“The fact that our climate is changing is nothing new. Climate has always changed.” –A scientist quoted by Dr Patrick Grant
The Esk Valley flood of 1938
by Tony Orman
Last month Cyclone Gabrielle came, conquered and left a path of destruction and devastation on the North Island’s east coast, particularly Hawkes Bay. As shocking as the devastation was, the warnings were there in past climatic history. Extreme weather events due to natural climate change are nothing new.
Recently a 2016 article in New Zealand Geographic (issue 142) by meteorologist Erick Brenstrum — a severe weather events specialist — was republished on-line. In it, Erick Brenstrum recalled Hawkes Bay’s Esk Valley flood of April 1938 when in three days the region was saturated.
Fifty four bridges were washed away. Widespread slips buried houses. The Esk Valley hit hard just weeks ago by Cyclone Gabrielle, was devastated in 1938, by silt up to three metres deep. An estimated 12,000 cubic metres of slips blocked the Wairoa to Napier railway.
That 1938 cyclone brought intense rain reaching 420 mm (almost 17 inches) in just 24 hours hard on the heels of record rain late January due to another tropical cyclone.
Wild weather in 1936, 1939 and 1897
Only two years earlier — in 1936 — the North Island was slammed by a tropical cyclone. Erick Brenstrum rated the 1936 storm as probably worse than the tropical cyclone storm Giselle that later hit on 10 April 1968, killing 51 passengers on the ill-fated Wahine inter-island ferry.
Yet the 1936 storm nearly had its own ferry disaster when the Rangatira, caught by the storm 9 km off the port of Lyttelton ran onto rocks, damaging its front end, resulting in the ferry being forced to reverse back to Lyttelton.
The storm ravaged the east coast of both islands. At Coromandel Peninsula a house was washed out to sea, killing the sole occupant. Four train carriages were blown off the tracks south of Palmerston North.
Extreme weather turned up in late July 1939. Incredibly snow fell from Cape Maria van Diemen in Northland to Southland. In Auckland, five centimetres of snow fell on Mt Eden. The Bombay Hills shone white for most of the morning. In Gisborne, snow fell for nearly three hours. At Paremata, just north of Wellington, eight hectares of the harbour froze over while tidal waters also froze in the Bay of Plenty.
History has recorded other storms. A severe storm struck the lower to central North Island on 16 April 1897. The ship Zuleika ran aground near Cape Palliser, east of Wellington, with the loss of 12 lives, and severe flooding. At Clive in Hawkes Bay the flooding caused the loss of a further 12 lives. There were six further unconfirmed reports of drowning, bringing the total loss of life directly related to the storm event to between 25 and 31.
The research of Patrick Grant
Tropical cyclones have been a characteristic of New Zealand’s climate since time immemorial, some decades worse than others, dependent on the cycles of climate change.
In the 1980s botanist and hydrologist Dr Patrick Grant of Hawkes Bay researched erosion causes in the Ruahine Ranges.
The motivation for his study was reading the diaries of 19th century missionary-explorer William Colenso who told of massive land slips, lifeless tangled trees in forests and stream beds choked with shingle and dead trees. This was mystifying as at the time, Forest and Bird and catchment boards had blamed the erosion on wild animals such as deer. But Colenso’s crossings of the Ruahine Range were well before the first deer were liberated.
Dr Grant wrote in his book Hawkes Bay Forests of Yesteryear, published in 1996, that the erosion Colenso saw in the 1840s “was no doubt the effects of gales and heavy rainfalls.” He scientifically identified eight “warm erosion” periods stretching back to 350–450 AD. Between warm erosion periods generally being 50 to 100 years each, “are cooler, tranquil intervals.”
“Increased warmth and storminess — are linked to wide-scale changes in atmospheric pressure — where increased tropical cyclone frequency has also been recorded.”
Drought climate extremes also featured between the eight “warm erosion” periods. Historical photos in 1919 of the Ruahine Range showed standing dead tree trunks. Dr Grant identified these as caused by droughts in 1907-08, and 1914-15 with the dryness aggravated by abnormally dry years in between 1908 and 1914.
“The dry period culminating in 1914-15 was undoubtedly the greatest drought to effect the vegetation.” Drought or storms are part of the natural climate cycles. In his book Dr Grant quoted another scientist as saying “The fact that our climate is changing is nothing new. Climate has always changed.”
Weather extremes are natural
“Climate change” extremists in 2023 blame human induced causes, such as farm stock emissions, for extreme weather i.e. cyclones and droughts. But science shows the extremes are natural and have been happening over decades, centuries and indeed millenia. Climate change (natural) through ice ages and warm periods, has always been.
Bizarrely, the government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) ignores the carbon sequestering value of pasture and in a bizarre, illogical rule, any trees or shrubs under 5 metres tall are excluded from sequestering calculations. Yet many native plants are, even at maturity, under 5 metres in height.
The ETS seems designed to be anti-farming and more a political football for urban-based Wokeist-tending Greenies and many politicians to gleefully kick about.
Hypocrisy over emissions
Hypocrisy abounds. Ironically the politicians and the urbanites leave a big carbon footprint flying regularly internationally to places such as the Gold Coast or Bali or to recent climate change talk-fests.
Governments ignore that people remain the growing problem and the greatest cause of emissions. The more people the more emissions. Yet New Zealand has no population policy.
Director-generals of the Department of Conservation and extreme green groups blame animals, both farmed and even wild. In 2007 the Department of Conservation’s director-general bizarrely blamed wild deer for farting and belching. They need to be exterminated he ranted.
Animals are an easy target. They cannot argue back in defence, but people can. Deer and cows do not vote but people do. Yet ironically it is people that are the cause of the looming environmental problem – or more particularly numbers of people.
People fart and belch just like cows and deer. Furthermore people drive cars which belch emissions and fly regularly on jet planes that fart gases and particles — which contribute to climate change. Humans demand resources, flush toilets, use chemicals and throw away garbage. Deer, sheep and cattle don’t.
Failings of central and local government
The planet cannot tolerate infinite growth in numbers of people. That is the crux of global warming. Human population is the real and bigger crisis.
Warnings about Nature’s extreme weather events were there in the storms of the 1930s and other decades such as the 1970s and 1980s decades when tropical cyclones Bola and Alison wreaked havoc. Simply meteorological history.
Despite the warnings of history, myopic policies and development by central and local governments has led to building towns on flood plains and sprawling over productive fertile soils. Wetlands which absorb rainfall have been thoughtlessly drained while the “concrete jungle” of business, industrial and urban with high run-off due to minimal absorption has aggravated the problem of flooding.
Government and local councils continue to ignore the history of continual climate change.
But questions remain. To what extent have humans changed the climate? Is the human factor insignificant? Has it been exaggerated by ignoring natural climate change? Or is the situation worse than is realised?
As for assessing exactly the human contribution to global warming, politicians and climate change advocates need to apply the equation — Natural Climate Change plus or minus Human Induced Climate Change equals the Actual Climate Change.
Footnote: Tony Orman (MNZIS) is a Marlborough-based author, conservationist, journalist and former town and country planner
This article should be compulsory reading for those brain-dead-clowns sitting in our NEW ZEALAND Parliament; along with those so called ‘experts’ around the world who continue to believe in their myopic views on climate change.
The climate change lark is nothing more than (another) con, with so many around the world not seeing the (obvious) lies of the likes of the politicians, the WEF, and the “money-grabbers”.
“1500 Scientists Say ‘There Is No Climate Emergency’ – The Real Environment Movement Was Hijacked”
Good points, Gordon. The muppets in Parliament, and the relevant lot around the world, should also read the recent article by Ian Bradford :
“Cyclones – Weather Events Not Climate”
James Shaw will be ecstatic if he reads this, I think he doesn’t think logic.
Chris Walker said:
The Green Pope will choke on his organic muesli if he ever bothers to take in the actual science for once in his pathetic existence.
“Vote Green, Vote Idiot”…
Roger Dewhurst said:
Our Minister for the Moon??????
Charles Baycroft said:
OK then, The global climate has always changed and still is.
Human activities might also contribute to the current changes but that does not mean we are causing the global climate to change.
The people in some countries generate a lot of the global greenhouse gas emmissions but the people of New Zealand DO NOT.
Our emmissions and possible effect on the global climate are insignificantly small and totally eliminating them will not have any real effect on the global climate or our local weather either.
Anyone who says that reducing our NZ “carbon footprint” will prevent future cyclones and other adverse weather events is mistaken.
NZ citizens should be told the truth about the costs of the zero carbon legislation we will be forced to pay and the potential benefits we will reveive for what we are forced to pay.
The costs will be extremely high and there will be NO BENEFITS for the people who are forced to pay the costs.
NZ citizens have real concerns about real problems like the cost of living, security of jobs, housing, medical care, education and criime that are becoming worse because our government employees cannot understand and help us deal with these problems.
Instead of dealing with our real problems, these virtue signalling pretenders we pay to work for us impose more regulations and costs on us to pretend to be protecting us from things that are not significant dangers.
If you disagree with being forced to pay more taxes and costs of living to reduce carbon emmissions that do not matter to thre global climate, stop voting for the Labour, National and Green parties and their celebrity politicians in the coming elections and HIRE SOME NEW EMPLOYEES!
Roger Dewhurst said:
Factually excellent. The absence of graphs and tables, which would have been nice for the literate, but a massive turnoff for our parliamentary buffoons, crooks and cretins, may obtain the attention of one or two of the least cretinous and/or dishonest of them.
Dave Rhodes said:
Climate hysteria has been around for decades. As one who lived through the doom and gloom of the coming ice-age forecast so vividly at the time during the ’60s and ’70s, I have watched these buffoons with interest. These same “scientists” changed their minds during the Thatcher years (possible due to Maggie wanting the Royal Society to find something to clobber those striking miners with and paying them accordingly). The Swedish “scientist” Burt Bolan, who I remember as an “ice-age cometh” protagonist actually did a U-turn to became the first chair of the IPCC. Who said a leopard cannot change its spots?
Even if you believe that the tiny trace gas CO2 has any effect on climate, it should be noted that Mother Nature churns out 97% of all CO2 emissions each year, whereas mankind produces barely 3%.
One decent volcanic eruption in just one day will release more CO2 than the Globe can save in a year.
It never ceases to amaze me just how arrogant mankind is. To believe we change the weather just by our existence is about as likely as two fleas arguing about which direction they can steer the donkey they both ride on!
Bud jones JonesQSM said:
Tony’s excellent piece here points time & again to science analysis & study reading /tabulating the results of storms.
Richard Dawkins, one of UK’s finest scientific brains has been in the country on a speaking tour, & pointedly ridiculed the Ardern/Hipkin’s”ludicrous” call to make maori knowledge,[Matauranga/Tikanga], taught alongside & equal to science in our schools. Radio NZ, [being a purchased mouthpiece of the state broadcasting propaganda lying machine]; ,not to be left out, of this self-righteous virtue signalling nonsense of fawning to maoris, tossed in their own chocolate fish of purest ignorance during Cyclone Gabrielle, during a broadcast, tells us had we listened to maori knowledge the disaster could have been avoided. Presumably from a group yet to invent the wheel they had a mechanism for shifting the country out of harm’s way. We often get criticized for laughing at the goofy stuff of maoridom,violent hand gesures,tongue wagging, foot & spear stomping , eyes bulging, they themselves provide us all the laughs one would ever need. Sadly they are busting to play out this violence as they will take over the country, voiced proudly as no secret ,[“one way or another”]!!
Bud jones JonesQSM said:
picking up from, “one way or another” above, more falls into focus:
Tribes may have sympathetic connections off shore, mercenaries, arms deals, caches,[ eg. Urewera forest militants & cells on shore??—?? $, –talks
If well organized a coup would “be like taking candy from a baby!! ”New Zeababwestan here we come.
Already most of the way there with apartheid well established now & 175 bits of legislation on the books dividing us by race.We are by legislation a maori or other.pigeon holed by the ludicrous official definition ofa maori ie. ” amaori is a person of the “maori race”,[there it is, stated in law], or a descendent of such a person.Total nonsense you can’t define anything by using its name, ie def. “table”– “a table is a table” or anything made of woodlooking like a table”.
You have just answered your census form as to race, were you them or us??preparations are underway to hand over the conservation estate,[DOC Options Working Group to implement the paper work. Rezone of all land & businesses to nationalize all assets, is just a book pencil entry before lunch, DONE; democracy long gone. Robinson—“Ruling tribes would then have the ability to give orders to Police & military 1930’s Deutschland!! “JUDEN VERBOTEN” just a change of words & you are “the juden”
Chris Godsiff said:
As our good National MP said
JUST SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE
they can’t because there isn’t any
Jack Tuhawaiki said:
Who can you trust in terms of politicians and government agencies?
Certainly not the Climate Change Messiah, James Shaw.
NIWA has reportedly been selective in collatiung data relating to storms, leaving a number out according to Ian Wishart on BFD.
Apparently NIWA is scrambling for cover and saying NIWA did not claim that Gabrielle was the strongest ever storm to pass near the North Island, only one of the strongest storms. Similarly, NIWA did not say it was caused by climate change, only that climate change was likely to be a factor in its severity.
Well, well, well.
There were severer storms than Gabrielle since NIWA says it was one of the most severe, not the most severe?
And NIWA did not say it was caused by climate change only that “climate change was likely to be a factor.” Well NIWA hasn’t taken the reality on board. As Dr Patrick Grant (quoted in original article) climate change has been a factor ever since earth began in bringing periods of cyclonic weather.
Bud jones JonesQSM said:
Just picking up again the promise by maoridom to take the country,”one way or another” I should have prefaced the statement by noting the considerable financial wallop of tribes, estimated at a growing rapidly, 70 billion. In conjunction I voiced concern there could be off shore connections,arms deals, sympathetic mercenaries on for ready call-up, on shore cells, arms cache.”training camps” like “Urewera forest, as seen before! The ordinary person on the street is likely to say, “Yeah right”! show me!”
But by definition, cells, organized camps, arms cache, covert connections, all fly under the radar! But we hunters follow a basic rule: “Just because you can’t readily see them, doesn’t mean they are not there”!
Bud jones JonesQSM said:
Remember the old “paranoia saying?
“Just because you don’t think somebody is out to get you, doesn’t mean they are not!!”