Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Australian summer lurches from fire to floods
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Jan 29, 2013

From bushfires raging in searing tinder-dry conditions to surging floodwaters and destructive tornadoes, Australia has witnessed staggering climate extremes during its summer of 2013.

Already this month the country's largest city Sydney has endured its hottest day on record, a 45.8 degree Celsius (114.4 Fahrenheit) scorcher during a heatwave so extreme heat scales on government forecast maps had to be redrawn.

Just a week later, ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald dumped torrential rain on coastal areas of Queensland, leaving four people dead, swamping 2,000 homes and forcing dramatic rooftop rescues of those trapped by the deluge.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who on Monday toured bushfire-hit areas in southeastern Victoria state even as turbid floodwaters swamped the nation's northeast, said the contrast was not lost on her.

"I was looking at blackened landscape, burnt trees, black earth; saw some homes that were just completely destroyed," she told ABC Radio.

"They were the images in my eyes directly yesterday, and then whenever I saw an image coming from Queensland, it's of wild weather and cascading water... flooded homes..."

"Doesn't that say something about Australia? If you had the ability to take some water from one part and just put it on another part and put those fires out in Victoria, then you would. But life's not like that."

Climate change expert David Karoly, an adviser to the government's Climate Commission, said while there have always been floods and fire in Australia, recent events were consistent with global warming and could become more frequent with climate change.

"On average, over a number of years, we would expect more heavy rainfall and more hot extremes and more extreme bushfire weather conditions," he told AFP.

"So Australia is a land of drought and flooding rains, yes. More droughts and worse flooding rains."

Australia experienced an extended period of exceptionally widespread hot weather in January, resulting in the nation experiencing its hottest day on record on January 7 with the average maximum temperature hitting 40.3 degrees.

"It was a very extreme event, a very unusual event," said Markus Donat, a climate researcher at the University of New South Wales, adding that the dices were loaded for more of the same due to global warming.

"Of course in a warmer world you will have more days exceeding the threshold for unusual temperatures," he said. "The probability of a warm extreme event becomes higher."

The hot weather exacerbated bushfires in Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria, destroying more than 100 homes, and saw the weather bureau introduce new colours to its weather scale to cover projections for new high forecasts.

Separately, tropical Cyclone Oswald touched down on the Queensland coast, and after it was downgraded the storm brought high winds, torrential rains and even, to the east coast town of Bundaberg north of Brisbane, tornadoes.

Australia has weathered unprecedented natural disasters in recent years, with 173 people perishing in the 2009 bushfires in Victoria and floods in Queensland in 2011 claiming 35 lives and causing millions of dollars in damage.

With some areas flooding in Queensland just two years after they went under water in the 2011 disaster, the question of climate change and urban planning has arisen.

Barbara Norman from the University of Canberra said a focus should be coastal areas, where some 85 percent of Australia's 23 million population live and which are vulnerable to weather extremes such as cyclones and tidal surges.

"It is time to respect our coastal environments and better plan for extreme weather to protect our coastal communities and habitat," she said.

"We are living with environmental change and we simply cannot afford to continue to develop in areas that are at very significant risk."


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Philippines typhoon victims need more help: UN
Manila (AFP) Jan 25, 2013
The United Nations launched an appeal Friday for more international aid to help nearly a million people in the Philippines as they recover from last year's deadliest typhoon in the world. The UN said it needed another $48.6 million to give "immediate life-saving assistance" to survivors of Typhoon Bopha, which killed 1,060 people and left more than 800 others missing in the south of the coun ... read more

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

Is there life on Mars?

Opportunity At Work At Whitewater Lake

Thawing Dry Ice Drives Groovy Action On Mars

Mars Rover Curiosity Uses Arm Camera at Night

TDRS-K Offers Upgrade to Vital Communications Net

How to predict the future of technology

Iran Manufacturing Hi-Tech Spacesuits

TDRS-K Offers Upgrade to Vital Communications Net

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

NASA to Send Inflatable Pod to International Space Station

ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

Russia Set for Year's First Baikonur Space Launch Feb. 5

First Ariane 5 For 2013 Ready For Loading

Azerspace And Africasat-1a "fit" for Ariane 5 launch

NASA Selects Experimental Commercial Suborbital Flight Payloads

The Origin And Maintenance Of A Retrograde Exoplanet

New Evidence Indicates Auroras Occur Outside Our Solar System

Glitch has space telescope shut down

Earth-size planets common in galaxy

Laser-Plasma Process Gives Nanohybrid Remarkable Properties

DNA and quantum dots: All that glitters is not gold

Liquid metal makes silicon crystals at record low temperatures

Supercomputer sets computing record

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement