SOURCE- Gary Saucer-Thompson/Flickr
There is no place on earth that has witnessed the perils of Climate Change, worse than Australia. In the last 5 years there have been several summers during which day time high temperatures climbed well over 110°F in some locations. This year, what was supposed to be a relatively wet and normal summer has turned out to be a devastating drought for parts of the country. Historically, weak La Niñas tend to bring beneficial rains to cotton and grain fields. In my opinion, Climate Change and the meteorological phenomenon known as a positive Indian Dipole, has trumped that idea. Most computer models have the Indian Dipole going negative during the next few months. This would bring an increase in rain and end the recent drought. However, warming oceans in the Arabian Sea (west of India) could prevent this “blessing” from happening.
Many young people in Australia have been “let down” by some adults, politicians and the media who have apparently neglected the issue of Climate Change. To read a story about one Australian teacher’s challenge in educating her students about this topic, please read here.
Here is an excerpt — “I consider myself an innovative and engaging teacher, and looked forward to the project. It took me only the one class to realise the challenge would be a difficult one. What I discovered in speaking to students was that while they were in no way “anti-science”, headline-grabbing climate change scepticism had impacted on their faith in their own ability to understand science, highlighting what I’ve always believed to be the motivation of sceptics: the undermining of our own confidence to think and grasp ideas. It also took me little time to realize that, in general, the students felt badly let down by some adults…who they felt had neglected an issue that would soon impact negatively on their adult lives. There were moments when I felt that the project was about to fail, until I was walking along the banks of the Maribyrnong River in Melbourne’s western suburbs and came up with an idea. I began that morning’s class with a simple prompt: ‘Tell me about your river.’ ”
AUSTRALIA’S WEATHER — Made up of extremes for thousands of years
Australia has always been shaped by floods, droughts, and blistering heat. How big and how intense these events were was poorly understood due to the limited record of historical observations. However, new scientific evidence is now coming to light!
Some extraordinary contrasting climatic events have battered Australia for millennia. Are recent extreme events really worse than those in the past? There has been an ongoing debate about whether these recent weather extremes are just part of the chronicles of normal historical cycles, or linked Climate Change.
Historical records provide rough estimates of the extent and intensity of droughts in parts of Australia since the late 1700s. For example, captains’ logbooks from ships anchored off Sydney describe the Settlement Drought (1790-1793). This protracted event threatened the tenuous foothold of early European settlers on the continent. In addition, farmers’ records describe the Goyder Line Drought (1861–1866) that occurred in northern areas north.
Observational weather records provide more detailed descriptions of climatic variability. However, systematic recording of weather in Australia only began in the late 19th century. Since then, many parts of the continent have experienced prolonged wet periods and droughts. The most well known of these are the Federation drought (1895-1903), the World War II drought (1939-45), and the recent Millennium drought (1997-2009).
All three events were devastating to agriculture and the broader economy, but each was distinct in its spatial footprint, duration, and intensity. Importantly, these droughts also differed in seasonality.
In a recent paper, 800 years of seasonal rainfall patterns were reconstructed across the Australian continent. Records show that parts of Northern Australia are wetter than ever before, and that major droughts of the late 20th and early 21st centuries in southern Australia are likely without precedent over the past 400 years. This new knowledge gives a clearer understanding of how droughts and flooding rains may be changing in the context of a rapidly warming world.
Here are a few excerpts from the recent study about “historical shifts in Australia’s rainfall and temperature patterns” never recorded before in the history of mankind. This seems to offer strong proof that Climate Change is to blame for the continent’s changing climatic landscape–
“Our new study used an extensive network of tree rings, ice cores, corals, and sediment records from across Australia and the adjacent Indian and Pacific Oceans to extend rainfall records across all of the major regions of the country by between 400 and 800 years. Importantly, we did this for two seasons, the cool (April–September) season and warm (October–March) season, over eight large natural resource management regions spanning the Australian continent. This allows us to place recent observations of rainfall variability into a much longer context across the entire continent for the first time.”
The topic of Climate Change will bring about greater food, water and national security issues, not only in Australia, but across the planet.
In a final study that I found, new scientific research sheds a strange light, yet a fascinating one, about a possible link between Australian rainfall and sea salt deposits in Antarctic ice. However, these seem to suggest that present day man-made global warming could have a much greater influence on rainfall patterns in Australia that what was observed hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago. For that article, please see here
Australian content source: theconversation.com