Flooding

Acacia Pepler

Acacia Pepler is a PhD student at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Climate Change Research Centre, where she studies extreme rainfall and East Coast Lows (ECLs), wild storms and their relation to climate change impacts.

Acacia Pepler initially began her career with an interest in Astronomy but her love of Science and Meteorology took over and after completing a Bachelor of Science BSc, she went on to become a PhD student, as she had always been interested also in the weather. So her current research work centres on the East Coast Lows perhaps as they are difficult to predict and can develop quickly.

As we all at times complain about weather forecast (but expect them to be accurate for a week ahead), our desire for an accurate prediction is of personal and probably superficial  nature or even can be a case of saving lives such as  with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.  

Climate change can affect East Coast Lows in many ways, for example warmer days can make a cyclone more intense, more rising sea levels which are predicted to be about 1 - 1.5 metres (but NASA has predicted as high as 3 metres by 2050), influences by the Great Dividing Range which can intensify lows up and down the Eastern seaboard can also have an effect.  Answers to these questions are being modelled not only by the Bureau of Meteorology but the Universities of Macquarie and Newcastle, whose special study relates to history and dam levels in NSW the latter of which can be related to the important topic of water security.

Whatever the development of ocean warming intense rainfall is expected to  increase with each degree of global warming particularly when interacting with  cold air in the upper atmosphere. 

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre 26/8/16)

Dr Andrew Watkins BOM

Beyond Zero talks to Dr Andrew Watkins, Senior Climatologist and the Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) manager of climate prediction, about the unusual weather we have been having lately and the current El Niño. Unlike 2014, climatologists have already observed record rivalling El Niño conditions for 2015. Dr Watkins says we have just experienced twelve consecutive weeks with temperatures more than 1°C above average in all five of the key El Niño monitoring areas. The record was previously held by the 1997 El Niño, when this widespread warming lasted eight consecutive weeks. How much of this can be attributed to climate change?

In Australia, Record Weather Fuels Climate Policy Process

In January, Australia had it all: drought, fires, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and record-breaking heat. "It's been the most challenging month in the 27 years I've been a climatologist," says Neil Plummer, assistant director of the Climate Information Service at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne.

Now, politicians will see how the astounding weather is affecting the political climate. Science, business, and other groups are weighing in on an Australian Senate effort to assess the country's readiness for extreme weather. "We want to see a more structured and strategic response to national disasters," says a spokesperson for Senator Christine Milne, the Australian Greens Party leader who pushed for the study, known as an inquiry.

There's little question the inquiry is getting more attention after last month's disasters. Several cities reached historic highs for heat, and January's average mean temperature (29.68°C) surpassed records set more than 80 years ago, in January 1932. Meanwhile, Queensland farmers estimate they've lost crops and livestock worth AUS$100 million to floods. And Queensland Premier Campbell Newman estimates economic losses from cyclone Oswald and associated tornadoes at AUS$2.4 billion. "Sadly, I think that figure will rise," he told reporters last week.

Fire, heatwaves and the climate emergency

    

Associate Professor Peter Christoff at Melbourne University and Dr Elizabeth Hanna, National Convenor - Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Human Health at  ANU and President -  Climate and Health Alliance, were among fourteen prominent Australians, scientists and academics who recently published a statement calling on Australia to cease the expansion of coal ports.

'Let's talk about coal' dares to name the greatest contribution Australia is making to climate change and the impacts we are suffering right now through the recent fires, heatwaves, floods and droughts.

Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) 2020 Land Use plan program

Bushfires, black soot, glaciers, deforestation. How do they affect the climate and what are the solutions?
BZE guest programmer Andrew Longmire interviews Dr Chris Taylor who is a Melbourne University researcher for the Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) 2020 Land Use plan.

Radio Adelaide interview

Radio Adelaide interview with Executive Director Matthew Wright from Beyond Zero Emissions, talking about the recent flooding in Queensland and its link to climate change.

For the audio of the radio interview, click here

The Daily Telegraph: Our changing climate brings flood

THE reluctance of our politicians and media to link the devastating floods in Queensland to climate change is nothing but cowardice. The science is in. We must accept the verdict that climate change leads to more frequent and severe disasters.

Denying the link between climate change and extreme weather events such as the Queensland floods is akin to the way the tobacco companies denied the link between smoking cigarettes and cancer.

Just as smoking increases the risk of cancer, emitting carbon changes our climate and increases the risk of extreme weather.

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