From Jim Steele
Recently the ambulance-chasing commentator for a DemocracyNow video highlighted the tragic Lahaina fire by opening with “100 deaths and likely far more and linked to the climate crisis” suggesting the fire was was due to climate change drought.
For proof, she interviewed Michael Mann who initiated the climate crisis meme decades ago. Accordingly, Michael Mann reinforced her fear mongering link between fires and climate change, stating climate change increased a naturally occurring pressure gradient causing high winds that “interacted with epic drought”. His first big lie was blaming an epic drought. My attached illustrations present data for Maui County from the US Drought Monitor for the recent 8 years. Unlike Mann, Data Doesn’t Lie. An internet link is provided which includes the longer time series showing how Maui’s droughts oscillate every 4 to 6 years.
Please notice Maui‘s droughts are also seasonal. White and yellow spaces represent times of no drought, typically seen during the rainy season from December to February. Extreme and Exceptional droughts (perhaps Mann’s epic drought?) are the dark reds. The website is interactive, allowing you to see exactly what percentage of Maui County was in drought on any day for 23 years. My redlines represent 4 dates linked to the bottom row of four boxes showing the percentages of Maui County with each classification of drought intensity for that day.
My blue box highlights May 10, 2023. Notice there were zero droughts and no abnormally dry conditions. Red boxes represent similar dates as the Lahaina fire on August 8th. Maui’s rainless periodtypically lasts from about May 25 to end of July, so early August is typically dry. Yet there were no Extreme or Exceptional droughts on August 8, 2023. Only 15.9% of Maui experienced severe drought, while 64% experienced no droughts at all. Hmmmm, so what was Mendacious Mike talking about?
Clearly, Maui droughts are due to localized moisture conditions. Maui County is just 1,161 square miles, about the size of the small state of Rhode Island. When just 185 square miles experienced severe drought, you need to be brainwashed to believe global warming and evaporation caused Mann’s not so epic drought. Furthermore, Lahaina is naturally dry, situated on the leeward side of Maui’s mountains that wring out the moisture carried by the trade winds. Only 15” of rain fall in Lahaina each year compared to 300” on the mountains to the east.
Finally, the invasive grasslands that carried the deadly fire into Lahaina are dead in August and only require a half day of dry conditions to become highly flammable. It’s ridiculous to blame a hundred years of CO2 global warming for the abundance of invasive grasses that dry in one day. But Mendacious Mike never mentioned that fact. Fortunately, several honest research papers have warned Maui residents that they must manage the abandon sugar cane and pineapple fields to eliminate that build-up of fire fuel by invasive grasses. Unfortunately, governments did not act on their science.
Mann’s second big lie abused his typical half-truths to suggest the climate crisis caused a bigger pressure gradient that brought abnormally high winds. Being the furthest Hawaiian island to the north, Maui is affected by stronger northern trade winds that intensify as the normal high-pressure system strengthens each summer. Maui’s topography further intensifies those winds through the mountain valleys. Strong downslope wind events reaching 80 to 100 mph every 8-12 years have “demolished buildings, overturned large power transmission line towers, and uprooted trees.” Once or twice a year strong but more moderate winds occur. During the fire, 30 to 40 mph winds with gusts up yo 67 mph fanned the flames. These winds got a special name, the Lahaina Winds. Locals also call them “Lehua winds” after the red blossoms of the ʻōhiʻa lehua tree that shower the landscape during such events. The Lehua winds have been officially reported in the 1995 “A Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands” and in 1985 research reports. Even the http://maui-vacation-expert.comwrites about these Violent Winds on Maui.
Ninety-eight percent of Maui’s fires are started by human carelessness. Their extent is fueled by bad landscape management. Nonetheless Mann blames natural climate dynamics for this tragedy. It is like blaming the ocean for a man’s drowning, when his poor seamanship capsized his boat, and he didn’t bring a life jacket. But Mann will keep repeating such big lies until he gets dumb politicians to only accept his bogus opinions. Beware people!