Pyro-terrorism Rising

Almost 12 years ago a terrorist attack at Glasgow Airport, designed to kill hundreds of holidaymakers, was foiled.
It was the first time that Scotland had been targeted by a pyro-terrorist attack.

A Jeep Cherokee loaded with petrol cans and propane gas tanks driven into the doors at Glasgow passenger terminal in 2007. Image courtesy of the  BBC

A Jeep Cherokee loaded with petrol cans and propane gas tanks driven into the doors at Glasgow passenger terminal in 2007. Image courtesy of the BBC

The two terrorists had previously planned two attacks in London, using two cars, packed with gas cylinders , petrol and thousands of nails. After these attacks failed, the two terrorists then decided to launch a suicide attack on Glasgow airport.
Both terrorists were captured in the Glasgow attack, however, one died within a month from burns to 90% of his body. The surviving team member, Bilal Abdulla faced court where the judge, addressing the London attack stated;

"Your murderous intent was best shown by the obstructing of the safety mechanisms on two of the cylinders and by the 800-plus nails in one car and 1,000 in the second, designed to do nothing else but constitute a deadly form of shrapnel to maim, injure and kill."

Fire as a Weapon of War

The use of fire is nothing new in war-fighting operations. Perhaps the most famous is Greek Fire and its composition is still a mystery, centuries after its recipe was lost.
Greek fire was first used to great effect by the Byzantine Empire in defence of Constantinople in 678 AD.

A Byzantine ship uses Greek fire against a ship of the rebel,  Thomas the Slav , in 821 AD. This 12th century illustration is from the  Madrid Skylitzes

A Byzantine ship uses Greek fire against a ship of the rebel, Thomas the Slav, in 821 AD. This 12th century illustration is from the Madrid Skylitzes

In the early 20th Century white phosphorus was used in artillery shells, bombs and grenades.

Air-burst of a white phosphorus bomb over the USS Alabama during a test exercise conducted by General Billy Mitchell, September 1921. Image courtesy of  War History Online

Air-burst of a white phosphorus bomb over the USS Alabama during a test exercise conducted by General Billy Mitchell, September 1921. Image courtesy of War History Online

The Churchill Crocodile flame-throwing AVRE in bunker busting ops. Image courtesy of  Wikipedia

The Churchill Crocodile flame-throwing AVRE in bunker busting ops. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

War-fighting weapons [as seen above] have traditionally been invented, developed and produced by nation states. The military forces of these nations once held tight control over access to these weapons, ensuring that they do not fall into the ‘wrong hands.’
With the recent rise in proxy wars and asymmetric warfare, lethal military grade weaponry is increasingly used terrorist cells against unarmed civilians.
Incendiary devices, whether improvised or of rudimentary design are now also being deployed.
The evidence is for everyone to see as our communities, forests, landscapes and heartlands burn.

Fire as a Weapon of Terror

The 2008 attack by 10 terrorists from Lashkar-i-Tayyiba in Mumbai, India, using automatic weapons, explosives and fire has been described as a ‘paradigm shift’ by analysts.

Over three days, a city of nearly 14 million was held hostage while 166 people were murdered in multiple locations across the city, introducing a new model for terrorist attacks. The nature of the Mumbai attack confused those providing tactical response, rescue operations, fire extinguishment and mass casualty care.

The iconic Mumbai Taj Mahal Palace hotel burns during the November 2008 terror attack. Image courtesy of  Arko Datta / Reuters

The iconic Mumbai Taj Mahal Palace hotel burns during the November 2008 terror attack. Image courtesy of Arko Datta / Reuters

Spain and Portugal

The BBC reports that the October 2017 wildfires in Spain and Portugal were terrorist events.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy travelled to the Pontevedra area of Galicia and met emergency workers on Monday afternoon.

“What we are dealing with here is something that is not caused by accident. It has been provoked,” Mr Rajoy said.

“We are here in Pazos de Borden where there has been a big fire which began at 01:30 (22:00 GMT) in the morning at five different points. So as you can see it’s impossible for this to be triggered under natural circumstances.”

Galician leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo has claimed the fires were deliberately set by arsonists, in what he called “terrorist acts”.

Earlier, Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said several people had already been identified in connection with the fires, and appealed for anyone with further information to share it with the national protection service.

In the earlier June 2017 wildfires, 64 people were killed with more than 130 injured.
Firefighters involved in this operation claimed that these fires had been started by a “criminal hand.”

Greece

In the summer of 2007, Greece suffered from the worst wildfires in decades. With the outbreak of some 3,000 forest fires that destroyed large parts of Greece, officials ordered an investigation into the arson attacks.

The public order ministry said Dimitris Papangelopoulos, who is responsible for prosecuting terrorism and organised crime, ordered the investigation to determine "whether the crimes of arsonists and of arson attacks on forests carried out in the country during the summer of 2007" could come under Greece's anti-terrorism law.

Burned cars in a field near Artemida. Image courtesy of  Milos Bicanski/Getty

Burned cars in a field near Artemida. Image courtesy of Milos Bicanski/Getty

In July, 2018, the death toll from a wildfire which ripped through Mati, a small seaside village near Athens, reached 80 with 187 injured. The village was a popular with local and international tourists.

An aerial view shows burned houses and trees in the seaside village of Mati – Greece. Image courtesy of  Reuters/Eurokinissi

An aerial view shows burned houses and trees in the seaside village of Mati – Greece.
Image courtesy of Reuters/Eurokinissi

So rapid was the fire onslaught that survivors recall the mass panic as they rushed to the only safe area – the nearby beach. Around 250 – 300 people eventually found sanctuary there for about 5 hours before rescuers arrived.

"Some were burned, some were near fainting from the smoke and the flames. Groups of us, we were holding each other by the hand and shouting each other's names, because we could not see from the smoke."

Many people were trapped along the clifftops and perished, unable to get down to the beaches. Image courtesy of  AFP/Getty

Many people were trapped along the clifftops and perished, unable to get down to the beaches. Image courtesy of AFP/Getty

Wildfires also raged across other parts of Greece, including Kineta and Marathon, where 600 children were evacuated from holiday camps.

Officials questioned whether the fires could have been criminal events and supreme court prosecutors opened an investigation.

Global Warming

There are many claims that the rise in wildfire frequency, intensities and devastation are a result of global warming.

The Conversation presents this graph ~ stating that it illustrates the differences in forest destruction with and without the effects of climate change. Image courtesy of  The Conversation

The Conversation presents this graph ~ stating that it illustrates the differences in forest destruction with and without the effects of climate change. Image courtesy of The Conversation

This report from NASA states that our planet has warmed by about 0.8deg C since 1880.

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880.
Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.

The Conversation reports that climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California. The authors also outline the following problems in managing forests to prevent wildfires.

The challenge is to optimize forest benefits through innovative management techniques that can also help reduce wildfire risks. Often, intentional “prescribed” burns can be used to restore forests to a more natural, healthy state by reducing buildups of dead vegetation and underbrush.

Unfortunately, climate change is making some prescribed fires harder to conduct safely. And increasingly people object to putting surrounding forests, buildings and communities at risk during prescribed burns, as well as the impacts of smoke, particularly for those with respiratory issues.

This article omits arson, pyro-terrorism or human-caused wildfire acts as a primary driver for the rise in wildfire devastation.

This article omits actions by Middle Eastern nations to build desalination plants, producing plentiful & affordable water resources, to drought-proof their lands.

Click on link below


Comment #1
The reference about ‘prescribed fires harder to conduct safely’ refers to the Cerro Grande prescribed fire in Bandalier National Monument which escaped containment lines on 10 May 2000. This was the most destructive wildfire that New Mexico has known.

Question:  Why was a prescribed fire started without proper weather analysis and interpretation?
The report states that;

In its most extreme state on May 10, the Cerro Grande Prescribed Fire was carried by very high winds, with embers blowing a mile or more across the fire lines to the north, south, and east, entering Los Alamos Canyon towards Los Alamos, New Mexico. The towns of Los Alamos and White Rock were in the fire’s path and more than 18,000 residents were evacuated.

Clearly this prescribed fire was started when attending firefighters suddenly faced the most dangerous weather conditions imaginable.

The report continues;

The fire swept across 47,000 forested acres in Bandelier National Monument, the Santa Fe National Forest, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos County, and the Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Indian Reservations, causing about $1billion in property damage.
Over 280 homes were destroyed or damaged and 40 Laboratory structures burned.

After almost 20 years of research and development, there is a new paradigm in conducting wildfire operations.
Wildfire combat vehicles, featured in another part of this blog, had not yet been invented.

Click this link below.

Comment #2

“People object to…….. impacts of smoke, particularly those with respiratory diseases.”

There is a  simple solution. People choosing to live in forest areas may purchase a suitable face mask. Incorporating eye protection and filters, smoke and particulate matter will be eliminated, enabling satisfactory breathing.
This full-face mask below is provided as an illustration only.

The Dräger X-plore® 5500 full face mask

The Dräger X-plore® 5500 full face mask

People with respiratory diseases have the option of acquiring full medical breathing apparatus [BA] equipment as directed by their physician. This equipment should meet international standards such as ISO 9001 and EU certification.

Medical breathing apparatus {BA] equipment such as this are for illustrative purposes only. Note the various international compliance standards for this particular item.

Medical breathing apparatus {BA] equipment such as this are for illustrative purposes only. Note the various international compliance standards for this particular item.

Greenland Ice Core Temperatures for the Past 10,000 years

The age of Planet Earth has been estimated at 4.54 billion years old. To properly determine if the planet is getting warmer, colder or just fluctuating according to solar cycles, measurement of temperatures over extended periods is much more accurate than shorter period analysis.

The references below about Greenland Ice Cores are provided courtesy of the Jo Nova blog. Additional material can also be found on Joanne’s blog.

To detail the more recent prehistoric temperature changes, scientists have drilled a number of ice cores in ancient glacial ice.  Paleo-temperature data from ice cores is considered to be our best continuous record of temperatures on the planet for time-spans up to about 420,000 years ago. 

Annual layering in undisturbed glacial ice allows us to precisely date the layers, and gives us a very accurate time and temperature sequence.
The US government drilled the GISP 2  ice core in central Greenland over a five-year period, and the data is available here.  
This data set is useful because it reports temperatures (measured by oxygen isotopes) every 10 to 60 years — a good resolution.  I sometimes see graphs of ice-core temperatures or greenhouse gasses that are based on measurements every 1,000 or 2,000 years: not nearly close enough together for comparisons that are useful today. I downloaded and graphed these data in Excel myself.
The following graphs have a time scale in years Before Present (BP).

The above graph of temperature from the ice core for the last 10,000 years (the current interglacial period) shows that  Greenland is now colder than for most of that period (vertical scale in degrees C below zero).

The above graph of temperature from the ice core for the last 10,000 years (the current interglacial period) shows that Greenland is now colder than for most of that period (vertical scale in degrees C below zero).

We can see the Medieval Warm Period  800 to 1,000 years ago was not particularly warm, and the Little Ice Age 150 to 650 years ago was one of the longest sustained cold periods during this interglacial.
We are now recovering from this abnormal cold period, and the recovery started long before anthropogenic greenhouse gases were produced in any quantity.
The curved  trend line in green shows that we have been experiencing declining temperatures for the past 3,000 years, and are likely to be heading down toward the next ice age.

Temperatures are only considered to be increasing if viewed for the last 150 years, from 1850 onward, which is roughly when thermometers began collecting global data, and is also the period of time the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has chosen for its review.

The red portion of the curve is the recovery from the Little Ice Age.

The amount of 20th century warming is unknown, since it was recently revealed that unknown portions of the international temperature databases have been tampered with, and the amount and extent of the tampering has not been publicly documented. It is likely that some warming has continued into the 20th century, but it is also likely that the amount of warming is not as great as the 0.6 degrees C that the global warming advocates would lead us to believe.

Our current warming is well within natural variation, and in view of the general decline in temperatures during the last half of this interglacial, is probably beneficial for mankind and most plants and animals.
The graph clearly shows the Minoan Warming (about 3200 years ago), the Roman Warming (about 2000 years ago), and the Medieval Warm Period (about 900 years ago). 
Great advances in government, art, architecture, and science were made during these warmer times.

Modern Australian Temperature Records

As the Greenland Ice Cores indicate, global temperatures have changed all through the ages.
Recent temperatures across Australia have been reported as increasing in the past few years. This report by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology [BoM] states;

2018 was Australia's third-warmest year on record (the national temperature dataset commences in 1910). Australia's area-averaged mean temperature for 2018 was 1.14 °C above the 1961–1990 average. Maximum temperatures were the second-warmest on record at 1.55 °C above average, coming in behind +1.59 °C in 2013. Minimum temperatures were 0.73 °C above average, the 11th-warmest on record.

Contrast the above BoM report with newspaper reports of January, 1896 when the nation was burning “like a furnace.”

In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). The maximum at or above 102 degrees F (38.9°C) for 24 days straight.

This deadly heatwave went on for weeks.

By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains.

These weather conditions caused large numbers of deaths across the Australian colonies and were clearly recorded as an unprecedented catastrophe.

It got hotter and hotter and the crowded trains ran on more days of the week

This article from The Warwick Examiner, 29 January, 1896 adds to the body of evidence.

Article from The Warwick Examiner dated 29 January, 1896

Article from The Warwick Examiner dated 29 January, 1896