors left to blame (apart from invisible green monsters belching warm air!).

    We simply observe the world to well now-a-days for a natural cause for the warming not to be seen. Believe me, people have been looking for decades and the conclusion is that all factors other than the enhanced greenhouse effect should have summed to a cooling.

    Hill Billy
     
  24. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    They are? Anyone else?
     
    #74 The Plowking, Jul 29, 2006
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  25. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    no-one really knows do they?
    However, many warming experts claim that if their scenarios pan out there may be more "dumps" and higher rainfall in semi-arid areas with traditional rain-belt regions becoming arid.
    See you in 100 years on the summit lift at Everest. :p
    I grew up in NE Vic and we were @ an hour away from Buffalo.
    Mum and Dad used to take us there once or twice a year in the late 60's early 70's as little kids.
    I don't remember seeing too much rocks or grass during that time.In fact one of my standout memeories is of a bulldozer totally snowed over on the side of the road going past Lake Buffalo.
    There always seemed to be lots of snow and lots of skiers.
     
    #75 MisterMxyzptlk, Jul 29, 2006
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  26. AndrewK

    AndrewK First Runs

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    Yes and Yes. I recall 3 days of rain in August 1979- sitting in Edmonsons hut for 3 days with nothing to do but play 500 and go out to sleep in soggy tents at night was no joke. All of my friends always think me mad because I will ski in the rain- but it rains so often in the Australian ski fields that if you want to ski you do what you have to do.
    Interestingly I once talked to an old man who had been involved in establishing the Hotham ski resort- the first year he had done a cross country skiing trip in which he started SKIING at Harrietville and only ran out of skiable snow at at Omeo. There are old photos about of goldminers working a few hundred metres up river ( ie same elevation) of Harrietville with a ground cover of 1/3 -1/2 a metre.
    In terms of shocking seasons by far the worst so far has been 1975 - I think (maybe 74)- virtually unskiable everywhere and we had 2 days in Melbourne with a July max of 23 and 24.Looking at Melbournes averages for the last 10 years ( where it has been very common to have monthly averages hotter and drier than the long term- and rare to have cooler or wetter) I have been pleasantly surprised at just how well our snow has held up.
     
    #76 AndrewK, Jul 29, 2006
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  27. AndrewK

    AndrewK First Runs

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    I wish I could remember the specific study- but there is clear evidence that rainfall is higher over treed areas. The air over treed areas is cooler due to the lower albedo. That cooler air in turn wrings more moisture out of passing rain events. The other issue in tropical forests is transpiration. One of the key sources of moisture in the Amazon is transpiration and daily recycling of moisture that came down in the last shower. The greedheads who are now destroying the Amazon are going to get a horrible shock when they realise that they have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.Unfortunately so are we.
     
    #77 AndrewK, Jul 29, 2006
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  28. AndrewK

    AndrewK First Runs

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    Heavy snow came in the third week of July- the week before I took over my first (and only) business. I still remember the 2 days of the best deepest powder I have ever experienced at Sponars- and nearly driving off the road just out of Perisher because the snowpoles were too far apart.
    Having said that my hand was forced by work requirements and I would never book ahead for any time other than the first 3 weeks of August. Before is too unreliable- and after- well I prefer to ski snow rather than gelati.
     
    #78 AndrewK, Jul 29, 2006
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  29. bad-lattitude

    bad-lattitude First Runs

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    For The Plowking and anyone else interested, quoting from this BBC website .


    Some glaciers are growing, but these are the minority. Glaciers that are growing are said to be advancing. Most advancing glaciers are closer to the polar icecaps, but there are examples elsewhere, such as the Svartisen glacier in Norway.


    The website then details two glaciers in the Patagonias (southern Chile) near each other, one retreating and one advancing. It's all about where snow falls because that's what feeds a glacier. The alarming thing about antarctica is it is a desert - they (err, the penguins?) get very little precipitation at all, and massive ice shelfs are breaking off at a rate never seen before (which, I agree, is not a very long recorded history). Low snowfall means these will take millenia to advance again.
     
    #79 bad-lattitude, Jul 29, 2006
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  30. AndrewK

    AndrewK First Runs

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    Oh Yeah- and Lake Catani at Mt Buffalo used to be a regular Ice skating venue in the early 1900s. I dont know about you but I would feel nervy about crossing even Lake Cootapatamba or Blue Lake on the Main Range nowadays.
     
  31. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cough Cough

    Manns graph for southern hemisphere. Mann is currently having a pretty tough time defending his position on recent years being the hotest in a 1,000 years. As he is the pin up boys for the IPCC, and those that support the human induced global warming theory - it isnt before time.

    Daj - you and i have gone a dozen rounds. Just wanted to even the ledger a bit.

    [​IMG]

    Now from the IPCC report we see some warming in the early part of this century, then cooling in the 1940 - 1970 period and then warming again.

    [​IMG]

    Over the last two years Michael Mann and others have been under attack for their methodology on constructing the hockey stick graph 2. That attack has show significant flaws in his work which shows significant temperature variations in what should be the hockey stick handle, instead of what is effectively represneted to be a straight line.
     
    #81 Taipan, Jul 30, 2006
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  32. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Barringtons (NSW) got sufficient, if not irregular snow in the 40s, 50s for fully fledged plans and support for a chalet, trout ponds, toboggan runs... all at 1400 to 1550m. West of Port Stephens, north east of Scone.
     
  33. daj

    daj First Runs

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    >Over the last two years Michael Mann and others have been under attack for their methodology on constructing the hockey stick graph 2.

    Taipan, looks closely and you will find no one questions the result through an alterntive analysis. They simply knit-pick about whether he should have used centred or off centred PC analysis. The results doesn't change which PC analysis you use. The sceptics have had 10 years to provide an alternative picture... they have not. This is not because a lack of resources as a good scientists should be able to redo Mann's analysis on his own personal computer inside 6 months. The focus on criticism is because there is no alternative answer to be found.

    The result has been replicated dozens of times and no published alternative exists which disagres about the highly unusual 20th century warming. Ultimately it doesn't really matter anyway if it has been warmer before - we know with about 100% certainity that it was about 1C warmer than present 100,000 years ago at the peak of the last interglacial maximum. However, this is "cold" comfort as sea levels were 2-4 metres highers. A 1C higher temperature would translate into a ski season about 30 days shorter. What matters is that the current warming is human induced, and will continue as long as humans continue to enhance the greenhouse effect.

    Those with long memories will remember we were arguing about this 5 years ago. Back then it was all about the satellites showing "cooling". Now we accept the warming but argue that "well its been warm before, therefore..." This is like arguing that because we had bushfires before humans that all bushfires are natural. Do you really think this is a sound argument?

    Hill Billy
     
  34. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    No Daj you do and you would like all of us to believe the science is settled.

    Secondly Manns work is being descredited. Slowly bit by bit it is being dismantled. Scientists realizing that holly grail of enviromental support is found to be hollow, are selective distancing themselves from it.

    Its not happening quickly, but month by month, they are trying to say lets forget about that.

    Basically where they have shifted to is instead of, yes this shows that we are in the warmest period for 1000 years and humans are the cause of it, to

    Yes Manns hockey stick has flaws in it, we "think" we can rely on the last 400 years, and his methodology, peer review mechanism should have been a lot better and widely distrubuted which it wasnt, and we wish that the IPCC hadnt run it as the lead scientific fact in the 2001 report.

    Now also the list of those who have reviewed Manns work in the scientific community have a long history of co authoring papers with him. That isnt peer review at all. Its a mutal admiration society.

    Im sure you dont feel like going another 12 pages. So we will leave that till this time next year.
     
  35. daj

    daj First Runs

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    Taipan can you provide an alternative reconstruction? Why hasn't an alternative been published by the sceptics?

    The simple answer is the sceptics don't have an alternative because there is no alternative.

    Hill Billy
     
  36. D-eye

    D-eye Photographer and skier Moderator

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    Jindy isn't low level ?
     
    #86 D-eye, Jul 31, 2006
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  37. daj

    daj First Runs

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    One thing about 1991, 1992 and 1993 was that they all benefited from the greatest volcanic eruption of the 20th century - Mt Pinatubo. Global temperatures dropped by at least 0.5C following this event removing the century long warm trend for a few short years. The actual cooling effect may have been even greater as this period saw a protracted El Nino which should have lent to extra warmth in the climate.

    IMHO (and failing another large eruption) these few years will be only time in our lives that we get to experience what a pre greenhouse climate change world "felt like".

    Hill Billy
     
  38. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    We dont want to go another 4 threads and 40 pages again do we my old mate Daj. Time is on my side on this one. Truth will over years and decades eventually win out.
     
    #88 Taipan, Jul 31, 2006
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  39. BENIMUN MAXIMUS

    BENIMUN MAXIMUS First Runs

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    It is always important in these debates to not forgot that we are talking about enhanced global warming (human enhanced).

    As the planets surface temperature moves in cycles from ice age to 'hot age' and so on, we know that we are coming out of an ice-age and therefore there is natural global warming.

    The debate needs to centre around whether this enhanced affect is worth worrying about.

    But most importantly whether I can still ski on Mt Baw Baw in 5 years time !!!!
     
  40. daj

    daj First Runs

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    >We dont want to go another 4 threads and 40 pages again do we my old mate Daj. Time is on my side on this one. Truth will over years and decades eventually win out.

    You gotta being kidding me? How many more record heatwaves, record hot years, mild winters, winter droughts, and dud ski seasons do you need before your head emerges from the sand?

    The sceptics are left with little other than flaming individual scientists as all their scientific crutches have disappeared (remember the discredit MSU? The discredited belief that it was heat islands? The discredited belief that it's been cooling since 1998?) All that's left is "err, it might be a cycle because, err, w'eve had them before..." and picking on Mann....

    Hill Billy
     
  41. daj

    daj First Runs

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    >As the planets surface temperature moves in cycles from ice age to 'hot age' and so on, we know that we are coming out of an ice-age and therefore there is natural global warming.

    BENIMUN, the peak of the interglacial actually occured around 2000-5000 years ago when temperatures were prehaps as much as 1C warmer than now. They have been on a wobbly decline since then and prior to industrialisation had cooled around 1.5C from their peak. It is interesting that these temperature meant that we were in a hairs width of commencing the accumulation of an ice sheet over eastern Canada which is a key driver for ice ages through albedo feedbacks.

    Hill Billy