Hard to ignore the weather…

The latest satellite map available:

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And a couple of days back:

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What’s happening now:

All south-east Queensland schools will be shut today and businesses asked to close by lunchtime as ex-Cyclone Debbie nears, bringing severe thunderstorms, torrential rain and flash flooding…

“We are looking at some totals in excess of 400mm about the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hinterland and the Great Dividing Range,” BOM forecaster Matt Bass said….

Gale force winds are being forecast for the south-east corner today, up to 120kph in coastal and elevated areas, and more than 700 homes have lost power in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said shops should shut early today…

Live updates. Looks as if Sirdan in Gympie may be getting some of that rain — I just checked the BOM 256 km Gympie (Mt Kanigan) Radar Loop. And here for our part of the world (NSW) is the current weather warning. It is now raining in Wollongong, but not heavily.

Issued at 4:58 am Thursday, 30 March 2017.

HEAVY RAIN IN THE NORTHEAST DURING THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.
DAMAGING WINDS ALONG THE COASTAL FRINGE NORTH OF SYDNEY THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.

SYNOPTIC SITUATION:
A low pressure system over central-eastern Queensland and a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea are dragging a humid tropical air mass over parts of NSW. Heavy rainfall over northeastern NSW is likely during Thursday and Friday as a cold front approaches from the southwest and interacts with this humid airmass.

HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is expected over northern parts of the coast during Thursday and Friday. HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is also possible over northern slopes and ranges on Thursday.

24 hour totals in excess of 100 mm are expected over the Northern Rivers district during Thursday, and it is likely that some locations will exceed more than 250 mm. 24 hour totals exceeding 100 mm during Thursday are also possible over parts of the northern ranges and slopes, and parts of the Mid North Coast.

Thunderstorms may develop with this system and could amplify rainfall.

Recently saw David Attenborough’s 2006 doco again

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Or do you prefer such as Andrew Bolt on the subject? Or anyone else who constantly mutters “warmist” or “alarmist”? David Attenborough is interesting as he began as a sceptic, this 2006 documentary being his clearest statement to that date of his current view. It is definitely worth watching the whole two hours still.

Attenborough had confessed to previously being sceptical about the belief that global warming is predominantly caused by humans. But now, he argued, the evidence of it was too overwhelming to ignore. He became sure of it when he saw graphs provided by climatologists that demonstrated the link between increasing temperatures and the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, with the growth in population and industrialisation:

I was absolutely convinced this was no part of a normal climatic oscillation which the Earth has been going through and that it was something else.

…This is our planet: planet Earth. It contains an astonishing variety of landscapes and climates. Since life began, around 4,000 million years ago, it has gone through extraordinary changes in its climate and in the species that live on it. But now it seems that our planet is being transformed — not by natural events, but by the actions of one species: mankind.

— David Attenborough’s opening narration

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All that is a prelude to commending Australia’s record-breaking summer heat linked directly to climate change and A look at the recent record high temperatures in Australia.

There were three distinct heat waves in southeast Australia during January and February, with the highest temperatures recorded from February 9th to the 12th. For much of the country, the heat peaked on the weekend of February 11th and 12th, when many places hit upwards of 113°F (45°C). The 2016-2017 heatwaves broke long-standing records in central New South Wales that were originally set back in January of 1939 …

The WWA team and colleagues from the University of New South Wales conducted a rapid attribution analysis to see how climate change factored into the exceptionally warm summer (December to February) of 2016-2017. The team also looked at the hottest three-day average February temperatures in Canberra and Sydney….

The team then looked at the maximum summer temperature for New South Wales… Based on climate model simulations (weather@home and CMIP5) and observational data analysis (ACORN-SAT), maximum summer temperatures like those seen during 2016-2017 are now at least 10 times more likely in the current climate than in the past, before global warming began. In the past, a summer as hot as 2016-2017 was a roughly 1 in 500-year event. Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1 in 50 years – a 10-fold increase in frequency. Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1 in 50 years – a 10-fold increase in frequency. In the future, a summer as hot as this past summer in New South Wales is likely to happen roughly once every five years. In addition, climate change has increased the intensity of an exceptionally hot summer like this by roughly 1ºC (1.8°F). In the future, the intensity increases by roughly 2°C (3.6°F)….

For Sydney, a coastal city, the effect of climate change on this heat wave is less clear. Observations show that climate change increased the chance of such a heat wave occurring, but the high year-to-year variability makes identifying a clear human influence more difficult.

The Future

The heat seen this past summer across parts of Australia is still rare in our current climate. However, if greenhouse gas emissions are not dramatically reduced, intense summer heat will become the norm in the future.

For Further Information Contact:

 

Well, the mad uncle is out of the attic now…

That quote from an Australian government minister refers to the latest self-promotion by former but currently disgruntled Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

Tony Abbott has told Liberal defector Cory Bernardi he hasn’t given up hope of a return to leadership, but would not make a public tilt for Malcolm Turnbull’s job…

Mr Abbott’s supporters are describing the Turnbull government as ‘the Malcolm vanity project’, a reference the former PM alluded to in a speech…

A Liberal minister has told Sky News Mr Abbott has little support in the party room for any challenge.

‘Well, the mad uncle is out of the attic now. But Abbott’s got no support,’ the minister said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who was a strong supporter of Mr Abbott throughout his prime ministership, told Sky News he was saddened by his decision to provide ‘more and more destructive’ commentary.

‘He’s not helping our cause, he’s not helping our country, he’s not helping himself, much of what he says is either wrong or inconsistent with what he did,’ Senator Cormann said….

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See also Tony Abbott’s five-point plan for the ‘winnable’ next election will infuriate Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott: Coalition in danger of becoming ‘Labor lite’

FORMER Prime Minister Tony Abbott has penned a highly critical analysis of the Turnbull Government, highlighting voter “despair” and concerns “the Coalition has become Labor lite.”

In a stark manifesto, the leader of the Liberal Party’s Right said the next election was winnable and outlined his own plan that would take the Coalition to victory, from “scaled back immigration”, to scrapping the Human Rights Commission and ending the pandering to climate change theology.

Mr Abbott also acknowledged the disappointment in his own Government and said he could understand why support was surging for One Nation….

Suggesting policy changes, Mr Abbott declared: “The next election is winnable.”

Controversially, he suggested the Government “scrap” the Human Rights Commission and refuse to be an ATM for the states, to allow micro-economic reform in schools and hospitals.

“If we stop pandering to climate change theology and freeze the RET, we can take the pressure off power prices,” he said.

But see also Tony Abbott’s spray against Turnbull Government policies dismissed by senior ministers.

Tony Abbott has certainly guaranteed that I will never support him or his approach, but that is hardly surprising. Take his pandering to the denialists with “we stop pandering to climate change theology.” Goes down well with the house columnists at the Telegraph of course. But such phraseology is so quaint in 2017. I commend Skeptical Science again, explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation. And here is one for Catholic Tony:

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Hot Sunday

This morning in The Gong it is a comfortable 18C, and yesterday was not too bad. But statewide and indeed in just about all Eastern Australia we had this.

Meteorologists were predicting NSW would set a state-wide record for February warmth during the current heatwave but few would have tipped the mark would be broken two days in a row.

The blast of summer heat has placed south-eastern Australia on the map as the hottest place on the planet.

Residents of Richmond saw the mercury climb to 47 degrees on Saturday, placing the town on the north-west fringe of Sydney within less than a degree of the title of global hot spot – Ivanhoe Airport recorded a maximum of 47.6 degrees.

Before Friday, NSW had never had a February day above 42 degrees, based on averaged maximums in the state, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

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And over 80 bushfires mainly in the northern half of the state.

Most of the small community of Uarbry has been wiped out by a bushfire burning near Dunedoo, residents say, as the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) continues to battle blazes across the state.

Residents told the ABC nine of the dozen or so homes in the community were destroyed when the Sir Ivan fire bore down on them yesterday.

Paul Devonian was supplying bulk water to fire crews on the ground and said the conditions were the worst he had seen in 25 years of fighting fires.

“You couldn’t walk forward, it’d near blow you backwards, the wind,” he said…

The mercury in Walgett, near the Queensland boarder, reached 47.9 degrees Celsius yesterday while Taree (45.7C), Port Macquarie (46.5C) and Kempsie (46.4) also set new benchmarks.

Firefighters were not helped by firebugs, authorities said.

A man, 40, was charged after allegedly lighting a bushfire at Mangrove Creek, on the Central Coast today. He was refused bail…

And in Queensland: Queensland heatwave brings record temperatures and odd sea creatures. But in Western Australia: Perth weather: Record rainfall as over 100mm falls in 24 hours.

On Saturday Jim Belshaw noted:

While I generally accept the arguments about climate change, including the role human related emissions are playing in the process, my experience with previous heatwaves and the response to them makes me very cautious about attributing particular climatic events to climate change. It has lead to some very silly policy responses, especially in NSW. What we can certainly say is that this type of heat forces behavioral responses including cancellation of sporting events, a rush to buy fans and air-conditioners and to get some place cool. In turn, this has placed some pressure on the electricity supply system.

I live in a house without air-conditioning or, indeed, any fans. I’m also working from home at the moment, so the heat is especially trying. For that reason, my only practical response lies in managing the house to create breezeways and minimise sun impacts.

Climate change was not the main thrust of Jim’s post, but I do commend to you this from the Scientific AmericanYes, Some Extreme Weather Can Be Blamed on Climate Change.

..how do scientists know that global warming influenced a specific event? Until recently, they couldn’t answer this question, but the field of “attribution science” has made immense progress in the last five years. Researchers can now tell people how climate change impacts them, and not 50 or 100 years from now—today.

Scientific American spoke with Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, about how attribution science works and why it’s a critical part of helping communities prepare for and adapt to climate change…

ARE SCIENTISTS MORE CONFIDENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE’S CONTRIBUTION TO CERTAIN TYPES OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS VERSUS OTHERS?

There are events where we expect to see an increase, like heat waves and extreme rainfall. In particular, the signal is already quite large with heat waves. Other events are much more complicated. With droughts, for example, the feedback with the land surface plays a huge role, and the atmospheric circulation plays a much more important role. There are also events like hurricanes, where you need very high-resolution models to be able to say something about it—that’s a situation where the technology is just not there yet.

Just saw this on New Scientist:

Homo sapiens now rivals the great forces of nature. Humanity is a prime driver of change of the Earth system. Industrialised societies alter the planet on a scale equivalent to an asteroid impact. This is how the Anthropocene – the proposed new geological period in which human activity profoundly shapes the environment – is often described in soundbites.

But is it possible to formalise such statements mathematically? I think so, and believe doing this creates an unequivocal statement of the risks industrialised societies are taking at a time when action is vital.

Following the maxim of keeping everything as simple as possible, but not simpler, Will Steffen from the Australian National University and I drew up an Anthropocene equation by homing in on the rate of change of Earth’s life support system: the atmosphere, oceans, forests and wetlands, waterways and ice sheets and fabulous diversity of life…

 

Melting in The Gong, but great Saturday lunch

Yes, records just keep tumbling. Mind you, yesterday wasn’t quite as hot here in Wollongong as it was in much of NSW. We managed to stay under 40C. But the humidity! I really am melting, especially at night. On the other hand my nephew Warren rang on Thursday from near Lightning Ridge, where he now lives. In the shade there it was 46, and in his shed 53!

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And for The Gong, this look back at the times Wollongong resembled a scene from a blockbuster doomsday movie.

Chris T and I returned to Wollongong’s best halal Lebanese restaurant on Saturday. Great food, lovely people. Last time we were there was in January: Extreme contrast, and yesterday at Samaras again.

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Meal mates: Samaras Restaurant owner Omar Nemer and community leader Grahame Gould are promoting tolerance through eating.

Among his supporters is community leader Grahame Gould, who is urging other Illawarra residents, business people and prominent figures to show zero tolerance for racism by attending an #illeatwithyou lunch at Samaras on Wednesday.

“I want to stop racist boycotts in their tracks; I want to show zero tolerance for that attitude within the community,” Mr Gould said. “It’s about fairness to individuals and giving people a fair go, which is a core Australian ideology.

“The Illawarra is becoming a region that has great diversity and … that is an important part of us having a great life, a vibrant community and a successful future.”

Mar 2015