Showing posts with label weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weather. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Food crises will affect tens of millions of people across the world this year, researchers warn

Reuters, 2 April 2019:

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Food crises will affect tens of millions of people across the world this year, researchers warned on Tuesday, after war, extreme weather and economic woes in 2018 left more than 113 million in dire need of help.

Conflict and insecurity were responsible for the desperate situation faced by 74 million people, or two-thirds of those affected, in 2018, said the Global Network against Food Crises in its annual report.

The Network’s members include the United Nations’ Food aand Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme, and the European Union.

Analyzing 53 countries, it uses a five-phase scale with the third level classified as crisis, fourth as emergency and fifth as famine/catastrophe.

Luca Russo, FAO’s senior food crises analyst, warned that millions more are now at risk of reaching level three and above.

“The 113 million is what we call the tip of the iceberg. If you look at the numbers further down, you have people who are not food insecure but they are on the verge,” Russo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

These people, a further 143 million, are “so fragile that it just takes a bit of a drought” for them to fall into food crisis, he said.

“Unless we work substantially on these people and remove some of the drivers that can bring them to a worse situation, the overall numbers are likely to increase,” Russo added.

Of countries that suffered food crises in 2018, the worst affected was Yemen, where nearly 16 million people needed urgent food aid after four years of war, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo at 13 million and Afghanistan at 10.6 million.....

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Hottest March on record in Australia and hottest start to the year

ABC News, 1 April 2019:

Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), said March was a continuation of what we saw over summer in a lot of ways.

Not only was it the hottest March, but it has also been the hottest start to the year on record. By a lot.

"It's come in about 2.2 degrees above the long term for the first quarter of the year," Dr Trewin said.

"That's nearly a degree hotter than the previous hottest first quarter of the year.

"We've had the hottest January, we've had the hottest March and February was also in the top five."

Nearly a degree is a very large margin to break a record by.

"Even for an individual month that would be a very significant margin, but to be breaking a three-month-period record by nearly a degree is something which we would see very rarely, if ever in a continent the size of Australia," Dr Trewin said....

It may feel like the "hottest on record" headline is a constant these days but Dr Trewin said it was still not exactly normal.

"We're still getting the occasional cool months but the frequency of record warm months and seasons has gone up quite substantially in the last decade or so with the background long-term warming," he said.

"Whilst we've seen a particularly extreme few months, the background warming trend we see in Australia, as we do globally, is in the order of 0.1 to 0.2 of a degree per decade.

"Projections are that that's expected to continue at least at that rate," he said.
Key points:
o   March 2019 was the warmest on record for mean, minimum and maximum temperatures in Australia
o   Rainfall was below average through the centre of the country but well above average where cyclones hit
o   Outlook for the next three months suggests continued above-average temperatures

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Australia's water evaporation levels are running at record rates in 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 2018:

Australia's evaporation levels are running at record rates, especially across eastern states, increasing the misery for drought-hit farmers and raising bushfire risks as the mercury starts to climb.

While rainfall deficiencies have drawn much attention, stronger-than-usual winds, abnormally sunny days and low humidity have combined to push up evaporation levels, Bureau of Meteorology data shows.

Across the nation, evaporation last month averaged 145.21 millimetres, well above the 128.6 mm typical for July, and the most on record for data going back to 1975, said Karl Braganza, head of climate monitoring at the bureau.

The national tally beat the previous record in 2002. On a regional level, the evaporation rate was the highest on record for Victoria, and also smashed previous records for eastern Australia as a whole.

July pan evaporation for Eastern Australia


If you live in a NSW rural/regional area or an outer metropolitan suburb with thick tree cover.....

Now is the time to make or update your bushfire survival plan.

Because the fires have come early this year and intermittant rainfall is unlikely to ease the threat for long., 16 August 2018:

NSW has declared its earliest total fire ban on record, with hundreds of South Coast residents forced to flee their homes amidst a massive blaze.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that fire crews battled at least 83 fires across the state, following stronger-than-expected winds, creating fire bans that beat the previous record by two weeks. Compounding problems was the fact that, according to The Daily Telegraph ($), two huge water bombers were not in action because they had not yet arrived from the US ahead of Australia’s summer season.

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
New South Wales

Fire Weather Warning for the Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra/Shoalhaven fire areas.

Issued at 10:37 am EST on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

Weather Situation
Warm, dry and windy conditions over southeast NSW today ahead of a cold front,
which will pass to the south of the state overnight.

For the rest of Wednesday 15 August:

Severe Fire Danger is forecast for the following fire areas:
Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra/Shoalhaven

The NSW Rural Fire Service advises you to:
- Action your Bushfire Survival Plan now.
- Monitor the fire and weather situation through your local radio station, and
- Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency.

The Rural Fire Service advises that if you are in an area of Severe Fire Danger:
- If you plan to leave finalise your options and leave early on the day
- Only stay if your home is well prepared and you can actively defend it
- Prepare for the emotional, mental and physical impact of defending your
property - if in doubt, leave.
For information on preparing for bushfires go to

No further warnings will be issued for this event, but the situation will
continue to be monitored and further warnings issued if necessary.

For up-to-date information for your local area see NSW Rural Fire Service’s  Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans and Fires Near Me.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Too warm, too dry as Winter draws closer to Spring in Australia 2018

Warmer days and nights favoured for August–October

August to October days and nights are likely to be warmer than average for most of the country, with high chances (greater than 80%) in eastern Victoria and NSW, and southern Tasmania.

Days and nights in August are likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia, with high chances (greater than 80%) of warmer days in the southeast.

Historical accuracy for August–October maximum temperatures is moderate for eastern and northern parts of Australia, as well as southern WA. Elsewhere, accuracy is low to very low. Historical accuracy for minimum temperatures is moderate for the northern half of Australia, SA, and Tasmania, but low to very low elsewhere.

Temperature - The chance of above median maximum temperature for August to October

Drier than average August–October likely in northeast and southeast mainland
August to October is likely to be drier than average in Victoria, NSW, southeast SA and northeast Queensland

The August outlook shows most of Victoria, NSW and Queensland are likely to be drier than average.

Historical outlook accuracy for August to October is moderate over most of the country, except for interior WA, where accuracy is low to very low.

Rainfall - Totals that have a 75% chance of occurring for August to October


June rainfall was below average for most of Australia, and very much below average for parts of the east coast

The start of the southern wet season has been drier than average

Rainfall deficiencies persist in both the east and west of the country, increasing in the east at the 6- and 15-month timescales, and along the west coast at the 15-month timescale

Lower-layer soil moisture was below average for June across most of New South Wales, the southern half of Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Kimberley and the south of Western Australia

Soil Moisture

Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 cm to 100 cm deep) for June decreased over eastern Australia, and increased over parts of northwest Western Australia following above average rainfall for June.

Lower-layer soil moisture was below average for the Kimberley and southern Western Australia away from the west coast, most of South Australia and the Northern Territory, New South Wales and eastern Victoria, southern and eastern Queensland south of a line between Birdsville and Townsville, and along the coastal fringe of eastern Cape York Peninsula.

Map of lower level soil moisture for the previous month

NSW Dept. of Primary Industries, NSW State Seasonal Update - June 2018. Click on map to enlarge:

Tweed, Richmond, Kyogle, Lismore, Byron Bay, Ballina, Clarence Valley local government areas, as at 15 July 2018 according to Combined Drought Indicator:

The entire Northern Rivers region is considered drought affected. 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Environmental disaster in NSW a herald of things to come given impacts of climate change are being felt in coastal communities and coastal waters

The Newscastle Herald, 1 February 2018:

THERE are fears thousands of “ravenous” kingfish that escaped a state-government jointly run fish farm off Port Stephens will devastate the marine park's wild fish population.
Up to 17,000 predatory yellowtail kingfish, used to being fed automatically, are now hunting in the marine park waters after 20,000 escaped last week from a fish-farm sea cage, described as a "fortress pen", that was destroyed in rough seas. About 3000 fish have been recaptured.
The future of the controversial joint NSW government and Tasmania-based Huon Aquaculture project, which is 18 months into a five-year research trial, is under a cloud following the loss of almost half its stock with a retail value of more than $2 million.
Conservation groups and local tourism operators described the multi-million dollar project as a “disaster” threatening the pristine marine park's delicate ecosystem.
Marine Parks’ Association chairman and whale watching tour operator Frank Future said fisheries staff “repeatedly assured” the community the pens could handle waves up to 15 metres.
According to Huon, the “fortress pens” were designed to withstand “high energy, exposed sites, frequently receiving storms swells and gale force winds”.
“The pen that had the release was mangled and now we have thousands of mature kingfish released into the wild, nothing will be safe from them,” Mr Future said.
“They are voracious feeders and from what I understand they are ravenous. Once they realise they won't get any food in the form of pellets they'll be eating anything they can find. I don't want to think about the impact on wild species.”
The commercial-scale kingfish trial at Providence Bay - the result of an existing offshore research lease being boosted to 62 hectares - includes five pens, each about 60 metres across, two that were stocked with 20,000 fish each. There is capacity for 12 sea pens in the trial......

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Forecasting a dangerous present and devastating future for Australia

“Background warming associated with anthropogenic climate change has seen Australian annual mean temperature increase by approximately 1.1 °C since 1910. Most of this warming has occurred since 1950.” [Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Annual Climate Statement 2017]

Bloomberg, 10 January 2018:

The road-melting heatwave that made Sydney the hottest place on Earth at the weekend may just be a taste of things to come. 

Temperatures in Australia are set to rise until around 2050 due to greenhouse gas emissions already in the atmosphere, according to the country’s weather bureau

“Australia is one country where you really can see the signal of global warming,” Karl Braganza, the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate monitoring, told reporters on a call. “We’ve locked the degree of warming in until mid-century and that means it’s likely that one of the next strong El Nino events in the coming decade or two will set a new record.”

Western Sydney touched 47.3 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday and 2017 was Australia’s third-hottest year on record. Heat and drought risk devastating crops in Australia, the world’s third-largest exporter of cotton where farm production is forecast to be worth A$59 billion ($46 billion) this financial year.

The Heat is On
Australia has had just one cooler-than-average year since 2005
Since 2005, Australia has notched up seven of its 10 warmest years, the weather bureau said in its annual climate statement.

More heatwaves could stress a power grid that’s struggled to cope with demand as people crank up air-conditioning during the scorching summer months.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology Annual Climate Statement 2017, issued January 2018.

Visible impacts in 2018.................

The Guardian, 9 January 2018:

More than 400 animals have died in one colony alone as temperatures soar above 47C, causing exhaustion and dehydration

Mounds of dead flying foxes in Campbelltown suburb of Sydney, Australia. Photograph: Facebook/Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Ever wondered why you feel much hotter or colder than the temperature gauge indicates?

Australian Bureau of MeteorologyThermal Comfort observations, January 2018:

We often use the air temperature as an indicator of how comfortable we will feel when involved in sports or other physical activities. However, the air temperature is only one factor in the assessment of thermal stress. In climates where other important factors, principally humidity, can vary widely from day to day, we need more than just the temperature for a more realistic assessment of comfort. However it is useful to be able to condense all the extra effects into a single number and use it in a similar way to the way we used the temperature. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) and the Apparent Temperature are indices which attempt to do this….

Human thermal comfort depends on environmental and personal factors. The four environmental factors are airflow (wind), air temperature, air humidity, and radiation from the sun and nearby hot surfaces. The personal factors are the clothing being worn and the person's level of physical activity. Thermal sensation is also significantly affected by acclimatisation/adaptation: people living in hot climates have been shown to be comfortable at higher temperatures than those living in cooler climates.

In hotter conditions the body must shed heat to maintain thermal equilibrium. The cooling effect of evaporation of sweat from the skin becomes an important factor. The efficiency of this cooling depends on the humidity of the air. A high humidity reduces the effectiveness of evaporative cooling significantly. The amount of clothing will also affect this cooling efficiency due to its restriction of the air flow over the skin. Fabrics with low vapour permeability (those that don't "breathe") will increase the humidity of air near the skin.

In colder conditions, the body must either reduce heat loss (eg by taking shelter from the wind) or increase heat production, for example, by greater physical activity. In these conditions evaporation and air humidity are relatively unimportant factors. The cooling of the exposed parts of the body by the wind now becomes the most important external factor affecting thermal balance.

The effect of radiation is important under all temperature conditions. Excess radiation always acts to increase the heat load on a person. This can be of assistance under cold conditions, but under hot conditions it's an extra heat load that must be shed.

Of the four environmental factors, wind and radiation are very much influenced by the immediate surroundings. For example, wind speed is reduced by the sheltering effect of belts of trees and solar radiation is affected by short term localised phenomena such as cloudiness. If these factors are to be used as inputs, they are best measured on location, as values can vary significantly over relatively short distances. The remaining two factors (temperature and humidity) are less spatially variable and can be used to give an indication of the general comfort level of a region.

In order to make comparisons between areas, it is convenient to combine the effect of temperature and humidity into one index. This does not mean we can ignore the other environmental and non-environmental factors, but adjustments to the index value, either up or down, can be made to take them into account.

Most people use the temperature alone to provide some guide to the level of comfort. Generally this is quite reasonable because humidity doesn't often vary a lot, particularly in the tropics. However people moving from a less humid to more humid environment will immediately notice the effect of the greater humidity. In many sub-tropical regions of Australia the humidity is usually quite low, but occasionally can become quite high, again reducing comfort to those people not acclimatised.

The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) and Apparent Temperature (AT) are just two methods of combining temperature and humidity into a single number. In fact the real WBGT is also affected by wind and radiation, but the WBGT provided by the Bureau is only an approximation, which ignores variations of wind and radiation (light winds and fairly sunny conditions assumed). The AT can also be extended to take wind and solar radiation into account as well, though generally this is not done. In the AT values provided by the Bureau, wind is taken into account, but not solar radiation. Other indices such as the Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) and the Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) can also be used.

An example of how this works on the ground:

To check thermal stress in your area on any given day go to Thermal Comfort observations index for each State or go directly to Thermal Comfort observations in each State NSW & ACTVicQldWASATasNT.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Wild storms travel up Clarence Coast on the first two days of 2018

The NSW North Coast, including the Clarence Valley, was treated to a show of nature’s force again this afternoon.

The Northern Star, 2 December 2018:

Update 3.50pm: THANKS to a lightning tracking website we know that over 1300 strikes of lightning have hit the Northern Rivers in the last two hours.

Wind gusts of 76km/h wind gust have been reported at Evans Head AWS. There was also a report of wind damages in Yamba at about 01.50pm…..

Update 2.30pm: REPORTS of a severe storm hitting Maclean are emerging as a series of storm fronts impact towns including Evans Head, Casino, and Kyogle.

The Clarence Hotel in Maclean appears to have its roof ripped off in the tempest which hit mid-afternoon as it moved north.

This picture below was taken by James Young and uploaded to North Coast Storm Chasers Facebook page.

Residents described the storm as a "mini tornado".

STORM DAMAGE: The Clarence Hotel in Maclean has had its roof ripped off as a severe storm passed through this afternoon.

According to a Clarence Valley Council media release sent out this afternoon, the Maclean office of Clarence Valley Council will be closed tomorrow Wednesday 3 January so storm related repairs to the building can be undertaken.

As NSW North Coast surveys storm damage this morning, one family boating on the Clarence River are thankful for a lucky escape

The Northern Star, 2 January 2017:

A MAN has been praised for saving his family after he smashed a window of their sinking houseboat to help everyone escape.

The family of seven were staying on a houseboat on the Clarence River at Iluka when the boat started sinking just after a wild hail storm hit the region about 5pm last night.

Marine Rescue NSW regional operations manager John Murray said the Iluka Yamba crew were called to the incident after a distress flare was sent.....

Tracey Davis has been camping at Iluka for 27 years and she witnessed some of the dramatic events as they unfolded.

She said she was watching the storm and taking photos when she noticed the houseboat.

"It was just putting along and it was tiny, and I thought, 'oh no, it's in trouble'," she said.

"When I came out after the storm, everyone was saying that the houseboat had tipped over ... they said seven people were on board.

"We were told the father actually smashed the window so he could get everyone out.

"He's got cuts and maybe a broken arm.

"Once all the people were out, they realised the three dogs were still inside. There was a lot of cheering when the rescuers got the dogs out."

Ms Davis said there was plenty of hail at Iluka during the peak of the storms, and many of the caravans at the caravan park were damaged.

The houseboat has been anchored up and a salvage crew will assess the situation today.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Liberal Party's rednecks predictably make hay with Trump's anti-science rampage

This was what was displayed on the Prime Minister of Canada’s official website immediately after US President Donald Trump had announced his government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Ottawa, Ontario
June 1, 2017
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement in response to the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement:
“We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth. Canadians know we need to take decisive and collective action to tackle the many harsh realities of our changing climate.
“While the U.S. decision is disheartening, we remain inspired by the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies. We are proud that Canada stands united with all the other parties that support the Agreement. We will continue to work with our domestic and international partners to drive progress on one of the greatest challenges we face as a world.
“This is not only about the huge economic opportunities of clean growth and the need to address the pressing threats of climate change. This is about an ambitious and unshakeable desire to leave a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for our kids and for generations to come.
“We are all custodians of this world, and that is why Canada will continue to work with the U.S. at the state level, and with other U.S. stakeholders, to address climate change and promote clean growth. We will also continue to reach out to the U.S. federal government to discuss this matter of critical importance for all humankind, and to identify areas of shared interest for collaboration, including on emissions reductions.”

This is what the Prime Minister of Australia’s official website looked like on the morning of 2 June 2017:
Not one word from Malcolm Bligh Turnbull as he cowered behind closed doors wary of offending both the climate change deniers in his own party and the US president – he left any initial  remarks to the Minister for Environment and Energy.

It wasn’t until later on 2 June that a lukewarm statement was delivered during a doorstop interview in Singapore aimed not at Trump but at his own political opponents at home :

Well the President's announcement is not a surprise. It was a very core campaign commitment of his - It is disappointing. We would prefer the United States to remain part of the agreement. We are committed to the Paris agreement. We are on track to meet our 2030 targets of a reduction in emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels. And, I should say we are doing well. Our emissions, whether measures against by head of population or by, against GDP are the lowest they've been for 27 years.
The important thing is to ensure that we maintain energy supplies that are affordable, that are reliable, secure and that we meet our emissions targets and we are on track to do just that. That's our commitment, our energy policy is grounded in economics and engineering. Not in ideology like the Labor Party’s.

That pause between Trump’s announcement and Turnbull’s response allowed the Liberal Party’s merry band of luddites enough airtime to show support for Trump’s position.

This group contained Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz, Senator for Queensland Ian Macdonald, MP for Dawson (Qld) George Christensen and MP for Hughes (NSW) Craig Kelly

Which was probably what the hypocritical, pro-coal Member for Wentworth intended to happen all along

Something people in the electorates of these parliamentarians should perhaps keep in mind when they go to vote at the next federal election.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Former sceptic tells climate change denialists to put up or shut up

US WRAL TV meteorologist and weatherman on Facebook:
Greg Fishel

You know everybody reaches their breaking point and quite frankly I have reached mine with the folks who post all over the internet about the scientific fallacies of man induced climate change. All of them are guest bloggers or essayists. None of this stuff has ever been published in a peer reviewed atmospheric science or climate journal. But we live in an age today where higher education and research are no longer respected. Heck, think of all the money my parents wasted on my education when I could have waited for the age of twitter and Facebook and declared myself as an expert in the field of my choice. That's sarcasm to illustrate asininity.
But wait! Let's say one of these guest essayers is a modern day Galileo, and has that critical piece to the puzzle that no other scientist has. Then they should submit their findings to one of the American Meteorological Society's peer reviewed journals for publication. If they are rejected, and the author feels unfairly, then make public each and every one of the reviewers' comments for the entire world to see. If there is bias and corruption in the peer review process, everyone needs to know about it so this flawed process can be halted and corrected. But ya know what? I doubt any of these folks has the guts to do this, and they'll continue on with their pathetic excuse for science education.
So prove me wrong bloggers and essayists. Submit your work the way real scientists do, and see where it takes you. Uncover that bias and corruption you're so convinced is present. If you end up being correct, society will owe you a huge debt of gratitude. If you're wrong, stop muddying the scientific waters with ideological trash.


Indy Week, 21 October 2015:

You might assume that your local meteorologist believes in climate change.

Certainly if he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Penn State in 1979 and began working at WRAL-TV as the station's first meteorologist in 1981. Especially if he was promoted to chief meteorologist in 1989, a post he has held ever since. And without a doubt, if your local weatherman was the first American
Meteorological Society-certified broadcast meteorologist in the United States, who then chaired the board that developed the 100-question exam used for broadcast certifications, he'd have to embrace the overwhelming scientific consensus. Right?

For Greg Fishel, accepting that reality took time. An avid churchgoer and Rush subscriber (that's Limbaugh, not the band), Fishel has been slower than most scientists to recognize the fact that the planet is warming and we're to blame. Last week, the meteorologist penned a blog post titled, "Choose science, stewardship in understanding climate change," a public admission of his previous ignorance and a plea for people like him—Republicans, churchgoers, Fox News fanatics—to approach the topic scientifically rather than ideologically.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Clarence Valley NSW: a timely reminder as widespread rain again hits the Australian east coast

Australian Bureau of Meteorology probability forecast for 19 May 2017 as of 18 May here.

The Daily Examiner, 8 May 2017, p.3:
THE flood protection around Grafton is not as robust as many people believe warns a local emergency management specialist.
The Clarence Valley Council’s emergency management officer Kieran McAndrew said up-to-date modelling showed Grafton levees capable of withstanding a one in 25-year flood.
“Many people are under a misunderstanding the levees provide one in 100-year protection,” he said.
“They don’t. They were designed to provide that level of protection, but better modelling in the 50 years since they were constructed shows they only ever provided on one in 25-year protection…..
Mr McAndrew said recent major flooding in the Tweed and Richmond and moderate flooding in the Clarence had revealed the lack of understanding of flood protection in and around Grafton. He said there was a danger of complacency in the community……
“If there was a prolonged overtopping event in Grafton it would be much more serious than Lismore because in Lismore there are hills people can reach from the CBD. We don’t have that luxury in Grafton. And because of the volume of water in the Clarence, flood heights fall much more slowly. It means the city would be inundated for much longer.”
He said the Clarence Valley Council had applied to the NSW Government for a grant for a project to determine the floor heights of all properties in flood-prone areas around Grafton. The data would help residents understand the potential impact of a levee overtopping on their property.