flooding
Australia, Environment

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

river flood
Flooded creek near where I used to live. It is normally a tiny stream which often runs dry.

For several years, Australia has languished under extreme drought and water was severely rationed; last year we experienced bushfires on an epic scale that decimated the countryside. A year later, extreme rainfall and flooding on a Noah’s Ark scale!

This is the Australian climate.

Six months of rain fell in just one day and a half. Even by Australian standards, this is severe.

10 million Australians currently under a weather warning as two major systems collide.There have been hundreds of rescues and thousands across the state have faced evacuation orders as huge downfalls have caused rivers to overflow in recent days.The BOM said every mainland state and territory except Western Australia is impacted by the weather event.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-floods-rescue-operations-mid-north-coast-people-trapped-ses/58e50cdd-27b4-4b9c-9dc5-06568e5217b5

Streets in Brisbane city regularly go under with each and every summer storm, and housing close to riverfronts may be picturesque in the drier times, but remain extremely vulnerable in summer rains and excessive rainfall, such as we are experiencing now.

This is my former local shopping centre car park. Cars floated away with the water.

flooding

In the country, the land is extremely low and flat. The floodplain for a river can be a kilometre or more wide. So there will be problems. Emergency services are busy.

  • Around 15,000 people have been evacuated on the Mid North Coast
  • 3,000 people evacuated in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley region
  • Up to 38 regions have been declared natural disaster areas
  • Severe weather warnings issued for southern and western Queensland
  • Heavy rainfall is expected to continue
  • The equivalent of all the water contained in Sydney Harbour is pouring out the country’s rivers each day.

Luckily, we are safe, good rainfall is welcome, for the minute, because all too soon it will be dry again, Very dry.

Further south, particularly in New South Wales, they are in trouble. Big trouble. There are landslips, severed flooding and roads have been cut. Communities have been declared disaster zones and are isolated by floodwater. Farm animals left to fend for themselves as people have no alternative but to leave their homes.

Event the insects are evacuating seeking higher ground.

Another one in 100 year event, is a term I am hearing on an all too regular basis.

Yet another indication of the effects of climate change. Our planet needs help again.

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surf beach with waves australia
Environment

The Future – the Facts

Photo by Trace Hudson on Pexels.com

What the future will be like is a contentious issue, as it is not about what has been, but what might happen.

There are those who choose to deny it, who find it overwhelming or depressing, who stick their heads in the sand and conversely, those who are moved to agitate about it. Which ever side of the Climate Change debate you sit upon, certain things cannot be denied and are fact.

Facts on Climate Change

  • Rising global temperatures due to Industrialization are destabilizing weather systems
  • Ice shields in Greenland and Antartica are melting and destabilizing weather systems
  • Sea levels are rising and threatening coastal and island communities
  • Extreme weather events of all varieties are rapidly increasing
  • Deforestation and habitat loss is causing a mass extinction of animal and plant species at an unprecedented level since the Dinosaur era.

Before any climate change denier or sceptic raises the point that climate change isn’t real and it’s nature doing what it normally does, global climate does, without doubt vary from year to year, decade to decade; global warming and cooling does occur naturally, but it is the UNPRECEDENTED INCREASE IN RATE of CLIMATE CHANGE that is directly attributed to ADVERSE human activity and is not sustainable.

The world as we know it could not and will not sustain more than a 2 degree rise in global temperature without dire climatic consequences.

But there is hope.

Not the faint-hearted ostrich like mentality that technology will inevitably safe us from ourselves and our environmental problems if only we wait and recycle our goods more, but hope that we can come together in an effective and collaborative global response to this human-caused threat.

Hope based on Action.

Once we act, hope is everywhere.

Greta Thunberg

Because it is a problem, caused by humans. By us. So we can fix this.

Communicating Climate Facts to the Public

The Hollywood Mad Max type future portrayed in some apocalyptic movies generates only fear, guilt, anger despair, is not at all helpful and can result in many turning a deaf ear to conversations on action or acknowledgement of climate change.

Instead, as Rebecca Huntley believes, it is inspiring to read and to see stories of hope, of action, of people overcoming odds and succeeding in small ways to making changes at a local level changing their lifestyle and damaging habits. Renewal of ecosystems, caring and nurturing animal and plant species and systems, environmentally friendly options and products, less emphasis on fossil fuels and their products.

According to Per Espen Stoknes educating people is a good first step, but it may never be enough. Presenting facts on global warming has so far not sufficiently convinced policymakers and journalists of the scale of the problem, nor the sense of urgency around it.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Climate Science

Part of the problem is that this issue is conceptually complex and the descriptions reflect a potential and somewhat vague future, not a tangible, direct event that people can see and identify.

Climate Scientists have known about these predictions since 1979 and lament that the physics and conversations have not changed, that they are simply updating the data. Yet nothing was done by Governments.

University Science students, like me, were lectured on global warming back in the 1980’s and yet, no one in the community or Government was interested in listening.

it no longer seems rational to assume that humanity, encountering an existential threat, will behave rationally.”

Nat Rich (Journalist)

To me that is a concern. A grave concern.

Are you concerned?

Do you tune out on the issue of Climate change?

Do you have hope?

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Architecture, Australia, Community, Environment

Portentous Weather Predictions: They know, So How Come We Don’t?

If you are watching any edition of Aussie news at the moment, it would not have escaped your notice that Queensland and the “Territory” are experiencing the effects of a tropical cyclone of monster proportions.

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Most of us had to wait for the Weather bureau’s radar to tell us a cyclone was bearing down on us, and exactly where it would hit, but for some, their own version of the news bulletins have been screaming warning messages for weeks. So who are these intuitive, all – knowing metereologists? Animals, and nature, of course.

For weeks, the turtles have been emerging from the creek beds and creeks, plodding ever so slowly, (well, they do have to start early, don’t they?!) on their way to higher ground.

The Cockatoos, those screeching white birds with the sulphur crest, clearly possess a sixth sense, that we humans, missed out on as they have been flying inland in flocks during the last week or so. (When there is drought, they immigrate to the cities in search of food and water). If a lot of rain is expected, they will head inland to feed on the drier grassy areas, as they are doing now.

I even heard the Kookaburras laughing their ‘heads’ off, all last week, a sure sign of the onset of rain.

And the Ants, well there are ants everywhere, and I mean everywhere they are not supposed to be, like in your kitchen cupboards, in your laundry, and even in your bed!! Someone should tell them that there are higher places to hibernate than in my low set, one-level house!

And these creatures are always correct, which is more than I can say for the Weather forecasters!! Funny to think that an animal such as a turtle, or ant could replace a tertiary-educated professional or the highly sophisticated computer software!!!

Even non-living things seem to have an edge on what the weather will do: if you cast your eye upwards and see cloud formations that look like a mare’s tail, or sheep’s wool, you can bet your bottom dollar, there will be rain within three days. Guaranteed!! The mare’s tail clouds are particularly accurate, unless you live in the tropical areas, which has a unique weather pattern all of its own.

In any case, the rain arrived yesterday, and continued all through today, unrelenting for hours and hours. There were no less than five ( clearly a bit below par as far as animal intuition goes), toads, swimming in my backyard swimming pool this afternoon. Stupid, poisonous creatures, that obviously don’t have the intelligence or intuition of the turtle! (Although the toad is an introduced pest, so perhaps I’ll excuse them for this).

So what are we doing? We batten down the hatches and await the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Marcia (anyone who has ever watched the Brady Bunch TV show is now chanting Marsha, Marsha, Marsha), and the joke is tired already!! The cyclone made landfall at Yeppoon this morning as a Category 5 – with 260 km/hr winds. It sounded like a freight train passing over,  and there is much structural damage like you see in this video.

Tropical Cyclones are severe weather systems that strike the Australian coast during the summer months. They usually consist of a central eye, in which the wind is fairly mild; there may be no or little cloud, or perhaps even sunshine. This is surrounded by a rapidly rotating low pressure storm system which produces enormous amounts of rain and wind. The systems spin clockwise, in the southern hemisphere, and counter – clockwise in the northern hemisphere.

Residents in affected areas need to stock up on candles, matches, a generator perhaps, batteries, battery operated radio, torch, non-perishable food supplies, and tape up their glass windows, as well as remove any debris in their yard that could be flung about causing damage in high winds. STAY indoors, in the strongest part of their house, perhaps under a table or in the bathroom with mattresses and blankets for protection, should the roof be blown away. Most houses built since the devastation of Cyclone Tracy, (which flattened an entire city on Christmas day 1976), are built to cyclone proof standards, but in a Category 5 cyclone, Queenslanders have had to hold and barricade doors and windows on near new homes to prevent them from blowing in!

Here is some basic information on Cyclones from Wiki:

Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately recondenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation. The strong rotating winds of a tropical cyclone are a result of the conservation of angular momentum imparted by the Earth’s rotation as air flows inwards toward the axis of rotation. As a result, they rarely form within 5° of the equator.[5] Tropical cyclones are typically between 100 and 4,000 km (62 and 2,485 mi) in diameter.

At the center of a mature tropical cyclone, air sinks rather than rises. For a sufficiently strong storm, air may sink over a layer deep enough to suppress cloud formation, thereby creating a clear “eye“. Weather in the eye is normally calm and free of clouds, although the sea may be extremely violent.[11] The eye is normally circular in shape, and is typically 30–65 km (19–40 mi) in diameter, though eyes as small as 3 km (1.9 mi) and as large as 370 km (230 mi) have been observed.[12][13]

[Marcia’s eye was 70 km wide]

The cloudy outer edge of the eye is called the “eyewall“. The eyewall typically expands outward with height, resembling an arena football stadium; this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the stadium effect.[14] The eyewall is where the greatest wind speeds are found, air rises most rapidly, clouds reach to their highest altitude, and precipitation is the heaviest. The heaviest wind damage occurs where a tropical cyclone’s eyewall passes over land.[11]

[Source: Wiki]

More photos and news on Tropical Cyclone Marcia here

I hope I don’t have to Ponder this subject again

Australia, Environment

Cyclone Oswald batters Queensland coast – Extreme weather

photo0502photo0503The last 24 hours Queensland has been battered by terrential wind and rain from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald but have all emerged fairly unscathed, however not everyone has been so lucky.

First, we had a severe summer drought, and of course, 2 weeks ago, bush fires, ( kind of goes hand in hand), then rain, and flooding, and now tornadoes on the edge of the cyclone which passed over last night. Now we know where all the rain has been hiding.  Seriously Hughie, we have had enough now, I thought – you have well and truly made your point!!! But the wind continued to howl and blow for another 24 hours. How slow moving was this cyclone?

Some homes have had no power for the last 24 hours, and so this morning we dropped off some ice, we had in the freezer, to some friends who did not have a car. Downed power lines, trees as well as minor – major flooding everywhere.

I have lived here for 42 years, never has a cyclone come down this far…. and tornadoes – WE Never have them. Can anyone really dispute the extreme weather predicted to accompany climate change?

When I saw the attached video, I thought how lucky it was that we had just returned home recently after a few days at the beach.

The below youtube video is exactly where we were staying…the sea is like  a giant washing machine and the foam and low waves cover the main road – and this was four hours prior to high tide, so we would defintely have been marooned there. No swimming and maybe no lifts! and probably no power???

A lucky escape. I hope all near and dear are ok. I will ponder so much about today. Everyone take care, there are fallen power lines everywhere!

Community

A WORD A WEEK PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEATHER

A WORD A WEEK PHOTO CHALLENGE - WEATHER

ZERMATT, Switzerland. Xmas 2011

to find out more about this photo challenge….go have a look here:

http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/a-word-a-week-photo-challenge-weather/#like-9372

Noosa National Park. The weather can be stunning....
Noosa National Park. The weather can be stunning….

 

 

The best of the Queenstown!

Fog over mountains in New Zealand, Queenstown.My apologies for the poor quality of the photo. As it is taken through the coach window. But I was concentrating wholeheartedly on the fog on the mountains, and not the foreground.