Tag Archives: climate change

Welcome to December

Here it is December already. Who’d a thunk? Actually, one giveaway is the faux snow in windows, a fat guy with a red coat on having his picture taken with kiddies, and endless repeats of Bing’s dreaming of a white Christmas. Good luck with that in Queensland, old man. Then again, in places the country is covered in white – but that’s ash from bushfires.

We live near that large island at the bottom of the photo. Taken by the Himawari 8 Japanese weather satellite

This has been a freakish week or two weatherwise. A thick blanket of snow (yes, real snow) fell in the Australian Alps. Sydney received 120mm (a little less than six inches) of rain in a day, causing flooding. Up North in drought-ravaged Queensland bushfires are burning out of control. Something like one hundred and forty fires, fuelled by the tinder-dry bush and urged along by strong winds. The fires are very similar to those which ravaged California last month. The BIG difference is that the area under threat in Australia is sparsely populated, so while vast swathes are burnt/burning, fewer properties are affected.

Hats off to the magnificent people who fight these monster fires. So far, only one man has died – killed by a falling tree in a back-burning operation. But thousands have been evacuated and a handful of homes have been destroyed. The fires are rated as ‘catastrophic’ – which means they can’t be controlled. Weather conditions have worsened today, with hot, dry winds fanning the flames. And there has been looting. Low-life scum.

There’s no sign of rain in our region any time soon – although a cyclone is forming off the Solomon Islands, predicted to head our way in the coming days.  That’ll be out of the frying pan into the washing machine, and the risk all the top soil will be washed away. According to the current predictions (always a dicey business with tropical cylones) it won’t hit the coast until later in the week.

And that’s all I have for this week.  Have a good weekend – or what’s left of it.

The science of climate change

Crimson sunset after a day of rain

Crimson sunset after a day of rain

Not so very long ago, before we embarked on our trip around Australia, I put forward my position on climate change ‘the religion’. Confessions of a climate change denier.

Just the other day I was sent a link to a presentation about CO2 and global warming. It was made in 2007 by the BBC, and I wish I’d watched it years ago. Whether you’re a ‘believer’ in man-made climate change or not, I urge you to give up the time to watch this program. It’s 75 minutes long but worth every second. Please ignore the rather sensational title. Scientists, eminent in their fields,  present hard scientific facts to explain what really causes climate change on planet Earth. And it isn’t the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

I have closed comments on this post. But I’ll post a few pictures anyway.

A rainbow in a rain cell, dawn, Hervey Bay

A rainbow in a rain cell, dawn, Hervey Bay

A summer storm piles up on with a tornado touching down on the horizon

A summer storm piles up on with a tornado touching down on the horizon

A red dawn at the beach

A red dawn at the beach

Mammary cloud under a huge summer storm at sunset - fortunately tracking away from us

Mammary cloud under a huge summer storm at sunset – fortunately tracking away from us

 

Climate change isn’t new

picture of Pevensey castle from the airThere’s a tendency for we humans, living in the here and now, to think things were always like that. Oh, we might acknowledge that once there was a place called Gondwana, and that it sat over the South Pole, and that continents drift on a lava ocean. But that was eons ago. Sure, geological change happens, but only over an unconscionably long time period. Recorded history isn’t like that. England was always there. Australia hasn’t moved, not really. Even the pyramids haven’t shifted much, apart from drowning in wind-blown sand.

It can be quite a shock to the system to discover that this is simply not the case.

Last year, I visited the United Kingdom, went here and there, as one does. One of the places we visited was Pevensey Castle (pictured left, from the air), down on the channel coast of England, not too far from Eastbourne. To get there, you drive along the A27, passing by Beachy Head and Dover and the Long Man on his hillside.

Like many, many fortifications, Pevensey castle has been built on over the years. A good place for a defensive structure has remained pretty much the same over the centuries and Pevensey started life as one of the nine Roman forts on the Saxon shore, standing, as it did, on an island, protecting a large harbour. Rest assured, the Celts before them would have felt the same way, as did the later Saxons. The Roman walls, for the most part, still stand. A local historian told us that attempts to break up the wall and use the pieces for later building projects were abandoned because it was too difficult, a testament to the quality of the stonework.picture of Roman walls

William the Conqueror also recognised the value of the fort. He constructed a keep within the Roman walls. It takes up a fraction of a corner, near where a bridge crossed the moat into the town.

So what makes this ruined castle so extraordinary? In 1066, the road we travelled along the sea coast would have been under water. The castle’s moat was picture of The sea gateocean, and the gate into the castle was called the ‘sea gate’. Prisoners, we were told, were disposed of by dropping them down into the walls near the gate, where they would drown, and be swept away with the tide.

The town of Battle, said to be the site of the Battle of Hastings, is not on the coast. Not anymore. It’s about 8km (5 miles) inland. Pevensey castle itself is about 1.5km from the sea.

Think on that. We’re not talking geological ages, here. Pevensey castle was on the coast less than one thousand years ago. And I think you can be reasonably sure the rise in sea level had very little to do with carbon in the atmosphere.